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Love Epiphany

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He just described his best friend, Clover.

Odette: I see him smiling and my knees start buckling. I see inside him and my doubts… are gone.
Derek: She started out as such an ugly duckling, and somehow suddenly became a swan.
Odette: So happy to be here…
Derek: Til now I never knew…
Both: …it is you I've been dreaming of.
The Swan Princess giving us a two-for-one deal

When a character realizes they are in love with another character. This is not when the character confesses this love to that other character or anyone else, but when the character realizes it themselves.

Often this can be when a character had feelings already and realized this has blossomed into love, or when a character has been in denial about these feelings until this moment.

Now this doesn't necessarily lead to a relationship. In fact, it can even be when the object of affection is with someone else. If not, this can be a way to add a new dynamic to Will They or Won't They?. This is especially the case in Belligerent Sexual Tension because the realization will amp up the tension.

Sometimes occurs when the character analyzes his own tendency to the Green-Eyed Monster, or his protective impluses, or even tendency to feed this person.

Subtropes include:

Relationship Upgrade and Last-Minute Hookup are the natural extensions of this.

Compare/Contrast Love at First Sight. Not to be confused with having an epiphany while making love.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Played with in Ah! My Goddess. Skuld suspects that she might love Keiichi, and spends a chapter or two trying to disprove it to herself.
  • In chapter 132 of Assassination Classroom, Nagisa kisses Kayano for non-romantic reasons: to interrupt her suicidal berserker-rage. Then Kayano realizes that she's enjoying it. You can actually see her expression from shock to realization.
  • Ayakashi Triangle:
    • After temporarily becoming male again while Suzu hugged him, Matsuri realizes his Gender-Bender Friendship had caused him to see her more familiarly and fall in love with her.
    • Though Suzu was aware of her attraction to Matsuri from the start, she was far more hesitant about her feeling for his female self. Eventually, Suzu not only is far less restrained about such feelings, but makes the same observation Matsuri did about growing together as girls, concluding she is also in love with Matsuri as a girl.
  • Berserk: Before she and Guts make love, Casca recounts how she came to the realization that she was in love with Guts a year ago, when he left the Band of the Hawk after defeating Griffith and didn't turn around once, not even when she called out to him. She didn't want to admit the feeling she had because of her pride as a warrior under Griffith, who she thought she was in love with until that winter day.
  • Bitter Virgin: In this series, main heroine Hinako is initially convinced that love is not even possible due to her androphobia and past trauma. This results in the sudden realization in chapter 15 being all the more incredible for her.
  • In volume 16 of A Certain Magical Index, Misaka is walking through a street that's deserted due to a people-clearing field comes across a near-dead Touma shambling forward to help the Amakusas fight Acqua of the Back. She tries to stop him and confronts him about his memories. During the conversation, she realizes her feelings.
  • In Chihayafuru after spending two seasons of the anime being Oblivious to Love, Chihaya finally realizes her feelings to Arata.
  • In the first season of Code Geass, Euphemia has her realization that she's in love with Suzaku—ironically, during the middle of a personal conversation with Nina, who had a hidden crush on Euphemia herself.
  • In The Dangers in My Heart
    • Yamada gets hit in the face by a basketball, giving her a bad-enough nose bleed that she needs to be taken to the infirmary. Ichikawa follows her there out of concern and hides under a medbed to keep from getting spotted, questioning what he's doing all the while. Upon overhearing Yamada tearfully apologizing to her mother for getting hurt (since she had a photoshoot coming up), he sheds tears in empathy and realizes that he likes her.
    • Since the series only presents what Ichikawa's thinking, its somewhat more ambiguous as when Yamada herself realized she was in love with Ichikawa after showing a growing interest in him. Two moments are presented as significant turning points; Ichikawa buying her a bottle of her favorite drink to cheer up, and later him quickly hiding the chocolate she was eating from a librarian (Most notably by grabbing Yamada's hand just before she was about to eat a piece). The latter is probably her realizing how much she liked him.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, a flashback shows that Shuro realized he was in love with Falin when he woke up one night and saw her letting a caterpillar crawl over her hands without being afraid or disgusted by the little creature. He proposes soon after.
  • In Chapter 107 of Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro, after considering the possibility of Nagatoro drifting away from him in the future, Senpai recognizes that he loves Nagatoro and wants to be an item with her.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Krillin has one about Android 18 while arguing with himself over whether or not to use the remote to destroy her in order to stop Cell from reaching his complete form. He's paralyzed by indecision for several tense minutes before finally realizing why he can't destroy her. It's also implied that he's felt this way since she kissed him when they met.
  • In Eureka Seven, Eureka realizes her feelings for Renton upon learning of his departure in episode 24.
    • The same thing later happens to Anemone towards Dominic around the time of his Heel–Face Turn, which leads to a far more serious breakdown for her.
  • Kyo in Fruits Basket realizes that he loves Tohru in volume 11 when he finds himself yelling back at Akito for talking badly about her.
    • Which, it should be noted, is significant because Akito is a scary-arse psycho mo-fo, as well as the head of the family, with a sort of supernatural power over all the others suffering the Zodiac curse.
    • Tohru, meanwhile, begins to truly fall in love with Kyo as early as volume 6, but it doesn't really hit her just how much she loves him until the end of volume 18.
  • Winry from Fullmetal Alchemist has one mid-way through the series. Earlier, Edward had called out Scar for murdering Winry's parents during the Ishval Civil War, not realising she was within earshot and emotionally breaking her. Ed manages to persuade Winry not to shoot Scar and comforts her as she cries for grief. Later, Ed makes her a promise that the next time he makes her cry, they will be Tears of Joy, referencing him and his brother getting their bodies back. While taking the train home from Central, Winry wonders if she's been in love with Ed for some time.
    • Ed himself has one during his time in Briggs. While Winry is preparing his new cold-resistant Automail, Ed tries to warn her not to trust Kimblee, having had a earlier conversation with Riza Hawkeye on the horrors of the Ishval Civil War. He then remembers the other thing Hawkeye had said — her asking if he loves Winry. This leads to him completely freaking out and reciting the periodic table at top speed to try to distract himself. Considering he had previously vehemently denied any romance he may feel for Winry, his freak-out here gives away that he has grown to love her after all. At the end of the series, the two are shown to be married and have children.
  • Sousuke finally gets his halfway into Full Metal Panic! when Kaname comes up with a plan that uses herself as The Bait. Sousuke finds himself once again uncharacteristically rattled by the thought of putting Kaname in danger; but after eight months learning to parse these new, confusing sensations he's been feeling ever since meeting Kaname, he's finally able to connect the dots and realize he feels this way because he can no longer tolerate the thought of a life without her.
  • Gunslinger Girl: Triela in "Returning to the Birdcage" after discovering Victor Hilshire not only saved her from a Snuff Film, but became her handler solely to continue protecting her. Triela already knew she had feelings for him but wasn't sure if this was just the conditioning that makes every cyborg loyal to her handler.
  • Hinagiku in Hayate the Combat Butler has her realization (on her birthday!) on a balcony as Hayate is helping her out with her fear of heights. Not that she was fooling anyone BEFORE that. Unfortunately for her, just as she finally has the courage to confess to him, Hayate realized that he still loves his childhood friend Athena. Hina ended up supporting him to reconcile with her instead. Which naturally goes nowhere in this series, leaving her still unable to spit it out.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Kagome has a very obvious one early in the series which leads to her decision to remain by Inuyasha's side no matter how difficult the Love Triangle with Kikyou becomes. Inuyasha actually has a quieter one early in the series as well, but when Miroku tells him to make up his mind which girl he's going to settle for, he asks if he can have both of them, summing up the problem with the Love Triangle. As a result, the love epiphanies do not resolve the relationship, they just ensure the status quo for the majority of the manga.
    • Kagura realizes her feelings for Sesshomaru after he saves her from a river, and he realizes his feelings for her after she dies.
  • Kimi ni Todoke has Sawako realizing she's in love with Kazehaya after The Reveal involving Kurumi. Kazehaya himself has been crushing on her for most of the series, but Sawako wouldn't be Sawako if she had realized this at any point.
  • In Kobato., both main characters go through this at separate times:
    • Kobato's moment of Love Epiphany starts after she sees Fujimoto being hurt by Okiura. She spends the rest of the night and the next morning reflecting on why Fujimoto's pain hurts her so much, and her reflection culminates in a beautiful moment when she decides to sing to him to better express her feelings. By the time she's finished, she's already realized what her feelings are, and she starts crying because she's a spirit who hasn't got long to live and there's no way she and Fujimoto can be together for long.
    • Fujimoto's Love Epiphany is slightly mixed with Green-Eyed Epiphany: when he hears that Kobato went after Okiura alone, he is reminded of how Okiura stole his First Love, Sayaka. He gets angry that Okiura is always stealing what's his... Then he realizes he just thought of Kobato as something of his. He never really puts the realization into words, but the look on his face says it all.
  • Hihara, when Hino treats his injuries from after he falls down realizes that he loves her in La Corda d'Oro.
  • Happens at different times by different characters of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, depending on whether you're watching the anime or reading the light novel.
    • In the light novel, Togashi gets one and talks to Isshiki about it, who helps him understand his feelings with a bit of invoked Green-Eyed Epiphany.
    • In the anime, Rikka gets hers after episode 8 and is helped along by Nibutani to really understand what she's feeling.
  • In the second season of Magic Knight Rayearth, Hikaru has one of these rather abruptly when Nova her shadow reveals that she is in love with Lantis in a dream world. Hikaru confesses to him as soon as she is pulled out of her dream state and then faints from exhaustion... Unfortunately, she doesn't remember her confession on her second awakening.
  • My Dress-Up Darling: Marin Kitagawa realizes she's developed feelings for Wakana Gojo after their first outing to a cosplay event. On the train back home, a sleepy Gojo mutters how beautiful Marin looked - something he would only say about someone/thing he truly cares about - causing her heart to throb and Marin to freak out comically.
  • My Monster Secret: Youko starts off the series obliviously unaware that Asahi thinks of her as anything more than a buddy and Secret-Keeper. She even ships him with their mutual friend Aizawa. However, the school principal (an old friend of Youko's parents) starts poking at her and asking "Are you sure that he's only a friend?" She's in heavy denial for a good while (she even kisses him at one point, but tries to play it off), but what really leads to the epiphany is when Youko sees Asahi and Aizawa in seemingly romantic situations, which makes her feel sick and uneasy. Thankfully, Asahi finally confesses to her soon after and they undergo a Relationship Upgrade.
  • Naruto:
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has this Played for Drama. During Arael's mental attack, Asuka is able to briefly zero in on Shinji before flashing back through her past interactions with him. After spending most of her time both belittling and envying him, realizing how she actually feels about Shinji worsens her mental state.
  • Ichigo of Omujo Omutsu Joshi has a condition that causes her to become incredibly nervous around men. So much so it causes her to wet herself. She has a revelation when it's pointed out that lately Shouta, and only Shouta, has been triggering this problem.
  • Ojojojo: Haru realized she was in love with Tsurezure when her father told her she was going to have an arranged marriage (or at the very least, it served as the catalyst for her to confess). Later on, Akane tells Haru that she realized she was in love with Chris when he came to see her during her Heroic BSoD.
  • The Ouran High School Host Club manga has this — for several characters. First is Kaoru, who realizes he has feelings for Haruhi. Then Hikaru finally sees that he's in love with Haruhi after Kaoru explains that's why he felt so jealous when Haruhi spoke so kindly about Tamaki. Haruhi takes a while longer to finally realize she's in love with Tamaki, at first thinking her sudden blushing and being flustered around him were due to a cold. Finally, after over 60 chapters, Tamaki has the revelation that he doesn't love Haruhi as a "father", but that he's actually in love with her, as a man.
  • In Penguin Revolution, the president of Peacock prods Yuzuru Narazaki to think about just why he's so dead-set on getting "Yutaka" Fujimaru to be his manager. Narazaki contemplates it for a little while, and the next time he sees Fujimaru, his reaction is essentially: "...oh."
  • Ringo Oginome from Penguindrum seems to have this in episode 11, when Yuri Tokikago straightforwardly asks her if she loves Shouma Takakura and insists that Everyone Can See It.
  • In The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Mashiro has one in episode 12 after Sorata's passionate plea to her not to leave Sakura Hall. When she asks him about the funny feeling in her chest, he tries to deny it in his usual fashion.
  • It's hinted that everyone's favourite jerkass Fakir in Princess Tutu gets his realization when he notices that he can write a story for Ahiru but not for Mytho.
    • A more canonical example is Rue, realizing she loved Mytho all along ever since she was little.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: Out of the five Nakano sisters, Nino is the one who takes the longest to accept Fuutarou, still antagonizing and butting heads with him after several months. Due to a series of misunderstandings, she falls head over heels with Fuutarou's "cousin" Kintarou (who is actually just Fuutarou wearing a blond wig), and once she learns the truth she feels conflicted. It's not until Chapter 59 that she finally realizes she can't separate one from the other and accepts she fell in love with Fuutarou.
  • Ayami Kazama had a rather hilarious example detailed in her autobiographical manga Renai 3 Jigen Debut where she fell in love with her husband after he answered a question she had about foreskin. At the same time, it's rather appropriate since the guy is a hentai author.
  • In a pivotal conversation near the end of Revolutionary Girl Utena, Juri, already knowing the answer, asks Utena if she loves Anthy. Utena immediately tries to wave off her love for Anthy as merely platonic, but after a moment's hesitation, she trails off in her words and can't figure out the right way to describe her feelings. Like so much else in Utena, it's not stated outright and left up to the audience's interpretation, but it's very easy to read this scene as Utena's epiphany; it's after this conversation that Utena's resolve to save Anthy from her abusive brother is solidified for the rest of the show.
  • Kaoru was already crushing pretty hard on Rurouni Kenshin to begin with, so when he leaves for Kyoto alone and she goes into a Heroic BSoD, she realizes just how much he means to her.
  • In episode 11B of Sakura Trick, Mitsuki realizes though a conversation with Sumi-sumi that her opposing Haruka and Yuu kissing is not because she opposes same-sex attraction, but because she wants to be the one beside Haruka. And then she realizes she's in love with her sister's girlfriend.
  • Samurai Flamenco has an interesting take on this, in which Masayoshi has a love epiphany about Goto after he proposed to him. "Oh, I get it, this is love."
  • Subverted in the Seitokai Yakuindomo manga; Shino is irritated when she sees Tsuda and Aria pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but instead of coming to the logical conclusion that she likes Tsuda, with whom she's been teased with for a good deal of the run, she instead wonders if she is in love with Aria.
  • Ren of Skip Beat! realizes he loves Kyoko at a very bad time. He's driving his car, waiting at a red light for it to change and, upon realizing his feelings, blushes, and heaves a huge sigh… while car drivers behind him are honking at him to start driving again.
  • In Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech, Misa Hayase/Lisa Hayes realizes that she has fallen hard for Lt. Hikaru Ichijo/Rick Hunter after accidentally shooting him down in a 'friendly fire' incident. It takes him a little while longer.
  • In Sword Art Online, Asuna spent the first month in Aincrad terrified she was going to die, and for the next months could not sleep well because she was scared of the days of her life she was losing. Then she found Kirito napping under the sun and he convinced her to take one herself... and she slept the best she had in months. She then started to think of him every night before going to sleep and without fail she would sleep without nightmares — prompting her realization that she was in love with him.
  • Karina has one of these in regards to Kotetsu in the 14th episode of Tiger & Bunny when she realizes how worked up she's getting over the loss of a towel simply because he gave it to her.
  • One of the most tear-jerking scenes in Toradora! is this. Taiga realizes after sending off Ryuuji to go confess to her best friend that doing so means that she will no longer be able to hang around Ryuuji every day and that her feelings for him are romantic. Unfortunately, when she runs out the door to stop him, Ryuuji is already gone.
  • Subverted in a late chapter of The Wallflower manga, much to the neverending frustration of Kyohei/Sunako shippers: it looks like Kyohei has finally realized his feelings for Sunako when he finds himself visualizing her in her "beautiful" form while mediating and subsequently acting flustered when he sees that she's become beautiful in real life. No, his epiphany turns out to be that he loves her cooking.
  • In Whispered Words, it is revealed through flashbacks how Sumika fell in love with her best friend Ushio.
    • But not before showing how Ushio is startled by her realization she has feelings for Sumika as well.
  • In Yandere Kanojo, Hijiri's hair got splashed with oil-based paint when she painted graffiti in the school. When Shiratori sees it, she begins to cry. Shiratori manages to salvage the situation by giving her a decent haircut. She realizes that she cried because she was afraid that her image was ruined in the eyes of Shiratori and, from that, realizes that she is in love with him.

    Comic Books 
  • In Amazing Spider-Man #150, which served as an epilogue to the original Clone Saga, Spider-Man comes close to dying and then realizes that his thoughts turn to Mary Jane Watson and his feelings about her (and not to Gwen or Aunt May). This realization that he loves Mary Jane is not so much important in itself as it is the factor that finally convinces him that he is the real Peter Parker and not a clone.
    • 28 issues earlier at the very end of Amazing #122 (The Green Goblin's Last Stand, the conclusion of The Night Gwen Stacy Died), a distraught and grieving Peter lashes out cruelly at MJ when she attempts to offer her sympathies over Gwen's death, telling her to Get Out! After a poignant moment's hesitation at the open door, MJ instead resolutely pushes it shut, refusing to leave Peter to suffer alone. The narration and artwork strongly imply, and later stories would fully confirm, that this was the exact moment that Mary Jane realized that she truly loved Peter Parker.

    Fan Works 
  • In this The Most Popular Girls in School fanfiction, Mackenzie realizes she has feelings for Brittnay.
    And that's when she knew it. She was in love, and not just any type of love, she'd fallen hard for Brittnay Matthews. Very hard.
    I am so FUCKED.
  • A Crown of Stars: Asuka realizes that she loves Shinji when he wants her staying behind as he sorties because he does not want her dying. She replies—without thinking—she loves him so what she is supposed to do if he dies. Later Shinji reminds her that she had said and she blushes.
  • Advice and Trust: Shinji and Asuka fully acknowledged their feelings and realized each other's when they kissed in chapter 1. Rei realized what she loved them both after fighting Zeruel.
  • The Child of Love: In chapter 5, after her birthday party, Asuka goes to Shinji's room as he is sleeping, grumbling because he has not given her any present. By chance, she finds the present Shinji meant to give her but did not dare to: a ring. Blushing she puts it around her finger, pecks her cheek… and then she realizes she loves him.
  • Corrin Reacts: Flora realises she's fallen in love with Corrin after Felicia asks her exactly what she sees in Jakob and she lists off qualities that belong to Corrin instead.
  • Doing It Right This Time: After a shopping trip in chapter 2 Asuka realizes she not only likes Shinji but also Rei.
  • Evangelion 303: Shinji realizes he loves Asuka when she was in a coma. Asuka realized she loved Shinji when he proposed to her.
  • Fashion Upgrade (Miraculous Ladybug):
    • Downplayed; when Adrien sees Marinette modeling the Multimouse-inspired cocktail dress, his first thought is Now I know why so many guys have had crushes on her.
    • Later played straight when Chat Noir pays her a visit and realizes that aside from the lack of fencing and martial arts, she's got everything he likes in girls.
  • In Ghosts of Evangelion, Asuka realizes -at last- what she is in love with Shinji when she realizes his love confession was sincere… and he says he is taking it back when she accepts it.
  • A Marriage Of Convenience: As Hans tries to calm Elsa down from a panic attack he caused, he realizes that Anna's suspicions were correct and that he has indeed developed feelings for her.
  • The One I Love Is...:
    • Shinji has three: when he realizes he has fallen in love with Rei, when he understands he cares for Asuka because he is in love with her, and finally when he realizes it is Asuka the one he loves the most.
    • Rei has hers in the Prologue: during a sync test in Unit 01, she accidentally sees Shinji's memories, realizes he has feelings towards Asuka and herself and gets afraid of losing him to Asuka. Then she realizes she likes him.
    • Asuka has hers when she sees Rei giving chocolates to Shinji.
  • The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain: The title character gets two, in a way. The first is in Volume III, when Skinner embraces her after she nearly dies (again) and calls her Elizabeth for the first time. In the following volume, when she thinks she might have a thing for Everett, her second epiphany at the ball in St. Petersburg hammered it home for her. Too bad Everett wasn't going to take no for an answer.
  • The Second Try: During chapter 4 "Love", Shinji and Asuka realized their feelings gradually. It was during a Kaworu-related argument that Asuka finally admitted to herself that she loved him.
  • Thousand Shinji: Shinji loved Asuka as soon as he met her. However, Asuka fell in love with him gradually. Several days after confessing he liked her, he told her he admired her strength but he knew that she was more fragile than she looked, and he wanted to help her to become stronger. Then Asuka realized she had fallen for him.
  • In the Ben 10 series Hero High, Ben realizes he has feelings for Ren after she nearly kills herself saving the school.
  • Reading Rainbowverse has Octavia gets one after Vinyl's Accidental Proposal makes her really think about their relationship... leading to an actual proposal.
  • Greenfire has Rarity realize her feelings for Greenfire (Alternate Universe!Spike) after months of tea parties, engaging conversations, genuine respect, and gawking at his impressive musculature following when he acts more chivalrous than an actual knight sent to kill him. After Rarity convinces him to open up about his solitary history, Rarity realizes how lonely he is, which makes her realize how lonely she is, and when she remembers at least they have each other, she finally realizes how much she cares for the dragon.
  • An untitled fic for The Dresden Files describes the moment Molly realized that her affection for Harry was not the Precocious Crush it had been in her youth:
    ...I realized I wanted to be more than part of his adventures. I also wanted to be part of his home.
  • In Those Gilded Chains We Wear, Hermione realizes that she is in love with Bellatrix after she smells her in a bottle of Amortenia.
  • Alistair has the rush of realization at possibly the single most inappropriate moment in Shadow and Rose. He and Elissa are attending his half-brother's funeral pyre, and she reaches out to take his hand and try to comfort him. This simple act prompts him to consciously understand that he's in love with her and has been for some time. In his own words, "I guess I can't do anything quite normally."
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: In chapter 11, while Shinji thinks about the latest battle, he finally realizes that he cares for Asuka:
    Shinji had always felt that he shared a bond with Asuka, but he didn't quite realize how much she had come to mean to him until after one of the previous Angels had been defeated—back then he had risked his own life to protect her, and, in an ironic twist, she ended up saving him. And this realization had finally brought him to admit it that he cared for Asuka.
  • In the fanfiction novelization of Hyrule Warriors, Zelda and Link have been growing closer throughout the story, though it isn't until Zelda meets the Skyward Sword era Link and Zelda and she becomes a little jealous and wistful at how close and affectionate they are and hears them talk about how much they love each other, that she finally realizes her own feelings for Link.
  • In the 9th chapter of The Vow, Shen realizes that he has fallen in love with Lianne while they're spending alone time at the end of the Moon Festival they organized together.
  • In Eroninja the subject of the Temptation's Touch Jutsu only reaches the final level not when they fall in love with the wielder but when they truly understand their feelings, such as when Tayuya realizes how much Naruto cares for her and he'll never abandon her like Orochimaru did.
  • In The Legacy Preservation Act Daphne realizes she loves Harry while being interrogated by her mother and aunt.
    Julia: If you don't care about him, why did we spend three hours consoling you when you believed you'd betrayed him?
    Daphne: Because he doesn't give his trust easily, and he shared something very important with me and that ghastly... I need to protect him if I can because... Oh my gods.
  • The "The Magic School Bus" fandom is fond of Carlos and Dorothy Ann being prone to this trope but the story Field Observations takes the cake, with DA making her epiphany into a science experiment and coming to the conclusion that, quote "According to my research, Carlos should take me to the prom," a statement that the author admits was the sole inspiration for the story.
  • The Planets: Winry realizes that she's fallen for Roy right in the middle of performing surgery on him. She lampshades the inappropriate timing of the epiphany.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: Danny experiences this in chapter 39 when he finally figures out who he wants as his perfect match.
  • In Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja, Naruto is his usual Oblivious to Love self about Hinata's feelings for him, but is also oblivious to his own feelings for her as well (as in canon, he only has a shallow understanding of what love really is). At the end of chapter 11, during a romantic moment between the two of them, he almost kisses her without thinking, and then spends the better part of chapter 12 agonising over why he did it, even attempting to rationalise that he can't be in love with Hinata by comparing his feelings for her to his formernote  feelings for Sakura, failing to realise that he has them backwards. It isn't until Jiraiya confronts him about it that he eventually comes to terms with the fact that he does actually love her.
  • Almost every Good Omens (2019) fanfic will take as canon Michael Sheen's statement that Aziraphale realised he was in love with Crowley when Crowley saved Aziraphale's beloved books from a church explosion. Sheen has openly said that he played Aziraphale's reaction to this as exactly this trope.
    • A lot of these fanfics will also depict Crowley as having realized his feelings for Aziraphale far earlier than him, sometimes as far back as their first meeting in the Garden of Eden when Aziraphale admitted to giving away his flaming sword to Adam and Eve to help them to Crowley's visible amazement.
  • The Enchanted Library: Only when Rarity glowingly describes Twilight to Pinkie, leading to teasing from her and Fluttershy, does Rarity realize she like likes Twilight.
  • In Beyond Heroes: Of Sunshine and Red Lyrium, when Varric watches the Inquisitor sealing a rift, he has the absolute most in-character reaction to his sudden comprehension.
    Well, shit.
  • In A New Dawn, Chapter 15 features a 'therapy session' in which Dawn slowly lets down her guard in front of Gideon and is clearly affected by him not taking advantage of her, as so many others have done. But it's not until that evening, when she's thinking back on these events, that she realizes she loves him.
    • According to the author, Gideon doesn't experience this himself until much later in the story, when Dawn sacrifices herself by taking the bullet for him and turning savage.
  • In Double Back a time-traveling Harry comes to this realization while considering the pros and cons of a triad marriage with Amelia and Julia.
    Amelia was certainly a bright point in his life right now, which was something he'd given up looking for in his own time. She didn't want to be with him because of his money or his fame or because he was The-Boy-Who-Lived or any of that crap. She loved him for who he was, and he loved her because of it.

    That realisation caused him to sit up on the couch suddenly and rewind his mind slightly. He loved Amelia.
  • In Harry Potter And The Summer Of Change Harry realizes he loves Tonks when Bellatrix threatens her life during a Death Eater attack.
  • In Scarlet Lady, during the events of "Evilustrator", when Marinette (who had the Ladybug Earrings stolen from her by Chloé, not that she knows it) meets Master Fu, he muses that Marinette being in love with a superhero can't be easy. Marinette at first tries to brush it off, but then stops herself, and says "Oh"... and then proceeds to have an emotional breakdown that lasts her the rest of the episode. Throughout the comic's first two seasons, Marinette has been fighting alongside Chat Noir as a civilian since the titular heroine of the comic is The Load at best and The Millstone at worst, and has repeatedly put herself in mortal danger because of it. Chat had just begged Marinette to promise to stay out of Akuma battles before Fu and Marinette's conversation, and now she's emotionally conflicted about keeping her promise to stay away from Akuma battles and being a Violently Protective Girlfriend. Luckily for Marinette, Fu finds a convenient time to Take a Third Option and give Chat Noir the partner he deserves in Season 3, introducing the Bee Heroine Marigold.
  • The Junior Officers chapter "The Realization", where Shellington and Deborah realize they have feelings for each other. Neither knows the other does, and they're scared to say anything out of fear that they'll be seen as clingy/desperate and that it will be "Glenn/Donna all over again" (as in, it will be another failed crush scenario).
  • While Misty in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines had made her attraction to Ash quite clear, it's not until Chapter 52 that she openly admits that she loves him (albeit she does it in front of Iris and Anabel). The scene made it clear she was having trouble using the word "love", until the others assured there was nothing to be ashamed of.
  • In Lunch at Maxine's Hermione's mother asks about her first real memory of Harry. She describes fixing his glasses on the Hogwarts Express.
    Hermione: I just took them up without thinking or asking and fixed them for him. Honestly, the look on his face was something that touched me and I'll never forget. He looked as if he'd never seen anyone do anything for him and he couldn't believe it. Our eyes met, and for just those few seconds, it was as if I knew him, the real Harry and he knew me.
    Not 'The Boy Who Lived' and certainly not the bossy bookworm, but the two of us were real people to each other. I got lost in those eyes of his, and I could see how desperately he needed someone. It was as if we both took the other to heart and...
    [Hermione sits bolt upright, then drains, refills and re-drains her wineglass.]
    Hermione: I'm in love with Harry bloody Potter and I have been since I was eleven.
  • Runaway Wind:
    • Ventus comes to this after weeks of adventuring with Naminé.
    Even if [Naminé] was born a Nobody, Ventus just couldn’t believe she had no heart. There was no faking the fear she showed when the Organization threatened her, or the happiness of freedom and finding friends. Or the kindness she showed him. It was probably why…
    Ven’s eyes widened for a moment.
    Naminé tilted her head as she took a step closer.
    Naminé: Ven, you’re a little red. Are you—?
    Ventus: Fine! (takes a step back and waves his hands.) I’m just fine! No problems at all!
    That was a lie and Ventus knew it. Right now his mind was desperately trying to catch up to what his heart might be saying. He wasn’t even sure he was hearing what it was saying right! He had no training in this! Was this…
    Was this what it was like to fall in love?
    • The following chapter has Naminé starting to reach the same point, triggered by Yuffie's comment calling them "lovebirds", but still unconvinced that a Nobody even can have genuine feelings for someone. It's not until a few chapters later, when she steps up to help Ventus in battle against Xemnas, that the narration acknowledges Ven as "the one she loved".
  • In Harry Potter: A Change of Direction Harry realizes that he loves Hermione when he gives her a "Shut Up" Kiss.
  • In The Sword of Justice and the Shield of Time, Sayaka realizes that she has fallen in love with her one-time rival Homura after, having gone on a totally-not-a-date with her to get Homura to do something not directly related to being Magical Girls, Homura refers to Sayaka as "friends" when they meet others and Sayaka feels a pang of disappointment and wanting in her heart.
  • Transformers: MHA has Izuku and Kyoka have this regarding each other. After finding out that they both passed the U.A. Entrance Exam and will be studying in the same class together, Bumblebee brings the two of them into a Group Hug resulting in them being pressed against each other, much to Izuku's embarrassment. However, it's from there that the two then realize how they truly feel about one another.
    Kyoka: (Thinking) Damn, who would've guessed that the first REAL guy I start to notice is awkward as hell but is a total cinnamon roll?...Ya know what? I can live with that.
    Izuku: (Thinking)…Oh god, I'm crushing on Jiro. …And I'm already starting to panic, nice.
  • OrangeLemon's Sannin Swap:
    • Hinata partially inverts this during the Naruto Retrieval Mission; while battling Kidoumaru, she realizes that she had mistaken her admiration for Naruto for love. Unlike her, Naruto never seemed like he was afraid to assert himself, and she'd longed to be just as courageous as him. She also berates herself for never speaking up in his defense, as she was always afraid of being punished, and resolves to become a better friend and stand up for herself and others more.
    • Ino plays this straight during the same mission. In order to deal with Sakon and Ukon, she forces herself to face her denial over whom she's really been crushing on and pursuing all this time. Not Sasuke, but Sakura.
  • In Gold Poisons, Nie Mingjue realizes he still cares about Jin Guangyao as the latter, believing Lan Xichen is dead, begs for Mingjue to kill him. Talk about timing.
    • Xichen realized he was in love with Jin Guangyao when he got a letter saying he was about to take a serious risk which he may not survive, and it made him realize how badly he wanted to see him again.
  • In the Fire Emblem: Three Houses fanfic Tea is for Teacher, Byleth realizes that she's fallen for Claude when she visits a bar in Derdriu and notices a young couple near a poker table and imagining them doing things like playing drinking games or sharing poker strategies...things she and Claude used to do at Garreg Mach Monastery before and during the war.
    She couldn’t finish the thought. Instead, she remembered every private meeting of theirs since she’d woken up, and how much she looked forward to them - and that wasn’t normal, was it? That wasn’t something platonic. That was…
    She was in love with Claude von Riegan.
    This could not end well.

    Films — Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast, during "Something There", a song that's pretty much about this trope. And as seen in this pic, it freaks Belle out a little.
  • A Bug's Life: It's implied that Flik has had a crush on Atta for a long time, but soon as the Circus Bugs save Dot from the bird, Atta begins treating Flik much more respectfully, talking with him about her own personal issues, realizing that perhaps they are more similar than she had thought, and apologizing for how she'd treated him in the past. Then she gives him his "Eureka!" Moment, and he kisses her on the cheek before running off, leaving Atta wide-eyed and caressing the spot where he kissed her.
  • Happens in The Princess and the Frog, starting around Naveen and Tiana's dance during "Ma Belle Evangeline". Yes, Disney loves this trope.
  • The Swan Princess, which gives us two of these at the exact same time.
  • Yet another Disney example is Tangled, which features this during the Award-Bait Song "I See The Light".
  • Despicable Me 2 has one of the oddest and funniest ever. On her plane to Australia, Lucy Wilde begins hallucinating Gru's face in a magazine and in several of her fellow passengers on the plane to Australia before snapping back to reality. She decides to bail out of the plane so she can be with him.
    Lucy: Thank you, Gru Stewardess!
    Stewadess: (confused) You're welcome?
  • In Strange Magic Dawn realizes her feelings for her childhood friend, Sunny, when seeing him breaks the magic of the Love Potion that had been influencing her.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack had always assumed Sally was a good friend and never realized she had feelings for him. It wasn't until Santa Claus pointed out she was proactively trying to rescue Santa Claus and she was doing it all to help Jack, Jack became flustered.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Clueless, when Cher realizes she loves Josh. Lampshaded by the fountain behind her lighting up and coming to life.
  • In American Pie 2, Jim realizes he loves Michelle when, while talking to Nadia, he finds himself repeating her "This one time, at band camp" line.
  • Giselle of Enchanted has one after Robert makes her feel angry for the first time.
  • Parodied mercilessly in Zoolander:
    Derek: There was a moment last night, when she was sandwiched between the two Finnish dwarves and the Maori tribesmen, where I thought, "Wow, I could really spend the rest of my life with this woman".
  • In The Prince & Me the scene where Julia Stiles's character is giving an oral presentation and in the middle of it realizes her love for… well… the Prince.
  • The Matrix: This probably happened to Trinity when Cypher was about to kill Neo, and asked her if she believed that he was The One, since we later learn that The Oracle told her she would fall in love with The One.
  • Near the end of George of the Jungle, Ursula’s mother laughs at the possibility that her daughter could love a man she met in the jungle more than her rich fiancé. This leads to Ursula thinking about her time with George and she realizes that she does love him.
  • Gone with the Wind: Scarlett spends the whole movie obsessing over Ashley and how he married Melanie instead of her. She continues to do so even after she has married Rhett and they've had a daughter together. It isn't until she sees Ashley break down after Melanie's death that she realizes she never truly loved him and that she's always loved Rhett.
    Scarlett: Oh Rhett, do listen to me, I must have loved you for years, only I was such a stupid fool, I didn't know it.
    • And platonically speaking, it isn't until Melanie's death that Scarlett realizes that Melanie is her best friend and has always been there for her.
  • Stardust has a very sweet scene with Yvaine explaining what she's realised about love, to Tristan while he's in the form of a mouse after she's verified that he can't understand her. Except he was kinda lying.
  • In The Wedding Singer, Julia has one immediately following her realization that she hates the sound of what will be her married name.
  • Happens in The Kid (2000) when Russ realizes he's been paying a lot more attention to Amy than he'd realized.
  • Holiday: Linda realises that she has fallen in love with her sister's fiancé after sharing a dance with him on New Year's Eve. She confesses her feelings to her brother Ned, but refuses to act on them.
  • Phffft!! has Jack Lemmon and Judy Holliday rekindle their love and realize their mistake in divorcing by sharing a mambo.
  • In Mr and Mrs Smith, Jeff Custer doesn't come to Ann's defense when David angrily holds her down, and she realizes that Jeff’s gentleman qualities are spineless, and she'd rather be with David; he won't put up with her crap, and he really does love her.
  • Carefree (1938): When Tony hypnotizes Amanda, he implants the following suggestions in her mind: (1) she loves Stephen and wants to marry him; (2) Tony is a horrible monster, and men like him should be shot down like dogs; and (3) Tony does not love her. She starts to cry at the last statement, and Tony has to leave the room to think things over. After a short conversation with himself, he realizes that not only does she really love him, but he loves her too.
  • In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond begins courting Tracy because her father promises Bond that if he marries her, he'll help Bond find his arch-enemy Ernst Blofeld. Later in the film, Tracy saves Bond's life from SPECTRE agents who had been pursuing him. This causes Bond to realize that he really has fallen in love with Tracy and it's no longer just a business arrangement with her father. He then proposes to Tracy.
  • In Sabrina, David helps Linus realize his love for Sabrina after he jokingly calls her a Gold Digger who only loved Linus for his money. An offended Linus punches David so hard, that David tumbles backwards onto the table.
    David: I was just helping you make up your mind. You are in love with her!
  • In Plan B, Bruno realizes that he's fallen in love with Pablo when Victor, after hearing how his initial plan to steal Pablo's girlfriend from him went awry, asks him when he suddenly started liking guys. Since Pablo is not only another guy but is also no longer speaking to Bruno after finding out about his plan, this epiphany only makes Bruno feel even more miserable.
  • My Fair Lady—For Henry, it's "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face"; for Eliza, it's a reprise of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly".
  • Edward Scissorhands: Kim is one of the few people who doesn't immediately welcome Edward into the neighborhood, due in part to the very awkward first encounter they have, and only grudgingly accepts his kindness towards her. She is more dismayed than happy to realize how much he cares about her despite this. But after she learns that he participated in the burglary of her Jerk Jock boyfriend Jim's house only because she asked him to, and from there allows the town to turn against him by not revealing others were involved, she begins to soften. Finally on Christmas Eve, as she sees Edward carving an enormous ice sculpture of an angel, which causes a shower of "snow" on the lawn, she impulsively twirls amongst the flakes in joy, wordlessly understanding at last just how beautiful Edward is and loving him for it.

  • Chad from Super Powereds has one when Roy convinces him to look at Angela and turn off the part of his power that reins in his emotions.
  • Laurie of Little Women has one of these for Amy while recovering from Jo's rejection, where he realizes that even though he can't have one sister, he'll be perfectly satisfied with another.
  • Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice has one when she and Darcy hear the news of Lydia eloping with Wickham, convincing Elizabeth that Darcy will now want nothing to do with her or her family:
    It was [...] exactly calculated to make her understand her own wishes; and never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain.
  • In Emma, the title character's reaction to Harriet's confession of love for Mr. Knightley makes her realize feelings she (though not the reader) was completely unconscious of until then:
    Why was it so much worse that Harriet should be in love with Mr. Knightley, than with Frank Churchill? Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Harriet's having some hope of a return? It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself!
  • Rose has an epiphany in On the Edge after Declan saves her brother's life. She sits on the steps next to him thinking about what her life would have been like if she'd never met him, only to realize that she didn't want to never have met him because she's in love with him. Heartbreaking because Declan has ulterior motives for courting her, and she's duty-bound to resist his advances.
  • The Twilight Series has two major ones:
    • In Midnight Sun (2020) Edward struggles with exactly why he saved Bella and why he is so curious about her, besides his inability to read her thoughts. Then when he hears her saying "Edward, please don't go," in her sleep, he realizes that he loves her.
    • New Moon: After being told, point-blank, by Edward multiple times that he's in love with her, and that it's the driving force behind every action he takes, Bella finally shrugs off her low self-esteem and realises that he means it.
  • Shelena in Loyal Enemies realizes she's in love with her so-called enemy Veres in two parts. First, after Veres saves her life and takes care of her while she's recovering, she realizes that she has never been attracted to the Tall, Dark, and Handsome types, but Veres doesn't look — and smell — all that bad, though she tells herself to stop being silly. She then fully admits her feelings for him after catching herself being jealous of him kissing his former lover-turned-villain Tairinn, even if it was for show. Not that this makes her any less prone to snarking at him. Or herself:
    Shel, you've lost your mind! Soon, he'll be leading you around on a leash and you'll just be wagging your tail for all that happiness! Give yourself a shake, now!
  • Alan in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! was kept for years from realizing that he was in love with Catarina by his brother Gerald, their mutual friend Keith, and his own fiancée Mary who didn't want more rivals. However, when she was nearly killed by a dark magician he finally realized it and tried to call off his engagement with Mary, who declined on the grounds that it made for good cover in deflecting suitors... leaving her free to also go after Catarina. Quite justified, as Alan is bad at processing his emotions and thoughts, due of being a Tsundere who suffered from Inferiority Superiority Complex that would surely got worse had not from Catarina's intervention back in their childhood.
  • In the Darkest Powers series, Chloe manages to have two of these in The Reckoning. When she goes on a date with Simon, they kiss and there's no spark. At that point she realizes that despite wanting to like Simon in that way, she still thinks of him as a friend. Much later, Derek is considering leaving the group for their own safety. The realization of how much he really means to her hits Chloe hard, which is Love Epiphany #2.
  • In Starfighters of Adumar, Wedge and Iella were lovers once and became estranged, eventually not even being friends anymore. While talking to Iella Wedge learns why—it's a combination of unfortunate events keeping them apart and missed signals, and she feels hurt. Hurt himself, Wedge starts to leave—
    Adrenaline jolted through him. The shock that hit him was that of a man realizing that he was about to step into a trap or a firefight, something that could end his life in a second.
    It couldn't be a precognitive warning. Outside of the cockpit, his pattern recognition skills didn't afford him warnings like that.
    No, the danger was more personal. It was indeed a matter of Step through that door and your life is over, but in a very different way. "Just how stupid do you think I am?" he asked.[...]
    He turned to face her again. His energy was back. He felt it burning within him. And he now knew the nature of the one last barrier standing between the two of them: Her injured pride, shielding her from further harm... but also shielding her from him. "How big an idiot would I have to be to walk out that door?" [...]
    "No, Iella. That would be another mistake, and the older we get, the less time we have to bounce back from them. I'm tired of making mistakes." He put one hand behind her neck, the other around her waist, and drew her to him. She looked at him, surprise in her eyes.
    "You're a grown woman and in training," he said. "If you want me out of your room, it'll take you just one knee and a little leverage to put me out. But you can't just tell me to go, not this time. I love you. I'm not going to meekly walk away." He pulled her face to his and kissed her.
    He had a glimpse of her widening eyes. Then he was lost in the sweetness of her lips.
  • Rather twisted example from Gone Girl, where Amy realizes she loves Nick:
    It really is true. It took this awful situation for us to realize it. Nick and I fit together. I am a little too much, and he is a little too little. I am a thorn bush, bristling from the over-attention of my parents, and he is a man of a million little fatherly stab wounds, and my thorns fit perfectly into them. I need to get home to him.
  • In A Hero at the End of the World Oliver is in a bit of a daze for a while after being forced to take time off his government job. He thinks about how much he misses his partner until he suddenly realizes it's because he's in love with her.
  • John C. Wright's Golden Transcendence, with Phaethon pondering over Daphne Prime and Daphne Tercius — noticing things.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Return Of The King, after Éowyn doesn't go to the army, and Faramir points out there are two possible reasons, one of which is reluctance to leave him.
  • Harry Potter's chest monster in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Only after walking in on Ginny and Dean kissing does he finally realize just how he feels about her.
  • For Joscelin this happens in Kushiel's Chosen. He already knew he loved Phèdre but after thinking she was lost at sea he realized how much he loved her.
  • Anne of Green Gables:
    • Anne Shirley has a jarring love epiphany when her longtime friend and rejected love interest, Gilbert Blythe, is dying from typhoid fever. The description in the book ("Anne of the Island") is a borderline Tear Jerker:
      There is a book of Revelation in every one's life, as there is in the Bible. Anne read hers that bitter night, as she kept her agonized vigil through the hours of storm and darkness. She loved Gilbert—had always loved him! She knew that now. She knew that she could no more cast him out of her life without agony than she could have cut off her right hand and cast it from her. And the knowledge had come too late—too late even for the bitter solace of being with him at the last. If she had not been so blind—so foolish—she would have had the right to go to him now. But he would never know that she loved him—he would go away from this life thinking that she did not care. Oh, the black years of emptiness stretching before her! She could not live through them—she could not! She cowered down by her window and wished, for the first time in her gay young life, that she could die, too. If Gilbert went away from her, without one word or sign or message, she could not live. Nothing was of any value without him. She belonged to him and he to her. In her hour of supreme agony, she had no doubt of that. He did not love Christine Stuart—never had loved Christine Stuart. Oh, what a fool she had been not to realize what the bond was that had held her to Gilbert—to think that the flattered fancy she had felt for Roy Gardner had been love. And now she must pay for her folly as for a crime.
    • There is also a non-romantic instance for Marilla in Anne of Green Gables, when she sees Anne being carried home by Mr. Barry after breaking her ankle, not knowing that Anne's injury was minor.
      At that moment Marilla had a revelation. In the sudden stab of fear that pierced her very heart she realized what Anne had come to mean to her. She would have admitted that she liked Anne—nay, that she was very fond of Anne. But now she knew as she hurried wildly down the slope that Anne was dearer to her than anything else on earth.
  • Morgan's reaction to his first mind-link with Richenda in High Deryni:
    In the first soaring ecstasy of union with her mind, he was filled with a sense of wonder so profound that in that instant, he knew with a certainty born at the root of his powers that he had found that other part of himself, missing all his life. That whatever happened tomorrow, and for all the days of his life, he could endure with this blessed woman at his side.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe New Jedi Order Tenal Ka realizes she loves Jacen after he's captured by the Yuuzhan Vong, and she mistakenly believes he was killed by them.
  • In Queen Lucia, Georgie is excited at the prospect of doing tableaux in front of his new neighbor Olga Bracely at a party, and, when she can't come, discovers how profoundly disappointed he is—"and all at once it dawned on him that he must be in love with Olga, for why else should her presence or absence make such an astounding difference to him?"
  • The prequel chapter to Realms of the Gods (The fourth book in Tamora Pierce's The Immortals ) is a mixture of this and a Wham Episode. (Made more interesting by the fact that several people didn't realise there was a prequel, and were completely caught out by the follow-up half a book later.)
  • Happens to both of the protagonists of Heart In Hand. Darryl has this realization when Alex visits his house while Darryl is recovering from the flu, and Alex about two months later, when Darryl kisses him after a visit to a school.
  • In Star In Danger, Cristina tells Parker that she knows he has feelings for her. In response, Parker tells her that he had one of these during a riding accident.
    Cristina: You had a concussion. You were out cold. How could you hear me?
    Parker: I could hear you. You kept talking to me. I think you were afraid I might stop breathing or die. You said stuff like, "You and Foxy aren't afraid of anything, are you? You're such a great team, I bet you'll beat us to the Olympics. Your parents will be so proud. Even your mom will be glad you kept riding."
    Cristina: How do you remember what I said?
    Parker: I just do. Because that's when I realized you were… special. You were scared and crying, but you still kept talking to me.
  • In Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, when Agatha shows readiness to give herself up to the Baron, to protect Europa from the Other, Tarvek suddenly realizes he would do anything to keep her safe and out of Baron's hands.
  • In War and Peace, Pierre Bezukhov is hit hard with the realisation that he loves Natasha Rostova when he's comforting her after her failed elopement and her broken engagement with Andrei Bolkonsky; he declares that, if he were free from his wife Hélène and the best man in the world, he'd propose to her without a thought.
  • L. M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle has a particularly touching one, when Barney Snaith has this towards his wife when she almost gets killed by a train. She gets her foot stuck in the tracks, and even though they both think she is terminally ill, he can't face leaving her there and risks his own life to rescue her.
  • In Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide, Stephen Farraday marries his wife, not for love, but for the connections she has, and the benefits her family name would bring to his career. Then, when he got involved in a scandal that would destroy his life, if it were to leak out, he realised that the one thing he doesn't want to lose the most is his wife — realising, for the first time, that he loves her more than he thought he did.
  • Forbidden: It's not until Maya goes on a date that either Maya or Lochan really understand that they like each other. On Lochan's side, it's a Green-Eyed Epiphany. For Maya, she abruptly realizes that a guy she thought she liked isn't who she wants to be with. An Anguished Declaration of Love follows, quite dramatically.
  • Stranger Than Fanfiction: While watching Sam Gibson dance at the Rosemary's Abortion concert, Topher realizes he's in love with her.
  • Of Fire and Stars: Dennaleia finally realizes she loves Mare near the end of the first book. Mare also does after this. A mutual Love Confession soon follows, along with The Big Damn Kiss.
  • Warrior Cats: In Shadow, Sunbeam and Nightheart are already friends at the start of the book, and Nightheart has fallen for Sunbeam. She doesn't feel romantically toward him, but agrees to give him a chance for those feelings to develop. It's only after he leaves that she actually realizes that she does love him, enough to consider leaving her Clan for him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Although the actual Love Epiphany for the character in question doesn't happen onscreen (or may not have happened in a bolt of clarity at all), the audience for the first time realizes that the subtle Ship Tease of Josh and Donna on The West Wing has become 100% definitely, unequivocally Canon in the 4th season's penultimate episode "Commencement" when Amy delivers the long-teased, never-spoken Wham Line "Are you in love with Josh?", and Donna doesn't answer, standing stock still and staring fixedly at her papers while the camera slowly pans in, just as the lyrics to the song ("Angel" by Massive Attack) playing in the soundtrack change to "love you love you love you love you..."'
  • There's a scene in Arrested Development where Michael realizes he loves Marta when they're sitting on the steps in the hallway during the Desi Award show.
  • Friends:
    • After Chandler and Monica have upgraded from friends to Friends with Benefits for a while, a falling out between them one Thanksgiving leads Monica to don a turkey on her head, complete with sunglasses, hat, and a funny dance, to try and cheer him up. Laughing, he exclaims, "You're so great! I love you!" His amusement almost immediately dies into shock as he realises what he just said and what it means, and he freaks out so badly he takes it back. It takes several more episodes before he's willing to actually admit it properly and stand by it, and even then, Phoebe has to break him into confessing it. Chandler also describes an off-screen example, when they were dancing together and he realized his feelings.
      Chandler: It was the first time I knew that you… you were the woman that I wanted to dance all my dances with.
    • Happens in the finale with Rachel's answering machine message to Ross after rejecting him at the airport. She's assuring him that she loves him as a friend, "I love you, I love you, I love you. What am I doing? I love you!" You can actually hear her realize on the third "I love you" that she means it romantically.
    • Another Rachel example, from when Ross was about to marry Emily:
      Rachel: I'm not going to Ross's wedding because he is my ex-boyfriend and that would be really uncomfortable. Not because I'm still in love with him! I mean, hey, y'know, I like Ross as much as the next guy. You know, clearly I have feelings for him, but feelings don't mean love! You know, I mean, I still have loving feelings for Ross, yeah! But, I have… I have, you know, continuing feelings of love, but that doesn't mean that… that I'm still in love with him. You know? I have… I have sexual feelings for him, but I do love him… Oh! Oh my God! Oh my… why didn't you tell me?
  • Good Omens:
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • After desperately trying to kill the title character for the past few seasons, Spike finds himself awakening from an erotic dream in which he confessed his love for her. He is not well pleased.
      Spike: Oh God, no. Please, no.
    • Riley Finn doesn't realise he fancies Buffy until he punches Parker for making a crude remark about her. His friends tell him that they've always known. It's later Inverted in Season 5 when Riley realises that Buffy doesn't love him, fueling his eventual decision to leave.
  • iCarly: Sam and Freddie obviously had one for each other, but oddly neither moment is shown on-screen. The 'mood app' reveal is after Sam already likes Freddie as she starts the episode iOMG liking him if the dialogue about her changed behaviour is taken at face value. Freddie could be considered the same in iLose My Mind because there's nothing that stands out as a moment Freddie realises he likes Sam back until the end where he kisses her.
    • In iDate Sam & Freddie, it's revealed that Sam pushed Freddie into a bike courier, the courier hit Freddie, Freddie smacked his head against a fire hydrant, and as he was lying knocked out and bleeding from the ears, that was the first moment Sam realized he was 'kinda cute'.
  • Smallville:
    • In "Pariah", a truly Tear Jerker example occurs. Clark simultaneously experiences this with an Anguished Declaration of Love, when he realizes that he loved Alicia while trying to rip the head off her murderer. Despite having already been hit hard by her death, this realization, and the fact that he will never get a chance to tell her (knowing she reciprocated) completely breaks the future Man of Steel.
    • In "Committed", Lois actually has one forced on her. When forced with the ultimatum of either letting Clark be electrocuted or answer "Yes or NO" to whether or not she loves him, all she can do is croak out a "Yes." and passes the test. This is despite the fact that they were only pretending to be a couple, and she had never really been confronted with the idea before.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Kira has a moment of perfect clarity after her date with Odo in "His Way".
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, the Doctor (no, not that one) has one of these for Seven Of Nine while teaching her to sing "You Are My Sunshine", made clear when, while singing with her, he happens to glance up at her face and his voice trails off in the middle of "you'll never know, dear". Of course, it all came to nothing due to Seven's Last-Minute Hookup with Chakotay.
  • The Vampire Diaries when Elena eventually realizes that she has feelings for Damon.
  • The X-Files episode "all things" was this for Scully, as well as the epiphany that she didn't regret the way her life turned out, and that she didn't regret not having married her former med school professor when she had the chance.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Robin has one of these in "Drumroll, Please" (of the green-eyed variety) for Ted after he meets Victoria, resulting in an Unrequited Love Switcheroo.
    • In "Milk", Ted has a moment like this for Robin. He gets the oppurtunity to go on a blind date with his dream woman, but he realizes that his lingering feelings for Robin are stronger and cancels it. This is visualized by Ted imagining a marriage ceremony between himself and a faceless bride when Robin, who is watching from the crowd while struggling to look happy for him, meets his gaze.
    • The episode "Miracles" is when Barney realises that he is in love with Robin after he has a Near-Death Experience.
    • Long after Barney and Robin have broken up, Barney gets another one of these in regards to her. Not only does he realize he's in love with her; he realises she's his "best friend and soulmate" and that he "can't wait to spend the rest of his life with her". This is the show's Casanova we're talking about.
    • The finale reveals that the entire story is one big one for Ted as he's telling it to his kids, who call him out on it and encourage him to go get Robin.
  • Played for laughs on That '70s Show. Immediately after realizing that she has feelings for Fez, Jackie runs from the Formans porch screaming "Nooooo!" at the top of her lungs.
  • In Glee, Blaine has one watching Kurt sing "Blackbird". And bless him, he doesn't wait around afterwards.
  • In My Little Town, after Art admits to Maya how much he really loves her, and that no matter if she were guilty or not, it wouldn't change a thing, she finally understands she feels the same, and kisses his cheek lightly, saying "You are stupid.".
  • Radio Free Roscoe: Lilly has an epiphany about her feelings for Ray when her band gets a contract and he's the first person she wants to tell.
  • In Season 2 of Scrubs, this happens to the central character J.D., when he goes to confront his Heterosexual Life-Partner Turk over the latter's meddling in Elliot's patient load:
    Turk: Where's the love? Where's the loyalty? Where's the… automatically… siding with the person you care about the most? [beat] Oh, my God, that's what you're doing, isn't it?
    J.D.: [speechless]
  • In Castle, Beckett and Castle have gone through this several times, especially in Season 4, where Beckett struggles with her feelings for Castle after he said he loved her after she was shot. The final, definite one happens in "Always", when Beckett nearly dies and realises that she does not care anymore about finding her mother's killer (or least she's no longer willing to risk her life to do so), because now she only wants Castle.
  • In Community, Jeff Winger finally admits to himself that he passionately loves Annie when he is forced to produce a burst of love in order to open a door. This is after Annie has a similar realization, and that Jeff's happiness means more to her than being with him when he apparently plans to marry Britta.
  • Mad Men has one where Peggy realizes that she's in love with her friend and art director Stan
  • The Magicians: Elliot realizes his love for Quentin in Season 4 after revisiting his memory of the time Quentin suggested they begin a romantic relationship following their life spent together in Fillory.
  • Seinfeld managed a Played for Laughs version with Jerry toward Elaine of all people in "The Serenity Now." After getting in touch with his emotions, he realizes that he's been Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places and makes a beeline for the girl who's been there all along. In a lot of shows, this would be a big moment; here, she's totally alarmed and by the time she reconsiders, he's permanently reverted to type.
  • While the mutual attraction was obvious from the first episode of Gilmore Girls, Luke doesn't fully realize his feelings for Lorelai until the episode "Luke Can See Her Face" when he's listening to a self-help audiobook telling him to picture the person he wants to have by his side through life's various moments.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, of all shows, pulls this off flawlessly in the season 22 finale. Carisi is asked to officiate Finn and Phoebe's wedding, and spends most of the episode agonizing over writing a speech for the ceremony. When the whole thing is abruptly called off, he's disappointed he didn't get to use it, especially since he spent all night rewriting it. Rollins asks him to read it to her, which he sheepishly does. The camera focuses on her while he reads it, and there's a slow, dawning realization that the feelings he's describing in his speech—which compares the intense bond of being police partners to the commitment of marriage—are exactly how she feels about him. Cue the Big Damn Kiss that was long overdue after several seasons of Will They or Won't They?.
  • Forever: When celebrating at a karaoke bar at the end of "Punk Is Dead", Henry watches Jo kissing Isaac enthusiastically, and the smile fades from his own face. When Jo glances over at him, he pastes on a smile, but it fades as soon as she looks away.
    Henry (voiceover): Yes, some memories are precious...and we need to hang on to them. But Emily Dickinson wrote, "Forever is composed of nows," and she's right. If we root ourselves too deeply in the past, we'll miss what's right in front of us.
  • The Good Place:
    Eleanor: *after a long rant about how "there are way more things [she] hates about Chidi than like[s] about him"* He is also incredibly patient, and kind, and surprisingly jacked, and, oh, fork, I'm in love with Chidi.
    Vicki: Let's take a little break.
  • Inverted on My So-Called Life in the episode "Life of Brian" - when Kyle is watching Delia and Rickie dance, Sharon (who is glad for Delia, as Delia is her friend) looks at Kyle and realize she no longer loves him.

  • I Wish:
    • K is first told by Wye that he loves Lyu-Jin, because he's assimilating to her, but K brushes it off. A bit later, Lyu-Jin snaps at K for not visiting her while she was stuck in bed with a bad cold and K reiterates that he was sick at the time, too... and realizes that he is assimilating to her.
    • Lyu-Jin takes a bit longer. On her birthday, she has a fight with K and meets up with him later. When she's about to ask the wish he suggested to her, he interrupts her and asks if she is hungry and wants to eat. In tears, Lyu-Jin realizes that K loves her and that she feels the same.
    • The chapters depicting Seven's past with Lyu-Ui as his master show that Seven didn't realize he actually loved Lyu-Ui until said person has died and, due to belonging to an alien race, Seven's heart breaks.

  • Evillious Chronicles: After Project "Ma" has failed, Adam realizes that his love for Eve is genuine.
  • Bonnie Raitt's Something to Talk About is about a woman hearing rumors about her and a male friend, and having one of these.
  • In the famous Geto Boys song: "My Mind is Playing Tricks on Me".
    Scarface "I had a woman down with me. But to me, it seemed like she was down to get me. She helped me out in this shit. But to me she was just another bitch. Now she's back with her mother. Now I'm realizing that I love her. Now I'm feeling lonely. My mind is playing tricks on me."
  • The song "Diagnosis: Lovesickness" is about Natsuki realizing her growing feelings for her good friend Yuu.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In The Muppets (2015) after Miss Piggy breaks her leg, and is accidentally given too much morphine, as she's wheeled to the ER, she, in a dazed state tells Kermit she loves him, note  and then goes on to say it to various random objects she passes. Without really thinking, Kermit replies, "I love you too." He then stops and thinks about it for a second before saying to himself, "I love her..."

  • In the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, there's a scene (complete with its own song, "Rosemary") where Finch, after kissing Hedy LaRue, has an epiphany that he's in love with Rosemary.
  • In Spring Awakening, Melchior and Wendla realise that they have feelings for each other in a typical teenage way in "The Word of Your Body". However, as songs in the musical are considered internal monologues, they do not admit their feelings until the end of the first act in "I Believe".
  • In In the Heights, after Nina returns from Stanford University for the summer, she tells Benny in "When You're Home" that home is where he happens to be and asks "can you remind me of what it was like, at the top of the world?"
  • Slightly different in Passing Strange. The Youth avoids admitting his feelings despite going from relationship to relationship. Desi in "Come Down Now" tells him to knock it off and let her give him "all the love life allows". He turns away, realising what is happening.
  • Collins and Angel in RENT's "I'll Cover You", almost Mood Whiplash after the yearning of "Santa Fe" beforehand.
  • "Elaborate Lives" from Aida, in which Radames, the future Pharaoh, and Aida, a Nubian slave, realise that they love each other and foreshadow the end of the musical.
  • Much Ado About Nothing: Benedick and Beatrice each have their own after overhearing their friends talk about the other being in love with them.
  • Wicked: Fiyero and Elphaba have this when they rescue a lion cub. Elphaba even gets a whole song about it, even though she doesn't think there's any chance Fiyero could return those feelings.
  • In A Very Potter Musical, there's "Granger Danger"—a whole song about Ron and Draco's simultaneous Epiphany about their feelings for Hermione.
  • Also happens in another StarKid musical, Me and My Dick, when Joey realizes that he's loved Sally, and not Vanessa, the whole time.
    Heart: Maybe Sally is the person we initially disliked!
  • Shucked: During "I Do", Maizy goes to Beau for help writing her wedding vows for marrying Gordy, while Gordy goes to Lulu for help writing his own vows. They both realize that the person they're talking to is who they really want to be with.

    Video Games 
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, Squall has one for Rinoa after she falls into a coma and he realizes he genuinely wants to talk to her but "It's like talking to a wall."
  • In Jade Empire, Dawn Star finally gets that she is actually in love with the protagonist after Silk Fox shows up and starts treating her like a rival for his affections.
  • Odin Sphere: After dreading marriage as all Valkyries do, Gwendolyn slowly discovers she really does love her new husband Oswald.
  • In Persona 3 Portable's female route, Akihiko actually has to have the girl he loves (you) coach him into one.
  • Tae Takemi in Persona 5 tries to turn Joker down gently if he confesses his feelings to her, only to find that she cannot, and realizes that she has feelings for him as well.
  • Owain of Fire Emblem: Awakening has one if he reaches S-Support with Female Robin.
  • According to Word of God, Kaine realised she loved Nier while beating him up. So then she backed off.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, during Juna's bonding events, she starts to develop romantic feelings for her teacher Rean.

    Visual Novels 
  • A Little Lily Princess: After her fellow scullery maid Becky almost died, Sara laments that no one else cares for Becky the way she does, and realizes that she loves her romantically.
  • A few examples in Canvas 2, but the most dramatic is probably in Takeuchi's route.
  • a2 ~a due~: Sona only realizes how much she truly likes Hao towards the end of their big concert conduction together, although she's a tad dismayed at how bad she is with feelings and calls herself a "stubborn idiot" for not doing anything about it sooner.
    Sona: Now, my life has become so different that I can't imagine Hao not being in it. Arguing all night long, fighting in the rain, hopping the language barrier, leading a crazy conducting session... becoming musical legends even. I don't care what we're doing. As long as it's him and me. Together.
  • Played for Laughs with Miu Iruma in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Miu is in the middle of one after Shuichi stopped her from trying to disembowel herself in an attempt to show that she is an augmented human and went to check on her afterwards. Despite very obvious signs that she is falling in love with Shuichi (she stripped herself and tried to get Shuichi to do the same, and she even outright admits that she is falling in love with him), Miu tries to insist that Shuichi was in love with her instead.
  • Magical Diary gives one to Damien, of all people, if you play your cards right. Of course, his epiphany comes in the middle of his attempt to kill you, so his timing could definitely be better. But it keeps him from actually killing you, at least?
  • Takumi towards Rimi towards the end of Chaos;Head.
    Takumi: I'm in love with Sakihata Rimi. How unbelievably creepy.
  • Katawa Shoujo has this during Emi's route. Hisao realizes he's fallen in love with Emi during her Sick Episode after he tucks her into bed and she falls asleep in his arms.

  • In Sluggy Freelance, after years of Will They or Won't They? between her and Torg, recently had this happen to Zoë at the worst possible time, during a battle with an Ax-Crazy assassin who had been brainwashed into being madly in love with Torg and had just been revealed to be Pyrokinetic. She's nearly burned to death, and while advanced technology is able to repair her body, it's unable to repair her mind. She ultimately recovers, though without any memory of the event.
  • A nonverbal example for Lars in Girl Genius can be seen here, right as it's being discussed, at that!
    • Jiminez Hoffmann eventually comes to realize that he has feelings for Larana... right around the time he mistakenly comes to think that she's in love with his brother, Aldin.
  • Mike in Something*Positive, for Pee-Jee, sparking his slow reform from Jerkass to a sympathetic character.
  • A variant in Sin Fest. Criminy seems to have finally clocked on that succubi Fuschia is in love with him.
  • In Homestuck, Karkat realizes his caliginous feelings for John.
  • In Ménage à 3 Sonya has one concerning Zii.
  • In The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, TJ has a beautifully-done one regarding Amal in Chapter 29 that's entirely non-verbal except for a very small "shit" voiced at the end. Amal gets his own turn in the next-to-last chapter, complete with a very similar "shit".
  • In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, Eric is lamenting to his chief-of-staff over the difficulty of choosing a wife without Clover there to help him. He starts describing his ideal woman… then face palms himself when he realizes that Clover is the woman he just described (note that the entire kingdom has figured it out by now and is actively shipping them). He makes up for his obliviousness three strips later.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Elliot realizes his attraction to Susan goes beyond raging teenage hormones while in the shower.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! — Voluptua sees Bob and Hibachi both seemingly killed (they're actually okay). She's just spent the whole story agonizing over her feelings for Bob — only to realize the name she's screaming out at the sight is Hibachi's.
  • In Court of Roses, Merlow’s moment with Nocturne after the action ends at the Bardic Festival shows some major crushing happening.
  • Check, Please!:
    • After over a year on the same hockey team and a few months living together, Bitty realizes that he's in love with Jack when he finds himself staring at Jack while they're cooking together, complete with romantic soft-focus and the background noise fading away. Bitty, believing that Jack's straight, is left distraught.
    • Jack abruptly realizes his own feelings for Bitty when they part ways at Jack's graduation. With a bit of prompting from his father, Jack races to find Bitty and deliver The Big Damn Kiss, which cements their Relationship Upgrade.
  • Dead Winter gives us Lizzie, who needs an almost threatening talking to by an exasperated Monday to finally realize she's no longer in love with her absent fiancé, and that she has feelings towards her travelling companion Alice.
    Monday: You two share a bond stronger than anything I've ever seen. I watched you take a bullet for her. Back at the gas station, you asked us to help you search Hell to find, what? Your other half? And you're gonna sit here and tell me you still think that person is... who?
    Lizzie: Wait, look! I love Alice more than anything! But I don't think we...
    Lizzie: ... Oh.
    Lizzie: Oh Elizabeth, you tiny fool...
  • Til Debt Do Us Part: Yejun starkly realizes he has fallen in love with Subin when he sees her ex-boyfriend Geonho about to strike her in a parking lot and thinks he wants nothing but to protect her in that moment.
  • Questionable Content: When receiving a shoulder massage from Bubbles after a long day at work, Faye finally realizes that her feelings for Bubbles weren't nearly as platonic as she thought they were. Because Faye previously considered herself to be straight, it takes her a bit of time to come to terms with this realization.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged gives Krillin one in Episode 51. With the remote in hand that will explode the bomb inside 18, he hesitates and thinks of how her life will end suddenly and, likely, painlessly for her. Realizing that there are no Dragonballs to wish her back to life once Cell is dead, Krillin proceeds to rant at himself that he needs to man up and do something.
    Krillin: Oh come on Krillin! Be strong for one second in your worthless life, and push the stupid button. If you don't, everyone you know and love is gonna die, including her! ...oh.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens in the As Told by Ginger TV movie "Foutleys on Ice". When Ginger is about to leave for boarding school, Darren casually mentions that he "loves Ginger as much as anybody," and then realizes that he did mean it the way it sounded.
  • Kim Possible: So The Drama: First Ron figures out why the new guy in school who quickly became Kim's boyfriend upsets him so much. Later—after said boyfriend turns out to be untenable—Kim realizes there might be someone she knows who is an exception to No Guy Wants an Amazon.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In "The Fortuneteller," Aang first realizes that he is attracted to Katara. Katara herself starts to have an inkling at this point but has no epiphany.
    • Korra is kidnapped in one episode and Mako is particularly passionate in the search. Once Korra is found, Mako begins acting strangely around her, and it's not until the final episode that he says that he realized how much he loved her while she was gone.
    • Although it goes unsaid, it's very likely that Korra's near death from poisoning caused Asami to have one of these. The aftermath makes this evident for most fans, as Asami's treatment of her is much more tender and loving from there on forward, whereas prior it was obviously just a "best buddies" relationship.
  • Gargoyles gives us a really unusual one: Xanatos realizes he's in love with Fox in "Eye of the Beholder." What's strange about this? He's engaged to her and they've been dating for a long while now. It just wasn't until he was faced with her potential death that he realized he was genuinely in love with her rather than just marrying her because they were "genetically compatible, highly intelligent, and had the same goals." He didn't even believe he was capable of love until said epiphany.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Heartburn" has Mandy out of sorts with her emotions as she feels that perpetual admirer and all-around dork Irwin may actually be her true love. She willingly allows Irwin to kiss her — then it is suddenly subverted when Mandy clocks Irwin for belching while they were kissing. Earlier in the series, Mandy found herself having a crush on an emo boy ("Crushed"), which she doused by dolling up as a chanteuse and turning the emo kid into a stammering mess.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): Harley realizes she's in love with her friend Ivy after their kiss at the end of "There's No Place to Go But Down." Ivy refuses to admit there was any meaning to their kiss and continues her engagement with Kite Man while pretending nothing happened with Harley, resulting in Harley trying to take over the world with the Parademons to vent out her romantic frustration.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: The season finale episode "Nature vs Nurture" is about Venom going after Peter Parker's friends and loved ones, eventually targeting the person he deems to be the one Peter "loves the most." Peter at first assumes it's Mary Jane Watson only to discover that Gwen Stacy is the one taken hostage. However, it's only after Gwen kisses him at the end of the episode that Peter puts two and two together and starts noticing his own unrealized feelings for Gwen.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • Adrien (as Cat Noir) gets one for Ladybug during their second outing together. She's confident, courageous, compassionate, crazy, and crazy awesome.
      Cat Noir: Whoever she is under that mask, I love that girl.
    • Marinette gets hers at the end of the Origins two-parter when Adrien offers her his umbrella, apologizes for his bad first impression and assures her that he genuinely wants to be her friend, whereas she'd initially assumed he was a jerk like Chloé. She immediately loses the ability to form coherent sentences.
    • Marinette gets another in season 4. After spending a season and a half questioning her feelings for Adrien and exploring a relationship with Luka, she once again winds up under the umbrella with Adrien and realizes that she still loves him as much as ever.
  • Played for Laughs in Gravity Falls, after Mabel accuses Dipper of having a Precocious Crush on Wendy:
    Dipper: (nervous chuckle) Yeah, right! I just think Wendy's cool, okay? It's not like I lay awake at night, thinking about her!
    (Cut to Dipper in bed, staring at the ceiling with his eyes wide open)
    Dipper: Uh-oh.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Romance Realization, Love Realization


Chekhov's Sneeze

Janet tells her friend Steve that she's reduced her boyfriend standards from a list of positive traits to just one; a guy who will "bless" her when she sneezes. When her current boyfriend Cliff fails to do so, she breaks up with him and resists his efforts to win her back. When he "blesses" her at the end she realizes that he has changed, and they get back together.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChekhovsGun

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