Quotes / Chronic Hero Syndrome

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    Anime and Manga 

"I don't need a reason to save someone."
Touma Kamijou, A Certain Magical Index

"I won't leave you! I'm sick of watching people die, and I can't just sit back and take it anymore! I won't let anyone else get killed! Not when I can protect them!"
Alphonse Elric to Lt. Riza Hawkeye, Fullmetal Alchemist

"If there's a person right there who I can save and I'm told she can only be saved by me, of course I'll choose to save her!"
Kagome Higurashi, InuYasha

    Comic Books 

Supergirl: You think I should stop?
Superman: No. But Kara, you spend so much time trying to save everyone else, to be the hero that everyone expects you to be, that you don't get a chance to relax. You're Supergirl twenty-four hours a day, and I think it's starting to hurt more than help.

Clark Kent: She spends all of her time in that cape. She's missing out on so much... because I think she's afraid to lose it again.
Lois Lane: Kara's been through a lot of trauma.
Clark: I only want her to be happy.
Lois: You want everyone to be happy.
Clark: Is that wrong?
Lois: No, Clark. It's just unusual.

"A disease from outer space... a plane-crash... army ants—! And that thing that camps on my trail! So many problems — I can't think where to begin!"
Superman, Kryptonite Nevermore

    Fan Works 

"Every time someone cries out in prayer and I can't answer, I feel guilty about not being God."

"Listen to me: There will always be someone in need. There will always a villain to capture, always a monster to slay. Will you continue to pursue them forever? My worst nightmare, Adam, is seeing you fight battles for the needy until the end of time, never once knowing peace, with no one knowing or caring about your struggles..."
Adam's wife, Fahl, Mass Effect Human Revolution

"This is what happens, Hisagi-fukutaichou," the noble had finally revealed, words heavy with resignation, "when a man with overwhelming power, a strong sense of responsibility, a compassionate heart, and a penchant for saving as many lives as possible is placed in a war. He never comes back, because he cannot. For every moment he is away from the battlefield, a man could be killed in his absence. A death that he could have prevented. And Ichigo could never accept that."

"I enjoy a good hero - they're so predictable. One little nudge and off they run towards the screaming."

"Why am I doing this?! It makes no sense! I don't even know these people! Why am I fighting a giant fucking goat demon for them?! This is stupid. Why should I care what happens to any of them? They're all just a bunch of stupid sheep who let Corvatz lead them off a cliff. They knew exactly what they were walking into! Which just begs the question, WHY AM I STILL HERE?! (flashback to Sachi's death) DAMMIT!!"

"Aaaaaaand the rescue-addict makes his appearance."

"Besides, when someone needs help, I help! That's basically my entire character!"

Scott wasn't quite sure how he'd ended up buying the goat. It had taken almost all the money Scott had brought along with him, but now he owned the ill-tempered creature. Someday, he vowed, he'd learn to ignore the little voice that always got him in to these messes. Next time, he swore to himself that he'd just walk away and mind his own business.

    Film - Animated 

Grampa: Homer? What the hell are you doing now?
Homer Simpson: Risking my life to save people I hate for reasons I don't quite understand. Gotta go!

Bob: What can I say, Rick?
Rick: Nothing you haven't said before.
Bob: Someone's in trouble!
Rick: Someone's always in trouble.
Bob: I have to do something!
Rick: Yeah. Every time you say those words, it means a month and half of troubles for me and hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars. We gotta pay the company to keep quiet. We gotta pay for damages, erase memories, relocate your family. Every time it gets harder! Moneymoneymoneymoneymoney-we can't keep doing this Bob! Look Bob, we appreciate what you've done in the past, but those days are gone. From now on, you're on your own.

    Film - Live-Action 

"I don't destroy victims, I save them!"
Ben Tennyson, Ben 10: Alien Swarm

Steve: If I see a situation pointed south, I can't ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.
Tony: No, you don't.
Steve: ...No, I don't.

"When you can do the things that I can, but you don't... and then the bad things happen, they happen because of you."

John McClane: You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.
Matt Farrell: Then why you doing this?
John McClane: Because there's nobody else to do it right now, that's why. Believe me, if there were somebody else to do it, I'd let them do it, but there's not. So we're doing it.
Matt Farrell: Ah. That's what makes you that guy.

Thug: What the fuck is wrong with you, man? You'd rather die for some piece of shit that you don't even fucking know?
Kick-Ass: Three assholes laying into one guy while everyone else watches, and you wanna know what's wrong with me?! Yeah, I'd rather die! NOW BRING IT ON!


"I take it you didn't stop the clock," said Miss Susan, looking up and down the street.
"No. I was... too late. Perhaps I shouldn't have gone back to help Lu-Tze."
"I'm sorry? You were dashing to prevent the end of the world but you stopped to help some old man? You...
"Oh, I wouldn't say that I was a-" And then Lobsang stopped. She hadn't said "you hero" in the tone of voice of "you star;" it had been the tone in which people say "you idiot."
"I see a lot of your sort," Susan went on. "Heroes have a very strange grasp of elementary maths, you know. If you'd smashed the clock
before it struck, everything would have been fine. Now the world has stopped, and we're being invaded, and we're probably all going to die, just because you stopped to help someone. I mean, very worthy and all that, but very, very... human..."
She had used the word as if she meant it to mean "silly."

"You would flirt with chaos, destruction - with war. For the sake of this one wounded soul?"
I smote my staff on the floor, reaching deep for power. Deeper than I've ever reached before. Outside, in the gathering morning, the air crackled with thunder.
Bianca, even Ortega looked abruptly uncertain, looking up and around, before focusing on me again.
"For the sake of one soul. For one loved one. For one life." I called power into my blasting rod, and its tip glowed incandescent white. "The way I see it, there's nothing else worth a war for."

"But the world wasn't a fair place, was it? And I had more reason to know it than most people twice my age. The world wasn't nice, and it wasn't fair. People who didn't deserve it suffered and died every single day.
So what?
So somebody ought to do something about it."
Harry Dresden, Ghost Story

"This isn't a criticism, Harry! But you do... sort of... I mean — don't you think you've got a bit of a — saving people thing?"

[Sanzang] heard a shout of 'help!' and said to his disciple with shock, "Disciple, what's that cheer in the middle of these mountains?"
"You just keep going, Master," said Monkey, coming up to him. "Stop worrying about chairs, whether they're carried by people or mules, or whether they're open topped or litters. Even if there were a chair here there'd be no one to carry it for you."
"I'm not talking about chairs for carrying but about cheers," said Sanzang.
"I know," said Monkey, "but its no concern of yours. You just keep going."
— The Monkey King tries to defy this trope, Journey to the West

"This habit of taking on to your shoulders the harvest of other people's bloomers is growing upon you, Comrade Jackson. You must check it. It is like dram-drinking..."

"You didn't think. You reacted, eager to save the world and to do it alone."
Mara Jade to Luke Skywalker, Star Wars: Hand of Thrawn

Parian: She’s a lot like me. She wants to protect people. She’s willing to make sacrifices for the people she cares about.
Regent: Terribly unhealthy. Worse than smoking, even.

    Live-Action TV 

"I can't tell you what to do. I've been wrestling with this one my whole life. I see fifteen people held hostage on a bus, and everything else goes out the window. I will do whatever it takes to save them – and I mean whatever it takes."
Jack Bauer, 24

"I trust Dylan to be Dylan. When the universe collapses and dies, there will be three survivors: Tyr Anasazi, the cockroaches... and Dylan Hunt, trying to save the cockroaches."
Tyr Anasazi, Andromeda

"Just go, stop noticing. Just go, stop noticing. Just go, stop noticing... STOP IT! Am I noticing? No! I am not! What I am not doing is scanning around for electrical fluctuations. Oh shut up you! I'm just dropping in on a friend, the last thing I need right now is a Cortina full of teleport energy! I am going! Do you hear me, going! Not staying, going! I am through saving them! I am going away now!"
Eleventh Doctor, Doctor Who

"Some doctors have the Messiah Complex - they need to save the world."
Wilson, House

"This is the problem with being a good guy, though. It gets under your skin!"
Eliot, Leverage

Iris: We can start where we left off, your hero complex, which men often develop in response to being bullied as a child.
Reese: Iris, my school didn't have bullies. I kept them in line.
Iris: Uh, bullying bullies is kind of the very definition of a hero complex... You seem distracted. There something else on your mind?
Reese: You could say that.
Iris: Look, I'm not sure what you're running from, but-
Reese: I'm not running from anything. I'm trying to save someone!

"Ah, yes. [My husband's gone to] pistol-whip the trucking industry... because he can't save a gunshot victim and he can't stop a hurricane."
First Lady Abigail Bartlet, The West Wing

Turlough: I suppose it's too much to ask to arrive somewhere tropical with beaches and pretty girls. What am I doing anyway? Standing in a Moscow back-alley, talking to myself and trying not to freeze my-
(A door at the other end of the alley opens, and Cord shoves Lena out of it)
Cord: Move it!
Lena: Let go of me! (screams)
Turlough: Oh no.
Lena: You're hurting me!
Cord: I warned you; I told you to stay away. You didn't listen.
Turlough: This is nothing to do with me. I'm just going to stay quiet and not get involved.
Lena: Please, someone help me!
Turlough: We'll go back to the TARDIS and leave...
Cord: Be quiet!
Turlough: ...and that will be that.
(Cord slaps Lena across the face)
Turlough: Oh hell. Doctor! Doctor, get back here, quickly! I know I'm going to regret this... OI! YOU! What do you think you're doing?! Let her go!


"That bench stays crowded
It's a regular wailing wall
Penniless and helpless
Ignorant and scared
He collects 'em all!"


"Haven't you figured it out yet? You have to be insane to be a Toa at all. It's the first requirement for the job."

    Video Games 

"[Alice] has a "hero complex:" an inherent desire to help others, being unable to help herself, and compulsion to make the world right... She's trying to "unlock" the true meaning of her life. And she doesn't know who has the key."
Dr. Wilson, Alice: Madness Returns

Carl: W-what? Why did you...!?
Litchi: "Why...?" I don't know... I wonder why...? But... I was worried about you, so I followed you here.
Carl: Why did you protect me...? How can you do that!? I don't understand...
Litchi: Do I need... a reason.. to help someone in need...?

"So, we're going to solve every squabble in the village personally, are we? My, but the darkspawn will be impressed."
Morrigan, Dragon Age: Origins

"I'll continue. I must. If I give up now... I could do anything I wanted to, and yet... Even if I was with you, I could never forget."
Yuna, Final Fantasy X

Nhadala: We've got a prickly situation. Fiends are attacking the Cactuar Nation!
Yuna: We'll take care of it! Benzo, let's go!
Paine: I was wrong. She doesn't get dragged into trouble.
Rikku: She jumps in headfirst.

Rikku: Isaaru’s changed, too, huh?
Maroda: Him? He’ll never change. (sighs) He goes around playing superhero and leaves us with all the headaches.
Rikku: Hey, I know someone like that.
Paine: Oh, someone who goes around playing superhero, is it?
Yuna: You mean Brother!
Paine: Wrong.
Yuna: Buddy?
Rikku: Nope.
Paine: Well, uh, Rikku, why don’t we get going?
Rikku: Yup, sounds good.
Yuna: Come on. Tell me who!

"Hero. Summoner. Doormat."
Shinra summarizes Yuna, Final Fantasy X-2

"How did we arrive in this situation, exactly?"
"Because Matthew can be talked into anything, that's how."

"Have you got some pathological need to help people? Not that I'm complaining; it's just weird, is all."

Tali: And what are you doing here, Shepard? We're in the middle of Geth space!
Shepard: I was in the neighbourhood. Thought you might need a hand?

Amazing Spider-Man: Where does this so-called death happen?
Spider-Man 2099: Sloan's building another gateway on the 66th floor so he can travel back and forth. I saw you being killed right there.
Amazing Spider-Man: By who?
Spider-Man 2099: I couldn't make it out. It doesn't matter. Get out of the building.
Amazing Spider-Man: So a crazed killer can wander around the building without me to stop him? No way. Besides, if I find this guy somewhere else, then I'm invincible, since I can only die at the gateway, right?
Spider-Man 2099: It's... not an exact science, Parker.
Amazing Spider-Man: Meaning what?
Spider-Man 2099: You want to spend an hour getting a crash course on temporal physics? No? Then do what I say.
Amazing Spider-Man: You've got a lot to learn about priorities, pal. I'm going to do what I think is right, and that means going after bad guys. You want a Spider-Man who'll do whatever you want? Go play a video game.


"Confound it! An entire train full of helpless Sparks AND dangerous monsters AND a handy chasm nearby. Someone is tempting me. So not fair!
This is ridiculous. There were only two and a half innocent people on this train (Jäger = 0.5 person). Surely I can skip the last one. Yeah.
No. I can't. This is what being A Hero is about. I should never have taken that aptitude test back at the university. I wanted to be a chef."
Other Tryggvassen (GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!) on Twitter, Girl Genius

    Web Original 

Zoe: You’re out of your league!
Nancy: Yes, I am always out of my league, but I’m trying to help!

And there’s something about the way Nancy says it that just feels like this moment of triumph for her. It’s not just that her loved ones have been holding her back throughout the game or that Zoe hasn’t believed in her. It’s that this attitude has defined her entire career as a detective, and everyone is just always telling her that she can’t do this, that she’s just a meddling, immature girl who won’t be able to handle herself when she finds herself in a dangerous situation. But that’s not even the point. She has always known she’s unwanted there, but she has to do what she does if it means making the world better, bringing evil people to justice, repairing families, restoring someone’s well-earned wealth to them. And so when she’s defending herself here, I think she fully understands the impulse that made Kate leave— because Nancy couldn’t imagine not helping people, not doing what she loves, even if it means putting herself in danger over and over again. Kate was in over her head, too, but she was trying to help, and there’s nothing more noble in the entire world.''
— A blogger analysing a scene in Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy

    Western Animation 

Six: I told you not to get involved, Rex. You are not at full strength.
Rex: What was I supposed to do? Just leave it?
Dr. Holiday: Six has a point, Rex. You are pushed to the edge lately. You can't save everyone.
Rex: Not listening.
Generator Rex, "Mind Games"

Mike: I guess we oughta save [Lu].
Og: It'd be the right thing.
Mike: Funny, I usually enjoy doing the right thing.
Mike, Lu & Og, "The Good Ship Bad"