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Face of a Thug

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"I'm the bald white guy who, even in broad daylight, looks like he's about to step out of a dark alley and shank you. I promise, I'm really friendly, my face just does that."

This is where a character is shown to have a very scary, thuggish face — mostly for comedic purposes. The expression will often include a Kubrick Stare, where the face tilts down but the eyes look up. The face of a thug is so scary that normal people are shown to be easily scared off just by looking at them, and can make even tough brutes feel uneasy.

The catch here is that that the character with the face of a delinquent is anything but. Some of them are genuinely nice, even exceptionally so; others are actually cowards surviving solely based on their looks. Generally, though, they are normal people who would rather just have a normal life.

Things aren't that easy, though. Since everyone assumes them to be a badass of the highest degree, other people will either avoid them for fear of getting involved, or try to rope them into fights far beyond their actual ability. Their actions will usually revolve around trying to make normal people acknowledge their true self, while avoiding that the thugs around them learn the truth about the same.


This can often result in a delinquent who doesn't act like a delinquent. Such a character may even have actual skill at fighting and street survival, not by choice but by simple necessity. Since it was forced on them, they had to pick up those skills simply to survive. They may even reluctantly become a thug because everyone assumes they are one already. Very frequently overlaps with Dark Is Not Evil, since darkness and fear factor are synonymous in aesthetics.

Please note that it doesn't necessarily mean "ugly", even though most of the examples below are. It's more about looking threatening than actually looking bad, and it's possible to look both handsome and fearsome. In modern-day usage, especially on the internet, the phrase "resting bitch face" has become a popular term for this phenomenon.


Compare Death Glare, Frozen Face, Gentle Giant, The Grotesque, Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold, Hero with Bad Publicity. Subtrope of Paper Tiger. A frequent subversion of Scary Black Man. When an actor has this, they'll often be type-cast as thugs.

The opposite of this trope is Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon, which is when someone looks friendly on the outside but is evil on the inside. When that trope and this one are brought together, it can result in Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain, though as mentioned above, the trope isn't always about attractiveness exactly.


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  • In the 1980s, a famous American Express print ad touted cards with the holder's photo on the front: "This is you" (picture of scary biker). "This is the jerk who stole your credit card" (dorky-looking guy with horn-rimmed glasses).

    Anime and Manga 
  • Rascal from Akazukin Chacha looks frightening and even has a brash personality to boot, but he adores his "precious" students and is very kind to them.
  • Angel Densetsu:
    • Kitano. In fact, the whole plot is driven and catapulted by how he looks like a horrible thug that does drugs and kills people with impunity, which causes everyone to fear and respect him. All of that is false, and he's the nicest person on earth. His bizarre behavior doesn't improve his image either.
    • Also a case of Generation Xerox as his Dad is constantly mistaken for a Yakuza (and attacked because of it) and was shown to pretty much have had the same experience with delinquents when he was his son's age. Kitano's mother on the other hand is so abnormally beautiful it somehow terrifies anyone who sees her, however just like Kitano's dad she's just a normal loving parent.
  • In Attack on Titan, Armin claims that Eren and Jean both have the same "vicious" expression. This is used to justify having Jean act as a decoy, disguised as Eren. Eren is insulted by the idea that he looks anything like Jean, calling him a "horseface".
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
  • Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh. She's tall and imposing, so everyone assumes she's a juvenile delinquent. In reality, she's a shy girl who loves everything cute and cuddly. The bandages she's seen with early on aren't from getting into fights, but because those cute and cuddly animals she loves don't love her back. Interestingly, one episode had a "dress-up race" and Sakaki dressed like a stereotypical male delinquent.
  • Keith Gandor from Baccano! may as well be carrying a neon sign reading "I am in The Mafia. Fear me," given his appearance... Okay, so he is in the Mafia, but more of the honor-bound Noble Demon Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters variety. The Light Novels describe his face as "the face of a man who, no matter how you looked at him, didn't seem as though he did proper business."
  • Leo Aoi from the manga Beast Master, who looks like he's always giving everyone the death glare. When introduced to the class as the new transfer student, everyone is shown shaking in fear, and even the teacher is shown to say while sweating, "Everyone, please be kind to him. Don't be afraid of him." It turns out that he was raised in a wild jungle, but is actually very gentle and kind. This doesn't stop other delinquents from thinking he's a super violent thug that wants to challenge them.
  • Legosi, the main character of Beastars generally makes everyone around him uncomfortable due to a combination of being a relatively large predator (it didn't help he got several growth spurts and even got some more while in Cherryton), having an odd demeanor, and having a rather thuggish looking face. He also is probably one of the nicest and most introspective characters in the story; he really dislikes being such a big scary looking predator, often making him a nervous wreck.
  • Beelzebub:
    • Oga, who is known as the "strongest juvenile delinquent." He attempts to scare away a baby who has grown attached to him by making his face even scarier than it already is. However, it backfires, since the baby is actually Satan's son, and therefore actually likes incredibly scary faces. In Oga's case, he actually is a delinquent instead of just looking like one. Although he is arguably a much nicer person in comparison to other delinquents around him.
    • Tojo is a more straight example. He is very tall and muscular on top of having a scary face, and even though he likes to fight, he is a genuinely Nice Guy who also has a weakness for cute things.
    • To be honest, since about 99% of the cast are Delinquents, most of them count for this trope.
  • Guts from Berserk is a downplayed example who is actually pretty handsome if you stop to appreciate his face, and he's a lot more gentle with his friends than his demeanor would suggest, but he undoubtedly has an image problem especially after the Eclipse. He's a hulking muscular guy in black clothing and armor with tons of scars, fearsome weaponry, and a face that's usually scowling. Even aside from the fact that he's a Walking Disaster Area who attracts demons to him, occasionally uses civilians as shields, and just plain tends to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, most people take one look at him and think he's some kind of criminal or troublemaker. The thing is that he's definitely not a Nice Guy, but he's still a lot nicer than he looks.
  • A Bishōnen version of this is Renjou Hotsuma from Betrayal Knows My Name. He is seen frowning more often than not, especially in public, appears to be constantly annoyed at something and scares a small girl upon his second or so appearance. This is mostly a defense mechanism, though to keep people at arms length, because he is scared of losing control of his powers again. Around his partner Shuusei though, he becomes caring and gentle, smiles warmly, is very considerate and devoted.
  • Orihime of Bleach used to think Ichigo had a scary face due to his constant scowling... then she considered it a bit more and realized it was actually kind of funny-looking. On the other hand, other people still think he looks scary: Orihime's friend Michiru cannot bring herself to talk to him, and entire delinquent gangs look for him to beat him up.
    • Shuhei Hisagi of Squad 9 has unkempt hair, three scars on his face and the number 69 tattooed on his left cheeknote  He is also very calm and level headed and one of the nicest guys you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting.
  • Blend-S:
  • Kodaka Hasegawa from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai not only has the Face of a Thug, but he's also half-English, so people think his naturally blond hair is bleached, delinquent-style, since he otherwise has Japanese features. As a result he has no real friends and people are constantly picking fights with him.
  • Suzuki Yuuta from Bousou Shojo got such a rough face that the main character, Makino Yayoi, instantly pegs him as a thug and sexual predator from their first encounter alone, despite the fact that he's one of the nicest guys anyone can get to know and completely innocent of whatever she thinks of him.
  • Lud in The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress has this, combining with his former military background and his inability to smile properly means that his bakery business is suffering heavily even if the breads themselves are excellent. His only friend/customer advises him to hire a cute waitress to help being the face of the bakery instead.
  • Principal Enzo from Crayon Shin-chan, whose face is so scary and thuggish, it scares not only the children, but also the teachers. It's to the point where the children take to calling him "Kumichou" (which means "Godfather"). However, he has a tender heart, and is shown to actually be a very nice person.
  • The entire Sanada North Perfectual High School's Student Council in Daily Lives of High School Boys is this, save for the Student Council President who is traditionally bishonen.
  • Detective Conan:
    • Hilariously used in an early case. Ran catches a huge and angry-looking man with Cool Shades spying on the Mouri Detective Agency, and he refuses to take off his glasses even after it's seen he is actually a fellow detective. The moment the glasses come off, however, revealed a pair of very childish-looking Tareme Eyes. Kogoro and Conan end up laughing hard at him.
    • Then there are FBI agents Andre Camel and Shuichi Akai. While Akai is only described by other characters as evil eyed, Camel got into trouble at least twice for looking like a thug. When Camel was introduced, he also served as a Red Herring for the readers/viewers.
    • During the case Makoto Kyogoku was introduced, there was a suspiciously looking man tailing Ran's travel group. He looked like a thug, but he was actually a policeman who was tailing the serial killer who seduced and targeted Sonoko.
  • The main cast in Dorohedoro mostly plays it straight only when they have their masks on, and avert it by taking them off (Except Cayman of course). En even manages to be a cute little boy in a flashback (Given, an Ax-Crazy Omnicidal Maniac Little Boy, but hey, it's EN).
  • Dragon Ball Super: Kale's Kubrick Stare, appropriately, has a stoic, delinquent facade that tends to fade quickly once she becomes weak-willed and emotional. However, once she becomes a Super Saiyan Berserker, the face is very accurate to that form's persona.
  • Simon from Durarara!! is a friendly, peaceful and intelligent sushi tout. He is also a seven-foot-tall Scary Black Man that tends to scare off passers-by with his mere presence. Interestingly enough, the really dangerous guy in the show, Shizuo, is a slim blond bishonen, and so unfortunate people sometimes underestimate him and are crushed by flying vending machines.
  • Kazuma Kuwabara from Yu Yu Hakusho looks like a big bully, to the point that at worst he looks like the meanest delinquent when compared to the rest of the cast and at best he looks like a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with an emphasis on the Jerk portion with only a Hidden Heart of Gold. The reality is that he is actually nicer than The Hero, Yusuke Urameshi himself. He is a Kindhearted Cat Lover and has a strong moral code and unlike Yusuke, who keeps on playfully harassing his Love Interest, Keiko, Kuwabara is extremely nice to the women he is attracted to, even if they are not interested. He is willing to get beaten up by other delinquents even though he is fully capable of beating them up without breaking a sweat, when one of his best friend's job is on the line. He also finds the Bad Boss of a former foe, who was trying to kill him and his friends in the last two episodes disgusting for pulling a You Have Failed Me on said foe. Lampshaded by Yusuke in the Chapter Black arc when Kuwabara, despite being attacked by Mitarai, (who had joined Sensui because he was bullied throughout his life) in the Chapter Black arc, insists on helping him.
    Yusuke: A big oaf like Kuwabara, he's got that bully look you must hate. But he cared about you. Bet you weren't expecting that.
  • Fist of the North Star:
    • Fudoh of the Mountains is a ginormous man who did indeed used to be a marauding killer named Fudoh the Ogre, but a chance encounter with a young Yuria caused him to handle one of the puppies she was caring for her, amazed by the warmth of life, had a huge change of heart and became the gentle, noble and steadfast giant and member of the Five Chariot Stars of Nanto that Kenshiro and Raoh would know him to be.
    • The general rule of Fist of the North Star is that any hard-looking guy (usually sporting a mohawk) is generally an evil punk that Kenshiro promptly puts in a grave in short order, but this trope is played straight by the Harn brothers, Buzz and Gill. They're two rough-and-tumble looking punks (modelled after pro wrestlers the The Road Warriors) who also happen to be masters of a Nanto Seiken branch style that willingly help Kenshiro fight the corrupt Celestial Empire, and almost sacrifice themselves to defeat Falco with a nuclear bomb. Gill is even willing to mourn the loss of Ein, the very same guy that captured the two long before, and in the manga when Ein's foster daughter Asuka refuses to cry at his funeral so her dad can rest in peace, Gill weeps for her.
    • On the video game side of things, Jagre from Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise looks like the archetypical Fist of the North Star thug, sporting an intimidating dark coloured outfit and even a mohawk (the sign of a soon-to-die mook) and he uses a shotgun much like the infamous Jagi. But despite this, Jagre is the much-loved captain of the Eden Watchmen, is loyal to his friends and to Eden's ruler Xsana, and not once does anything villainous. His only hangups are his initial distrust of Ken (though he has good reason for it) as well as his short temper and hot-headedness.
  • Senzaemon Nakiri, the Director of the prestigious cooking school Tootsuki Institute from Food Wars!, is a tall, heavily muscled and imposing man, with prominent facial scars. He also bears nicknames like "The Gastric Godfather" and "The Food Demon King". In spite of this, he is a kind and loving grandfather to his granddaughters, a generally Reasonable Authority Figure and while he is strict and demanding towards his students, he is also supportive and fair in his judgements.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Sig Curtis is an enormous bear of a man, and a butcher by trade. He often frightens small children with his size, looks, and sharp implements. Ironically, while he is usually a kind, gentle man, his much less imposing wife is an easily angered firebrand of a woman (though never to him).
    • Alphonse Elric is a sweet, gentle 14-year old boy whose voice never broke... whose soul inhabits a towering suit of spiky, badass armor. Frequently mistaken as the Fullmetal Alchemist; only in Super-Deformed do his true colors show. Observe.
    • Ling Yao, a mildly suspicious but otherwise amiable guy who values his comrades, and is also one of many heirs to the Xing throne, admits to knowing that he doesn't have the friendliest looking eyes when Ed points out he wouldn't trust Ling's face. Ling deliberately keeps his Eyes Always Shut for the most part because of this.
  • Sousuke Sagara from Full Metal Panic! is shown to have such an intense, intimidatingly scary face that it scares off anyone who approaches him or Kaname. It happens mostly for comedic effect, and he's shown to actually be very attractive when he lightens up a bit. On the other hand, Sousuke is extremely violent by nature (due to being raised by resistance fighters and all that). He's just highly professional about it rather than being a thug.
  • Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin: Moss may be a huge and intimidating English mastiff, indeed being a brutal powerhouse. However, he's also a jovial dog and even has a soft spot for puppies, having raised a son by himself.
  • Hedoro from Gintama is an almost unfathomably nice guy who runs a flower shop, respects the elderly, and literally won't hurt a fly. Unfortunately for him, he's an alien who looks like a Tokusatsu Monster of the Week combined with Satan.
  • In Girl That Can See It, when the two girls are looking for a new owner for the kitten they just found, the main character ends up giving the kitten to a guy who's large, muscled, bald, tattooed and very noticeable scars. While her friend expresses concern over whether the kitten is going to a good home, the main character saw that the guy had the happy, contented ghosts of his two previous cats on his shoulders, and in a Twitter-message she sees that the kitten indeed went to a good home.
  • Gokushufudou: The Yakuza Retired Badass turned House Husband Tatsu looks scary enough that his every attempt to look friendly makes civilians' blood run cold.
  • Gundam
    • Mobile Suit Gundam
    • Kai Shiden has mismatched eyes, a perpetual smirk, and a crooked nose. Personality wise he can be an abrasive Jerkass, but he's also an extremely brave and reliable (if at times difficult to get along with) soldier. He's gotten better (and more badass) by the time the events of Zeta and even Unicorn came around, though he still looks like a Mafia don.
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam's Argo Gulskii is a Rusian Space Pirate and absolutely massive, seven feet tall with biceps bigger than most people's heads. He also has Big Ol' Eyebrows, a perpetual frown, and a permanent Death Glare. He's the calmest and most mature person in the Shuffle Alliance and often acts as an understated Big Brother Mentor, and never took a life during his raids.
  • Misao Zaitsu from Hatsukoi Limited. He also has a Funny Afro going for him, and looks terrifying. But he's as much of a lovelorn idiot as the rest of the cast.
  • Kenji Ban from Heart Catch Pretty Cure. While he has a really intense face and can give Death Glares that send even the most hardened of Delinquents running, he's really a just a sweet guy who loves drawing Shojo manga.
  • The titular Hitomi from Hitomi Chan Wa Hitomishiri is unintentional Death Glare incarnate. In one case, she was just trying to fetch a baseball she flew away from a ballpark after nailing a hit, but between her highly tomboyish looks, her tall build, her muscular physique and her default expression of apparent murderous rage, she single-handedly managed to scare away an entire gang of tough Delinquents without even intending.
  • Downplayed in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Shirogane's Exhausted Eye Bags give him a constant Death Glare and most of the students find him intimidating, but pretty much everyone already knows that he's a Nice Guy.
  • Yuuka from Kanojo ni Naritai Kimi to Boku looks like a delinquent at first glance. She's a tall schoolgirl with blonde hair, several piercings, and a stern expression. Yuuka calls out Hime for judging her based on looks alone.
  • Narumi of Karakuri Circus, amongst others.
  • Usui Kenta from Karin has this problem, albeit mildly. To the people around him, his neutral face seems to be a glare.
  • From Katekyō Hitman Reborn!, we have Lanchia, who despite being quite scary looking, is apparently a Friend to All Children. They literally like to be all over him. Though he acts like he doesn't notice.
  • Sakaki Shio from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. He is a huge muscular guy with a scarred face and looks very scary and violent. While that's partially true because he is a Dou fighter (one who fuels his martial arts by rage and aggression) he is the Master who cares and worries about Kenichi the most, going out of his way to protect him.
  • Sawako Kuronuma, the protagonist of Kimi ni Todoke, has frequently been mistaken for a nightmare-inducing ghost due to her appearance, particularly when she tries to smile. This has led to her being nicknamed "Sadako," after the ghost girl from The Ring to whom she bears a resemblance. In reality, she's an incredibly withdrawn girl with the heart of a saint.
  • Kannu from Koihime†Musou is The Bandit Hunter and ironically she gets confused for one and in one episode she is called thuggish.
  • Komi Can't Communicate:
    • Played with in regards to the title character, Shouko Komi. Her beauty and aloof behaviour invites peoples' admiration, but also intimidates them from becoming closer to her. On the inside, she's just a very shy and sweet girl who is incapable of personal interaction and the whole premise of the series is helping her in her desire to make friends.
    • Played straight with Katai. He looks like a delinquent and his attempts to appear friendly often backfires. Like Komi, though, he's just a shy guy who wants friends. Hilariously, he and Komi are scared of each other
  • Sasayama of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is bald with a nasty-looking scar on his head, and has only one working leg. These traits, coupled with his style of dress, makes the protagonists initially think he is a Yakuza. However, he's actually a former cop and currently works in social services, and is a good guy. To a lesser extent, there's Numata, who looks like a tough guy, always wearing leather jackets and sunglasses at all times. However, he also listens to J-pop groups, and the reason for wearing his Cool Shades completely subverts the thuggish image he's a highly emotional guy, and they hide tears.
  • Umibouzu, Risa and Otani’s favorite rapper from Lovely Complex has a perpetually angry looking face but is a nice guy.
  • Seiji from Midori Days has a face of a thug. It's why he constantly has a stream of bullies challenging him, which led to how he became so good at fighting. However, underneath, he's actually a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who wants to be loved.
  • Umetarou Nozaki in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun occasionally comes to school pissed off and covered in bandages. Everyone thinks he might've been fighting, but that's how Chiyo Sakura knows that he's been on deadline—he is, after all, a mangaka.
  • Tomoka Kayahara from Muteki Kanban Musume, unless she's enjoying a meal, has a face that frightens children, small animals, adults, and Megumi.
  • Gang Orca from My Hero Academia is a professional hero with a resemblance to a monstrous, humanoid orca, complete with Scary Teeth and crazed-looking eyes. He's even high on in-universe lists of "heroes who look like villains," to the point that during the Provisional License exam, he is the one chosen to roleplay as the villain fighting the students during the second round. He's nonetheless a decent guy who's internal monologue shows that he is impressed by and proud of the students who show initiative during their fights against him, and his character profile states that he angsts over scaring kids when giving lectures at aquariums.
  • Katarina in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is convinced that she has a villain's face, particularly her eyes. She thinks they look harsh and cold, but people tend to be confused when she actually says it. They think she looks a little intense at worst and the manga adaptation shows that her eye color comes across looking more like Innocent Blue Eyes than anything. Her face would look about perfect as a villains since it was literally designed to be one, but if she doesn't glare at people her extremely good nature and complete cluelessness totally overrides any issues with her features. She does intentionally use this trope when defending Maria against her bullies (twice), however, and proves to be quite effective.
  • One Piece:
    • Zoro, despite being a generally good guy and a Friend to All Children, is often accused of having a scary face (and his Slasher Smile is enough to freak out even the viewers).
    • Captain T-Bone of the Marines is an even better example. He looks like a zombie or ghoul but he is one of the most compassionate and caring people in the whole series, ripping his own mantle to pieces just to provide bandages for his wounded men.
    • Genzo's face scared little baby Nami so he put a pin wheel on his hat to make her laugh and didn't remove it til Nami was 18 and leaving home for good.
    • Boss Cat Viper, one of the two rulers of Zou, is probably one of the scariest-looking Minks on the island, since, thanks to his large amount of sharp-looking teeth, he has a resting face that looks like a frightening grimace. However, his personality is actually a lot like Luffy's: serious and powerful in battle, but a fun-loving party animal the rest of the time, who's very loyal to his friends. Even Cat Viper's men note that he has a scary face, but his smile is actually very cute.
  • Ritsu Kasanoda (a.k.a. Bossa Nova a.k.a. Casanova) from Ouran High School Host Club. He's actually an incredibly gentle soul, who loves cute things. The only problem is that he just scares the heck out of everyone because of his thuggish face. The Host Club try all sorts of ways to "soften" his appearance, but all their efforts seem to only make him seem more unnerving and scary. Eventually, his crush on Bifauxnen Haruhi leads him to be Mistaken for Gay by his Yakuza underlings, and the Host Club's sizeable Yaoi Fangirl clientèle, who start seeing him as Troubled, but Cute.
    • This guy terrified his father (boss of the biggest Yakuza gang in the city) when he was five, his face is so terrifying. He was just born that way.
  • Utilized several times in the Pokémon anime, much like in the games, many fierce or intimidating looking Pokémon have as much a capacity for gentle or sweet personalities as the cuter ones:
    • Ash's Gliscor is oddly adorable, and is a bit of a crybaby, that it's hard to remember that it's part of a Flying Scary Scorpions species.
    • Kaiwe's Turtonator is a draconic turtle creature that towers over it's trainer and one of the top powerhouses of the Alolan protagonists besides Ash's Pikachu. He also has a fairly gentle personality and takes part in the playful activities of the group as often as his smaller classmates.
  • Randoh from Pretty Face, before the whole mess with the surgery that made him look like his crush. He's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold delinquent, and certainly looked scary.
  • Kaidou Kaoru from The Prince of Tennis, to a degree. Most of the regulars (from Seigaku and otherwise) and teachers have no problem with him, but practically every other student he meets (especially the younger ones and girls) consider him to be terrifying. In fact, on one occasion, two nasty girls from another school were planning to humiliate him after he won a match against their school — when he turned around to see what they wanted, they freaked out so badly that one of them smashed her can of soda onto her own head. Humorously, adults (especially elderly couples) tend to find him very nice and consider him a "good boy", rarely even noticing what he looks like. This usually makes him blush. It does help that he's quite polite and well-mannered towards adults.
  • Makoto/Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon, sorta. While she did get into a lot of fights at her old school (and still got into some after transferring, even before becoming Sailor Jupiter), she's a Nice Girl who loves to cook and is great at cleaning.
  • Gotou from 3-gatsu no Lion has a rather rough face, and several characters comment on how scary it is. Smith even claims that he feels a Yakuza vibe coming from Gotou.
  • Parodied and subverted in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Mayo Mitama has creepy looking eyes, but since Dark Is Not Evil, everyone is still nice to her, thinking she fits this trope. Turns out they are all Wrong Genre Savvy and not only is she really as evil as she looks, she exploits this trope to do all the villainy she can. However, it is implied that she does all those bad thing hoping that just once, someone would call her out on it.
  • Harima Kenji from School Rumble. He's got a temper and a mean-streak, but once he mellows out, he can be the goofiest, chummiest guy in the world.
  • Hirata Mihane, the protagonist of Seishun Otome Banchou!, is considered by everyone else at the school to have the face of a monster and is nicknamed Satsujinki ("murderer"). Art-wise, she usually has a rather plain face, like what other manga would use for a background character, but deforms into strange apparitions when she's angry.
  • Samejima of Shinkaigyo no Anko-san is a great white shark mermaid with a perpetual glare and a mouth of sharp teeth. In reality, her squint is because she's a shark and therefore has poor eyesight without her glasses, and her teeth, like a shark's teeth, are constantly falling out. She's actually a fairly shy girl who ended up being named a awe-inspiring monster by the local boys and decided to roll with it.
  • In Silver Spoon, Hachiken's father. His classmates (not realizing who he is) immediately think he's a mob boss and treat him like royalty. The animals instinctively treat him as a dangerous predator—the horses refuse to break eye contact with him (it's a sign of weakness), and the school dog barks madly at him for a minute before falling over and playing dead.
  • Slam Dunk: Hanamichi Sakuragi is considered scary, but that's mainly because of his bright red hair and his MASSIVE height. Miyagi's delinquent aura seems to come 100% from his face, however.
  • The nameless Golem of Somali and the Forest Spirit is quite intimidating looking. Nearly 7 feet tall with a skull like face, no emotion, a disturbing ability to open its face to reveal an eye and has its shell flaking off to reveal pitch black musculature. Despite his looks, his kind are peaceful keepers of the forest and he is a hard-working guardian to Somali. Which isn't to say he doesn't have limits to his temperament...
  • In Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, Aya once says Sunahara looks "a bit intimidating." Viewers just see him a handsome guy and nothing else.
  • In Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, Ohta and Echizen's scary looks when Echizen tells Tanaka they used to be in the same gang together in episode 3 gets a callback at the end of the episode when a police officer genuinely suspects that they're extorting Tanaka. In reality they're both very nice, regardless of how much Echizen is loathe to admit it.
  • Ryuuji from Toradora!. It's genetic, apparently (his Disappeared Dad actually was a thug employed by the Yakuza). He's really a Nice Guy: kind, caring and enjoys doing housework (especially cleaning), and is constantly explaining to people that no, he is not going to beat you up and shake you down just for looking at him funny. His looks and personality are made to contrast Taiga, who is very short and cute, but is actually ferociously violent.
  • Yuki Sanada from Tsuritama has frequent panic attacks in social situations, which causes his face to twist up and turn red until it resembles a demonic noh mask. The people around him tend to think he is extremely angry or has a bad attitude when he is actually just shy.
  • In Usotsuki Ouji to Nisemono Kanojo (translated to The Liar Prince and the Fake Girlfriend) the heroine Luna Narumi has this, in part to her Gothic clothes and her poor vision making her squint and people mistaking it for a Death Glare. She really is a kind and sweet girl who wants friends.
  • Sunako from The Wallflower has a face that isn't so much like a thug, but a ghost. It scares pretty much everyone to death. She's revealed in rare instances to clean up nicely.
  • Sotomura from Waratte! Sotomura-san is feared by all, primarily because she can't seem to smile without somehow looking like she's about to shank you. The plethora of misunderstandings that follow her around don't help, either.
  • Reina's dad in Yandere Kanojo scares pretty much everybody away because of this trope, along with not being very sociable... though really he's a Shrinking Violet in the extreme and couldn't harm a fly. On the bright side, he met his wife, an actual thug, because she thought he looked like a total badass. She was wrong, but fell head over heels in love with him anyway and they ended up Happily Married.
  • Chiba Seiya from Yankee-kun to Megane-chan is really a timid, studious nerd, but has the face of a delinquent thug. Naturally this leads to numerous unwanted confrontations. Being a manga about how looks can be deceiving, it's actually the glasses-wearing female class president who can kick your ass.
  • The Four Dimension Dragons of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. They're giant,sharp-toothed dragons covered in spikes, and even their summon chants tend to portray them as scary and intimidating. But Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon is not only completely loyal to Yuya, it's actually shown to play along and enjoy duels, to the point where it can sometimes be seen smiling happily with everyone. The other three dragons, post-Heel–Face Turn also help Yuya in duels. This is most obvious with Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon, whose first appearance with Yuya terrified an audience, but later happily joins Yuya in performing a show to entertain people.
  • In Zipman!!, Kaname is a swell guy who dreams of bringing people smiles as a Toku hero, but his devilish appearance, creepy scars, and perpetual Slasher Smile get him labels like "Devil-Gorilla" and "White Demon".
  • Takeo Go in Zombieland Saga. A hulking brute of a man that the girls assume is a stalker, then a debt collector, and after he gets too close to Number 6 (real name: Lily), a kidnapper. Turns out he's Lily's dad, still grief-stricken by the death of his daughter who has latched on to "Number 6" due to her resemblance.
    • The zombies themselves apply, seeing as they're perfectly ordinary girls who just happen to be the dead walking. Every time they're seen without their makeup, there are intense freakouts for everybody involved.
  • Shinra Kusakabe of Fire Force is a stand-up guy willing to put the needs of others ahead of his own, but he has a bad habit of smiling when he shouldn't, which was caused by a traumatic event when he lost his mother and brother in a fire. This, along with his power to produce fire beneath the soles of his feet, have given him the moniker "The Devil's Footprints."

  • Woo-Soo Choi of Quantum Mistake is a studious boy who has swapped bodies with Kang Too-Jee, a delinquent who spent most of his time getting into fights. Woo-Soo Choi, relying on Kang Too-Jee's reflexes, is capable of putting up a fight, but most of the time, just wants to talk it out with the other guy. (This pretty much never works.)

    Comic Books 
  • Marv from Sin City was so ugly, they had to resort to Special Effects to recreate his looks on Mickey Rourke. He made a Kubrick Stare or two throughout the movie as well. While he is indeed a Sociopathic Hero toward his enemies, he is an otherwise decent guy driven to avenge the death of a woman by the hands of a Serial Killer.
  • Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, when outside his armor, is one of the few Superheroes to wear a mustache and a goatee, making him look more like a traditional villain than a good guy. However, while he can be a Jerkass and has poor communication skills, he struggles hard to be a good person in spite of his innate flaws.
  • MMA fighter "Mistress" Ayane in Gold Digger would love to be a Face; unfortunately, she has the coldest, cruelest eyes on the planet and a wicked smile to boot. It's hard to be a hero to children when they run screaming whenever you look at them. It's so bad that even all-powerful sorcerers and dragons wince when they meet her gaze. In fact, when she met a guy who could look her in eyes and not flinch, she was desperate to win his heart so she could finally be with someone who wasn't terrified of looking at her. It's even implied that her unnaturally cold and fearsome stare might be because she's actually not human.
  • In the Marvel Universe, there are a handful of Skrulls who have for one reason or another ended up on Earth and decided that they want to be heroes. They have all found it necessary to adopt more human guises, as their natural forms tend to freak people out.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Power Girl crossover fic Origin Story, Sanchez and Francisco are a pair of twin brothers who work as agents for porn actresses. They are described as looking like walking stereotypes and "feel slimy" when Alex Harris first meets them. It turns out that they are two honestly nice guys who give Alex some helpful advice after realizing she's underage.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic Build Your Wings on the Way Down Aviv Seif, Catherine Armstrong/Gabby's boyfriend, looks rather intimidating due to his height and burn scars on his face, which make him look like he's always scowling. He's actually rather down-to-earth and very sweet.
  • In the Reaching for a Dream series, after ascending to godhood Naruto certainly looks incredibly intimidating given that he's two meters tall, has horns, fangs, fiery orange eyes, claws, and black markings on his face. But as noted in one of the sequels, he's like a large dog; he looks intimidating but the worst he'll do is drool on you. Though that doesn't apply to enemies.
  • In Live a Hero, Izuku is eerily pale-skinned, frightfully thin, Covered in Scars, and has a habit of playing with and sharpening knives in plain sight. Despite it all, he wants to be a Hero.
  • In Unlimited, Izuku's teacher Kurobayashi has the head of a shark, which tends to make others instinctively afraid of him. He's actually a very nice man and enjoys helping others.
  • In Something Always Remains, Spring Bonnie, after falling into the decrepit state of Springtrap, is this. It's even more poignant when it's revealed that it's haunted by Jeremy Fitzgerald, a man who could never harm a fly in life. Averted when the other ghost takes over, though.
  • In Such A Doting Father, Endeavor is ranked in the top 10 heroes who look like villains, but (in this fic's AU at least) he's a massive softie and Amazingly Embarrassing Parent.

    Films — Animated 
  • Finding Nemo: The shark trio of Bruce, Chum and Anchor seem like they'd be fish-eating monsters - trailers played up Bruce as the Big Bad, in fact. Turns out they're pretty nice guys who have sworn off eating fish... Except for stinkin' dolphins. Just don't let any of them catch a whiff of blood. Oddly, out of the shark trio, Chum, being a shortfin mako, and Anchor, being a greater hammerhead, are the ones most likely to subsist on a diet of fish at their size. A great white of Bruce's size would mostly eat marine mammals... Like dolphins.
  • Shrek is an ogre whom humans are scared of because of his monstrous appearance, but in reality he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who doesn't hurt people without provocation, and at one point he laments to Donkey that people judge him before they get to know him.
  • Isle of Dogs: One of the cannibal dogs, Gondo, is pretty freaky-looking. He's got huge fangs, the fur on half of his face had been torn away, and he's always got a fierce expression on his face. However, he turns out to be a friendly and gentle dog. It also turns out that he and his fellow "cannibal" dogs were very ashamed to have eaten another dog, when they could do nothing else to help him.
  • Tigress of the Kung Fu Panda series arguably qualifies as such in later installments. While not hideous, she is designed with a much fiercer look befitting her species compared to the more cartoony designs of the other Furious Five members, with a scowl often her default expression. However, after having Took a Level in Kindness following the first film (as well as a study of Hidden Depths in Expanded Universe material) Tigress is often conveyed as very loyal and sympathetic, if still rather aloof and blunt.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Toy Story: all of Sid's toys are disfigured and creepy looking in some way. Both Woody and Buzz think they're cannibals after they carry away two toys who Sid performed "surgery" on. Then they fix Buzz's arm as he goes through a Heroic BSoD and reveal that they weren't eating the first two toys; they fixed them too.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Day My Kid Went Punk is an 80s film about a guy who gets into punk music and fashion. His peers are skeptical about this massive change. When he applies to work as a daycare worker over the summer he is almost denied due to his unconventional looks, and he later gets a mother mad that they're allowing someone dressed like him to take care of little kids.
  • Glen from Seed of Chucky. Despite being depicted as an ugly doll, and at the beginning of the film, being seen killing a girl's parents, we find out that Glen was having a nightmare and that he's really sensitive and despises violence, unlike the rest of his family.
  • Revenge of the Sith: The Pau'an as a whole Looks Like Orlok, with gray skin, sunken red-rimmed eyes, long gnarled fingers and limbs, and a mouth full of razor-sharp fangs. Despite their ghastly appearances, they're capable of being perfectly friendly, as shown with Tion Medon, who greets Obi-Wan and is happy to help him track down General Grievous despite worrying about the potential battle that could break out in the city.
  • Lampshaded and played with in Six Degrees of Celebration. A police officer tells a recently-caught thief that just from looking at his face, one can tell he’s a thug. Later on, the officer himself gets mistaken for a bandit – and a fierce-looking granny tells him he clearly has the face of a thief.

  • Mangiafuoco in The Adventures of Pinocchio is described as ugly and terrifying, but is not as bad as his appearance implies. He wanted to burn Pinocchio for (accidentally) ruining his show, but felt compassion for Pinocchio when the latter cried for his father, sparing him. Later, he spared all the puppets and gave Pinocchio five gold coins for his father.
  • Draco wants to traverse the Forbidden Forest with Fang in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone because the dog looks huge and intimidating but is horrified to discover that appearances are only skin deep and the huge dog is just a lovable coward.
  • Geralt from The Witcher is described like this in the books. He somehow manages to get all the girls anyway. On the other hand, not too hard to believe.
    • Sigismund Dijkstra is described as looking like a sleepy, sloppy dimwit. Which is exactly how he wants it. Beneath his piggish looks, he's scarily capable as Redania's spymaster and advisor to its previous king, a farseeing ruler should there be a need to be one and can intimidate Isengrim Faoiltiarna with his presence alone. He's also quite cultured, at some point mentioning that he wanted to play the title character in a production of the Witcher-verse version of Hamlet but could only get the part of a halbardier.
  • Lucas Davenport from John Sandford's Prey novels has a scar across his face from a rogue fish hook accident and, later, a tracheotamy scar on his neck. While being a well-known cop and the main character of a long-running detective novel series, pretty much everyone agrees that he looks like a thug or tough guy. Of course, that often works to his personal advantage.
  • Mildmay the Fox, from Doctrine of Labyrinths by Sarah Monette. He is a former assassin, but he's not nearly as thuggish as most people assume.
  • Doomsday Book has Father Roche, a rough-looking, burly man who is nevertheless a meek and patient Good Shepherd. The fact that the "cutthroat" that the delirious main character saw in the forest was actually Roche is a major revelation late in the story.
  • In The Iliad and The Odyssey, aeveral people refer to Odysseus himself as having "the face of a brute," and recount their surprise when he turns out to be a Genius Bruiser Guile Hero.
  • Archmaester Marwyn from A Song of Ice and Fire:
    "Marwyn wore a chain of many metals around his bull’s neck. Save for that, he looked more like a dockside thug than a maester. His head was too big for his body, and the way it thrust forward from his shoulders, together with that slab of jaw, made him look as if he were about to tear off someone’s head."
  • The Lord of the Rings: Frodo decides to trust Strider in spite of his appearance, saying that an agent of the Enemy would "look fairer, and feel fouler" — something of an Informed Attribute, because every servant of Sauron that we do meet throughout the story looks hideously monstrous.
  • Played With in the character of Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall. Cromwell actually is a former thug, being a brawling youth and a cutthroat mercenary as a young man. The older Cromwell wants to leave this past behind, and is a charming and erudite man who is a loving father and husband and strives to be the opposite of his own abusive drunk of a father. Consequently, he's stung by a comment that he looks like a killer, and after his family sees Holbein's portrait of him, in which he looks particularly frightening, he brings up the comment to his son and is disappointed to learn that everyone had long thought he had the face of a killer. However, Cromwell undermines himself, since despite his unease with his appearance and past, he frequently bullies others and uses his thuggish reputation to get results.
  • The Dresden Files has 'Cujo' Hendricks, chief enforcer to mob boss John Marcone. He looks like a brute who beats people up for money, and does... but only because that's his job; he's naturally inclined more to talking things out. Left to his own devices he'd be much happier reading up for his philosophy degree.
    • Harry gets hit with this as well. He's tall, like professional basketball player tall, and has a long face that tends to be bruised and battered due to the unfriendly characters he encounters in the books. He also likes to wear an ankle-length leather duster in all weather. He went to a friend's family reunion at a park, and within seconds was asked to leave because he was scaring people. Other people, especially in the earlier novels, also comment that he doesn't look all that bright, which he plays up when it suits his purposes.
  • The Belgariad's Guile Hero Silk has a remarkably untrustworthy face that draws frequent comparisons to rats. He still manages to act as one of his country's best spies and becomes a wildly successful merchant prince, but complains that if he'd had a more honest face, he would have been able to own the world. However, while Silk is a nice guy and definitely a hero his concept of morality on the subject of "things that belong to other people" is somewhat flexible, so this may not be an example of the trope in the purest sense.
  • The Elenium's Sparhawk is like this, from his stern demeanor, his enormous size and strength, and the nose his childhood friend broke in their youth. It's suggested that he was no looker at the best of times, but his broken nose is said to twist his face and make him appear ugly and cruel. But, despite this, and the black enameled armor his order wears, he is one of the most noble around.
  • In The Spy Who Loved Me, the viewpoint character is Vivienne Michel, a hotel employee who gets captured by thugs who plan to rape and murder her before burning the hotel down for an Insurance Fraud scam. She is saved when James Bond shows up asking for a room, but she at first assumes he is a partner to the thugs because of his looks.
  • In Vicious, Mitch Turner is a sweet, intelligent guy who has the bad luck of looking like a criminal, being huge and physically imposing, and having grown up in a rough neighborhood. He's also phenomenally unlucky, leading to everyone assuming he's a bad guy. Even when he decides Then Let Me Be Evil, he's never truly malicious, nor does he commit crimes where anyone would be physically hurt.
  • At one point in the Vorkosigan Saga, Miles Vorkosigan notes how his father Count Aral Vorkosigan, whom he loves and idolizes, has the sort of scarred face, heavy brow, jawline, etc. that were it not for the keen intelligence in his eyes would make him everyone's image of a Standard Issue Military Dictator.
  • T.H. White's The Once and Future King depicts Lancelot as this, being described as deformed and simian. You'd expect him to be some kind of craven monster or a victim of Adaptational Villainy, but he's actually every bit as noblehearted as your traditional Lancelot. As far as he's concerned, life dealt him a crappy hand and he's going to make the most of it.
  • Star Wars Legends: 1 Keets Freely, a member of the Erased resistance group, is msitaken for a professional criminal the first time he meets a POV character.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Gentaro Kisaragi, the protagonist of Kamen Rider Fourze, dresses as a Delinquent with slicked-back hair. However, he's actually an affable goof who quite literally wants to be Friend to All Living Things (who can still kick ass if need be).
  • Gorou Yura, a supporting character in Kamen Rider Ryuki, is a perpetually scowling, rough-looking man who's both butler and bodyguard to the corrupt lawyer Kitaoka Shuuichi. He's also significantly less of an asshole than his employer, at one point going out of his way to compliment the protagonist Shinji for having a "good whistle" and later asking him for his gyoza recipe.
  • An episode of My Name Is Earl dealt with this trope.
  • The Monster of the Week in the Supernatural episode "Yellow Fever" is the ghost of a man who was murdered as a result of this trope.
  • NCIS has, of course, the ever-lovable and normally harmless Abby.
    • It's not so much that Abby's really all that scary-looking, so much as it is that she dresses in a Goth fashion (even at work).
  • Drake & Josh has the infamous "Theater Thug" episode.
  • Ru Pauls Drag Race will sometimes feature Drag Queens serving the female equivalent of the thug face, known as "resting bitch-face". Season 7's Pearl and Season 9's Trinity Taylor are two prime examples of queens who just paint their faces to look very cold and harsh even when they are perfectly content.
  • Breaking Bad: Jesse's assumptions about this regarding a random stranger causes his relationship with Walt to permanently sour in season 5. They've both retired from the drug business at this point but Jesse is working with the DEA to bring Walt down, whom he suspects is trying to have him killed to tie up loose ends. They agree to meet in a public space, but Jesse notices a man dressed like a Neo-Nazi skinhead standing close to Walt. He assumes this man to be a hitman and calls off the meeting, but it turns out the guy was just there to pick up his daughter.

    Video Games 
  • Gonzales from Fire Emblem: Sword of Seals. Nice guy overall, looks like this.
    • Garret would qualify as well.
    • Awakening's Brady looks like a tough delinquent, but is in fact a priest with poor reflexes, and a crybaby to boot.
    • In Fates, Benny is a hulking mercenary with a mohawk and scarred face, and a kind-hearted man who is very protective of his comrades; his son Ignatius inherited this too as he looks unsocialable but like his father he is actually timid.
      • Benny's son Ignatius is something of a downplayed example, as most of the other characters aren't outright scared of him, but his stern-looking face often makes them think he's in a bad mood.
    • Fates also features the "generally intimidating" rather than "outright ugly" version of the trope with Xander. He's actually fairly handsome, but he tends to have a serious or stern look on his face most of the time. His supports with Mozu and Sakura specifically point this out; both of them start out intimidated by him.
    • While it's not quite to the extent of the above three, as it only comes up in one support chain, Laslow refers to Saizo as a "scary guy in a mask" in Revelation. It probably helps that Saizo looks rather angry most of the time.
    • There's a downplayed example with Jesse in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. While no one comments on his appearance during the main game (and he looks fairly pleasant), Silque assumes that he's a brigand at first and says that he has an "unwashed rogue" appearance in a flashback. This is a Informed Deformity as Jesse is clean-shaven, handsome and altogether heroic in appearance.
    • Hubert in Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a very untrustworthy, thuggish face and is a high class manipulator. He ends up playing a role similar to Gharnef, but in the Crimson Flower route, he's on your side and still capable of acts of decency and had nothing but contempt against the more evil 'Those who Slithers in the Dark'.
  • Street Fighter
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona has Igor, whose evil-looking eyes and creepily long Gag Nose gives you the impression that he's a bad guy...except he's actually the series Big Good (from Persona 3 onwards) and your most valuable ally in every game.
    • Takeharu Kirijo, Mitsuru's father, from Persona 3. When he first appears, he's described as "scary-looking" (complete with an eyepatch!), but he proves to be a surprisingly noble man and a genuinely caring, if stern, father who admonishes Mitsuru to work in harmony with others rather than try to shoulder everything alone, and feels guilty that his daughter and her friends are forced to clean up after his father's mistakes.
    • Persona 4's Kanji Tatsumi, the tough guy who can take down a biker gang with his bare hands, is often mistaken for being in a gang, and...likes to sew, being incredibly good at it. He's also the youngest of the team.
  • Harvest Moon:
    • Hayden from Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility/Animal Parade. It's a bit of an Informed Ability, because he looks as cute and chibi as everyone else, but according to characters in-game, his bearded face and Big Ol' Eyebrows are so offputting they scare children. Which is sad, because Hayden is a domestic, softhearted bartender who's almost universally liked in the town. Not to mention, he really wishes he could be a preschool teacher, and his wish is revealed to be "I wish my face didn't scare children".
    • And then there's Gannon in Sunshine Islands. He's got a pretty creepy/ugly face and walks/looks kinda like a gorilla, but once you befriend him, you see he's actually really nice. And even prior to that, his adorable daughter Eliza says that while he "talks like a hooligan, he'll never leave my side." Awww.
  • Corpse Party has Yoshiki Kishinuma. He enjoys teasing Satoshi, but so does everyone else, and he's a pretty decent guy overall.
  • A large amount of the cast in Inazuma Eleven look like thugs and bullies like Someoka, Builder, Tobitaka, and other recruitable characters whose faces are just plain scary and weird. To put it, Someoka looks very similar to Garret example above.
  • In Iron Tager's Story mode in BlazBlue, he is attacked by Bang, who claims he looks evil and will probably do something evil someday. This is not the case: Tager is a decent enough guy who's just doing his job, and won't harm you unless you in interfere with his mission or Kokonoe orders him to, but he does look like a hulking red ogre. Then again, this is Bang we're talking about.
  • Pokémon:
    • Hydreigon is frequently portrayed this way, as it's mentioned to be vicious, destructive, and all-in-all the closest thing the series has to a Horsemon of the Apokélypse, not helped because of Ghetsis's own horribly underleveled Hydreigon. But Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity has Hydreigon as an important character… and to be honest, you'd never find a nicer 'mon in that game. He's polite, well-spoken, a little bit of a ditz, has a massive appetite… and he says that an apt description of his species is really scary!
    • Elite Four member Sidney becomes this in the remakes of Ruby and Sapphire - he looks like he is going to skin your cat alive now, but still jokingly refers to himself as "this loser" and cheers you on when you defeat him.
    • This trait appears to be a common trend among trainers who specialize in Dark types. Grimsley has an appearance that suggests that he's a vampire of some sort but in reality he's self-depreciating, and Nanu, Ula'Ula Island's Kahuna, also appears to be intimidating, but at the same time, he also appears to be pretty apathetic (although this may also be an act).
    • Pokémon that evolved through a high friendship stat usually look very friendly. The same can't be said about Crobat, which evolved from Golbat. It always has a scowl on its face, baring its teeth and let's not forget its angry red eyes with yellow sclera. People new to the series wouldn't even know this grouchy-looking Pokémon is in that form, because it genuinely values its friendship with its Trainer so much.
    • Other Pokémon may have intimidating appearances but their actual behavior is anything but: Granbull is a bulldog with huge fangs, but at the same time it's a timid fairy type. Its pre-evolved form Snubbull has a permanent case of Resting Bitch Face, but its Pokédex entries describe it frolicking with women. Golisopod is a giant 6-foot isopod covered in steel-hard scales and massive claws... that runs away when its health drops below half. Araquanid a massive spider that's nearly six feet tall and has a permanent glare, but also takes care of any weak or injured Pokémon it finds.
  • Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney has Cutter, a minor character with a thuggish outward appearance who's actually a kind-hearted sculptor.
  • From the Tekken and Soul Series, we have Yoshimitsu. What's interesting is that he's always wearing masks, so his actual face is concealed. However, the masks he always chooses to wear look downright creepy and menacing. Anyone unfamiliar with Tekken or the Soul Series would likely assume that he's a villain, but he's one of the most heroic and nicest guys in the series.
    • The games lore have also suggested that there have been multiple Yoshimitsus throughout these series, and that Yoshimitsu is the title of the leader of the ninja clan that he belongs to rather than a specific characters name, meaning that the character is actually multiple good guys with an evil looking face.
  • Letho of Gullet from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings looks like your typical Dumb Muscle, except he's also acutely aware of it and takes advantage of others once they start assuming he is.
    • Most Witchers you come across have the face of the thug. It comes with being quite hard to actually kill, yet working a job that has them waist deep in drowners, various wraiths, and worse on a nearly constant basis. They may or may not be decent fellows, depending on the exact Witcher, but they've all got enough badass to back up their scars. They wouldn't be Witchers otherwise.
    • Sigi Reuven aka Sigismund Djikstra looks and sounds like a thug (and not even a badass Action Guy, just a fat, brutish bar-brawler,) but is actually the smartest crimelord of Novgorod and former spymaster of Redania.
  • Mark Kimberly from Shenmue has a mean look about him, but is one of the friendliest gaijin Ryo can meet in Yokosuka. Mark's intimidating look has a lot to do with him originally being a member of the Mad Angels gang in pre-production, but he was changed into a Nice Guy later on.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Grog from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is a rather pale and somber-looking young man who sits moping under a tree; in the latter game, he even has a spiky mohawk that makes him look like a typical punk. But under the seemingly grim exterior is a Friend to All Living Things; the Ocarina of Time version determines that Link must be a nice guy on account of the latter getting along with Grog's beloved pet Cucco, while the Majora's Mask version is able to soften his grimly fatalistic outlook on the imminent destruction of Termina by the Moon upon seeing his flock of Cucco chicks grow into roosters before his eyes.
    • Batreaux from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a demon who looks the part, but he is actually a nice guy who gets along well with children and wants to become a human so he can interact with people without scaring them. Granted, he does unwillingly cause monsters to appear in Skyloft and make the Remlits aggressive because of his evil aura; making him human removes the aura and the enemies.
    • Kilton from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an ugly, grey-skinned man who wears makeup and clothes that make him look like the monsters he obsesses over and owns a creepy shop called "Fang and Bone" that is only open at night. One guard character even requests that Link get a photo of Kilton to determine if the shopkeeper is really as sinister-looking as people have said. But Kilton is nonetheless a good guy who sells Link various items that help him kill monsters more easily.
    • Due to the Off-Model animation in its cutscenes, the ordinary citizens of The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games take this Up to Eleven, looking scarier than even the villains of both games. In particular, Yokan first appears in an Extreme Close-Up reminiscient of a Screamer Prank, while Lika flashes a Death Glare at Zelda that makes her look like one of the villains (or at least on serious drugs).
  • Vandham from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. He's a huge, scary-looking guy who is Covered in Scars (most notably an X-shaped scar covering his face centered on the bridge of his nose) and is introduced attacking Rex's team after their stranding in Uraya with the seeming intent to take Pyra for himself due to her being the Aegis (something that Torna and the Ardainians had been trying to do up to that point). But the fight turns out to be meant to gauge Rex's resonance with Pyra and see if he is truly worthy to be the Aegis's Driver (he even chastises Rex for pushing her too hard), and Vandham soon afterwards happily invites them to rest at Garfont Village. Here, he's revealed to be the leader of the Garfont Mercenaries, a group dedicated to helping meet people's needs all across Alrest, and he's also known for taking in numerous war orphans of all nationalities to live in Garfont Village. For these and other reasons, he's known as a supreme Nice Guy in Uraya and A Father to His Men among his mercenaries. Rex and the others subsequently make plenty of comments about him being much kinder and gentler than his intimidating appearance would indicate.
    One day, I will make friends with everyone!
    • Perceval is another demonic-looking Blade who also appears to be covered in flames, yet he is nonetheless a very compassionate and justice-oriented guy. His unique Blade Quest starts with him defending a woman who is being bullied by debt collectors and later sees him going on Merc Missions to hunt down not just those culprits but anyone who preys on the weak in a similar way.
  • Pearl from Splatoon 2 is a rapper with a permanent glare who is usually seen frowning. Despite this, she's more nice, though overly energetic, than anything.
  • Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception: Mikazuchi, Imperial Guard of the Left, usually terrifies everyone around him, and even the protagonist always feels like his life is in danger if Mikazuchi so much as looks at him. Actually, he is a pretty nice guy, he's just terrible at socializing and has a naturally intimidating presence. In his disguise as Sakon the candy salesman he's much more approachable.
  • Octavian the Eagle of The Secret World; as if being taller and brawnier than just about every other human character in the game, he's got an immensely rough, craggy face Covered in Scars, with a heavy brow and a jawline like an entrenching tool, and the fact that he never smiles only makes him seem even more intimidating. However, it turns out that Octavian has been a Retired Badass for the last few hundred years, and actually refuses to get involved in any further conflicts, preferring instead to spend his days asleep on his couch.
  • Kiryu from Yakuza is a genuinely nice, helpful guy, but is also a former Yakuza, and people can often tell just by looking at his intimidating, near-perpetually dour demeanor.
  • Kuro (last name Kiryuu, fittingly) of Ensemble Stars! used to be a delinquent and has the face and build of one. However, he gave up all of that to better take care of his younger sister, and while he looks intimidating, he's actually a very kind and helpful guy. He does have a bit of a complex about his face, though, insisting that I Am Not Pretty and preferring to avoid interacting with the general public out of worry they'd be scared of him.
  • Seika from Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story is an example. Due to her social anxiety other people often mistakes Seika to be angry with them due to her face whenever she is anxious. She is painfully aware of this. In reality she is just your average good-hearted magical girl who does care for other people especially her closest friends Leila and Mitoto.
  • Iron Bull from Dragon Age: Inquisition is huge and intimidating, and indeed a very fierce warrior. But anybody on his good side also knows him to be friendly and generally pretty easy to get along with.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Prologue of Grisaia in Grisaia no Rakuen Amane shows up riding a custom low rider motorcycle, a leather jack and towering over the students and teachers alike. Chizuru is terrified until realizing that Amane hasn't the faintest idea what kind of impression she gives off and is actually very friendly and domestic.
  • Kazuichi Souda in Super Danganronpa 2 sports a pretty outrageous Slasher Smile accentuated even further by his filed down shark-like teeth. He is actually quite timidly and cowardly, and gets called on it within the game.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • While not overly thuggish, Miss Viola Cadaverini from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney looks creepy as Hell, but discounting her relationship with Furio Tigre she's really not that bad (though [[Investigations shows that she's keeping Tender Lender running just as ruthless as ever in Furio's absence).
    • Will Powers is a Gentle Giant with a face that scares small children. Kind of a handicap for an actor in children's shows, so he takes roles that involve wearing masks. He even refuses to be seen out of costume, because he's afraid of crushing his fans' expectations.
    • From the fourth game, Wocky Kitaki's father. He used to be the head of the local Yakuza, and has an extremely intimidating face. But by the end of the case, it's shown that he's a loving father who brought the family out of the mob business so that his children, especially Wocky, wouldn't have to put their lives in danger.
    • From the Investigations games, Detective Badd is an imposing, gruff figure, but he's practically a second father figure to Kay. He gives her Swiss Rolls and distracts her with 'important detective assistance' to keep her mind off her father's death.
    • Justine Courtney from Investigations 2 practically screams Obviously Evil: A Cold Ham Hanging Judge proclaiming herself to be a divine avatar of the law itself, with an ever-present Leitmotif of sinister church music, constantly gets in Edgeworth's way, and tries to strip him of his badge. She was actually on his side all along, and her antagonism was mostly an act to get in the good graces of Blaise Debeste so that she could more easily take him down.
    • From Dual Destinies, Mayor Tenma, who is vilified for his scary looks and because he wants to or rather was being blackmailed into merge Tenma Town and Nine Tales Vale. He is really a kind man, loving father and popular pro-wrestler of the "face" variety.

  • Rocko Sasquatch in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!.
  • In Axe Cop, all mermaids are good but have mean-looking faces, apparently because they thought scowls indicated happiness and smiles indicated anger. Axe Cop, unaware of this, murders one by accident. After learning that mermaids are all good and that this is the first time he ever killed a good guy, he immediately breaks down in tears.
  • Jaws from Demon Fist has the face of a gremlin and the smile of a shark (plus he's a demon), but he's a genuinely cheerful and caring person.
  • Mieruko-chan: Chapter 4 involves Miko and Hana trying to find a good home for a stray kitten they find. Miko turns down a seemingly harmless fellow who's surrounded by ominous spirits, but convinces Hana to give the cat to Gozuka, a thuggish man covered in scars and tattoos. Not only is Gozuka surrounded by nekomata-like spirits who happen to be much more pleasant-looking than the spirits Miko usually sees, he turns out to be a Kindhearted Cat Lover.
  • In One-Punch Man, King's intense looks, coupled with the mysterious King Engine, have led many supervillains to flee in terror rather than fight him. It's convenient for King, since he can't fight at all and is frightened to death of battling some city-destroying monster. Also, the King Engine is his own beating heart going into overdrive from fear.
  • Pixie and Brutus: Brutus' face is proof that the boy has seen some... stuff, but he is very calm and patient with his hyperactive new little sister.
  • In Scalie Schoolie, Violet's menacing appearance leads many people to believe she is a bully, but she's truly one of the nicest characters in the comic. Part of this is due to her mother, who was bullied herself, forcing her to look the part.
    Violet: Why does everyone keep offering me their lunch money... Do I look poor?
  • In the Team Fortress 2 comics, when the Sniper accuses the Medic of being a traitor, referencing the Slasher Smile the Medic made upon seeing the Sniper earlier, the Medic responds that he was simply happy to see the Sniper again; apparently, a psychotic grin is his default genuine smile. Granted, the Medic at the time was working with a team out to kill his previous teammates, but not for the sake of betrayal; rather, he had run out of test subjects and, to continue his research, had signed on with a new team, which, as it turns out, was contracted to kill the old team by Gray Mann.
  • Alfie: Downplayed with Ozge. While Voch'khari features tend to be more inhuman than those of Elves or Havlin (the horns do not help), and they do not have the best reputation among settled peoples outside the Red Wood; her usual shyness would likely come off as more taciturn than menacing if she were a couple of feet shorter.

    Western Animation 
  • Popeye has a face that could perhaps be best characterised as ugly, odd and cartoony and fits with his rough around the edges attitude but also has a rather altruistic and chivalrous personality treating everyone especially kids fairly.
  • Steven Universe: The Topazes, a pair of big hulking minions with intimidating builds and scary faces, turn out to be Gentle Giants.
  • In The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh episode "The Great Honey Pot Robbery", honey robbers Stan and Heff bring in their gargantuan Woozle, Wooster, to mug the Hundred Acre Wood of all their honey. Pooh steps in and naively and sweetly asks if they could just be friends and then share the honey peacefully. Stan and Heff scoff at this suggestion. Wooster's response?

    Real Life 
  • Rondo Hatton got into film because his acromegaly made his face look very thuggish. He's even got an award made in his honor.
  • Similarly, Steve Buscemi has gotten great mileage out of his creepy, cadaverous appearance. In Real Life, despite the sinister characters he plays, he's by all accounts a Nice Guy. Not to mention pretty heroic — he does volunteer firefighting work (including after the 9/11 terrorist attacks) and once got repeatedly stabbed in the process of breaking up a fight.
  • Pope Benedict XVI, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Emperor Palpatine of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, despite the fact that everyone who's met him agrees he's about as threatening as a kitten. Cue massive Memetic Mutation once he's chosen.
  • Joe Raposo, best known for writing songs for Sesame Street, is described as looking and sounding "like a tough Italian street fighter from an urban ghetto."
  • Singer Aaron Neville had a brief appearance in one movie as "Man with gun," an intimidating character the hero confronted in a slum area. His voice has been described as the voice the angels wish they had.
  • Mexican American actor Danny Trejo combines this with Badass Mustache and perpetual Death Glare to make him THE go to guy to play Latino thugs in Hollywood. Ironically, he really was a thug until he turned his life around. Now he's an actor and a motivational speaker and one of the most well-respected men in Hollywood, with everybody who works with him talking about what a great person he is.
  • Billy McGuinness, rhythm guitarist, harmonica player and backing vocalist for the Irish band Aslan looks tough, but is actually very friendly. To look at him without hearing their music, one would think the band play a harder form of music than the radio friendly melodic rock they do. As the most noticeable member of the band it's no wonder he handles most of their interviews.
  • Stephen King, according to several people, is said to have a face that is scarier than his books.
  • According to an afterword in volume 18 of Fairy Tail, the mangaka Hiro Mashima has one, as mentioned by his fans that in the photos of him, he looks like a criminal. Of course, it doesn't help that he admits to having a natural scowl, making it harder for him to have a natural smile.
  • Veteran character actor MC Gainey has this to say of his own appearance: "With a face like this, there aren't a lot of lawyers or priest roles coming my way. I've gotta face that was meant for a mug shot and that's what I've been doing for the past thirty years. If I play a cop, it's always a racist cop, or a trigger-happy cop or a crooked cop - but by and large I play cowboys, bikers, and convicts."
  • In dear old Blighty perhaps the best example is Ray Winstone who combined with his debut role in Scum and thick East End accent make him almost the posterboy for this trope. He's spent a career playing cockney hard-men (in a surprising range of genres) despite being one of the nicest men in showbusiness.
  • Other Brits with this attribute include Vinnie Jones, Ross Kemp, James Cosmo and John Prescott.
  • Ron Perlman has a face and voice that often see him playing the roles of criminals of all stripes, villains and monsters. Even when he plays as a good guy, they often exemplify this trope (for instance, Hellboy and Beauty and the Beast (1987)). In real life, Ron is a funny, intelligent guy with a self-depreciating streak, who famously visited a young boy as a Make-A-Wish foundation request in full Hellboy costume and makeup prosthesis.
  • The late Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, was very sweet and affectionate in real life, despite her permanent grimace (which was caused by an underbite combined with feline dwarfism). In fact, she seemed to genuinely like attention, or was at least content being fussed over — see her appearance on Anderson Live.
  • English actor David Bradley, now infamous for playing some distinctly repugnant old men, generally has an undeniably unpleasant look about him. Like Trejo and Perlman, however, any interview with the man himself would demonstrate him to be nothing at all like the typecasting he's fallen into.
  • Shel Silverstein, the famous children's poet and author, inexplicably plays this up with the terrifying portrait that was placed on the back of The Giving Tree.
  • Willem Dafoe has gotten more than one role on the strength of his creepy looks, and many who have worked with him say that he is one of the nicest people one could ever hope to meet.
    And he's ridin' around on that glider thing
    And he's throwin' that weird pumpkin bomb
    Yes he's wearing that dumb Power Rangers mask
    But he's scarier without it on!
  • With women, this is sometimes referred to as "resting bitch-face". Her default expression might resemble a scowl, but that doesn't mean she's automatically angry or mean. Usually, they're not even unattractive. Examples include Kristen Stewart and Anna Kendrick. Anna Paquin has even lamented in an interview that people think that she always looks like she wants to kill someone.
  • British actor Christopher Adamson has the height and distinctive cheek scars that make him an instint fit for thug rolls.
  • Actor Don Stroud would look like a thug even without his prominent facial scar. But according to J. Michael Straczynski, he got the scar by diving into a group of armed men to stop them from raping a woman.
  • Animal example: Sand Tiger Sharks (not to be confused with the much more dangerous Tiger Shark) are widely considered to be docile, mellow creatures, with no recorded human fatalities. Aquatic petting zoos frequently have them, because they're so calm. They also look horrifying.
  • Once, while in a presidential debate, Abraham Lincoln was accused of being "two-faced" (untrustworthy). Lincoln reportedly replied with something along the lines of "If I were two faced, do you think this is the one I would wear in public?" Seems he took his rugged looks (not surprising considering he grew up in a log cabin on the frontier) with good humor.
  • Congressman Lt. Dan Crenshaw. Who with Beard of Evil and eyepatch, was joked on Saturday Night Live to look like "A hitman in a porno movie". But is amiable enough to appear on the show and joke about it.
  • Another animal example: Scutigera coleoptrata, commonly known as the House Centipede, is a big centipede with a frightening appearance. They're also fast runners and move unpredictably. House Centipedes, however, are harmless to humans and prey on nearly every insect and arachnid that would be harmful to humans, such as silverfish, cockroaches, termites, ants, flies, fleas, mosquitoes, wasps, spiders, bedbugs, sometimes even scorpions. To that extent, they are sometimes kept as pets in Japan for all the good they do while being Creepy Awesome.


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