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Determined Expression

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Serious face means serious business.

This is a basic way to show a character's determination. In a dangerous situation, rather than head for safety or rush madly into the fray, some will approach the problem with a measure of deliberation. Their expression, if not Dissonant Serenity, will be this: brow furrowed, eyes often narrowed, lips tight, body tense. The effect may be enhanced by a Kubrick Stare. The result is similar to a Death Glare, but less extreme, and usually not directed at a specific individual.

Often graces the face of the chronic Determinator. It may be used on a previously non-threatening character to indicate that they have become serious or just Took a Level in Badass.

Like many tropes, this one suffers an inverse relationship between prevalence and effectiveness. A character who sports this look all the time is likely to fall prey to The Worf Effect, whereas one who only wears it once or twice, especially near the climax, will be more effective.

Often combined with an Unflinching Walk. Compare Death Glare, Disapproving Look; contrast Oh, Crap!.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Afro Samurai, the young protagonist takes this expression very shortly after seeing his parents killed. This is the moment he is truly destined to become a badass.
  • Whenever somebody gives him the "Because Destiny Says So" speech or the "live to fight another day" speech when he's faced with a difficult opponent, Guts from Berserk always gets this look. A very memorable moment was when Guts faced Griffith for the second time in order to win his freedom from the Band of the Hawk.
  • In Death Parade, Decim does this with a Death Glare after Ginti puts Chiyuki to sleep and then picks a fight with him. Notably, other characters react with surprise as this is very out of character for him.
    • Also occurs at the end of episode 8. When one of the guests eventually regains some of his memories, his expression and demeanour change completely and he stands like this, remembering that he had planned to murder his sisterís rapist.
  • In episode eight of the third season of Dr. STONE, Senku does this after learning that his entire crew stationed on his ship has been petrified..
  • Goku, from Dragon Ball has this right after turning Super Saiyan for the first time, except his arms are akimbo.
    • Goku also sports this look right before he fights Vegeta in the Saiyan saga.
    • Many years later, Gohan would give this look to Gotenks Buu.
  • In Fate/Zero, Kiritsugu is usually The Stoic, with a few moments of breaking down in sadness. When he sees Caster harming children, however, he gets this expression and goes into pure Tranquil Fury.
  • A trademark of the various Jojos in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, when they're not staring at the villains in barely-restrained rage.
  • The original Mazinger Z Humongous Mecha is famous for being able to adopt this expression at will (remarkable feat in a robot without movile facial features) through subtle (for the 1970's) camera angles.
  • In Soul Eater, there's a shot of each of the main characters displaying one in turn just before the first battle for the B.R.E.W.
  • The extremely badass Rōnin Nanashi from Sword of the Stranger. When he gets that I-will-kill-you expression on his face, you know you're fucked.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: These happen, of course, throughout the series, but the crowner comes in the grand finale, when a stunning "The Reason You Suck" Speech from the Big Bad is countered by Determined Looks from people across the globe, as they send a Combined Energy Attack to the titular mech and simultaneously kick off a Last Episode Theme Reprise.
  • Vash (above) looks like this whenever he drops his façade of idiocy and decides to get serious. Only to be expected from a man whose byword is determination.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Kaiba is the master of this trope. Also, if Yami Yugi does this instead of making a speech, things are about to get intense. The gang has been known to call this his "game face". For Joey, this is usually the signal that you've managed to flip his switch from Plucky Comic Relief to Let's Get Dangerous!. Crowning moments of awesome never fail to ensue.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animated 
  • In Frozen II, Elsa wears this expression - furrowed brow, narrowed eyes and lips - while using ice magic on ocean waves. She fails on her first attempt and tries again.
  • Moses from The Prince of Egypt gives a determined look when he goes back to Egypt to free his people with Tzipporah by his side. This look is a mix of determination and anger after seeing more Hebrews being tortured and used to make more statues and temples to make Egypt more bigger and grander.
  • Simba from The Lion King (1994) gives one after seeing the Pride Lands turned in a wasteland and knowing Scar was responsible for letting that happen.
  • In Turning Red, Mei's aunties wear this expression to go with their Face, Nod, Action just before they release their panda spirits.

  • In The Belgariad and The Malloreon, this notably graces the faces of the likes of Eriond and Durnik when they do important things, such as desecrating a sacrificial altar and banishing a demon back to the underworld.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: Sally Sparrow does this in "Blink" after Billy Shipton dies, conveyed mostly through body language and with a correlated change in soundtrack. She immediately takes initiative within the plot rather than just reacting as she has been.

    Video Games 
  • At the end of de Blob 2, the normally cheerful and carefree Blob gets quite serious after Comrade Black uses a giant hypno-disc to hypnotise the planet. He gives Comrade Black's surveillance camera a look which very clearly says, "I am coming for you, and you will pay for this".
  • In Super Robot Wars, this is pretty much Kyosuke Nanbu's default expression.
  • Auron's (second) introduction in Final Fantasy X. As panicked civilians are running from a big-ass lizard, he just looks at it and gets ready to kill it.
  • Doomguy from the Doom series has this as his default expression.



Video Example(s):


Indy's Determined Look

Indy puts on a determined facial expression before going to town with a slaver.

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (11 votes)

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Main / DeterminedExpression

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