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Chronic Hero Syndrome

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"Some doctors have the Messiah Complex — they need to save the world."
Dr. James Wilson, House

Chronic Hero Syndrome is an "affliction" of cleaner heroes where for them, every wrong within earshot must be righted, and everyone in need must be helped, preferably by Our Hero themselves.

While certainly admirable, this may have a few negative side-effects on the hero and those around them. Such heroes could wear themselves out in their attempts to help everyone or become distraught and blame themselves for the one time that they're unable to save the day. Spending so much time and effort saving everyone else can also put a strain on the hero's personal or dating life. A particularly bad case of this may develop into a full-blown Martyr Without a Cause. Maybe they simply like being in the line of danger.

If they aren't smart about their heroism, and they have a tendency to intervene without getting the whole picture, then they're liable to just make things worse. Their predictable heroism also makes them particularly prone to manipulation by certain devious villains, often earning a quip from them that their heroism makes them weak. Interestingly enough, as Don Quixote lampshades, this syndrome was noticed by Chivalric Romance writers and they devised a temporary cure: The Damsel Errant must simply ask the hero not to engage in any other adventure until he has finished hers.

This is extremely common in video games as a way to make the player deal with plot threads like Fetch Quests when they should have more important things on their minds. The characters are just too darn heroic to leave people to suffer, so time to go wander around in caves for a while. No matter their personal situation, they're always willing to stop and help.

Small Steps Heroes tend to suffer from this. A related disorder is Samaritan Syndrome, where the hero bemoans that their duties leave them no free time for their personal affairs.

Self-Care Epiphany is when they realize that they do need to take care of themselves and not put in too much possibly unnecessary work to help others.

The exact opposites of this are Bystander Syndrome and True Neutral. Also contrast with Chronic Villainy and Changing of the Guard. If they get paid for this kind of work, it's We Help the Helpless. When it's because the victim is female, the diagnosis is The Dulcinea Effect. Someone with Chronic Hero Syndrome who travels from place to place is a Knight Errant. This type of hero never fails the "Leave Your Quest" Test. An inactive one will Jump at the Call.

For when the hero is this way mostly to people close to them, see A Friend in Need. Supertrope to Inconvenient Hippocratic Oath.

Contrast the decidedly unheroic Engineered Heroics, which involves the "hero" being the cause of the problems they solve, and only caring about appearing heroic. In real life, the term Hero Syndrome is also used for this kind of criminal.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Ichigo Kurosaki is the most prominent example, wishing for the power to protect upon losing his mother to a Hollow attack, coincidentally the same moment he started to see ghosts. As time went on and Ichigo gained Shinigami powers, he gradually gets endorsed on his Hollow-cleansing job and protecting his friends. This gets exploited by Aizen in order to kidnap Orihime, luring Ichigo and later some Captains to reduce the military power of the Gotei 13 for the decisive battle.
  • Buso Renkin: As a Stock Shōnen Hero, Kazuki Muto is more than ready to jump in and help anyone he sees anyone in danger, and will even help the villains if he believes them to be redeemable. This tendency actually got him killed in the first episode when he accidentally got in over his head while trying to save someone.
  • Code Geass has a few examples. Euphemia li Britannia is the biggest, stepping in to help a random girl in a dangerous situation and basically giving herself up to the terrorists as an important hostage as part of it. Lelouch vi Britannia is more Tsundere than most, but in the first episode alone he runs over to a crashed truck to help and goes on to try to assist the Mysterious Waif that turns out to be in said truck survive a massacre. Suzaku at first seems to have this but he's actually a Death Seeker looking to pull off a Heroic Sacrifice as a form of suicide.
  • Karasawa and the nameless Student Council Vice-President in Daily Lives of High School Boys both have this. When the student council's "odd jobs operation" had extended to students outside their school, Motoharu asked them to have a backbone and say "no"... to which they promptly said "no".
  • Team Touden from Delicious in Dungeon will always stop to help other adventurers in distress despite the fact they're on a severe time limit of getting back to the Red Dragon in time to save Falin before she is digested.
  • Allen Walker from D.Gray-Man. An All-Loving Hero that wishes to save everyone — humans and Akuma alike. If anyone is in danger while he's around, count on him to jump in and save them.
  • Digimon Fusion has Taiki Kudou, who tends to overexert himself while helping out random clubs. When the story starts, this compulsion has reached a point where his friend Akari follows him around with a bag full of energy drinks and a cushion for him to land on when he faints from exhaustion. Later on, it's revealed that this compulsion stems from an incident in his childhood where he offered help to a boy who was sitting on the side of the street and cradling his head but was rebuffed. After Taiki took that at face value, it turned out that the boy had been injured in a football game and had to be hospitalised for half a year. His catchphrase, "I just can't turn my back on him/her!" (or Hottokenai!) is based on this personality, and that even other people and Digimon (Wisemon and Nene) soon caught it.
  • Goku from Dragon Ball. Every time someone, human or animal, is in danger, be it genocide by evil alien overlord, a man trying to find water for his village, or a storm threatening to crush some dinosaur eggs, Goku has to help. This eventually rubs off on his son Gohan.
  • Ryou of Gourmet Girl Graffiti absolutely can't control the impulse to help others, sometimes to her own detriment by neglecting her own issues. Episode 7 involved an attempt by Shiina and Tsuyuko to defy this trope. Tsuyuko finds it doesn't quite work.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: It has been shown in at least one chapter that he has the compulsion to do anything for anyone who needs help. 1,000,000 yen for an apartment for two days? After paying off other people's loan sharks, broken vases (by a child who shouldn't have been carrying something like that anyway), and literally helping every single person he comes across with the money, he's stuck with nothing and considers sleeping on a bench.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers America is obsessed with being The Hero in every situation, in accordance to America Saves the Day.
  • In the chapter of Hitomi-chan Is Shy with Strangers where Yuu and Hitomi have to rush for the train to school, Hitomi insists they stop to help an old woman climb some stairs and help another woman collect her dropped goods. They end up missing the train and having to take a shortcut.
  • Ie Ga Moete Jinsei Dou Demo Yoku Natta Kara features Harold Smith who downplays the trope. He will help others in need, even if he doesn't want to, but he does prioritize his own safety and won't knowingly go against impossible odds for strangers. Case in point, he ignores an elf slave who is being made to do a public sex show by the arrogant noble's son who bought her, but when a party that earlier antagonized him by going after his own slave Atie with lewd intentions, to the point he had to make death threats to get them to back off, come running to him for help when a monster from a much lower labyrinth level than normal shows up, he still goes to aid them because some of them have kids waiting for them at home and he doesn't want those kids to wind up as orphans, like what happened to him. The party in question is immensely grateful and helps haul the corpse of that monster to the guild, where Harold sells it for 13 million rubes.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Kagome has it bad and goes out of her way to rescue people, as she did with Mayu, Kikyou, Jinenji, and countless others. She also tends to persuade Inuyasha to help people in danger. It normally always works.
    • Inuyasha doesn't always need Kagome to tell him to save people — he's saved everyone from two orphaned kids to his own romantic rival from whatever threat they were facing; in the first case, the psychic demon he was fighting even commented on his heroic instinct. By the end of the series, he's more distressed when he fails to save Kohaku and Kikyou than when he's forced to save someone.
  • Similarly to the above, the eponymous protagonist of Jin always stops and helps when someone's in need within earshot, even when ordered to keep a low profile. Sometimes, it feels like he charges for his services only because he's expected to.
  • From Jujutsu Kaisen, Yuji's innate kindness and desire to die a good death manifests like this. In the first chapter, at the thought of his friends dying, he jumps through a window (on the fourth floor) and punches a monster head-on, saving both his friends and Megumi. He also eats Sukuna's finger without hesitation, driven by his passion to save people at the cost of his own life.
  • The titular Kaiji can always be counted on to do the right thing when it comes down to it. This is not a good quality in this series, as he's surrounded on all sides by backstabbers, and the number of times his heroism hasn't completely screwed him over can be counted on one hand.
  • This is the defining character trait of Nanami from Kamisama Kiss. If somebody is in trouble and she is around she will make it her business to save that person.
  • Komori from Komori-san Can't Decline! pretty much has a compulsion on helping people — the title means she can't decline other people's requests for assistance.
  • Kuro Karatsu from The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, at one point taking it so far as to sign up for a volunteer help program in Iraq during the second Gulf War so he can return a client (an illegal immigrant) to his family there (and for no pay, of course). Sasaki lampshades it almost immediately after meeting him.
  • Lance N Masques has this as an actual disorder that protagonist Yotarou Hanabusa suffers from called "White Knight Syndrome" due to his training as a knight. He assumes a secret identity whenever he does any heroic deeds out of embarrassment for his disorder.
  • Claus Valka from Last Exile is this trope due to Jumped at the Call. He feels morally inclined to become involved with the war based on his belief that it is the right thing to do. This means rescuing or otherwise helping just about everyone in his path ranging from his Unlucky Childhood Friend to his playfully sociopathic rival.
  • Medaka Kurokami from Medaka Box is a Deconstruction on par with Shirou Emiya (see above). The series' initial premise is that she won the student council election with 98% of the vote and promised to help any student in need, no matter what the request. As time goes on (and the series undergoes its Genre Shift), darker sides begin to emerge. It turns out Medaka has had this kind of complex since she was two years old. On the positive side, it gave her a purpose in life and kept her from becoming a Straw Nihilist or raging egotist like most Abnormals. On the negative side, she considers helping people her only reason for existing and can't imagine anything else, which helped make her unable to relate to most ordinary people.
  • Dr. Tenma in Monster will not ignore any chance he sees to apply his medical skills for another's benefit, even if he's a fugitive on a manhunt. To the point where in the end he saves the life of the man he's been trying to kill for the entire series. This is the SECOND time he's saved his life, the first time being his first encounter with Johann and the reason he felt he had a duty to kill him.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Izuku "Deku" Midoriya will always put another's well-being above his own. In the first chapter, he rushes in to try and help his childhood bully from a monstrous villain despite being a Muggle Born of Mages without even thinking about it. Later, he sacrifices his own chance to succeed in the Tournament Arc to help his opponent with his own problems. Despite all the problems and personal injury it causes, this trait is encouraged in Deku by his mentor All Might and is regarded as Deku's strongest quality as it consistently inspires others to greater heights themselves. This is ultimately deconstructed during the Villain Hunt Arc as he proceeds to abandon every one of his friends in his desire to protect them from All For One despite knowing that he's burning himself out and is falling into AFO's trap doing so.
    • All Might also borders on this at times. His power has a time limit, but he almost never rations it out, instead using it whenever there's a chance that he can help someone. While this speaks to his status as The Cape, it also means that he's sometimes unavailable during crises because he's used up his energy to stop much lower-scale crimes.
  • In the second season of The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Mendoza, Pedro, and Sancho lose their chance to escape from the Daimyo for the sake of rescuing some helpless children. Their actions prompt the feudal lord to spare their lives and keep them prisoners rather than executing them.
  • The heroes of One Piece zigzag this trope; while they are sort of The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, most of them are also the Chaotic Good sort who help people more out of personal whims than any sense of duty; Luffy even goes as far as saying he does not want to be a hero, even if he respects them, because he wants to avoid this trope. Of course, they still end up helping whole countries of people anyways, because half the time the Arc Villain of the week went out of his way to attack them first (or, more rarely, has something they independently want).
    • On the other side of the law there is Marine Captain T-Bone, whose personal motto is "A hundred good deeds a day". During their brief fight, Zoro even recognizes T-Bone's sense of justice as respectable compared to all the corrupt Marines they had run into thus far.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, the Host Club's main mission is to provide anyone who enters have a good time with the hosts. However, this doesn't extend to just fooling around with girls. If a visitor is facing a dilemma that can't necessarily be remedied by hanging out at the club, Tamaki Suoh pretty much rallies everyone else to help the visitor in any way they can, as the motto of the Host Club is to ensure a visitor leaves satisfied with the service.
    • Most of this has to do with Tamaki Suoh himself, as he is always the one who steps up to the plate and pulls everyone along with him. Results may vary if they want to go along with it, though.
    • To a lesser extent, the vice president Kyouya Ootori shares the same sentiment as Tamaki, except most of the time Kyouya does it if there is some sort of benefit in it for himself.
  • Oz in PandoraHearts has a terrible case of this, compounded by a dollop of Martyr Without a Cause.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Ash Ketchum. Every One-Shot Character with a problem that he encounters gets his help. Unless in the case of older pretty girls, Brock beats him to it.
    • Diamond of Pokémon Adventures. Even when Team Galactic is not affiliated with them in any way, he still wants to stop their Evil Plan.
    • Moon is the culmination of this trope, going as far as to attempt to save Guzma of Team Skull without hesitation.
  • Mytho in Princess Tutu has not a great case of this. He literally loves everyone, and wants to protect them — so much that he shatters his heart to seal away the Raven. After he does this, he's an emotionless shell and an Extreme Doormat, wandering lifelessly and completing any orders given to him... except when someone weak is in danger. Then he suddenly becomes the prince he once was and rushes to save them with no thought to his own safety. This includes jumping out of a window to save a baby bird and injuring his ankle to catch a clumsy girl who tripped.
  • Madoka of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. While she isn't under contract she continually wants to become a Magical Girl despite knowing firsthand just how much it sucks to be one, something which causes Homura to finally crack her stoic front and no end to her grief. While she IS under contract in previous timelines she is always trying to encourage others to fight on,note  not to mention her wish was to save a cat that got hit by a car. On top of that, as the Witch Kreimhild Gretchen her goal is to bring everyone into her care in order to end pain and suffering.
    Homura: [after Madoka nearly contracts for the third time] [in tears] Why... Why must you always sacrifice yourself?
  • Deconstructed in Revolutionary Girl Utena, where Dios feels compelled to save everybody. This is taken to such an extreme extent that he utterly ruins his relationship with his younger sister by constantly neglecting her in favor of everyone who "needs him", and physically exhausting himself almost to the point of death.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Usagi Tsukino, the title character. In fact all the Sailor Senshi. After the Dark Kingdom arc when everyone but Usagi has returned to their normal lives, all of them happen to be at the same location when a monster appears. Even though they don't have their powers, even though they don't even remember being Sailor Senshi, they all leap into the battle.
    • Minako/Sailor Venus is especially notable: during her year as a solo hero she would help everyone in need even at her own detriment, getting late to school more than once because she had stumbled on some problem, almost outing her Secret Identity to stop two guys trying to use the airport without paying the fare (and then helped them paying it because their reason was that they had genuinely no idea there was a fare and didn't have the money), and ending her 10-Minute Retirement because a new enemy had appeared less than ten minutes after she decided to retire. This is actually a Deconstruction: by the end of that year the constant battles alone have taken her toll, one of her stunts led to her Secret Identity being exposed to two people (and while Natsuna Sakurada was a friend who took the chance to become an ally, Ace was a member of the Dark Kingdom who could have just attacked her at home if it hadn't been for his plan), and her final battle makes her understand she would always choose her mission over happiness when she kills Ace, her love interest, for being with the Dark Kingdom and not standing down when she gave him one chance to do so. By the end, she's a Broken Ace, and the only reason she stops her tears and goes on smiling anyway is that she now knows of the others and they need her example to follow.
  • Salaryman Kintaro, an ex-biker (bancho), was still implied to have had a strict moral code, but now, being reformed, helps/saves a lot of people and solves the problems his own way.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Elizabeth is the female version of this trope. Elizabeth will do anything to help innocent people, even if it could mean being arrested, beaten, or killed by it.
  • Yugo Hachiken of Silver Spoon. To the point he becomes "The guy who won't refuse you."
  • The characters of Talentless Nana are rife with this, which is to be expected as they're all superpowered "Talented" teenagers being trained to become super soldiers in the fight against the mysterious "Enemies of Humanity". This ends up being constantly turned against them as the eponymous Nana abuses their desire to help and save people to lead them to their doom.
  • Tokyo Revengers: With the power to go back to the past and change the future, Takemichi, although faltering and frustrated at times, refuses to give in and tries to save the lives of as many people as he can and create the best future possible, going back in time many times and enduring many beatings to do so.
  • Quon of Towa no Quon. He has to save every single Attractor that he can, and is distraught whenever he fails to do so.
  • Trigun's resident pacifist Vash the Stampede. To the point that when someone kills a spider to let the butterfly it was going to eat go free, he flips out at them: "I wanted to save them both!". He doesn't know how to respond when it's immediately pointed out that he can't (because the spider will have to kill eventually or else starve to death). Played for drama in later episodes as this former Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass with Improbable Aiming Skills gradually becomes incapable of saving anyone.
  • Eita Touga of 12 Beast will not refuse anyone in need — regardless of their ability to compensate him and his army. It's a very good thing that most of his troops follow him out of honour or a sense of personal debt.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The protagonists of Yu-Gi-Oh! and its sequel series, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds must help and become friends with everyone they meet through dueling. All three have their moments of failure, but Judai of GX gets the short end of the stick.
    • This is deconstructed in Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters. Yami Yugi struggles with this throughout the series, as he doesn't want his friends hurt to the point that he's unwilling to let others help. Alexander exploits this by saying he doesn't need his friends.
    • It's played straight throughout but is most notable in the last arc, Millennium World. At one point Atem fights Bakura and in order to stop Bakura from sacrificing people, he uses his own spirit monster, Slifer/Osiris, to absorb the damage. He gets badly hurt and the priests arrive to back him up. However, when the priests are unable to beat Bakura, Atem attempts to talk Bakura down rather than let them get hurt, even though he has no weapons and no reason to believe Bakura will stop.

    Comic Books 
  • Depending on the story, most of the cast of Archie Comics could count. Betty Cooper got this once. Her nice girl/girl-next-door personality kept her exhausted with volunteer work and kinda turned her into a doormat.
  • The Samaritan from Astro City, whose constant super-heroing leaves him with only a few hours of sleep every night and nearly no time to relax. Having a bio-organic computer that constantly monitors the news doesn't help.
  • Batman shows this too. Sometimes he may be an overly pragmatic jerkass or just accept that lives will be lost, other times he will NOT give up on saving everyone and everything, even at the cost of his own life. In Whatever Happened to The Caped Crusader?, two stories like this are told. In one, he passes a baby to Harvey Bullock and then is swept away by floodwaters and drowns, and in another, he throws a bomb and himself into Gotham River to explode so no one else is hurt.
    • This is a big part of why Bane's plan worked during Knightfall. Even though he was sick (which Bane knew) he felt compelled to not get one minute of rest until he'd rounded up every single criminal Bane had busted out. At one point his body gave out on him and he collapsed on a random rooftop, where he got the only rest he'd get for that entire arc. It also played a role in the follow-up Knightsend when Batman's successor went crazy. Send Robin and Nightwing after him? Call in the Justice League? No. Clearly the only option is to physically rehabilitate after using surgery to recover from months of partial paralysis and retrain his body and skills with the help of one of his deadliest enemies, Lady Shiva, so that he could take down the new Batman himself.
    • Zig-Zagged by the Batman: Arkham Series. In Batman: Arkham City, he is willing to let hundreds of criminals die so he could rescue his Love Interest, Talia. It takes Alfred to talk him out of it. In Batman: Arkham Knight, even after Scarecrow unmasks him in front of the entire world, he still stops every crime reported that night.
    • Cassandra Cain may have this even worse than her adoptive father, as her determination to save lives crosses into suicidal and self-destructive behavior. It took a long time for her to accept that she should even have a personal life when she could be spending that time saving people. On the anniversary of her assassination of Faizul, she becomes obsessed with making sure that no one dies in Gotham that night to the point of breaking through the 3-inch quartz glass of a gas chamber with her bare hands in an attempt to save a convicted murderer.
  • Empowered, despite the fact that nearly everyone treats her like a joke. Any time she finds out about a problem, she will get involved, without fail, even if she knows she's in over her head.
  • The Flash also has this problem pretty badly. He is convinced that with his speed, it should be possible to be literally everywhere at once and fix every problem he encounters. When a fire breaks out and cripples a woman in Keystone City, Flash is so disturbed by this that he goes to fellow speeder Johnny Quick to obtain Johnny's source of speed upgrade. The results are pretty predictable, and lessons are learned by all. This is taken to its logical extreme in Kingdom Come, as the Flash quite literally becomes the speed force and as a result is EVERYWHERE in Keystone City. As a result of this, he's forever turned Keystone City into a crime-free ghost town and has lost his sense of self entirely, becoming not one Flash, but a strange mix between Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wally West.
    • Jay Garrick as well. One story in Flash #750 shows him at the outbreak of World War 2 getting disillusioned by what's going on, but noting that he and his girlfriend Joan talked about it, and she tells him he'd never be able to give up helping people, which Jay agrees with.
  • Paul Patton Jr. of The Fox Hunt suffers from this, which he personally attributes to being a "Freak Magnet".
  • Nightwing has this pretty bad, to the point where he's a lawful policeman by day and a vigilante by night. This obsession eventually costs him his relationship with Barbara Gordon. Then Blockbuster uses this against him, taunting him by saying he can kill everyone that Nightwing is close to. Even when his own life is threatened, Nightwing is concerned more with protecting the baddie than anything else.
  • Noob has this happen the Day in the Life of one of the players who's a police officer. He prevents a bank robbery and a Suicide as Comedy while walking home from work. It however definitely puts a strain on him, as his in-game persona is pretty much a criminal.
  • Nova: Richard Rider has a particularly bad case of this, brought on by fighting in the Annihilation War (and an absence of therapists to help with the survivor's guilt and shell-shock that came with it). The first issue of Volume 4 has him rushing to answer every high-priority distress call in his backlog without stopping for things like food or rest... and nearly flying straight into a black hole as a result. By the time of Guardians of the Galaxy (2020), which deconstructs it, between several more apocalyptic disasters (and some slightly not-so-apocalyptic ones, like his brother turning evil and insane), Rich's CHS has gotten so bad he's having problems functioning, and Gamora bluntly tells him it's why their relationship failed and has to go into therapy.
  • Patoruzú and Patoruzito are the most blatant Argentinian examples of this trope. The tagline of his comic book goes: "Courageous to the point of fearlessness. Altruist to the point of sacrifice. Brave to the point of heroism. But modest to the point of sainthood, and hilarious to the point of comedy."
  • Karolina Dean of the Runaways has a bad case of this, possibly as a result of her bipolar disorder. She was fully prepared to offer herself up to a vampire in the hopes that he'd spare her friends, agreed to an Arranged Marriage to Xavin in order to end a war between their respective species, spent much of the "Dead End Kids" arc trying to rescue Klara from an abusive marriage, insisted on saving Xavin from their evil former mentor (despite Xavin explicitly telling the other Runaways to flee), and tries to offer herself up to the Light Brigade to answer for Xavin's crimes against Majesdane. In the 2017 series, she actually does get therapy for these tendencies and actually manages to have a stable life and relationship... only to throw it all away because Gert blunders into danger and needs rescuing. She falls off the wagon so hard that she ends up trying to become an actual superhero and nearly dies when an actual supervillain drains her of her powers.
  • In Issue #134 of the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Sonic decides to fight in a war against Eggman over settling down despite being rendered a handicap with his arm in a cast from an injury prior to the issue, which prompts his girlfriend to smack him across the face.
  • Spider-Man. Whenever he feels that something is not his problem, he remembers what his uncle Ben taught him: "With great power comes great responsibility". Of course, the first time he let a crook go because it "wasn't his problem", he ended up regretting it for the rest of his life.
    • This is often subverted, in that many times he'll bust his ass to get to the scene of a crime only to discover that one of New York's many many other superheroes already took care of it in the time it took him to get there.
    • Mary Jane Watson showed a bit of this too, even against supervillains. She would try to disrupt, derail or delay their plans, if not as a Spanner in the Works then at least as a fly in the ointment. She relied on her charm and wit to protect her until a superhero (usually Spidey) could take over. If those all failed her, she still never regretted trying.
    • Ultimate Spider-Man, in particular, feels the need to insert himself in any potentially hostile situation. While he generally does more good than harm, he also gets his butt kicked and makes a lot of things worse. Ultimate Team-Up shows what happens when he doesn't know what's going on very well. Unlike regular Peter, Ultimate Peter is unable to quit being Spidey for even a day... and it's eventually what gets him killed (though he did eventually get better).
    • When he got a Literal Split Personality between "Power" and "Responsibility" in The Amazing Spider-Man (Nick Spencer), Powerless Peter became compelled to help anyone he could without powers, including trying to change someone's tyre with no idea what he was doing and being arrested for paying other people's parking meters.
  • Superman:
    • It's what earned his "Big Blue Boy Scout" nickname. This facet of his personality is played with often, depending on what powers he has at the time. He always has "super hearing," but exactly how super tends to vary wildly; sometimes he can hear whispers from far across the city, and sometimes he can hear everything. Showing surprising depth, writers have included this into his character; if he can literally hear everything, then every panel of him doing something mundane means that we are seeing Superman make a deliberate decision to not help somebody since there is always somebody who needs help somewhere and he has to hear them crying or screaming. Mention is often made that had to learn to "tune out" what he has to since he has accepted that even he cannot be everywhere for everyone, and has to accept that some people need to be ignored.
    • Pre-Crisis Supes and Pre-N52 Supes just want to save people even if they're Brought Down to Normal or forced to be a Mysterious Protector. The N52 Supes is getting there, refusing to let the long-term power loss of Superman: Truth stop him being a hero.
    • It's taken to an extreme in Superman: Red Son, where at one point he has to leave a diplomatic reception to put out a fire at a chemical plant hundreds of miles away. When he becomes leader of the Soviet Union, his people eventually become either unwilling or incapable of taking care of themselves, since they know Superman will always show up to save them.
    • This leads him to Heroic BSoD in the Neil Gaiman one-shot comic "Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame" when he and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) visit Hell and Superman's supersenses force him to hear and see everyone suffering there in excruciating detail. Almost as bad is his realization that they are in Self-Inflicted Hell and don't want his help.
    • Superman: The Wedding Album: This tendency almost got him killed the day before his wedding with Lois when he decided to stop a few crooks in an alley. Normally, this would be an incredibly easy feat for him, but at the time, he had completely lost his powers. Thankfully for him (and unfortunately for the crooks), a certain friend was visiting Metropolis.
    • In Kryptonite Nevermore Superman does not even know what trouble he should deal with first.
      Superman: A disease from outer space... a plane crash... army ants—! And that thing that camps on my trail! So many problems —- I can't think where to begin!
    • In Superman: Brainiac, Lois Lane points out that her husband wants everyone to be happy.
      Clark: She spends all of her time in that cape. She's missing out on so much... because I think she's afraid to lose it again.
      Lois: Kara's been through a lot of trauma.
      Clark: I only want her to be happy.
      Lois: You want everyone to be happy.
      Clark: Is that wrong?
      Lois: No, Clark. It's just unusual.
  • Supergirl:
    • Kara Zor-El is the same kind of hero as her cousin, but she is more short-tempered and more compassionate, which means that she feels more compelled to be a hero, punish criminals and help people.
    • Back in the Silver Age she had to do her heroism in secret for her first few years until her existence was revealed to the world.
    • In Krypton No More she wants to undertake an off-world mission because she and her cousin "fight injustice wherever it strikes".
    • Sometimes being Supergirl wore her out and she complained that she wanted to settle down and lead a normal life. She never stopped being a hero, though.
    • In her first solo book, Linda/Kara saves people from drowning, tries to cure degenerative diseases, saves cars from falling off cliffs, stops gang wars... Her drive to help people clashes with her desire to be a normal woman and have a decent dating life.
    • In Supergirl Vol 2 #1, she feels guilty because she needs to give herself space to be "Linda Danvers" rather than "Supergirl". In the same scene, she admits she would interrupt a date with Robert Redford to rescue a kitten from a tree.
    • In the fifth volume, Supergirl underwent a -thankfully short-lived- emo teen phase, after which she strives to be the kind of hero worthy of her family crest. Unfortunately, her attempts to help everyone are wearing her out. In Issue #34:
      Supergirl: You think I should stop —?
      Superman: No. But Kara, you spend so much time trying to save everyone else, to be the hero that everyone expects you to be, you don't get a chance to relax. You're Supergirl twenty-four hours a day, and I think it's starting to hurt more than help.
    • Per Word Of God, in Supergirl (Rebirth) she is the kind of hero who will punch you, throw in a cell... and try to help you.
  • Ultimate X-Men: Colossus is like regular Colossus, but with the interesting twist that he especially goes out of his way to protect and defend other gay mutants. When Sinister shoots Northstar he stays at his bed all night (and flirts with him in the morning) and in the Genosha arc, he immediately steps up to act as bodyguard to Longshot, who picks up on his orientation and uses it to subtly manipulate him.
  • The Unstoppable Wasp: Nadia Van Dyne has this issue, especially when she's in a manic episode. Her obsession with fixing everything for her friends almost caused catastrophe and harmed her friendship with her disabled friend Taina because Nadia insisted she could "fix" her.
  • X-Men Noir: Thomas "The Angel" Halloway's entire life revolves around heroism — to the point that Professor Xavier diagnoses him with a completely new type of pathology, "heropathy". This is illustrated in their first encounter; Xavier asks Halloway why he cares about the X-Men. Halloway tells him that a woman, Jean Grey, is dead, the police aren't investigating her murder because she was with the X-Men... and he can't live in a world where a killer isn't brought to justice.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in Twisted Toyfare Theatre, where Mego Spider-Man just wants to go home and watch TV, but he continually saves the day because he literally has no choice.

