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Tin Man

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"I mean, being a robot's great, but we don't have emotions, and sometimes that makes me very sad."

He's incapable of emotion, or so he says. Really he's as compassionate and sensitive as the next guy, or more so. In fact he's probably the nicest guy in the series. Ironic, isn't it?

This often leads to a paradoxical quest to Become a Real Boy, or at least learn emotions. If they didn't have emotions to begin with, how can they desperately feel the need to have them?

It also seems that certain emotions count more than others. Warm fuzzy happiness counts more than anger, frustration or sadness. So someone can be an aggressive wangster but since they can't enjoy the smell of a flower, it's stated they can't feel emotions. The Stoic Woobie hinges on this trope; their character lies in seeming outwardly unemotional, yet still feeling emotions deep down, thus maintaining their woobie status. Perhaps if they were more honest and said they want to be happy instead of just having emotions in general, they'd be more successful.

Refers to the character in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Who, in fact, was prone to Tender Tears, to give the game away entirely. Other unconscious tics, such as destroying whatever is in the character's hands while denying anger, can betray other Tin Men.

Truth in Television: What's usually being depicted here is someone who is out of touch with their emotions, experiencing them without being aware of them. This is not so uncommon in real life. Reasons can include machismo, denial, some mental illnesses (e.g., depression), or certain cognitive abnormalities (e.g., the autistic spectrum). There's also a personality trait known as alexithymia, which is defined by the mind having great difficulty in identifying feelings, distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal, and in describing feelings to other people. Lastly, anger is heavily influenced by a different part of the brain from other emotions, which can explain why a person can be angry, but not know why they're angry, or lash out in a particular way and unaware that anger is fueling their actions.

The dark flipside of the trope is especially common in Science Fiction or Fantasy, where whole races may be introduced as "logical" and beyond base emotions; and then turns out to be arrogant, harsh, hateful, merciless or borderline unstable, as if they've lost their positive emotions but kept all the bad ones. Apparently, many authors confuse being emotionless with being a Jerkass who derides those emotions considered "weak", like mercy, empathy, altruism, love, humility, compassion and the ability to see someone else's point of view. Or basic politeness. So instead of an indifferent race that cannot be bothered over differences and levels of evolution, what we get is a race that is willing to exterminate anyone with extreme prejudice because they feel arrogance and contempt, but neither shame nor horror.

Compare Frozen Face, where he cannot show the emotions in his face even if he feels them on the inside. Compare and contrast with The Stoic and the Emotionless Girl, who unlike the Tin Man do not emote, regardless of whether they have feelings or not. Not to be confused with the Syfy miniseries.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has the Robot Girl Chachamaru telling everyone this in Spock Speak. Subverted in that nobody believes her as she's one of the friendliest people in the cast from the beginning. Even her own Mad Scientist creator realizes right away that she's different. This is because one of the programmers of her operating system was from a lesser-known work of the writer, A.I. Love You, where he had designed an artificial intelligence program fully capable of emotions. This is only alluded to in one offhand comment in the manga.
    • On the opposite side, Fate Averruncus would like to remind you that he's an emotionless doll. Tsukuyomi is not fooled, and manages to trigger a fit of destructive jealousy by threatening to kill Negi herself.
  • Darker than Black: Contractors are generally assumed to be emotionless. Several theories about how Contractors think are brandied about, but the truth seems to be that though they are still able to feel emotions, they do not act on them, instead operating according to logic and without guilt.
  • Ulquiorra from Bleach. He acts like emotions are meaningless, but the more Ichigo fights him despite being outmatched, the angrier he becomes. Unfortunately he only realizes the value of emotions when he dies.
    Now I see. This is it. This thing I feel within my hands is what you humans call... heart.'
  • Some fans maintain that Yuki Nagato from Haruhi Suzumiya is the conceptual opposite of this trope: rather than a clearly emotional character who either claims or believes to not have emotion, there's evidence that she has a perfectly normal (if subdued) personality, and simply doesn't display outward emotions. This is largely due to her being an artificial life form who wasn't programmed to display the emotions she feels (another artificial construct in the series appears always happy, even when such an emotion is wildly inappropriate).
    • On the other hand, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya has Yuki becoming so internally frustrated and fatigued at her life - and at Haruhi - that she re-writes reality, removing Haruhi from the picture and giving herself a normal human life as a quiet bookworm with a crush on Kyon. A key plot point is that Yuki never realises that her own emotions are the cause of her actions: she attributes it to "erroneous files accumulated in [her] memory database".
  • Sai in Naruto considers himself to be without emotions. He's one of the better portrayals too, since he doesn't show negative emotions like anger either.
    • That's basically all of Root, an organization that trains its soldiers to be emotionless beings.
  • The personified Book of Darkness in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, who repeatedly states that she's just a tool who has neither emotions nor heart. Unsurprisingly, Nanoha and Fate call bullshit on that since she says that while tears are streaming down her face.
  • Father Tres Iqus (aka HC-IIIX) from Trinity Blood is a gun-toting robotic priest/killing machine who was programmed to be without emotions. However despite this there are several instances when it is implied he really DOES have feelings and could be a really nice guy behind-the-scenes... maybe.
  • R. Dorothy Wayneright of The Big O. She's certainly The Stoic, but adopting a lost kitten and issuing smartass comments about the fashion sense of her employer Roger Smith don't look like core parts of base robot programming now, eh?
  • Jonah Matsuka in Toward the Terra believes this is the case for Keith Anyan, at one point claiming that in spite of his outwardly cold and machine-like demeanor, Keith's heart is "kinder and more human than anyone's." To what extent Matsuka is simply in denial is open to debate, but especially early in the series, Keith definitely demonstrates capacity for emotions both positive and negative, none of which he seems to understand how to process at all.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei's Japanese voice actor has said Rei "Has feelings, but doesn't know what they are". Kinda a subversion, since that's mostly just because of her rather horrible upbringing then anything else. She basically passes as an awkward shrinking violet that suppresses her emotions otherwise.
  • In Durarara!!, Heiwajima Kasuka's reason for becoming an actor in the Light Novels is because he wanted to feel the emotions that other people feel through his roles. Outside of that, he doesn't actually feel emotion.
  • Father in Fullmetal Alchemist. He insists that human emotions are actually comprised of the Seven Deadly Sins, and by purging his sins into their own bodies, he has purified himself. Nonetheless, he acts angry, selfish, jealous and prideful at various points.
  • Heero Yuy gets treated as cold and robotic an awful lot by Fanon, something which can be pinned on the vocal director for the English dub telling Mark Hildreth to play the character that way. However, this runs contrary his own statements and actions: his self-stated life philosophy is "The best way to live your life is by acting on your emotions", and when asked he outright says that kindness isn't needed when you're fighting, but it is the rest of the time. This has been lampshaded by at least one doujinshi in which the Wing cast gets stuck in a virtual reality version of The Wizard of Oz and Heero becomes the Tin Man.
  • Wolfgang Grimmer, from Monster, seems to believe that the abusive experimentation he experienced as a child destroyed his emotions, to the point that he couldn't even grieve at the death of his own son. Objectively, he's a Friend to All Children who gets really intense at any suggestion that they're being hurt and has a serious Unstoppable Rage problem. He's pretty clearly one of the "out of touch" ones.
  • Jeremy from A Cruel God Reigns is this with an element of the Stoic Woobie. After not being believed when he admits he was sexually abused and working as a prostitute in Boston, followed by Ian then bringing him back to England, Jeremy actively denies feeling any towards sex, pain, love, or really any emotional attachment. Luckily though he seems to be on the path to recovery.
  • A Certain Magical Index: A big part of the Sisters' development was outgrowing this mindset. They were "programmed" not to put any kind of value on their own lives and usually carry out their assigned tasks with a deadpan, frozen expression. When they are shown interacting with people outside of their "work", though, it becomes clear that they do have emotions, just as strong as any other human: it's just not immediately obvious (even to themselves) because they never learned how to emote.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics' Livewires miniseries inverts this. Nanomachine construct and massive Woobie Stem Cell is activated with accurate, perfectly-simulated human emotions, being based on a Ridiculously Human Robot Life Model Decoy. By the climax, she's nearly paralyzed with fear and, in a last-ditch effort to finish her mission and save her team, physically hacks her own control system to turn herself into a surreally optimistic robot badass. The other Livewires constructs had actually already done so in the series backstory.
  • Also in Marvel Comics, the Avenger's member The Vision started as an "inhuman vision", an android sent to kill the Avengers. And throughout his time with the team, he developed more and more human feelings, to the point where he fell in love, got married, and had kids (too long to explain).
    • Leading to instances where Vision dramatically bemoans his 'inability to feel' as those around him (including Captain America, notably) give him a "..." kind of look.
    • Vision would in later appearances often use his "inability" as a blatant excuse to get out of awkward social situations, like his relationship with his ex-wife.
    • Mind you, he had emotions right from the start—he's possibly the only Avenger to start crying on being accepted into the team.
    • Vision is definitely in the "or so he says" camp. He has feelings, but doubts their authenticity. First, because he can't be sure they're real, rather than programmed responses. Later, after finding out his mind was built around the recorded brain patterns of Simon Williams (the then-thought-deceased Wonder Man), Vision accepts that the emotions are real, but doubts that they're his, rather than Simon's, feelings.

    Fan Fiction 

  • The Trope Namer from The Wizard of Oz.
  • In Equilibrium, The Dragon, as well as everybody else, takes prozium to control their emotions. This doesn't stop him from admiring, and later, hating the main character.
    • Let's not forget many characters, including the main character's superior who is revealed to actually be feeling and not taking his prozium dosage regularly exhibit anger and mirth. The dragon is particularly bad for this, spending much of the time smiling and shouting in outrage.
    • Handwaved: The movie mentions that prozium only mutes the extremes of emotion, though it doesn't seem to work all that well on the main characters.
    • Also somewhat justified in the commentary track, where the director says that his intention with The Dragon was to show him using an empty smile like a tool, and the public shaming later on as almost as a form of ritualistic performance for the benefit of the masses. This parallels the scene early in the movie where Preston is talking with his sense-offender partner, who mocks Preston's use of the word 'friend' as "a vestigial word", that their society no longer understands but goes through the motions of using anyway.
  • Dracula in the film Van Helsing is another villainous Tin Man, going through most of the darker emotions throughout the film. Consider the line "I can't feel sorrow!" - followed by a pained gaze into middle distance.
    • This probably originated in the book, where vampires were essentially soulless demons who mimic human emotions and mannerisms to lure their prey; Dracula himself is described by Van Helsing as a unique exception to this, a vampire with enough self-awareness to concoct an ambitious plan to leave its haunting grounds and invade England. Nonetheless, his 'charming host' mannerisms are a thin veneer for his cold, demonic evil, making him a great example of an early literary sociopath.
    • This film version does, however, seem to have genuine affection for his "brides," at least to the extent that he wants them to love him rather than fear him.
  • Terminator
    • The T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. He is a cybernetic robot assassin who can not feel pain or emotions. However when Sarah and John Connor turn on the T-800's learning chip, he is able to understand the value of a human life and emotions, yet he's doomed to never be able to express them. This can all be summed up in one phrase: "I know now why you cry, but it is something I can never do," as he lovingly hugs John like a father before going to his death.
    • In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, this is invoked when the T-800 growls "Desire is irrelevant, I. AM. A MACHINE."
  • Played with a little in the RoboCop series, especially in RoboCop 2, during the scene in which Murphy has to look his wife in the eyes and tell her that he is just a machine that doesn't remember her.
  • In Batman & Robin, Mr. Freeze claims to be emotionless, while simultaneously ranting in an over-the-top highly emotional manner.

  • The Trope Namer from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Nick Chopper was an ordinary Munchkin woodcutter who was trying to earn enough money to run off with his fiancée and be a proper husband. Her family didn't approve of him, so they went to the Wicked Witch of the East and had her curse his axe. He ended up a cyborg when a tinsmith (who was likely working for the Witch) replaced his mutilated body parts with tin. His entire goal of getting a heart was to go back to his girlfriend. Of course, by the time he does find her, not only does he find out that she was seeing another fellow on the side (who was cursed in the same way and acts as a subversion, as he's delighted to not have a heart any longer), she's married to a Frankenstein-style creation the tinsmith made from the parts of both suitors!
    • Parodied in the The Adventures of Samurai Cat books with a version of the Tin Man that really is cold, heartless, and "pragmatic"—for example, when the heroes find him, they stop him from murdering a baby dingo with his axe to help the mother dingo have enough food. Also, the wise original Scarecrow is parodied as a Cloudcuckoolander of the highest degree.
    • The original book plays on the phrase "I didn't have the heart", which usually means the person did show compassion — the Tin Man explains that without a heart, he has no way of judging when compassion is more or less appropriate, so he errs on the side of caution.
  • Paul Redeker of World War Z constantly complained that human emotions were weaknesses, making him the perfect person to design worst-case scenarios for anti-Apartheid Rebellions and ultimately the Zombie Apocalypse. However, having his scenario implemented against the zombie apocalypse - and feeling compassion — breaks his brain. He develops an alternate persona, as a direct result of being hugged by Nelson Mandela.
  • Discworld's Death is a genuinely nice guy. However, his attempts to gain a better understanding of humanity generally leave him a bit confused. At one point he claims that he can't feel emotions due to not having any glands. The prose points out that, though, that he can feel emotions—it just takes some work.
    Anger was an emotion, and emotions required glands, and Death didn't have much truck with glands and needed a good run at it to get angry.
    • In Mort it's speculated that even though he can't feel emotions like humans do, he can think emotions quite well, resulting in essentially the same conclusion.
    • Heck, Death is quite possibly the most compassionate character in the series, WHAT CAN THE HARVEST HOPE FOR, IF NOT FOR THE CARE OF THE REAPER MAN?
    • Even more so when ever he acts outside the role of Death, as he's able to freely save lives. Usually he'll spend it saving the lives of children. Leading to a moment in Hogfather.
  • John Carter of Mars by In Edgar Rice Burroughs's: In The Master Mind of Mars, both Ras Thavas and Toonolians appear to have reached this state from excessive desire to be The Stoic. They profess to be above such things as sentiment, but when they manifest it, and Ulysses Paxton calls them on it, they are in complete denial.
    Gor Hajus was essentially a man of sentiment, though he would doubtless have run through the heart any who had dared accuse him of it, thus perfectly proving the truth of the other's accusation.
  • The Medtech in Chrys Cymri's Dragons Can Only Rust and Dragon Reforged is an unsympathetic example. He believes Gonard, a more advanced robot than himself, has a soul, and is determined to prove it to vindicate their creator's vision. But he believes that he himself does not have one. It's debatable whether or not he's right. Maybe if he believed he had one, he'd act like less of a mercilessly pragmatic S.O.B. all the time.
  • In Zepplins West by Joe R. Lansdale, the Tin Man and the Frankenstein's Monster enter into a gay relationship. Anthropomorphic personifications of Plug 'n' Play Technology.
  • Dexter, although less so than in the TV series. He has an awful lot of angst for someone with no feelings.
  • In the Imperial Radch books, Breq is the last surviving Wetware Body of a spaceship Artificial Intelligence, continues to think of herself as a computer, and is quite out of touch with her own emotions. After one particularly fraught scene, her internal narration remains carefully dispassionate even while a friend repeatedly dabs tears off Breq's cheeks.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Vulcans (such as Spock) pride themselves on being completely without emotion (that alone says it all, but their friends are too polite to call them on it) but clearly have them, while understated. The truth is more that they work hard to be controlled by logic rather than emotion, lest they turn into Hot-Blooded Psychopaths. However, being the Star Trek universe's answer to elves, they do irritation and pride reeeeeeally well. Spock, like the trope namer, is actually the crew member most prone to things like Tender Tears (though as a Half-Human Hybrid who strongly identifies with his Vulcan side, he struggles more with this than a full-blooded Vulcan might).
    • Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation often claims that he is incapable of emotion, which is a source of curiosity and debate among both the crew of the ship and the fans of the show. In "The Offspring", in an instance of him telling Doctor Crusher that he was incapable of giving love to Lal, his child, she looks skeptical and says that she finds that hard to believe. Not long after, he expresses what appears to be a subdued form of anger at the idea of Admiral Haftel judging him to be an unfit parent while judging him by different standards from a human. By the end, even the Admiral who originally wanted to take the daughter away for study is convinced that they share an emotional connection. When he actually uses the chip that his creator made to give him emotions, he tends to behave rather poorly. In general, the series supports the idea that perhaps he already has something like emotions without it; he simply doesn't quite recognize them for what they are, because he doesn't experience them the way humans do and the only other android he's ever met is his Evil Twin Lore (who does have human-like emotions and is also a psychopath). For example, he cannot "miss" people, but his subroutines become used to the presence of certain persons and their absence can affect him. The episode "Brothers" also provides us with this exchange:
