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Meta example: Almost every Unwanted Harem show follows this trope. The problem is that usually the ratio of good guys to girls are at 1:5 (and sometimes it is far worse). Also, some watchers/readers feel that the "Good Man" is incredibly bland instead of kind.
Berserk plays it straight between Guts and Casca. It's not Guts' ultra-macho behaviour nor his ability to destroy a whole army single-handedly that made Casca fall for him, it's rather his righteousness, his consideration towards her as well as their Not So Different backgrounds.
Alita falls like a brick for the idealistic and sweet boy Yugo, but he isn't much into her and turns out to be a spine thief. When Alita finds out however, she doesn't care. And when Yugo finally seems ready to return Alita's feelings, he dies.
Happens again later in the manga when she falls for Figure Four, a happy-go-lucky Big Guy who can handle himself against cyborgs. The moment seems to be after he stands up for his friend against her, despite his friend being a spineless wimp.
In Battle Royale, it's revealed that half the girls in class harbored a crush on protagonist Shuya (and he was completely oblivious to it all). To drive in the idea of how they seek a "good" man, Shuya is revealed to be one of the most idealistic, kind-hearted boys in the entire series. The "bad girls" in the class all fall into this category. They've all slept with numerous sleazebags — almost exclusively for cash, yet all they really want is a nice guy who cares about them. Hirono Shimizu is one of the aforementioned girls with a soft spot for Shuya; Yoshimi Yahagi is in love with her boyfriend Yoji Kuramoto, who despises the bad things she's done but loves her anyway. The most notable example, however, is the head honcho, Mitsuko Souma. She doesn't give a damn about any guy who lusts after her, but is deeply distressed when Yuichiro Takiguchi, the only person who was ever kind to her, dies.
In H2, Haruka comments in an early chapter that all the guys she's ever liked have turned out to be jerks. Noticing the way she's looking at Hiro, his childhood friend Hikari comments "I don't think you're off this time". She isn't.
Allen Walker from D.Gray-Man is one of the nicest guys in anime, and is also quite the Chick Magnet. Rohfa has a huge crush on him, Road is openly smitten with him, and it is implied in one of the Reverse novels that Lenalee is interested in him romantically.
Shakugan no Shana: It is Yuji Sakai's kind and friendly personality that draws both Shana and Kazumi toward him.
Oscar from Rose of Versailles develops a romance with Andre, who's described as a "very sensitive and passionate young man", and a "true working-class hero".
One of the things that makes Kimi ni Todoke so refreshing to read is that unlike other shojo manga where the heroine falls for the Troubled, but Cute guy, the heroine's love interest is a genuinely Nice Guy who wins her over by simply being sweet and kind to her.
In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Asuka Sugo doesn't return the affections of the Royal Brat rich kid and racer Randoll, she instead went for the sometimes temperamental but Nice Guy Hayato, who also happens to be her longtime friend.
Monkey High!: Dignified, aloof Haruna falls for Macharu. Why? He was the first person who went out of his way to befriend her in spite of her cool demeanor. Plus, he's Adorkable and has a fun sense of humor that gets even Haruna.
Spice and Wolf: Holo sometimes makes unfavorable remarks about Lawrence's soft-heartedness, but his kindness is probably the main thing he has going for him. That said, she does cultivate him to be more assertive and outgoing to an extent. And she dislikes it when he holds back from risky business endeavors for her sake.
One Piece: Boa Hancock falls in love with Luffy Because He Was Nice To Her. Well, that, and he punched out a World Noble, one of only two people in the world with the guts to go through with it. And the World Nobles were those who actually enslaved and tortured Hancock and her sisters nearly into insanity, making her the... really troubled person she is.
The reason why Tsunade fell for Dan instead of Jiraiya and why she never got over him. Jiraiya before his death may also count though there was really no real indication that Tsunade had developed romantic feelings for him too.
Hinata wasn't QUITE this for Naruto at first as it was initially admiration for his never-waivering determination despite the odds signfying him a failure. It gradually becomes this as Hinata's admiration turns into geunine love and as Naruto's developmment from a good if impish kid to a definite Hero type.
Sakura arguably shows signs of this late in Part 2. In an questionable love confession to Naruto, Sakura literally makes a speech slamming Sasuke as "a criminal, someone who always breaks my heart, is so distant" while describing Naruto as "a hero, was always there, makes her feel safe." Basically all the reasons why Naruto is better for her and that Sasuke is terrible, though Sakura still seems to have unresolved Sasuke issues so...
Eventually played straight, except with Sasuke, who more or less becomes this after Naruto finally knocks sense into him and he becomes The Atoner.
While a lot of fans like to believe that Tenten has something for the dark, stoic, cynical Neji, there is actually no sign that she has beyond-friendship interest in him, not in the official series and in not the spin-offs either, whereas her relationship with Lee has been teased both in the official series and in the Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth spin-off. There was also a scene, prior to Shippuden, where Tenten lovingly looked at Lee and blushed as she admired his devotion and hardworking personality.
While Hikaru's attraction to Kyousuke Kasuga in Kimagure Orange Road comes from her accidentally seeing him use his Psychic Powers and thinking he's the most awesome guy around, Madoka's own crush on him comes from how Kyousuke is among the few males at their school who treats her as a person instead of just fearing her. (Well, the other guy who does it from the start is Yusaku but he's smitten with Hikaru instead, while Hatta and Komatsu only start talking more to Madoka once Kyousuke does so.)
Tsubasa Ohzora might be a member of the Chaste Teens Group, but outside of the soccer fields he's a very kind-hearted guy. No wonder Sanae and Kumi (and lots of nameless fangirls, in the TV series) fall in love with him.
The pilot manga chapter directly alluded to this trope. There was a Love Triangle between main guy Taro Tsubasa, main girl Aki Yamazaki (who'd later become Sanae) and Hot-Blooded Genzo Wakabayashi: Genzo openly declared his love for Aki, but she apologized and turned him down because she already was in love with Taro.
