A character who can always be seen with a serious upside-down smile, even in the most pleasant of situations. Though it can be compared to The Stoic, Perpetual Frowner differs in the simple fact that rather than wearing a face of indifference, the character perpetually expresses the biggest, ugliest frown he or she can make on their face.
Usually comes in 3 varieties: mopey and listless, angry and angsty, focused and serious. In many cases, the look of extreme tension continues even when they're asleep. For series where character background and development is allotted, it may later be revealed that the person expresses the demeanor as a result of a living or having lived a harsh or tragic life.
Extra points if the character also displays a habit of keeping his arms crossed along with the constant frowning for that extra pouty look.
If the Perpetual Frowner actually does smile, it's either a Heartwarming Moment that signifies that the character has found a reason to be happy and enjoy life again, or one of the mostpotent sources of Nightmare Fuel you will ever come across.
If the expression is not voluntary but the result of damage to nerves or the like, it falls under Frozen Face.
Compare Aloof Big Brother, Deadpan Snarker, The Eeyore. Contrast Perpetual Smiler. See also Death Glare.
Dr. Hell from Mazinger Z has mostly three default expressions: angry, worried and disappointed/frustrated. He seldom smiles (fortunately, since when he actually does so, it is a very creepy Slasher Smile).
A well known anime frowner is Ichigo in Bleach, early on revealed to be a result of losing his mother at a young age and trying very hard to cultivate a badass image ever since. (In one episode when Kon runs amok in Ichigo's body, Ichigo bemoans Kon ruining his image that he'd worked so hard on.) The example is particularly interesting considering the fact that he is the main protagonist. Hitsugaya is also a major frowner, probably a result of frequently being the most professional among a group of wackier characters. Kenpachi is usually frowning whenever he's not in the middle of a fight, in which case he'll have a big Slasher Smile.
Among the Vizards, Hiyori and Kensei. Hiyori is implied to have led a rough life even before Aizen's experiments, and Kensei is probably perpetually annoyed by Mashiro. Kensei's case is somewhat Lampshaded when he is trying to smile and comfort a young Shuuhei Hisagi - and ends up with an unintentionally evil version of The Unsmile.
Naruto, even after rising to become the first Chuunin in his class, achieving the place as team leader of the group, being subjected to considerable Character Development, and getting a potential girlfriend, Shikamaru still doesn't seem to find a reason to wipe that big ugly frown off his face.
Sasuke also started out as a frowner due to his tragic past and fervent mission in life to kill his brother. However, following his Face-Heel Turn and the series' timeskip, Sasuke gains a more impassive look, adding to his growing similarity with his Aloof Big Brother.
Gaara, even after accepting his companions, has almost never smiled a non-murderous smile.
In the most recent, hot-off-the-presses manga chapters, the Sandman of Tsuna smiles once in awhile and generally shows far more emotion than he used to, but it's still pretty rare in comparison to other characters.
Among several others, Tien, Piccolo and Vegeta were the three biggest Perpetual Frowners in Dragon Ball Z. The only things they did with their arms were punching, lifting, push-ups and crossing over the chest. Though Vegeta does crack a smile every now and then in the form of an arrogant smirk (and the occasional evil grin during his scenes as a villain).
Piccolo got the occasional grin as well, mainly when interacting with Gohan - even with the eyebrows up at least once (during his death in DBZ.) Vegeta, however, had somehow managed to master scowling even when asleep or unconscious.
Could we argue that Yami is one of these too? His face seems to be stuck that way. Even when he's happy he's frowning!
Sesshomaru from InuYasha is characterized by his constant aloof, disdainful frown, though it is said that he is all the more dangerous when he actually does smile; on one occasion when he did smile, Jaken was so freaked out by it that he literally begged Sesshomaru to get angry and beat him instead.
He smiles once in the manga, in the Ishbalan refugee camp when he is told that there are many survivors of the genocide in camps all over the country. He has a nice smile...
Kasanoda from Ouran High School Host Club is an unfortunate example. He looks scary as hell, and his default expression is an angry frown... because he's been trained from childhood to take over the position of Yakuza boss of his family. Unfortunate, because he's not such a bad guy, but nearly everyone is too freaked out to notice.
Gwendal in Kyo Kara Maoh is an extreme example, even other characters comment on his perpetual frowning.
Let's see... constantly frowning? Check. Arms often crossed? Check. Tragic backstory? Check. Frowns even when he's sleeping? At least sometimes. Certainly does it when he's coming out of the shower. Yup, Fakir from Princess Tutu is definitely an example of this trope.
Tetsuma Jou, receiver for the Seibu Wild Gunmen from Eyeshield 21, has had a permanent serious frown on his face from (at least) the tender age of four. Although he did once adopt an expression of raging, unholy killing intent when Gaou broke Kid's arm, if that counts as a change.
Germany and Sweden from Axis Powers Hetalia rarely smile, though not because they're unhappy. Hong Kong may be a straighter example, and Belarus mixes this with Yandere. Germania so much so that he couldn't smile when he tried to.
Japan too. While it's more of a blank expression than a frown and he has smiled once or twice, it's noticeable enough that one manga strip revolved around Italy trying to get Japan to smile and failing.
Netherlands has also never been shown smiling yet, always having either a disinterested expression or scowl on his face whenever he appears.
Try to find canonical pictures of Zoro from One Piece where he's just smiling happy and friendly-like as opposed to scowling or just smirking. It's very hard.
Especially recently, though. He used to smile and laugh quite frequently in early appearances. It gets rarer after he loses to Mihawk. In the Arlong Arc, Sanji notes that Zoro developed a bad temper after he lost to Mihawk, so this change is very, very intentional on Oda's part.
Similar case with Tashigi. She smiled a lot early on, but after some bad experiences in Alabasta, likely disillusioning her in many important ways, she generally looks either impassive or rather miserable.
She smiles again after taking care of the giant children at the end of the punk hazard arc.
Jinbei has this as his regular face with him rarely changing it.
Nove in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, whose expression is always in some form of angry, and maybe some bits of embarassed. In fact, fans reacted with shock when the artwork for an audio drama showed her with a slight smile on her face.
Kurogane from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. The only times you see him smiling are when he's fighting... And it's more of a Slasher Smile than everything. He only really smiled in the flashbacks from his childhood... And in chapter 167.
Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star used to be a happy camper but after his best friend kidnapped his fiancee and left him for dead in the desert, it's understandable that he doesn't smile much.
The title character of Golgo 13 fame is one of the trope's fathers.
Gunnm: Gally, in addition to her Perpetual Frown, usually has a Perpetual Pout as well, amply lampshaded. She even got nicknamed "Octopus Lips" in-story, and when Zwoelf has to pose as her she loudly complained that Gally's constantly sullen expression is very boring. Though, given her backstory, it's somewhat justified.
Berserk: Guts during his days as the Black Swordsman after the Eclipse. Again, he doesn't have much reason to smile after watching his entire team get slaughtered and eaten by demons, and the love of his life get raped to insanity by his former commander turned demonic god. In fact, when he does smile, it's either a sneer (usually directed toward Puck) or a murderous and bloodthirsty grin (which he reserves for his demonic enemies).
Buso Renkin: Tokiko Tsumura's default expression is "I'm about 5 seconds away from disemboweling someone."
Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss. He actually has a lot to be pissed about; like the fact that his master and best friend Mikage abandoned him twenty years before the start of the story or the fact that he was made an indentured servant to an Ordinary High-School Student. However, he also manages to be pissed at anything and everything.
In Oregairu, the anime version of Hachiman Hikigaya nearly always has his eyebrows in a knit. He does smile but usually it's a wry smile.
Renge from Non Non Biyori is affixed with a perpetual half-open eyed frown. Though it's not very indicative of her mood, as she's your average Cheerful Child.
He wasn't always like that in Batman: The Animated Series, just when he was mad. He didn't really become a Perpetual Frowner until The New Batman Adventures.
It must be genetic, because Batman's son, Damian Wayne (the current Robin) is this as well.
Was... as of Batman Incorporated #8
The Saint of Killers from Preacher, alive or undead. One character describes his permanent facial expression as someone who's "treadin' through dogshit".
In Judge Dredd, the titular character has two facial expressions: "Frowning Angrily" and "Shouting".
There was one time, when he returned to Mega City 1 from Luna-1 and hadn't been reinstated as a judge yet. He spent the couple of minutes walking around, waving at anyone, and ignoring crimes because he was technically a civilian.
The titular character in the Eisenhorn trilogy, though not by choice. You see, early in the first book, he gets tortured so horribly (an this is set in Warhammer 40,000, so feel free to imagine just how) that the muscles in his face are irreparably damaged. He can't smile, even if he wanted to.
The Death Gate Cycle: The fact that Haplo tends to maintain a grim expression even while sleeping is remarked upon by other characters. He does smile occasionally, however.
Tahniya in The Path to War is actually described as having a permanent small frown, which always makes her look like something has irritated or troubled her.
Lord Droon, the villain of Dr. Seuss's early picture book The King's Stilts, is described as a "scowler," mutters that "the lines at the corners of the mouth should go down," and loathes smiles, fun, and anything that seems unserious or undignified - so much that he endangers the entire kingdom by stealing the titular stilts, pushing the king toward the Despair Event Horizon.
Tywin Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire has never smiled since he lost his wife. Even before then, there had only been four recorded occasions of him smiling.
Stannis Baratheon is similar to, if not even more so, to Tywin in this regard. It's said, more than once, that he "never learned how to smile." He is constantly scowling, and one of his character tics is, when particularly annoyed by something, he grinds his teeth. A character once said he was so mad about something that "he clenched his teeth so hard I thought they would shatter."
In The Hunger Games, Gale says that Katniss only smiles when in the woods. During the Games, Peeta tells her that she doesn't scowl as much when she's asleep. Katniss herself admits that her smiles are hard to come by.
Live Action TV
Mid-20th century Variety Show host Ed Sullivan was famous for almost never smiling on camera, though he didn't exactly frown per se, he often had a rather stern look on his face. When he did smile, it was actually neither glurge nor Nightmare Fuel, but his smiles were always notable for their extreme brevity. One time when he told comedian Red Skelton "It's wonderful to see your smiling face again." Skelton replied, "That's more than I can say for you." Sullivan's response was "That's not fair, you know I can smile. Like this." At which point he flashed a perfectly cheerful smile, for about a tenth of a second before returning to his stern, stoic look.
Live action/puppetry: The grouchy Oscar and Bert on Sesame Street. All the more remarkable in that their faces aren't articulated enough to make it obvious that they're frowning — Carroll Spinney and Frank Oz rely on their ability to create character for that.
A more obviously-frowning Muppet is Beaker. The way his mouth is cut into his cylindrical head gives him an exceedingly-obvious frown. Nevertheless, the way he talks (itself difficult given he's one of two The Unintelligibles from The Muppet Show) helps to alter the meaning of his perpetual frown: sadness, worry, fright, frustration, whatever.
Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family, any version. (Not counting Addams Family Reunion) When she smiled after being brainwashed in Addams Family Values, it deeply unnerved all onlookers.
In Game of Thrones, royal executioner Ser Ilyn Payne is never seen without a belligerent scowl.
Karl Pilkington from An Idiot Abroad. If he is smiling, you can guarantee it won't last for long, as Ricky Gervais has a seemingly endless list of things planned to annoy Karl.
And retains this role in The Ricky Gervais Show. Ricky savors the one instance he actually manages to make Karl laugh.
Will Graham from Hannibal, due to his anxiety and inner demons. He's seen relaxing around his numerous dogs though.
Emma Swan's default expression on Once Upon a Time is a frown mainly because she's still wrapping around her head that All Myths Are True, her parents are Snow White and Prince Charming and they haven't aged in 28 years, and that she's The Chosen One.
The Backstreet Boys demonstrated this trope in any opportunity they could, mainly on their posters/CD covers. In fact, the one way you could tell the difference between them and **NSYNC was that *NSYNC smiled while the Backstreet Boys didn't.
In the song "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath, people think there is something wrong with the narrator because of this.
Henry Rollins always looks angry - and he probably is at something
Lampshaded in a 2000 installment of Much Music's Hard RockMusic Video program Loud, which had a black-marker-on-white-paper emoticon-style diagram of Mötley Crüe's personnel shifts up to that point. The final picture showed every band memeber with a happy face, "except for Nikki Sixx, 'cause he never smiles". Which is mostly true; in live performances and videos he is a Perpetual Frowner who shies away from the rest of the band's enthusiastic "rock faces". However, he was quite visibly happy to discuss the band's screwed up history on Behind The Music.
A lyric from "Burning My Soul" by Dream Theater, written by drummer Mike Portnoy: "And you wonder why I can't smile."
Besides her creepy little smiles directed towards Becket, Alma is always frowning.
Akuma/Gouki from the Street Fighter series is a famous and extreme example, as he never smiles at all.
Series mainstay M. Bison was originally a Perpetual Frowner, but now he's better known for his Slasher Smile. From what can be seen, those are the only two facial expressions he's capable of.
Well, these two, plus his Oh Crap expression during the endings of Alpha 3.
Sagat and Guile are also constantly frowning, though Guile occasionally smiles in the presence of his family. Main character Ryu is halfway there, though it's more of an impassive look that leans toward frowning than a proper Perpetual Frown.
Guy from Final Fight/SFA? Guy has a trademark scowl that matches his aloof and serious personality. The only instance in which Guy smiles is in an official art depicting Ryu, Ken, and Guy in casual clothes (Hell, in Cody's ending in SFA 3, his face is scowling, even though the dialogue implies he is glad Cody is back on his side)
As of Super Street Fighter IV, Makoto was not seen showing so much as a smirk in any official art (her ending in Super Street Fighter IV being an exception). She makes up for it with plenty of yelling.
Remy from Street Fighter. You wouldn't expect someone whose win quote translates to "I hate everything that I see!" to smile much, would you?
Kratos from Tales of Symphonia, as befits his role as The Stoic. Same goes for Regal, who wears an even larger frown than Kratos (especially in his official art), but is slightly more likely to lighten up.
Keele from Tales of Eternia — his expression is generally either "angry", "disdainful" or "sullen", whereas his "smile" is more of an arrogant smirk.
Asch from Tales of the Abyss, whose grumpiness is commented on and made fun of by the other characters; Luke tells him at one point that if he keeps frowning, his face will get stuck that way. Again, his "smile" is usually more like a smirk.
Jade: What's the matter, [Asch?] You look as if you've swallowed a bug. Oh wait, you always look like that.
What's weird is that his status picture in the menu represents him with a full-on happy face...maybe because we'd never get to see him smile in-game.
This is even referenced in Tales of Vesperia. There's a note scratched into a signboard identifying all the main characters in Tales Of The Abyss. Asch's entry is just "always looks angry."
Kunzite of Tales of Hearts rarely smiles, his only "happy" portrait is but a tiny turning of the lips, and the first time a character gets him to smile, he seems to frighten everyone by the mere act. Mysterious Waif Lycia says straight out that she can't smile as long as she's atoning for the plot of the game, but is eventually persuaded to (along with Kunzite, properly this time) when the final dungeon rolls around.
Arguably, Mona from the "I Was Born To Love You" stage. The entire goal for that stage is to help Leo to get her to smile, so he can paint her portrait. And no, taking her to a concert, taking her for a flight in a flying machine, and saving her from a stampede of bulls isn't quite enough to do it. The "special tunnel" does the trick, though.
Jake, who only starts smiling if you fail his stage and he turns into a giggling zombie.
Zero from the Mega Man X series deserves a special mention, seeing how he applies to this trope in more ways than one:
After Iris dies, he not only stops smiling, practically at all, but loses essentially all of his Badass Boasting personality and becomes The Stoic.
After X4, he no longer throws a thumbs up at the player after beating a boss either. He just turns away.
Even his theme music has noticeable changes. Where his theme is X4 may have been the peak of giving the feeling that Zero is about to cut down everyone in the level, in X5 and onward, Zero's music becomes a lot more calm and serious sounding.
Then there's Geo Stelar of Mega Man Star Force, who spends much of the first game on a massive angst-trip and is shown frowning both in human and wave forms. He lightens up later, though.
There are those who doubt that Agent 47 from Hitman can even smile.
Somewhat lampshaded by the name of the collection of FF7 Compilation short stories being On The Way to a Smile.
Throughout the Legacy of Kain series, Kain very rarely smiles. In the event that he does, it's usually a good indication that his enemies have found themselves on the receiving end of his plan or he's about to do something horrible to somebody.
Pokémon has Red in his remake design. He's always shown frowning, except for his victory animations in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and once when he gives a haughty smirk in said game. Ironic since his original design is nearly always drawn happy and smiling.
It is unusual to see Silver crack a smile when he first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), but this has to do him taking his duty in protecting the future very seriously. He does show a smile in some games like Sonic Generations where he shows excitement in facing Sonic in a rematch.
This is Mario's default expression in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which is jarring; considering that Mario is a pretty cheerful guy in his home series.
Link in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time very rarely changes his expression from a frown, and when he does, it's usually in shock from whatever horrible monstrosity he's just encountered.
Miles Edgeworth in the Ace Attorney series is never seen smiling at all. He'll sometimes make a small smirk when he is smug, but that is as far as he will go to cracking a smile. Edgeworth is always serious with his work as a prosecutor and many people notice how he doesn't seem to let loose.
Hawke from Advance Wars. He's the only character in the game to not smile or cheer when his unit's win an attack (He doesn't even have a smiling mugshot'').
While Saber's default expression in Fate/stay night can be described as 'neutral with a dash of stiffness', Saber Alter's scowl practically bores into your soul.
Dave of The Anime Club. Since Mort and Mark are always yelling at each other, they might count, too.
Walkyverse: Mike Warner has smiled about ten times over a ten year period of existence. These smiles only appear when he's completely hammered. The comment section following this comic and Amber's reaction kind of says it all.
Despite his position as the page image, he is capable of smiling. Quite often, even. But only at his own jokes or art. Furthermore, his smile is usually an indicator that he has just tempted fate, and as such doesn't have a long life span.
Despite this expression being his default, he has more range in facial expression than all the other characters on the show.
The complex but bitter and sometimes just downright angsty Prince Zuko on Avatar: The Last Airbender always has a big angry look on his face and has a strong tendency to stand around with his arms crossed. At the culmination of his character progression within the second season, he recovers from a spiritual illness and spends an episode at peace, smiling, and gaining a more optimistic look on life... Cue the Wham Episode. He sums it up in one line:
...are you happy now? I'm never happy.
Not surprisingly, Zuko's emotionless girlfriend, Mai, also fits. Interestingly enough, the only times they seem genuinely happy are when they're together. This is likely a result of Mai's listlessness and Zuko's angst canceling each other out.
Mandy in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. In one episode, a shape-shifter turns into Mandy, and Billy remarks "No, wait... Mandy never smiles." She has smiled exactly three times in the entire series. The first time was at the end of the pilot episode. Next, she made an evil smirk after she realized she'd accidentally wished every other human off the planet, and had the whole world to herself. Finally, she smiled during a beauty pageant in "My Fair Mandy", it warped reality. On one occasion she's made a look of genuine sadness—even rarer than a smile.
Huey Freeman from The Boondocks. An Adult Swim bump once featured a fan asking the question, "Does Huey ever smile?" The AS team, apparently stumped, claim to have called up Aaron McGruder to ask. The answer? Apparently, the animators are contractually obligated never to depict Huey smiling or laughing, ever.
Huey actually does smile a few times in the series. Once when he fights Riley in "Let's Nab Oprah" and twice at Riley's basketball game. There are a few other instances of Huey smiling, but they're harder to notice. But he does fit this trope perfectly.
Gordon from Thomas the Tank Engine can fall into this in most of the episodes due to being too focused on his own importance in The Fat Controller's railway as well as arrogantly looking down on the other engines. The engines' tendency in teasing doesn't help at all.
Nonny from Bubble Guppies. He's notably the only Guppy not smiling during the intro and ending, though he'll smile at certain circumstances such as the sequence when the Guppies go outside.
Mr. Grumpfish is a more straightforward example, as his name might suggest.
As an actor, Ice Cube utilizes the angry scowl so often that when he does smile, it looks downright freaky.
Especially notable in Dick Cheney◊. It doesn't matter whether he's at the Republican National Convention, the campaign trail, having tea at the White house, apologizing for shooting another guy in the face, getting an apology from the guy that he shot in the face, or even making the official announcement that Bush has won re-election — he always has this look on his face like someone just ran over his pet dog a few hours ago.
During his bid for president in 2000 Al Gore was known to be very dry in public and attempts to make him seem more approachable would backfire (such as kissing his wife a little too long as she joined him on stage for a rally). Since losing the election a well received stint on Saturday Night Live and poking fun at himself in Futurama a couple of times has helped reverse that opinion of being a very serious individual.
Queen Elizabeth was once famous for this one, almost never smiling in public if she could help it. Nowadays she's rarely seen without a big smile on her face however. This role has since been taken by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose memorable attempts to smile for cameras resembled Wednesday Addams (and provoked similar reactions).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Although it is not that apparent on press pictures, she seems to have developed some new facial muscles since she has been voted chancellor.
Ned Sparks ("I never go anywhere, I never do anything and I never have any fun!).
Despite his rather jokey nature, Eminem rarely smiles in covers, interviews or anywhere else really.
It's rumored that he made a vow to not smile in front of a camera after Proof died.
Which makes the video for "Mein Teil" creepier than it would be otherwise, as he as a rather impressive rictus throughout.
Jason Statham. It's mentioned on his page that all of his good movies could alternatively be titled Jason Statham Drives A Car And Kills People (While Scowling A Lot).
Pick any movie he's in, he has exactly two expressions: frowning, and frowning with his shirt off.
Formula One World Driving Champion Fernando Alonso. His smile practically involves a frown.
Supposedly there does exist a photo of Henrik Ibsen smiling. One portrait.
Gilmour Dobie (Gloomy Gil) was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame with an amazing coaching record of 182-45-15. Somehow, he never let his success affect his negative demeanor. One of his famous quotes is, "There are only two ways you can finish in life. Dead or a loser".