Follow TV Tropes


The Four Loves

Go To

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, or if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast but have not love, I gain nothing."

Love is the most important value of all. Everyone needs to love and be loved in return. This trope applies when a character's main motivation is to love, be loved or both.

Because the word "love" can apply in many situations and circumstances, the ancient Greeks divided the concept of love into four different types (later expanded upon by C. S. Lewis in his The Four Loves):

  • Storge (Affection/Family) — This is fondness through familiarity, especially among family members or people who have otherwise found themselves together by chance,note  It's usually, but not always, reciprocated. The archetype of storge is mother's love for her children — and the children's love for mom. Lewis says storge is a very basic human need, comparing it to food — if you think you can do without, it's not a good sign, just like lack of appetite can be medically alarming. In fact, human children (and other mammals — see cloth mother and related experiments) have been observed to not develop right when deprived of storge. While the archetype of storge is family, it doesn't need a blood relation — e.g. both sides of the Happily Adopted will, by definition, have storge for each other (wouldn't be happy otherwise). Go Mad from the Isolation may happen to people deprived of it, even if they're technically not on a desert island. Desperately Craves Affection is another way the need for storge can manifest.
  • Philia (Friendship) — Friendship is a strong bond existing between people who share a common interest or activity. This includes what Lewis calls companionship; that is gregariousness of the kind which is found in a Good-Guy Bar or Local Hangout; as well as friendship proper which is between Heterosexual Life-Partners, Platonic Life-Partners and the like but often starts as companionship. It grows from Commonality Connection — some especially lighthearted Worthy Opponents might have this sort of a love, as well. Also the primary sort of love between Fire-Forged Friends (storge needs time to arise, while philia can come in an instant). Note — there is no such thing as one-sided philia. If you admire that other person, but they don't know you exist, it's either unrequited eros or fangirling (fanboying). Also note that Lewis says we can survive without philia, but Living Is More than Surviving. And — while you may yearn for philia (it has been known), if there's nothing you can bond with people over, you can't have a philia-based relationship (you can find storge or eros, though).
  • Eros (Romance) — This is love in the sense of "being in love". (This is distinct from sexuality — platonic Courtly Love is also Eros.) Lewis calls sexuality "Venus", and while it can concur with Eros, on its own it's not a love, just desire (not to be confused with Lust, which is this desire expressed in a sinful way). Eros does not have to be reciprocated — if it's one-sided, but true, expect I Want My Beloved to Be Happy, otherwise Love Makes You Evil (or If I Can't Have You…) might ensue. It is also not inherently tragic. In fact, if it's reciprocated and true, the couple tends to be happy in most dire circumstances, as long as they're together (Lewis specifically mentions Laugh of Love as an indicator of true eros). But! If it's reciprocated, but not true, Love Martyr, Masochism Tango and similar tropes will lurk around.
  • Agape (Unconditional Love) — This is the love that brings forth caring for the other regardless of circumstance. Agape is a decision to put the other person's good before your own,note  not emotion, although emotions can provide a "booster rocket" into agape and are a natural way of attaining it. On its part, agape infuses the other loves, making them true and keeping Love Makes You Evil at bay — without agape, the other ('earthly') loves are prone to turning into selfish possessiveness. As Philip K. Dick put it "Love is (...) like a father saving his children from a burning house, getting them out and denying himself. When you love you cease to live for yourself; you live for another person."
    Agape is never self-destructive; it is not the willingness to sacrifice oneself that, say, someone with a Guilt Complex would have. It may be difficult to explain the differences between a Martyr Without a Cause and someone who's accepted agape love into their heart, but they exist; one key distinction is that one might love a vile monster even while actively opposing them, even to the point of a Mercy Kill, like a mother might love a son that passed the Moral Event Horizon a long, long time ago and needs to be put down. Agape builds the soul, fosters emotional health and self-confidence. Or to put it another way, agape strongly overlaps with I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: when seeing the person you love be satisfied is enough to satisfy you, even if you get nothing else out of it. It can be considered the type of love all other loves spring from.

A fifth love, rarely mentioned in modern times, was called xenia. Translated precisely as "guest friendship", we know it today as the Ancient Greek concept of Sacred Hospitality. It was so important to the Greeks that its patron was Zeus himself, in the epithet of Zeus Xenios.

Also referenced as a minor note are loves for non-human things. Love for an animal (such as a pet) is redirected to storge according to C. S. Lewis, while modern animal rights proponents might argue for the inclusion of animals in general in agape, but love for nature and love for country are most noted as love for non-human things. Likings and preferences (for food, activities, etc) are also discussed especially as you can admire an object (like a painting for instance) just as you can admire a person.

It is notable that these are rough categories of love and not exclusive to each other. That is, more than one can appear between the same people. For instance, if Alice meets Bob at a Sci-Fi convention and they continue to get together to talk about sci-fi, then they have philia. If Alice and Bob in the process become each others' Love Interests, they will also have eros, but if they still get together to talk about sci-fi they still have philia. If they are Happily Married for so long that they grow old together and like each other's company simply because they are there, that is storge. And if they make Heroic Sacrifices for each other, that is agape. In general, philia will normally make storge arise in time, and in the absence of hindrances (look here for a list) it's likely to bring about eros as well.

Related to Like Brother and Sister and I Just Want to Have Friends. Agape is also a Super-Trope of Heroic Sacrifice and all four (well five) can be expressed by an Act of True Love.


    open/close all folders 


     Anime & Manga 
  • Fate Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. She just want to be loved by her dearest mother who tortures her on regular basis because she hates how Fate (who is a clone) has her own personality rather than being a complete carbon copy of her deceased daughter. She gets everything she wished, though: she gets a new family (the Harlaowns) and later becomes one of Vivio's two mommies with Nanoha. People even call the three of them "the Takamachi family".
  • Miyako Miyamura's goal in ef - a fairy tale of the two. is this, ever since her parents' messy divorce that had them ignoring her completely.
  • All four are present in Delicious in Dungeon: siblings Falin and Laios are storge, all of Team Touden are philia, Shuro's romantic love for Falin is eros and All-Loving Hero Falin is agape.
  • Alois Trancy from Black Butler. An evil variation. It gets so bad that eventually he doesn't care whether it's Claude, and sells his soul to Hannah instead because she was pretty much the first person since Luca to earnestly say "I love you".
  • In One Piece, the only bond seconded by The Power of Friendship is familial love, showcased earlier on in the case of Nami's family. This goes into play more powerfully around the Whitebeard crew, who even refer to each other as family with one badass father. Tragically, this is what ultimately leads to Ace's arrest and death.
  • This is the major motivation factor for the Jinnouichi family in Summer Wars, whom despite being rather extensive are very close to each other and feel a strong mutual connection to their matriarch Sakae. Also later applies to Kenji, whom the Jinnouichi come to treat as "part of the family."
  • Code Geass: CC once wanted nothing more than this trope. So she got a geass power that forced everyone she met to fall in love with her and shower her with affection, which was great… for a day or two. It's the reason why CC is now a cold-hearted Broken Bird.
  • Some of the Hime in My-HiME have their most important person chosen from this. Mai's first MIP is Takumi, whom she raised after the deaths of their parents, Nao's is her comatose mother, Mikoto's is her brother Reito, and Alyssa's is her father.
  • While Ennis from Baccano! understands love, she is unable to distinguish the difference between The Four Loves and thus straddles the line between Oblivious to Love and asexuality.

    Comic Books 
  • Irredeemable: This is the Plutonian's motivation for being a superhero after spending years in several foster homes with people who were afraid of him. Despite being a respected champion, he's so obsessed with the negative comments and constant demands people give him that it drives him over the edge.

  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic A Candle to the Sun has Twilight deciding to admit her love to Celestia. The story, and the Les Yay tendencies in the fandom, sets the reader to expect a lover's eros, making it a surprise ending when it turns out to be a daughterly storge.
  • The Harry Potter of the Firebird Trilogy shows Voldemort using this is in a very cruel way.
  • Little Hands, Big Attitude: Alisson explains the concept of the four loves to Silver after he expresses his confusion over why he feels so angry at Knuckles for being overly affectionate and courteous to Blaze. She explains to him that he sees Blaze as his sister and is afraid that Knuckles will hurt her feelings.

    Films — Animated 
  • In the animated film version of Coraline, the heroine is dissatisfied with her family, feeling that they don't care enough for her. This apparently invites the attention of a monster who wishes to have a child to possess and obsess over to the point that she drives them to death... as it has already done to three other children.
  • Encanto deals with one of the ways storge relationships can go sour. Specifically, how fear and subsequent Control Freak tendencies can make you forget the actual people you have storge for. Although there's some philia there, as well, between Mirabel and Bruno, the "family weirdos" when they get to actually interact.
  • The main plot of Frozen is how the sisters Anna and Elsa rebuild their relationship after being distant for over a decade. The "act of true love" that would break Anna's freezing curse was implied to be Eros (hence Anna trying to get a kiss from Hans and later Kristoff), but this is subverted as the act that saves her is storge between the sisters. Anna's desire for Elsa's affection is written out in several songs, including four Cut Songs. In "Life's Too Short (reprise)" she bemoans as she freezes to death how selfish she was for being desperate for affection which led to her being in her current situation. "More Than Just A Spare" and its finalized counterpart "For The First Time In Forever" show that she redirected her want to be with Elsa into being In Love with Love, which led to her being easily manipulated by Hans when he pretends to fall in Love at First Sight with her and instantly tries to marry her.
  • Both Onward and Brave are also about rebuilding storge relationships, between brothers and mother-daughter respectively, that have fallen apart due to growing up, lack of communication and selfishness.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Interstellar, Coop's love for his daughter Murph enables him to save Humanity after he dives into a black hole by guiding him to a point in time where he can transmit the data needed to lift mankind off of a dying Earth.
  • In Maleficent, Maleficent comes to love the princess she cursed like a daughter. This love is also what breaks the curse in the end, which triggered some accusations that the movie copies Frozen, even though it is more about parental love, not sisterly love, and the characters are not even blood-relatives.
  • Bryan Mills' daughter is abducted and sold into sexual slavery while on vacation in France in Taken. Bryan heads to France, finds the slavers, kick France's butt halfway across Europe, and gets his daughter back.

  • Rana Sanga and his family in Belisarius Series. Lady Sanga is the epitome of this.
  • Honor Harrington and Nimitz, her treecat.
  • Harry Potter feels this way towards the Weasley family (except Ginny) as well as Hermione.
  • In Les Misérables, Valjean fosters Fantine's illegitimate daughter Cosette, and, as neither Cosette and Valjean have family of their own and they have both been treated brutally, they bond instantly as father and daughter and develop a very strong relationship.
  • Charity and Michael Carpenter exemplify this in The Dresden Files. In Proven Guilty, Harry looks at Charity embracing her children and thinks:
    I regarded the kids for a moment, mostly very young children's faces, relaxed in sleep. Children whose world had been founded in something as solid as Charity's love for them would be able to do almost anything. Between her and her husband, they could be raising an entire generation of men and women with the same kind of power, selflessness and courage. I'm a pessimist of the human condition, as a rule, but contemplating the future and how the Carpenter kids could contribute to it was the kind of thought that gave me hope for us all, despite myself.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, this is what Theon Greyjoy longs for, he hasn't got much from his own family, and he got more of it from the Starks. But after everything that he has done, it's too late for him to salvage anything of his relations with the Starks.
  • In Bubble World, this is why Angel acts out so much—she wants to be noticed and loved by her neglectful parents.
  • Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings, as well as Merry and Pippin. When the latter two get separated, they both feel anxious, lost and alone, especially Merry, who isn't kept busy all the time, and they try to latch onto men (Beregond for Pippin, Eowyn for Merry) for companionship. When they're together, Merry and Pippin tend to act like brothers, always there for each other, while good-naturedly snarking. Frodo and Sam have a more grown-up relationship, with more serious discussions, less snark and more worrying for the other (on Sam's part). But both pairs display the same quiet, unassuming, deep care for each other. In fact, the other hobbits are even on the quest in the first place because of their storge towards Frodo:
    Merry: You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin — to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours — closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.
Frodo also has a strong storge bond with Bilbo, but unlike his relationships with the hobbits in the Fellowship, this one has philia overtones, as Bilbo got him interested in elves, cross-country tourism and ancient history.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blue Bloods, because the family that arrests together stays together.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy was willing to let the world burn to save her little sister, Dawn. They have a very good relationship throughout much of the series.
  • Firefly: Loads among the crew, especially Simon and River. Also, interviews suggest Inara is supposedly the "mother"-type to the rest of the crew, but there's definitely some storge between Mal and Kaylee (though to a lesser extent than Simon/River mentioned above). Both Mal and Inara frequently address Kaylee as "妹妹" (mèimei, Mandarin for "little sister").
  • Connor on Angel was driven by this, but having been raised from infancy to hate his biological father, had trouble accepting his love. "Cordelia" was eventually able to control him almost completely by taking advantage of his desire for a family.
  • Lennier and Delenn in Babylon 5; storge for both plus unrequited eros by Lennier.
  • The explanation for Kurt's schemes in Glee, basically comes out and says it in "Duets". See also Love Makes You Crazy.
  • Dylan Hunt and Rommie in Andromeda
  • iCarly: Carly and Spencer Shay, sister and brother.
  • Supernatural: Sammy and Dean. As found family became a defining theme of the series, Sam and Dean came to consider characters they weren't biologically or legally related to to be their family, notably Bobby, Castiel, Charlie, Kevin and Jack.
  • Quark with almost everyone on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Teri Bauer took a rape for her daughter in Season 1 of 24.
  • Merlin (2008):
    • Merlin and Prince Arthur are thrown together against their will in the first episode of c, but since then their close proximity and reliance on each other means that they're now practically joined at the hip.
    • The intertwining relationships between Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table. Merlin also shares this kind of relationship with Gaius, and Uther believes this is what his relationship with Morgana is like.
  • Rather unexpectedly for a series focusing on fairy tales, Once Upon a Time's drama revolves around parental bonds almost more than it does romantic ones. All of the core adult characters are parents, biological or not, and characters like Emma and Regina are very much affected by their lack of healthy familial support growing up.

    Video Games 
  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the importance of storge is a recurring Central Theme. Clover's bond with her brother, Snake, is one of the few emotional anchors either have in the Deadly Game. Because of this, letting either of them die is a sure path to a bad ending. During the True Ending's Wham Episode, June and Santa are also revealed to be this, though they acted like strangers to complete their plan and save Past!Akane's life in the incinerator.

  • Chrysothemis in Richard Strauss' opera Elektra does not share her sister Elektra's thirst for revenge, and just wants to be a simple wife and mother — and this wish is what sustains Chrysothemis in her dark, fearful time as a prisoner. (Note: This is not her characterisation in the original Sophocles play.)

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • In Panthera, this is partly why Jason wants Taylor to join the eponymous team- gaining shapeshifting abilities allows him to see another layer of wonder in the world, and he wants her to experience that. (His girlfriend, Kira, is actually jealous of Taylor because of this; she feels that Jason's storge-love for Taylor diminishes the eros-love he has with her.)
  • In Guardians this is how Jaireth feels toward Kotu, even though he's not Kotu's biological father.
  • Webcomic Name: A scholar asserts that without love (implying eros), one will always have a love-shaped hole in their life. They're Instantly Proven Wrong when orange-blob-person fills their hole with pets and is clearly quite content with this.
  • Dumbing of Age has a strip titled "Storge". The gag of the day is that Carla, "unlike everyone else in the entire world", actually likes her parents.

    Western Animation 
  • Ducktales 2017 has the Duck-McDuck clan, who practically personify this love. While most are related by blood, they're quick to claim "family" of the likes of Webby, Beakley, and even Launchpad. The strength of it, and the individual awesomeness of its members, definitely help cement them as a Badass Family.


    Anime and Manga 
  • Yukino's most important person in My-HiME is her best friend Haruka, and in the manga, in which Haruka is also a Hime, Haruka has Yukino as her Key.
  • Rosario + Vampire:
    • The Battle Harem protagonists eventually become this as they evolve into True Companions. Given how diverse the group is in species and temperament (and the fact that they're constantly competing over Tsukune) it's a sign of their Character Development that they have.
    • Kurumu's character arc is how her eros love—which she initially used as justification for teasing the other girls and forcing herself onto Tsukune— allows philia into her heart, which in turn allows her to reach agape. As her Heroic Sacrifice in S2 V9 shows, she's learned that there are many types of love, and that being rejected romantically doesn't mean that no one loves her at all.
  • In Sailor Moon Crystal, the friendship between Princess Serenity and her protectors was so strong that it brought them together in the next life.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix and Obelix are close friends, and (except the first book) adventure together all the time. And as Lewis points out about friends, Astérix and Obelix are usually side by side, looking at a common goal (usually pounding some Roman legionaries, Germanic warriors of various sorts, or turning the pirates' latest ship into driftwood) or common interests.

    Fan Works 


    Live Action TV 
  • Xander and Willow have a very strong form of this.
  • Jon Lovitz of Saturday Night Live did an impression of Harvey Fierstein, the playwright of Torch Song Trilogy. The parody version of Fierstein had a variant of this as his catchphrase. "I just want to be loved. Is that so wrong?"
  • Kirk, Spock, and McCoy in Star Trek: The Original Series, boldly going where no man has gone before and being thick as thieves while going there.
  • Carly and Sam in iCarly. Carly towards Freddie, although that could end up in eros in the future.
  • From Merlin, Prince Arthur and Knights of the Round Table, all of whom are dedicated to the safety and well-being of Camelot. Merlin and Guinevere are Platonic Life-Partners due to being Birds of a Feather and their mutual devotion to Arthur.
  • Skins loves this, and some particularly strong forms of it can be seen with Tony and Sid, and with Freddie and Cook—the latter of whom probably said "I love you" to each other more than they did to their actual mutual love interest, Effy.
  • Dan and Casey in Sports Night. Casey turned down a chance to be a late night talk show host to continue working with Dan.
  • In Supernatural, Castiel and Dean are this. It's also eventually revealed that Castiel has always been in love with Dean the whole time, meaning that Eros is also present.
  • Nolan and Emily from Revenge. Between Emily (real Amanda) and Amanda (real Emily), too.
  • The study group in Community tend to fall here, with a hint of Storge and occasional short-lived dalliances into eros.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Chief O'Brien confesses to Dr. Bashir that he finds himself closer to Dr. Bashir than to his own wife. They do all kinds of best buddy activities in their off-duty hours.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, Ledaal Kes and Ragara Szaya are this. They're gay, but have been friends and intellectual peers since childhood, and because they're Dragon-Blooded and their society demands that Dragon-Blooded 'do their duty' (i.e, get married and have children), they get married. On the few occasions that they have sex it's very uncomfortable for them, but they're very much Platonic Life-Partners and have fun making robots and going to parties and playing gateway. Ironically, both of them are The Casanova, so their friendship is the most constant relationship either have.

    Video Games 
  • At the climax of TimeSplitters Future Perfect, Robot Buddy R-110 is fatally wounded by the Big Bad and in his last moments he laments, "I only wanted to be loved…" This runs contrary to his recent activities throughout the last act.
  • Friendship and The Power of Friendship is what the Kingdom Hearts series is all about. More specifically, the bonds between people are perhaps the most powerful thing in the universe, to the point that they're effectively what hearts are made of.
  • This is a surprisingly common theme throughout the Sonic the Hedgehog series. In Sonic Adventure, the positive feelings the playable characters have towards each other empower the drained Chaos Emeralds. Sonic Heroes is about the teamwork of three friends. At the end of Sonic Rush, Blaze's new friends empower the Sol Emeralds so that she can use them.
  • A major theme in the Sly Cooper series is the strong bond between the main trio of Sly, Bentley, and Murray. The games have shown cases where they've helped each other out, such as Sly chasing a villain across Venice to save Bentley from becoming tomato fetilizer, Murray to jump into a dried-up pond in India to rescue Sly and later abandoning his pacifism to protect Bentley, and Bentley learning to drive a stick shift to break Sly and Murray out of prison, and later dumping his sociopathic girlfriend to insure Sly's safety. Heck, at the end of the third game, Sly refused to enter the Cooper Vault alone, despite being designed exclusively for his blood family, and brought Bentley and Murray along so they could enjoy this moment together.

  • Penny Blackfeather, a girl surrounded by shallow socialites, who spend all their time ballroom dancing and gossiping, wants to meet someone who'll share her interest in adventuring. When she does, the someone turns out to be a fairly wise, rather attractive guy her age, so she might be getting some eros in the package, as well.

    Western Animation 
  • Kaeloo: The relationship between Kaeloo and the rest of the main four.

    Real Life 
  • Gaming groups, united by their common hobby of pounding trolls. Same goes for writing groups.
  • Also, musical bands.
  • Observe philia in the wild of the Interwebs with Jonathan and Alan in Cinema Therapy. And watch movies! They admit it out loud in their Pride & Prejudice (2005) episode, recounting how they went to see the movie together and came out of the cinema gushing about its merits. As they do to this day.


Exploration of eros is the entire point of the Romance genre. The lighter, funnier shade of it will be explored in a Romantic Comedy (remember, Cupid's arrows fly blind!) while its darker, more difficult aspects are likewise explored by romantic dramas and tragedies. Many works that are not, per se, romances, will have Romance Arcs, too.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball Z, this is a big desire for Krillin, who ends up dating a very dumb girl called Maron. Fortunately, he finds love in the series' redeemed villain Android 18.
  • Some of the most important people for the Hime of My-HiME are based on romantic love. These include Mai's second MIP Yuuichi (who is also Shiho's); Akane's MIP Kazuya, Shizuru's object of affection, Natsuki, which may be reciprocated on Natsuki's part.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne has the love between Van and Hitomi. The words here describe it very well:
    They just have that much faith and love in each other. And that speaks more to me than any sappy “I love you” and dramatic kiss. They don’t need promises. All they need to know is that the other is happy and they are content. If that isn’t true love, well I don’t know what is.
  • In Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus has a rather ironic relationship with eros. On one hand, her very presence helps those around her to find it. On the other, her characterization is defined by the absence of eros: she is destined to never find her true love by her own choice, something Venus eventually accepts (even so, her life is not a lonely one).
  • The Last: Naruto the Movie has eros as the central theme and the final stage of Naruto's Character Development. For most of his life he'd been so starved for affection and acknowledgement, he had a hard time telling them apart, to the point he mistook his crush for Sakura for eros when it was more of an extension of his rivalry with Sasuke. On the other hand, realizing that Hinata has always loved him the way he is (helped also by the villain trying to take her away) makes him understand that his feelings for her are also romantic, which paves the way for them to get together.

    Comic Books 
  • In Dork Tower, Matt McLimore's ongoing desire to be involved with someone repeatedly pushes him back to his ex-girlfriend, Kayleigh... even while his dream girl, Gilly the Perky Goth, hovers nearby.

    Fan Works 
  • Real!Syaoran in Shatterheart initially wished to find his lost love, the actual Sakura. Over time, he starts to move on and tries to find love elsewhere. He begins to fall in love with Kurogane and starts pursing his affection. In which he eventually succeeds.

    Films - Animated 
  • Anastasia from the Cinderella III: A Twist in Time movie, though she has a hard time figuring out what kind of love she wants exactly. When she purposefully turns down Prince Charming—being disguised as Cinderella at this point—Lady Tremaine begins to scold her. Anastasia argues, "But I want someone to love me for me."

    Films - Live Action 
  • Brokeback Mountain is basically about how painful this emotion is when society hates it in people of the same sex.

  • In Twilight, Bella Swan's main wish is to be loved by Edward Cullen. The same goes for Jacob, but about Bella.
  • Tess from Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Sadly, her husband cares more for her "chastity" than her actual personality and feelings.
  • Ayn Rand, in her novel Atlas Shrugged, deconstructs the trope as well as gender-flips it via the character of James Taggart. James wants to be loved, but not for anything he actually does. Rather, he wants to be loved for himself. Not for the benefits he might bring into the life of the person that loves him. Not for any of his virtues or good qualities. He says that he wants to be loved for himself. Ultimately, what he truly wants is to be loved for absolutely no reason at all; i.e., loved despite his own worthlessness.
  • In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennia, the Nymphs are a society of Extreme Omnisexuals, aiming for this: "Social harmony is achieved only when everyone loves everyone."
  • Molly Carpenter of The Dresden Files feels eros towards Harry, and tells him this soon after they start working together. Unfortunately, Harry has known her since she was a child, and feels only storge and philia towards her. Awkwardness ensues.
  • The Rose, ever since before she first blooms, exhibits strong eros for The Little Prince - she's sassy, flirty and a bit emotionally manipulative - but is able to let him go in the end, so there's a little agape in there, as well.
  • Wuthering Heights is a study of eros unchecked by agape, also known as Destructive Romance.

    Live Action TV 
  • Phoebe of Charmed made it her personal mission to find love during the last few seasons. In the end, she got a Cupid. Yay?
  • Sheridan and Delenn in Babylon 5.
  • Merlin has this between Arthur/Guinevere, Gaius/Alice and especially Merlin/Freya, a relationship that is explicitly born out of each partner's loneliness and their desire to connect to someone on an emotional level.
  • Katherine and Elijah from The Vampire Diaries. He would never have picked someone like her under normal circumstances, but now if anyone threatens his Katerina, they better watch out.
  • Charlotte and Declan from Revenge, although they do have some philia.

  • Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up shamelessly panders to this wish.
  • A Papa Roach song has this line in the chorus.
  • Queen's Somebody to Love
  • Nickelback's Gotta Be Somebody seems to imply this.
    Nobody wants to be the last one there
    And everyone wants to know that someone cares
    Someone to love with my life in their hands
    There's gotta be somebody for me like that!
  • The reason why there are so many love songs in the first place.
  • For the non-sugary sort of eros, listen to Creature of the Night by Lacy Rose
    For you
    All for you, Mina
    I lost control and found my Hell

    Video Games 
  • The Dating Sim genre exists because people want eros.
  • May from Guilty Gear. Her sole motivation is winning Johnny's love.
  • Squall from Final Fantasy VIII without really knowing it at first, towards Rinoa.
  • Gaia Online's "Sainte Ciel" Evolving Item told the story of a nun trying to rescue the princess she loved from an evil demon. You could choose between eros and agape routes; if you chose eros, Ciel would succumb to the demon Mephiste's temptations.
  • In World of Warcraft lore, the succubi seem to be motivated by this; there's an alarming frequency of succubi falling in love with their summoners and becoming insanely possessive of them.

  • In Homestuck, the trolls refer to eros-love as matespiritship. John's dad and Rose's mom are specifically given as an example.

    Western Animation 
  • On Family Guy, Meg Griffin is treated horribly by her family and most of Quahog for her supposed ugliness. She is desperate for affection to the point of mental instability. (One cutaway gag shows her 'dating' a corpse.) In another episode, Meg accepts a pity date from Brian, her family's talking dog, and becomes obsessed with him after he insults another girl in her defense and kisses her while drunk.
  • The Ice King from Adventure Time tearfully proclaims his desire to be loved in "I Remember You" after attempting to perform a love song for Princess Bubblegum, although his desire for the love of a princess had been apparent ever since his first appearance. Many plots involve him trying to achieve a Philia relationship with Finn and Jake, as well. On some level, he also seems to approach Marceline because of the Storge relationship they shared before he lost his sanity.


    Anime & Manga 
  • In Nabari no Ou, Miharu develops this for Yoite, eventually doing a Hazy-Feel Turn just to help grant Yoite's wish. Yoite's feelings for Miharu could be interpreted this way as well, especially in the manga, where he urges Miharu to erase him so he won't be sad after Yoite's dead. Asahi's love for Miharu is another example.
  • In Girls und Panzer, the reason why Maho Nishizumi works as hard as she does to fulfill her responsibilities is so that her younger sister, Miho will be free to live the way she wishes.

  • In Star Wars Episode II, Anakin explains to Padme that while other forms of love are forbidden to a Jedi, as they would interfere with their devotion to duty and to the force, universal compassion is not only permissible but required of a Jedi.
    Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as… unconditional love… is essential to a Jedi's life. So, you might say that we are encouraged to love.
  • Beast from Disney's adaptation of Beauty and the Beast lets Belle go to tend to her sick father even though he knows that doing so will condemn him and his household staff to remain cursed forever (as he doesn't know if Belle loves him in return). This shows just how far he's come as a character, as Mrs. Potts points out.
    Mrs. Potts: After all this time, he's finally learned to love.

  • The Central Theme of Harry Potter is agape. It is literally what ensures Harry's victory over Voldemort - Lily Potter's Heroic Sacrifice planted the seeds of Voldemort's final death.
  • In The Dresden Files series, at first Karrin Murphy and Harry Dresden fall under storge, but by Cold Days, Karrin definitely feels this (and possibly eros, although on this she is extremely reluctant due to his personality changes) for Harry when she says:
    If you're going down to Hell, I'll be right there beside you, all the way.
  • In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennia, when a man begins to preach this to the Hormagaunts, it was bewildering. It sounded like Nymph-talk — the Nymphs being an older society of Extreme Omnisexuals — but it was not sexual.
  • Interestingly, agape is the central idea of Redeeming Love even though it’s a Romance Novel. Eros does come into play later, but it’s treated like a bonus side effect of the self-sacrificing, Honor Before Reason type of unconditional love that Michael has been displaying to Angel throughout the story. (Since the text outright makes parallels to the Biblical book of Hosea, which in turn explicitly states it’s a metaphor for God’s unconditional love for His people, this twist Aesop is pretty clearly justified)
  • Sherlock Holmes: This is literally what Holmes and Watson end up in, as well as philia, particularly when Watson is shot.
  • In Cassandra Clare's books, Shadowhunters have parabatai, which is essentially this, with some shades of philia thrown in as well, but eros is definitely forbidden.
  • Katniss and Peeta, although it takes a while longer for her to realize this.
  • In Heralds of Valdemar, Companions (Bond Creatures resembling a fantasy ideal of horses), pair up with certain humans (the titular Heralds) and thereafter serve as transportation, combat mount, living Amplifier Artifact, and a best friend who knows their Herald at the level of the soul. The love they give their Herald is pure agape from the very first: unconditional, asking nothing in return, but willing to give all, even their lives.

    Live Action TV 
  • iCarly: Freddie towards Carly, who seems to love Carly unconditionally no matter where their relationship lies with regards to Philia and Eros. He has proven his ability to self-sacrifice for her, being almost killed in order to save Carly from being killed herself by pushing her out of the way of a truck in one episode.
  • Merlin:
    • Lancelot embodies this love in regards to his love for Guinevere and Merlin (and to a lesser extent, Arthur). When a tear in the veil between the worlds results in evil spirits roaming the land, Arthur makes the decision to offer himself up as a blood sacrifice to close the rift. Knowing that Merlin intends to take Arthur's place, and having made a vow to Guinevere to protect Arthur with his life, Lancelot steps up and sacrifices himself for both of them, simultaneously saving Merlin's life and preserving Arthur's relationship with Guinevere.
    • At the end of series 1, Merlin attempted to sacrifice his life for Arthur. Due to a case of Exact Words, this didn't go according to plan. He then set off to do the same thing for his mother, whose life he'd accidentally bargained away in return for Arthur's, but before he could get there Gaius sacrificed his life so Merlin wouldn't have to. He got better when Merlin killed the villain doing the sacrificing, satisfying the magic's need for a death to save Arthur.
  • Simon and River in Firefly is in some ways an extension of storge into agape.
  • In Once Upon a Time, True Love is set up like this, especially with Snow White and Prince Charming, who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the other at any moment.
  • Supernatural:
    • Dean and Sam Winchester. They are both willing to constantly sacrifice themselves for each other or to save each other without hesitation, regardless of the circumstances. This includes going to Hell for each other, dying for each other, committing suicide to bring the other back, and selling their soul. Sam and Dean's relationship is the embodiment of all-consuming unconditional love, meaning that their relationship and love for each other transcends all kinds of relationships (including familial, platonic and romantic). Sam and Dean's relationship is spiritual in nature as it is strongly implied that the two are spiritually connected and will share Heaven when they die.
    • Castiel embodies this in his love for his best friend Dean (which mixes all four loves) and his adoptive son Jack, both of whom he has made Heroic Sacrifices for, including dying for Dean several times and pulling a Take Me Instead to save Jack.

  • According to The Bible, mankind as a whole has big need for this kind of love. For this reason, Jesus Christ is described as dying selflessly on a cross for mankind's sins. Furthermore, the very nature of God, according to Christianity, is love itself. This kind of love note  is referenced in John 3:16:
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Compounded moreso by Jesus having died for all people, even the ones who would reject Him. And He did this knowing full well most people would reject Him. That is why it is unconditional; He loves even the people that hate Him. Described beautifully (of course) by Lewis:
He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.
  • Also from the Bible, the Book of Corinthians gives a well-known exposition of the meaning of agape in 1 Corinthians 13.
    "Love [agape] is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."

    Video Games 
  • In Blaze Union, an important part of Gulcasa's characterization is that he is practically incapable of differentiating between types of love due to having been abused. He tends to perceive all types of affection directed towards him as philia-love, and feels agape-love for his comrades and eventual subjects (which winds up being requited).
  • In Radiant Historia, The Hero believes this separates himself from the Big Bad.
  • In Mother 3:
    • The story centers around the unconditional love between Mother and Child, and family as a whole. The Final Battle has the Ghost of Hinawa, Mother of Lucas and Claus, come back to wake Claus from his brainwashing by Porky. Claus then commits suicide to ensure that he can no longer pull the last needle and Lucas and the others wouldn't die from that possibility, as well as to be with the Mother he loves again.
    • Lucas' signature ability (PK Love) is a weaponized form of this. It's also required to pull the Seven Needles.
  • Gaia Online's "Sainte Ciel" Evolving Item told the story of a nun trying to rescue the princess she loved from an evil demon. You could choose between Eros and Agape routes; if you chose Agape, Ciel would pull a Heroic Sacrifice to rescue Princess Rosamund. A sequel item, "Rosamund's]] Revenge", suggests that this is the canon route.
  • Bill's Sacrifice in Left 4 Dead amounts to this:
    "You want me, come and get it. I'm just scars and tar anyway. But you didn't get them—did you, you sons of bitches?"
  • Team Fortress 2 The Heavy will often yell "Get behind me Doktor!" At first glance it sounds like He's ordering the medic to get back there to keep healing him, but then you realize the phase "Get behind me" can also be used to protect someone. Heavy is literally willing to take a bullet for the Medic.
  • Agape is one of the two ultimate goals of Undertale. In spite of all the monsters trying to either kill or capture you, your unconditional love for them drives you to befriend your "enemies" instead of killing them since all they really want to do is to escape their holed-up existence under Mt. Ebott. As Sans puts it at his endgame judgement, you don't gain LOVE (which as noted later, is definitely not one of the four loves), but you instead gain love. In fact this love combined with your determination allows you to become essentially invincible during the final confrontation with Asriel at the end of the True Pacifist run. On the other hand, the other ultimate goal of the game is to completely disavow love for LOVE which stands for Level Of ViolencE just so you can get strong enough to destroy the whole universe.

    Web Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The city of Philadelphia was named for this concept; Agape includes the concept of "brotherly love for all humanity", and the city's name means just that in Greek (philos = love, adelphios = brother). Its motto ("Let Brotherly Love Endure") and nickname also reflect this.
  • The Japanese language differentiates between unconditional love (Ai, 愛) and romantic passion (Koi, 恋), although the distinction is very fine and it's generally held that both of these things can be felt for a romantic partner. See these two pages (Japanese-language) for native speakers giving their own insight on what the difference is and what these things both feel like.


  • The whole story of The Hobbit begins with Bilbo ends up hosting a dinner party, somewhat against his will, yet the fact remains is that he had many chances to bar the way or throw out his "guests" but he doesn't throw them out.
    • On the guest side of things, in The Lord of the Rings when Aragorn is required to leave Anduril at the door in Meduseld, he's reluctant to do it and gets reminded of his duty as a guest. He answers that he'd gladly leave any other sword at the door, no matter how lowly his host were, but this is Anduril.
  • The story of Philemon and Baucis is used as an archetypical example of Xenia, their good treatment of both a disguised Zeus and Hermes.

Mixed Examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • Yuri!!! on Ice delves into the Four Loves more than once:
    • Eros and Agape are Discussed Tropes, as Victor challenges the two Yuris to perform one of the two figure skating programs that he's choreographed, which are based on two music pieces called "On Love: Agape" and "On Love: Eros". As part of showing the pair the sets, he explains what the two loves mean. He also decides to assign each Yuri the program that clashes the most with their personality in order to challenge them, giving the shy and insecure Yuri Katsuki "Eros" and the rude and angry Yuri "Yurio" Plisetsky "Agape".
    • For "On Love: Eros", Yuri is encouraged to do a sexy program that seduces the audience. It parallels his coming to terms with that side of himself and the growth of his sexual/romantic relationship with Victor.
    • The anime sometimes conflates agape with storge, as it's shown that Yurio gets better at interpreting "On Love: Agape" as he comes to terms with the familial relationships in his life, particularly his relationship with his grandfather. On the other hand, Victor and Yuri's romance has strong aspects of agape as well as eros to it; the two are suggested to be "soulmates" according to Word of God and their type of love is said to be undefinable and going beyond just "romantic love." Yuri uses the term "ai" to refer to his love for Victor, which refers to a more heavenly, all-consuming love similar to agape.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: In a manga that is all about love, all four kinds are naturally an important aspect of the story.
    • Storge (Affection/Family): Many characters have issues because they were deprived of this, either because they are neglected or because their parent left them/died. However, Kaguya for instance built up a sibling-like relationship with Hayasaka and Ishigami. Fujiwara seems to be the character with no Dark and Troubled Past and has the least problems, because she has the love of her family. Her relationship with Shirogane also is more like the relationship between a mother and her son.
    • Philia (Friendship): Prior to being student council members, most members had a near or completely Friendless Background. Tsubame is not sure, whether her relationship with Ishigami is more friendship or romance.
    • Eros (Romance): A major part of why characters develop into better people is that they fall in love with someone. Kaguya only started to really defrost after falling in love with Shirogane, Shirogane became outstanding after aiming to be worthy of Kaguya, Ishigami has become more confident and ambitious, and Iino starts to loosen up and mature.
    • Agape (Unconditional Love): This is what Iino and Ishigami think true love has to be - altruistic and without reservation. However, since both think this way, neither realize that the other doesn't hate them and is looking out for them. Osaragi's love for Ishigami is also this. She wants to do everything for Ishigami to make sure he becomes happy, even if that means she has to prioritize him over her best friend, Iino.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Storge: All Shinji and Asuka ever wanted was someone to love them. Shinji wants to be loved by his father, and is constantly seeking paternal approval. And despite of all her claims of needing nobody, more than anything in the world Asuka yearns for someone to show her affection and make her feel she is not alone.
    • Agape:
      • Kaworu Nagisa sacrificed himself in order to ensure Shinji's survival and that of humanity at large, despite the fact that Kaworu could have easily destroyed all mankind in a third impact for his kind to reign supreme. For his selfless love, Shinji (who was in desperate need of this kind of love) was heartbroken when he had to kill his friend.
      • While it is still hotly debated whether Rei Ayanami's feelings for Shinji are romantic or not, there is no doubt in the fact that they are unconditional, to the point of doing a Heroic Sacrifice for his sake… twice.
  • Berserk
    • Storge: In this series, where there are a lot of broken families, a major theme is adoption and the fact that Storge doesn't need biological relation in order to take root.
      • The Band of the Hawk is like a surrogate family for people who don't belong anywhere. Guts and Casca both had crappy childhoods and were alone in the world by 11 or 12 years old. Griffith took them in, and they became part of a band of True Companions including Judeau, Pippin, Rickert, Corkus, and all the enlisted men. When Guts decides to set out on his own, young Rickert cries, "The Band of the Hawk is your family! Why would you want to leave?"
      • Godo the blacksmith raised an orphaned Erica all by himself, and she loved him as her dad. Rickert also joins their family through apprenticeship and adoption, such that Erica says that she will follow him no matter what: "We're family."
      • Young Schierke was raised and tutored in magic by the good witch Flora, who looked after her like a grandmother. At their parting Flora tells her not to cry, saying that in all of her long life, the days she spent with Schierke in the woods were her most serene.
      • Farnese and Serpico show many of the difficulties of families that are related by blood but struggle to understand each other. Farnese was neglected by her father and behaved outrageously as a cry for attention, while Serpico was the bastard son of a nobleman and a serving woman who resented his mother for controlling him and his father for abandoning them. Farnese and Serpico grew close from growing up together and from Serpico discovering that she is his half-sister, and Farnese's mother tries to encourage her daughter when she's feeling at a loss.
      • Teenage islander Isma never knew her mother, who according to her father was a mermaid, and lost him to an accident a few years ago. However, the charm left on the door by her mother helps protect her from the island's curse, and in volume 37 she is tearfully reunited with her mother, who was watching over her all along.
    • Eros: Casca reached the realization that her place was in Guts' heart, so that not only she could love him, but for Guts to love her as well. And the feeling is mutual. Later, after their newfound love was cruelly crushed when Casca was driven to insanity, Guts is now on a desperate quest to find a cure for her so that she may return to normal, hopefully repairing their tarnished relationship that he yearns for so badly.
  • Soul Eater:
    • Storge: Crona, while murdering their Magnificent Bitch mother Medusa, reprimands her for making them "let go of"—forget "the only person who really loved me", which would be Maka. Since there's nothing to really suggest that Maka is in love with Crona, and the fact that a hug from Medusa is what sparked their tirade, the implication is that they viewed Maka in this way.
    • Philia: Any of the Shibusen partners — not only do their develop into True Companions toward their partners, but toward one another.
    • Agape: While not explicitly stated or shown, the entire cast could be said to have this. They frequently save one another from certain death. To be most specific:
      • Ox tears out his hair (he tore out part of his soul) to break the hold Arachne had over Kim.
      • Everyone remains friends with Kim even after the the reveal that she is a witch.
      • Spirit, Sid, Nygus, and even Marie let Stein go, despite his being the main suspect in the murder of Marie's New Old Flame, because none of them believe he really did it, despite his being insane.
      • Despite the fact that Crona betrayed Shibusen, all Maka wants is to know that Crona is safe.
      • Tezca Tlipoca offers Justin a chance to come back to Shibusen, although he is the real murderer of Marie's New Old Flame.
      • Despite trying to steal away her weapon at the start of the series, Maka saves Blair—now her and Soul's pet cat—from harm.
      • Maka sits down and gives up in the middle of a fight in the Sloth chapter of the Book of Eibon. When she finally breaks the hold the book has over her, Soul doesn't even let her apologize, but spends the rest of the arc either holding her or holding her hand.
      • Kid nearly destroys the world with the Madness of Order, only to have Black*Star, whom often tries to beat him up for no apparent reason, go and get him.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Storge: Mami shows this kind of love towards other people, especially Madoka and Sayaka. It doesn't last long…
    Blogger: …it's set up so Mami will meet her and have someone who will look up to her and love her, maybe like a daughter, or like a younger sister would. Mami is shown indulging Bebe, but also berating her for poor behaviour, and warning her with mannerisms seen between adults and young children, but also being fiercely protective of her, from the second she notices Homura acting strangely and potentially targeting Bebe. Mami is at her best in a universe where she has people to care for and who care for her in return — this stable form of love makes her dangerously good.
    • Philia: A major driving force for most of the girls is to protect each other. Especially Homura towards Madoka.
    • Eros: Sayaka is in love with Kyousuke. She can't bring herself to confess how she feels to him, which leads to him getting together with Hitomi instead. Feeling that she's unworthy of Kyousuke's love, Sayaka declares herself a zombie and becomes a witch.
    • Agape:
      • Madoka herself is this toward the entire world. And Homura has this for Madoka, having vowed to save her from the fate of a magical girl no matter what. Homura starts out trying to save her because they're best friends, but because of the "Groundhog Day" Loop created by Homura's increasingly desperate attempts to keep Madoka safe, their relationship becomes very one-sided, and Madoka sees Homura as little more than an acquaintance with an unusual interest in her and unknown motives until she becomes the concept of hope and gains the memories of the previous timelines and calls Homura her very best friend.
      • The third movie makes it clear that Homura's love is truly unconditional. She doesn't expect anything for it, not even Madoka's affections: the meaning that love gave to her life justifies her suffering on its behalf, and always has.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has the adult cast discuss the four loves at one point, debating about which applies to certain relationships. More generally, the fic tends to regard all of them as equal parts of The Power of Love, emphasising each in turn - though it observes how agape can become emphasised to the point of madness, as all of them can. Harry, the main character, tends to pine for storge and favour philia, before later, with Carol, developing into mutual eros (albeit initially of the Courtly Love/Anchored Ship variety).
  • The Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story series has cherubs that are loosely based on this concept: Cupid, who represents pure romantic love; Charity; who represents agape; Philia, who represents brotherly love; and Xenia, who represents love for strangers. And there's also the rogue cherub Eros, who represents lust.

  • The four ghosts supernaturally connected to Thomas Reilly in Heart and Souls embody each concept.
    • Milo, a thief longing to go straight and who has a "big brother" relationship with Thomas and the other ghosts, is philia.
    • Harrison, a gentleman who encourages Thomas in a fatherly fashion and inspires an interest in the arts in him as a child, is storge.
    • Julia, a woman who died before she could confess her love for her fiancé and longs for Thomas not to make her mistake, is eros.
    • Penny, a single mother who has everyone's best interests at heart and is the most reluctant to ever hurt her impromptu family, is agape.
  • While Love Actually does explore all the cute (and some of the less cute) faces of eros, there's also quite a lot of storge in there:
    • Daniel being supportive of Sam, especially the scene where they watch Titanic (1997) together.
    • Billy and Joe, as evidenced in this dialogue:
      Billy: I realized that Christmas is... is the time to be with the people you love.
      Joe: Right.
      Billy: And I realized that, as dire chance and... and... and fateful cockup would have it, here I am, mid-50s, and without knowing it I've gone and spent most of my adult life with a... with a chubby employee. And... and much as it grieves me to say it, it... it might be that the people I love is, in fact... you.
    • Mark's putting his storge for Peter above his infatuation with Juliet.
    • Sniff-inducing as it is, Sarah's devotion to her ill brother.
  • Buddy Pictures tend to focus on either philia or storge, or both.

  • Book 4, Canto 9 of The Faerie Queene opens with the author identifying three of the four kinds of love: affection towards kindred, passion for the opposite sex, and zeal among friends.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Doctor-companion relationships in Doctor Who are storge note  with varying amounts of philia note  (he has lots of philia with Donna, surprisingly). This can lead to misunderstandings, especially in the reboot, where a companion expects eros (See Amy in Flesh and Stone). While eros used to be forbidden by the network, the modern era allows the Doctor to have Love Interests, sometimes one-shot (like Madame de Pompadour), sometimes full-time companions. As for agape, he's plenty willing to sacrifice himself for his friends: Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Twelfth regenerated in the course of saving others' lives. And the companions reciprocate his agape - they place great value in Doctor and his beliefs. This said, during the tenure of Steven Moffat we see disturbingly many examples of what happens when an earthly love is not infused with agape, or at least not infused enough; specifically characters perfectly willing to let the world burn if they can't save their loved one. The Doctor himself goes that way in Series 9 even after having to dissuade others (River Song, we're looking at you) from doing that, but in his defense, he might have better handled Clara's death if not for the despicable actions of people who owed their lives to him yet chose to backstab and abandon him, making a mockery of his agape love.
  • Sesame Street:
    • Storge: Many kinds of families appear in the show, such as Gordon, Susan, and Chris, as well as Maria, Luis, and Gabi. The entire Street sort of functions as a big family, as shown in Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird.
    • Philia: In just one example, Bert and Ernie are a pair of Odd Couple friends. This type of love is actually discussed in an episode. Elmo wants to marry Gina, but she tells him that the love they share is a friend kind of love.
    • Eros: There is an entire arc about Luis and Maria falling in love and getting married.
    • Agape: Unconditional love is showcased in the episode with the 'Good Birds Club.' Big Bird wants to get into the Good Birds Club, but the members keep bullying him for his looks. He keeps trying to change himself to meet their standards, but he eventually realizes that he already has friends who love him no matter what, such as Elmo and Abby.
  • Sherlock:
    • Storge: Sherlock and Mary are Like Brother and Sister, Mycroft is an Aloof Big Brother, Mrs. Hudson is a Parental Substitute and John is, in a way, like a brother to Sherlock, and vice versa. But the type of love between Sherlock and John would be...
    • Philia: As in the source material, John admires Sherlock's genius and gives all the help he can, while Sherlock uses John as a sounding board. But they do have that adrenaline addiction in common:
    John: You enjoy it.
    Sherlock: And I said "dangerous" — and here you are.
    John: ...Damn it!

  • Confession Executive Committee started out focusing mainly on Eros (which is the source of its original subtitle Ren'ai/Romance Series), but as the series went on different types of love were able to be conveyed:
    • Storge often comes in the form of sibling relationships. The most prominent of them is the relationship between Sena and Mona Narumi, who both enter the entertainment industry and eventually come to support one another as they rise in popularity. Yu's first solo, "Embarrasment-Hiding Adolescence", has zero to do with his love interest Natsuki and everything to do with how he wants to protect his little sister Hina despite her sometimes being spoiled. Parent/child Storge is also available through the Narumi parents to their daughters.
    • Philia is easier to come by due to the fact that most major groupings in the series are friend circles. Arisa is healed from the scars of middle school by making friends with Hina, is grateful to Kotaro for helping her get through her bullying, and the girls in general like to encourage their friends in their love lives and empathize when their crushes seemingly don't return their feelings. Hiyori is able to enjoy high school after making girl friends in her class, and Yujiro and Aizo heal from familial scars by learning to work together and finding common ground.
    • Agape is harder to see, but Mona's personal arc also involves her putting on her best performances to give back to her fans' support. Her own fan, Kobayashi, feels a similar sentiment and wishes to support her after her music and personality livened up his life.

     Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In the Final Fantasy XIV expansion Shadowbringers, three of the Lightwarden monsters are named after the Four Loves. These are given by the sin eaters' victims to mock the warped nature of their existence. Philia, Eros, and Storge serve as bosses for the game's various dungeons.
    • The Lightwarden you fight is directly related to what is occurring in the story at that time. For example, when a town rallies together and rises up to beat back the monsters and protect their neighbors, the Lightwarden that you face is Phillia.
  • All four kinds of love show up in the game series Mother, since the Power of Love is extremely important to the plot. Storge (More specifically, between a mother and her child, though other familial relationships show up too) is by FAR the most important, but Philia also shows up a lot between the party in each game, Eros is shown by the various couples, like Flint and Hinawa or the sesame seeds and Agape is shown, of all people, by the player themself, who is moved by their strugle against the Universal Cosmic Destroyer and prays for them winning the battle. Out-of-Universe, Many players also feel Agape for Giygas.
  • All four kinds of love show up in the game Super Paper Mario, since the Power of Love is extremely important to the plot. Agape and eros are the most prominent of the four. Bowser's one sided eros for Peach nearly causes the destruction of the multiverse and it ends up being saved by the eros (which also has traits of agape) between Lady Timpani aka Tippi and Lord Blumiere aka Count Bleck. Nastasia's love for Count Bleck is definitely Agape because she loves him despite the fact that he does not return her feelings and goes so far as to take a bullet for him. In fact, many of the games chapter's have different forms of love as their theme. At the end of the third chapter the needed Pure Heart suddenly appears in response to the philia that Tippi felt when she is rescued. The fourth chapter's theme turns out to be Storge, in the form of Squirps's love for his long dead mother. The seventh chapter's theme is Storge in the form of Jaydes's and Granbi's love for their daughter Luvbi when it is revealed that they created Luvbi out of the final pure heart in order to disguise it, but they did care for her just as they would if she was their real daughter. The characters Francis, Mimi, and Luvbi all badly want to have Eros although for Francis and Mimi it is on a much more shallow level.
  • The Mary Skelter series has the four loves as a theme, and they all play an important role in the plot in each game.
    • Storge seems to be a common theme in the series. The Blood Team have grown close enough to consider each other family, with the Blood Maidens even seeing each other as sisters with Little Mermaid and Otsuu as the "parents", while Jack and Otsuu have a sibling-like relationship. Red Riding Rood comes to see the Dawn as her family growing up, with her closest relationship being with her adopted father Professor Tohjima, making his betrayal all the more heartbreaking to her. In Finale, we get a twisted variation with the Massacre Pink as a Big, Screwed-Up Family that loyally serve their master, who doesn't care about them at all, and also treat their youngest member Pyre like dirt. Pyre would come to join the Blood Team after they treat her with kindness and becomes a new member of the family, and also gets to reunite with her sisters Riley and Ellie, both of whom would treat her much better than the members of Massacre Pink ever did.
    • Eros is represented by Jack's relationships with the Blood Maidens that joined in Nightmares, with each girl having a crush on him that Jack is mostly oblivious to. The Alternate Timeline in the second game instead has Jack and Alice's relationship be unambigiously romantic, and their tragic love for each other plays an important role in the plot. Otsuu and Little Mermaid are unambigiously the Official Couple in the series, and their love for each other also plays an important role in the second game. Toh, aka the reincarnated Snark/Professor Tohjima, still remembers his wife and finding her becomes his primary goal in Finale. The last game also allows Jack to marry one of the Blood Maidens he chooses at the end.
    • Philia is best shown with the friendship formed between the Blood Team and the Hameln Liberated District Residents, as the latter's failed attempt at a Heroic Sacrifice would motivate Hameln to join the former in the second game. Said residents also remain close friends with the Blood Team after the events of Nightmare and have become crucial allies ever since.
    • Agape is shown best between Little Mermaid and Otsuu in the second game when it's revealed the latter wished the former never died, leading to a Butterfly of Doom that only can be undone by setting things back the way they are. Little Mermaid is able to convince Otsuu to help return things to the way they were since, despite their love for each other, they can't bear to live in a world where everyone else is dead. This in turn causes the chain of events that would allow the Blood Team to reunite the two in their timeline via Jack and Otsuu's Ripple-Proof Memory and making a wish upon a core to resurrect Little Mermaid. Otsuu offering herself as a sacrifice to the core actually allows her to become human and brings back Little Mermaid as the young woman Otsuu remembers her as. Agape is also shown in the third game when Toh, who was originally a cruel ally who was unfettered in his goal to find his wife, would eventually sacrifice his life to save the world that Snark endangered, even when the latter resurfaces in his mind, undergoing a Redemption Equals Death and reuniting with his wife in death.
  • The four loves play a large role in the Persona series. Specifically from Persona 3 onwards with the Social Link system (referred to as Confidants in Persona 5). You are told pretty early on that the bonds you form will help strengthen your power, and are encouraged to make as many bonds as you can. The most prominent is Philia, as you bond with your teammates throughout the story and The Power of Friendship inevitably coming up at some point in the story. Eros comes into play should you choose to pursue a Relationship Upgrade with any of the potential love interests. Storge is prominent with the more older or younger characters, with the former coming to see you as a surrogate child and the latter coming to see you as an older sibling figure. And Agape is the second most prominent as if you complete any of the characters links, the game says you formed a bond that can’t be broken.
  • As expected of a series centered on strong bonds and working together, all four loves heavily factor into the Fire Emblem series. Storge, Philia, and Eros alike are explored between various characters, whether it be family (such as Chrom and Lissa), close friends (such as Eliwood and Hector), or lovers (such as Marth and Caeda); the support conversations system introduced in The Binding Blade is essentially meant to show these loves. Even among party members who don't have support conversations or any other interactions with each other, they must rely on Agape to defend and sacrifice themselves for each other.
  • Discussed in Yakuza 0. During his hostess training sessions with Saki, Goro Majima is asked whether he thinks men and women can be happy while Just Friends. The "correct" answer (as in the one that advances her affection for him) is to agree, and Majima cites platonic loving relationships between teacher and student, family members, and casual friends as examples which won't ever escalate to romantic love but still improve both parties' lives.

  • Ever Blue:
    • Storge/Philia: Luna, the protagonist, has storge/philia bonds with both Seta and his mom, who mentored her in swordfighting and boatbuilding, respectively. She knows them since she was six and pretty much considers them both a surrogate family (she's an orphan). Josette and her partner Xavier share an interest in magic, but he also cheers her up when she's in trouble and flat-out refuses to leave her to deal with it alone.
    • Storge/Philia/probably also Eros, but they won't say it: Luna and Ten become friends instantly, bonding over their shared love of boats and ocean. Two months later, according to Seta, she's smiled more since meeting Ten than she has for the past two years. Luna looks at him very lovingly whenever she thinks he's not looking (blushing happens), Ten is more than willing to help her clean up, when they work or learn together there's a lot of both excited talking typical to philia and Laugh of Love and whenever Ten does something reckless, Luna is horrified. When they have to part ways, he mopes in the bar and she spends the evening crying. And when, some time later, Luna needs to escape Rose City, she does so on Ten's boat.

    Western Animation 
  • Molly of Denali incorporates Storge, Philia, and Agape into its' narratives, since they are important Alaska Native values.
    • Storge - The most important love shown in the show is familial love. The show emphasizes that you are an extension of your family, as well as respecting your elders. The very first episode is about Molly listening to her grandfather's sad childhood story, and going to get a special item back to him.
    • Philia - Molly is friends with everyone in Qyah, and she's rightfully earned this status due to being helpful and kind. Her best friends are Tooey and Trini. Many episodes are about Molly making friends with new people from around Alaska, such as a Yup'ik exchange student.
    • Agape - The series promotes giving and community. For example, in "A-maze-ing Snow," when the school roof caves in, the entire community of Qyah comes together to find a solution to raise money to fix it. Respect for nature is also addressed. In "Bird in Hand," when the bird’s original home is destroyed, Molly and Tooey try to find a suitable replacement home and release it back into the wild.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as the title notes, is about friendship, which encompasses both philia and storge, though the other two play significant roles as well:
    • The Mane Six's strong philia bond drives the entirety of the series, and the Deuteragonists, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, are very much united by their common goal.
    • Aside from their storge bonds with each other, the protagonists show deep-rooted storge for their siblings (and Granny Smith, in Applejack's case). Rainbow Dash also develops storge with her fan Scootaloo.
    • Eros is also visited on the show, mainly between Twilight Sparkle's brother Shining Armor and his eventual wife Princess Cadance. Rarity expresses a desire for eros early on in the series, and is disappointed that her dream guy, Prince Bluebood turns out a total jerk. Even Twilight gets a brief encounter with eros in regards to Flash Sentry in Equestria Girls.
    • Agape is most prominently shown by Pinkie Pie - in the episode "A Friend In Deed", she happily proclaims "everypony's my friend" and that she loves to see everyone in the town smile, even the non-ponies. Fluttershy also has a lot of agape; in part two of the pilot, she calms a wounded manticore without knowing that he was even in pain. She then says "Sometimes we all just need to be shown a little kindness."
  • Steven Universe:
    • Storge (Affection/Family) - Despite his shortcomings, Greg does his best to be a good dad to Steven and wants to be loved by him despite his lack of cool magical abilities like the Gems. On the other hand, the Gems act like parents to Steven, with Garnet being the stoic one, Pearl being the overprotective one, and Amethyst the cool one. Their individual relationships with Steven all develop greatly over the course of the series, and by the end of the franchise, they're all the cool parents. The Diamonds can all be considered family, with Pink being the youngest child, Yellow and Blue being older sisters, and White being the mom. Pink was underestimated and put through a ton of physical, emotional, and mental abuse at the ends of the other Diamonds. Steven helps them reform their relationships with each other, but still has a grudge towards them.
    • Philia (Friendship) - Steven is a friendly kid who is friends with just about everyone in Beach City, from Creepy Child Onion to Jerkass Lars. He helps everyone with their problems, and is the catalyst for their character development. Thanks to Steven, Sadie is a successful musician in a band with the popular kids, Lars is a space hero, the Pizzas and Frymans mend their friendship, and he understands Onion more. Steven also helps Gems with friendship, particularly with Lapis and Peridot.
    • Eros (Romance) - Rose and Greg really did love each other, even though Rose thought of Greg as a mere amusement at first. Pearl was madly in love with Rose, and was bitter towards Greg because of it, but they amend their relationship and Pearl has truly moved on from Rose. Ruby and Sapphire are two different gems with different roles in Gem society, but against all odds, they fall in love, become fused permanently as Garnet, and eventually marry. Sadie had a huge crush on Lars, but their relationship didn't work out, and Sadie is happier with her new significant other Shep. Steven and Connie form a deep relationship over the course of the series, and are dating towards the end. A major theme is that love takes time and work, and there's no such thing as love at first sight.
    • Agape (Unconditional Love) - Steven isn't one to hold a grudge, he's an All-Loving Hero who tries to help and understand everyone. From jerks like Lars, to corrupted gems, and even the Diamonds themselves. With Steven's unconditional love, he reforms gem society and brings peace to Earth once more. However, Rose Quartz appears to be a subversion. She doesn't qualify as a Martyr Without a Cause because her goal is protecting the Earth and all its life. However, she initially only loved the lives of humans as a concept, and it took until she met Greg (thousands of years later) before she began loving humans as individuals.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • Storge (Affection/Family): Jet and his family have a powerful familial bond and love each other very much. Carrot and Celery are truly loving parents aren't abusive, deceased, neglectful, or 100% perfect goody-two-shoes. They're realistic, rounded-out, loving parents who both have well-paying jobs and are both there to support their kid. The other kids love their parents too. Sean is proud of his mother's work at the DSA, and Sydney sees her mother as a role model.
    • Philia (Friendship): From the moment he landed on Earth, Jet has been best friends with Sean, Sydney, and Mindy, and they are inseparable. Throughout the show, Jet learns about traditional childhood activities and in turn, takes his friends on epic sci-fi adventures. Obviously, the gang gets into spats, and they've been through A LOT of drama regarding Jet's alien identity, but they love each other to death and will do anything for each other. Mitchell is a shy loner kid that envies their friendship and wants to join in, but doesn't know how to ask. Eventually, he becomes an Honorary True Companion of the group.
    • Eros (Romance): Carrot and Celery are Happily Married parents and their relationship is the focal point of several episodes. The children are too young to get into any serious romantic relationships, but Jet has had a Precocious Crush on Dr. Rafferty, then had Ship Tease with Sydney before having even more obvious Ship Tease with Sean. Mindy has slight affection for Mitchell and really wants him to come out of his shell, because she sees the good in him, and Mitchell feels the same way towards her.
    • Agape (Unconditional Love): Jet is an All-Loving Hero who vows to protect Earth. Jet is kind to every living creature big and small, even if some people are rude to him. Jet and his friends do their part to take care of and appreciate the Earth, while Jet teaches Boxwood Terrace to love again.
  • Gravity Falls
    • Storge: the Pines family. Although struggling with problems, especially between Stanford and Stanley in the past, these only made their storge between all four members stronger.
    • Philia: The friendship amongst Mabel, Candy, and Grenda.

Alternative Title(s): Four Loves