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Cry Cute

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So sad, and yet so adorable.

"I can't believe this. A guy made me cry."
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A character, usually female and often a tsundere, cries. Unlike in cases of Inelegant Blubbering, the crying person will be, if anything, more attractive-looking than they normally are, so that the audience can easily sympathize with them in their moment of emotional vulnerability.

There is an inexplicable phenomenon that the tougher a character is, the more adorable they will be when a Sparkling Stream of Tears pours out of their eyes. The tyrant instantaneously becomes The Woobie, whose endearingly vulnerable sobs and pleas for sympathy makes the coldest of hearts want to hug her till she feels better. This is considered Moe beyond belief by fandom in general, even by those who are not normally into that sort of thing.

Sometimes this moment acts as a roadstop, a turning point in which the character starts to slowly become a better person.

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However, other times, having felt embarrassed for daring to be vulnerable, the once adorable woobie will immediately thereafter turn into a tyrant of epic magnitude worse than the mere Tsundere she was to compensate for her brief moment of weakness.

Truth in Television, of course, but it's by no means as common as it is in media - most people will fall under the category of Inelegant Blubbering when tears are shed, and this is likely to be for an evolutionary reason, as the more 'ugly' aspects of crying - things such as blotchy skin, ragged breathing, runny nose, etc. are traits that have been refined through selection to catch the attention of other people who might be able to console the crier or offer assistance.

Note that this trope can also occasionally apply to a male character. What differentiates this from Manly Tears is that whereas Manly Tears shows the sensitive attributes of an already decent male, Cry Cute is usually used on a male character in the Alas, Poor Villain context that humanizes them. Also keep in mind that a character does not necessarily even need to be a tsundere in order to qualify for this trope. See also Tender Tears, where the crier is normally nice and sensitive.

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Sometimes includes Biting the Handkerchief.

A Super-Trope to Cry into Chest. Contrast with Inelegant Blubbering.


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Other Examples:

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    Fan Works 
  • The Cuphead fan comic from DeviantArt, "Cagney Is a Carnation" by fuyuflowga, is rife with this. The title page has Cagney Carnation's eyes glistening with silent tears. But it doesn't stop there, as he often cries at some parts whenever he feels rejected and unloved since he reluctantly signed the Soul Contract in his Deal with the Devil to save his adoptive flower children. However, his crying looks a bit hideous in his monster form when he reluctantly kills Mugman during the battle for the contract. Mugman often cries in his ghost form at one point, and Cuphead also cries at the loss of his brother before hitting his Rage Breaking Point.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Yuuka Kazami. One of Gensokyo's oldest and mightiest youkai, if not the mightiest. Has no qualms with trying to reduce Megas to dust. Is the type of person to make jokes about violence and genocide... and, after being given some packets of sunflower seeds after the Garden of the Sun's pieces are blown across Gensokyo, is surprisingly adorable when she's trying not to cry. "Youkai moe", indeed.
    Reimu: Look at this. This is the most pathetic thing I've seen in years. Someone with her strength isn't supposed to look so... helpless!
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: After Germany pulled out a Browning Hi Power against Japan and Japan pulled out his katana on Germany during the climax of their cock fight, Italy had had enough. He broke down crying before fleeing the scene.
  • Faith spends the first several chapters of Marching Orders being distant if not outright hostile to everyone, especially Xander. But after the teddy bear he bought her gets its ear ripped off by a vampire, she breaks down crying, wondering if Xander will be mad that it got damaged.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines:
    • In Chapter 16, Iris is bent on chasing Hunter J to rescue her family of Dragon-types. Ash's Pokédex points out that doing so will only result in getting herself killed, and to get the point across, it commandeers Ash's Charmeleon in a battle against Iris' Excadrill. This causes her to break down in tears, knowing she's not strong enough to rescue them.
    • In the Oak's Summer Camp Gaiden sidestory, Serena, who isn't happy about being in the titular camp, gets nervous while trying to bathe a Poliwag and it splashes her in the face. The other kids laugh at her and she runs off to cry alone, until Ash goes after her.
  • This Bites!: Averted. When Robin breaks down in tears at Enies Lobby, Cross calls it "messy, loud, and ugly" but insists it was absolutely beautiful for it's complete and undeniable sincerity.
  • In the Punch-Out!! fanfic Home Sick, Aran Ryan cracks under the pain from his illness and cries into Disco Kid's chest.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Cars, Lightning McQueen experiences this just before he departs for California, not to mention this is the first time he actually broke down as a result of his Character Development taking effect due to staying in Radiator Springs and befriending the locals. He immediately wanted to leave upon getting stuck there, but after spending so much time, he's upset and is reluctant to go. You can actually see the tears at the bottom of his windshield during this scene.
    • Lightning does this again in the sequel as he reads Mater's farewell note and feels bad for lashing out at him for making him lose the Tokyo race of the World Grand Prix. Ditto for Fillmore, Sarge, Luigi and Guido, the last two being the saddest (and cutest) ever during that scene.
  • In Shrek, a dragon, of all things, manages to pull this off (yes, the flying reptile kind, not the other kind) while feeling sorry for herself by a pond after having her love interest run away.
  • Mei from Turning Red after she breaks down and cries as a giant red panda after feeling utterly embarrassed about what had happened to her and her parents taking away everything from her room except for her mattress and favorite stuffed toy dog.
  • Wreck-It Ralph sees Vanellope break down sobbing after Ralph smashes her car to pieces. At the same time, Ralph looks to barely be holding back waterworks of his own.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played for Heartwarming-Laughs in Avengers: Endgame with Thor. When the Thunder God was caught by Frigga, his mother, during his quest for the Reality stone travelling back in time, he thought she would be ashamed of him because he is now an overweight alcoholic shut in. Instead assures him she still loves him, and encourages him pick himself up and be the best person he can be, instead what others expect him to. This causes the former god of thunder to adorably weep like a little boy as his mom lovingly hugged him.
  • Nails the Spider from Cool World cries like this when he looks at Frank's corpse.
    Nails: [sobs]
    Whiskers: I'm sorry he didn't make it.
    Nails: I got to take him back with me. There's a nice gal back there. She deserves to see him, dead or alive!
  • Played for drama in Guardians of the Galaxy as the Foul Mouthed Jerkass Cyborg Racoon Rocket holds the bundle of sticks that remains of his sentient-tree-man friend Groot (it's that kind of movie) after his Heroic Sacrifice, and finally resembles the adorable Racoon he should be as he weeps bitterly like a child.
  • In Kick-Ass 2 Mindy does this after being left in the woods by the Alpha Bitch after Mindy was able to beat her on the dance team. She arrives at Dave's house in tears. It is one of the only times in the movie that she actually appears vulnerable.
    Mindy: [in tears] I just wanted to see my Robin...
  • Leslie Mann does this a lot in her movies, such as Knocked Up, Funny People, and The Other Woman (2014).
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, during his sad scene, Roger manages to pull off this by saying his catchprase:
    Roger: [sobs] P-p-p-pleaaaase!

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tate in American Horror Story: Murder House.
  • Arguably Faith in the episode of Angel she first appears in, though a much more extreme example.
    • Faith is more of a woobie. Rewatch Buffy Season 3, particularly Faith's first appearance and the Christmas episode "Amends."
  • Annie's "Disney face" in Community.
    Jeff: Now she is going to make the Disney face: her lip is going to quiver and her eyes will flutter but they won't ever actually close, but do not feel sorry for her!
  • In Gotham, Oswald Cobblepot/the Penguin tends to look adorable when he cries, mostly due to Adaptational Attractiveness. Despite being a hardened criminal that will stab, shoot, and betray people without a second thought, he's one of the most openly emotional characters on the show, and frequently tears up when he's upset or even happy; his happy tears are especially innocent and endearing. Even when he's full-out sobbing, there's something heartbreakingly vulnerable in it that just makes you want to give him a big hug. Seriously, look at him. The one exception is when his beloved mother is killed, and his tears are a terrifying Villainous Breakdown.
  • Punky Brewster was good at this. Noticeably the pain she experiences when she sees the Space Shuttle Challenger explode on TV was based on the pain series star Soleil Moon Frye recalled when it actually happened.
  • In Smallville, Chloe has the tendency to look very cute when crying. She rarely does it all-out and instead settle for trying to blink away the tears, but when she loses it and starts sobbing uncontrollably (Progency, for example), it is adorable.
  • Subverted, lampshaded, deconstructed or... something... by Vala Mal Doran in an episode of Stargate SG-1. Daniel accuses her of using sex as a weapon, and she starts looking hurt and crying, but about halfway through a very heartfelt apology, Daniel realizes that she's just messing with him. She doesn't deny it.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Two", after taking a shot at the man, the woman spends the night in the barber's shop and cries slightly because of her loneliness.
  • Jade's breakdown in Victorious after she and Beck break up.

    Literature 
  • In Belgariad this trope is pointedly averted. When the initially waspish Ce'Nedra finally breaks down in tears, Polgara tells her it's best that she doesn't cry like that in the future as she doesn't have the complexion to pull it off.
  • In The Black Company you are treated to the final humanizing moments of the up till this point nigh omnipotent and borderline eldritch abomination of a sorceress queen through use of this trope.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Small Favor, Harry demands of Rosanna how many knights she's murdered with her trick of getting her eyes to well up with tears and looking helpless.
    • He also explicitly invokes this trope with great detail before saying that it doesn't describe Elaine when one of their charges gets assassinated by a vampire despite their efforts.
  • Teela Brown in Ringworld: "Her lips, he saw, were perfect for pouting. She was one of those rare, lucky women whom crying does not make ugly."
  • Sherlock Holmes does this three times. Once when writing a final note to Watson, second when he feels guilty for lying to him for being dead, and again when his friend is wounded.
  • Many other female characters are jealous of Elayne in The Wheel of Time for being able to look pretty while crying.
  • In World After, soon after Raffe realizes Penryn is alive, for one of the few times in the series he doesn't hide his emotions and cries.

    Myths & Folklore 

    Video Games 
  • In BioShock 2, it is revealed in one of the recordings left by Gil Alexander, one of the head scientists on the Big Daddy project, that in the event that an Alpha series Daddy lost its Little Sister, it become suicidal. He describes one time that he saw a Big Daddy who had lost its Sister kneeling in front of a Gatherers' Garden, crying. This certainly gives a great deal of insight into the motivation of the protagonist.
  • BlazBlue: Even when Ragna is utterly exhausted, his left arm destroyed, and would probably like a good long rest after changing Mu-12 back into Noel, its not going to stop Noel from crying, screaming, and calling him stupid at the top of her lungs.
  • Unbelievably, Caim of Drakengard when his pact partner Angelus is being turned into the Barrier Maiden of the world, and Caim thinks he'll never see her again. He's wrong, but...it doesn't work out at all...
  • Fire Emblem:
  • In GrimGrimoire Margarita Surprise eventually winds up on the wrong side of Opalneria, who, being an expert necromancer, has some pretty nightmarish punishments for misbehaving students. Margarita, who - up until that point in the game - had been shown as a fairly strong character, is reduced to a terrified, blubbering wreck and it's hard not to feel sorry for her.
  • Even Vert of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory has this. When she lost to the power of the four CPU's Purple Heart, Black Heart, White Heart and Iris Heart.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • Leona is seen almost sobbing in her team's 97 ending, after her father Gaidel's spirit tells her to keep on living.
    • Poor Elisabeth does this in XIII, when Ash says goodbye to her... before being Ret Goned. It's implied in her team's ending, but the Climax OP sequence confirms it towards the end.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Cookie Run Kingdom: Poor Onion Cookie and Squid Ink Cookie cry like this all the time.
  • If a male Shepard romances Jack in Mass Effect 2, she comes to his cabin later, and once she is assured that he's not going to bombard her with more questions and will just be there with her, she embraces him and starts to openly weep, making her makeup run. It speaks volumes that she has allowed herself to be so vulnerable with someone, considering her Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Kyosuke Kagami from Rival Schools starts screaming and crying when his twin brother Hyo dies in the sequel's Taiyo school ending.
    • In the sequel, Akira Kazama can be seen crying twice. If some conditions are met in the Gedo route, Daigo will die and the last screen will show her weeping over him while Gan and Edge swear revenge. If the Seijyun path is chosen instead, then she'll cry Tears of Joy upon Yurika's return to the school.
    • Also, in the sequel's Gorin path Momo Karuizawa cries when Shoma saves her from Kurow's You Have Outlived Your Usefulness despite all that she did to him and others as The Mole, and tells her to choose between Justice or Gorin. She'll obviously choose Gorin out of gratitude, and then the final battle will start.
  • Meet Catiua, sister of Denam from Tactics Ogre. She's haughty, possessive, manipulative and ultimately performs a Face–Heel Turn. She's not completely lost yet, though: if Denam manages to talk sense into her, the floodgates open and suddenly the bitchy older sister transforms into a vulnerable little girl who begs for forgiveness for all that she has done. It's a turning point in her characterization.
  • In Trails of Cold Steel IV, once Rean finally comes back to his senses during their rescue of him Altina ends up letting loose some tears as she hugs him in relief.

    Visual Novels 
  • Tsugumi in Ever17 as an example where the character genuinely stops being a jerkass. There were signs beforehand that she wasn't, sure, and they were even getting more common. Seeing her cry makes you forget her doing stuff like pretending to push Takeshi down an elevator shaft for shits and giggles or randomly sucker punching him at the beginning, though. Mostly applicable to Takeshi's routes so they could spring a whole bunch of surprise reveals on you by letting her stay a jerk in The Kid's.
  • Claire from Fading Hearts manages this in most scenarios, when she's not putting up a tough front with Ryou.
  • Fate/stay night in its Unlimited Blade Works route has Rin doing this after Shirou stumbles out of bed after getting nearly chopped in half the day before, only to look around for her in a pained stupor and risk his life to save her when he does find her.
  • Caius from Frozen Essence completely breaks down in his Light path after Mina almost dies saving him, pinpointing the moment where he goes from a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk to a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Lilly in Katawa Shoujo, when she first confesses to Hisao and when she visits him in the hospital after his heart attack that he had chasing her to the airport.
  • Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! has two notable examples:
    • Momoyo, while definitely a hero, is a badass Blood Knight whose soft side is strictly limited to flirting with cute girls, but in one of the routes when her sister Wanko runs away and Momoyo meets up with her, she cries for probably the only time in the entire series. Everyone is surprised. She's not all that happy about Yamato praising her for it, though.
    • Kokoro Fushikawa is a haughty ojou, but one time when she cries in the anime, Yamato calls her cute. Her reaction, quite unlike Momoyo, is shown as a shot by a Cupid's arrow.
  • Franziska von Karma at the end of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All.
  • In Tsukihime, Ciel does this at the end of her route's true end.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: Beatrice in just a few scenes in Episode 3, manages not just to trick Battler but also the readers. Lambdadelta lampshades it later. Although it was only partially an act.
    Lambdadelta: A single tear from a woman can make a man's heart waver. Truly efficient and economical.

    Webcomics 
  • Freaking Romance: After Zylith's father reappears in her life, she sees that the theme for the webcomic contest she wants to enter is love. Having never felt love in her life, Zylith can't help but break down into tears from the stress and irony.
  • In Girl Genius, Bangladesh Dupree of all people weeps uncontrollably and actually collapses in Gil's arms when he confronts her over her failure to protect his injured father. This is definitely the OOC Is Serious Business variety of the trope, since Bang is the most chirpy, upbeat mass-murderer in the whole setting.
    Bang: [sniffling] You have made me cry. For this I will kill you.
    Gil: [comfortingly] Yes, yes.
  • Homestuck:
    • Karkat Vantas. It's revealed relatively early, however, that he does care deeply for his friends, and has since ended up the character to cry the most throughout the comic.
    • Terezi has one of these as well, when she dooms Dave to die in an alternate timeline.
  • The aptly named Moé the ninja-girl in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! is made of this trope. Poor kid cries a lot. Note that the main gag with the ninjas is that, under their masks, they are the only characters in the comic who are drawn in manga style.
  • Kevin gets depressed without Chad around in Comic #9 of Kevin And Chad.
  • Ink from Lost Nightmare is a little kid prone to crying. Jasper counts too.
  • My Deepest Secret: After she’s been having a rough time involving her peers and her professor hitting on her, Emma bursts into tears in front of Elios.
  • Trixie Vs During a flashback, we get filly!Trixie crying over deceased gold fish.

    Web Original 
  • Kiazuki breaks down in tears when forced to admit she's sad in the Season 1 finale of Hanazuki: Full of Treasures.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School:
  • RWBY: When Blake Belladonna has an explosive falling-out with Weiss and is subsequently ousted as a Faunas and former White Fang member, she runs off and has a cry. While she's not a Jerkass or Tsundere, it's certainly extremely out of character.
  • When the titular character of "Cloud" cries after her ice cream drops, she turns into a raincloud and rains.

    Real Life 
  • Angelina Jolie has a reputation for looking beautiful when she cries.

 
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I'll Just Stay Here....Alone..

A scene from Big Hero 6: The Series season 2, episode 18, "The Present"

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