"Before the sun sets on the third day, you've got to get dear ol' princey to fall in love with you. That is, he's got to kiss you. Not just any kiss — the kiss of true love."The Power of Love in its purest form. Fairy Tales, especially the edited Disney versions, usually have a few things in common: The Rule of Three, and the True Love's Kiss. Finding your true love will cure 99.9% of magical maladies and curses, or your money back! This trope is so ingrained in the psyche of western audiences it will never really be discredited, but often subverted. It's actually a Dead Unicorn Trope that's Newer Than They Think — notice how many of the original versions of the stories listed below had nothing to do with a "kiss". It is also often modified to True Love's "First" Kiss as an Anvilicious lesson about chastity. Subtrope and most common form of Magic Kiss. Has a tendency to be a Big Damn Kiss.
— Ursula, The Little Mermaid
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- Spoofed in a Capital One credit card commercial, where a princess kisses a frog... and he turns into a ferret, who starts rattling off legalese and provisos as the princess keeps trying to kiss him, turning him into different creatures. At the end, she leaves in disgust, leaving him as a portly centaur who protests that she's "just one kiss away" from a rich, handsome prince.
- Also spoofed in a beer commercial, the (Australian) girl sees a frog and hopes that if she kisses it it will turn into a handsome sheep shearer. The frog does change, but then when he kisses her, she turns into a pint of beer.
- Yet another spoof: a pretty girl kisses the Sci-Fi channel logo for no apparent reason and is turned into a giant frog.
Anime & Manga
- In the Sally the Witch remake from The '80s, one of the episodes delves in the past of Sally's Happily Married parents and mentions an episode where Sally's dad had to give one to her mom to break a curse cast on her by a Vain Sorceress. Hm....
- Played for Laughs in Beelzebub. This is supposedly the cure to Hilda's magic-induced memory-loss, and everyone at Ishiyama have reason to believe that the Prince Charming with the magic lips is her "husband", Oga; he doesn't want anything to do with it. Hilarity Ensues. Especially when it turns out that Baby Beelzebub was Hilda's Prince Charming!
- In Brigadoon: Marin and Melan, kissing is powerful stuff indeed. Marin uses a kiss to break through Melan's brainwashing and remind him of who she is to him.
- Parodied in A Certain Scientific Railgun. Mikoto Misaka is taking a nap on a bench when Kuroko Shirai walks up and declares she will wake her with True Love's Kiss. Mikoto wakes up at the last second and beats up Kuroko for being a pervert.
- C.C. uses this to reverse Lelouch's Laser-Guided Amnesia at the start of Code Geass R2, depending on who you ask. Others (including Word of God) claim she made effective use of Save States. Still, quite the Ship Tease.
- In Date A Live, Shido can seal a Spirit's powers via a kiss, but she has to be in love with him for it to work. Later, he manages to banish Tohka's Superpowered Evil Side with a kiss.
- Final Episode of Eureka Seven whereby Renton and Eureka kissed for the very first time and resulted in not only saving their planet from destruction, but they were also given a chance to go back to their planet to live together.
- The Kodoku arc in Fushigi Yuugi ends with this trope. Nakago, of course, being the horrendously evil jerk that he is, doesn't realize it.
Nakago: But how? How did you manage to break the spell? There's no method known in the world for curing Kodoku poisoning once it has entered a person's body and affected them!Tamahome: You'll spend your whole life trying to figure that out!
- In Gankutsuou's finale, apparently Albert kissing The Count (on the cheek, but the whole mood of it under the moonlight still making it very Ho Yay-ish) manages to save The Count and make him overpower Gankutsuou, reverting back to being human and thus saving the day.
- In the last airing-order episode of the first season of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon saved the universe with one of these. Confused? Watch the series. He notably refuses to "try the same method" when faced with the world ending again, though, and the series continues for quite a while after the kiss with no romantic resolution due to one of the people involved thinking it was all a dream and the other being in denial.
- Referenced for laughs in Hekikai No Ai ON. Seine is under a deep sleep caused by one of the mermaids, Tatsuya is desperate to help her, so this trope ensues. Of course, Tatsuya blushes at the mere thought of it.
- In the second InuYasha movie, Inuyasha had his human half sealed, causing him to turn him to turn into a full demon and go completely insane.
Kagome: "Inuyasha, I love you. I love you as a half demon." (Kisses him)Inuyasha: (Snaps out of it) Kagome... (Kisses her back)Fangirls: Squee!
- Spoofed in the final episode of Maji Koi; Momoyo apparently dies in the final battle, so Yamato gives her a Last Kiss. The instant his lips touch hers, Momoyo's Healing Factor kicks in and her body recovers in a second. Momoyo then invokes this trope, and the rest of Yamato's harem get mad at her for faking it.
- The finale to Martian Successor Nadesico. Need a really large Boson Jump field in a hurry? Just get the leads to get over themselves and "initiate membrane-to-membrane contact" (thank you Ms. Fressange) already, saving themselves and the rest of the crew from explodey death.
- Spoofed in Ringo's Imagine Spots in Mawaru-Penguindrum, where she imagines Tabuki will kiss her.
- Parodied in a Pokémon episode. Ash and the gang along with Team Rocket, are trying to wake a Snorlax up and Jesse suggests that a kiss from a "noble" Pokemon should wake it up. Well, Psyduck tries, it doesn't work (and Misty gets angry at it). So Meowth is forced to kiss it (after James and Jesse make him wear a really dumb-looking prince costume). However, instead of waking up, poor Snorlax is poisoned!
- The ending to Prétear where Hayate kisses Himeno to revive her after she wins the final fight at the cost of her life. It is no surprise considering that it's explicitly based on "Snow White". It only happens in the anime version, though, not in the original manga.
- The somewhat obscure Saban's Adventures of the Little Mermaid had the villain Hedwig turn the title character's boyfriend (who was, of course, a handsome prince) into a vicious monster. Guess how Marina finally broke the curse?
- Seen numerous times in Sailor Moon:
- Near the end of the first manga story, Mamoru brings back to life a seemingly dead Usagi by kissing her (Luna comments on this, saying that the princess has been woken up by the prince's kiss).
- The first anime uses this at least two times: in the Sailor Moon R episode 69 (which actually contains a "Sleeping Beauty" reference), and later near the end of Sailor Moon SuperS (this time with Chibi-Usa and Helios).
- The ending of the Sailor Moon R movie may or may not count — it was technically more of Intimate Healing, with Mamoru giving Usagi the life-saving nectar that way; but to the rest of the team it definitely looked like another instance of the Power of Love in work.
- It's genderflipped once, in both the manga and in Sailor Moon Crystal: when Neo Queen Serenity wakes up from her Convenient Coma, her first action is to wake up her also comatose husband King Endymion (who has been hanging around via Astral Projection) via a kiss.
- Genderflipped example: Cosmo Yuki was kinda awakened from a Convenient Coma by Kitty Kitten's "warm kiss" in the Space Runaway Ideon movie, Be Invoked. Kinda, because they were dead, so their spirits were the ones who kissed. It Makes Sense in Context, we swear.
- Done in the end of the first Steel Angel Kurumi series with Nakahito using this to purify Kurumi's heart AND causing the Steel Angels who sacrificed themselves to power the weapon meant to kill her.
- In To Love-Ru, when Oshizu accidentally possessed Haruna's body, she thought one of these from Rito might wake Haruna's consciousness and free Oshizu. A couple of fighting dogs scared her out before the kiss actually took place; Rito wasn't sure if he was relieved or disappointed.
- The Grand Finale of Tokyo Mew Mew uses two or three of these in succession. When the Mysterious Protector-turned-Big Bad releases his true (good) self and saves Tokyo, he has to sacrifice himself; Ichigo will have none of this and kisses him, giving him all her power. Then she dies, he kisses her and she comes Back from the Dead, minus superpowers... temporarily.
- Tora Dora: Last episode, between Taiga and Ryuuji. Can be a tearjerker and a CMOH all at the same time.
Taiga: Just as I expected... It was like a rough, dry wilderness. Also, it was really warm... Hey, it's cold, so let's do it one more-- (gets Shut Up Kiss'd by Ryuuji) One more... (they kiss again) One more... (they kiss again and the camera pans out)
- Kosumo restores a mindwiped and brainwashed Hitsuji's memories via this in Towa Kamo Shirenai. Sort of a justified trope in this case: she deduces that she can use her powers to unbrainwash Hitsuji, but to do so she needs to have close skin contact with him. What would be better than a kiss on the mouth, huh?
- Done in the Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO! movie. Coco is put under a spell by the movie's Big Bad and all of his attacks is slowly turning Nozomi/Cure Dream into chocolate. Her calling out his name weakens his hold, but it's her kissing Coco that finally breaks the spell. It's also notable that this is the only on-screen kiss seen in the currently nine-years-running Pretty Cure franchise.
- Painfully averted in Absolute Boyfriend. When Night stops working, Riiko attempts to revive him with several kisses, as that was how she first woke him up, but it doesn't work; he's really dead.
- Parodied in Fables: Frau Totenkinder had a major problem with princes, and went around cursing them and their loved ones left, right and centre. Over the years, she became particularly fond of transforming them in a manner where they needed to persuade a human to fall in love with and kiss them to cure them. But they were all temporary cures, and the prince would find themselves transforming back when their wives became mad at them. Over the course of the story she takes responsibility for almost all of the situations where "True Love's Kiss" was needed to cure a curse. Just because she liked it.
- Parodied again with a porcupine who goes around telling human girls he was cursed by a witch and must be kissed to transform into a handsome prince... he's lying. He was cursed, all right, but he was always a porcupine and the curse was a perverted attraction to human girls. He learned the kiss-me-I'm-a-prince "scam" from a frog he met once.
- Parodied yet again — Fables enjoys playing with this trope — by a talking snail who meets young Prince Charming and tells him that she is a transformed princess. When Charming offers to kiss her, she replies that her curse is much more proper and will require a wedding first. Charming brings the snail back to meet his parents, who respond by ordering her cooked for dinner and bemoan the talking animals currently flooding their kingdom.
- Fables also inverts this with a rabbit cursed by a rabbit witch to become human — unable to transform back, unless he can make another rabbit fall in love with him and receive True Love's Kiss.
- To neutralize an apartment building, Bigby Wolf has Sleeping Beauty prick her finger within, causing herself and all within to fall asleep. But when they try to use Prince Charming to wake her, it becomes apparent that he no longer qualifies...
- ...but when Flycatcher, the former Frog Prince tries, it works. Another time, she was woken from the spell by an affectionate police dog who happened to be named 'Prince'. That and later events show the curse isn't too picky about the definitions of 'prince' and 'love'.
- Flycatcher, the Frog Prince, occasionally reverts to frog form when excited, nervous, or scared. Only his wife died, badly, back in the Homelands, while he was trapped in frog form, unable to help, no less. When he reverts to a frog in modern-day New York, there's no possible fix until Christmas, when Santa Claus brings his wife back to life, just long enough for one kiss.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics, Buffy needs one of these to awaken from a magically induced nightmare. Assuming that at least one person in the group must be in love with Buffy, Willow instructs everyone to close their eyes so that whoever that person is can cure Buffy while maintaining their privacy. Buffy eventually figures out who kissed her, but she doesn't reciprocate the feeling. She makes up for it, however, by reciprocating something else.
- In the 50th issue of Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Sonic's kiss wakes Princess Sally from a coma.
- In one Justice League of America run, the Queen of Fables has made all the fairy tales come to life and warped them so she can rule the world. This includes making Wonder Woman into Snow White. The heroes know they need a Prince Charming to wake her up with a kiss, so Aquaman (King of the Seas) volunteers to do it. It works.
Aquaman: You're of no use here anyway... not for this. As Superman has just informed me, this is a job for a handsome prince.Green Lantern: I thought you were the king of Atlantis.Aquaman: Which means I was once a prince. Close enough.
- How do you save someone from the Anti-Life Equation when it pops up in Final Crisis? Well if you're Barry Allen, you kiss your wife. And maybe the Speed Force does something, too.
- In Brightest Day, The Predator possesses Abraham Pointe. Eventually, it/they sadly say it/they wanted to know what it is like to be loved. Carol Ferris kisses him to separate them. Hal Jordan (her boyfriend) irritably asks, "Was that really necessary?" Carol says it was.
- Played absolutely straight in Young Avengers, where Billy is unable to fully access his Demiurge powers. His fiancé, Teddy, who had previously left to try to figure out whether he actually loves Billy after Loki insinuated that Teddy may have been accidentally wished into existence in the first place by Billy's powers, returns and decides that it doesn't matter to him whether or not he's alive because Billy subconsciously wanted someone like him to be. After True Love's Kiss, Billy immediately and effortlessly becomes the Demiurge and nonchalantly rearranges the universe the same way most people organize things in the fridge.
- The Second Try: Invoked and defied in the epilogue. Shinji and Asuka take their daughter Aki to the hospital to see a comatose Gendo. They explain Aki that maybe her grandfather will never wake up. She gets sad and then exclaims: "I know! It's like in the fairytale! If I give him a kiss, he'll surely wake up!" Before no one can stop her, she gives him a short peck. To her disappointment, it does not work.
- A truly heartwarming example occurs in A Pleasant surprise.
- Inverted in The Tangled Princess Bride. A broken hearted Rapunzel kisses a prince under a love spell and the total lack of love in the kiss is what breaks the spell.
- Empath, in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfette's Inner Beauty," was able to break Hogatha's youth-and-beauty siphoning spell on Smurfette by giving her a heartfelt kiss, thus restoring Smurfette to her normal appearance.
- In The Student Prince, as in Sweet Dreams, this is needed to undo the effects of a love potion on Arthur; however, unlike in canon, it's Merlin's kiss and not Gwen's that reverses the effects.
- In Who Loves Thee Best Itachi Uchiha is able to break his Only Friend Masataka's cursed sleep with a kiss through Itachi's fraternal love for him.
- In Out Of The Dead Land, Bucky is able to break through Steve's brainwashing during their "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight by kissing him.
- It happens a few times, as well as being discussed and lampshaded, in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series, because the stories are based on Disney fairy tales.
- As mentioned above, this trope is far rarer in traditional fairy tales than Common Knowledge would have it. Examples where it does occur are the following:
- The Brothers Grimm's "The True Bride" has the heroine breaks the spell over her prince (after an evil princess bewitched him to forget her) with a kiss. This little tidbit was retained when the story was adapted for The Storyteller.
- A borderline case is the Grimms' version of "Sleeping Beauty" (a.k.a. "Briar Rose"): Briar Rose is indeed wakened by a kiss. However, the fated 100 years of sleep were up, which implies that Briar Rose would have eventually woken up anyway, and the kiss was never the condition to lift the curse.
- The trope does not occur in the originals of the following tales, and was only introduced by retellings:
- "Snow White": In the Brothers Grimm tale, the dwarfs dropped the coffin and the piece of poison apple fell out of Snow White's mouth, which revived her. The revival-by-kiss has been popularized especially by Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- "Sleeping Beauty" by Charles Perrault. Sleeping Beauty simply wakes up after 100 years, and the prince just happens to be there at the right time. Like with Snow White, Disney's Sleeping Beauty has almost superseded the original version. (And of course, in Giambattista Basile's "Sun, Moon, and Talia", a forerunner to Perrault's "Sleeping Beauty", there is no kiss either.note )
- "The Frog Prince": In the Brothers Grimm original, the prince turns back to normal after the princess throws him against a wall. They still get married even after the attempted murder. The principle is the same in virtually all tales of the "Frog Prince" type; for example, in the Scottish "The Queen Who Sought a Drink from a Certain Well" and Joseph Jacobs "The Well of the World's End", the frog demands that the girl marry (not just kiss) him, and the girl eventually breaks the Baleful Polymorph by decapitating the frog on his own wish.
- Disney's The Little Mermaid zig-zags this, as Ariel needs the "Kiss of True Love" to become human permanently, though it does not work out that way. The original story by Hans Christian Andersen required that the Mermaid actually marry the prince to become human forever, on the condition that if he betrayed her, she would die. It also does not work out either, but in a different way.
Films — Disney
- Disney Animated Canon:
Merryweather: And from this slumber, you shall wake, when true love's kiss, the spell shall break.
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is what actually started the variant where True Love's Kiss awakens the titular character (though referred to as Love's First Kiss in that film). See the Fairy Tales section for the original version, which does not do this at all.
- Sleeping Beauty is arguably the Trope Namer. It's also the best known of the versions where the titular character awakens from a kiss.
- The Little Mermaid plays around with the trope: Ursula, as quoted above, informs Ariel that she must receive True Love's Kiss from Prince Eric in order to remain human. Thanks to Ursula's meddling, while Eric is willing to give Ariel a kiss, he fails to do this before Ariel's three days are up; though he was damn close twice. Things work out in the end, though, no thanks to any kissing. It takes Eric killing Ursula and King Triton using his powers on Ariel to make it work, instead.
- The kiss shown in the page image occurs in Beauty and the Beast, after Belle's Dying Declaration of Love resurrects a just deceased Beast as a human prince. Additionally, the magic emitted from their kiss transforms the castle's servants back into humans.
- The Princess and the Frog has fun with playing this trope to the letter. Technically, Prince Naveen can kiss any princess - whether he loves her or not. Even the Princess of Mardi Gras counts as she's technically a princess for the night. This does not work when Mardi Gras is over and she is no longer a Princess. Fortunately for our heroes, Tiana marrying Naveen, even as a frog, technically makes her a princess and their problem is solved when they kiss as husband and wife.
- In Frozen, when Anna is struck by her older sister Elsa's out of control magic and is slowly freezing solid, it is believed that an "act of true love" is necessary to reverse the process and save her. Anna then goes back to her fiancé Hans to get a kiss from him, only to find out that he's only using her to get at Elsa and snatch the crown of Arendelle, so he mocks her and then says he will leave her to die, at which point she realizes that her companion Kristoff loves her. In the end, Anna forgoes a chance to get the kiss from Kristoff that would save her, instead throwing herself in front of Hans when he tries to kill Elsa and freezing solid just as the sword lands, breaking it. That sacrifice out of love for her sister is what ultimately not only saves her, but helps Elsa finally control her powers.
- Part of the success of Frozen's uses of subversion, was because the audience was set up to expect one subversion (Namely that the kiss between Anna and Hans would happen, but wouldn't work) and was caught off guard when the expected subversion was in and of itself truly doubly subverted. Many first time watchers expected something similar to Enchanted, as described below, when Anna finally meets Hans.
- Enchanted is already an Affectionate Parody of the animated canon and naturally looks to parody this trope as well. Giselle has an "I Want" Song called "True Love's Kiss", and expresses her belief that "it's the most powerful thing in the world." It's also played straight near the end of the movie, when, like a good Disney princess, Giselle is hexed to sleep. She needs a Troperriffic True Love's Kiss before midnight (of course) in order to wake up. Robert manages to rouse her in the nick of time with a kiss... after Prince Edward failed to kiss her awake.
- At the end of WALL•E a "kiss" from EVE restores WALL•E's apparently lost memory. Note that this is one of the few straight examples that can be explained beyond The Power of Love: EVE's "kisses" are literally electric. Possibly justified (although non-canon) as the electric jolt from the "kiss" may have caused WALL•E to reload his "personality" from a backup. Maybe.
- Maleficent changes up the formula. The true love of the kiss is not Philip's romantic desire for Aurora, but the "maternal love" of the title character.
Films — Animated
- In the movie version of Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie breaks the curse on Turniphead by giving him a True Love's Kiss. However, Sophie is already in love with Howl, so how can she be his True Love as well? Then, Prince Turniphead cheerfully notes that there's no reason someone can't have more than one True Love. So he's fine with Sophie being with her other True Love, Howl, while he goes to look for his own and he ends the war.
- The film Shrek plays it straight as part of a larger subversion. The female lead has a curse which turns her into an ogre by night, which can only be broken by True Love's Kiss. However, when said love, the ogre Shrek, kisses her, she becomes an ogre permanently — which she preferred. Of course, there is the opening monologue, which mocks this trope lightly; you can see how seriously Shrek takes it.
- When Shrek first meets Fiona, Fiona is faking a "Sleeping Beauty" pose, and expects Shrek to wake her up by kissing hernote . Instead, he violently shakes her.
- In the sequel this is mentioned twice. Once as the only thing that can seal a "Happily Ever After" potion, and again in relation to Fiona's father, the Frog Prince.
- And then in the fourth movie, the only way to undo the Bad Future was a True Love's Kiss. Shrek spends a great deal of the movie trying to get Fiona to fall in love with him all over again and kiss him. She does (angrily and only to get him to stop asking her to do it) in the middle of the film, but it doesn't work because now she doesn't love him. It works the second time though.
- In The Flight of Dragons, Princess Melisande wakes from the semi-coma which occupies her for about a third of the movie. Her foster father, the wizard Carolinus, thinks it was a magic relic which awakened her, but she corrects him with the information that it was a kiss from the human Peter. (Unlike many of the examples on this page, it was not their first kiss.)
- Zig-zagged in The Book of Life. Maria "dies" after being bitten by Xibalba's snake staff. She wakes after Joaquin kisses her, while wearing the Medal of Everlasting Life, which gleams magically when he does so. It turns out, though, that one bite from the snake staff is only enough to induce a trancelike coma. It takes two bites to kill...but Xibalba is a notorious cheater, so it is never clear whether she really died or the medal had anything to do with her waking.
Films — Live-Action
- The Matrix: After Neo is killed by Agent Smith in the Matrix, Trinity brings him back to life with a kiss.
- The conclusion of the film The Brothers Grimm (based as it is around the Beethoven Was an Alien Spy trope) has Jacob rescuing twelve girls trapped in an enchanted sleep by giving this to the oldest one of them, Angelika, the woman for whom he spent the film pining. At first this seems to be the only thing that can save his brother Will as well, but discovers as he's about to do it that Will is alive and well and he'd rather have Angelika do the honors here (she obliges).
- At the end of Legend (1985), Lily awakens after Jack kisses her.
- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Buckaroo uses this (with a little help from the Black Lectroids) to resurrect Penny Priddy.
- Parodied in Amanda Bynes' Sydney White, where Sydney was simply exhausted from staying up all night for her paper and fell asleep in the library, causing her to be late for the presidential debate. The Love Interest finds her and treats it as if she would never wake up, culminating with the kiss to "break the spell".
- In Snow White and the Huntsman, the most recent film adaptation of "Snow White", it's subverted and played straight. Snow gets into a coma caused by a poisoned apple, and the Prince's kiss fails to revive her. Then the titular Huntsman kisses her, and she recovers. It's nowhere explained about the meaning of this, though. Supposedly the filmmakers thought the audience would recognize this trope on their own. In early drafts of the script, things were slightly different. The Huntsman was conceived as a much older man, playing a surrogate father to the princess. His kiss that wakes her up was meant to symbolise a father's love, much like Maleficent and Once Upon a Time.
- Played with in Flash Gordon. Princess Aura lies to Flash, telling him that she brought him back to life with a kiss after his execution. She actually had a doctor give him a drug that simulated death before the execution and another wake-up shot later.
- Subverted in An Ordinary Miracle. A bear that has been turned into a human can only turn back if a princess (a human one, mind you) falls in love with him and kisses him. However, their love is so strong that after the kiss, nothing happens and everyone, including the former bear, is quite happy with the outcome.
- In Patricia C. Wrede's Talking to Dragons, a book in a series famous for modernizing fairy tales without subverting them, Daystar uses this to transform Shiara back from being turned into stone.
- His Dark Materials: Lyra and Will save the multiverse from falling apart with their First Kiss.
- In Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, this get subverted all to hell (since the 'hook' of the series is that there is an ambient magic in the land trying to make events turn out like fairy tales). One unfortunate prince was a frog for decades and was restored to human form when an infant princess picked him up and kissed him. Not that there was any love — she just liked animals and liked to kiss things. Close enough, apparently.
- Neal Shusterman has a couple of examples:
- Full Tilt plays with this. A kiss can't directly cure transformation into a monster, but it restores the transformation victim's flagging morale and keeps her from giving up on a cure.
- Shusterman also did this is the second book of The Skinjacker Trilogy, Everwild. Allie brings Mikey McGill, who reverted to his monstrous state out of jealousy, back to human form by kissing him even when he looks his most indescribably hideous.
- In Beastly, the terms of Kyle's curse are that he must genuinely love a girl, she must genuinely love him back, and both must prove it by kissing. He tries to end the curse early by having his Satellite Love Interest of a girlfriend show up and kiss him in the dark. Since neither love each other, it doesn't work. Of course, it's played straight at the end of the book.
- Deconstructed in Greg Costikyan's short story "And Still She Sleeps". No one can wake up the maiden who's been asleep for centuries, because no one can truly love her when they can't get to know her. In the end, they put her in a museum until some future wizard can figure out how to wake her.
- In Esther Friesner's Majyk By Design, the magician-protagonist's estranged wife asks him to turn himself into a frog, so she can use this to prove her point that she still loves him.
- In Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom novel Magic on the Storm, Allie thinks how this will not wake up Zayvion, out cold.
- John Moore loves to play with this in his Fractured Fairy Tales:
- Subverted in Slay and Rescue, when Prince Charming (yes, that's his name) finds a Sleeping Beauty and rescues her with a kiss, but then it turns out that he's not her true love.
- Subverted again in The Unhandsome Prince, when Caroline's kiss frees Prince Hal from being a frog. She takes one look and demands a better prince.
- In Alethea Kontis's Enchanted, this is the condition on the frog's spell. He says this after Sunday has kissed him twice.
- Subverted in Louisa May Alcott's story Lilybell and Thistledown alias the Fairy Sleeping Beauty. Thisteldown's girlfriend and Morality Pet Lilybell is put into a magical sleep by the Brownies and he is the only one who can save her, but he needs much more than a true love's kiss to wake her up. So he has to go through several tests and quests as well as huge Character Development to get the right to give her the kiss that ultimately brings her back to him.
- Inverted in Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle. If the main character kisses her true love, he will die, not be saved. Blue has been warned about this since she was young and has gone her life never kissing anyone just to be safe. In the second book when Adam (who she hasn't told about the curse) angrily confronts her about the fact that she barely lets him touch her and won't kiss him and acts like she's hiding something. Around when he finds out and demands that she stop tip-toeing around it she refuses to kiss him and they both know it's more because they know he'll live than because she doesn't want to kill him. This is what eventually leads to their break-up.
- Subverted quite tragically in Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. The protagonist, Liesel Meminger, is repeatedly pestered by her friend Rudy Steiner throughout the book to give her a kiss, even though she always turns him down. At the climax of the book, the street Liesel lives on is bombed, killing practically the entire main cast save for Liesel. It is now, after Rudy's death, that Liesel finally gives him the kiss.
- Discussed in Dora Wilk Series when Dora and Witkac wonder what to do with three men turned into giant toads and remember the Frog Prince. Both dearly hope it's not true, but Dora suggests, just in case, that she knows a girl with reptile fetish ("close enough").
- The Dresden Files this concept does exist and can be the bane of certain magical creatures or spells.
- House Raith of the White Court of vampires are incubi and succubi feeding primarily on Lust. If they try to feed on a person who is in a genuine loving relationship, of mutual sacrifice and trust, that person is protected by love and it burns the vampire. In Turn Coat one woman who is protected by Love magic uses her kiss to burn a succubus which threatened to attack her (after her incubus love beat down the succubus first).
- Jenny Greenteeth puts Georgia under a "Sleeping Beauty" type spell in a plot of Bride and Switch. What is truly dangerous is if Will Borden had married Jenny and kissed her at the end of the ceremony not only would the groom have bound himself in a deep contract with this dangerous fae, but the groom's True Love's Kiss would have not woken his true bride upon discovering the deceit. It isn't a True Love's Kiss, by the rules of the universe, as he married another first, so he really didn't love the real one.
- Oddly (or perhaps heartwarmingly) enough, for all that the world of The Witcher is a dark one, with pogroms and war ever around the corner, and in which the fairy tales are usually given harsher retellings, this actually works.
Live Action TV
- In the series finale of Chuck, It's implied by Morgan that this kind of kiss will help restore an amnesiac Sarahnote back to normal. Chuck decides to put this to the test after Sarah invites him to kiss her, and it's left to the viewer to decide if the kiss truly did work.
- Subverted in Eureka, when Carter's hippie sister suggests that he kiss Allison as a way to stop a time loop. Since they live in Eureka, Land of Science, this doesn't work the way it does in the movies (or at all).
- In Haven Audrey's cheek kiss to Nathan awakens his ability to feel touch, though only hers.
- On an episode of Merlin Arthur is put under a spell that makes him fall in love with a spoiled princess. The only way to break the spell is if he is kissed by the woman he truly loves. Cue Guinevere and a rather spectacular kiss...
- Subverted in My Hero: George, attempting to break through a villain's mind control over Janet, announces that he's giving her a True Love's Kiss, but later confesses that what actually broke the mind control was him using the kiss to covertly slip her the antidote to the Phlebotinum the villain had been using on her.
- On an episode of Terra Nova, Jim kisses Elisabeth to infect her with a virus that will help cure her memory loss.
- Played with in Grimm when Juliette falls into a magical coma and she needs a kiss from someone pure of heart to wake her up. Unfortunately, her longtime boyfriend Nick, one of the nicest, most genuinely decent people seen in the show, doesn't fit the other requirement of being royal blood. In the end, Renard, a virtual stranger to her, is able to wake her, since he is a prince and has taken a potion to make himself pure of heart to do it.
- What kills the villain in the Charmed episode; "Magic Hour", by undoing the curse he sets.
- A variation in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Killer In Me". Willow kissing her new girlfriend Kennedy causes her to turn into Warren Mears. In the climax, Kennedy is able to turn Willow back by kissing her again. She even references that magic seems "just like a fairy tale".
- Given an Affectionate Parody in The Worst Witch series finale. The girls accidentally summon the Wicked Witch from Sleeping Beauty and she puts everyone to sleep. Mildred is able to make her drawing of Prince Percy come to life to wake everyone with his kiss. Hilariously, that means he had to kiss the entire four years' worth of girls to wake them up - including the teachers.
- The Middle: Axl's initial first kiss with Lexie in "The Par-tay" has him saying that she needs to brush her teeth, but then declaring that he doesn't care and kissing her again anyway.
- Mr. Young: In the episode Mr. Kidd, Echo kissing Adam is how she gets her memory back. Adam had to end up doing it for everybody whose memory was wiped, but that's not seen and the fact that the love between him and Echo is what saved the day still counts.
- Subverted often, and usually in a nasty fashion, in Once Upon a Time.:
- In the pilot, Snow White kissing her mortally wounded husband doesn't do a thing. In the third episode, Mary Margaret (the brainwashed Snow White) tries it to revive "John Doe" (said husband again), and while it brings him back, he immediately goes back to his estranged wife (who isn't her). Lastly, Sheriff Graham kisses Emma, and remembers everything about his past life in the fairy tale world... right before Regina decides to kill him.
- And when Belle tries to invoke this, the fact that it works actually ruins her budding relationship with Rumpelstiltskin. Ouch.
- Subverted for them again when he tries to invoke it to return her memories after she crosses the town line. It not only doesn't work, but also scares the poor girl senseless, and seriously hampers his attempts to get her to trust him afterwards.
- Played straight in the Season 1 finale, when Emma kissing a comatose Henry on the forehead breaks the curse on Storybrooke, waking Henry up and restoring the townsfolk's memories. Regina later succeeds in doing the same thing in season 3. "True Love" in Storybrooke doesn't necessarily mean romantic love; in both these cases it's maternal love.
- Played straight with Phillip and Aurora.
- Double subverted in an episode where Snow White has forgotten who David is via a magic potion. A kiss doesn't cure her but he decides to jump in front of an arrow to prove his love for her. Snow is so touched that someone would be willing to die for her, that she kisses him - and thus gets her memories back.
- In season four, a kiss from Robin Hood fails to break the curse on Maid Marian. This causes pretty much everyone involved to realise that Marian is no longer his True Love, Regina is. Or it could have been because 'Marian' was really a shapeshifted Zelena, but nobody realised that until much later.
- This is spoofed in Beetleborgs, where a kiss "from a maiden with a pure heart" can cure vampirism; Jo fits the bill when such a kiss is needed for Trip and Van, but she's understandably revolted by having to do it. (It's not very pleasant for them either.)
Mythology & Religion
- In Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier (a show that makes fun of a lot of Disney stuff), the Princess discusses and deconstructs this trope.
Princess: I heard he once made out with a girl while she was blacked out. That's not charming — that's kind of rapey.
- The third-party D&D supplement The Book of Erotic Fantasy has a lesser version of the Resurrection spell that requires the caster to kiss the target. Unlike most examples here, it doesn't require the two to be in love, however.
- Subverted in the first game of the Dark Parables series, which is based on the story of "Sleeping Beauty". The prince did kiss the sleeping Princess Briar Rose to break her enchantment, successfully waking every person in the entire castle - except her. A thousand years later, at the time of the game, she's still asleep. Not only that, he soon fell ill as a side effect of the curse and died, with his crypt built near her room. note
- Played straight, meanwhile, in several other games in the series. As the entire series is brimming with Fairy Tale Motifs, this is to be expected.
- Subverted in Devil May Cry 4. The Big Bad has been defeated, Dante and Nero have made their peace, and Kyrie is safe. Nero and Kyrie lean in, sunset in the background, for the big moment... and suddenly Nero pulls out his gun (no, seriously, the revolver) and blasts a demon. He looks up to find a horde of the game's weakest enemy coming at himself and his love, asks her to wait, and then spends the credits kicking their asses. You never actually see the kiss happen.
- A rather darker and less PG-rated version shows up in Dragon Age: Origins, in which having sex with Morrigan can prevent one of the Wardens from having to die after slaying the Archdemon. It is something of a subversion, though, as love is in no way required.
- At the end of Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp, Dirk uses this to resurrect Daphne. That's The Power of Love.
- Played with in Final Fantasy VIII when Squall finds the rest of the party waiting for him after carrying a comatose Rinoa across Horizon Bridge to find the person who can help her. Quistis teases that all Rinoa might need is a kiss from "the prince". Squall is not amused.
- Subverted in the Fan Remake of King's Quest II. Kissing Valanice won't break the spell, leaving Graham to resort to another method to break the enchantment.
- Played with in Odin Sphere when Odin places his daughter Gwendolyn in an enchanted sleep and promises her to Oswald in return for Oswald slaying a dragon. Oswald ends up refusing to kiss Gwendolyn in order to wake her until he's sure that the spell on her won't force her to love him.
- Subverted at the end of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II: Darth Vader has apparently killed Juno Eclipse. Starkiller leans down tearfully as if to kiss her—and before he does, she wakes up and kisses him instead.
- This happens in the climax arc of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Although it was more of a Sacred First Kiss combined with the Chaos Emeralds.
- Turns out that true love's kiss is the way to awaken Nanashi's receptivity to physical stimuli and getting her memories back in Duel Savior Destiny. It's a little more complex than just a kiss, but that's an essential step. The idea is that a kiss from someone she trusts utterly lets her know that the situation makes it safe to come out.
- At the end of Shining Force II, the team defeating Zeon only makes him more powerful, as he puts Princess Elis into a poisoned sleep before being sealed up forever by the Jewels of Light and Evil. Bowie and his friends try in vain to wake her up before the Goddess Mitula takes the two jewels, then tells the team that the poison in Elis' body will last a year before vanishing. After a year has passed, if she is still sleeping, she will need "a kiss from her true love" to awaken. Mitula's prophecy is coming into fruition as Bowie kneels down to kiss Elis, and then, after the end credits, she wakes up, fulfilling the prophecy.
- In Questfor Glory IV, a kiss is the only way to free the Rusalka, the beautiful, revenge-seeking spirit of a murdered maiden. However, the hero has to kiss her decaying corpse, which is not for the faint-hearted.
- Aladdin: The Series:
- In Sadira's altered reality where she takes Jasmine's place. When Aladdin and Jasmine meet again, they realize their true intertwined destinies and that the current reality wasn't right. Once they share a kiss, the reality is reverted back the way it once was.
- Played with in Sadira's third scheme to claim Aladdin for herself where she uses a spell to brainwash him into thinking he's her knight in shining armor, but then wanders off into the desert. The spell was made to end once he kisses Sadira, much to Jasmine's annoyance.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Aang and Katara are lost in a maze and a folk tale says they have to "let love lead the way" to get back out. One of them suggests a True Love's Kiss, but they don't decide to go for it until their torches are almost gone. They lean in, the light goes out... and crystals in the ceiling begin glowing, marking a path. Katara guesses that the lovers from the folk tale just put their torches out to see the crystals and find their way, and love had nothing to do with it. (We aren't shown if they actually kissed or not - can you say Ship Tease?) Katara's voice actor claims they kissed, but whether this really qualifies as Word of God is debatable.
- Later, the Genre Savvy Sokka teasingly suggests Katara can cure the Manchurian Agent Jet by kissing him, a suggestion Katara and Aang vehemently shoot down.
- In The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo episode "Reflections In A Ghoulish Eye," Daphne is put under a spell which sends her into a deep sleep that can only be broken by a kiss from a Danish prince. Scooby, a Great Dane and dressed in a prince's outfit, licks Daphne's face and breaks the curse.
- Subverted in Ever After High. In Dragon Games Apple White falls into a magic induced coma. Daring Charming tries to revive her with kisses but is unable to. It is his sister Darling who resuscitates her by doing CPR. It has... interesting implications when interpreted as a Kiss of Life.
- In the Frosty the Snowman sequel Frosty's Winter Wonderland, Frosty acquires a snow-bride in his Distaff Counterpart Crystal (who's brought to life with a gift of frost flowers he gives her out of love). When jealous Jack Frost blows away the magic hat that initially brought him to life, Crystal brings Frosty back around with a kiss.
- Spoofed in a Garfield and Friends U.S. Acres two-part episode, 'Snow Wade and the Seven Dwarfs' near the end between Roy Rooster (as the prince) and Wade Duck (as Snow Wade). Though, Orson Pig tried kissing Snow Wade (and gagging a lot from it) before this.
- Subverted in Kidd Video. The kiss that undoes a spell on the main guys is given by... the Fairy Companion, since the only real requirement is to being kissed by a Princess (not specifying love) and since she's a princess of the local fairy tribe...
- The Animated Adaptation of The Legend of Zelda satires the Frog Prince example. Ganon turns Link into a frog, and a witch informs him that the only cure is the kiss of a princess (Ganon apparently "does the classics well"). When Link points out that he tries to get Zelda to kiss him Once per Episode and never succeeds, the witch gripes "I said it was simple! I didn't say it'd be easy!"
- Spoofed in one Looney Tunes cartoon, where Bugs is put under a spell by Witch Hazel and is rescued by Prince Charming this way - who, for some reason, is in the wrong fairy tale. (Bugs had previously rescued Hansel and Gretel; still, he's grateful.)
- Miraculous Ladybug: How Ladybug cures Chat Noir from a Hate Plague on Valentine's Day. She remembers her literature class about fairy tales. However, as far as Ladybug knows, she is not in love with Chat Noir and is still unaware of the latter's feelings towards her at this point. So, how did such an idea ever cross her mind if it should not have worked? Only the viewer knows that it actually worked because they're technically - albeit unaware of it - in love.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Part 2 of "A Canterlot Wedding" has a variant with Shining Armor and Princess Cadance not kissing, but touching horns, with all the accompanying spectacle associated with this trope. It restores Shining Armor's ability to cast his protection spell (which had been drained by Queen Chrysalis) and combines it with Cadance's love magic to repel all the changelings while filling everypony with a sense of wellbeing.
- The animated Punky Brewster episode "Punky, Snow White And The Seven Dwarves" has Snow White and Henry put to sleep from an apple pie spiked by a disguised wicked queen. Brandon's lick awakens Snow White, but it doesn't work on Henry. Punky sadly kisses Henry on the cheek and sobs into his chest, and he suddenly awakens.
- In The Smurfs episode "The Prince And The Hopper", Prince Theodore has been turned into a frog and must receive a kiss from the one who truly loves him within a few days or else he will become a frog forever. The prince thinks that his bride-to-be Lady Jasmine is the one who truly loves him, but Smurfette finds out that she's only interested in his money. Just as Prince Theodore is about turn permanently into a frog, Smurfette confesses her love for the prince and kisses him, restoring him to his true human form.
- Superman: Brainiac Attacks: How Superman wake Lois from her coma, and really look like this, even if it is actually the residue of the serum in him that cured her.
- In one Underdog cartoon, an unnamed Wicked Witch kidnapped Sweet Polly and put her under the typical thousand-year sleeping princess spell that had this type of cure, but it had a twist; the witch knew that, but she only told Polly, lying to Underdog later (saying that only she could reverse the spell) so she could blackmail him into doing her evil deeds for her. Underdog found loopholes to complete two of her demands without hurting anyone, but with the third - helping her conquer the world - he saw no way to do without compromising his morals, so he decided he had no choice but to leave Sweet Polly as she was... After beating the tar out of the witch, of course. A fierce battle later, the witch perished when her broom - a Soul Jar, of sorts - was destroyed - and her now-free formerly oppressed subjects made a promise to Underdog that they and all their descendants would watch Polly for as long as they had to until the thousand-year curse expired. Believing that was the best he could hope for, the hero decided to leave with a final kiss. By pure luck, he discovered the cure.
And they all lived Happily Ever After.