Follow TV Tropes

Following

Hidden Depths / Anime & Manga

Go To

  • Yoh Asakura of Shaman King: He is incredibly calm and friendly but hides the fact he despises humanity since they ignore him for being involved with Shamans. Across the series other characters start understanding his way of thinking and can tell when he is lying or acting strong.
    • At least in the manga, in the anime he has no deep-seated hatred of normal humans (that's Hao's area) but tries to get everyone around him to see that humans, shamans and spirits are the same deep down and should look past their preconceptions of each other.
  • Judai of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: classic The Ace, Messianic Archetype, the ultimate Idiot Hero, tediously unbeatable duelist and unbreakable Determinator for two seasons; in Season 3, turns out these very traits (feeling everything comes too easily for him, valuing nothing more than fun, and being everyone's source of strength) have made him the most screwed up character of all, primed for The Dark Side.
  • Cross Ange has quite a number of characters, including those who are a Jerkass or worse.
  • Yusei Fudou of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Never has a spokesman for The Power of Friendship been such a sullen, brooding loner. And it works! He also shoulders guilt for his father's role in the incident that killed hundreds of people.
    • Then there was Jeagar, Rex Godwin's henchman. For the first season, everyone assumed he was a selfish, arrogant type, and was also a creepy clown who made everyone's skin crawl. Halfway through the second season, it turned out the guy had a loving wife and son who he would do anything to protect, which led to him siding with the heroes.
  • Advertisement:
  • Yuya Sakaki of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: He's a light-hearted entertainer and loves to make people happy with his dueling. He's also prone to depression over his father's disappearance and worries that once Pendulum Summoning is mass-produced, it won't be his anymore.
  • All of CLAMP's works.
    • Chobits introduces characters the protagonist meets who are all cheerful and live around him like they've got no problems at all. Turns out his prep school teacher is experiencing spousal neglect because he was cheating on her with their own robot girl, his classmate and best friend forms romantic intentions and eventually marries her, and his co-worker has distain toward the robot girls intended to help humans! Yikes!
  • Bleach
    • Yumichika Ayasegawa is a narcissist who only thinks about his own appearance, right? Turns out he's hiding his true power which is incompatible with his division's fighting philosophy, he sacrificed his desire for the third seat of his division just because his closest friend wanted it and he'll only use his true abilities if there's no-one around from his division to notice. If there is, he'll choose death instead. Someone who sacrifices himself that much for his division, his captain and his friend isn't quite as self-absorbed as he initially appears to be.
    • Advertisement:
    • The fifth Espada Nnoitra is just an Axe-Crazy Blood Knight, right? Turns out that he's an Axe-Crazy Death Seeker that has fallen beyond the Despair Event Horizon and whose anger stems from overcompensating from a crippling inferiority complex. He wants to die in battle but everyone is either too weak to kill him or won't finish him off because they pity him. For a villain who mainly only serves to foil Kenpachi, he is surprisingly well-developed.
    • Captain Retsu Unohana is only the Squad Four's lead medic who acts as military support instead of fighting, right? She's sweet, polite and motherly, right? People fearing her wrath is only Played for Laughs, right? The databooks claim she's actually a Master Swordsman, specialised not in kidou but in kendo. Then the manga reveals she was once known by the self-granted Meaningful Rename Yachiru Unohana, the master of all known styles of sword combat, originator of the Eleventh Division, the very first and strongest ever Kenpachi, and the most diabolical criminal in Soul Society history.
  • Marcille of Delicious in Dungeon, knows how to make soap using animal fat and she was also top of her class in the magic school. Even bigger is her magic specialty: ancient forbidden magic.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Viral's greatest wish is to have a family. Aww. There's also Lordgenome, who is actually a Fallen Hero. Finally, there's Yoko, who is the last person one would imagine as a teacher. The students can't believe it either. Even Kamina himself is deeper than most his appearances and Memetic Mutation would have you believe. In truth, he's as scared shitless as everyone else in their battles and he lampshades that he would be meat paste without Simon. He's also not fighting just for the sake of it, but he also "wants kids to be able to look up at the sky without a care in the world."
  • This trope is a key part of Persona 4: The Animation.
    • Yosuke seems like he hasn't got a care in the world, but he's really bored with everyone and everything in his life.
    • Chie is a tomboy and tries to be an ideal best friend and protector for Yukiko, but she's often jealous of Yukiko's looks and the attention Yukiko gets from boys.
    • Yukiko plays the part of the perfect daughter and future innkeeper, though she feels stifled by the fact that her path in life has already been decided for her.
    • Ai is a stereotypical Alpha Bitch on the surface, but underneath it all, she's a bundle of insecurities.
    • Kanji acts like a stereotypical punk/manly man, but he also loves cute things, is kind to children, loves his mother and enjoys sewing and knitting.
    • Rise, the ex-idol, doesn't know who the real Rise is, and is struggling to find herself in the midst of the identities that have been manufactured for her.
    • Teddie realizes the implications of the fact that despite his cuteness, he is empty inside.
    • Naoto plays the part of a mature young man, but is actually a young girl who is insecure about her age and gender because her chosen profession is one dominated by men.
    • Dojima has spent so much time dedicated to his work, he's never taken up the role of father the way he should have.
    • Nanako is a sweet young lady with abandonment issues brought on by the fact that her father never seems to have time for her.
    • Main character Yu also has his own depths. Outwardly he comes across as a calm, levelheaded individual with a dry (and sometimes... odd) sense of humor Turns out he really Hates Being Alone, and his stoicism is how he hides it.
  • Hiruma starts out as Eyeshield 21's resident Jerkass, a gleefully vulgar, self-serving, Trigger Happy Jerk Jock, who believes in his teammates only as a disposable collection of statistics and probabilities. By the end of the series, he's shown to be a Determinator in his own right for the sake of his team, and a capable leader whose faith in his teammates is ultimately rewarded with the greatest success. He's still vulgar and trigger-happy, though. He also has rare moments of compassion, as seen in the "Hell Tower" training where he secretly breaks the rules to give Yukimitsu a chance on the team out of respect for his determination.
    • Gaou Rikya seems to be only there to break the quarterback's bones and could eat his team leader Marco if he pisses him off. The truth is that he'll never break someone's bones if he threw the ball even if the referee hasn't whistled, his belief of strength is absolute means physical but especially of character which means he respects everyone going against him even if they use speed or skills instead of a power contest and he views Marco as a role model.
  • All of the characters from Katekyō Hitman Reborn!, though especially the main trio: Tsuna, Yamamoto, and Gokudera.
  • Naruto
    • Naruto himself, of all people, is possibly one of the most tragic versions of this trope in Shonen anime and manga history. At first he seems like the classic Idiot hero who causes nothing but trouble, pranking for the sake of amusement. Even before the reveal that he has a demon of apocalyptic power sealed in him, he says that no one has ever tried talking to him in a friendly manner, with no friends and family to go home to. Turns out he was very verbally abused and treated very coldly by adults and eventually their children simply for existing, do to his having the fox demon sealed within him. During the fight against Gaara, he even thinks of what would happen if Iruka or the 3rd Hokage never cared for him. This speech has often made fanfic writers try to portray a Naruto similar to evil Gaara in this respect. He considers not being able to save Sasuke from The Dark Side as his My Greatest Failure moment.
      • Pain and Obito takes this a step further. While Gaara is what Naruto could have been, Pain is who he could become and in Obito's case, out of losing his main love interest who also doubled as his Living Emotional Crutch (for Obito, it was Rin; for Naruto, it's Hinata), something that almost happened during Pain's attack on Konoha. Both times it is outright stated that, under different circumstances, he could have been like them. Sasuke too; Naruto himself says that he could've been revenge driven like Sasuke and vowed Konoha's destruction.
      • Sometimes Naruto is genuinely happy. Either he's a master Stepford Smiler (able to trick everyone into thinking he's happy when he's not) or else he is a master of Angst? What Angst? (genuinely able to be happy in circumstances that would daunt anyone else). It appears that he started of as a Stepford Smiler, but undergoes Becoming the Mask sometime before the series starts. It still cracks from time to time though.
    • There has grown a split in the fan base as whether Sasuke's Face–Heel Turn was: 1) a form of him reaching terrible heights of despair and anger from a cross of Despair Event Horizon and Unstoppable Rage upon discovering the knowledge that all he had been brought up to believe was a betrayal and devastated by Itachi's revelation and subsequent traumatic and heart-rending death; or 2) that his entire Dark Side turn was just him being a spoilt whiny brat when other people who have had far worse childhoods than him (and far more reason to hate their home village than him (considering how his clan had been trying to mutiny, and after the slaughter he was still adored and praised by everyone around him)) have died fighting against the side he is now working for. Each Alternate Character Interpretation spring from the interpretation of his Hidden Depths. Which interpretation is right? Who knows?
    • Kakashi. From Naruto's point of view, he has this generally cheerful, constantly tardy teacher who is a Flat Character in Naruto's eyes, someone he doesn't really think or worry about all that much. And now, during the fight with Obito, it turns out that that same tardy, cheery guy who's been protecting Naruto all these years is arguably responsible for creating the main villain of the story, and he has one of the worst background stories of all the characters in the series. And that's pretty impressive, considering this is a Shonen manga, in which generally everyone and their grandmother has a sob-story. Though, when one learns more about Kakashi's past, it became blatantly obvious how broken of a person he was — someone who models their personality and overall life choices after their deceased best friend is no way a mentally healthy individual by any stretch of imagination.
    • Tobi, aka Obito Uchiha, also has several of them:
      • In his childhood, he looks like a cheerful and sanguine boy who want to protect his friends and especially his childhood friend and crush Rin. But from whence this desire? After The Reveal, we learn that he was an orphan which not knew who his parents were, being outcast in his own clan and forced to fend for himself by himself. This sad childhood forced Obito hide behind the act of a happy-go-lucky idiot to escape his loneliness and led to dream of one day becoming Hokage, so that everyone would acknowledge his existence. This is why his Start of Darkness began upon Rin's death. She was the only one who acknowledged his dream of being the next Hokage.
      • Later already as Tobi he seems Straw Nihilist which completely abandoned its past and just wants complete his plan. So why is he trying to break Naruto's spirit during the War? It turns out that Obito's Will of Fire had never actually burned out, and his actions and unwillingness to acknowledge this are causing him inner turmoil that was tearing him up inside. Eventually if deep down he didn't regret his actions or had completely given up the love he held for his comrades then he would have killed Naruto and completed his plan a long time ago instead of playing Complexity Addiction and debating the beliefs of the protagonist. Also during his defeat he starts to envision the way his life would have turned out if he had returned to Konoha when Rin died, rejoined his friends as allies, and even going so far as to imagine himself as Hokage, despite not consciously understanding why.
  • From ×××HOLiC, Himawari seems to be a cheerful, happy go lucky girl with no connection to the spirit world or heavy burden for quite a long time in the manga, but turns out to be a type A Stepford Smiler, due to her innate ability that brings everyone around her bad luck. Therefore it causes her a lot of grief.
  • Fruits Basket
    • Shigure always seems to be joking around, but it turns out he's kind of a Manipulative Bastard. Tohru's homeroom teacher, who used to date him, called him a "ripple in the water" illustrating this trope perfectly.
    • There's also Ayame. Appears to just be a frivolous, gay pervert, and that's about it. Turns out he's actually The Atoner, trying to make it up to his younger brother for being distance when they were younger. Oh, and he's straight. Or at least bi.
  • In the Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi episode "Tennis" (based on manga chapter 73), Kaoru wonders if Aoi is going to embarrass herself at the game like the rest of them have been doing all day. Turns out the resident Yamato Nadeshiko is very skilled, having learned from Mayabi. It's apparently only one of her "secrets".
  • Ouran High School Host Club
    • Every person. Especially the twins and Kyouya, though.
    • Tamaki usually comes off as a Cloudcuckoolander who has no idea what's going on around him. He's actually so perceptive in talking to other people that he can see their hidden depths and guide them toward what would make them happy.
  • Durarara!!
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Diamond initially appears to be a simple, slow-witted Big Eater who went with whatever Pearl wanted, but it turns out he is far more thoughtful, sensitive, and empathetic, and he desired to be on more equal terms with his best friend. He was able to piece together that Lady Berlitz wasn't a tour guide and that he and Pearl weren't supposed to be with her in the first place, but he kept quiet because he was afraid that saying the truth would be the end of their journey together.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
    • ... well, let's see... oh, that's right everyone. Misato? Stepford Smiler with father issues. Ritsuko? Reluctant Mad Scientist with mother issues. Asuka? Broken Ace. Rei? Cloning Blues (sorta). And we personally get to see Shinji's mind tear itself to pieces from episode 20 onwards through the End of Evangelion. Welcome to Dysfunction Junction, people! There's beds on the left, a dining room down the hall, and if you come to the front desk you can use either cash or check to pay with your emotional stability, sanity, or psychological trauma. We will be needing to check that you have souls, though. And, no, we do not accept checks from SEELE.
    • A simpler, straighter example are the three school characters, who initially appear to be walking stereotypes:
      • Hikari, the bitchy class representative? She grew into a serious person because she had to take care of her sisters after her mother died. She's still a normal girl that forms friendships and falls in love.
      • Touji, the Jerk Jock? Yes, he likes sports, shows some tiny hints of machismo and beat up the whimpy-ish protagonist, but that was just because he was particularly pissed that day since his little sister got hurt in a mecha battle said protagonist participates in. He's actually more of a class clown and a very loyal, dependable friend and older brother. Also, when Rei describes her feelings about Shinji to Touji and asks what those feelings mean, the jock is quick to say, "Yeah. That's love."
      • Kensuke, the geek? He actually has quite a deep understanding of people, brokers peace between his friends and tries to subtly push the right buttons to help them to be honest with their feelings.
    • Also, the NERV bridge techs:
      • Makoto Hyuga, Nerdy Meganekko: has unrequited feelings for Misato and is willing to go to great risk to assist in her subversive schemes against NERV command.
      • Shigeru Aoba, seemingly nondescript average dude: dry, cynical pragmatist and possibly asexual.
      • Maya Ibuki, squeamish Bridge Bunny: idealistic tech enthusiast and closet(?) lesbian with unrequited feelings for her boss, Ritsuko.
  • 7 Seeds could say this about all the characters. The easiest examples to name, though, are Semimaru who was originally a delinquent, but since coming to the future has discovered a passion and talent for cooking, becoming the self-proclaimed chef of Team Summer B. He's also capable of saying some deep stuff when it comes to human psychology.
    • Matsuri from the same Team comes off as very shallow girl who wants romance and fun, but proves to have a very good insight in human relations and psyche, including a lot of knowledge on how to work fields and plants. The latter part is justified as she originally lived on a farm, but didn't care much about it, so she didn't work a whole lot on it.
  • Quite a few characters in D.Gray-Man.
    • Lavi acts like a cheerful, carefree goof, but is much smarter than he initially seems. He's an apprentice bookman, somebody who's supposed to record secret wars, and grew up exposed to so much violence he was emotionally barren by the age of sixteen. He got better once he joined the Black Order, but we see this side of him when Road temporarily reverts him to his old self via Mind Rape.
    • Lenalee, the sweet, sunny-natured Nice Girl, is actually bitter and broken due to the horrific training she went through, to the point where she hates the Black Order, the Innocence, and God.
    • Allen himself. For the most part he's a Messianic Archetype, but turns out to have a devious side, which we see when he tries to charm a robot, and when he's revealed to be a master at cheating at poker. Being a Noah might have something to do with it.
  • Everyone in Ojamajo Doremi. In fact, its easier to count how many of its many characters don't have them.
    • For starters, there is the main character, Doremi Harukaze. She seemed just like your average unlucky Cute Clumsy Girl at first. But as the series went on, it became evident that she was insecure about a few things, will help those in need, and is a Badass Adorable Mama Bear whenever Hana-chan is threatened. And it all comes to a head once the Grand Finale comes in...
    • And then there's Hazuki Fujiwara. She seems like a nice girl at first, but as it turns out, she is very lonely and passive, suffers from a level of Parental Abandonment, and is insecure about her own capabilities. She turns out to be a Covert Pervert during one episode...
    • Aiko Senoo seems like the loud and rude type, but it's quickly revealed that she lives with just her father and has to do many chores around the house. She also wishes for her family to be reunited and thought about using forbidden magic to make it happen.
    • Pop Harukaze began a brash Annoying Younger Sibling, but secretly admires her older sibling. She is also very wise for someone her age.
    • Onpu Segawa was a selfish brat who used magic to solve all her problems and create some when she made mistakes. She even went so far as to use forbidden magic constantly with the aid of a charm to shield her from the side effects. But as time went on, she opened up and revealed that she wasn't as mean spirited as everyone thought and began using said forbidden magic to help others, culminating in her saving everyone from a Baleful Polymorph. After she was saved form that, she proved to be one of the kindest characters in the whole series.
    • Momoko Asuka originally seemed to be a means to an end in helping the other Ojamajos pass a series of exams. But a few episodes in, we learn that she was traumatized by the death of her mentor and that she was really quite shy about being around others when she moved back to Japan.
    • Hana Makihatayama started out as just a baby that the girls had to raise to earn back their apprenticeship. When she grew old enough, she displayed tendencies in common to the other Ojamajos. And when Dokkan came by, Hana was quickly revealed to be the type who likes to see others happy and will make amends whenever she does something wrong. Come Ojamajo Doremi 16 however...
    • And those are just the main characters...
  • One Piece
    • Whitebeard in was initially portrayed as an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who rips Shanks's letter, demanding that he comes to see him face to face, casually dismisses his nurses' concerns for his health and Shanks' warning that Blackbeard was bad news and he should call Ace back. But it's later revealed that while Whitebeard is proud, he is not smug. He is fully aware of his own mortality and Ace was the one who chased after Blackbeard when Whitebeard told him not to. During the Marineford Arc, he's a Genius Bruiser, able to match wits with Sengoku. And when one of his allies stabbed him, accusing him of selling out his allies (having received false information), instead of disowning or killing Squardo outright, Whitebeard pulls the guy into a Cooldown Hug and reassures him that he would never abandon any of his sons, and gave all of his allies a chance to escape while he leaped into battle.
    • Examples are present among the main protagonists, as well. Zoro, for example, usually comes across as a battle-hungry Blood Knight with a sword fetish whose only real duty on the Straw Hat crew is hefting the ship's anchor, and who's usually sleeping when he's not training. However, when properly motivated, he can be a Genius Bruiser in his own right, most particularly in the Alabasta arc when he comes up with the "X" mark underneath wraps on the crew's arms as a way of defending against a shape-shifting enemy, and later demonstrates his role as The Lancer in the Water 7 and Enies Lobby arcs when he chews the entire crew out on the importance of respecting their captain's authority after they contemplate taking back Usopp, who violated this edict with his deliberate defiance of Luffy's decision to scrap the damaged Going Merry in favor of getting a better ship.
    • Gecko Moria appears to just be a Smug Snake generically evil villain. But when he gives his speech about losing his old crew, there are very strong hints that he loved his crew, and that losing them drove him off the edge.
    • Doflamingo of all people. He appears to be the most amoral and psychopathic of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, but it's been shown in the most recent arc that he, of all people, is A Father to His Men - or at least to the most reliable and loyal of his men. He showed great distress at ordering Monet to perform her suicide attack, freaked out when she couldn't answer him on his Den Den Mushi and went to Punk Hazard himself because of it, did not punish Baby 5 and Buffalo for failing in their mission because they were following his orders, and apologized to Vergo, calling him his longest-lasting companion - or in other words, his oldest friend. However, the most telling aspect of his character's Hidden Depths is one contradicts everything we once knew about him. Going by Monet's last thoughts, it is suggested, if not outright stated, that he, a man that intends to spearhead a movement against an era driven by dreams, aspires to be the Pirate King.
  • Solf J Kimblee of Fullmetal Alchemist appears to be little more than an Axe-Crazy Mad Bomber who took part in a genocide and thoroughly enjoyed it. As the series progresses, however, we discover that while he is a total sociopath he's also The Philosopher and a borderline Affably Evil Social Darwinist to boot, who believes that Rousseau Was Right and is a major believer in human potential. He respects people who stick to their guns (even when their principles oppose his own), protects his compatriots from court martial, and in the end, helps The Hero destroy a hypocritical fellow villain in his Dying Moment of Awesome. He's a total psycho, but damn if he isn't a complex one.
  • Barnaby from Tiger & Bunny sports quite a combination of these. During the first third of the show, most fans despised him for having a large number of 'undesirable' characteristics; he was a Jerkass, stoic, snarky Ice King who seemed to exist for no other reason than to be the camera-hogging Ace and in-universe charming Chick Magnet who makes the show's much-beloved Hero Protagonist Kotetsu's life miserable. But then we learn of his past full of Break the Cutie moments, the facade that conceals his rather emotional and lonesome Broken Bird + Broken Ace personality, that he devoted his entire childhood to becoming a superhero, completely denying himself any personal relationships in the process...and that he's quite willing to Defrost in the face of Kotetsu's Wide Eyed Idealism.
  • Batou from the Ghost in the Shell series shows this rather stunningly in two out of three versions of canon. In Stand Alone Complex, anyone who's known him for more than five minutes assumes him to be Dumb Muscle based on his huge physique, lack of manners, and hot-blooded, reckless personality. And then you find out that he's arguably the group's best hacker after the Major and Ishikawa, has a base grounding in sociology, religion, politics (even if he doesn't usually seem to care, it's clear that he understands when he explains things to Togusa), and is more than capable of keeping up with the Major in advanced philosophical debate, even if his stances tend to be more empirical and down-to-earth. In Innocence he takes this Up to Eleven by alternating between an unstoppable semi-sociopathic punk of a killing machine and a guy who recognizes obscure bible verses off the top of his head, references many things including Buddhist philosophy and Paradise Lost, and is both incredibly perceptive and slightly poetic at times. And for all his harshness and violence, it's very apparent that he cares deeply for the Major, Togusa, and his dog Gabriel.
  • For all that he's flanderized into a Lovable Sex Maniac without a serious bone in his body, France from Axis Powers Hetalia sometimes shows a surprising character depth specially manifested in his accurate reading of human emotions. This is specially obvious in the strips in which he gets to interact with humans rather than nations, like the one in which he befriends a French soldier whose grandfather served under Francis's own orders, or when he meets up with a woman named Lisa who's all but stated to be the reincarnation of his old friend Saint Joan Of Arc. This can give a potential new light into how he and the other nations interact with their citizens and other people who aren't immortal like them.
    • Prussia appears at first glance to be nothing but an overly arrogant, loud, careless, wild and irresponsible hooligan-type. While he is indeed a Blood Knight, his true nature is said to be methodical and severe, much like his younger brother Germany, and he shows himself to be much more perceptive and intelligent than he lets on. He has shown a few signs of it in strips, including his role training America for the American Revolution, his technological know-how during the Industrial Revolution, his success at unifying Germany, and his role as a Big Brother Mentor to Germany. Additionally, he does experience emotions like loneliness and sadness, no matter how much he tries to deny them.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - Kotori shows that she's more than a Sexy Secretary when she takes the stage herself to sing.
  • High School DXD
    • It's revealed that Issei, a Lovable Sex Maniac, is pretty good with sewing. Something that surprises Koneko.
      • The first episode of the anime shows that despite being a Harem Seeker, when presented an opportunity to date a girl, he'll go out of his way to make sure she has a good time and was prepared to call the day a victory when he got to hold hands with her. And the reason he's so oblivious to the actual harem he gets is that this date ending in a rather brutal betrayal left him with ongoing emotional and self-esteem issues.
    • Same thing with Koneko; she's a fan of rapping music.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Turns out that the childlike Apachai is a very talented Othello player when he beats every other master in Ryozanpaku except Akisame, who claims to have never lost a game... although Akisame only managed to win by a single move and admitted that he wasn't holding back. Kenichi is the only one to realize the Fridge Logic that his sister Honoka is effortlessly able to beat Apachai whenever they play...
  • Elfen Lied
    • Bando, the Psycho for Hire. He loves hurting, maiming and killing, and he's a major Jerkass. However, as the series goes on, he reveals that he has standards, he'll always repay people who help him, and he can empathize with a few people.
    • The Agent also counts she was introduced as a replacement for the former hunters (the aforementioned Bando, and the Unknown Man), and at first acts as a quieter and less sadistic hunter. Eventually she's revealed to be a government agent sent to shut the facility down, she's also quite the Determinator, and shows she's willing to die if it helps to save humanity
  • Despite being a yaoi series, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi has some characters have shown to have Hidden Depths adding to the realism of this series that other yaoi series lack.
    • Kisa comes as the stereotypical Keet that has a happy life outside of work as well as inside of work given all the encouraging things he says to the main character Ritsu. However, Kisa reveals it's all an act and he's a Stepford Smiler that deliberately uses his youthful appearance to sleep with other men and honestly thinks of himself as a worthless individual that hasn't contributed anything to society or done anything meaningful with his life, so when he ends up falling (and later dating) Yukina, he easily gets paranoid with Yukina thinking he's only toying with him and plans to leave him or that Yukina will get bored with him one day and just walk out on him. Easy to say any chapter concerning Kisa is dealing with his self esteem.
    • Yukina is shown to be different than what he appears to be too. He seems to be the epitome of the Nice Guy and Understanding Boyfriend trope and truth is he really is that. However, when Yukina is not around Kisa, he acts exactly the same way as Kisa does around school mainly because Yukina apparently dislikes the teachers and the male students hate him for his good looks that allow him to pick up chicks easily. Yukina also shows to have a strong dislike to being a Chick Magnet and while he doesn't hate the girls that confesses to him, he gets annoyed especially when Kisa sees said confessions.
  • For all her Manipulative Bitch tendencies, Amano/Indra from Popcorn Avatar is actually nice with kids, and in fact regularly watches over and plays with Kai's younger siblings when he's busy or out.
  • Nearly every named character in Martian Successor Nadesico, no matter how minor or seemingly one-note, gets some development and their moment in the spotlight.
  • Maho Nishizumi of Girls und Panzer seems like an aloof big sister who is set up as her younger sister Miho's greatest rival in tankery. Then comes the episode when she loans Mako her helicopter so that she can quickly reach her grandmother in the hospital, and in Little Army, it's indicated that Maho's entire reason for her aloof behavior is to live up to the standards of the Nishizumi family heir so that Miho can choose whatever style of tankery she wishes. In Little Army, she's also shown to be quite friendly toward the family maids, thanking Kikuyo for seeing her off and asking her to look after Miho while she's away.
  • Anyone who lives long enough to be fleshed out, in Attack on Titan. A few examples:
    • Armin is somewhat cowardly, and physically weak compared to the others. He finds his place once he realizes he's a brilliant strategist and has the makings of a ruthless commander.
    • Sasha is a Big Eater and the Plucky Comic Relief, but turns out to have good intuition and a concern about coming across as a dumb hick to the others.
    • Jean starts out as The Rival, and is a cynical Jerkass concerned primarily with himself. However, he turns out to be a gifted leader and evolves into a more selfless person after a grief-related Freak Out!.
    • Annie has a very cynical view of human nature, and generally keeps other people at arm's length. However, she expresses great admiration for people with strong ideals, and warms up to both Eren and Armin after they manage to impress her. She's also an utterly sadistic killer in Titan form, but hesitates to harm any of her former comrades from the 104th.
    • Reiner is a strong-willed Team Dad, and admired by the others for his strong sense of duty. He's also a Broken Ace, on account of being a Titan mole sent to kill the very people he's come to genuinely care about. Much later on, it's revealed that he, the illegitimate son of a Marleyan, had originally joined in a futile attempt to reunite his family, but after inadvertently getting Marcel killed, decided to become a "hero" and Marcel's replacement.
    • Bertolt is quiet and a self-described Extreme Doormat. He's extremely talented, but lacks the drive or confidence to make anything of himself. He's actually the Colossal Titan, and while remorseful over his actions....firm in his belief that his actions are Necessarily Evil.
    • Levi's first two encounters with Eren was to either insult him or beat him up. But it was later revealed it was to protect Eren from the Military Police Brigade who would kill and dissect Eren and ensure he would join the Survey Corps. Eren acknowledges this and holds no ill will towards Levi.
  • Rosario + Vampire
    • Mizore might be called a Stalker with a Crush but her actions during the school festival speak volumes of her character. She and Kurumu have convinced their mothers that Tsukune is their boyfriend/fiance. Mizore however makes two ice clones of Tsukune so that the real one can go on a date with Moka. When she's found out, Kurumu angrily asks why she did it. Her answer?
    "I will not put my selfish desires before Tsukune's happiness."
  • Cass from A Cruel God Reigns. Rumors seem to be spread quite viciously about him through his classmates, and as a result most of the students avoid him, including Jeremy at first. But Jeremy discovers that although the rumors are true, Cass works so many jobs because of his alcoholic parents and his desire to eventually escape from them and live on his own and that he is genuinely a good person.
  • Soujiro from Rurouni Kenshin is initially seen as a soulless young killer with a disturbingly pleasant smile. Then he fights Kenshin and we see his backstory...
  • Kureo Mado from Tokyo Ghoul is a sadistic ghoul hunter who gleefully murders ghouls and will not hesitate to kill their children. He's also devoted to his job at the CCG and holds a good deal of respect for his comrades, especially Amon whom he becomes a mentor figure to. We later learn that he was also a decent husband and father.
  • Most characters in Sailor Moon, but Minako/Sailor Venus takes the cake: at first look she's Fun Personified, a Dumb Blonde and, as Sailor Venus, The Ace, but she's extremely depressed due the terrible ending of her solo career and hides it behind her smile, high-energy personality and a good dose of Obfuscating Stupidity (this is a good representation of her psychological make up), and has an amazing array of skills that are not related to combat. Her bad grades are still deserved.
    • The shy, studious bookworm Ami almost appears to have no other hobbies outside of studying/reading. That said, she is an avid and talented gamer, can write lyrics for an instrumental piece of music, and knows how to fix a car. Not to mention that she can be quite the disciplinarian when it comes to getting the girls to study more.
  • Minene form Future Diary is a Mad Bomber atheist who tries to murder a fourteen year old boy, blows up a school, and plans to eradicate all religion. She's also a Broken Bird still grieving the loss of her parents, helps Yukki reconnect with his estranged father, cares for sick children at the hospital, and admits during her Heroic Sacrifice that all she ever wanted was for somebody to save her.
  • All three members of the bumbling Team Rocket trio from the Pokémon anime have some degree of developed talents and hidden intellect. Ironically they tend to far better match Ash and the other twerps in these areas than their desired villainous role:
    • Jessie has slowly evolved in a fairly competent Pokemon coordinator from region to region. It is usually apparent that when she stops resorting to cheating and doesn't let her ego distract her, she is surprisingly tactical and creative and can make her Pokemon look unrecognisably talented as performers. Jessie is also revealed to have a very passionate view of romance, due to having lost out on perhaps finding her true love when young. She has attempted to release her own Pokemon just so they don't lose out the same way as her.
    • Despite his desire to be an infamous Pokemon thief, James is surprisingly researched and in touch with Pokemon. Most of his Pokemon he in fact has a Cuteness Proximity towards. At times James could challenge Brock as a potential Pokemon breeder. Out of the three, James is also most liable to vent a desire to handle things scrupulously or show remorse for their more callous schemes. There are times where he can handle communicating with the twerps rather affably.
    • Meowth, besides having learned to walk upright and talk, seems to excel in finding human abilities to learn. Since Sinnoh he has gradually gained an apt for culinary arts (once even the hero Pokemon asked him to make a meal for them). Meowth has also vented a very philosophical and jaded personality, which wouldn't have been predicted at all during his earlier days as a loud mouthed Leader Wannabe for the trio.
  • One of the omakes in Saiyuki Reload Blast plays this for laughs. When the party got stuck in the forest for several days, with limited food and water supplies, Sanzo and Hakkai proved to be a better survivalist than Goku and Gojyo, despite the latter being the more "feral" among the group. Sanzo and Hakkai were also more willing to eat disgusting plant and animal parts to survive, whereas the other two were squicked out by the idea.
  • You wouldn't think a series like this would show it, but Dragon Ball Super reveals that Son Goku, Mr. Blood Knight Idiot Hero himself, is a very awesome farmer. When he takes his crop to a farmer's market, many of those there express amazement at how wonderful it is. Only reason he really doesn't dedicate more himself to farming is that he just grows so bored of it and would rather go off and train or fight.
  • In Saki, the eponymous character's older sister, Teru, seems like a textbook Aloof Big Sister who holds a grudge against Saki over some unknown past event, but over time, more is revealed about her apart from her relationship with Saki and status as the national female high school mahjong champion. Achiga-hen reveals a large disconnect between Teru's public facade and her true self, but also that Teru's inwardly worried about Toki after her collapse and hospitalization. Saki Biyori, while generally comedic, shows that Teru often goes along with her teammates' silly antics and has a large Sweet Tooth. The main series, however, has the most surprising revelations- that Teru isn't avoiding Saki because she hates her, but because she can't bring herself to talk to her, and that in the past (and possibly even now), she didn't even like mahjong.
  • Accel World
    • Kuroyukihime initially comes off as having two different facets- that of a school idol and student council vice president in real life, and that of an incredibly skilled but notorious Burst Linker in the accelerated world, responsible for killing the Red King. The truth about her is quite a bit more complex, as there are times when she comes off as an actual 14-year-old girl, such as slapping Haru and bursting into tears in an argument caused in part by her jumping to conclusions due to romantic jealousy. It also turns out that she only killed the Red King because her older sister (someone with whom she once had a close enough relationship for her sister to be her Brain Burst "parent") manipulated her into doing so.
    • Taku initially seems like The Ace who, unlike Haru, has everything- he's an excellent student, a star kendo athlete, popular, in a relationship with his Childhood Friend and an up-and-coming Burst Linker. The first arc reveals that he's horribly insecure, with a large part of his success being due to Brain Burst's power, and he secretly loathes Haru for being a "burden" on him and Chiyu. Subsequent arcs reveal that he has much more in common with Haru than most would think- Taku was bullied in the past and is just as capable of self-loathing, but has less internal fortitude than Haru does.
    • Ash Roller, the belligerent and cocky Friendly Rival to Haru, sometimes comes off as more intelligent than he lets on, especially when he realizes that Haru's planning on throwing a fight.
  • City Hunter: Umibozu, Ryo and Mick seem only a gigantic Scary Black Man and two immature perverts prone to whacky gags, but if you get the chance to really meet them you'll discover they are much nicer, mature and sensible that they appear.
  • My Monster Secret:
    • Akane is mainly The Gadfly with a major sweet tooth who seems to live mainly to screw around with Akari. Turns out she's also essentially the series' Big Good, whose shenanigans are meant to help the students come to terms with their issues and eventually create a world where humans and non-humans can live together in peace.
    • Genjirou first appears to just be an extreme version of an Overprotective Dad, but it's eventually revealed that he's so dead set on protecting Youko's secret because he got outed as vampire in a very traumatic fashion when he was her age and wanted to spare her the pain of being abandoned by all her friends. It's also clear that while he gives Asahi a rough time, he ultimately wants what's best for him too.
    • Shirayuki appears to be acting primarily For the Evulz when she wants to reveal the secrets of all the non-humans at the school... until Chapter 184, in which it's revealed that the reason she wants to separate monsters and normal humans is because she believes that they can't coexist peacefully, and simply keeping them apart is less harmful to everyone involved than trying and ultimately failing to live together in peace. In particular, the chapter shows her actually acting somewhat kind to Youko, making her a meal after her growling stomach constantly interrupted Shirayuki's ranting. During their conversation, she makes it clear that she doesn't have any personal animosity towards Youko, and is only targeting her because she believes that it's for the greater good.
    • Akari's Christmas Cake issues are played primarily for laughs at first, along with her fantasy of being carried off by a prince on a white horse. Turns out as a child she was always made fun of for being so much taller and stronger than the other girls, and the core of her fantasy derives from simply wanting people to see her as a normal, feminine woman.
  • Destruction Flag Otome
    • Katarina is surprised to learn that Maria is a more complex character than she seemed to be in the game she comes from. She has crippling loneliness issues and is desperate for personal acknowledgement and despite a reputation for genius is actually just a really hard worker.
    • More amusingly, while she considers another friend, Mary, to be a very elegant and refined girl, she's also not above nagging Katarina to try to get her to break off her engagement and run away with her to another country.
  • Hiei in Yu Yu Hakusho is much deeper than even many fans give him credit for.
    • He starts off as a starter villain, quite literally because the creator didn't expect him to come back after his first couple of appearances but the fans loved him so much he made him a main character.
    • He hates betrayers and shows no remorse for them. He kills Seiryu for betraying his own teammate, even though they were enemies he seems to feel sorry for Byakko in the end.
    • He also refuses to kill those he perceives as weaker than himself. He gives Kuwabara weaker training because of this and doesn't kill Bui when it's possible for him to.
    • In his Whole Episode Flashback we learn he has identity issues from being abandoned more than once in his lifetime and actually got the jagan to try and find himself (lampshaded by Mukuro).
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle:
    • Philuffy seems like an airhead at first, but she's surprisingly adept at doing business, as shown when she catches a merchant trying to scam Lux, and then strong-arms the scammer into accepting a less favorable deal on his end.
    • The emperor of Arcadia was initially portrayed as nothing more than a Stupid Evil dictator who was anti-climatically killed by the Big Bad, Fugil. Volume 14 reveals that he's surprisingly knowledgeable about the ancient Holy Arcadia empire and the revolution that his side of the family started against them, despite how the rest of the world forgot about that age. Fugil himself is surprised when the emperor also managed to deduce his identity as the hero who led his family to victory. Finally, he was actually very close to stomping out a coup against him due to a leak and only loses because he mistakenly believed Fugil was still loyal to the empire.
  • Bloom Into You
    • Touko initially seems like The Ace, as one of the top scorers in the school, a star athlete and a popular girl who quickly becomes Student Council President, thus seeming to fall into the ideal senpai character archetype. In reality, she's lonely, emotionally vulnerable, and puts up a façade so that people will accept her for being special, since she hates her plain and unremarkable old self. On a more humorous level, she's also very competitive, and is driven to win the sports competition even though it means little.
    • Sayaka initially seems like a rich, polite Ojou who happens to be Touko's best friend. In reality, she can be fairly snide when she's annoyed, and her relationship with Touko is fairly complicated- Sayaka has an unrequited love for Touko, but doesn't say it, since she values her status as the person Touko confides in most of all.
    • Similar to Touko, Yuu initially seems like the standard romance novel protagonist, but is actually surprisingly cynical and blunt. Sayaka and Yuu lampshade each other's hidden depths in this exchange.
    Yuu: From your appearance, I was kind of expecting you to be a more lighthearted person, but you're not at all, are you, Saeki-senpai?
    Sayaka: Well, Koito-san, I thought you would be a meek little kouhai... but you're actually rather rude.
    • Doujima initially seems like someone who doesn't take anything seriously, although his old senpai does consider him diligent enough to be useful. Surprisingly enough, when Akari's crush on the basketball team refuses to be honest with her about why he rejected her, he gets very angry and almost goes off to confront the guy in question.
  • Bokurano
    • Takeshi Waku seems like a boisterous and not particularly intelligent Stock Shōnen Hero, but he can be surprisingly introspective at times, and even took time off of soccer to think things through.
    • Kana Ushiro initially seems like prime woobie material, as the victim of her older brother's abuse, but she's surprisingly mature for her age. In the manga, she even asked Kanji, her and her brother's long-time friend, not to intervene.
    • Jun Ushiro initially seems cold and aloof, but in the manga, Machi notes that he's surprisingly observant, and is good at remembering details about the other kids.
  • Sword Art Online
    • Kyouko Yuuki, Asuna's mother, comes off as a cold and strict Education Mama who cares more about her family's well-being than her daughter's happiness. It turns out that Kyouko's ashamed of her family's humbler origins (and later, ashamed of feeling that way, given the right motivation. Despite generally being serious and humorless, when Asuna points out that it's only natural that her ALO avatar feels light by comparison to her actual weight(it weighs 40 kg, or 88 pounds), Kyouko takes umbrage, and suggests that Asuna's real face is a bit puffier than usual.
    • Yuuki, the cheerful and energetic leader of the Sleeping Knights, turns out to be terminally ill, and has lost her parents, twin sister and two of her friends. She also points out that it took a while for her to have such a positive outlook on life.
    • Endou might be The Bully, but she's a surprisingly clever one. She not only manages to manipulate Shino into letting her and her friends stay over at Shino's apartment, but after being kicked out, Endou manages to find out about the incident in which Shino killed a robber with his own gun, and uses Shino's trauma to blackmail her.
  • Extensive amounts in My Hero Academia
    • Katsuki Bakugo, initially presented as The Bully with almost no redeeming qualities, who Would Hit a Girl, has incredibly high standards for heroing, feels deeply responsible for several things that were hardly his fault, and is far smarter than one might expect for someone with such a Hair-Trigger Temper.
    • Enji Todoroki - Endeavor, an abusive dad and massive Jerkass, who is revealed to be quite intelligent where one might expect him to be a raging bruiser, more determined than anyone expected, and capable of great feats of awareness. Specifically when he asks All Might about the difference between being the Number One hero and the Symbol of Peace, and how despite his role as the former, he knows he is failing at the latter
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba:
    • The dream world cast by Enmu sheds some light on Kyoujuro’s past, he has always been diligent and duty bound but he comes from a position where he had to become the sole emotional steadfast figure of his family after his mother died by succumbing to illness, also his father losing himself to alcohol as a result from that and losing faith in his swordsmanship; Kyoujuro had to be strong for his brother who felt useless due not having talent to be a swordsman and having a father who became a wreck that just yelled at his sons, while he himself had no else to rely on. With all that Kyoujuro doesn’t falter, really becoming a man who isn’t held by this family issue, not once blaming his father for anything, even if the visualization of his subconscious core implying that really deep down Kyoujuro had some fragility he had to hide deep within.
    • The ever unpleasing jerkass Sanemi reveals in his sparring match with Giyuu, that he actually actually likes Ohagi and especially enjoys Ohagi made from his grandmother. Sanemi may be a jerk most of the time, but he still values his family very much. He also truly loves Genya and just wants him to be free from harm.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report