There's also the sweet Fragile Flower Yoshiko. She's completely in love with Matsuyama, a kind and responsible Team Dad.
The flighty and boy-crazy Sonoko Suzuki from Detective Conan ultimately swears by the trope as her long-distance boyfriend is the AdorkableGentle Giant Makoto Kyougoku. Her best friend Ran Mouri does so too, as the guy she likes is the Amateur Sleuth Shinichi Kudou who is very protective of his loved ones and has a strong sense of justice (And unbeknownst to them, he's living with her... as her sort-of little brother Conan Edogawa)
Genderflipped in Toradora!; The protagonist Ryuuji is interested in the bright and cheerful Minori in contrast to most of his male classmates, who are smitten with Lovable Alpha Bitch Ami Kawashima instead. His interests change to Taiga as they get to know each other... though Taiga has to tone down the worst part of herTsunderenessand start resolving her issues with her family, for their relationship to work, thus acquiring her own set of Nice Girl traits. Taiga as well, in her attraction to Nice Guy Kitamura and later to Ryuuji, who's a Nice Guy too.
In Tiger & Bunny, Karina ends up falling for the selfless, hyper-compassionate Kotetsu. Likewise, Tomoe (Kotetsu's late wife) started warming up to him once it became apparent that the supposed Delinquent was skipping classes to perform after school superheroics rather than to get into pointless fights like she assumed.
Honoo No Alpen Rose has the kind and sweet Jeudi falling since the beginning for the Nice Guy Lundi, despite Count Germont's pursuing and the appearance of Teen Genius Leonhardt. (Although Leon is also a Nice Guy, Lundi still has the advantage.)
In Fruits Basket, this happens quite frequently. Kyoko falls deeply in love with Katsuya (though very sarcastic, he was the first person to ever try to understand her and treated her kindly). Machi falls for the gentle, good-natured Yuki. Mitsuru becomes very close to Ritsu, bonding over the stress Shigure causes them. Komaki is practically married to Manabu who, zaniness aside, is very attentive and caring towards her, and the time he went overboard was in a misguided desire to help her (which she immediately bites him for). Rin actually says that the reason she fell in love with Haru was because he was "a kind boy", who took care of her after everyone else abandoned her. Even in the case of Kyo, Tohru is attracted to the sweet, loving side of him that becomes more and more prominent as the series goes on.
Given that everyone in this manga is severely tramautized and/or have emotional issues, this isn't surprising. A gender-flipped example is Tohru herself, who breaks the Vicious Cycle of abuse that isolates everyone in the Sohma family by just being nice to them and listening to their troubles. (Of course, Tohru has issues of her own, but that's not the point.) Only two people- Kyo and Momiji- love her romantically, but as the plot progresses, all the Sohmas grow fond of her — including Akito, the extremely cruel Big Bad, who turns out to be a terribly unloved person underneath all the craziness. And it's Tohru's kindness that helps her have her Heel-Face Turn. It is this platonic love that gives the Zodiac the confidence to stand up to the Evil Matriarch that controls their lives.
Mahou Sensei Negima!: Most of the girls fall under this - at least, those who have a crush on Negi. (Which is still most of them.) Negi himself is a very kind, caring, protective boy, and most of the time the girls initially fall for him because they see that kindness as they become friends with him or he helps them out.
In Midori no Hibi, Ayase initially despises Seiji seeing him as nothing but a violent delinquent. This starts to change when a bunch of delinquents from another school try to take her away for some "fun" and Seiji is the only person who defends her (the other students taking a "not my problem" stance). She falls for him for real when she sees him willingly taking a beating to protect his friend.
In Oregairu, the trope likely applies to Yui. According to the Other Wiki, Hachiman saved Yui's dog from a car accident that had him in hospital for 3 weeks.
Lucy whose real name is Kaede from Elfen Lied falls for Kouta because he is the first person to be genuinely kind to her and not shun her because she is different (he even finds her horns cool). Even though she gets, to say the least, deranged and murderous later in life, she continues loving Kouta for his virtues and refuses to harm him.
Makiko is a 19 year old college freshman, who finds herself the unfortunate target of Dracula's thirst for virgin blood. By the end of the first Incident File, she falls for Bosco, an anemic vampire who runs a teashop and helped save her from Dracula.
You're Under Arrest!: It's well known that Natsumi is crazy about Kachou and flirts with him whenever she gets the chance. But it's subverted in episode 33, which finally reveals why he doesn't reciprocate:
Rune Soldier Louie: It's subtly implied for most of the series, but episode 15 and especially the final one makes it clear that Ila is secretly in love with Louie. In the former, she tries to get him to notice her, while midway during episode 23, she finally loses her composure as she asks the others to help him (at 6:40-7:50). In the end, once everything has been settled, Louie and co. head off on another journey. Ila says she'll wait for him.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a lesbian example. Homura falls in love with Madoka because she's a kind optimist who genuinely wants Homura to feel appreciated, which she badly needs after a whole life of illness and isolation. In this instance, dramatic conflict is caused through Madoka's brutal murder, which spurs Homura to travel back in time and do a lot of bad things to avert it.
The sequel film explores the trope further. Homura still admires Madoka's compassion, but she also dislikes it: as long as they live in an imperfect world, Madoka will feel compelled to sacrifice herself for the good of others. And in their universe, this is likely to end in her death.
Spider-Man has attracted plenty of cynical women in Marvel due to his nice and heroic personality. Most notably Black Cat, a thief.
Blacksad has Alma Mayer who simply wants a man who will be dedicated enough to bring her to Niagara Falls.
Although Catwoman sometimes gets sick of Batman's sense of honor, she is in love with him because of his righteousness and kindness towards her. Earth-2 Catwoman fell for Batman (after she had reformed — this was not a Love Redeems situation).
Also from the Batman comic books, Stephanie Brown (Spoiler/Batgirl IV) was in a relationship with a sleazy douchebag who knocked her up and left her to fend for herself. Her next boyfriend was nice guyTim Drake, who took care of her during her pregnancy, brought her to birthing classes, and even crossed hundred of miles in one night just to see her at the hospital during her labour.
In Watchmen, Laurie eventually realizes that Jon really loves her. Although his detachment from humanity caused him to be used as a walking murder weapon during the Vietnam war, she's attracted to his omniscience, his virility and his power over her. She also realizes that, as a god, he's unable to care for her the way a normal guy could. So she ends up with the nerdy, mild-mannered, fat, balding, initially impotent Dan Dreiberg, and they live happily ever after.
Lois Lane (eventually) for Clark Kent, before she found out he was also Superman. That freaked her out a little, but she decided that since he's still a Nice Guy and Clark is his natural personality, it would be foolish to throw him over.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after seven seasons of screwing two "good" note (according to her screwed-up definition of soul + dead + still walking + penis + about as old as Independent America = good) vampires, a genetically-altered soldier, and a one-night stand with a college sleazeball, finally goes after the one good man who had pined for her way back in high school.
In Jennifer Blood, the title character fell in love with and married a mild-mannered, goofy, and good-natured accountant precisely because he was the opposite of every man — all hardened ruthless criminals — she had ever known in her life. In her own words, her husband is the kind of man her evil uncles would have dismissed as "weak", because he's the kind of man who makes society work instead of preying on it.
A bit of a downplayed example, but still important is in Scott Pilgrim. Scott is not the best person and is prone to moments of insensitivty, somewhat dull-witted and can make bad decisions. Despite this , he's an overall pretty nice guy and more or less The Heart of his group of friends. It's this reason that Ramona ends up being with him.
As much as she wanted to hate him in the beginning for being her new rival, Asuka could not help to fell for nice, considerate, patient, thoughtful Shinji that would always love her not matter what, rather a manly, confident hunk like she claimed that she wanted. During their proposal scene she even tells that she does not understand why he would want to get attached for life to a basket-case like her.
And Rei fell for Kaworu, the nicest person in the entire base, that always cares for everyone and is nearly uncapable to hold grudges.
Shows up in the short My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Gimme Shelter. where, Fancypants gets himself a date with Fleur de Lis by acting like a perfect gentlecolt towards her by and offering her a bed for the night unmolested after she got caught out in a pouring storm without a coat and miles from her home.
In Shatterheart Kurogane likes that Syaoran is better person than him and admits that it's one of his most attractive qualities.
I love you because when you vow to protect someone, you don't screw it up every five minutes like I do. Because when the people you care about treat you like shit, you still love them. Because when you see a total stranger in trouble, you don't even have to think before you help them—you just do it. You could be ugly, or incompetent, or stupid, and I would still love you because you're a good person
In some versions, the other brothers try to force the princess to marry one of them. She keeps them away by clawing at the eyes of whoever comes near her, but quickly recognizes the youngest brother when no one else does and welcomes him back.
In "The Golden Mermaid", the mermaid refuses to leave the body of the murdered youngest son, who actually carried out The Quest, even when his older brothers threaten her.
"Beauty and the Beast" has this trope written all over it. The heroine is terrified at first by the Beast's monstrous appearance, but he is kind and caring from the start. This causes her to eventually fall in love with him, as she realizes that True Beauty Is on the Inside.
In Bearskin, the youngest daughter agrees to marry the frightful-looking hero because only a good man would have paid off a total stranger's debts.
Films — Animated
This is a staple of Disney Princess movies. The princes might be rather bland (especially the early ones), but one cannot deny that they are good people who love the heroines. Even in the case of Beast, Naveen, and Flynn Rider, who all start off as jerks, the respective princesses don't fall for them until they undergo Character Development and become better people.
Maria wants to be listened to and loved for more than just her looks, as she demonstrates when she gets annoyed with Joaquin for not understanding this. It's only when Joaquin shows his true self that she agrees to seriously think about his proposal. Maria falls in love with and marries Manolo, the humble, sweet musician who promises to never stop loving her. In fact, the first indications she gets her love epiphany is when he publicly refuses to kill the bull.
Implied with La Muerte. In the opening, she sadly tells Xibalba he's not the man she fell in love with years ago. She only gets back with Xibalba when he admits his mistake and apologizes.
Films — Live-Action
In The Adventures of Robin Hood, Maid Marian is quite cold to Robin despite his obvious charm, until he reveals that he is acting on behalf of the suffering innocent. (Then, he was not interested in her good opinion until it dawned on him that when she called him a "Saxon hedge-robber", what she really objected to in that list was the "robber".)
In The Rocketeer, in the Love Triangle between Jenny, Neville Sinclair, and Cliff, it is Cliff's concern for her welfare and Sinclair's manifest phoniness that sends Jenny back to Cliff.
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Jessica is madly in love with Roger, for the reason cited above. After Eddie saved the day, she gave him a cool "My hero" and pounced on Roger for a Sickeningly Sweethearts moment. Furthermore, when Eddie incredulously asks for confirmation that she's married to Roger, Betty Boop responds with "What a lucky gal."
Neha, the heroine of the Bollywood movie Dostana doesn't end up with either of the two good-looking guys, Sam and Kunal, who are willing to lie and cheat their way into her heart. She falls for Abhi instead, a kind family man.
In Just Friends, Chris Brander is mocked during his teenage years for being a fat, but smart and sensitive young man. He decides to abandon his old persona in order to chase wealth, power, and financial success, which he gains in spades. But when his flight is accidentally grounded in his old home town ten years later, he realizes that he needs to rediscover many of the character traits he left behind in order to court his highschool crush, a small town "girl next door" character. A variation of the Childhood Friend Romance.
The Party has a sweet and shy French singer looking to break into Hollywood with the help of her 'willing' agent. All throughout the movie she talks with A-list members of the scene, and is ready and set to become a star. But during the climactic scene, when it comes down to becoming a starlet or being with extra-good guy Hrundi V. Bakshi? She chooses Bakshi.
Most of Tyler Perry's movies have this. Usually the woman is someone who has serious problems (i.e. on drugs, single parent) and resists at first, then falls in love.
The same situation with Novalee's friend Lexie, who was attracted to several bad boys. Who tended to leave her pregnant and run off on her. She would later marry Adorkable Ernie the Exterminator who, despite looking rather frumpy and plain, had a heart of gold.
The titlular Honey starring Jessica Alba, was attracted to the sweet and friendly barber compared to the big-time producer who made unwanted sexual advances to her and then fired her when she declined.
Isabel and Donald in Mozart and the Whale. In this case there was no question of choosing a bad boy over Donald. The problem was that they were both autistic and thus constantly and very painfully stepping on each others emotional toes.
In Something New, Kenya has to choose between two very different nice guys.
In Kate and Leopold Kate says that Leopold is handsome, honest, courteous. Stands when you walk in a room. Brings you brioche in bed. She realizes that he is someone who came along who knew exactly what she wanted without asking.
Best exemplified in one of the Marvel One-Shots, Agent Carter. Peggy has a framed picture of pre-serum Steve inside her desk drawer. She didn't fall in love with Super Soldier Captain America; she fell in love with Steve Rogers, the skinny kid from Brooklyn who was too dumb to run away from a fight he couldn't win and too damn nice for his own good.
In The Whole Nine Yards, Jimmy "The Tulip's" wife Cynthia falls for Oz mostly because he's a really nice guy.
In The Court Jester, Maid Jean seems indifferent toward Hawkins at first, and the fact that Hawkins comes off as a bumbling fool, especially compared to the Robin HoodExpy The Black Fox, seems to justify her attitude. When they spend some time alone together, prior to his taking the role of Giacomo the Jester, she confesses her true feelings to Hawkins, saying that she was attracted to his kindness and sensitivity; she is seen glancing longingly at Hawkins as he sings a lullaby to the infant king. She only seems cold and distant because she is focused on the task of overthrowing the usurper Roderick.
In The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Becky has been friends with Dave since childhood. At first, Becky only considers Dave a friend but at the end of the movie, she genuinely falls in love with him.
Out of all the guys who want her and despite being able to pick any guy she wants, Olivia from She's The Man preferred honest "Sebastian" (who is actually his twin sister Viola in disguise). She would later fall in love with the real Sebastian.
Gender-flipped in Hairspray where Link and Seaweed respectively falls in love with the kind-hearted and cheerful Tracy and Penny.
Jean, to Wolverine in X2: X-Men United: "Women like to flirt with a dangerous man. They don't marry him. They marry the good guy."
All of Jane Austen's heroines fall for good men and usually after being temporarily interested in and/or pursued by thorough cads.
Audrey, Wait!: All of the successful romantic leads are decent, all around reliable guys.
1632: All of the Happily Married couples come from women who fall in love with genuinely good men.
In The Unhandsome Prince by John Moore, the character who insists she is entitled to marry a handsome prince is shocked and repelled by one brother of the unhandsome prince she disenchanted; she seriously considers marrying the unhandsome prince. As he has fallen in love with someone else in the meantime, she ends up marrying the third brother, who is both handsome and nice.
In Piers Anthony's Xanth, the Gorgon fell in love with the Good Magician Humphrey after he prevented her from turning everyone she saw to stone. So she went to his castle, where he would answer any question in return for a year's service, to ask, "Will you marry me?" He made her work the year. He explains to Dor that while he knew from the beginning that he would say "Yes," she was just infatuated with the man who had rescued her from her curse; after a year working for him, she would know him well and thus know whether she wanted to marry him. A bit later, the Gorgon tells Dor she realized this and asks Dor what sort of man would do such a thing. Dor realizes that only a good man, a man worth marrying, would do such a thing. So they do.
In Harry Potter, female lead Hermione Granger has a long-running Belligerent Sexual Tension-style attraction to fundamentally good guy Ron Weasley. The thing that finally pushes her to kiss him senseless? It's when Ron realizes in a panic that the House Elves are unprotected during the Battle of Hogwarts. The welfare of House Elves has long been a moral cause close to Hermione's heart, and one that had opened her up to general ridicule in previous books (especially from Ron). Although it's worth pointing out there's a difference between forcing unwanted freedom on them, and trying to make sure they don't get killed.
And even Hermione's brief love interest Viktor Krum, although he's introduced as an intimidating world-class athlete from a rival school, turns out to be a pretty nice guy.
In fact, this is a trend throughout the series. Fleur Delacour falls in love with Bill Weasley, Cho Chang falls in love with Cedric and later pursues Harry, Ginny goes to the Yule Ball with Neville (before he fully Took a Level in Badass). Arthur and Molly Weasley must count - they're into each other enough to have seven children! Lily Potter is an interesting example. Her friendship with Snape fell apart due to his natrual inclination toward the Dark Arts and his negative traits overshadowing the positives. On the other hand, she was greatly irritated with James because he was an arrogant show-off and how he and Snape (her first friend, before it fell apart in 5th year) spent a good deal of time tormenting and fighting one another. A theory is that Lily may be a Sweet-type Tsundere (generally sweet, but set off easily by their target of affection) as she went from disliking him in their 5th year to dating him by their 7th, indicating most of their relationship progress occured in 6th year.
On the flip side, the two biggest cases of lust instead of love - Riddle Sr. and Merope and Bellatrix and Voldemort - all involve men that are very not nice. Riddle Sr. was shown to be extremely shallow and cruel.
Harry himself is a pretty nice guy, and Ginny has feelings for him for six books, before they finally hook up. At the end of Half-Blood Prince, she says that one of the things she loves about him is his Chronic Hero Syndrome. Meanwhile, it's hinted that her crush on him only got stronger after he saved her life at the end of Chamber of Secrets.
From the Star Wars Expanded Universe: it is explicitly stated several times in profic (and a lot more in fanfic, but that's us mushy shippers for you) that this is exactly why Mara Jade fell in love with Luke Skywalker; she admires his idealism, honor, and willingness to give most everyone a second chance. In Survivor's Quest she affectionately calls him "Farm Boy", and says in the narration that she's both exasperated by and loves the fact that he's always four or five rungs higher up on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism than she or almost anyone else is.
Galaxy of Fear's Tash Arranda seems to be crushing on Luke for this kind of reason. She hasn't had a crush since Alderaan was destroyed. Not only is Luke six years older than her classmates, but he carries the weapon of the Jedi she so idolizes, is Force-Sensitive like she is, and he's encouraging and understanding of her and her oddness in a way she's never experienced before, from anyone.
Outbound Flight: This is a large part of why Maris Ferasi, who was in a relationship with a coarse, suspicious smuggler, idolized Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo. She saw him as like the high-minded people she knew in school, but the mature version, grounded in reality. Cultured, intelligent, noble... Thrawn's much darker than that, even if he does possess the qualities she sees. Thrawn does tell Car'das, who sees Thrawn a little more clearly, not to disillusion her, because true idealists are so rare, and he wouldn't want to be responsible for crushing even one.
In John Hemry's Paul Sinclair novel A Just Determination, Paul Sinclair testifies on behalf of a captain whom he neither liked nor respected, did not think a good officer, and never wanted to serve under again, because while the man had done wrong, he was being hammered. Jen Shen's original view of this is that it's crazy, but on reflection, finds it an attraction.
We also have Sarah, who married the sweet Eliya Yelnats despite the fact that he was apparently cursed. Eliya himself could be considered a gender-flipped version, since he initially pursued the spoilt, idiotic Myra and ended up Happily Married to the sensible and capable Sarah.
The "Beta Male" theory is explained in detail in A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. It boils down to the observation that the nice-but-average guys who make up most of the population win in the end after girls get kicked to the curb one time too many by the Jerk Jock and cutthroat businessman.
Margaret La Fey ultimately found happiness with Malcolm Dresden, who is always described as a genuinely good guy.
And Charity fell in love with Michael, (a compassionate, responsible Christian whose job is literally to fight evil) after he saved her life when they were teenagers. By the series' beginning, they are very Happily Married.
In Warlock of Gramarye this was Christopher Stasheff's in-story explanation for why gorgeous redheadedwitch Gwen chose to marry "lean, well-muscled, ugly" Rod Gallowglass:
[I]f a beautiful woman is betrayed often enough, she will begin to value trustworthiness, warmth, and affection more than romance. At least, she will if she is the kind of woman to whom love is the goal, and romance just the luxury....
In the Mage Storms trilogy of the Heralds of Valdemar series, this more or less sums up Nice Guy Karal and Genki Girl Natoli's relationship, although neither realizes it at first — Karal because he's too self-conscious, and Natoli because she's more obsessed with technology than with boys. At least at first. They work it out in the end.
In Death series: Even though Eve and Roarke's relationship may have started out as All Girls Want Bad Boys, it seems to have turned into this. Coltraine and Alex Ricker had an All Girls Want Bad Boys relationship, but she broke that off, and got together with Li Morris, the relationship of which clearly has this trope written all over it.
Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: After getting rid of their cold-blooded murderer bad boyfriends, Countess Anne de Silva and Isabelle Flanders are single once again. In the book Home Free, Anne forms a relationship with Fergus Duffy and Isabelle forms a relationship with Abner Tookus. Fergus and Abner are genuine good men.
In Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson's Hoka story "Don Jones", Doraleen sneers at Terwillinger as a stuffed shirt — until he defies Jones's attempt at Blackmail — whereupon she persuades him not to punish Jones because after all Jones and Tanni are in love, just like the two of them.
In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga novel Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Tej tells Ivan that his attractive points are that he's nice and he makes her laugh — even when they are trapped underground and awaiting the end of their air.
Beastly, being a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast", has Lindy only develop feelings for the cursed Kyle after he shows genuine affection for her.
A Kiss in Time has Talia end up undergoing some Character Development and loving the modern-day guy who kissed her awake, because he helped her out while she was in a strange place and treated her like a capable person (instead of being treated like a baby, as everyone else did).
In Cloaked, the adorkable shoemaker Johnny has a number of girls fall for him, one of which is a beautiful princess (though she later admits that while she cares for him, she doesn't actually want to marry him.)
In the very short-lived ABC series Life as We Know It, after Dino's dad found out his wife was cheating on him, moved out, and started dating someone else. Her reasons: the hockey coach is funny and good with kids.
Friends: At first, Rachel did not know Paolo was a nasty guy. When she realised he was, she complained to Ross that what she really wants is a nice guy, a sweet, caring guy etc. She did this more than once before they finally got together.
Monica was the biggest example, as she dumped more than one Jerk Ass who screwed her over, and Richard and Pete, her First Love and Second Love, both fit the "Nice Guy" stereotype. (The gang called Richard a good guy and Pete described himself as 'stupidly charming'). She eventually fell hard for her best friend Chandler, who was sweet, insecure, loyal and even mentioned All Girls Want Bad Boys as the reason he couldn't pick up girls. (This was before he and Monica got together).
Charlotte from Sex and the City kept saying how she was after a good marrying man. She dated a bunch of handsome men, many of whom turned out to be jerks or losers. She finally falls in love with Harry Goldfarb, a short, bald, pudgy lawyer with irritating habits and wound up happily married to him.
Both Miranda and Samantha's respective men, Steve and Smith, fit this as well. Smith was as sweet and loyal as he was Mr. Fanservice, and Steve is the embodiment of what women say when they wish they could meet a nice man. Big... never at any point resembled this trope.
In Charmed, Piper married Leo who was nice and sweet and literally an angel.
While Prue is known to have been attracted to bad boys, the only man she was ever in love with was her season one boyfriend Andy, who fits the "Nice Guy" stereotype to a tee.
In Beauty and the Beast, Catherine falls in love with Vincent while unable to see, and constantly stresses that to him that he is a good man, not the monster he thinks himself to be.
In Firefly Kaylee has a crush on Simon. Simon can't figure out what to do about it.
It's implied that while Saffron has conned a ton of men into marrying her, she still has some amount of affection for Husband Number One, at least enough so that she tries to have him think well of her when she robs him. Mal figures this out when he sees how affectionately the husband greets her, and notes that Saffron could have waltzed right in if she'd wanted.
In Chuck, Sarah Walker is a tough, fighting-geared spy who quickly falls in love with the show's titular character, a nice, caring, normal guy who she's protecting.
Other women also find Chuck quite attractive in the first 3 seasons. Lou, Jill and Hannah are certainly not lusting after Chuck because he's a bad boy. Indeed, Hannah furiously dismisses Chuck as a Jerkass when he breaks up with her because he has no time for her.
Anna and Alex fall for Morgan. Now Morgan is eccentric and annoying ... but certainly not a bad boy, and comes with a host of admirable qualities.
The anonymous women who shoot down Jeff and Lester seem to support this trope too. Jeff and Lester are sleazy and creepy ... and their on-show success rate with women (that is to say, none) reflects this well.
Ellie too. Devon Woodcombe is muscular ex-frat boy, and former ladies man - who also just happens to be a successful doctor, excellent boyfriend/fiancé/husband and devoted father. The nickname "Capitan Awesome" didn't happen by accident.
Amy with Rory, whom he loved sinced childhood. Although she initially had doubts about their marriage (granted, this was during the time her history literally had holes in it), and was attracted to the Doctor (superficially, if her flirting says anything), they finally get married. Rory had to die, be erased from existence and wait 2,000 years, but they finally got together.
Amy: You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful, and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they're as dull as a brick. Then there's other people, and you meet them and you think, "Not bad, they're okay," and then you get to know them and, and their face just sort of becomes them, like their personality is written all over it, and they just, they turn into something so beautiful ... Rory is the most beautiful man I've ever met.
In a rarer platonic example, Clara's attitude to the Eleventh Doctor gradually starts to reflect this trope. It helps that the two of them are quite similar personality-wise (playful, introverted, idealist, somewhat childish, etc.), have both suffered sad and traumatic events in their recent past, and are eager to become good friends who protect and comfort each other in times of need. And while they never adress it openly, neither Clara or the Doctor deny that they could get along well if they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
It is a telling point that Clara idolises Marcus Aurelius, the last of Rome's "Five Good Emperors" (and according to Lady Vashtra, "A superlative base guitar player, the Doctor knows how to throw a band together.") The opening scene in "Day of the Doctor" has her quoting Aurelius: "Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one." In "Deep Breath", the first adventure of the 12th Doctor(Peter Capaldi), she admitted to Vashtra that Aurelius was the only pin-up she had in her room as a teen. She insists that, while initially thrown by the Doctor's change in appearance, she is more interested in a good man than a pretty boy.
Guinevere from Merlin shows no interest in prattish Arthur whatsoever until he begins to show some humility.
Alison from Teen Wolf has no problem being with apparent loser Scott.
Scott's mother seems to be seeking a good man, too. Too bad the one she found was Peter Hale.
Mildred Hubble in Weirdsister College found herself attracted to the bad boy and Jerk Ass Nick Hobbes but eventually chose nice guy Ben instead.
In Magnum, P.I.Lest We Forget a prostitute tries to elope with a navy flier in World War II because of this reason. After Pearl Harbor they each think each other dead and have to wait fifty years before Magnum reunites them.
Anna on Downton Abbey, who believes her love Mr Bates is a good man even when he doesn't.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy definitely has a thing for bad boys and when she tries to have a relationship with Nice Guy Riley it doesn't work out because he feels he can't compare to Angel, and Buffy clearly doesn't love him like she loved Angel and later Spike. However, Angel himself isn't as bad as he seems. While Buffy seems to need some darkness in her men, she really does want a good man, as she only truly falls in love with Spike after his full Heel-Face Turn.
Inverted when Buffy thinks that Angel might be interested in Faith. Angel, however, assures her that he doesn't want a "bad girl".
Whoever the mother is will eventually marry Ted, who is also kind and good natured.
Bones has plainly stated in one episode that she's attracted to good men, and eventually falls for Booth who is charming, kindhearted, and loyal.
Lois and Clark: In similar fashion to the entry in the Comic Books section, this trope is the raison d'etre of the first two seasons. Lois has a history of jerk boyfriends (if you can call them boyfriends), but still has romantic longings — though she'll deny it vehemently if you ask. Then she meets Clark and finds that he's not a jerk at all, though those pesky Secret Identity problems make this less clear-cut to her than viewers may think. Once they get together, the trope morphs into How To Live With A Superhero.
In Being Human, Annie definitely goes for the Nice Guy. Sadly, this usually doesn't end too well for her. The closest she came would probably be Mitchell, who was her friend since he moved in with George, defended her after Tully tried to sexually assault her and faced his own demons to rescue her from Hell. Meanwhile, Nina is very happy with the sweet George, to the point of being happy to have a family with him.
This is used for the main plot in an episode of Boy Meets World. A girl Shawn likes says he's a good kisser, but that Cory is better boyfriend material. Shawn realizes that his The Casanova ways aren't doing him any favors and changes his tune, which impresses the girl and convinces her to give him another chance.
For the vast majority of Community, Britta falls firmly into the All Girls Want Bad Boys camp- a trait which causes her endless grief and highlights her self-hating nature. When she gets into a relationship with TroyBarnes, it shows how much she's grown as a person.
Taken Up to Eleven in first season. The series takes place in a lawless, post-apocalyptic city, where civilization has entirely collapsed and people do terrible things to survive. Most characters- both male and female- have grown pragmatic and distrustful because of this, if not outright evil. And then there's Bray, who is introduced as Trudy's protector, refusing adamantly to abandon her and her unborn child. Even though the child isn't his. Even though the child is actually the son of his tyrannical younger brother. And said brother is hunting Trudy because of this, and Trudy is emotionally fragile at the best of times. Bray still stands up to the tribe of protagonists, saying 'If I join, so does she.' The ensuing flood of romantic attention and catfights nearly destroys the fledging tribe.
Later on, Bray exemplifies the other end of this trope. He tries to stay away from said romantic attention, focusing instead on scavenging and helping his tribe...and thus falls for Amber, the confident, responsible leader of said tribe who is strongly dedicated to helping others. She's a bit reluctant to return Bray's feelings, seeing him as The Casanova who spread discord among her tribe, but they eventually hook up and become the political version of a Battle Couple.
A gender-flipped version in Lex, a Jerkass. After dating Zandra and Alice, he realises that what he really wants in a partner is someone he can respect, someone who shares similar survival abilities and isn't afraid to disagree with him. He finds this in Tai-San.
Castle Rick Castle initially comes across as a rich playboy Casanova WannabeMan Child whom Detective Kate Beckett at best tolerates (when not dealing with Unresolved Sexual Tension), but as the series goes on, she discovers that, while he still is a manchild, he is also a highly intelligent and thoughtful man who is a good father to Alexis and likes to see the people he cares about happy, and is not above using his wealth to achieve that goal. The more she sees of Castle's real self, the more she warms up to him, to the point where they become an Official Couple by the end of Season Four.
In Arrow Laurel might have a reputation for dating bad boys but she didn't really show any interest in Tommy (during season one) until he demonstrated he could be something other than a shallow playboy.
The premise of the Joan Baez song "If I Knew" which is a hippy love anthem from a girl to boy who will not hunt innocent wild animals or destroy rare flowers; not for money and not for love. And she loves him even if he is 'called a craven.'
Kate Monster from Avenue Q goes for nice, college-educated Princeton.
Carmen Diaz from Fame falls in love with the shy, Adorkable, music-loving Schlomo Metzenbaum.
In Les Misérables, Cosette is charmed and instantly falls for Marius after he sings a sweet song, proclaiming his love for her. Eponine also seems to love Marius because of how nice he is, since she lives with her cruel parents and their fellow con men.
In Odin Sphere, Gwendolyn started out hating Oswald (her marriage was a punishment and Oswald was once her enemy), but she eventually discovers his true colors. He's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who was about the only one to respect her as a person, and fiercely defended her right to make her own decisions.
In Metal Gear Solid 4 there are two examples. There's Naomi who fell for Otacon and then there's Meryl who fell for and married Johnny who turned out to be a good guy.
Leliana of the same game is only interested in a Warden who gains her approval through acts of charity and heroism to the general populace as well as generosity with gifts. She used to be a All GirlsWant Bad Girls type.
The lead female Yuna falling deeply in love with the sweet, happy-go-lucky Tidus.
Lulu eventually falls for the jovial, good-natured Wakka, after previously falling for his equally good-natured, but deceased, brother Chappu.
Quite a few of the possible pairings in the Fire Emblem series fall into this trope, with the woman falling in love with the man because of his kindness, nobility, care for others and classiness. These men are:
Fire Emblem Jugdral: Sigurd, Dew, Finn, Azel, Midayle, Noish, Jamke, Holyn,Claud and Quan. The second generation gives us Seliph, Leif, Oifaye and Ced.
Leif again, in FE 5. Also Fred, Brighton and the already Happily Married Glade. ( And Finn in the past, since it's all but stated he is Nanna's dad and thus Lachesis's Second Love.) Also, while Pirn is a Punch Clock Hero, what draws Lara to him is how he did not take advantage of her when he could have done so, and released her from child slavery instead.
And played with in the case of Gerik. He has the perfect Bad Boy appearance (well-toned body, a sexy scar across his face, Badassery)... but personality-wise he's a very serene and sweet-natured Team Dad, which is exactly the reason why Tethys and Marisa are in love with him.
Valkyria Chronicles: This is exactly why Alicia Melchiott and Juno Coren fall for the sweet, peaceful, nature-loving Welkin Gunther.
Also: Lynn and Karl, Varrot and Largo, and Edy and Homer, if their Ship Tease is anything to go by. And Rosie and Zaka in the anime. Heck, even Selvaria's feelings for Maximillian stem from the fact that he saved her from a Fate Worse Than Death at a young age.
Jaheira's marriage to Khalid in Baldur's Gate is a perfect example.
Art of Fighting: Yuri has actually found a good man, who also happens to be a close friend of her family: Robert. Problem is, her brother and her father believe he'd only take Yuri for granted, so they won't let him anywhere near her; which annoys her to no end. The issue was seemingly resolved in AoF 3, when Ryo finally relented. But, in the King of Fighters series, she and Robert are back to square one.
The male Silent Protagonist himself counts as this, too. Yukari, Mitsuru, Elizabeth, Aigis, etc. can come to like him romantically because of how sweet and kind he is to them.
Similarly, in Persona 4 the Silent Protagonist will get the affections of the girls with more ease when he shows them kindness and understanding, thus helping them resolve their issues.
In Mass Effect 2, Jack, the biotic-Tyke Bomb who Really Gets Around, ironically plays to this trope more than any of the other females. If you take her up on her offer for casual sex, she'll end up disgusted with you. It takes a kind Shepard who truly wants what's best for her to get to a real romance.
This goes triple for Samara, who isn't looking for a good man or woman at all. Her species are inherently bisexual and she is essentially a FetteredLawful GoodPaladinin Space. In Mass Effect 2, she will outright reject a Player Character who has committed questionable actions even if they were done in pursuit of saving the entire galaxy. A more virtuous ("Paragon") character can push her to admit she has feelings but she shoots Shepard down. In Mass Effect 3, she cannot be romanced in the vanilla game even if Shepard has no romantic interest, has remained utterly Paragon, and Shepard attempted to romance Samara in ME 2. Only in The Citadel DLC can a Chaste Hero Shepard who has remained fairly Paragon finally kiss Samara and share a brief moment, but even then Samara holds her code and virtues as more important than her attraction to Shepard.
In Higurashi: When They Cry, Mion's attraction to Keiichi is because he's a good friend and fun to be around, as she explains to Shion in the Eye Opening chapter. Shion drops a hint to Keiichi about it in the Cotton Drifting chapter and outright tells him that Mion loves him in the Festival Music chapter.
Interestingly played with in Katawa Shoujo. Hisao Nakai is a Nice Guy, yeah, and the girls come to love him as he gets over his initial depression and then begins to reach for them... but that doesn't necessarily mean he's gonna win their affections off the bat. In example, if he falls into White Knighting in Hanako's path, this will lead to the Bad End; similarly, trying to support and understandRin in her own path might bring him a heavy emotional toll; and to get Emi to actually stop pushing him away, he will have to be very persistent.
All of the Little Busters! heroines fall under this, and usually Weakness Turns Her On, too, in falling for sweet, Adorkable Riki. Even if, for the most part, they only consider him a friend in the common route, it is when he shows friendship towards them and helps them out with their problems that they start to fall in love with him.
In the Tokimeki Memorial series, the kinder, the more affectionate, and the more attentive you are towards basically all the winnable girls of the series, the deeper they will fall in love with you. But this is especially true with the Broken Bird characters of the lot, Mira Kagami, Kaori Yae, and Hotaru Izumi, who have been burned by previous painful experiences with others (the first being on a Revenge Of The Nerd crusade after continuous heartbreak and a harsh private life, the second having suffered of Et Tu, Brute? after Taking the Heat, and the third still suffering of The Mourning After). They will only fall for you if you're 'particularly'' kind and considerate towards them.
In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies , this is why Juniper Woods is absolutely smitten with Apollo Justice, to the point of knitting heart-patterned clothing every time she talks or thinks about him. Apollo has consistently been nice to her and he even saved her life from rubble that was about to fall on her. When Juniper talks about Apollo, she usually mentions how kind and brave he is.
In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, we've got Iris, who despite dating Phoenix only for the sake of getting a crucial piece of evidence that proved her twin sister's (Dahlia Hawthorne's) murder, later actually fell in love with Phoenix, and thus never got the evidence back in time.
The basis for Pyrrha's interest in Jaune in RWBY. Jaune's a dork, weak and went to the Johnny Bravo school of flirting, but he's a genuinely sweet, friendly guy when he's not trying to hard to hit on girls and has serious leadership potential.
It gets deeper than that later on: turns out Pyrrha suffers from a serious case of Attractiveness Isolation. One of the reasons she likes Jaune so much is because he is the only person who just treats her as a regular person to be befriended, rather than a hero or a role-model to be idolised.
Shala Val'Sharen of Drowtales has an obvious crush on Sarnel Tions Sarghress, who in the morally grey society that the story is set, is one of the few people able to be called "good". Sarnel is also The Stoic and Shala is The Tease, so much annoyance is had on Sarnel's part.
Sabine: Sure, women like me swoon for a hero, but that's only because deep down, we think we can change them. But me, I'm done with that now. I want a nice, safe, reliable mass-murderer that I can depend on.
There was an episode of All Grown Up! where Betty said something along the lines of "All girls date a Z, but then they settle down and marry a Howie." Everyone but Kimi thought Z was a badboy, but he was a genuinely nice, if quiet, guy who just liked to dress a certain way. He appeared in one other episode, and was also a nice guy there.
Also Mai seems to have been attracted to Zuko in the first place, exactly because he was not a megalomanic evil aristocrat like his father and his sister. They only get back together after he gets over his anger issues (during the Troubled, but Cute phase he is in for the early half of the series) and returns to being a nice friendly young prince. While she's seriously pissed about him leaving in the dark of the night to join the Avatar, she's impressed enough by his decision to do the right thing that she fights Azula to cover his escape.
Ty Lee, who was also inspired by Mai's aforementioned turn to finally revolt against Azula as well, has typical Fire Nation college party dudes dreaming about being with her. Yet who's she got a crush on? Sokka.
Yue falls for Sokka because he is shown loving her for who she is and genuinely wanting to make her happy, in contrast to her fiance (who brags about the "perks" that come with marrying the princess, prompting Sokka to call him "a jerk with no soul").
Suki, starts to show affection for Sokka after he humbles himself and asks her to teach him the Kyoshi fighting style (even agreeing to wear a dress) and apologizes for being rude to her and the other warriors.
The reason Aelita fell for Jeremie in Code Lyoko seems to be his persistence in helping and trying to make her happy without seeking thanks or reward.
In Hey Arnold!, HelgaPataki's relationship with Arnold plays this trope. When her family forgot about her in a rainy day, Arnold offered her an umbrella, and from then on she has adored him.
My Life as a Teenage Robot hints that Jenny will eventually pick Sheldon because she's sick of smooth operators, and wants someone sweet and sincere. Sheldon walks by, and she greets him, still wondering where she can find someone like that. Confirmed by Word of God after the series' cancellation.
The only problem that Phineas and Ferb fans can find with Candace's Love Interest Jeremy is that he's so ridiculously nice that he seems too perfect. Which is probably good, because a less calm and understanding guy might not be able to handle a girl as neurotic and excitable as her.