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What Is This Feeling?

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"What is this powerful new juice coursing through my core source? The juice aches. Is this the rumored ache of feeling? The feeling of caring unknown to lemons?"
Lemonjon, Adventure Time

So you have a character who's usually defined by a certain mood. Maybe they're always calm and inexpressive, or cheery and upbeat, or brimming with rage, or moping; whatever it is, this mood defines them to the audience and the cast. But every once in a while the planets align and something happens that brings this person a momentary change of heart. This can come as a shock to the audience, the rest of the cast, and sometimes even the character themself! They were so used to their normal state of mind and they're not sure what's going on when that smile starts to spread across their face or their eye starts to twitch in that odd way. They can only ask—"What is this feeling?"

Bound to happen at least once to any Emotionless Girl and in the Defrosting Ice Queen scenario.

For specific types of feelings that can evoke this, see Unknowingly in Love, What Is This Thing You Call "Love"? and Is This What Anger Feels Like?

Compare Not So Stoic and First Time Feeling.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess: When amateurish exorcist Shiho Sakakibara starts getting too close to Keiichi, Belldandy's jealousy causes her power bursts that explode things around her randomly. She becomes increasingly distraught because she doesn't understand why she's having those negative feelings.
  • Played for Drama in The Ancient Magus' Bride: The centuries-old Humanoid Abomination Elias Ainsworth, while capable of feigning human emotions and even charm, has a serious case of Blue-and-Orange Morality. Things get complicated when he starts developing emotions for his apprentice and fiance Chise Hatori that he has no frame of reference for - he's completely perplexed by the feeling of coldness and emptiness he feels when she leaves for a few days and needs to have it explained to him that he's just lonely without her around. When Chise starts developing friendships and spending time with people other than him, he's surprised to find out the feelings of resentment bubbling up are jealousy. They eventually decide that while Elias is Chise's magic teacher, Chise is his human teacher.
  • Parodied in Ayakashi Triangle: Shadow Mei is confused when a Love Potion makes her infatuated with Matsuri, but jumps to entirely the wrong conclusion.
    Shadow Mei: This must be hatred. I'm boiling with rage. I'm sure of it!
  • Black Clover: As Asta and Liebe's fight with Lilith and Naamah reaches its climax, the Supreme Devils find that their magic is useless against the duo and, as they ask Asta just what the hell he is, begin to experience an emotion they have never felt before as they no longer enjoy the fight. Liebe tells them exactly what it is: it's fear.
  • During the rebellion arc of Claymore, the warriors of the current generation are ordered to attack a rebellious comrade, namely, Phantom Miria. The one from whose POV this segment is narrated recalls an uneasy sensation that she couldn't quite place as she enters the fray. Only after she is cut down and regains consciousness, she realizes what that feeling was: fear.
  • The Dangers in My Heart: During basketball practice, Ichikawa ponders to himself about how his actions and thoughts have contradictory to each other the more time he spends around Yamada; between his delusions about ending her life and instead helping her of his own volition or feeling a sense of "peace". When he gets hit with a basketball and is about to retaliate, he stops himself when he sees that she did it by accident and safely returns the ball to her. He soon realizes that he has a crush on her when she gets a nose injury from a ball hitting her face.
  • Something of a regular plot point in Darker than Black, as it's assumed by everybody (including Contractors themselves) that Contractors are inherently unemotional, selfish, and amoral. When those pesky emotions do finally show up, most aren't exactly sure what to do with them.
  • In DARLING in the FRANXX, Goro, having been raised in a cult-esque environment that censored romantic love, doesn't feel jealousy at first: he only knows that Ichigo is more important to him than his other teammates. Later he realizes that he wants to be more important to her than anyone else, and becomes annoyed when people flirt with her.
  • Light in Death Note is always very confident and powerful. However, when Near first calls him and says "call me N", Light is shocked that he is deathly afraid and has a fantasy where he is still handcuffed to L.
  • While Yuko of The Demon Girl Next Door knows she should be having fun during the summer festival she just can't feel it until Momo and Mikan meet up with her. The idea she might be lonely never occurred to her, probably because she most of her life as an ill girl, only returning to normal health for a few months.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Cell is absolutely shocked when Super Saiyan 2 Gohan beats him up and overpowers him, realizing he's actually feeling fear for the first time. Best displayed in the Kai dub.
    Cell: This feeling... this feeling... is this... is this what it is to know fear?!
  • Ren of Elemental Gelade has to be taught jealousy. It works!
  • Horribly deconstructed in Fate/Zero. Kotomine Kirei has been trying to find something that can give him true happiness for years. Despite being a priest, he doesn't find it in doing good. Despite being The Ace, he feels no pride. Despite being a married man, he doesn't find it in... you know.note  He finally finds something that makes him feel, it being absolute evil.
    Gilgamesh: Rejoice!
  • In one Fist of the North Star OVA, Raoh feels a strange trembling in his body when he fights Kenshiro, who has recently discovered the secret of the Musou Tensei technique. Kenshiro tells him that this is what fear feels like and that his body unconsciously knows that it should be afraid.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke's whole Heroic BSoD during TSR. Pretty much everyone was shocked and surprised at how depressed he of all people became when he was split up from Kaname. Mao is shown to especially be exasperated with him when he uncharacteristically almost gets them killed because he's so out of it.
    • In Always Stand by Me, Sousuke is a bit unnerved to discover that his mecha's AI has apparently developed the capacity for survivor's guilt.
  • In Girlfriend, Girlfriend, Saki feels something she never felt before when watching her boyfriend hug another girl. Basically, Saki has a Netorare fetish.
  • Happy Sugar Life have Satou feeling jealousy. After realizing Asahi knows Shio, she impulsively tries to kill him, stopping in the last second only when it hits her that she won't get away with murdering someone in her own workplace. She is very confused by her own actions, as she is usually more self-controlled and pragmatic. It takes a while for her to realize she was feeling jealousy.
  • Happened to Haruhi Suzumiya, after she helped the school band ENOZ out. They were very grateful but Haruhi didn't really know to handle it and becomes sort of melancholic. Kyon then figures that it is because she's not used to being thanked by other people.
  • In chapter 158 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Iino says the trope name practically word for word while describing how she felt during the Cultural Festival when Ishigami gave her a lost heart pendant. She knew intellectually it wasn't supposed to convey romantic feelings, but she treasured the moment, to her own surprise.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Miu experiences jealousy for the first time when Renka comes to visit the dojo and begins acting openly flirtatious towards Kenichi. She even yells "WHAT IS THIS FEELING?!" after she angrily kicks (and breaks) the training post.
  • The warrior Zentradi in Macross feel strange when confronted with culture; this element is particularly prominent in the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross and Macross: Do You Remember Love?
  • In My Monster Secret, Youko sets up her friends Asahi and Aizawa on a date, then watches them from a distance to make sure everything goes well. As the date goes on and they seemingly get closer, however, she starts feeling an uneasy tightness in her chest and worries that she's sick — not realizing that she's immensely jealous because of her own buried feelings for Asahi.
  • In My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, as I Expected, Hachiman Hikigaya once, so far, wished to befriend Yukino Yukinoshita. There is a good chance he hadn't wanted anyone specific to be his friend for years. However, his feelings were promptly crushed - courtesy of Yukino.
  • Mytho from Princess Tutu asks this question constantly throughout the series. It makes sense, because he shattered his heart (and thus lost his emotions) to seal away the evil Raven, and slowly regains emotions with each piece of his heart he is given by the title character.
  • When Naja first sees the Destruct in Sands of Destruction, he's so shaken that it takes him a moment to realize that what he's feeling is fear in its deepest form. He's usually The Stoic intellectual and at first dismisses the idea as foolishness, but admits he has no other word fitting for something which causes your whole body to break into a cold sweat and shake uncontrollably.
  • Towards the end of Simoun, the following dialogue takes place:
    Aaeru: What have you done to me?! Why does my heart hurt so much?
    Neviril: This is love.
  • In Sk8 the Infinity, the protagonist Langa is oblivious as to why his heart beats so loudly when he skateboards, and why it stops doing so when his best friend Reki is no longer at his side, having cut him out of his life.
  • Checkmate from Ultimate Muscle was trained by Sunshine not to feel pain. He experiences an odd sensation after his opponent attacks his knee for an entire episode, at which point Sunshine is forced to reveal that he only thinks he can't feel pain.
  • In Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun, Azazel Ameri befriends Iruma because he can translate the "Forbidden Text" / Shojo manga. As they spend more time together, Ameri becomes confused and frustrated by how her heart flips by being near him. After being traumatized after catching him in a dress, she's forced to confront her feelings on the matter. After an incident where he personality reversed, she realizes that she's fallen for Iruma and makes winning his affections one of her ambitions.

    Comic Books 
  • During the events of The Black Ring, Lex Luthor achieves near-omnipotence, and uses it to spread perfect joy and goodwill across the Universe. Among those affected is Gorilla Grodd, who's plainly confused by the sensation, wondering if he's ill.
  • Jason vs. Leatherface: It's stated that Jason has been pushing on for years with his feelings of hate and anger. He's left utterly confused and mystified when he finds himself sympathizing with Leatherface.
  • Supergirl: In Peter David's "Earth Angel" Supergirl version, the demon Buzz feels a horrible pain when he tries to leave her. At first, he thinks this is God's doing, but it turns out that, for the first time since he was a human, he's feeling guilt.
  • Superior Spider-Man: One of the first supervillains Doctor Octopus fights in his new body as Spider-Man is a sociopathic cyborg named Massacre who's unable to feel emotions as part of his condition. When Spider-Doc has him cornered after one rampage, and literally puts a gun to his head, Massacre experiences emotion for the first time in years; fear. Compared to his usual state of numbness, it feels wonderful. Spider-Doc blows his brains out, with the encouragement of the other civilians who survived Massacre's murder spree. The police officers who were present cover for him.

    Fan Works 
  • In Cat-Ra, thanks to an abusive childhood with only one person she could remotely call a friend, Catra is left frequently unable to properly articulate any emotion outside anger and frustration. Which, when mixed with her standoffish attitude, makes it difficult for even those close to her to get an accurate read on her feelings. For example, one chapter has Frosta realize that Catra's clumsily explanation of her relationship with everyone in the Alliance as being "annoying but tolerable" is the only way the cat girl knows how to describe the positive emotions attached to friendship.
  • A Dip In The Inkwell: "Powering Down for the Night" focuses on Ona, one of Oona's Oonabots who acts more human than the other two Oonabots, but also has trouble grasping things like sarcasm and loneliness.
  • In Duality, a RWBY fic written from Penny's perspective, she describes her first experience with grief.
    These people had made her happy, and they were gone now. It seemed strange that these contrasting truths existed alongside each other— that she was happy to be learning new things and going new places and sad to be leaving the old ones behind. That Erasmus had been important to her, though she didn’t know it until now. That people could hate pain and need it to survive.
  • The Flower Princess and the Alchemist: For quite a long time, Edward couldn't understand why he feels so incredibly hurt and angry whenever Orihime thinks about Ichigo. Why her love for him causes him great pain and anguish. Thanks to the manipulations of Amelia, he was able to discern the emotion he was feeling was...jealousy.
  • In A Gem, a Human, and a Baby, Pearl starts crying what is implied to be Tears of Joy after Greg declares her Steven's guardian and an official member of the Universe family.
  • I See What You Do Behind Closed Doors Miraculous Ladybug: Adrien only started dating Marinette due to her resemblance to Ladybug, unaware that they're the same person. After she calls him out for continuing to pursue Ladybug despite hooking up with her, she breaks up with him... and Adrien is struck by an intense sense of regret and loss. One that he doesn't understand, angrily reminding himself that he hasn't lost anything — he'll still be seeing her in class, after all! His inability to understand why he's hurting so much over their breakup results in his akumatization into Retropedaler Rue, who has the power to erase regrets and alter reality accordingly.
  • In Chapter 14 of Just Taken, Alan screams at both his ex-wife Joan and Geri all over what was happening to Melanie. Alan is bewildered that he did it despite his wife, Carol, letting him know what had to be done.
  • In Lucy's Unwanted House Guest!, Natsu is in a relationship with Lisanna and often acts dismissive of Lucy before being brainwashed into thinking that he beat her up. However, when he sees her injured after the assault on her, he feels bad for her.
    Natsu: Why does my heart hurt? Is it because of Heartfilia? I thought I only have feelings for Lisanna?
  • In One Punch Man: Hero's Harem, Saitama has a mildly erotic dream about the women in his life and finds himself feeling arousal for the first time in so long that he doesn't recognize the feeling anymore.
  • In Chapter 18 of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Misty spots Ash and Iris training together, and seeing them grow close in such a short amount of time causes her to feel jealous. Psyduck then points out she's also afraid that Iris could steal Ash away from her.
  • Sherlock Holmes:
    • Agreement and Disputation: Holmes remains stubbornly oblivious for much of the story that he's beginning to consider Watson a friend.
      • When he climbs the stairs one very steamy night to ascertain the doctor's health, he brushes it off as seeking information about potential need for quarantine and deduces nothing from his legs suddenly deciding to take the steps two at a time. After finding out Watson is short on funds, he muses that he hopes he's not planning to leave because he'd never find another so admirably suited roommate.
      • After Watson politely refuses a dinner invitation, convincing Holmes that he does plan on leaving Baker Street once the lease elapses, he cannot deduce why that troubles him so much.
      • When he finally discovers Watson doesn't wish to leave, he denies that his joy and relief come from anything sentimental. He claims he simply doesn't want to acclimate himself to another roommate and would prefer not to receive the full force of the rent in his own pocket.
      • When he realizes Watson is late, he denies that he's worried and expresses complete ignorance about why he can't focus on the monograph he's trying to write.
      • Halfway through Watson's lecture after the toadstool incident, it dawns on him that he had almost neglected to appear for lunch that day, meaning the doctor would have gotten a major dose of the poison. While he attributes the resulting chill to his nerves, he stops short of admitting concern for Watson.
    • Simple Gifts: Holmes doesn't initially pay any attention to Watson's sickness beyond cursory courtesy and annoyance when it disrupts his plans. However, over Mrs. Hudson's holiday, he finds himself doing more and more things for the doctor without understanding why, implicitly because friendship is a new experience to him. It becomes especially evident when he notes a twinge in his chest as the delirious Watson grabs his hand for comfort and he wonders if it's a sign he's caught the same illness.
  • In A Triangle in the Stars, Bill often questions the little feelings that often come up, wondering what they are and why they exist within him. Even after he's told in Chapter Thirty-Two what it is, empathy, he spends a lot of time trying to figure out how it works. More than a trillion years without a feeling tends to do that.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Frozen II, after Elsa conjures an ice boat sending Anna and Olaf away, Olaf comments that he's sensing anger. When Anna replies that she'd obviously be angry at Elsa, he confusingly explains that he actually sensing his own anger, which he has trouble understanding at first.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! "And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then - the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!"

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: After seeing the baby doll Tutar made in his likeness, Borat finally begins to feel regretful and heartsick for pimping out his own daughter to Giuliani. Not used to having sympathy for a woman, he can only describe it as "a pain in my titties".
  • Giselle's first experience with anger in Enchanted. No classic Disney princess had expressed anger or actively fought the villain until Ariel.
  • In Erik the Viking, Thorfinn Skullsplitter asks this when the party meets Halfdan the Black and he experiences fear for the first time.
  • Girl vs. Monster: Skyler Lewis was fearless since the day she was born; upon discovering her parents are ghost hunters and releasing a very dangerous one from the containment unit, she discovers fear for the first time in her life.
  • In the full-length movie version of The Grinch, the Grinch has this reaction when the Who's song fills him with joy. He also suffers from what looks like a heart attack caused by his heart rapidly growing.
  • According to Word Of Actress, Hermione went through this regarding her feelings about Ron dating Lavender in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
    Emma Watson: Hermione doesn't realize what it is that she's feeling, but it's probably just insane jealousy.
  • In Kick-Ass 2, Mindy "Hit Girl" McCready, who had been trained to be a fighter and killer since childhood, gets aroused for the first time when she watches a boy band music video. She gets scared and asks what is happening to her.
  • In The Producers, Leo Bloom "feels strange" while spending an afternoon in the park with Max Bialystock. Bialystock suggests that maybe he's feeling happy.
    • In the play/remake version, Leo gets that same feeling or similar after his first encounter with sexy foreigner Ulla. In this case, Max calls it an 'erection'. Or in some modern performances, 'swine flu'.
    Leo: It's like a volcano inside me, rising higher and higher, before it's about to explode! What do you call that feeling?
    Max: ...It's called an erection... Either that or Malaria. [Leo looks scared] But don't worry! They have shots for everything now!

  • Father Brown: In The Wrong Shape, the culprit is a Totalitarian Utilitarian who murders his victim because it was the best course of action for everyone involved (even the victim). And then he writes a confession to Father Brown:
    When I had done it, the extraordinary thing happened. Nature deserted me. I felt ill. I felt just as if I had done something wrong. I think my brain is breaking up; I feel some sort of desperate pleasure in thinking I have told the thing to somebody; that I shall not have to be alone with it if I marry and have children. What is the matter with me?... Madness... or can one have remorse, just as if one were in Byron’s poems!
  • Jurog: In Dragon Bones, Ward is in a bad and irritable mood for some length of time, and eventually figures out that it's the thought of losing Hurog, the castle and surrounding lands he inherited, forever, which makes him feel so bad. His being upset at this is justified, as it's not only the only home he knows, it is a Place of Power, and he feels lonely and empty without its magic.
  • Market of Monsters depicts two people with traumatic, abusive pasts falling in love for the first time... without understanding what's happening. Nita truly doesn't know what it is she starts feeling when she realizes how similar Kovit's Dark and Troubled Past is to hers, except that it's like empathy but not quite. She's had such little human interaction throughout her life, she doesn’t understand what it feels like to make a connection with someone. When she starts missing him after they separate, she feels "something intangible" when she remembers him whispering his e-mail address in her ear. Neither of these poor kids knows what genuine "love" feels like, so they can't accurately identify it. When it looks like they're going their separate ways in Only Ashes Remain, Nita sincerely struggles and fails to understand why they met up again in the first place, why they wanted to work together. She concludes they were "using" each other to feel better at a time when they were down, lost, and lonely and sees them finding solace in each other as a sign of being weak and messed up.
  • The Murderbot Diaries: The titular Cyborg was artificially created from cloned tissue and mechanical augmentations, spent much of its existence under a Restraining Bolt being treated like a product, and has only recently gained the freedom to think about what it is as an individual. Consequently, it sometimes gets feelings that it literally has no context to understand, especially when complicated interpersonal situations are involved.
  • The Rudest Alien on Earth: Oluu the alien ends up experiencing emotions she's new to, such as fear.
  • In the Star Trek: Discovery novel The Way to the Stars, Sylvia Tilly has long by smothered by the unrealistic expectations and demands of her parents and guardians, and especially her mother, Federation diplomat Siobhan Tilly, who responds to even the most glowing reports with comments like "I think we can see that there are some emerging issues." Finally, Tilly, fed up, runs away from the boarding school she was sent to and, using the engineering skills that have long been ignored by her family, fakes an identification, thwarts the school's advanced security, and secures passage on a non-aligned vessel. Once aboard, she begins secretly fixing the ship's antiquated systems. As she realizes that she is no longer on a schedule, no pressure on her, "and best of all, no relatives talking all the time about your grades and your emerging issues," she feels light-hearted. And then she realizes...
    this feeling was... happiness. She hugged herself. So this is what it feels like! They should bottle this! It feels great!
  • When The Angels Left The Old Country: After Humanity Ensues, Uriel the angel starts feeling unfamiliar emotions, especially towards its longtime companion. At the end, it tells Ash that "You are the friend of my soul."

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Angel Illyria, an Eldritch Abomination stuck in human form, is not comfortable with a lot of emotions. While she's familiar with grief and rage, even if she does feel unsure how to express them properly, feeling betrayed is a new one. In her time anyone would betray anyone else if they showed weakness, and didn't take it personally.
  • Arrested Development:
    • Gob is puzzled to feel something that he can't identify as either "envy" or "hungry", when coming to terms with the fact that Steve Holt is his son.
      Michael: Could it be love?
      Gob: I know what an erection feels like, Michael! No, it's the opposite. It's... it's like my heart is getting hard.
    • Season 4 returns to Gob's lack of emotional awareness:
      Gob: I have feelings for you.
      Tony Wonder: I have feelings for you.
      Narrator: The feeling was friendship, but neither had ever experienced it.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Amy tries to understand some odd symptoms she's experiencing: raised temperature, sweaty palms, and vascular throbbing in her ears and genitalia. We know full well that it's sexual arousal from meeting Zack.
  • Glory on Buffy the Vampire Slayer is distressed in the season five final episodes to find herself comforting Dawn and getting hurt that she rebuffs her. It's a sign that the distinction between her and Ben is breaking down.
  • Doctor Who: The Cybermen of the new series have an emotional inhibitor chip that prevents them from realizing the horror of what they are. In their post-2005 debut, the Doctor effectively weaponizes this trope by shutting off their inhibitors, driving them to die from the sheer Body Horror of their converted selves.
  • This happens to several of the emotionless Observers in Fringe. September feels paternal love towards Observer child created from his biological material, and later sympathy and friendship towards the Fringe team, which, together, kick off much of the Myth Arc. August feels romantic love, leading to his death. And Captain Widmark is slowly consumed by an obsessive desire to catch the Fringe team.
  • Galavant has Madalena get a whole song about how she is having her first feeling, and it's a bad one.
  • Gossip Girl's Chuck Bass when he first comes upon feelings of love. "I feel sick like there's... something in my stomach. Fluttering." Poor fellow, the object of his affection promptly informs him that the butterflies have got to be murdered.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Before Dennis gets married, he starts feeling emotional and expresses unfamiliarity with the sensation. Creeped out, Mac asks if he doesn't usually have emotions. Dennis replies that of course he has emotions; he just buries them.
  • Kamen Rider Ghost: It takes Alain a moment before he realizes that he is afraid. Of death in particular.
  • Odd Squad: At the end of "Negative Town", Mayor Glumley thanks Odd Squad for saving the titular town from destruction, and smiles for the first time in the process.
    Otis: Are you smiling?
    Mayor: Is that what's...happening to my face?
    Olympia: Yes, because you're happy!
  • Profit, when Jim Profit is confused by tears in his eyes after killing his father.
  • Schitt's Creek:
    • Alexis Rose has had a long string of boyfriends, but she never felt anything after the relationships ended. She never actually felt anything at all and saw doctors about it. This changes when she breaks up with Mutt and has to turn to her brother for advice.
    • In Season Five, Alexis is reluctant to accompany her boyfriend Ted on a trip to the Galapagos Islands because she fears that when she is there she will be thinking about my family. Ted replies that this is normal, and she reiterates that she will be there while her family is here and she will be thinking about them. He explains that it is called missing someone and it is perfectly normal.
  • From an episode of Scrubs:
    Jordan: I may have screwed up Blond stick's relationship and now I have this really weird feeling...
    Dr. Cox: It's called "guilt", ya Vulcan.
  • Seinfeld episode "The Serenity Now". Jerry's current girlfriend challenges him to openly express his feelings, in this case, anger. This backfires as he becomes overly angry about everything, leading to the girlfriend eventually dumping him. For the first time, Jerry actually reacts to this not-too-uncommon turn of events, to which Elaine responds "Jerry, you break up with a girl every week!" Jerry, mystified by his own emotions, touches his eyes and says "W-what is this salty discharge?" Elaine: "Oh my God, you're crying." "That's horrible. I care!"
  • In the Star Trek episode "Metamorphosis", the Companion doesn't understand what Zefram Cochrane means when he complains about being lonely. After she becomes human, she understands.
    Hedford/Companion: Loneliness... this is loneliness. Oh, what a bitter thing. Oh, Zefram, it's so sad, how do you bear it, this loneliness?
  • In season nine of Supernatural Castiel is visibly shocked when he finds himself noticing a woman's breasts. As he's just recently become human, he wasn't expecting hormones.
  • Yo Gabba Gabba!: "What, what, what is fun, fun, fun?" - Plex (the robot)

  • Our Miss Brooks: In the episode "Marriage Madness", Miss Brooks and Walter Denton are shocked to see Mr. Conklin smiling and in such a good mood. Mr. Conklin himself reflects that he doesn't remember being so happy!

  • Valjean and Javert both experience this in Les Misérables, when they are given kindness that they feel they do not deserve (Valjean is spared arrest by a Bishop from whom he stole, and Javert has his life spared by Valjean, the man he has hunted for years). It's notable that the way they react is quite different: Valjean vows to atone for his sins and spends the rest of the show doing good, and as for Javert, well, the song it happens in is called "Javert's Suicide" for a reason.
    • There's also "In My Life", where Cosette and Marius explore what it's like to be in love for the first time. Marius's reaction to the feeling is also made fun of by Grantaire in the earlier song "Red and Black".
  • The Rocky Horror Show: Brad's verse in "Rose Tint My World" is all about how the sexual ecstasy he feels because of Frank is a completely foreign, and frankly horrifying sensation he wants to stop.
    It’s beyond me
    Help me, mommy!
    I'll be good, you’ll see
    Take this dream away
    What's this? Let’s see
    I feel sexy
    What's come over me?
    Here it comes again!
  • Draco does this in A Very Potter Musical, experiencing... certain feelings and sensations for the first time when he sees the cleaned-up Hermione. It becomes one of the show's Crowning Moments of Funny because Draco is played by a girl. Ron has a similar but much more subtle reaction during the scene.
  • Uttered by Galinda, the spoiled Alpha Bitch who occasionally borders on Cloud Cuckoo Lander in the musical Wicked when she is denied entrance to the Sorcery Class she craves: "Something's wrong. I didn't get my way." Later, she utters, in grief, "Is this what other people feel like?"
    • And then there's the song that would be the Trope Namer if the phrase wasn't Older Than Television. For humor, the description of the mutual feeling Elphaba and Galinda have for each other is described to imply Les Yay before revealing what it really is:
      What is this feeling so sudden and new
      I felt the moment I laid eyes on you
      My pulse is rushing
      My head is reeling
      My face is flushing
      What is this feeling?
      Fervid as a flame
      Does it have a name?
      Loathing! Unadulterated loathing!

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, enemy ace pilot Anthony "Bedivere" Palmer says "This strange feeling. Is this his doing?" as his squadron is whittled down by Cipher and PJ, and in his interview after the war, admits that the unfamiliar feeling was fear and once he felt that, he couldn't fly again.
  • In the video game Borderlands 2, Goliaths will occasionally say this verbatim if their health gets low enough.
  • In Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly, Amanda doesn't understand how Earthlings can feel a much wider range of emotions than their alien species, so they suggest that movies should be captioned with the emotions the characters are feeling. When they try Blue Lightning for the first time, they struggle to experience its taste, but they still get a kick out of it.
  • In Destiny 2, the lore tab on Hawkmoon from Season of the Hunt reveals this is happening to Savathûn, the Witch-Queen, as she witnesses the camaraderie and friendship developing between The Guardian and the Crow, as she finds herself remembering her long lost homeworld, the love of her family, all the people she's betrayed over the ages, and all the blood she's spilt to sustain her immortality.
    "What is this feeling? I did not ask for it. I do not understand it. I do not want it."
  • In one of the epilogues for the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money, Dean Domino (if he survives) eventually discovered the fate of Vera Keyes and Frederick Sinclair brought about by his actions. The epilogue notes that he felt sad for a moment but wasn't sure why.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VII Remake Played for Laughs, if you talk to Chadley, the Shinra materia researcher and secret helper to your party when Cloud is in his dress, he will comment, "Forgive me, miss, but the way you're staring at me is rather... O-oh goodness. I'm experiencing an emotional response." If you speak to him again, he'll ask "What is this emotional response...?". It's also Foreshadowing his artificial nature. It's called Love, Chadley.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, the black mages are originally created as automatons by Kuja, their sole purpose to wage war. They begin to gain sentience and flee to the Black Mage Village but have trouble processing their feelings about the death and destruction they've taken part in, the "stopping" of their comrades, and other feelings such as simple joy at the wonders of nature around them, such as a baby chocobo. Your party member Vivi also struggles with such feelings but eventually starts to come to an understanding.
      Vivi: I was really confused when my grandpa died. He told me, 'Vivi, no need be sad.' So I told myself, I can't be sad. That's why I felt confused again when I heard that everyone was stopping around him. I don't know what to do or what to feel... But when I saw Dagger crying when her mom died, I wasn't confused anymore. I was sad.
  • In Kingdom Hearts coded, the Data-Sora feels sad when he has to say goodbye to the others at the end and fade back into the data, but doesn't recognize it at first because he hasn't before had any cause to really feel truly sad on his journey. He asks if it's another glitch, but Mickey tells him that this is just what good-byes feel like.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel:
    • Cold Steel II - Millium Orion. After seeing Celdic burned to the ground, she starts feeling a "weird tightness" and confers with Rean about it. Rean diagnoses that Millium is feeling sad, something that Millium thinks is definitely out of character for her. Prior to this, she even admits that she'd never felt sadness or cried before, even after the death of the Chancellor (whom Millium affectionately called "Gramps"). This gets subverted in the Epilogue, when Class VII completes their last adventure together and Millium feels a tear running down her face. A few seconds later, the dam bursts in earnest.
    • Cold Steel III - Altina Orion is a humonculus created by the Black Workshop and has trouble understanding certain feelings, such as the concern she feels for her classmates when it's only been her remit before to protect Rean.
    • In Cold Steel IV, after one of the many times that Rean has scared the party by taking too much upon himself and ended up collapsed...
      Altina: I believe I now understand what it means to feel 'frustrated.'
      Elliot: Haha... Guess you'll just have to take it out on him sometime.
  • Mega Man Legends: Tron Bonne meets Mega Man for the first time when she's running away from a dog, which he can talk into leaving her alone (or alternatively kick it away in the Japanese version), which causes her to develop a crush on him. From there on out, she can't figure out why she feels funny every time she thinks of him, nor why she isn't furious with being unable to destroy him.
  • This exchange from Poker Night 2;
    Claptrap: What's this emotion I'm feeling? It's like, I wish I had those cards, but I also hate you for having them!
    GLaDOS: That's "envy", you emotionally stunted rhomboid.
    Claptrap: (Beat) And now I'm learning arousal!
  • In XCOM 2 during the War of the Chosen expansion, if you manage to kill the Chosen Hunter by destroying his sarcophagus, he'll remark that "This is what it feels like to be afraid..." as he dies.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Fruit of Grisaia: When Sachi begins to develop an attraction to Yuuji, she doesn’t really get why she’s acting differently around him. Nor any of the other complex emotions she’s locked away.
  • In an interesting meta-example, the VN Katawa Shoujo, when released, turned out to be the one thing on the internet that could make 4chan cry.
  • Present in Hanzo's route in Nightshade, though it's downplayed. Hanzo is confused by his feelings for Enju at first because he had simply never loved anyone romantically before, but he does figure it out after a while.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, the phantom, who claims to be unable to feel any emotions at all, suddenly experiences fear when he realizes he's being targeted by assassins. The realization that he's feeling something makes him even more afraid, triggering his Villainous Breakdown.
  • In Princess Evangile, there's Tamie Nogi in her route. Having practically been Married to the Job during her stay at Vincennes Academy thus far, she starts to feel affection towards Masaya after spending an entire week traveling around Japan with him. For the second half of the route's first chapter, she's practically wondering why she's beginning to see him differently than how she normally does.
  • Arcueid in Tsukihime after Shiki fails to show up for their meeting. She's incredibly angry because to her it feels like she got stood up on a date. After she calms down, she realizes it's not like her to get so upset and asks Shiki why he thinks she got so angry. She's not used to feeling emotion towards people and will be vaguely accepting of the idea that she's selfish or that she hates him.


    Web Original 
  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Captain Hammer apparently feels pain for the first time after being hit with an explosion, and the experience drives him to psychiatry and sobbing like a little girl.
  • In episode 51 of Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Future Trunks finally stands up to Vegeta after enduring several episodes' worth of abuse from his (alternate timeline) father and blasts Vegeta over the horizon.
    Vegeta: Huh. This is a new feeling... pride in someone else. (wipes his mouth to find that he's bleeding) Unfortunately it's OVERSHADOWED BY ALL THIS UNYIELDING RAGE!!!
  • Invoked in Hanazuki: Full of Treasures. After Hanazuki has a fight with Kiazuki and talks to the Mirror Plant (who has the ability to mimic the thoughts of people nearby). The new treasure she gets turns black with a purple glow and an angry face, while Hanazuki looks sad, and the black tree that sprouts looks like an Emo Teen. The tree represents an unprecedented emotion for Hanazuki, gloom.
  • Strong Sad, of Homestar Runner, claims that "Something weird is happening to the sides of my mouth!" when he smiles in the Halloween special "Happy Hallow-Day".
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, Kirito goes through this after the events of Episode 3.
    Kirito: I've been having this weird pain in my chest, I was hoping this rare item might be able to fix it.
    Klein: Well that's strange. What do you think caused it?
    Kirito: Well, I suppose it started right after I watched my entire guild get slaughtered - I mean, I didn't take any damage, so that can't be it...
    Klein: (disgusted) Oh my GOD. [...] Kirito, you're not injured, you're sad that all your friends died.
    Kirito: Wow, I never even thought of it that way...
    Klein: Yeah! Big shock, you friggin' sociopath!
  • Zero Punctuation:
    Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw: But after I'd played for a couple of hours, a strange thing happened; I was actually having fun. I know, it was a weird and frightening realization.

    Web Video 
  • Vision of Escaflowne Abridged: Spoofed when Van first experiences the mysterious concept known as "empathy."
    Van: And it's like I could tell what they were thinking and feeling just by watching what they said and did.... Did I just get some awesome new superpower without realizing it?
    Van: (internally) If she sees Allen and Millerna together, she'll get her feelings hurt. That's strange... I don't want her feelings to get hurt, even though they're her feelings and I'm me. Man, these new powers are complicated!

    Western Animation 
  • The 7D:
    • In "Hildy the Good", Hildy pretends to be a good witch in order to get in the queen's good graces and take over the kingdom. However, the act of doing good deeds causes a strange feeling to well up inside her. "Is this what being good feels like? Ew!"
    • In "Jollybells", both Grim and Hildy experience joy:
      Grim: Do you feel that, Hildy?
      Hildy: No, I don't want to!
      Grim: What is that?
      Hildy: I don't know, Grim.
      Grim: I think it's, I think it'
      Hildy: Yes, I do feel it. Eeeeeew!
  • Adventure Time:
    • Finn goes through this when he experiences jealousy for the first time at the sight of Princess Bubblegum with Ricardio the Heart Guy.
      Finn: Ugh. I feel, weird.
      Jake: Sounds like you're dealing with some new emotions you don't understand: like jealousy.
      Finn: Blagh!
    • This trope is used in a heartwrenching way in "All Your Fault" when Lemonjon learns of "the feeling of caring unknown to lemons." He later explodes and reverts to lemon candy, effectively killing himself, so the Lemon People will have enough food to eat and won't attack the Candy People.
  • Adventure Time: Distant Lands: In the episode "Together Again", Finn has seemingly reached his Darkest Hour; he's no closer to finding Jake in the afterlife and his parents have apparently been wiped from existence. However, his intense emotions open a portal to nirvana, and Jake descends from above. Jake has transcended all material attachments, and is content with just a brief glimpse to make sure Finn is okay, until their reunion is interrupted by the Undertakers, who begin mercilessly pounding on Finn while Jake watches passively. However, the sight of his brother and best friend being curb-stomped stirs strange feelings in Jake; his brow furrows and his fingers instinctively clench together. He quickly realizes he doesn't like what he sees, and leaps in to clobber Finn's attackers.
    Jake: That felt really... good!
  • In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold Christmas Episode "Invasion of the Secret Santas!", Red Tornado interprets a strange sensation as the "Christmas spirit" he's been trying to understand. It's actually an overload that causes him to explode (fortunately, he's a robot and is good as new once his parts are gathered and reassembled).
  • Bob's Burgers
    • In "Bob Fires the Kids", Louise asks if it's possible to feel sad for another person after discovering her father's lack of a decent childhood. She then proceeds to assume that she might be going crazy.
    • In "Boyz 4 Now", Louise goes completely crazy (even more so than usual) when she develops a crush on the band's youngest member, Boo-Boo.
      Louise: Oh my God, what's happening to me?! CUT ME OPEN, I'M INFECTED! PULL IT OUT!
      Tina: It's okay, Louise. You're just having a crush.
  • In "Fairy Happy Thanksgiving!" from Butterbean's Cafe, after Butterbean and her crew cook Thanksgiving dinner for her, Ms. Marmalady, the show's Card-Carrying Villain, says that she's feeling a little strange.
    Ms. Marmalady: I think I... I think I might be feeling... happy? (smiles, cue song number)
  • DC Animated Universe: Batman had to be told once in The New Batman Adventures that a warm, fuzzy feeling was called happiness.
  • Wally in an episode of the Dilbert TV show had an experience like this when he is hypnotized to do work. When it wore off, he mused to the effect of "What is this? I feel unclean. More so than usual."
  • In Disenchantment, Luci the demon seems to experience sadness for the first time when Elfo dies: "If this is sadness, I don't like it one bit."
    • When Bean unknowingly experiences hope, she describes it as “this feeling I don’t want to drink away.”
  • From the Doc McStuffins episode "The Wicked King and the Mean Queen":
    The Wicked King: Drat! There's a strange feeling in my tummy. I feel as if *beat* I don't like it.
  • Happens to Mandy in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy when she experiences a crush on a newcomer to town. Frustrated by the new feeling, she implores Grim to cut her heart out with his scythe but the two come up with something a lot more clever: invoking Unrequited Love Switcheroo.
  • In the Harvey Beaks episode "Princess is Better Than You", after learning that Spoiled Brat Princess' only toys are new age crystals, Claire gives her a doll. Princess is moved to tears, though she doesn't understand what is happening, and when informed that she's "having a feeling", she agitatedly demands it stop.
  • Varrick, throughout his appearances in The Legend of Korra, has always been a somewhat affable, but still Corrupt Corporate Executive. However, in Book 4, his attempts to harness the power of the spirit vines creates a Fantastic Nuke, and he tries to shut down the project as it is too dangerous. Thing is, he doesn't know why;
    Varrick: Usually I look at a project like this and all I think is WOW! I can make a ton of money off this! But recently I've been having these...strange feelings. Inside. It's like I'm... concerned with others. And there's this nagging voice in my head. Constantly. Telling me what's right from wrong!
    Zhu Li: I believe that voice is your conscience, sir?
  • In the Lolirock episode "Forget You!", after a spell causes Praxina to lose her memories, the princesses take her under their wing. After Auriana compliments her on her new outfit, she starts getting a warm feeling inside and wonders if she's getting sick. The other girls inform her that she's feeling good because Auriana was nice to her, and when Praxina decides she wants to keep feeling that way, they further explain that doing the right thing can also lead to that feeling.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Luna's reaction in "Luna Eclipsed", once she joins the Nightmare Night festivities and mingles with her subjects for the first time.
      Princess Luna: Your princess enjoys this "fun". In what other ways may we experience it?
    • This happens to Rainbow Dash over time as she starts acknowledging her feelings rather than hiding them. It first becomes notable in "May The Best Pet Win!". It takes her a few more seasons to defrost, but she gets there. By season 7, she can cry in front of others.
    • In "School Daze", as the school's classes grow dull and uninteresting, Silverstream finds herself experiencing what seems to be an unfamiliar feeling for the highly excitable hippogriff — boredom.
      Silverstream: Is this what boring is? Am I bored?
  • The Owl House: While to an outside observer it's pretty clear that Amity is in love with Luz, the Season 2 episode "Through the Looking Glass Ruins" shows that Amity herself isn't really aware of what her feelings are, or at the very least doesn't understand why they are so intense.
  • King Julien when he feels guilt for the first time, in The Penguins of Madagascar, "Assault and Batteries":
    But what is this feeling I am feeling? It is not a happiness. It is a feeling that I have not done all I should have done! I do not like it! How do I make it go away?
  • Ready Jet Go!: In "Jet 2," Jet builds his own robot clone. Then, he feels bad that Sean and Sydney are spending more time with Jet 2 than with the real Jet. Mindy helps him realize that he is experiencing jealousy for the first time.
    Jet: What does jealous mean? Is that some kind of jelly?
    Mindy: No, silly. Being jealous is feeling bad about being left out of something fun, or wanting something that somebody else has.
    Jet: Huh. Maybe I am a little jealous that Sean and Sydney took Jet 2 to the treehouse instead of staying here with me.
  • The Simpsons:
    • From "The War of the Simpsons", when Bart sees Grampa all broken up about not being a good babysitter (he's actually faking it to guilt the kids into cleaning up).
      Bart: Lisa, I have this strong unpleasant feeling I've never had before.
      Lisa: It's called "remorse", you vile burlesque of irrepressible youth.
    • Subverted in the 100th episode, when Bart inadvertently gets Skinner fired.
      Bart: I thought I'd be jumping for joy the day Skinner got fired, but all I have now is this weird, warm feeling on the back of my neck.
      Lisa: It's called guilt, you feel guilty that your little stunt cost a man his job!
      Bart: Yeah, maybe.
      (zoom to reveal a tick feeding on the back of his neck)
    • In "Lady Bouvier's Lover", when Abe develops feelings for Marge's mother;
      Abe: I feel all funny... Gasps I'm in love! No, wait, it's a stroke! (Cut to an ambulance) Wait, it is love!
    • At the end of "Heartbreak Hotel", when Marge makes a fool of herself and Homer receives pity from others (instead of the other way around like always), he gets a warm rise from being pitied.
      Homer: Is this how you feel all the time?
      Marge: Hm, kind of. I just never let myself enjoy it.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton in The Fun Song.
    Plankton: Wait. I don't understand... I feel all tingly inside. Should we stop?
    Spongebob: No, that's how you're supposed to feel!
    Plankton: Well I like it! Let's do it again!
  • Steven Universe:
    • As of "Too Far", Peridot has trouble processing that she's started caring about how others feel about her, only being able to describe it in terms of feeling "small" when Amethyst starts ignoring her — even throwing a tantrum about how it doesn't make sense that she cares.
    • In "The Zoo", Steven and Greg end up in a zoo full of humans, descended from ones kept in captivity by the Gems for generations. The "Zoomans" have never known want or pain, but when Greg refuses to pair up with any of them during "The Choosening" they're all heartbroken and burst into tears. One of them even wonders if this is what "hurt" feels like.
    • "Change Your Mind":
  • Happens in Xiaolin Showdown when a human-like robot of Jack's design named Dude-Bot has one of the Shen Gong Wu in its make—specifically the Heart of Jong. At first, he is thrilled at all the new feelings he experiences but keeps trying to make friends with his creator and the Xiaolin Dragons. The constant rejection and attacks makes him feel hurt (even if he can effortlessly counterattack), causing him to glitch and emit streams of tears. He promptly declares that he doesn't like feeling human, rips the heart out of his metallic chest and discards it listlessly, falling over deactivated a moment later.


Data's Emotion Chip

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / PersonalityChip

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