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Tears of Joy
Oh what are you so happy about?

"Smile when you're happy, cry when you're sad...and do both when you're happier than you've ever been in your life."

To many, tears are an expression of sadness or weakness. Sometimes it can even indicate ultimate Badassery, since only the hardest Badasses can get away with shedding them. In any case, tears are always connected to emotions too strong to contain and are to be used sparingly and wisely, else the character passes off as wangsty or just plain weak, even if they're female.

Still, there is one instance when tears are never looked down upon and accepted from anyone: joy.

Crying for joy is the uppermost expression of happiness and ecstasy and is the best indicator of a Crowning Moment Of Awesome or a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: the villain has at last received comeuppance, The Quest is finally over, the Starcrossed Lovers are reunited for good...

Often witnessed in Real Life during similar moments, making this a Truth in Television. Weddings are a good source of this.

Not to be confused with the Tearful Smile which meaning is more ambiguous. Sometimes overlaps with Tender Tears.

Compare Manly Tears. Contrast Tears of Remorse.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Goku in Saiyuki does this once upon seeing Sanzo back to his old ways in the first arc of the series.
  • Fist of the Blue Sky: Many times and by men! Sometimes witnessed in Fist of the North Star as well.
  • Berserk: Casca upon seeing Guts alive after the 100 men slaughter.
  • In Sasami: Magical Girls Club, after a confession gone wrong, Monta assures Misao (awkwardly) that her magical powers aren't creepy and don't make him hate her, and she starts to tear up. That's when Sasami shows up, and seeing the tears, asks if Monta made her cry. Misao quickly tells her friend that these are tears of joy.
  • Very funny example in Baccano! when Jacuzzi shows Nice his new face tattoo. He thinks she's crying out of sadness and he starts crying too because he hates making her upset, but she's actually happy.
  • Chimchar in Pokémon. After everything the little guy's been through with its former trainer, you can't blame it for reacting this way.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed promises Winry she'll be doing this the next time she cries.
    • And she does when Ed and Al return home in the final chapter and Al has his body back.
    • Also Lan Fan, when she receives a message from Ling saying that he's found a secret to immortality, which will ensure their clan's survival. But when her initial joy passes, she suspects that there's more, and Al is forced to admit that Ling is the new Greed.
  • Rozen Maiden: Traumend — Shinku revisited by Suigintou, and it's not an empty dream this time.
  • In Chapter 450 of Naruto, Iruka seems to be shedding a single tear after seeing Naruto being welcomed back to the village after defeating Pein, after having a flashback in which he remembers how much of an outcast Naruto was before. Considering that Iruka is essentially Naruto's father figure, this is both appropriate, awesome, and heartwarming.
    • From the same chapter, Hinata, after Naruto comes back alive.
    • This happens again when Minato starts crying the moment his son, Naruto, is born.
    • Chapter 488: Shizune crying when Tsunade wakes up from her coma, and then hugging her.
  • Nanoha in the penultimate episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, when after certain events that had a few instances of You're Not My Mother being invoked, she is finally reunited with her adopted daughter. Although the tears didn't start flowing until she saw her daughter standing back up on her own two feet just like Nanoha tried to teach her before, saying that she had promised her Nanoha-mama that she'd be strong.
  • In One Piece, Chopper does this near the end of his debut arc. It's enough to make ANYONE cry, so don't feel bad for bawling like Chopper after seeing this.
    • Which has nothing on the time Usopp rejoined the crew Luffy and Usopp were bawling like idiots, Nami was crying a little more realistically, and Franky wasn't crying damnit!
    • Nico Robin on several occasions in Enies Lobby after realizing that, after 20 years, she'd finally found True Companions.
    • Also Brook cried after Luffy told him that his friend Laboon was still alive and still waiting for him.
    • Jinbei shed Manly Tears when Nami told him that she forgave him.
    • Koala broke down into these when Fisher Tiger changed her slave mark into a sun mark, told her it is OK to cry (Breaking her Stepford Smiler façade in the process), and vowed to return her home.
    • Luffy can only burst into tears when in chapter 731, Sabo reveals that he is alive.
  • Vash does this occasionally, though never in serious scenes; he doesn't get that happy. Relief that everybody survived a particular snafu gives him the fountain-eyes, though.
    • Meanwhile, in a far more horrible example, poor Legato Bluesummers in his flashback story to his childhood—his telepathic powers allowed him to instinctively survive when Knives sliced apart the building in which he was being raped to death and all other occupants. He then kneels in front of Knives, who is his new instant god, and says he'll release his power and let Knives kill him in a moment with the angel-arm blade at his throat, but...he would like to stay by his side.
      Knives: [Beat] What is your name?
      Pre-Legato: [Looks up with incredulous Tears of Joy] I...have none!
      And then Knives walks away, naked boy in shackles trailing behind him, destined to grow up to be his terrifying, twisted, devoted right hand. And better treated by the Omnicidal Maniac who doesn't give a damn about him than by anyone else, ever.
  • When Kenichi faces a master weapon-user alone for the first time to buy time for his friends' escape, the Ryouzanpaku masters scold him for nearly throwing his life away and send him to his room. But they're really secretly proud of his growth as a martial artist and as a man. Kenichi cries with happiness.
    Kenichi: Honestly... those masters of mine...
  • In Mai-Otome, Akane's two room attendants, Erstin and Irina, have this after she decides to elope with Kazuya instead of becoming Florence's Otome.
  • Bakuman。 lampshades this in Chapter 99, "Tears of Joy and Tears of Disappointment". The former is from the main characters, after they manage to fulfill the terms they made when they got PCP serialized, and thus avoid cancellation. Miyoshi does this at times, such as when the main characters are first serialized.
  • In Sailor Moon R, Beruche (Birdie in the Dub) is confused when she sees Kōan (Catzi in the Dub) crying after she starts her Heal Face turn. Beruche, in the dub, asks her why she's crying as they embrace. Kōan tells her, word ofr word, that they'r tears of joy.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu cries these when he realizes that Barnaby remembers him again. Karina cries them two episodes later when it turns out that Kotetsu didn't really die.
  • Happens several times by Nia in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, always when Simon does something special for her. The two most notable occasions are when she was kidnapped, first by Guame and second by the Anti-Spiral. Both times she has a stern, serious look, despite her facing death, confident Simon will rescue her. It's only when Simon finally does rescue her that she finally loses her composure.
  • Several times in The Idolmaster, most notably in episode 20 when Chihaya just lets the waterworks gush after recovering from all the turmoil inflicted on her.
  • In Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, one time when Ponyo is not dead, Sosuke cries.
  • In Code Geass Suzaku cries with joy when he is reunited with his friends after the hostage-taking incident. In R2, when it is fully brought home to Lelouch how deeply his friends care for him, he has a truly beautiful monologue to himself on the nature of happiness and the few good memories he has, and is moved to tears (though this could be a combination of happy and sad, since he is also thinking of all the loved ones who are not there with them.)
  • In Hetalia, a sketch by Himaruya shows that whenever Ancient Rome leaves Heaven to check on his grandsons, the eldest grandkid Romano cries these tears. This being Romano, he then hides so his grandpa won't see him cry.
  • Joe from Ashita no Joe is seen crying quietly after the "welcome back" aprty thrown for him when he returns from juvenile jail.
  • Season 2 Episode 11 of Black Butler. Alois (in Ciel's Body) asking Hannah to tell him that she loves him and give him a hug. Which he's always needed. She does both, which prompts him to cry tears of joy and say "Love is...warm, isn't it?"
  • Nagisa in CLANNAD starts crying at the end of the first season, when Tomoya asks her to date him and confesses his love to her at the same time.

    Comicbook 
  • Happens in X-Men at Scott and Jean's wedding. At the reception, she saves the last dance for Xavier, which would seem awkward since he's in a wheelchair, but she uses her telekinesis to lift him up and they proceed to share a proper dance. A few of the X-Men shed joyful tears watching them.
  • Cornelia and Irma from W.I.T.C.H. give us one on the cover of season 1, issue 12
  • In the Doom comic, this is Doomguy's reaction to acquiring the BFG 9000.

    Fan Fiction 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Transcedence, when Helion has paid off Phaethon's debts by way of an apology, and they meet again, Helion offers Phaethon a legal document. Phaethon knocks it aside to embrace his father, and Helion uses the paper to dry his "joy-wet" eyes before remembering to give it to Phaethon, who deeply appreciates it even in its less than pristine state.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 Gaunt's Ghosts novel His Last Command, the sight of Gaunt makes Zweil's eyes well up before he declares that it has given him the most joy of anything in his long life.
  • In Robert E. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon, when Conan the Barbarian appears alive,
    "Oh, but Trocero will weep tears of joy to see you, sire!" cried one.
    "Aye, and Prospero!" shouted another.
  • In Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest, Jennifer cries for joy on being reunited with Rupert.
  • From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming:
    But Harry had eyes only for the man who stood in the largest portrait directly behind the headmaster's chair. Tears were sliding down from behind the half-moon spectacles into the long silver beard, and the pride and gratitude emanating from him filled Harry with the same balm as phoenix song.
  • In L Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, when Mab does something that requires a soul, Miranda weepts for joy.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Lucian feels he could shed these after Lindsey rejects Catarina for him — until Catarina resorts to force instead.
  • From P. G. Wodehouse's Thank You, Jeeves, after Jeeves has bailed the hysterical Bertie out of trouble yet again. Granted, Bertie expresses gratitude towards Jeeves Once an Episode, but this moment is especially significant given that Jeeves quit working for Bertie at the beginning of the book, and Bertie tried to replace him with another valet who just didn't compare:
    'Jeeves,' I said, and if there were tears in the eyes, what of it? We Woosters are not afraid to confess honest emotion, 'there is none like you, none.'
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, Miranda starts to cry when her siblings take over her duties at Prospero Inc., so she can go off with Astreus and spread the news of their freedom among the elves.
  • In Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, after an entire book of keeping her emotions in and not reacting to anything, when Elinor learns Edward's able to marry her after all, she runs out of the room crying "tears of joy, which she at first thought would never cease."
  • In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On The Razor's Edge, Podiin, when Gidula agrees not to free him.
  • In the Anne of Green Gables series, Anne explains why she's not a big fan of diamonds and would rather have pearls for her engagement ring. Gilbert points out that pearls symbolize tears, and Anne in turn mentions the several times she cried tears of joy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one of the climaxes of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, Takeru just barely got out alive after a death duel with Juzou, thanks to his friends. When he tried to leave again, since he was actually the clan lord's Body Double and he felt extremely guilty for tricking his friends, all his friends made him listen that they'll always stay by him, even if he's fake, because their experience together aren't fake and he is the 'lord' in their eyes and the lord that they pledged their loyalty to. As an ultimate expression of how glad he is that he still got friends, Takeru had quite the heartful cry.
  • Colin Morgan as the titular character of Merlin is the master of this. Just try not to get choked up yourself when he cries with joy at being reunited with his first love, or when he watches his best friend get crowned Queen of Camelot.
  • At the end of the Firefly pilot, River is crying in relief and happiness when she hugs Simon, after he rescued her.
  • At the end of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, amidst the Cooldown Hugs and Tear Jerker, Buffy cries these tears to the shock of Dawn whom thought she'd wanted the world to end as she'd spent the season in a walking depression as she coped with being alive again.
    • In the comics we get a new Slayer, Satsu, who was reduced to this due to the events at the end of season seven.
  • The Doctor Who episode "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" has the Doctor repeatedly notice this in other people and remark on how it's a strange human thing: "Happy tears. Humany-wumany". The ending reveals he's full of it when he starts doing it himself.
  • In the series Legendofthe Seeker, when Cara discovers the kind little creature u pon which the universe's destiny rests, and which she is trying to save and help giving birth after this creature witnessed an horrible event, is dying, she is understandably sad. After laying her on a flower on a place in which the Nightshade (the creature) had to give her babies birth, she turns back and hears a strange sound, while the light lowers around her, and when she turns back again, she sees that her babies have just been born, and fly around, understands that she did not fail, that they are going to live and that she has just saved everyone with them, the usually collected Cara cries tears of joy. Later, she meets the injured Kahlan, help her to climb and begins answering Kahlan's inquiries about the creature' s situation by uttering, with a beam (possibly bordering tears of bliss again), she wishes she (Kahlan) would have been there, because it is the most beautiful thing [she] (Cara) [has] ever seen.
  • In many game shows, it is not unheard of for a contestant that wins a grand prize (money, a trip, a car, etc.) to break down crying in absolute joy since they won something they could never get on their own.
  • House of Anubis, a few times.
    • Fabian does this when he finds Nina, after an entire episode spent getting desperate and crazy searching for after he had sent her down the hole during Senet.
    • Mara, when she finds out that Jerome is putting someone- his father in this case- before himself for once.
    • Jerome, when he gets the gem back, and sees his father freed from prison.
    • Pretty much everyone when Joy is saved from dying in the Season 2 finale.
      • Likewise, everyone when Eddie turns out to be alive at the end of Touchstone Of Ra.
    • Patricia seemed close to this when she finally got to talk to Joy again.

    Music 
  • Arcade Fire, especially in their first album, are basically this in musical form.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Prickly City, when Kevin the Lost Bunny of the Apocalypse, predicts a chorus of weeping, Carmen "explains" as tears of joy for a renewable energy source.
    • Later Kevin learns that Carmen and Winslow had just left him in prison. He weeps with pride at how well they had learned from him.

    Web Comics 
  • In Slice of Life, this is Pinkie Pie's reaction the first time she eats a real cupcake (that is, one not made with rocks).

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Happens a few times whenever a superstar accomplishes something big, such as winning their first World Title.

    Videogames 

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Jake cries these after he introduces Finn to his puppies in Adventure Time, and so did everyone in the audience who saw this scene.
  • The Air Conditioner after he is repaired and brought back to life by Rob in The Brave Little Toaster.
  • Lots of times in Avatar: The Last Airbender . Always heartwarming.
    • Arguably, the most moving example would be the reunion between Zuko and Iroh. Try not to cry yourself, we dare you.
  • Gus Griswald in Recess during his first episode. He begins crying tears of joy after the other main five gave him a tour of the school and making friends with him, telling them about how in all of the schools he's been at in the past six years, he's never had any friends, and is glad that they're so nice to him.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Princess Luna sheds one in "Elements of Harmony" upon being welcomed back by her sister. Pinkie Pie sheds these in "Baby Cakes" upon hearing Pound and Pumpkin Cake's first words: "Pinkie" and "Pie" respectively.
  • Kyle does this in the South Park episode "Crack Baby Athletic Association" while watching an episode of Terrence & Phillip with Stan, right before a Mood Whiplashing commercial.
    • Played for Laughs in "Cartmanland": Cartman does this when he's having the time of his life, completely alone, at his own personal amusement park. "I'm so happy!" *sniff* "I'm so-ho-ho ha-happy-yy!!"
  • Beetlejuice: In "Doomie's Romance," Lydia cries happily when Doomie's tears revive Pinky, the Mayor's former pink convertible. Beetlejuice does so as well, but he uses the old excuse that he had something in his eye.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In episode 50, Daphne cries when Fred kisses her and tells her he loves her. Velma cries when she witnesses it.
  • Charlie Brown's All-Stars: Charlie Brown after the gang presents him with his own sweater that reads "Our Manager."
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Buttercrush," Buttercup cries tears of joy—she's buying Gangreen Gang leader Ace's sob story.
  • Marge in The Simpsons episode "'Tis the Fifteenth Season" when Homer gives her the last porkchop out of generosity. The family is visibly freaked out by her tears.


Tearful SmileHappiness TropesThink Happy Thoughts
Tears of FearTear TropesTears of Remorse
Tarot MotifsImageSource/PhotographyTechnology Marches On

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