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->''"No matter what she's accused of doing or how mysterious her origins are, the hero will always be ready to fight to the death for any girl he met three seconds ago."''
-->-- '''Thinking With The Wrong Head ([[VideoGame/LunarEternalBlue Hiro]] Rule)''', ''Website/TheGrandListOfConsoleRolePlayingGameCliches''

The Dulcinea Effect is the compulsion many male heroes have to champion, quest for, or die for girls they met five minutes ago. Dulcinea is the name Literature/DonQuixote gives to the (blissfully unaware) noblewoman[[note]]Actually just a peasant called Aldonza[[/note]] of whom he is the self-appointed [[TheChampion champion]], ready to quest for her honor and die for her name. ([[WrongGenreSavvy He read too many books on chivalry, you see]].) In the Spanish of the time, "Dulcinea" is an overly elegant way to say "sweetness," and the name persists as code for the object of one's hopeless devotion and idealized love.

The KnightInShiningArmor (in non-medieval settings, TheCape) is a frequent user of this trope, with TheLadysFavour being its primary indicator. Medieval {{chivalric romance}}s, indeed, portrayed knights who fell in love with a ''[[PeerlessLoveInterest princesse lointaine]]'' (faraway princess) merely on [[LoveBeforeFirstSight hearing her described]].

The Dulcinea Effect is often used to hook a hero into the story or steer him in a particular plot direction. Championing the DamselInDistress is often an excuse for the hero to become involved in righting a larger injustice or confronting the BigBad or foiling the EvilPlan when he otherwise might have simply walked away. Sometimes his devotion to her is a transparent excuse to justify his usual habit of traveling InHarmsWay. By application of the effect, the DamselInDistress usually becomes the protagonist's {{Love Interest|s}}.

This is not to say that the motivation involved is solely (or even partially) out of lust or love. In championing the girl involved, the hero may have no other motivation than acting in support of an ideal, particularly in [[RoseTintedNarrative Romantic Era examples]] and those inspired by it. This trope is, after all, OlderThanPrint. The FailureKnight may be motivated by a desire to atone and BigBrotherInstinct is possible if the Dulcinea is much younger than him.

Additionally, heroes under The Dulcinea Effect in more cynical settings (particularly FilmNoir) tend to fall prey to a WoundedGazelleGambit set up by a FemmeFatale or TheVamp, who generally know about this effect and [[DecoyDamsel take advantage of it in the most evil way possible]].

Seldom gets GenderFlip; after all, MenAreTheExpendableGender but it happens nonetheless.

The Dulcinea Effect is also the main reason that [[StuffedIntoTheFridge women are put into a fridge]] in order to cause the male character [[BreakTheCutie angst]] and push him to [[ItsPersonal drive the plot forward]]. Compare LovingAShadow, which is being in love with the ''idea'' of someone rather than the actual person. Contrast MagneticHero, for a hero's ability to [[JustForPun pull this]] on followers. ChronicHeroSyndrome is when the hero does this for any random stranger. If this leads to a highly implausible romance, it's a case of StrangledByTheRedString. See also LivingMacGuffin. It's quite possibly related to LoveMakesYouDumb.

If the woman has [[FlatCharacter little to no personality]] [[SatelliteLoveInterest and this is her only purpose in the plot,]] it's a variant of ExcusePlot.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In episode 4 of ''LightNovel/IsItWrongToTryToPickUpGirlsInADungeon'', Bell is going about his business when he sees an unknown woman (Liliruca) being attacked by a sword-wielding stranger. He immediately rushes in to protect her, and when the attacker asks why he got involved in someone else's dispute, he replies "because she's a girl". Even Liliruca is taken aback by this, and asks him "Will you save any woman just because she's a woman?"
* Gets a rare GenderFlip in the film ''Anime/MillenniumActress'' with Chiyoko's lifelong quest through [[MentalTimeTravel history]] and a [[ShowWithinAShow film career]] to be reunited with the mysterious man of her dreams, although she loves the chase more than anything. Played somewhat straight with the documentarian Genya who follows her through her journey, who repeatedly sacrifices himself for her, although we find out [[spoiler:he had saved her life once before, on a film set, and idolized her since]].
* In ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic'''s first season, Sousuke goes AWOL and abandons his post under a hostage situation to recover Kaname from the villains. Granted, she ''was'' the VIP he was specifically assigned to protect while the rest of the plane's occupants were not (and he had known her for a bit longer than most examples of this trope), but he was still ordered to stay with the other hostages by his superior officer. As to remove any doubt that he was planning to do disobey that order, said officer also states that [[TemptingFate Sousuke's professionalism]] meant he'd definitely '' not'' do emotional things like charge off after the DamselInDistress.
** An interesting ''female'' version of this is shown with Grace Weissman (AKA Gray). She hardly knows much about Sousuke (who temporarily joined her team in a mission), yet immediately defends him and, in a way, "champions" for him against her skeptical teammates suspicions about him (who dislike him due to him only being 16, yet being an equal in their mission). Her passionately defending him eventually made one of her teammates ask her if she's going that far because she has the hots for him. Even till the end when she's killed by Gauron, her last thoughts are for Sousuke not to worry about her, and that she hopes he will be able to return safely. Considering Sousuke's [[EvenTheGuysWantHim track record]], it isn't far off in saying Gray might've had at least ''some'' attraction to him.
* ''Franchise/LupinIII'':
-->'''Jigen:''' (seeing a girl in a little economy car chased by some men in a big black sedan) Who we gonna help?
-->'''Lupin:''' The girl!
-->'''Jigen:''' [[LampshadeHanging Typical]].
-->-- ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro''
** Lupin's original intention is a simple snatch and grab of the high-quality plates used to make near perfect counterfeit bills, then a pretty girl is chased past him by bad men with guns and the movie happens.
** Fujiko is also responsible for causing the Dulcinea effect on Lupin; the story with Pycal began this way, and she used it on both Lupin and Goemon to get them to kill each other in Anime/LupinIIIGreenJacket.
** ''Anime/LupinIIIEpisode0FirstContact'' is another example of Fujiko tricking Lupin into letting her get her way, making him believe she's escaped from Galvez.
* In ''Manga/BlackCat'', Woodney, Train's imposter, imagines [[CuteBruiser Eve]] as being a DamselInDistress "Senorita" he must protect, and is shown continuing to play the Black Cat role and defend her even at the risk of dying.
* Recca from ''Manga/FlameOfRecca'' is the equivalent of an Anime Literature/DonQuixote. He plays at being a {{Ninja}} (though later he ''does'' become one) and determines at first sight of [[DamselInDistress Yanagi]] that he will protect her and follow her every order from now on. He even calls her "Princess," and lets her know that she is now his master.
* In ''Manga/DeadmanWonderland'', Ganta quickly becomes this way with apparent ShrinkingViolet Minatsuki, feeling the need to protect her with his life and break out of Deadman Wonderland together with her. However, it turns out that [[spoiler:Minatsuki is AxCrazy and ''counted on'' The Dulcinea Effect kicking in. She tried to use his protectiveness to injure him and make it easier for her to kill him. To put it in her words: "I'm sorry, but the whole virgin knight thing is fucking disgusting."]]
* Yukiteru "Yukki" Amano from ''Manga/FutureDiary'' is shown to act this way towards Tsubaki Kasugano, a [[PrincessClassic beautiful and gentle]] DamselInDistress from the Omekata cult, quickly jumping in to save her and escape with her despite having just met her. When given a choice to trust her or his partner Yuno Gasai, he chooses Tsubaki (though you can't blame him because Yuno is a {{Yandere}}). It's not until [[spoiler:she makes it obvious that she's actually a {{Manipulative B|astard}}itch (mixed with WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds) that wants to kill him that he decides to go back to teaming up with Yuno. Tsubaki ends up disarmed by Yuno and killed by Yukki]].
** In the AlternateUniverse spin-off, ''Mirai Nikki: Paradox'', Akise Aru is shown acting this way towards ''[[HoYay Yukki]]'' himself. Apparently, Akise [[LoveAtFirstSight falls in love with Yukiteru at first sight]], and decides to take Yukiteru's place as the Diary Holder so he can fight off all the enemies and allow Yukiteru to become God. All this being decided after ''just'' having met Yukiteru.
* In ''Manga/XxxHolic'', Watanuki is this all the way - as long as it's a pretty girl in trouble, he's willing to risk his life to help her, even if they just met. In one case, he was shown to even be willing to continue meeting a lady, despite knowing that doing so was slowly killing him, because "she's lonely." (Granted, the lady reminded him of a mother figure he lacked, but ''still'', they had just met and only talked a little.) It's [[DeconstructedTrope a deconstruction]] because it shows he places no worth on his own existence or how he himself affects the lives of others, which brings him great damage ''and'' upsets the persons whom he wants to help. Example: he sacrifices an eye to help Doumeki when he's going blind before investigating his other options, Doumeki (who didn't want Watanuki to do such a thing in the first place), understandably gets ''pissed off'' at him, and a spirit that Watanuki had befriended ''almost dies'' trying to fix the mess.
** Watanuki is a [[spoiler:replacement clone and deep down knows he is not supposed to exist, thus his ChronicHeroSyndrome; he's subconsciously suicidal. A large purpose of him being at the shop was to gain self-worth so when the time came, he wouldn't vanish and the TimeyWimeyBall would remain intact]].
* In one episode of ''Manga/BlackLagoon'', Rock speaks out of turn to [[TheBaroness Balalaika]] (an act that is generally considered to be somewhere between ''extremely'' ill-advised and suicidal moronic) in order to speak out for a girl he just met a few days ago. The girl in question, Yukio Washimine, repays him by trying to have him killed.
* In ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'', Tsuna is shown to be willing to die for Kyoko. He hardly ever really talks with her or knows her, and apparently the whole reason he has a crush on her in the first place was because she was the only girl that bothered talking to him in twelve months.
** His relationship with Uni too. The series seems to fully be implying a sort of Tsuna = Knight in shining armor who protects and "champions" for Uni (the DamselInDistress). Just ''look'' at [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/kateikyoushi_hitman_reborn/v27/c254/9.html this page]]. Tsuna seems to like the idea - he's certainly [[LuminescentBlush blushing]] a ''lot'' every time she says anything. His decision to take her under his wing seemed to [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/kateikyoushi_hitman_reborn/v27/c255/7.html mainly be influenced by the tragic, self-sacrificing expression in her eyes]].
*** Directly {{lampshade|Hanging}}d by Byakuran, who mocks Tsuna by asking him if he's trying to be Uni's "KnightInShiningArmor".
* In ''LightNovel/ReZero'', Subaru practically invokes this after getting TrappedInAnotherWorld; being WrongGenreSavvy, he figures he must be there to protect some cute girl, and after seeing Emilia searching for her insignia, he figures it must be her and decides to help her. The trope doesn't truly kick in until the two of them are murdered by [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Elsa the Bowel Hunter]], triggering Subaru's [[TimeTravel Return by Death]] for the first time, at which point Subaru becomes determined to (and eventually unhealthily obsessed with) helping and protecting her. Ram and Rem are a subversion, as while it seems to them like he's trying to help them despite having only met them the other day, [[TimeyWimeyBall Subaru has actually known them for quite a bit longer]]. This being a {{Deconstruction}}, he's called out on this trope at every turn, even by Emilia herself, and ends up going through absolute ''hell''.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', immediately after Rock Lee meets Sakura, he asks her to be his girlfriend and promises to protect her with his life, an offer she just as promptly rejects. Less than 48 hours later, he ends up defending her against three Sound Ninja in the Forest of Death, despite her being on an opposing team, and Sakura recognizes that he meant what he said.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha''
** A FoeYay[=/=]LesYay version. after her quest for the Jewel Seeds leads her to get blasted into unconsciousness by Fate Testarossa, Nanoha Takamachi makes it her sole priority to help get rid of the sadness she saw in the other girl's eyes, with the Jewel Seeds becoming secondary. [[FauxSymbolism What Do You Mean It's Not]] LoveAtFirstPunch?
** Thoma goes through quite a bit of trouble to help out Lily in ''[[Manga/MagicalRecordLyricalNanohaForce Force]]'', breaking into a lab and almost getting incinerated, becoming a fugitive from the TSAB, getting sought after by the Hückebein, and slowly losing control of himself, and gets involved merely as a result of hearing her calling for help.
* The central plot of ''Anime/FreedomProject'' involves the main character traveling from the Moon to the Earth - and then across the entire United States - just to meet a girl in a photograph.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}''
** Jacuzzi gets a ransom note for a woman he met earlier that day. His response is to turn in himself for the money the mob put on his head. However, he's shown to be like this towards ''[[MartyrWithoutACause everyone]].'' He was, at one point, more concerned about the safety of some Russo mafia mooks than he was over the fact that said mooks were about to ''kill him''.
** Claire Stanfield, a man who insists on devoting himself completely and utterly to the first cute girl he finds that doesn't say no. Considering he's the series' resident AxCrazy SociopathicHero, [[spoiler:Chane]] now has either the most awesome or the most terrifying boyfriend in existence.
* Kiri of ''Manga/TheSeveringCrimeEdge'' knew Iwai for approximately 48 hours at the point he decides to defend her from the serial killers out to murder her. No, not kidnap and sacrifice her, but kill her on the spot. Whoever does manage to gets the power to break the laws of nature, and presumably have one of their wishes granted. Admittedly, it doesn't take much to want to prevent a young girl from being brutally murdered.
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'', as with so many others, lampshades this. When Gourry first meets Lina, he proclaims it is his duty as a knight to escort and protect Lina, despite knowing nothing about her (largely in part to his own lack of awareness).
* Touma in ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' succumbs to The Dulcinea Effect throughout the series. This is even [[LampshadeHanging discussed]] at one point by his [[HaremGenre Harem]], who is mostly made up of girls he's rescued earlier.
* Edo Phoenix in ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'' himself is slightly confused [[spoiler:when he decides to have a duel to the death with Amon Garam over a woman he doesn't much care about and only talked to once before this]] because [[WrongGenreSavvy he doesn't realize]] he's the AntiHero in a DeconstructorFleet that's made a point of demonstrating the absurdity and danger of myriad shonen and SuperHero tropes.
* In ''Manga/KingOfThorn'', it's revealed that all the survivors (except Kasumi) were [[spoiler: implanted with "keys" in their minds - and one of the "keys" was to "protect a weak Japanese woman with your life." Meaning that ''all'' the survivors were under The Dulcinea Effect, having the idea ingrained in them that they must irrationally protect Kasumi with their lives, even if they had never met her before]].
* Koyomi Araragi of ''LightNovel/{{Bakemonogatari}}'' suffers from this, even going so far as to risk his life to save a girl he barely knows when the sole reason she is in trouble in the first place is that she subconsciously wants to ''kill him.''
** Specifically referenced in ''Nekomonogatari (Black)'', where Araragi tries to make sense of his feelings for Hanekawa. He realizes that, rather than wanting to date her, he likes her so much that he might want to die for her instead. This is followed shortly by [[spoiler:getting himself PUNCHED IN HALF as part of a gambit to save her]].
* Gender inverted in ''Anime/PrincessTutu'', where Ahiru is talked into becoming Princess Tutu (and thus roping herself into a fairytale charging straight for a DownerEnding) to restore Mytho's heart after little more than a single encounter. She thinks it's LoveAtFirstSight, but later starts having her doubts and goes on to confess to Mytho's companion Fakir that she doesn't really know ''why'' she loves Mytho, other than because he's [[{{Bishonen}} pretty]]. [[spoiler:The answer is that she ''[[ShipSinking doesn't]]''. The girl who ''does'' love him that way is ''Ahiru's opponent'', [[DarkMagicalGirl Rue/Princess Kraehe]], who pulls a HeroicSacrifice for him and ends up becoming his Princess. Something that Ahiru comes to aknowledge, saying that she would have ''not'' been strong and selfless enough to do the same, since it would also involve giving up on her chance to stay as a human.]]
* In ''Manga/MidoriDays'', Seiji is shown to be afflicted with this towards... Kouta in a drag. Unfortunately for poor Kouta, such feelings don't transfer over when he's dressed normally as a boy.
* ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'': Hayate Ayasaki's big brother, Ikusa, is a guy who'd always help anybody in need... unless it's [[AbusiveParents his parents]]. He'll help out his little brother on those occasions he's around). He's kind of a powered-up version of Hayate -- [[StrongerSibling he just can]].
* ''Anime/RuneSoldierLouie'': The IdiotHero is very susceptible to this, which [[OurElvesAreBetter Celecia]] [[TheTease shamelessly exploits]] all the time; much to the annoyance of his female teammates.
* ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}''
** Mikado is compelled to save Anri from the delinquents harassing her.
** [[ChivalrousPervert Chikage]] takes this trope to its logical extreme by being willing to risk his life for any girl ever.
** Mikado also saves Mika from Celty, no questions asked--until later.
* In ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'''s Universal Century, one of the PsychicPowers associated with [[TelepathicSpacemen Newtypes]] is the ability to rapidly establish deep emotional connections with others of their kind. Whilst most Newtypes are pretty sane about this (due to their powers manifesting once they had the emotional maturity to handle that sort of thing), Banagher Links of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamUnicorn'' first manifested his powers when he was a young child, meaning that they're a far more integral part of his personality. Then the Industrial 7 incident happens whilst he's marinating in teenage hormones, and he suddenly finds himself up to his ears in pretty young Newtype girls with intriguingly tragic backstories. [[PowerIncontinence The results are entirely predictable.]]
* Gender flipped, inverted, and otherwise played with in ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena''. Screwing with this trope might be the point of the story, as [[spoiler: Prince Dios became the BigBad Akio when he was abandoned by the crowds after he wasn't able to save ''all'' the girls who needed it]], then [[spoiler: ropes Utena into coming to Ohtori by first saving her under the guise of the Prince he used to be, and then setting [[DecoyDamsel his much abused sister Anthy aka the Rose Bride]] in situations that would make [[BullyHunter Utena]] invoke this trope on her]].
* ''Manga/BusouRenkin'': Five minutes hadn't even passed in the first episode before Kazuki flings himself in the path of an oncoming homunculus, stabbing him straight through the chest [[spoiler:resulting in his immediate DEATH]], just to save a girl whose face he couldn't even see clearly, let alone know for three minutes. The kicker is that [[spoiler:[[RedundantRescue Tokiko didn't even need to be saved,]] as she was baiting herself in order to draw out the homunculus and Kazuki was merely [[ChronicHeroSyndrome in the way]]. But luckily for Kazuki, Tokiko had an extra kakugane on hand in order to give him a second chance at life: by making his memories of the previous night appear as nothing more than a horrible nightmare. Too bad that Kazuki [[CantStayNormal couldn't just leave it at that]]]].
* In ''LightNovel/AriaTheScarletAmmo'', Kinji inherited this ''genetically''. It's a side effect of his SuperMode. He can't ''not'' help a girl in trouble.
* In the pilot of ''Anime/GunXSword'', Van saves the town of Evergreen on Wendy's behalf, even though he's known her less than a day. Up to that point (and, to some extent, afterward), most of their interactions consisted of argument.
* ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' [[PlayingWith/TheDulcineaEffect zigzags]] the trope throughout the series.
** In the first episode, Mugen offers, unprompted, to help Fuu with her teahouse's thug problem... [[SubvertedTrope in exchange for food]]. When said thugs threaten to cut off her fingers, Mugen lounges on his table until Fuu promises him an absurd amount of dumplings to save her.
** As early as the second episode, Mugen [[DoubleSubversion nearly verges]] into AlwaysSaveTheGirl status, barely reacting to the woman who poisoned him until she mentions that Fuu is in danger and killing anyone who gets in between himself and Fuu (including Oniwakamaru, who would have surrendered).
** Played perfectly straight in the episode eleven with Shino, whom Jin immediately [[LoveAtFirstSight falls in love]] with.
* ''Anime/DaphneInTheBrilliantBlue'': Gender flipped. Shizuka finds a guy injured near trash cans and quickly becomes attached to and protective of him. [[spoiler: The guy's a con artist and calls this his "lonely enigmatic spy" routine.]]
* In ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny Gundam SEED Destiny]]'', Shinn risks his military career and possible execution to save Stellar, an enemy SuperSoldier and TykeBomb who he met ''once'' before he found this out. Slightly justified in that she reminds him of his late little sister, and it's hinted that he loves her more as a ReplacementGoldfish than anything else.
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Manga/OuranHighSchoolHostClub''. While the whole Host Club is protective of Haruhi, Tamaki is the most zealous about it, constantly trying to protect her from people and situations that present no danger to her.
* In the first episode of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', Shinji initially refuses to pilot the Eva until Rei is brought in and he realizes that if ''he'' doesn't do it, ''she's'' going to have to. In a twist, this seems to be more from empathy than from chivalry, since Rei is already seriously injured from an earlier attack.
* GenderFlip example: This is how Yukari from ''Manga/{{Sekirei}}'' meets Shiina. Shiina is being chased by two sekirei who are looking to capture him and bring him back to their ashikabi to be indoctrinated into his team. Yukari interferes because she believes that pretty boys should be protected.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Seems to be part of the Quincy honour code that Ishida lives by. He fights a shinigami vice-captain to protect Rukia, despite having professed to hate her only a few days beforehand, and gets outraged at Mayuri's treatment of his daughter Nemu despite the fact that Nemu attacked him. It's lampshaded by Mayuri himself.
-->'''Mayuri''': Are you that big a fool? You feel pity for a woman, even though she's your enemy? Is this the honor you Quincies take such pride in?!
** Ichigo gets it too. While he had a month to get to know Rukia, and even longer for Orihime, he was willing to risk his life for Nel after knowing her for a few hours, despite her status as an Arrancar and thus technically being his enemy. It's even more JustForFun/{{egregious}} in the first movie with Senna. After knowing her for about two days, he is more than willing to go on a rescue mission in an unstable region within enemy territory, despite warnings that this equates to a SuicideMission. This is justified, as he lost his mother when he was 9, he believed it was his fault for years, and he decided to become someone who can protect people. In the case of Nel, she has the appearance of a child, is harmless [[spoiler:when she's not in her original form]] and she helps Ichigo.
* ''Manga/LiarGame'': Despite initial reluctance and starting to play for money, Akiyama quickly ends up stuck in the game by protecting Nao.
* In the ''Manga/MaiHime'' manga, Yuuichi almost immediately becomes the Key, or most important person, of Mai and Natsuki. By contrast, in the anime, it takes over half the series to get close to that status for Mai, and it is also implied that Yuuichi became most important to Mai partly because a rift formed between Mai and Takumi over his decision to go to America for surgery alone [[spoiler:shortly before his death]].
* ''Manga/OnePiece''
** A platonic version is basically why the Straw Hats manage to make waves despite their {{Heroic Neutral}}ity: They fight evil only when it hurts their friends, but consider friends they've just made as worth fighting for. Since villains who aren't targeting the Straw Hats tend to threaten every innocent person in the vicinity, conflict between the two forces is pretty much inevitable.
** Sanji is a ChivalrousPervert so willing to fight to help any pretty lady he comes across that he's developed a "damsel-in-distress" sixth sense.
* ''Manga/{{X 1999}}'': Sorata Arisugawa decides to protect Arashi Kishuu with his life, immediately when he meets her for the first time. This is justified because Sora ''knows'' that he is fated to die for a woman. And the reason why he chooses Arashi is because he wants to die for a beautiful girl. Though he actually ''does'' fall for Arashi's actual person when he gets to know her, [[SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan and she falls in love with him as well. It happens both in the anime movie and in the anime series while the manga is never finished but implied to be going the same way.]]
* ''Anime/NowAndThenHereAndThere'': Shu starts the series by talking to a blue-haired girl he barely even knows, then spends the rest of the series paying for it.
* ''Anime/EurekaSeven'': Renton Thurston joined on an outlaw ship with a crew that constantly abuses him for the sake of a girl he had just met. Then, she has jealousy issues not over him but the fact that he pilots her mech. Then on top of that she shows little romantic interest in him at all [[spoiler: for about the first twenty episodes]] and admits to using him for the mecha. What does Renton do about this? Sulk about how he wants to continue to protect this girl and continue to take abuse.
* ''Manga/AkumaNoRiddle'': Tokaku is a high-school assassin who's pretty quick to risk death and openly declare her intentions to a room full of fellow killers to protect a girl she's only recently met.
** [[spoiler:Said "girl she's only recently met" actually has the ability to induce this in nearby people, whether she wants to or not. This revelation causes Tokaku to seriously question why she wants to protect Haru.]]
* ''Manga/LaughingUnderTheClouds'': Subverted. In the backstory told in ''Utakata ni Warau'' this is what it looks like when Hirari meets Botan at random in the street, follows her and supposedly saves her from a bunch of thugs (which she was about to get rid of anyway) and promptly declares he loves her and will marry her and protect her. Botan's initially having none of it, but it is later revealed that when Hirari was a child, Botan was the only one who did not treat him like a pariah, and ''that'' is the true reson he falls for her when they meet again.
* In ''Manga/Brave10'', the first time [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Saizo]] saved Isanami was just [[IWasJustPassingThrough self-defense]]. And the second time, too. And the third...

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/SinCity'': Most of the {{antihero}}es are afflicted with this trope to some degree. Several characters compare themselves to knights, with Dwight being Lancelot, and Hartigan "charging in like Galahad."
** Marv goes on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge for a woman he spent only one night with in the original graphic novel. He overlaps with BecauseYouWereNiceToMe.
** Wallace from "Hell and Back" goes through hell and high water to rescue a woman whom he saved from suicide at the start of the story.
** Hartigan from "That Yellow Bastard" goes through even worse hell than Wallace for the sake of a little girl who grows up to be one of Sin City's best known strippers. It's more the fact that this is all UnfinishedBusiness (he originally saved her when she was a child), and until he meets her, it doesn't truly occur to him that's she's no longer a child. Hartigan was more in it to protect the innocent. It just so happen that the innocent was a girl.
** Dwight [=McCarthy=] would also qualify -- the woman in question is someone who burned him in the past, but when it turns out she's in danger, Dwight rushes in to save her. Dwight's adherance to this trope is lampshaded by his lover Gail. [[spoiler: True to the series' FilmNoir roots, it's a WoundedGazelleGambit on the part of Ava to get Dwight to murder her husband so that she can get his hands on all his money]]. Dwight himself lampshades this weakness in "The Babe Wore Red", when he first finds the titular babe and thinks "One look at her and I know I'm in trouble deep." He risks his life once more to save this woman.
* Subverted in the ''[[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]]'' tale "The Hunt", in which the protagonist travels long and far in order to find a beautiful noblewoman whose picture he's seen on a necklace, only to [[spoiler:end up returning the necklace to her and walking away to marry someone else. The tale ends with [[WantingIsBetterThanHaving the wisdom that some goals are better not attained]]]].

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* In ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' fanfic ''Fanfic/DirtySympathy'', Klavier only knew Apollo for a night before deciding he will try to save him from his brother. Justified in that Klavier ''[[BigScrewedUpFamily knows]]'' what kind of [[ManipulativeBastard man]] his brother is and he would have been in Apollo's place if he hadn't run away the first chance he got. There is also an implication that Klavier is projecting his feelings on his [[DomesticAbuse bad situation]] onto Apollo.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Shrek}}'': This is parodied when Lord Farquaad chooses [[DamselInDistress Princess]] Fiona when she's clearly a ''[[PeerlessLoveInterest princesse lointaine]]'' he has never met, only been given a picture and description by the magic mirror. However, Farquaad can't be bothered to go on the quest ''himself'', and holds a tournament to select a knight to do the job for him. When Shrek beats up all the knights, Shrek ends up going on the quest (but only to get his swamp back).

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Luke Skywalker after he sees the hologram of Princess Leia in ''Film/ANewHope''. While trapped in the Death Star, he takes an enormous risk to rescue her.
** Han Solo averts this by refusing to rescue Leia until he's told that the princess is very rich. Luke's willingness to rescue the princess [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism contrasts his heroic idealism with Han's cynicism]]. It's made even more explicit in the Alan Dean Foster novelization of the film:
--->'''Luke:''' She's beautiful.
--->'''Han:''' So's life.
** Finn from ''Film/TheForceAwakens'' suffers from this. He had ''no idea who Rey was'' before he decided to put himself at risk for her.
* Inspector Clouseau in ''Film/AShotInTheDark'' is unshakably convinced that the beautiful Maria Gambrelli is innocent of murder despite the overwhelming mass of evidence that she is the killer. [[spoiler: She actually ''is'' innocent, but Clouseau was certainly acting under the influence of this trope.]]
* Film/JamesBond acts under the influence of this trope all the time, but somehow always manages to fulfill his organization's objectives in the course of doing so. That's not the ''only'' thing he [[DoubleEntendre fulfills]] in the course of doing so... Or the only thing he acts under...
** This is a stronger trait in Creator/PierceBrosnan's Bond because it's made explicit in ''Film/{{GoldenEye}}'' that he's constantly trying to atone for the women whose lives he wasn't able to save. He is protective towards all of the good (and two who pretend to be good) Bond Girls.
%%* ''Film/TheMask'':
* ''Film/{{Excalibur}}'': Queen Guinevere stands accused by Sir Gawain of treason by adultery, and was to have Sir Lancelot champion her in trial by combat. Sir Lancelot is late to the field and Myth/KingArthur is dismayed when no other individual is willing to champion Guinevere -- except for the newly-arrived, unarmored, untrained apprentice Perceval, who asks to champion Guinevere and is knighted by King Arthur for that purpose. He then readies himself to charge a fully-armored, battle-hardened Sir Gawain when (fortunately) Lancelot shows up to prevent it from happening.
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in ''Film/{{Constantine}}'':
--> '''Midnite''': Tell me this is not about the girl.
--> '''John Constantine''': Definitely... ''mostly'' not about the girl.
* ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' parodies this (as one might expect) : Creator/JohnCleese's Sir Lancelot receives a desperate message from someone he believes to be a wrongfully imprisoned girl, and he immediately sets out to free the prisoner. Sprinting (several times) across open fields, he single-handedly assaults and slaughters half the inhabitants of a local castle in the rescue effort, operating under the influence of The Dulcinea Effect. However, the Effect is instantly overcome by the revelation that [[DudeLooksLikeALady the girl is, in fact, a guy]]. A pathetically effeminate guy, but a guy nonetheless. In the stage adaptation, ''Theatre/{{Spamalot}}'', the same thing happens... only it winds up that Herbert becomes Lancelot's love interest anyway.
* Daniel Jackson in ''Film/{{Stargate}}''. He had just ended up in an AccidentalMarriage with her.
%%* ''Film/TaxiDriver''.
* ''Film/TheTerminator''. Kyle Reese volunteers to go back in time to protect Sarah Connor, who he fell in love with only from stories and a picture he was given by John Connor, knowing there is absolutely no way back and that going up against a Terminator programmed to kill Sarah will most likely result in a violent death. The line in question: "John gave me a picture of you once. I memorised every line. Every curve. I came across time for ''you'', Sarah." Though considering the [[CrapsackWorld alternative]] in the future... and John Connor gave the picture of Sarah to Kyle specifically to elicit this effect... [[spoiler:Kyle being his father thanks to time Travel, and all.]]
* ''Film/SlumdogMillionaire'': Jamal scrapes by as an orphan from the slums and gets into some very nasty situations, but [[{{Determinator}} never gives up]] looking for the girl he was friends with for a short time during his childhood.
* In ''Film/DumbAndDumber'', Lloyd's odyssey to return the briefcase of a woman he drove to the airport (he can be forgiven for thinking with the wrong head, though, given that [[IdiotHero the other head isn't good for much]]).
* ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides'' gives us a straight and justifiable male example, but an inversion as well, with the {{Love Interest|s}} herself. Philip shows the most kindness for Syrena [[spoiler:after she's taken captive by Blackbeard as a means to harvest a tear for the Fountain of Youth]], but [[GoodShepherd as a clergyman, you can understand that his acts of kindness are mostly motivated]] by his view on the value of all life, and he's wary about Syrena possibly [[spoiler:killing him since their first meeting was just after the mermaids attacked the entire crew]]. Once Syrena reveals that Philip has no reason to fear her, she gives a more straight example of this trope by revealing [[spoiler:that her "attack" on Philip was an act to save his life, stating that her reason was that he was different from the other men. She didn't show up prior to her introduction when the mermaids came about]]. It's after that moment that Philip is willing to risk his life for her.
* In ''Film/AKnightsTale'', Jocelyn makes William feel like a poet even though he doesn't know her name. Later, Jocelyn demands that William prove his love by losing an important joust for her. After watching him get knocked around for awhile, she changes her mind and sends word that he must prove his love by ''winning'' the joust. William is very obviously pissed and, when Chaucer tries to motivate him by pointing out Jocelyn in the stands, William growls "And how I hate her!" He meets her that night and has apparently forgiven her, but when she sees his injuries and says that it's all her fault, he gives a very unromantic "Yes, it is."
* ''Film/AnacondasTheHuntForTheBloodOrchid'': When Gail gets attacked by a crocodile, rather than grabbing a rifle, Bill simply jumps into the water and starts wrestling the crocodile with a knife. Lampshaded:
-->'''Sam:''' That is either the bravest or the stupidest thing I've ever seen.
-->'''Bill:''' It's a fine line.
* In ''The Ambulance'', the main character sees an attractive woman walking down the street and attempts to hit on her, she rebuffs him, he follows her and continues hitting on her, she collapses and the titular ambulance picks her up. He then spends the rest of the movie risking life and limb, fighting a sociopathic doctor constantly trying to run him down with an ambulance, and he never even got her name. After he rescues her from certain excruciating death and declares he did it for true love which he recognized at first, she asks him to call her boyfriend and let him know she's ok.
* ''Film/{{Runaway}}'': After noting how attractive she is, Sgt. Ramsey charges in to save [[SexySecretary Jackie]] from being zapped by a malfunctioning security robot, instead of returning to his car to suit up in protective gear. He gets zapped repeatedly, snarked at by both Jackie and his partner Thompson, and ends up smashing the expensive robot with a chair.
* Averted and then played straight in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'': [[LovableRogue Peter Quill]] decides to rescue Gamora from Drax not because he has any feelings for her, but because she knew where to pawn off [[MacGuffin the Orb]]. Later however [[spoiler: when Gamora is dying in the vacuum of space, Peter calls on his vindictive mentor to pick them up and jumps into the vacuum after her, even giving up his helmet so she would have enough air before they were picked up]] after knowing her for at most several days.
* In ''Film/ExMachina'', Caleb falls in love with Ava and is willing to risk everything to rescue her within days of meeting her. [[spoiler:Nathan and Ava are separately manipulating him to evoke this exact response]].
* ''Film/TheHungerGames'': Peeta may have known Katniss since the age of five but he only actually interacted with her once before being reaped with her and never speaks to her until they've become tributes. All the same he's so determined to die for her survival's sake that Haymitch notes it's not even worth trying to save Peeta in the arena.
* In Creator/BruceWillis', ''Film/LastManStanding'', he plays a retired [[VillainProtagonist gunman for hire]] who is possibly on the run from something. But he decides to stop in a mostly abandoned town near the Mexican border taken over by two Mafia gangs, the Irish and the Italians. He plays both sides against each other to make money, but things get personal for him, when he discovers a Mexican woman being forced to be the Irish mob leader's girlfriend. He decides to risk everything to free her in secret, but is found out and nearly beaten to death before escaping to recover and get revenge.

* ''Literature/DonQuixote'', the {{Trope Namer|s}}, is a {{parody}} of this trope. The hero Don Quixote, who believes himself to be a knight, claims to serve a beautiful, virtuous young lady, Dulcinea (really named Aldonza, but Don Quixote doesn't care), who is, in fact, nothing more than a peasant from his hometown, and, in some adaptations, a whore. Interestingly, in the original novel as well as in most adaptations, the actual character Dulcinea makes not a single appearance. He knows that the lady is nothing more than an excuse for the hero to have adventures, so he imagines his lady and begins to live his dreams!
* ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'': Percy is awfully quick to label [[FireforgedFriends friends]] he met a few days ago as "family." This is because they ARE family (in a twisted, mythical not-exactly-blood-relations kind of way). Virtually every major character in the stories is the descendant of one of the ancient Greek gods, who are themselves one big dysfunctional family. The series puts a lot of emphasis on the tragic flaws of heroes, so you might have an example of this trope show up, but it's explicitly stated that Percy's flaw is that he can't make sacrifices when it comes to his friends (male or female), even for the greater good.
* ''Literature/{{Twilight}}''
** Edward knows Bella as a person and not prey for maybe a month before he wants to spend the rest of his (non)-life protecting her from every other vampire in the world.
** In ''Breaking Dawn'', [[spoiler:Renesmee]]. The plot of the latter half of the book was [[spoiler:to rally up vampires to protect this one child that none of them even know. All of them agree to put their lives in danger for Renesmee the second they see her, without any logical reason as to why they even should endanger themselves to protect someone they only just met]]. WordOfGod says that vampires are extremely apathetic and, especially those that drink human blood, feel no affection for other vampires other than the one or two that travel with them.
* ''Literature/{{Ivanhoe}}'' from the Creator/WalterScott novel has one of these. Ivanhoe champions for Rebecca, a girl who is not his {{Love Interest|s}}. It was a fair exchange, since she healed his injuries and was accused of witchcraft for that and for being Jewish. Ivanhoe and Rebecca may not be the OfficialCouple, but they are very much the FanPreferredCouple... even by the ''author.''
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/IfThisGoesOn'': John Lyle gets involved in the revolution against the Theocracy for the sake of a girl he barely knows.
* ''Literature/TheMoonIsAHarshMistress'': TheProtagonist gets involved in the Lunar revolt for a barely better reason (granted, they had a slightly better chance of winning that one).
* ''Literature/TheRainmaker'': Rudy Baylor does this even to the point where he tells himself in the first stages of his relationship with Kelly, the {{Love Interest|s}}, that doing so is a bad idea.
* ''Literature/SwordOfTruth''
** In'' Wizard's First Rule'', Richard's entire quest starts when he sees some random lady running off in the distance, then sees a group of armed men stalking her.
** In ''The Law of Nines,'' a modern-day "reboot/continuation" of the story, the book ends with the main character being asked by an ally to tell him how the whole conflict started.
-->"Well, I guess it all started when I met this girl..."
-->"Doesn't it always?"
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': Robert Baratheon's relationship with Lyanna Stark. 15 years later, she was the love of his life and he went to war for her. Her brother Eddard says that for all his talk, Robert barely knew her, and Lyanna had acknowledged before her death that being married to her would not change Robert's womanizing ways.
* Literature/KnightAndRogueSeries: Subverted in ''The Last Knight'', when it turns out that the apparent DamselInDistress the hero just rescued from the tower is actually [[spoiler:a murder suspect locked in the tower awaiting trial]]. (There's no indication that the hero is attracted to her; he just [[ChronicHeroSyndrome considers it his duty to help people]].)
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'': Harry Dresden will help any woman who needs it, regardless of common sense, even if they haven't asked for help. In the first book, he complains about Murphy "pulling my old fashionec chain" by invoking this. Eventually, he learns to use his brain first and spot when this tendency is being used against him, as [[spoiler:Sheila/Lasciel]] did at one point. Yet despite this new ability, Harry still doesn't seem able to prevent himself from going into auto-chivalrous mode anyway. He recognizes that this tendency is dangerous, possibly lethal... but he can't stop it. He even refers to it as his sexist neanderthal instincts, and they're just as uncontrollably automatic as his snarking in the face of certain death.
* Creator/NeilGaiman's ''Literature/{{Stardust}}'' is an AffectionateParody of chivalry. Tristran Thorn goes on a quest to find the fallen star and prove his love to the village beauty, Victoria Forrester, who seems extremely uninterested in him. He ends up realizing that he's not interested in her, either.
* ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'' (Still true for another Gaiman's book): Richard goes out of his way to help a girl he sees for the first time in his life, leading his fiancée to break up with him.
** Although Richard doesn't help the girl because he's in love with her, he helps her because she's lying in the street alone and bleeding. His fiancée breaks up with him because she's upset that Richard doesn't care about the fact that helping the girl would make them late for dinner.
%%* {{Sharpe}} is very vulnerable to this. Especially in the books where he has it going with several women simultaneously.
* ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'': Eragon is only too ready to give his life saving a girl he met moments ago, who's spent the entire time he's known her in a coma. All he had to work with was a dream of a beautiful woman being held in a dungeon.
* In William King's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' Literature/SpaceWolf novel ''Wolfblade'', Torin warns Ragnar that the conversation he overheard may have been to induce him to assassinate a lord to protect a young woman -- and that the woman may have been part to such a plot.
%%* In ''Literature/IfOnAWintersNightATraveler'' by Italo Calvino, Ludmilla has this effect on [[AudienceSurrogate you]], Silas Flannery, and Ermes Marana. It's also a running theme in the various [[ShowWithinAShow novels]].
* Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs's heroes have this bad.
** In ''[[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars The Gods of Mars]]'', John Carter starts a GladiatorRevolt at the sight of women being thrown to monsters -- and most of the gladiators follow him. Largely justified, as it's made clear from the first novel that John's [[SouthernGentleman culture and values]] compel him to rescue ''any'' [[DamselInDistress woman from danger]]. Who they are is largely irrelevant.
** In ''Thuvia, Maid of Mars'', hearing a woman scream draws Carthoris from his sabotaged air ship.
* Played straight in ''Literature/TheFaerieQueene''. Redcrosse utterly fails at it, at first, but it's his first mission -- one doesn't become a KnightInShiningArmor overnight. The SweetPollyOliver Britomart demonstrates this for her fiancé, too.
* ''Literature/OrlandoFurioso'': Sacripant is in love with Angelica and will do whatever he needs to protect her, and she's self-interestedly using him for protection and unwilling to consider his romantic advances. Orlando himself, who is even more devoted to her, goes all [[UnstoppableRage ORLANDO SMASH!]] when he finds out that he can't have her and that she's not perfect.
%%* ''Amadis of Gaul''.
* Played for laughs in the Literature/JeevesAndWooster stories, where Bertie's insistence on gallantry gets him into a lot of trouble. Luckily, he has [[TheJeeves Jeeves]] there to extricate him from the soup.
* In some versions of the Myth/KingArthur legend, Sir Gawain takes a knightly vow to be a protector of ladies to atone for having accidentally killed a woman in his youth. Thus the fact that they are strangers to him is irrelevant.
* Captain Hastings, from the Poirot stories by Creator/AgathaChristie, suffers from this a great deal. He will always leap to the assistance of a young lady (especially a redhead), and will generally ignore any evidence pointing to her as the murderer. One such woman is even named Dulcie.
* ''Literature/EnchantedForestChronicles'': Invoked and then defied in '' Talking To Dragons''. When Shiara and Daystar are trapped in a hedge circle and Daystar is able to get in and out (because he's polite to the bushes), Shiara demands that he tell the hedge to open and let her out. Daystar, who is the son of the ''very'' GenreSavvy Cimorene, sensibly points out that it's getting dark and thus impractical to leave at that moment, plus he doesn't know Shiara from Adam and thus is uncertain as to whether or not he wants to rescue her. Shiara replies that she had been hoping he was a hero, as one can "talk them into anything".
* In Robert Jordan's ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':
** Gareth Bryne's chasing down Siuan might count as this trope. He certainly believes he does at first, {{lampshad|eHanging}}ing that he's too old to be chasing after pretty girls, much less when he can't figure out the reason (beyond the money/service she owed).
** In a gender inversion, the members of Rand's harem are all inextricably in love with him at first sight, though their reactions differ (Min plays this straightest, while Aviendha tries to run in horror).
** In Shienar they have a saying: "A man who is not willing to give his life to save a woman is not a man."
* In ''Literature/{{Peacebreakers}}'', Jackson kills Kiera's stalker, gets her sober, and [[spoiler:dies to save her from zombies]] after knowing her for a few months and dating her for two.
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's stories "Literature/ShadowsInZamboula", "Literature/ShadowsInTheMoonlight", and "Literature/ThePoolOfTheBlackOne", Literature/ConanTheBarbarian fights for unknown women on little provocation. Then again, he's [[InHarmsWay prone to fight on little provocation anyway]].
* In the ''Literature/ArabianNights'', a prince falls in love with the princess of another kingdom on hearsay alone. It's played straight a few other times throughout the novel also. This may be an UrExample, though there may be even older mythological examples that aren't on this page yet.
* ''Literature/FalconQuinn'': Pearl is both a genderflip and a ''platonic'' example, in that she is only too willing to declare herself the "Sworn Friend" of numerous people she's only just met, and vows that she's willing to give her life defending them. Being HotBlooded is part of her schtick.
* Literature/SherlockHolmes: This was clearly a reasonable thing to expect, ''if'' the woman was English like himself. Thus it's proof that nationalism was a lot stronger in the 1890s: if a character in 21st century fiction [[AlwaysSaveTheGirl drops everything to help out]] a random stranger who happens to be from his home country, nobody would buy it.
* Played with in ''[[Creator/LouisaMayAlcott Rose in Bloom]]'', the sequel to ''Eight Cousins''. Mac finds a girl, and tries very hard to help her, even though he's only known her for a few minutes at the time he agrees. [[spoiler:Then again, she's about two years old, an orphan, and has no other close relatives.]] Lampshaded when he and Rose call her [[note]]Name her, actually; her mother was too sick to tell Mac her name, and nobody else knew either the mother or the baby.[[/note]] Dulcinea.
* In ''Literature/SorcererToTheCrown'' by Zen Cho, Prunella mentions how Zacharias is exactly the kind of gentleman who could be easily manipulated into helping a woman who plays the role of a damsel in distress. Prunella actually needs help, but exaggerates for effect as she doesn't know Zacharias (who would help her anyway).
* In ''Literature/SummerCelebration'', stoic robber Misha Barkhasid sends away everyone around him to listen to Miriam Helenís story about how notorious criminal Woldarski seduced her and tried to blackmail her into prostitution. He agrees to help her, despite her story being just one of many stories about Woldarski, and eventually [[spoiler:fights him and takes a knife to the lung and narrowly escapes death for her]].
* In Creator/LloydAlexander's ''Literature/TheGoldenDreamofCarloChuchio'', the title character first meets his love interest Shira briefly as a boy, and upon finding out she is a girl, is instantly smitten. When she is being threatened an hour later, he shoves her out of the way and angrily tries to defend her honor, despite the fact that she was defending herself quite well.
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'': Peeta Mellark has known who Katniss is since he was five years old, but the first time he actually speaks with her is after the reaping. Still, he's willing to die and kill for her without the slightest hesitation, to the point where their mentor Haymitch realizes there's no point in trying to keep Peeta alive since he's just going to sacrifice himself for Katniss anyway. Even before they both became tributes, he willingly took a beating from his abusive mother so he could give Katniss some bread, when he was just eleven years old.
* Many women in ''Literature/TheMarkOfTheLion'' wish they had this effect on the gladiators, but Julia is the one to have it (accidentally) on Atretes.
* ''Literature/TheExilesViolin'': Clay meets Jacquie when she's in the process of stealing from an auction. After she explains herself, he says (paraphrased) "I'll help you." This is because he is bored, but later he becomes genuinely protective of her and she finds this smothering.
* In Creator/AndreNorton's ''Literature/StormOverWarlock'', Shann, seeing a Wyvern lose control of a forktail, leaps to fight the monsters. This is not from a romantic interest, as they aren't even the same species.
* In ''Literature/HeartOfSteel'', Alistair is willing to do some crazy(er) things for the sake of Julia, whom he barely knows. Justified in that she was the first meaningful human companionship he's had in ten years.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}''
** In "Billy", Angel turns up at Lila's door to confront her about the consequences of her evil actions. He kicks down the door and threatens her- until she steps into the light, and he sees that she has black eyes and is covered in bruises. Suddenly, Angel turns from threatening Lila to saying he's going to go have a talk with the man who did this to her. Played with, as Lila calls him out on it, pointing out that this sudden change of tone and outrage on her behalf is coming from someone who she knows hates her and came to see her with rather violent intentions himself.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}''
** Peter Petrelli often fulfills this trope, given his quest to prevent a viral apocalypse in the second season is really more about saving the life of a girl he knew only briefly.
** Matt Parkman risks his life -- several times -- to save a supervillainess he just met yesterday, all because he had a psychic vision of them being married in the future.
** You may be forgiven for thinking that "Hiro Rule" in the page quote refers to Hiro Nakamura. He goes through an awful lot of effort for Charlie, whom he hadn't known for a long time. Then again, this is pretty in character, given that [[GenreSavvy he seems to view life as a comic book]]. Also in his case, it may be more a case of simply wanting to save her, because he wants to save EVERYONE (it's what heroes do, after all), and it's only in the process of trying to save her that she becomes more than just another innocent civilian that needs saving. While the Dulcinea Effect is falling in love (lust) and then helping, in Hiro's case, he was helping and then fell in love. He followed much the same pattern with Yaeko as well.
* In an episode of ''Series/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark'', a boy gets sucked into a pinball game where he has to battle a witch and crown the princess. The princess is represented by a woman he had met at the mall only five minutes ago and who only spoke to him because he was standing in for a repair shop owner. And yet the guy comes to her rescue with the zeal of someone fighting for his true love. Admittedly, he was probably also fighting with all the zeal of someone who just got sucked into a killer pinball machine. [[spoiler:He didn't even get to escape in the end.]]
* ''Series/{{House}}'':
** {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d when Thirteen points out to Foreman how foolhardy he was to risk his medical license on a two-week-old relationship. ''She'' was the proverbial Dulcinea.
** Wilson was unbelievably devastated by the death of his girlfriend, who he had known only for four months, and dated for a few weeks. He asked his best friend of many years (House) to risk his life for her. He's still devastated by her death about a year later, because she was the only person he had "loved in a long time". Season 4 was shortened, and if it had gone as the writers intended, they would have been dating for 6 months or so. Also, Wilson deeply attaches himself to girlfriends with pathological ease.
* ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'': Victor's feelings for Sierra are just as much about this -- he tries to save her and take care of her even in personalities that don't know her. However, just like Echo and Paul, [[spoiler:they eventually fall in love and turn out to be just right for each other]].
* Played with in the ''Series/{{Highlander}}: The Series'' episode "Chivalry". Richie falls for Kristin, a beautiful Immortal who becomes murderously jealous when jilted, as Duncan knows from past experience. [[InvokedTrope As she plays the weak and helpless damsel when defeated]], neither Duncan nor Richie can bring themselves to take her head. That doesn't stop Methos:
-->'''Methos''': [to Kristin] Pick [the sword] up.
-->'''Kristin''': Who the hell are you?
-->'''Methos''': [[DefiedTrope A man who was born long before the Age of Chivalry.]] Pick it up.
* ''Series/{{Merlin 2008}}'': This is in full effect in the episode "The Lady Of The Lake". Merlin merely glimpses Freya and instantly decides he must risk everything to save her. The fact that she's being persecuted for magic use might have something to do with it, but it still fits the straight version.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS3E19RequiemForMethuselah Requiem for Methuselah]]", Kirk goes down to a planet where he only has four hours to obtain some material for a vaccine. He promptly falls so in love with the girl he meets down there that Spock is forced to erase her from his memory when he's left too heartbroken to go on after being forced to leave her. Even for the notoriously womanizing Kirk, this is a severe example.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'': In the episode 'Q-pid', Q insists that Picard is still in love with Vash, a woman he knew for one day a year earlier, and proves it by trapping them in a storyline where he has to rescue her. Picard brushes off his claims, pointing out that he'd try to rescue anyone in danger.
* ''Series/RobinHood'': Robin takes one look at Kate and is instantly in love, even though she treats him with mild contempt. All of a sudden, Kate is the centre of Much's universe (and all the outlaws, thanks to the AlwaysSaveTheGirl principle). Oddly though, in a mid-season episode Much laments the fact that Kate has been captured and says: "I'd do anything for her." Yet he doesn't stop what he's doing in order to go and rescue her, so this is a {{subver|tedTrope}}sion.
* In ''Series/TheLoneGunmen'', John Byers gets hit with this ''hard'' when he sees Suzanne Modeski. He ends up throwing away his career, his respectability, and most of his illusions about [[{{Eagleland}} the country he loves]] in the process. The other two Gunmen see Modeski as little more than a FemmeFatale. The truth is...somewhere between the poles.
* ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' has a GenderFlip example. It may be Sarah's job to protect the Intersect, but her feelings for Chuck provide the motivation for just how seriously she takes his safety. In Season 3, she admits she fell in love with Chuck "some time between his fixing her phone and defusing a bomb" when they first met.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In the episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS3E10TheWarMachines The War Machines]]", Ben's brooding is broken up when he sees a man is being a nuisance to Polly. When the man starts a fight, Ben does not back down. (Then, he's brooding because he's on a shore posting, so there may be a touch of InHarmsWay to it.)
** In "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS4E9TheEvilOfTheDaleks The Evil of the Daleks]]", the Daleks' plan relies on Jamie being prepared to risk his life to rescue Victoria, whom he hasn't even met at that point. He does.
** In "The Night of The Doctor", it is revealed that the Eighth Doctor's death and eventual regeneration was caused by him choosing to risk his life for a cute girl he met five seconds ago, whose name gets mentioned dramatically at the end of his list of companions as if it is the most special one of them all. It's justified in that the Eighth Doctor is one of the most innocent, optimistic and AllLovingHero incarnations of the Doctor, so it serves as a decisive BreakTheCutie for him.
** The Fourth Doctor novella ''Ghost Ship'' shows the Doctor having a HeroicBSOD when he fails to prevent the death of a woman he spoke to twice, even though he took every reasonable precaution to protect her (keeping an eye out for her, checking in on how she was feeling, and telling her when he experienced a premonition that she would die in water, suggesting that she avoid the swimming pool). It's {{justified|Trope}} in that he is ''not'' in a healthy psychological state during the story, due to a combination of depression and the MindRape effects of the NegativeSpaceWedgie in the place he landed; that he admits to himself that he isn't in pain out of sympathy but out of selfishness and frustration with his own incompetence; and that a plotline of this kind is the [[FunctionalGenreSavvy kind of thing included]] in the GothicHorror novels that the story is pastiching. The Doctor also notes in the opening paragraphs of the story that he is consciously trying to write a gothic horror story and is also a shameless UnreliableNarrator, so it's also possible he's heavily altering the story to make it more romantic and genre-appropriate.
** Steven sees a young woman, Anne, getting chased by guards in the first episode of "The Massacre of Saint Bartholemew's Eve" and becomes immediately fixated on saving her. When the Doctor leaves the time period without doing anything to prevent the massacre, he focuses most of his grief on the fact that they'd left Anne to die.
** In the Tenth Doctor audio story "Dead Air", [[spoiler:the Hush's plan depends on the Doctor being willing to take a beautiful young woman on board the TARDIS despite hardly knowing her]]. The Doctor even lampshades this in the narration. It's [[ChronicHeroSyndrome completely in character for him]].
* In an episode of the 90s version of ''Series/{{Cupid}}'', a nutcase who thinks he ''is'' Don Quixote singles out a bewildered sex worker as literally his Dulcinea.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' episode "Rogue Planet", a race of shapeshifters is being hunted like animals. A member of this race transforms into a beautiful woman, meets with Captain Archer, and begs for help. Captain Archer immediately agrees to drop everything he was doing to help her and her people, acting like a man in love. T'Pol lampshades Archer's behavior by asking if he would be so eager to help if the shapeshifter came to him in the form of a man. When the day is saved, the "woman" thanks Archer and turns back to her true form, which looks like a giant slug. Archer is shocked, but they part on friendly terms.
* Jamie Reagan in ''Series/BlueBloods'' absolutely cannot resist a DamselInDistress.
* ''Series/MastersOfHorror'': In "Valerie on the Stairs", Rob is rather drawn to Valerie, the woman who begs him to save her from a monster, even though he knows nothing about her. [[spoiler:This is later explained to be because they're both fictional characters who were written that way. Valerie specifically has no personality attributes beyond her status as a damsel in distress because she's defined solely by her relationship to Rob.]]
* In ''Series/{{Lost}}'', Jack barely knows Kate for a couple of days before he's growing protective about her safety and looking out for her. This includes trying to convince her she shouldn't come with him (or anyone else) on treks into the jungle because it could be dangerous, despite her seeming no less capable than the others (and moreso than some). This continues in the third episode, even when he sees her mug shot in the possession of a police officer - who keeps ranting about how dangerous she is!
* ''Series/TheExpanse'': Detective Miller is assigned to find Julie Mao, the runaway daughter of a major [[LawEnforcementInc Star Helix]] stockholder. He quickly becomes obsessed with her and even thinks he's in love with her despite their never meeting, while she's alive [[spoiler: and/or human]] anyways. Its even {{lampshade|Hanging}}d; "Dulcinea" is the title of the pilot.

* The song ''Dulcinea'' by Music/{{Isis}} is about this, hence the name.

* The original ''princess lointaine'' story dates from the 12th century and describes the Troubadour Joufre's passionate love for the Countess of Tripoli, whom he has only heard described. He eventually journeys to the Holy Land and arrives dying and expires in her arms. She then enters a convent - over a man she meets briefly and when he is NOT at his best (since he was dying and all). Joufre and Hodierna Countess of Tripoli are historical - the rest of the story not so much.
* A rare guy on guy version: in the ''Literature/{{Ramayana}}'', Hanuman devoted himself to Rama after their first encounter.
* In [[http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/lfb/gn/gnfb17.htm The Little Soldier]], the titular little soldier finds a beautiful woman in a fireplace, who has the body of a serpent. She begs him to retrieve various articles of clothing for her and he readily does so, even though he must fight through monsters to get to them and has never seen this girl before in his life. This bites him in the ass big time, when the princess turns out to be a horrible person who drugs him so she doesn't have to marry him, steals various magic items from him, and mocks his attempts to woo her. [[spoiler:He gets over her and ends up with the fisher-woman who helped him out.]]
* In [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Greek Mythology]], Perseus had no idea who Andromeda even ''was'' when he saw her shackled to a rock and about to be FedToTheBeast, or who had done it to her, or why. (He got explanations after rescuing her.)

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* A not-uncommon scenario includes a {{heel}} diva's male manager, friend, boyfriend, tag partner, or stable attacking a {{face}} diva and subsequently being driven away by an otherwise mostly unrelated male face. The rescuer may be in a feud with the male attacker, but the point remains that he's interfering to protect the girl.
* Also common is the {{heel}} wrestler blaming his diva manager for a series of losses and attacks her. This leads to his {{face}} rival coming to her rescue and she gets an automatic HeelFaceTurn.

* The quoted musical, ''Theatre/ManOfLaMancha'', as well as the classical novel ''Don Quixote'', upon which it was based, parody this very trope, when the self-proclaimed knight Don Quixote falls instantly in love with a beautiful damsel (in fact, a barmaid moonlighting as a prostitute) and refuses to be convinced by any means that his lady "Dulcinea" (a name he gave her, because her real name, Aldonza, was ill-fitting for a lady of her splendor) was anything less than the beautiful and virtuous lady he imagined her to be. In this particular musical, Don Quixote's high (if misguided) opinion of Aldonza eventually causes her to realize that she is not living up to her potential, and makes it her business to take more pride in herself and become her own Dulcinea.
* In ''Theatre/TheMagicFlute'', Tamino sings his main aria to a picture of the heroine her mother has given him as an incentive to rescue her.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* As one might garner from the page quote, this trope tends to show up a ''lot'' in video games. However, Hiro from ''VideoGame/LunarEternalBlue'' is the smack-bang-in-the-centre example of the videogame version of this trope. It's even the {{Trope Namer|s}} in Website/TheGrandListOfConsoleRolePlayingGameCliches, as seen at the top of this page.
** One might think that he only did this for Lucia because she's a mysterious beauty who he's clearly smitten with at first sight, but the manga "Lunar: Younenki no owari" shows that he will literally do this for ANY girl he met 5 minutes ago, making his more of a case of ChronicHeroSyndrome.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2'': Mixed with JumpedAtTheCall. As soon as Reala emerges from a giant Lens, Kyle is determined to become her hero and pursues her across the continent to do so. This is often lampshaded by his older brother, Loni, who is also roped into the adventure as a result.
* A rare female example crops up in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphoniaDawnOfTheNewWorld'' -- Marta is infatuated with Emil from the moment he "saves" her -- so infatuated, in fact, that she sets an ancient guardian monster to stalk him for several months, and when she does reunite with him, offers to hand herself in to be executed in order to spare his village (and his guilt). All for a guy whose name she had learned only an hour or two ago.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' gets away with this by turning it into a part of a larger plot point: the hero not only leaps unreasonably to the heroine's defense, he shouts her name in the process before he's told it. Dun dun DUUUUN! [[spoiler:They'd been lovers over several incarnations, the latest being the one we see in-game.]]
* Several games in ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' series fall under this trope, as they show Link going off on a quest for Princess Zelda after knowing her for only a few minutes or, such as in the original ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI'' game, never having met her at all. Although, given that she's his sovereign ruler, it's probably illegal for him ''not'' to quest or something, and if he ever ''did'' say no, [[ButThouMust she'd probably just keep asking him]].
** ''VideoGame/{{The Legend of Zelda Oracle|Games}} of Ages'': Link goes and saves Impa from some attacking monsters (while he ''does'' know Impa, he doesn't seem to know her when he saves her). He then accompanies her to find the girl Impa was looking for. [[spoiler:Once they find said girl, it turns out that Impa was actually possessed by an evil sorceress, the girl was the Oracle of Ages, and the sorceress has now possessed her.]] [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Well done, Link.]]
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' mostly avert it. In ''Wind Waker'', Link starts his quest because [[KnightTemplarBigBrother his little sister was taken by a giant bird]], and finishes BecauseDestinySaysSo. ''Twilight Princess'' has Link trying to save the kids from the village; at first he's helping Midna because she's helping him. Those first 3 dungeons are by no means short ([[DownTheDrain especially the third one]]), so by the second half of the game, he and Midna have had time to bond. Ganondorf just happens to know how to push Link's BerserkButton at the end.
*** If you look at the genderflipped version for ''Twilight Princess'', Midna rescues [[DistressedDude Link]] from Zant's dungeon, after seeing him for five minutes. [[spoiler:It turns out that she only did so because it was foretold that he'd help her overthrow Zant, and she later apologizes for this.]]
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' averts this completely, as Zelda and Link are best friends who have actually known each other for ''years'' in that game.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'' subverts this. Assuming you select the more proactive dialogue options in the opening Great Plateau section, it can seem like [[AmnesiacHero Link]] is perfectly willing to follow the lead of the unfamiliar woman's telepathic voice that greets him when he wakes up in the Shrine of Resurrection. But it turns out that he had become good friends with Zelda before losing his memories, and he's so willing to fight for her without them due to AmnesiacResonance.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', Snake devotes himself to saving Meryl when she's only around for one boss battle before she gets shot.
** Lampshaded in one parody, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV_wCMsLTD8 as seen here]].
** It wasn't one-sided, either -- when the two finally meet up, Meryl tells Snake that she had been given psychotherapy to destroy her interest in men, and then not ten minutes later the boss from that one battle before she gets shot is telling Snake with his dying breath that he has "a large part" in her heart.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemGenealogyOfTheHolyWar'': Played straight with Sigurd and Deirdre (or Diadora, [[SpellMyNameWithAnS depending on who your translator is]]). Gender-swapped in the same game... with Deirdre and Sigurd. Yes, they ''both'' immediately fall madly for each other.
* ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'':
** Justified by having the girl the player has never met being his commanding officer and possibly the key to winning the war with the Sith.
** Gender-flipped in the sequel with Visas and the Handmaiden if the player is male, and played straight with Atton and the Disciple if the player is female. Though certain later events put it in a new context.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights'': The 'good' responses during most of Aribeth's dialogue in the first chapter suggest a male hero is falling victim to this trope. A male hero of Hordes of the Underdark can fall victim to this as well, with either Nathyrra or Aribeth.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'':
** Most of the 'good' dialogue with Elanee or Neeshka suggests a male character is acting under the Dulcinea Effect. Especially the decision to help Neeshka in her feud with her former partner, leading to the question: Why, if Neeshka didn't tell the player that if he came to Neverwinter with her he would likely be the target of assassination attempts, does he still trust her?
** The player can use this trope with regards to Safiya in the sequel as well, despite the fact that she is of a sect of wizards noted for their brutality, political scheming (read: assassinations and shadow wars), and immorality. Yet the player can completely trust her from the outset (not like you have any choice).
** A male player in the ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' community module Dark Avenger can behave like this towards Contessa Mignet. Her being madly in love with a Casanova character who is trying to get rid of her for being too clingy doesn't help.
* ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'': Most of these women save Adol Christin's life in the first place because he is almost always shipwrecked at the start of games. Then he spends the rest of them protecting them.
* ''VideoGame/Disgaea2CursedMemories'': while Adell's initial promise to protect and return Rozalin to her father probably doesn't raise any eyebrows at first (he's borderline LawfulStupid, and clearly feels responsible for her FallenPrincess predicament), the Dulcinea Effect becomes apparent when he [[HonorBeforeReason insists on keeping it in even the most suicidal circumstances]], and he doesn't even ''like'' [[DoesNotLikeMen girls]].
* In ''VideoGame/Disgaea3AbsenceOfJustice'', Almaz decides that the best way to impress a girl he likes is to descend into hell on a nigh-suicidal mission to defeat the Overlord -- for a girl that [[spoiler:at least as far as he knows]] ''isn't even aware of his existence''. Mao finds this all rather very silly.
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' allows a justification of the trope, where you find a drow woman being pursued by a member of the Flaming Fist (a mercenary company that acts as law and order for the region). He says she is accused of murder, and he's going to kill her... without the messiness of a trial or any of that because she's a drow. [[spoiler:She is [[NeutralEvil evil]] and may well be guilty, but your character can protest that the law should be obeyed. The mercenary comes after you for it, and you get to fight him (with no loss of reputation, as would happen if you killed any other Flaming Fist soldier in the game). You do, however, lose 2 reputation points if you let her join your party.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheBardsTale'': The female shows up as an unreal owner of boob, so he immediately works for her although his tasks mess up his life severely. [[spoiler:Later we "find" out that she is a demon.]]
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' opens this way, when Crono follows Marle through the mysterious portal triggered by the malfunctioning telepods, after meeting her that day. Although after she disappears, the game prevents you from leaving the scene any other way, so it's [[ButThouMust forced]]. Lucca says it best: "Crono! You brought her here, you get her back!" And she's kind of got a point; what sort of person would bring a new acquaintance to something that goes terribly wrong -- and then just abandon them to who knows what?
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'': A very short time after Cecil finds Rydia, and witnesses her summon a monster that appeared to kill his best friend Kain, he immediately throws away his career to protect Rydia by killing the troops sent by his king to arrest and execute her. This can be considered a JustifiedTrope, as he was already suffering a crisis of conscience against his kingdom of Baron due to the the immoral acts the king had ordered him to commit, which included unwittingly destroying Rydia's village by delivering a deadly item there.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' has Zidane, who is trying to ''kidnap'' the princess at the start of the game. Then he becomes her escort for the rest of it. This is even part of his skill-set. He has the in-game ability 'Protect Girls.' If there's a female in the party who gets attacked, Zidane will jump in front of her and take the hit. This does not, however, prevent him from [[ChivalrousPervert grabbing the princess's butt]] while climbing a ladder.
-->'''Zidane:''' [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Ooh, soft...]]
** In ''[[VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy Duodecim]]'', talking to Zidane on the world map at one point has him say that collecting the [[MacGuffin crystals]] is a pain and he wouldn't do it if Cosmos wasn't hot. He says that he's joking, but [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII Squall]] doesn't believe him.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Ever17}}'': The Kid fell in love with Coco at first sight. [[spoiler:He then spent the next 17 years of his life learning to imitate his role model Takeshi as exactly as possible. He does this based on a story that You tells him involving the personification of the perception of time. He doesn't even get the girl because by this point he looks 20 and is actually 32 while she's 14, acts about 8 and considers herself to be the girlfriend of said personification. The Drama [=CDs=] show that after the incident, he got over Coco, got a job, and [[PairTheSpares ended up with Sora]], so it seems he's all right.]]
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'': Invoked during the "Death of Chivalry" quest as you come across a woman named Dawn, who is held captive by the Black Knight faction under the control of Captain Dulcin. It is later revealed that Dawn has [[spoiler:secretly killed Dulcin long ago in a plan that ultimately has the Player Character and/or his companion Sir Owen complete a series of tests of chivalry so that she may obtain an artifact of power]].
* In ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory'', Claude winds up on an alien planet where he's absolutely not allowed to use his superior technology. The first thing he does is use that technology to save the cute blue-haired chick from a monster. [[note]]The player can TRY to kill the monster with Claude's bare hands, and in fact, Claude DOES start with GoodOldFisticuffs in the manga adaptation. Unfortunately, it does next to no good in either version, so he'll be using his awesome laser gun anyway.[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'': Locke is very quick to pledge his unfaltering protection to Terra and later Celes, two complete strangers who had once worked for the Empire. The reason for this is tragic. [[spoiler:He lost the love of his life, Rachel, in an Imperial attack that he wasn't there to protect her from. Terra's amnesia hits especially close because Rachel contracted amnesia as the result of a trip he took her on. Rachel's amnesia and death are his [[FailureKnight greatest failures]], and so he vows to protect Terra and Celes because he refuses to fail another woman like he did Rachel.]]
* ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'': Fox gets a few psychic message things from Krystal and sees her suspended in the Krazoa Palace and he's more than willing to do everything he can and risk his life to save her.
* ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'': Obviously, given that you're the omnibenevolent sun god and all. Issun tends to be more cynical than Ammy, but is also a huge sucker for a pretty face.
** Same in ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}''. Your first partner, Kuni, actually believes that it is his duty as a swordsman and son of Susano to help out any damsel in distress he sees, [[MilesGloriosus despite initially being too afraid of demons to face up to them]]. Kurow also seems to display this, despite his EstablishingCharacterMoment showing him to be a bit of a jerk and possibly a criminal.
* ''VideoGame/WhiteKnightChronicles'': Leonard had only met the princess, Cisna, once before, when they were kids (and she wasn't even interested in him, but in [[DistractedByTheShiny the butterfly on his head]]), but [[LoveAtFirstSight he falls in love with her the moment he sees her again (and she with him)]] and is willing to rush off and confront a hostile nation searching for destructive lost technology after they kidnap her (dragging his [[ChildhoodFriendRomance Unlucky Childhood Friend]] and the HeroicMime with him).
* ''VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed II'' plays this trope straight but with an added GenderFlip. Starkiller and Juno spend quite a bit of time together in the first game but their mild flirtations never seemed all that serious and were closer to crush status than genuine love. Then in the next game, without having spent any more additional time with each other, both characters are throwing themselves in front of buses to try and save the other -- Starkiller more than Juno, but she does some crazy shit too ([[spoiler:like trying to stab ''Darth Vader'' with a lightsaber!]]).
* ''VideoGame/AgarestSenki'': Leonhardt plays this so straight, the first time he does this, ''he gets killed'' (curiously, the first time he did this, the girl in question is not a {{Love Interest|s}} seeing as she's just twelve years old). He recovered, though, and does this trope again to two women.
* ''VideoGame/{{ICO}}'': A childish innocence is the driving force because Ico and Yorda are kids. The game's {{minimalism}} leaves a lot [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation open to interpretation]], but Ico clearly cares for Yorda, who implicitly trusts Ico with her life. It helps avoid any cliche by the fact that the game is [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome so well done]] that [[VideogameCaringPotential the player comes to love]] both Yorda and Ico as much as they love each other. It also helps that A) One of the first things Ico sees of Yorda is her ability to open locked doors; doors which surround the castle they're trapped in [[spoiler:there's also one at the end of the giant bridge, assuming you don't turn around and try to jump back for Yorda the second the queen tries to capture her]], and B) he has a vague idea of why he himself was trapped in the castle, and knows it's a bad idea for anyone to stick around there.
* ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'': Phoenix is a sucker for {{Distressed Damsel}}s in general, male or female, whether or not they have any way of paying for his services.
** Phoenix first meets Maya next to a dead body and he immediately takes her case when she's accused of murder.
** He does the same for Lana later on (taking her case right after meeting her) and keeps defending her even when [[spoiler:the culprit starts personally threatening him]].
** In Trials and Tribulations case [[spoiler:5]], there is no evidence that [[spoiler:Godot]] had ever met [[spoiler:Maya]] before risking life and limb to protect her. He had a pretty good excuse, though: [[spoiler:she is his dead girlfriend's sister, after all. That, and the one after her was essentially his girlfriend's arch-nemesis, who was responsible for ruining Godot's life too]].
** In ''VisualNovel/ApolloJusticeAceAttorney'''s backstory, it is revealed that Phoenix [[spoiler:adopted Trucy]] quickly after meeting her.
** Justified and averted in two instances in ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonVsAceAttorney''. Phoenix is more than willing to defend Espella from accusations of witchcraft even though he's known her for less than a week, but [[spoiler:he'd been given fake memories of knowing her for five years]]. And the second instance: when Maya is accused, Luke Triton is more than willing to testify against her.
* ''VideoGame/ArTonelicoMelodyOfElemia'': Lyner has no hesitation in helping any {{Squishy Wi|zard}}tch of the Reyvateil race, which only consist of girls. Lyner's keeping up with this trope so much that he will have no hesitation in "saving" a BigBad in the final battle, who appears to be an [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds over-abused Reyvateil.]]
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/TheWitcher2AssassinsOfKings'', where you meet an elf girl accused of luring town guards to their death. When you do the investigation, [[spoiler:it turns out that she was completely responsible. If you defend her, as "thanks", she'll lead you to an ambush]].
* An instance of this is optional in ''VideoGame/TheSecretOfMonkeyIsland''. If Guybrush completes the "Trial of Thievery" last (stealing the Idol of Many Hands from Elaine's mansion), he gets up from attempted drowning by Fester Shinetop [[spoiler:([=LeChuck=] in disguise)]] to see [=LeChuck=]'s ship disappearing and being informed by the Lookout that Elaine has been kidnapped by [=LeChuck=]. Guybrush then proclaims his love for her, even though he mumbled incoherently towards her just prior. If Guybrush doesn't complete the "Trial of Thievery" last, Guybrush and Elaine profess their love for one another and Guybrush still vows to rescue her when she's eventually kidnapped, [[AvertedTrope averting this]].
* ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean'' has a DoubleSubversion. When the player character sneaks into Rodolfo's mansion, it can suggest saving [[MysteriousWaif Xelha]], but [[{{Jerkass}} Kalas]] just gets annoyed with you if you do. After exploring a bit, he finds a gate he can't figure out how to open, but Xelha can.
* In the first mission of ''VideoGame/ArmyOfTwo: The Devil's Cartel'', after fighting through a cartel compound only to find the girl they were hired to rescue dead, Rios opts to save another girl they find, while Salem just wants to leave.
* In ''VideoGame/GeminiRue'', [[spoiler:Azriel Odin/Delta-Six]] has this for [[spoiler:Saiyuri/Epsilon-Five]]. Even ''[[spoiler:multiple mindwipes]]'' don't stop him from instinctively trying to protect her, nor do they stop her from trying to do the same for him. It's implied that she was someone important to him in the past.
* ''VideoGame/ThePKGirl'': TheProtagonist just came into the mall for some ice cream. Before he knows it, a girl he's never even met has been kidnapped, and her sister, whom he's also never met, begs for his help in saving her.
* ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' Raz goes down [[SuperDrowningSkills into the lake]], fights the Lungfish, enters its mind to [[spoiler:bring it back from being brainwashed by Oleander]], and also fights [[spoiler:Oleander]] while there, cures all four asylum inmates to [[ItMakesSenseInContext collect pieces for his costume so he can get inside the tower]], ''climbs'' that hellish tower. All so he can get up to the top and save Lili. It's both downplayed and justified as Raz has multiple reasons for wanting to get up the tower and the game never explicitly makes any of them the only reason.
* In the online tie-in game for the movie ''Salt,'' the player is led to believe that Salt is being setup by the bad guys and she needs your help to clear her name. In reality, [[spoiler:she is a Soviet mole and is using you to eliminate some loose ends. She later betrays the player to his (it's always shown as a male player) bosses in the CIA]].
* The ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' quest "In My Time of Need" involves a group of Alik'r warriors looking for a Redguard woman they claim betrayed her family and a Redguard city to the Aldmeri Dominion. The woman herself claims she spoke out against the Dominion who hired the Alik'r to hunt her down an assassinate her. The player can either play the trope straight by killing the Alik'r or defy it by luring Saadia outside Whiterun where the Alik'r will capture her.
* Invoked in ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa''. Makoto Naegi has this in regards to Sayaka Maizono, who he has been pining for her since childhood, and he is willing to do anything to protect her during Monokuma's game of High School Life of Mutual Killing. [[spoiler:It turns out that she's using the DE as a way to frame him for murder when she tries to kill Leon so she can escape from the school, but Leon kills her before she can do so.]]
* ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault'':
** Tiz agrees instantly to help Agnès in her journey despite a military coming after her because she's a Vestal and she made the vow to seal the Great Chasm (restoring Tiz's hometown Norende to normality).
** It's played straight with Ringabel, who joins the party because he feels an intense and inexplicable urge to protect Edea. [[spoiler:It is hinted during the game that Ringabel subconsciously helps Tiz, Agnès, and Edea [[FailureKnight because he wants to avoid them dying at the hands of Airy like the previous cycle]]. Then again, Alternis has a huge crush on Edea anyway...]]
* The main plot of ''VideoGame/SandsOfDestruction'' kicks off this way: Kyrie is ecstatic when Morte decides to drag him around the world in order to convince him it's an awful place mere moments after breaking him out of the Sky Gaol and soon promises to help her in whatever she needs, including ending the world. [[LoveMakesYouDumb He's obviously not thinking clearly at that moment]].
* Leon in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' goes out of his way to escort and protect Ada no matter how many times she tries to ditch him. Even when Ada is being shot at, he takes a bullet for her! [[note]]Since Leon is a police officer and it was his first day, he most likely felt it was his duty to protect Ada, although it's implied he may have fallen in love with her as well.[[/note]] After Leon hears Ada is a spy for the Umbrella corporation, he refuses to believe it until Ada confirms it herself (in scenario A anyway). Since then, Leon and Ada have a "it's complicated" relationship in later games where Ada will help Leon when she can, but she will still hinder his progress if she is ordered to (though she won't harm him).
* This trope is {{deconstructed|Trope}} in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' with the character Emiya Shirou, who is a deeply damaged individual who is ''incapable'' of valuing his own life above those of others.
* 2B from ''VideoGame/NierAutomata'' forms a close bond with 9S in the middle of their first mission, to the point of not minding pulling a HeroicSacrifice with him (granted, DeathIsCheap for [=YoRHa=] androids, but even then she had no idea if she'd even remember 9S afterwards due to thinking her memories during the mission weren't backed up.) [[spoiler: This is justified later on with the revelation that this was ''far'' from her first mission with 9S. It's just the first one the player is privvy to, and due to 2B being tasked with regularly rewriting 9S' memories, it's the first one that ''he'' remembers.]]

[[folder: Webcomics / Web Original ]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Gnoph}}'', Abbey and Will are traveling through a forest when they come across a soldier pursuing a young woman. Abbey is not at all surprised that Will decides to intervene on the woman's behalf, and pointedly refuses to help him in the ensuing fight. [[spoiler:In a subversion, it is ''the soldier'' who ends up joining the heroes, while the woman is never seen again.]]
* Fred from ''Webcomic/MoltenBlade'' seems perfectly willing to drop everything and break into a government facility on behalf of a girl whom he'd known for less than a day, on the word of Chris, another person who was a total stranger to him twenty-four hours earlier.
* Gender-reversed in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''. Therkla is a ninja assassin who was ordered to kill Hinjo and his guards, yet when she encounters Elan (on whom she quickly gained a massive crush), she ends up helping him slay some sea trolls that had attacked the fleet. She would end up helping him several more times, [[spoiler:the last of which would result in her death at the hands of her master]].
* ''Webcomic/TwoKinds'' is started this way.
* In ''Webcomic/LookingForGroup'', there is a PlayingWithATrope example. Cale is revived by a priestess (Benny) after being incinerated by Richard the warlock and almost immediately devotes his life to her. While this sounds like IOweYouMyLife, he was pretty inclined to risk his life for her ''before'' being revived (she was being ganged up upon by some thugs and Richard and Cale's ashes watched as she fought them off). This ultimately leads to the forming of the group [[spoiler:and their ultimate coupling]]. It had less to do with protecting the girl and more to do with his view of ultimate pure good and wanting to help everyone and everything and saving those who save him.
* ''Webcomic/DeptHeavenApocrypha'' features the gender-reversed version, albeit with a bit of time lag. Even though she's only known about his existence for a few weeks (if that), Meria is still ready to protect [[spoiler:Fia's demon]] from the rest of the school if need be. Her excuse is that he can't entertain her anymore if he's dead, but [[spoiler:the demon]] just acknowledges her for the KnightInSourArmor she is. (Cue [[{{Tsundere}} massive flailing and embarrassment]] on her part.)
* ''Webcomic/BrokenSaints'': When the male heroes find Shandala [[spoiler:sealed away in the back of Mars' strip club, naked and helpless]], the first feeling each of them has is one of profound shock and despair. None of them have met her before, but they recognize her from their visions, and they recognize [[IncorruptiblePurePureness her aura]] immediately. It doesn't matter that they have no idea who she is or where she's from, they take her home with them and (by way of [[spoiler:a mushroom-induced, BackStory-revealing DreamSequence), they awaken her from her HeroicBSOD]].
* When Lance from ''Webcomic/GoldCoinComics'' first meets Silvia, [[http://www.goldcoincomics.com/?id=44 they encounter a wolf-boss]]. He is willing to stand in front of Silvia to protect her, even though they met a few minutes earlier.
* In the Literature/WhateleyUniverse, Stalwart declares his undying love for Fey only seconds after seeing her. To make it extra-uncomfortable, he does it in the middle of the [[SuperheroSchool Whateley Academy]] quad, while Fey's father is standing right there. Fey throws him across the quad, but he doesn't give up. His DoggedNiceGuy behavior eventually saves Fey's life, and he gets several dates with her.
* In ''Webcomic/WakeTheSleepers'', she is trying to distract the assassin from him, and [[http://wakethesleepers.com/comics/66 Locke has to go and intervene.]]
* In ''Webcomic/ThistilMistilKistil'', [[http://tmkcomic.depleti.com/comic/ch06-pg05/ Coal can give no very coherent account of why he rescued Hedda]].
-->'''Coal''': ''I followed her voice. She was calling for help.''
-->'''Loki''': ''So?''
-->'''Coal''': ''So I... had to save her.''
-->'''Loki''': ''Why?''
-->'''Coal''': ''Because... she was calling for help. She wanted to live.''
* Gil from ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' is an interesting case. First time we met him, he jumped on Agatha to save her from an explosion. Later, he is revealed to have rescued Zola many times in Paris. But Gil has absolutely no romantic interest in Zola. His initial rescue of Agatha likely was because he was a nice guy who felt sorry for her (she was clearly upset by everything that just happened). His later decision to bring her along to the airship was because he suspected that she was a Spark, and from there, his desire to keep her around was because he liked having someone his intellectual equal to work with.
* ''WebVideo/DemoReel'': Tacoma hears about Rebecca's RapeAsBackstory and she cries against him when she's high, so from that point he tries desperately to protect her. One problem? She's a badass GunNut with NervesOfSteel, and ''he's'' the one who gets beaten up by the bad guys.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/RPGWorld''. Hero meets the thief Cherry ''in the middle of a robbery'' and beats up Cherry's helpless, cowering victim after mistaking him for the robber, apparently solely on the grounds that a pretty girl couldn't possibly be a bad guy. Even Cherry can't believe it.
* This is quite common in ''WebComic/WhiteDarkLife'', with several couples starting out this way. The backstory also has Brendan and Nino, Lindsay's grandparents, getting hitched this way, and Lindsay's parents, Lloyd and Lyndis, and her aunt and uncle, Linus and Esther, have their relationships start like this. Linus notably nearly got himself killed CementShoes-style.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfPussInBoots'' plays this a little obviously, as the character involved is literally named Dulcinea. [[spoiler:For bonus points, she's revealed in the finale to be a Tulpa, which means like her namesake, she is imaginary (albeit in a slightly different way)]]
-->'''Puss-in-Boots''': She... fascinates me. And she needs my protection!
* Lampshaded in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' when Jimmy falls in love with Leslie and tries to get her freed.
-->'''Tom''': Jimmy... you're thinking with your dick.\\
'''Jimmy''': I am not thinking with my dick.\\
'''Tom''': Yes you are.\\
'''Jimmy''': No, I just think that she's a-\\
'''Tom''': Put your dick away.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* In the military and domestic settings:
** A study on gender-integrated combat units suggests this trope. Seeing a female squad member injured would often see the male soldiers going a bit... berserk in response.
** The Israeli army had to confront this issue when they found that for integrated squads, the casualty rate for men was unusually high. The men were throwing themselves into danger to protect their female comrades, entirely for chivalry's sake.
** When men are aroused, it's supposed to release a hormone that makes them crazy protective/territorial of the object of their desires. (Which is probably the human trait RescueRomance dawns from and why it's such an appealing fantasy for men and women.)
** It's ''alleged'' that in demos during UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, police would pick on women in a group attempting peaceful protest in order to make the men... less peaceful, so they could justifiably be arrested.
** The notorious Stasi used it as late as 1989, during the riots on the evening of the 40th anniversary of the GDR, as shocked western observers noticed. The horrible police brutality led many undecided bystanders to a decision TO JOIN THE PROTEST MOVEMENT in accordance with this trope.
* Creator/DanteAlighieri only saw his "beloved" Beatrice twice in life, probably for a length of time spanning less than an hour, and likely never spoke to her. Yet in his [[Literature/TheDivineComedy most famous work]] (in fact, all his famous ones), she serves as his spirit guide, muse, etc. At the time of writing, Dante was married to a different woman and had kids by her, yet none of these loved ones merit any mention in his work.
* Engaging in this practice on an Internet forum (or wiki) is derisively called "white knighting." Doing it is particularly laughable due to most net denizens being aware of ''{{GIRL}}''
* According to some accounts, the Stonewall Riots exploded when a woman, having already been hit by a police baton, shouted "Why don't you guys do something?" to a crowd of onlookers just before being roughly thrown into a paddy wagon.