    Fan Works 
  • In Accursed Ones, Anders jumps without hesitation into situations like fighting darkspawn in the sewers (even though it results in him losing most of his belongings) and defending runaway mages from Templars (even though it gets him shot).
  • Always a Ranger- an AU of the confrontation with Thrax where he attacked the SPD B-Squad rather than the Operation Overdrive team- while the Legacy Rangers - Tommy Oliver, Jen Scotts, Cole Evans, Tori Hanson, and Kira Ford - are facing the villains on Earth, the powerless SPD Rangers travel to Phaedos to retrieve the powerful sword Excelsior in order to prevent Thrax acquiring it, even though they don't have their powers.
  • In Blackkat's Reverse, Kurama inherits this trait from Naruto, as he will not leave people to suffer if he can do anything about it. Kurama refuses to give Naruto and the other young jinchuuriki back to suffer abuse and isolation in their villages, even if it means having Akatsuki and the Elemental Nations hunt him down.
  • In the fan-manga of A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Bug Zapping Princess, Touma's Chronic Hero Syndrome is exaggerated for laughs. Touma will save any girl who needs help...even if it means abandoning the girl he was in the middle of saving.
  • In Channel Divinity, Izuku receives a mild chewing out for this from his party members. Yes, Mina was hurt by one of the bandits they were fighting but rather than heal her if necessary and otherwise focus on his support role, Izuku channels One For All and turns said bandit into Ludicrous Gibs at the cost of shattering the bones in his hand and arm. As Momo points out, Izuku was so focused on helping/avenging Mina that he cost them a second party member to take out just one of a dozen enemies they were facing.
  • Cheshire aka Marinette has faithfully served as a hero for three years and continues to soldier on despite the immense workload and effects on her health. Even though her class makes her life hellish, she will always save them from akumas.
  • Child of the Storm has a lot of the Avengers with this, but the crowning example is Harry — by the sequel he knows perfectly well the kind of hell that he'll probably go through in trying to save the day, picking up the gauntlet and take down the ravening monster. He's also entirely aware that often (not always, but when he brings up the subject in a bitter rant, he'd recently been through a horrific Trauma Conga Line), Being Good Sucks. But he does it because though it is certainly not easy, it is right. And as others note, he will always — always — do what is right rather than what is easy.
  • In Cinders and Ashes: the Chronicles of Kamen Rider Dante has Hoshi going through this, using his powers as Kamen Rider Dante to fight monsters and save people. However, halfway through the story, the battles begin to take a toll on both his physical and mental health, to the point where an entire chapter is dedicated to bringing up how, despite being critically injured from a battle he just took part in a day ago and despite the protests from his friends, he still motions to fight a pair of monsters.
  • On the Coreline Shared Universe, this is the trait of various characters but recurring character Mari Illustrious Makinami, A.K.A. Captain America has a variation in that, after being forced to depend upon herself so often over a long period of time, she's very unwilling to stand aside and let others fight battles on her behalf, or simply trust that they can handle a given problem without assistance. This is especially true when she feels someone is making a serious mistake or handling a situation in a way she feels is wrong. Much of the drama of Rise of the Extraordinary Avengers (Coreline) comes from the fact that her reacting to what she thinks is a deeply flawed plan by fellow superhero group "The Champions" instead comes off as her lording it over them, driving many of the Champions to develop bad blood for her and her fellow Avengers by proxy... one of the links of The Chains of Commanding that Mari needs to deal with during the story.
  • A Crown of Stars:
    • Shinji and Asuka were at their lowest when Daniel showed up and offered to help them and give back everything that was taken from them. At the beginning they were hesitant but he proved that his offer was genuine and well-meaning, and they learnt that he and his family are fully committed to helping as many people as possible, even visiting other timelines and dimensions... and it actually saddens him that he can not help everyone in everywhere. Later Asuka asks him why he does it and he answers: "How might I do otherwise? Seeing people in need and choosing not to help them is actively holding back from making the right right. I could never do that."
    • Maybe it is because he blames himself for their situation — since he was the one who chose to blow everyone up — but Shinji went out of his way to help strangers whose relatives had been dragged away by the secret police, even though he had nothing to win and much to lose if he was caught giving them food.
  • In Crowns of the Kingdom, Mickey grapples with this, as sometimes he's so willing to do things himself he doesn't know when to let others help or even when to rest.
  • Simon and Egakumon from Digimon re:GENESIS can't walk away from someone who needs help. Their teammates are not always so eager.
  • Displaced (The Legend of Zelda): Throughout his adventures, Link got a reputation for taking on any job offered to him, no matter how big or how small.
    "That boy would move a mountain five feet to the left for 15 rupees," the people of Hateno joked.
    Of course, the kid had managed to buy a house at an obscene markup. Bolson had bragged about it constantly before he moved up to Tarrey Town with his new fortune. And Sayge from the dye shop said that Link once pulled a sapphire out of his bag and used it to dye his shirt blue, only to come in a few days later, saying it didn't suit him. So maybe there was something to taking every odd job that came across your path.
  • In Dreaming of Sunshine, Shikako's the moral compass on her Team, being the reason why Naruto has more friends from a younger age, and she's helped Sasuke open up to others as well. But more importantly, she also struggles to deal with future problems based on her knowledge of the timeline, especially since she usually has to act alone in order to hide her secret.
  • In crossover Echoes of Yesterday, Brockton Bay's newest hero's debut deed is to rescue a girl shoved by bullies into her own locker. When Winslow High's Principal questions why a cape would get involved in a case of high-school bullying, Kara replies she heard someone needed help, so she helped out. Period.
    Principal Blackwell: What would bring a cape here in the first place? While what happened was certainly unacceptable, it wouldn't require the assistance of a powered individual.
    Kara: Firstly, I have enhanced senses. I could hear her screaming for help three blocks away. And secondly, ma'am, it appears I was needed, because no one was bothering to help her, even the staff.
  • Fate/Black Dawn: When Shirou officially meets Mordred, he immediately and instinctively shields her from her mother's wrath, despite knowing that this will ruin what little he's built up with Morgan. Shirou wryly notes that he's still the same stupid kid he always was.
  • Shirou Emiya in Fate: Gamer Night is defined by his desire to save everyone he can. Reactions from others in the Moonlit World vary from cynically claiming his attitude won't last to openly stating that he makes no sense. When they have to investigate a temple, Shirou suggests Waver Velvet stay behind because if they die, the women Shirou saved will have no one to protect them. Earlier, Shirou forgave a former enemy who nearly killed both himself and his lover after said enemy begged him to save her lover.
  • In Forgiveness is the Attribute of the Strong, a My Hero Academia fanfiction, Izuku's canon self-sacrificing tendencies are called out and addressed.
  • Greg, the protagonist of Friendship Is Optimal: Always Say No, absolutely refuses to let himself be uploaded to the "paradise" of Equestria Online so long as there are still people he can help. Even if it ends up killing him. Eventually, it does. He gets better. Or a copy of him does, anyway.
  • After Superman's death in A Force of Four, every denizen of Metropolis becomes Power Girl's responsibility, and she takes her duties very seriously.
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Neville accuses Harry of having this. He admits it, saying "Every time someone cries out in prayer and I can't answer, I feel guilty about not being God." He says it's a problem and he's working on it — but doesn't mention that by "working on it" he means "trying to become God".
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Kara jeopardizes a mission to rescue a little girl. When she's berated by a teammate, she replies she can't turn her back on anybody.
  • Averted in crossover The Havoc Side of the Force. After all the messes he got in during the books because of doing the heroics for free, Harry Potter decided that now he would not get involved in a mess if it did not benefit him somehow.
  • In Imperfect Metamorphosis, Reimu finds out that she just can't stand back and let Yukari kill an innocent child, if she can choose to take a third option.
  • Intrepid: Leet accuses Taylor of valuing other people's welfare over her instinct of self-preservation.
    "I'm not leaving," Hax informed him. "I'm not abandoning my brother. I did that once. Not this time."
    "You stay here and there ain't gonna be a next time!" Leet insisted. "I'm telling you, we get the fuck out now. We can shove your brother in the trunk and let him out once it's safe. Hell, isn't that what your boss told you guys to do?" His focus was on us. "Didn't she tell you to head for the goddamn hills?"
    He had a point. Faultline had apparently been very clear about us leaving the city to meet up with her later, even going as far as to promise that she'd pick up my dad on the way out. Still, I shook my head. My hand came up to tap at the buttons on my phone until it announced, "Still innocent people here."
    I couldn't leave. Maybe I just wasn't the hardened mercenary I was supposed to be at this point. But the fact was that leaving when the threat had been the Simurgh had been one thing. Everyone knew it was almost impossible to do much actual damage to the Endbringers. Nothing we had would put a dent in her. I'd understood leaving at that point. But now? Now there were monsters running around the city, monsters that, as far as I knew, we could hurt. I couldn't make myself walk away from that. Not now.
    Leet just shook his head in disgust at me. "Right, hero complex. Whatever."
  • Subverted in Kara of Rokyn. After spending fifteen years helping whoever she ran into, the titular character decides she can't keep dealing with the pressures of a hero's life for longer, so she moves to another world where she can't use her powers. Even so, she ends up helping people anyway because she can't help her all-loving hero impulses.
  • A Knight's Tale as Inquisitor presents a self-aware example in Arturia Pendragon. She knows for a fact that even if she wasn't a prisoner or was randomly dropped in the woods of this new world she's in, she would have aided as much as she could in the current situation invading Thedas.
  • know what i've made by the marks on my hands has Izuku, whose conscience eventually drags him into helping everyone restore their quirks, at the cost of his recluse, sleep, and patience. It's also what compelled him to interfere during the Kamino Ward incident, going as far as letting One For All's spirit possess him, something he hates allowing any spirit to do, so he could save All Might and Bakugo.
  • Last Child of Krypton: Being Superman, Shinji can not help it: he has to help everyone or at least try to. At one point he tells Kaji every life counts.
  • This is picked apart in Live a Hero (MHA) in regards to All Might's attempts to help a mentally stunted and traumatized Izuku. Since All Might always saves people no matter what, he's practically conditioned to being able to solve someone's problems just by showing up, taking out the bad guys, and saving people. As Eraserhead points out, Izuku is an entirely different case, as what the League of Villains made him go through traumatized him to the point where it would take a lifetime of therapy and help just to reach some semblance of normality. This leads to a case of Adaptation Relationship Overhaul where Aizawa becomes Izuku's mentor and All Might trains Kirishima.
  • In Loxare Hinder, a series of events lead to Jason Todd begin passing out his phone number to the children of Bludhaven, with the instruction to call him if they need his help. No matter what he's doing, or how mundane the task is, when the phone goes off he will answer it and do what he can to help. Even when he has to go out of town on a mission he recruits Stephanie Brown to answer the phone while he's gone.
  • Marinette grapples with this throughout Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist.
    • Her efforts to expose Lila as a Consummate Liar led to her being ostracized until she transferred to a new school, and while she swears that she's done with that drama, she still feels guilty over not being able to convince anyone to listen to her. Even with Tikki, Adrien, and her newfound friends reassuring her, it takes time for her to accept that she can't save those who reject her help.
    • When struck by an akuma with the power to make someone experience their worst fear, Ladybug finds herself literally unable to act, as her deepest fear is being unable to save somebody who needs her help.
    • Hawkmoth also attempts to exploit Marinette's heroic nature, attempting to akumatize her by offering her the chance to 'save her friends' as Princess Verity. Thankfully, she's able to resist with Adrien's help and an Anguished Declaration of Love from him.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku turns a simple grocery run into an all-day affair when he stops to help people in need. He volunteers to help a homeless shelter feed hundreds of people when he stops to ask for directions. Then he helps an aging widow with her own groceries while crossing the street, walking with her to her apartment even though the air shuttle was at the opposite end of town. On the way back to Beacon, he sees a lonely, bullied Faunus boy and plays with him while encouraging him to follow his dreams.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku gets continually sidetracked during the U.A. Entrance Exam by his concern for the safety of the other applicants, running over to disable the other robots so that the others can finish them off even though he's supposed to be competing with them for points. Izuku is aware of this and knows that he should be focusing on passing the exam, but he still can't help himself and ends up with a paltry 15 Villain Points by the end even though he could have wracked up hundreds with his powers. K.E.L.E.X. chastises him for his "counterproductive altruism" a week after the fact.
    Izuku: What is wrong with me?! The exam's more than halfway done, and I've only gotten fifteen points! I should have been able to get hundreds of points by now, but I keep spending all of my time helping other people get their own points! At this rate, I'm going to completely fail! Why can't I stop myself from being a good person?!
    • It DOES pay off handsomely for him in the end, as his heroics earned him 160 Rescue Points. Combined with his 15 Villain Points, he set a new record for the U.A. Entrance Exam, beating out even All Might's score by 10 points.
  • Once More with Feeling: Shinji feels so guilty for letting everyone die in the original timeline than back in the past he spends the whole time trying to help other people. It gets so bad that Misato has to tell him to stop that "everyone must be happy" mindset and think a little of himself, too.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Power Girl crossover story Origin Story, Alex Harris cannot not help people who need helping. And she considers helping people who are in danger, or who even just need a friendly shoulder to cry on, to be a much more important part of being a superhero than stopping criminals.
  • A justified version in Peter Parker Needs A Hug. After losing literally everything after No Way Home (his family, his mentors, and his friends), Peter Parker gets a fresh start in Gotham. Despite the new difficulties he has in getting enough food and web-fluid supplies, Spider-Man makes his Gotham debut, and continues to help any and everyone he can. When Bruce (who took him in) asks if he needs to take a break from patrols for a while (after the kid had a breakdown during a fight), Peter makes it clear that he needs to be Spider-Man now more than ever. It's the only part of his old life that he still has.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, this is a defining trait of Ash, carrying over from the past timeline. If someone has a problem, no matter if it's one of his friends or just a little boy who wants to evolve his Caterpie to become stronger, he will not hesitate to help. His traveling companions actually find this one of his most attractive traits.
  • In The Powers of Harmony, this is a driving part of Pinkie Pie's characterization. The desire to help others is why she became Zecora's apprentice in the first place, and when she learns about the Healing ability granted to her by the Element of Laughter, she goes out of her way to put it to good use.
  • Blackjack of Project Horizons. Whenever she fails to save someone, she tends to take it very hard.
  • In Raised by Jägers, Agatha Heterodyne quickly gains a reputation at her college for walking in right as something is about to explode (literally or metaphorically) and saving everyone. She gained this trait in Mechanicsburg, where everyone knew who she was and everything in town was by definition her business.
  • Winter from Ruby and Nora usually gets like this when she's feeling particularly depressed or worthless. She throws herself into helping others to avoid talking about her problems.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Asuka gradually turns into this kind of hero when she becomes Supergirl. Then she does she feels horribly guilty about all people she did not help when she was starting out her career.
  • In The Tainted Grimoire, there is Luso, other members of Clan Gully have joked about it.
  • In Tails of the Old Republic, a crossover/Fusion Fic between Sonic the Hedgehog and the videogame Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, this is Tails' perennial MO. It very nearly gets him killed in Chapter 029, where he gets ripped to shreds by a rakghoul swarm trying to save some Outcasts, and Tails laments his inability to help everyone on Planet Taris, what with needing to Save The Galaxy and all that.
  • This gets thoroughly deconstructed in Thieves Can Be Heroes!. Instead of meeting All Might and becoming his successor, Izuku rushes into an alleyway to help a woman who was being molested by a drunken man. The encounter ends with Izuku's arrest, subsequent trial, and conviction. Not only does the trial keep him from taking the U.A. Entrance Exam, but he's now effectively barred from ever seeking employment at any Hero Office because of his new record. His new criminal status makes him even more of a social pariah than when he was just Quirkless. He's even forced to move to Tokyo for a year in order to serve out his probation. This all happened because Izuku hadn't thought of the potential consequences when he ran in to save someone he doesn't even know. All of these things get pointed out to him by his new guardian, who told him that he should have just contacted a professional like a police officer or an actual Hero.
    • This gets so bad that he intentionally tries to clamp down on his own heroic instincts and tried his best not to get involved, but he still can't help himself when he sees Ann in clear distress. They return with a vengeance after he fails to stop Shiho from attempting suicide, prompting his decision to steal Kamoshida's heart.
  • This is the very reason things kick off in the Bleach fanfic To Fight and Protect Ichigo will help because he can help. Even if it's Aizen.
    • In fact it is because of this that things aren't as bad as they could be — Ichigo's helping hand has gathered an eclectic bunch of unlikely allies all who will follow him, no matter what.
  • Ultimate Sleepwalker: Sleepwalker is a subversion. Fighting evil and protecting the innocent is his race's whole reason for existing. His life would be completely meaningless if he couldn't do it.
  • Ultimate Spider-Woman: Mary Jane Watson simply can't help herself from trying to fight supervillains and protect innocent bystanders as Spider-Woman. The problem with this is that Mary Jane pushes herself too hard as a Triple Shifter, and always ends up feeling extremely guilty whenever she feels like she's neglecting some of her responsibilities...even if it was because she was tied up dealing with something else. It's no wonder she eventually suffers a stress-induced Heroic BSoD when everything comes crashing down.
  • The Vampire of Steel: The reason that Supergirl gets involved in vampire-hunting is she just had to show an out-towner who she knew nothing about around Chicago.
  • In the Dragon Age: Inquisition fanfic Walking in Circles, Evelyn's very first Establishing Character Moment in the first chapter is her risking to be beaten by a Templar just to protect Solas's wolf jaw pendant for him. She also uses her family's noble status to protect other mages from being harassed by Templars, even though it'd weaken her own self-protection. In fact, this trait is what made Solas notice and fall in love with her in the first place.
    • It's also deconstructed as seeing too much suffering and yet can't do anything to change it is what finally pushes Evelyn to become a Well-Intentioned Extremist who supports Solas's plan.
  • Deconstructed in the Harry Potter fic "The World As We Knew It"; when Harry finds himself in a world where the prophecy was never made and his parents are still alive but Voldemort has basically taken over, he is initially willing to stay in this new world, but the moment he learns that in this reality Ginny was sent to Azkaban for opening the Chamber of Secrets, he works with Sirius to become an Animagus so that he can help Ginny break out, which subsequently inspires him to try and make things better in this world.
  • In X-Men: The Early Years, "Walking away" and "Minding his own business" isn't something Cyclops is able to do.
    Scott wasn't quite sure how he'd ended up buying the goat. It had taken almost all the money Scott had brought along with him, but now he owned the ill-tempered creature. Someday, he vowed, he'd learn to ignore the little voice that always got him into these messes. Next time, he swore to himself that he'd just walk away and mind his own business.

    Film — Animated 
  • Luisa in Encanto admits in her solo song "Surface Pressure" that she has no idea who she is if she can't be the strong one physically and emotionally in the family. This leads to disastrous results when fractures in Casita lead to the Madrigals having their powers weakened or nonexistent. Luisa becomes a sobbing mess when she cannot easily do the tasks people ask her to do. Her sister Mirabel outright says she puts too much pressure on herself.
  • Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles. The fact that he's forbidden by law from engaging in vigilante heroism is a major source of stress for him. His desire to go help a mugging victim eventually leads to a disastrous confrontation with his boss at Insuricare. In the DVD special features, the National Super Agency's file on Mr. Incredible lists this as one of his weaknesses. In the opening scene, as he rushes to his own wedding he has to stop to help in a police chase, then while on his way to do that he stops to help a woman get her cat out of a tree. Fortunately, said tree also came in VERY handy in stopping the car the criminals involved in said police chase were driving! His hero syndrome even shines through as an insurance worker. He is as helpful as possible to clients when company policy demands that he be as unhelpful as possible.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Felix is determined to fix what Ralph breaks, even when risking his life. He also stays and risks his life to help Vanellope, despite only meeting her just a few minutes before.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Played straight and then averted with Commissioner Gordon in the third act of The Dark Knight. He slowly begins to slip into this trope after The Joker takes over Gotham, even beginning to ignore Batman's advice for the first time in the series, but quickly snaps out of it when he finds out that Harvey Dent has become Two-Face and is holding his family hostage.
    Gordon: Dent is in there with them! We have to save Dent! I have to save Dent!
  • Die Hard: John McClane's tendency to be the Right Man in the Wrong Place leads to this — and this hurts, hurts, hurts. He even discusses this in the fourth movie.
  • The Hurt Locker: Sergeant First Class Will James has a bad habit of going off on unauthorized heroic stunts.
    • After finding a body that he believes to be a local boy he has befriended (who later turns up alive and well), he goes AWOL armed with a pistol and interrogates an innocent Iraqi civilian (which would get him court-martialed in real life).
    • When the EOD team is investigating a tanker explosion, James insists that they leave the blast scene and hunt for the insurgents responsible. This gets Eldridge, his squadmate, shot and captured by insurgents. Though Eldridge survives, he fiercely cusses out James and blames him for his injury, accusing James of seeking an adrenaline fix.
  • George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life systematically sacrificed every dream he had to help the people of Bedford Falls, and it ended up being all for naught when his uncle misplaced the money needed to keep George's business afloat. And if you think that's the end of the story you need to watch more movies.
  • Kick-Ass not only has this — watch the way he charges into a fight with three bigger, tougher guys to defend the guy they're beating up, despite having no training and no weapons besides a pair of sticks — but he manages to justify this by shaming the thugs, the gawking bystanders and the audience for not having Chronic Hero Syndrome.
    Thug: What the fuck is wrong with you, man? You'd rather die for some piece of shit that you don't even fucking know?
    Kick-Ass: Three assholes laying into one guy while everyone else watches, and you wanna know what's wrong with me?! Yeah, I'd rather die! NOW BRING IT ON!
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Tony Stark suffers from this. Iron Man 3 ended with Tony destroying all of his armors and vowing to spend more time with his girlfriend Pepper, yet inexplicably, he's back to being Iron Man in Avengers: Age of Ultron with zero explanation. Captain America: Civil War reveals that he broke his promise to Pepper because deep down, he doesn't really want to stop being Iron Man, which has caused their relationship to deteriorate. When Tony once again tries to Refuse The Call in Avengers: Endgame and finds himself conflicted over it because he has both the solution to save the day and a wife and daughter to stay back home for, Pepper dryly remarks that trying to make Tony stop being Iron Man has been one of her biggest failures in life.
    • Steve Rogers is physically incapable of ignoring bullies and has been since he was a 90-pound asthmatic. After becoming a super soldier and waking up seventy years into the future, his lack of a life outside being an Avenger becomes a running theme. It's all but stated outright that Peggy Carter did not fall in love with Captain America, nor did Bucky agree to follow him. Both of them owe their Undying Loyalty to the scrawny Determinator who never ran from a fight, even if he couldn't possibly win.
  • Mr. Nice Guy: The title character had absolutely nothing to do with the main plot until it stumbled across him.
  • Robin and Marian: The central problem for Robin. He returns from the wars in France intending to settle down but cannot resist being drawn back into his old conflict with the Sheriff. In an interview, director Richard Lester compared this version of Robin to Don Quixote, consumed by the fantasy of romantic heroism.
  • This is the fatal flaw of Daniel Rigg, the protagonist of Saw IV. In fact, his tests are designed explicitly to try and cure this. The first of them tells him to walk away from a woman in a trap, only for his attempt to save her anyway to, first, start the trap, then upon freeing her, she attempts to kill him because her instructions were that the police officer who tried to save her would put her in prison for the rest of her life. His ultimate test goes so far as to invert Just in Time, in that busting in at the last second Big Damn Heroes style was the absolute worst thing he could've done.
  • Utřya: July 22 is a reenactment of the Breivik Massacre (which happened on the island Utøya on 22. July 2011) from the perspective of the victims. The main heroine, Kaja, not only spends time searching for her sister amid the shooting but also can't help stopping to help others while on the run. Ultimately she gets killed because of this.
  • This is the main source of dramatic tension in Watch on the Rhine — the hero, a member of La Résistance in Nazi-occupied Europe, has made it safely to America with his family. But when a leader of the anti-Nazi underground is reported to have been arrested, the hero feels duty-bound to go back and rescue him.

    Multiple Media 
  • Gresh from BIONICLE. Given that they live in a Crapsack World, most of his partners find him strange for this, since they're usually Only in It for the Money or at best are focused on helping their own villages above anyone else's.

  • "The Weight" by The Band, notably covered by many including Joan Osborne, is about this trope.
  • Majorly subverted in the Hatsune Miku song "Boss Death". She is a chronic hero, but only because she's lost all faith in humanity or the world itself.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Every single knight in Arthurian Legend seems to suffer this. "Questing" was all about going out and looking for trouble. For example, at one point the knight Yvain has to be at a very specific location tomorrow in order to rescue a damsel, Lunete, from being burned at the stake. With plenty of time, he stays at a castle the night before, only to discover that the castle is being held for ransom by a giant; if no one can slay the giant, the next morning he will kill all the lord's remaining sons and have his minions rape the lord's daughter in front of everyone. Yvain tries to say "Look, I do have this prior appointment and an innocent will die if I don't get there, so I'm afraid this isn't my problem"...but he turns back out of guilt, kills the giant, doesn't stay for congratulations, and runs off just in time to save Lunete...effectively pulling off two last-minute Big Damn Heroes moments in a row.
  • Book of Exodus: After Moses has led the Israelites out of Egypt, he sets up as a judge, with people coming to him all day long, day in and day out, to get his advice on their problems. Eventually, his father-in-law Jethro berates him for this, pointing out that he's not serving the people well by exhausting himself. Jethro then gives him a lecture on hierarchical delegation, leading Moses to set up what we might recognize today as an appellate court system.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • John Cena, in spades. Whether it's saving a Diva in distress, turning the tide of a three-or-four-or-10-against-one battle, or chasing bad guys off, John is your man. Probably the only reason he doesn't show up in every single segment to battle the villains and right the wrongs is that he gets too distracted chasing whatever bad guy caught his eye first.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Paladins in most editions of Dungeons & Dragons are contractually obligated to follow this trope, being Lawful Good and bound by a code of honor. Good-aligned characters in general may do this depending on the player.
  • One of the pitfalls of a high Compassion virtue in Exalted. Indeed, the rulebook's example of a circumstance that requires you to make a Virtue roll is a high-Compassion character falling victim to a mixture of this and Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help. Even worse, failing to satisfy this urge may drive up the character's Limit and trigger the Great Curse.
  • Magic: The Gathering's Elspeth Tiriel has this, in a flavour similar to Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life. After her early life on a Phyrexian plane was cut short by her Planeswalker's Spark igniting, she spent her formative years as a knight in training on Bant, until she left after the Conflux wars. After a 10-Minute Retirement in Urborg she heads off to Mirrodin to fight the Phyrexians, which ends badly. Afterwards, she ends up becoming the Champion of the Gods on Theros, where she succeeds in saving the Plane from the Mad God Xenagos, but is killed by Heliod.
    • Elspeth often had to be forcibly conscripted, otherwise she wouldn't do it out of fear. A better example is Gideon Jura, who has been suffering from this since he was a young troublemaker. Between the RTR block and the BFZ block, he spent all his time planeswalking between Zendikar and Ravnica, trying his hardest to save everyone: from small villages under Eldrazi attack to random citizens of Ravnica being bombed by a pair of goblins. At one time he spends three days awake and fighting without rest until his body collapsed at the last minute.
  • The Charity Virtue in the New World of Darkness encourages you to act like this in exchange for Willpower. The sample blurb for the virtue discusses a woman who's investigating a ritualistic Serial Killer... and who stops to pick up a hitchhiker with a broken arm (in real life, a favorite trick of Ted Bundy), even though she knows it could be a trap because she fears he could end up a victim.
    • Princess: The Hopeful: This is a very common issue among the titular Hopeful. Sensitivity highlights every act of cruelty or instance of pain a Princess witnesses, and she feels the need to address every wrong she encounters immediately, even if she rationally knows that she has more important work elsewhere or that the problem would be best addressed at a later date.
  • Savage Worlds has this as a character option in the form of the "Heroic" hindrance, which means the character can never resist helping those in need (or those who just have a good sob story), even if it means great danger and no reward.

  • In Fiorello! Morris complains about Fiorello's tendency to drift into this trope while working "On the Side of the Angels".
    That bench stays crowded
    It's a regular wailing wall
    Penniless and helpless
    Ignorant and scared
    He collects 'em all!
  • Wicked: Elphaba, initially. It never works out for her, and she eventually realizes that she simply cannot win the approval of the world.

    Video Games 
  • Some of the more Open-worldy sort of games allow the player to choose for themselves, either helping out every poor bastard who's dropped a ring in a sewer grate, ignoring everyone so you can get on with your business, or killing the asker for daring to ask for your aid.
  • Similarly, RPGs with large numbers of side quests irrelevant to the main plot can have the main character coming off as someone with Chronic Hero Syndrome.
  • Virtually every MMO steers the player's character into having Chronic Hero Syndrome. The character will often be sent out against a great evil... but on the way, they'll have to protect random people from threats, take shifts as a game warden, help gather materials for various building projects, and sometimes even be a relationship counselor, for everybody whose path they happen to cross.
  • A painfully common trait among many, many gacha protagonists.
  • To an extent with Artix von Krieger, who appears in multiple Artix Entertainment games. He has the irresistible compulsion to slay any and all undead nearby, regardless of their intentions or if it's better not to.
    Chilly: Did Artix just exorcise the ghosts of Frostval Past, Present, and Future?
    Player Character: Not in that order, but yes.
  • Assassin's Creed II: Seems like Ezio suffers from it as he often agrees straight away to help even before he's properly asked. Sometimes it's more of a guilt trip, like when he changed his mind about fleeing with his mother and sister to Spain and instead agreed to stick around to help Mario whack the Pazzis; Mario said he was abandoning his father's legacy. On other occasions, it is clearly inherent indignation, such as when Emilio Barbarigo's guards were causing trouble.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Ezio's primary goal in Constantinople is to recover the keys that he needs to access the library at Masyaf but along the way, he keeps getting roped into the fight against injustice, and not unwillingly. As he needs help from the Assassins in the city, he winds up working to bolster them in their fight against the Templars. He also befriends Suleiman, the future Sultan, whose father and uncle are involved in a war for the succession of the Sultanate. Further, he meets and falls in love with a librarian in his search for the keys and is eventually forced to protect her from his enemies. At this point in his life, he is bone-weary of the constant struggle, but as long as he remains an Assassin, he must keep fighting it.
  • There's a whole class of games where you have to work your way through obstacles in a prescribed order to beat the level (get food to chop tree, chop tree to fix bridge, fix bridge to talk to next NPC, etc.). Ballad of Solar is one version that adds "a villain has kidnapped the princess!" as the driving force of the plot. At first it seems like Hitchcockian suspense: The hero moseys along despite the player knowing something horrible is happening. But then the hero spots the capital burning, finds the king in mourning for his captive daughter and vows to go rescue her immediately. Of course, not without (in just the first few levels) putting out fires and rebuilding the peasants' homes and workplaces, picking apples to feed starving children, gathering hay and buckets of water to coax lost horses into returning to their master, defeating a small collection of minor monsters, sweeping cobwebs... (And that's not even counting the times when an NPC goes "Well, I would move out of your way so you could get the thing behind me, but dang it, I just don't have the energy to do so without a Plot Coupon." That's literally their excuse. "I'm too tired to move without my wine." "I'm too tired to move without my energy potion." It's not even disguised.)
  • Common in BioWare RPGs. Typically, you have a party member who recommends you help out whenever asked to and one who makes snide remarks along the lines of "Ooh, let's solve every little problem in the entire village! The Darkspawn will be so impressed!"
    • An Open Palm Spirit Monk in Jade Empire meddles in people's lives for the better, most of the time. A Closed Fist Spirit Monk is supposed to invert this trope by pushing people to solve their own problems, only intervening if the odds are overwhelming (although thanks to Gameplay and Story Segregation they mostly just go around kicking puppies).
    • The Grey Warden in Dragon Age: Origins can fulfill this trope to such a degree that Morrigan will complain about it. Sten complains as well because thinks anything that isn't fighting the Blight is a waste of time. You can even earn an "Easily Distracted" award if you complete most of the sidequests.
    • Hawke of Dragon Age II gets drawn into other people's business just as frequently, though the results are more "mixed" than usual. The Sarcastic personality is particularly self-aware of this.
    • Commander Shepard in Mass Effect is also constantly being drawn into other people's problems, and Paragon Shepard fulfills the trope by doing his or her best to help... although the player also has the opportunity, playing Shepard as a Renegade, to ignore them or make things worse.
    • Lampshaded in the second game, where you can pass by a couple you helped in the first game having a problem. One of them jokingly says, "Maybe we should ask random people off the street what they think."
    • The Light-side player character in Knights of the Old Republic. In the sequel, Kreia will get upset if you keep helping everyone selflessly (exactly as upset as if you go out of your way to be cruel)—and a villain on one planet actually bases their plan around it by treating the local populace so horribly the Player Character will reveal themselves by fixing all the problems.
    • You can play as this in the Baldur's Gate series, to the point that the Sidequests you take will take more time than the main plot. This can annoy certain party members, depending upon who you have along.
  • Catie from BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm. No matter what, she will stop to help someone in need — even if she has more important places to be, and even if her companions try to object.
    Anonymous: It was never really our problem to begin with. I get the feeling that Catie just got us involved so she wouldn't be bored.
    Catie: I got us involved because it's the right thing to do.
  • Raymond Bryce from Disaster: Day of Crisis. The very objective of the game is to save as many people as possible. To quote Ray: "I still want to save them. Save you, save Lisa, save everyone".
  • Disco Elysium:
    • Before the player character's amnesia, he was known for both his competence, and the humanism through which he approached his work as a police officer, but was self-medicating his emotional pain with an unprecedented caseload that was unsustainable without copious use of booze (to numb the pressure of it) and amphetamines (to compensate for the lack of sleep and the hangovers). While throwing himself into meaningful work gave him a reputation as a genius cop and even The Dreaded, both of these substances began to cause serious problems with the quality of his work — on at least one occasion his drunkenness caused him to respond with brutality towards an ultimately harmless (but annoying) perp — as well as destroying his relationship with the rest of his precinct and his girlfriend.
    • During the game itself, this is just one of the many, many self-destructive ways you can have your player character act as a coping mechanism. You can have him become obsessed with solving missing person cases, even when nobody is actually missing; he also gets derailed into many irrelevant quests (like investigating the Doomed Commercial Area, helping ravers start a nightclub, and hunting for cryptids) that your partner Kim Kitsuragi will complain have absolutely nothing to do with solving the case. Your character's political diversions can also lead into the idiotically world-saving, especially his version of Communism, which (unusually for a collective ideology) stars him as the most important 'Communism builder'. However, everything is more connected than it initially appears, and every diversion ends up being a feature in the solution of the mystery.
  • Doom:
  • Justified in Dragon Quest IX: the hero is a Celestrian whose primary role as a Guardian is to help mortals and collect the benevolessence they unknowingly exude afterwards. In short, having Chronic Hero Syndrome is a flapping job requirement.
  • The Player's character in the Fable series, in basically every quest you end up saving somebody from something, even more so in II with the DLCs, even when taking the routes to "Chaotic Evil" you still save the world, and a lot of random people along the way.
  • A Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3 with positive karma likely suffers from this affliction, as he or she will never, no matter what, turn down an offer to help others. Of course, this being Fallout, seemingly nice things have a tendency to come and bite you in the ass, whether it's being hunted by bloodthirsty mercs, the whole "Tenpenny Tower" sidequest, or a certain unnamed Megaton settler.
  • Fallout: New Vegas
    • The Courier also suffers from this, however it ends up paying off as the factions who like him/her end up coming to his/her aid in the end game battle, also gives him/her lots of cool stuff.
    • Deconstructed by the Followers of the Apocalypse. They are truly noble and do genuinely want to help people in the wasteland, but their own selflessness winds up screwing them over in almost every possible way in almost all of the endings, the only good ending they achieve is with the NCR.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Yuna of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, as lampshaded by Shinra after Yuna gets the Gullwings involved in yet another third party's request for help: "Hero. Summoner. Doormat." In fact, the other characters just love to lampshade this about Yuna, so much so that it becomes a Running Gag. It's also surprisingly zig-zagged however. Between Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, Yuna is living a quiet life on Besaid Island, largely refusing to have anything to do with the outside world. It takes Rikku showing up with a sphere on it of a guy that looks like Tidus to break her out of her funk, leading her to join the Gullwings. After X-2, she goes straight back to her quiet life in Besaid. In Last Mission, the fact that Yuna has once again settled down ends up being a point of contention between her and Rikku. Rikku has been keeping very busy, hopping from one thing to the next, and doesn't approve of Yuna living the quiet life.
    • Tidus also qualifies. It is especially noticeable when the party hears about a monster eating chocobos. Tidus insists that they help defeat the monster but other members of the party point out that it isn't their problem.
    • Auron at one point tells Tidus that Jecht used to get his pilgrimage companions into all kinds of trouble when trying to help people because "it's the right thing to do". This includes trying to kill the Chocobo Eater.
    • Locke Cole of Final Fantasy VI is a Chronic Hero to every distressed damsel he meets, largely because of his dead girlfriend issues.
    • Zidane of Final Fantasy IX, whose motto is "I don't need a reason to help people"
    • Snow from Final Fantasy XIII has this pretty bad. Lampshaded by Lightning in one scene:
      Lightning: But going out of his way to help someone? That's Snow all over.
    • In Lightning Returns, Lightning hits this trope. One NPC even lampshades it by asking why she's so interested in his problems and if she's a social worker.
    • The Warrior of Light from Dissidia Final Fantasy. It's really his main personality trait.
    • Ramza from Final Fantasy Tactics is a Reconstruction. He's determined to help the common people, even as said people believe the propaganda that Ramza's a heretic and traitor. By contrast, his friend Delita is an Anti-Hero / Anti-Villain who backstabs his way to the top. Delita ends up king, Ramza ends up blown up and his companion gets executed for trying to tell the people Ramza saved the world. But the epilogue indicates that Ramza survived, shows Delita getting a severe Was It Really Worth It? moment, and the true story gets out four hundred years later.
    • Compilation of Final Fantasy VII:
      • Cloud from Final Fantasy VII is really reasonable by Final Fantasy standards, but even he's not above things like going on a quest to seek three bizarre and far-flung artefacts which involve killing the most ridiculously powerful monsters on the Planet so that a man can go on a religious pilgrimage to say goodbye to the souls of his dead friends, or beating a video game so a man who can't can see the ending. And he ends up infiltrating a sex mansion dressed as a woman entirely because he can't decide between protecting Aeris and protecting Tifa, even though both are really good at taking care of themselves. And at one point the entire party leaves Cloud with the thankless task of infiltrating Upper Junon simply because 'it would have to be [him]'.
      • In Final Fantasy VII Remake Cloud goes hard back into the unreasonable version when Tifa persuades him to start taking random jobs to build up his reputation, and the other members of Avalanche instead tell everyone that Cloud will do 'anything' — leading to him doing rat exterminations, hunting for cats, rounding up kids for school, talking to old people, playing music discs to cheer up depressed people, winning squat contests, and so on. In his case, it's less that he feels responsible for everything and more along the lines of the whole scenario where someone is forced to do underpaid work in the hope of building enough of a rep to start a proper business — he is rude to everyone asking him to help them and complains about the menial quality of the work almost the whole time.
    • Wol in Mobius Final Fantasy is an invoked version. He's forced to act like this in order to fulfill the Prophecy that states a great Warrior of Light will come, with his boundless kindness towards everyone one of the telltale signs. This also applies to him having to do flashy 'hero' work that doesn't really help anyone, like challenging towers full of monsters or entering tournaments to prove he's a champion. There's a funny moment in Chapter 3 where Exposition Fairy Echo asks Wol why it is that he keeps dropping everything to help people, and suggesting he start playing up to that persona rather than acting with his usual Deadpan Snarker attitude. Wol replies by saying he's not so nice a person he'd help people when he didn't actually want to, to which Echo responds, "right, I forgot what a horrible person you are".
    • Taken to its logical conclusion in Final Fantasy XIV with the Warriors of Darkness. Revealed in patch 3.4 that the Warriors of Darkness were originally the Heroes of Light from another world, fighting the encroaching darkness. They were so effective in doing good and vanquishing the darkness of their world that the light ended up taking over and is threatening to destroy the world as well. It is presented as a warning to the player character to not blindly fight for good and light because the result will be the same as if they did nothing.
    • The Dark Knight quests in particular are a deconstruction of this problem from a psychological standpoint, the Warrior of Light developed trauma from getting betrayed and barely surviving a massacre, alongside being forced into helping ungrateful people multiple times. The resulting mental issues piled up. This results in a Super Powered Darkside being born from the internal issues surrounding the Warrior of Light. The being that is born rightfully calls out the fact that being a hero all the time has its costs. This being feels that instead of being treated as a Warrior of Light, they are instead being treated as a Weapon of Light. A tool that serves and slays rather than an actual person. The final quest of the Dark Knight level 50 questline reveals that this being has another name. Esteem, as in Self-Esteem.
  • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War:
    • Ced. In his own words, he simply cannot turn away when he sees someone in trouble, and boy, does he get into problems due to it. And for better/worse, when Seliph helps him whack the Distress Ball away in Chapter 8, he beats himself up due to not being able to rescue all the kids caught in the child hunts. "I'm no hero, sir. I'm a coward, if anything".
    • Hawk, being Ced's expy/replacement if Erinys has no kids, suffers from exactly the same Fatal Flaw.
  • Freedom Planet has Lilac, who suffers a case of this. So much so that her friend Carol calls her "Little Miss Heropants."
  • Every Golden Sun protagonist ever...not that they have much of a choice. And in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, it gets lampshaded:
    "How did we arrive in this situation, exactly?"
    "Because Matthew can be talked into anything, that's how."
  • Guilty Gear: Ky Kiske. One of the reasons why the Post-War Administrative Bureau finds him so easily manipulative is his overwhelming sense of justice that he feels the need to save everyone he can. Still, he's a very nice guy to have along as a friend. Just gullible. In the Drama CD, this one trait... got him killed.
  • Exaggerated in Hogwarts Legacy. You do the usual "talk to random people about their problems" bit, but since you're only 15, everyone also tells you it's too dangerous for a student and to let someone else handle it. Of course, you tackle the problem anyway, and the quest givers are always dumbstruck when you return to them with news of your success.
  • Pit of Kid Icarus cannot stand by and let bad things happen no matter what. This is especially evident in Kid Icarus: Uprising where he's willing to let his wings burn up to rescue his clone/Enemy Without/brother Dark Pit... and they do. Thankfully he gets better.
  • According to the first game, Sora from Kingdom Hearts is not supposed to meddle in the affairs of other worlds, except for fighting off Heartless. He completely ignores this fact, as he just cannot help helping people. By the second game, the whole "not supposed to meddle" thing is essentially forgotten, and Sora is even more of a chronic hero than ever. It's lampshaded by almost every single one of the game's more cynical characters.
  • Kirby has a bad case of this. If he sees something bad go down he immediately rushes in to help, be it King Dedede stealing all the food in Dream Land or a living cloud of darkness and hate trying to take over the galaxy. This has been exploited twice by two different people (Marx and Magolor) who used his helpful nature to get their respective games' MacGuffin.
  • In Kult: Heretic Kingdoms, Alita tends to be rather grudging about being roped into other people's problems, but if players choose to have her help people anyway, some of them point out the oddness of a complete stranger running around solving everything.
    Miller: Have you got some pathological need to help people? Not that I'm complaining; it's just weird, is all.
  • Link from The Legend of Zelda. Especially the Bomber's Notebook from Majora's Mask. Interestingly, the Bombers themselves aspire to be this.
  • If you're a red-haired swordsman in the Lufia series, then expect to help every person and town you come across, even if you've just met the people or it doesn't directly pertain to your quest to stop the Sinistrals.
  • If Max Payne ever gains a whiff of a serious crime or conspiracy, he sees it through to the end, consequences be damned. It's a plot point in Max Payne 2, as Vlad knows full well how Max would never just walk away, even when it's not something that directly involves him. In Max Payne 3 he even puts his life repeatedly on the line for a bunch of people that, most of which, he doesn't particularly even like that much.
  • Khamsin of the Bladewolf DLC of Metal Gear Rising strongly believes in bringing "freedom" to Abkhazia and liberating its people, proudly declaring he'll do it "if it kills him, or better yet, them". He'd actually be a pretty decent guy if he wasn't such a Blood Knight with No Social Skills who worked for a pretty awful group of people, which is likely why Mistral sets him up to die to begin with.
  • Samus Aran from Metroid, particularly in the Prime series. Outside of the Prime series, though, she's usually working for the government, which probably helps how she never has time to bounty-hunt.
  • Ishara from the interactive romance novel Moonrise has an intense case of this. In the Rogue faction route, she goes on a quest to find Alice's father, based on mere rumors that Alice is looking for him. Never mind that she hasn't met Alice yet. In the Masquerade faction route, she helps Sati rescue xer wives from Dracula, no questions asked. In all endings of the game, Ishara states that she wishes to travel the world and help more people.
  • It's implied that Bent Svenson in A New Beginning used to epitomize this trope until he woke up in a Marine hospital in Portland.note  His psychiatrist insists on him repeating "I am not responsible for the whole world" when she gets the impression that he's backsliding.
  • The title character of NieR may be The Unfettered in his desire to keep Yonah safe, but that doesn't mean he won't stop to assist with such diverse problems as helping a merchant get started, a family get enough to eat, finding a lost dog, or getting a bartender rare supplies. Weiss snarks about it, but Nier says he can't afford to turn down any available odd job since it's what he and Yonah live on. Later, it's because it's what he's always done, and the occasional distraction keeps him sane — though one quest-giver opens up with (paraphrased) "Hey, you're that guy who'll do any job no matter how degrading, right?" It helps that Nier's usually not on a hard deadline for anything.
  • Ōkami's Amaterasu is constantly getting distracted from her grand quest to save the world from the forces of evil because the cherry trees aren't blooming, a kid has lost his dog, and a girl wants to dig up something in Sasa Sanctuary's bamboo grove. All of these are necessary to advance the plot and Amaterasu herself. She's a goddess in mortal form, but she has been severely weakened over time. The accumulated praise she receives from helping people allows her to rebuild her power and enhance her abilities. Those seemingly small and insignificant acts of kindness and generosity are as integral to saving the world as defeating Orochi.
  • Persona:
    • The protagonists of Persona 3 and Persona 4, who, in the course of making friends across their respective towns (and saving the world from Anthropomorphic Personifications of the human collective unconsciousness), end up helping everyone they meet with their personal issues, from the girl who ran away from home to the young man with the terminal disease to the nurse who despises her life to the classmate with the dying father. Of course, one of them is explicitly a Messianic Archetype and they're both All-Loving Heroes, so it's not really surprising.
    • Somewhat downplayed in Persona 5, if only because the hero tries to maintain a low profile. But he nevertheless helps out with everything from somewhat creepy cases of attraction to morally reprehensible abusers of power. He also Jumped at the Call, with gusto.
  • The Allied Nations in Red Alert 3: Paradox are sort of defined as a whole by their Chronic Hero Syndrome, but this causes serious problems because not everyone agrees with their definition of heroic action, which tends towards For Your Own Good on a national scale.
  • Red Dead Redemption's John Marston can be this if going for high honour. The game even keeps track of how many people you help. Everything from rescuing women and stopping thieves to stopping a carriage robbery in between trying to capture his former outlaw brethren. In fact, a late-game mission plays with this; during the Beecher's Hope ranching section of the game, while John is busy tending his new herd of cattle, a train races by under attack by outlaws, and John must choose whether or not to stay with the herd or intervene.
  • In Resident Evil 6, Leon shows some hints of being this when he notices two men via security camera calling for help, before being overrun by zombies. He even attempts to go there to save the men, although Helena convinces him that it's already too late.
  • In Shadowverse, Rowen is willing to rush in and protect anyone from any sort of danger. This is also a Fatal Flaw, as he is cursed into being turned into a dragon whenever his desire to protect someone overwhelms him.
  • Shantae: Shantae has a tendency to go out of her way to help or protect someone even when she doesn't have to or when others order her not to. It reaches the point where, in Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, Risky told Shantae to collect all the Dark Magic because she expected Shantae's heroic nature of "doing good deeds for every hard luck case in the seven seas" would turn it back to Light Magic, which is the key to the Pirate Master's defeat.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic always helps out anyone in trouble stating that helping those in need is the only thing he slows down for.
  • Spider-Man (PS4) makes a good argument as to why this is bad. Peter Parker's desperate need to help everyone means he fails to look after himself (leading to him being unable to hold down a steady job and failing to pay rent, resulting in him being thrown out onto the street by his landlord), he's viewed as unreliable by everyone who knows him (both Mary Jane and Aunt May seem to expect him to be late for promises with them), and he repeatedly fails to demonstrate any ability to prioritize (in several parts of the game between story missions, he goes out to fight minor crimes like robberies or car chases even when he mentions having other things to do like completing a project or meeting with someone). In the end, this causes New York as a whole no end of grief: his unreliable nature leads his boss and mentor Doctor Otto Octavius (who is under time pressure to complete a project or go bankrupt) to experiment on himself without Peter there to monitor safety, causing him to eventually go mad and become the villainous Doctor Octopus. Doc Ock then proceeds to, among other things, break the Raft prison wide open (sending a veritable army of criminals into the city), recruit several supervillains into the Sinister Six, and unleash a biological weapon that kills, at minimum, thousands of people including Peter's own Aunt May.
  • Star Fox: Star Fox is a mercenary group that doesn't seem terribly interested in money. Only two games mention anything about payment, and the latter starts out with the Great Fox in such a state of disrepair (and large pizza boxes) that it seems the team has just been waiting for another opportunity to play heroes, with the exception of Falco, who left the team. That, or they simply don't get enough work but have absolutely no backup plan to fall back on.
  • Star Ocean: The Last Hope has Edge Maverick. Though his job is to find a new habitable planet suitable for humans, he quite quickly ends up trying to save a village of people he doesn't know, destroy a certain race to prevent them from invading planets, and then accidentally destroys a planet in a different dimension when he was only trying to help it, leading him to mentally break down and blame the entire thing on himself despite everything his friends try to say to him. It does lead to a pretty spectacular Moment of Awesome, though, when those goons try to kidnap Sarah. Keyword: "try".
    "DAMN IT ALL!!!!"
  • Super Mario Bros.: Mario and Luigi basically do all of the hero work in their universe. And they aren't limited to that, either.
  • Asbel Lhant from Tales of Graces doesn't care who he helps; if you have a problem, he will help you. Amnesiac Mysterious Waif? Yup. His now possessed childhood friend? Yup. His former knight captain? yup. An Eldritch Abomination bent on killing all humans? Oh yeah.
  • Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia is an odd version of this trope. It's both shown many times and stated many times that Yuri cannot ignore an innocent person in need. Of course, it's also been both stated and shown that he takes it a little too far. Not that those on the receiving end of Yuri's Justice didn't deserve it after what they did...
    • Flynn is also like this, though he prefers to use more diplomatic means of solving problems. Like Yuri, he sometimes takes things too far.
    • Estelle has this in spades. The girl will do just about anything to help anyone in need even if it means healing an entire group of people with her unique healing artes which she draws out of herself and not a bodhi blastia. This later starts to become quite an annoyance to Brave Vesperia because she keeps pulling them around on her own whims while they're hired to assist her in getting to her destination. It takes her a long while for her to grow out of being so very selfless. In fact, her selflessness using her healing artes causes a hell of a lot of trouble to Terca Lumireis as a whole because her unique power as a Child of the Full Moon is no different than a walking Hermes Blastia, which causes the planet's aer to go out of control and disturb nature around her every time she decides to use her healing artes. Even after accidentally making Belius go on a rampage by healing her wounds, Belius still doesn't reprimand Estelle's selflessness to help others.
  • Deconstructed by the Fallen Hero Artorius Collbrande in Tales of Berseria. It was his desire to save everyone and failing to do so that twisted him into the man he is now. His inability to save those he loved made him lose all hope in the world being able to change, leading him to the conclusion that mankind itself cannot be allowed to exist as they do now, which sets him on a dark path.
  • Justified in the Ultima series, as the protagonist's Karma Meter not only sometimes determines whether he can complete the game, but often his power level as well. Since there's an emphasis on Humility, helping people with their personal lives is every bit as important as fighting the latest Big Bad — sometimes moreso.
  • Nathan Drake of Uncharted will oftentimes find himself saying "Screw This, I'm Outta Here" when things are getting too hot but invariably he ends up realizing without him and his understanding of why things got too hot, The Bad Guy Wins so he drags himself back to the action because if he won't do it, no one will be able to.
  • Anyone in World of Warcraft with the Loremaster achievement. Requiring 2,843 quests to be completed ("only" 2,705 for Horde players), you're not only helping anyone who needs help with anything, but you're also hunting down every last person who might need so little as a mug of ale from a nearby brewery.
  • Kazuma Kiryu of the Yakuza series, who more often than not finds himself stepping into any number of bizarre or dangerous situations, up to and including risking his own life, just because someone nearby or someone he cares about needs help. This ends up becoming a Deconstructed Trope as the series goes on, as it makes it impossible for him to keep a low profile or to leave his old life as a yakuza behind, no matter how hard he tries, and he tends to blame himself for everything that goes wrong around him regardless of whether or not he actually has any capacity to stop it.
  • Adol from the Ys series. Even though Sealed Evil in a Can gets unsealed wherever he goes, he will always risk his neck to save the community he just came by. Adol is an interesting example since it's not entirely a coincidence that he ends up in places in need of saving: he went to Ys in the first place specifically because he heard it was under attack. Most people with Chronic Hero Syndrome end up helping the people around them because they can't help themselves, despite all the damage and disruption it causes in their normal lives. Adol, by contrast, was told that there were still people in the world that were being eaten by dragons and enslaved by sorcerers at an impressionable age and decided then and there that somebody needed to do something about that.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney has Phoenix Wright and his fellow defense attorneys (the playable ones, at least) showing signs of this. They won't settle for simply getting their clients found not guilty, but will instead do whatever it takes to find the truth behind the cases, including finding the real criminals. Phoenix Wright will even not defend someone if it turns out they really are guilty of the crime they were arrested for.
  • Demonbane protagonist Kurou Daijuuji will help anyone, no matter the cost to himself. This is commented on several times, with many characters asking why Kurou goes to such lengths for people, even when they sometimes don't even want it themselves. His response is always a vague sentiment of "it would leave a bad aftertaste if I didn't". It eventually turns out that, over hundreds of thousands of time loops, he has been steadily molded into "the perfect hero" by Nyarlathotep, who needs such a human in order to enact its plans. Unfortunately for the Crawling Chaos, it failed to consider that an unyielding heroic spirit won't yield even in the face of an Outer God, and Kurou manages to halt its plans.
  • In Mystic Messenger, this is the root cause of Rika's Sanity Slippage; after a lifetime of abuse, neglect, and mental illness, all of which she hid from almost everyone she knew, she developed a compulsion to help other people she felt had been "forsaken" just like her. As her relationship with V progressed and he fed into her downward spiral, her mental health got worse and worse until she became delusional, convinced that the only way the world would get better is if she could help everyone; this eventually led to her and V staging her death and telling everyone in the RFA that she committed suicide while she absconded to the mountains to start the cult Mint Eye to "save" everyone she could get her hands on through kidnapping, drugging, and indoctrination.
  • The heroes of the Nasuverse tend to have this very, very badly.
    • Tsukihime: Tohno Shiki spends much of "Far Side" investigating the disappearance of Satsuki, who he barely knew.
    • Mikiya in The Garden of Sinners is in some ways a prototype version of Tohno Shiki.
    • Fate/stay night heavily deconstructs this with the protagonist Shirou Emiya. His need to try to save everyone is borne from a lack of a sense of self, wherein he can only find happiness as a result of other people's happiness. Many different characters comment on how messed up it is, and the Unlimited Blade Works route spends a majority of its time forcing Shirou to confront this in the form of his cynical Future Badass counterpart Archer, while the Heaven's Feel route is focused on him learning to overcome it.

  • The title character in Arthur, King of Time and Space, whether he's a crusading CEO, a lone sheriff, or a king who refuses to ignore a cry for help or send his knights to do something he could do himself. Lancelot as well, although unlike Arthur he has the advantage that he never loses.
  • Awkward Zombie provides the page image by portraying Commander Shepard's habitual heroic antics and/or crimes.
  • Todo from City of Reality suffers from this. It really interferes with his love life. Fortunately, he manages to make it up to AV after she comes to accept that it's just how he is.
  • Tiffany Winters from Eerie Cuties and Magick Chicks. She's an Idiot Hero who fails to notice the obvious and got convinced it's her duty to stake vampires and burn witches despite evidence for this being rather shaky, and the evidence for necessity of such behaviour being absent... except that's not what really happens. She's driven to help people and saves a vampire girl from Mirror Monster. Then becomes the best friend of another vampire girl. Then saves a witch from her Smug Super schoolmate, and for a good measure befriends her too, ignoring the glaring evidence of her being a witch. Then saves said schoolmate from fatal consequences of her own smugness.
  • Elliot from El Goonish Shive is one of these, starting out before the start of the strip by beating up bullies that were picking on people, and growing from there. Susan comments on it in this strip.
  • Mr. Mighty from Everyday Heroes. On the first day with his new team, he helped a little old lady fix a flat tire, retrieved a truckload of chickens that were blocking traffic, saved a busload of orphans from a speeding freight train, and foiled a bank robbery... all before he even got to the office. His biggest worry was being an hour late to work.
  • Rikk from Fans! has this in spades. It's surprising that the villains don't use it against him more often.
  • Freefall: Florence Ambrose has a case of this; it almost got her killed at one point, in a Shoot the Shaggy Dog incident at that. Of course, her grand objective is to prove that her species is too valuable to be allowed to go extinct, so it's probably a good thing, assuming she survives future heroism and doesn't get on the wrong side of the company that created her. (The company, Ecosystems Unlimited, is a Mega-Corp that would reach positively Shinra levels of villainousness if they could only find their rear with both hands, so this may be harder than it looks.)
  • Girl Genius:
    • Agatha claims to Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer! that she's uninterested in heroism. Immediately afterwards, she rushes out to defend the circus from an attacking Jägermonster. Clearly she won't be leading a normal life any time soon. It's been hinted that her father and uncle had this attitude even more strongly.
    • About Othar himself, reading his twitter shows that he's made of this trope. It also helps that he's completely nuts.
    • Gilgamesh Wulfenbach appears to be inflicted as well. While suffering from a gunshot and hallucinations, the only way to get him on his feet is to invoke the Damsel in Distress trope and make him think Zola needs her butt saved yet again.
    • Gil's tendency to constantly save people is deconstructed several times, mostly with Agatha. He has problems understanding that someone may not want or need saving at all.
    • And Gil's father, Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, has Chronic Anti-Hero Syndrome. He's generally on the side of good, but with ruthless Well-Intentioned Extremist methods, including conquering much of Europe in order to save it from itself.
  • The God of High School's Jin Mori has a tendency to go after small-time crooks and break the rules to save people even when it inconveniences him. This habit is what gets him into most of his problems such as nearly being disqualified from the competition and getting himself trapped in the Sage Realm.
  • Edith of Godslave jumps to Anpu's aid the moment she sees him in trouble, even though at this point she doesn't know who Anpu is and why it's so important for him to escape the Blacksmith. She doesn't hesitate to defend him even after she finds out just who the Blacksmith is.
  • Antimony from Gunnerkrigg Court is constantly going out of her way to help unusual creatures and/or her classmates, from her first week in the Court onward. A later Flash Back reveals that she's been doing this sort of thing since she was six years old.
  • James Sirius of Harry Potter Comics inherited his father's heroic tendencies. Though with James, it's equal parts a desire to help people and a desire to have adventures like his dad (as such he ends up in over his head far more often than Harry did).
  • John Egbert of Homestuck is totally unable to conceive of not throwing himself between other people and danger, no matter what the risk to himself is. Tellingly, upon gaining guaranteed immortality unless he dies in a just or heroic fashion, he immediately begins hatching heroic plans that relied upon abusing the immortality he would forfeit by carrying out heroic plans.
    • Aimless Renegade is shown to be similar with his obsession with law and justice. His very first reaction upon seeing John unconscious on a falling meteor is to immediately pull what he thought would be a Heroic Sacrifice and he goes into fits over people breaking any crime or potentially harming something else. It gets him killed at the end of Act 5 when he hesitates to blow up a teleporter out of fear of harming Wayward Vagabond, thus giving Bec Noir the opportunity and reason to decapitate him.
  • The title character of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! can be counted on to do his even best to help anyone he encounters who's in serious trouble, whether that means facing off against a giant space monster or rescuing a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds from herself. (Other incidents like stopping the bigfoot war don't quite count, since the threats endangered him, too.) His one attempt at being a Knight Errant when he got superpowers went badly.
  • Keychain of Creation, an Exalted webcomic, features the character of Misho, a person who perfectly embodies the benefits and drawbacks of a high Compassion Virtue. He cannot pass a scene of suffering and not offer to help, and while he's got more than enough power to do the job, it comes at the cost of possibly revealing himself as a Solar, which causes problems for the group thanks to the Wyld Hunt. The other problem with it is aptly demonstrated in these strips.
  • Sir Coffee from Oglaf is a play on this. (WARNING: Sir Coffee's comic is worksafe. The rest of the comic is very much not.)
  • One-Punch Man: Saitama and Mumen Rider are both incapable of standing aside when evil is afoot and are completely uninterested in praise or accolades for doing the right thing. In Saitama's case, this isn't so much a problem because there's nothing in the world that actually threatens him. Mumen Rider, on the other hand, is just a normal guy. An actually normal guy, not even a Badass Normal, but he'll still throw himself at any and all threats regardless of their weight class.
  • Ronin Galaxy: Cecil absolutely MUST save the day when there is a girl involved. Once in chapter one by saving Taylor and again in chapter two with Leona. Though not with the results he was expecting: Taylor almost gets him shot up by gangsters, and Leona (who is too heavy for him) slips out of his heroic grasp and lands on her behind.
  • Elysia from Rumors of War exhibits symptoms of Chronic Hero Syndrome, going out of her way to help a young woman who's misplaced her lover. Of course, it's shown that her initial reluctance to help out meant she was unable to prevent a chain of events that culminated in the girl's disappearance, the torture of a (presumably) innocent (if somewhat creepy) man, and a violent confrontation with the girl's father.
  • Gracenote, from Star Mares, often finds her general desire to help other ponies at odds with her limited ability to do so. Her hero complex not only provokes her to try to save ponies she just met, it even drives her to try to save her nominal enemies.
  • Supermegatopia's Weasel Boy series theorizes that heroism is "an instinct that makes people do good things before they can even begin to think about the consequences." Weasel Boy himself suffers from this in spades, even getting himself killed because he tries rescuing a little girl from a burning building just after being hit with a fast-acting poison.
  • In Tales of the Questor, an exhausted and injured Quentyn has to be prevented from going to try to help people who would turn on him.
  • Bam in Tower of God has a bit of an issue with this, and at some point, he has to stop and consider whether it's actually a form of selfishness on his part. The clearest example of trying to save everyone and right all wrongs is on the Hell Train when he's made to play a deadly game where he and his opponents both have to save their teammates from being lowered into their nasty deaths. You get points for saving teammates, but you have to spend points to go in to save them, and your opponent can try to stop you. The one who ends up with most points wins. After his opponent, Hoaqin, makes it clear he's perfectly fine with playing with the lives of others and he's not going to try to save all his teammates, Bam decides he's going to save everyone — even Hoaqin's evil teammates whose rescue gives points to Hoaqin instead, and even though Bam doesn't have enough points to do it and Hoaqin is more powerful and has the upper hand as it is. Yeah, Bam could probably use help from a plot twist right about now...
    • Subverted in "Deng Deng". Bam's group goes looking for Deng Deng in order to hand him over to Baylord Yama in exchange for military aid. However, when his best friend Louie, and later Deng Deng himself says he doesn't want to go back because he'll be forced to serve Yama, Bam promises to give him his freedom. He then talks about fighting Yama for Deng Deng's freedom, even though Yama is still way out of his league. However, it turns out Bam isn't just doing it to be nice to Deng Deng. He also reasons that doing a single favour to Yama isn't going to be enough to trust that he'll really give his aid unless they also show him some strength instead of just cowering in front of him. Besides, he isn't really planning to literally fight Yama but to challenge him in a game. This comes back to royally bite him in the ass when, after two and half different plot twists and schemes play out (a typical Tuesday for FUG at this point), Deng Deng ends up dying, due to circumstances which meant that if Deng Deng lived, his best friend Louie would have to die. Louie's real father/Deng Deng's fake father Gado (It's complicated) chose to save Louie over Deng Deng, and Bam realizes that he genuinely didn't want to save Deng Deng as much as Gado wanted to save Louie. This, and the fact that FUG's about to enter a war, causes Bam to do something rare in protagonists and lose his Chronic Hero Syndrome.
  • Sebastian of True Villains suffers from this, and a sense of honor. He's a villain now, so it's rather... superfluous.
  • Warrior U: Played for Laughs as an actual medical condition, after Harv is run over by a cart while rescuing a cat from the road.

    Web Original 
  • Egg of AJCO will feel sorry for and help literally anybody if they are in genuine distress, even when she knows that she will get no thanks and the person she is helping will only turn around and backstab her at the first chance they get. She is aware of the fact that this will probably get her killed one day.
    • She even protects and guards A_J, her primary rival, when it would have been incredibly easy to leave her alone in the wilderness or just plain shoot her. This is the A_J who had expelled her from the Silo moments before with the firm belief that she would die.
  • Alice of Alice Isn't Dead describes herself as having anxiety just like the Narrator. The difference is that she projects her anxiety outward and turns it into a drive to protect. The whole reason she got involved in the plot at all was that she saved a woman she saw being attacked by a Thistle Man.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: Lewis Lovhaug is seen to have this. Mostly because he is willing to defend anyone (examples include MarzGurl, Film Brain, and Iron Liz) leading to many heartwarming moments. It's kind of gotten to the point where someone being flamed/trolled and Linkara not showing up is odd!
  • Black Jack Justice protagonists Jack Justice and Trixie Dixon try their damnedest to remain mercenaries in the world of Law and Order, but will frequently go out of their way to help the people that hire them, and some that don't. "Justice in Love and War" features the pair helping a random man Jack found beaten up in the street rescue the girl he loves from a vengeful crime boss at high risk and no pay and ends on Jack monologuing that the letter telling them the couple was doing well, had a baby on the way, and making promised that wouldn't come to pass about the baby's name was the finest reward they ever got.
  • Enforced in the Puffin Forest Curse of Strahd campaign. To have a fighting chance, the character Gouda accepted a Dark Gift from the Death Tyrant Mavaras. She wished to be "the hero" so Mavaras cursed her to always be distracted by a new quest or adventure whenever her current one ended. Combined with her Resurrective Immortality, she is doomed to forever wander the Demiplane of Dread and never return home.
  • RWBY: Pyrrha always puts everyone else's needs above her own, no matter what. If she is called on to be a perfect representative of her people, she will do so. If she is expected to be a good friend and advisor to a friend, she will — even if means helping Jaune win over Weiss despite her own feelings for him. Being on a such pedestal means she cannot reveal her personal struggles, which takes a great toll on her. She's been lonely and friendless for years because people think she's too good for them. When Ozpin asks her to risk Loss of Identity and her personal desires to become the Fall Maiden to protect the world, she accepts the responsibility. It makes her a target of The Heavy, who is the villain after the magic, and ultimately leads to Pyrrha willingly going after her to try and stop her; she knows she cannot win, but she's the only person close enough to reach Cinder in time and therefore believes it's her responsibility to act if no-one else can.
  • Jeremy Torres from the first version of Survival of the Fittest would go out of his way to befriend and help others in the game, often to the detriment of himself with promises being made that he struggles to keep and providing a hefty amount of heartache as his friends die around him.
  • Kirito in Sword Art Online Abridged is at best a Jerkass and at worst a Misanthrope Supreme with disdain for nearly everyone else trapped in Sword Art Online with him. But Sachi's death affected him so much that her last words of "it's not your fault" act as his Trauma Button, compelling Kirito to try and help someone no matter how much he hates it or how little their troubles have to do with him.
  • Phase of the Whateley Universe. He was brought up in a filthy rich family where the motto is 'Goodkinds don't complain, they fix things'. And even though he has been kicked out of the family for turning into a mutant, he still tries to fix things for everyone around him. Even if some of them tell him to stop it.
    • At one point, school headmistress Lady Astarte points out that all Exemplars (those whose mutations have 'improved' their bodies and minds to fit a personal idealized form) have some degree of either 'Galahad Syndrome'(obsessive fixations on their goals, which in heroes often becomes this) or 'Hercules Syndrome' (a tendency towards uncontrolled and often violent emotional outbursts), or both. She even points out that she's had problems with both throughout her own career.

    Western Animation 
  • Finn from Adventure Time. He explains that he was abandoned as a baby and nobody stopped to help him, so he doesn't want anyone else to go through that.
  • Aladdin, especially in the animated show, where characters, often Iago, are able to use the knowledge that he'll always help people in need to get him to go along with things. Lampshaded by Genie: "Saving people that you might not like. It's a good guy thing!" At the time, he was saying it about himself, not Aladdin, but lampshading things is what Genie does.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Katara, so very much. She even says once that she will "never, ever turn [her] back on people that need [her]". Thankfully, the other members of the group are better at recognizing that they can't always get distracted, and are more pragmatic.
    • Aang is kind of a mixed bag since he ran away from home when he found out he was the Avatar and accidentally froze himself in an iceberg for 100 years. He continues heroism-avoidance at first, but once his Avatar superpowers start developing, he can hardly stop himself.
  • Batman: The Animated Series has used this one for laughs a few times:
    • The Dark Knight is burning rubber to make it across town to stop a mobster from demolishing an old building (with people inside) when he sees a city bus shoot past him, completely out of control. Batman can't leave them to die, but he reacts the same way one would if they had just hit a red light.
      Batman: Perfect. Just perfect. [alters direction to save them]
    • Lest we not forget the Condiment King, who is besieging a fancy restaurant in a pickle costume and y-front gitch for tights. This is really one Batman could leave for the cops, as probably even a meter maid could take this guy down, but when he hears on the police scanner that an armed extremist is threatening people with a "ketchup gun?"
      Batman: (Sighs) It's gonna be one of those nights...
  • Ben 10: While Ben Tennyson has been portrayed with different attitudes in his various series, this remains his most definite trait: Ben has a strong desire to help everyone in need, to the point it was the very first thing he thought about before, when, and after getting the Omnitrix.
  • BoJack Horseman: Princess Carolyn's childhood of (literally) cleaning up after her mother's mistakes has led to an adulthood of compulsively fixing others' problems or rescuing people from bad situations.
    Diane: Why are you helping me?
    Princess Carolyn: Because my life is a mess right now and I compulsively take care of other people when I don't know how to take care of myself.
    Diane: Oh. I was hoping it was because you believed in me.
  • The title character of Captain Planet and the Planeteers once lampshaded his own Chronic Hero Syndrome habits when one of his enemies asked him for help.
    Captain Planet: This is the bizarre thing about being a superhero — you've even got to save the bad guys.
  • On Doc McStuffins, almost inevitably, any "hero" toy that is made to rest by the Doc after getting injured will ignore doctor's orders if they see another toy in trouble. This will then lead to them getting injured again and Doc having to fix them again, followed by what passes from her as a stern talking-to about obeying doctor's orders.
  • Duke from G.I. Joe: Renegades, to such an extent that Scarlett not only starts to lampshade it but eventually says it's easier to just go along with him than try to argue.
  • Hey Arnold!: Arnold. His friends call him out on it and he decides to stop helping people. Then it turns out that, without his help, everyone's life goes to hell.
  • Dib from Invader Zim, who will constantly battle with Zim (and investigate any other paranormal threats that may present themselves) despite the fact that his classmates and family won't show any appreciation for it. One episode has him almost choose to let Zim subject his whole class to a horrible fate, even though he would suffer too; this is presented as the better option in some ways, though he decides against it in the end. It's hard to tell whether his primary motivation is a love of humanity or hatred of Zim.
  • Kim Possible practically defines this trope. She put up a website to bring in odd jobs like babysitting and got into fighting supervillains too. When asked why she doesn't turn down more requests, she replied: "I'm not programmed that way."
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Kipo Oak's very much unable to stop herself from getting sidetracked from her goal of finding her father in order to assist whoever might require help that day, much to the exasperation of allies and foes alike. She also prefers trying to talk her way out of a situation rather than fight, even when everyone else deems it completely illogical, such as her insistence at speaking to one of the feral Mega-Beasts. Just for the record it worked.
  • In "Super Pink," The Pink Panther tries to be a superhero, but his attempts at aiding a little old lady — be it rescuing her cat from a tree to averting potential disaster — ends in disaster.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • The titular Jack's Chronic Hero Syndrome is so bad that he repeatedly sacrifices one-time chances to complete his primary goal in order to save some random schmuck he's never met before. Said goal is to return to the past and Set Right What Once Went Wrong, preventing Aku's Bad Future from ever occurring. If Jack succeeded in his goal, all of those people would never need saving in the first place, or possibly never even exist in the first place.
    • Season 5 shows the consequences of this, as after a Time Skip of 50 years (where he hasn't aged as a side effect of being sent forward in time), Jack has taken several levels in cynicism and has lost all hope of ever returning home. However, it's later built up more positively as it turns out that Jack has inspired hope in everyone he's helped, leading many previous characters to band together in order to help him take down Aku.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Adora never sees a problem without trying to fix it, sometimes to the irritation of the people she's trying to help or protect. This is tied to a lack of self-esteem — she has trouble seeing value in herself beyond what she can do to help others. When someone asks her what she wants, she doesn't have an answer except "what's best for Etheria".
  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson is a very flawed person, but he is always willing to help his friends, close or not, if they are in trouble. In the movie, his selfishness overpowers his hero syndrome, but he ultimately does the right thing when he realizes he is alienating his family by being selfish.
    Grampa: Homer? What the hell are you doing now?
    Homer Simpson: Risking my life to save people I hate for reasons I don't quite understand. Gotta go!
  • While the heroes of Sonic Boom all face off against Eggman on a regular basis, all of them have activities that do not relate to their heroics at all... all of them, that is, except Sonic himself. In "Aim Low", when Eggman falls into depression, Sonic becomes increasingly listless to the point he starts interfering with his colleagues' hobbies.
  • South Park: Kyle Broflovski, but only when he's the protagonist to Cartman's antagonist (which happens quite a lot sometime after Season 5).
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man:
    • The titular Spidey himself, of course. He's vowed to never look the other way again, swearing by his uncle's philosophy of With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. So much so that the Sinister Six has used this against him: he knows he can't beat them, they know he can't beat them, but they still know he'll show up and fight if they endanger people:
      Doc Ock: He'll come. He can't help himself.
    • Done tragically so with John Jameson who becomes Colonel Jupiter when under the effects of alien spores that mutate his body, making him much bigger and more powerful than normal. Unfortunately, the spores affect his mind too and he quickly degenerates into a babbling psychopath who thinks being the hero is "crushing Spider Man". It ends with the poor guy cured only physically, locked in a cell screaming to have the power back while his father watches through the glass.
  • The protagonists of Street Sharks. One of the first things they do, after mutating into shark creatures, is save a woman from a car accident.
  • Played for Drama in Steven Universe: Future. After spending his entire childhood being raised to be a Kid Hero, Steven has no idea what to do with himself after successfully saving the galaxy and ends up Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life.
  • Ilana from Sym-Bionic Titan often has a compulsive need to help people in trouble, much to the frustration of Lance (and lesser so, Octus) as he believes protecting her comes first. The Shaman's Mind Rape takes advantage of this, causing her to believe that her planet's people need her and it's her fault that they're dying. She also feels this way towards the people of Earth, as the Mutraddi are there because they are searching for her.
  • ThunderCats (2011):
    • Lion-O is compelled to help anyone in need he comes across, with varying results. In one case, he tries to exterminate a swarm of insects stealing food on his own, but this disrupts the ecosystem, allowing an even more destructive creature to wreak havoc. Lion-O learns not to rush headfirst into things, but he doesn't stop trying to help anyone he can, and there's a good justification for that; as a king of a fallen people, Lion-O doesn't help people just because it's right, but to prove to the other races of Third Earth that the Cats aren't all that bad. The best example of this is when, against the advice of his friends, Lion-O goes to save some lizards who are to be executed for trying to desert Mumm-Ra's army. He's aware of how risky it is, and how it isn't vital to their main quest, but it's something he knows he must do to make things better in the long run.
    • To a lesser extent, WilyKit and WilyKat, but more so Kit, who is shown to be more idealistic than her brother.
  • Transformers:
    • This is a common feature among fire truck Transformers. Most notably, Generation One Inferno ends up caught in a trap because he had to stop and render aid when he thought there was an innocent in trouble. The other major Autobot fire truck, Hot Spot, is repeatedly shown in medias res fighting fires and rescuing civilians, and his bio notes that he is a high-intensity leader who regularly outpaces his own combiner team when it comes to doing good.
  • Uncle Grandpa, to the point where in "Vacation" he announces he's through helping people with their problems. Belly Bag then points out to him that he solved the problems of everyone in the RV as he was saying that.
  • Yugo of Wakfu can't bat an eye at a person in need without throwing his life on the line to help them. It's eventually lampshaded, mocked, and then outright discouraged by his companions since he inevitably winds up making their quests over twice as long as they need to be, but he's too nice of a kid to back down.
    • It's not just him: Evangelyne once attempts to lead the group away from one such problem, since they are on an urgent quest, but finds herself unable to leave them to their fates.
  • The titular Wander of Wander over Yonder feels the need to help out aliens he meets on all the planets he and Sylvia visit. This turns out to cause trouble in a few episodes:
    • In "The Fugitives", he and Sylvia are wanted fugitives on a planet; she wants to escape, but her plans keep getting botched when he wanders off to help people. Fortunately, in the end, all the people Wander helped pay him back by helping him and Sylvia escape.
    • In "The Good Deed", all of Wander and Sylvia's good deeds keep accidentally causing misfortune for others, to the point that Wander briefly sinks into despair when he accidentally provokes Lord Hater into trying to blow up a sun.
    • In "The Nice Guy", Wander's perpetual helpfulness and niceness impede a simple attempt to buy Sylvia a bottle of her favorite soft drink, to the point he ends up giving the last bottle of Thunder Blazz away to a little girl. It turns out said little girl wanted to buy the soda so she could give it to Sylvia!
    • In "The Helper", Wander goes into outright withdrawal when he can't find anyone who actually needs his help.
    • "The Wanders" gives an in-depth reveal of why Wander has to help anyone he sees: because he was helpless himself as a child, and he knows what it's like to be that way.
  • Wild Kratts runs on this. Poor Martin and Chris just can't seem to catch a break.
  • The titular superhero in WordGirl will not fail to stop any crime she learns of. Even if she does not feel like it, this is enforced by the Interactive Narrator and her Non-Human Sidekick Captain Huggyface. This informs the plot of "A World Without WordGirl", where Becky is pushed so far that she wishes she was never a superhero.
  • Xavier: Renegade Angel claims to have this during a monologue in "Going Normal" when he says that from now on he will always help anyone in need. It's actually Blatant Lies, and even as he's saying it he completely ignores the potential Class 5 apocalypse going on around him.

    Real Life 
  • Elliot Ness had a major case of this. In a famous example, while having dinner with his wife, he heard police sirens and jumped to his feet to join the chase. Since he now happened to have a nice selection of police with him, he decided to keep on going and lead them to bust a drug operation he knew of. His wife was simply left to wait at the restaurant.


Video Example(s):


This is my mission

Kiana doesn't mind sacrificing herself, but later realizes it's not so nice to see a friend do this.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / IronicEcho

Media sources: