Ambiguous Name: Always Save The Girl

Deadlock Clock: 2nd Aug 2014 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [40]
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A couple of issues I've found with Always Save the Girl.

First of all, its possible the name needs changing. At the very least a lot of people seem to be confused by it. The trope description is about a character valuing his/her love interest so much he/she will sacrifice anyone and anything else to protect said love interest. A number of the examples seem to suggest people think its just a counterpoint to Men Are the Expendable Gender; a male character will go above and beyond the call of duty to save a female character in a way he wouldn't for another male character, with both the Moral Dissonance angle and the Love Interest angle pretty much gone. I trimmed the entire Real Life section for being nothing but these.

I'm also not convinced the Love Interest angle even needs to be there. There are a number of examples sprinkled throughout which involve platonic love, with no romance. Going strictly by the trope description, they shouldn't fit, but would...say, a father being willing to sacrifice the world to rescue his daughter be any less applicable to the trope's spirit than the same man being willing to sacrifice the world for his romantic partner? Wouldn't both invoke roughly the same audience reaction?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
On the one hand, I think always choosing "friend" in the Friend or Idol Decision is a trope, and it's not unreasonable for someone to assume this trope is broader than its title. On the other hand, I think there are additional implications when it's the Love Interest; they have a special role in the plot that's very different from your basic Protectorate character, and there can be different motivations involved in the decision. The prevalence of the Token Romance, for example, is definitely significant, and some non-romantic versions would fit more closely under, like, Mama Bear/Papa Wolf or Big Brother Instinct.

edited 19th Feb '14 3:36:48 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Papa Wolf, Mama Bear and Big Brother Instinct are separate tropes. They may fit the motivations for a Always Save the Girl action, but the actual trope is about someone valuing a loved one (or just love interest, as it stands) so much they're willing to sacrifice anyone and anything else, possibly the entire world or universe, just to protect them. And IMHO a Papa Wolf, Mama Bear or Big Brother can do that with just as much morally ambiguity as a hero saving his love interest.

As far as I can see, love is an important part of the trope, but I don't see how the kind of love it is alters the essential nature of it or how the audience would perceive it. The big example that immediately comes to mind is The Last of Us, which would fit the trope like a glove if not for the 'love interest' aspect.

edited 19th Feb '14 11:57:18 PM by TurkishDelight

*skimming examples*

Yeah, I agree. I'm seeing enough "platonic love" examples here that feel valid to me that I'd be comfortable calling Tropes Are Flexible on them.
Rhymes with "Protracted."

This is a trope I'd meant to bring here when the queue cleared, so I'm glad to see someone else caught it when I couldn't.
I dunno, I think actually being related to the person you're saving changes the feeling significantly. We're "expected" to look out for family first. If you're not related, it seems a lot more significant in a different way — though perhaps it says more about the relationship than the action, maybe.
I think it's different, but not different enough to need a separate trope.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
No, the level of unhealthy obsession implied by the trope simply does not function in the non-romantic examples of love.

A more severe problem is that the description is written from the perspective that The Hero is Always Male. This unhealthy obsession with the Love Interest is just as possible in female characters as it is in male characters. I point to Bella, from Twilight, as an example.

Wick check in 48 hours.

Except, in multiple examples on that page and at least one that isn't, the trope does function in exactly the same fashion without the unhealthy level of obsession over a romantic interest you believe is required. It may make the trope worse to sacrifice a world to save the life of your Love Interest, above all one you've just met or who you otherwise barely even know, but it isn't really much better to sacrifice a world for your daughter or son or mother or father or whoever you have a profound attachment to. The audience reaction should be much the same regardless.
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Audience Reaction is completely different. That would make Always Save the Girl a YMMV trope.
I agree it doesn't need any kind of obsession. The trope is very easily derived from A Million Is a Statistic. When the question is Save the Princess or Save the World, the princess comes first because she has a name and a face.
Let's consider the key elements that are required for this trope to be this trope and see if we can come to an agreement on it:

- A Sadistic Choice or other similar unpleasant decision in which the safety of someone the character cares about is weighed against the safety of other innocent people. Possibly (perhaps preferably for establishing this trope) many people.

- The character ignores The Needs of the Many and chooses the safety of the someone they care about even knowing it may well cost others their lives.

- The one saved must be someone the character cares deeply for, rather than a random innocent person, or else we've just got a Small Steps Hero.

- The choice does not have to result in any deaths or actual loss. The hero can find a way to save everyone and it will still be this trope if its made clear that, in a crunch, he would have saved the loved one even at the cost of the other people.

I hope, as a baseline, we can all agree on at least the above. Feel free to drop in any other essentials I'm missing, but the above to me seems like the foundation of the trope.

From there, however, we seem to have a dispute. crazysamaritan believes the trope only functions with an addition...and correct me if I'm misinterpreting what you're saying, crazysamaritan.

- The choice must be the result of the unhealthy obsession of the character directed at the Love Interest being protected, meaning that any relationship which does not involve romance is disqualified.

Accepting this addition to the definition, we would need to cut a number of examples involving characters potentially sacrificing countless other innocents to save someone who they care deeply about but who isn't their Love Interest, examples which I suppose would either need another trope or would just be left in limbo.

My personal opinion is that the Love Interest and unhealthy obsession angle, while certainly making the trope that much more disturbing, isn't needed for the trope to function. There are a number of examples sprinkled throughout the page of characters risking or even sacrificing the lives of countless other people to save the one person they care about, without a romantic relationship being involved. The Love Interest angle may be the most common example of the trope, but it isn't necessary for the trope to be the trope.

Anyone else agree? Disagree?
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Hey, we were writing up the same post! :D

Always Save the Girl seems to have suffered a bit of schizophrenia when it comes to the definition (I do not believe anyone disagrees with this statement).

The current definition has the following requirements:
  1. Victim is Always Female.
  2. “Hero” is Always Male.
  3. Victim is a Love Interest to the “hero”.
  4. The “hero” values the victim more than the entire world, creating Moral Dissonance, possibly the subtrope Protagonist-Centered Morality. (This can be downplayed by only comparing them to a country/town, or exaggerated by comparing them to the entire multiverse. The point is that the victim’s life is considered more important than the life of all other people.)
  5. Out of everyone the “hero” knows, only they are capable of rescuing the victim, despite Fridge Logic.
  6. The “hero” always makes the same choice.

Aspects of the trope that are related, but not always required:

I think it is safe to say that 1, 2, 5, and 6 are not required. So far, everyone in the thread seems to agree on point 4, although I also think that the point could be worded better for the definition. Point 3 is in contention between tropers, with few of us insisting that Love Interest is an important aspect, while some of us insist it is superfluous. One thing I should point out, is I did ’’not’’ include the term “hero” as a requirement, despite it being integral to the description. The reason is two-fold: In this definition, “hero” is being used for “supposed to be a good guy”, instead of The Hero, and this trope can be used to make villains more sympathetic.

I argue for the inclusion of Point 3, because Friend or Idol Decision already encompasses characters risking or even sacrificing the lives of countless other people to save the people ’’they’’ care about, without a romantic relationship being involved.

Why do I call it “unhealthy”? Because “morally ambiguity” isn’t a factor in the trope. There’s no moral ambiguity in defining one life worth more than another, only Moral Dissonance. I call it “unhealthy”, because the question becomes, “When you two are the last living humans, what happens?”.

edited 22nd Feb '14 3:23:39 PM by crazysamaritan

I don't think the definition is schizophrenic at all, actually. There's just a discrepancy between the examples and the description. And picking apart the description as-written isn't particularly helpful—its original intent isn't really in question, and we should be working off the trope as it appears in the source works. (Also, I don't see anything indicating that it's Always Male. "Hero" and "Love Interest" are both gender-neutral.)

I do agree with Turkish Delight's summary.

edited 22nd Feb '14 5:14:41 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
The names assign gender roles to the victim, and the definition assigns gender roles to both the victim and the hero.
I'll get into things further a bit later, but for the moment I just wanted to say I don't believe Friend or Idol Decision is that closely related to any version of this trope, nor could it adequately be used as a substitute for non-Love Interest examples.

Friend or Idol Decision is about deciding between a beloved friend or family member and whatever goal or MacGuffin the character has been trying to reach for ages. Its essentially choosing between a person and a thing, not a person and a bunch of other people. In such a circumstance, choosing the 'friend' is almost always the unambiguously good thing to do, whereas sacrificing the friend for the idol is the selfish Anti-Hero thing to do. I can imagine circumstances in which the friend is chosen while the idol was something that might save a lot of lives in the long run where it might skirt the trope, but overall its not similar enough that we just throw the non-romantic examples into it and settle things.
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Then try reading the examples, especially in Literature (the Doctor's Dilemma is between a friend and a non-friend, the simplest version of the trope you wish this to be).

I did. I just think its an awkward fit, at absolute best. The 'idol', by description:

''Something the hero has quested for intently is now within his grasp.

It could be a valuable treasure, personal knowledge about his unknown past, a chance to avenge an old wrong, or maybe the very thing needed to finally get off the island and negate Failure Is the Only Option.

But at the same time, a friend or ally who has helped him is lying unconscious on the floor, about to be crushed by a collapsing ceiling, eaten by monsters, or murdered by the Big Bad and his minions.

There's only enough time to save one — which one is it going to be?''

They share a sudden Sadistic Choice, but the similarities start breaking apart from there. To the extent that a human being can be the 'idol', the human being would have to have some greater meaning to the character, such as the genius artist who is kind of a prick shown in the example you cite. Unless the character has explicitly been questing for ages to save bunches of random people, it isn't a match.

Yet even there, its clumsy. The description given suggests that the 'idol' will be the cure for their perceived problems: they'll finally have their vengeance, they'll at last have the MacGuffin, they will after ages of searching discover the truth about their past. Then they give it up for the sake of their friends. Unless saving this bunch of strangers gives them what they've always wanted, I don't think it works.

In accordance with the definition as you've stated, I think:

- 1 and 2 aren't needed. Gender doesn't matter and a female character can just as easily do this for a male character, a female character for a female character, male for male, and so on. I've noted a number of people expliciting citing examples as Gender Inverted when it would probably be better if gender just wasn't a factor.

- I still contend 3 works fine just so long as the character is a loved one, regardless of whether its a Love Interest. So I vote 3 stays, but with the change from Loved Interest to loved one.

- 4 stays unchanged, or perhaps just edited for wording with the core meaning unchanged.

- 5 and 6 aren't needed.

Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Yeah... if this happens again, Example as a Thesis is going on my hate list.

You didn't quote a definition, you quoted an example. The description begins here:
—> Of course, a true hero will choose to save his friend over taking the treasure every single time. (Besides, it wouldn't be wise to resolve a whole major ongoing plotline right in the middle of the season, now would it? Or to lose any of the regulars, either.) It's very rare that the hero manages to Take a Third Option and do both; that's usually reserved for a Grand Finale or situations where a villain forces a hero to make a sadistic choice.

But more specifically, I had intended this part:
—> This trope is sometimes referred to as a "Doctor's Dilemma", after the title of a play by George Bernard Shaw (see "Literature", below).

However, trying to use Google has actually dissuaded me from believing the troper who included that. The "Doctor's Dilemma" that is most commonly discussed is actually the doctor's Conflict of Interest, which encompasses this trope, and many other dilemmas. I would prefer that line was deleted from the trope definition.

The example itself also includes four possibilities for the "Idol":
  • A: valuable treasure
  • B: personal knowledge about his unknown past
  • C: a chance to avenge an old wrong
  • D: maybe the very thing needed to finally get off the island and negate Failure Is the Only Option.
Only A or D is potentially a physical object, and the list is non-exhaustive.

Out of the eleven examples in Literature, five fit the formula of "life of friend, or life of world" framework.
  • The Doctor's Dilemma: friend vs neighbor
  • Thief of Time: mentor vs world
  • "If You Can Fill the Unforgiving Minute": friend vs Earth
  • The Waterstone: father vs world
  • The Red Pyramid: father vs North America

To summarize: Friend or Idol Decision is a subtrope of Sadistic Choice when the protagonist is given a choice between the life of someone they care about, and a goal they care about. The goal can be "Save the World" with no change in how the trope works.

Update on the Wick check: I'm about 2/3rds of the way done collecting the wicks, and I'll still have to analyze them afterwards. General glance of the examples, however, indicates that Always Save the Girl is being used evenly between ZCE, Men are the Expendable Gender, Friend or Idol, and "take risks to rescue a friend".

edited 23rd Feb '14 8:28:03 PM by crazysamaritan

No need to blame Example as Thesis. Even the utterly straight to the point laconic version makes the idea of associating Friend or Idol Decision with a non-romantic version of Always Save the Girl very iffy.

'Save the treasure or save your friend.'

The word 'idol' or 'treasure' in this context, to me at least, carries a strong connotation of something that has been pursued for a long period of time, something that is desired strongly and considered to be a way to bring the character happiness. I'm sure there are ideal heroes, such as Superman, for whom the protection of everybody in the world constitutes an idol he has pursued tirelessly for his entire life, but you're treating that as if it were a given for every character.

What if the Anti-Hero doesn't give two craps about the other random innocent people who will die but instead rushes off to save the loved one without hesitation? Are those other people still an idol or treasure he has sacrificed?

What if it isn't 'the world' in danger, but rather just...say, a whole town full of people that the hero has never heard of before who he ignores to save a loved one? Does the character suddenly view this random town he just heard of in the same way as he would a grand goal that has haunted his dreams for years? Are those other people more properly defined as a 'treasure' or more properly defined as an unfortunate obligation forced upon him by whatever conscience he may possess?

Either case would fit snugly in Always Save the Girl because that trope actually becomes all the more glaring the less the character cares about the other people whose lives he's risking to save his loved one. Neither would fit in Friend or Idol Decision because the trope requires the character have a deep-seated drive to save those people, at least if his decision to throw them away is to properly constitute an idol he has sacrificed for his friend.

As well, the two tropes are written in wildly contradictory spirits: Always Save the Girl is presented as morally dubious at the minimum, whereas Friend or Idol Decision carries the strong connotation that saving the friend is a case of choosing between one's friend and one's own (implicitly somewhat selfish) goals. The description of Friend or Idol Decision would need some heavy revision in order to constitute a work where the 'idol' resembles something like a bus full of kindergartners getting blown to pieces so the character can save his best friend Bob.

All of which is to really that bad to just say saving your dad and letting the world die is just as deserving of the Moral Dissonance of Always Save the Girl as saving your girlfriend and letting the world die?
21 theAdeptrogue27th Feb 2014 05:47:34 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Actually, I used to think that this trope is related to (or perhaps a result of) Men Are the Expendable Gender, in which a female main character will almost certainly be rescued or saved by the hero, no matter what kind of danger she got herself into, whereas a male character in her situation (even if he is as equally important to the plot as she was) would probably be killed off.

At least, that was the impression I got from the wick usage.

edited 27th Feb '14 5:50:36 AM by theAdeptrogue

Could we just... not have Death anymore?
What if the Anti-Hero doesn't give two craps about the other random innocent people who will die but instead rushes off to save the loved one without hesitation?
Did you forget both tropes are subtrope to Sadistic Choice?

If you want to argue about if the "hero" cares about the non-friend element, then you're arguing the situation out of the supertrope, and into an entirely different trope. One that doesn't have a page.

The Sadistic Choice assumes that the "hero" is supposed to care about both choices. I assume that an individual example that reveals they don't care about one of the choices is playing with the trope, not averting it. But your reasoning is that the trope is averted, which means the subtropes must be averted.

That means Always Save the Girl is disqualified if Sadistic Choice is. I'm certain that you didn't intend that. You're pretty focused on the moral dissonance part of Always Save The Girl, but by the trope definition, Friend Or Idol Descision is also moral dissonance. True, the page doesn't give much emphasis for it. The page praises the action for being of heroic merit, instead.

If you want, I can include "Audience Reaction praise/hate" during my Wick Check.
23 Willbyr27th Mar 2014 05:53:14 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Clock is set.
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
I forgot about this. My wick check isn't organized yet.
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Wick Check complete: Misuse found. Primary usage appears to be Character will risk any danger to rescue female character.

Wick check method: Every seventh wick on the related search page. Total of 98 pages checked.

Zero Context Examples:
  1. PlayingWith.Always Save The Girl: Should be correct to the definition, by definition.
  2. Romantic Love Is More Important: redirect to Always Save the Girl
  3. Characters.Battle Royale: Hiroki Sugimura (Boy #11): Always Save the Girl.
  4. Characters.Casi Angeles: Always Save the Girl: See Big Damn Heroes below.
  5. Characters.Dot Hack First Generation: Always Save the Girl: Lycoris.
  6. Characters.Final Fantasy Tactics: Always Save the Girl: "I'm saving Agrias! Geronimo!"
  7. Characters.Haven: Nathan Thaddeus Wuornos: Always Save the Girl
  8. Disney.Hercules: Always Save the Girl
  9. Manga.Jackals: Always Save the Girl: Nichol
  10. Main.Mage Craft: Always Save the Girl
  11. Anime.Mass Effect Paragon Lost: Always Save the Girl: Subverted, see Sadistic Choice.
  12. Anime.Mass Effect Paragon Lost: Infant Immortality: As with Always Save the Girl, subverted in the Sadistic Choice.
  13. VideoGame.Myosotis: Always Save the Girl
  14. Characters.New Girl: Nick Miller: Always Save the Girl
  15. Once Upon A Time: Disney.Mulan: Always Save the Girl: Towards Aurora.
  16. Literature.Phenomena: Always Save the Girl: Subverted, as Alk didn't know that Mijam and her people were taken away in the first place.
  17. Film.Super 8: Always Save the Girl
  18. Characters.The Capitol Series: Lectic Riggs: I Die Free: Lectic provides similar reasoning for why he volunteered. A little bit of Always Save the Girl in there, too.
  19. Characters.The Emiya Clan: Ulf (The son of Medea of Colchis): Always Save the Girl: Grows into this as time progresses.
  20. Anime.The Place Promised In Our Early Days: Always Save the Girl
  21. Film.The Serpent And The Rainbow: * Always Save the Girl: Why Dennis goes back to Haiti again.
  22. Characters.Time Scape: Lance Takamine: Always Save the Girl: Taken to the extreme.
  23. VisualNovel.Umineko When They Cry: Always Save the Girl: George in EP4.

