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Love at First Punch

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Ah, true love's... kick?!

"Yusa Chiemi! That spin kick you gave me… Hit me in the right spot! Go out with me, please!"
Hirata, Jun'ai Tokkou Taichou

Sometimes Love at First Sight... hurts.

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but if that first impression involves you insulting, smacking or punching anyone with an arrogant personality, then you'd best watch out. You may have just made yourself a cruel and brutal enemy…

...and if they don't become your enemy, they may become something even worse.

Yes, that's right. The snobbishly Bishōnen Student Council President, the hulking school bully, the stuck-up Alpha Bitch—admire them, grovel before them, and they'll barely take any notice of you. Make a snide, cutting remark about their attitude or launch your foot into their face, and they'll be putty in your hands. It is not known why people with Jerkass tendencies tend to go gaga over the people who stand up to them — maybe because it is so rare for someone to stand up to them, and when someone does they don't just become worthy of respect, but often the only ones they are able to perceive as an equal partner.

The hero or heroine who puts the bully into their place very rarely appreciates his or her amorous attentions. This is because bullies are usually villains, and villains tend to have a rather perverted and/or amoral approach to most aspects of their lives, including love. Bully Love tends to be a rather obsessive and one-sided affair, which can be played for comedy if the object of their affections is equally strong and aggressive (and if they're not, the whole thing can just come off as damn creepy, if not straight up abusive). Some heroes find themselves completely flustered by a bully's attentions, especially if the bully is female and the hero is a male who has qualms about hitting women. An aggressive heroine with no such qualms against violence may likewise find it hard to launch into a bully who is less physically strong than she is—and even if he's a gigantic brute, the heroine may find herself feeling just a little bit guilty about tossing him into a wall if he's approaching her with hearts in his eyes and a bouquet of flowers in his arms.

Occasionally, the bully may try to reform in an effort to win the heart of his beloved. In series where Status Quo Is God, this oftentimes will not go very well. If the villain becomes pathetic enough in his or her endeavors, the hero/heroine may start to love them out of pity. This can lead to a Slap-Slap-Kiss type of situation wherein the protagonist and the bully enter into a period of bickering which may eventually bear fruit when they graduate to Belligerent Sexual Tension. Death might be preferable.

In a number of situations, it is a form of Meet Cutehaloed in light and slightly out of focus, she's the first thing you see upon waking up from the horrific beatdown she just inflicted upon you. What better way to meet the love of your life?

The stronger version of Defeat Means Friendship. This is very likely to overlap heavily with I Love You Because I Can't Control You and may be a sign of an Amazon Chaser. See also Well, Excuse Me, Princess!, In Love with Your Carnage, and Dating Catwoman. Contrast Best Her to Bed Her, where the defeated is bound by vow/law etc to marry the victor regardless of their feelings; they may overlap.

Not to be confused with the Chinese drama Love at First Fight.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Air Master: Sakamoto Julietta: "…that kick… gave me the biggest shock I've ever felt in my life… AND PIERCED MY HEART!!"
  • This is how Miyoshi and Akito start dating in Bakuman。: she finds out he had talked to her just to know about Azuki and relay the information to Mashiro. She (who's trained in karate and boxing and, according to Shujin, "packs a punch like three men together") then decks him in the face. Four times. Then she tends to him.
  • In Battle Girls: Time Paradox, Ieyasu, previously a bitchy homicidal maniac, falls in love with Nobunaga after she defeats her, turning moe, clinging to her, and calling her onee-sama.
  • Berserk: Guts and Casca's relationship started as a sword fight as enemies (though he only engaged her because he thought Casca was a man). After that, a very interesting timeline developed between them over the span of four years...
  • This is how Akihito and Mirai meet in Beyond the Boundary. Mirai stabs him in the chest with a sword made of her own blood. Then it turns out Akihito is immortal and is only mildly annoyed at being stabbed. Their actual Relationship Upgrade is a lot less violent and more heartwarming, though.
  • In Black Bullet, after Tina Sprout defeats Yuzuki Katagiri in a sparring match, Yuzuki starts clinging to her and says, "I love you! You're so cool and strong! Marry me!" They are both about 10 years old.
  • In Blue Drop, Hagino tries to strangle Mari when they first meet in the dorms. It is needless to say that their relationship is a tad strained for a while after that, although they keep hanging out with each other.
  • Domyouji Tsukasa, the leader of the snobbish clique in Boys over Flowers, falls for Makino Tsukushi, the Plucky Girl, who isn't afraid to slam her foot into his face and dress him down as a Jerkass. She's the first person outside of his family (the original one being his sister Tsubaki) to ever do so.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Mikoto started liking (in her own way) Touma after he first blocked her electricity while she was zapping some delinquents.
  • Cheeky Angel has the "bully falling in love with the girl who disciplines him" angle as part of its main plot, although this situation has a twist—the girl the bully falls in love with is not what she seems. Well, actually, she is. Kind of.
  • Tyki Mikk from D.Gray-Man has had a bit of a thing for Allen since the latter cheated him out of everything up to and including his clothes in a poker game. The actual fights have only made it more severe. Road has a similar, more explicit crush on him that dates back to the time she nailed his arm to the wall and he ripped it free to save a friend and an innocent. Since then, she's stabbed him in the eye, kissed him via ambush, and turned one of his friends against him with Mind Rape. Road has issues.
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School seems to imply this between Nagito Komaeda and Izuru Kamukura, what with Nagito's Luminescent Blush and almost post-coital expression after Izuru shoots him.
  • Fairy Tail: According to a flashback, Bisca Moulin used to be a criminal under the alias Moulin Rouge. One day, Erza Scarlet beat her in a fight. Bisca got a crush on her, renounced her life of crime, and joined the Fairy Tail guild to be near her. Bisca eventually married Alzack Connell and had a kid with him, but she still greatly admires Erza.
  • Flame of Recca: Kurei only starts warming up and opening himself when Kurenai gave him a slap, her being the first woman to ever slap him on the face. Then… horrible shit happens.
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, Mrs. Bradley tells Ed and Al that her first meeting with Fuhrer Bradley ended with her slapping him. Though Fuhrer Bradley is actually the homunculus Wrath, and his entire life story is a lie… he makes it clear that he personally chose his wife, so it counts as a straight example.
  • Girls Bravo: Both Kosame and Hijiri fall madly in love with Kirie after she attacks them. And by "mad", it's meant in a Psycho Lesbian Black Comedy Rape kind of way.
    • If anything, Kirie's constant beat downs of Fukuyama actually make him even more determined in his pursuit of her. Same with his sister Lisa whenever Yukinari fights back against her advances.
  • Gundam:
  • Gushing Over Magical Girls: Kiwi falls head-over-heels for Utena after the latter electro-shocks her into submission and then tells her she looks cute like that.
  • Puppy Love version of sorts: In Hamtaro, Roberto seems to have a slight crush on Laura… the girl who called him out on his Jerkass behavior.
  • Although there are other less volatile, events that create the initial meeting, one of the things Hinagiku does to Hayate in Hayate the Combat Butler is to jump from a tree branch to 'accidentally' land with her foot in his face.
    • Ayumu crashes into Hayate while riding an out-of-control bike after she'd woken up to dreaming about their first encounter when he'd saved her from going over a cliff in a similar situation, which was admittedly a year ago.
  • In a really weird interplay of this trope and Defeat Means Friendship, Akira Oono of High Score Girl smashes protagonist Haruo Yaguchi in the face for resorting to "cheap" tactics in an attempt to break her absurd Street Fighter 2 win streak. The latter absolutely hated her for it, but what he didn't count on was that the former actually began to fall for him afterwards.
  • In Jun'ai Tokkou Taichou the school's most troublesome delinquent, Hirata, asks out the main character Chiemi after she punishes him for causing trouble.
  • Subverted and played straight in Kodocha. The first girl (Mami) who called out the local Jerkass (Hayama) was almost drowned by him and his gang in the school pond since she accidentally pushed his Berserk Button. The second girl (Sana) fared quite better and the Jerkass slowly became a Jerk with a Heart of Gold thanks to her.
  • Wolfram from Kyo Kara Maoh! toward Yuri after he slapped him and later defeated him in a duel. Let's just say he's very possessive over Yuri now…
  • In Hinako Takanaga's one-shot Boys' Love manga Love Round, the protagonist falls for the Pintsized Powerhouse Komatsuna when the furious punch he gives him after being teased about his girlish looks convinces him that he needs to get him to join the boxing club.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, this is probably to be expected, given the series' preferred method of making friends. Most obviously, Fate thoroughly owns Nanoha in their first meeting, and all Nanoha can think of afterward is how beautiful Fate's sad eyes are.
  • Chris from Mint na Bokura is a massive jerkass who holds little more than contempt for the beauties who swoon at his gaze but falls immediately head over heels for anyone who shows him contempt or indifference. When Wholesome Crossdresser Noel expresses no interest in him, he does everything he can think of to win his heart, until he realizes he's been chasing a dude. Later, when his fan Kanako tells him off both for thinking the girls hadn't figured Noel's gender out and for trying to destroy Noel in vengeance, Chris latches onto her, much to her annoyance.
  • In Nerima Daikon Brothers, Mako doesn't have any feelings for Ichiro until after he slaps her.
    • At her insistence, since she demanded he emulate rival host Number One, who seduces women by causing them harm.
    • It doesn't work for Hideki.
  • Pictured above: Ōkami-san applies this trope to the Cinderella story. Instead of seeing who does the shoe fits, the prince asks to kick him with said shoe, as the only thing his love did was kicking him unconscious. Unlike all competitors who made sensible kicks, his beloved used Waif-Fu.
  • In Peach Girl it's noticeable that after Momo punched Kairi he developed an attraction towards her.
  • After Episode 10 of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Rita finds herself strangely enamored with the gynophobic Ryuunosuke, who saw right through her "fake smiles" and forced her into some soul-searching due to his Brutal Honesty.
  • In Please Save My Earth, Shion starts off as the only guy in the moon base to not only not be head-over-heels for Mokuren but to bully and torment her. They ended up engaged.
  • Nanjiroh Echizen was a popular tennis player and a Handsome Lech. Rinko Takeuchi was a law student and Type B Tsundere. She was the first girl who didn't tolerate his Handsome Lech traits, he groped and teased her for being flat-chested… but after an incident where he rescued her from a Jerkass tennis coach, they got hitched up, married and had a son named Ryoma, the lead character in The Prince of Tennis.
  • Probably the case for Kyouko and Sayaka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. They try to kill each other (literally) in their first meeting, and Kyouko repeatedly insults Sayaka for pointlessly trying to defeat her and risking her own safety for the sake of heroism. But Kyouko later reveals that she admires Sayaka's determination and idealism, right before she kills herself to destroy Sayaka's witch form.
  • Akane Tendō from Ranma ½ often became the object of boys' affections because of her Tsundere attitude.
    • In the second movie, Nihao My Concubine, the prince chooses Akane to be his bride (from the hundreds of other candidates available) after she climbs on his throne, smacks him in the face and gives him a What the Hell, Hero? speech for humiliating her and the other girls. (It is implied that the only woman who ever disciplined him before this was his mother…)
    • Then there's the manga chapter about the young resort heir who is seeking the girl whose foot matches the marks she left in his head—a literal "first impression".
    • Similarly, Kunō's obsessive love for Akane and "the pigtailed girl" only seems to grow the more they beat him into submission.
    • In the manga, the "Hentai Horde", as fanon dubs it, actually comes back together and resumes its original purpose of ambushing Akane and trying to knock her out cold in order to claim the right to date her when Akane gives her status as Ranma's fiancée to her elder sister.
    • The trope is actually codified into the law of the Chinese Amazons and thus effectively defines Shampoo's relationship with Ranma: ever since he defeated her while in his male form, she genuinely considers him her husband.
    • Hell, Ranma and Akane's relationship could be considered to fall under this. Though Akane does initially greet him with the offer to be friends, due to mistaking him for another girl, once the explanations are over after their Naked First Impression, she starts insulting Ranma, who rises to the bait and zings her back by pointing out his female form is more heavily stacked then hers. Akane promptly bashes Ranma over the head with a table, knocking him/her out cold, and the rest is history.
  • One of the myriad reasons Hot-Blooded Shizuma Kusanagi is attracted to The Hero Ryoko Mitsurugi in Real Bout High School is because she's the only one who can beat him in a fight.
  • Urara from Sabagebu! initially hates main character Momoka with a passion because her crush Miou pays too much attention to her. Then Momoka takes thorough vengeance for every injury committed; from that day on, Urara has worshipped Momoka.
  • Subverted by poor Makoto of Sailor Moon fame, whose horrid luck with love persisted despite her ability to wail on any and all bullies. She fared better in the live-action adaptation, but this trope was irrelevant in the relationship.
  • In Say "I Love You", Yamato tells Mei that he fell in love with her roundhouse kick. Luckily for them, their relationship keeps going, they fall deeply in love, and eventually even do have sex.
  • Sensitive Pornograph: Mizuho's violent reactions to Meguro's offers for friendship, or compliments about cuteness don't slow Meguro down a bit from falling for him. Notable Meguro never raises his fist against Mizuho, accepting his frequent beatings with giddy happiness.
    Mizuho, on Meguro's face: *crash* *slam* *smash* *splurt*
    Meguro: Nice punch, Mizuho Nishina… I'm in love…
  • Military nut Giroro on Sgt. Frog fell for Natsumi after she navigated his booby traps, dodged his missile fire, and smacked him out the window with her school bag. He declares his love just before he loses consciousness.
  • SPY×FAMILY: Damian Desmond developed a crush on Anya after she decked him in the face for being a jerk. However, he's too prideful to admit he'd fall for a girl of lower class than him.
  • Sumomo Mo Momo Mo has this to an extent. In a flashback scene, Momoko and Tenka have a friendly duel as children in which Momoko loses. Momoko and Tenka agree to meet again in the future after she gets stronger. He thinks it is so she will become strong enough to be befitting of his bride, while she just wants a revenge duel. Played for laughs, but it is a semi-important plot element as the unrequited love is why Tenka ends up assisting Momoko throughout the rest of the series.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross (and by extension, Robotech): Max Jenius and Miriya Fallyna. First, they try to shoot each other down in an aerial dogfight. Then she tries to stab him to death inside Macross City. Then they get married. Seriously.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
    • Kaneki is hinted to develop feelings for Touka after spending time with her and she hands him his ass.
    • There's one part in the Jail game where Koma and Irimi have a heart-to-heart talk in the midst of Anteiku Raid.
      Irimi: Hmm?
      Koma: Did you fall for me?
      Irimi: ...What an idiot.
      Koma: Hahaha. I honestly thought you were an amazing woman. Ever since you landed a kick on my face when we first met.
  • Downplayed in Toradora!: Ryuuji's first encounter with Taiga swiftly ends with her knocking him out with an uppercut to the jaw. At that point, however, Ryuuji intends on pursuing Taiga's best friend, Minori, while Taiga intends on pursuing Ryuuji's best friend, Yuusaku. The mutual agreement to help each other get the girl/guy is what starts them on the path that leads to them falling in love with each other.
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: Played With. Marie’s first interaction with Loic is beating him up for trying to kidnap the girl he’s stalking, Marie’s friend Noelle. It’s the second time Marie beats him up that makes Loic fall in love with her as his Second Love.
  • YAT Anshin! Space Travel, has a case of Love at First Slap. Rich Bitch/Spoiled Brat Kanea Marigold falls in love with Goro Hoshiwatari when he slaps her after he loses his temper with her. Her caretaker Daniel is not pleased about this, since he plans to marry her himself.
  • Hiei of YuYu Hakusho has this late in the series with Mukuro. She sets him against an old acquaintance who slices him into pieces; after he's healed from this, she fights and defeats him in a tournament. Finally, when he annoys her too much, she punches through his stomach and throws him out… and he not only doesn't hold it against her, but he arranges a really, er, nice gift for her.

    Comic Books 
  • In Batman, this is what Joker says happened when he first met Bats in several versions.
    • In the case of Robin (Tim Drake), it was love at first 'brick' with Spoiler (Stephanie Brown). After their first encounter, Tim couldn't get her out of his head and proceeded to track down her civilian identity.
    • A recurring theme regarding Robins and Batgirls. In Batgirl: Year One, Dick (as Robin) is enamored with Barbara (as Batgirl) all while getting beat up by her.
  • In Preacher, Rev. Jesse Custer's parents met when his mother ran up to his Marine father, spat in his face, and called him a "baby-killer". Later she found him and apologized, explaining that she felt pressured into her actions by the hippies she traveled with.
  • The Rogue & Gambit (2018) limited series reveals that Gambit views his first meeting with Rogue this way. The incident involved them getting into a fight, during which she punched him into a tree, before kissing passionately. In the present-day Gambit admits it was Love at First Sight but the fact she could kick his ass really sealed the deal.
  • Knuckles and Julie-Su ended up meeting this way in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics). Granted, Julie-Su was Defecting for Love at the time (and still is, in a sense,) but still...
    • Additionally, Rob O The Hedge the Hedgehog and Mari-Ann the echidna instantly developed feelings for one another, after Mari-ann kicked his ass — such big feelings that in the same story, she leaves her family to stay with him. Later on, in the comic's history, they would be seen married and with a son.
    • A particularly hilarious version that occurred between Omega and Blaze.
      Omega: Such destructive power... I like you! Let us burn things together!
      Blaze: ?!?
  • In Spider-Man, one of Spidey's enemies, The Queen, plays with this during her first encounter with Spider-Man. She seems initially unimpressed with Spider-Man when first meeting him, and quickly threatens him and his city when he gets on her nerves. But when he starts to put up a fight against her, and briefly gains the upper-hand by tripping her and restraining her, she suddenly finds herself much more interested in him. Although she ends up easily defeating Spider-Man, she still recognizes him as a survivor for his strength and determination against her, and decides she likes him enough to make him her mate.
  • Maxima really fell for Superman after he beat her up.

    Comic Strips 
  • The very first thing Olive Oyl ever said to Popeye was, "Aw, shut up, you bilge rat!" And the two continued to fight for weeks.
  • The entire premise of Krazy Kat. Ignatz the mouse loves to throw bricks at the titular character, who takes it as a sign of love and affection.

    Eastern Animation 

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: When Kaworu implied that he was going to disrupt Shinji and Asuka's bond, Rei beat him up and threatened him. He thought that she looked beautiful and he fell for her.
  • In the crossover story The Bridge, a shrunk down Gigan gets into a fight with Mane-iac. After she coils her Prehensile Hair around him, he hacks most of it off and drops her from a high height. Soon as she recovers she's smitten, much to his dismay.
  • Dating a Team Magma Grunt: Aqua Grunt fell in love with Brendan after he utterly destroyed her in a Pokémon battle.
  • The Delinquent and His Lover has Makoto mistake Akira for her stalker Tsukasa and punch him in the face when he tries to ask her for directions. She's quick to apologize when she realises her mistake, and insists on taking him to the hospital.
  • Evangelion 303: Asuka prided herself on being the best pilot on the base and having never anyone good enough to call her peer. Then Shinji arrived, beat her, and she got instantly and subconsciously drawn to him. She started to look for excuses to talk with him, spend time together, sleep in his home… until she eventually admitted to herself that she had fallen in love with him and seduced him.
  • In It Gets Worse, Eidolon begins to fall for Jamie Nightingale after she calls him out on concentrating in fighting other parahumans instead of working to solve humanity's problems.
  • Natural Selection: Ryuko's infatuation with Mako started when the latter somehow managed to kick her through a building, despite only being a No-Star.
  • Fandom theorizes that Hibari and Mukuro are like this to Tsuna in Reborn! (2004) fanfics.
  • Choji first develops feelings for Karui in Son of the Sannin when she beats him in the Chunin Exam finals. His father later reveals that men of the Akimichi clan have always had a thing for tough women.
  • While they aren't enemies, in Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic A Rose And A Thorn 4: Origins it is heavily implied that Project: Midnight becomes attracted to Project: Mirage as soon as they start combat training together - which is also how they meet. Not a huge surprise, since he's a cloned Echidna. The Living Weapon Mirage is more resistant to love but as they spend so much time training together, soon admits he is the only man who's made her feel both strong and safe.
  • Stars, Eyes of Heaven: Koichi falls into despair briefly when he realizes that his crush on Yukako falls under this. Tenmei points out that his and Jotaro's relationship technically falls under this trope as well to make Koichi more open to the prospect. It absolutely fails to reassure Koichi.
    Tenmei: "I used my Stand to push him down a flight of stone stairs. And then I tried to kill him in the nurse's office."
    Jotaro: "I choked him out and dragged his body back to my house."
    Tenmei: "I woke up to the most beautiful pair of ice-blue eyes boring a metaphorical drill into my skull as he held me down to perform brain surgery with his Stand."

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney is rather fond of this:
    • In Beauty and the Beast, Belle is the first person after the Enchantress to actually tell off the Beast for his behavior and stand up to him.
    • In The Princess and the Frog, likewise, Tiana is possibly the only person besides the King and Queen of Maldonia to confront Naveen about being a lazy womanizer. Of course, unlike his parents, she also takes time to teach him how to take care of himself which is a bit more effective than cutting him off and saying "You're on your own".
    • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phoebus openly admires Esmeralda's spirit and cunning as she fights off himself and the rest of the soldiers. "What a woman!" he exclaims, moments after narrowly ducking a flying helmet that nearly decapitated him.
    • The titular Mulan manages to first win Shang's respect after beating his challenge, then he falls for her after finding out she's actually a girl. She literally punches him at one point during the training montage, which gets a smile from him.
    • In Enchanted, Giselle and Robert seem to get very close after their "Can you say anything but 'no'?" argument, which was actually the first time Giselle felt angry about anything (she's quite thrilled).
    • In Tangled, Rapunzel and Eugene's relationship kicks off with her knocking him out with a frying pan after he breaks into her tower.
    • In Pocahontas, John Smith starts falling for Pocahontas after she outright chews him out for his automatically assumed European superiority and racist attitude against the natives - although she, of course, did it through song.
    • Wreck-It Ralph: Felix and Calhoun meet when she kicks him to the ground and aims a gun at him, thinking he's an intruder. He's clearly smitten from then on.
    • Avoided in Up, where the initial idea for the opening sequence would be little Ellie punching little Carl, for catching him trying to catch a bird with a trap, thus begins a lifelong sneak-attack punching game. The producers dropped the idea due to their rejection in a test audience.
  • In Lucasfilm's Strange Magic, fairy princess Marianne, punches the Bog King in the face upon their first meeting. If that didn't awe him enough, she later proves herself his equal in dueling as well. Their fight turns downright flirtatious.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Gone with the Wind has Rhett Butler falling head over heels in love with Scarlett after witnessing her not-so-ladylike behavior and being on the receiving end of her insults. Likewise, Scarlett probably fell in love with him because of his sexy boorishness and his refreshingly brutal frankness in a world where no one ever calls anything by its right name. (And just note how ga-ga she goes over him after he drunkenly grabs her and whisks her away upstairs to bed.)
  • In Herbie Rides Again, Mrs. Steinmetz introduces Wiloughby to her caretaker Nicole. She says, "How do you do?" and slugs him because he came as an agent for his uncle, Big Bad Alonzo Hawk. It's kind of a trained reaction to Hawk because she slugs him again when she learns he's Hawk's nephew. It's only later that she realizes he was utterly clueless about Hawk's exploits and was actually an honestly-decent man who eventually joins her side, staring them on the way.
  • In Just Married, the main couple meet when the guy accidentally hits the girl with a football.
  • In Scrooged, a trip to Frank's past reveals that he first met Claire after she accidentally flung open a door and clocked him on the bean. It's also where she came up with the pet name "Lumpy" that she still calls him years later.
  • In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a flashback depicts Xu Wenwu (aka "The Mandarin") as having met his future wife, Ying Li, after trespassing into her hidden home in the forest. The fight scene that ensues goes from being a forceful duel to graceful, Wuxia-esque sparring, and even though Wenwu loses, it still resolves peacefully (as in, he gets blown away by her winds into a pond as she disappears), setting up their future relationship.

  • There is a P. G. Wodehouse short golf story parodying this, where a timid young man falls for a brash, strong willed female explorer who has never married because she wants the type of man who'll drag women around by their hair. He can't bring himself to act like that and gives up all hope of winning her and focuses on golf. When he's in some tournament she stops on the fairway to tie her shoe and he strikes her with the ball. This causes him to tie rather than win and when he finds out it was her and not a sheep (his glasses were missing) he throws his putter in a fit of anger. It hits her on the shin quite by chance and as she rushes to kill him he rushes forward to apologize and winds up biffing her in the eye on accident. She's now convinced that they can't both have been coincidences and falls into his arms. He has the sense not to correct her and she ends up his doting and submissive wife.
  • In Anne of Green Gables, Gilbert fell in love with Anne after she smashes his slate over his head, retribution for calling her "Carrots". Anne is a little sensitive about her red hair.
  • Discworld:
    • In Guards! Guards!, the tiny swamp dragon Errol sends the gigantic, bullying dragon King tumbling out of the sky using a sonic boom ... and the (female) King starts mewling like a kitten, so impressed that she accepts the pugnacious little critter as a mate.
    • Discworld trolls as well. At least one couple got their start after a rock being thrown at a head. This is a traditional method of flirting amongst trolls. For reasons of romance it is often insisted that it be a pretty rock.
  • Dragaera:
    • Vladimir Taltos's first encounter with his eventual wife consisted of her trying to assassinate him for a rival crime boss (she technically succeeded, but coming back from the dead isn't impossible in this setting).
    • Five Hundred Years After mentions a gender inversion (which makes sense since most female Dragaeran characters are Action Girls). Rollondar e'Drien, who was the Warlord (commander of all military forces), fell in love with his wife after she defeated him in combat. It's noted that he receives a lot of ribbing in the barracks because of this.
  • Played for Laughs in The Dresden Files: Peace Talks. Murph was partially crippled by a beating she received from Nicodemus in Skin Game. Freydis, a valkyrie, questions her usefulness on their mission to rescue Thomas, and Murph shows she's still got it, physically attacking her and getting a gun under her chin. In response, Freydis immediately propositions her (and later even suggests a threesome involving Harry).
  • Britomart and Artegall in The Faerie Queene, who first met in a brutal, bloody swordfight grudge match while the former was disguised as a man.
  • Katsa and Po from Graceling Realm: when they first meet, Katsa is on a clandestine mission, briefly scuffles with Po who saw her, and eventually knocks him out. The next time they meet at the court of Katsa's uncle king Randa, they brawl. As they first become friends and then a couple, they spar regularly (and have a lot of fun with it, since both of them are reknowned fighters).
  • In Lawrence's The Heart Of The Conqueror, William wrenches Matilda off her horse and kicks her in the stomach because she refused to marry him. She falls in love with him because of this. (The story follows Matilda's perspective, so we can be sure the reason wasn't Stockholm Syndrome.)
  • The Legend Of Phoenix Mountain has the main character's grandfather, who fell in love with the main character's grandmother after she slammed her fist into his right eye.
  • Somewhat implied with Malta Vestrit in Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders cycle, with her subconscious view of herself and Reyn showing an ancient kidnapping marriage.
    • And explicitly stated with her aunt Althea, who apparently could never fall in love with a man who asks permission before kissing her.
  • To an extent in The Mark Of The Tala. Andromeda first encounters her father's enemy and future husband, Rayfe in a meadow—to which she found herself pinned to the ground and agreeing to a kiss in order to be released. Surprised when Rayfe bites her on the lip, Andromeda leaves her knife lodged in his shoulder, allowing her to flee.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Nanao speaks of the samurai ideal "shiawase", of a Duel to the Death with someone they love and respect—which she felt towards Oliver when their swords crossed in a classroom sparring session, and was torn up when he turned her down for a rematch. All of which is much to Oliver's chagrin when she explains it:
    Katie: Um... to sum up... you got all depressed because Oliver rejected you?
    Oliver: Sorry, Katie, but could you shut up?
    Nanao: No, she is largely correct. Was I infatuated with your blade or the man behind it? Perhaps there is little difference between the two.
  • Star Wars Legends: When Luke Skywalker first met Mara Jade in The Thrawn Trilogy, she wanted to kill him more than anything. She later changed her mind and, ten years later, married him in Star Wars: Union. Talk about a false start.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Boys over Flowers: In the Japanese version, the Crown Prince falls in love with the Ordinary High-School Student after she roundhouse punches him. In the Korean adaptation, it's a flying drop-kick.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Referenced in the episode "Crush":
      Joyce: Honey, did you somehow, unintentionally, lead him on in any way? Uh, send him signals?
      Buffy: Uh… I do beat him up a lot. For Spike, that's like third base.
    • This is part of why Spike likes Joyce so much as the first time they met she hit him with an axe and threatened him (with Spike later saying that she impressed him). The other reason being that she treats him with a modicum of respect (which none of the others do)
    • Reinforced in one of the After the Fall comics, where a supporting character suggests that Spike only digs girls who can kick his ass.
  • In Clarissa Explains It All, Clarissa stands up to a bully to stop him from picking on her brother. Before she can even land the first blow, he starts serenading her. A later episode has her resolve this issue, but before the end, he's crooning to her again.
  • In Farscape, John Crichton becomes The Hero of his series in less than ten minutes — by being shot into a distant part of the universe, making a vicious enemy and is thrown into a cell, where he meets his Dream Girl, the lovely and deadly Aeryn Sun. Who immediately beats the crap out of him.
  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith ends up seducing a Girl of the Week this way in the episode "Boxing Helena". Early in the episode, he loses a boxing match to a female boxing instructor. At the end of the episode, he encounters her again and, after claiming he was "sucker punched", demonstrates to her that he actually is a capable fighter. Her reaction: "Take me. Now."
  • In the JAG episode "Pilot Error", Lt. McKee, a tomboyish fighter pilot, gets into a one-sided brawl with a Marine officer in a bar (he insulted her wingman who had died in a crash recently, but refused to hit a woman, so she hit him twice.) The next evening, she returns to the bar and runs into the same Marine officer, who politely apologizes for his behavior and invites her to share a drink with him. She declines.
    McKee: Marines. You know, they're the only species on the planet that will develop a crush on you if you punch them out?
  • Leverage: Nate the insurance investigator is protecting a painting when he sees Sophie the thief/Grifter trying to take it. Their eyes meet, a quick smile, then she shoots him in the shoulder and turns to leave only for him to shoot her back. John Rogers is proud to have written "The first Meet Cute sequence I can think of that involves the principals shooting each other."
    Sophie: (offended) You WANKER!
  • He isn't a bully as such, and certainly isn't portrayed as a villain — more a caustic, shambling, one-man hurricane of snark — but Nathan from Misfits does form a very strong attachment to Kelly, the one person who regularly beats the crap out of him. Admittedly, no one is actually afraid of Nathan and pretty much everyone tells him to shut up when he's being a jerkass, but apparently, the message just doesn't get through unless accompanied by brute force. Slight variation in that Kelly does return Nathan's feelings (the fact that she hits him a lot is neither here nor there — she hits everyone) but Nathan does specifically say that he likes her partly because she will stand up to him and hit him when he deserves it.
  • Animal keeps interrupting Rita Moreno's performance of "Fever" on The Muppet Show. After repeatedly scolding him to get things under control, she grabs a pair of cymbals and crashes his head in them. Animal's reaction? "That my kind of woman!"
  • The romance between Charlene and Scott in Neighbours began when she punched him in the face after he mistook her for an intruder breaking into No. 24 and tried to intervene.
  • Once Upon a Time: Prince "Charming" met Snow White when she robbed his carriage. Taking off after the thief, he tackled her, and when he was having a momentary bit of shock over finding out he'd been robbed by a woman, she took the opportunity to whack his face with a rock and run away. This… explains a lot about their daughter.
    • Speaking of their daughter, Emma, she first met her Love Interest Hook by tying him up and threatening him with a knife. She also bests him in a sword fight by… whacking his face with a compass. Later on he pretty much admits that's what attracted him to her.
  • One of the later season episodes of Red Dwarf has the crew looking for excuses to get into the prison sickbay. The Cat decides the best method is to provoke a fight with the biggest, baddest guy in the prison block — shoving him, stealing his food, and so on, culminating in calling him the Cat's "bitch". Given it's being cited here, the results are obvious.
  • A rare case of this going very very well occurs in Sense8. When she was a teenager, Sun was a Wholesome Crossdresser boxing champion: and proceeded to defeat all the boys, naturally. There was one boy that she defeated who well... came back for more after the match. That boy grew up to be Detective Mun, nursing a crush on her the whole time: but couldn't find her because he didn't know her real name. Years later, Sun is in trouble with the law and has escaped from jail. Detective Mun happens to be assigned to bring her back. When he meets her and fights her, he realizes who she is and starts working for her instead (to try to find the real perp). At first Sun is understandably confused, but quickly decides it doesn't really matter why he likes getting beat up by her so much.
  • In Skam, the relationship between Noora and Wilhelm was catalysed by Noora telling the penetrator off for how he treats girls.
  • In Stargate SG-1, when Daniel and Vala first meet, Vala shoots him with an energy wrist blaster and later beats him up (including whacking him in the groin with a fire extinguisher) and Daniel shoots her with a painful stun gun twice. During the fight, she comments "You know, we could've just had sex instead," and, in the last episode, they have a last minute 50-year relationship. This was a Shout Out to the first meeting of John and Aeryn in Farscape, described elsewhere on the page, as both Vala and Aeryn are played by Claudia Black.
  • Jackie's sudden crush on Hyde after she breaks up with Kelso on That '70s Show. Textbook example — Hyde never actually changes his relationship to her, mostly consisting of unremitting cruel snark, even after they actually begin dating.

  • In Bowling King, the bratty, rich Handsome Lech Jen Ni falls for Tz'zun for real (having only been superficially attracted to her before) after she violently refused his advances. "I know, she's playing hard to get!" This, of course, is him being a moron; nobody else in the world would interpret a Groin Attack as anything but "no."

  • Strongly implied in The Flaming Lips' "Hit Me Like You Did The First Time".
  • "Contrecoup" by They Might Be Giants features a variant; it's about a guy who falls in love (for a fleeting moment) after a head injury that may or may not have been caused by the subject of the song.
    Contrecoup on the rebound
    Contrecoup hurt me again
    And the second was worse by far than the first
    'Cause the first one woke my feelings for you
    But the contrecoup made my words untrue
    And it left me limerent
  • Owl City's song "Deer in the Headlights" fits this to a T- or at least, on the surface. Adam himself said it's supposed to be about a very toxic relationship.
    Met a girl with a graceful charm
    But when beauty met the beast, he froze
    Got the sense I was not her type
    By the black eye and bloody nose
    But I guess that's the way it goes

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Feudalism: In Greek Mythology and Epitome of the Bibliotheke, Achilles falls in love with Amazon queen Penthesilea at the precise moment that he kills her in battle and then orders a magnificent burial for her as an apology, which is very tragic. And also killed Thersites for making fun of him crying over the body. Or saying "She's still warm."
  • In one of the Circassian Nart Sagas, Meghazash is pierced by Pizighash's arrow while stealing an apple in the form of a dove. The spilled blood he collects in his handkerchief is used to restore her health, and as a reward, he is given her hand in marriage, which turns out to be a happy one.

  • Bernice Summerfield: when Benny's son Peter first met Antonio, the latter made the mistake of treating Peter like a puppy (complete with cutesy noises). Peter didn't take this well. A few lines later Antonio was still calling Peter cute but in a different way.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the illustrations in Mekton Z is of a man and woman engaged in a swordfight. The second panel shows them sitting together on a couch, showing their daughter a photo album (presumably a picture of the fight), with the swords hanging on the wall behind them, with the caption, "And that's how your father and I met, dear."

  • Anton Chekhov's short play The Bear: the boorish Large Ham Smirnov is at first very disdainful to his debtor's widow Popova, finding her prissy and pretentious, but becomes smitten when Popova reveals to be a Hidden Badass.
  • Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing get a double dose of this: They're equally matched masters of wit who save their best efforts for each other; their constant volleying of insults has lasted for years. This makes them dear friends at the start of the play — each one genuinely enjoys the wordplay and battle of wits — and by the end of the play, they've realized that they're actually in love, and get engaged. None of this stops them from zinging each other.
  • In Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio finds Katherine's shrewishness, wit, and stubbornness not only impressively equal to his own but a sporting challenge to overcome.
  • Fiyero meets Elphaba in Wicked when his cart almost runs her down. In his defense, he was sleeping at the time.

    Video Games 
  • Atelier Series:
    • Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana has Lita thrown an insult at the protagonist when they first meet because he couldn't beat a hawk monster on his own, and we're supposed to know they're a couple from the intro a few minutes before that.
    • A client elf in Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm falls in love with the short receptionist Phenyl after she beats him continuously. Following this scene, he is referred to as having newly-discovered "masochistic tendencies" in the character codex.
  • Zevran in Dragon Age: Origins is an assassin who's been hired to kill the last remaining Grey Wardens in Ferelden (i.e., the Player Character and Alistair). After attacking the Player Party and being defeated, the PC can choose to capture and interrogate him instead of killing him. When he comes to, one of the first things he does is attempt to proposition the PC. He also offers to join the party and becomes a potential Love Interest for both male and female PCs.
    Female Warden: You must think I'm royally stupid.
    Zevran: I think you're royally tough to kill. And utterly gorgeous. Not that I think you'll respond to simple flattery. But there are worse things in life than serving the whims of a deadly sex goddess.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Uthgerd the Unbroken (female) and Benor (male) become marriage options after beating them in a bar brawl.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Level 60 Warrior Quest in Stormblood has your partner, Curious Gorge, happen to him with an Au Ra named Dorongo who's lost control to the Inner Beast, and he's looking at her with a Crush Filter. Soon as he gets knocked into the air, he has this to say.
    "She swings like a dream!"
  • Fire Emblem:
  • God of War Ragnarök:
    • Kratos and his second wife Faye are revealed to, as both were fierce warriors, have fought against each other in the first time they met, before eventually getting in love.
    • The Fire and Frost Giants Surtr and Sinmara first fought against each other, but after fighting together against other threats, they got so in love that Surtr initially refuses to follow his fate to become the beast of Ragnarök as it required him and his wife to fuse, and since they would be destroyed alongside Asgard, that would mean leading his lover to death.
  • The player's first encounter with Silk Fox in Jade Empire consists of her trying to kill him/her for being one of Death's Hand's agents. She is a potential Love Interest for a male or female character.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Garrus tells Shepard about his first love from his cadet days. The two were at the top of their class and when they sparred, it ended in a draw because they were evenly matched in their own ways: "I had reach, she had flexibility." Later that night, they got together for a… rematch: "I had reach, she had flexibility."
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Ocelot develops a giant man-crush on Snake/Big Boss after the latter beats him into submission.
  • In Konami's dating sim Mitsumete Knight, when you first meet the tough-as-nails Gene Petromolla as she has nearly run you over with her stagecoach and yells at you for being on the way, choose to violently retort back and call her on her driving, and she'll be so impressed by your guts she'll befriend you instantly (and eventually fall in love with you if you target her).
  • Liu Kang and Kitana from Mortal Kombat go through this in most versions. The two have a short one-on-one duel in both the first film and the reboot and start getting attached.
  • In Princess Maker 2 the younger dragon at the ruins coming to propose to your daughter after she kicks his butt refusing to pay a toll.
  • In Sengoku Basara 3, Keiji proclaims his undying love for Magoichi immediately after she delivers a flying kick to his face. Magoichi ignores this until he starts following her everywhere.
  • In Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Karin is consistently hostile to Anti-Hero Yuri Hyuga, and once gives him a slapping. In one particular dungeon, she begins to hallucinate and Yuri slaps her out of it. She immediately starts acting gushy and switches to permanent Tsundere mode.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, Handsome Lech Vigoro becomes obsessed with chasing Aika after she is part of giving him a violent smackdown and insults his manhood afterwards.
  • In the backstory of Them's Fightin' Herds, Blitzen fell in love with Velvet after she effortlessly defeated him in a duel. Beforehand, he disdained her as weak and scrawny.

    Visual Novels 
  • The dragon falls for the protagonist in Dra+Koi after he manages to hit the reverse scale on her neck, which is her weak point.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In 101 Dalmatians: The Series episode "My Fair Moochie", both Mooch and a visiting wrestler fall for Cadpig after she beats them up.
  • Adventure Time: Finn developed his crush on Flame Princess after she smacked him in the face with her (burning) hand and nearly destroyed his house with her fire powers.
  • Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender doesn't initially take Suki's Amazon Brigade seriously. After she shows him why he should, he swallows his pride and asks to be trained by them, impressing her. Suki falls for Sokka right away because Sokka showed humility to someone who is both a warrior and a girl, and Sokka falls for Suki right away because she's an amazing girl.
  • Code Lyoko: Yumi and Ulrich first met as sparring partners in a martial arts class.
  • From Disenchantment, how Elfo's parents met:
    Pops: It all started when I first laid eyes on your mother. I mean hands! I couldn't keep them to myself, and then all of a sudden she gave me a right hook, and I was in love.
  • When Van Helsing (in his younger years) from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy couldn't find the thing that was missing in his life, he meets a girl on the street and she knocks the crap out of him. Of course, this was the thing that he had been searching for.
    • Unfortunately, she falls for Dracula instead, which is why Van Helsing wants to kill him.
  • Teen Titans (2003): When Starfire comes to Earth, she bashes Robin in the face, then kisses him on the lips so she can learn the language. It takes five seasons and a movie before they kiss again, but everyone saw it coming.
  • The turtles and two Salamandrians get into a fight over a Culture Clash in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012). Raph gets beat up by one of them (who he dubs "Mona Lisa") and watches her beat up his brothers, and finds himself completely smitten.
  • Happens in Transformers: Prime with Breakdown towards Airachnid. We're not given an exact indicator of how much it's reciprocal. Also doubles as Bile Fascination.
    • Airachnid ended up rending him limb from limb and leaving his body for MECH to find. Guess it wasn't reciprocal.

    Real Life 
  • In the second volume of his memoirs, Russell Brand mentions that he fell in love with Katy Perry when she flung a bottle at his head during rehearsals for the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. They got married in 2010… then split up the next year.
  • In some cultures, when a girl hits a man, it means she likes him.
    • Along the same note, some younger kids will pick on someone because they have a crush on them. That said, any mistreatment should still be dealt with and not treated as harmless just because of a supposed crush, not to mention bullying isn't a healthy way to show emotion usually.
  • Spider monkeys beat up their prospective mates to show how strong they are.
  • According to various histories (written well after the events in question), in the 1050s, William the Bastard proposed marriage to Matilda of Flanders. When she rejected his advances due to his illegitimate birth, he allegedly rode over 400km from Normandy to Bruges to find her. He, as the legend goes, intercepted her on her way to church where he ripped her off her horse by her hair, threw her to the ground, and beat her up. Matilda refused to marry anyone else but him afterwards, over the objections of none other than the Pope. William, who later became William the Conqueror, is considered an outlier among royal men for both his time and really any in that he was a faithful and loving husband. There’s no record of him having any mistresses or illegitimate children in the approximately thirty years they were married. He trusted her and relied on her immensely, both personally and politically.
  • When Jim Morrison met Janis Joplin, the two instantly hit it off. Until Jim got hammered and proceeded to harass Joplin and attempt to yank her out of her car by the hair. Joplin responded by knocking him out cold with a bottle of Southern Comfort. The next morning, Morrison still wanted her number.


Video Example(s):


"The Sword of Mutual Love"

"Soldier". Nanao recounts the core tenet of the sword style she was taught:<br><br>"Enjoy not the sword of vengeance, but the sword of mutual love" (which the anime translates slightly differently than the original novel). She goes on to explain how, in sparring with Oliver (in "Sword Arts"), she felt exactly the joy she was taught to seek out -- and then became depressed when Professor Garland stopped the duel and Oliver rejected a rematch. Katie sums this up as Nanao being hurt after Oliver rejected her love confession -- to the chagrin of Oliver and the amusement of Pete and Guy -- which Nanao agrees is largely accurate. "Whether I fell in love with you as a person, or with your blade... There's not much difference."

How well does it match the trope?

3 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / LoveAtFirstPunch

Media sources: