"Staying all serious and scowling every minute of the day is impossible! How can anyone look so mad all the time?!"
regarding Ichigo, Bleach
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 most potent sources
of Nightmare Fuel
you will ever come across
. The smile may also be forced upon another by someone.
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
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Anime & Manga
- Jotaro Kujo from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure hardly ever smiles even once throughout the series. And considering how long it's been going on, that's saying something.
- 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).
- Giichi from Blade of the Immortal. Admittedly, he has good reasons to never 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.
- 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.
- Mugen from Samurai Champloo always has a nasty, twisted, "don't trust anybody/ya wanna mess with me?" look on his face. Unless presented with food.
- Kaiser Ryo of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Oddly enough, his Face-Heel Turn to Hell Kaiser caused him to smile... evilly, with a touch of insanity.
- Kaiba from the original Yu-Gi-Oh!. This was commented on in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, with Yugi remarking "Every time Kaiba smiles, a puppy dies."
- 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!
- The latter's expression does lighten occasionally, but otherwise pulls of the 'stern' expression 90% of the time. Applies to a good number of the cast.
- 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.
- Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist has smiled a grand total of three times in the entire anime.
- 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.
- Lucy from Elfen Lied combines this with Hidden Eyes.
- 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.
- Thorfinn from Vinland Saga, when he does smile, those smiles are rather....vicious.
- 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.
- Of the few blood-related siblings, Norway and Iceland both tend to frown and have never been shown smiling.
- 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.
- Speaking of Mihawk, the world's greatest swordsman has smirked a few times (when Zoro challenges him, when Zoro accepts his loss and turns around so he won't have a swordman's greatest shame of a wound to the back, and when Luffy states that he'll become Pirate King) and outright laughed when Zoro asks Mihawk to tutor him, but otherwise has a constant dispassionate frown.
- 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 Striker S, 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.
- Exedore/Exsedol's redesigned version, when seen in Macross 7. The only time he ever smiles is during his Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- 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.
- Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic!. He is described numerous times to be a very attractive boy... except for the problem that he looks perpetually angry, with his eyebrows slanting down and lips pressed firmly in a grim straight line, giving him a very unapproachable appearance. He's actually pretty well known for never smiling in the story. Here's his attempt at trying to, for the sake of his photo ID◊. Though more unnervingly, one of the few times he's shown to smile naturally can be seen here. Yikes, Sousuke, you Sociopathic Hero, you.
- Cowboy Bebop's Vicious is also not a happy camper. The only smiles that he actually gives are Slasher Smiles that live up to his name.
- Shinobu from Junjou Romantica, when he's not crying. He's even frowning in the opening theme while glomping Miyagi.
- Xanxus from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is in a permanently bad mood and nearly always scowling, but his smile is even more frightening.
- Tsuna in Dying Will form has been described several times as having "his brows always furrowed".
- Saionji from Revolutionary Girl Utena fits this trope to a t, given that his life has been a bit... complicated.
- 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.
- Paul in the Pokémon anime, which is probably fitting of his nature as “Stop Having Fun” Guys incarnate.
- Hitomi Mizumura from the Hentai manga Boys Empire is like this at first. Makoto even lampshades it for us:
Makoto: Mizumura looks like she's always angry or something.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Along with a certain pose, Gendo Ikari is a reliable owner of one of these.
- The number of times L had smiled in Death Note can most likely be counted in less than fifteen panels. Near? Not really.
- Does Black Butler's William T. Spears ever smile?
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura Akemi almost never smiles. It's not like she's got a lot of reason to.
- 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).
- Busou Renkin: Tokiko Tsumura's default expression is "I'm about 5 seconds away from disembowelling someone."
- As mentioned above, Athrun Zala from Gundam SEED.
- 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.
- Satsuki from Kill la Kill often has a scowl on her face. Ryuko once even referred to her as a "perpetually frowning, caterpillar-eyebrow bitch."
- Ogami Itto from Lone Wolf and Cub seems to have only two expressions: Grim scowl, or horrified surprise.
- "I snarled", "I glared", "I scowled"....Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files is very much this. This is notable, given the fact that he spends most of his time cracking bad jokes.
- Morgan from the same series is practically carved out of granite. He smiles maybe once in all of the books.
- Karkaroff's caricature-esque grimacing in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie.
- Kreacher the house elf makes emo kids look optimistic and happy from his introduction in the fifth book until the seventh, when he finally sees the light and starts to become cheerful.
- When he's not smirking, Snape spends his time either scowling or frowning.
- Or sneering. He likes sneering a lot too.
- Edmund Pevensie in the movie version of The Chronicles of Narnia seems to do this a lot, even after his Heel-Face Turn.
- Bukama from The Wheel of Time prequel novel is one of these. "The older man brightened. Well, his scowl lessened a little. For him, that was as good as a grin from anyone else."
- Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights starts out like this, at any rate.
- 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.
- In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, Generic Girl always sounds tired and unhappy, not fitting in with heroes, villains, or middle schoolers.
- Skeeter Traps from Chronicles Of Magic is a ten year-old version of this.
Live Action TV
- Rivers Cuomo of Weezer is notorious for always looking somewhat dismayed. Which makes his obvious happiness in the music video for "Keep Fishin'" a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- 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 Rock Music 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."
