Follow TV Tropes


Enthusiasm vs. Stoicism

Go To

Another sliding scale like Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. Where characters are plotted on this line depends on how emotive they are.

Is the hero calm and collected, or wild and Hot-Blooded? Does the villain lick blood from his knife with relish, or dispose of bodies stone faced?

Positions on this scale aren't static; characters shift with their moods but can still be placed by their baseline.


If he's not smiling, is he sad or is that his normal face? If he is smiling has something good happened, or is he just a happy person? Enthusiasm overlaps with discord, change or denial.

Stoicism parallels continuity, repression, and law. Everyone feels, so the criterion is how much they display the emotion. The brooder who'll betray the friends he secretly hates is stoic (however great his wrath). Manipulators are stoics because they're suppressing their genuine emotions to display fake ones.

An Odd Couple or Red Oni, Blue Oni will occur when these two are specifically side-by-side. The Stock Shōnen Hero and the Stock Shōnen Rival are an especially common pairing to this effect.



    open/close all folders 


    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men's Wolverine. Just try to find a picture where he's not screaming his lungs out while gleefully shredding something.
    • Easy, just look for any time he's paired with Jubilee. He'll go Blue Oni quick enough then.

  • The Brothers Karamazov: Most characters are bursting with feeling. Their conversations end up in hysterics.
  • In Galaxy of Fear Tash and her uncle Hoole are both intelligent and like to research things, and particularly by the end of the series they both tend to know something about wherever they've gone and whatever they're seeing. But while Tash tends to be enthused and animated about it, Hoole is known for being The Stoic, even when he's very interested in something. Tash's brother Zak is Book Dumb and is similarly more inclined to showing emotion.

    Video Games 

  • Octopus Pie: Hannah Thomspon is giddy, angry or something. There is no calm.


    Anime and Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • X-Men's Cyclops. Renowned for his stiffness and abnormal self-control (paired with his ironically uncontrolled eye-beams he can't turn off).
    • While it might seem like his tight self-control is the result of dealing with being unable to control his destructive mutant ability, it was at one point revealed that his inability to control it was a subconscious decision he made as a child out of guilt for being unable to save his family (or even accidentally making the situation worse when their plane was crashing)

  • There Will Be Blood: Plainview smolders with hatred for humanity he fights to contain. He leaves a town with oil reserves because the populace is too disorderly. He walks away from his son without a word when delivering him to a school for deaf people. Eli has to work him up to a yell in the Church of the Third revelation because Plainview's used to restraining his emotions and talking in conversational levels. Stoicism has clearly taken a hike by the end of the film.
  • Half Baked: The guy on the couch. Steven Wright has made a comedy career out of his unnaturally mellow stage persona.

  • Harald: One of the major traits of David D. Friedman's fantasy novel is that all of the major characters are stoic, especially the titular protagonist.
  • Sasha in Greek Ninja appears stoic, as oppose to the whole group surrounding her.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • Greg from The Wolf's Will is a far more composed person than his partner Tony Tony. Look at the start of this scene to see what I mean.

    Western Animation 

Works With This Scale as a Theme:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass is exceptional; Lelouch hides his humanitarian motivation to be the villain he thinks people need.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam, generally an enthusiastic series as shown above, includes Meikyou Shisui, Clear Mirror Still Water, which requires the user to channel both enthusiasm and stoicism at once.
  • Many manga and anime, particularly shounen series, implicitly contain this scale as a theme because the characters must reach ever-greater emotional extremes to power-up but control their emotions to limit the area-of-destruction to enemies.

  • The Dark Knight: The Joker wants to destroy peoples mind-numbing plans, the routines of job and duty, so they'll wildly grapple with the pointlessness of existence.
  • Coffee and Cigarettes: The opening sketch airs terminally lethargic Steven Wright with hyperactive Roberto Benigni — switching their characters.
  • In the Star Wars universe, the two sides of the force each represent one end of the sliding scale with the Dark Side being the enthusiastic, yet murderously evil end, and the Light side being the well intentioned, disciplined end.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: In The Shivering Isles, those blessed by Sheogorath with Dementia may emote but rely more on keeping their feelings secret, the better to surprise enemies with. Maniacs lose themselves in sensation.
  • Whenever Shadow tends to be paired up with any other character in the Sonic cast (Sonic and Rouge being good examples) he's usually the more serious of the pair. While Rouge invites him to go treasure hunting with her, he completely rejects the idea and wants to stay focused on the main mission. When he and Sonic team up briefly in Shadow the Hedgehog, he's annoyed at how much fun his blue counterpart is having.
  • Final Fantasy absolutely LOVES this trope.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, this trope is epitomized by Rinoa and Squall (Enthusiasm and Stoicism, respectively) and is a big source of conflict between them.
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, this happens for both the villains and the heroes. The previously mentioned Squall ends up teamed with Zidane and Bartz. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Also, Cloud is the more quiet of his gang of four, which just happens to include Tidus. Again, Hilarity Ensues.
    • Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII is a Stoic who has to put up with an entire team of Enthusiasts, composed of Tifa, Laguna, Vann and Yuna, who are all fairly optimistic and enthusiastic. She snaps at Laguna and Vaan constantly for their optimism and carefree natures. That said, she at least has fellow Stoic Kain for company.

Alternative Title(s): Enthusiasm Vs Stoicism


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: