Follow TV Tropes


Character Reaction Index

Go To

Characters don't just stand there and calmly observe the world around them. They laugh and cry and scream in reaction to the things that happen around them. These In-Universe reactions are catalogued here.

Compare Audience Reactions, Body Language, and Surprise Tropes.

Contrast with Apathy Index.


  • Animal Reaction Shot: Animals reacting to a situation like humans for comedy.
  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance: Everyone's eating and drinking and having a good time...until a character (or several) walk in. Then everything goes quiet.
  • Berserk Button: Something very particular that makes a character go off like a firecracker.
  • Backing Away Slowly: A character slowly moves away from a person who just said or did something inappropriate, embarrassing, or incredibly strange.
  • Belated Injury Realization: Not noticing or reacting to a major injury until much later.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Two or more characters have been separated for a long time, and they finally reunite.
  • Big "NO!": The loud, echoing, dramatic cry of despair—"NOOOOOOO!"
  • Big "WHAT?!": Something happens that is so out of left field (for the character, at least) that all they can do is let out a big, loud "WHAT?!"
  • Advertisement:
  • Big "WHY?!": Characters can have something so horrible happen to them that they demand to know, even if it's only by screaming into the sky, "WHY?!"
  • Big "YES!": When something so amazing and satisfying happens that a character lets their elation out in a loud, exuberant "YES!"
  • Blamed for Being Railroaded: A game (tabletop or video) pretty much forces you to do something, only for in-universe characters or even the game itself to call you out for doing the thing you had no choice in doing.
  • Blank Stare: The blank, vacant, thousand-yard stare someone gives in response to something someone has said or done that is just so amazingly unbelievable or stupid.
  • Blue with Shock: The anime(ish) reaction in which characters literally turn a shade of blue in response to something shocking.
  • Break the Scientist: Scientists can spend years of dedication to their research, making sacrifices and having many sleepless nights. So, when it turns out all of said research was wrong from the beginning...they might just break.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Bowel movement as a fear response.
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: The love interests are alone and it's incredibly awkward, so one of them starts to walk away—but then the other reaches out and grabs their sleeve.
  • Chirping Crickets: When expecting a big reaction (or even just a reaction), a character is instead met with the sound of chirping crickets.
  • Collective Groan: You know something is really lame or not-funny when everyone in the room groans in unison.
  • Comical Overreacting: General over-exaggerated emotion as comedy.
  • Crisis Catch And Carry: In the face of incoming danger, one character is unable to run and must be carried by their companion.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: The typical anime reaction of anger, in which four red lines on the character's head represents a bulging vein.
  • Crush Blush: In the face of romance, a character goes pink almost at once.
  • Cry into Chest: Breaking down post-trauma and crying into someone else's chest.
  • Death Glare: An expression that says, shut the shit up. Especially to the Deadpan Snarker.
  • Death Wail: Having a loved one die causes a character such grief that all they can do is wail.
  • Delayed "Oh, Crap!": It takes a while for someone to freak out as they should.
  • Delayed Reaction: It takes a while for information to sink in for someone.
  • Desk Sweep of Rage: When a character is so enraged that they send everything on their desk flying.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel? The Stoic does have feelings, too.
  • Disappointed in You: Having someone they admire being disappointed in them is way worse for a character than if they were just angry.
  • Dismissive Kick: A person kicks at something to show disdain.
  • Double Take: Someone sees something, shrugs, and turns away. Then they realize what they've just seen, and turn back around.
  • Dramatic Drop: Someone is so shocked that anything in their hands falls to the floor.
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: In the face of grievous news, a character is unable to stand and must sit down somewhere.
  • Dude, Not Funny! Instead of laughing, as you expected, the character gets seriously upset.
  • Eye Pop: Eyeballs cartoonishly popping out of a character's skull as a reaction.
  • Eye Take: Nothing else on their face changes, but their eyes go huge enough to tell you what they're feeling.
  • Face Fault: Literally floored after hearing something.
  • Facepalm: Hand + Pressed to forehead = Extreme disappointment.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Magic? Monsters? The supernatural? Eh, whatever.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: A superior character is (condescendingly) amused, and thus raises a single brow.
  • Fell Asleep Crying: A character cries from loneliness long enough to fall asleep.
  • Flat "What": The deadpan reaction of "What." With a period, not a question mark.
  • Flat Joy: Whether to be sarcastic or due to being The Stoic, someone expresses their elation in the most deadpan way imaginable.
  • Flat Scare: A small, sarcastic, deadpan attempt at scaring someone actually works.
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: Becoming so enraged that one flies into a tirade in another language.
  • Forgot to Mind Their Head: A character knowingly crouches under something, but once it's time to stand back up, they forget and bump their head.
  • Gasp!: A long, loud intact of breath as a shock reaction.
  • HA HA HA—No: Laughing along with something only to end it with an abrupt shutdown.
  • Hand Behind Head: Touching the back of the head or neck is a sign of nervousness, embarrassment or being caught out for lying.
  • Haughty "Hmph": Grunting with disapproval.
  • Head Desk: Sometimes a Face Palm isn't enough, so someone slams their head into their desk to show how they feel. Maybe several times.
  • Heroic BSoD: Something so horrible happens to the hero that they shut down, at least temporarily.
  • I'm Not Doing That Again: A common, snarky phrase and variants said by characters after they've done something taxing.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Someone or something is so friggin adorable that a character just wants to take them home.
  • Implied Answer: They don't answer straightforwardly, but you know what the response is.
  • Jaw Drop: Jaw dropping open in shock.
  • Kindness Button: A typically unpleasant character has a specific weakness that makes them nicer.
  • Lost Food Grievance: Losing your own food or just seeing food being wasted in general and grieving for it like a loved one.
  • Loud Gulp: The audible gulp of someone in trouble.
  • Love It or Hate It: Something in-universe is so polarizing that anyone who knows about it either loves it or hates it.
  • Luminescent Blush: The under-the-eye, across-the-nose blush of someone embarrassed.
  • The Misophonic: Complete hatred/repulsion of a certain (or general) sound.
  • Mock Surprise Reaction: Pretending to be surprised to make fun of someone.
  • My God, What Have I Done? Someone fucked up but good.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Something in-universe is so repulsive that characters don't want to think about it, let alone debate about it.
  • Nosebleed: Reacting to Fanservice by a sudden and strong nosebleed.
  • Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying over You: Characters are so overwhelmed with the grief of losing a loved one that when said loved one appears alive and well, they brush them off.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The belief that anything and everything from the past is better than anything and everything from the future.
  • Oh, Crap!: The standard reaction to finding out one is in a whole lot of trouble.
  • Ominous Adversarial Amusement: Hooray! The hero won! They were victorious! They—wait. Why is the villain laughing?
  • People Fall Off Chairs: Falling out of whatever you're sitting on out of surprise.
  • Perfection Is Addictive: Once you experience complete, utter perfection, it's almost impossible to settle for anything less.
  • Rapid-Fire "But!": "But but but but but but..."
  • Rapid-Fire Descriptors: "What a little snivelling rat-faced bastard!" Tons of adjectives or adverbs in a row.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": "Nonononononononnono!"
  • Rapid-Fire "Shut Up!": "Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up."
  • Rapid-Fire "Yes!": "Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes!"
  • Reaction Shot: A shot just to show how someone's reaction to something.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Just because the hero is coming to rescue their loved one doesn't mean they can't mow down the kidnappers while they're doing it.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A hero pushed so far over the edge goes completely ballistic on those that hurt them.
  • Security Cling: Someone scared clings onto someone else.
  • Share the Male Pain: Witnesses of a Groin Attack will flinch and protect their own groin.
  • Shrug Take: It at first appears that someone will react to something accordingly, only for them to then shrug it off.
  • Spit Take: If a character is drinking something when they're told shocking news, they will spit it out.
  • Split-Screen Reaction: Characters' reactions are shown all together via a split screen.
  • Spraying Drink from Nose: If you don't spit out your drink in shock, you will somehow manage to spray it out of your nose.
  • Squee!: The giddy excitement at seeing something cute or that you love in general—"Eeeeee!"
  • Stereotype Reaction Gag: Someone is offended by a stereotypical assumption, only to then immediately demonstrate it.
  • Stunned Silence: So shocked they can't speak.
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: Someone in danger of drowning reacts with surprising calm.
  • Sweat Drop: The anime reaction of a giant bead of sweat rolling down someone's face.
  • Tension-Cutting Laughter: Laughter that deflates the tension built up over a scene or sequence.
  • That's Gotta Hurt: Someone gets hurt. Witnesses comment on the pain.
  • This Cannot Be!: An outcome is so unpleasant a character can't believe it's real.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: The declaration that a character's actions were so morally reprehensible that they cannot be forgiven and must pay.
  • Three-Volley Flinch: Someone is at a funeral for a military person, and at the sound of the rifles firing, they flinch.
  • Unstoppable Rage: A fury so intense that the character turns into a bloodthirsty monster incapable of stopping.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Villains in the face of defeat either lose their composure...or their sanity.
  • Villainous BSoD: A villain realizes that they're wrong and cannot cope with the revelation.
  • Wardrobe Wound: Someone cares less about being attacked and more about the fact that their clothes were damaged as a result.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: A character actually enjoys a brush with danger.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The hero is called out for doing something not-very-heroic.
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: Someone with a particular skillset is needed. But who could do it? Then Alice walks in...and everyone realizes they've found their person.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Repeated failure to kill a target results in frustration.
  • Wolf Whistle: The typical, two-note whistle someone makes at someone they find attractive.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: A standard disbelieving reaction.
  • You Monster!: Being so repulsed by another's actions that the only way you can describe them is that they're a monster.
  • You're Insane!: Upon realizing their evil foe is crazy beyond reason, the hero says something along this.

Alternative Title(s): Character Reaction


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: