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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. 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Nightwing villain sister team Double Dare turned to crime in hopes of finding excitement and challenge.
  • 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 Fiction 
  • 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 worst about it than others.

    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.

  • 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."

    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.
  • 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 

    Visual Novels 
  • 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 all the outcomes of almost 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."
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • In an episode of 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!


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