Context suggests danger without including a Sadistic Choice:
  1. Main.Anticlimax Boss: Sin City: The Colonel, the Big Bad from Hell And Back ends up captured off-panel and we see him briefly before he gets a bullet through his head. The protagonist, meanwhile is rescuing his love interest and relegates himself to diving for cover with her in his arms while his friend blows up the attacking Black Helicopter that had caused him trouble earlier. This was all orchestrated by the main character but it serves as a little anti-climatic considering how Bad Ass the story had been up until that point.
  2. VideoGame.Army Of Two: Rios opts to save a female cartel hostage in the first mission of the third game over Salem's objections. This is what causes Salem to join the cartel, as he resented Rios choosing to save a hostage over him and leaving him for dead.
  3. Literature.Ballad Of The World: * Always Save the Girl: Everyone seems to be interested in saving their love interests be they humans or villains.
  4. Characters.Battle Royale: Shuya Nanahara (Boy #15): Always Save the Girl: He only seriously fights back against Kiriyama when he hurts Noriko.
  5. Characters.Black Butler Anime And Manga: Ciel Phantomhive: * Always Save the Girl: As of the most recent chapter, he's definitely this toward Elizabeth. He threw himself in front of a bear for her chapters ago, but most recently he's taken to doing whatever he has to do to make sure she's safe from a ship load of zombies. Her mother, who's normally overprotective, calmed down upon finding out that her daughter was with Ciel because she knew he'd protect her.]] That's a pretty high level of trust there!
    • Subverted something fierce in chapter 57, as it turns out Elizabeth was more badass than him all along and ends up saving him.]]
    • Pulled it again in chapter 58, even though Lizzie saved him. He doesn't want her trapped on a sinking ship rife with zombies and shinigami, even if Sebastian and him are staying on board, so he has Sebastian knock her out and give her over to her brother.]]
  6. Characters.Blue Exorcist: * Berserk Button: Do not harm Yukio or Shiemi in any way. Or ANY of his friends for that matter.
  7. LetsPlay.Burning Dog Face: * Sadistic Choice - Both played straight and subverted in Alpha Protocol. He had to cut out a large portion of one video since he couldn't decide whether to save Madison or the museum, and eventually went for the museum.]] However when Mina]] is captured later in the game he doesn't even pause for a second.
  8. Characters.Casi Angeles: * Always Save the Girl: See Big Damn Heroes below. * Big Damn Hero: He has saved Jazmin countless times, as well as helping Mar and Melody in the initial episodes of season 3 and saving Malvina's life in the second season.
  9. TabletopGame.Chess: * Mexican Standoff: So, your opponent is threatening your queen and it is impossible to save her? Respond by threatening his queen and maybe two or more pieces with it.
  10. VideoGame.Contra: * Always Save the Girl: At the beginning of Rebirth stage 2, the heroes choose to jump into the mecha's head (knocking it off) in order to save a little girl, rather than just shooting it.
  11. WMG.Dead Rising 2: * Granted, the Vitriolic Best Buds bit with Chuck is more lighthearted in Case West, but Frank has a motive to hate him - not only did Chuck possibly make a bigger scoop in Fortune City than Williamete, but he also got Rebecca Chang (who is possibly Frank's Love Interest) killed]]. So, what WAS different about Case West? Well, aside from Frank taking most of Chuck's story verbatim, he saved Rebecca, killed Stacey in Chuck's backstory, made Chuck a Psycho, and turned Stacey into the Big Bad instead of Sullivan. Bonus points if the reason of the last switch was because Sullivan reminded Frank of Brad.]]
  12. Characters.Demo Reel: * Always Save the Girl: Even when she's not the one who needs protecting.
  13. Characters.Dm C Devil May Cry: * Always Save the Girl: He adamantly refuses to abandon Kat after Mundus captures her.
  14. WesternAnimation.Exchange Student Zero: * Always Save the Girl: Whenever Charity is about to get crushed or be somewhere in the middle of harm's way, Hiro would always save her. This happens several times which causes her constant denial to his advances start to fade more and more.
  15. WrongGenreSavvy.Fan Fic: * In Fanfic.Game Theory, Nanoha seems to think that she's in a standard magical girl show, that she can win fights by implementing crazy plans and improvising new spells without understanding how the magic works, and that it's okay to risk putting a lot of people in danger for the sake of one person.]]. This is not the case.
  16. Characters.Final Fantasy Tactics: * Always Save the Girl: "I'm saving Agrias! Geronimo!"
  17. Disney.Frozen: * Always Save the Girl: Kristoff in general, but it's in the finale where you see him pull out all the stops. Rather uniquely subverted (like a lot of the classic tropes in this film) in that Anna denies him the rescue, for the sake of her sister.]]
  18. Disney.Frozen: * Love Epiphany: With Olaf's help, Anna realizes that her true love is not Hans, but rather Kristoff.
    • Kristoff is utterly in denial about his developing crush on Anna...until he sees the huge snowstorm gathering in the area where just he dropped her off, and his Always Save the Girl instincts kick in, hard.
  19. Literature.Graceling: * Always Save the Girl: Katsa hates this trope up to a point where she's uncomfortable being saved by anyone.
  20. Characters.Highlander The Series: Tessa: * Damsel in Distress: Several villains kidnapped her to get to Duncan, preying on his desire to Always Save the Girl.
  21. Inferred Holocaust: * Inverted in The End Of Evangelion. The world is supposed to have ended, with everyone but two people converted to protoplasmic Tang. However, it is explicitly stated that nobody died, they all just lost their individuality to the point that they ended up in one big group hug on the metaphysical level, and implied that even normal humans can regain their humanoid individuality with a decent show of willpower. Sort of an Inferred Survival for everyone on earth.]] Which then leads directly to this trope being played straight. Unless the threshold for coming back from the Dirac sea is so low that plants and animals start coming back as well, the survivors would perish in short order from lack of food, and if they avoided that, lack of oxygen.]]
  22. Intersections: * Always Save the Girl: Subverted by Vail having to watch his beloved, Siana, get killed as the last twist of his deceased adversary's plan, leading to Vail's eventual Face–Heel Turn.]]
  23. Literature.Junior High Of The Dead: * Main.Always Save The Girl: Liam repeatedly saves Heather from numerous zombie attacks throughout the story.
  24. Kingdom Hearts: Sora: Always Save the Girl: Says himself that Kairi means more to him than anything else, and even impales himself with the Keyblade of Heart and opens the Door to Darkness to save Kairi in KHI.
  25. Analysis.Lady And Knight: The White Knight has pledged his service to the lady and acts as The Champion to her. He has sworn his service to her above all else, not the country or some other greater organization, but dedicating himself solely to her protection and the furthering of her goals. At times his loyalty to his Lady and his other responsibilities might clash but you can bet in the end he will Always Save the Girl. In fact often he places his Lady's safety above even her wishes, and will openly and shamelessly defy her in order to protect her, and not regret it one whit. He is usually a man of high moral caliber, who follows a code of chivalry, but it's not absolutely necessity. The White Knight, even if he starts out a bit grey, will inevitably find himself doing good because his Lady acts as his Morality Chain.
  26. The Load: * Series.Buffy The Vampire Slayer: ** Dawn. Buffy has to protect her from those that know she is the key, but Dawn gets kidnapped, paralyzed, and attacked all the time, not to mention the trouble she causes by herself by inviting vampires into their house, making wishes to vengeance demons, resurrecting dead people and parking with vampires. That being said, the show makes it fairly obvious that half of this is Buffy's fault, as she refuses to train her in combat so that she can have the normal life Buffy never had, yet personal problems and various tragedies intervene and she ends up ignoring the poor girl more than half the time. The only way Dawn could ever get attention was when she got in trouble, so it might be that subconsciously she wanted to be in danger, which might explain her lack of caution in certain situations that should have warranted it, and certainly explains her brief stint as a kleptomaniac in the sixth season. Once Buffy does start training her and giving her a bit more attention, Dawn stops getting kidnapped so much and even manages to become a decent supporting fighter. And in the comics, she's proving quite Genre Savvy.
  27. Analysis.Men Are The Expendable Gender: Unfortunate Implications: Outside of war, men are often viewed as cowards if they shrink from fistfights, and if a man and woman are attacked by a criminal, he tends to be viewed as responsible for protecting her, regardless of whether she's actually more capable.
  28. Series.Passions: * Always Save the Girl: All of the male characters regarding their respective female love interests, but the biggest one is Luis in regards to Sheridan. Luis has saved Sheridan's life so much that it's too much to count.
  29. Literature.Phenomena: * Always Save the Girl: Subverted, as Alk didn't know that Mijam and her people where taken away in the first place.]]
  30. Series.Primeval: * Always Save Rex: Abby repeatedly goes back into danger to save Rex.
  31. Characters.Rebuild Of Evangelion: Shinji Ikari: * Always Save the Girl: Deconstructed in 2.0 where Shinji eradicates most of humanity to try and save Rei. Made worse by the fact he apparently didn't save her after all. Also, in 3.0, he unconsciously activates his EVA to save Asuka from an angel when she screams at him to help her. Or at least it's assumed that was his doing, because all that gets him is being forced to wear a choker that will kill him if he ever tries to pilot an EVA again. Perhaps it would be better for him not to try and save his fellow female pilots...
  32. Characters.Resident Evil 2: Leon Scott Kennedy: * Always Save the Girl: After losing Ada once, this seems to have become a principle for him. Matthew Mercer explained it in an interview as "Even if a situation seems very dangerous and stupid and a total trap, if there’s a woman who needs help he can’t turn that down [...] And in the end of it he’ll feel better about himself knowing he went through the motions on the off chance whoever it was really needed help.”
  33. Roaring Rampage of Romance: Sometimes, Bob coldly decides to sacrifice his True Companions to save Alice. This is none of these situations. Sometimes caused by Always Save the Girl.
  34. Satan: * Satan himself appears a few times in Ao No Exorcist, always while possessing someone (he's far too powerful to manifest in the human realm). He's a complete Jerkass who swears like no tomorrow and kills random people just for the hell of it, laughing all the while. Near the end of the series, the reason for his hatred against humans is revealed: he was completely ignorant to many things including the very concept of mortality until he encountered a Plucky Girl who not only didn't fear him but was immune to his flames and willingly invited him to possess her body, saying that he must be lonely to have everything he touch burn to ashes. Over the next year, she explained to him the concept of life. When Satan stated he wanted to live, Yuri's response was that life cannot be taken or given, only created. You know the result... Naturally, the Church freaked out big time and tried to burn her at the stake before she gives birth, dismissing her claims that demons are Not So Different as blasphemy. Cue Satan possessing every powerful exorcist he could reach to find a host body he could save her with, ultimately succeeding but not without killing hundreds in the process. Yuri died from childbirth and Satan swore to take revenge by merging the human and demon worlds into one.]] Love Makes You Crazy, much? Too bad the next person he possessed and had Driven to Suicide was Fujimoto, the very same man who went against orders to raise Satan's sons in secrecy; Rin, one of said sons, promptly decided to kick daddy's ass.
    • Should be noted that all that is in the spoilers is an anime only thing. So far, the manga hasn't come clear with his true goal and motives. Rin still wants to kick his ass though.
  35. Characters.The Stoneheart Trilogy: !Jagger (The Gunner): * Always Save the Girl: The Gunner risks breaking his oath to the Walker in order to rescue Edie from the Minotaur by saving one last bullet in spite of promising to fight the Minotaur weaponless.
  36. Characters.The Wheel Of Time Taveren: Perrin Aybara: * Always Save the Girl: When Faile is in danger, rescuing her becomes more important than anything. This is very important during the Last Battle, when Perrin has to choose between helping save her or Rand, and when his love for Faile is what snaps him out of Lanfear's Compulsion.
  37. OnceUponATime.Tropes A To D: * Always Save the Girl: Mulan's top priority is always Aurora's safety, which was made clear when she chose to give Cora the compass that will help Emma and Snow White return to Storybrooke as an exchange for Aurora. Though Mulan became Aurora's protector, in Season 3, it was revealed that Aurora is Mulan's Love Interest
  38. True Neutral: * Squall Leonhart in VideoGame.Final Fantasy VIII was raised as a mercenary and, as a result, doesn't particularly believe in the concepts of "good" and "evil." He accepts that any given side of a conflict has their own reasons, and believes that one's stance on any subject is shaped by one's point of view. Accordingly, when he gets involved in stopping The End of the World as We Know It, he does so less out of any moral impulse and more as a means of ensuring the safety of the girl he loves - and because the government of Esthar is paying him to do it. By the end of the game he has arguably developed more towards Neutral Good, but his personal morality is still defined more as "Always Save the Girl" than anything elsenote .
  39. FanPreferredCouple.Video Games: * Despite VideoGame.Golden Sun fandom's notorious shipping wars for every other character in the series, Saturos and Menardi are near-universally seen as a Battle Couple, despite there being no canon evidence of romance between them.
    • Felix's most popular pairing is with Sheba due to his Always Save the Girl moment for her in the first game, which is given a nod in Dark Dawn's recap of the story. However, Felix/Karst is also wildly popular, since a lot of her scenes and dialogue can be read as Ship Tease, they were neighbors on good terms for three years, and there's that lovely hand-holding scene while she's dying]].
Characters.White Collar: Elizabeth Burke (Tiffani Thiessen): * Always Save the Girl: Since she's the only one who isn't a trained cop or a professional crook, she's seen as the one usually most in need of protection, which means that on the few occasions she's pulled into the conflict, everything stops to help her.
  1. Fanfic.Worse Than Death Series: * Always Save the Girl: Gender-flipped in the second story, Yumie in regards to Pip when he's taken captive.
  2. Webcomic.Yu Me Dream: * Always Save the Girl - Fiona's decision to attempt to go back into the Dream World to find Lia
    • Or not. Fiona was completely miserable in her life, anyway - no friends, nobody to talk to, dead mom, awful father and step mom, very dark family secret... so miserable, in fact, that prior to the start of the story, she'd attempted suicide. Lia and her dream friends were all she had. She wasn't really choosing the girl over other important options as much as pursuing the only happiness she knew.
      • Except her step mom wasn't evil. She may have been frustrated, but deep down, she loved Fiona. Word of God says she was the first to run into the room, crying, the first time Fiona regained consciousness. So it's not all crap.

Context suggests a choice between pursuing romance, versus pursuing heroism, lacking Sadistic Choice:
  1. TheHero.Anime And Manga: The eponymous character of Anime.Black Rock Shooter OVA is not an example of this trope. In fact, it's strongly implied that were she to follow this trope to the letters (always win, resolving everything with force) she will not get the girl.
  2. Characters.Big Brother 14: Ian Terry: * Always Save the Girl: In regards to both Ashley and Britney. Eventually averted with both as Ian nominated Ashley and Britney was nominated by Frank and both were evicted.
  3. Music.Elbow: * Always Save the Girl: "I have an audience with the Pope, and I'm saving the world at eight. But if she says she needs me, everybody's gonna have to wait."
  4. Characters.Final Fantasy XIII: * Always Save the Girl: Snow is very dedicated to rescuing Serah, to the point where he abandons the others to save her at one point. * Always Save the Girl
—>"I'd tear down the sky if that's what it took to keep Vanille safe."
  1. For Great Justice: * "VideoGame.Space Ace, defender of truth, justice and the planet Earth! ...and his girlfriend, Kimberly."
  2. "[Game Of Thrones S 3 E 6 The Climb The Climb]]": * Always Save the Girl (Invoked Trope): Ygritte knows Jon is still loyal to the Night's Watch, but is hoping his love for her will overcome this. And if it doesn't, she's going to cut his balls off.
  3. Hunter X Hunter:
    Ging Freecss
    : * Always Save the Girl: He was always the one to find Mito when she was lost.
  4. Characters.Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie Rebellion: Homura Akemi * Always Save the Girl: She actually does save Madoka... by becoming the devil to her God.
  5. DarthWiki.SOS Unlimited Character Sheet: * Caius Ballad]] Always Save the Girl: Still his motivation, though putting his own universe back togeather takes priority.]]

Context suggests "female character" and a Sadistic Choice:
  1. LetsPlay.Burning Dog Face: * Always Save the Girl - Sometimes nay, but usually yay. More like always save everyone you like. Generally, BDF pushes for the merciful or less extreme option in any given choice-scenario.
  2. Webcomic.City Of Reality: * Bus Full of Innocents vs Always Save the Girl: Sorry AV, that's not how Todo rolls. {Lacks context on girl's relationship}
  3. Damsel Scrappy: * Rinoa from VideoGame.Final Fantasy VIII gets blamed for this, managing to get herself kidnapped four times through the course of the game, but only on the first instance did her own foolishness get her into the situation. The rest was unfortunate circumstance. The thing that grates most players is how accepting the rest of the cast becomes afterward—at one point, even choosing to save Rinoa despite the fact that saving her conflicts with Squall's (the player's) current task as leader. They get mad at you for even considering that the mission may be more important than saving her. It also doesn't help her out that the other two playable females, Quistis and Selphie, are highly-trained military professionals, while Rinoa is an untrained teenage girl (though ironically....)
  4. Recap.Doctor Who S 12 E 4 Genesis Of The Daleks: * Always Save The Companions: Davros forces the Doctor to give him information about future Dalek defeats by torturing Harry and Sarah Jane.
  5. "Cold Equation": * The Trope Namer is of course "Literature.The Cold Equations", the classic 1954 sci-fi short by Tom Godwin famous for averting the Always Save the Girl trope. A young girl stows away on a shuttle carrying vital medicine to a planetary colony, not knowing that its fuel has been precisely calculated and her extra weight is enough to cause disaster.
  6. Anime.Mass Effect Paragon Lost: * Always Save the Girl: Subverted, see Sadistic Choice. * Infant Immortality: As with Always Save the Girl, subverted in the Sadistic Choice. * Sadistic Choice: In classic Franchise.Mass Effect fashion: Vega has to choose between saving Treeya (who is carrying vital intelligence about the Collectors) or the colonists (which includes April, the little girl that he promised he would rescue). He chooses the former, and is promoted and rewarded for his choice, but he can barely live with himself. Not only that, but it turns out he made the wrong choice: chronologically, Shepard and his/her crew destroy the Collectors independently of the Alliance shortly after the events of this movie, rendering the intel Vega gathered useless.]] {It should be noted that this sadistic choice places a female character on each side.}
  7. VideoGame.Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey: * Enemy Chatter: Shin Megami Tensei's signature Demon Negotiation is taken above and beyond the series' standards. Particularly amusing ones often cross into Crowning Moment of Funny, such as scaring "young women"-type demons with ghost stories or getting a legendary man-eating serpent to protect you after convincing it you're a beautiful woman.
  8. Survivor Guilt: * Det. Del Spooner of Film.I Robot has this as a reason for hating robots. During a car accident where he and a girl were trapped in cars sinking into the lake, a robot saved him but not the girl. The robot's claims that Spooner had a better chance of survival than the girl (whose odds were statistically non-existent) and since the robots brain is a difference engine, it logically went after the one with a better chance of survival, a reasoning that Del hates since he believes that a true human would gladly sacrifice their life to save the girl no matter how futile]]. To be noted is a scene where he wakes up and points a gun with his head... with his finger on the trigger.
  9. Technician vs. Performer: * This trope is brought up in the Manga.Battle Royale Manga, when the character Toshinori Oda remembers the time that he and the protaganist, Shuya, performed music for the class; Oda's reserved violin recital received only polite applause, while Shuya's over the top guitar playing had the whole class cheering for him. Oda sees this as proof that his classmates are "uncultured"; Kazuo later thinks to himself (after killing Oda) that it was because Oda was too arrogant and "put himself between the listener and the music".
    • Also when Kazuo fights against Hiroki. Hiroki is fighting with passion to save a girl, while Kazuo simply fights with pure skill with no motivation, or drive.
  10. WebVideo.The Mercury Men: * Always Save the Girl: At a critical moment, Edward takes time from helping Jack to make sure Grace gets to safety.
  11. PlayingWith.Trial Balloon Question: * Inverted: Albert learns that his best friend Marcy is actually the Apocalypse Maiden. Rather than tell her outright, he tells her that if such a situation ever did occur, he'd do everything in his power to Screw Destiny and save her. Marcy, unaware of the truth, promptly replies that she'd put the future of the world over one life in a heartbeat.

Context suggests Love Interest and a Sadistic Choice:
  1. Fanfic.After That Fateful Night: She starts doing this even before she falls in love, but Twilight decides to protect Nightmare’s life even though letting her die would free Equestria. Actually becomes this after Twilight confesses her love for Nightmare.
  2. Recap.Angel S 04 E 17 Inside Out: Averted — Angel decides that Cordy has to die to stop whatever she's giving birth to. {From "giving birth", I'm assuming Love Interest}
  3. Series.Buck Rogers In The Twenty Fifth Century: * Always Save the Girl: Subverted in "Hand of the Goral" where the Evil Alien puts Buck through a Sadistic Choice, having to choose between saving Wilma Deering and Hawk (an alien from a Proud Warrior Race of birdmen). He chose Hawk because he guessed that the cowering Wilma was really a double put in by the Evil Alien, reasoning that the real Wilma Deering wouldn't have been such a wuss. When Buck makes his decision, "Wilma" melts right down in front of him, into a puddle of smoking burnt stuff.]]
  4. LetsPlay.Burning Dog Face: * Always Save the Girl ** Demonstrated in Fable 3 when he is forced to choose between ordering the hero's love interest to be executed or the leaders of the protest group that upset his brother, the king.]] While this was, technically, the evil choice, he didn't seem particularly happy about it. He even goes so far as to say "There's only one decision I can make."
  5. Fridge.Dragon Quest: * The whole Guilt-Based Gaming in the SNES version of Videogame.Dragon Quest V seems quite harsh. I mean, why does Bianca have to suffer so much for you to get the Legendary Hero's Shield which can only be gotten by marrying Flora/Nera? And then it hit me. The shield, important as it is, is ultimately a thing. Even though the villain is not involved at all, the whole situation can be distilled into a Friend or Idol Decision. And in such decisions, The Hero always chooses the girl! Which means if you don't, you're not really a true hero. Well you're not anyway; that'd be your son.]]
    Furthermore, you get the Shield anyway even if you choose Bianca, making this a Secret Test of Character. But there may be even more to it than that. As I implied in the Tear Jerker page, it takes a LOT of Heroic Willpower to brush aside what is essentially a guarantee that there will be a Hero soon. But: 1: It's what heroes do anyway (as previously stated) and 2: it could be a statement about The Power of Love winning in the end. After all, how could our Hero have known that the Zenithian bloodline ran through Bianca, who had no evidence of having it, as well as Flora/Nera, who at least possessed a Legendary Artifact.]] - Tropers.Donaldthe Potholer
  6. Film.Golden Eye: * Always Save the Girl: Bond chooses to save Natalya rather than shoot Trevelyan.
  7. Characters.Guilty Gear: Ky Kiske: * Always Save the Girl: In Overture, even if the universe is at stake, he won't let his love die.
  8. VideoGame.Lost Magic: * Always Save the Girl: In the Sadistic Choice, you can play this straight or subvert this; you have to do the former to get a good ending.
  9. Literature.Monster Hunter International: * Always Save the Girl: Played with. At the big climactic showdown, Koriniha cuts Julie's throat to encourage Owen to use the artifact's power. Owen realizes this would fubar the whole world by letting in the Old Ones, so he doesn't. As he's carrying Julie past what's left of Captain Thrall, Thrall uses the last of his appropriated artifact juice to heal her.]]
  10. Main.Protagonist Centered Morality: Also compare Always Save the Girl, in which the protagonist puts the well-being of his/her love interest above everything else.
  11. VideoGame.Radiant Historia: * Always Save Your Loved One - This is actually the motivation of the Big Bad; if saving the life of the one person he cares about means dooming the world to desertification, that's a price he's willing to pay.]]
  12. Characters.Rebuild Of Evangelion: Shinji Ikari: * Determinator: The major thing that sets him from his anime and manga counterparts. In the second Rebuild film, Shinji WILL save Ayanami, even if he has to initiate Third Impact and to sacrifice the world to do it and in the third film, he will retrieve the spears no matter what. 3.33 goes on to viciously deconstruct this, as Shinji's actions have turned out to have very grave consequences, namely the death of even more of the already diminished human race, leading to him getting treated like a criminal and pariah by almost every other character and the last time he attempts to do something, he only makes things worse.
  13. Characters.Sengoku Basara Maeda Clan: Maeda Toshiie:* Always Save the Girl: Seems his only rule is "guard Matsu".
  14. LetsPlay.Slowbeef: * X Meets Y: He and Diabetus spend the aftermath of VideoGame.Dead To Rights: Retribution Chapter 9 imagining possible sequels, going from mundane crossovers to a Bloodier and Gorier version of VideoGame.New Super Mario Bros 1.
—> Slowbeef: Well I think what's gonna happen in Dead To Rights: Retribution 2; Jack will be killing all these people but on a horse with gravity wells around. —> Diabetus: And there's a lot of constant quick-time events as well. —> Slowbeef: Also, he's saving Bandage Girl —> Diabetus: You have to make difficult moral choices, is Jack Slate a paragon or a renegade? The choice is yours, the player, to drive Jack's story because you are Jack!
  1. Film.Stargate: * Always Save the Girl: Daniel, who is the only one who can get the others home, goes up onto Ra's ship to revive Sha'uri. Meanwhile, tons of other people are dying and the clock is ticking on a nuclear device that is going to kill them all. But it's perfectly reasonable for Daniel to take the time out to get his girlfriend back.
  2. Franchise.Star Wars: * Always Save the Girl: Anakin's fears for (first, his mother's, then his wife's) safety take precedence over everything else, including his loyalties to the Jedi order and in the end his attempts to save her dooms Padme. Yeah, nice going there!
  3. Film.The Dark Knight Rises: * Always Save the Girl: Bane plans on this when he captures Miranda Tate, knowing that Batman will come to her rescue. However, it's quickly revealed that Miranda is a Decoy Damsel... she's not only loyal to Bane's cause, it was her cause all along.]]
  4. Characters.The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen: Always Save The Boy With The Bread: Continuously prioritizes Peeta's survival over what's best for her own survival, the rebellion and her squad. Even after he's been hijacked into hating her and she believes she can never be with him.]]
  5. Fridge.Twenty Four: * The Season 7 revelation that Michelle was pregnant when she was killed, just like Teri was, carries quite a bit more weight when you realize how much Jack and Tony have run into similar situations with their wives. Both separate from their wives in the wake of personal difficulties (Operation Nightfall for Jack, prison for Tony), both are forced to work for terrorists when their wives are taken hostage (Jack is forced to help Palmer's assassins, and Tony is forced to enable Saunders to escape) and both seek revenge against their wives' killers, with the main difference between the two being that Tony always puts his wife first, while Jack tries to Take a Third Option.
  6. WarpThatAesop.Video Games: * VideoGame.Chrono Cross: When given the option to commit genocide and destroy an ecosystem to save one life, do it. The karma earned from such a caring act will negate most of the negative consequences. Besides, someone else was bound to do the deed anyway; might as well have an actual reason, right?

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