Tears from a Stone
"The rain just falls off of meBoys don't cry. Neither do statues, nor robots, nor things that generally lack tear ducts. But, if you really want to crank up the pathos or despair, have something that can't cry shed a tear—perhaps saline, or perhaps some more appropriate liquid. Often effective, occasionally Narm. To count as Tears from a Stone, the tears should be one or a few, and should be viewed as surprising or miraculous and played for pathos. Crying from anthropomorphic robots or magical creatures, for example, is usually just crying. Cynical souls may explain away in much the same manner as Sand In My Eyes — rain or the like. Tears from a Stone may have magical properties or be Tears of Blood. For example, they may break a spell in much the same manner as a kiss. May show that the stone is, in fact, Taken for Granite. See also Unable to Cry, Single Tear.
The tears just fall off of me
'Cause I'm waterproof, I'm waterproof
The barometric pressure has no relevance to me"
The tears just fall off of me
'Cause I'm waterproof, I'm waterproof
The barometric pressure has no relevance to me"
— Sparks, "Waterproof"
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Anime and Manga
- In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, as one of the badly damaged and shot up tachikomas prepares to sacrifice itself to save Batou, a large drop of oil leaks from its one remaining optical sensor. To add to the symbolism, a large part of the reason that it was aware enough to make that sacrifice was the special oil he had given it.
- In the original Japanese version of Tekkaman Blade, Pegas (Teknobot) made a Heroic Sacrifice in the final episode, and shed a single oil tear. The UK dub included this, but the US dub removed it for some reason.
- In one emotional scene in One Piece, the figurehead of the main characters' ship is splashed by a wave and appears to be crying along with its crew.
- There's also Brook. A living skeleton who outright stated he could not cry, bursts into tears upon learning his crew's beloved Team Pet was still waiting for their return. Word Of God (who in this case has a track record of not always answering with total seriousness) Handwaves it by saying "Because even when his tears of sadness dry... his tears of joy can still flow."
- Mazinger Z was the first Humongous Mecha example.
- Giant Robo is another, crying a huge torrent of tears when it's almost destroyed by the Monster Sphere.
- It should be noted that this trope was also played for laughs in a comedic spinoff episode- instead of crying, Giant Robo suffers a nosebleed upon seeing an attractive IPO agent naked.
- Similarly, the titular mecha of Gurren Lagann appears to be crying as rain splashes down its face when Kamina dies.
- Robot Girl Chachamaru of Mahou Sensei Negima! once cried after a major breech of her privacy For Science!. It was just lens-cleaning fluid, but tears nonetheless.
- Especially since human tears are, primarily, not much more then lens-cleaning fluid either, to keep the eyes moist.
- It happens again later when Chachamaru begins to doubt that she has a soul. Negi points out that even though the tears themselves are actually oil, they're still real tears, as it's evidence of her emotion. The chemical makeup thereof is not important.
- In G Gundam, when Domon tells the frozen in DG Cells Rain that her father died through an Heroic Sacrifice, Rain's metallic face is shown and she cries a single tear.
- In Martian Successor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness, Akito's (non-anthropomorphic) Humongous Mecha cries "tears" of oil after he kills Big Bad Hokushin, who is indirectly responsible for destroying Akito's senses and abducting his wife Yurika.
- In one episode of Darker Than Black, Yin, a "Doll" supposedly incapable of emotions, cries. This saves her life as a mafia hitman is unable to kill her because he doesn't know how to respond, having thought of her as less than human up to that point.
- Shaman King had a "crying sword" in a museum - it turned out the tears were coming from the ghost of its smith, who failed to save his best friend with it.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, after Noah kidnaps Seto Kaiba's little brother Mokuba, he aims to escape the virtual world his father (and Kaiba's stepfather) created for him in Kaiba's body by defeating him in a duel. When Kaiba is about to defeat him, however, he used the kidnapped and now Brainwashed and Crazy Mokuba as a human shield to convince Kaiba not to attack. A very touching Tear Jerker scene results when Noah's control is finally broken and Mokuba runs towards his older brother, only for the both of them to be turned to stone by Noah moments before they touch...and a single tear that had been in Mokuba's eyes shed from the stone as the episode closed.
- In Android Kikaider: the Animation, Jiro (the titular android) can be seen shedding copious amounts of tears, despite the fact that robots obviously do not have tear ducts. Arguably a justified situation; not only is Jiro in possession of a conscience circuit which blesses him with a full spectrum of human emotion, but he now has to stand on the sidelines while his Love Interest is being traumatized for life by her Missing Mom. Turns out Mom was a Deep Cover Agent working for Big Bad Professor Gil, and only married Mitsuko's father in order to keep an eye on him and his robotics research. Mitsuko and her kid brother, Masaru, were just part of her cover. And if that wasn't bad enough, Gil has now given Mom orders to gun Mitsuko down before Jiro's very eyes. The experience of Mom holding a gun to her head is enough to give Mitsuko the Blue Screen of Death. It's when she softly whispers, "Please, Mother. Kill me," that Jiro's hurricane of emotions find their conduit.
- Emerl in Sonic X does this after seeing his unwilling destroyer, Cream, crying over the Old Yeller-like moment.
- Astro Boy cries a few times, despite being a robot. Possibly justified, considering he was originally a Replacement Goldfish of a real kid.
- In the last Ranma ˝ OVA when Akane has been turned into a doll, she magically cries as Ranma, while holding her, actually says she's cute (in a tomboy sort of way of course). One of the most touching moments in the whole series, actually.
- Mic Sounders XIII of GaoGaiGar sheds a few tears after he helplessly watches eleven of his brothers get disintegrated and twelfth die in his arms. This is both heartbreaking and, in a sick way, awesome since this is not only one of his most badass moments but the only time you will see him truly furious at anything.
- In the Final OVA, GaoFighGar has a single trail of oil leaking from its eye when Guy destroys the Fake Mamoru and GaoGaiGar.
- The Mad Artist teacher from Rosario + Vampire is a gorgon and likes to turn people to stone for her collection. Her victims are still aware and clue Tsukune in to what is going on by crying.
- Naruto had two especially indirect examples when Haku and Zabuza, both rendered emotionless thanks to ninja stilled Training from Hell that forced them suppress emotions, had blood on a sword dripping off into one's eye and running down the reflection of the other's face.
- In Elfen Lied, just before the scene when Lucy confronts Kouta about her guilt over murdering his family, a raindrop symbolically runs from the eye of a jizu statue, looking remarkably like a tear.
- When Shachi in Fist of the North Star is defeated inside Taiseiden, Hokuto Soukei's symbol statue in the center of it all sheds tears to allow him to fight once more.
- Alphonse in Fullmetal Alchemist can't cry, being Animated Armor, but rain substitutes.
- The second chapter of Watchmen opens with a shot of a rain-pelted statue of Justice, with one of the drops flowing down her cheek like a tear.
- Inverted in an homage to Norse myth in an early Thor issue of Journey into Mystery, Loki's first appearance in Marvel Comics. Loki is fated to remain imprisoned in a tree trunk until his plight causes someone to shed a tear. The people of Asgard are perfectly capable of crying—just not for Loki. However, Loki's long imprisonment eventually allows him to take control of the tree and make it drop a leaf into Heimdall's eye, causing him to shed a tear.
- In The Avengers #58 we see The Vision, an artificial being who overcame his destructive programming and saved the Avengers, shed a single tear when asked to join the team. Even the title of the issue recognizes this trope: "Even an Android Can Cry."
- Dreamwave's Transformers Generation 1 #12 has cover art of a grieving Optimus Prime going through a complete emotional breakdown while leaking tears of optic fluid down his face plate, holding the lifeless body of his beloved mate Elita One.
- In Lucifer: Children and Monsters, Japanese goddess Izanami, who exists as an immobile statue within her realm, is seen to weep one tear after her plan to kill Lucifer costs the lives of two of her children.
- Done very effectively in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie (that is, for people who had read the books to begin with.) A bit of rain gets spattered on the eyes of a dude in a stain-glass window.
- In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Abe speculates that he doesn't even have tear ducts. When Princess Nuala dies, you guessed it: a single tear.
- A cutaway shot in The End Of St Petersburg shows a crying statue: a metaphor for the suffering of the city.
- In Return to Oz, despite his claims of emotionlessness, Tik-Tok sheds a tear of oil close to the end. And in an extremely subtle shot, the Nome King (an earth elemental) sheds a tear of stone during his Pet the Dog moment.
- At the end of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, after it is revealed that apes and humans are coexisting together peacefully, the final shot of the film shows a statue of the ape Caesar, which is crying as the film closes.
- In Gods and Generals, General "Stonewall" Jackson breaks down into Manly Tears upon being informed of the death of the child Jane Corbin from scarlet fever. A watching officer remarks in surprise that he has never previously cried after the deaths of any of his comrades or men. Another suggests that he is "crying for them all".
- During the Angel War from the Nightside series, one indicator of the presence of angels from Above and Below was a rash of statues crying, bleeding, and/or soiling themselves.
- In the spanish art book/story 'Favole' by Victoria Francés, one of the small stories involves a woman falling in love with a statue of an angel. When she dies, the illustration of the statue shows it with tears. Whether the statue was actually sentient or not is up to the reader.
- Oscar Wilde's short story 'The Happy Prince' features the titular character, a golden statue standing above the city, weeping for the plight of his poor citizens.
- Father Saryon from The Darksword Trilogy, as a living statue, can and does, weep.
Live Action TV
- In Smallville, a stone angel cries black tears as Oliver is being corrupted by Darkseid.
- In the BBC comedy puppet-show-for-adults/sitcom, Mongrels, a guide dog is blinded and runs away fearing he will be turned into a collection box for a guide dog charity. At the end of the episode the main characters wonder what happened to him and, as the credits roll, the camera pans to a dog-shaped charity collection box that cries a Single Tear. Mostly Played for Laughs.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Doomsday", the cyberized Yvonne breaks through her programming and fights off the other Cybermen as they corner the Doctor, constantly repeating, "I did my duty for Queen and country." A drop of oil leaks from one of her eyes.
- Subverted with the Weeping Angels, who hold their hands over their eyes as if they're crying, but are actually making sure they don't look at each other (they turn to stone when they're being observed, and can only move when nothing's looking at them). The Angels are widely considered to be one of the most terrifying and evil aliens in the whole Whoniverse.
- The Sarah Jane Adventures has this happen with a Taken for Granite Alan in The Eye of the Gorgon.
- In Heroes, Tracy Strauss gets one of these while immobilized in her frozen form as she's dying from being fractured for saving "Rebel".
- In Leverage the team fakes a miracle by creating a statue that cries when it's touched by smoke from the candles. However, the statue isn't made of stone and the liquid it produces isn't tears, meaning that when the Vatican investigative team shows up to ascertain the veracity of the miracle, they would be found out almost immediately.
- In The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Allison From Palmdale" a particularly powerful moment comes when Cameron undergoes a breakdown while in the "Allison" persona, and actually starts crying. This is especially hard-hitting, because earlier terminator models like the T-800 can't shed tears.
- Deliberately used in The Pillars of the Earth; a mysterious rock is found that appears to weep at night due to some geological quirk. Jack, needing a miracle-performing relic to make his cathedral a success, carves a statue of the Virgin Mary and places the rock behind its eyes, and claims the statue is weeping for the sins of the world, in a not-very-subtle jab at Kingsbridge's various enemies. Naturally, stories quickly spread among the superstitious peasants of the statue healing the sick and performing other miracles.
- Happened in an episode of Combat It's too far back for me to remember much, but apparently a soldier had to blow up a cache of art treasures for some reason, and saw a trickle of blood running down the face of a statue (from an earlier fight) that matched his own tears at having to destroy such beautiful things.
- In the Only Fools and Horses episode "The Miracle of Peckham", the statue of the Virgin Mary in the local Catholic church is seen to cry. Del uses this and his own salesman skills to raise money for the church. It turns out someone stole all the lead off the roof and the rain's getting in. And Del knew this; his "sense" of when the statue would cry was based on weather forcasts.
Myth And Legend
- Older Than Feudalism: There's a Greek myth about a rock/statue that cried: Queen Niobe tried to outlaw worship of the goddess Leto, bragging that she had borne fourteen children while Leto had only two. Unfortunately those two, Apollo and Artemis, killed all of Niobe's children as punishment, and Niobe stood weeping for them so long that she turned to stone, tears still pouring down her face.
- Also from Greek mythology: After Orpheus looked back in the underworld and lost his wife Eurydice for the second time, he wandered around for a while playing such sad songs on his lyre that even the rocks and trees wept for him.
- In Norse Mythology, when Hel said she would let Baldur come back to life if everything weeped for him, the very stones wept. (Loki, however, didn't. He's an asshole like that. And he was the one who killed him in the first place.)
- The concept of the album Dead Winter Dead by Savatage centers around an old Gargoyle looking over the town of Sarajevo for centuries, trying to figure out humans and now watching the devastating Bosnian War. When an old musician, playing Cello in the ruins to keep up a last piece of culture ( based on Vedran Smailovic ) is finally killed, a single tear drops from the gargoyle's eye.
- The story of Noh.
- In Final Fantasy VII the party finds Red XIII's petrified father, and Red XIII realizes that his father sacrificed himself to save the village, instead of running off like he'd thought all this time. After Red XIII pays his respects and the party heads off, a single tear emerges from the eye of the petrified Seto. It's sad at the moment, but when you think about it...
- And in Dirge of Cerberus, when Lucrecia sheds a tear within her crystallized stasis for Vincent, as a final testimony to the end of her tragic life.
- Robo in the ending of Chrono Trigger. Ironically enough, real tears appear to gush out of his eyes in one of his animations, though that is hardly for dramatic effect.
- Robot Girl Aigis sheds tears of happiness in a cutscene near the end of Persona 3, when the main character returns from the realm of Nyx, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death, after performing a Time Delayed Heroic Sacrifice to seal Nyx away from humanity. Then, at the very end, she cries again when his aforementioned death actually occurs. One of the player's last actions in the game is the option to wipe her tears away.
- In Final Fantasy VI, hold up the Odin magicite to the stone statue of the petrified queen in the Ancient Castle, and she'll cry a tear that transforms Odin (who she was in love with) into Raiden.
- Final Fantasy XIII - Not sure if this qualifies, but as Serah Farron is turned into a crystal, she weeps a single tear for her fiancé and sister.
- Also when fighting Cieth, who are basically big crystalline techno-monster things, you can get dropped items called "Tears Of Woe" or "Cieth Tears". This is pretty disturbing as cieth don't look human at all but they used to be people who failed their Focus.
- In King's Quest VI, Prince Alexander faces Death himself and challenges him in order to resurrect the king and queen. The challenge? Make Death cry. Alex then shows him a Magic Mirror which reveals Death's horrific painful past, which shocks him so much that he sheds a single tear.
- It is said that the Naomi in Stone statue in The Sims: Life Stories cries often. It should, as it was a gift from Death to the man who selfishly let her be taken to keep his fortune.
- In Super Robot Wars Z, during the Dynamic Finish for Gunleon's strongest attack post-upgrade, Gunleon itself cries.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the moon that's cursed to crash into Termina cries shining blue stones known as Moon's Tears.
- In an animated version of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe a petrified Mr. Tumnus sheds a single tear.
- In The Simpsons there was a rating machine that cried. Turned out it was actually battery acid.
- Gargoyles did this twice in the same flashback. First Demona sheds an off-screen tear right before she petrifies. Then, when she wakes up and finds her husband petrified, she leaves a tear on his forehead that makes it look like he was crying.
- Also done with Goliath during Hunter's Moon, when he thought that Elisa had died during his battle with the Hunters.
- In X-Men: Evolution, we see a petrified Mystique seem to shed a tear at one point — or was it just condensation? Subverted in a later episode when it turns out that the real Mystique is still alive and the statue was just a statue all along.
- Red Tornado sheds a single tear in a Batman The Brave And The Bold episode. His episodes are huge tearjerkers though, so you can't blame him.
Red Tornado: Oily discharge. I must run an internal diagnostic.
- In the Sponge Bob Square Pants movie, Mr. Krabs sheds a tear while frozen solid after Plankton manages to steal his secret formula.
- In the "SpongeBob B.C." episode, Squidward chooses between two wooden clubs to carry out with him. When he takes one outside, the one he put down sheds a tear.
- In the episode "Firecake" from The Saga of Noggin the Nog, the statues (revealed to be hibernating guardians of the Sorceror's sword) can cry when faced with death/rejection.
- The Transformers Animated episode "Along Came A Spider" ended with Blackarachnia crying. Justified, since Blackarachnia is part organic.
- Green Lantern: The Animated Series has Aya, a robot, shed a tear at one point. Her body is a collection of smaller drones held together by wires and Green Lantern energy, making it impossible for her to cry in such a manner.
- In Real Life at least one Ancient Greek temple used machines to make their statues cry blood. Basically, the head of the statue was hollow and they had tubes running to the corners of the eyes where fluid would come out. It wasn't really blood but some other red fluid, since blood would clot up too much. [Seen on the History Channel on Ancient Discoveries.]
- The Catholic Church has, among its various oddities, statues and paintings -typically of the Virgin Mother- that are said to cry tears and other substances. Possibly related to the Greek thing above.
- Tiny drops of oil still leak from the wreck of the USS Arizona, one of the battleships lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Many claim that these are the "black tears" being shed by the ship as it mourns for the 1,177 sailors and marines who died aboard her. And, according to legend, the tears will only stop once the very last Arizona veteran dies.
- There's a story, possibly apocryphal, about Peter the Great inspecting a monastery known for miraculously weeping icons. He examined one icon and found out it had a hidden reservoir with oil. Then he said: "If the icons keep weeping oil, the monks' arses will start weeping blood!" Since then, no icons wept in Russia for a suspiciously long time, until Peter was safely dead.