"It's time I gave you a proper thank-you! Pucker up, handsome!"
"My hero! *mwah!*"
Some men quest for glory, fame, and riches. Some men seek power and strength. Some want To Be a Master
And some guys just want a kiss from the princess they're trying to save.
For some strange reason, princesses
and other Love Interests
seem to love giving out kisses as rewards for helping them. The smooch of victory is a standard part of the Rescue Romance
, but it can appear in almost any scenario where a guy has the potential to impress a girl—either by winning a contest
, saving her from a horrible beast
, recovering her purse from thugs, or whatever the plot writers think up
. The scenario generally goes like this:
- Alice is in trouble. Bob vows to help her. Alternatively, Bob is entering a contest. He vows to win for Alice's sake.
- Bob overcomes obstacles, goes through many trials, and goes through hell and back for Alice. He eventually saves Alice or reaches his goal.
- Alice says to Bob, "Oh, Bob! How can I ever thank you?"
- Alice then proceeds to show Bob exactly how she can thank him by giving him lipstick imprints right on the face.
- If this is Bob's first Big Damn Heroes moment, it will often result in Post-Kiss Catatonia.
May also occur in an After-Action Patchup
, in which case she may merely acknowledge his courage first — or may berate him for stupidly
getting into the matter first.
Usually, Bob is a Nice Guy
, and he's perfectly content with receiving a kiss as his reward. If he's lucky, he might even get a full-on make-out session with the girl he just helped. If he's not... well, even a chaste kiss on the cheek is pretty sweet. Sometimes, though, Bob might be a lech
who's only trying to help the girl in the hopes of lockin' lips with her. Thus, this is one of those frequently invoked tropes
The most common ways to play with this trope are to have the kiss-ee not want the kiss
, for some reason
, and try his darndest
not to get it. Alternatively, if he goes into the rescue or competition expecting
a kiss, the girl at the other end may well refuse to give him one. The question of why it's desired if it's out of obligation, and thus doesn't actually mean anything, may not be addressed. A growing number of examples exists where both parties are the same sex
, if only for the sake of a quick joke.
Note that in many historical settings, kissing an eligible member of the opposite sex is Serious Business
; it may go all the way up to being tantamount to a marriage proposal.
Sometimes it might be unplanned
or the victory coincides with the resolving of their UST
One of the most popular methods of Ship Teasing
Compare Standard Hero Reward
, Rescue Sex
, Rescue Romance
, Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex
. The direct opposite of Take That Kiss
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Anime and Manga
- Kid Muscle tries to invoke this in Ultimate Muscle, but it doesn't pan out.
- In an episode of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Kurogane is rewarded that way from a lady he freed of mind control. He doesn't immediately realize it's a reward, though, given she's a dark witch. But she's still appreciative.
- The Christmas episode of Pokémon has Ash and friends helping Santa's Jynx get back home; Jynx keeps insisting in kissing them as thanks.
- Summer Wars ends with Natsuki giving Kenji the chance to kiss her. He's too excited to go through with it and passes out with a stream of blood.
- In The World God Only Knows, every time Keima captures a girl's heart, it always ends with a kiss.
- Double subverted with Hinoki. Keima wasn't the one who captured the runaway spirit inside of her so therefore didn't kiss her. However, before she left, she kissed him anyways, much to everyone's - including Keima's - shock.
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Tsuna receives a kiss from Chrome as thanks for standing up for her when the others were suspicious of her actually being Mukuro in disguise.
- Mai from Yu-Gi-Oh! tells Rex Raptor that she'll give him a kiss if he wins a game of Duel Monsters against her but if he doesn't, she gets to take his room. She ends up winning and Rex ends up out in the cold.
- An ... interesting variation occurs when old man Yanagi attempts to do this to main character Yusei after the latter won a duel in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds.
- Digimon Tamers: Ryo tries to invoke this trope with Rika ("What do I get for saving your life not once but twice?) But it doesn't work. ("How about twice the whooping?"
- Defied in one of The King of Fighters manga. After Kyo Kusanagi rescues his kidnapped girlfriend Yuki, she tries to give him one of these while crying due to the terrifying stress that the deal brought her. However, Kyo gently places a finger over her lips, smiles sadly and tells her he's not worthy of a kiss since the poor girl was kidnapped in an attempt to lure him out and force him to fight. She understands his reasons and doesn't insist, only watching him walk away.
- Genderflipped in Detective Conan, as Sato and Takagi's second on-screen kiss happens after she manages to rescue him from a Death Trap that he has been caught in for almost two days.
- In the Marvel miniseries Beyond!, college hero Gravity quips "Nothing beats post-save-the-world sex".
- Brainiac 5 gives Lyle Norg one of these after rescuing him from Apokolips. Whether he intended to or not depends on who you ask.
- Gets a very quick mention in Watchmen. When Hollis Mason, the future Nite-Owl was a little boy, he would have day-dreams about being a super-hero and going on adventures. One would always end with the pretty damsel he'd just saved offering him a kiss and him proudly refusing.
- Runaways: Gert is angry with Chase because he didn't respond to any of her e-mails while the group was temporarily disbanded. Then he tells her that he didn't keep in touch because he was busy tracking down Old Lace for her. Snogging ensues.
- Inverted during an issue of Marvel Team Up 4 between Spider-Man and the X-Men. When Spider-Man is saved from an infection caused by Morbius the Living Vampire, Jean Grey uses her powers to locate the professor who can save him. After webbing up Cyclops, Spider-Man thanks her with a smooch. (Judging from her smile afterwards, she didn't mind.)
- She would return the favor years later in an issue of Spectacular Spider-Man. The original five X-Men and Spidey team up to defeat Prof. Power. After they save the day, Jean gives him a peck on the cheek. Keep in mind that she was married to Cyclops at the time who was standing beside them but Spidey was also happily married to Mary Jane (he even jokingly said "lipstick on the mask. How will I explain this to my wife?") so it was obvious that it was just a friendly smootch.
- In Captain Britain and MI13:
- Captain Britain gets not one, but two with his long-lost wife Meggan. Once when he thinks he's rescued her from Plokta, and once when he actually has rescued both of them from Lilith.
- Played with in regards to Faiza planting one on the Black Knight after she just rescued him from being killed by Dracula.
Films — Animated
- Shrek: Fiona wants to kiss Shrek after he rescues her. This is before she realizes he's an ogre and afterward she no longer wants to kiss him.
- In Wreck-It Ralph, Fix-It Felix Jr. gets one from a Nicelander after completing a level in the game. He later gives a rare male-to-female example to Calhoun after the Cy-Bugs are defeated. She responds with a Big Damn Kiss.
- At the end of "Astérix Vs Caesar" Panacea kisses Asterix for rescuing her and her fiancé Tragicomix, after she does the wings on his helmet spin around causing him to briefly fly to the ceiling.
Films — Live-Action
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, all the female members of the Gryffindor Qudditch team gang up on Harry to kiss him after he wins an important game for them.
- Goblet of Fire has Fleur giving Harry two on each cheek for saving her little sister Gabrielle during the Tri-Wizard Tournament (even though she wasn't actually in danger).
- Gender inversion in Half Blood Prince: Ginny helps Gryffindor win the Cup, and Harry takes the celebration as the moment to kiss her for the first time.
- It was a mutual kiss, really; she was also running towards him.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Ivga seeks out Valerius after the victory.
As Valerius started to follow Taramis across the square towards the palace, through a lane opened by the wildly cheering multitude, he felt a soft hand slipped timidly into his sinewy forgers and turned to receive the slender body of Ivga in his arms. He crushed her to him and drank her kisses with the gratitude of a weary fighter who has attained rest at last through tribulation and storm.
- In Sheeps Clothing Doc receives a delayed one from Sarah, but it's only delayed only because he was in and out of consciousness for two weeks after the final battle.
Live Action TV
- One episode of Angel featured Angel rescuing a woman in an alleyway, and gently rebuffing her when she was clearly willing to kiss him (and more). Made (intentionally) hilarious by Spike lurking on a nearby rooftop, dubbing in his version of the dialog.
- Spike himself gets a kiss from Buffy after he resists torture and death threats to protect Buffy's kid sister. The scene marks a change in Buffy's attitude towards Spike from loathing and unconscious Foe Yay to that of Fire-Forged Friends and future Love Interest.
- On Glee, after the New Directions win Nationals, they come back to their school triumphant and nearly all of the couples get a dramatic and public kiss.
- In Pushing Daisies, Ned gets a very much unwanted one of these from Olive after he saves her from a murderer.
- Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor has a tendency to kiss people like this. He once even kissed his Heterosexual Life Partner under these sorts of circumstances.
- In "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", the Eleventh Doctor plants one on Rory for coming up with an escape plan. When things turn out to be more complicated, he complains about Rory getting his hopes up and wipes at Rory's mouth.
- A (comparably) mundane example crops up in season two of The Office. After closing a particularly important sale, Michael and Jan kiss. The season two premiere also has a drunken Pam kissing Jim after winning a Dundie. Small victories count.
- Josh and Donna's first kiss on The West Wing was one of these.
- Hilariously, at the climax "A Fistful of Datas", Worf is clearly horrified at the thought he's about to get one from a saloon girl whom the holodeck has given Data's face. The look of desperation on his face as he kept telling the computer to end the simulation now had this troper nearly falling out of his chair.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Lord Zedd gives Goldar one when Master Vile leaves.
- In Alias, Sydney and Vaughn's big first kiss takes place at the end of "Phase One", where they've essentially taken down SD-6 in one episode.
- Chiana does this to Crichton in the season one finale of Farscape, saying she never got to properly thank him for saving her life. She is clearly interested in thanking him with more than just her lips, but he gently turns her down.
- Name a video game where you have to Save the Princess. Any video game.
- There are several in the Zelda series
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and the linked ending of The Legend of Zelda Oracle games end with Zelda giving a kiss to Link.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Link gets a kiss from Madam MeowMeow after rescuing her
Chain Chomp dog. The kiss will refill Link's hearts.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: normally, you would get the blue Zora's Tunic by saving King Zora, but you can also buy it. Why you'd want to do this when you can get it for free isn't obvious, but if you do, he'll try to give Link a kiss instead. Yes, the king. Link never says anything, of course, but he quite obviously adamantly refuses—the king seems disappointed.
- Averted in the CD-i games. The CD-i games are based on the cartoon series where Link will repeatedly try and fail to get a kiss from Zelda. After Ganon is defeated:
Gwonam: You, Link, are the hero of Koridai!
Link: I guess that's worth a kiss, huh?
- The Mario series just loves this trope:
- Princess Peach has given more than one to Mario. In some of the games, if you beat the game using Luigi, she'll give one to Luigi as well.
- In the first Paper Mario game, Goombaria gives one to Mario as a reward for finding her doll. He shudders.
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Goombella gives one to Mario for helping her escape the X-Nauts in Rogueport.
- Also in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Vivian gives one to Mario for helping her find the Superbombomb. This is a bit peculiar, considering...
- Attempted defiance in the second chapter: Portly cloud spirit Flurrie offers to give Mario "a little sugar" for finding her necklace. Mario refuses (as much as a Heroic Mime can obviously refuse, anyway), but the poor plumber gets a face full of lipstick anyway.
- She almost does a Foe-Tossing Charge to get to him, too. His partners at the time are pushed out of the way and lie dizzy on the floor while she smooches Mario.
- Even Wario gets one in Wario Land 4, complete with his own princess.
- Defied in Wario Land: Shake It! where Wario, who's way more interested in the treasure than the princess, tosses her out of his way before she even finishes her congratulatory speech.
- Super Mario RPG features a mini-game that uses this trope straight and averts it. In the Marrymore Wedding Chapel, Mario teams up with Bowser to save Princess Toadstool (Peach) from being married to the hairy Wario-like Booster. Toadstool expresses her admiration by promising him a kiss, something that both Bowser and Booster cannot tolerate. Depending on your performance, you are rewarded with a kiss from Peach... or Bowser... or Booster... or both.
- "Oooh, you leaped a bunch of mushrooms, I'm so impressed."
- In Maximo, each time you rescue a sorceress, you can choose a "kiss" as your reward. It occupies a valuable slot in your powerup menu, but if you carry all four kisses to the end of the game, you unlock a concept art gallery.
- Lynn in Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2 offers one (or several) to the main character regardless of the main character's gender.
- Resident Evil 4, where Ashley Graham offers to "do some overtime" with Leon after he rescues her. It doesn't take long for him to decide to say no.
- An optional action in King's Quest III after rescuing Rosella. It also shows up in King's Quest II (Graham and Valanice), King's Quest VI (Alexander and Cassima), and King's Quest VII (Edgar and Rosella).
- In Chibi-Robo, Mrs. Sanderson gives one to Mr. Sanderson after he and Chibi defeat all the mega Spydorz and the Queen Spydor, leading to an Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moment.
- Castle Crashers features this no less than three times. It is taken to new levels of Victory by the fact that the winning Knight has to fight his fellow Knights to win her kiss!
- In freeware game Spelunky, this is the player's reward for rescuing damsels trapped in the caves, and on a good run you might get half a dozen kisses. Each one happens to give you extra health. There are also, however, "kissing parlors" where you can pay for a kiss with the same healing effects, apparently under duress since they also reward you if you "rescue" them from there.
- Kirby receives one from Ribbon in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.
- Beyond Good & Evil has a rare male-on-female example. Double H attempts to give one to the heroine Jade after she wins the hovercraft racing championship. Jade is not amused.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game, the Turtle who saves April gets a kiss on the snout from her, complete with Lipstick Mark
- Ratchet & Clank both get kissed by Angela when they beat the final boss of Going Commando.
- Final Fantasy IX - Averted when Zidane rescues Princess Garnet from the crumbling castle. She hugs him very warmly, but never actually kisses him.
- The Protagonist in Dragon Age: Origins can request this reward a couple of times throughout the game. In Redcliffe, Kaitlyn will give the hero a very chaste kiss on the cheek for finding her brother Bevin. Similarly, Bella the barmaid will give the hero a big smooch if you ask for a “hero's welcome” after saving the village, or if you give her enough cash to quit her job at Lloyd's tavern. The last two examples are particularly amusing, as a kiss from Kaitlyn will make her brother cover his eyes in embarrassment and a smooch from Bella will leave every drunk in the tavern gaping in wide-eyed surprise.
- Done in the perfect ending of Kid Icarus, following a Plot-Relevant Age-Up.
- The arcade version of Double Dragon provides a bit of a twist. Normally if one player completes the game, then he will get kissed by Marian (the kidnapped girl). However, if two players defeat the final boss together, the game will force both of them to fight each other until only one remains to claim Marian for himself.
- Joe And Mac has each Distressed Damsel do this, providing After Boss Recovery.
- Smurfette does this to Smurf as his reward for her rescue in the Atari 2600 version of Smurf: Rescue In Gargamel's Castle and in Infogrames' The Smurfs (1994).
- Sequential Art has one. Involving sewers.
- Girl Genius: The victory was mutual rather than a rescue, but the excitement got Agatha a bit carried away. Complete with Post-Kiss Catatonia!
- This is in the webcomic Kid Radd. The end of every "Kid Radd" game is an (offscreen) kiss.
- Dan Miller, the author, realized this and pulls a fake-out at the very end, after he already pulled a dramatic Almost Kiss scene. Radd and Sheena look like they're finally going to kiss, when a pair of canes drag them offstage and Mook sprites Bogey and Joule jump on-screen - leading to them having an Accidental Kiss.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl: Lucy gave one to Mike at the end of Confrontation.
- Sadly, Lucy's tsundere-ism probably led to how things are in recent chapters.
- In American Barbarian, for Rick.
- Played with in Magick Chicks. To cover up for the events that occurred while Faith was unconscious, Tiffany tells her that she saved the day and that her short term memory is scrambled. Instead of getting a just getting a kiss for playing the hero, Faith goes as far to ask if the hero gets a kiss. Tiffany pauses, smiles, and complies with zero resistance.
- In Tales of the Questor, Quentyn is surprised by one from a fae. She's a bit surprised by his lack of reaction.
- Done by a shapely human female in the Woody Woodpecker short Hot Noon, as well as Socco in Morocco.
- Type 2 subversion: The Legend of Zelda cartoon had Link frequently request one whenever he rescues Zelda. Sometimes, she offers herself. In both cases, events conspire to prevent it from happening.
- Link and Zelda from the cartoon are later transplanted into the Captain N: The Game Master cartoon. The episode Potion of Power essentially serves as a Fully Absorbed Finale with a resurrected Ganon being defeated and Link finally getting that kiss from Zelda he was after for the entire previous series. Kevin actually manages to get a kiss from Zelda after just arriving in Hyrule, angering Link who was trying and failing for the entire previous series. In fact, Kevin gets two in the episode to Link's one.
- Uniquely subverted in Teen Titans Super Hero Origin. Robin unlocks Starfire's shackles and she kisses him, not out of gratitude, but to learn english
- In Gargoyles, at the end of an episode focusing largely on the Trio's affections for Angela, she gives them all a kiss on the cheek, at least partly out of a desire to quell the competition between them.
