Something has happened to The Hero. A shocking revelation, new information brought to light, revealing their best friend is a traitor or that nothing they did changed anything or maybe they can finally see the world the way it is. Or perhaps it's something even simpler, perhaps they just simply lose their idealism and plunge into contemplation of existential meaninglessness. Or maybe they're just feeling alone and unloved in the world. They don't go into a Heroic BSoD, they just simply stand there, as a crowd of people moves around them (sometimes in fast-forward, even further isolating them). They're simply alone in a crowd. Sometimes known as "calm in a chaotic world" if the crowd moves in fast-forward.
If you are looking for the webcomic by Thomas D. Szewc, go here.
- 91 Days: In part of the opening credits sequence, Avilio is walking down the sidewalk as crowds of people pass him in fast-forward, and a short distance away he sees his slain parents and little brother walking together at normal speed as if they were still alive. This isolation in a crowd represents how he is alienated from society and unable to move on with his life since the night when they were murdered, while the memories that continue haunt him spur his quest for vengeance.
- In the first episode of Angelic Layer, Misaki watches a match between two "Angels", although she didn't know what they were at that time. When it looked like the smaller of the competitors (Athena) was about to lose, she undergoes this state, thinking how people of her own stature could never go far, but breaks from it when Athena wins the battle.
- In Death Note, in a half-episode dedicated to a character's Start of Darkness as the "Hand of Kira" — who's started to gain real influence in the larger world — there's a brief scene close to the present watching, distinct to the camera out of a crowd of banner-waving enthusiasts.
- Played with in the opening to the first Hell Girl season. Near the end of it, we see a greyed-out, bustling crowd, with the Hell Girl herself in the middle of the crush, staring in full color at the camera. Possibly used in this case to highlight that Ai is not part of this world and as such literally alone in the crowd.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
- The new manga of The Movie explores this. The titular character is loved, has a family, has friends; she smiles for all of them ...but something's ...wrong.
- In the first season, Yuuno talks about how he grew up without parents, being raised communally by his clan. In the drama CDs, he mentions the Scyra family tent, which was often full of a lively, bustling crowd of people, and how comforting he finds such an atmosphere. He tells Nanoha that he's always been alone in the crowd, but he appreciates what they did for him, and he's happy to bear the name "Scrya".
- The ending of the theatrical version of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz shows Heero in this shot.
- Except, in this case, it's a bit of a subversion, considering that he's walking through the crowd because his mission is over and the world is now a place where he can live like anyone else.
- 95% of the opening theme of Monster is Tenma doing this.
- In Monster Rancher, Genki has a nightmare about this early on, dreaming about being dumped back in the boring real world without Holly, Mocchi, and all the friends he made in the monster world. This turns out to be Foreshadowing for his actual return at the end of the second season, which is jarringly traumatic.
- Mireille in Noir quotes Ernest Hemingway after a done job, which earns her a confused reaction from Kirika. While she says she simply quoted Hemingway and doesn't exactly feel that way, it does fit the whole situation the two are in - no parents, no other relatives and being Professional Killers, they can't have real relationships with anyone else, either.
- The day after Mami's death in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Madoka feels like she's in a foreign country, surrounded by strangers. Sayaka agrees and explains that it's because no one else knows what happened. The visual version of the trope is used a few times, such as at Sayaka's funeral.
- In one Batman comic during Tim Drake's tenure as Robin, Tim complains to Alfred about Bruce's moodiness and how it probably means that Batman will be going alone for the night. Alfred replies to Tim that even in a crowd, Bruce is always alone.
- Robin: Tim finds himself feeling alone in the crowd during the massive gang war that started after he retired from the role of Robin. This in addition to feeling like a heel for not helping as much as his training meant he could lead to him diving back into the Batfamily permanently during the mess.
- In the second Atari Force series, Morphea the Canopean empath in a flashback to her past as a child expresses her feeling of loneliness to the Hive Mother, which the Mother disdains on the basis of her being alone among a multitude of sister Canopeans and daring to identify herself as an individual with a need instead of part of a collective, thus driving the Mother to punish Morphea with a mind assault.
- The Ultimates: Bruce Banner in the center of Manhattan, trying to call Betty and warn her that he will become the Hulk again.
- Andrew Stanton stated that in WALLE, a major theme was the contrast between WALLE's isolation in the first part of the film to the presence of this trope on board the Axiom.
- In Accepted, this happens to Bartleby Gaines. He is visiting Harmon College to get an idea of how college works. He quickly becomes jaded by the students, who are either apathetic or stressed out. He freezes in the middle of the frame as a speeded-up crowd rushes around him.
- Army: Dramatically so, when a weeping, desperate Maka is trying to find her son as he marches away while everyone else in the crowd is waving flags, giddy with patriotic enthusiasm.
