Took a Level in Cheerfulness
The world can seem like such a joyless, gray, dark place, empty of hope, where dreams are ephemeral lifelines, where joy and passion seem pointless and fake, and pain is the only thing that's authentic. Yet, sometimes, meeting the right person, witnessing the right moment, can teach one that there's more to life than sufferingócan teach one to smile again. This doesn't mean that they've acquired better morals, or even that they gained hope: they may instead be Conditioned to Accept Horror, stop worrying, and love the bomb. The character, either a Broken Bird, an Ice Queen, a Shrinking Violet, The Stoic or any other kind of less cheerful character, becomes more cheerful over time. Can be due to Character Development, or a Heel-Face Turn. Compare Defrosting Ice Queen and Took a Level in Kindness. Lots of Love Redeems stories fall under this trope. The Power of Friendship, The Power of Love and The Power of Trust may be involved, in that the character may feel the need to reciprocate those gifts.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- Lutecia Alpine is an Emotionless Girl in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S but falls squarely into the Genki Girl category by the time of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid, thanks to having been removed from control of the evil Dr. Jail Scaglietti and reunited with her adoring mother Megane.
- Fairy Tail:
- Meredy started out as a serious and angry child who rarely showed emotions. After the Time Skip, she has become more cheerful and relaxed.
- Juvia went from gloomy in her debut to cheerful after joining the titular guild.
- Also Erza Scarlett herself as she showed more of her softer side, especially after the Tower of Heaven arc.
- Siren/Ellen from Suite Pretty Cure ♪ started out as cold and hostile towards Hummy, however after her Heel-Face Turn as Cure Beat, which resulted her to be trapped in her human form, she has become a Genki Girl.
- Ai Haibara from Detective Conan was raised and Forced Into Evil by The Syndicate, but managing to from them and being influenced by newfound friends like her Parental Substitute Hiroshi Agasa, Conan Edogawa and Ran Mouri has begun to help her heal. She's not likely to become a Genki Girl in a long time, but she has stopped to wish for death and is now able to live the normal life she never had...
- Mahou Sensei Negima!:
- Setsuna started as cold as ice due to seeing herself as a Failure Knight, but after the events of the Kyoto Arc, she opened up a lot more and became friendlier and happier. Lampshaded by Evangeline during their match in the Mahora Festival Tournament Arc, where she told Setsuna to give up her newfound happiness because it made her boring and weak.
- Asuna was originally a smart-mouthed Emotionless Girl typical of Mystical Waifs like her, but frequent, violent interactions with her Unknown Rival Ayaka turned her into the Fiery Redhead Tsundere of today.
- Farley Wink's secretary Sawyer from Cats Don't Dance is a Broken Bird, having come to Hollywood with talent and enthusiasm, but was crushed by Hollywood's humanist hegemony. Likewise for many of the Funny Animals sitting morosely in Farley's office. Danny Cat arrives with the same enthusiasm, which ultimately reawakens their performer spirit, and they finish the film glowing in triumph and applause.
- Violet Parr from Pixar's The Incredibles starts out massively introverted and socially miserable, too imploded to even speak to a boy she likes. After embracing her super side to thwart the villainous Syndrome, Violet emerges from her cocoon and starts making friends.
- Queen Elsa of Frozen, first when she sings her iconic Let It Go solo, and for the first time in forever releases the energies pent up in her, and later after she truly masters her powers.
- The titular kitten Oliver from Disney's Oliver & Company starts out as a giveaway kitten in a cardboard box. Evening rain, a sewer of doom, feral dogs ... life sucks for this kitten. By the end of the story, however, the kitten has a name and a home and Jenny Foxworth ... yeah, life is good for Oliver.
- Fluttershy in Royal Business, as Spike notices when he runs into her in mid-air. She's friendly,smiling and even mischievous with Rainbow Dash after they re-bonded and became friendlier than ever before with Rainbow Dash in Dragonshyness. This is Fluttershy's normal reaction to discovering that somepony loves her, as we also see (four years later) regarding Bulk Biceps in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S4 E24 "Equestria Games"
- Lydia in Beetlejuice is a very unhappy Goth teenager. Through forming a bond with a couple of friendly ghosts, she becomes much perkier in the end.
- Cohle from True Detective, spends the whole season this close to complete nihilism, yet he manages to find a sense of hope and optimism by the end.
Rust: [looking up at the stars in the night's sky] It appears to me that the dark has a lot more territory.
Cohle: You know, you're looking at it wrong, the sky thing... Well, once, there was only dark. If you ask me, the light's winning.
- Merrill from the Dragon Age series. She was very serious in the first game, then became almost a Cloudcuckoolander in the second.
- In Homestuck, when Aradia first enters the comic, she's completely unable to feel emotion because she's actually a ghost. She insists that she doesn't mind this state, but everyone else finds her depressing to talk with. Then she gets better. Able to feel emotion again, she chooses to look at the bright side of everything and becomes unrelentingly happy. So happy that she regularly creeps her friends out.
- RWBYs Weiss Schnee goes from a grumpy, arrogant, slightly self-centered young lady to one that while still quite uppity, cares about her teammates' well-being, will joke around with her teammates (much to their dismay), and has no problem openly fawning over a Precious Puppy.
- Gwen from Total Drama started out as a pessimistic Goth. By later episodes, she has become a Perky Goth.
- PJ from Goof Troop starts out depressed and hopeless in the pilot. In the main part of the series and the first movie he's mainly a world-weary Nervous Wreck with some despondent moments and relatively frequent contentment. By the end of the second movie, he's the happiest guy around. These changes occurred because of the positive influences of befriending Max and leaving home and finding a girlfriend.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- Twilight Sparkle started off the series as an acerbic recluse, and uninterested in socializing in favor of her studies for Princess Celestia. After the events of the pilot, she comes to appreciate the importance of friendship, and slowly becomes more cheerful and friendly (if still sometimes snarky). It's rather odd to watch earlier episodes compared to those of later on, where she is sometimes extremely perky and even a bit naive.
- Pinkie Pie used to be a very dour, American Gothic kind of little girl, but then she witnessed something amazing, and felt herself smile for the first time. Inducing this in others is Pinkie Pie's Life Mission.
- The Season 5 episode "Make New Friends But Keep Discord" ends with Princess Celestia heartily reveling in how much excitement Discord and the Smooze brought to the Grand Galloping Gala.note This is the first time she allows herself to be seen as anything other than The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask.