When anger needs a "contents under pressure" label.
"Don't tell me to calm down. Calm was killing me."
A character holds back anger until it can no longer be held back, and then the rage comes pouring through.
Sometimes characters have every reason to be angry, but they try to hold it back for various reasons. Sometimes, the reasons are selfish; sometimes, they are because they know it would be wrong to get angry or that blowing their top would have bad consequences (such as losing their job, or getting arrested, or even getting themselves or others killed); and sometimes, the reason is just for the sake of appearances.
Eventually, there will be a last straw. It could range from a minor thing
, to out-and-out hitting the character's Berserk Button
. But, now, the flood of anger comes pouring out like water from a burst dam. It usually involves Unstoppable Rage
, but in some cases, it can even be Tranquil Fury
. Some stories might even have this trigger a Heroic Second Wind
. Also, if the character's Berserk Button
is hit, this character might even be twice
as berserk as usual.
often goes hand-in-hand with this.
of OOC Is Serious Business
, You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry
A Super Trope
to Rant Inducing Slight
(in that the trigger is very minor).
A Sister Trope
to Trying Not to Cry
(a tears breaking point), Beware the Nice Ones
(characters who often try not to get angry).
Compare Not So Stoic
, Teach Him Anger
, Break the Cutie
, Sudden Principled Stand
(principle is handled similarly), and Moment of Weakness
(which the Rage Breaking Point can provoke).
Contrast Hair-Trigger Temper
, The Stoic
, Passive-Aggressive Kombat
See also Villainous Breakdown
, which is very similar, where a normally calm and collected villainous character suddenly snaps and goes on a tantrum-filled rampage when things happen that don't go as they planned.
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Anime & Manga
- Minoru Shiraishi from Lucky Star. He put up with his co-star's abuse for so many episodes until he finally snapped. His moment was even made the page image for Beware the Nice Ones.
- When Naruto learned of the harm he caused by using the Nine-Tail's power to the point where he can't even control himself, he restrains his anger to avoid transforming again. After what seems like a month or so, his beloved mentor Jiraiya is killed, his village is destroyed while he is away, and his teacher Kakashi has died from overuse of chakra. All have been caused by one guy, Pain. Naruto goes to defeat Pain with his new power, but is quickly brought down. Of all times, Hinata decides try to be brave enough to attack Pain, but she is thrown around and then stabbed. Naruto, now an over-pressured boiler filled with rage, gives himself to the very power that harmed his comrades before... but it also, for the first time, scared Pain because he suddenly found that even his vaunted power was No Sell against the power of Nine-Tails. By the time Naruto finally came back out of it, Pain was not as confident as before.
- Bleach: Having been in a state of Tranquil Fury for many chapters ever since his Number Two Choujirou Sasakibe was killed, Yamamoto finally hits his Rage Breaking Point in Chapters 503-505. In the story's most epic It's Personal Berserk Button moment to date, the entire shinigami city feels his rage explode like a volcano triggering an Heroic Second Wind in the captains that had been struggling until that point.
- Possibly the most tear jerking example happens to Gohan in Dragon Ball Z. First off, he and all his friends (and family) are fighting against the super powerful Cell, and one after another, they all fall. Eventually, Android #16 decides to try and perform a Taking You with Me Attack that doesn't work, because the bomb inside him was removed by Dr. Briefs. Cell then completely destroys him, save for his still-alive head, which Mr Satan tosses to Gohan. #16 then proceeds to tell Gohan to unleash his rage, as it's for the greater good. Then Cell crushes his head. Let's just say things didn't go well for Cell.
- An earlier and particularly iconic example would be when Frieza killed Krillin on Namek, finally infuriating Goku enough to trigger his first Super Saiyan transformation.
- In Now and Then, Here and There, Shuzo Matsutani accidentally gets taken from his happy go lucky life and forced to become a child soldier. He constantly refuses to be the killer his commanders want him to be. He carries his Kendo Stick as a mark of defiance against his gun carrying comrades and constantly gets in trouble because of his nature. However after Lalaru and the entire population of Zaribars is taken and he watches the deaths of so many people when he finally meets the evil king Hamdo again he proceeds to try to beat Hamdo to death with the kendo stick even as pieces snap off of it he beats the dictator till theres nothing left of it.
- Played for Laughs with Ryouko Kusakabe in the sixth episode of Date A Live. She regularly keeps a professional attitude about everything, but when she's finally had enough of the obstacles in the way of her squad's trip to the hot springs, in addition of the previous stress built up due to her superiors' rantings, she snaps and comically goes on a rampage to destroy Ratatoskr's traps, all while ranting on like a raving lunatic.
- Wave of Akame ga Kiru! has a very memorable moment of this. Already is he bothered by the dirty sides of the empire, but he follows his duties for the good they do and tries to be the best man he can. However, certain incidents like seeing the team of the Prime Minister's son raping and murdering a deceased comrade's innocent wife and child, brutally flaying people in town are enough to leave him seething with anger yet still able to hold it in for the best, but having the PM's son threatening to rape his beloved Kurome right in front of him snaps him so much he delivers a punch so hard and deserved right to his face it's heralded as one of the best moments of the manga.
- In Sex Criminals, middle-school girl Suzie's father is murdered and her mother drifts into an uncommunicative alcoholic haze. Some time later, Suzie finds out that time freezes for the world and everyone in it each time she has an orgasm. A few months after this, Suzie finally snaps and takes the opportunity to angrily scream out her feelings at her time-frozen mother. The narrating older Suzie notes this isn't the last time this happens.
- The climax of Kingdom Come has this happen with Superman. Be afraid. Thankfully, Norman McKay manages to talk him down from it.
- In Seconds, Max puts up with a lot throughout the story. When he finds out about Katie and Andrew's relationship in one reality, he lashes out at her with extreme prejudice.
Films — Live-Action
- In the novel The Bishop's Heir, after Morgan and Duncan fail to save Sidana's life when Llewell slashes her throat just after she exchanged wedding vows with Kelson, Morgan looks up and sees Llewell's triumphant expression, leaps to his feet, grabs Llewell by his tunic, yanks him downward and shouts, "On your knees before your king, Mearan excrement!" He wants to kill Llewell and says so. Cardiel has to grasp Morgan by the wrist and forbid him from acting.
- In a form of Teach Him Anger, in Mercedes Lackey's Storm Breaking Karal has to bring An�desha past this point to prove to him that he can release his emotions without losing control of his powers.
- In Small Favor, from The Dresden Files, Harry is tired, angry, scared (mostly for his friend who is being eyed intently by a Valkyrie) and being chased by fallen angels. When one of them shoots his friend with an AK-47, Harry flips out and blasts a massive hole in the shooters chest (the shooter being a 2000 years old, demon possessed and a heavy weight sorcerer to boot) with a fire blast that is described as so intense it was almost a solid object.
Harry: Fuego. Pyrofuego! BURN!
- Earlier, in Grave Peril, Harry quickly discovers that he's been manipulated into a losing position: if he acts, it's bad. If he doesn't act, it's bad. In addition, he's found out that his lover has been cursed, his friends are in peril, and his lack of forethought and planning might spell doom for the Knights of the Cross. On top of all that, his discovery was planned for all of this to have maximum psychological impact. He responds thusly:
Harry: Fuego! Pyrofuego! Burn, you greasy bat-faced bastards! BURN!
- In White Night we get a flashback to Harry at a Warden training camp. Some ghouls attack one morning, and take two of the trainees (who are teenagers) captive. Harry rushes to rescue them, but not only are they already dead they are being eaten as he finds them. His reaction is...chilling. He flies into Tranquil Fury and brutally slaughters some ghouls, maims another and sets it to run back to its superiors and horrifically tortures the last before executing him in front of the rest of the trainees and Wardens.
Ramirez: What happened to not hating them?
Harry: Things change.
- And after the final execution...
Harry: That's the only way to serve it up. Cold.
- In Skin Game Harry induces this in Nicodemus first by hammering on about how Nicodemus condemned Deirdre to the worse fate possible (Hell is more or less non discriminatory, whereas Hades is specifically made to be as karmic as possible), pointing out how for all his power he had to sacrifice his daughter simply because no one else would be loyal enough. The final deal breaker is when Harry says "I don't know how you said it back in the day, but I'll bet you anything her first word was 'dada.'"
- The Worlds of Power novelization for Ninja Gaiden explains the "art of the fire wheel" as a weapon Ryu was taught to create through his anger. He unleashes it when struggling against a difficult enemy gets heaped on top of the other issues currently plaguing him — becoming a CIA lackey, failing to protect his father's old associate, and having no leads on his father's whereabouts.
- In the Dale Brown novel Tiger's Claw a Drill Sergeant Nasty has it in for Bradley, accusing him of nepotism and insulting Patrick to his face. Bradley tries to rein in his anger at having his father badmouthed, oh he tries, even swallowing his pride and apologising for near-assault even when the other guy stuffs in a bunch of deliberately humiliating extra conditions... but when the Drill Sergeant Nasty just refuses to let it go and sneaks in one last barb sotto voce, oh, it was on.
- In BIONICLE: Dark Destiny, Kopaka finally snaps after being beaten and looted by a bunch of thugs, weakened due to his Mask of Power being stolen, just having barely escaped an exploding volcano, and being attacked by a group of innocent villagers who thought that his team were villains. This almost ends badly for said villagers.
- In Pact, Blake Thorburn, after being hounded by the Corrupt Hick chronomancer Laird Behaim for several weeks, becomes a Cornered Rattlesnake when Laird forces him to experience a Pensieve Flashback to his most painful memories and shoves a wooden splinter into Laird's windpipe.
Live Action Television
- One episode of Malcolm in the Middle had Malcolm deciding to keep his opinions to himself. However throughout the episode he constantly gets annoyed by his family and the idiocy of his basketball team that we hear his rage in his thoughts which gets more and more distorted. Eventually he holds it in so much that he gets sick with a peptic ulcer and has to be taken to the hospital. His mother demands to know what he's so stressed about at his age. Malcolm decides to just let loose right then and there.
- A rather scary example occurs in season four of Merlin, when Arthur confronts Gwen about kissing Lancelot on the night before their wedding. He starts out speaking quietly and calmly, listing reasons for her behavior. When she doesn't agree with any of them he completely loses it, starts yelling, and grabs her by the shoulders. Almost immediately, though, the rage subsides and he apologizes.
- In Season 3 of Boardwalk Empire, agent Van Alden (living under the alias of George Mueller), is trying to make a living as Chicago's least successful door-to-door salesman, and puts up with no end of abuse and humiliation from his coworkers. Then one of them brings up the subject of his wife. The result is this.
- In Season 4 he is once again an Extreme Doormat for much of the season, until a combination of factors once again pushes him to violence, though this time he's aware of his breaking point coming, gives warnings, and when the warnings are ignored his reaction is much more controlled and focused than before.
- Skins: Series 1, Episode 5 is a Humiliation Conga for the already Butt Monkey Sid. He's grounded by his Jerkass father due to being behind on his homework, ends up being on the receiving end of Tony's manipulations and Michelle's wrath for thinking he was in on it. He gets beat up by chavs, peed on by a bum, returns home to get re-grounded for sneaking out, and then immediately after finds Cassie, who yells at him for lying. The next day, he gets screwed over by Tony again, causes Cassie to attempt suicide because he likes Michelle more, and then gets yelled at by Jal for his supposed selfishness. After all this, he returns home and finds his mother has left the family due to Mr. Jenkins' Jerkassishness. Sid loses his shit, finally having the Grew a Spine moment the episode's been building to, and delivering an epic Calling the Old Man Out before finishing his late homework in one night.
- In this strip of Hanna is Not a Boys Name, Lamont tries to shake hands with a ridiculously stressed out Conrad. It does not go down well.
Conrad: Stop. Just Stop.
I ran all the way here and I had to do it completely by memory because it's not like this dingy place has a f#cking listing
. I got lost and a hooker tried to kiss me and you're damn lucky I no longer run out of breath.