- The opening sequence of the remake of Bedazzled (2000).
- In Cavalcade, the main character finds out that her son has been killed in World War I just as the bells toll announcing the armistice that ended the war. She staggers out of her house and wanders through the joyful crowds, dazed with grief.
- The central theme of 1928 silent classic The Crowd, in which the protagonist discovers how indifferent The Crowd is when his life falls apart.
- Equilibrium: John Preston after he goes off his emotion-suppressing meds. Probably many of the sense offenders as well, but the movie doesn't focus on them.
- In Iron Man, Tony Stark does this when he finds out Obadiah Stane tried to get him fired from the company board.
- Discussed Trope in Lonesome, which is about two single, lonely people who live in the teeming mass of humanity that is Manhattan.
Jim: It's funny how lonesome a fella can be, especially with a million people around him.
- Man of Iron: Winkel is thrown out of Solidarity headquarters, the movement having discovered that he was sent to infiltrate them by the government. He walks out in a daze, alone in the triumphal crowd of people leaving the shipyard after the Gdansk agreement was signed.
- Another final shot: in Joseph Mankiewicz's adaptation of The Quiet American (1958), protagonist Thomas Fowler (played by Michael Redgrave) is a broken man, having been rejected by the woman he loves and wracked with guilt for having instigated the death of an American man who was his rival in love - all for nothing. He rejects an offer to go the church for solace and instead walks away dejectedly through a crowded Vietnamese street, where he is eventually lost from view.
- In the Ian McKellen film version of Richard III, before the "Now is the winter of our discontent" speech Richard moves through a party but stays isolated from the celebrating nobles.
- The final shot of Fritz Lang film Scarlet Street shows Chris, who has gotten away with murder but is now homeless and wracked with guilt, shuffling down a crowded city sidewalk. Then the other people fade away, and Chris is shuffling down the street alone.
- A Discussed Trope in Separate Tables. Ann is portrayed as a sexy seductress (she's played by Rita Hayworth!) but she admits to John that she is terrified of growing old alone, and she doesn't have any friends.
Ann: Being alone in a crowd is worse. It's more painful, more frightening.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, during the Sanity Slippage Song "Epiphany". He's just lost the chance to slit the throat of the man who ruined his life and is running through the streets in a rage, singing and brandishing his straight razors. Nobody takes any notice, and it's eventually revealed to be an Imagine Spot, more relevant to how he feels than to the actual state of reality.
- Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. As he puts it: "Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, and cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man."
- The protagonist in The Tiger Makes Out, a disgruntled postal worker who sees himself as an intellectual in a world of sheep, walks the streets of New York angrily talking to himself while people stream around him at double speed (done by speeding up footage of him walking at half-speed.)
- In Titanic (1997), right before Rose attempts suicide, she's sitting at the table in the lobby, narrating, but her body doesn't move. This has less to do with a shocking revelation, and more to do with her feeling that if she screamed, no one would hear, or even care.
- Bruce Willis does it in Unbreakable slight variation in that he's deliberately expecting people to bump into him in order to trigger his newly discovered Detect Evil power.
- The second Alex Rider book reintroduces us to the main character with this trope.
- In The Return, one of the last books in the Animorphs series, Rachel at one point walks through the hallway of her school - a setting that has not been featured in several books as the war has taken an increasingly grim turn - and reflects that she no longer feels like she belongs there at all and can't even pretend to anymore. Sure enough, she has a breakdown in class a chapter later and flees the school. This is the last time school is visited, as in the next book the Animorphs all become fugitives and have to go into hiding.
- Conan the Barbarian - In Robert E. Howard's Beyond the Black River, the presence of Conan does not keep Balthus from feeling alone in the wilderness, because Conan is native to the wild. Unusual in that Conan is the only person there, but he actively reflects on how the other person does not keep him from feeling alone.
- In John C. Wright's Count To A Trillion Menelaus goes to a ball after Blackie rouses him, and he feels this.
- In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Freckles always felt lonely in the orphanage, and not lonely in the solitude of Limberlost Swamp.
- Nick in The Great Gatsby. Everyone in the story uses him for some purpose or other, but basically nobody ever acknowledges him as a person. Even when intense interpersonal dramas are taking place in the same room as him, he realizes he can't do much besides observe.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: In A Game of Thrones, Tyrion's isolation because of his dwarfism is emphasized as he walks through his father's war camp:
The Lannister camp sprawled for miles between the river and the kingsroad. In amongst the men and the horses and the trees, it was easy to get lost, and Tyrion did. He passed a dozen great pavilions and a hundred cookfires [...] No one looked at him. No one spoke to him. No one paid him any mind. He was surrounded by men sworn to House Lannister, a vast host twenty thousand strong, and yet he was alone.
- This trope is almost synonymous to Mika Waltari's stories but most prevalent in The Egyptian and The Wanderer.
- Played out literally in Fritz Leiber's "You're All Alone" where the awakened, such as the protagonist, are surrounded by people acting out the automaton of everyday life while the awakened find themselves getting more and more out of synch with the script as time passes.
- Korean Series use this camera shot a lot, especially two people standing a distance apart, unmoving while crowds of people walk by.
- The City Hunter: Na Na and Yoon Sung with their backs to each other in a crowded plaza.
- Pasta: The Official Couple are standing in the middle of a crosswalk after the light turns green for the cars.
- Twinkle Twinkle: Jung Won and Seung Joon meet at a busy movie theater.
- You Are Beautiful: Mi Nam and Shin Wo just miss each other in a crowded marketplace, even though they are standing mere meters apart.
- Cordelia describes her life this way in the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When Buffy asks if she's so miserable, why does she work so hard to stay popular, Cordy replies that it's better than being alone and a loser.
- Doctor Who:
- At the end of "The End of the World", after the Sun expands to swallow the Earth in the year five-billion and change, the Ninth Doctor takes Rose back to an ordinary, bustling city street in her own time. The two of them stand there for some time, with the Doctor explaining how he's now the Last of His Kind. They don't join the flow of the crowd until Rose decides they need to get some chips.
- "Midnight" uses this at the end, when the Doctor is sitting in the aisle of the bus after the trouble has passed.
- Homeland literalizes the trope to chilling effect during an episode in series 1, when Dana Brody fast-forwards a video she took of her father during a visit to Gettysburg — and shows him standing completely still as the crowd blurs around him.
- In the NCIS season 7 premiere, after Tony believes that Ziva is dead, he is shown at his desk just sitting there in shock, the rest of the world whirling at a fast pace around him.
- The opening titles of British comedy series Rev.
- Happens in the AMC series Rubicon, in the first episode. The protagonist is in a diner and sees on the TV that the train his father-in-law was on was involved in a deadly crash. He then walks out onto the street in a daze, amidst a crowd of people.
- In the first episode of Scrubs, J.D. struggles to cope with his first day as a doctor, rubbing his temples while blurred, fast-motion people swarm around him. Happens again in "My TCW", J.D. wanders despondently down a hallway surrounded by busy hospital staff as he narrates how it's important to hold on to the relationships you have and laments how awful it feels to be alone - and providing the page quote.
- The Shokojo Sera episode "A Sad Farewell" is a good example - after leaving the Seminary, Sara walks around the streets of London in a daze.
- In Smallville, Clark is this when he sees Lana and Lex hugging.
- The Twilight Zone (1985) episode called "To See the Invisible Man". The protagonist is sentenced to be "invisible" for a year (really just aggressively ignored by everyone), and so spends most of the episode with people moving around him as if he wasn't there.
- In the pilot of Veronica Mars, Veronica sits at the lunch table, reading a book, as the entire student body moves around her in fast-forward. This isn't exactly the same, however, as Veronica has already been jaded by the death of her best friend, the disgrace of her father, and her own date-rape, she has simply accepted her status as a loner. Then the new kid sits down beside her...
- The ABBA song "Super Trouper" takes its name from the massive spotlights that are used to isolate the singer while she performs on stage, which in turn act as a metaphor for her loneliness and isolation despite performing in front of thousands of people.
- "Home" by Michael Bublé is a combo with this and the world-weary traveler.
- City and Colour's "Hello, I'm In Delaware".
- I Live in Silence by Fireaxe.
I live in silence, where no one knows my name
I live in silence, where no one speaks my name
I love my silence, I love my peace within the void
I love my silence, far away from every voice
- "Dreamboat Annie" by Heart:
Going down the city sidewalk, alone in the crowd
No one knows the lonely one, whose head's in the clouds
- Used to describe depression in "Tears of a Clown" by Iron Maiden.
All alone in a crowded room
He tries to force a smile
The smile it beamed, or so it seemed
- The cover for Avril Lavigne's album Let Go.
- "The Invisible Man" by Marillion
I shout my name in the public places
No one seems to notice
No one understands
I stand perfectly still
In the middle of the road
I hold my nerve
I hold my nerve
Hold my nerve
But the cars don't swerve
- "All the Love in the World" by Nine Inch Nails.
Hiding in the crowd I'm all alone.
No one's heard a single word I've said.
They don't sound as good outside my head.
It looks as though the past is here to stay.
I've become a million miles a- Why do you get all the love in the world?
- "Have You Ever", by The Offspring:
Have you ever been at someplace
Recognizing everybody's face
Until you realized that there was no one there you knew
- "La Foule" by Édith Piaf
- The Vampyre of Time and Memory by Queens of the Stone Age
- Mentioned in "Million Miles" by Reamonn:
To walk these streets without you, I hate being on my own
So many souls around you, but it never feels like home
- Happy Little Pill by Troye Sivan
In the crowd alone
And every second passing reminds me I'm not home
- The "fast-forward" variation is used in Linkin Park's video for "Numb".
- Parts of the video for "Again" by YUI features the singer standing alone in a crowd that moves both fast-forwardly and in slow-motion.
- "Spring Day" by BTS has a variation (during the second chorus) where Jungkook stands still while the other members walk around in low-shutter speed, making them blurry. This being from the album WINGS: You Never Walk Alone, however, Jungkook eventually starts walking around, too, becoming a blur with the others.
- The Good Ending of inFAMOUS has Cole state, after his best friend Zeke betrayed him, his girlfriend was murdered, and it turned out that this was all orchestrated by himself from the future, how he couldn't feel more alone.
- In the second game of Jack French, the protagonist is briefly shown standing at an intersection while people whiz around him after the car crash that kills Elizabeth.
- The animated intro for Hanako's route in Katawa Shoujo has her standing alone in a fast-forwarded crowd. Then subverted: she notices Hisao is also there, and the rest of the crowd vanishes as they walk towards each other.
- The World Ends with You: Despite the Reaper's Game taking place in the oh-so-crowded district of Shibuya, the players of the game are alone in the crowd non-players can't see them, can't hear them, and definitely can't help them.
- In Fated Feather, in the seventh chapter, Laryk stands silently while Hawke fights Kaanis and the others watch because Hawke had just cast her out of the crew.
- This strip of Girl Genius, shortly after Lars dies from jumping in front of an attack meant for Agatha. While the battle continues to rage around her, it's all washed out and out-of-focus as she kneels over the body in stunned shock.
- This Misfile Filler Strip spells it out hard.
"True loneliness is being alone in a crowd, a crowd where no one sees you... At least, not the REAL you..."
- In Red's Planet, Red is alone while the aliens pair off and tell each other about the abduction.
- Iris, during the prologue of Shadownova.
- In Sinfest, the poor unhappy elephant is ignored at the party.
- Katherine of Wapsi Square seems to feel like this.
"It's scary out there. And you're all alone. Even with all those people. Especially with all those people."
- Due to a Heroic BSoD after watching Baby Geniuses, The Nostalgia Critic forces himself to go out of his hotel room but is still completely lost and broken even with all the con-goers around. While not seen, he also goes by himself to amusement parks and eats alone at Chuck E Cheese's, just to blend in with everyone else.
- Referenced, though not verbatim, in BoJack Horseman when Sarah Lynn, an extremely popular singer and ex-child actor at the time, tells BoJack that everyone just wants to be her 'friend' for her fame. She refers to him as her only genuine friend left... up until he reveals he's there in an attempt to get her on his new TV show, leaving her in a completely new level of isolation amongst a crowd.
Sarah Lynn: BoJack! Bring him in! It's always nice to see an old friend!
[BoJack reveals his ulterior motive after some minutes then is indirectly cued to leave via Sarah Lynn mentioning how exhausted she is.]
Sarah Lynn: It's always nice to see a— ...you.
- Referenced verbatim in the obscure cartoon Captain Star. "Limbs" Jones, who has nine heads with independent personalities, is upset because he is alone. The Captain points out that he has nine heads, and Scarlet replies "One can get lonely in a crowd."
- The Little Match Girl: The little match girl is dashing around through the huge crowds of New Year's Eve revelers at the stroke of midnight, trying to sell her matches. No one even sees her.
- A truly heartbreaking version happens in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Return Of Harmony Part 2". Discord has broken Twilight completely and sent her over the Despair Event Horizon by turning her friends against her by breaking and brainwashing them. He then one-ups this by driving all of Equestria insane except Twilight. We see her walking dejectedly through town, surrounded by the citizens of Ponyville she's spent the entire last season with, but unable to turn to a single one for help because of Discord's actions, not even her True Companions.
- At some point, everyone has looked at a huge group of people and say "I'm not one of them" because they truly feel like they don't belong.
- Apparently a common feeling in people who move from very rural areas into a larger town or city. Out where there aren't many people, everyone knows everyone else, and just about everyone is needed. In a big city, it's very easy to get lost in the crowd and be totally ignored.
- The difficulty in relating to other people can frequently cause this feeling in people on the autistic spectrum.
- Certain other mental illnesses, if unnoticed or left untreated, can cause one to subconsciously consider themselves to be "different" from others, and cause self-esteem issues that often lead to this.Example
- Even the most sociable and charismatic among us are not immune:
"I get lonesome sometimes. I get lonesome right in the middle of a crowd." —Elvis Presley