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Berserk Button

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"Anyone who calls me by that name dies. That is the policy."
Touko Aozaki, The Garden of Sinners, about the nickname "Dirty Red."

Some characters always get enraged when given a certain, minor trigger.

Say you're dealing with a character who seems perfectly normal. They're a nice person; friendly, sociable, and well-adjusted, saving stray kittens and helping old ladies cross the street on the way to their day job of working at a soup kitchen. But then you make a mistake. You happen to mention in passing what you think is a fairly innocuous observation, maybe pointing out that they could stand to lose a little weight, or are a little on the short side, or maybe could use a girlfriend or boyfriend, or you do something that you think is no big deal in their presence, like asking Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?, or saying that they can't have something if they're a Spoiled Brat. And the character instantly goes ballistic, flying into a screaming, frothing, sometimes tearful Unstoppable Rage, from which you will be lucky to escape with your life.

You have just pressed their Berserk Button.

The Berserk Button is one type of Trigger, where the response to a minor or generally insignificant thing is one of extreme anger. That is, engaging the trigger turns an ordinary character into The Berserker.

In comedic works, the Berserk Button tends to be a physical feature that the character is insecure or in denial about, like their height. Animals don't seem to like having their species misidentified. Comedic Berserk Buttons are often used to make an otherwise unflappable character lose their cool and go off on a hilarious rant. In cartoons, you can usually tell when a Berserk Button has been hit when the character who has it turns bright red and steam starts shooting out their ears. Dramatic Berserk Buttons tend to be reserved for things that strike a bit too Close to Home for a character, or that otherwise seriously piss them off, such as a Wife-Basher Basher seeing a woman getting beat on. When this kind of button gets hit, the resulting rage is usually tragic, terrifying, or awesome.

In instances where the character’s face turns red, note this is not necessarily a case of Turns Red. Rather usually it is just an expression of anger.

If a person seems to get angry over anything and everything, they have a Hair-Trigger Temper. For the negative effects of hitting the Berserk Button, see You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!. For the trope's opposite, see Kindness Button. See also Trauma Button and Misery Trigger. Compare and contrast Rage Breaking Point, where it's a series of events that disables them from holding back anymore. If a person gets angry that other people aren't taking a (very unimportant) thing seriously, see Serious Business. For things that set the fandom itself off, see Fandom-Enraging Misconception. If a character dreams about their Berserk Button, that's an Irritation Nightmare, although not all Irritation Nightmares are about a Berserk Button. Can overlap with Mama Bear or Papa Wolf if the button is messing with their child(ren). If the button is the theft or ruination of their Trademark Favorite Food, then they may have a Lost Food Grievance. Also see Fisticuff-Provoking Comment.

For other related tropes, see Anger Tropes, Protective Tropes, Obsession Tropes and Prejudice Tropes.

No Real Life Examples, Please! Those make us really mad, especially on this page!

This is not about anger in response to something that would reasonably enrage someone. While extreme reactions to minor provocations may still qualify, this doesn't apply if the worst that happens is if the character scowls or frowns at the provocation.


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    Asian Animation 
  • In Simple Samosa, breaking the tip on top of Samosa's head is never a good idea if you value your life. This is established right from the first episode, "Sumo Momo", where Sumo Momo learns this one the hard way.

  • Sam Kinison: In his persona he used in standup as well as film and TV roles, he typically would start out talking in a normal voice, then something would set him off and he would begin hollering like a madman.

    Comic Strips 
  • Never try to convince Baldo's dad that "Taco Bell Spanish" is actual Spanish.
  • In Heathcliff, don't mess with the Great Bazooli's cat. (The Great Bazooli is a knife thrower who leaves Grandpa Nutmeg against the wall surrounded by knives over a Noodle Incident wrought by Heathcliff).
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, no-one should ever touch Bob's dice, as Nitro, an ex-Marine, discovered to his everlasting humiliation.
  • A Krazy Kat strip has Bum Bill Bee repeatedly stinging Ignatz over a deceptively realistic fake flower.
  • Luann: Don't interfere with Rosa if Gunther is around.

  • In School Shock, the Spider Vanguard is very displeased about the loss of her twice-licked popsicle.

  • Telling Shem from Ark Angels that you've stolen her favorite bear-print panties quite literally sends her into a berserker rage which gives her super-strength.
  • The Breaker: Don't ever say the vice-principal has a "shitty car" or damage his car.
  • From Dorothy of Oz: Mara doesn't like being called "Dorothy".
  • Haji from Hot Blooded Woman really hates being called a puppy. Since her full name, "Kang Haji", sounds like the Korean word for "puppy", she really hates it when people call her by her full name.
  • Pamela from The Tarot Cafe doesn't like being called an old lady.
    • For Alecto it's mentioning Pamela's name.
  • Yureka: Referring to the real Yureka as "Fake Yureka".
    • Mentioning Lotto's height deficiencies.
  • Shuuichi, from Zero: The Beginning of the Coffin, doesn't like being called "White Hair" and harming his family.
  • Seunghee, from Zippy Ziggy, really hates perverts and being called "old".
    • Mispronouncing Duckchill's name.

  • Relative Disasters: Misogyny is a big one for Greg and Ella, in particular the misogynistic laws of 17th century Holland in the Batavia episode and Victorian England in the baby farming episode led to (justifiably) bitter rants from the co-hosts.
  • Liam in Well There's Your Problem absolutely hates fish, of all things. It goes beyond simply disliking their taste or smell; he, quote, "does not respect" their very existence and gets very annoyed when the other hosts mention fish. The Lake Peigneur episode in particular has Liam going on a rant about fish after November jokes the workers being more afraid of catfish than alligators.
  • You're Dead To Me:
    • Host Greg Jenner absolutely loathes conspiracy theories about history, especially ancient aliens.
    • Downplayed, but Greg, and guests who are also medievalists, aren't very fond of the term "The Dark Ages"
  • Midnight Burger: Ava is very protective of her booth in the titular diner. Sitting in it (or touching any of the stuff she leaves there) is a great way to infuriate her.

    • Already one of the most vicious of the Piraka, Vezok gets ESPECIALLY violent if you bring up his insane "brother", Vezon; he's still a little sore over being split in two, specifically the fact that Vezon got the brains.
    • If you lock up Hakann, he'll END you for sure.
    • Never take photos of Thok, as that camera learned the hard way.
    • Try annoying Matoro when he's in battle. Go on, try it!


Rob Hates Broccoli

Rob's hatred towards broccoli, whose popularity has been causing his corn sales to plummet, leads him to violently ram a broccoli delivery truck, causing it to crash and explode.

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