And I finally find this hack's hole in the wall that somehow passes off as a clinic, and whoa! Lucky me!
Some shady greasy
guy is dropping off organs like it's goddamn takeout. No I do not want to meet you. NO
, I do not want to shake your hand
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl sees Mike eventually reach this point when he thinks Lucy is passive-aggressively Playing the Victim Card and trying to guilt him into feeling bad that his long distance girlfriend Sandy is visiting over winter holiday. Instead of lashing out physically, he lays out a devastating "The Reason You Suck" Speech, which takes her to task for ten years of abuse. Made all the more painful by the fact this calling-out comes while she's trying to improve and stop being such a hot-headed Tsundere.
- Happened in Gunnerkrigg Court twice, to Antimony, who is usually nice and calm to the point of seeming emotionless. The second time was very unhealthy and prompted her to jump on the first proposal of teaching her some self-control.
- Piro from the webcomic MegaTokyo. Normally the nicest guy you could ask for, wouldn't hurt a fly. But he's been shown to have a violent temper, so push him over the edge at your peril. See also Beware the Quiet Ones.
- Aranea Serket from Homestuck is one of the most patient characters in the comic, dedicated to spreading knowledge to an almost unhealthy extent, but if you abridge something complicated down to one sentence or throw a gathering she's arranged into chaos for no reason, she will flip out - nonviolently, but spectacularly.
- Jane is a cheerful kid, but when Jake talks about his dating life once too often having lost track of the time until her birthday, she completely loses it, delivers a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Jake (who still remains a clue-free zone), revokes his invitation, tramples her computer headset into a thin film on the ground, and throws a table off a roof.
- Billy Thatcher from Morphe has been kidnapped from his successful reality TV show while training for the oncoming Chess World Championship. He is forced to fight an idiot college kid in a battle to the death and is nearly killed by him before awakening as an Obrimos mage. His captor flirts with him relentlessly and downplays his objections to the situation. He barely sleeps because of a nightmare about his fingers being cut off and stuffed in his mouth. He cannot remember the last time he had anything to eat or drink... And then Amical refuses to let him read a newspaper.
- Played for Laughs when Brows Held High reviewed A Serbian Film. Oancitizen kept insisting the film was art, and not deserving of the hate many reviewers gave it. He kept a Stepford Smiler attitude about it, right until the review was over, and then snapped and called NATO, asking them to bomb Serbia (fortunately they didn't).
- Fred Clark, the author of the Slacktivist blog, has a distinct tendency to get pissed off when the Left Behind "books" trumpet their fidelity to Biblical literalism. Sixty pages into Tribulation Force, for example, there is actually a picture of a page of that novel torn out, screwed up and unfolded so you can see what it is, accompanied by a rant.
- BrainScratch Commentaries: Part 5 of Johnny's Sonic Genesis playthrough. After spending hours suffering through the game's sporadic slowdown and horrendous collision detection, a surprise death on the last boss finally sets him off. The part is even titled "And now, RAGE."
- Cracked listed this as #1 on 5 Nice Things You Do Daily (That Secretly Ruin the World).
Politeness is like the cap on a bottle of kill-soda, and every single indiscretion, no matter how slight or innocent, shakes that bottle a little bit more.
- In the American Dad! episode "Bullocks to Stan", Stan's boss has been mistreating him all through the episode, making him do lots of menial tasks, all to get his promotion. The also includes being quiet about sleeping with his grown daughter. But then after the two break up, Bullock calls her a slut. Stan goes berserk, with a few And This Is for... punches.
- Invoked in Avatar: The Last Airbender when an Earth Kingdom general wants to utilize Aang's Avatar State. Aang doesn't want to do it, since it's so devastating. The general threatens his friends to make it happen, but sees what Aang meant when he finally got him to lose control.
- In Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, whenever Korra gets frustrated with her Airbending training, out come the fireballs at whatever object incurs her wrath.
- In the Samurai Jack episode, "Jack Vs Mad Jack," Jack has just fought off a small army of bounty hunters single-handed, but he manages to calm himself down... then his sandal strap breaks...
- The Simpsons:
- In the episode "Hurricane Neddy", the Flanders' house got destroyed by a hurricane, and isn't impressed with the rather shoddy result of the rest of the townspeoples' efforts to rebuild it for him. He tried to be nice as usual, but, when his glasses broke as he tried to clean them, that was the last straw: he snapped and went on a tirade, delivering a mass "The Reason You Suck" Speech to everyone present. Particularly notable in this case, because he'd been building up his rage for decades. Hell, it's the reason he has his Verbal Tic.
- "Black-Eyed Please" has him reaching this twice with Homer, on both times hitting him in the eye hard enough to knock him out (and supposedly causing severe optic nerve damage, not that anybody (even the writers) mind after a few minutes): Once because Homer is liked by his visiting parents more than they like him (although them smoking dope together may have helped) and the second time because Homer declines his request to be hit back (because Ned wants the "eye for an eye" retribution) and then stupidly decides to gloat about being "the better man".
- "Homer Alone" has Marge going through a very particular hectic day. She had to drop Bart and Lisa off at school after they missed the bus, had to get Homer's bowling ball fixed and is annoyed by the radio station playing a cruel joke. What sets her off is Maggie spilling milk all over Homer's newly-cleaned outfit.
- "Homer The Smithers" has Homer becoming Burns' secretary while Smithers is on (mandatory) vacation. Burns' endless barrage of requests and belittling make Homer mad enough to punch his lights out (and actually believe for a moment that he killed him). The resulting fear of Homer forces Burns to become self-sufficient, and because of this he decides to fire Smithers (who put Homer on the secretary position hoping it would force Burns to ask for his return faster).
- In "I Am Furious (Yellow)", Homer starts supressing his anger when Bart's Angry Dad cartoons made him a target of ridicule. Bart, needing more inspiration for his cartoons, sets up an elaborate prank for Homer, but Homer remains calm until he falls into a pool of green paint, which — coupled with the boils in his body caused by his Suppressed Rage — gives him the appearance of The Incredible Hulk. The end result is a rampage though town causing millions of dollars worth of damage.
- Family Guy:
- Lois has one in a Christmas episode, after Peter lost all of the gifts, the house was severely damaged in a fire, and she says that everything's going to be all right. She tells Meg to get paper towels to clean up while she continues trying to calm the rest of the family, and:
- In "Road to Rupert", Meg is driving Peter and his drunk friends, who proceed to annoy her, set her hair on fire and make her crash into the car in front of her. When the driver comes out and yells at her, she finally loses it and beats the ever-loving crap out of him.
- In the hurricane episode where the family has to stay inside, Peter makes lots of annoying sounds that greatly bother Meg, but she says nothing about it. However, the minute she makes a sound, Peter scolds her for it, causing her to snap and spill out all the pent up anger she held back from her family for years by giving them the biggest "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- In many an episode of Grojband, Trina Riffin writes in her diary when in anger mode whenever she reaches this.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Rarity is prone to this. Both "Sisterhooves Social" and "Rarity Takes Manehattan" have plot points centering around Rarity suffering a gradual buildup of frustration and stress only to eventually lash out at someone.
- Sweetie Belle experiences this in "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" when the play she wrote, directed, and acted in gets overshadowed by the costumes she had Rarity make for the story. She's absolutely furious to the point she assumes Rarity did it on purpose and spends the entire rest of that day venting her frustrations.
- In Animaniacs, the Warners who usually only retaliate after being attacked played the Screwy Squirrel role in "the international friendship song". The extremely good-natured obese professor took jokes about his long name and weight in stride, but then they went from curious children into full blown antagonists and took away most of his clothes and he gave the Warners the boot (literally) and after they landed Wakko said "gee, some international friendship song" and the cartoon ended right then and there, indicating that they knew they deserved it because of how they were acting.
- Batman Beyond villain Derek Powers was transformed into the glowing skeletal Blight in the pilot episode. He conceals this with artificial skinsuits, but is exposed when protesters break into a corporate board meeting and trigger an angry flareup that burns away the material.