- An episode of the classic Jonny Quest had Jonny and Hadji escaping this after saving a couple of women, with Dr. Quest joking about returning to the issue in ten years or so.
Jonny: (fervently agreeing) Yeah, see you in ten years!
Hadji: It's a date!
- In the W.I.T.C.H. episode "I is for Illusion", Cornelia is sent flying by a monster. Caleb pops out of Meridian and catches her just in time, and she rewards him with a kiss that Blunk has to pull them both away from after several seconds.
- The Grand Finale of Danny Phantom: "Wow. Remind me to Save The World more often."
- In ReBoot, Dot and Bob watch as the user reboots the entire city and saves them from living in an apocalyptic hell. When the city turns back on they come together and their kiss gets the full 360 degree camera treatment.
- Played for Laughs in an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender , in which Suki saves Toph from drowning, and she kisses her thinking that it was Sokka.
- Pen is kissed by the Princess in Adventure Time. He gets quite flustered. It's even cuter than it sounds.
- "Business Time", where
Pen Finn doesn't want the Hot Dog Princess to kiss him because she smells like old hot dog water; then one of the businessmen they'd hired earlier takes the kiss "for [the] team."
- In a weird variant, Marceline kisses Finn after he fights a gigantic monster bat. The thing is, she was the gigantic monster bat, and it wasn't so much a "smooch of victory" as a "smooch of her giving up because she's decided he's a Worthy Opponent."
- More classic example in "Wizard Battle" when Finn sneaks into the eponymous event to prevent the Ice King from winning the prize: a kiss from Princess Bubblegum.
- On Phineas and Ferb, Ferb gets one on the cheek from his Precocious Crush Vanessa in "Vanessasary Roughness" after saving her life and helping her get the MacGuffin she had been hunting throughout the episode.
- Baljeet gets one in "Phineas and Ferb's Christmas Vacation" for bringing a girl the Christmas present she really wanted. Funnily enough, a kiss from a pretty girl is what Baljeet wanted for Christmas.
- In Batman: The Animated Series, it showed up between Batman and Harley Quinn of all people. When Batman showed her a bit of kindness by returning a dress she'd bought and told her even though she's going back to Arkham, she should get a little happiness. Touched, Harley gives him a quick peck. Then, looking playful, gives him a long, long smooch, telling him to call her. Robin and Poison Ivy, watching, seem weirded out.
- Done often with Sonic and Sally on Sonic Sat AM. It happens less in the Archie comics.
- Parodied in the Looney Tunes short "Eating on the Cuff" in which the moth's girlfriend Ms.Honeybee does this too him, the thing is she was the one who saved him from the man crazy Black Widow Spider.
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears: Cavin gets one from Calla at the end of "Ogre for a Day".
- Played with in Seth McFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy when Mario wants Princess Peach to kiss him after he rescued her but she refuses. He then lets Bowser eat her after getting fed up with her.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: Edd gets one from Nazz when he decided to save the other kids from Ed dressed as a monster. In "The Big Picture Show" Eddy gets one too after he becomes accepted by the kids after downing his bully of a big brother.
- Inverted in Dragons: Riders of Berk: Hiccup gets a kiss from Astrid for losing. He threw the last challenge so Snoutlout wouldn't disappoint his dad. Astrid had chewed him out earlier for being over competitive and was so glad to see him reign it in she planted one on him.
- Played straight at the end of the movie, also from Astrid.
- Xiaolin Showdown example: Kimiko does this twice to Raimundo. First when escaping Wuya's crumbling lair, riding back on Dojo and then another when Rai becomes leader.
- In the first episode of "Captain N: The Game Master" Princess Lana does this to Kevin making Simon Belmont jealous.
- At the end of the Young Justice episode "War" Bumblebee kisses Guardian after they defeat Mongul, Arsenal feeling left out wonders why that never happens to him then Wonder Girl gives him a kiss on the cheek as she walks by carrying the defeated Mongul, he then says "It's a start!".
- The victory over Japan kiss in Times Square is a gender inversion; the sailor saw and impulsively kissed her, and a photographer happened to capture it. Such kisses happened all over the country on that day. His actual date who WATCHED the whole thing, was in the background of the photo smiling, and was so not bothered that she later married the man.