Show, Don't Tell is a main rule of all fiction, visual or not, and applies even more so in emotionally-charged moments of triumph and heartwarming that are seen as having a duty to be as vivid and narratively satisfying as possible to make the audience cheer with glee. Since the Relationship Upgrade in successful romance almost always qualifies for this, there's a strong tendency for characters to act out the moment of upgrade with a big, uncomplicated smooch.
Often, especially in Unresolved Sexual Tension (and its cousins Belligerent Sexual Tension and Love Epiphany), this is a couple's very first time kissing each other, but this is not always the case. It is, however, often portrayed as the couple's first "real" kiss, meaning it can be the first romantic kiss between two characters that have previously kissed due to other motives, the kiss that marks the moment when two exes reconcile, when a casual dating situation turns into true love, or when a couple that has made some motions towards romance in the past finally become a real couple.
A major staple of TV shows.
Compare Relationship Upgrade, Love Epiphany, Love Confession. Almost always a Hollywood Kiss, and when it's not, it's usually a subversion. Frequently The Big Damn Kiss. A common feature of a Cliffhanger or Season Finale.
- On the very last page of Bakuman。, Mashiro and Azuki finally have their first kiss.
- Girl Friends (2006): Mari and Akko kiss a few times through the series, but only their third kiss is considered to be the official kiss, occurring after the two finally communicate exactly what their feelings are and get together for real.
- Kaguya and Shirogane's first kiss in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War initially appears to serve this role given the circumstances, but a lack of proper communication of Kaguya's part over the next couple of days leads to a misunderstanding. It's their second kiss on Christmas Eve (which is much more normal) that truly marks their Relationship Upgrade. The actual Love Confession that the whole series was building up to doesn't happen until two days after that during their first date, but by that point, it's merely become a formality.
- In phase 38 of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, after spending most of the series up to that point in various stages of Unresolved Sexual Tension, Murrue Ramius asks Mu La Flaga what prompted him to come back to the Archangel when he was supposed to be on his way to a new assignment. Mu seems momentarily perplexed by the question and answers it by kissing her, after which the two of them are officially a couple with not much more needing to be said on the subject.
- Naruto: After 15 years, fans got to see Naruto and Hinata share their Big Damn Kiss at the very end of The Last: Naruto the Movie, right before the credits start to roll. And then again even more officially at their wedding during the credits.
- This happens between Kamina and Yoko of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. On the dawn before a pivotal battle, Yoko surprises Kamina by kissing him out of nowhere. A few seconds later, he kisses her back to show his reciprocation. No confessions or words of love are spoken, but it's pretty clear that they consider themselves to be together, especially when Kamina strongly implies that after the battle is over, they'll make love. It also turned out to be a Last Kiss due to Kamina dying in the ensuing battle.
Kamina: When we return, I'll pay you back ten times over. Remember that.
Yoko: Couldn't you have put that a little more romantically?
- Papyrus: After 28 albums, Papyrus and Theti-Cheri finally kiss each other and become a couple in "Les enfants d'Isis".
- Superman's Return to Krypton: Kal-El, Lyla, Jor-El and Lara are visiting a Kryptonian zoo when a beast escapes and causes a riot. Lyla falls against a wall and knocks herself unconscious. Kal is leaning over her when she comes to, so Lyla takes the opportunity to kiss him. From that point on, they begin dating.
- Advice and Trust:
- In chapter 2 Shinji and Asuka kiss. After they have a long talk where they open up to each other and become a couple.
- And then in Chapter 8, Asuka decided it was time to stop hiding the fact they were a couple and staged one of these in front of most of the school.
- The Child of Love: In chapter 5, Shinji and Asuka kissed while they watched fireworks right before getting together.
- Child of the Storm: In chapter 46 of the sequel, Harry and Carol seal their Relationship Upgrade (after c. 100 chapters of UST across two books, and well over a million words) with a long, leisurely kiss.
- In chapter 16 of Children of an Elder God, Asuka kissed Shinji for the first time after their first date.
- A Crown of Stars: In chapter 24 Shinji wakes up, sees Asuka sleeping beside him, thinks he is still dreaming, and when she opens her eyes he kisses her. Shortly after he realized that was not a dream while Asuka was wondering what the hell had just happened. That kiss drove both to have a long, serious talk about their feelings for the first time in years after which they got together officially.
- Doing It Right This Time: After dropping several hints that Maya and Ritsuko have undergone a Relationship Upgrade off-screen, Chapter 3 opens with Misato arriving at work to find her friend looking really happy about something or other, probably related to the huge hickey she's sporting. Then Maya walks in and gives her a quick good-morning kiss, which answered the question Misato hadn't yet been brave enough to ask. Then she notices Maya is wearing a collar...
- Evangelion 303: In chapter 5, Shinji and Asuka completed their Relationship Upgrade with their first kiss: a sweet, short smooch.
- In The Flower Princess and the Alchemist: Edward and Orihime have theirs that, according to the author, marks their Relationship Upgrade.
- In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl and Dev-Em's first kiss happened when Dev was about to undergo a potentially suicidal mission, shortly after their getting together.
- Between Kara Zor-El and Van-Ol in Kara of Rokyn, after her love confession.
- Last Child of Krypton:
- In chapter 12 Asuka and Shinji kissed for the first time. Afterwards, Shinji revealed Asuka that he was Superman. She got angry with him for risking his life only to save hers, slapped him, tackled him, and kissed him again. They were together since that point onward.
- In the rewrite happened in chapter 9 when Asuka went to Shinji's cabin and kissed him.
- Memoirs: Akagane and Hisui get their first kiss as a couple in chapter 78.
- In chapter 10 of Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, after an argument where Asuka warns Shinji that he should leave her because hurting people is the only thing she knows, he replies that he wants to be with her forever, and they kiss.
Her rosy lips parted, and she closed her eyes as she descended on him.
- Naru-Hina Chronicles:
- Naruto and Hinata officially become a couple when they kiss at the end of their first date. He asks her if he can kiss her, but she interrupts him before he even finishes his question.
- When Kiba tries to help Mina back into her bed at the hospital, she instead falls off and drags him on the floor, resulting in their official kiss.
- After Neji defends Tenten from her abusive ex-boyfriend Yori, the Hyuga compliments her on her face while touching it with his hand, only to remove his hand when he feels he's being inappropriate with her. Blushing and smiling at Neji, Tenten tells him he can be as inappropriate with her as he wants and she kisses him to silence any protest from him. Subsequent chapters indicate that they've been dating since that kiss.
- Ichiro and Takara have one during the Chunin Exams. She goes on a rant about how stupid he was when dealing with some villain earlier on, resulting in Ichiro getting injured. However, he decides to pull Takara closer to him and to kiss her, making her more joyful than angry in the process.
- Naruto's friend Yoshiko had a crush on a guy named Takuma, who already had a girlfriend. Yoshiko confessed her feelings to Takuma, but he naturally rejected her given that he wasn't single. However, later on, he became single again and asked Yoshiko if she still had feelings for him. She hesitantly confirmed it, which was followed by him replying with "Good.", hugging her, and kissing her. They have remained together ever since.
- Naru-Hina Chronicles Mini-sodes: Naruko and Hinata from the Yuri-verse had their official kiss after they confessed their love to each other, which happened on the day Naruko left Konoha for her three years-long journey with Jiraiya.
- The One I Love Is...: In chapter 4, after an awkward Test Kiss, a fight, an argument, and a long talk, Asuka and Shinji kissed under the shade of a tree in the middle of a wood.
- In chapter 23 of A Prize for Three Empires, Warbird kisses Gladiator as she is teaching him about human courtship practices.
"No," she said. "And another sign of acknowledgment would be... this." She leaned over and kissed him on the forehead.
Gladiator said, "I will reciprocate," and, taking her head gingerly between his own hands, applied his lips to her forehead just above her mask. She giggled. "Is this a proper zone of intimacy among your people?"
"Not as good as this one," said Carol, and kissed him hard on the mouth.
When they broke, Gladiator regarded her quizzically. "You are right. That is a more proper zone of intimacy."
- In Role-Playing (Evangelion), Shinji and Asuka become a couple when she kisses him after their final play.
- The Second Try: In episode 4 "Love", after dancing around each other for a long time as they lived together in the post-Apocalypse world, Shinji and Asuka kissed in their house's kitchen.
- Shinji And Warhammer 40 K: In chapter 36 Shinji says Asuka he is not worried about her choosing Kaworu over him because she is hers. And then he kisses her roughly and passionately. She replies he is hers, too, and they make out.
- Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: In chapter 19 Asuka talks Shinji about her doubts and fears and how she needs a friend whom she can talk, be honest with and show her real self. Shinji replies he would like being more than a friend. Asuka answers she likes him back and then they kiss.
- Tales of the Otherverse: After surviving a close call in the fifth chapter, Rogue decides she is fed up with holding back her feelings and kisses Kara. They become an official couple from that point on.
She hesitated… and then. "Earlier, when you came in here to talk to me, I guess I was a bit of a bitch." She turned and looked up into Rogue's face. "If you want to talk now, I'm listening." Rogue was silent for a moment and then shook her head.
"No, I don't want to talk now." She whispered. Kara moaned softly as Rogue dipped her lips down to press them against her own. She felt Rogue's hands tugging at her and she stood unsteadily, never breaking the kiss as their tongues intertwined.
- Thousand Shinji: After a conversation where Shinji told her he wanted to help her because he realized she was just like him and she was more fragile than she looked, Asuka sat on his lap and kissed him. That was the moment where they got officially together.
- True Potential:
- Naruto and Hinata have their official kiss right after they have confessed their feelings to each other during the Kiri Civil War arc.
- After the Kiri Civil War is over, Misora hugs Dosu and kisses him on the cheek. He confessed his interest towards her two days prior, but she said back then she wanted to think about her feelings for him in more detail before coming to a conclusion. Thus, her kiss serves as a way to tell him she does reciprocate his feelings.
- Shikamaru and Kurotsuchi have theirs while having a private conversation with each other during Naruto's fourteenth birthday.
- Us and Them: Aeris and Seph kiss for the first time as the showdown with Jenova is coming to a head. After that, they all but admit they have fallen for each other.
- In Wake, after several months of unresolved sexual tension, Shinji openly admits he wants to kiss Asuka. In answer, Asuka kisses him. They become officially together from that point on.
"Ikari, you shouldn't be so timid, you can kiss me if you want to," She told him as she leaned in and taught by example.
Somewhere during the kiss they both lost any sense of time.
- In fanfic X-Men: The Early Years, Scott Summers and Jean Grey kiss in the last chapter after a very belated mutual confession. It wasn't their first kiss -they had kissed before when one of them was drunk or sick-, but it was their first couple kiss.
- Commonplace in the Disney Princess movies. They usually get one kiss right before the big wedding scene.
- In Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, Robin and Starfire finally share their first kiss as a couple. They only kissed once before in their first meeting because Starfire's alien race learns language through mouth-to-mouth contact.
- Reed and Sue get theirs at the end of the 2005 Fantastic Four movie.
- Ron and Hermione during the climax of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, after ten years (seven in-universe), eight movies, and nearly twenty hours of series runtime. This is such a monumental moment in the film's eyes that it even grants them a moment of privacy not given to them in the novel.
- Our Miss Brooks: Miss Brooks and Mr. Boynton finally get one in the cinematic Series Finale.
- Kaylee and Simon get theirs in the Serenity movie.
- The Sure Thing: In the penultimate scene, Gib finds out that Alison broke up with her fiance and she finds out he hasn't slept with the titular "Sure Thing". Cut to the roof where Gib had taken Alison earlier in the movie. Gib and Alison are kissing. The movie ends here and it is obvious that the two are now together.
- Animorphs: Jake and Cassie finally kiss in #26 after Jake returns from what everyone thought was a deadly fall (he managed to morph a bird midair). This has consequences both short-term (Rachel muttering "Finally", Marco asking Rachel if he gets a kiss too) and long term (Jake corrupts the Howlers' racial memory by putting in the memory of the kiss, meaning their next battle will feature an... extremely unusual tactic, costing Crayak his shock troops.
- Form the Deryni works by Katherine Kurtz:
- In High Deryni at one point during the long night before the confrontation with Wencit at Llyndruth Meadows (and in a now-or-never frame of mind), Morgan and Richenda share one of these.
- In King Kelson's Bride, Araxie arranges to secretly meet Kelson (they haven't announced their betrothal to avoid offending the Mearan Ramsays) to make a suggestion to solve his thorny problems with his prospective relatives; he's so overjoyed with her brilliant idea he takes her face in his hands and kisses her. They're both a trifle astonished at how much they enjoy it, particularly so early in their arranged relationship.
- Harry and Ginny, late in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ron and Hermione have theirs during the final battle in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. ("Oy, there's a war on!")
- The Hunger Games : If there's any doubt as to how the Love Triangle in Catching Fire will turn out that ends when Katniss shares one of these with Peeta. On the beach, no less. It turns into a full-blown make-out session that only ends when they're interrupted by a bolt of lightning. Make of that what you will...
- Wolves of Mercy Falls Series: In the third book, Cole and Isobel kiss. It's not their first time, but the reader is alerted to the fact that this kiss meant something more. Compounded by the fact that Cole has just told Isobel that he loves her.
- Babylon 5: John Sheridan and Delenn, for the first time in proper time, anyway in "And The Rock Cried Out 'No Hiding Place.'" Keep in mind that he had first confessed his love for her nine episodes earlier, but they got interrupted by first Ivanova, and then that pesky war they were both in charge of.
- The Big Bang Theory: Penny and Leonard had kissed a few times but she was either depressed/drunk or it was a goodnight kiss for a solitary date they had. In the second season finale, it was clear she was starting to have romantic feelings for him but didn't want to interfere with a summer-long expedition the group was going on. When Leonard returned in the third season premiere he could barely get out a "Hi, we're back!" before she jumped into his arms and kissed him.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Buffy and Spike in the sixth-season episode "Once More With Feeling."
- Buffy and Riley also have one in "Hush," because they've been literally struck mute and can't express themselves any other way.
- Cordelia and Xander, while they're stuck hiding from a monster made out of maggots, suddenly start making out. After that, they're a couple for a while.
- Sam and Diane on Cheers have theirs in the first season finale.
- Chuck Bartowski and Sarah Walker. Depending on your interpretation, there are two specific points where it happened: either "Chuck Versus the Colonel," when they mark their first Relationship Upgrade, or "Chuck Versus the Other Guy," where they reconcile for good after the Reset Button was hit.
- CSI had Grissom and Sara have one right before Sara was Put on a Bus. Like, a few seconds before.
- CSI: NY: Mac and Christine, mid season 9, when he finally admits he loves her.
- Dollhouse: subverted. When Topher and Bennett kiss, all the signs are there for their Relationship Upgrade. The relationship had been toyed with up to that point and this moment clearly shows that they are an item. And then Bennett drops dead.
- Niles and Daphne on Frasier, in the seventh-season finale. ("Oh, for heaven's sake, Doctor Crane...")
- Ross and Rachel on Friends, in the second-season episode "The One Where Ross Finds Out".
- The Glades: Jim and Callie have theirs at the end of "Honey," about halfway through the first season.
- Will and Emma during season 1.
- Kurt and Blaine in season 2.
- In season 2 of Good Omens (2019) demon Crowley confesses his love for angel Aziraphale and desperately kisses him.
- Heroes: Peter and Simone under Simone's red Umbrella of Togetherness in "One Giant Leap."
- Barney and Robin on How I Met Your Mother in the season four finale, in contrast to their earlier comfort-sex making out in season three.
- The Imperfects: Subverted. Midway through Episode 10, it seems like Juan and Tilda are going to have one, but instead they hold hands and she rests her head on his shoulder, signaling that their romantic feelings are very much real but that they're not entering a relationship just yet.
- Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "In Throes of Increasing Wonder...", it's the second kiss between Louis de Pointe du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt which marks their Relationship Upgrade, and it's depicted as being more romantic than their First Kiss because the latter was partly fueled by repressed lust, whereas the former was done purely from their hearts. After Lestat declares his love, he proposes that Louis become his eternal companion and lover. Louis nods his head in assent, reaches out to cup Lestat's face, and then moves forward to kiss him.
- Will and Aruna, in the last minute and a half or so of the finale of The Legend of William Tell. Vara has to trick them into it, though.
- Dave and Maddie of Moonlighting, in "I Am Curious...Maddie."
- Odo and Kira of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in the sixth-season episode "His Way". Doubles as The Big Damn Kiss.
- The Vampire Diaries: Depending on how you count it Elena and Damon get one in " The New Deal" where Damon initiates and Elena doesn't push him away but the definite and unquestionable first kiss between the two with no restraint of any kind is initiated by Elena in "Heart of Darkness."
- Josh and Donna on The West Wing, in the teaser of season seven's "The Cold."
- The X-Files: Mulder and Scully at the end of season 7 episode "Millennium," after being horribly teased for at least two seasons. However, it's the midnight of New Year's Eve...might have been considered a kiss of two friends.
- Subverted in Psychonauts. Following the Big Damn Kiss at the end of the first game, Raz opens the next game cheerfully referring to Lili as his girlfriend... and then immediately backtracks because he's not actually sure Relationship Upgrades actually work that way or if they have to have The Talk first.
- Amnesia: Memories has Spade World ending with its final CG and event being Ikki kissing the heroine in public. They previously kissed in a more private setting, so this kiss symbolizes Ikki's determination to be open about his feelings and relationship with the heroine in public.
- Yarudora series vol.2: Kisetsu o Dakishimete has straight, subverted, and averted examples:
- Played straight with Mayu: the kiss she and the protagonist share at the climax of the game, after the Race for Your Love sequence, is a True Love's Kiss that not only cement their love but also revives Mayu's memories.
- Subverted with Tomoko: she and the protagonist share their first and crucial kiss mid-way in the game, and the kiss sequence's symbolic animation is similar to Mayu's; but the storyline after this sequence will pit you with several bad choices that can break the Relationship Upgrade and provoke Bad Endings. If you pick the good choices, there will be a second kiss between Tomoko and the protagonist during the climax of the game: that kiss will definitely solidify their relationship, as Tomoko will finally have overcome her Clingy Jealous Girl tendencies.
- Averted with the Sexy Lady: if you try to kiss her, a Yakuza who considers her as his woman will come for a "nice talk", leading you to a Bad Ending; and there will be no other opportunity for a kiss with her in the remainder of the game.
- Adventure Time: Princess Bubblegum and Marceline get their first kiss in the series finale.
- Gumball and Penny at the end of The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Shell" where Penny's unshelled appearance becomes permanent for the rest of the series and Gumball loves her the way it is.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Sokka and Suki's kiss in "The Serpent's Pass" (Sokka's previous kiss with Yue was a Last Kiss).
- Aang and Katara's kiss in the finale (their previous kisses were either imaginary or instigated solely by Aang.) Zuko and Mai don't have one as they were established as a couple before the Maikouts happened.
- Kevin and Gwen in the finale of Ben 10: Alien Force, which also served to celebrate that he'd been cured of his patchwork monstrosity condition.
- Fry and Leela confess their love for each other and kiss at the end of Into The Wild Green Yonder in Futurama.
- Kim and Ron kiss when they have their Relationship Upgrade in the Kim Possible movie So The Drama.
- Candace and Jeremy get theirs in Phineas and Ferb: Summer Belongs To You, and Phineas and Isabella get theirs ten years into the future in the Flash Forward episode "Act Your Age".
- Star and Marco in the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Here to Help". It's not the first time they've kissed, but it is the first time they've done so without any extenuating circumstances and it comes in the middle of mutual Love Confessions.
- M'gann and Superboy in the Young Justice episode "Terrors." Previously, the Everyone Can See It quotient had been so high that people who only knew their civilian identities assumed they were dating, yet they were not together. After the kiss, the next we see of the two, they are a couple. No conversation necessary.
- Ceremonial kisses at weddings.