- Raven after he came to ECW, due to a deep depression.
- Kaiju Big Battel's Big Bad, the evil Dr. Cube, is instantly recognizable because of his unchanging expression (it's actually a helmet, as Cube is not a Kaiju)
- Sara Del Rey hasn't been one her entire career but has gone through several stretches of it, enough that a frowing face is a fixture of most of her ring gear. During her (three year+!)JAPW Championship run though, it was speculated she wasn't capable of smiling at the time because of two canker sores.
- Girl Genius: Baron Klaus Wulfenbach looks perpetually unhappy. Then again, given how much he likes his job...
- A good adventuring fight seems to perk him up a little, though, if this page is anything to go by.
- Earthsong's Gwen.
- Homestuck: Karkat is the angriest troll. He is just so angry, you don't even know.
- Karkat smiled once. Eridan smiled never.
- The Felt, with the possible exception of Clover who doesn't have a mouth but certainly comes off as the Perpetual Smiler type.
- Also, every Agent except for CD is this.
- Aradia is an odd example; she certainly starts out as one, only being shown smiling twice (and one of those was in a flashback), but after going God Tier she inverts the trope completely.
- VG Cats: Aeris has such a short temper that she's almost always at least annoyed. When she does smile, it's generally not a good sign.
- Sabrina Online: Sabrina's mother and father are a pair of frowners, too.
- Lowroad Comics: Butler insists that he has more than one expression, but apparently doesn't look into mirrors often.
- Ctrl+Alt+Del — Scowl 3: The Scowling.
- Rocky rarely shows happiness in Our Little Adventure, possibly because he's Surrounded by Idiots.
- 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.
- Manly Guys Doing Manly Things seems to collect Perpetual Frowners, as seen here.◊
- Tyler in Damaged Tape hasn't smiled once in the entire run of the comic. He's only had two other expressions: yelling, and a typical Nut Shot reaction face.
- Mist from Waterworks, most likely due to having a bodily condition that, by the standards of her civilization, makes her hideous.
- Except for the few moments he's shown surprise, Ballister Blackheart from Nimona keeps a frown of seriousness.
- Strong Bad, from Homestar Runner, has a luchadore mask for a face, giving him a perpetual scowl.
- Strong Bad has smiled on a few occasions... Including one time in which he believed that being flushed down the toilet would turn him into a monster.
- Strong Sad, who is the emo member of the group, almost never smiles, except for a few occasions (Usually when he gets his revenge on Strong Bad... or when he's had too much caffeine).
- All of the Brothers Strong (Strong Bad, Strong Sad, and Strong Mad) are often seen with frowns on their faces.
- The Homestar Runner Wiki has pages for cataloging instances of smiling for all three Brothers Strong.
- Doreen, from Doreen and Maureen
- Black puffles from Club Penguin.
- Bee and Puppycat's own Puppycat is always frowning. It's unclear if this is his mouth's natural shape or if Puppycat is perpetually grumpy.
- As an actor, Ice Cube utilizes the angry scowl so often that when he does smile, it looks downright freaky.
- Many politicians!
- 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.
- Silent era comedian Buster Keaton, also known as The Great Stone Face. In his entire film career he has only smiled once...and he had to push up the corners of his mouth with his fingers to do it.
- 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.
- What about Steven Seagal◊?
- Till Lindemann of Rammstein.
- Which makes the video for "Mein Teil" creepier than it would be otherwise, as he as a rather impressive rictus throughout.
- Chicago Mafia boss Joseph "Ha Ha" Aiuppa was a notorious scowler who rarely laughed or even smiled.
- 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".
- Charlie Sheen always looks as though he's scowling, even if he's smiling or telling a joke. His eyebrows seem to be the main factor.
- Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown always looked miserable (although that was probably justified). Sadly his spin-doctors noticed this and told him to smile more, it didn't really work.
- Trent Reznor.
- Most birds of prey such as eagles, vultures, and hawks, constantly looked pissed off all the time, although this is more due to their facial muscles being more limited in expression that in humans.
- Also with snakes, especially rattlesnakes, who might as well be considered the most angriest looking animal in the entire animal kingdom, looking like they're constantly pissed off.
- In the league of animals Boxer dogs and other large jowled breeds look like frowning is their basic look.
- Many prehistoric animals, most famously small ornithischian dinosaurs likewise had large palpebral bones above their eyes, which likely lent them such a look. But since people like to imagine them as cute, harmless-looking bug-eyed critters, the lovable deer and antelope-analogues of the dinosaur world, most illustrations ignore this feature.
- Long time WWE commentator Jim Ross is one of these, due to him suffering from Bell's Palsy.
- Grumpy Cat aka Tardar Sauce, a snowshoe cat who became rapidly famous. Her frown is caused by feline dwarfism; by all accounts she's very sweet and affectionate.
- Due to Neanderthal face structure◊ — massive and high brow ridges, big lumpy noses, prominent jaws and small, receding chins, their faces looks to as like they constantly scowl at something.
- Bill Belichick, head coach of the NFL's New England Patriots, is well known for his seemingly unmoving frown.
- Christian singer Aaron Shust. He actually has a very nice smile.