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Thrill Seeker

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Don't worry, Sonya is happy.
A subtrope of In Harm's Way, for adrenaline junkies: characters who seek out adventures and danger specifically because of the excitement. This can be positive, neutral, or negative: one can just as easily get their thrill from rescuing kidnapped victims, or from snowboarding in the middle of a blizzard, or from engaging in good old-fashioned highway robbery.

If anyone asks them about the danger of dying during one of these stunts, expect them to answer that a life of safety is "not really living", or something to that effect.

Easily overlaps with Challenge Seeker, Glory Seeker, It Amused Me, Blood Knight, or Hot-Blooded. Can be a motivation for All Girls Want Bad Boys. Not to be confused with Death Seeker, who looks for dangerous adventures because they want to die—the Thrill Seeker may consider death an acceptable risk, but they still want to live for that next adrenaline high.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ennil El from After War Gundam X goes scavenging in places that everyone else is too scared to even go near, like defunct nuclear plants, less for the valuable salvage they offer than the sheer excitement. When she gets into a battle with Garrod at a plant that's about to have a catastrophic meltdown, she enthuses about battling to the death in a place that could kill them both at any second.
  • Downplayed in Asteroid in Love. Because of Rich Boredom, Sayuri seeks excitement from more stimulating writings. This doesn't limit to the news she attempts to scoops; Ayano mentions in Chapter 39 that, as the latter's editor, she prefers the latter's fantasy-genre writings to have more "shocking" content. Those "shocking" content are shocking enough to make Ao go Blue with Shock.
  • Villain of the Week Sistermon Ciel in Digimon Ghost Game was an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight obsessed with being the "fastest and strongest" to the point that she hijacked a group of Digimon's friendly race and turned it into a Deadly Game by making a Deal with the Devil with The Grim Reaper Digimon MetalPhantomon, offering the losers' lives in order to make it "more exciting". Their races would cause them to wreak havoc in the real world, making panicked humans crash their cars.
  • In Kakegurui, Jabami Yumeko gambles purely for the sheer thrill of it, regardless of the stakes involved. In fact, the higher the stakes are, the more excited she becomes. She freely acknowledges that to live this way is tantamount to insanity, but she nevertheless just does not care whether she wins or loses a game, even if a loss could ruin her life and future, so long as she can continue to indulge in high-stakes games.
  • My Girlfriend Gives Me Goosebumps!: Haruka is always looking for way to make his heart as fast as it did when he falls off the balcony as a child, be it through running or watching horror movies. The entire reason he starts dating Kisaki is because her obsessiveness makes his heart beats faster.
  • One Piece: The Hero, Luffy, has signs of this. He's pirating because he wants the adventure and the feeling of thrill and freedom. While he wants to uncover the secrets of the titular One Piece, he refuses to ask about it from the person currently living who knows about it (Silvers Rayleigh), claiming that there'd be no fun in knowing it too early. He also makes sure to always take the Path of Most Resistance because it's more exciting that way.

    Comic Books 
  • Nightwing villain sister team Double Dare turned to crime in hopes of finding excitement and challenge.
  • Spider-Man: This is part of the reason Black Cat is a thief. Stealing things gives her a thrill.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Mint Candy's desire for excitement becomes a negative thing during his stint in the military during WWII when he chose to ride his motorcycle with his hands behind his head while delivering important messages because he was bored and wanted to make it more challenging. He ends up unable to react in time to avoid a crash and Axis spies try to steal the information from him.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Bobby Strong and Glamora Treat love a good adventure with a spot of fighting thrown in, and on at least one occasion where they weren't able to talk those in charge of such an expedition into letting them come along they stowed away to join in anyway.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, the Prowler is an adrenaline junkie who pulls off intentionally dangerous stunts while hunting down her foes, swan diving out of an open window to get to her Cool Bike, nearly sandwiching herself between said bike and a brick wall, and sending a cargo truck careening out of control to force Peter to stop it and to jump over it. To drive the point home, the kanji for "risk" and "danger" are emblazoned on her Badass Longcoat.
  • Self-Insert Jeremiah Cross from This Bites! is a reported adrenaline junkie. When his life's in danger from intense heights or antagonizing someone who could flatten him single-handedly, his blood starts to boil and he'll often break into fits of laughter in the face of the danger. He first discovered this aspect of himself in the One Piece world when nearly being thrown from the ship traveling Reverse Mountain.
  • Many characters in The Infinite Loops. The reasons are the same for everyone: they are all immortal, super powerful and stuck in a never ending "Groundhog Day" Loop. Being a thrill seeker is one of the best ways to relive boredom, although some loopers are definitely worse about it than others.
  • The Palaververse: In the second chapter of Treasures, Daring gets hooked after passing her first trap:
    She’d found her first trap. She’d outwitted her first trap. Her cutie mark all but sang. She wanted to find another trap and relive that thrill again and again, feel her heart jump into her mouth on another gamble in the face of deadly odds.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Wild Rebels: The bike gang "Satans Angels" rob and kill not for financial gain but "For kicks," according to their one female member.
  • Xander Cage from XXX. In his introductory scene, he steals a Senator's Corvette and destroys it to make a political point—and he specifically destroys the car by driving it off a bridge and parachuting into the valley below. Later, Xander's is able to infiltrate the terrorist cell Anarchy 99 specifically because of his reputation as an adrenaline junkie.
  • Ariel in Footloose seeks out dangerous activities on the road and on train tracks as a way of coping with her brother's death (he died in a car accident).
  • Quicksilver from X-Men: Days of Future Past only becomes interested in helping the good guys when Professor Xavier explains that the mission involves breaking into the secret prison underneath the Pentagon.
  • Bohdi from Point Break is an extreme-sports enthusiast, surfer, and bank robber. He's described as an adrenaline junkie who'll do anything for a cheap thrill.
  • Pale Flower: Saeko's personality is defined by an overpowering need for adrenaline and thrills at any cost. She loves to gamble and doesn't care if she loses money. She drag races her car through the Tokyo streets. She shoots up heroin because it's exciting. She's clearly sexually turned on after she and Muraki narrowly escape getting arrested in a police raid on the card game. And at the end, she is absolutely mesmerized when Muraki murders a man for her amusement.
  • The Old Man & the Gun: Forrest Tucker has spent his life robbing banks because he loves the thrill. Even at the advanced age of 70, he's still robbing banks because it's exactly what he wants to be doing. Judging by the stacks of unspent cash he stores in his home, the money is a distant secondary concern.
  • Bogie from Angel, Angel, Down We Go uses underage, unknown Tara as his pilot when he goes skydiving with the band because she adds to the thrill of danger.
  • The indicatively named Maverick from Top Gun, which right in the first minutes is seen Buzzing the Deck in spite of his wingman's protests. Sequel Top Gun: Maverick shows that he was never promoted any higher than Captain for three decades because he didn't want to stop flying (and he only avoided a dishonorable charge during this period because he has an Admiral friend who commands the entire Pacific fleet), and again the opening minutes have him doing something too risky: he flew an experimental plane to Mach 10. But that was not enough for Maverick; he had to make it go faster until the thing suffered a catastrophic structural failure.

  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Nightmares: Jimmy in The Boy Who Cried Dragon, who got started on breaking into houses on a dare and now does it for the adrenaline rush. He gets more than he expected when he breaks into a house owned by a disguised dragon.
  • Gentleman Bastard: Locke Lamora is a peerless Con Man who lives for The Caper and falls into bouts of listless ennui when he's not working on any schemes. His Heterosexual Life Partner Jean suggests that Locke is genuinely depressed and throws himself into his cons to avoid confronting his emotions.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil: Ranger lives for the thrill: she sneaks into the the Dead King's heavily fortified capital and tries entering the sealed-off drow imperium just for the challenge it poses. She also seeks out opponents that may prove dangerous for her (which, given her fighting skills, are only a handfull on the continent). Her apprentice, Archer, is similar; but for her it's less about fighting, and more about new experiences and hedonism.
  • Shades of Magic: Loveable Rogue Delilah Bard practically lives for jumping in over her head — whether through Indy Ploys or by planning something hugely audacious — and gets uncomfortable whenever her life starts to feel too familiar.
    "Everyone thinks I have a death wish ... No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were doing before wasn't actually living. It was just making do."
  • Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock is sometimes implied to be one, and admits:
    "Surely no man would take up my profession if it were not that danger attracts him."
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: Chosovi Naha, an incoming witch at an evil Wizarding School, says she's just there because she wants the thrill of being able to bet her life in duels against the other students. She also tells the protagonist Emily that she was into extreme sports back home and sees lethal duels as just an extension of those.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hannibal Smith of The A-Team enjoys living on the edge. While his exploits with the team are also because he has severe Chronic Hero Syndrome and likes helping people who can't get help any other way, he loves the high-risk nature of the work and the requirement of going face to face with supposedly unbeatable people and situations that it involves. The others refer to this is as Hannibal being "on the jazz" and have varying reactions to it.
  • Lie to Me: Lightman admits to getting a rush from life-and-death situations. He often puts himself in danger, and when sent into a warzone he becomes even more hyped-up and erratic than usual.
  • Psych: The aptly named "Thrill Seekers and Hell Raisers" has Gus dating a girl named Ruby who is quite the adrenaline junkie, a trait she shares with her group of friends. Their idea of grieving their dead friend is indoor rock climbing or parasailing. The killer of this episode is a negative example, openly admitting to getting a rush from tracking down and killing someone.
  • Rocky Valentine, the protagonist of The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "A Nice Place to Visit" - and, naturally, he winds up in an Ironic Hell where he can have anything he wants for zero effort and is never truly in danger or even capable of failing.

  • Vocaloid: "Headline Love", a song by Kodakami ft. Sweet Ann and Big Al, features Ann in the role of a woman who is constantly seeking out the joy and excitement of life, and doing everything to make her name known. Eventually, she turns to robbing a bank just for the pure thrill of it, which leads to her death in a car crash while being chased by police.
  • Another Vocaloid song, "The Faulty Feline Philosophy," about a girl who becomes addicted to life-threatening exploits after a cat deity gives her multiple lives to spare.
    Why would I need your discretion
    Laughing in the face of death
    Life's a feast of thrilling flavors
    But the spicy one's the best
    If my flesh is turned to shreds
    Then it's a worthy sacrifice
    Cause in the end the only real concern for me is counting lives

    Video Games 
  • Senran Kagura: Homura claims that she likes fighting because it makes her feel alive. It is after she claims that her Dark and Troubled Past has made her as good as a "corpse".
  • Sonic the Hedgehog. His love for adventure and thrills is a large part of the reason he fights Doctor Eggman and other Big Bads.
  • Andrei Ulmeyda from Killer7 lives his life in this manner; in the past he injected himself with several deadly viruses, overcame them, and sold his blood as vaccines, and in the present, he partakes in what he calls "driving yourself to death", in which he simply picks out one of his subordinates,gifts them a high-speed Cool Car, and lets them drive it as fast as they can, just to see if they survive.

    Visual Novels 
  • The title character of Melody does some risky activities (e.g. drag racing) for the fun of it.
  • The reason Ban from Spirit Hunter: NG is addicted to gambling is for the thrill he gets when the odds are against him and he only has a slim chance of victory. This also seems to apply to his work with the supernatural, as he gets an adventurous gleam in his eye when he talks about routing the dark secrets of spirits.
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Junko's all-consuming need to feel and inflict despair can be seen as this; despair is the only thing that makes her feel alive because her analysis skills cause her to feel soul-crushingly bored with the world since she can predict almost all the outcomes of every situation. It's only when things are completely chaotic and unpredictable that she doesn't feel empty.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Yang has mentioned that she wants to be a Huntress—which amounts to hunting the monstrous Grimms and protecting the populace — for the thrill and excitement of such things.
  • Scootertrix the Abridged: Fluttershy seems to be an over-the-top coward for most of her screen time, but Episode 16 reveals that she transforms into an annoying daredevil once she gets to a high enough elevation. Her previous cowardice was just the thicker atmosphere near the ground clouding her brain. She moved away from her high-elevation hometown ("The safest and most boring place imaginable.") specifically because "I like to live on the edge, man!"

  • In Cucumber Quest, the infamous thief Saturday was independently wealthy before she started her crazy robbery spree. Her parents explain: "She's going through something of a ... thrill-seeking phase."
  • Some of the players Darths & Droids, and consequently their characters:
    • It's a wonder any of Jim's characters (Qui-Gon Jinn, Han Solo, Poe Dameron) survive for any amount of time, since he practically equates coolness with being suicidal.
    • Pete (R2-D2, Rey) is more interested in facing interesting challenges than making sure his characters survive. While he doesn't act like an Idiot Hero like Jim does, he can make things difficult for himself on purpose (even though he also applies Min-Maxing to make his characters really powerful in the first place).
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Schlock has been rich enough to retire for years now but continues working as a merc sergeant because he enjoys the job.
  • In Tower of God, before Jahad became God-Emperor of the Tower, he used to be an adventurer. His younger self from the time he'd been to the Hell Train was already overwhelmingly powerful, but he'd always use only enough power to keep ahead of his opponents in battle, and nothing pleased him more than when he actually had to use all of it. His version of Future Me Scares Me involved seeing that the older King Jahad was working to secure absolute, unchallengeable power, which was the opposite of what he wanted. He even sent an opponent after his older self that he expected would be the greatest threat to him yet, just so that his older self could experience the thrill of challenge again.
  • Ménage à 3:
    • Matt initially comes across as simply a Jerkass Casanova, but it eventually becomes clear that his real problem is an addiction to danger in his sex life. This explains his inability to stay faithful to one person, and why he never locks the door while having sex in the living room; in both situations, he maybe wants the chance of getting caught. He reacts to several minutes of very real danger of having his genitals maimed by Yuki, which has left him hyperventilating in fear, by engaging in enthusiastic animalistic sex with Kiley (who put him in that danger in the first place). Apparently, risk really turns him on — not enough, initially, for him to want sex with Yuki, but once he gets over that fear, the excitement proves irresistible, and they end the comic's run as a couple.
    • Sonya initially seems to be just a Stalker with a Crush, pursuing lead character Zii out of erotic obsession. However, it soon becomes clear that she's both a bit of a Competition Freak and a hopeless adrenaline junkie; she pursues all sorts of excitement, although she always comes back to her Zii fixation. Fortunately for everyone, towards the end of the comic's run, she encounters lesbian professional spy and Action Girl Bianca, and they run off to Europe together for a life of action scenes and explosions.
      Bianca: Anyone who shared my life...would share the danger.
      Sonya: [whispers] Some people like danger.
      Bianca: I'm talking guns-in-the-face, tied-to-a-bomb danger. Nobody enjoys that kind of—
      Sonya: [blushing and smitten] Try me.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: Marcy is into the fantasy/RPG genre, and treats her time in Amphibia as a real-life adventure game. This takes a darker turn when it's revealed she deliberately took her friends to Amphibia. When she found out she was moving away, she stumbled upon the Calamity Box, which she had read about in the library. Seeing it was actually real, she took the opportunity to go on an adventure beyond her wildest dreams with her friends where they would never have to be separated. Both Anne and Sasha are horrified by the revelation.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Roxy Rocket is a professional stuntwoman who pulled several high-profile heists primarily for the thrill of it. Unlike most Batman rogues, she is not actively malicious and was quite amicable when he caught her and sent her to jail.
    Bruce: Roxy Rocket, AKA, Roxanne Sutton. She did all the stunts for Jennifer Westing in her action series. They say she doubled for some of the men too.
    Alfred: She seems quite fearless.
    Bruce: That was the problem. She began making stunts more dangerous than they needed to be. The danger of the work became more important than work itself. Finally, no company would insure her. She lost everything. I guess she's exacting some kind of revenge.
    Alfred: Or she's still after the thrill, and now that she's had a taste of you, she's not going to settle for anything less.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batwoman underwent Adaptational Villainy and became one of these, becoming a vigilante ripping off Batman just for the thrill of it and endangering the public with her stunts. When The Riddler ruins her fun by unmasking her and causing legal repercussions, she pulls a Grand Theft Me on Batman so she could get revenge on Riddler and frame Batman to take his place.
  • In the episode 'Lost Our Lisa' from The Simpsons, Homer reveals to Lisa that he lives life like this.
    Lisa: I'll never take another stupid risk like that again.
    [Homer stops the car.]
    Homer: Don't ever say that!
    Lisa: What?
    Homer: If I hadn't've taken a stupid risk with that cherry picker I would have never found you!
    Lisa: I guess...
    Homer: Stupid risks are what make life worth living!
    [The car starts rolling backwards towards the river.]
    Lisa: Dad, you're headed for the river again!
    Homer: [laughs] Feel your heart pumping a mile a minute! That's what my heart's doing all the time! I bet your left arm's tingling too.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: When Sandy's hibernation period is approaching, SpongeBob suggests that Sandy should spend her remaining days living to the maximum. She takes that a little too seriously, and winds up severely injuring SpongeBob and causing mass destruction to Bikini Bottom with her activities, such as a Hunger Games-style hide-and-seek match.
  • Biker Mice from Mars: While none of the Biker Mice shy away from danger, none matches the description more than Vinnie: a week without fighting the bad guys leaves him an angry, shaking mess who needs to punch walls just to feel something, he gladly laughs at events that make Modo and Throttle nervous and he has never felt better about riding his bike than when a bomb sets to explode in 30 seconds was attached to it.
    Vinnie: Imminent destruction! What a rush!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Adrenaline Junkie


Shaxs and T'Ana's Foreplay

Shaxs and T'Ana participate in a bank robbery on the holodeck. Then T'Ana turns the safeties off for an added challenge. This turns out to be foreplay for the couple which the ensigns find disturbing and worse than the actual shootout.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / InterplayOfSexAndViolence

Media sources: