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Rescue Romance

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"Oh, and stay away from your friend, the Captain. You save his life, he saves yours, this leads to that..."

One of the methods writers use to jumpstart relationships. A variety of Samaritan Relationship Starter.

Alice is in a fix. She has tried everything. She doesn't know what to do. When all hope seems lost, Bob comes in at the last minute and rescues Alice, causing Alice to fall in love with him.

If done humorously, this is done at the beginning of a series, adding to the Harem. A staged rescue is a common simple plan to get a couple together.

Done seriously, this is one of the ways writers get a relationship hampered by Cannot Spit It Out started, as opposed to communication, or heck; they might not have even met or talked to each other previously.

A typical setup goes something like this (adjust the details to fit your setting): An agile male character, often the Hero, meeting a female character (Love Interests, etc) by saving them from being hit on by thugs, or older (college) men who seem lecherous. The thugs grab the female by the hand and pull her away to have a "cup of tea" with them, or become violent as she stubbornly rejects their advances (may involve knives). Enter the hero, either hitting the offenders in the arm, or entering the scene by kicking the guy (head, solar plexus, etc), and saving her from forceful romantic advances. (And possibly incurring some injuries, enabling the After Action Patch Up.)


Oddly enough some medieval romancers, despite being the reason Damsel in Distress is called that ("damsel" being the diminutive of medieval French for "lady"), actually sometimes didn't like this trope. Basically some of them thought that, since the girl now owed the guy, the resulting romance wasn't pure enough, aesthetically speaking. The various aristocrats who paid their bills mostly told 'em to shut up; part of the ideal of knighthood was being a protector, and who doesn't want to hear about a good deed they could actually do being rewarded with some sweet lovin'?

Expect a negative response from some if this chickifies an Action Girl (though this can be almost completely negated by having the couple take turns with the Distress Ball). Nevertheless, the Knight in Shining Armor saving the Damsel in Distress who he then weds and the two living Happily Ever After is at least Older Than Feudalism, going back at least as far as the myth of Perseus and Andromeda.


It is a subset of Meet Cute and thus a common subject of fanfic in regards to Shipping. If Rescue Romance is a manly man's reward for being a valiant protector, the Florence Nightingale Effect is a womanly woman's reward for being a caring nurturer.

Compare Smooch of Victory, Rescue Sex, Standard Hero Reward, Relationship-Salvaging Disaster, Bodyguard Crush. Contrast A Match Made in Stockholm. See also The Dulcinea Effect.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Studio Ghibli:
    • Howl's Moving Castle: Howl and Sophie meet when two soldiers hit on Sophie. Howl uses his magic to send them away. It gets better when Howl takes to the air in order to save both of them from the blob-men of the Witch of the Waste.
    • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: Nausicaä saves Asbel, causing him to fall in love with her.
  • One of the extras for The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You shows that this is how Yuu met his girlfriend. She saved him from being hit by a truck (and by 'saved', we mean 'stopped the truck from moving by punching the front'), then they both felt the soulmate shock.
    • Rentarou meets Kishika, his seventeenth girlfriend, when she fights off some boys who were harassing him.
  • Used slightly in Ai Yori Aoshi, when Kaoru kicks Aoi out of his apartment, then goes to rescue her. No fight occurs though... Basically sums up as: "Come on, that innocent girl is part of some big conspiracy? What am I, a freakin' moron? Uh oh, creeps 3 o'clock..." In their defense, the creeps were remarkably good-natured about the whole thing: at no point did they offer to rearrange Kaoru's features over the incident, and even reprimanded him for his poor treatment of the girl.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Mikasa's undying devotion and implied romantic feelings for Eren seem to stem from how he saved her life when they met. Mikasa's parents had just been murdered and she was at the mercy of the killers, then Eren showed up and killed them, and as a corollary, Eren's mother took Mikasa into the Yeager family.
    • Discussed by Shipper on Deck Reiner, when he teases(?) Bertolt by suggesting that rescuing his crush could result in her falling for him.
  • Senjogahara and Koyomi in Bakemonogatari plays this in a few odd ways.
    • First, Senjogahara obviously does like Koyomi after he helped her, but she's especially attracted to him because she meant nothing to him when he volunteered to help. He wanted nothing from her but the chance to help someone. She believes that if she'd seen him do the same for someone else that she'd have fallen for him just as easily.
    • At another point she notes with some frustration that she probably would have fallen for anyone who helped her in that situation. She's glad that it was Koyomi since she'd like him anyway, but her complicated relationship with Kaiki shows that she's probably right. It's strongly implied that she fell in love with him briefly because he at least understood her. In the present, it makes their relationship quite complex because she can't bring herself to hate him, no matter what she says to the contrary.
  • In Black Cat, Train happened to be visiting the same part of town as Kyoko. She gets attacked by thugs, and he decides to intervene, easily disarming all of them. Although she actually didn't need saving, this caused her to fall in love at first sight. She proceeds to become another Stalker with a Crush of his, though all of it is rather hopeless for her, considering his personality.
  • Black Summoner: After Kelvin cures Efil of her curse, she devotes herself to him.
  • Bleach:
    • Played for Laughs in the anime. Yoruichi rescues Soifon causing her to completely melt and turn all googly-eyed and gushy.
    • This is how Isshin and Masaki met and got together. When Isshin interferes with Aizen's latest hollowfication experiment, Aizen sabotages Isshin's chances of killing the hollow, and as a result, Isshin is severely wounded. Masaki jumps in and kills the hollow, saving Isshin's life but inadvertently suffering a fatal hollow infection in the process. Isshin's decision to save her right back meant he had to sacrifice his shinigami power to do so.
    • One of Ichigo's strongest motivations is to protect his loved ones, and two of these persons are girls not related to him: Rukia, the Action Girl who gave him his powers at first, and Orihime, his Barrier Warrior friend. Each girl gets abducted for different reasons, and each time Ichigo pulls a Roaring Rampage of Rescue for her. The one he marries is Orihime.
  • Somewhat inverted in the anime Blood+. Though Haji does end up saving Saya during their "first" meeting (at least long enough to get her to save herself), she initially mistakes him for a serial killer and runs scared.
  • Done in B.O.D.Y, when Ryoko is saved from creepy guys on the street by Jin.
  • Invoked twice in Canaan. Maria Oosawa wants to replay her first meeting with the titular Action Girl, so she intentionally gets in trouble. Also, Liang Qi had set up a trap for Alphard to get captured in the beginning so that Liang Qi would get to rescue her. Alphard was very aware of this and went along merely because she was curious where Liang Qi was going with it.
  • Case Closed:
    • Specifically invoked and then harshly deconstructed. A guy who hopelessly crushes on Ran, Sonoko, and Shinichi's sempai Asami drugs her when they go karaoke singing and then secretly sets her place on fire, hoping she'd finally fall for him when he rescued her. In the end, not only Ran was the one who really rescued Asami, but Conan (through Kogoro) revealed his gambit to everyone, harshly calling him out on his selfishness.
    • Played straighter with the Official Couple of Ran and Shinichi, since they've mutually helped and rescued each other (even if Shinichi is in his Conan form almost all the time) several times - often a great risk to themselves. Lampshaded once when Ran's drugged and almost forcibly drowned at some point, then Conan rushes in to help her; thanks to the drug and lack of oxygen she sees Conan as Shinichi, and before passing out she smiles and says "Don't worry, I'm okay... Shinichi came to save me..."
    • It's played straight as well with another Official Couple: Kobayashi and Shiratori. As children, he supported her when she stood up to shoplifters. As adults, he is one of the persons who protects her when she's targeted by a murderer because she knows too much (complete with a Declaration of Protection), and him giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the culprit that sounded almost exactly like the one he gave to the shoplifters is what makes her remember that he was the boy from their past.
    • Played straight with Miwako and Takagi more than once. She's his Action Girlfriend and did lose her First Love to a Mad Bomber, so any time the guy's at risk she's gone Violently Protective Girlfriend on the culprits.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Subverted at the beginning. Touma tries to get a delinquent hitting on Mikoto in a diner to leave her alone—saying that he's troubling her—and winds up getting chased off when the delinquent's friends return from the bathroom. When he finally seems to lose them and stops to rest, Mikoto walks up and admits to frying them to save trouble. Turns out Touma had known she was a powerful lightning esper the entire time and had been trying to protect the delinquents. She then tries to blast him, and her determination as the Unknown Rival is increased.
    • Played with in their first chronological meeting depicted in Railgun. Touma saves her from a group of delinquents and chastises them for hitting on a little girl. Predictably, Misaka doesn't take it well and fries the lot of them. However, due to Touma's right hand he is completely unharmed. It was only because of this immunity that she became interested in him, declaring him her rival.
    • And played straight in the Sister arc. When Misaka is at the edge of despair and literally willing to die in the pathetic hope that it will save her clones...Touma shows up and saves all 9939 of her clones. That's where he went from (in Misaka's eyes) The Rival to an actual love interest. And at least one (likely far more) of those clones is also attracted to him, for similar reasons.
    • Several other girls in Touma's Unwanted Harem fell for him or solidified their love for him after he rescued them from various dangers, such as Index, Orsola, Agnese (she was the danger he rescued Orsola from before this point, ironically), and Lessar.
    • For an example not related to Touma, Third Princess Vivian fell in love with the mercenary William Orville, also known as Acqua of the Back after he saved her life during an attempted kidnapping/execution ten years before the start of the series. He gets to pull a repeat of the experience to save her from being executed during the British Halloween.
    • Kakeru Kamisato causes several girls to fall in love with him by saving them. However, he really hates this because he believes the girls wouldn't care about him if it wasn't for the power he suddenly gained.
  • During an attack by the Graviton Bomber in A Certain Scientific Railgun, a random cop saves a girl from an explosion. Later, the gang runs into the two, and they are now dating.
  • Ciel ~The Last Autumn Story~:
    • Yvienne and Lariatte become each other's familiars through a textually platonic version of this.
    • Later on, the Earth Dragon tries to set this up between Yvienne and Krohiten. It ends up both blowing up in his face and redundant.
  • City Hunter, combined with Girl of the Week, Ryo usually gets someone he's hired to protect to like him.
  • Code Geass: Euphemia ends up on both sides of this trope.
    • She fakes being in danger after Suzaku catches her falling, to get him to spend the day with her.
    • Later, Nina falls for Euphie after Euphie rescues her from a hostage situation.
  • Played with in the BL manga Cool/Uncool by Kai Asou. The story is about how main characters Yukihisa (uke) and Takashi (seme), now best friends, get together, but Yukihisa gives backstory to their relationship by remembering their first meeting in elementary school, where Yukihisa is a bullied transfer student whose tormentors are Takashi's group of friends. When Yukihisa is eventually called out in a schoolyard fight, the manga seems to set up this trope when Yukihisa is put in a two-on-situation. When the reader turns the page, it ends up with Yukihisa kicking the asses of his bullies, and when Takashi arrives, supposedly to rescue him and thereby invoke this trope, Yukihisa ends up tacking him to the ground as if he were another bully.
  • Parodied in one episode of Daily Lives of High School Boys: the student council of the boys' school is talking with the girls' school's student council president, trying to get her to do them a favor. A man comes by and mistakes their conversation for thugs trying to hit on an unwilling girl, and tries to pull a classic Rescue Romance. Noticing this and deciding to "help", the guys immediately start pretending to be thugs and then deliberately fall easily. Sadly, the girl president is a moron and thinks that they want her to punch the guy out afterward.
  • Episode 13 of DARLING in the FRANXX reveals that Hiro and Zero Two formed a Puppy Love version of this during their childhood when the former tried to help the latter escape to the outside world. This later becomes the basis of their actual romance when they recover their memories and apologize for their mistakes in Episode 15.
  • DearS: Takeya gains the romance of his Unwanted Harem by coming to their rescue, starting with saving Ren from being run over on a highway, and rescuing Miu from having fallen down a well.
  • Debusen:
    • Played with. Koyama doesn't outright rescue Akira, but he does throw her her knife so that she can defend herself from the giant animals that have cornered her. It's this incident that causes her to develop feelings for him.
    • Played straight when Akira saves Koyama from Ryuuchi's gang, who had kidnapped him and tied him naked to a bed in an attempt to frame Mitsuru (It Makes Sense in Context), which causes a Relationship Upgrade between the two of them.
  • Later chapters of D.N.Angel have hinted at a romance between Satoshi and Risa after he saves her from a deadly fall.
  • Earthchild: Reisuke meets, and falls in love with, Kareri after she saves him from being hit by a truck.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World:
    • Parodied when Fujisawa "saves" Miz from her monstrous-looking manservant (she was screaming because the servant poured cold water on her instead of hot). Miz falls in love with him anyway and doesn't bother correcting him.
    • This is later played straight when Shayla Shayla falls for Makoto after he takes a shot from a power staff for her. And again, in the Sequel Series when Makoto saves Kauru from drowning.
  • In Flame of Recca, Recca and Yanagi meet in a 'saved from forceful advances' scenario. Played slightly more straight in the anime when Recca pushes her out of the way of a bunch of falling girders.
  • This is what kicks off the plot of Fly Me to the Moon - Tsukasa saves Nasa from being hit by a truck, and he falls head over heels in love with her.
  • Gloriously subverted in Fujimura-kun Mates. The titular character, Fujimura, once saved a girl from a group of delinquents. Then a very cute and grateful imouto character shows up at his school, initially assumed to be the girl he saved. Turns out, she's the leader of the delinquents!
  • Essentially the whole plot of Full Metal Panic!:
    • Also played with in an episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu: the karate club's strategy for a "flirting contest" involves dressing up three of its members as thugs and having them accost young women so that Tsubaki can come to their rescue. It backfires spectacularly when the crowd of girls he's "rescued" in this fashion find out it was for a contest.
    • Dancing Very Merry Christmas also subverts it when Tessa gets captured and Sousuke goes to retrieve her. The ensuing rescue fits all the associated action movie romance tropes so well that Tessa almost believes for a second that she might have won the Love Triangle as Sousuke jumps out of an exploding airplane to perform a Diving Save and (inadvertantly) kisses her ear as he catches her. Then she realizes that Sousuke decided to Shoot the Hostage Taker, a risk he's perfectly comfortable taking on anyone but Kaname. So to get over it as quickly as possible, Tessa asks Sousuke if he's in love with Kaname rather than her. He tersely answers yes.
    Tessa: You just had to put that so bluntly, didn't you?
    Sousuke: ... Sorry.
  • Tamahome rescues Miaka from some pervy thugs at the beginning of Fushigi Yuugi. Nakago, bastard that he is, does the same with Yui after the fact, and only encourages the resulting emotional vulnerability.
  • This is sincerely attempted by the antagonist of the manga Ginen Shounen. Hero Matataki is fighting tennis star Koda for the love of Matataki's childhood friend Mirai, armed with photos that show the future. After failing to win Mirai's heart through the benefits of fame and wealth, and only partly succeeding by threatening her with the possibility that refusing him would lead to Matataki's predicted death, his final step is to use a pair of photos to save Mirai from certain death and have her wake up in his arms, at which point he's certain she'll fall in love with him. Subverted here though, as this has no effect on Mirai's feelings: she's still willing to marry Koda without hesitation, but only because she thinks it's necessary to protect Matataki, and realizing this fact is what finally wakes Koda up.
  • This is what kicks off the plot of Gonin Hitoyaku demo Kimi ga Suki. Taiga falls in love with Chika after she saves him from the manure pit he fell into, then discovers that she's actually a fake identity assumed by five quintuplet sisters and decides to make them all his girlfriends due to being unable to tell just which girl he fell in love with.
  • In Gosick, Avril falls in love with Kazuya because he's the one who finds her after she's been kidnapped and replaced by a Phantom Thief.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, Salome tries to invoke this in one episode in the hopes of getting some treasure.
  • Both played straight and played with in GUN×SWORD. Van and Wendy meet when he rescues her, but he wasn't trying to rescue her; apparently, he thought she was already dead. Later in the same episode, he deliberately chooses to rescue her, despite having turned down her offer of marriage.
  • Subverted in Gundam Wing's Episode Zero manga, where Middie Une falls in love with No-name aka the future Trowa Barton after he rescues and recruits her into their mercenary group, but she still betrays the band to protect and feed her family.
  • Gunslinger Girl: Cyborg girl Triela has her Love Epiphany when she discovers that not only did her handler Victor Hilshire save her from a Snuff Film, but he became her handler solely to continue protecting her. Then it's subverted because she doesn't pursue him. Triela is Genre Savvy enough to realize that a good part of her feelings may come from her conditioning and that a man like Hilshire is not interested in romance with his 14-year-old Protectorate.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • Hayate and Nagi meet in a similar 'saved from thugs' fashion; unknown to Nagi, Hayate's original intention was to kidnap her - he was protecting his prey...Hayate is almost instantly regretful of his intentions, though.
    • Hayate ends up saving a lot of the series' girls this way, and even a guy at one point—though that one didn't create any romantic undertones.
  • Highschool of the Dead: Asami fell hard for Hirano after he stood up to Shimada for her, to keep him from raping Shizuka. Shortly after the incident, she followed him up to the rooftop to thank him, while dropping not-so-subtle hints that she was available and interested.
  • Satoshi Hojou saves Shion Sonozaki from a group of thugs in a flashback in Higurashi: When They Cry (the same thugs who have also tried to attack Keiichi Maehara, Rika Furude, and Satoshi's sister Satoko in different timelines). This leads to Shion immediately falling in love with Satoshi. However, as this is Higurashi, her love is a bit different. (Only in two worlds, to be fair.)
  • Ikki Tousen:
  • Inuyasha:
    • This is how Jinenji's parents met decades ago. Jinenji's mother was a villager girl who once hurt her leg when collecting herbs, and was rescued by a kind youkai.
    • There are all the instances in which Inuyasha and Kagome rescue each other throughout the whole story, starting with Kagome unsealing Inuyasha from the tree that Kikyou pinned him against so he can fight off the Centipede Woman about to kill her. It even got lampshaded at the start, when Kagome talked her way out of the Thunder Brothers killing her via making them believe that Inuyasha was her boyfriend and would come for her later so it was not in their best interests to murder her.
    • Occasionally happens between Miroku and Sango as well.
  • INVADERS of the ROKUJYOUMA!?: Harumi falls in love with Koutarou after he saves her from a student who was trying to force her to date him, then joins the knitting club to save it from being disbanded.
    • Maki falls in love with Koutarou after he saves her from a demon.
    • Alaia fell in love with the Blue Knight when he saved her from ten soldiers of the Coup Faction.
  • In K, Shiro is running away from HOMRA in the first episode when Kuroh saves him. Kuroh picks Shiro up in his arms, and Shiro blushes as he sees Kuroh's face for the first time. Then Kuroh carries him up to a rooftop... and proceeds to try to "slay" Shiro himself. They do end up being teammates, though, with a lot more romantic moments later on - and Kuroh does stop trying to slay him.
  • Kids on the Slope: Sentaro first meets Yurika in the Beach Episode while saving her from a group of guys harassing her.
  • Lovely Complex: Seiko falls for Otani after Otani saves her from a dog.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • The first meeting of Subaru and Ixpellia in StrikerS Sound Stage X began with Subaru shielding Ix from falling debris, followed by Subaru fighting off the Mariages that came for Ix (with an accompanying image of a very battered Subaru cradling Ix as they gaze into each other's eyes), and ended with Subaru symbolically and literally bringing Ix out of the darkness and into the light of the current era. When all of that was done, Ix saw Subaru as one of the only people she felt calm with because she rescued her. Unsurprisingly, there's a small but noticeable amount of supporters for this ship which would have been bigger, had Ix not entered her 1000 years of sleep.
    • And for a straighter example in both senses of the phrase, we have Tohma and Lily, the main pairing for Force who first meet when Tohma finds Lily bound in an abandoned lab, releases her, and takes her with him.
    • And, of course, more or less the basis for Fate/Nanoha. Nanoha is the one who helps her through her ordeals, after all.
    • The Nanoha and Fate Rescue Romance gets reversed in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT, with Nanoha meeting Fate for the first time when the latter saves the former from getting hammered by Vita. This was given a Lampshade Hanging by Arisa as she teased Nanoha about her obvious developing crush on Fate.
      Arisa: And you were like a Prince Charming to Nanoha!
      Nanoha: Nya?!
      Arisa: She's been worrying about you aaaaaaaaall day, Fate. And she just couldn't take her eyes off you when she first saw you.
      Nanoha: NO- I, uh- I was just thinking about how cool you looked... and how pretty you are...
  • Discussed and deconstructed in an episode of Magical Pokaan, where the girls are discussing how they would like to meet their future boyfriends. Liru suggests this as her preferred scenario, but Aiko criticizes her, saying that such relationships tend to be based on heat-of-the-moment attraction and don't tend to last.
  • Luna in the Mega Man Star Force anime - Megaman saves her from falling to her death, and overnight she becomes a (non-evil) Stalker with a Crush. Happens to a lesser degree in the game.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, based on the original "The Little Mermaid" story, has two Rescue Romances, both involving the same person and causing a rivalry that lasts the second season. Interestingly, Lucia saved Kaito from drowning when they were six, and Kaito does the "chase away perverts" variant multiple times in the story, but the former is more important to their relationship than the latter.
  • Seiji Sawamura saves Takako Ayase in Midori Days from a band of delinquents that were dragging her away. She falls in love shortly afterward when she sees him letting himself get beaten up without resorting to violence (fighting back) in order to save a friend and defuse the gang's grudge.
  • Mission: Yozakura Family: Ayaka falls in love with Mutsumi after the latter saves her from an assassin.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid:
    • Tohru has been in love with Kobayashi ever since she pulled a holy sword out of her back. Although her feelings are unrequited due to Incompatible Orientation.
    • It happens again with Ilulu when Kobayashi stands up to a Knights Templar Order dragon to protect her. Her feelings are also unrequited, resulting in her redirecting her feelings to Taketo instead.
  • Mobile Suit Victory Gundam has a very twisted example on the antagonists side when Katejina Loos falls for Chronocle Asher when he saves her from getting raped. By the end of the series, she's gone from a Jerk with a Heart of Gold to a murderous lunatic, and it's unclear how much of it is his fault.
  • Monster:
    • Played with repeatedly. Tenma's first meeting with adult Nina when she's waiting by Heidelberg castle seems like it's going this way, except for the aversion they never unambiguously get beyond Will They or Won't They?, the inversion she ends up rescuing him that time, and by being there, they both fail to save her foster parents, and the disturbing subversion that her Meet Cute-ish Lampshade Hanging response to Tenma's appearance ("Are you my prince?") is primed by a series of anonymous romantic emails which are actually from her twin brother..
    • In a more straightforward(!) subversion, both the Big Bad and The Dragon frequently pose as rescuers and unexpected friends and allies, romantically or otherwise, in order to further their plans. Karl's quasi-idolatrous friendship with Johan also just keeps on giving on the Dramatic Irony and Fridge Horror fronts, the more you find out about Karl's family and Johan's connections with them.
    • Johan's own Mind Game Ship fixation on Tenma could also be seen as a very warped one-sided version of this, for all Johan's questionable reassurance that he sees Tenma as a father figure since Tenma saved his life when he was a very young boy.
    • Also by way of subversion, Tenma's repeated rescues of his Stalker with a Crush ex Eva who eventually gets the nearest to straight version of this trope with her bodyguard Martin, and Nina's response to Tenma saving her brother.
    • Averted when Nina is rescued and nursed back to health by Lipsky. He develops feelings for her, but she doesn't seem to view him as anything more than a close friend.
  • Played with in My Bride is a Mermaid. Nagasumi and Sun first met when she saved him from drowning, but they don't fall in love until later in the story.
    • Satori plays this straight when she falls in love with Nagasumi after he saves her from a collapsing theatre.
    • Maruko also falls for Nagasumi after he saves her life.
  • My Hero Academia plays it both ways with Izuku Midoriya and Ochaco Uraraka. During the entry exam for the UA High, Ochaco ends up with her leg pinned by some debris as a giant robot approaches. Disregarding his own safety and the fact that he needs to score points, Izuku rushes to jump in and smashes the robot with a single punch to save her. Unfortunately, the strain of using his powers ends up leaving his limbs crippled and he plummets to the ground, but then Ochaco uses her zero-gravity powers to stop him before he hits the ground, saving him as well. As the story advances, it becomes evident that the two have developed feelings for each other, but they both are too shy to express them.
  • My Love Story!! starts when Takeo saves Yamato from a man on the train. It's Love at First Sight and they start dating soon afterwards, though Takeo at first thinks that Yamato would fall for his best friend. Later it turns out he had met Yamato years before.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!:
    • In the Fortune Lover timeline, Maria falls in love with Keith after he saves her from Catarina and her clique.
    • In the main canon, Maria starts to fall in love with Catarina after she rescues her twice from bullies at the Magic Academy and helps her reconcile with her mother.
  • Naruto:
    • Rock Lee believes in this with Sakura. Despite her unwavering love for Sasuke, Sakura appreciates and respects Lee's efforts in protecting her.
    • Double Subverted in Chapter 437, when Hinata jumps in to try to save Naruto from Pain. She tells Naruto that she can't stay back while he's in danger because she loves him, then attacks Pain — who, after a brief fight, smacks her down, stabs her, and insinuates to Naruto that she's dead. Naruto promptly loses it worse than he ever has before. The anime not only extends the fight but also turns it into a Meaningful Echo with both characters in the opposite positions when they were younger, against a trio of bullies; this was later canonized in The Last: Naruto the Movie. They play this straight in The Last. Now adults, Naruto again saves Hinata, this time from Toneri, and after the Final Battle, they finally begin their romantic relationship—it serves as a Call-Back and Meaningful Echo to the story of how Naruto's parents fell in love.
    • As revealed in Chapter 498, Naruto's mother, Kushina, fell in love with Naruto's father, Minato, when he saved her from the Kumo ninja that kidnapped her when she was a kid, and then boldly complimented her red hair, which other children used as a reason to bully her.
    • As revealed in Chapter 482, Karin fell in love with Sasuke after he saved her from a bear in a Chuunin exam she was taking.
    • Also spoofed in Episode 101 of the original anime. In a flashback, Kakashi easily defeats the pathetic Moya Triad who had been pestering a random woman, and afterwards she's completely smitten with Kakashi.
    • Rin also loved Kakashi before and after he rescued her, even jumping in front of his attack so that the tailed beast inside her couldn't be unleashed—this was her idea of a "rescue".
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Given Setsuna's obvious Bodyguard Crush on Konoka and Konoka's reaction every time "Secchan" saves her, this forms much of the basis behind the casual observer's view of them. When they finally pactio (and Konoka seems to be hinting broadly that it's gone from subtext to text) in Chapter 252, it happens immediately after Setsuna saved Konoka without even realizing it.
    • Lampshaded early on in Chapter 55 when the girls think Negi is going to confess to Ku Fei as a result of her saving him that morning.
    • Negi's first major interaction with Nodoka involved catching her after she fell off of a staircase, and he saved her from Evangeline not long after. When he saves her in Chapter 219 from a group of bounty hunters, he goes half-nuts on them when he sees what they're doing to her. They have a pretty serious moment in Chapter 228 after she rescues him, at least until Kotarou jumps in. She also rescues him earlier on in Chapter 41, helping him win his first fight with Kotaro. A good chunk of their relationship consists of saving each other's asses.
    • Negi's father Nagi and Negi's Tsundere mother Arika finally kiss right after he and his friends rescue her from being unfairly executed on (fake) charges of treason and genocide in Chapter 269.
  • Deconstructed in Neon Genesis Evangelion, where Shinji jumps into the Mount Asama volcano, without protective gear, on the off-chance he can get Asuka out of it in time. Asuka, due to her pride and troubled past, simultaneously wants Shinji to accept her feelings and not feel dependent on him, leading to tension between them.
  • In No. 6 Shion and Nezumi first meet when a fugitive Nezumi is looking for shelter in a storm after being shot. Shion stitches him up, gives him food, and lets him hide in his room. Nezumi repays the favor 4 years later when he busts Shion out of police custody after Shion is framed for murder.
  • One Piece Oda's stand on No Hugging, No Kissing makes sure the "romance" part of the rescue is underplayed or not there at all, but there some notable cases...
    • Kohza and Vivi as children, leaving her feelings towards him as more than platonic.
    • Sanji always tries this with Nami after his Big Entrance (often sending the bad guy flying), Sanji will turn to her ask Have you fallen in love with me now? she gives him varying responses: telling him to go blow off, saying she loves him so that he will hurry up, or actually being genuinely grateful for the rescue.
    • Combined with Bodyguard Crush in the Dressrosa arc In a flashback showing the past of the Thunder Soldier shows he was the bodyguard of Rebecca's mother, who disliked him because of his criminal past until he rescued her from a kidnapping attempt.
    • Dwarf Princess Mansherry loved Leo even more when he rescued her, but Leo thought she was being selfish.
  • In episode 9 of Osomatsu-san Jyushimatsu practices his baseball swing on the beach when he spots a woman ready to jump off a cliff. He decides to keep swinging until she gets away from the edge, but Jyushimatsu ends up engulfed by water. The unnamed woman ultimately ends up saving him.
  • The normally strong-willed Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club is unapproachable to the host club's cliched attempts at romantic talk. However, she's terrified to the point of cowering in the fetal position at the sound of thunder. Two of the male cast get closer to her by saving her from this.
    • Done twice at the end of the anime when Haruhi chases down Tamaki in a horse-drawn carriage to stop him from leaving the Host Club and his happiness. Then when she holds out her hand to reach for him, the carriage tumbles and the poor girl goes flying off the bridge... leading Tamaki to jump out of the car and rescue her.
  • Invoked intentionally in Penguindrum, when Ringo tries to stage an incident where she's drowning so her crush Tabuki will rescue her. Subverted since it fails, so Shoma has to save her. And then it's played straight because, after settling her thoughts on Tabuki, Ringo falls for Shouma instead.
  • In Persona 4: The Animation, Rise falls in love with Yu after he saves her life. While the rest of the team helped to rescue her, she developed an intense attraction towards him alone. This might possibly be due to the fact that during Rise's first appearance in the mall scene, she believes someone is chasing her, until she's trapped and learns that Yu simply wanted to return her phone to her, then leaving, without making any indication that he knows who she is. This may have led her to believe there was a Recognition Failure.
  • Phantom Quest Corp.: Though it's implied that Makiko met Bosco through his teashop, and had secretly been allowing him to feed on her, she doesn't fall for him until he helps save her from Dracula. They become an Official Couple at the conclusion of the first Incident File.
  • Pokémon:
    • Ash's first major opponent in the Johto League, Macy, suggests this in a not-very-subtle way after he saves her and her Vulpix during a Team Rocket attack. Ash being Ash, this does not go anywhere.
    • Ash saves Misty a few times, and while Ash was oblivious, it very much meant something to Misty
    • Happens again several seasons later with Angie, with similar results.
    • Brock would always try this and get few results.
    • Also part of the backstory of Serena, part of Ash's Kalos band of True Companions. When they were both little, he rescued her from being lost in a forest. A recent incident that helped jog her memory of the event would drive her to find him and join his group.
    • Parodied with a girl who falls in love with three different guys who "save" her in relatively minor ways—one of whom is Brock, who's thrown completely off his game and doesn't recover until she's moved on to the next guy—James.
    • Almost played straight (or at least fantasized about) by Jessie when a guest doctor rescues her, to the point where she's willing to leave Team Rocket. However, he's already in love with someone else, so she decides to let them be together.
    • The relationship between Professors Kukui and Burnet has shades of this, as they get married a few episodes after Kukui and his Braviary save Burnet from a Zerg Rush of Dragon Pokémon.
    • Heavily implied in Pokémon Heroes between Ash and Latias, the two get plenty of Ship Tease with Latias clearly crushing on Ash and their first major interaction was when Ash saved her from Annie and Oakley, of course aside from a kiss on the cheek nothing ever comes from it.
    • Zig-Zagging Trope in Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai between Alice and Tonio. When they were children, Alice believed that Tonio had saved her from falling off a cliff and professed her love right then and there. Tonio admits during the course of the movie that he didn't know what had really saved her, but has just realized that it was the Pokémon Darkrai, leaving Alice at least mildly disappointed. During the climactic battle, Tonio saves Alice for real, and her reaction shows that the romance is back on track.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Yellow both gains admiration for and falls in love with Red after he saves her life from a rampaging Dratini, prompting her to be determined to save ''him'' when she learns that he's gone missing. Of course, Red, being as oblivious as he is, doesn't recognize her as the girl he once saved and probably never bothered wondering why she went through so much trouble for him.
  • The Prince of Tennis:
    • Parodied. Sakuno has a crush on Ryoma from the first time she saw him when he stopped a show-off who was about to hit her on the face with his racket - but it turns out Ryoma had not even acknowledged Sakuno's presence back then, and only stopped the moron because he was too loud and didn't let him nap in the train.
    • Arguably played a bit more straight with An and Momoshiro: he saved her and Sakuno from bullies first, later he teamed up with Kamio to have Atobe give up on forcing her on a date. Arguably, because neither Momo nor An make moves towards a Relationship Upgrade when given the chance (despite the relationship chart hinting at her having a crush on him), whereas Kamio is firmly put in the role of the Unlucky Childhood Friend.
    • Played straighter with Ryoma's parents. His Tsundere mother Rinko didn't have a good impression of her soon-to-be husband Nanjiroh after he told her she was flat-chested and kept teasing her when she wore a girlier tennis outfit - he had to wipe the floor with her Jerkass coach that hit her and a little child with tennis balls to gain her appreciation.
  • Princess Tutu:
    • In the first episode, Princess Tutu saves Mytho after he jumps out a window to save a baby bird from a raven attack. She then starts to save him about Once per Episode until he starts to fall for her.
    • Also, it's revealed in the second season that Rue met Mytho when he saved her from a crow attack, and she in turn saved his life by giving him water through a kiss. Fakir might count for Mytho, as well. Also Ahiru and Fakir's most romantic scenes come when they are rescuing each other.
    • And by the end, Rue and Mytho fully seal the trope when they rescue each other. On one hand, Rue's Anguished Declaration of Love breaks the spell that has turned Mytho evil (which she mistakenly helped cause one might add), and when Tutu arrives next to a now-normal Mytho she tells him that Rue saved him. On the other hand, Rue is immediately captured by her Archnemesis Dad the Raven, and Mytho rescues her from a slow and agonizing death.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: Nino's relationship with Fuutarou starts out as antagonistic, but she gradually falls for him throughout several incidents that could be construed as this trope. In the early chapters, she shields her from a stack of falling books and during the fireworks festival manages to pull her out of a jostling crowd before she gets lost. Later during the school trip, while dressed as "Kintarou", he finds her alone and scared in the forest and saves her from falling off a cliff when she runs off blindly. And much later, at one point that Fuutarou falls into a lake, she and her sisters jump into the water to save him but since she can't swim, ends up having to be rescued by him instead. The one that seals the deal happens in Chapter 59 when she's having an argument with her father over whether she and the others should keep staying at their current place or not, and Fuutarou shows up on a motorbike and takes her away, prompting her to confess that she's fallen in love with him.
  • Averted in Ranma ½: Ranma Saotome saves Kodachi Kuno from falling off of a roof — but caused her to fall in the first place because he accidentally hit her in the head while she was running away from an attempt to ambush Akane Tendo. Kodachi fixates him on a romantic figure after she comes to, but Ranma does not reciprocate her feelings, due to a combination of having two existing Arranged Marriages (though he's only aware of one at the moment) and an Accidental Marriage (though neither he nor the girl in question is aware of it at this precise moment), and Kodachi's... unusual... ideas about romance. Her first action after regaining consciousness — well, second, her first is to cuddle to him and ask for his name — is to paralyze him with a bouquet of poison-laced roses so she can kiss him.
  • Reborn! (2004):
    • Tsuna saves Gokudera from his own bombs, leading to a Stalker with a Crush situation. This show is kinda known for its ridiculous amounts of Ho Yay.
    • Also Haru fell for Tsuna after he saved her from drowning.
    • Might as well tack Enma on.
  • Rent-A-Girlfriend: Ruka falls in love with Kazuya after he breaks her fall when she falls down some stairs.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena:
    • While Utena at first mostly intended to duel Saionji for being cruel to Wakaba, winning their duel let her 'win' another girl he mistreats: Anthy, the Rose Bride. Whom she protects from anyone who wants to possess and harm her, including her once-kind-and-now-abusive brother and the Big Bad, Akio. And including HERSELF, in a sense, since she did it more in self-interest than to genuinely help Anthy. And it turns out this was a sort-of Invoked Trope since Akio was so smart that he arranged for Anthy to be in vulnerable positions to fire up Utena's Bully Hunter side and bring her into the duels. She's devastated when she finds out, then realises that she also was selfish to Anthy and resolves to truly aid her.
    • Spun around quite a bit in the case of Tsuwabuki and Nanami. Tsuwabuki has this big-ass Precocious Crush on Nanami and wants to help and protect her, right? Well, what's better than actually putting her in dangerous situations so he can rescue her, right?
  • Fumi from Rising × Rydeen goes from trying to make Takara her servant to falling in love with him after he buys time for her and her underlings to escape some really powerful enemies.
  • Tsukune from Rosario + Vampire earned Kurumu's (unwanted) affections when he stops Moka from ripping off her wings and tail. It wasn't a conventional rescue, but he definitely showed his good side.
  • A Yuri example in Roll Over and Die: The former slave Milkit's feelings for her 'Master' Flum develop and evolve over time due to how she has consistently protected and saved her from danger, which causes her to develop an Undying Loyalty to Flum. Milkit eventually returns the favor by playing a role in saving Flum's life during Volume 3/Episode 4.
  • Subverted in School Rumble - the entire reason Harima grew facial hair, wears sunglasses, and became a delinquent was so that he could be close to Tenma without her recognizing him. He fell in love with her after saving her from hoodlums, and took her back to his place because she was unconscious. When he leaned in for the traditional kiss, she woke up and thought he was about to molest her (or already had).
  • Momoka on Sgt. Frog tries to stage one of these every couple of episodes, in order to get closer to Fuyuki. But Fuyuki's not the most athletic person, and the Keronians keep barging into things...
  • Subverted in Slayers: In the first episode, Gourry steps in to save Lina from Bandits, but she really didn't need the help. Also, while she does admit he's handsome and lets him continue traveling with her, the development of their relationship has more to do with their adventures together than their initial meeting (despite him having a Bodyguard Crush on her for quite a while).
  • Soul Eater: Ox saves his long-time Love Interest Kim from Arachne and Arachnophobia, which earns him a Relationship Upgrade.
  • Averted in Spice and Wolf, much to Holo's frustration. She could have broken out of being confined at the end of the first book at any time (being a wolf goddess shapeshifter), but chose to wait for Lawrence to do this. Unfortunately, he's a smart merchant and not a fighter that's socially experienced with non-business matters.
  • Most of Kirito's "harem" in Sword Art Online start to fall for him after he saves their lives, which is usually right after he's met them. The sole exception is Asuna, who he actually marries before the end of the first book. They met before raiding the first-floor boss, and she fell for him some fifty floors later, when he was outside sleeping (instead of helping plan the next raid) because it was such a nice day.
  • This shows up mildly in the various Tenchi Muyo! continuities. In the manga, this ends up turned on its ear when Aeka waits for her saviour after being captured, hoping for a little Rescue Romance with Tenchi ... and finds Ryoko coming to the rescue (she knocked Tenchi out and took the only available spaceship so that he wouldn't be able to put himself at risk). Aeka's disappointed in the choice of rescuer, and Ryoko isn't very fond of the lack of gratitude. Resulting in Ryoko Dope Slaping Aeka so hard she feels it even through the force field that confines her.
  • Tiger & Bunny:
  • To Love Ru:
    • After Rito saves Yui from a group of delinquents, she develops feelings for him.
    • In the sequel "Darkness", Rin (Saki's bodyguard) develops feelings for Rito after he saves her from a cursed sword (with the help of Mea and Yami).
  • In Unlimited Fafnir, Tear is rescued by Yuu from some gangsters in a Flash Back shown during episode 4. When she sees him again, a few months or years later, she immediately declares herself to be his wife.
  • Val × Love:
    • The details aren't given to the reader, but Takuma saved Natsuki when they first met and she is clearly in love with him.
    • Misa falls in love with Takuma after he rescues her soul from falling into Hell.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne has something of a mutual Rescue Romance: Van starts falling in love with Hitomi after she pulls a Diving Save on him in episode 6, saving him from being impaled by Dilandau. Meanwhile, Hitomi begins seeing Van as something beyond "that guy I'm tagging along with until I can get back home" after he saves her from a kidnapping attempt (rather than the expected Knight in Shining Armor, Allen) in the subsequent episode.
  • In Waratte! Sotomura-san, Sotomura's parents met when her mother saved her father from delinquents. Sotomura believes it was the other way around.
  • In Wild Rock, the first time Yuuen and Emba meet Yuuen is about to be killed by a giant sabre-toothed animal he had been trying to hunt. Emba flies in out of nowhere and stabs it in the neck and promptly tells Yuuen he's incapable of wielding a weapon. The others get riled up over this but Yuuen is just grateful to have been saved. Emba also gets injured rescuing him from a giant alligator later on. The trope is not quite played straight with their fathers, where it was Selim's own hunting trap that he had to save Yuni from.
  • Doumeki saves Watanuki too many times to count in ×××HOLiC. Ho Yay ensues, at least for the fans.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Tea falls in love with Yami after he saves her from being held hostage. However, she's blindfolded at the time, so she only hears his voice and doesn't know that Yami is Yugi's Superpowered Evil Side. When she finds out, their relationship gets...complicated.
  • In Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, Hibari falls in love with Kogarashi when he saves her from two male spirit ability users who were harassing her and were going to force her to marry one of them.

  • In the Child Ballad "The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward", the young lord saves his life by promising never to tell that his servant robbed him; the servant turns him into a servant until the daughter of a local lord figures out how to get the story out of him. Whereupon they promptly marry.
    • The gender-swapped counterpart, the Goose Girl, plays out with a similar setup. Eventually, the prince realizes something's up with the new "goose girl" and tricks her into confessing to an iron stove (which he's standing behind) and gets everything solved. In this version, he was supposed to marry the princess anyway and the maid had posed as his fiance, but the rescue element makes it a romance instead of merely a political marriage.
  • In "The Ballad of the Bog" by Mark Lewis, a young man rescues a girl possessed by a ghost/an Eldritch Abomination, and gets her in his arms.
  • "Tam Lin" features a woman, Janet, who is mysteriously impregnated by an elven knight who claims the virginity of any maiden who wanders his fields. She refuses to forsake him and discovers he was once a mortal man rescued and captured by the faeries and is soon to be tithed to hell for the Queen. Janet rescues him from this fate by clinging to him as he is transformed into any number of beasts. When he turns into a burning coal, she throws him into a well, which turns him back into a man, and she must hide him. For all of this effort, she wins his freedom from the faerie queen.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman's first encounter with Lois Lane Post-Crisis was the rescue of a space shuttle she was on. It sorta became a Running Gag / In-Joke between the two. In their original Golden Age meeting (at least when he was in costume), Superman saves Lois from some gangsters who aren't happy about Lois', erm, professional dedication.
  • The Marvel Universe also has a Les Yay/Friendship variation of this. After Rogue drained her powers, Carol Danvers was rescued by the first Spider-Woman and was counseled to get over her trauma/pain of power-loss, which is the beginning of their friendship... or Les Yay. Speaking of Jessica Drew, her close friendship with Lindsey McCabe began after Lindsey stood up for her during a humiliating group therapy session.
  • The comic continuations of Gargoyles featured Lexington and Staghart rescuing each other. The Bad Guys series also featured Dingo rescuing Hunter and her him. Word of God says Hunter and Dingo will be together. Jury's still out on Staghart and Lexington. (But Slash Fic writers can dream....)
  • In the Dungeon Universe, princess Isis exploits this trope, getting into the dungeon with her boyfriend, hoping she could pretend he rescued her, so the king will allow them to marry. Unluckily, said boyfriend dies less than a page after he appears.
  • In Blacksad, this is the nature of Blacksad's past relationship with the deceased Natalia Wilford, as he helped her get rid of a stalker. They started a relationship afterwards but it wore off after some time, and they broke up before her untimely death.
  • In Justice League Elite, Kasumi grows infatuated with Coldcast after he keeps saving her when their missions keep going horribly wrong.
  • Sin City: Hartigan and Nancy are a one-way example. When Nancy was 11, Hartigan rescued her from rape and death at the hands of the sadistic paedophile Roark Jr., nearly giving his own life in the process. 8 years later he tracks her down when he thinks that she's been targeted by his enemies. Nancy declares that Hartigan is the only man she's ever loved and tries to make a move on him. He rejects her, both because of their huge age difference and their history.
  • Steve Trevor fell in love with Wonder Woman when she rescued him after he crashed his plane in the ocean off Paradise Island. Diana found him attractive while nursing him back to health, but doesn't reciprocate until they started fighting Nazis together after she returned him to the US.
  • A very twisted villainous version from the pages of Captain America. Sin, the Red Skull’s daughter was captured by SHIELD and held in a facility where she was subjected to Heel–Face Brainwashing to turn her into a normal, well-adjusted All American girl. Skull’s Dragon Crossbones fought his way into the facility, abducted her and fought his way back out (killing dozens of Red Shirts in the process), then imprisoned and tortured her until her true memories and personality were restored. Then they fell in love. To an outside observer, this was all horrifying but from their perspective, he had rescued her from enemy captivity and freed her from nefarious mind control.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • A gender-inverted version of this in the Pokémon fic "Ash's Adventure: Girls' Hunter Edition", when Misty notes that Ash seems to be attracted to girls who save his life (granted, under the conditions of their rescue, those girls are technically Ash's 'slaves' even if he'd never enforce such a rule on them).
  • Cullen and Victoria are already in a fledgling relationship when they attend the ball at Halamshiral in All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird, but the mutual application of this trope helps to move things along for them. First she 'rescues' him from the Orlesian courtiers who have him cornered (which, due to his Dark and Troubled Past, is a bigger favor than it might seem); later, he saves her more literally when she's almost murdered by a Harlequin.
  • In Aftermath of a Fallen Star, Sunset Shimmer tried to commit suicide after experiencing both of the pain she caused and the bullying she got after trying to turn the school into a zombie army to crush Equestria. The Equestria Girls world version of Twilight stopped her and helped her get her life in order, leading to a friendship and later romance.
  • In Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion, Lelouch and C.C. start a relationship after he saves her from captivity and torture.
  • In Ace Attorney fanfic Dirty Sympathy, Apollo starts to return Klavier's feelings for him and decides to turn Klavier's rescue into a mutual "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder when Klavier successfully frames his cruel and abusive Bad Boss Kristoph and gets him sent to jail.
  • Earth and Sky: Apparently, the unlikely couple of Silver Spoon and Snails first fell in love when he saved her from drowning herself on prom night (a result of Diamond Tiara's cruel prank).
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles: Soarin develops a crush on Rainbow Dash after she saves him and two of his teammates during The Best Young Flyers competition. Rainbow later develops her own crush on Soarin after hanging out with him.
  • In Fire and Shadow, Nightpaw fell for Firefang after he saved her from a snake. He remained Oblivious to Love until he's told of her crush. The two eventually ended up mates.
  • A rare male example in The Flower Princess and the Alchemist. Edward started falling for Orihime when she protected him and Al from Scar. Cue Declaration of Protection. Bonus points in that they just had a horrible fight hours earlier, and Orihime still chooses to risk her life for his without hesitation. Is it any wonder why Ed starts to fall for her?
  • Averted in the Firefly fanfic Forward, where Jayne and River end up saving each other while they are being held prisoner by Niska. While the aftermath of those events resulted in the two of them developing into a more platonic relationship, it didn't directly result in romance. There are hints that there might be a River/Jayne romance developing later on, however.
  • In heartstrings, the relationship between Marinette and Chat Noir is kicked off when he intervenes to save her from a mugger, though she ends up having to help him when he drops his baton in the process.
  • In Heritage of the Wolf, Jenna and Balto meet when Balto saves Jenna from Attempted Rape.
  • In the Hero: The Guardian Smurf story series, Hero had a relationship with first love Smurfette before his Opposite-Sex Clone Wonder Smurfette came into the picture and the two married each other, eventually giving birth to Hero's first child Saviour. Years later, sometime after Wonder died, Hero came to feel suicidal and was going to end his life when the Smurfs intervened and stopped him from doing so, with Smurfette passionately pleading with Hero to embrace life instead of death. It was from this that Hero rekindled his relationship with Smurfette, and from that, they married and Smurfette became the mother of Hero's second child Miracle.
  • The Horseshoes and Hand Grenades sidestory SplitxEnd has Yayoi saved by Haruto at the hands of Foundation Xnote  Yayoi notes that she shouldn't mistake his act as chivalry as a sign of love. Later in Month of Sundays, when confronted with a doll transformed Haruto, she uses this as a basis of their blooming relationship.
  • I Am NOT Going Through Puberty Again!: Just like in canon, Karin falls in love with the boy who rescues her in the Forest of Death. Although it wasn't Sasuke this time around... it was Lee.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Paradise Calling, Link and Malon are reunited when she is ambushed by bandits in her milk cart and almost raped before he intervenes.
  • In The New Retcons, this is how John viewed his marriage to Elly, saving her from life as a poor destitute woman and a single mother. It didn't end well. He repeats this reasoning, minus the spoilered part, with Kortney, viewing himself as her savior from a life of prostitution
    • In a more horrifying example, Elly tried to invoke this on Elizabeth and Anthony by arranging the Attempted Rape of Elizabeth just so Anthony can rescue her and they could rekindle their romance.
  • The Night Unfurls: After being saved by Kyril, her co-worker, from Michelle's clutches, Maia developed feelings for him, to the point where she is in desperate need of his presence and comfort from her trauma she faced beforehand. The affection is one-sided due to Kyril's celibacy (though Maia initially suspects that he is hooked up with Grace), but he did have Lily help her recover.
  • Hinted at in the Pony POV Series in Shining Armor's side story — Sunset, one of Cadence's hoofmaidens, is mistaken for a Hooviet spy and harassed by some overeager Royal troops, only to be saved by Private Ranger, one of Shining's Royal Guards. While they haven't hooked up yet, she seems to have developed a thing for him. As of Part 11, they're an Official Couple.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts fic Runaway Wind, Ventus wakes up alone in Castle Oblivion and runs into Naminé, quickly agreeing to help her escape from the Organization.
  • Mega Man Reawakened hints at this when Bass saves Roll from a mugging, but it's soured when he learns she's Robert's sister.
  • Discussed in Fire Emblem Awakening fanfic Pretender, when Lissa tells Chrom she believes that Frederick and Robin are a couple. Chrom tries to be happy for them but he knows that they got closer because Frederick rescued Robin from committing suicide. He is squicked by the possibility that Frederick may have pressured Robin into a relationship while the latter was emotionally vulnerable. To Frederick's credit, he freaks out when Chrom brings it up, showing that he is aware of the implications. Nevertheless, Frederick and Robin do become romantically involved for a while.
  • Inverted in Seeing the Pattern. Although Lickity Split was already attracted to Pinkie Pie, Pinkamina doesn't begin returning his feelings until after she saves his life a couple of times.
  • In The Silent Horse, Ranma and Akane's relationship starts when she rescues him (in his female form) from a gang that wants to gang-rape him.
  • Sophistication and Betrayal plays with this a little. While Rarity and the protagonist do end up in a relationship after she saves his life - which does get lampshaded - it takes significant time for their relationship to develop and initially only leads to friendship.
  • Defied in Spectacular Seven. Moondancer tries to win the heart of Twilight Sparkle by battling against Scarlet Inferno, the Enemy Without of Sunset Shimmer. However, Twilight is steeped in nerdy culture and sci-fi novels, recognizes what Moondancer is doing, and tries to let her down gently. It's later revealed that the whole thing was set up by Moondancer (since she's The Dragon to the Big Bad) in an attempt to convince Twilight to break up with Sunset, meaning Moondancer invoked the trope before Twilight defied it.
  • Lost Causes: Jessica met Roger when he saved her from a man who was attacking her. Roger later got Jessica bought by his copyright owners and took her off the streets.
  • May I Have This Dance? is a RWBY twoshot Alternate Universe Fic (in that neither went to Beacon) that revolves around Pyrrha saving Weiss from some boys at a party her parents are hosting. The two girls quickly get close.
  • A Possible Encounter for a Phantom: Kim Possible politely turns down Danny Phantom's crush on her because he's 14 and she's 16. However, after he saves her life from the Fright Knight, in human form, she begins to grow interested in him.
  • In Saintly Phantom, Danny first meets Luz when he rescues her from Human Traffickers, upon which she immediately sticks her tongue down his throat out of gratitude. While the relationship initially starts out purely sexual due to Luz wanting to fulfill her pent-up libido, she does eventually fall for Danny due to Single Woman Seeks Good Man.
  • In addition to the canon example of Naruto and Hinata above, Son of the Sannin has Natsu Hyuga develop an attraction for Itachi Uchiha after he comes to help her and several other Hyugas during the Akatsuki invasion. In the aftermath, she visits him at his home to give him a gift as thanks for saving her before.
  • Averted in A Thing of Vikings; after Tuffnut saves Marte from her abusive husband, he turns down the offer to sleep with her because he feels that it would be taking advantage.
  • The Treasure of Eyja Nott- a modern AU of How to Train Your Dragon based on The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)- has Hiccup resist Heather's attempt to start a relationship with him after he saves her from Johann because he worries that he'd be taking advantage of her (as well as his own complicated emotions regarding his past with Astrid).
  • Unexpected Sisters:
    • Ruby saved Blake from her abusive ex-boyfriend. One month later, Ruby asked Blake out and was declined. However, a few days afterwards Blake asked Ruby out and they've been girlfriends since.
    • Wives Yang and Weiss met in kindergarten. Yang beat up a boy who was bullying Weiss for her white hair.
  • The Thor fanfic Wanted, and AU set during the second film, plays with this. Loki ends up saving Darcy with the car instead of Ian, which makes Darcy realize that there's a good person inside him. On top of the earlier attraction she felt towards him, this gets her to kiss him. To which he doesn't protest.
  • In Your servant, Mistress, Diaval falls in love with Maleficent after she protects him from sexual harassment. (It helps that he was already looking for a relationship.)
  • A Student Out of Time: One of Hajime's early goals is to save Hibiki Otonokoji from her insane serial killer sister. Once successful, she moves in with him and later confesses to having fallen in love with him, along with her other saviors Chiaki, Mikan, Sonia, and Gundam.
  • Prehistoric Earth: Resident rescue team animal expert Leon Gilbertson and assistant veterinarian Yolanda Hall first start developing a particularly strong bond together after the former helps assist in efforts at rescuing the latter from a swarm of brontoscorpio over the course of 'Phase 1'. Much later on, during 'Phase 3', their relationship finally sparks into outright romance after multiple chapters of Ship Tease when Leon helps save Yolanda again from an escaped dinofelis.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney loves this trope:
    • Lady and the Tramp: Tramp saves Lady from nasty dogs and the annoying muzzle. Then she and the other dogs save him from the dog catcher.
    • Beauty and the Beast: Back to back, as Belle finally gets fed up enough with the Beast that she escapes the castle... only to get attacked by wolves that the Beast saves her from. Belle drags his unconscious, wounded body back to the castle and patches him up, leading to the first conversation they have in the film that isn't openly hostile. Cue Relationship Upgrade since now the Beast is more conscious of being nice to her and Belle is finally able to let go of her conceptions of him.
    • The Little Mermaid: Ariel saves Eric from drowning, and he falls in love with her voice. Then he saves her from being disintegrated by Ursula.
    • Hercules: Hercules tries to save Meg when she's being harassed by a centaur, but she's less than impressed. Then, she saves him after a big blowup. He finally saves her from the afterlife, and their romance is sealed.
    • In Aladdin, the titular hero meets Jasmine by saving her from having her hand chopped off. He then goes on to save all of Agrabah, leading the Sultan to decide that he's worthy of marrying her.
    • In The Aristocats, Duchess falls in love with O'Malley as he helps her and her kittens find their way home.
    • In Sleeping Beauty, Prince Phillip fights his way through one hell of a magical obstacle course and slays a dragon (with a lot of help from three fairies) to break the curse on Princess Aurora and save her and the kingdom. They then fall in love.
  • A humorous take in Despicable Me 2. At first, Gru is annoyed with Lucy for being very cheerful and enthusiastic when they're partnered together. Not helping him is Agnes asking Lucy if she's single in front of Gru. However, when Gru is forced on a date with a superficial woman who tries to humiliate him for being bald, Lucy uses a tranquilizer dart on her and the two carry her home while bond over failed dates and Lucy complimenting Gru's baldness. By morning, Gru has fallen in love with Lucy. Although he has to rescue her from the Big Bad in the climax, Lucy at that point had already fallen in love with Gru.
  • Used (and lampshaded, see the quote above) in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within to restart the romance between the lead girl and her old love, the military captain. First he hauls her out of an alien-infected city, then she performs life-saving surgery on him... Works better than a Red String of Fate.
  • Subverted in Leafie, a Hen into the Wild. Leafie falls for Wanderer after he helps her escape the one-eyed weasel. He, however, doesn't feel the same and has a mate already. Leafie adopts their hatchling after they are both killed by the weasel.
  • Megamind: As a parody of the Superhero genre, Roxanne Richie gets hit with zig-zagging flavors of this.
    • Metro Man is always saving Roxanne, but they never had any romantic relationship at all; he was just "not her type".
    • Megamind is always kidnapping her and trying to impress her, but dates her the old-fashioned way, the two fall in love, and then he ends up saving her at the end.
    • Tighten tries this at Megamind's suggestion, but he's too clueless to realize that dropping Roxanne to her near-death (repeatedly) does not count as a "rescue". Of course, Megamind's advice to invoke the trope was pretty clueless in the first place.
  • Every single couple in Ride Your Wave starts with this. Minato fell for Hinako after she saved him from drowning as a child, Hinako fell for Minato after he saved her from a burning building, and Yoko fell for Wasabi after his encouraging words gave her the motivation to start attending school again.
  • Shrek, being an Affectionate Parody of fairy tales, goes to town with this one: Princess Fiona and Shrek meet when he rescues her from a tower and a dragon. She thinks he's supposed to be her Knight in Shining Armor with whom she will share True Love's Kiss until he explains that he's actually an ogre who was just sent there to do the rescuing so Lord Farquaad wouldn't have to. Of course, "Rescue By Proxy Romance" isn't nearly as romantic, and ultimately Fiona and Shrek end up falling in love anyway.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Against All Flags, Princess Patma falls in love with Brian Hawke after he rescues her from a burning, sinking ship.
  • Aquaman (2018): Thomas Curry is shown to have found Queen Atlanna washed up on the shore unconscious and carried her back to the lighthouse. After that, they had a relationship and conceived a son together.
  • The Babysitter (2017): At the start of the film, Cole and his 12-year old neighbor, Melanie, are only friends. That changes after Cole goes from being everyone's victim to almost single-handedly taking down a cult of homicidal maniacs to protect himself and Melanie from harm. She even gives him a kiss for luck before his showdown with Bee and tells him they should makeout "next time".
  • In Back to the Future, Marty tries to set his parents up by engineering a situation where George saves Lorraine from sexual assault (namely, by Marty himself). It goes off the rails when Lorraine is more eager than Marty is, only to be set right when Biff intervenes, genuinely tries to assault Lorraine, and George ends up genuinely saving her by punching Biff out.
  • In Back to the Future Part III, Doc saves Clara from going over a cliff in an out-of-control wagon, belatedly learning that she died in the original timeline and that the ravine would have been named after her.
  • Beyond the Lights is about the romance between pop star Noni and good cop Kaz after he stops her from jumping off her balcony and committing suicide.
  • The Charge at Feather River: After rescuing her from the Cheyenne, Miles Archer falls in love with Anne McKeever, even though she believes she has been Defiled Forever. During their Last Stand, he finally manages to convince her that he doesn't care and, as The Cavalry arrives, he tells her that those are the men who will dance at her wedding.
  • In Closer, Dan spots Alice from afar and it's Love at First Sight. They continue walking towards each other until Alice crosses the street and a car hits her. Dan rushes to her side and takes her to the hospital.
  • In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander saves Tina Goldstein from being executed. She has since been friendlier to him, and canon establishes that they will get married.
  • Feeding Frenzy: Discussed. Dogged Nice Guy Jesse has a huge crush on Christine, and they have an adventure together fighting monsters. In the final act, Jesse again expresses his feelings for Christine, saying that he expects their trials and tribulations must have drawn her closer to him. She again bluntly rejects him, saying there's absolutely no way she'd date a loser like him. However, when he rescues her one last time, she consents to at least have sex with him.
  • In Filibus, romance blossoms after the Classy Cat-Burglar Filibus "saves" Leonora from a staged abduction. (It's left ambiguous whether this was a goal of the rescue or an unexpected side effect.)
  • George of the Jungle: George and Ursula begin to fall in love after he saves her from a lion attack.
  • Highwaymen: It's implied in the ending that Cray and Molly ultimately get together after he rescued her from the serial killer Fargo a second time. Fargo had already murdered Molly's best friend and her male suitor previously in the film, so it's not surprising that she'd look to Cray for comfort.
  • Gender-flipped in Jurassic World. Owen falls for Claire after she saves him from a rampaging pterosaur.
  • A main plot device in all three movie versions of King Kong, although the sexuality of the relationship between Anne and Kong was toned down to platonic love in the 2005 version.
  • Invoked Trope in Mechanic Resurrection. When Jason Statham's character saves Jessica Alba from an abusive boyfriend, he quickly realises the Big Bad is trying to set up this trope in preparation for an I Have Your Love Interest scenario. They fall for each other anyway.
  • Alice thinks this is what's happening in Mermaid after she saves Aleksandr, but he remains clueless.
  • Becomes Troubling Unchildlike Behavior in the International Cut of The Professional. Leon saves 12-year-old Mathilda from the middle of DEA headquarters after she fails to kill the Dirty Cops who murdered her family. Mathilda then decides she is in love and offers to lose her virginity with him, so Leon has to gently refuse her. They compromise on agreeing to share the bed.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a child Will was rescued from a wrecked ship by the crew of a nearby boat that a just-as-young Elizabeth and her dad were travelling in. In fact, little Elizabeth was the one who saw Will lying unconscious between what was left of the other ship and alerted the sailors. They go on to spend the rest of the series rescuing each other from various dangerous circumstances.
  • In the German film The Princess And The Warrior psychiatric nurse Sissi is knocked down by a truck and has her life saved with a tracheotomy done by ex-soldier turned criminal Bobo Reimer. She becomes obsessed with tracking him down, convinced that they are destined to be together.
  • In Rosita, Diego and Rosita fall in love after Diego attempts to save Rosita from being jailed. He fails and they both get arrested, but the attempt was still noble.
  • In San Andreas, Ben rescues Blake when she gets trapped in a car, then they fall in love. Blake would also end up helping Ben afterwards.
  • Woody Allen's Scoop has the heroine deliberately attract the attention of a guy she wants to investigate for possible murder by pretending to drown so he can rescue her, and striking up a romance afterwards. Later he tries to drown her for real. Good thing she was actually captain of her high school swim team.
  • In Showdown in Little Tokyo, after Kenner saves Minako from captivity and sexual abuse by the villain, she becomes attracted to him and cuddles up to him in his home for safety before they have sex.
  • Having The Protagonist in Small Soldiers rescue Christy is a convenient way of forging a relationship with someone who already had a boyfriend. This probably has something to do with said boyfriend fleeing to save himself, while the protagonist sticks around to help her from being held hostage.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: The evil Ravenna uses this trope to her advantage to seduce Snow White's father, when he finds her chained up in a carriage, apparently held prisoner by the mysterious dark army he's just defeated.
  • Spaceballs, which somehow is played straight with no Lampshade Hanging.
  • Discussed, and later lampshaded, in Speed. Annie tells Jack, "Relationships based on extreme circumstances rarely work." It also features one of the best bond one-liners when the line is echoed back later by Jack, and she responds, "Then we'll have to base it on sex." Judging by her new beau in the sequel, though, it seems the sex must not have been all that great. Wah-wah-wah-waaaaaaaaahhhhhh...
  • The Star Wars Original Trilogy goes all over the board with this trope. In A New Hope, Han & Luke rescue Leia. Shortly thereafter, Leia saves Han & Luke (and Chewie). Luke and Leia then seem to be playing the trope as straight as an arrow (the "for luck" kiss, the scene before Luke boards his X-wing, Leia's clear distress at Luke's communications, etc) Then Han returns and saves Luke, and by extension everybody on Yavin 4. In The Empire Strikes Back, Han and Leia are constantly helping each other during their Relationship Upgrade. Finally in Return of the Jedi, it's Leia who saves Han twice.
  • In Thor: The Dark World, Ian earns two make-out sessions with Darcy after he saves her from some attacking Dark Elves by crushing them with a car. Something of a Moment Killer occurs when they're teleported to their friends in the middle of their Smooch of Victory, causing Darcy to drop Ian to the ground in embarrassment.
  • The Terminator: Kyle saves Sarah from being killed by the Terminator, and while it doesn't last due to Sex Equals Death they do develop a relationship over the course of the film.
  • Titanic (1997): Jack rescues Rose when she attempts suicide. She falls for him, and upon telling her story 84 years later, says that he saved her in every way a person could be saved.
  • Train Man (2004) is the apparently true story of a shy nerd who scares off a chikan from harassing a young woman on a train. When she unexpectedly sends him a note and an expensive present, he has to draw on the collective wisdom of an otaku message board to navigate the greatest crisis of his life.
  • Untamed Heart: Caroline, a waitress at a diner, is walking home from work one night when she's followed by two customers who eventually attack her. As one of them is about to rape her, Adam, a busboy at the diner who, as it turns out, follows Caroline home because he's in love with her, attacks the two of them. He then takes Caroline home, and stays with her until she wakes up. Though she had always treated him nicely when they were working together, this incident leads Caroline to fall in love with Adam.
  • In The Wedding Planner, the protagonist Mary gets her shoe stuck in the road while crossing it. A runaway dumpster rolls away from the top of the hill and begins racing down. Just as she is about to be hit, the handsome pediatrician Steve swoops in and saves her. He holds her in his arms, and she is starstruck.
  • Wild Wild West. This appears to be happening after Artemus and Jim West rescue Rita Escobar (Rita flirts with both of them and Jim West thinks they'll "end up in the saddle"). It turns out to be a subversion: Rita is actually playing both men to get them to take her along so she can help rescue Professor Escobar...her husband.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): It did not happen immediately, but Steve and Diana gradually become close after she rescues him from a plane crash.

    Light Novels 
  • In the Fate/stay night prequel, Fate/Zero, Kiritsugu wasn't exactly impressed with his future wife Irisviel at first sight since she was an Artificial Human yet didn't seem to have self-defense skills, but when her creator/father Jubstacheit threw her into a forest during a blizzard as a test, he changed his opinion and went to rescue her. They bonded further as he stayed by her side through her recovery, and they ultimately got married.
  • In Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest, Hajime has rescued most of his harem members at least once at some point, causing them all to fall in love with him. Shizuku also falls in love with him after he constantly comes to her rescue.
    • In the prequel novels, Naiz saves Susha and Yunfa, causing both of them to develop a crush on him.

  • Edgar Rice Burroughs. All the time. Some of the more notable ones:
    • In A Princess of Mars, Dejah Thoris doesn't admit to her attraction until John Carter rescues her.
    • In The Chessman of Mars, Gahan finds and rescues Tara when her shipwreck had ended with her prisoner.
    • In A Fighting Man of Mars, Tan Handron stumbles across Tavia and rescues her. It takes him a while to figure out the romance part, though.
    • In The Monster Men, Bulan and Virginia met when he rescues her from the title monsters.
  • In Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas Fogg rescues the Indian noblewoman Aouda from death by suttee. She falls in love with him almost immediately, despite their differences and how he's hinted to be quite older than her. Because Phileas Fogg has such an unemotional exterior, we don't find out that he loves her until the end of the novel.
  • In The Ballad of Dinadan everyone who knows Dinadan and Brangienne and how they met thinks that they should be this. Instead they are each other's Not Love Interests, fully admitting that they would probably make each other miserable.
  • The Honor Harrington short story "Beauty and the Beast" (from the anthology Beginnings) reveals that Honor Harrington's parents, Alfred Harrington and Allison Chou, got together this way. Both were attending medical school on Beowulf, met, and instantly became desperately infatuated with each other. Then Allison got kidnapped by enemies of her very prominent family, and thanks to the empathic link they turned out to share, Alfred was able to track her down and rescue her. Their romance progressed rather rapidly after that.
  • A lesbian variant occurs in Beauty Queens: Jennifer rescues Sosie from a giant snake. Later they become a couple.
  • The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. Tatiana and Alexander fall in Love at First Sight, but she breaks off the relationship before it goes anywhere because Alexander is dating her sister Dasha at the time. Furious, Alexander breaks up with Dasha as well. Tatiana then runs off to the front line to find her twin brother, and Dasha pleads with Alexander to bring her back. Alexander eventually finds Tatiana in the rubble of a bombed train station, digs her out, and treats her injuries, and they First Kiss not long after.
  • In A Brother's Price Jerin does carry the wounded Princess Odelia home, since their mothers and oldest sisters aren't home, the middle sister who found her can't carry her back and defend against possible attackers at the same time, and to have the other middle sisters go fetch her would leave the little sisters and the boys without much defense. Odelia finds Jerin handsome and plays up her injuries in the hopes of stealing a kiss, but it's her sister Ren, come to find her, who Jerin falls for first.
  • Parodied by Agatha Christie in "The Case of the Discontented Soldier". The title character rescues a young woman who has been kidnapped by criminals who think she holds the key to a lost treasure, they fall in love and live a long and contented life together—and unbeknownst to either of them, the whole thing was a set-up to bring them together. There's a scene where the two architects of the scenario are discussing its progress, and one wonders if they're laying on the adventure clichés too thick; the other assures him that the clichés serve to unconsciously reassure the targets because events are proceeding as fiction has taught them to expect.
  • Chindi by Jack McDevitt. Tor, a shy ex-boyfriend of Priscilla Hutchins, tags along on a mission with her because he's hoping to rekindle their relationship. She ends up saving him twice (though her rescue plan fails the second time and it's Tor who realises how to save them both) and the epilogue implies they've got back together again, mainly because Tor has an epiphany about his life after facing his death on two separate occasions.
  • Played straight, lampshaded, invoked, and all-around played with in Stephanie Laurens' Cynster Sisters trilogynote . It fits since they're set in the late 1820s.
  • In the sequel to Daddy-Long-Legs, My Dear Enemy, this is twisted on its head when Sallie McBride and Dr. Robin McRae's Belligerent Sexual Tension starts "properly" turning into love when Sallie witnesses Robin saving other people. First, he brings an alcoholic teenager back from the brink of death with Sallie's help, and she almost has a Love Epiphany; later, he almost dies rescuing a little girl from a Hollywood Fire and she realizes where her feelings lie.
  • Played with throughout the Carlos Tejada novels. In Death of a Nationalist, Tejada realizes that a woman he finds attractive is starving due to being on the losing side of the Spanish Civil War. He gives her food and later rescues her from a group of drunken would-be rapists. He backs off when she points out that he's basically expecting Rescue Sex as a reward. But she's sufficiently impressed by his disinterestedness that they get a Relationship Upgrade in the second book after he lampshades yet another rescue by saying "I don't spend all my time chasing after you to see you don't get in trouble."
  • This turns out to be what the Leptoceratops admirers who abduct Candacye in Dinoverse were trying for. They thought she was addled and being kept for food, and also she was hot. She thought at first they were trying for A Match Made in Stockholm.
  • Discworld:
    • Teased, but ultimately subverted in Mort. "We talked about it. Then we thought, just because you happen to rescue a princess, you shouldn't rush into things." Death specifically refers to the Snow White/Sleeping Beauty version as a bad idea.
    • Similarly deconstructed in when Granny Weatherwax wakes up a Sleeping Beauty counterpart and Magrat says it was a job for a handsome prince. Granny doesn't see how waking the princess would have been evidence he'd make a good husband.
    • Lampshaded, mocked, sent up and played straight with Trevor and Juliet in Unseen Academicals. Although Juliet was already a bit partial to Trev before he saved her life, he reflects that having done so is "solid gold in the romance bank". Juliet's friend Glenda sees it differently:
      Juliet: He saved my life!
      Glenda: That's no basis for a relationship! A polite thank you would have sufficed!
    • Frequently teased, but ultimately averted, between Tiffany Aching and Roland de Chumsfanleigh after she rescues him from imprisonment by the Queen of the Fairies. This happens when she's nine and he's thirteen, and for the next few books there are hints that there's something between them, but by I Shall Wear Midnight they've both realized that their lives are going in different directions and that they don't actually have a lot in common besides not fitting in with the other kids. They do remain friends, and she marries him to his fiancée, Letitia.
  • In Drawing A Blank, Carlton is introduced to Aileen when she tackles him out of the way of a speeding van. It was a setup to get her in with him, but nonetheless, it kickstarts their romance.
  • Invoked in Emma. Emma is sure that Harriet and Frank Churchill will fall in love after Frank rescues Harriet from the gypsies. Instead, Harriet falls for Knightly, who "rescues" her by dancing with her after she was snubbed by another man.
  • Played with in Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Many princes attempt to rescue Cimorene, who doesn't want to be rescued. Cimorene says that if a princess wanted to make a good match, a good way would be to get kidnapped by a dragon. The other princesses kidnapped by dragons compete for who has the most princes attempting to rescue them. Princesses sometimes arrange to get kidnapped by giants and other creatures in order to get rescued by eligible princes (although the process more often happens spontaneously), suggesting that rescue romance is a codified form of arranged marriage in the fairy tale universe.
  • Subverted in Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Two Fisted Poet - Sally's already interested in Percy to begin with, but he knows she's a Cute Bruiser and pre-arranges a mock battle with an older boy so he can show off when he takes her on a date. Sally's dizzy with delight until Encyclopedia whispers the give-away clue into her ear: Percy's glasses, which he'd put in his shirt pocket, are intact despite multiple body blows.
    Sally: W... why Percy! That wasn't a real fight at all! It was a fake! You fixed it!
    Percy: Upon my honour, if you were a boy I'd bash you good and proper!
    Sally: Forget I'm a girl.
    Percy: [snarls]
    [He goes down three times and gets up twice.]
    • The trope is subverted a second time in the same story: despite the fact that he's rescued her from having a misguided crush on a lying jerk, Encyclopedia and Sally never seem to be anything other than close friends.
  • The Faerie Queene:
    • Subverted in Book 1: The Red Cross Knight kind of fails at the whole "rescue" thing, leaving his charge at the mercy of church robbers, rapists, and Loony Fan forest critters. Those Masters of Illusion are just so great at the whole "illusions" thing...
    • Gender inverted in Book 3: Arthur's squire, Timias, falls in love with the huntress Belphoebe after she finds him injured in the woods and nurses him back to health.
    • Played straight in Book 6 with Calidore saving Pastorella from a tiger.
  • In Jennifer Fallon's Second Sons trilogy: Sort of when Dirk rescues Tia from a drunken sailor who thinks she is a prostitute (though her original plan was to get him into a more private place so she could beat him up, it doesn't quite work out that way). The resulting affair is very temporary, however.
    • Tia and Mischa, when the former aids the latter in breaking the opium addiction he didn't know he had (it's complicated), may be a better example. Though an attraction did exist earlier.
  • Played with in Goodbye, Mr. Chips. On a mountain climbing holiday, Chips sees a young woman "waving excitedly from a dangerous-looking ledge" and goes to see if she needs help. He slips and sprains his ankle, and she has to help him down the mountain. She comes to visit him while he's recuperating, and they fall in love and get married.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Granted their Relationship Upgrade doesn't happen for another four books, but the first major interaction Harry has with Ginny Weasley is to rescue her from the Big Bad and his giant snake. While Ginny already had a crush on him before that, her feelings grew stronger after this event.
    • Hermione becomes friends with Harry and Ron after the boys team up to save her from a mountain troll. She and Ron later become a couple and go on to get married.
    • Gabrielle Delacour also gets a crush on Harry after he rescues her from the Black Lake, even though she wasn't actually in danger.
  • In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennia, one Chimera comments on how the lower class had cheap literature concentrating on Rags to Royalty Rescue Romance.
  • In The House of Night, Rephaim and Stevie Rae's relationship is entirely built on this. First Stevie Rae finds Rephaim almost dying from being shot out of the sky, hides him in a garden shed, patches him up, then lets him go. An I Owe You My Life moment is exchanged between them, which comes in handy when Stevie Rae is then later trapped on the roof of a building. Rephaim rescues her and an Imprint is formed between them. Then when Stevie Rae summons Darkness, it's none other than Rephaim who rescues her from Darkness. When Stevie Rae sees Darkness hurting Rephaim, she summons Light to help rescue Rephaim. When Dallas finds out that Stevie Rae's been lying about knowing Rephaim, and plans to "knock some sense" into Stevie Rae, Rephaim's the one that steps up and protects Stevie Rae. Then Stevie Rae protects them both when Dallas embraces Darkness and tries to kill them both.
  • Deconstructed in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Esmeralda falls for Phoebus instantly after he saves her from Quasimodo and Frollo's kidnapping attempt. But since she doesn't really know him, she sees him as a Knight in Shining Armor, instead of the cynical, selfish jerk that he really is, which allows him to take advantage of her.
  • Peter David's novel Imzadi uses this for the romance between Riker and Troi. Troi spends several weeks resisting Riker's advances until she's abducted by the Sindareen and starts fantasizing about him rescuing her—which he does. Rescue Sex ensues.
  • In Island in the Sea of Time, Swindapa falls for Marian Alston after the latter liberates her from slavery and teaches her how to fight. Luckily for her, Alston is a closeted lesbian, though it does take them a while to admit their feelings for each other.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Siron plays along when his dad wants to invoke this for him and Kasile as part of his Evil Plan. He later does it for real when his dad springs his coup and Kasile warms up to him as a result.
    • Eric saving Annala from Tahart is where their UST begins.
  • Examined with some care in the Lord Peter Wimsey series; Lord Peter falls in Love at First Sight with Harriet Vane, rescues her from wrongful imprisonment and hanging...and she bluntly declines his proposal. It takes four years before she's ready to have a relationship with him.
    • Subverted in Have His Carcase there's this gem of an ugly scene: "I know I'm being horribly ungrateful—-" "Hell!" All endurance has its limits and Wimsey had reached his. "Grateful! Good God, am I never to get away from the bleat of that filthy adjective? I don't want gratitude. I don't want kindness. I don't want sentimentality. I don't even want love— I could make you give me that— of a sort. I want common honesty."
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Charity's Back Story is that her future husband Michael rescued her from a dragon.
    • Harry assumes that their daughter Molly's crush on him is due to a combination of this and Like Parent, Like Spouse.
      Harry: Your dad fights monsters. I fight monsters. Your dad rescued your mom from a dragon. I rescued you from Arctis Tor. Seeing the pattern here?
  • Jane Eyre's romance with Mr. Rochester begins with her rescuing him after he's injured himself in a fall from his horse.
  • Zig-zagged a bit in King's Quest: The Floating Castle. Princess Lydia, who has been held captive to marry someone she doesn't want to, originally thinks that Prince Alexander is invoking this trope when he rescues her, and likes the thought because she both thinks it's fairy-tale romantic and that Alexander is rather attractive. But it turns out that Alexander really just needs her help for his real quest, and isn't actually interested in her that way, which disappoints her. But then she ends up bonding with Alexander's sidekick wizard Cyril, who was also helping with the quest.
  • The Last Days of Krypton: Lara meets Jor-El while rescuing him from the Phantom Zone projector he accidentally sealed himself in. A loving relationship quickly develops.
  • The Lois McMaster Bujold short story "Labyrinth" turns out to be a classical example... aside from the rescuee being an eight-foot-tall experimental Super Soldier and the rescuer being the sort of scrawny runt that makes an Air Vent Escape feasible.
  • The Laundry Files:
    • The protagonist saves Mo from a blood sacrifice in The Atrocity Archives. She's seeing someone else at the time so he doesn't follow it up, but he saves her life two more times during the course of the novel, so at the end, she decides to move in with him of her own accord.
    • In the second book she ends up saving the protagonist from a horrific death trap. This leads to him proposing to her.
  • The Neverending Story: Subverted with Hero Hynreck, who saved his one true love Princess Oglamar but decided he no longer wanted to marry her.
  • This ends badly in the Jack Vance series Planet of Adventure. In the first novel, the hero Adam Reith rescues Ylin-Ylan from being dragged off by various villains, and she takes him as her lover. In the second novel, however, they're returning Ylin-Ylan to her people the Yao, who have an extraordinarily strict code of pride and etiquette. Reith however does not fit into this society as a suitable rescuer (he's from another planet, so has no defined role). She tries to arrange for Dordolio to kill Reith in a duel so she can present him as her saviour, but when Reith wins the duel and humiliates him in the process, she snaps and tries to kill everyone in a Murder-Suicide.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's The Return of Don Quixote, Monkey is in fact reluctant to press his suit because he rescued the father of a very loyal daughter, and feels it's taking advantage of it. (They do end up married.)
  • In Right Ho, Jeeves, Jeeves suggests this as a plan, if Bertie sets off the fire alarm then the disentangled couples will rush to each others' aid and re-entangle, dis-entangling Bertie and saving Aunt Dahlia's magazine. His actual plan is somewhat more complex however, involving making an ass of Bertie as a key step.
  • In the fifth and sixth books of Safehold, Hektor Aplyn-Ahrmahk plays a critical role in rescuing Corisande's princess and Crown Prince and delivering them to safety. On the trip back to Charis, Hektor and Princess Irys begin to get close. Close enough that, when Sharleyan insists on an arranged marriage between the two as part of an alliance, neither of them particularly mind. Sharleyan took this into account in making her decision.
  • Readers are teased somewhat with an averted Rescue Romance in The Sarantine Mosaic duology: early in the first book, Crispin rescues a woman from her life as an inn prostitute slated to be sacrificed to an ancient god. She falls in love with him, but he's quickly drawn away from her by the intrigues of the emperor's court, and she ends up marrying someone else entirely. She spends a little time picking apart the Rescue Romance in her head, deciding that she's been rescued from "being rescued" by marrying someone else.
  • The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System: Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong: Liu Qingge is rescued from qi deviation by Shen Yuan, so Liu Qingge chooses to devote his life to protecting Shen Yuan. It's hinted at in the "Succubus" extra that his feelings for Shen Yuan are romantic.
  • Between Marianne and Willougby in Sense and Sensibility. He carries her home in the rain after she sprains her ankle, kickstarting their passionate romance. Later, of course, he turns out to be a cad.
  • Second Apocalypse subverts this twice in two different yet nasty ways with two Distressed Damsels.
    • We meet Serwe for the first time when she is rescued by Cnaiür, who then proceeds to rape her. Cnaiür develops a strictly one-sided, insane obsession with her while not treating her any better because of it.
    • Esmenet is rescued by a seeming Knight in Shining Armor and they engage in a romance, but the man turns out to be a sadistic, inhuman monster disguised as a man who is keeping track of Esmenet for his evil masters' benefit. No hearts are broken, though, as she was staying with him only for the free food and protection.
  • The 1934 C. L. Moore story "Shambleau"—generally acknowledged as epoch-making in the history of Science Fiction—turns this trope upside down. The story begins when space adventurer Northwest Smith sees a "sweetly-made girl" pursued by a lynch mob, intent on killing her. He intervenes to save her. This seems an obvious prelude to a Rescue Romance—but it turns out that she was not a girl nor a human being at all, but a disguised alien creature, predatory and highly dangerous. Soon, Smith himself needs rescuing and barely escapes with his life. The mob which wanted to lynch her had a point, after all...
  • The central relationship in The Sharing Knife starts out as a mutual example of this. Unarmed, sawed-off muggle Fawn was at the feet of the Malice; while experienced monster hunter Dag was well out of reach and moments from being torn apart by the Malice's creatures. Dag managed to get his hand free and toss his enchanted blades to Fawn, who caught them and slew the Malice causing its guards to scatter.
  • Both gender inverted and lampshaded in the Smoke and Shadows trilogy. Tony saves Lee's life multiple times, and when Lee finally comes out of the closet, Tony remarks, "I never thought of you as a damsel."
  • Played with in A Song of Ice and Fire with Tyrion's first wife, Tysha. It's first played straight with a slight twist: she falls in love, not with the dashing knight who most directly and physically rescued her from a group of bandits and implied would-be rapists (older brother Jaime), but the malformed midget who comforted her afterward (younger brother Tyrion). Then it's subverted when it turns out that Tysha was a prostitute and the whole thing was staged for Tyrion's benefit by Jaime, who thought it was about time his little brother had a woman. then it's doubly subverted when it turns out that their father Tywin, incensed at his son's marriage to a commoner, forced Jaime to tell Tyrion she was a prostitute when she actually wasn't. (Or at least, she wasn't hired by Jaime; Tywin considered her a whore because he believed that her only motivation for marrying Tyrion was his family's money. How pure her motives actually were is unknown.)
    • Although nothing has come of it yet, Sandor Clegane has rescued or protected Sansa Stark several times, most notably during a riot where she was dragged off and nearly raped.
    • Jaime Lannister leaps into a bear pit to save Brienne of Tarth, who despised him up to this point. Suffice it to say that she most definitely no longer despises him, though they aren't official yet.
  • In Star Wars: Kenobi, Ben Kenobi saves Annileen Calwell and her daughter from a runaway dewback in their first meeting. They also happen to get along quite well, especially since neither of them has allowed him/herself to have much fun in the past. They naturally grow closer over the course of the book, Big Damn Heroes introduction aside. Alas, it's not to be—Ben, besides holding to Jedi tenets of nonattachment, can't allow his secret guardianship of Luke Skywalker to be revealed to anyone, so he arranges to send her and her family off-planet.
  • Pufftail from Stray falls for Tammy after he rescues her from a King Charle's spaniel that is bullying her.
  • Used in the backstory of A Study in Scarlet, where it already seems like a cliche being pulled off the shelf, if a fairly well-executed one. A hunter and miner named Jefferson Hope finds a Mormon farm girl named Lucy Terrier, who is trying to control her horse and avert causing a stampede; with kind words and a firm touch, he calms her down and they're soon safe. Doesn't end well.
  • Lampshaded and played with, along with most other fairy tale tropes, in Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, where the Tradition ensures that any imprisoned princess will fall in love with the man who rescues her — regardless of any complications that would cause.
    • In The Fairy Godmother, the titular heroine is obliged to rescue an imprisoned princess herself because if a man did it, the Tradition would force the princess to fall in love with him... and she's already married. And her husband is someone who she intentionally let herself be rescued by precisely to invoke this trope. (And no, she didn't know who would be the rescuer. She and her father worked up the plan, and sent out a message to all nearby eligible princes, knowing she would fall in love with whoever succeeded.)
    • One Good Knight features a chapter in which the princess thinks over the basic rules of the Tradition in search of a way to avoid falling in love with the Champion who saved her from the dragon (who isn't looking for a bride at the moment for a variety of reason, the most significant being that Sir George's real name is Georgina — circumstances required her order to send in a female Champion).
  • Twilight: Bella and Edward were already secretly interested in each other. But it took Edward saving her from Tyler's out-of-control van to get their relationship going.
  • Warrior Cats: Silverstream rescues Graystripe from drowning, and he's barely out of the water before he's flirting with her. Bonus points for being Star-Crossed Lovers.
    • An Firestar stopped Sandstorm from falling off a gorge, and Crowfeather managed to save Leafpool from falling off a cliff, and... Never mind. If one character saves another, they're probably going to end up in a relationship at some point.
  • In With a Tangled Skein, Niobe has an Arranged Marriage to Cedric, a handsome, highly intelligent man. He loves her for her beauty, but she views him as a young boy (he was a few years younger than she). Only when he rescues her from rape at the hands of some drunk college students does she truly love him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in The 10th Kingdom. Wolf makes his way to the Troll Palace to rescue Virginia, cleverly tricking the idiot Troll children into knocking each other out, then swings in on a vine to free her. Her response when he notes she doesn't seem to trust him? "Of course I don't trust you, you tried to eat my grandmother!" (Yes, they went there. And it was actually rather well done and hilarious.) This was not an auspicious start to the relationship.
  • Arrow
    • Roy Harper saves Thea Queen from Attempted Rape by gang members and gets stabbed while doing it. She understandably freaks out over him being hurt and what could have happened to her had he not saved her, and takes him to get stitched up. He denies that he's her friend but they end up kissing in the hospital room. Thea returns the favor by saving Roy in the season finale, further cementing their relationship.
    • Discussed and defied in regards to Nyssa and Sara Lance. Nyssa comments that she found Sara alone, starving, and frightened, took her in, nursed her back to health, and ultimately trained her to be an assassin. Sara however insists that she wasn't with Nyssa because of the rescue, but because she genuinely loved her.
    • Deconstructed when Oliver Queen saves the life of Carrie Cutter only for her to become obsessed with him, becoming the recurring villainess Cupid.
  • In Ashes to Ashes (2008) Gene saves Alex's life no less than seven times, not to mention her soul.
  • Invoked in Battlestar Galactica when the Cylons on Caprica are trying to get Helo to fall in love with Sharon so she'll get pregnant with a hybrid. They stage a Centurion attack wherein Sharon gets "captured" and lead him to track her down and "rescue" her. This gives their already developing relationship a significant push.
  • Batwoman (2019):
    • Kate Kane rescuing her ex-girlfriend Sophie Moore is played for maximum romantic subtext. While disguised as Batwoman, she catches her after she's pushed off a building and they fall through the roof of a foreman's trailer onto a bed with their faces very close to each other.
    • Played for laughs in "How Queer Everything Is Today!". After Batwoman gets a Diving Save from a handsome male police officer, the entire city starts shipping them together. As Kate is a lesbian, she just finds this annoying. Later when Kate saves the life of Parker Torres, Kate makes a point of establishing clear boundaries as her mentor so she won't have a smitten schoolgirl on her hands.
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Vincent and Catherine first met when he brought her home after she was attacked and left to die in Central Park; given the constraints that Vincent's nonhuman appearance puts on him, it's fair to say they would never otherwise have met.
  • In Being Human between Annie and Mitchell, where the former seems quite keen to romanticise the latter's rescuing of her, and a relationship that had previously been purely platonic is transformed into romance post-rescue.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Though it doesn't immediately lead to romance, the first thing that seems to attract Willow to Oz in season 2 is that he is injured saving her life.
    • Played with when Riley saves Willow — this is an indication that he will later hook up with Buffy, who witnessed the event and is suitably appreciative that he saved her best friend.
    • Angel saving Buffy from three vampire assassins leads to him hiding out in her bedroom and their First Kiss.
    • Spike/Buffy share The Big Damn Kiss at the end of "Once More With Feeling" after Spike stops Buffy from dancing herself to death with a few well-chosen lyrics. Buffy later tries to blame it on Phlebotinum-Induced Stupidity, but Spike knows otherwise and starts pursuing her in earnest.
    • Parodied in "Beer Bad" when Buffy keeps having a Daydream Surprise in which she saves Parker from vampires and earns his eternal gratitude and apologies for dumping her to chase other women. After Buffy drinks some cursed beer and turns into a Nubile Savage she saves Parker from a burning building and gets this, accompanied by the requisite orchestral music...only for Cavewoman!Buffy to club him over the head and walk off.
    • Averted in "When She Was Bad" — Xander saved Buffy's life in last season's finale, but when Buffy returns to school next year she's still traumatized and acting out against all her friends, dancing intimately with Xander purely to make Angel jealous. After several minutes of getting Xander worked up...
    Buffy: Xander, did I ever thank you for saving my life?
    Xander: No...
    Buffy: Don't you wish I would? (walks off)
    • Played straight with Devon saving Billy from a Zompire in Season 9.
  • In Chicago Fire, Severide volunteers to donate bone marrow to a woman in need of a transplant, then ends up falling for her.
  • In an episode of Cold Case, a woman is involved in a car accident and is rescued from the wreckage by a firefighter. She is rendered paraplegic but goes on to marry said firefighter. However the woman's ex-boyfriend (who was driving the car yet got away with minor injuries) noticed something amiss with the whole accident. After doing some research and recalling that the woman complained about her legs hurting before being taken out of the wreck, he comes to the conclusion that the firefighter used the jaws of life incorrectly and crippled her. He confronts him about this in hopes of getting back together with her, only for the firefighter to murder him.
  • In an episode of CSI: Miami, the team encounter an agency that does mock kidnappings with this sort of thing (although the participants are further down the path) in mind. Girl gets "kidnapped", boyfriend "pays ransom" and/or "rescues her", they have sex (because "rescue sex is the best kind of sex"). This being the CSI Verse, it doesn't quite work out like that...
  • An episode of CSI: NY also takes a spin on the trope with a woman who, it initially appears, gets back together with her ex after he saves her from being kidnapped and assaulted. It turns out that the "abduction" was a fetish game she and her current partner had knowingly staged, and her ex killed her lover in a fit of jealousy - she just found it hot that he would go that far for her.
  • Doctor Who:
    • This is shown to be how the parents of companion Clara Oswald met. A large leaf blew into her father's face and caused him to stumble into traffic, which Clara's mother pulled him out of. Her father even kept the leaf as a memento.
    • Interestingly, all of the Doctor's own long-term love interests in the new series somehow saved his backside during their first adventure together - or the first from his own point of view that he actually remembers, anyways:
      • Rose saved him from a bunch of autons by means of some breakneck gymnastics that required a dangerous jump. By the next episode, he was already displaying the first signs of being somewhat smitten.
      • River stopped him from pulling a Heroic Sacrifice and took his place at the cost of her own life. He goes on to encounter younger versions of her from all throughout her life and becomes her husband. Somewhat downplayed in that it takes a few more encounters (in which she is generally fiercely protective of him) before he gradually stops being suspicious of her ample knowledge about him and his personal future and comes to reciprocate her feelings.
      • In a clear parallel to the above example of her parents, the Doctor first meets - or notices - Clara when she, or one of her echoes, saves his life in Victorian London, leading to much hilarity when he arrives at Clara's doorstep with a poorly concealed crush, only to find that she has no idea who he is and doesn't remember saving him. From her own perspective, she does not actually spawn the aforementioned alternate selves or go on to personally support him at a few key points of his past until they had already been together for a while.
    • EU material says this is how Vastra met Jenny—her future wife. Apparently Miss Flint was being menaced by a Chinese gang, which Vastra was only too happy to drive away. When Jenny didn't respond with revulsion to Vastra's (admittedly quite lovely) reptilian features, she decided to keep her on as a maid and sidekick. One thing turned to another, and, well.
    • In "The Pyramid at the End of the World" the Doctor is about to save not only a woman's life but the entire world, and predicts she'll have a pretty intense crush on him as a result. Unfortunately he spoke too soon.
  • Subverted in Downton Abbey. Matthew Crawley rescues Lady Sybil from a political brawl and her family expect this trope to occur. (Convenient as he's the future Earl.) She's actually interested in the chauffeur Tom, who everyone blames for getting her into trouble originally.
  • Game of Thrones: Serious Jaime/Brienne Ship Tease starts from when Jaime (without a weapon) leaps into a bearpit to rescue her.
  • Ghost Whisperer: It happened before the show started, but Jim and Melinda met when he (a firefighter at the time) rescued her from her burning apartment complex.
  • Lampshaded in C-drama Holy Pearl. "Ohh, I get it. Weak woman is saved by strong, handsome man and falls in love with him. There's only one problem—you don't look weak." For added irony points, the speaker is later saved by the man in question...and falls in love with him.
  • Deconstructed on iCarly, when Carly and Freddie start dating after Freddie pushed Carly out of the way of a truck, getting severely injured himself in the process. Eventually Freddie realizes (due in part to Sam's advice, for what that may be worth) that Carly might not like really like him for anything other than the rescue, and explains to her that while he hopes they will get back together after some time passes, for the time being they should end their relationship.
  • Kingdom (2019): A one-sided version. Lord Beom-pal is in love with Seo-bi after she saved his life from a guard turned zombie. She doesn't return the feeling as his cowardice had led him to abandon the Crown Prince and the peasantry of Dongnae, leading to many innocents dying.
  • Similarly, there was a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where a couple had this as a major fetish. The problem was that the husband was doing increasingly horrible things to the male escorts hired as "attackers."
  • Subverted in Merlin in which both Arthur and Lancelot (separately) go to great lengths to rescue Guinevere from a warlord, only for extreme awkwardness to ensue when they realize why the other one is there. Neither one ends up with her (at least, at the end of that particular episode). Played straight with Merlin and Freya, with tragic consequences.
  • Used as a plot detail in Monk; a nebbish millionaire got his best friend to fake a mugging in college so he could look heroic to his girlfriend (it worked, although he ultimately married someone else, the girl still said she should have married him). It didn't turn out so well later down the road when the friend pulled a gun and shot the millionaire when they did the same thing, for supposedly the same reason, which turned out to be an attempt to hide the friend stealing company money and killing the only guy in the way.
  • In The Musketeers Aramis saves Queen Anne by shielding her when there's a shoot-out during a prison escape. She's instantly smitten and their mutual attraction only grows as the pattern repeats.
  • In NCIS: Los Angeles, Callen and Sam rescue a Mexican girl during a shootout, and she brings up the rescue as justification for wanting to get closer to Callen (especially as one of her sisters also shows interest in him). Callen's enthusiasm for this is somewhat questionable, especially since he has other problems at the moment.
  • NCIS: New Orleans has a possible one starting in the episode "Identity Crisis" in which Sebastian protects a high-school friend from three hired guns, with her admiring how he Took a Level in Badass since they last saw each other. After the dust settles, they decide to go out on a date.
  • Jess in New Girl tells her housemates how she lost her virginity. The gang are lead to believe she loses it in a mini-golf structure, but she actually becomes stuck in the entrance to it and can't get out. In an odd turn of events, it's the fireman who rescues her that she first has sex with.
  • The Professionals. In "Blind Run", Doyle falls for the Girl of the Week and insists that he stay back and interrogate her...over dinner. Bodie protests that he saved her, so should be the one who gets to interrogate her. Doyle smugly refuses on the grounds that such a rescue makes Bodie emotionally involved.
  • In Pushing Daisies, although they'd known each other as kids, Ned and Chuck met again when he brought her back to life.
  • On the Red Dwarf episode "Stoke Me a Clipper", Ace Rimmer introduces himself after saving a princess and states his intentions to her: "There'll be time for answers later - and hopefully, some sex." And because he's Ace, she doesn't disagree. What a guy!
  • Subverted in the pilot of Royal Pains. Hank saves the life of a beautiful model and she falls in love with him. Hank identifies it as the Florence Nightingale Effect and tells her to go back to New York and come back in a few weeks if she still feels this way. She is never seen again so she presumably got over her feelings.
  • On Saved by the Bell Denise Richards' character stages this to meet Slater, but like most characters that don't appear in the opening credits is never seen again.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Invitations," Jerry falls madly in love with a woman who saved him from being hit by a car. Kramer is skeptical.
    Kramer: If a guy saved your life, you'd be in love with him too!
  • Sex/Life: Billie and Brad's first interaction was him stopping some street asshole from harassing her. After driving her to his place and showing her around, things heated up very fast.
  • In Smallville, in the episode "Relic", Lana's great-aunt falls in love with Jor-El when he saves her from Lex's grandfather.
  • Heavily implied in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "E Squared" when Captain Archer meets his great-granddaughter from an alternate timeline. According to her, Archer's future/past wife is an alien woman whose ship he rescues from a Negative Space Wedgie.
  • On The Vampire Diaries, Elena falls deeply in love with Stefan before later on discovering that Stefan was the one who miraculously saved her life from the tragic car accident that had claimed both of her parents' lives.
  • Played with on Veronica Mars in the episode "Silence of the Lamb"; Leo, a rookie deputy at the police department, actually rescues Keith, Veronica's father, from becoming the Body of the Week, but Veronica becomes smitten nonetheless.
  • The West Wing: In the first season episode "Mr. Willis of Ohio", Zoe, the First Daughter, is out at a bar with Charlie, C.J., Josh, Mallory and Sam, and goes to get drinks for them. While she does that, a couple of frat boys try to hit on her. When Charlie sees this, he goes and intervenes, and eventually, the Secret Service has to get involved. While it's debatable whether or not Charlie "rescued" her, it leads Zoey to ask Charlie out later in the season (in the episode "Lord John Marbury"), and they eventually become a couple.
  • The White Queen: While Richard of Gloucester and Anne Neville were smitten as youngsters, their mutual attraction reaches new heights after he rescues her not just once but twice. (As a bonus, their courtship even contains a few fairy tale elements.) At the Battle of Tewkesbury, he single-handedly stops a group of would-be rapists who attack her, behaving very much like a Knight in Shining Armor while she's the Damsel in Distress (and a Princess by her first marriage, no less). It's evident from the moment they lock eyes with each other that there's Unresolved Sexual Tension, as they're both much too proper to act upon their feelings, especially considering that Anne has just been widowed. Margaret of Anjou even picks up on the sparks between them, so she dangles Anne like a carrot in front of Richard when she tries to tempt him to join her side. After Anne becomes George of Clarence's ward, he confines her to his dwelling (so in other words, he's an "evil lord" who imprisons a vulnerable Princess in his "tower"). Despite Richard's repeated insistence, George forbids him to visit her for six months, so the Star-Crossed Lovers arrange a secret meeting in a garden where they discuss her plight. During their second garden rendezvous, Richard learns that George will soon send Anne to a nunnery where she'll be cut off from the outside world permanently, so Richard takes the Prince Charming route and asks Anne to marry him, declaring the love that he has long carried for her, and explains that being his wife is the best option for Anne to escape George's custody. After Richard bundles her up with his cloak, Anne happily replies "Yes" (she has dreamed of marrying him since she was a little girl), and they share a True Love's Kiss surrounded by a gorgeous and well-timed snowfall.

  • Japanese Mythology: Susano'o saved his first wife Kushinadahime from being eaten by the eight-headed dragon Yamata-no-Orochi, who had already eaten her seven sisters.

  • Black Jack Justice:
    • Played in both directions in the relationship between Jack Justice and Dorothy Evans. Dorothy is introduced in "Journey's End", where she finds Jack injured, treats him, and unknowingly endangers him all over again when the help she calls for him is a crooked police precinct whose watch commander is the one who wounded Jack in the first place. Jack tries to protect her from the danger he's brought to her door despite being so concussed he can't move under his power, but by the end of the episode it's Dorothy who saves the day by taking out three dirty cops one by one when they go into the basement Jack had her hide in. Jack's Private Eye Monologue describes her coming out of said basement with fire in her eyes, still armed with the weapons she used, and kissing him.
      Jack's Monologue: I have failed you in the role of narrator to this chronicle, my friends, for there are no words that can describe my elation as Dorothy Evans née Maxwell née Evans emerged from the basement with fire in her eyes. And if I thought that was good, it was nothing to when she strode across the room, coal scuttle and pistol still in hand, and kissed me hard and with a desperate longing born of having feared one would never feel like this again. A night terror I know all too well.
      Jack (out loud): Thought I wasn't your type.
      Dorothy: I'm a dirty liar.
      Jack: Hello, nurse!
    • In "The Empty Desk", Jack has been nowhere to be seen in the two weeks since the previous episode, "The Late Mr. Justice". In that episode, Jack rescued Dorothy from an old enemy who had kidnapped her to force Jack to surrender himself to be killed. He's absent for much of "The Empty Desk" itself, appearing only at the end to reveal that, during those two weeks, he and Dorothy married and had been enjoying a honeymoon in the Poconos.
      Trixie: Her response to being kidnapped was to marry you?
      Jack: Her response to being rescued in cinematic fashion was to marry me.
      Trixie: Baffling. I am officially baffled.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • Zigzagged in Jasper In Deadland. When Jasper risks losing his life and his memories in order to save his "friend" Agnes from Deadland, it seems like the obvious prelude to a Relationship Upgrade, only for something to halt the rescue or the relationship before it begins:
    • When Jasper and Agnes reunite for the first time, and Agnes regains the memories she lost, she excitedly proclaims that she knew Jasper loved her.. but the first words out of his mouth are "I'm sorry, I don't love you". It turns out his last memories have been erased, so he no longer remembers that he loves her.
    • Later, when Agnes rescues Jasper from Mister Lethe, and regain more of their memories, the two finally kiss. However, once more memories start to flood in, Agnes remembers how traumatic both of their lives were, and tells Jasper that they should stay in Deadland and give up their memories again, even if it means forgetting each other.

    Video Games 
  • When Junichi defends Ai from an aggressive dog in her route in Amagami.
  • Art of Fighting: It's strongly implied that Yuri fell for Robert, after he and her brother, Ryo, saved her from Mr. Big in the original game. The other reason being, that he's a looker and also happens to be her kind of guy.
  • In Asdivine Hearts, Uriel is convinced that Zack is the one who saved her from her burning village a year before the events of the game and joins the party to express her gratitude. This is despite the fact that he hadn't even left home at all at the time.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • It's revealed in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Through suppressed memories) that Ezio and Cristina started their relationship this way, Ezio saved her from an (Implied) Attempted Rape by Vieri de Pazzi.
    • Assassin's Creed III: Kaniehtí:io defies this trope; while Haytham Kenway does indeed rescue her and a number of her people from enslavement (or worse) at the hands of a British thug, she refuses to trust him until he accepts her as an equal and fights on her side.
  • In Azure Striker Gunvolt, GV was supposed to assassinate an Adept called the Muse, but when he learns that the Muse is merely an adolescent girl named Joule held prisoner her whole life, GV goes against his superior's orders and instead decides to free her. The two have started living together ever since, and Joule has been nursing a not-so-subtle crush on him.
  • When meeting two of the three possible female romantic interests in Baldur's Gate II, you end up rescuing them (twice, in the case of one of them...) the third? She was sent to help you.
  • Blaster Master Zero leads Jason to an underground habitat to a Cool Tank where he runs into an amnesiac Eve. Even after she recovers her memories and tells him he can go, Jason decides to stick with her anyway, and ends up rescuing her again in the Golden Ending. The next two games only strengthens their bond further as Jason tries to save Eve's life in some way, such as in Blaster Master Zero II where this is gender-inverted with Eve rescuing Jason in the Golden Ending, and in Blaster Master Zero III where in the Golden Ending Jason reunites with Eve and, following their implied Love Confessions from previous games, plus a direct one by her in this one, they end up Happily Married.
  • Hilariously played in the Battle for Wesnoth campaign Elvish Dynasty RPG, in which the human empire has a law on the books that if a dragon who holds a princess captive is slain the princess and the dragonslayer are considered married. Even if the dragonslayer happens to be the queen of the elves.
  • Cave Story: It's open to interpretation whether there's any romance between the player character and Curly Brace, but if so, then Rescue Romance definitely applies. Aside from a brief fight upon first meeting, all their interactions involve rescuing each other (with the player doing the bulk of the rescuing) or fighting side-by-side.
  • Devil Survivor invokes this; when Kaido asks you for advice on how to win Mari's heart, you advise him to help her out of a tight spot. This advice can later save the lives of multiple people.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • Aveline and Donnic's first on-screen meeting consists of Hawke & Co. showing up to rescue Donnic from thugs.
    • Merrill's Rivalry path consists of trying to "rescue" her from her own self-destructive demon-summoning. Can be romantic or platonic, however, and there's plenty of debate on whether it comes off as controlling.
    • There's also the nobleman's daughter who falls in love with Feynriel. He rescued her from being gang-raped by a group of bandits by making them kill each other while they were still awake, and she asks Hawke to help her find him so she can "thank him properly".
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest I: Princess Gwaelin had been kidnapped by one of Dracolord's minions and falls in love with the Hero the moment he comes in to save her. Eventually, he has no choice but to reciprocate (since the game does not allow you to turn her proposal down).
    • Dragon Quest IV: Psaro introduced himself to Rose by vaporizing a human thug threatening her.
    • Dragon Quest XI: King Irwin was appointed to the head of Eleaonor's personal guard after he saved her from a monster attack. Things went from there and resulted in the birth of the Luminary.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • In Fire Emblem Gaiden:
      • In the remake, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Gray joins the mission to rescue Clair in hopes to help save her and score this with her (or at least, Rescue Sex). If both of them live to the end, they get married.
      • Tatiana and Zeke's relationship mixes this and Florence Nightingale Effect since she rescued him when he washed ashore and took care of him.
    • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War:
      • Sigurd helps a girl named Deirdre who's harassed by a thug. She thanks him profusely, but flees, and Sigurd can't take her out of his mind, even when people say she's from a hidden village and can't be with him. The next time they see each other, Deirdre asks to join his troupe since she's a magic user and confesses she's been crushing on him ever since he helped her. Sigurd says he feels the same and lets her come with the group, and they eventually become an Official Couple.
      • Another possibility in the same game (this one's optional, whereas Sigurd and Deirdre automatically become hitched) is the hook-up between Prince Jamke and Lady Edain. She was kidnapped by Jamke's evil older brother who wanted to marry her, but Jamke let her go along with teenage thief Dew. When he returns, it's as an enemy; Edain recruits him for the good guys and, through conversations, can make him fall in love with her.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • An optional possibility is Eliwood of Pherae and Ninian the Dancer. The ship falls into this trope too. In Lyn's tale, Eliwood helps Lyn and Nils save a kidnapped Ninian, but she's unconscious that time and doesn't know Eliwood played a part in her rescue until their C support brings that up and she's able to say thanks.
      • Something similar happens with Rebecca the Archer and Lowen the Cavalier; their C support is about Rebecca glamourizing the time they met when Lowen rescued her from the bandits ransacking her village and recruited her for Eliwood's troupe.
    • In The Sacred Stones, it is possible to form a strong Support bond between the Paladin Seth and Princess Eirika, where he confesses that he has feelings for her that were fanned when he had to evacuate her from Renais Castle. This changes the epilogue such that Seth eventually gets married to her.
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening:
      • Chrom and Robin, the female Avatar can have something like this as well: He's one of the two persons who find her in the field at the beginning and take her into the Shepherds (the other being Chrom's sister Lissa), and when she's trapped by Grima in the final chapter, it's the sound of his voice that brings her back. In the case of a male Avatar and Lissa, the tie-in comics explain that while she can't bring the Avatar back when trapped by Grima... she is the one who actually found the passed out Avatar in the fields (via tripping on them), then called Chrom over for help.
      • If you get Chrom and Sumia hitched via Supports, they're a gender-flipped example since she saves him in Chapter 3 from the enemy on her Pegasus.
      • Maribelle can get hitched with Ricken (who helps her flee from Plegian soldiers), Libra (whom she rescues from a bunch of drunkards), and Gaius (who once was forced to frame her father to save her from a corrupt nobleman who held her hostage, and still feels horrible because of that... despite also him having sent a letter that ultimately saved Maribelle's father from being unfairly executed.)
      • Subverted by Kellam and Sully. He does help her once during battle, but he's wounded and not only does she call him out on his lack of self-care, but returns the favor immediately via bandaging his injuries.
      • For such a so-called coward, Yarne can score this with Nah as well, rescuing her from kidnappers.
      • Lon'qu can have this with Lissa after saving her from an assassin, and a variation with Miriel after he keeps her from falling to her death while she's completely absorbed in her studies.
      • More downplayed examples include the Female Avatar and Walhart when he saves her from collapsing while reorganizing her books, Laurent and Cynthia when he saves her from being run over by a ballista during training (and he lampshades the trope itself), and Gerome and Noire when he helps her when she's carrying a too-heavy crate and almost falls.
    • Fire Emblem Fates doesn't lack examples, either.
      • Azama can potentially have this with two women: his lady-of-liege Princess Hinoka (whom he found badly injured in the mountains and nursed back to health, which is why he serves under her in the first place) and Effie in the third path (theirs is a mutual rescue since they met when she shielded him from an enemy attack, and he healed her injuries at least three times.)
      • Princess Azura's romantic supports often invoke the trope... but in several of them, she is the one to the rescue. On one hand, she helps Hinata to get away from a Nohrian spy that had tricked him before, patches up Saizo's wounds when he gets hurt helping her, exorcises a demon that was about to attack Silas, helps Takumi to get free from a More Than Mind Control spell on the Birthright route, and stops Ryoma and Xander from what's about to be a Duel to the Death on the Revelation route; on the other, Subaki protects her from hitmen and Arthur once rescued her from guards years ago. She also has a mutual rescue with the Male Avatar on Conquest; he saves her from soldiers that had captured and were going to execute her, and she later repays the favor by protecting him from assassins in their support chain.
      • The above-mentioned Saizo is not only rescued by Azura but also by Princess Sakura. He's very seriously injured in their C support and Sakura walks on him about to pass out from pain and blood loss, so she promptly heals his wounds and then helps him get away from the ones who attacked him. And in the Golden Path, she's one of the two persons (the other being his brother Kaze) who manages to stop him from committing Murder-Suicide with the Avatar.
      • While Prince Xander is not exactly a Distressed Dude, in his A support with Charlotte he's taken by surprise by a Faceless at a time when he doesn't have a weapon handy. Charlotte runs in, tears the Faceless off him, and beats it to death with her bare hands.
      • If Kaze and a Female Avatar obtain an A support before Chapter 15 of Birthright, he saves the two from falling down a huge cliff (and if they don't have said A support, he pulls a Heroic Sacrifice). If they get an S support after that, it can be easily seen as this trope.
      • On the Revelation route, Leo saves Sakura when Zola takes her hostage in Chapter 10, and the two can later hook up when he joins the party in Chapter 17. She's even one of his best options for a wife in gameplay given she provides excellent pair-up bonuses as an Onmyoji and passes him access to the class for access to Tomefaire, which gives a sizable boost to his damage output with his trademark tome Brynhildr.
    • At the beginning of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Player Character Byleth saves Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude from a bandit attack, and they can romance them at the end of the game. It's played with a bit when you beat Chapter 11 and learn Edelgard set the whole thing up to begin with, but Kostas' comments on the matter indicate he didn't know who hired him and she was in genuine danger of losing her life.
  • Arguably used in Half-Life 2, where Alyx rescues Gordon from Civil Protection. "Arguably" because Gordon never confirms his feelings - in fact, Gordon isn't really supposed to have feelings separate from the player. But judging by the reaction of the majority of players to Alyx, it worked. This is also an example of a male rescuee.
    • Played straight later on, as Gordon gets to rescue Alyx from a stalker that's trying to chew her face off after the train crashes.
    • And at the end of the first game, Gordon invades the Citadel to rescue Alyx, after which we get the first overt sign of romantic affection from her.
  • In Chapter Two of Hotline Miami, the letterman-jacket wearing protagonist, AKA "Jacket", saves a young woman who was seemingly held captive and abused by the level's bad guy. He lets her sleep on his sofa, and it's implied by her moving into the bed next to him that they've undergone a Relationship Upgrade. She doesn't seem to mind that he's a killer (since that's how they met) and the girl is implied to have a positive effect on Jacket's life (shown by his messy apartment getting cleaner) until she gets killed off in Chapter Twelve.
  • In Immortal Love 6: Bitter Awakening Alison falls in love with Jacob after he saves her from a charging boar.
  • The player's introduction to Dawn Star in Jade Empire is the player sending Gao packing when he tries to hit on her. Though this might not count, as it is definitely not the first time the characters meet, and Dawn Star was infatuated with a male character long before the incident.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic. Bastila Shan initially resents the player for rescuing her. If you want to finish the game still in a romance you have to do it again though this time it's more psychological.
    • Used, even if one is a Gay Option, with the female paths. Carth did pull the unconscious Player Character off the escape pod and nurse him/her back to health in the Taris apartment. Later, if you choose to rescue Juhani, she reveals that the Player Character rescued her twice. The second time was in the grove. The first time was when Revan's forces marched on Taris and chased out the slavers.
  • The E3 trailer for LittleBigPlanet inexplicably subverts this.
  • Mario constantly going out of his way to rescue Peach, and her reaction whenever he does rescue her, is one of the main ways their romance is Ship Teased in most Super Mario Bros. games
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • A game designer once admitted it's mainly Link's job as a heroic figure to rescue the princess; Link has usually been either too young or the game's mood too light to do any sort of serious romantic subplot. To say nothing of Mario, who doesn't even take his ''villains'' seriously...
    • This is actually portrayed very well in the various games: even in the few situations where Link is old enough to conceivably pursue a romance with Zelda, he's also far too intently focused on his duty instead of her. He never ignores her, or through ignorance or malice puts her in danger, but he's never shown even the slightest interest in a romantic relationship. In Twilight Princess, however, the initial reason you start your adventure is to go rescue the mayor's daughter who pretty clearly likes Link already. Link does meet Zelda and Midna, but he has almost no interaction with Zelda at all, nor do either he or Midna ever show explicit romantic feelings for each other.
    • In the cartoon and early games it was played as romance. Later however they avert this, from A Link to the Past onwards, except for that kiss at the end of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games linked game.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link ends the third dungeon by saving Princess Ruto from the dungeon's boss. Ruto, who had initially been standoffish towards Link, changes her tune and becomes quite taken with him. She gives him the Zora's Sapphire, but mentions that her mother told her to only give to her future husband...which means she and Link are now engaged! When Link meets Ruto in the adult era, she calls him out on making her wait but admits that saving Hyrule is more important than getting married.
    • Played for laughs in Oracle of Ages. At one point, Link goes back in time to rescue the female Maku Tree sprout from a pair of Veran's moblins who went back in time to kill it. The tree sprout falls in love with Link and vows to marry him when she grows up. When Link returns to the present, the restored Maku Tree (previously quite professional) is still in love with him, is miffed that he made her wait for centuries, and declares that they are married.
    • Played rather straight in Spirit Tracks. The Link of the time period meets the Zelda of the time period after the plot's started rolling, and the two grow affectionate during Link's quest to restore her to mortality. It's not done completely straight, though, as they spend more time working together as partners than they do as hero and distressed damsel.
    • Would be played straight in Skyward Sword if it wasn't for the fact that the two have known each other for years and are pretty clearly crushing on each other before the game starts. Neither of them has declared their feelings by the time the plot starts, though.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it's implied that after Link rescues Zelda from a trio of attacking Yiga ninjas, she starts to warm up to him and possibly even develop feelings for him. Mipha's diary in the "Champions' Ballad" DLC also shows that she fell in love with Link after he protected her from a Lynel.
  • Due to the very nature of the games (and BioWare's known love for Recruitment by Rescue), many Romance Sidequests in the Mass Effect series have elements of this:
    • Ashley is rescued by Shepard (and Kaidan) on Eden Prime from overwhelming geth forces.
    • Liara is saved from a trap in the Prothean ruins as part of the main plot.
    • Although Tali first becomes romanceable in the sequel, she is recruited in the first game (and in the second one, for that matter) in a situation of much distress and will actually invoke this trope if you pursue her Romance Sidequest:
    Tali: What could I possibly be suggesting? I mean, a young woman gets saved by a dashing commander who lets her join his crew and then goes off to save the galaxy? How could she possibly develop any kind of interest in him?
    • Garrus, while introduced in the first game, is first romanceable in the second, where he first has to be rescued from an entire horde of mercenaries after his head.
      • In the second and third game, it's heavily implied that Dr. Chloe Michel, the doctor that Garrus saves when Shepard recruits him, develops quite a crush on him. Garrus in this case is Oblivious to Love.
    • Jacob probably would have survived the assault on the Project Lazarus lab without Shepard, but Shep still proved a lot of help.
    • Jack's recruitment mission in Mass Effect 2 effectively boils down to you rescuing her from the Purgatory Prison Ship (which she got put into in the first place by being a ridiculously dangerous criminal). And, of course, she's romanceable.
    • It took two games to come into play, but it's hinted that Kaidan's feelings for MaleShep really kicked into gear when he was saved on Virmire.
    • The usual pattern is actually inverted with Miranda, who rescued Shepard rather than the other way around, and put a ton more effort into it than Shepard usually does - Shepard's rescues typically take at most an hour including any boss fight, maybe half a day if you factor in transportation, while Miranda spent two years and a ton of the Illusive Man's money putting Shepard back together.
    • For a pairing that doesn't involve Shepard, the Shadow Broker DLC is built around Liara's attempt to rescue her friend Feron. If she was romanced, she confirms they're Just Friends. If not, she's ambiguous about her own feelings but states it wouldn't be ethical so soon after Feron's imprisonment (and torture).
  • In Tron Bonne develops a (one-sided) crush on Mega Man after he saves her from a dog chasing her.
  • Possibly played with in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: In Ground Zeroes Chico goes to Camp Omega with the intention of rescuing Paz, who he has feelings for, but ends up getting himself caught. Nevertheless, Paz is extremely happy that he came to her rescue and gives him a kiss at one point.
  • Mitsumete Knight likes this trope. No less than three conquerable girls can be saved from pinches, and will kickstart or considerably strengthen bonds with them: Sophia, Laury, and Priscilla. The first two are even saved twice; the last one's Rescue Romance is doubled up with Save the Princess.
  • The player's relationship with Aribeth in Neverwinter Nights Hordes of the Underdark is at least partially based on this trope.
    • The player's first meeting with Tiera in the fan module Shadowlords arc has him getting her out of some trouble with the local police.
  • If Obsidian had kept Neeshka's romance arc in Neverwinter Nights 2, her relationship with the hero would count. Safiya's first meeting with the player in Mask of the Betrayer might also qualify.
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker: A common theme in most of the romances:
    • The Player Character first meets the enslaved Octavia and Regongar when attacking a Technic League encampment, and freeing them will immediately ingratiate the couple to you, to the point a a casual threesome is easily achieved and the player can pursue a romance with both or either of them.
    • Tristian romance can often start with a female Player Character rescuing him against a wild Owlbear. More importantly, his romance arc has the player rescue him from his bondage to Nyrissa and his own spiritual despair.
    • The secret romance with Nyrissa also has the Player Character redeem her and ultimately rescue her from the Lantern King's curse by giving her back her stolen heart, convince her to genuinely atone and turn back into the kind-hearted and idealistic nymph she used to be. In this case, she ends up as the player character's queen and fully redeems herself.
    • The romance with the twin tiefling sisters, Kalikke and Kanerah. They are immediately attracted to the Player Character after he helps them having their Twin Switch partly fixed. The confident and straightforward Kanerah desires a physical relationship immediately after finding the magic mirror. Kalikke is more uncertain about opening her heart and losing someone else she has feelings for, but fully gives in once problems with the Forefather are heroically resolved.
  • Played with in the web game Phoenotopia where the heroine Gale saves a prince. She is friends with a lot of children who think that she is going to fall in love with the Prince because she rescued him and one even urges her to "confess her feelings."
  • Downplayed in Pokémon Colosseum. Rui is clearly grateful to Wes for rescuing her from Cipher and joins him because of it, and other characters refer to them as a couple, but there's no official Relationship Upgrade.
  • In Princess Maker 2, one of the main ways that your daughter can end up developing feelings for Cube is if she is often defeated by monsters and/or bandits while out on trips since Cube is the one who rescues her and brings her home.
  • This is how Cornet's infatuation with Prince Ferdinand gets kick-started in Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. She dreams of him saving her from a scary, nondescript monster, and then it happens for real when she goes off to the forest to retrieve some red Inotium and gets attacked by Myao and her hench-cats. And then she has to play it straight for him, as the Big Bad gets Ferdinand Taken for Granite and Cornet has to undo the spell...
  • During the penultimate chapter in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, Bentley organizes a caper to save Penelope from Captain LeFwee, and she falls for him after spending most of the game crushing on Sly. This proved to be his biggest mistake.
  • Star Fox: Fox falls in love with Krystal when he sees her trapped in a crystal. After he rescues her at the end of the game, the two become a couple.
  • The semi-sequel, Star Wars: The Old Republic, has an interesting play with this trope. The Sith Inquisitor decides he wants Ashara Zavros as his apprentice. Instead of going about it the usual way, he can decide that turning her will be much easier if she likes him. So he hires a bunch of assassins, sends them after her, then "heroically" swoops in at the last minute and saves her from them. Not long afterwards, she joins him and he can start her Romance Sidequest.
  • In Stardew Valley several of the possible romances have elements of this:
    • Penny lives with her Jerkass alcoholic mother Pam in a little trailer by the river, spending her time between being a School Marm to the local kids and tending to chores in her dim, stuffy home. If your character marries her, she moves in with you as a farmer's wife, alleviating the problem and giving Penny her own space to flourish.
    • Shane is a prickly but likeable alcoholic who wrestles with depression while working a soul-sucking job at the local Walmart Expy. To make things worse, if the Community Centre is finished and Jojamart is run out of town, then Shane loses his job and cannot support his family on a Saturday job at Pierre's - his depression and suicidal thoughts exacerbate. Unlike Penny, simply meeting a lover and going to live on a farm doesn't alleviate years of poor mental health, the mess in his room suggests his struggles are ongoing.
    • Sebastian is a troubled loner who lives in his parents' basement. He doesn't get along with his stepfather Demetrius or his half-sister Maru. He smokes heavily and seems to have depression and social anxiety. If he moves in with the Farmer, he goes a good way to kicking his habit and his relationship with his mother Robin improves, though he is still estranged from Demetrius and Maru.
  • Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town: Laura's first heart event consists of her rescuing the Player Character after they almost drown while trying to find a wallet Jacopo accidentally threw in the sea after absent-mindedly getting it mixed up with an item he wanted to discard.
  • In Street Fighter III, Necro and Effie rescue each other. In the first game and Second Impact, Effie finds out that Gill has locked Necro up in a building that's about to explode and sneaks in, getting the two out; Necro returns the favor in Third Impact, as he uses his Rubber Man powers to save her from a fatal fall.
  • Summertime Saga: Some of the relationships are built on this, getting the potential partner out of a blatantly abusive situation, who then fall in love with the MC. Liu the bank teller and her dictatorial husband Kim, and Consuela the maid who's getting harassed by Mayor Rump are prominent examples.
  • While it's never explicitly stated, Tales of Phantasia certainly does suggest that Mint develops romantic feelings for Cless after he rescues her from Mars' dungeon. At the end of the Tower of the 12 Zodiac Signs, the guardian Artemis, for his own amusement, tells Arche to kiss Cless. Just before Arche does kiss Cless, Mint pushes Arche out of the way. In the only romantic scene between the two, in a town with constant snowfall, Mint tells Cless that, shortly after they escaped from the dungeon, she saw him holding onto a unicorn earring that belonged to Meryl, Mint's mother. She thanks Cless for not telling her then what happened because, had she known, she would have lost all hope, and then Mint starts crying.
  • Played with in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: if you choose to use your blood to save Heather Poe, the young woman you meet as she's bleeding to death in the Santa Monica clinic near the start of the game, she'll eventually move in with you and become your Ghoul. However, it's never entirely possible to say how far this is due to her genuine gratitude and attraction towards the player, and how far it is a result of the Blood Bond controlling her actions.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Death Room, you can rescue Ambrosia and, if you're a male, earn a kiss from her.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • In the Fate route and anime Saber saves Shirou from Lancer, Shirou saves Saber from Berserker, Saber saves Shirou from Rider twice, Saber attempts to save Shirou from Illya, Shirou saves Saber from Berserker again, Shirou saves Saber from Gilgamesh, Lancer saves the both of them(!?), and by that point, Shirou and Saber are hopelessly infatuated with each other. Apparently, winning the affections of Saber will only cost you about 18 gallons of blood.
    • A villainous example would be Caster (Medea) and Kuzuki Souichirou. She was suffering from lacking access to a mana source and was about to die when she met the former; he took her in, agreed to form a contract with her, and even introduced her to others as his fiancée. As a result, Caster becomes hopelessly devoted to and starts a strange romance with him.
    • This is also how Shirou first met Sakura. He saved her from bullies when they were children and then were properly introduced to each other later by Shinji. Kid Sakura had actually fallen for Shirou before this point watching him from afar perform a seemingly impossible task until he succeeded. Humorously, the same event similarly caught a young Rin's attention.
  • In Ikemen Sengoku, Nobunaga Oda becomes quite taken with the female protagonist after she saves him from an assassination attempt. Yukimura, Ieyasu, and Kenshin's routes also have their first major interaction with the female protagonist be them saving her from bandits or assassins, and Sasuke's route has Sasuke become completely devoted to the protagonist after she saved him from getting struck by lightning just before they got sent back in time.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations:
    • According to Desiree, she fell in love with Ron Delite when he saved her from a pair of thugs. And then he passed out.
    • Played with in case of Phoenix and Iris. She started dating him to save him (it's complicated), and then she fell in love with him.
  • In Sunrider Mask of Arcadius, Asaga develops feelings for Kayto after he rescues her from her wedding ceremony to Veniczar Arcadius. Unfortunately for her, Kayto is oblivious to her feelings and ends up in a relationship with her best friend Chigara instead.
  • Kind of a theme in True Love Junai Monogatari, where The Protagonist has to rescue several of the girls he can romance from one or another danger. I.e. he meets Arisa when he saves her from drowning, then can either save Remi from her Stalker with a Crush or rescue Mayumi from a Near-Rape Experience (the last one leads to him also winning affection points with his and Mayumi's Hot Teacher Yumi-sensei. And then it's inverted if you make him romance either Chiemi or Yumi: the first saves him from drowning during their swimming competition, the second saves him from a thug... and one that he was trying to protect her from.
  • Tokimeki Memorial 1, very surprisingly, has a case of this, but it's a really bizarre one: if you repeatedly phone to Rei Ijuin, the game's Bifauxnen, it will activate various events revolving around her, and in one of them, she'll be kidnapped. You can decide to go to her rescue (and is required if you want to get her Ending), but in a subversion, when you'll arrive at the supposed place where's she captive, the Ijuin Family Army will already have saved her. As usual, she'll give the protagonist some badmouthing for his stupid recklessness, but will still thank him, and apparently starts to like him from this point. Oh, did I forgot to mention that the protagonist, at this point, doesn't know that she's actually a girl, and won't discover this until the end of the game when she'll confess to him on Graduation Day under the Legendary Tree?
  • Arsenik and Ambrosia's romance in War: 13th Day. He rescues her on more than one occasion, giving rise to many beautiful feelings...if you decide to embark on his route, that is. This is central to the Genre Deconstruction that takes place in the True End.

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 
  • Played with in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Captain Hammer "saves" Penny from a runaway van and they become an item. Even though he saved her by throwing her into a pile of trash. And it was really Dr. Horrible who stopped the van.
  • In Receiver of Many Demeter fell in love with Zeus when he freed her and the rest of their siblings from Cronus. His face was the first one she saw after many years in darkness.
  • Subverted in RWBY which essentially used the two elements without combining them. Pyrrha and Jaune meet for the second time when she saves him from falling to his death, but Jaune correctly assumes that Pyrrha's a nice enough girl that she would have done that for anybody- something the writers confirmed. Pyrrha still falls in love with Jaune anyway, for unrelated reasons.
  • In the Whateley Universe, Dogged Nice Guy Stalwart pursued Fey until she got angry enough to throw him across the Quad with magic. But when he saved her from mutant ninja assassin Nex she decided she owed him at least a date. And then she decided he really was a nice guy. They are still dating.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Invoked in an episode where a Fangirl of Sonic's falls off a tall building. Sonic, being the hero that he is, zooms over and saves her. When Tails asks her about how she fell off the roof, she says, "Oh, that? I jumped. I wanted you to save me! How else was I going to meet you, silly?"
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: Kevin and Gwen are constantly saving each other from evil aliens and the Forever Knights. This is taken to extraordinary lenghts in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: In "Attack of the 5 1/2 Foot Geek", Sheldon meets (and falls hard for) Jenny after she saves him from some bullies in shop class.
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends: Zig-zagged, but largely subverted, in "Flight to Cloud Castle, Part 2". Ariel is thankful enough to Garth for waking her up from her enchanted sleep and from the fall of the flying castle but has no interest in getting into a romantic relationship. At the end, she's still not really interested but doesn't discount it as an option for the future.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • The first time Paulina is rescued, she acknowledges that Danny is a good ghost (in a town then on Untrusting Community levels), but it was his second rescue that Paulina had fallen madly in love with Danny Phantom. Although, this turns into a case of Loves My Alter Ego. They actually never get together.
    • Deconstructed in "Masters of All Time"; In the alternate timeline, Vlad saved Maddie from the malfunctioning portal, earning her affection, eventually marrying. However, Vlad is overly controlling and possessive of Maddie, even having forbidden her from pursuing ghost hunting, and had lied to her, saying that Jack (who had suffered the ecto-acne accident in this timeline), didn't want anything to do with her. Maddie, unwilling to give up her life's work, resorted to ghost-hunting behind his back, clearly resenting him for it. Whether she felt obligated to marry him out of gratitude or simply overestimated his character based on that one seemingly noble act, rescue was clearly not good enough grounds for a lasting romance.
  • DuckTales (1987):
    • In "Lost Crown of Genghis Khan", Launchpad saves "Snowy" from falling off a cliff. When he finally manages to haul her up the cliff, she begins making goo-goo eyes at him, much to his dismay (and Webby's amusement).
      Webby [giggling]: You're her hero, Launchpad!
    • In "Double-O-Duck", Feathers begins showing genuine attraction to Launchpad after he saves her from a Death Trap, saying even Bruno hadn't saved her life.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • A sketch features a nerd winning a date with Scarlett Johansson in a contest. When she arrives, she hardly masks her frustration with the situation. Suddenly, a bunch of goons hired by the nerd "attack" the two during the date, allowing the nerd to "chase" them off. She instantly falls in love with him, and we get a Happily Ever After montage of them marrying, having kids, etc. Then we see the nerd at his death bed confessing the ruse to Scarlett who, instead of being outraged, suddenly starts speaking in a man's voice and claiming she's not the real Scarlett Johansson but a (male) impersonator. The revelation causes the nerd to flatline right then and there and "Scarlett" to break down in tears. How did they have kids, you ask? Probably conceived by the Rule of Funny.
    • The show later subverts the trope when Link rescues Princess Zelda. He expects a kiss, but the princess rejects him because they only just met; apparently she gets kidnapped and saved all the time, and after sexing up the first hero to save her she stopped.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Hordak saves Entrapta from an explosion(it's hinted she was already in love with him, before that). Minutes later, she nurses him when he collapses of exhaustion and pain, then builds him a new armor/exhoesqueleton. Hordak falls so deeply in love with her that his feelings remain even after Horde Prime wipes his mind out TWICE. He eventually shoots Prime to save Entrapta's life.
  • Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?: The title character wins the heart of exotic dancer Neefa Feefa by saving her from spending the rest of her days dancing for the king.
  • Gravity Falls: The romance part is downplayed to Ship Tease, but after Dipper saves her from a ghost in "Northwest Mansion Mystery", Pacifica becomes much nicer to him, enjoying his company more than before and valuing his opinion of her.
  • Steven Universe has a mutual case in "The Answer". Ruby saves Sapphire from an ambush (one that Sapphire herself predicted, before Ruby opted to Screw Destiny), but accidentally violates a major Gem taboo in the process (fusion between different types of Gem). Sapphire then returns the favor by helping her escape to Earth, where the two end up falling for one another.
  • Total Drama:
    • Season four has Mike and Zoey, who save each other quite a bit throughout their time on the show.
    • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race: Noah had a crush on Emma, but after he saves her from falling to her death, the feelings become mutual.
  • We Bare Bears: In "Panda's Date", Panda develops a crush on Lucy the grocer when she manages to use an Epipen to save Panda from a nasty allergic reaction.

    Real Life 
  • A standard trick by private investigators or spies to gain someone's trust is to stage a fake barfight or street mugging, with the investigator as the Good Samaritan coming in to "save" them.
  • Called the "Florence Nightingale Effect" when it happens in hospitals. The reverse, when a caretaker develops feelings for their patient, is called countertransference and it is a serious concern for any psychiatric professionals.
  • In southern Alberta, there was a long-time bachelor who, upon hearing of a recently-widowed woman with several little mouths to feed, offered to marry her so that she'd have someone to help support her and her children. His actions were seen as hugely honourable by the community.
  • Roseann Sdoia, who lost her right leg in the Boston Marathon Bombing, was escorted by Firefighter Michael Materia as she was rushed to the hospital. Without the tourniquet he was holding to stop the bleeding, she wouldn't have survived. They starting dating shortly afterwards, and four years after the attack, they decided to get married.
  • The famous samurai Ryoma Sakamoto escaped from an assassination attempt in the Teradaya inn from Kyoto after one of the maids, "Oryuu" Narasaki, overheard the would-be assassins' talks when she was taking a bath and then rushed naked through the inn to tell him and his allies. Few later, Sakamoto and Oryuu got married.
  • German army officer Heinz Drossel ended up saving the lives of hundreds of Jews during World War II, despite the fact that doing so could've led to him being court-martialed and executed (It is important to note that Drossel was not a Nazi). After the war, he ended up marrying Marianne Hirschfeld, who was the first Jew he rescued. Drossel and Hirschfield met when he found her about to jump off a bridge in despair, he took her home to his apartment and gave her money to look for a safer place to find refuge.
  • This was the preferred seduction technique of Giacomo Casanova, of whom The Casanova trope is named.
    "There is no honest woman with an uncorrupted heart whom a man is not sure of conquering by dint of gratitude. It is one of the surest and shortest means."
  • British explorer Samuel Baker married his wife Florence when he rescued her from an Ottoman harem. She was Hungarian by birth and was groomed to be a slave destined to a Turkish general. Baker came across her while visiting the slave market and tried to buy her freedom, but when her master out-bid him, he simply stole her away to freedom.
  • This happened to a couple during the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.


Video Example(s):


George Saves Lorraine

George rescues Lorraine by punching out Biff.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / RescueRomance

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