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Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl

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"Keep your faith, raise your lively face
Just get rid of your broken wings—you're strong enough by now
I'll be your spark when you're lost in the dark
And let me be your song, be your match to
Light your heart up."
Mako Mankanshoku's theme, "Light Your Heart Up", Kill la Kill

The tendency for the brooding, angsty, loner boy to end up with a sweet, gentle girl who will patiently coax him out of his moods.

While the appeal of the brooding boy probably has something to do with All Girls Want Bad Boys, the brooding boy isn't necessarily bad, he's just… moody, troubled. At worst, he'll be an Anti-Hero who's put his bad boy past behind him or at least is trying to. Maybe he has a Dark and Troubled Past. Maybe he's a Hurting Hero. Maybe he made terrible mistakes and that weights in his mind. Maybe he simply takes his responsibilities far more seriously than the rest of his teammates. Whatever the case, he's just waiting for someone to draw him out of his shell, and that person is the gentle girl.

For her part and unlike her kookier sisters (the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and Genki Girl), the gentle girl doesn't try to actively shake the brooding boy out of his moodiness. Instead, she patiently and persistently offers kind words, either shy or gentle smiles, hugs, companionship, and hope. Usually The Power of Love will eventually heal the brooding boy, and she might learn some things about herself as well, especially if she ends up facing her own demons too. She may be the Living Emotional Crutch for the guy, but it's not necessary.


Eventually, their appearance will be used to underline their personalities. She tends to be blonde, while his hair is usually dark. This dynamic can also show up in a lot of Yaoi and Yuri work. If one of the partners is really cheerful and sweet, the other partner is probably an angst-fest waiting to be unleashed.

This relationship tends to be the focus of a Hurt/Comfort Fic. For a related couples trope based on personality dynamics, see Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, Beast and Beauty, Ugly Guy, Hot Wife, Hot Guy, Ugly Wife, Light Liege, Dark Defender. Natural blue onis, especially in a Four-Temperament Ensemble that also has a Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl pairing.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Rei Kiriyama and Hinata Kawamoto from 3-gatsu no Lion form this kind of pair whenever they're together and have meaningful one-to-one interaction. Rei has a morose disposition most of the time due to many of the issues he deals with. Hina is cheerful and, while excitable at times, is assertive but gentle and non-forceful in her attempts to get Rei to open up and spend more time with her and her family. However, unlike most examples there are no blatantly obvious romantic overtones in their relationship.
  • In After War Gundam X, Sala Tyrrell wants to become the Gentle Girl to Jamil Neate's Brooding Older Man. Badly. It takes her almost the whole series to succeed.
  • Kaoru Hanabishi and Aoi Sakuraba from Ai Yori Aoshi. Kaoru isn't as brooding as other Brooding Boys, but he has serious emotional traumas from the abuse he suffered from his grandfather and the death of his beloved mother. Aoi's kind and loving personality helps heal Kaoru's mental and emotional damage.
  • Akuma no Riddle's Tokaku and Haru are a textbook girl/girl case. The same appears to be true of Chitaru and Hitsugi at first...
  • Baccano! had Huey Laforet and Monica Campanella back at the beginning of the 18th century. It then subverts it hard by revealing that not only is Monica just as much of a bitter misanthrope as Huey, but she's also the Serial Killer that's been lurking around lately. They bond and fall in love over their mutual desire to screw the world over.
  • Ash and Eiji in Banana Fish fit this to a T, except for the "girl" part.
  • Bleach:
    • Flashbacks reveal that Uryuu Ishida's parents, Ryuuken Ishida and Kanae Katagiri, were this trope to the very letter. The flashback is ostensibly about Isshin and Masaki's Meet Cute story but includes Ryuuken and Kanae as the Beta Couple. It reveals he was torn between his personal desires and his family duty, and she was hiding feelings for a boy she believed unattainable.
    • For most of the series, Ichigo Kurosaki was a scowling young man who harbors great guilt whenever he can't protect anyone, while Orihime Inoue remained mostly upbeat and hopeful. It was Orihime, in fact, who came up with the idea of rescuing Rukia after she was taken away by the Shinigami, with Ichigo agreeing and immediately thanking her for it. And when Orihime herself was first injured and then kidnapped by the Arrancar, Ichigo was immensely troubled by her being in pain for it, before he and their friends decided to help her too. At the end of the series, they're revealed to be Happily Married (with a son).
  • Mary Magdalene is the Gentle Girl to Chrono's Brooding Boy in the backstory of Chrono Crusade, in contrast to Rosette's later Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl approach to helping Chrono out of his moods.
  • Danganronpa 3: Future has Kyousuke "Ultimate Student Council President" Munakata and Chisa "Ultimate Housekeeper" Yukizome. Chisa is even introduced tending the wounds of someone Munakata accused (with excessive brutality) of treason. It's unclear whether this trope applied even before Chisa was physically and mentally tortured, then lobotomized by Junko and Mukuro and essentially became a traitor from then on.
    • Keeping their relationship from the second game (even though it chronologically occurs later), Hajime Hinata and Chiaki Nanami. Once again, Hajime broods a lot about his inferiority issues, and once again Chiaki is a sweet gamer girl who tries to keep his spirits up. Then deconstructed as he feels his emotional reliance on her and his own lack of talent make him unworthy of her love, and he sets out to "become worthy", signing up for a project that completely destroys his personality and replaces it with a new one. Chiaki's left waiting for months, wondering why he abandoned her; when he does return he's even more brooding than usual and doesn't recognize her at all. She still recognizes him, though, and tries to help him again and gets killed because of it, her last words expressing how much she wants Hajime to return to her side.
    • Also keeping their relationship from the game, Makoto Naegi and Kyouko Kirigiri. However, rather than being just a Gender Flip as it was then, their dynamic is played a bit more straight when Makoto has a moment of broodiness and fear, and Kyouko is the one to lift him up. They're this close to becoming Star-Crossed Lovers, but ultimately survive.
  • Dear Brother:
    • girl/girl version with Rei "Saint Juste" Asaka as the Brooding Bifauxnen and Nanako Misonoo as the Gentle Yamato Nadeshiko-in-training Girl. However, Rei either kills herself or dies in an accident depending on the version.
    • Mariko Shinobu and Nanako fit in fairly well too, given that Mariko is a Hot-Blooded Broken Bird with severe issues and clings desperately to Nanako, whom she sees as the first real friend she's made in her whole life.
  • The main couple of Devils' Line, Yuuki Anzai and Tsukasa Taira, could be considered as this. Tsukasa is a nice and innocent girl to serve as Anzai's brooding and aloof demeanor. Needless to say, as the story went by, the two start to fall for each other.
  • In Fairy Tail, this was Zeref Dragneel and Mavis Vermillion's relationship. She was the first person to show him kindness in all of his 400+ cursed years of life and once she ended up cursed and immortal like him, they tried to give Eternal Love a shot. It doesn't end happily thanks to Zeref's curse being hellbent on making him suffer and killing her anyways, and Mavis could only watch from her existence between life and death as it kickstarted his real Start of Darkness into the current Big Bad.
  • Pictured above: Kiritsugu Emiya and Irisviel "Iri" von Eizenbern in Fate/Zero. Their marriage was pretty happy until the Holy Grail War happened. Their contrasts had little, if anything, to do with their tragic ending.
  • Fruits Basket gives us three examples:
  • The manga Hana no Namae, "The Name Of The Flower", lives off this trope. The 'brooding boy' is Kei Mizushima, a famous writer of depressing, nihilistic works, who himself has a tragic past and struggles with mental illness. The 'gentle girl' is Chouko Mizushima, the distant relative he takes in after her parents die in a car accident, who grows flowers in his yard, is quiet, soft-spoken, and kind, and in love with him. The story revolves around Chouko's desire to love and save him from his depression and Kei's feeling that he doesn't deserve it, or can never bring himself out of it enough to do anything but drag her down with him.
  • Sometimes it is heavy implied in The Irregular at Magic High School with siblings of Tatsuya Shiba and Miyuki Shiba as a kind of Brother–Sister Incest option. While Tatsuya is a cold, emotionless, and cynical Anti-Hero, Miyuki is a pure, innocent, and kind girl, which is his meaning of life as literally the only important person in his life. And yes, she is in love with him. Thus, despite some aspects of his dubious and cynical worldview, it is Miyuki that becomes his life guide and the ground for positive motivation.
  • In K, there is Suoh Mikoto and Totsuka Tatara as a male/male version. Totsuka is the only one able to contain and aid Mikoto in regards to his Person of Mass Destruction. May or may not have been platonic (Word of God claims they had a "special relationship" but does not go beyond that) but it definitely ends tragically. Tatara being murdered is what kicks off the plot and Mikoto dies a mere twelve days later via Suicide by Cop after avenging his death.
  • Gender Flipped in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. If you strip away all the mind games, Kaguya's story is ultimately one of how she was emotionally scarred by the environment she grew up in and how falling in love with Shirogane helped her find happiness in life.
  • Kamisama Kiss features Tomoe (boy despite having a girl's name), who is an introverted Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and Nanami, an extroverted Tsundere.
  • Gender-inverted version: Shiki Ryougi and Mikiya Kokutou from Kara no Kyoukai. Shiki is, to say the least, highly brooding and unstable, but Mikiya is incredibly kind and patient with her despite her initial attempts to push him away (that included trying to stab him with a knife). It's Mikiya's presence that keeps Shiki from becoming a complete psychopath.
  • Kill la Kill: This trope pretty much sums up Ryuko Matoi and Mako Mankanshoku's relationship. Ryuko is an aloof loner with a vengeful streak and a very Dark and Troubled Past that not even she is aware of, while Mako is a bubbly Pollyanna who supports her patiently and unconditionally. Lyrics from Mako's theme "Light Your Heart Up" even provide the page quote.
  • Genderflipped in Kimagure Orange Road, with Madoka Ayukawa as a Broken Bird Brooder who has been rejected by almost anyone outside her family and is believed to be a delinquent, and Kyosuke as the Gentle Ridiculously Average Guy who is rather dim sometimes but still approaches Madoka when almost no one else did. Kyōsuke and his family are (besides Hikaru and Yūsaku) the only ones who understand that Madoka is a good person, and how, she's just troubled and misunderstood.
  • In Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, the dynamics between Aladdin's parents Solomon and Sheba manage to mix this and Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl. The Brooding/Gentle part comes from post!Character Development Sheba realizing that Solomon is really broken from the alienation he has always had throughout his life, then deciding to be supportive for him and becoming the only one that decides to be his equal rather than his follower.
  • In Marmalade Boy, while Yuu and Miki normally tend to go far more by Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, it turns out that Yuu is extremely prone to depression at times and specially when it's revealed that his father Youji may not his biological dad. When this happens, Miki attempts to comfort and understand his reasons so she can help him out, plus gives him more than one Cooldown Hug; sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn't.
  • Menhera Chan: Gender flipped with Momoka and Ougi. Momoka is a depressed Magical Girl with a Dark and Troubled Past while Ougi is a shy and sensitive boy who falls in love with her after seeing her fight as Menhera Pink. He loves her for having an inner strength he believes he does not possess, while she gradually falls in love with him for his consistent support of her even in her worst moments.
  • Kaya and Kyouhei from Midnight Secretary. Kyouhei is the brooding, jerkass, prideful vampire who always wears black suits. Kaya is his good-hearted secretary, who is kind, gentle, and takes care of all his needs without complaint. After some Character Development on Kyouhei's part, her maturity and kindness reforms him (mostly).
  • The second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 gender flips this with post-Break the Cutie!Louise Halevy and Saji Crossroads.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
    • Heero and Relena, since Relena helped Heero re-discover the humanity he thought of as lost.
    • Also a popular view of Trowa and Quatre, with Quatre as a mix of both Brooding and Gentle and Trowa as a tight-lipped but very warm-hearted Gentle Guy.
  • Naruto: Downplayed with Naruto and Hinata. Naruto is the near epitome of Determinator, Magnetic Hero, and The Heart—he's the one who usually brings someone else out of their brooding self-loathing attitude. However, during the moments that have even him reach the Despair Event Horizon, it has always been Hinata (the girl who was initially very self-deprecating of herself) who gives him the strength to gain back his confidence. Such moments include Hinata encouraging Naruto right before his fight against Neji in Chapter 98, and then Hinata slapping sense into Naruto when he almost gives in to Obito's Breaking Lecture following Neji's Heroic Sacrifice in Chapter 615.
  • In the shoujo manga Niehime to Kemono no Ou (The Sacrifice Princess and the King of Beasts), the initially unnamed King is a brooding and very feared beast with a Dark and Troubled Past and human heritage who has been offered 99 girls as virgin sacrifices, but he always secretly lets them go so they can rebuild their lives elsewhere. The ninety-ninth girl, Saliphie, touches his heart with her kindness and her lack of fear of him and the idea of being sacrificed to him, which impresses him enough to have her taken in as his consort instead.
  • Ranma ½: Akari is the Gentle Girl (and for some, Relationship Sue) to Ryoga's angster.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena subverts this (like everything else) with Wakaba's crush on Saionji. It ends in massive tears.
  • Gender inverted in Freezing with Satellizer and Kazuya. Eventually played straight, gender-wise, later in the story, when Kazuya starts brooding over some traumatic revelations about his family and Satellizer needs to comfort him.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • In the flashbacks describing the Birth of Nerv, Gendo was introduced as a Jerkass failure in life who kept getting into trouble. For example, when Fuyutsuki first met him, it was to bail him out of jail, as Gendo was a recluse and habitual drunk with a penchant for getting into bar fights. Fuyutsuki could not comprehend why such a beautiful genius as Yui would be paired with a failure in life. Gendo then said that he was used to being hated by everybody else. He needed Yui as a philosopher to teach him how to live and socialize like every other human being. As a result, after Yui sacrificed herself to be absorbed in Eva-01, Gendo became The Stoic whose only purpose is to bring her back from the dead.
    • If you like your Ho Yay, then Shinji can be seen as having these dynamics with Kaworu Nagisa too. Again, this is Evangelion… and it doesn't end well either.
  • Puppy Love version: Masaru Yada and Hazuki Fujiwara from Ojamajo Doremi. Ever since the start of the series, Hazuki refused to see Masaru as the delinquent that others thought he was…
  • In Private Actress, the lead character Shiho once was the Gentle Girl to a Brooding Boy named Naoya Koshiba, who was both her first "client" as a P.A. and her First Love. Until Naoya died.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Homura Akemi and Madoka Kaname are both girls, but otherwise fit this trope to a T. Homura is a stoic, highly troubled Byronic Heroine Broken Bird, while the Messianic Archetype Madoka is a kind-hearted and innocent All-Loving Hero. Madoka is the only one able to get close to Homura and get her to express her deeply buried emotions, and Madoka's kindness is the source of Homura's devotion to her.
    • Sayaka Miki wants to be the Gentle Girl to Kyousuke Kamijou's Brooding Boy really, really badly. Considering the Crapsaccharine World that these two, Madoka, Homura, and others live in, and how Sayaka is a deconstruction of tropes like this one, it really doesn't end well.
  • Sailor Moon: Specifically in the R movie. Mamoru's an orphan who was comforted by a very young Usagi in the hospital after his parents' deaths. Ten years later, they reunite and mimic the same pose of her with her head on his knee comforting him. They normally fit more into Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, however.
    • They fit this dynamic better in the manga (unsurprising considering it was shojo) and Crystal. Here brooding is a regular trait of Mamoru's and he's a quiet, sensitive introvert who often ponders if he's good or strong enough to be with someone as powerful as Usagi, who's perky but very kind, caring, and understanding. In Dream, these notions are put to rest which pretty much solves all of their relationship troubles.
  • Souma Saiki and Masataka Tagami from Sakura Gari are a male/male version. Souma may not look like a brooder, but in truth, he's got MASSIVE issues due to his horrifying Dark and Troubled Past, and one of the biggest reasons why he's attracted to Masataka is his gentle, frank approach to him, offering a contrast with how everyone else is obsessively possessive of Souma himself. And then, shit starts going down for both of them.
  • In Shindere Shoujo to Kodoku na Shinigami, there's Matsushiro Nishigami and Akira Wakanae. Nishigami is as brooding as they come (and with good reason it seems) whereas Wakanae is far too nice to buy into his "everybody hates me" facade (while being brave enough not to be scared away, unlike Rin).
  • Simoun's Dominura and Limone have elements of a girl/girl version of this from the start, but they really fall into the pattern after their Emerald Ri Maajon. Neviril and Aaeru/Aer are a mixed example — Aaeru is more energetic than the average Gentle Girl, but Neviril is very brooding.
  • Slayers TRY sets these dynamics between Valgarv and Filia, especially towards the end when she properly learns the role that her ancestors had in his Dark and Troubled Past and tries to talk him out of bringing The End Ofthe World As We Know It.
  • Strawberry Panic!'s Shizuma and Nagisa. Shizuma acts flamboyant to hide her brooding, but when it comes to the surface, boy howdy.
  • Your Lie in April has Kousei as the sad and lonely brooding boy, and Kaori as the wild and cheerful gentle girl.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has several:
    • Priest Seto, the preincarnation of Seto Kaiba whose life pretty much sucked just as much the first time around, and the white-haired Mystical Waif Kisara.
    • "Yami Yugi" and Anzu/Tea. Their "date" consisted of large amounts of Yami brooding over his mysterious past/mysterious destiny and Tea trying to cheer him up via talking to him or taking him to arcades before going to the museum.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX gives out the Ho Yay version of this near the end of season 4 with Yusuke as the brooding guy and Fubuki as the gentle guy. In the final confrontation against Darkness-possessed Yusuke, he rants about how lonely he was, and for not noticing what his best friend feels, Fubuki apologizes and he gently said he will patiently wait for Yusuke to completely opened up to him and become friends again, and chance for Yusuke to be forgiven will always be open for him. He did even said if Yusuke doesn't want to come back to the living world, he will come to shadow dimension as well.
    • Jack Atlas and Carly Nagisa of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's.
  • Downplayed but still present in Yuri!!! on Ice between the two male leads. The reserved, brooding, anxiety-riddled Katsuki Yuri is the brooding guy to the extroverted, excitable and confident Victor Nikiforov's gentle guy.

    Comic Books 
  • Angel & Faith has the titular characters, especially at the start of Season Nine, where Angel is recovering from having killed Giles.
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes has Brainiac-5, a brooding genius with no social skills, and his Love Interest Supergirl, a cheerful and gentle girl who is one of the few persons able to brighten up his day (and put up with his foul moods for longer than five minutes).
  • In the Nova comics, the main character Richard Rider is serious and circumspect, and his sometimes-girlfriend is cheerful and perky.
  • Dream and Death from The Sandman are this. Ironically, Dream is the brooding one as he is constantly caught up in his responsibilities and the issues that result from them. Death, on the other hand, is a Perky Goth who is constantly upbeat, kindhearted, and ready to listen to Dream and offer support as his big sister.

    Fan Works 
  • The Homestuck fic armor portrays Karkat and Nepeta as this.
    "She is compassion in its purest form. She never backs down at the chance to help someone in need, opening her own heart in hopes that they will open theirs. Its what he adores about her the most.
    He was stubborn at first. Shying from her love, swatting away her benevolent hands. But she persisted: slowly, patiently, and lovingly. Always lovingly."
  • A Bed of Thorns has Belle and Rumpelstiltskin, for all that Rumpelstiltskin tries to hide it behind (tasteless) jokes.
  • Gender-flipped non-romantic example from The Bridge with Monster X and Aria Blaze. While they both brood at times and X has a gruffness to him, it's Aria Blaze who does the most brooding. The dynamic changes even more when it turns romantic as they help the other through their trauma and become more balanced.
  • In A Bridge Once Broken Loki is a brooding, PTSD-ridden, Broken Ace boy to Jahanna's gentle, loving girl.
  • In the Death Note Crack Fic A Charmed Life Light is angsty and brooding and Ryuk is gentle with him.
  • The Bleach fanfiction Chasing the Moon (and to a certain extent, it's prequel Phases of the Moon) sets this up with Yuzu Kurosaki and Byakuya Kuchiki.
  • Child of the Storm has this between Harry and Carol towards the end of the first book and at points in the sequel. However, it's a little unusual in that Carol is a spiky cynic (albeit much kinder than she initially appears, especially to Harry), has many issues of her own, and while she's perfectly happy to listen to Harry and comfort and counsel him when he's suffering from, say, a nasty case of PTSD in the sequel, she's also perfectly happy to give him a kick up the arse if he's wallowing. It's also sometimes Gender Flipped, with Carol having plenty of reasons of her own to brood, and Harry being compassionate to a fault and head over heels in Courtly Love with her (until chapter 46 when they finally get together).
  • This dynamic occurs in the Death Note Slash Fic Fever Dreams in which L is the brooding one and Light is the gentle one. While he's still very much a Manipulative Bastard he is very careful with how he treats L and of the detective's feelings. It's not just because treating L badly would be suspicious either but out of genuine concern for his well-being. As it turns out Light himself was on the receiving end of a very abusive relationship in the past and he doesn't want to treat L the way he was treated. This dynamic between him and L is turned up to eleven when Light allows his Kira memories to expire and reverts to the Nice Guy he used to be.
  • Hellsister Trilogy: Dev-Em is a brooding, surly boy; his girlfriend Kara is a kind-hearted, sunny girl.
  • Hope for the Heartless (The Black Cauldron fanfic) gives us a non-romantic version in the Horned King and Avalina. The Horned King is a monstrous and centuries old warlord who has been half-forced on a Redemption Quest he doesn't believe he can fulfill. Under his cold and scary mask he's lonely, desperate and tired. His aura of Death causes all living creatures to fear him on instinct and the plantlife to die in his presence. Also, he's prone to sarcastic humor. Avalina is a teenaged brush farmer who's as beautiful as she's pure. Her aura of Life is so strong that she can bring life to the Horned King's lands, befriend a gwythaint and a mad-out-of-grief horse of a knight, get inside the Horned King's shell and bring his centuries-long dead heart back to life. They're also the case of an Intergenerational Friendship, though the Horned King has shades of being a Parental Substitute towards Avalina.
  • In The King of Fighters fandom, almost any het pairing involving Iori Yagami involves the preferred partner note  invoking the trope via becoming the "only girl" able to offer him solace, tenderness and rest, "fixing" his massive issues coming from his centuries-long family baggage. Among the canon girls subjected to this, the most common ones are Athena Asamiya and Chizuru Kagura. And it's Hilarious in Hindsight when one considers the Drama CD's...
  • Wu Luan and Qing in Legend of the Black Scorpion, who deconstruct this as the original play Hamlet does.
  • The Secret Life of the Backyard Kids: Jorge and Angela. The former is a rich kid with a lot of issues, the latter is a Naïve Everygirl who thinks he's cute. Their conversation in Chapter 7 really drives it home.
  • Story of the Century. Original Character Erin is not the most patient of people and most of the time she is a Tsundere towards L, who in turn is a (seemingly) unrepentant Anti-Hero who says next to nothing about his problems (Erin does a lot of speculation on her part based on what little is given), but in a few peaceful moments, their dynamic dips into this; L seems to act slightly more "human" since they start hanging out and Erin does learn a few life lessons through their relationship. There could also be deconstruction going on too; unfortunately there's only so much "brooding" from him that Erin can take before she loses her gentlenessand in the end she still can't save him.
  • Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations and its sequel Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations Vol. 2 - Ex-Aid Era feat. Cross Ange provides a special case of both Brooding Boy and Girl in Samus and Mitsuzane. It serves as the purpose that Mitsuzane having recovered from Despair Event Horizon, shows him as an insecure man, spending most of the time living a life of solitude and regret. Depending on the Writer, the Gentle part could be either of them.
  • The Arrow fic Legacy is set twenty-five years in the future, but Oliver still has a tendency to brood. Fortunately, both Felicity and their daughter have a knack for smoothing away his grumpiness.
  • Maribat AU has the crossover ship of Marinette Dupain-Cheng, the All-Loving Hero Ladybug, and Damian Wayne, former child assassin and current Robin.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku and Blake form a gender-inverted version of this trope. Blake is brooding, anti-social, and paranoid due to her fear of being judged for being a faunus and her Dark and Troubled Past as a former member of the White Fang. Her belief that she's a coward and a fraud gives her a great deal of self-loathing. Izuku is a gentle and trusting soul who offers her constant companionship and comfort, finding nothing but good things to say about her despite his own Heroic Self-Deprecation. He also gives her an outlet to vent about her frustrations and tell her secrets without fearing reprisal, promising to act as her Secret Keeper for as long as she desires. But some of his attempts to cheer her up end up just embarrassing her, like when he's encouraging her to ask out wonderful guy she's apparently interested in when it's fairly clear to everyone except Izuku that she's talking about him.
  • In Off the Line, Vincent and Rainstorm have this dynamic, especially when the latter is in his female form.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has Red and Yellow as this. Red generally acts in a quiet, subdued manner, and he seems very unhappy, mostly by choice. Yellow is the one who does the talking for him, has a more cheerful and friendly attitude, and spends a lot of time and effort trying to get him to come out of his shell. Though their relationship seems more brother-sisterly-like which is probably a good thing since they're strongly implied to be half-siblings.
  • In Prison Island Break, this is the dynamic shared by Shadow and Amy. Shadow is infatuated with her because of how kind and understanding she is, being the only person who tries to reach out and see the good in him. It's also the reason he starts falling for Sonia, whose gentle approach slowly thaws his cold exterior.
  • Izzyaro's Tales of the Founders explores this dynamic with Salazar Slytherin — a Broken Bird who briefly studied the Dark Arts to become stronger after the death of his family — and Helga Hufflepuff — a compassionate healer whose life he saved.
  • Gliscor (Brooding Boy) and Noivern (Gentle Girl) in Dark Amphithere's Total Pokémon Redux. Gliscor initially was uncomfortable around Noivern, because Pidgeot falsely blamed him. Noivern, on the other hand, helps Gliscor overcome his anxieties and wants him to be okay.
  • A Triangle in the Stars:
    • Though both boys, Bill is definitely brooding, and Steven is gentle, helping the triangle through his troubles. And sometimes, especially later, it's swapped and Bill helps back in his own way.
    • Gender Flipped and Downplayed with Steven and Connie, unlike in the show proper. It's especially highlighted in Chapter Forty-Six, where Connie can't even play Citchen Calamity because Bill was sitting right across from her, whereas Steven thoroughly enjoyed every minute.
  • This is almost ubiquitous in any The Walking Dead fanfiction starring Beth Greene and Daryl Dixon as the power couple, which skyrocketed in popularity (and amazingly has remained the most popular het ship in the fandom on Archive of Our Own) after "Still". Their canon backstories fit the dynamic to a T. Beth Greene is almost always portrayed as the sweet blonde virginal farmgirl from a slightly higher class. Daryl Dixon is the scarred manly hot-headed celibate guy with an abusive past who likes wearing an angel wing vest. In pretty much all of them, she is the key that opens up Daryl's heart, normally symbolized by him allowing her to see his scars (which he tends to hide in canon). Bonus points if it's complete with at least one Scar Survey after he takes her virginity. Extra if it's a Hurt/Comfort Fic.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast, though only started resembling the trope after Beast did something else than brooding and yelling at Belle (read: saved her from a pack of wild wolves.) From then on Belle realized that there was more to Beast than cruelty, tended to his wounds, and started helping him to become a better man… well, man-beast.
  • Hercules has a gender-flipped version with Megara (Brooding Girl) and Hercules (Gentle Boy). Megara was hurting badly after she made a Deal with the Devil with Hades and that backfired badly on her, so she was set as a Honey Trap of sorts for the super-strong Kind Hearted Simpleton Hercules… but Herc's cheerful approach to life and genuine care for people made Megara actually fall In Love with the Mark.
  • Wreck-It Ralph features both a straight platonic example with Ralph and Vanellope and a gender-inverted romantic example with Felix (gentle boy) and Calhoun (brooding girl).
  • Zootopia: Judy's emotional support and faith in Nick inspires him to believe in himself again and become the first fox police officer. This soon gets deconstructed pretty hard; while Judy is optimistic, idealistic, and supportive to Nick, she isn't perfect and her own flaws bring trouble to their relationship. Her subconscious bias regarding predators flares up during a public interview that almost ruins their friendship and causes considerable hardship in the eponymous city.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Bad Sleep Well, Koichi and Yoshiko Nishi take on these respective roles. Koichi is quiet but full of emotional turmoil, and Yoshiko is a gentle, physically disabled ingenue whom he falls in love with after marrying her.
  • Baśń O Ludziach Stąd has a brooding, angsty, loner girl end up with a boy who aimed for adorkable and overshot by a couple hundred metres.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017): Unlike the animated original, the much more intelligent Beast fits this trope immediately, and it's his intelligence and education that woo Belle over.
  • Inception has Dom and Ariadne. The former is a fugitive who is still haunted by the memories of his dead wife, while the latter is the Naïve Newcomer whose more optimistic views help him get through the job and eventually get over his issues.
  • Love Songs: an entirely male version with Brooding Ismaël and sweet Erwann.
  • Maleficent has a non-romantic, gender-flipped version, a bit understated by their frequent Snark to Snark Combats. Maleficent is the brooding, bitter, angst-ridden Byronic Heroine and Diaval is the gentle Nice Guy offering her emotional support. While he is not the one to prompt her full Heel–Face Turn, he does encourage her helping Aurora and bonding with her, which leads to Maleficent turning good again.
  • In Panna a netvor, a Czech adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, Netvor (the Beast) is a bird-like Animalistic Abomination who broods about being neither human nor monster, but is increasingly moved by Julie's (the Beauty) kindness and innocence.
  • Star Wars: Padmé Amidala is the Gentle Girl to Anakin Skywalker's Brooding Boy.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) has a Kaiju version of this trope in Godzilla and Mothra—Godzilla is as grumpy and aggressive as ever, but he shows a sweeter side around Mothra, who is depicted as the Martial Pacifist Team Mom of the Kaiju and is especially loyal and kind to Godzilla himself.

  • Rodion and Sonya from Crime and Punishment, with Rodion as the broody protagonist and Sonya as the downtrodden but nonetheless gentle prostitute.
  • The backstory of Michael and Julia in Vikram Seth's novel An Equal Music ended with a tragic version of this.
  • Eventually it seems to be Rolf Carlé and Eva's dynamics in Eva Luna. Not that she has not lived her woes, but he's the one most traumatized after going through Hell in World War II. One of their most iconic scenes has Rolf explaining said WWII woes as well as how his mentally-handicapped sister died in a psych ward, and Eva turns the sad story into a more hopeful one to re-write the circumstances and offer him solace.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey has broody and troubled Christian Grey and sweet, submissive Anastasia.
  • Finding Snowflakes: Subverted. The guy, who is usually stoic and reserved, has a relatively positive outlook towards life whereas the resident Genki Girl is actually really a closet cynic.
  • Forbidden: Maya and Lochan have this dynamic. They share the burden of taking care of their family (which is the same family) and so they're both somewhat brooding, but Lochan has the additional burden of social anxiety, and Maya helps ease that.
  • Rafael and Skylar in Gives Light, but they're both boys.
  • Ashley and Melanie in Gone with the Wind. Ashley, although respected by his community, is not quite one of them—he's more bookish and intellectual and less inclined towards the hunting and carousing his friends and neighbors enjoy. Then, after the horrors of the Civil War, he becomes even more withdrawn and brooding. He describes the sweet, kind Melanie as the "gentlest of dreams".
  • While in most contexts it's a bit of a stretch to call Ginny "gentle", she and Harry very clearly have this dynamic starting in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Harry is brooding and moody over the aftermath of Cedric's death, almost no one believing him about Voldemort's return, and being terrified over the possibility of Voldemort being able to possess him. Ginny manages to give him some comfort by having him actually talk about his fears, which helps him, somewhat. This continues in the next book, when Ginny offers him a comforting shoulder after Professor Dumbledore's death.
  • Gender inversion in The Hunger Games with Katniss as the more troubled hero and Peeta as the gentle, compassionate one.
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile: Thutmose and Inanni would be this if Thutmose was the least bit interested in going through with their Arranged Marriage. Inanni even has an Internal Monologue about how she "would be a good wife to him and comfort him when he headached" (She has been led to believe that severe headaches are the reason he is a Mood-Swinger.)
  • Jace and Clary in The Mortal Instruments.
  • Angsty social outcast Haru and cheerful optimist Nami in Tadgifauna. Though Nami gets a hell of a lot less cheerful after learning Haru cheated on her.
  • The Tairen Soul protagonists are this before Character Development kicks in. Rain is a centuries-old warrior who scorched the world, and Elysetta is the young, seemingly human woman who gives him catharsis and finds it difficult to adjust to Fey politics. One of the ways Rain courts her is by playing with her little sisters.
  • Twilight: Edward "This is the skin of a KILLER!" Cullen and Bella. In New Moon, however, gender-flipping this is what kicks off the Jacob/Bella relationship, with him being the gentle guy to Bella's "My boyfriend dumped me so my life is over" brooding.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Leafpool and Crowfeather are this; as is Crowfeather's first relationship with Feathertail.
    • Jayfeather and Half Moon are worth a mention, even though they have limited interaction in the books since they don't even live in the same time.
  • Subverted in Wuthering Heights: Cathy is far from gentle, but instead just as fierce and rugged at heart and almost as morally gray as the brooding Heathcliff himself. Isabella Linton thinks she's evoking this trope when she marries Heathcliff, but her delusion is brutally deconstructed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • Fred played "Gentle Girl" to both Gunn and Wesley. Well, when Gunn and Fred began expressing interest in each other, neither were particularly broody. Wesley on the other hand...
    • Connor and Not-Cordelia. With a twist in that the Gentle Girl is evil, is only gentle while he's watching, and is manipulating him into serving as her Dragon.
  • Arrow has adorkable I.T girl Felicity and broody vigilante Oliver. An ongoing theme throughout the series is Felicity helping him to open up about his tragic past and trust people again. Given the Trauma Conga Line he's gone through, it's not surprising he needs a little help in learning to be happy again.
  • John Sheridan and Delenn on Babylon 5—he doesn't want to burden her with his problems and thinks he has to do it all himself. She disabuses him of that notion rather quickly.
  • Dylan and Brenda fit this from Beverly Hills, 90210.
  • Buffy would play this role to Angel, then Cordelia, and finally Faith would step up after the events in the comic series.
  • Clare and Eli from Degrassi are like this. Clare is a sweet, mostly innocent Christian girl, and Eli drives a hearse.
  • Rose and the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who are a pretty archetypical example. Later, Clara Oswald has this effect on both the Eleventh Doctor (when an incarnation of Clara coaxes a brooding Eleven out of self-imposed retirement) and the Twelfth (where Clara "prime" becomes his Morality Chain and The Heart of their relationship).
  • Jagger and Karen on General Hospital. Repeated a few years later with Stone and Robin, then a year after that with Jason and Robin (brain damage left him unable to express any emotion, so her getting him to laugh/cry/show love was a huge feat.
  • Gilmore Girls's season has Jess and Rory. Jess is the cynical brooding boy who falls for the town princess Rory after he discovers she has a passion for books and music similar to his own. Bonus points that both teens were a product of Teen Pregnancy but with two wildly different upbringings. note  A recurring theme is Rory believing that Jess can do more than everyone - including him - expects and that it doesn't have to be him against the world. Although they eventually break up due to Jess's issues, he later returns having got his life together, lost the brooding aspect, and acknowledged he couldn't have done so without Rory believing in him.
  • Joe and Ahim early on in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.
  • On NCIS, Agent Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane is slipping into the Gentle Girl role to Gibbs' Brooding Boy. As a fellow Shell-Shocked Veteran with her own demons to contend with, she understands him in ways very few people ever can, and he knows she understands him. Her inherent gentleness, compassion, and lack of judgment means she can coax him out of his dark moods when no one else can, and he will turn to her when he wouldn't turn to anyone else.
  • In Riverdale, Jughead is a very moody, sardonic and intense boy from the South Side of town who has teamed up with Betty, the kind, compassionate Girl Next Door in order to solve the murder of a local teen. They work very closely together and eventually develop feelings for each other, becoming a couple midway into season 1.
  • In Smallville, Clark's female companions/love interests tend to play this role to his brooding boy on his bad days: Lana Lang, Chloe Sullivan, and Lois Lane have all played this role at various times, and Lois ends up being the one who helps him move out of his formerly brooding ways completely by the end.
  • Arthur and Guinevere can be this at times on Merlin.
  • Power Rangers RPM: Summer/RPM Yellow is a caring Action Girl, who doesn't take crap from anyone. This naturally leaves her in charge of Dillon/RPM Black, wisecracking Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Stefan and Elena. Stefan is the mysterious, brooding vampire who falls in love with Elena, the sweet, cheerful girl next door, who often makes Stefan crack a smile.
    • When Damon takes a break from being the Deadpan Snarker to rival his brother for the brooding championship, Elena plays this to him as well.
    • Anna and Jeremy definitely fit here. While she is more of an Abhorrent Admirer a first, their eventual dynamic, especially after her death fits this trope down to a T.
  • Veronica Mars had Logan and Hannah during season 2.
  • Not explicitly romantic, but there's plenty of Ship Tease between Daryl Dixon and his Morality Pet Beth Greene in The Walking Dead.
  • The White Queen: Richard III and Elizabeth of York. His temperament becomes increasingly saturnine after he becomes king, and when a schism forms between Richard and his wife Anne Neville, the only person who can reach past his gloomy exterior is the kind Elizabeth.

  • In Country Music, songs about this trope could practically form a subgenre. If the male narrator in a song refers to himself melancholically as a "cowboy" and applies spiritually charged language to the object of his affection, it's probably this Trope. Bonus points are awarded for implying that the woman's love saved him from a dangerous path in life. These songs can either apply a lot of emotional weight in a short time by relating to concepts already present in the fandom's psyche or degenerate into a bad Strictly Formula piece.
  • Tsukiko Amano's song Bodaiju can be seen very easily as being written from the POV of a Gentle Girl and directed to a Brooding Boy.
    You come closer and then move away again, and the temperature of your body drops
    How much strength do I need?
    When the tips of your dreams pierce your chest even deeper, I’ll be here, I’ll always be by your side
    Don’t hesitate anymore, I’ll pull the blunt thorn out of you and cover the wound until the day you smile
  • In Franz Liszt's "A Faust Symphony," this well describes the relation between the first two movements, "Faust" and "Gretchen." The former has all the brooding and passion of a Byronic Hero, while the latter is gently melodious and intimately scored.
  • Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush's duet, Don't Give Up could be seen as this trope. Gabriel's character is a serially unemployed man and ex-soldier whose home has been destroyed (Word of God says it's set during the Dust Bowl/Depression-era), edging towards suicide, and Bush sings wispy, gentle words of encouragement. It's set to a vaguely African, vaguely synth-pop beat. (It's also Better Than It Sounds.)

    Mythology & Religion 

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, glimpses of the future have shown the moody, anti-social Simon in a relationship with Mirielle, a gentle baker's girl. Though said relationship falls apart when Simon leans too much towards the dark side, subjugating and detaining Mirielle's superpowered friends. In the present, it's shown that Simon has taken an interest in Mirielle's oddly cheerful personality.

  • Hamlet and Ophelia from Hamlet could be seen as deconstruction of the pairing. It is suggested that they were quite close and affectionate before Hamlet's father died. Then, when Hamlet's stress of seeing the ghost of his father gets to him, poor Ophelia is stunned and has no idea how to help him. From then on he's acting mad, and his next scene with her has him denying their relationship ever happened. Then she goes crazy for other reasons…
  • Sam and Rose in Street Scene.
    Sam: What's the good of having brains, if nobody ever looks at you—if nobody knows you exist?
    Rose (gently): I know you exist, Sam.
  • The Grinning Man: Dea is the Gentle Girl to Grinpayne's Brooding Boy

    Video Games 
  • From Azure Striker Gunvolt, Gunvolt and Joule qualify... when Lumen isn't out to play, at least. Unsurprisingly, the game is a Spiritual Successor to Mega Man Zero.
  • In Baldur's Gate II, many joinable NPCs have some trauma or issue that Charname can help them work past. So perhaps it is not surprising that all four original romances have this as a possible dynamic, though only one plays it straight and three are gender-flipped.
    • Aerie is deeply depressed from the loss of her wings and somewhat Wangsty about it, but a nice male player character can help her move past it as the Gentle Boy.
    • In Jaheira's romance, she is coping with the loss of her husband and dealing with treachery from fellow members of the Harpers. She's a little more snarky than usual for a Brooding Girl, but it still applies. Successfully romancing her involves helping her get over Survivor's Guilt and deal with her feelings for Charname, which means being a Gentle Boy to some extent.
    • Anomen's romance plays this trope straight; to successfully complete it, a female Charname has to help him deal with his anger problems and daddy issues. The incident with the Master Wraith notwithstanding, this dynamic is mostly gone by Throne of Bhaal, with some hints of a role reversal.
    • Viconia is a Brooding Girl because of her exile from Drow society, which encouraged cruelty and ambition. She'll gladly bed Charname, but admitting she loves him is much more difficult for her. Though Charname has to be somewhat self-confident and cocky to get her attention at first, he can be the Gentle Boy to win her over and possibly redeem her in Throne of Bhaal.
  • In Bioshock Infinite it's the team of gentle Elizabeth and Booker as the brooder (who keeps it mostly to himself).
  • BlazBlue gives us Ragna and Celica. While not an official couple, the shiptease is immense. Ragna is the brooding, cursing, hot-headed criminal while Celica is energetic, sweet, and an all-around nice person.
  • Gabriel Belmont and his wife Marie were heavily hinted to be this in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Her death is what starts Gabriel's downward spiral.
  • Geron and Nuri of Chains of Satinav fit this trope. For extra Foil points, Geron's basic magical power is the ability to break things, whereas Nuri has the power to mend them.
  • Though it's never been confirmed, if Laharl and Flonne got together after the canon ending of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, this trope would largely sum up what their relationship would be like.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • Any relationship with Fenris will have tones of this. Even at his most charming, he's still rather dry and bleak. A relationship with Anders has tones of this as well. In both cases, the dynamic is reversed temporarily after "All That Remains", when it's Hawke going through some serious trauma and consequent soul-searching. Still, even Fenris does his best to gently ease Hawke's brooding, despite how far out of his comfort zone he must stray.
    • Hawke's younger twin siblings, Bethany and Carver, have a brother-sister version of this dynamic until one of them dies.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • To an extent, Girl Next Door Tifa Lockheart is this towards brooding main protagonist Cloud Strife. The biggest example is Tifa's Journey to the Center of the Mind in Cloud's psyche, where after he goes through a massive Trauma Conga Line, she's the one who gently helps him pick up the pieces of his shattered psyche and helps him recover.
      • Subverted by Cloud and Aerith Gainsborough, who looked very much like the trope; but since Aerith was sassier, more cheerful, and more outspoken than the average Gentle Girl, they fell more into Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl. They do play it straighter in Advent Children, however.
    • Final Fantasy VIII plays this trope much more straight with Squall and Rinoa, particularly later on in the game as Rinoa sheds some of her more Manic Pixie Dream Girl tendencies. It's ultimately Rinoa's love for Squall that quite literally redeems him from being lost forever in the timestream.
  • Fire Emblem, as a long runner, has many of these.
    • If you pair them, Erk and Priscilla in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword. Ellen and Chad are kind of like this in the sequel game Sword of Seals, too.
      • Jaffar and Nino as well.
    • It's a rather popular "reading" of Kent/Lyndis as well; but in the hands of many fans, it ends up with Lyndis being subjected to Chickification rather than her and Kent handling themselves like this.
      • If you prefer your Ho Yay, Raven and Lucius are the very incarnation of this.
    • If you pair them, Cormag/Tana in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.
    • Princess Raquesis and her "knight" Finn become a gender-flipped version in Mitsuki Oosawa's Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu manga. To the point that Finn deliberately stabs himself with Raquesis's Earth Sword to stop her from harming herself after the death of her older brother/first love Eldigan.
    • Micaiah and King Pelleas in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, though you can't actually pair them. (Sadly, for some.)
    • This is a popular interpretation of Henry and Olivia in the Fire Emblem Awakening fandom. Nevermind that Henry is much less brooding (at least on the outside) than the standard and that Olivia, despite her good heart, can be slightly insensitive and self-righteous while trying to help him—if anything, they fit more in a gender-flipped version of Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl.
      • It's also applied to Lon'qu/either Cherche or Olivia, Tharja/either Stahl or Kellam (gender-flipped), Gerome/either Noire or Lucina, and Cordelia/either Libra, Stahl or Frederick (gender flipped). Also gender flipped in Lucina/boy!Avatar fanworks.
      • Subverted by Gaius and Sumia, who at first sight seem to play this straight… but in reality are a Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl match.
      • Also subverted by Tharja and Libra. Brooding Girl Tharja ends up shocked and almost terrified when she realises that Libra, apparently the perfect Gentle Guy, is actually a Stepford Smiler with an inner darkness even worse than hers.
      • Ho Yay/Les Yay shippers also apply this trope to Gerome/Laurent and Severa/Noire, with Gerome or Severa as the brooders and Laurent or Noire as the gentle ones.
    • Fire Emblem Fates doesn't lack ships like these, either.
      • Among those that play it straight are Xander/Nyx; Xander/Female Avatar; Takumi/Female Avatar; Leo/Female Avatar; Leo/Sakura; Saizo/Sakura; Saizo/Mozu; Subaki/Sakura; Takumi/Azura (though this one has detractors for being too close to Brother–Sister Incest); Niles/Azura; and Male Avatar/Azura, though the last only plays it straight on Conquest (where he broods more) — they Gender Flip it on the other two routes (where she does).
      • gender flipped examples include: Silas/Beruka and Benny/Beruka; Male Avatar/Oboro; Forrest/Rhajat; Shigure/Rhajat; Subaki/Nyx, and Leo/Nyx.
      • There's also the bisexual options, with Avatar/Rhajat (with Rhajat being the brooder) and Avatar/Niles (where Niles is the brooder), which could end up playing this straight or not depending on which gender the player pick.
      • Those who prefer same-gender pairings can get the same dynamic by flipping the gender of the Avatar in the above pairings. It's also commonly seen with Takumi/Leo works and Niles/Leo fanwork (again with Niles as the brooder, though once in a while Leo plays the role).
    • The remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia has the canon foreigners Berkut and Rinea as this. The Brooding Boy Berkut is immensely proud and arrogant, but he turns out to be also horribly insecure underneath it all and has quite the Dark and Troubled Past; he only allows the kind and gentle Rinea to see this sadder side of him, plus he trusts her more than anyone else. On the other hand, the Gentle Girl Rinea is a very sweet young woman and loves Berkut with all of her heart because he told her "You Are Better Than You Think You Are" as soon as they met, trying to soothe him and calm him down when he's angry or depressed.
      • After a start as a Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl match-up, Zeke and Tatiana switch to a gender-flipped version of this when Tatiana starts having doubts about the future of their relationship and her own worth. As this takes place, Zeke goes from Savvy Guy to Gentle Guy and does his best to tenderly reassure the Brooding Girl Tatiana that he won't stop loving her.
      • Gray and Clair don't normally fall into this, save for one exception: if the two live to the end, but Gray's best friend Tobin dies. If that happens, their shared ending says that the normally cheerful Gray fell in a deep drunken depression and the normally snarky Clair was the one who helps him back to his feet.
    • And in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, if you play a female Avatar and follow the Blue Lions route, her dynamic with Dimitri is absolutely this after the timeskip. The once-chivalrous Dimitri has become a self-loathing, unstable Sociopathic Hero, and the once-emotionless female Avatar is trying to help him climb out of the dark pit he's in.
  • In Forest of Drizzling Rain, Shiori the protagonist is the Gentle Girl to Suga the mysterious museum manager's Brooding Boy. Suga has a quiet personality and is initially rude upon Shiori first meeting him, trying to make her leave, but Shiori is gentle and friendly to him. Then it turns out Shiori and Suga used to be childhood friends, but Shiori almost got abducted by the Kotori Obake because she gave the Kotori Obake a magical "promise" that the Kotori Obake could have her on the condition that Suga was spared. So Suga had to erase Shiori's memories of the "promise" so Shiori wouldn't be abducted, so the Brooding Boy part of this trope is more justified than usual, as Suga really can't tell Shiori why he's trying to make her leave because doing so would cause her to remember the promise that would get her abducted.
  • Guilty Gear:
    • Genderflipped example. Baiken is a Broken Bird, one-armed and one-eyed Action Girl who's always serious and goes Walking the Earth, Anji Mito is a Walking Shirtless Scene man who fights with two big fans and tries to help and cheer her up when they meet. And while Anji's well-intentioned but often misguided attempts to aid her don't always work, Baiken doesn't kick him out of her surroundings either.
    • Testament and Dizzy play this trope to the very letter, too, since it's only after meeting her that Testament begins to actually recover from the terrible life he led until then.
    • As Revelator Xrd 2 takes place, Ky and Dizzy become this. He angsts quite a bit after the events of Revelator Xrd and her Episode Mode is about her getting him to talk about it and then reassure him.
  • In Halo:
    • The Didact and his wife, the Librarian. The Didact is a stern, dedicated warrior who won't hesitate to call down the full strength of 3 million worlds upon your kind if you're asking for it. The Librarian is a Friend to All Living Things whose favorite charges are the species the Didact nearly wiped out: humans (the two even met while he was fighting them). The contradiction is lampshaded by most everyone, but if there's one thing that can soften the Didact, it's the Librarian. Unfortunately, the differences between them only widen after the Didact is driven to insanity, with the Librarian forced to turn against him in order to save her beloved humans from extinction.
    • The franchise's main duo, the stoic professional Master Chief and the cheery and friendly Cortana (though the latter is somewhat more snarky and ruthless than most examples). Chief actually finally breaks down and shows emotion in his voice and expression when Cortana "dies" at the end of Halo 4.
  • Gray in Harvest Moon: Back to Nature is a grumpy and awkward young man while his love interest Mary is a sweet, shy girl.
  • The King of Fighters:
  • While in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow Prince Alexander just comes off as at most maybe slightly too serious and reserved, the Fan Sequel The Silver Lining seems to portray his and Cassima's relationship as being more heavily this trope.
  • In Mass Effect 3, a Shepard of either gender will become very brooding after experiencing the Heroic BSoD with the dream sequence. A Male!Shepard relationship with either Tali or Liara takes on this trope, while Female!Shepard inverts this with Garrus.
  • The Mega Man Zero series has a textbook example. Zero is a stoic Amnesiac Antihero who solves most of his problems by stabbing them with a plasma sword, and Ciel is a Wrench Wench mixed with Friend to All Living Things in a world where half the population are Ridiculously Human Robots called Reploids.
  • Shadow Hearts has a great example of this when you look at Yuri and Alice's relationship.
  • While it was more of a brother and sister relationship, Shadow from Sonic the Hedgehog had this kind of dynamic with Maria Robotnik—he's a brooding Anti-Hero, while she was the Littlest Cancer Patient and The Pollyanna. It got worse for them, however, as she died and Shadow almost became a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
    • As Shadow watches the space station Ark fall to Earth, Amy Rose begs him to help the others to stop it. She mirrors his long-deceased friend so well to Shadow that she is able to make him regain his true memories, which leads to him making a Heel–Face Turn.
    Shadow the Hedgehog: I've got to go now! I have to keep my promise to Maria… and you.
  • Kyosuke Nanbu and Excellen Browning from Super Robot Wars Compact 2. Note, however, that Excellen is not gentle per se (she's a certified Manic Pixie Dream Girl, more genki and teasing), which should be a subversion of this trope, but she's genuinely sweet, patiently loves him and provides the emotional support and companionship he needs.
  • In Wadanohara, the titular young sea witch Wadanohara is the Gentle Girl to Samekichi the shark's Brooding Boy. Samekichi is rude to Wadanohara and keeps asking her to leave the ocean, and Wadanohara's friends think Samekichi betrayed Wadanohara before the story takes place. However, Wadanohara compassionately refuses to give up on Samekichi, who used to be her friend. Unusually for this trope, there turns out to be a very justified reason why Samekichi won't stop the brooding act: he didn't betray Wadanohara, but the person who did put Wadanohara under a memory curse; if Samekichi ever just told Wadanohara the truth, it would restore her memories but also destroy her mind in the process.

    Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD: Tomoya and Nagisa.
    • His father Naoyuki and Asuko in Clannad: The past path.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Makoto Naegi and Kyouko Kirigiri in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc are a Genderflipped version. After Kirigiri spends the majority of the game unable to trust anyone and feeling she has to take on the mystery alone, Naegi tells her You Are Not Alone and she just slightly begins to open up to him by the end of the third chapter. After he goes so far as to take the fall for her in the fifth chapter, she's decided to trust him completely as True Companions. Finally, when she seemed closest to the edge of a Despair Event Horizon in the final trial, he saves her from that despair, leading to the remaining students finally escaping.
    • Hajime Hinata and Chiaki Nanami in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair play it straight. Hajime's a rather cynical, withdrawn, and snarky guy brooding over the mystery of his forgotten talent, and Chiaki's a sweet, sleepy, and mellow girl who he grows to trust in and confide the most. Her execution in the fifth trial for an Accidental Murder throws him into a Heroic BSoD, and he's left floundering emotionally, spiraling deeper and deeper into despair until her ghost appears to lift him up in the sixth trial.
  • Almost all the Katawa Shoujo routes have elements of this and will bring up three big-ass deconstructions of the concept:
    • Hisao/Lilly: He broods because he has just found out that he has a severe heart condition and has just arrived to a totally different world, she's gentle and an Onee-sama despite her blindness. Their relationship helps Hisao open up and become happier, but doesn't do the same for Lilly. This, and Hisao's overdependence on her, nearly destroys their relationship—he will be reluctant to voice his objections to her leaving for Scotland despite how it will make both of them unhappy and she really doesn't want to leave, and "trusting Lilly's judgement" on it will tear them apart.
    • Hisao/Hanako: A gender-flipped example, where Hisao tries to support Hanako since she not only is a Shrinking Violet but has very serious self-image issues due to being Covered in Scars. If Hisao goes overboard, he'll go from Gentle Guy to "white knight", and since Hanako also has issues with being pitied she will end up screaming at him in their Bad Ending, calling him out on what she views as Hisao "using" her to make himself look good.
    • Hisao/Rin: Another gender-flipped example, with Hisao playing the part of the Cloud Cuckoo Landers Minder to Rin's Cloudcuckoolander/Mad Artist. Taking care of a person with serious emotional and mental issues, and one who's under heavy pressure as well, can be incredibly draining; one small mistake can either make the "caretaker" give up after the first fight or not be able to stop the other person from destroying themself.
  • Can potentially happen in Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow , if the Plucky Girl Player Character hooks up with guys like Eduard (the local Amnesiac Lover), Asagi (who turns out to have quite the Hidden Depths), Kagura ( who has a very troubled Split Personality), or Soushirou (a Stepford Smiler who's dealing with his soon to come death ).
  • Inverted in the Kaori Route of Tokimeki Memorial 2: the main protagonist there is the Gentle Boy who patiently loves and supports Kaori, the Brooding Girl. The same can be said in the Novelization of that Route, Anata o Shinjiteru, although Shunta Torigoe (who takes the place of the main protagonist there), while having the same dynamic with her, is more energetic.
  • Surprisingly, the Player Character from True Love Junai Monogatari can become the Gentle Guy to more than one of his love interests, nevermind his stupidly high libido. The more striking examples are Mayumi Kamijou (who hides huge self-esteem problems under her Goodbad Girl facade and later goes through a very traumatic Attempted Rape) and Ryouko Shimazaki (an Idol Singer who hates the turn her career is taking but feels she cannot do anything to change it since her manager is her brother AND caretaker).

  • Subverted in Crepuscule with Setz and Carne. They certainly look the part, but as time goes on, it becomes evident that though Setz has his issues, he's at least trying to cope; once Carne's problems come to light, she's far more unstable. It doesn't take too long before their positions are swapped: Setz is the one who has to reassure the mentally ill Carne and ultimately try to save her when she goes insane. It doesn't end well.
  • Homestuck's Feferi is the Gentle Girl to Brooding Boys Eridan and Sollux.
  • Reversed in Lackadaisy with Bobby and Elsa of the Arbogast funeral home.
  • Spoofed in this Penny Arcade strip.
    "I should warn you. My shit is way tormented."
    "I still love you. Even though you're so cool and rad."
  • Played with in Matchu. Matchu and Amber fit the bill personality-wise, but are also Star-Crossed Lovers who can't interact without something bad happening to either of them.
  • Pixie and Brutus: Brutus presumably saw a lot of nasty things in his military career and continues to be fairly dark and gruff. Pixie is a sweet little kitten who tries to make friends with everybody, happily offers to share her bed with Brutus, and apologizes for pouncing (which she's apparently unaware is too minor to hurt).
  • Eiji and Reika of Red String.
  • Gender-Inverted in Sin Fest, with Fuchsia and Criminy.

    Web Original 
  • Downplayed in Off the Page and into Life. Most of the time, Gail is willing to gently talk Henry out of one of his moods… but if that doesn't work, she's just as happy to use shouting and snarkiness, too.
  • Gender flipped in RWBY with Blake Belladonna and Sun Wukong. Blake has a very Dark and Troubled Past and feels she alone has to fight against the world's problems and frequently suffers from Heroic BSODs over her various issues. Whenever Sun sees Blake in distress, he often tries to cheer her up, usually to be ignored or coldly dismissed by her. The duet, "Like Morning Follows Night", from their perspectives, delves into this dynamic. Blake questions whether Sun understands what she's been through, and feels like she only causes suffering and tragedy to her loved ones, which is why she tries to keep everybody at a distance. Meanwhile, Sun tries to convince Blake to let go of her past and forgive herself for her mistakes.
  • Julia and Syrius from The War Comms are a (mostly) platonic version of this trope. That's not to say she doesn't try to make him smile, but she has enough experience to know that all he usually needs is a shoulder to cry on or someone to bandage his wounds. And she's more than happy to give that.
    • Come to think of it, Ralph and either Molly or Syrius fit rather well. Both Syrius and Molly are prone to lots of self-deprecation, and as said above he is very prone to self-harm and heavy depression, but whenever either of them is seen depressed the usually energetic Ralph comes up with surprisingly gentle behavior to make them smile.

    Western Animation 
  • Terry and Dana from Batman Beyond have this dynamic in the first season, though with a teasing slant on Dana's end before Dana got Flanderized into The Obstructive Love Interest and Demoted to Extra later on. It's back in full force in "Epilogue".
  • Silverbolt and Blackarachnia in the Beast Wars's spin-off Beast Machines. This is a reversal of how their relationship started: he was a painfully earnest Knight in Shining Armor, she was a snarky Dark Action Girl. In the sequel series, however, he gets brainwashed into being a sadistic villain and is pretty traumatized by it when he's finally freed. He doesn't act like his old self again until the Grand Finale.
  • Deconstructed by Bojack Horseman with BoJack's relationship with Wanda, a peppy owl, in Season Two. Bojack finds it too difficult to change, Wanda has a hard time enjoying his negativity, and the relationship falls apart.
  • From Garfield and Friends, Gender Flipped version, Orson Pig and Lanolin Sheep in the U.S.Acres segments. Orson has given her a lot of kindness, so Lanolin at times, tries to show kindness back to him.
  • Gender-flipped and Zig-Zagged with Arnold and Helga in Hey Arnold!. Helga is a Broken Bird who acts as a bully to hide her insecurities and vulnerable side; Arnold is an All-Loving Hero who gives emotional advice and support to others (including Helga) when they are in some personal crisis. However, because the former acts as if she hates the latter, they hardly make any development in their relationship resulting in more friction.
  • The Magic School Bus: Arnold and Phoebe in the episode "Goes Cellular". Arnold was understandably moody and angsty, as he was orange on the night he was accepting a big geology award. Phoebe, on the other hand, stayed optimistic and even tried to help mask his orange skin… with flour.
    Phoebe: There. You don't look nearly so orange now. (giggles)
    Arnold: Phoebe, I can't go out there covered in flour! I look like a pumpkin pie!
  • Deconstructed with Eric Cartman and Heidi Turner in South Park. The two form a romantic relationship in Season 20 after quitting Twitter. However the sweet and compassionate Heidi, doesn't realize that Cartman isn't the misunderstood Jerk with a Heart of Gold he led her to believe but a notoriously manipulative sociopath and by the next season their relationship progressively deteriorates with Cartman constantly lashing out at her for the state of their relationship and decides to make her more like him by feeding her junk food and sharing his bigoted views. They become Birds of a Feather for a while only for Heidi to realize what Cartman's negativity has turned her into and decides to leave him for the sake of her well being.
  • Lance and Ilana from Sym-Bionic Titan, although their relationship is more familial and platonic than romantic.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Robin is far more serious and moody than his not-girlfriend Starfire, particularly whenever Robin gets laser-focused on stopping Slade. It's generally up to her to brighten his day with her cheer or give him a gentle and well-meaning What the Hell, Hero?.
    • Kid Flash and Jinx are a Gender Flipped version because she is gloomy over being walking-bad-luck and focused on her Villain Cred while he is very patient in his attempts at her Heel–Face Turn (and making her teammates look like idiots with his antics).
    • Beast Boy and Raven are another gender-flip. Even though they never have an official relationship on the show, Raven's troubled backstory mixed with Beast Boy's attempts at making her smile and laugh make them appear as such.
  • Winx Club: Resident gentle girl Flora's romantic interest who only appears in the comics is Karel, a brooding and mysterious werewolf.
  • Superboy and M'ggan in Young Justice have this dynamic through the first season, with M'ggan frequently being the one to coax him out of angry outbursts or sullen moods. Over the course of the season, however, it became more and more apparent that many aspects of M'ggan's "gentle girl" persona were cultivated as part of her Stepford Smiler act (and that she was deliberately modelling at least parts of her and Conner's relationship on a relationship she watched on a sitcom). Over time, as M'ggan grew more accepting of her true self, the more overt "gentle girl" traits faded into the background, while Conner developed more self-control over his temper and became better at regulating his own emotions. By season three, they've moved past this dynamic altogether, just in time to hand it off to newcomers Brion and Violet, although Violet, while possessing a female body, does not strictly consider herself to be a girl (but seems okay with female pronouns).


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