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Nerves of Steel

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"It's widely believed that a Contractor possesses a cool, analytical mind: at all times, in all situations, no matter how desperate, he's able to calculate the most logical course of action. Is it because he knows no fear? Hardly. A Contractor can get as scared as anyone. He simply doesn't let his feelings affect his reason."

Everyone has a tipping point, a Berserk Button, a threshold of shock and joy and weirdness that once crossed collapses all emotional reserve like a "Fawlty Towers" Plot. Some, however, have such an exceptionally high threshold that they'd probably greet the impending collapse of the universe with the same equanimity as cold tea.

Characters with Nerves of Steel are of steel in the same way a physical body can be Made of Iron — they are nigh-unshakable.

Those who have Nerves of Steel think when times are tough. They make decisions efficiently; they push their emotions aside, and so their decisions are not overly affected by them. They may be The Stoic, or they may be perfectly normal emotionally. Either way, their minds are never shoved aside when their emotion is. It is always thinking, a weapon as sharp as a sword. Characters with Nerves of Steel aren't intimidated by screams from those with a Hair-Trigger Temper, won't get upset if their Evil Plan is foiled (this is a morality neutral trait), they aren't likely to burst into tears when it turns out The Hero is Not Quite Dead and got better, and very probably won't even raise their voice to the man who murdered a Bus Full of Innocents unless the sound of their righteous ass-kicking is loud enough to require it. Even happy news and emotions aren't likely to cause exaggerated reactions of joy (though they probably enjoy a nice hearty laugh every now and then). When captured, they are defiant and likely planning their escape.

Reasons for this demeanor vary. They probably have Seen It All, are naturally Spock-like, have an iron-clad Stepford Smiler facade (though on the inside they probably are banging their head against the cage) or emotionally can't be made to feel extreme emotion, such as the Tin Man. This doesn't count if the character is an Empty Shell since there isn't anyone home to excite. The Extreme Doormat may count depending on the individual case (some are just too listless to care at all, not requiring any emotional control at all). Affably Evil villains and The Chessmaster are always composed as a result of everything going according to plan.

Even if this person doesn't have Psychic Powers, his incredible self-control often makes him resistant to those who do.

In short, someone with Nerves of Steel is immune to the Heroic BSoD, Villainous BSoD, and Villainous Breakdown. God help us all if this proves untrue.

A good trait for a Badass Bookworm to have, at least if they want both halves at the same time. Note that nerves of steel may be hard to distinguish from Tranquil Fury at times. Previously susceptible characters may suddenly develop Nerves of Steel when it's The Last Dance. Showing a Stiff Upper Lip is a good way for a character to convince other people that they have Nerves of Steel. Compare Heroic Safe Mode, where the emotional/thinking part of the brain "shuts down" to allow for instinctual survival mechanisms to work unclouded by emotions. Post-Victory Collapse is when a character fakes having Nerves of Steel, but breaks down as soon as the danger passes. Not related to Balls of Steel, which is more literal. Contrast Nervous Wreck.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ace of the Diamond: Protagonist Eijun Sawamura, despite being Hot-Blooded by nature, is usually able to keep calm and composed when things get dire for the Seidou team, and he tends to perform very well under pressure. By contrast, his rival Furuya, who is The Stoic, breaks down easily and his game starts to deteriorate whenever he gives a hit. This is a major factor in Coach Kataoka's decision to choose Eijun over Furuya as the main pitcher against the strongest opponents in the practice games during the second year, and giving him the ace number come the summer tournament.
  • Akagi. His inability to become scared or upset about anything eventually drives the Big Bad (whose playing style is partially based on frightening his opponents to a point where they begin to play desperately) into a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Inaho Kaizuka of Aldnoah.Zero raises this to the level of a superpower. He's not just cool under pressure, he's ALWAYS completely calm and calculating, which is the main reason why he's able to repeatedly go up against Super Robots piloted by trained Knights, using an obsolete Real Robot and nothing more than basic schooling. While his opponents rave and rant, he's calmly assessing the situation and spotting the chinks in the enemy's armor. Interestingly, it's never explained why he is that way — his sister is mostly normal, and if anything a tad too perky for a trained soldier, so it's presumably not a genetic trait.
  • Assassination Classroom: In one episode, Nagisa and Karma sneak into the International Space Station to get some classified data on Koro-sensei. They pretend to have a bomb and use that to threaten the astronauts. The astronauts aren't fazed in the slightest, pointing out that they already have one of the most dangerous jobs known to man, so a bomb threat made by a couple of school kids is nothing to them. But as it turns out, the astronauts are perfectly willing to give up the data without a fuss anyway.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Soldiers using the 3D Maneuver Gear properly need to be able to react and change directions in an instant to avoid disaster while maintaining perfect balance. Levi, who is the World's Strongest Man, is consistently stoic and calm that it's near impossible to break him from that state.
    • Erwin Smith. There is a reason that he is Commander of the Scout Corps. Threaten him with execution? He will stand there and relay his entire plan to you so you can complete it when he's dead. Titan limbs flying around sending others scrambling for cover? He will stand there and watch without batting a lash. A Titan bites into his arm and drags him off? He will continue to yell orders to his troops, then show up later missing an arm, to save the day himself. He doesn't have a single nerve not made of steel.
  • Berserk has Guts and Griffith. Guts switches between this and a roaring, bloodthirsty warrior when faced with the demonic Apostles attracted to his Brand of Sacrifice. It doesn't matter when or where they attack him, Guts always figures out a way to fight back and never breaks down from fear or despair. Griffith is manipulative, putting on a calm and friendly facade while he does whatever it takes to accrue more power for himself, culminating in him sacrificing his friends to the Apostles. Another example would be Pippin who was the only besides Guts who was not immediately overcome with terror during the Eclipse.
  • Black Lagoon has a number of characters who are remarkably good at keeping their cool under pressure, with Chang as probably the main example. He remains perfectly calm and collected even while a psychopathic killer is trying to kill or keep him pinned down with a machine gun.
  • Bleach:
    • When Uryuu loses his powers, the only way to regain them is to have a giant, flaming energy arrow fired into an exact location 19mm to the right of his heart. This can only occur when his life is on the line, stretching his body and spirit to the absolute limit. In other words, not only does he have to be shot in a location that will kill him if it is off by a hair, but he has to be a moving target for it to work. His father, Ryuuken, who has to perform the shot, makes it look easy solely because he doesn't turn a hair when doing it. Later on, when he leaves the room and lights up a cigarette to relax, the moment strongly indicates it wasn't easy for him at all, he was simply that good at disciplining himself when it mattered. Fridge Brilliance, perhaps, as Ryuuken is also an extremely talented surgeon, a job that requires nerves of steel every day.
    • To everyone's surprise, Mizuiro turns out to have these. When he wakes up in a town that's been thrust into the spirit world and is therefore practically a ghost town, he reacts by stocking up on essentials — rations food, tasers, and other weapons. When attacked by a being that can literally vaporise things at the touch, he nonchalantly throws a bottle at him to test the enemy's capability. Upon realising that the rumour about this being vaporising things is true, he doesn't bat an eyelid and coolly throws a Molotov cocktail at him instead. He's only mildly surprised that it doesn't work and, for a moment, his companions are actually more nervous of him than they are of the Big Bad.
  • Girge from Broken Blade doesn't seem to be afraid of anything. He deliberately handicaps 10 enemy's golems alone, destroys an elite troop of five with a handicapped golem, and finishes it off by stepping up and proclaiming to be someone who was going to be executed with a smile.
  • Despite not being as smart as others on this page, Goku from Dragon Ball rarely losing his cool and remains calm even when the situation appears completely hopeless. While even Piccolo can succumb to panic or despair, Goku is usually seen thinking of a plan or even humoring how things seem hopeless while smiling. Among his group of friends, he is often seen as the person to look to when things go really bad even when he is not currently the strongest fighter.
  • The Elusive Samurai: Shizuku is most likely of the Elusive Warriors to remain calm and collected in a pinch. Since the strength of her divine power increases with strong self-composure, she is able to influence a Sugoroku match with Mima by withstanding Mima's taunts with grace, then shattering Mima's concentration by giving Tokiyuki a long, calm smooch on the lips.
  • Zero from Gambling Emperor Legend Zero. Even the narrator mentions how the more pressure is on him and the direr the situation is, the sharper his mind becomes.
  • The shogun Shigeshige of Gintama is pretty much the only character who never, ever loses his composure. Which is saying a lot when considering all of the abuse he tends to take whenever he shows up.
  • Jotaro Kujo of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure can maintain the world's greatest poker face in any situation short of having a steamroller dropped on top of him. This ends up being his greatest asset in his Absurdly High Stakes Poker Game with a soul-stealing Card Sharp, as he manages to bluff the man into outright insanity.
  • Mazinger:
    • Mazinger Z:
      • The Professor Gennosuke Yumi. Eighteen-meters-tall killer robots are advancing towards his Institute? Mount Fuji is about of erupting and burying them under burning lava? Squads of armed soldiers are besieging them under the threat of set off an earthquake under their feet if they do not surrender? A spy is aiming one gun towards him? He has been captured and is being used like a hostage? It happens all the time! Basically, Yumi is a scientist, hence he refuses to panic and instead of it he uses his analytical mind to study the trouble and find a solution quickly. He is so good keeping his cool he can come across like cold and aloof sometimes. Usually, he only expresses emotion when one of the kids — Kouji, his daughter Sayaka or their friends — are in serious and immediate danger.
      • Usually you would not associate Kouji Kabuto with this trope since he is a Hot-Blooded character, but he is surprisingly good keeping his coolness when he needs thinking quick to save himself or someone else.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Prof. Umon also plays this trope. He can be incredibly calm in the worse situations (or his anime version is. One of his manga versions... not so much).
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Lacus Clyne. The girl is never visibly shaken by anything that happens in the series, always maintaining a calm and cheerful demeanor... even when informed that her father has been assassinated, she carries on and does what needs doing. The only time she shows any loss of control is in a private moment near the end with Kira, where she breaks down crying from everything that's happened and hugs him. One scene later and she's back to her usual unshakable demeanor.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ:
    • Haman Karn is famous for her iron composure, not even blinking when facing meters-long blades punching right at her face (because she knows that Judau would never kill an unarmed opponent). She loses her cool precisely once, after she shoots Judau's sister, and Judau responds with a gigantic phantom of pure psychic rage, causing her to break and run away as fast as she can.
    • Mineva Lao Zabi, having been raised in part by Haman, inherits some of that iron spine. In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, she doesn't even flinch when she's taken hostage with a gun put to her head, instead telling her captors that they have zero understanding of who they're dealing with if they honestly think threatening her life will stop their attackers.
    • Leina Ashta, Judau's sister, shows the results of her social Training from Hell under Glemmy Toto when she manages to give a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the Federation's leaders, telling them to shut up and sit down while suffering from a gunshot wound to the stomach.
    • Bright Noa's family, in general, are also shown to keep their cool to an incredible extent. Whether it's Mirai keeping calm even while threatened at gunpoint in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam or her and her daughter talking about Char's plans despite an explosion going off close to their car in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack.
  • Johan Liebert from Monster serves as a villainous example.
  • Naruto: Itachi Uchiha. Every move is carefully calculated, and he never loses his cool. That Sanity Slippage from a couple of years ago? He totally faked it so Sasuke would kill him. And then after being freed from Kabuto's control when he's resurrected, he helps Killer Bee and Naruto fight the resurrected Nagato and calmly figures out how to beat Nagato's then-unbeaten gravity attack. He then, still calm, announces he's going to go defeat the resurrection technique itself.
  • Gendo Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. He only expresses emotion when his surrogate daughter Rei is in mortal peril or about to abandon him. He calmly assesses and discusses options about the situation while his actual son might be being boiled alive, or trapped in a dimensional pit, or about to attempt to attack him with a giant robot because he's tired of his dickery. At one point he's half-coated in blood by an Angel duel happening right in front of him, and he doesn't even flinch. It's not that he doesn't care; he does, deeply. He's just... very inexpressive. There's a certain amount of self-loathing there as well.
  • One Piece:
    • Nico Robin should qualify. She's the one on the upper right of a previous page image not losing her cool.
    • It feels like Luffy may have been born without the capacity for fear at times e.g when he has The Government flag burned and Spandam points out he just declared war on the highest authority in the world and Luffy’s response is just: “BRING IT ON”. Luffy also didn’t hesitate to attack Kaido the World's Strongest Man an action so ballsy (and stupid) the people of Wano were stunned.
    • Zoro and Sanji both probably count as well. Sanji's been shown to be very efficient at dealing with a rapidly crumbling situation and saving his fellow Straw Hats, Sanji has also frequently stood up to god-like foes (e.g Enel) and heartily mocked them after taking their powerful attacks head on. Zoro never loses his cool (except at the other Straw Hats), but he's a little too happy to pick a fight with other swordsmen, and tends to consider options that are too extreme to be plausible, to qualify fully for this.
    • No matter how dire the situation, Law almost always has a smug demeanor and has no reservations about Flipping the Bird to anyone, even if he's on the receiving end of a beating from them. Even when he's on the verge of being murdered, he (almost) goes out laughing and flipping his killer off. Then again, that D. in his real name probably gives that away; people with the D. tend to do that).
    • Jimbei was not only completely unafraid of Big Mom (which saved him from her Touch of Death powers) but he even takes a moment to lay down a cup of sake and formally leave her crew with a sincere thank you, the first person to ever do so without dying. Big Mom was so dumbfounded that it actually takes her a brief moment before she tries to kill him again.
  • Queen Millennia: Overnight, Hajime got into two explosions and has lost his parents, all of which he brushes off rather quickly. He is generally prone to getting into trouble and to only express confusion.
  • SPY×FAMILY: Twilight AKA Loid Forger remains calm and coolheaded in most situations and missions (Except when dealing with his forged family). Regardless of how dire and intense the moment is, he still maintains his composure and unyielding commitment to see things through to the very end.
  • Chie Hori from Tokyo Ghoul. An incredibly short girl with absolutely zero combat ability, who has spent nearly the last decade regularly trolling Ghouls and coming out on top. Her friendship with Tsukiyama was cemented when he held her out an 8th story window and she didn't even blink. It isn't that she's foolish, even though she often gives that impression — instead, she's simply got the world's best poker face and a knack for out-witting people before they even realize they've been conned.

  • Michelangelo Buonarroti's The Torment of St. Anthony shows an old man being thrown into the air by a horde of demons that are scratching at him, beating him with clubs and yelling while said geezer displays about a tenth of an emotion. As the stories go, St. Anthony is so confident in Jesus' love that not even beatings from flying fish-monsters can panic him.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman. How many times have you seen this guy panic, or even show any sign of fear? He fights superhuman villains armed to the teeth yet he manages to beat them with a good plan and basically no emotional reaction to show for it.
  • The Boys: James Stillwell, the man from Vought-American who is in charge of the heroes-division. He is a completely normal human without powers of any kind and is regularly surrounded by people who could reduce him to a stain on the walls, floor, and ceiling without effort. Yet he always remains completely calm and unperturbed at all times with his heartbeat never rising, even when threatened with death by said supers. Homelander remarks that he might just have met a real superhuman.
  • Albert Cleary of Damage Control, who serves overdue bills to Dr. Doom without showing any outward signs of duress.
  • The Fox Hunt: The most reaction that Shinji as The Ghost Fox gives to seeing the bank robber he'd just defeated literally rip himself in half is an understated "Nasty." His dad, the titular Fox, on the other hand, promptly throws up.
  • Post-Parallax members of the Green Lantern Corps tend toward this since they are now selected not for their lack of fear, but their ability to overcome it.
  • Judge Dredd: Street Judges are trained from early childhood to be stoic and calm at all times. Dredd is the oldest judge on the force, having been active for more than half a century, so really has Seen It All. He tends to approach any crisis with complete serenity, for instance hunting down a Xenomorph with the same routine attitude as a plumber fixing a kitchen sink. He even punched Fear itself in the face!
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spidey himself despite being a guy from Queens who got powers by accident has gone up against monsters, super aliens, cosmic beings, other heroes and gods all while cracking wise. The likes of Thor and even Thanos have acknowledged how brave a mortal like him is in the face overwhelming odds. The fact that even Galactus giving him a firm order isn’t enough to quake Peter is proof enough of his sheer nerve.
    • J.Jonah Jameson Depending on the Writer, he usually is more annoyed at the superpowered beings of his world than scared by them. The crowing example is during the Godzilla-Marvel crossover where Jonah actually sticks his head out the window and mouths off right into the King of all Monsters’ face, proving for whatever his faults Jonah still has balls of Adamantium at his best.
    • Mary Jane in later comics, after traumatic experiences with Green Goblin, Venom and Carnage toughened her up. Nowadays she reacts to supervillains with annoyance and anger rather than fear.
  • Supergirl:
    • Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl: Lex Luthor is an utter, rotten bastard... who is never fazed by anything. The Joker has kidnapped him? He looks calm. A mad Kryptonian is after his blood? He looks calm. His Kryptonian deterrent is gone? He looks calm. Supergirl is about to crush his windpipe? He looks calm. Batgirl has just exposed his crimes? He looks calm.
    • In The Supergirl from Krypton (2004), Batman always looks calm, composed and imperturbable. At a point, an enraged Kryptonian is floating behind him, and he keeps working without turning around.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: It takes a lot to faze Ratchet. He's not incapable of showing fear or distress, but he's been held hostage and tortured by experts, so the small stuff doesn't really impact him until someone dies, and even then, while he's not happy, he's still clear-headed enough to convert the corpse into a weapon.
  • Wonder Woman: Phillip Darnel, Steve Trevor's superior in the USAAF and later a general in the USAF, is remarkably calm in the face of superhuman and extraterrestrial threats that he's had no training to deal with, and treats having a enemy spy sitting on his desk and threatening him while he's unarmed like just another day at the office.
  • Numerous members of the X-Men qualify like Wolverine and X-23 treating Hulk like he’s a big sofa that needs to be moved or Jean Grey taking on Galactus. But a very special mention goes to Gambit who isn’t nearly as powerful as other X-Men, yet when facing someone like Apocalypse (a god-like mutant, who’s beaten the shit out of the Phoenix Force) one-on-one in Excalibur (2019) Gambit isn’t even slightly fearful, instead just plain pissed that the big blue bastard messed with his wife Rogue and goes to fight him like he would anyone else.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Temeraire fanfic Black Wings, Black Sails, Laurence stares down Lily and her flesh-dissolving, acid-spraying face-spurs without showing even the slightest hint of fear. The only thing that can unnerve Laurence and break his stoic mask is his former dragon, Temeraire
  • Child of the Storm has several examples:
    • Most of the Avengers qualify, but Steve and Natasha are the stand-outs — Steve because he tends to internalise his freak-outs, when they happen, and Natasha because she's just that opaque (not only has she really Seen It All, she's not at all prone to dramatics).
    • Bucky Barnes, both as the Winter Soldier and afterwards. Even his Not So Stoic moment as the Winter Soldier in chapter 60 of the first book is largely internal. In the sequel, he's almost exclusively calm and composed, with the one moment when he was genuinely agitated (when Harry looked like he was about to snap and go Dark Phoenix on Seamus Finnegan, who'd unwittingly pushed a Trauma Button) was noted by Cedric Diggory as being decidedly unusual.
    • Dumbledore keeps his cool at all times, during battles, and even in the face of a half-mad Doctor Strange and the Phoenix herself. Twice, in the latter case.
    • Doctor Strange, meanwhile, tends to be somewhat kooky and occasionally coldly terrifying, but as the time-travelling seer who makes the Endless themselves dance on his puppet strings, he is invariably unfazed by everything that crosses his path... until his Not So Stoic moment, which encompasses most of the Forever Red arc of the sequel. As a result, this leads to a Mass "Oh, Crap!" from everyone else.
  • Code Prime: In the epilogue of R2, Shamna doesn’t show an ounce of fear when meeting Predaking, even when he transforms, calling him incredible. Considering the fact that Predaking was able to kill Devastator, and was able to hold his own against the Dinobots, Shamna’s got a lot of guts to not be intimidated by him.
  • Dance with the Demons: Selina Kyle gets shot with a poisoned dart during her wedding to Bruce Wayne. However, Bruce doesn't panic. He doesn't scream. He doesn't lose his composure. Instead, he rapidly assesses the situation, considers the tools at his disposal, coordinates his friends' efforts to save his wife, and forces himself to let them handle the situation when it's obvious he'd stand in their way.
    [Kori] was awed. He wasn't letting himself shout, panic, even interrupt the team working on his wife. The man was so strong.
  • In Fate/Starry Night, Ritsuka treats having his hand impaled by Rider's spike as more of a minor annoyance than anything and stares down Berserker while having the gall to use Jason to purposefully piss off Greece's greatest hero to lure him away from Shirou. His ability to remain perfectly calm in high-tension situations confuses Rider, who wonders what the hell he went through to get to this point. But after successfully fleeing from Berserker, his legs turn to jello as he finally lets his fear seep in, showing that he's far from a Fearless Fool.
  • In Incarnation of Legends, Kojiro never, ever loses his cool, chatting casually with Bell even after murdering three men who were beating the boy up. Learning that Haruhime had been kidnapped under his watch only gets Kojiro to wave off the matter as he continues with a casual smile. He also has no problems walking right up to the Legiones, whose raw charisma and presence give Bell the urge to get down on his knees, and shaking his hand, even as a small army demands he show respect.
  • The Second Try: Gendo is almost always calm, no matter the situation. He only got upset and agitated after Shinji warned him that he would never get what he wanted.
  • Twilight's List: Rainbow Dash thinks Twilight has these because she acts so cool and unperturbed in the face of Rainbow Dash's anxiety over the date. Unfortunately, this was because Twilight was actually asking Rainbow Dash out on a practice date, and as such, doesn't have any reason to be nervous. When Twilight realizes what has happened, she freaks out..
  • With This Ring frequently shows the protagonist mentally working his way through whatever situation he faces — frequently with more internal dialogue than there would actually be time for — and reacting calmly and methodically, even if the chosen method is "railgun battery to the face." Likely justified since he wears a power ring that allows him to accelerate his thoughts and control his body's normally-involuntary functions like heart rate and sweating. It also helps that Guy Gardner specifically trains him to handle stressful combat situations like continual bombardment.

    Film — Animated 
  • Mulan has the Emperor of China, that even after the Huns have taken over the city and their hulking menacing leader is threatening him (or attempting to attack with his sword), never loses his cool.
    Shan-Yu: I tire of your arrogance, old man. Bow to me!
    Emperor: No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Aliens: Corporal Hicks defines this trope.
    • It's illustrated early in the film when he spends most of the drop down to the colony asleep, in contrast to Gorman's nervousness and the boisterous behavior of his fellow Marines. After his unit gets largely wiped out, unlike Gorman (who freezes up under pressure and then gets knocked out), Hudson (who becomes a nervous wreck), and Vasquez (who enters a murderous rage), Hicks never once loses his cool.
    • When they know through the trackers that the xenomorphs are just metres away, Hicks instinctively as the military leader volunteers to put his head through an overhead vent with a torch knowing it could mean his instant death: "Gimme the light." Yep, Hicks is the real deal.
  • Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After Superman causes the Batmobile to crash and rips the hood off, Batman's response is to stand up, stare the Kryptonian down and deliver a Badass Boast. Later, when Doomsday brings down the Batplane with its Eye Beams and Bruce finds himself about to be vaporized by the rampaging, unstoppable, Kryptonian abomination, his response is simply a fairly calm "oh shit".
  • Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies. No matter how bad things get, Abel never gets rattled.
    Donovan: Aren't you worried?
    Abel: Would it help?
  • John Russell (George C. Scott) in the 1980 horror film The Changeling. The guy's impossible to scare.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick's title character displays this at least once in every work in the franchise.
  • Charles Morse in The Edge shows impressive self-possession while stranded in the Alaskan wilderness.
    Charles: You know, I once read an interesting book which said that, uh, most people lost in the wilds, they, they die of shame.
    Robert: What?
    Charles: Yeah, see, they die of shame. "What did I do wrong? How could I have gotten myself into this?" And so they sit there and they... die. Because they didn't do the one thing that would save their lives.
    Robert: And what is that, Charles?
    Charles: Thinking.
  • Elysium: Carlyle is impressively composed when his Bugatti SSTO is shot down, and even sets an ambush, immediately after crash-landing, for Max and Julio by sending only one of his droids out to kill them, and waiting for them to leave cover before deploying the second. However, he (like Delacourt, and, it's somewhat implied, many Elysians), seems slightly robotic, which may be the source of his imperturbability. Mind you, he still had the occasional small spazz and yelp. It's still impressive that he wasn't screaming and flailing.
  • First Man: You don't get to become an astronaut unless you are absolutely cool under pressure, as Armstrong demonstrates multiple times. Whether he's dismissing reporters certain of his coming demise, shaking off nausea from his daily flight simulator, or parachuting out of an exploding test plane, he stays as calm and disciplined as ever.
  • In The Hunt for Red October, Captain Ramius demonstrates this perfectly while eluding a torpedo following the vessel.
  • The In-Laws: CIA agent Vince Ricardo shows this throughout the movie. Except when he finds out he has to pay $1.5 million by the next day to the people he hired to rob an armored truck, and when his son makes a crack about his mysterious phone calls, Vince stays cool under pressure, whether shooting a man's gun out of his hand, backing down the wrong way on a highway during a car chase, or facing a firing squad.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Nobody is braver than Captain Steve Rogers, not a humanoid tsunami who can punch through mountains, nor even the god of thunder himself, and hence it is he, but a mere mortal, who leads The Avengers to a crushing victory against an army of alien invaders.
    • Only one other Avenger may give Steve a run for his money when it comes to bravery, that being a certain Anthony Edward Stark, the man who personally flew a nuke that was going to destroy New York through a portal, fully knowing it was one-way trip but managed to save the day and gained Steve's respect in the process. Avengers: Infinity War takes this even further as Tony having had Thanos throw a moon at him and seen him defeat all his teammates including Doctor Strange, still stands up to Thanos and fights him till his armor breaks and he gets impaled. Even the Mad Titan himself states Tony has won his respect for sheer bravery.
    • Thor: Ragnarok: Hela, who used to be Odin's Executioner, fights the entire army of Asgard without showing any sign of fear and wins, though it turns out that she had little reason to be afraid of them, despite how formidable they were shown to be in the past. However, later, when confronted with both Surtur and the prophesized destruction of Asgard, she only pauses for a moment before determinately raising her sword to attack him, even though it was an unwinnable fight.
    • Special mention to Nebula, as she's the only hero who doesn't despair after half the universe is turned to dust and still remains stoic in the face of dying stranded in space at the start of Avengers: Endgame.
    • Doctor Strange (2016): The good doctor himself can give both Tony and Steve a run for their money.
      • Faced with an Eldritch Abomination neither he nor anyone in his team can hope to defeat, and the imminent transformation of Earth and the entire universe into a hellscape, he proceeds to fly right up to the Eldritch Abomination in question and sets a time loop that locks him and it in an eternal duel. Yes, the being will - and quite brutally - kill him effortlessly, but he will keep coming back, trapping it with him. Effectively, he dies hundreds if not thousands of times in increasingly brutal manners and refuses to break till Dormammu yields and leaves earth
      • A dialogue in a later movie proves he was this way even before he got his powers - as a regular doctor, he was performing surgery in a hospital in the midst of the Chitauri invasion.
    • Black Panther (2018): Nakia is horrified to see Killmonger apparently kill T'Challa in ritual combat, but she immediately pulls it together and hustles T'Challa's (understandably) distraught mom and sister into hiding, because she understands that it's not safe to be related to the old king after a new king usurps the throne.
  • Stephen Maturin operating on himself in Master and Commander.
  • MonsterVerse: There are several examples amongst the humans. Mason Weaver and Alan Jonah both respond very much this way when they find themselves staring down the barrel of a gun respectively, whilst Lieutenant Brody and Lieutenant Colonel Packard respectively handle themselves very calmly in intense situations, and Director Guillerman doesn't panic when in the radius of Godzilla's rampage.
  • This is most likely a requirement for Jaeger pilots in Pacific Rim, considering with what they fight against. One notable example is the Russian couple Aleksis and Sasha Kaidanovsky who calmly walk away when Gipsy Danger's plasma caster inadvertently activates. When the plasma caster is directly in front of them point blank.
  • Cutler Beckett of Pirates of the Caribbean remains completely calm throughout the movies. Even his Villainous Breakdown at the end of At World's End is rather quiet and understated.
    Elizabeth: I propose a deal.
    Beckett: I'm listening.
    [Elizabeth puts a gun to his head]
    Beckett: (without changing expression) I'm listening intently.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: During Khan's first attack against the Enterprise, which severely damages engineering, all the engineering trainees and cadets are panicking except one: Midshipman Peter Preston, Scotty's nephew, who stays in his post through the chaos, helping save another engineer from being trapped behind the emergency doors. Sadly, Preston dies from injuries he sustained afterwards.
  • Star Wars: In The Force Awakens, Poe Dameron shows signs of this. It's part of the job.
    [Finn is escaping with the captured Poe by pretending to be transferring him... through the flight deck.]
    Finn: Okay, stay calm. Stay calm.
    Poe: [flatly] I am calm.
    Finn: I was talking to myself.
    Poe: [shoots Finn a Disapproving Look]
  • Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), is the best at keeping his head cool in the middle of battle, showing why he's the leader.
  • This is described as the most important trait of a great gunfighter in Unforgiven.
  • X-Men: First Class: Sebastian Shaw knows how to keep his cool and respond logically to every new threat he faces.

  • Multiple characters in the 1632 series — notably among the uptimers Mike Stearns and Jeff Higgins. Taking examples from the first book alone:
    • When Mike Stearns realizes that there are soldiers coming to attack the Abrabanel's carriage, he intentionally stands out in the open with a semiautomatic pistol to draw their fire away from the carriage — and doesn't stop firing even when one bullet rips through his sleeve.
    • When Jeff Higgins is defending the students in the cafeteria from a charging band of (dismounted) Croat cavalrymen, he empties his shotgun, reloads, empties it again, and — not having time to reload a second time — butt-strokes another before finally being struck down by a saber-blow.
  • Bishop Claudo in The Arts of Dark and Light may be discomfited by assassins, sorcerers and haughty elfkings, but he never loses his wits, remaining at least outwardly calm and confident even when his life is directly threatened.
  • Scheherazade in the Arabian Nights. She spends nearly three years telling story after story after story, always ending on a cliffhanger, knowing that if it isn't a good enough cliffhanger, she will be executed in the morning.
  • Bazil Broketail: Manuel never seems to lose his cool, even in stressful situations. He remains completely unmoved, for example, when Purple-Green yells at him.
  • Agatha Christie's Superintendent Battle is distinguished by his utterly imperturbable manner, to the extent that it's practically a plot point if he shows any emotion at all.
  • Ciaphas Cain, self-described Dirty Coward, not only manages to hide the fact from friends and enemies alike but keeps fighting and keeps thinking when faced with Necron Pariahs, Demon Princesses, Tyrannids and all the other threats of his Grimdark 'verse.
  • The Main Characters of Dracula certainly count especially towards the end. Of note there’s Abraham Van Helsing who wasn’t scared of the vampiric threat before or after he knew what was dealing with and Jonathan Harker whom after his wife Mina is attacked and infected with Dracula’s blood trades his fear out for Unstoppable Rage, even fighting the count up close and personal.
  • "The Dinner Party" by Mona Gardner takes place at a dinner party in India, where a woman is arguing that women have grown out of jumping onto a chair when they see a mouse and a colonel is arguing that a woman's first response to any danger is to scream. The American guest sees the hostess ordering a servant to put a bowl of milk outside, realizes that she's baiting a snake that's under the table, and suggests they play a "game" of sitting still for 5 minutes to settle the argument. The snake is safely lured outside and the colonel takes it as proof of his point that men have superior emotional control, while the American asks the hostess how she knew the snake was there. She responds "Because it was crawling over my foot."
  • Discworld:
    • Susan Sto Helit thinks logically all the time (well, nearly all the time, as everyone has their blind spots) when others wouldn't — which means both in a dangerous situation and, let's face it, most of the rest of the time too. She actively teaches the children under her care “Don’t be afraid, get angry”.
    • Carrot Ironfoundersson doesn’t seem to comprehend his own mortality as he causally threatens dragons, walks in between armies of trolls and dwarves and isn’t even concerned when he’s surrounded by wolves. In Jingo he breaks up a fight between two battle hardened Blood Knight mercenaries talking to them like they’re misbehaving kindergarteners — at which their leader 71-hour Ahmed who witnessed it has to question Carrot’s boss Vimes if he’s real or not.
    • Vimes himself while not as completely without fear as Carrot, can still be remarkably calm about a whole werewolf pack hunting him, meeting Death, getting countless attempts on his life, coming to face to face with various deranged psychotics. It’s suggested multiple times that Vimes fears the actions of others far less than what he’s capable of himself when unchecked.
    • In Unseen Academicals, Glenda develops these after she gets out of the crab bucket. Angry mobs? Furies? Vampires? The Patrician of Ankh-Morpork? She faced down all of them. Not to mention got into the palace using only pie.
  • In Divergent, Eric describes his method of overcoming fear as using rationality and reason to remain level-headed. Indeed, he is completely rational and calm when facing his death in Insurgent.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Harry Dresden is normally exhausted, bleeding, in spiritual if not physical agony, angry, terrified and running out of magic with the fate of the world on his shoulders — none of which ever stops him from thinking and finding the answers he needs. The short story "Aftermath", from his friend Murphy's point of view, shows that in the moments where his narration reveals that he's most afraid, he transforms from a gawky nerd into a human avatar of power, command, and defiance, so fearsome that she's afraid of him even though she trusts him with her life.
    • Dresden notes this about the mercenary Kincaid and (accurately) calls out that Kincaid is not purely human as a result. During pitched battles with supernatural enemies, Kincaid remains perfectly calm and doesn't miss a single shot, something beyond the capabilities of regular human.
    • Arthur Langtry is mostly portrayed as an Obstructive Bureaucrat who has it out for Harry personally, with his accomplishments as leader of Magical Society mostly offscreen. In Turn Coat, when The Mole unleashes a deadly monster in a White Council gathering, he wards it back, formulates a battle plan, and telepathically coordinates all 200 wizards present with 3D visual aids, all within three seconds.
  • Paul Atreides in Dune. Fear is the mind-killer, after all.
  • Ender of Ender's Game: despite the enormous pressure piled on him by the teachers and his almost complete isolation, he never loses his temper and keeps on studying and winning the games; even when he's confronted by an entire gang of bigger boys out for his blood, or when the teachers stack the games completely against him, he still doesn't panic and wins with brutal efficiency. In the final stages of his training he's so worn out he's one step away from going insane but he still keeps on winning every battle.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
    • Lee Jordan reacts to the new Police State that is actively hunting down and killing "undesirables" and dissenters by starting up Potterwatch, of which he is the announcer and continuously makes jokes at the regime's expense and goes out of his way to report on deaths and other things which the regime is doing everything in their power to hide despite the fact that they are actively hunting him and sometimes get so close that it delays his broadcasts.
    • Severus Snape, for years of lying to the face of Voldemort, who is among the best Legilimens/mind readers in the world and generally a terrifying, paranoid, most evil Dark Lord in history.
    • Even after Harry “died”, Neville tells Voldemort that he’ll join him when “hell freezes over”. Voldemort sets the sorting hat on fire, puts it on Neville. What does Neville do? He pulls the Sword of Gryffindor out of the hat and chops off Nagini’s head, making Voldemort mortal once and for all. All while, once again, he’s on fire!
  • Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit while not as much at first (he fainted upon learning he might die on his adventure) after Taking a Level in Badass he shows no fear taking on armies of giant spiders and most impressively pokes fun at the Smaug the massive and wicked dragon while talking to him, which considering how powerful dragons are in the greater context of Middle Earth (being made by God of Evil Morgoth) means Mister Baggins undeniably has a massive pair on him.
  • Horatio Hornblower: He displays these in war and in gambling. For example, at one point, a lit explosive lands on the deck at his feet. He reaches down and calmly pulls out the fuse. He looks up and sees that everyone else had dived for cover, and they are now staring at him like he's the bravest man on the planet. He manages to be exasperated because no other course of action had even occurred to him.
  • P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves; under the most strenuous conditions, he might be prompted to elevate an eyebrow an eighth of an inch or so.
  • Inspector Javert from Les Misérables is a really interesting take on this.
    • No danger can shake his cool, calm reserve: he'll arrest an armed gang with a grin and a barrage of pithy one-liners, stare down the barrel of a gun and (accurately) predict it will misfire, duck hurled paving stones, and face his execution at the hands of angry revolutionaries with equanimity. Show him mercy when he's not expecting it, though, and it's a whole different story...
    • Subverted with Javert at least once in the novel. As when he arrests Valjean at Fantine’s sick bed, making her have a Death by Despair Valjean has a moment of Tranquil Fury ripping off a bedstead making the up-until-then smug Javert “retreat across the room” and when Valjean coldly asks him not to disturb him during his last words to Fantine’s body, Javert outright trembles. Given Javert’s aforementioned fearlessness it’s a mark of how shit scary Valjean must be when angry that even someone like Javert chickens out when face to face with it.
  • Multiple characters in The Lord of the Rings display this. Most notable examples include: Frodo walking down towards the eyes of Shelob in her own nightmarish lair, Gandalf facing the Balrog on the bridge, Aragorn giving Sauron a Bring It via the Palantír, Éowyn facing the Witch-King and Sam taking on Shelob before storming a orc fortress.
  • Shows up, appropriately enough, in Nerves, where nobody really loses their cool despite a breeder reactor blowing up, producing an isotope that could destroy everything within thirty miles at any moment and the one guy who knows enough to stop it going missing. Interestingly, it slightly deconstructs this trope, showing just how hard it can be to keep calm and carry on.
  • At least a couple of characters in The Phantom of the Opera show this. Most prominently is The Persian who despite knowing first hand how utterly dangerous Erik is, willingly sneaks around the Phantom’s abode and does his best to prevent Erik’s evil machinations. Christine while she certainly has moments of being afraid is still able to look Erik in his Nightmare Face and brave enough to repeatedly protect Raoul from him (it’s summarised that Raoul’s presence may make her braver, including not being afraid of the dark while with him). A minor character La Sorelli deserves serious credit, despite being considered a Brainless Beauty, she bravely ventures outside her dressing room armed with a knife upon hearing eerie footsteps that terrify the other younger ballerinas.
  • The Shahnameh: Rostam displays this on multiple occasions including:
    • He goes to battle against the mounted and heavily armed Ashkboos with only a bow and two arrows. He shoots down Ashboos's horse with one arrow. The thoroughly rattled Ashkboos fires a barrage of arrows at Rostam who doesn't even move. Then Rostam shoots his only remaining arrow with dead accuracy.
    • When Esfandiar arrives to arrest Rostam they shake hands and Esfandiar squeezes Rostam's hand so hard the veins under his nails pop and start to bleed. Not only does this not faze Rostam, but he also delivers some good-humored badass boasts and goes home to prepare for battle.
    • When he sneaks into the Div-e Sepid's cave, he finds the demon sleeping. Instead of taking the opportunity to slay the monster in his sleep, he lets out a battle cry and fights him only when he's fully awake.
    • Bahman fearing for his father Esfandiar's life in his battle against Rostam tries to assassinate him by hurling a boulder from a hill to crush Rostam. The hunting party accompanying Rostam drop what they're carrying and dive out of the way. Rostam simply kicks the rolling rock away from him!
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The prologue-only Waymar Royce from Book 1: A Game of Thrones, in spite of being something of an Upper-Class Twit, did not panic upon coming face to face with one of the Others. He calmly drew his sword and dueled the icy fiend, actually holding his own. He lost and wound up a wight, but still.
    • Stannis Baratheon is somewhat infamous for being dogmatically stubborn and cool under pressure. The fact that he doesn't seem to emote or react like most people do not help his already terrible PR.
    • Oberyn Martell shows absolutely no fear going up against Gregor Clegane, a.k.a. The Mountain That Rides. While he does back up this fearlessness by knocking Gregor to the ground, he wasn't quite as good as he thought he was and is killed while attempting to deliver the finishing blow.
  • Spenser has these and has even discussed it. His outlook is basically that while he may be scared, it doesn't change what he has to do and acting scared could make things worse.
  • Nezha from Sword Art Online Progressive calmly admits his culpability in a scam that resulted in many players being swindled out of their equipment while facing the rest of the "clearers" — a group of the best players, who'd just downed the boss of the second floor (albeit with Nezha's help), despite knowing that the players could very well kill him for what he'd done.
  • In the often overlooked Frank Herbert novel, The White Plague, a character takes great pain and care to describe the titular illness in its every gory, incurable, detail, knowing that no one trying to cure the white plague can possibly do so. The reason this character has such intimate knowledge of the effects of the plague is that she's dying of it.
  • X-Wing Series:
    • Wedge Antilles is said to alternately have cold-space lubricants and ice water in his veins. He just about invariably keeps cool and adjusts to new situations. Certainly, Wedge feels emotions, some strongly, but he's well able to analyze and understand them. He's only shown losing control once — when someone uses Fantastic Racism to diss one of his nonhuman pilots, who just died to save the man, he pulls a Neck Lift and never mind that the other man is taller.
    • Admiral Teren Rogriss, an Imperial fleet commander who ends up briefly working with the Republic Solo Command, is noted to have these by his enemies. He amply demonstrates by playing chicken with kilometer-long capital ships. His Interdictor-class cruiser isn't much in a fight but can prevent a Hyperspeed Escape by Warlord Zsinj's flagship — as long as it remains in range. Zsinj sends several vessels against him but can't beat the Imperial-class Star Destroyers backing up Rogriss's ship, so he decides to set one of his cruisers on a collision course to force the (smaller and lighter) Interdictor to turn aside. Zsinj starts worrying the second he identifies the officer in charge since he knows his own captain will flinch first. In the end, that captain is killed and the burning hulk of his ship is locked into its course. Rogriss stays past the last second, maneuvering out of the collision using a canny modification of his ship's systems, but also willing to take the risk that it wouldn't work to allow his allies time to keep fighting Zsinj.
  • The Zombie Knight has Roman's secretary Gina. Without even being able to fight, she waltzed into a castle overrun with superpowered psychos from Abolish and riddled it with eavesdropping devices, then spent weeks holed up listening to the bug feeds (which often include the sounds of Abolishers gruesomely killing people) and feeding info to her allies. All while knowing that at any time a curious Abolish reaper might spot her soul and bring the supervillains down on her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24: In spite of the worst that can be thrown at him, almost nothing fazes Jack Bauer. The same goes for his political counterpart, David Palmer.
  • ANZAC Girls: Instead of panicking when she's faced with a catastrophic lack of anything resembling proper facilities or adequate supplies at the field hospital on Lemnos Island, Matron Grace Wilson not only keeps a cool head but keeps her nurses calm as well, then sets about fixing the problem to the best of her ability and making do with what she's got. In real life, the real Grace Wilson wound up with an unheard-of 2% mortality rate — almost miraculous given the era and circumstances. It got her the Royal Red Cross.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Mr. Morden. Gotta hand it to him; not even being arrested, threatened by most of the cast or coming face-to-face with Ambassador Kosh seems to unnerve him. The fact that two equally advanced aliens constantly watch over him may have something to do with that — when Londo kills/chases them off, he finally cracks.
    • When Vir is faced with a giant monster (that he didn't know was a hologram) he just kept repeating that his boss wants an audience until the technomage responsible for the giant monster gave up on trying to scare him away.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Oz. He's not a man easily shaken by anything.
  • Burn Notice: Michael Weston makes a comment about this in one episode. Stating how one can never tell if someone does have Nerves of Steel. Where a trained soldier could crack easily under pressure but a father whose son was kidnapped can have ice water in his veins.
  • The City Hunter: Na Na displays these. It's a necessary part of her job, as she's a professional bodyguard and government agent.
  • Criminal Minds: Hotch. Everyone from a serial killer to a snarky defense attorney to Strauss has done something that should unsettle him. He generally handles this by taking a moment, then delivering a line that explains their failings with a mix of calm and condescension.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor's companions sometimes have this:
    • The Doctor himself can be described as having this, as he regularly risks his life and confronts danger with composure. In "The Satan Pit", he literally laughs in the face of the Devil, in "The Big Bang" he carries on without visible nerves after having seen his future self near death and in "Hell Bent" he literally stands in front of a firing squad without flinching. He is also unperturbed at gruesome sights, although sometimes saddened — in "Cold War" he quite clinically examines a dismembered corpse. Not to mention the fact that he can even carry on living and being cheerful after everything he's seen and lost.
    • Being head of the UK branch of UNIT typically brings with it a total refusal to show more emotion than some blend of steely determination and deadpan indifference in the face of any kind of alien menace, especially when it's The Brigadier himself or his daughter, whether the Monster of the Week is armies of Cybermen, reality-bending terrors or demons from beyond the stars.
  • Firefly:
    • Simon remains calm while operating on Kaylee in "Serenity" with (as far as he knew) the possibility that he and River might be killed or turned over to the Alliance hanging over his head, and while directing Zoe in operating on him in "Objects in Space". Including warning her when he's about to pass out.
    • Simon is a classic Sugar-and-Ice Personality and is stoical a lot of the time. River had an even harder time in "Objects in Space". She had her amygdala torn out after all and thus is flooded with emotion.
    • Wash is able to go from the funny sarcastic guy to completely calm and in control in mere moments as well, as best seen in the Pilot in where he shows us just WHY Malcolm and Zoe have such trust in him and provides us with one of the best Crowning Moments Of Awesome in the series by outmaneuvering the Reavers without losing that stoic calm. Also in the Movie, outmaneuvering the Reavers while flying directly into the thick of an Alliance armada. When Mal panics and tries to direct him, "No, no, no, no!" Wash simply matches his tone, "Yes, yes, yes, yes!" and keeps his bearing.
    • Zoe walks into the room where her husband and her oldest friend and comrade are being tortured and cuts the villain off before he can even finish presenting his impossible dilemma, all without changing expression. When she gets given Wash and Mal's ear, she calmly accepts both, then returns to the ship and puts the ear on ice before heading back out for the rescue mission. Her response to Wash's death in Serenity is almost equally flat. She freaks out initially, but no more than a few seconds later, she is coolly walking off the ship, checking her weapons, and telling the others that "he's not coming."
  • The Flash: The often-underestimated Detective Joe West. When an unstoppable metahuman serial killer breaks into his home and threatens him, Joe calmly talks to him and refuses to call for help, knowing that's exactly what the villain wants. He persists even under torture. He only looks worried when he sees Cecille, but even then he mentally shouts to her not to call for help, hoping that her residual telepathy picks up on it. Even then, the detective spent this time analyzing the guy, even figuring out that Cicada is a father.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ned Stark seems awfully calm when surrounded by Lannister soldiers, with Jaime Lannister in front of him.
    • Arya Stark is developing these as she goes from horrifying experience to horrifying experience. She is absolutely unafraid of characters such as Tywin, Melisandre and the Hound who terrify everyone else in the series.
    • Granted, he knows his sister is close by and has his back, but Jojen never loses his affable tone even when Osha has a spear to his neck — and a full-grown direwolf is baring its teeth at the same time.
    • Tywin is very nonchalant of Tyrion threatening to kill him, even after finally being shot down with a crossbow.
    • When Bronn is challenged by Sandor Clegane, he is less "Oh, Crap!" and more "oh well". It is very rare to see Bronn in distress. This is usually because he's so badass that things rarely turn against him to begin with, but even when they do he takes it in stride. The exceptions are in Season 5 when his engagement is annulled, costing him his imminent Lordship, and later on when Tyene has him poisoned and on the brink of death. Even in the latter scenario, he's rotting in a dungeon with a slim chance of getting out soon and is perfectly content to stay there singing to himself for as long as he has to. Season 7 also brings an exception with the Battle of the Blackwater Rush, which has him quite distressed at fighting a battle against the Dothraki khalasars and a damn dragon, and even then he holds it together long enough to kill said Dothraki chasing him, deal a crossbow bolt to Drogon and then save Jaime's ass by tackling him out of the way of Drogon's fire.
    • Daenerys is the blood of the dragon and a dragon is not afraid. Right from episode one, she's been showing the kind of reserve and spine a ruler of realms should have. She's been insulted, intimidated and threatened in various unpleasant ways by several powerful people. None of them managed to so much as affect her expression, much less her resolve. Reaches a CMOA when she refuses to back down against Drogon's black rage in Daznak's Pit. If she had; he probably would have devoured her.
    • Stannis, as is his book counterpart, as his reaction to half his fleet being decimated by Wildfire is pretty much to grit his teeth and go charging at the King's Landing anyway.
      Stannis: Come with me and take this city!
  • House of the Dragon: Daemon Targaryen keeps calmly singing a song in High Valyrian to the gigantic and terrifying dragon Vermithor in the first Season Finale in order to tame the beast, without running away.
  • Grey's Anatomy: The season six finale is a moment of awesome for Cristina. Derek's been shot, and the lockdown has left no one but her to operate on him. If she doesn't, he will die. A few minutes later, the shooter comes in and sticks his gun in her face, demanding that she stop operating and let Derek die. She's scared, she's crying, but her hands don't shake because dammit she promised she would try to save her best friend's husband. She keeps. On. Operating.
    Cristina: Derek's a mess, Meredith's a mess, you're a mess — that leaves me in charge! Now go. Scrub. In.
  • JAG: Clayton Webb; while he can be annoying, the only picture of him panicking was in a flashback in one episode. In other times, he is never fazed.
  • Red Ranger Jason Lee Scott from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was able to keep his nerve when trapped in a room with Goldar without his morpher.
  • In Person of Interest, all the main heroes (and most of the villains, too) are stoic in the face of deadly danger, but Sameen Shaw takes it right over the top. She has a mood disorder that means she might be genuinely incapable of feeling fear.
  • Revolution: Julia Neville reveals herself to be in possession of these in "Nobody's Fault But Mine". She remains calm and states calmly that she's not the type to beg for her life... and this is while Miles Matheson is holding a sword to her throat.
  • Sherlock:
    • John Watson. In the first episode, Sherlock mentions this trope by name while analyzing the man who shot a serial killer. At that exact moment, he catches sight of John and realizes who he's describing.
    • Sherlock has his moments. In the fourth episode, he's being threatened at gunpoint and is told that if he doesn't come up with a piece of information he doesn't have, John will be killed. Despite this clearly concerning him, he still remains relatively calm and thinks fast enough to deduce the information he needs. It helps that Irene gives him a vital clue at that moment by looking down at herself.
    • Both Sherlock and John handle the finale of the first season ender pretty well — particularly the last few moments. In the same episode with Irene, John didn't as much as blink when Sherlock threw the CIA dude out the window. And he calmly threatened death on a professional killer.
    • Sherlock remained calm with Magnusson, and Mary remained calm when she did shoot Sherlock, though she did look apologetic.
  • Star Trek:
    • In a Star Trek: TOS/Star Trek: The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine crossover novel, The Return, Dr. Bashir was doing some very delicate operation and the Red Alert klaxons went off. Data was sure that the patient was dead because the noise would have startled Bashir, but no, he kept his scalpel very still. Then he contacted the bridge. "Turn off the alarms in sickbay. I held myself still once but I don't think I could do it again."
    • Jett Reno in Star Trek: Discovery is rarely fazed by anything. She survives ten months stranded on an asteroid caring for injured and unconscious crewmates with her sanity intact, and reacts to whatever danger occurs by identifying the quickest engineering solution and then doing it, no hesitation. Even the time crystal, which left Pike and Burnham gasping in horror at the Bad Future visions, doesn't faze her — she just locks everyone else out of the room, blinks hard, and keeps working until she's done.

  • Irene from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues has been shown capable of keeping her calm even under great duress, or when dealing with the inherent Body Horror of her power (such as rationally deciding to merge her hand into Melissa's neck to keep the other girl from turning to smoke). It can be somewhat unnerving at times.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! East Academy, every single one of the East Academy duellists shows an almost mind-boggling amount of courage, standing firm in the face of horrors that most war veterans would break down at. Bear in mind that these kids are all underage schoolchildren who never asked for this.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Blood Bowl, the "Nerves of Steel" trait means a player doesn't get any penalties from being surrounded by opposing players while handling the ball.
  • Deadlands has a character trait called nerves o' steel, but this Trope is more effectively represented by the level-headed advantage: the cool-headed hombre's lack of panic usually results in more flexibility with initiative in a combat round than others possess. Used well, a level-headed character can almost choose when to act in a round, representing a mind that is constantly looking for the perfect time to strike.
  • GURPS has the Unfazeable advantage, which means that the character in question never has to make Fright Checks.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • Models with the "Immune to Psychology" rule do not suffer morale penalties when fighting units that cause Fear or Terror, making them immune to terror routs that can send less disciplined fighters running for the hills when a monstrous creature charges into battle.
    • Models with the "Cold-Blooded" trait still have to take leadership tests, but throw an extra dice and pick the two most favourable one whenever called upon to do so. When added to the "Stubborn" or "Immune to Psychology" rules there is very little that will shake the model's resolve.
    • The "Unbreakable" rule is the most extreme version — Unbreakable characters are immune to Leadership tests, and will not lose morale no matter what.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Represented in different ways:
    • Space Marines have the special rule "And They Shall Know No Fear", representing how their biological modifications and mental conditioning have left them without a real fear response. They can fall back if defeated in close combat or after suffering heavy casualties from enemy fire, but this is a Tactical Withdrawal rather than a rout, and the Space Marines automatically regroup after doing so. One of the signs of how far the Chaos Space Marines have fallen is that they do not have this rule. Their nerves are very much not steel, and they know fear. Cypher is unusual since he's a Chaos Space Marine who still has the "And They Shall Know No Fear" rule.
    • Units with the Fearless take this one step further — they're sufficiently determined, zealous, bloodthirsty, or stupid that they automatically pass any Morale checks they would be called upon to take. This lets them sidestep Tank Shock attempts and return to their formation without losing cohesion, but this disregard for their own safety can see them take additional casualties when outnumbered in close combat.
    • Nerves of Steel is a talent in Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader, which allows you to re-roll pinning tests. A better way or representing this trope would be taking the Fearless talent or the From Beyond trait, which make you completely immune to fear or pinning, or having an unhealthy amount of Insanity Points.
    • Subverted with the World Eaters, the chosen Legion of War God Khorne, who are lobotomized so as to become completely fearless... but end up as screaming lunatics who live only to rush at the enemy and decapitate them with chainaxes. Exactly how much fear is left to get rid of when you're willingly going through the operation led by a chap with the title of berserker-surgeon is debatable.

    Video Games 
  • Ryfia from Arc Rise Fantasia. Despite mostly being a standard White Magician Girl, she is almost completely unflappable. The most notable example occurs when Weiss throws a knife at her, that passes hair-width away from her face, and she doesn't even budges.
  • The eponymous Bayonetta virtually never shows any form of fear or panic in either game, regardless of the situation. The only couple of times we see her worried or upset are when those close to her are in danger. Other times, she'll either just snark at the immediate danger, or get annoyed with the enemy's rambling and attack it.
    Fortitudo: Challenging us with the dark arts!? No matter the age, witches never learn...
    Bayonetta: *BANG BANG BANG* Flock off, feather-face!
  • Coffee Talk: The Barista has served so many different kinds of fantasy beings that they've gotten used to the presence of the scarier ones.
    • They're able to keep a cool head and serve a sedative to Gala in the middle of his Fury.
    • In Episode 2, Jorji is shocked by how the Barista can be so calm about the possibility of the dead hawthorn tree, which was left behind by the fairy that was killed by a drunk driver, being haunted.
  • In Dead Cells, the bow weapon Nerves Of Steel has very low base damage, but excellent critical hit damage if the player can draw the bow, wait a short while, and only then release it with correct timing. It can be tough to keep the rhythm going while enemies are bearing down on the player, but the reward of high damage criticals is well worth it.
  • Agent Francis York Morgan of Deadly Premonition reacts to the Dark World simply by lighting a cigarette and proceeding forward with hardly any reaction. It helps that he's already crazy in his own way.
  • JC Denton is Deus Ex when playing stealthily. "You mechs may have copper wiring to reroute your fear of pain, but I've got nerves of steel."
  • Dante from Devil May Cry. This guy's reaction to things like giant demon birds threatening him, a three-headed ice dog trying to block his way, or a demon snake-plant trying to eat him? Dodging or no-selling whatever they try to do and taunting them back.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: Seraph Lamington, no matter what sort of situation arises, always manages to keep a calm, collected tone... even when Laharl is about to tear him several new ones.
  • Eternal Darkness, famed for abuse of the Sanity Meter, lacks the meter during Pious Augustus's chapter. Simply due to being before the meter is introduced to gameplay? Being the only battle-hardened professional soldier among the player characters? Or is it because the ancients decided to preserve his sanity? After all, they aren't so bad to look at by default, they choose to make those who look at them lose it.
  • Fallout: A perk of the same name is present in both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. With its effect granting an increase to the regeneration of Action Points, which the player character(s) uses mostly to attack enemies in V.A.T.S., this can be inferred as gaining an unflinching focus in battle and attacking with more precision.
  • The Warrior of Light from Dissidia Final Fantasy almost always keeps a cool head no matter the situation. He's only shown losing his calm demeanor once, when Cosmos sacrifices herself to shield him from a horde of Manikins near the end of 012.
  • The Warrior of Light in Final Fantasy XIV absolutely never shows fear no matter what foe they face. They're capable of displaying a range of emotions like anyone else, but when it comes to staring down things like the Empire's best generals, primals, top ranking demons, or even the embodiment of despair itself that can destroy the universe, the Warrior of Light shows only determination.
  • Jenny Myers from Friday the 13th: The Game has a perfect Composure stat, making her breathing less louder when hiding in closets or under beds while also decreasing the chances of Jason spotting her with Sense. This also means she can get out of Jason's Neck Lift a lot faster than the other counselors.
  • Pretty much all of the playable characters from Five Nights at Fuckboy's count as this, with Freddy, Toy Freddy and Springtrap treating almost all of the threats they come across as more annoying obstacles rather then genuine threats. Freddy also momentarily freaks out at having to fight a god named Cranky Kong but quickly regains his composure and manages to defeat him and even has the guts to mock him over his failure afterwards.
  • A questline in Grand Theft Auto V has Trevor helping a pair of lunatics threaten and arrest anyone they think is an illegal immigrant. The last mission starts with Trevor running into one of their previous victims on the street and is informed that the man's family has been living in the US for two hundred years. Trevor tries to play it off, but the argument escalates until Trevor is pointing a gun at the man's head. He doesn't flinch and tells Trevor that if he wants to make things right, he'll take care of the men he had been working with. He continues on by saying he won't pay Trevor a single penny for doing so. Trevor, easily the most psychotic and violent GTA protagonist, can do nothing more but honor his demands.
  • Idol Manager: The "Thick Skin" trait makes the idol who has it immune to bullying from other idols and online harassment. Gameplay-wise, idols who don't have the trait run the risk of being Bullied into Depression via gradual depletion of their mental stamina meter if the player doesn't deal with the situation when it arises.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist:
  • Like a Dragon:
    • It's frankly astonishing how well Haruka deals with all the incredibly dangerous situations life has been throwing at her since she was a young girl. While later games suggest that her traumatic past experiences with the Yakuza have toughened her up considerably, she was already pretty strong-willed in the face of danger as far back as the first game.
    • Tanimura from Yakuza 4 almost always maintains his apathetic facade, whether it's facing down armed crooks or playing Russian Roulette. This was even more apparent in the original version of the game, with his combat vocalizations being more low-key compared to the other playable characters (the remastered voice actor gives him a more hot-blooded edge, which maintains the effect by replacing his apathy with cockiness).
    • Takasugi from Yakuza 5 is impressively unflappable for a small-time loan shark. He walks in on a tense conversation between Shinada and Daigo and doesn't bat an eye when Daigo pulls a gun on him, merely snarking as he raises his hands. Later on, Manabe angrily pulls a knife on him when he asks him a question on a rather sensitive topic, and he continues to snark about how suspicious such behavior is.
    • Tachibana from Yakuza 0 is always shown to be calm and collected, best examplified towards the end of the game where he remains cooly defiant while being tortured to death.
    • Yakuza: Like a Dragon:
      • Ichiban Kasuga is usually an excitable goofball, but he can turn positively icy when the situation calls for it. Early in the game he doesn’t so much as flinch when a Geomijul hitman fires a crossbow that grazes his right cheek, and he shows absolutely no fear when Ryo/Masato points a gun at him in the ending.
      • Saeko is one on a technical level, as her experience as a barmaid provides her with greater psychological resilience towards Fear, Drunk, Charm, and Silence than her teammates, which are classified as mental status effects.
    • Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name shows that Masaru Watase was shockingly composed during his appearance in the above game since the climax reveals that he was dealing a very recent knife wound to the gut during that time and only allowed himself to crumple after the worst was over.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Commander Shepard, especially if the Sole Survivor background is chosen. Keeping his/her cool while the rest of his/her unit panicked under attack from nightmarish Thresher Maws was what got him/her noticed enough to be considered for the Spectres. Ditto his/her feat in the War Hero origin, where Shepard effectively stared down an entire invading army until reinforcements arrived. This isn't even getting into what happens in the story proper. While s/he does slowly get ground down by The Chains of Commanding and all the death s/he sees, this doesn't stop him/her from, at one point, effectively facing down a 160m tall Reaper, on foot, while it's firing at him/her with barely any hint of fear.
    • Joker's performance in general, and at the end of the first game in particular; he isn't even nervous trying to land the Mako APC in a fifth of the normal minimum landing zone, just intent. It's a stark contrast to his attitude outside of the pilot's seat, though.
  • The protagonist in Metro 2033 is resistant to psychic anomalies. At least a few times in the game, he and several others are attacked by something indescribable and unnatural and he's able to resist it. This is also why he's able to withstand the Dark Ones's psychic communication without going insane.
  • Metroid Dread: Samus displays this at several points, most notably when encountering her old foe Kraid. While Kraid (who, mind you, is a thirty-foot tall fire-breathing and spike-shooting dinosaur) roars and screams at her in fury, doing everything he can to break his restraints (and coming pretty damned close), Samus calmly stands about an inch outside his reach, charges up her Arm Cannon, and casually shoots him in the mouth.
  • OFF: The Batter remains calm, cool, and collected throughout the entire game, whethere he's purifying spectres, facing down monstrous bosses, or putting an end to the world.
  • Yu from Persona 4 has them, even more so should you pick the right dialogue choices. Not to say he doesn't show emotions like confusion or panic, it's just that he manages to stay calm and collected regardless. When emotions run high, he often gets the option to tell others to calm down. In fact, late in the game, telling the others this is crucial should you want to avoid the first Bad Ending. Golden has a scene that exemplifies this: On the route to the true ending, if the Jester Link has been ranked up to 6 before the Disc-One Final Dungeon, it will auto-advance at certain points past it. After Rank 9, Yu has a choice to confront Tohru Adachi, the character in question... who then pulls a gun on him. One of his responses to this is "You won't shoot me.", and in response Adachi does! Said bullet whizzes dangerously close to Yu's head... and he doesn't even flinch from it.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Helena of Resident Evil 6. Notably, she's just as calm as Leon is, even though she's never faced zombies before. During the battle with Simmons, he flings a very large chunk of debris right at her head, and it misses by inches. She doesn't even flinch, and promptly returns the favour.
    • One of Ada's most inspiring traits is her strength of will; Ada is not a woman easily shaken. It’s most noticeable in Resident Evil 2 (Remake) when, compared to Leon and Claire, not once does she ever show external fear of the zombies lunging at her or Mr. X chasing her down the hallway, even as a new spy, only exasperatedly replying how much of a persistent bastard he is. It's only ever really subverted in her ending in 6 when she emotionally breaks down while destroying Carla's laboratory.
    • Jill has a noticeably more muted approach to tense situations after the Raccoon City incident compared to other survivors, maintaining a calm, stoic attitude. Even when she's more hotheaded and traumatized during the Raccoon City incident, particularly Resident Evil 3 (Remake), she rarely shows any external signs of fear, with the only noticeable occurrence being when she feebly crawls away from Nemesis after he tanked a car she totaled into him.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog. Very few things faze him. Danger and strong opponents only excite him, and his official profiles describe as being good at keeping his cool under pressure. The Archie comic series notably tended to make him more childish and excitable until Sega put a stop to it, decreeing a mandate that it's not in Sonic's character to act overly emotional.
  • Star Trek Online: D'Tan, the Proconsul of the Romulan Republic. A Non-Action Guy who ended up in charge of a loose coalition of refugees, colonists, political dissidents, and ex-Imperial Fleet personnel, he's nonetheless a cool hand on the tiller. In one cutscene a Tal Shiar officer beams into his office in the middle of the night when he's working late to try and offer an Enemy Mine. D'Tan's response is to tell her to make an appointment and come back during regular business hours.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: On Ord Mantell during the Jedi Knight story, the PC leaves Padawan Kira Carsen guarding the ship and being their Voice with an Internet Connection, and comes back to find her held hostage by Sith hunting the PC for their self-proclaimed Arch-Enemy Darth Angral. Angral would have been there too, except Kira sent him on a wild goose chase the minute he showed up.
    "Told 'em you were on Corellia. Suckers."
  • Shu Shirakawa in any Super Robot Wars games where he's present is this. Doesn't matter even if he's already on the verge of being defeated, his expression will not budge one bit.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of the Abyss has Jade Curtiss as the Stepford Smiler version of this. His ability to be unfazed by any situation is occasionally lampshaded by the younger characters as something that freaks them out.
    • Tales of Vesperia's Yuri Lowell, as a partial Expy of the above Jade, is also similarly unfazed in the face of danger. It doesn't freak out his True Companions but they certainly think it's weird that facing death in the face only worries him somewhat. Subverted when it comes to Judith in regards to her saying she would cut her way out of a monster's stomach to win a fight. Yuri believes she could do that and finds her terrifying for that reason. Speaking of, Judith also fits this even more thanks to that.
    • Tales of Xillia and its sequel has Jude Mathis. As a medical student (and an actual practising doctor in the sequel) it makes that he would be trained in that regard...but he just naturally seems able to keep his cool in the face of danger. Might have to do with being a Teen Genius as much as his personality. Milla Maxwell is much the same, though how much is her keeping her calm in the face of danger and her not valuing her life (in the first game) is up for debate. Her alternate version in the sequel subverts this trope, however.
    • Tales of Berseria's Velvet Crowe didn't start as this, but after spending three years in a Hellhole Prison repeatedly killing all daemons dropped into her cell and surviving mainly off her desire for Revenge and her sheer hatred she holds for the Big Bad means she approaches dangerous situations more casually than normal people do. That said, she's still plenty emotional and there are plenty of things that can shake her. Rokurou Rangetsu is a more straight example, though his Blue-and-Orange Morality and Manchild state is partly to blame.
  • Undertale's Genocide route sees the protagonist wandering and killing through an increasingly sparse underground world where the inhabitants have already left as word apparently spreads... but one straggler is an old coot of a turtle who hasn't left his post as a vendor and who will not be intimidated.
  • Vermintide II: Implied with Saltzpyre. Unlike the rest of the Ubersreik Five who give a pithy "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner when they are the last standing member of the group against the Vermintide, Saltzpyre has no audible response to the very poor odds and stoically keeps fighting in silence - odd considering he's normally the largest ham in a whole World of Ham.
  • WarioWare: Spitz is very calm and collected, even after getting stiffed and driving in the middle of a UFO crossfire, but when he and Dribble were hit and almost knocked out by a laser, he SNAPS.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright is generally easily spooked or disheartened, but characters note time and again that he's at his best when under pressure, and true enough, he is pretty much unflappable once he has the murderer well and truly cornered.
    • Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, is similarly known for his ability to keep his cool. In his case, it's because he has an unshakable commitment to the truth and simply will not let anyone get in the way or bully him off the path. He even has the nerve to say as much to a man holding him at gunpoint in his own office.
    • Godot in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations. Thuggish Loan Shark in the courtroom with an intimidating roar and Brooklyn Rage got everyone else in the courtroom hiding under desks or behind walls? Godot simply boasts about being the one to bring in said thug.
    • This becomes a plot point in the third case of Justice For All: Witness Acro is, well, an acrobat, and as such needs a set of these to be good at his job. In court, this makes him difficult to press, as he he keeps his cool no matter what. It's this calmness in the face of being potentially nailed for Russel's murder that makes Phoenix realize that he'd go for Refuge in Audacity when hiding the murder weapon (a large bust) on short notice (Franziska raided his room)- it's with him in court, hidden in his wheelchair.
    • The third culprit in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, while more temperamental than the above example, is calm enough to not have any tells that Apollo can Perceive. Zig-zagged, as he finally breaks down when Apollo reveals his plan to get his accomplice to testify against him.
  • The protagonist of Double Homework, when he and his classmates are caught in the path of an avalanche, comes up with an escape plan that saves all of their lives.
  • The player character of Mystic Messenger is a combination of this and The Pollyanna; she'll be held at gunpoint, kidnapped and held captive by a powerful cult, or be trapped in a small apartment with a live bomb, just to name a few predicaments she finds herself in, and through it all, she just focuses on encouraging the happiness and strength of her friends and current love interest. She may show occasional signs of nervousness during dangerous situations, but it doesn't stop her from pushing on. Other people even comment on how unflappable and constantly supportive she is, and their reactions range from being inspired by her perseverance to a combination of disbelief and awe.
  • Kyoko Kirigiri in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. She has some Not So Stoic moments here and there, but the insanity of the plot never seems to affect her otherwise. The one time she admits to being genuinely nervous, Naegi doesn't notice any change at all.
  • In Daughter for Dessert, Mortelli, faced with a break-in of his own office, methodically uncovers who the culprit is.
  • In Fate/stay night, Servant Archer is singled out as having these more than any other Servant due to cultivating battle experience as a way to make up for the fact that he had very few natural gifts. It's actually an ability of his called Eye of the Mind which is basically keeping a calm, calculating head while in combat.
    • Servant Assassin also has shades of this, its an ability called Vitrification, which means the guy can keep a calm mind at all times. Possibly it's due to his Extreme Doormat nature, but things like having his lungs detonated from the inside, being minutes away from death due to Mana deprivation, or being eaten alive don't seem to affect his mind much.
    • Kuzuki Souchirou. He's more of an Extreme Doormat than Assassin, sure, but it doesn't change the fact he's basically a Muggle who faces superpowered Servants without the slightest hint of fear or anxiety. Or any other emotion for that matter...
    • In the prequel, Emiya Kiritsugu is also an excellent example, as a cool and collected individual who remains calm in dangerous situations and makes ruthless decisions without batting an eye. Subverted, as ends up breaking down by the end.
  • Keiji Shinogi of Your Turn to Die typically has a laid-back demeanor, and the rare times he does lose his cool, it isn't long before he slips back into it. Any prolonged expression of emotion is a sign that something bad is about to happen.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape:
    • Kai counters any dirt slung at him with a blunt, and sometimes even smug, retort. This is best illustrated against Melissa's Brutal Honesty after defeating her dragon in 'Confronting the Dark'.
    • Nik just laughs off all the shit Jenna and Aseir sling at him.
  • RWBY:
    • Although visibly nervous during his first Grimm fights and recklessly losing his temper against Cinder in Volume 5, Jaune grows beyond his inexperience and trauma to become a steady, fearless fighter. When his group enters Salem's lair to rescue Oscar, Ren notices Jaune is completely fearless. Later, he keeps his team on mission while Ruby's team fights Cinder. When he joins the battle, it's after Ruby, Blake and Yang have seemingly died; he remains calm against Cinder, and after he's forced to Mercy Kill Penny and has watched Weiss apparently die, he still holds it together and encourages Winter to escape to safety instead of recklessly charging Cinder like he once did. Word of God states that Jaune has grown into the hero who is capable of making the tough decisions that even the other heroes cannot make, which is why he can Mercy Kill a friend for the greater good.
    • In Volume 4, the crew of the ship Blake is travelling on has never seen such a huge Grimm in all their time on the sea. The captain's response is to immediately take charge, rally the crew into performing their jobs, issuing commands to both his crew and Huntsmen, when he realizes he has a couple on board. He can keep track of his ship, weapons, the coastline, two Huntsmen and the Grimm to coordinate everything and destroy the Grimm with a killing blow. Not once does he lose his cool, or stop thinking and strategising.
    • Introduced after a train crash in Volume 6, Maria simply exits the carriage with a chirpy "That sure was a close one, eh?" while everyone is picking themselves up. When the group is forced to bunk down on an estate filled with dead bodies, she's the only one not freaked out and starts looking for books to read; it enables her to identify exactly what threat they're all facing and identify and activate the solution when everyone else is giving up. It's not just a sign that she's an ancient, highly experienced Huntress, it's part of her personality that she comes alive when faced with danger, rather than being disturbed or fearful like others.
    • Whitley doesn't have any combat prowess or experience, but when pushed into a corner he shows a surprising degree of resourcefulness in the face of danger and never loses his cool. When Ruby's team is facing a collective Heroic BSoD over the invasion of Atlas, it's Whitley who starts strategising practical solutions, from calling Klein to doctor Nora's injuries to planning the evacuation of Mantle's citzens. During the Hound's attack on the manor in Volume 8, he never forgets to send out the drones to rescue Mantle before escaping; he tries slamming a door into its face even while fleeing; while everyone is shocked by the reveal of the Hound's true nature, he observes it moving into position to be crushed by a giant suit of armour, so encourages Willow to help him drop it, saving Ruby, Blake and Weiss in the process.
  • Shrapnel: Fitting their claim to be brave warriors, the Ugandan Knuckles don’t show any fear when faced with terrible situations.
    • The Commandah doesn’t show a hint of fear when he’s got a gun pressed to his head, or is outnumbered by his enemies.
    • Goggles isn’t intimidated by a group of three people more than twice his size threatening to beat him up, or worse.
  • Johny, the super mellow teenager, from the Flash series Siblings.

  • Mieruko-chan: Miko is shown to quickly develop an uncanny level of calm when facing the strange and horrific ghosts and spirits she sees everyday.
  • One-Punch Man: Subverted with King. Identified as one of the strongest heroes in the world, he never publicly shows anything but a neutral, stoic expression even when in a dangerous situation, nor does he rush into fights.note  His heart starts audibly beating like an engine when battle approaches, though, and it's claimed no monster has heard that sound and lived. What's actually going on is that King is hiding his terror in the knowledge that he's actually got no powers or fighting ability at all (his "victories" were actually Saitama's before he registered with the Hero Association), so he'd be in huge trouble if he actually had to fight. Good thing for him he's The Dreaded for monsters and bad guys, so usually they don't dare to fight him.
  • It's relatively early in Order of Tales that Koark first shows his ability to keep his wits about him in the face of danger: when he has been accused of murder and brought before the Oceanqueen of Tenshells, he is obviously terrified, but speaks easily and eloquently in his own defense nevertheless.
  • Kaff Tagon, and indeed many of the Toughs in Schlock Mercenary. Exceedingly useful, given their profession. In fact, Tagon once grabbed a thrown knife out of his eye and, without hesitating, used it to slaughter his two foes.
    Tagon: Thank you. Now I have a knife.
  • Chaz the talking sword form Sluggy Freelance is always ready to neutrally analyse the current situation. He being just a sword, it's not so surprising he doesn't get upset about things, although he can certainly be sarcastic.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Tuuri after she gets potentially infected with a disease whose only possible outcomes are death and zombification. She actually seems more worried about her cousin and older brother's reactions to it and treats the latter's Power Strain Black Out as a Convenient Coma because that keeps her from having to tell him.
  • Tower of God: Apparently common trait in the Khun family, primarily seen in Khun Aguero Agnes, one of the main characters. (The anime adaptation downplays this a bit, since he's shown as getting upset and aggressive at things other people say more easily.) He can think his way through anything, even in combat, as long as it isn't something that looks more complicated than it is, in which case he can starts overthinking. The young version of the head of the family, Khun Edahn, looks to have been similar, as do Princess Khun Maschenny Jahad and Khun Kiseia. Khun Ran is kind of like this, but his cool thinking is usually limited to thinking up clever tactics, since "not fighting" never seems to occur to him as an option.
  • When it comes time to battle, Gray from Weak Hero forces his emotions to the side so that he can think logically about the steps he needs to take to win. This leaves outsiders with the impression that he's completely stoic — he does genuinely feel fear when he has to fight, but he never lets it impact his ability to fight.
  • Tabbi in We Are The Wyrecats is introduced as such, being extremely tough to intimidate. Unsurprisingly, given the hellish situation she's just escaped from.
  • Sam Sprinkles in Zebra Girl shows this off on multiple occasions, such as when he was caught in an alley facing a pair of werewolves with claws as long as his hands. Although later on he explicitly admits to himself that he has lost this trait, either due to torture at Sandra's hands or by falling in love.

    Web Originals 
  • AestheticGamer barely ever gets scared by whatever occurs in the many, many horror games he plays. He once did jump in his seat when, during his DreadOut playthrough, a motorcycle was flung over the partition in the abandoned wedding hall.
  • All of the main cast of Chrono Hustle fits this, but it's especially notable with Mary Bishop. Jack Masterson is a con artist and thus is used to thinking his way out of tricky situations. Melinda Summers is a TRD agent and is thus trained to deal with all sorts of strange things. Mary, meanwhile, is just a simple farm girl from the Old West, who manages to deal with a crew of pirates when she accidentally ends up in that era.
  • Cr1TiKaL. That man fears nothing. Even Five Nights at Freddy's, which is memetic for scaring people, not only fails to scare him but bores him to the point he starts telling a story about his teen years to pass the time. Thus far the only thing that's ever scared him was a leaf falling in his peripheral vision.
  • Rebecca from Demo Reel responds to creepers in masks telling her to be scared by reminding them that their car is being towed.
  • Mahu In "Second Chance", Satayesh Ibrahim is nearly the living personification of this trope. As commander of Task Force Manticore, she is known as the "Ice Queen" by friend and foe alike.
  • The As Himself version of Doug Walker in "The Review Must Go On". His character has, to be blunt, come to life and is scaring the shit out of him by acting like some demonic abusive partner, but he only shows his terror when he's scarfing down tranquilizers alone in the car.
  • From Worm:
    • Even in a city full of superheroes and supervillains, Skitter is an exceptionally cool customer. It's particularly evident in her fight against Mannequin, one of The Dreaded Slaughterhouse Nine — she comes up with her plan of attack literally while he is trying to slit her throat.
    • One of the reasons Tattletale is so ferociously effective is that she doesn't let pain, injury, or threat to life and limb stop her from using her smarts, her superpower, and her vulpine grin to break down any obstacle in front of her.
    • Miss Militia from the Protectorate East-North-East is also remarkably good at keeping her head in dangerous and chaotic situations.
    • Jessica Yamada, introduced in Interlude 18 (Donation Bonus #3), is an unpowered therapist specializing in working with superpowered individuals, most of whom could kill her as easily as swatting a fly. Even in the face of intense fear, she maintains a calm demeanor for her patients' benefit.

    Web Video 
  • Tokino Sora and Shishiro Botan of hololive have reputations for being nigh impossible to scare. Sora often apologizes to her audience for her "subpar reactions" owing to her actually loving horror media, though she does get scared on extremely rare occasions (when confronted by cicadas and worms), while Botan actually derives amusement from seeing her peers (especially Lamy) freak out at horror games.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer: How Lana got her job. During her animal rights protest phase, her and a few fellow hippies parked outside a fur store waiting to splash someone with paint. When said someone turned out to be Malory, she responded with a .44 Magnum aimed at them. When everyone but Lana scattered, Malory knew she had a spy.
    Malory: You're really not scared, are you?
    Lana: No.
    Malory: Then how would you like a job?
  • Dragons: The Nine Realms: When recurring antagonist Welma Sledkin meets with the Ax-Crazy Big Bad Buzzsaw, who has taken an issue with her mining for Dragoncite in what he considers to be his kingdom, Buzzsaw's dragon Jack stands up to its full height, wings spread and a threatening expression on his face as if he were ready to incinerate Sledkin at any moment. Sledkin doesn't even flinch at this and goes on to casually tell Buzzsaw that she doesn't need his permission to mine for Dragoncite.
  • Gravity Falls: When a gang of 15-year-olds is held captive by a duo of vengeful Reality Warper ghosts, Wendy is the only one to get scared but not panicked. Even Dipper, who ultimately saves the day, has at least one freak-out.
  • Invincible: Debbie Grayson. After sleuthing out that her husband Nolan/Omni-Man deliberately killed the story's equivalent of the Justice League, Debbie gets drunk and confronts her husband. Despite knowing full well what he can do, she never flinches as she drops a Precision F-Strike on him.
  • Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series: Wildwing, once he puts on the "Mask of Drake DuCaine".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Rarity the unicorn is a fun example. She's usually an overly-dramatic Drama Queen, but is also utterly unflappable in the face of actual danger. Her reaction to having her hair magically turned into a literal rats' nest is to panic and scream for a mirror, but being captured and enslaved by the diamond dogs results in... mild annoyance, with her eventually freeing herself. Incidents of physical danger are almost invariably treated with reason and calm, while annoyances are quick to be declared "THE! WORST! POSSIBLE! THING!".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Rocky, Patrick Star's snail that's actually a rock.
    SpongeBob: Patrick, your snail is a rock.
    Patrick: Yeah, thanks, I know. He's got nerves of steel!
  • Rick and Morty: : It's implied in episode "The Ricklantis Mix-up" that Evil Morty planned for Campaign Manager Morty to shoot him, to garner the support he needed to tip the election in his favour through sympathy. But, despite not taking any preemptive measures to ease the pain for himself, he approaches his former campaign manager in public without even a hint of apprehension or that anything is wrong. That takes serious courage, even if he knew the Citadel's medical technology would save him. His return is season 7 has him at his calmest even when he's facing death multiple times, having casual conversations with Rick on how to save themselves and maintaining his stoic expression in life-or-death fights.
  • Total Drama: Despite being locked in a Drowning Pit, Julia's surprisingly and "unnervingly calm" over her predicament as Emma puts it, contrasting Damien who is having a full-blown panic attack, and only starts to crack when the water rises past her mouth. She does admit to being terrified in the confessional but not wanting others to see it.
    Julia: It's okay to be scared, but never show it. Nothing's more important than what other people think of you.
  • Transformers: Prime: Soundwave. Nothing scares him. Whether it be an Autobot rampaging through the halls of the ship, one of the Wreckers charging him head on, or what was for all intents and purposes a Terrorcon apocalypse, he always handles the situation calmly and efficiently.
  • TRON: Uprising: Beck is usually pretty cool under fire.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • Brock Sampson is a terrifying Blood Knight, but his own reactions are mostly very low-key.
    • Dr. Venture, the man he's assigned to bodyguard, is also an example. A very, very weird subverted or zigzagged example where his lack of reaction comes not from bravery, but simply from being a Seen It All character in a Fantasy Kitchen Sink World Gone Mad. He's not fearless or anything, he's just been so desensitized to violence and bizarre things that he's stopped caring.
  • Young Justice: A villainous example is Lex Luthor. Lex never once loses his cool and always stays calm, even when he is targeted by the real Roy Harper, who is out to get revenge on him.

    Real Life 
  • Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. The former earned his nickname specifically from The First Battle of Bull Run (a.k.a. First Manassas) when his brigade was one of those that came up to hold the line after the initial attacks of the Union had driven other Confederate troops off in disorderly retreat. While the nickname was a compliment of his courage ("There is Jackson standing like a stone wall"), what makes particularly clear that the trope fits is the place where his brigade was standing like a stone wall: just over the crest of the hill, where the Union artillery fire could not ravage them. (What's more, his cannons were placed just on the crest, meaning the recoil sent them backward out of the line of fire for safer reloading.)
  • This is practically required of all medical professionals across the board. Surgeons work incredibly long hours under high levels of stress where the slightest shake of a finger or hand could cost a patient their life. Virologists and bacteriologists handle some of the deadliest biological agents in the world, the steadiness of their hands and laboratory regulations an absolute must in guaranteeing their own safety. Nurses and orderlies have to care first-hand for unruly, terrified, or dying patients, often seeing them through the most painful (or last) moments of their lives. There's a good reason why the burnout rate is so high in many medical fields, especially neurosurgeons. You have to have them to heal them because one little slip of your hand (which must be very steady) can cause a potentially fatal mistake.
  • Pilots. There's a reason they're known for their Danger Deadpan. When zooming across at nearly the speed of sound in a metal tube, no matter if it's just a pilot by himself in his jet fighter, a few passengers in a small plane, or hundreds of lives in his hands in a large passenger plane, pilots, on a rule, remain calm and composed even as they careen to certain doom. This is just as well considering that quick thinking, steady hands, and rapid problem-solving skills are the only things that can save a flight from crashing when things go wrong.
    • What pilots are to everyone else, Chuck Yeager is to pilots. Every pilot who has ever lived aspires to his calm, all-American radio drawl.
    • Goes double for astronauts in particular and members of space programs in general; they coined the term "steely-eyed missile man" for a reason.
      • "Houston, we've had a problem."
      • "Try SCE to AUX."
      • "Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot."
      • Neil Armstrong, legendary within NASA for his cool handling of the Gemini 8 close call and for going back to work in his office after he avoided death by seconds when ejecting from a lunar landing trainer crash, was the first man in history to do the coolest thing ever done by a human being, and took this trope one further by never once acting like he thought it made him a big deal. Disaster and Adulation were both met with the same cool head.
      • Of course, an entire culture of people with Nerves of Steel and Danger Deadpan will produce a lot of understated euphemisms over time. NASA popularized words like "anomaly" to describe a catastrophic failure, while Elon Musk of SpaceX describes them as RUDs — rapid, unscheduled disassemblies.
  • Rafael Nadal is an interesting example. On one hand, he's fiery and celebrates when a match is going his way and thus he is not stoic like many other examples, on the other hand, the man never seems to succumb to pressure, even if the match is not going in his favour. Indeed, in the world of tennis, he's often lauded for his mental strength and composure.
  • Any skydiver. Ever. These are people who throw themselves into free-fall tens of thousands of feet in the air, with the knowledge that any miscalculation or mechanical failure could result in a very sudden stop at the end — voluntarily, for fun.
  • Pretty much any sub captain who is reasonably good. Submarine actions are very slow and unlike some types of warfare, a sub captain cannot keep himself going by mere "Fight or Flight" instinct. In part, this is often due to their training with their submarine's nuclear power plant. Nuclear engineering is often described as "You will watch every dial, with absolute attention, all of the time." and must be ready at any moment to take the necessary steps to bring a problem under control.
  • In the 23-F coup attempt in Spain, in which troops stormed the Congress of Deputies and ordered all politicians to the ground — weapons pointed at them — three of them disobeyed: Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado, who stood up and ordered the leader to desist (to no avail, but took some balls), Adolfo Suárez, who remained sitting down (also took some balls), and Santiago Carrillo, who remained sitting and calmly lit up a cigarette showing Nerves of Steel and balls of the same material. Carrillo later explained his reasoning to the press: "Why didn't I obey? Well, simple. I was the leader of the PCE (the Spanish Communist Party) note . It didn't matter if I lied down or stood if they succeeded they would have killed me all the same". In other words, he was convinced he wouldn't leave Congress alive, so he decided to Face Death with Dignity.
  • During World War II the US Navy believed that the Nerves of Steel, basic literacy and numeracy, experience with rapid decision-making, and socioeconomic irrelevance of stockbrokers made them good (Aircraft Carrier) Fighter Direction Officer candidates.
  • Michael Jordan was magic in the clutch because of these. It's really this attribute, more than his other-worldly skills and athleticism, that set him apart from all his peers. Even if he came up short, it wouldn't faze him at all next time. One game illustrated this more than any other. He had one of the best games of his career while suffering from a stomach illness, personally scoring 45 points while throwing up on the sidelines between every play.
  • An unwritten item on the essential qualifications list for commercial and military aviators, emergency responders and pretty much every other profession you can name where the smallest panic-induced mistake can cost lives. This is why Danger Deadpan is a stock trope for both the Ace Pilot and Mission Control.
  • Truth in Television: Scientists have identified a gene named COMT which has two variants, often called the "warrior" and "worrier" variants. People who have two copies of the "warrior" variant tend to exhibit this trope; their ability to concentrate, reason, solve problems, etc. actually increases when they're under stress. On the other hand, people who have two of the "worrier" variant tend to perform better than most people under normal conditions, but fold like a cheap lawn chair under pressure.
  • The more horror movies you watch the more likely you are to become used to jump scares and the less likely they are to startle you.
  • George Washington was famous for this; he regularly rode to the front lines during battles, even commenting once that he rather liked the sound of bullets whizzing past his head.
  • Tom Dumoulin during the 2017 Giro d'Italia. While he had every reason to rely on his time trialing ability,note  getting through the last week wasn't easy with the large amount of mountain stages, especially with him coming down with stomach problems before the last climb of stage 16, taking a shit at the roadside. How did he manage the mountains? Keeping his own pace, limiting his losses on his rivals, and taking the time back on the time trial on the final day.
  • It's common for autistic people to work well under intense or even life-threatening conditions. This is not universally true, as autism manifests differently from person to person.
  • In Gayle King's infamous interview with R. Kelly, he stands up and starts ranting and raving, all the while she remains seated and never once loses her composure. She later confessed that the only thing she was scared of was that he would leave the interview.
  • In the Big Five Personality Traits, people who score low in neuroticism tend to be this, remaining calm in stressful situations.
  • 911 Dispatchers are frequently referred to as "The Calm in the Chaos."
  • Demolitions expert and steeplejack Fred Dibnah, who could present to camera while hanging on the side of a factory chimney two hundred feet up, with no safety harness.