- The sole presence of Cassie Cage puts any of Johnny Cage's and Sonya's interactions in Mortal Kombat 9 into this category.
- Anytime Sonya and Johnny interact, be it through the comics or the game's story mode. It's apparent that even though they aren't married anymore, Sonya still has a layer of trust and respect for Johnny, enough so to bring him along as a mediator between herself and Kotal when Cassie goes missing in the prequel comics. Watch her face when Johnny lays on the charm.
- The first chapter of Story Mode could be considered a love story between Sonya and Johnny.Kenshi: The war is not over. Quan Chi has escaped. Why are you smiling?
Johnny Cage: She called me Johnny.
- Johnny also gets bonus points for being a supportive Cool Old Guy mentor to the next-gen Special Forces, in contrast to Sonya's more straightforward military style. He's always addressed with a simple "Mr. Cage", and makes sure to remind Sonya of her role as not just Cassie's superior, but mother as well.[At the end of story mode chapter 1] "You are all here because you deserve to be. You are all beautiful snowflakes."
[At the end of story mode chapter 3] "You're still winners in my book."
- Heck, the sheer contrast between Johnny at the start of Mortal Kombat 9 and Johnny in MKX is a moment of heartwarming in itself. The grandstanding Jerk Jock from the beginning of the last game turns out to be a loving and doting father, who has the love and respect of his daughter, jovially exchanges witticisms with her and actually gets to act as Sonya's conscience. Who would have thought?
- The first chapter of Story Mode could be considered a love story between Sonya and Johnny.
- Kotal Kahn in general. Ranging from saving a Amazon tribe and getting his Blood God title, trying to recruit others to stop Shinnok, and unwittingly made Goro and his father's bond tighter, he would hardly pose a threat ... if it weren't for the fact he once served Mileena, and constantly held both Villain Ball and Idiot Ball whenever he got mad.
- In chapter 6 of the comic, Kotal Kahn tries to protect a Amazonian tribe from Spanish forces. even if it backfires on him by seeing said tribe dying from the viruses and diseases of the Spanish blood.
- In chapter 19 of the comic, In the darkest moments of the Outworld Civil War, besieged by Oni and Shokan forces vastly outnumbering Kotal, Reptile, Ferra/Torr and D'Vorah, they recount their stories of exactly why they follow Kotal's lead:
Reptile was ordered to be executed after his failure against Johnny Cage back in MK9, but Kotal saw more use in the Saurian than a footsoldier and handpicked him for his spy unit, sparing his life.
Ferra and Torr were captured by Tarkatan bandits, then freed by Kotal.
After Shao Kahn's demise, D'Vorah offered her services to Mileena, who tests loyalty by kicking people in the face and seeing if they fight back. After seeing Reptile voluntarily take a stab meant for Kotal, she was inspired by the respect he earned instead of demanded. Reptile is quick to add that D'Vorah speaks for all of them. Too bad D'Vorah later switches heel and allies herself with Shinnok at the end of the comic and through the events of the game.
- In chapter 13 of the comic, Goro kneels before King Gorbak, his father, expecting to die for his humiliation. He refuses, and mobilizes the Shokan forces to rebel against Kotal Kahn, the one who mutilated his son.
- Reptile, for once, is treated with respect by his boss and peers. Even his ending this time is not one of death and doom, but of him finding a lost Earthrealm enclave of Raptors, and working with them to rebuild them a home.
- Jax gave his daughter Jacqueline the middle name of "Sonya". Awwww!
- Also, Cassie affectionately refers to him as "Uncle Jax" and Jacqui likewise calls Sonya "Aunt Sonya". The Storge is strong between these two families.
- It's not just limited to Cassie, Sonya, Jacqui, and Jax. Rarely, when selecting Johnny and Jax as kombatants in a fight, instead of walking off, they'll perform a bro'shake.
- Any of the interactions between the next-gen Special Forces and their parents count.
- Just the fact that Takeda refers to Kenshi as "dad". They have only really known each other for 5 years or so, so it shows how fast they have bonded, even if everything isn't completely resolved or forgiven.
- Pretty much every interaction between Jacqueline Briggs and Takahashi Takeda.
- In chapter 3 of the Story Mode, Sub-Zero agreeing to host a training exercise at Johnny's behest for the next-gen Special Forces, who are infiltrating the Lin Kuei temple to supposedly capture the Grandmaster, who has supposedly gone silent. He compliments and advises Cassie, Takeda, Jacqui and Jin while fighting them, and gives a final piece of advice to make sure they fight as one.
- In chapter 4 of Story Mode, Raiden and Kung Jin's chat. After being (deliberately) beaten up by Jin, Raiden stops him from leaving the Sky Temple and has a pep talk with him, asking him to join the Wu Shi Academy. After Jin implies to Raiden that being gay wouldn't make him accepted among the Shaolin, Raiden just tell him that they don't care about that. What really sells it is Raiden being so casual about the issue like it's nothing. Kinda makes you miss the old Raiden.
- Scorpion seems to pull a 180 after being freed from Quan Chi's control in the flashback of Chapter 5 of Story Mode, going from being his angry bodyguard to Takeda's surrogate father. And after all the abuse in Scorpion's various endings, he gets his reward: he and his clan becoming protectors of Earthrealm.
- Chapter 5 of the Story Mode is Sonya Blade. When Quan Chi tries to create a revenant from a mortally wounded Johnny Cage, Sonya takes him on and beats him into unconsciousness.Quan Chi: You're weak, Thunder God. Johnny Cage is mine!Sonya: No, he's MINE!
- In Chapter 8, when Jax steps up to stop Quan Chi and his revenants, he's stopped by revenant Kung Lao, who asks Jax to go back into hiding. This implies that Kung Lao would have let Jax go if he complied.
- In general, most of the revenants, despite being undead and bound to either Shinnok or Quan Chi, retain their old personalities. Sindel is overjoyed to be reunited with Kitananote , and even comments to Cassie Cage that Sindel will raise her once Cassie is a revenant. Cassie just beats the crap out of her. Only a few of them (Kitana, Liu Kang, and to a smaller extent Kung Lao) are vengeful about their lot.
- Jax asks Kitana why she enjoys being a revenant. Her claim is that it suits her, as she is no longer a victim. Jax agrees with the sentiment, but tells her turning to evil is not the way to assert herself. After he defeats Kitana, he, as well as Sareena, mention that he has hope for her.
- Even after Raiden's mistakes in the previous game resulted in his death and subsequent enslavement to Quan Chi, Jax stands up for the Thunder God, stating that he did his best.
- In Chapter 9, Sub-Zero and Scorpion finally make peace and between them and their clans. Scorpion is not completely trusting at first (and Frost trying to ambush him probably didn't help much), but the two Grandmasters finally bury the hatchet after Sub-Zero reveals the truth of the Shirai Ryu's destruction and Quan Chi's involvement. The ending of Scorpion's flashback, where he and Sub-Zero respectully bow to each other, seals the deal. Overall, it is one of the most emotional sides in the game, perhaps the franchise as a whole, especially knowing the bloody history between the two clans and the remorse Scorpion feels for being having his vengeance being misdirected and causing more trouble.
- Doubly so for Sub-Zero. Getting a beatdown and nearly dying because of an disobedient Frost attacking Scorpion and still being in the mood to explain things to him and not blame him for killing his brother, Bi-Han. The guy's practically a saint.
- There's even more to Sub-Zero's patience than that; the comic series showed what happened the last time the two of them met; Scorpion ran Sub-Zero through with a sword and left him for dead. And Sub-Zero's still perfectly civil after that (though being cured from the blood possession from the fight was likely something that Subby was rather grateful for).
- Likewise, Scorpion expressing remorse for the killing of the elder Sub-Zero as well.
- In short, the longest-running rivalry and two most bitter enemies in the entire franchise part ways as respectful allies, even perhaps friends.
- At the beginning of Chapter 10, Raiden tells Bo'Rai Cho that he misses both Liu Kang and Kung Lao. It really gets driven home when the next fights in his chapter take place in Raiden's memories as he recuperates in the Jinsei, remembering a time when Liu Kang and Kung Lao were both alive, happy and fighting together.Raiden: I have long regretted losing our comrades' souls to Netherrealm's evil... Kung Lao... Liu Kang... They were like sons. I would move the Heavens to restore them to the light.
- In Chapter 12 of Story Mode, Once Cassie Cage defeats Corrupted Shinnok, we get this sweet exchange with Johnny:Johnny Cage: And to think, I was worried when you started dating.Cassie: Afraid I'd come home with someone like you?Johnny: (chuckles) Funny, beautiful, saves the world. My work here is done.
Johnny: You should've seen Cass. Wiped the floor with Shinnok.Sonya: (gently) I believe it.
- Capped off by Sonya's reunion with the two where she goes full on ''dere-dere'' and her first concern is Johnny's recovery. Johnny's first words to her? His pride in his daughter:
Sonya: And you, you did a great job with your team, Johnny.Johnny: Hear that, Cass? She called me Johnny.
- The Call-Back to Johnny's chapter is the icing on the cake:
- Kung Lao's Tower Ending shows that after Shinnok's defeat, he wandered Netherealm, unable to leave because of his soul's corruption. Then Kung Jin appears and helps him suppress his corruption and become a force of good once more. It's really nice to see that Kung Jin didn't give up on him and gives hope that the other revenants could be somewhat restored. This is also shared in Kung Jin's Tower Ending as well.
- Scorpion's Arcade Ending, it involves Dark Raiden pulling an Interrupted Suicide on Scorpion and gave Scorpion a second chance when Scorpion felt guilt and remorse for his action for killing Quan Chi, causing Shinnok to be revived, and unintentionally condemning the Earthrealm heroes into undead revenants. Keep in note that is one of the few Pet the Dog moments for Dark Raiden, as Dark Raiden is infamously known to be merciless and would least likely to forgive someone who have committed many sins. Although this may be justified, Scorpion did his best to prevent Quan Chi from trying to revive Shinnok, so trying to stop Quan Chi as means of sacrificing any chance of reviving the undead revenants was a lesser evil.
- In the Special Forces base stage, you can see guards in the background watching an Outworld portal entrance very carefully. If a Tarkatan jumps through, they immediately gun them down. However, occasionally normal Outworld citizens will walk through seeking shelter from their hostile environment, in which case someone escorts them to safety.
- Even better than the above, sometimes a Tarkatan will come through the portal holding a hostage. The Special Forces take no BS. The Tarkatan is promptly gunned down and the hostage is safe and sound as they are escorted with the other refugees.
- The game is not kind to Mileena, at all. Take a look at the other pages for that, as this is about the one thing she has going for her; she and Tanya have a genuine friendship going. (And perhaps something more.)
- Tremor's Arcade Mode ending becomes this when you put it into the context of his past in the series. This guy who was basically a palette swap amongst a sea of palette swaps, manages to harness the powers of the Dream Realm and become an Earth Elemental, essentially a demigod with the power to rival Raiden and Fujin! Talk about getting a huge step up in the lore. Meta-wise, this counts for Netherrealm Studios, as the game Tremor debuted at, Mortal Kombat: Special Forces was so hated it might be a game version of their Hsu Hao, and was a reason why the studio lost Ed Boon's greatest partner John Tobias. And NRS has been pretty big on giving Take That, Scrappy! stuffs onto the things they hate in the game. But Tremor got all the good stuffs in spite of his lowly origin.
- Also, Tremor of all people is a fan of Johnny Cage's movies. For all the crap Johnny's films get, he's got at least one true fan.
- Issue #34 of the comics is this for nearly everyone, after all they had to endure:
- For the Briggs family, Jacqui is back with her father, and Jax accepts to teach her how to defend herself. Meanwhile, Johnny, Sonya and Cassie look at this from a distance.
- For the Shirai Ryu, Takeda builds a memorial for all of his fallen clan friends, including his grandmaster. Cue Scorpion coming back from the dead and saying that Takeda is the pride of the clan.
- The Kombat Pack 2 revealed Leatherface as an upcoming DLC character. Unexpected, but his inclusion becomes this when you remember the actor who played him in the original movie, Gunnar Hansen, died the month before. With that in mind, Leatherface's reveal seems like Netherrealm Studios' tribute to the late actor.
- And then there's Leatherface's motives for fighting. He's in love with Cassie, and wanted to catch her attention. Needless to say, things don't work out for obvious reason.
- In a way, Bo'Rai Cho's ending has him stepping in for his birth realm. Following Kotal Kahn's and Raiden's ending, Outworld is being raided by Earthrealm, with most of its population being killed, then Kotal Kahn is granted the request for Mortal Kombat tournament. Bo'Rai Cho, knowing the dangers of letting Dark Raiden loose, decides to help Outworld by training their warriors and stepping himself onto the arena.
- Ferra and Torr's interactions in general are really sweet to look at, and it's heartwarming to see he's genuinely protective of his rider. It make's their ladder ending all the more tragic.
- Cassie's pre-battle quotes against her parents make it clear that she is actually very proud to be Johnny's daughter. When she makes a pun about a Cage match against Johnny, he asks her if she really made such a lame pun about their name. Cassie's smile takes the cake as she says she does take after her father. When Sonya makes an insult about Cassie being like her father, Cassie just shrugs it off and takes it as a compliment.
- Although Jax is none too happy with his daughter Jacqui dating (even if it is Takeda), Kenshi seems to be the exact opposite of him with Jacqui, giving the players an intro scene fit for a "meeting the parents" romantic comedy.Jacqui: Ready, Mr. Takahashi?Kenshi: Please, call me Dad.Jacqui: Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Heartwarming / Mortal Kombat X