      Data: You know that I cannot grieve for you, sir.
      Soong: You will. In your own way.
  • Dexter constantly, constantly says that he is unable to feel emotions. Some of his actions throughout the series, however, directly contrast this belief (e.g., cutting off a potential victim's rant out of anger when he refers to Dexter's girlfriend as a "cunt", protecting Rita's children).
  • Wyatt Cain of the Sci Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man. The human version of the original Baum character, his heart hardened by his family's deaths and his imprisonment in what is dubbed 'The Tin Suit.' He's called "Tin Man" by various characters because it's the Outer Zone's term for police officers. Once released, his one and only goal in life is to take revenge on the man who he blames for the destruction of his life. By the end of the miniseries, he has been reunited with his lost son, who actually wasn't dead.
  • Torchwood makes use of this when Owen dies. He still manages to be angry though.
  • The Series 400 mechanoid Kryten from Red Dwarf subverts this trope. When the Inquisitor says that he must be the most selfless person on the ship, Kryten points out that he's simply been programmed that way, and that he could only be a truly 'good' person by developing his own values. Unfortunately, the values Kryten most admires are the negative ones, like arrogance and lying — in fact when Kryten does show emotion he tends to act like a complete Jerkass, such as his bitchiness towards Kristine Kochanski, and the time he started bullying Dave Lister because Kryten believed (incorrectly) that he was an inferior model of mechanoid.
  • Cameron of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is an odd variation on this. She outright admits that she is incapable of feeling happiness, but at the same time she expresses behavior indicative of fear and desperation whenever John is in serious danger. At one point she even seems saddened and confused when she puts off a friend she's made at a library, and later on, she becomes deeply concerned with whether or not she'll "go bad" again and actually wires up an explosive to her processor.
  • Castiel from Supernatural is this. Angels are said not to have emotions or act on them, but there are several times when Castiel has shown emotion. After Dean had seen his mother make a deal with the yellow-eyed demon, Castiel laid a hand on his shoulder, giving him a look of compassion. When speaking to Dean in "It's The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester", he expressed doubt. In another episode, "Heaven and Hell", he was reluctant and apologetic towards Anna, when he had orders to kill her. And in "The Rapture", he showed gentleness with Jimmy Novak when he got shot by demons.
    • Gabriel and Lucifer, dear God. Gabriel's blended in with humans since he went AWOL, and even Lucifer, the goddamn Devil, looks distraught after killing his little brother, Gabriel. Mark Pellegrino and Richard Speight Jr.. broke hearts in that scene
    • All the angels are constantly showing emotions (mostly spite and annoyance), and the show has rightfully never repeated the claim that they're emotionless after that episode.
  • Eliot from Leverage is of the more realistic "out-of-touch angry" type, mostly in the first season. He's been gradually thawing out as he gets used to being part of a team.
    • And yet he's the one with a sense of honor and the only one on the team who would actually be able to adjust to going straight/retiring.
  • Lexx: Kai, last of the Brunnen-G is quick to respond to nearly every question with "the dead do not _____." Despite claiming to have absolutely no desire for anything whatsoever, to the point of usually refusing to give an opinion, he does have a rigorously thorough intellectual understanding of right and wrong, at least as defined by the people he trusts on such matters. He values his friendship with Stan and Xev, harbors what could be a purely hypothetical attraction to Xev, and on one occasion makes a really, really stupid decision for the sake of a shot at the one thing he admits he wants, a genuine life or death.
  • The eponymous character of Sherlock claims to be a "high-functioning sociopath," insists that he isn't a hero, and scoffs at the concept of caring about the victims of the crimes he solves (namely, because caring about them won't help him solve the crimes or save lives). However, he is visibly affected in the "The Great Game" episode when the old woman is killed, the child is taken hostage, and John is strapped to a bomb.
    Moriarty: If you don't stop prying, I will burn you. I will burn the heart out of you.
    Sherlock: I have been reliably informed that I don't have one.
    Moriarty: But we both know that's not quite true.
  • KITT from Knight Rider sometimes claims to have no feelings, but he's quite evidently capable of pride, surprise, offense, affection, and other emotions. Often played for laughs:
    KITT: Michael, I have a strange feeling about this.
    Michael: What are you talking about? You don't have feelings!
    KITT: I know. That's what so strange about it.
  • One episode of Community has a bully emotionally devastate Abed ... by taunting him about not having emotions. In general, Abed definitely has feelings, but his ability to express them or relate to the world except through movies and television is highly stunted.

  • The appropriately titled song "Tin Man" by the pop-folk duo The Avett Brothers is about a man who describes the emotions that he misses experiencing with the passion of someone who is obviously still feeling them.
  • Older rock fans will remember America's song of the same name.
    "Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man that he didn't, didn't already have."
  • Played with in "The Tin Man" by Kenny Chesney. The narrator says that he "wishes [he] were the Tin Man" so that he could have no feelings and avoid the emotions of a broken heart.

  • Several characters featured on Rise of the Believers, as should be expected with war-hardened heroes as many of the main cast.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Promethean: The Created, the Prometheans are self-aware versions; they aren't claiming they have no emotions; what they're claiming is that their emotions aren't real in some way, mostly because they were Born as an Adult and their own psychological maturity is extremely lacking for the complexity of their emotions. As artificial creations, they find themselves aping human emotions in an attempt to pass for normal. Their Karma Meter (Humanity in 1E, Pilgrimage in 2E) measures how good they are at that; as it slips away, they're less able to keep the facade.
    • The vampires of Vampire: The Requiem are also stated to not feel genuine emotions so much as remember emotions they had felt in life; the game notes that a vampire embraced young might suffer some awkward moments as they try to experience emotions they never felt before the Embrace. The only emotions a vampire is truly capable of "feeling" are those that come from the vampire's Beast: rage, hunger, and self-preserving fear, all of which manifest in the Unstoppable Rage referred to in the game as "Frenzy." Of course, this is also extremely hard to roleplay, which is why it was quietly dropped in 2E - their negative emotions are stronger, but a vampire can easily feel genuinely happy for a bit.

    Video Games 
  • Organization XIII (human-appearing Nobodies) from Kingdom Hearts were initially ambiguous examples but Dream Drop Distance settles the debate once and for all. At the very least Axel, Roxas and Xion have become canon examples, with Axel, believing to the very end that he had no emotion, being the most obvious one. After experiencing Roxas's memories, Sora concludes that he must have had a heart to grieve for his friends. Xemnas reveals that Nobodies can manifest new hearts, in the same way the puppet Pinocchio did - he just kept this secret so he could manipulate the rest of the Organization and try to turn them all into his Soul Jars.
  • Subject Delta in Bioshock 2 is an ambiguous example. As a Big Daddy, he's only supposed to feel violent, brutal rage when his Little Sister is threatened and nothing else - but the serum he's administered at the start of the game is later revealed to have been meant to awaken the man he once was and restore his personality. As a Silent Protagonist, can be played either way as the player desires. Ironically the trope title is applied to him as an insult by Grace Holloway, who thinks of him as an unfeeling abomination, derisively referring to him as "Tin Daddy" on her PA announcements.
  • The Warrior of Light of Dissidia Final Fantasy comes across as detached and robotic to both players and some of the characters; fitting, considering the fact that he's really a Manikin, created by Cid. But despite how placid and emotionless he appears, he's actually an honorable, caring and highly intuitive young man. While on the surface he does what he can to not give in to negative emotions, even his immaculate countenance can slip occasionally.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia, the goddess Materia is swayed by logic rather than emotion and rarely acknowledges the feelings of her summoned warriors (unlike her counterpart Spiritus, who understands emotions very well but uses them to manipulate). Over the course of the game's chapters she grows to care for them and says that watching their new friendships made her happy. She still has difficulties understanding how mortal emotions work, however—when Lightning asks outright if Materia understands why they're all so upset that she sealed her warriors' sad and painful memories, Materia replies that she still doesn't understand but accepts that it was wrong based on their anger—she was simply trying to grant their spirits respite along with their bodies.
  • In Mass Effect, The Geth teammate Legion has shades of this. Despite having a robotic manner and being an aggregate of 1183 VI programs, he often talks about morality, purpose, and the meaning of life. His opinions on freedom sound suspiciously familiar. Occasionally, his "I'm an emotionless robot" facade cracks, such as when confronted with betrayal or unpleasant revelations, when asked pointed questions about his illogical behavior, or when playing video games (a 3-day suspension for taunting in Galaxy of Fantasy and buying a charity edition of a game he didn't play).
  • In Super Robot Wars, Lamia Loveless was made with emotions, but considering her circumstances, she only prioritizes her mission and thinks emotions are useless. Only after various missions with her new friends that she starts discovering that she has emotions and starts valuing them.
  • Kunzite from Tales of Hearts is a Ridiculously Human Robot who constantly denies that he is like human. He gradually realizes that he wants to serve and protect Richia above and beyond his Guardian Knight programmed loyalty to his master, bonds with Hisui as the latter develops a romance with Richia, and eventually gets the title "Like Human". To be honest, he's like a male version of Lamia above.
    • The Dragon Incarose also appears to be a cold, emotionless assassinbot on the surface, but as the heroes catch up to her power level, she becomes more and more desperate to fulfill her master's mission, and what's Beneath the Mask begin showing. Right after the very final showdown, Kunzite himself tells her, "At least your feelings for Creed are genuine."
  • Canaan from Xenosaga is an android with emotional suppression programming intended to prevent his feelings from interfering with his duties. Regardless he sacrifices his life near the end of the third game to save the people he cares about and make up for deeds that he can't live with having done.
  • Aigis from Persona 3 fits this trope. She initially acts robotic but she has to have a personality and emotions, otherwise she couldn't summon Personas, which are physical manifestations of emotions and personality traits. She slowly and subtly starts outwardly displaying such emotions over the course of the game and starts asking all the questions that come with realization of such things.
  • Jon Irenicus, the Big Bad from Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, was punished for his transgressions basically by removing his soul. This left him drained of all almost emotion; he would display arrogance and a bit of incredulity as the story progressed, and shallow bursts of anger, but that was about it. However bad he had been before, his complete lack of empathy for other sentient beings made him even worse. He desired to regain or even remember the love he had once felt, but the ways he went about trying to do this were unsuccessful and extremely creepy.
  • The game itself in You Find Yourself In A Room is a negative example, being convinced it's incapable of emotions (and that this makes it superior to humanity), despite showing constant hate and anger. Toward the end of the game, you get the opportunity to indirectly point out to it that hate and anger actually are emotions, sending it into a Villainous BSoD. It releases you, finding no meaning in tormenting you any longer if it's not the superior emotionless being it believed, and you win the game.
  • The Pawns in Dragon's Dogma are a humanoid race who have no ambition/drive beyond protecting the Arisen and have no emotions. Or so we're told by the manual and various human characters in the game. When travelling with Pawns however, you'll soon notice that they can sound scared, angry, concerned, or might remark wistfully on the beauty of the landscape being marred by monsters.
    • This might be explained in-universe. An NPC mentions that Pawns are indeed capable of "showing" emotional cues, such as laughter or crying. However, these supposed emotions come across as hollow and illusory to actual humans, which tends to make the Pawns seem rather unnerving to most people.
  • Burroughs, the Artificial Intelligence that runs your Gauntlet in Shin Megami Tensei IV, says at one point that she doesn't have any emotions, but she does display them throughout the game.
  • Limstella from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade is an Emotionless... Thing given their Artificial Human status. Yet their last words are "I am not human. This body and this heart are constructs. Yes, as is this sorrow."


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama parodies this with Bender's statement that "Being a robot's great, but we don't have emotions, and sometimes that makes me very sad." Most of the robots in the show seem to have perfectly human-like emotions, although the triggers are somewhat different; Bender himself is about the most emotional member of the main cast, although empathy presents some problems.
  • Mr. Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series claimed that his emotions had been frozen dead within him. Sure, his voice tone doesn't portray any emotion, but the things he actually says are another matter entirely.
  • Red Tornado in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, especially in the episode "Hail the Tornado Tyrant!"
    • Also, Red Tornado and his "family" in Young Justice, which frustrates their creator T.O. Morrow to no end.
  • Beemo from Adventure Time, a living video game console who claimed not supposed to have emotions, but then got angry at the jerk Donny. Beemo also disobey Jake in one episode, showing freewill.
    • Later episodes show more of this, such as him feeling lonely while Finn and Jake are out and getting upset/uncomfortable when Finn and Jake argue Like an Old Married Couple.
  • In The Simpsons in the episode "Lisa's Wedding," which mostly takes place in the future, featuring robots. A librarian catches Lisa with her fiance-to-be, and questions aloud how two so opposite personalities could ever fall in love. A bystander comments "How would you know, you're a robot?" prompting the robot librarian to shed a single tear... which then causes her to catch fire. Then it happens again when said fiance proposes; the two robots hiding in the bushes to implement plan B also start crying, causing their faces to melt.
    • Another episode has a robot fleeing from a burning building saying "Why? Why was I programmed to feel pain?"
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated., Fred thinks that real men don't have feelings, and tries to act accordingly. This doesn't prevent him from repeatedly suffering Heroic BSODs whenever his plans go horribly awry, and struggling to reconcile his feelings for traps — and Daphne. Leading to lines like:
    Fred: "Daphne! I've got great news! I'm not a guy anymore!"
  • Octus, the Ridiculously Human Robot in Sym-Bionic Titan. This issue is covered in the episode "I Am Octus."
  • Bobert from The Amazing World of Gumball is bullied by the other students in "The Robot" because he doesn't have feelings to hurt, but he's clearly saddened by it.
  • The Weather Heads from Ben 10 (2016) constantly denies feeling emotions, usually combining it with I Would Say If I Could Say (ex. "I would be happy our plan is progressing this well, if I could fell happiness), but they aren't fooling anyone. Subverted in "The 11th Alien", where they admit to be angry at Vilgax for planning to betray them.

  • The native people of Finland are known for being this, due to their stoic demeanor and their ability to suppress their emotions. They are capable of feeling emotions, but they don't usually show their emotions that much, since they're good at hiding it.

Alternative Title(s): Emotional Emotionless Person, Emotional Emotionless Girl