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Crazy Sane

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Delirium: His madness... His madness keeps him sane.
Dream: And do you think he is the only one, my sister?

Sometimes the world you find yourself in is so grim or stressful, if not horrific, that the only way to keep from going crazy is to... well, go crazy. You thus end up acting in silly, if not bizarre, ways, just to keep from truly losing it for good due to all the horror and depression and genuine lunacy surrounding you.

Basically, it's when the standard of "sane" is lower in this world.

A common trait of Byronic Heroes. Often a staple of wartime environments and the resultant Black Comedy which often transpires, where the psychological demands of having to deal with death and suffering on a daily basis requires pretty extreme measures to retain one's grip on reality. Compare Bored with Insanity, and Safety in Indifference, which is another popular coping mechanism for the same predicament. Contrast with the so-called "Catch-22" situation, where going crazy is conclusive evidence that you're sane enough to stay on the job.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Eren Yeager. Seriously, if his Unstoppable Rage and Titan Shifter powers weren't extremely useful against the giant man-eating mutants whose existence caused them in the first place, he'd most likely be in a padded cell. Notably, he already had the Unstoppable Rage even as a small child, long before witnessing his mother's murder and long before he had the strength and skill to back it up.
  • Berserk: Much of the cast exhibits various expressions of this trope, whether for good, evil or something grayer. With all the terrible things and people, most characters need to abandon some part of their sanity just to stay functional. For example, following the Eclipse, Guts abandoned much of his empathy to pursue revenge against the demons, the Godhand and Griffith regardless of civilian casualties (though that brought other problems) and Casca regressed to an infantile state to deal with the horrors she herself suffered during the Eclipse, in particular Femto raping her.
  • Denpa Teki na Kanojo: The central theme is to explore the ways in which humans rationalize trauma. The antagonists (and one of the protagonists) had a Dark and Troubled Past, and the only way they found to keep themselves functional in the world after crossing the Despair Event Horizon was to become Crazy Sane. So They Look Just Like Everyone Else! until they have their particular Freak Out
  • The Elder Sister-like One: When Yuu continues acting totally normal and genuinely smiles in response to Haru's observation that Chiyo will no doubt one day corrupt and warp the world itself for his sake, Haru notes that Yuu has already long since become perfectly fine... with being insane.
  • Naruto: While nothing concrete has been said in-series, an idea accepted by the general fandom is that many of the ninjas' various quirks (Kakashi's "reading material," for example) are all actually coping mechanisms to deal with living the dangerous and traumatic life of a ninja.
  • Whereas her game counterpart fell into a dangerous sort of insanity due to loss, grief, and the odd injection of alien space venom, more than a few fans of Pokémon: The Series have noted that the anime version of Lusamine instead channeled her problems through different means, coming off as a ditzy womanchild less mature than her children instead of a dangerous, abusive villain like her game counterpart was. She's still very quirky, and not perfect as a parent, but overall has a far healthy relationship with everyone and everything around her than her game self as a result.
  • So I'm a Spider, So What?: It's not immediately obvious, but Merazophis has thrown away every scrap of his identity that does not revolve around protecting and nurturing Sophia. Originally a human, as a vampire he no longer identifies with humanity and even raids their villages. He doesn't care about seducing and feeding off of women. He obsessively trains in order to be of any use to her at all. Dustin finds it both alarming and pitiful.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Some interpretations of the Joker depict him as "super-sane" rather than crazy: he sees how ridiculous and mixed-up the world is, and the only way for him to deal with it is by treating it as one big joke. Rare writers even imply that he outright knows he is a villain in a comic book, in which case he is perfectly sane since he is only playing out the role he was literally made for, on top of knowing that nobody he harms is actually a real person.
    • Some interpretations hold that cosplaying as a bat and hunting criminals is Bruce Wayne's way to keep himself sane. The idea that Bruce would be more screwed up without Batman is shown in the JLA (1997) story "Divided We Fall" that split the two identities into different people. Bruce is reduced to a mass of rage and grief without his outlet as Batman. Batman meanwhile becomes much more personable but barely does anything more than the bare minimum of hero work, since he doesn't have Bruce's issues that make him keep people at arm's length but also has basically no drive without Bruce's anger.
    • This is Len Kaminski's interpretation of the Creeper, as seen in the 1997-98 series: Jack Ryder has to periodically let the Creeper out, otherwise he'll go permanently insane.
  • Deadpool may be a case of this, due to the tortures he endured from Weapon X which permanently scarred his body and shattered his mind. An optional dialogue in Marvel Ultimate Alliance, though not canon to the mainstream comic universe, goes as follows when the player asks Deadpool to get serious:
    Deadpool: Nah, I don't think so. You know how people talk crazy because they're insane — I talk crazy to keep from going insane. If only you knew what I've got twisting around in my brain thanks to Weapon X.
  • The Sandman (1989): Emperor Norton of San Francisco was subject to a Cosmic Chess Game between Dream and his siblings. Dream pulled him out of Despair by giving him a waking dream that he was monarch of America, his consistent belief in his emperorhood kept Delirium from getting hold of him, and because he wanted for nothing Desire couldn't snare him.
  • Watchmen: The Comedian dealt with the terrible things he saw and did by seeing the world as a huge joke. He has a total breakdown when he discovers a horrible scheme that even he can't laugh off.
  • X-Men: Nathan 'Nate' Grey/X-Man may or may not have become this after becoming a 'Shaman' in Counter-X. His alternate counterpart, who introduced him to the concept, was definitely this, being perfectly pleasant and coherent while matter-of-factly referring to fits of mad dancing and his mind being broken. While Nate never goes quite so crazy (though at one point, when someone says You're Insane!, his casual reply is, "probably"), his behavior tends towards that of a Cloudcuckoolander with an eccentric philosophy, a messiah complex, and a rather... permanent solution to people who cross certain lines, as well as a side of Barefoot Loon (which mainly worked because his telekinesis means he doesn't actually have to walk). Combine this with the mind of a Magnificent Bastard capable of giving Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers the runaround, an edge of desperation, and latterly, Reality Warper levels of power, and you have the recipe for something unsettling, as Age of X-Man proved.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Upon meeting Cowl during the Bloody Hell arc of the sequel, Wanda determines that while he's clearly crazy, he's the kind who can pass for sane, which makes him even more dangerous.
    • It's hinted that this trope is applicable to Stephen Strange as well: When you're 500,000 years old, have been battling Eldritch Abominations for millennia, and running up and down the roads of time getting history and all of its players to where you want them to be, you kind of have to go bonkers, at least a bit. How much is Obfuscating Insanity and how much is actually Strange being Strange (in every sense of the phrase) is something that the cast occasionally speculate on, and never quite figure out.
  • In Concerning Us the only reason Janine is able to bear living on after losing her brother is because she went insane.
  • The Infinite Loops: It is generally accepted canon that every single Looper, due to the Time Abyss "Groundhog Day" Loop nature of the Loops, has become at least somewhat insane in order to deal with the stress. There is also a In-Universe mental condition referred to as "Sakura Syndrome" which details what happens when a Looper has a mental breakdown and goes all the way insane (it's never pretty).
    • It's repeatedly stated that the single most important task of an Anchor is to remain mentally stable, and just as repeatedly stated that this is not the same thing as being mentally sane. On occasion, we get to see loopers explaining their mindset to nonloopers, who tend to be at least a little disturbed by how their thought process works.
  • In Researcher Twilight after getting a piece of shrapnel in her head after a Magitek reactor explosion Twilight Sparkle starts hearing voices. This saves her life later when an experiment gone wrong causes her to poison herself. Twilight becomes too disoriented by the poison to brew an antidote, but the part where the voices come from doesn't and ends up talking her through it.
  • In Boop the Snoot for Critical Damage!, pretty much every character has at least one or two screws loose. Almost every character from RWBY is a different flavor of crazy (barring Jaune, Ironwood, and Ozpin) and everyone from Borderlands is as crazy as you can get. But considering how much of a Death World Pandora and much of the galaxy at large tends to be, being absolutely batshit nuts is really the best way to last as long as you can in a world where everything is trying to kill you in the most hilariously over-the-top of ways.
  • The Doom Slayer in Remnant Inferis: DOOM is an aggressive, bloodthirsty, Ax-Crazy Unscrupulous Hero who just wants to kill the entirety of demonkind. Of course, when most of his life has been spent fighting and slaughtering beasts whose sole intent is to destroy everyone and everything but themselves, him being as messed up as he is contributes to his effectiveness against them. It even gets lampshaded by Eleanor in Chapter 22.
    Eleanor: You're ruthless. I thought the codex entry on you being around since before the beginning of time was an exaggeration. Now I realize, it's not. Only the most ruthless, most inhumane, could survive for as long as you have.
  • Exodus of Stars discusses this when dealing with Kearny/Fuchida jumpspace mechanics, saying that the vast majority of researchers are either capable of reproducing the book but bringing nothing new to the table, or are completely bonkers. The very few who can actually innovate, in this case, the researcher involved with allowing ships to have a hybrid KF system/Eezo-based mass manipulation system, without being completely mad, are few and far between.
  • Atlas from The Prodigal Son remains one of the most stable people in Rapture by virtue of being so delusional he's forgotten he's crazy. More specifically, he's forgotten everything pertaining to the fact that he was originally a persona of Frank Fontaine, who became a split personality after Fontaine spliced up at the end of the first game, and performed a Split-Personality Takeover.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Private Handjob gets discharged from the Marines in Full Metal Jacket for compulsive masturbation.
  • Applied to the corporate world in Head Office:
  • M*A*S*H is an obvious example, with Hawkeye and Trapper being the most prominent in the film version.
  • Discussed in a deleted scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, where the disgraced ex-Commodore Norrington ruefully comments on the fate of a missionary who hanged himself after disease killed his entire flock — and by extension himself — by saying "Better to go mad with the rest of the world than remain sane alone." Unfortunately for Norrington, he hasn't managed to go mad with the rest of the world, and it's left him a bitter alcoholic drifter.
  • In The Voices, what happened when, at the insistence of his therapist and his crush Fiona's disembodied head hallucination, the hero Jerry eventually took his pills? He dreamed about dark memories of his childhood during his sleep, then brutally awoke in a disgustingly filthy home (in his altered state of mind, the home looks very bright and clean), and the pets stopped talking. Fiona's head stopped talking too, and now looked like a rotting corpse. Needless to say, Jerry is very freaked by this experience and immediately gets rid of his pills. When he awakes the following morning, things are back in their usual state, to his relief.
  • In Zombieland, Tallahassee suggests the gang smash everything in a store in order to keep from going crazy. Columbus considers this as applying Rule 32: "Enjoy the little things" and gleefully joins him in thrashing the store.

  • In Brain Twister by Randall Garrett and Laurence Janifer, most people with a particular mental condition are catatonic or gibbering wrecks. The one known exception is Miss Thompson, who is not only compos mentis, she's arguably the sanest and most sensible character in the book — except that she's unshakably convinced that she's a 400-year-old immortal who used to be Queen Elizabeth I.
  • The Duck Man in the Discworld series has suffered many setbacks in his life, some of which we've seen and some of which remain mysterious, and through it all he's remained intelligent, cultured and a wellspring of good sense — except that he is never seen without a duck on his head, the existence of which he denies if anybody ever asks about it.
    • We do see once that from his perspective he is constantly and inexplicably surrounded by people who see ducks where there are none.
  • In Elantris, this is said to be the case with Aandan who decided he couldn't face his Fate Worse than Death in Elantris sane and chose to go mad instead. He becomes sane again after Raoden defeats him and shows him a better way.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy:
    • In Life, the Universe and Everything, after being stranded for far too long on a primitive planet with nobody to talk to but some trees, Arthur Dent finally announces to the world "I shall go mad!"... just before running into his old friend Ford Prefect, who drags him into chasing a floating Chesterfield sofa across an empty field. (Arthur takes a moment to appreciate the fact that just for once, his day is going exactly to plan.) Ford himself had gone insane to keep from going insane with boredom, convincing himself that he was a lemon and spending some time jumping in and out of a lake that thinks it's a gin and tonic (at least, he thinks it thought it was).
    • In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Wonko the Sane concluded that the whole world had gone mad after finding usage instructions on a package of toothpicks, and made his house an inside-out structure with its contents called "Outside the Asylum" (the rest of the world is "Inside the Asylum").
  • G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday: Gabriel Syme self-describes as a "rebel against rebellion," being as frenetic and feverish about law and order as the anarchists are about revolution. In fact, he seems downright crazed when he delivers his Motive Rant to Gregory. It turns out that Syme embraced Order and rejected radicalism because his whole family was made up of radicals for various causes and ideologies.
    Being surrounded with every conceivable kind of revolt from infancy, Gabriel had to revolt into something, so he revolted into the only thing left — sanity.
  • Moby-Dick: Captain Ahab is a pretty competent The Captain, and seems perfectly normal until he talks about his Animal Nemesis. Pip goes mad from the revelation when he drowned twice and becomes a Talkative Loon with very interesting conversation. After a chapter tells us Perth The Blacksmith's tragic life, Ahab himself asks why Perth averts this trope.
  • In The Name of the Wind, this is actually a problem. Early in the book, insanity is mentioned as one of the ways people deal with pain, along with sleep, forgetfulness and death: when the world really is awful, sometimes the only way to end suffering is to escape reality. Later, we discover that the immortal Haliax has spent millennia dealing with horrible grief and loss while unable to sleep, forget, die or go insane. Thus, he has decided, rationally, that the only way to end his suffering is to end the world.
  • In Watership Down, one particular warren is under the care of a human, who keeps predators away and leaves out food but also sets snares. The rabbits have adapted to this by pretending it isn't happening. Occasionally, rabbit prophets appear, but they end up believing the official story too and start writing lovely verses about how death should be embraced when it arrives. Fiver, the protagonists' Waif Prophet, is beyond horrified when he hears this.
  • Fake Saint of the Year: Ellize, due to her psyche being severely disassociated, is able to constantly circulate mana and grow her power, something that would drive any normal human insane.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One interpretation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, at least according to Matt Smith, is that all of his quirks are a way of dealing with all the trauma that comes with his lifestyle. We see this a lot with the Eleventh Doctor, who self-identifies as a "madman with a box" and is the one who encounters the Dream Lord, who accuses the doctor of being this: "If you had any more tawdry quirks, you could open up a tawdry quirk shop".
  • John from Farscape goes gradually crazy over the seasons. The alternative would have been trying to keep it together, then snapping and destroying the universe with a geometrically growing wormhole.
  • M*A*S*H follows directly in the movie's footsteps, practiced by several characters throughout the series' run, most notoriously by Klinger (who wasn't in the film).
    • Dr. Sidney Freedman specifically said this about Hawkeye:
  • Psych protagonist Shawn Spencer has this to an extent. It's implied some of his quirky behavior and mannerisms are his way of dealing with the truly serious situations of detective work. Most notably in the Yin-Yang trilogy of season finales, as he has to ask his Straight Man and partner Gus to do it because of how the murderer singled Shawn out for the sick game.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • When Mickie James first started feuding with Victoria, it was because Mickie was crazy, crazy enough to keep coming back after defeats, to blindly charge her larger opponent even when Victoria was armed with bat. While Mickie did realize she was crazy and try to reign herself in Victoria was so tired of losing she tried to make herself crazy in hopes it would allow her to beat Mickie again.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Black Crusade: This is the reason why Chaos forces are able to function. Normally in Dark Heresy and related games, if you reach 100 insanity your mind has snapped and you're no longer capable of doing anything other than drool. Here that level of insanity is the starting point, as your character is so nuts that they achieve a form of bizarre sanity.

  • In Jane Wagner's The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (a one-woman show performed by Lily Tomlin):
    Trudy: But I don't ever want to sound negative about going crazy. I don't want to overromanticize it either, but frankly, goin' crazy was the best thing that ever happened to me. I don't say it's for everybody; some people couldn't cope.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Subject 16 only managed to accomplish the very, very important task set to him by doing things that no sane person would ever do.
  • In interpretations where Ocelotte isn't real, Consumed King Oceiros in Dark Souls III is able to keep it together despite mutating into a vicious, insane half-draconic abomination by fixating on the delusion that he is protecting a son. During his boss fight, after a certain amount of damage, he appears to realise that Ocelotte isn't there, and immediately flies into a killing rage, losing the ability to speak coherently as he had done previously and simply lashing out savagely at the player character.
  • Genocide Jack of Danganronpa, in spite of being a Serial Killer and the Superpowered Evil Side of Shrinking Violet Toko Fukawa, is a master of Pragmatic Villainy who manages to go through the series without ever getting into any situation without a way out, mostly through logic and self-restraint. Considering that the setting is a dystopia where despair and Hope Crushers rein supreme, that's saying something.
    • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Despite being a proud serial killer, Jack never kills anyone. When she's unmasked during the second trial, she explains that she's actually the least likely of the students to kill, because she knows she'd be the obvious suspect (and because she only wants to kill people with her normal calling cards, being very particular about her craft, and she knows that'd be a dead giveaway). She also knows something the others don't, that makes her the least likely to fall for Monokuma's manipulations: the state of the outside world. Jack is the only student who hasn't had her memory wiped, so she knows that the school was actually a safe house against the Tragedy. She won't kill because she starts the game fully aware that the basic premise (the school is a prison and students should want to escape) is false.
    • By the time that Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls has come around, Toko is a loosely accepted member of Future Foundation, because she managed to get Jack under control. One of the conditions for Toko/Jack to be allowed in is that Jack not kill any more humans, which Jack sticks by. She justifies this by saying that her beloved master, Byakuya Togami, is also a Future Foundation member; it's simply more convenient for Jack if she plays by the rules. Having said that, Jack is still a laughing-mad lunatic who gleefully slices up Monokuma robots, threatens Komaru Naegi with getting "cut to pieces and lined up at the meat counter", and is perfectly willing to threaten people with death if they get in her way; it's just that these traits come in handy in the dystopia that is Towa City.
  • Johnny Powell from The Darkness II. Ostensibly a babbling lunatic, there happens to be no one else on the planet who knows more about the titular Darkness or a lot of the other supernatural goings-on than Johnny.
  • The protagonist of Daughter for Dessert is seen dealing with the stresses of running a failing business by getting together with Kathy (his employee) to drink excessively and smoke weed.
  • Isaac Clarke spends most of the Dead Space series teetering on the edge of sanity, but managing to persevere and fight through Necromorph infestations. The second game in particular has him constantly being tormented by Marker visions and severe post-traumatic stress disorder, especially when he's forced to once again board the Ishimura.
  • The Player Character of Disco Elysium is an alcoholic, substance abusing Defective Detective, yet also a Bunny-Ears Lawyer, being extremely talented at solving the cases thrown at him, as he is good at reading people, noticing small details, and coming at a logical problem from an unexpected angle. The latter especially ties into why the psychological consultant of his squad ultimately suggests he might be this, despite his extremely self-destructive behavior. He is simply too sane for the New Weird-style reality he lives in, and drinking and drugging himself to oblivion is how he copes with the batshit insanity of the world.
  • In Dragon Age II, Hawke with a sarcastic personality often comes across as this, having become a Stepford Smiler and Sad Clown in response to all the craziness in Kirkwall and personal tragedies they've suffered over the course of the game.
  • Fate Series:
    • In earlier works, the Madness Enhancement trait and the Berserker class represent insanity too severe to speak and be understood. In Fate/Grand Order, many of the new Berserker or Madness Enhanced characters can speak, and seem perfectly rational except on specific topics, either a Berserk Button or a fixation.
    • Grand Order also has the Japanese artist Hokusai encounter an Outer God... and avoid becoming its vessel because his all-consuming obsession with art means he can't accept the Outer God's poor aesthetic taste, leaving him with a connection to it that allows him and his daughter Ou'i to be summoned together as a Foreigner-class Servant, albeit with Ou'i as the main body and Hokusai as a floating octopus. Neither he or Ou'i are particularly fussed about that, though.
  • Marathon: The gone rampant A.I. Durandal has, unlike the other simply insane A.I.s, come out from the other side of going rampant and become a protector and Sarcastic Devotee to humanity, albeit a Pragmatic Hero one willing to sacrifice large numbers of human lives in the process.
  • For the Shadow Hearts series, we have main character, Yuri Hyuga, a Harmonixer. Harmonixers are otherwise normal humans of a specific blood-line who can absorb evil (most notably demonic evil). Malice taken in by Harmobixers mutates their bodies and lets them take in demonic forms to use as they see fit, however remaining in such forms wears on ones sanity. Yuri, aside from being Blessed with Suck / Cursed with Awesome by his Harmonixer bloodline had a very, very Traumatic Superpower Awakening. As a result Yuri is constantly on the edge of being on the cusp of a metal-breakdown/Demonic Possession. Apart from being so used to it he appears blasé to the situation, Yuri is actually so afraid of losing himself he is hyper-aware of demonic consciousnesses stirring within him that he makes sure to mentally beat the snot out of them frequently, to keep his wits about him.
    • Then we have series’ recurring side-character Roger Bacon. Bacon was Touched by Vorlons receiving insight into the fundamental nature of the universe. Roger is kooky, overblown and a Gibbering Genius. Of the dozens of people exposed to such insights only three have had clarity enough to comprehend them; And of those three, Roger is the only one to make peace with that level of crazy (one became an outright villain, and the other had to hypnotize herself to keep the insights locked away unless invoked lest she go mad). Roger appears borderline-insane, but the difference from his contemporaries is Roger has more or less accepted that conventional sanity is a flawed concept, so he doesn’t bother with it, and as such is in a very stable place, mentally.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, this is a valid interpretation for a Sith Inquisitor, who is "differently rational" even under the best of circumstances: they have a tendency to shift wildly in mood from one line to the next, favor Zany Schemes over more down-to-earth plans (once breaking into an enemy base by siccing zoo animals on them), and appears to deeply enjoy trolling people for laughs. Doubly so for a Light Side Inquisitor, who is trying not to replicate the Ax-Crazy mentality that counts as "normal" for a Sith: a lot of people are completely taken aback by a rational Sith who is capable of compassion and kindness.
  • The Secret World:
    • One member of the Illuminati faction, Hayden Montag, is the headmaster of an illustrious prep-school, secretly a Wizarding School. Unlike most other works, The Secret World acknowledges how insane, legally precarious and stressful such a place would be, and Montag is considered a model employee for how well he handles it. The only reason Montag can handle it is because he is an obsessive, neurotic, borderline sociopath with no ties to basic humanity as a concept and a view of children as the perfect preservation medium of knowledge.
    • Another faction member is one Dr. Charles Zurn, star of the Illuminati's Mad Scientist division. He is a former government researcher who was recruited to apply his "unorthodox" research techniques to the secret world. Shortly after finding out that undead, godlings and Lovecraftian horrors all exist, Zurn became unhinged. But quite apart from being driven to existential horror, he became ecstatic at the opportunity to take all the eldritch horrors of the world apart to see what makes them tick. While numerous other researchers in similar positions go insane or mad-with-power, Zurn fully embraces the absurd, and thus adapts to it with profound glee. As his overseer Kirsten Geary notes when you collect the research of a composed but truly depraved scientist...
      The most dangerous lunatics are the ones who sound lucid. Passing on Dr. Schreber's research to Zurn (who isn't dangerous because he doesn’t even pretend to be lucid).
  • Tomb Raider (2013): After learning his motives, Lara speculates to herself that Mathias has gone so far out of his mind that he's "come right back around to some kind of sane." Considering he's managed to survive for decades on an island that kills any who tries to leave, she's probably not far off the mark.
  • Sumire Yoshizawa from Persona 5 Royal. On one hand, she’s been deluded in to thinking that she's her dead twin sister, but on the other hand, this curbs her suicidal depression long enough to survive to get the help she needs.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Tyrian Callows is, hands down, an Ax-Crazy Serial Killer and easily the most mentally unbalanced member of Salem's inner circle. However, this makes him the most lucid and least conflicted of Salem's associates. He likes killing things, Salem wants him to kill things- match made in Grimm Heaven! He's also the only one to accept Salem's true goal, the destruction of the world. All the others are deluding them into thinking that Salem wants something compatible with their own goals. But Tyrian's so nihilistically bloodthirsty that he's completely fine with himself being destroyed along with the rest of the world.

  • In Skin Horse, Tigerlily Jones turns out to be this.
    "Let me tell you a secret. You think I'm crazy because I don't know I'm not an Egyptian princess reincarnated on Planet Lovetron. But I do know. I'm crazy because I don't CARE."
  • In Survival Story of a Sword King in a Fantasy World, Ryu Han-Bin is a recent discharge of the Army who is unexpectedly teleported one day along with thousands of people in front of a God, who gives them a "Guideline", something which allows them to check people's levels and improve their skills, and tells them they are going to be sent to another world. Hanbin is sent alone to a otherworldly mountain to train until he reaches level 5. However, he then discovers a problem- his "guideline" is malfunctioning, causing his level to continuously revert to level 1 every time he's about to reach level 5, trapping Hanbin in an endless cycle of levelling and restarting for an untold number of years. On top of that, the enemies keep getting stronger to match his combat prowess, meaning every single fight he must endure is a life-or-death match, no matter his actual improved combat abilities. Hanbin does eventually make his way out of his situation and to a fantasy world with actual people he can converse with, but the experience understandably scars him psychologically, though for various reasons, such as being considered a monster who needs to be killed on sight by the native inhabitants should they discover his true origins, he has to keep it to himself and try to fit in. Even when he makes friends, it's made clear than none of them are aware of the depth of his psychological problems because he normally acts sane and composed, but the trauma is still present and sometimes bubbles to the surface in moments of intense stress. When he's possessed by a ghost trying to use his body to attack his friends, said spirt winds up in a hellish mental landscape resembling the tutorial area, seeing Hanbin as a dog walking endlessly on a conveyor belt, and is warned to 'keep walking' no matter what lest it fall off the end into a pit of misshapen monsters resembling the ones Hanbin fought endlessly. Said spirit is left understandably terrified upon getting a glimpse of what Hanbin's endured. Another example comes from when Hanbin is forced into a gladiatorial arena and made to fight a small army of ants, the situational conditions being similar enough to his ordeal triggers Harbin, causing him to slaughter the monsters and wreak the arena to a degree that terrifies everybody who witness him in action, from his allies to his enemies.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Mask: The Mask though insane can be reasonable and he is a Nice Guy who is pretty sweet, kind and has a charisma charm that makes people see that he is a polite guy even if he's insane.

    Real Life 
  • The controversial idea of hypersanity, which alleges that some people who descend into madness might come to realize harsh truths about themselves and society and wake up to a state of higher consciousness.
  • The aforementioned Emperor Norton of San Francisco, who lost most of his savings to bad business deals and started believing he was Emperor of the United States and dedicated himself quite well to his self-appointed job. He was also very forward-thinking for his day, supporting female suffrage and the rights of native tribes.
  • Many people in the Nazi concentration camps would still go through everyday routines (e.g., pretending to shave with their fingers each morning) just to try to maintain some sense of normalcy in their lives.
  • Popular poster: "You don't have to be crazy to work here — but it helps."
  • There's a euphemism for PTSD among veteran soldiers known as "still sleeping with your boots on", as one of the more common but fairly benign ways the disorder can manifest is in a compulsion to wear shoes to bed, just in case of an unexpected enemy attack in the middle of the night, even months or years after returning from serving in an active warzone.
  • As Ursula K. Le Guin says, "What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?"
  • Doctor Bronner of Doctor Bronner's soap fame (though he never actually held a doctorate of any sort) was this. His semi-coherent ramblings on his classic labels make a lot more sense considering that his wife died at the same time that he learned his parents died in the Holocaust. He did manage to make the equivalent of 56 million dollars in 2016 money over the course of his life while managing a successful company, donating to children's charities, lead hemp legalization efforts, promoted fair trade, and advocating that even the lowest worker at a company should be treated well. However he did abandon his children at an orphanage after his wife died. He wasn't perfect by any means, but he managed to keep going when so many others would have been broken forever.


Video Example(s):


Odin and Tor Anderson

It is implied that Odin and Tor are not as senile as they would have you believe, their eccentricities either a by-product of their interactions with the Dark Presence or a method of fooling Dr. Hartman.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CrazySane

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