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  • Accel World:
    • Kuroyukihime is generally cool, collected and self-confident at all times, a persona that nicely fits her being one of the handful of Burst Linkers at Level 9 out of 10. When Haruyuki suggests that she's spending time with someone like him out of a secret need to punish herself, a statement that's insulting to both of them, she angrily slaps him, calls him an "idiot,"note  and bursts into tears, seeming much more like the 14-year-old girl she is. This is not lost on Haruyuki, who realizes how much he hurt her feelings by saying this.
    • The usually goofy and boisterous Bush Utan suddenly turns cold, desperate and violent around the time he activates his IS "kit."
  • In After War Gundam X, Roabea is the blue half of the Red Oni, Blue Oni pair on the Frieden, calm and world-wise compared to his Hot-Blooded friend Witz and the exuberant young protagonist Garrod. In the Estard arc, he takes a 10-Minute Retirement (itself significant) out of distaste that the ship has officially aligned with a government. It ends when a resistance fighter he'd fallen in love with is shot dead in front of him. He embarks on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and it's Witz who has to tell him not to attack an entire nation's armed forces with a now very beat-up Gundam. Later, when the mechanic says that he has to wait on the ship because of the extensive repairs, Roabea throws an uncharacteristic fit of frustration and kicks over a stack of crates.
  • Angel Beats!: Shiina (who is The Quiet One) says something in the 10th episode. Everyone is shocked by this.
  • In Aquarion Evol, there's one way to make even the seemingly unflappable Zen Fudo go stiff in horror: the sight of Mykage killing off Jin, supposedly his ally, for pulling off a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Asteroid in Love:
    • Ao has been acting rather strangely, mostly seen during the Christmas Episode when she bursts into tears when reading Mikage and Monroe's album of club activities. However, what actually breaks the camel's back is in the New Year Has Come arc: she has been avoiding to voice a prayer at the local shrine.note  It is at this point Mai presses Ao to come clean for all these, and the latter drops the bombshell: she will be moving out of town at the Spring Break due to her father's job transfer.
    • This trope partly contributes to Shiori deciding to consider Ao's plea to stay in town in Episode 9/ Chapter 28. Ao, being The Quiet One, seldom tells Shiori about her own life, and much less how she feels; so when she starts literally begging Shiori about this, Shiori concludes it must be extremely important to Ao.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • In chapter 23, Reiner is surprised that Jean is looking out for others.
    • Likewise, Annie's usual dreary-eyed expression giving way to wide-eyed, cocky, high-pitched laughter should make people very very afraid.
    • Related to the above, Eren, is a guy who swore to exterminate every single Titan on the planet because they killed his mother and destroyed his home town, and generally has a world view bordering on Black-and-White Insanity. Upon learning his friend Annie is a traitor responsible for the deaths of a large number of people including some of his teammates, he first reacts with denial. Even after he gathers the resolve to use his special ability, he still shows her a surprising amount of compassion, and seems willing to hear her out. In other words, he simply cannot bring himself to completely dehumanize her like he does any of his other enemies.
  • Bakemonogatari:
    • In Hanekawa's arc, when told that she knows everything, she responds "I don't know everything, I don't know anything." By comparison, her catch phrase is "I don't know everything, I just know what I know."
    • Played for Laughs in Nisemonogatari. Araragi is so freaked out by seeing his tomboyish little sister Karen wear a skirt that he assumes she was bullied into it.
  • Bakuman。:
    • Hiramaru, infuriated over the reasoning behind putting Detective Trap on hiatus until Mashiro graduates, storms off to work on his manga.
    • Eiji Nizuma is a manga enthusiast who reads everything in Jump, especially the main characters' work, since they're his rivals. When he says he isn't reading Tanto, it's proof of how strongly he believes that it's inferior to their previous work and they are not living up to their potential by working on it.
  • Pippin, the Gentle Giant of the Band of the Hawk in Berserk, has his Eyes Always Shut and usually remains silent during missions. He only opens his eyes twice in the series, both times to indicate his alertness during situations of mortal peril. And if he raises his voice and tells you to do something, you had better believe it's your only chance for survival.
  • In Black Butler:
    • Whenever Sebastian drops his classic butler guise and acts like his real demon self its never a good sign. For example; When he couldn't deal with Ciel's Heroic BSoD in the Green Witch arc anymore, he reverted to his true form and was 90% prepared to devour his soul right there on the spot had Ciel not snapped out of it.
    • Tanaka is usually shown in super deformed style, and only saying "ho ho ho". When he's shown normally, and actually talking, it's when things are getting serious.
  • Black Clover: In "Two New Stars", when it's revealed that the Black Bulls have come in second place at the Star Festival—after only the Golden Dawneveryone is in complete disbelief, even the Black Bulls themselves, who were all convinced that they would come in dead last. It's shocking enough that Gordon, a Black Bull member who always mutters so softly that the audience can only understand him thanks to subtitles, says out loud without subtitles, "It can't be!"
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun:
    • In the second season, after first discovering the Sisters, Mikoto is sufficently rattled that the next morning she fails to punch Kuroko for groping her and pays for something from the evil vending machine instead of kicking or electrocuting it. Kuroko becomes concerned that she may have been replaced by an impostor.
    • When Mikoto is suffering from a Level 6 Shift attempt, and is destructively mutating into an angel, the extreme Cloudcuckoolander and Idiot Hero Gunha Sogiita starts talking clearly and calmly, and defers to Touma to come up with a plan, since the situation is that serious.
  • In the season 1 finale of Code Geass, the typically whimsical Lloyd freaks out when he notices Nina ready to detonate a homemade nuclear bomb. The Black Knights' chief engineer Rakshata immediately calls for a ceasefire because she was college classmates with Lloyd and realizes that if he's scared enough to act serious, it's definitely something to be afraid of.
  • The phenomenon is examined with a "scientific experiment" in Cromartie High School.
  • This is a general (but important) plot point in Darker Than Black. Contractors are completely emotionless and self-serving, so when some of them aren't, people always make note of it. Likewise, Dolls are so completely empty that they won't even eat without proper programming. At one point, one uses her specter to call for help, which is about the same as your cell phone calling to tell your friend you're getting mugged.
  • Death Note:
    • Near figures out Light's otherwise brilliant plan because Light's Dragon, Teru Mikami, otherwise an obsessive Creature of Habit, goes to the bank two days in a row, when he would normally only go once a month.note 
    • Just after receiving the call from Halle about The Plan to kidnap Takada, Mello puts down his barely-eaten chocolate bar. And he obviously told Matt what was up, because Matt turned off all the electronics he had going. It's a very poignant moment for the two of them, whether you view them as a couple or whether you view them as nothing more than close friends/roommates.
    • In the first live-action film, Raye Penber suddenly behaves very uncharacteristically, courtesy of the instructions Light used when writing his name in the Death Note. It tips both L and Naomi Misora (Raye's fiancée) off that something is wrong, and further implicates Light in the case.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Zenitsu is normally cowardly, lacks confidence in himself and usually fights when he's sleeping. However, when he received news that his senior Kaigaku defected to the demons, which in turn, caused his master of the Thunder Breathing to commit seppuku, suffering a long and painful death, The GLOVES ARE OFF. Zenitsu was out for blood, facing Kaigaku, wide-awake, trash talking the former demon slayer and utterly enraged.
  • In the ending of Demon King Daimao, the student council member who always says "guga", says something other than guga.
  • Detective Conan, chapter 303: When Big Eater Genta doesn't want lunch, his friends know something's wrong with him. He's afraid because someone tried to kill him.
  • In Durarara!!, the rule is that if anyone goes out of character — shit will happen.
    • Mikado is a fairly frightening example. He’s usually an overwhelmed, confused high schooler who needs people to help him understand the chaos around him. He's also just a nice guy who doesn't want anyone to get hurt and feels really bad when people are caught in conflict. However, due to Izaya's influence and the pressure of secretly being the leader of the Dollars, he begins to crack. He begins to act more and more sociopathic, which is lampshaded by Aoba when he points out that, despite Mikado adamantly being against becoming the leader of the Blue Squares, he's smiling. After Aoba threatens Anri, Mikado takes a pen and jams it through Aoba's hand in anger, before immediately offering up bandages and returning to normal. He even outright dismisses Celty when she tells him not to use violence against people, which in of itself says a lot about who he's become. Mikado also calmly talks to Izaya and even trolls him, with no fear of the informant. He repeatedly goes in and out of character until the climax where he shoots Masaomi, and after realizing how far he's gone, shoots himself.
    • Mika is usually a very ditzy young girl utterly obsessed with Seiji and is often seen right next to him. It is known that she is a stalker, but even while breaking into someone's house and picking locks she retains the same cheerful demeanour. However, when Namie is about to splash acid in her face, she suddenly speaks calmly, revealing she knows far more than even some of the more dangerous groups in the show and is thus way more aware than anyone else.
    • If Izaya acts out of character, either it means he's lying or something has gone very, very wrong. According to Shinra, his whole deal is to pretending to predict things and smiling no matter the outcome, so in general it's hard to rile him up. When he for once has to have Tsukumoya tell him about what went down with Hollywood, he afterwards orchestrates the entire Akane incident just to feel better. He also goes out of character a couple of times in the final season, looking very distressed when Shizuo comes after him in their final fight and also when Mikado catches him not knowing about Celty's head being stolen. However, none of that compares to the OOC moments in his spin-off. Due to trauma from nearly being killed at the end of Durarara!!, Izaya has become known to freeze up or panic after seeing or hearing about anything remotely related to Shizuo.
    • When Shizuo hears from Akane that Izaya was the one to tell her Shizuo was a hitman, he merely smiles and says Izaya is his friend and that he was only playing a prank. Shinra immediately becomes afraid of his friend's calm demeanour, and while in the elevator with Tom, Shizuo goes back to normal and tells him 'if he commits murder, say [Shizuo] was fired yesterday'. When Izaya tries to kill him by dumping construction equipment onto him and Vorona, Izaya calls him to gloat. Shizuo's only response is calmly telling him goodbye (though, the wording means goodbye forever).
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Porluscyia, a crotchety and grumpy old lady, actually breaks down in tears during the Battle of Fairy Tail arc when it looks like Makarov might die.
    • Millianna, an ardent cat-lover, is depressed enough after the end of the Grand Magic Games arc, during which time she learns that her former friend Jellal, who's manipulated her into completing the Tower of Heaven and killed their friend Simon, was actually also a victim of manipulation himself, initially doesn't respond when Erza pulls Happy, a cat-like creature known as an Exceed, out of her bosom. As such, Erza does it again with Carla and Pantherlily, and Millianna actually enjoys it this time.
    • Gajeel's usually a rude Blood Knight whose confidence borders on arrogance. As such, it's significant when, upon learning that the two wizards he's fighting on Sirius Island belong to Grimoire heart, he insists that Levy run away to warn the others, since much more dangerous opponents will be coming.
  • Fruits Basket: While Tohru Honda is normally sweet and upbeat to the point of silliness, there are a handful of times when she truly breaks down and shows despair. The first is when she admits to Kyo that she secretly thinks her father was a "bad man", even though she knows he loved her and her mother and took good care of them. A later one would be when Kyo rejects her, causing her to run from the house in sorrow and run into an insane Akito. This is lampshaded at one point by her friend, who says that "hell would freeze over" if Tohru became overcome by sadness and stopped smiling. Also, alongside sweet and upbeat, Tohru herself is incredibly polite and well-mannered. The moment she pushes someone away from another person with her own hands happened when a very uncomfortable-looking Yuki was passive-aggressively harrassed by someone Tohru had never been before until then — Akito.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Ling Yao typically has his Eyes Always Shut. When he does open his eyes, it's either because he means business or after about the halfway point, Greed is currently in control of his body.
    • Ed is extremely sensitive about his height and will fly into rage whenever someone points it out. But when you see a character press this button yet Ed's reaction is to cower in fear, that character instantly gains The Dreaded status.
    • In the 2003 anime, you know Gluttony is upset over the death of his platonic life partner, Lust, when the thought of eating doesn't even cross his mind.
  • In Full Metal Panic! Kaname begins acting completely differently after visiting the ruined lab at Yamsk 11, including pulling a voluntary Face–Heel Turn. It turns out she's doing this because it's not Kaname.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure: normally the Elder acts very distracted and hardly ever remember something right, but if he does remember everything without errors, then it means that the Garden of Light's survival is at stake. It's even lampshaded by Wisdom and the Elder himself, who admits that he can't act as distracted as always.
  • In Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Bebel has a lung ailment that keeps him mostly bedridden or in a wheelchair; he only walks a handful of times in the series. However, when he sees how upset his sister Amy is about Ledo leaving the fleet, he runs across the ship to talk to him, gasping for air.
    • Chamber, being a robot, is always logical and polite...except in the final battle, as he performs a Heroic Sacrifice:
    "Chamber's response to Striker's final warning: Go to hell, tin can!"
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    H-P 
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • Throughout the Endless Eight arc, Yuki is frequently seen looking mildly bored or sad, which is pretty much the equivalent of a Heroic BSoD for her from being trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop for almost 600 years.
    • In the story "Snow Mountain Syndrome", when the Brigade gets lost on a mountain and finds a mysterious mansion, Yuki is even more listless and detached than normal, not saying a single word to anyone and barely nibbling her food. When pressed, we find out her link to the Data Overmind has been cut, and she has no idea how. So this is her freaking out.
    • Later during "Snow Mountain Syndrome", Yuki actually faints, which shocks Kyon, Koizumi, and Mikuru so much they can't even move to catch her when she falls. Thankfully, Haruhi (who is unaware that Yuki is a Physical God in all but name) isn't quite so stunned, and is there to grab her before she hits the ground.
    • One good way to check the seriousness of a situation is to check whether or not Koizumi is smiling. There have been two major times his perpetual smile has broken: when Mikuru accidentally began firing actual lasers from her eyes (nearly taking off his head with them), and when Kyon nearly strikes Haruhi in anger when she seriously crosses the line, which Koizumi fortunately steps in to stop.
    • In the anime, the last one involves maybe three other OOC moments: the usually deadpan Kyon being angry enough to go from snark to physical violence (which he lampshades) and the cheerful and selfish Haruhi being brought to tears. Even Tsuruya, who's almost always smiling and yukking it up, is shown totally silent and with a serious expression as Kyon and Haruhi almost come to blows.
  • Alucard from Hellsing is incredibly hammy, especially while fighting. The one time he acts completely solemn during a fight is when he begs Anderson not to become a monster like him.
  • Once in Hetalia: Axis Powers, Germany joined Japan on a diet and gave up beer. This leaves various Germans completely stunned and his older brother Prussia is nearly brought to tears out of fear. Of course, this being Hetalia, it's all presented as hilarious.
    Random German Guy: ZE VORLD IS COMING TO AN END!!!!
  • In the fourth season of of Hidamari Sketch, Yoshinoya talks with Hiro about the latter's future, dropping her usual wackyness and Womanchild tendencies and giving reliable, responsible advice, as a reasonable adult should. Yoshinoya might be a goofball, but she doesn't take such subjects lightly. She goes back to her usual self after Hiro leaves the room, and the school nurse Kuwahara lampshades the fact that Yoshinoya finally acted like a real teacher for once.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • In the first arc, Rena and Mion or so we're lead to believe act... oddly, prompting Keiichi to become defensive, ignore them outright, and to even carry a weapon around. This in itself triggers a very serious reaction from Mion and Rena, who believe what's happening to him is what happened to Satoshi a year prior — just before he vanished.
    • Those little moments where Rika acts oddly mature? It's not a product of delusion or faulty narration. It's because she's a major Stepford Smiler, and really is centuries older than she looks. It's not the eventual reveal that makes this important; it's the fact that if she's willing to break her persona, it's damn important.
    • When Satoko (a.k.a. the Master of Traps) doesn't respond well (or at all) to her friends' playful jokes, it means it's her turn to break.
    • If Rena is serious, it has two possible meanings: she's snapped from Hate Plague and is about to kill (or has already killed) someone, or one of her friends is in serious danger.
    • If Mion's genkiness goes away for a while, she's either acting more girly (read: impersonating her twin sister) to get closer to Keiichi, or if it's played for horror, it's not her at all; it's Shion instead. And, like Rena above, she becomes very serious when her friends' lives are in danger, or when attending family meetings.
  • In Inuyasha, as noted by Jaken, when Sesshomaru smiles, some serious shit is about to go down.
  • KanColle:
    • Fubuki is normally obsessed with Akagi. So in episode 10, Kaga points out how weird it is for Fubuki, who has become obsessed with training in order to get her remodel, to just run past Akagi with only a perfunctory greeting.
    • In episode 12, Haruna and Hiei are surprised when Kirishima does a Glasses Pull.
  • In Kill la Kill, when Mako is made into the President of the Martial Arts Club, she suddenly starts acting way more serious and ruthless than her usual goofy personality and even gets her own two-star uniform, which culminates in her trying to fight Ryuko to keep her family in their new wealthy lifestyle that comes with said uniform. When Ryuko refuses to fight back, Mako realises how selfish they're all being and calls both herself and her family out on it for not trying to stop her.
    • Nui is a perpetually cheerful Troll who takes great delight in pissing off everyone around her and takes nothing seriously. When Ryuko hacks off her arms, Nui is sent into a hysterical screaming fit and then gets legitimately angry for the first time in the series.
  • In episode 9 of Kotoura-san, Daichi stops puffing up his lips strangely in front of people (he previously only stops doing that in front of Childhood Friend Yuriko) in order to discuss a series of serial muggings Haruka might have psychically picked up on.
  • In Legend of Galactic Heroes, Alex Cazerne is renowned for his Nerves of Steel even in the deadliest conflicts (being a Desk Jockey undoubtedly helps). However, he broke down once over the death of Yang Wen-li, showing the seriousness of the situation.
  • Nanoha from Lyrical Nanoha is famous for being a Determinator of epic proportions. So when she suffers a Heroic BSoD in StrikerS due to Vivio getting kidnapped, it holds that much more weight since it is the only time in the entire franchise that she acts that way.
    • Teana's usually a Tsundere toward her best friend Subaru, so when she drops that attitude, Subaru usually takes notice. In the manga about their days at the academy, Teana once calmly informs Subaru that she has no desire to become friends with her, which saddens Subaru, although Teana does eventually change her mind. In StrikerS, after Teana gets reprimanded for nearly shooting Subaru during the hotel incident as a result of a desperate need to prove herself, she politely tells the other forwards that she wants to train by herself, which concerns Subaru.
  • Tetsuya Tsurugi from Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger is serious, grim-looking and moody, and he seldom smiles. So when he grins, everyone freaks out and dons Oh, Crap! stares. Mainly Warrior Monsters, since it usually means they are about to die horribly and painfully.
  • In March Comes in Like a Lion, the normally meek Rei eventually becomes irritated over Nikaidou's taped lecture over his MHK Cup loss and is vocal about it as he shouts back at the screen. Someji and Momo's reactions play it off like a joke as they look in amazement and surprise over Rei actually getting angry. However, Hina, in a slightly more serious moment, is happy to see a side of Rei that she never gets to see.
  • Mashin Hero Wataru Series: Due to being an extremely Genki Girl, Himiko never loses her smile, even when she should be scared.
  • Monster:
    • There are exactly two moments where Johan isn't smiling softly, and you will crap your pants both times.
    • The show has a habit of doing this with drink orders — for instance, the workaholic decides against ordering a coffee, because he's chosen to vacation in earnest.
  • Musuko ga Kawaikute Shikataganai Mazoku no Hahaoya: When introduced, the little vampire Lizette is a Cheerful Child living next door to the apartment Lorem moves into. Later chapters show that this is the case so long as she's kept fed with blood. When she accidentally runs out she's constantly tempted to bite the human Chiharu until she can restock. A flashback shows Lizette at age five, practically feral until Minami lets Lizette bite her. Again, the moment she's satiated, she's back to being a Cheerful Child promising not to misbehave.
  • My Hero Academia: All-Might is a Perpetual Smiler in his hero form; he's a Stepford Smiler, true, but he knows that the smile makes him seem more confident and reassures people. When hears that his students (including his protege, Izuku Midoriya) have been ambushed by villains while on a training field trip, he rushes to the scene. Once he arrives, the first thing that Izuku notices is that he's so enraged that he's not smiling.
    • Even worse, when All For One drops the true identity of Tomura Shigaraki as the grandson of his beloved master, All Might is so broken down and distressed that he can barely even respond, realizing the full implications of what he just heard.
    • Immediately after hearing that his brother has been hospitalized, Tenya Iida not only rushes over, but even runs in the halls of the hospital, something he'd scolded others for doing.
    • In the aftermath of the above incident,Midoriya notices that something's wrong when Iida fails to promptly respond to one of Midoriya's texts, despite having read said text, and when he abandons his post. It turns out that he's hunting down Hero Killer Stain for revenge.
    • When one of Midoriya's six hidden Quirks activates in his sleep, destroying much of his dorm room, including some of his prized All Might merchandise, the fact that he barely seems to react to the latter shows how troubled he is by the development.
    • During the Hero License Exam, Uraraka is struck by a rival student's Quirk and falls from the platform and doesn't try to float. Midoriya lampshades how odd this is and it turns out it's not Uraraka at all; it's actually Camie — actually Himiko — posing as her. At the time, Himiko didn't yet know that she could use Uraraka's Quirk while transformed into her.
    • Normally, Eraser Head/Shota Aizawa keeps a dour The Eeyore attitude up at all times, while his old school buddy Present Mic/Hizashi Yamada is loud and bombastic. But when they're told that their old friend Oboro Shirakumo might have been turned into a Nomu and become Kurogiri, it's Aizawa who's furious and Mic telling him to calm down.
  • In Chapter 75 of My Monster Secret, an incident happened which causes the weather to get worse whenever someone acts out-of-character, and gets better when they act normal. When Akane starts being nice, there were a huge storm with ''meteors'' falling down from the sky, as well as the Emperor of Fear descending to earth. Everything went back to normal, however, when Akari shows up in a homely outfit. The chapter is also a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, as it was never explained what caused the phenomenon.
  • My-Otome:
    • Arika's friends take note of how she isn't eating sweets when she's thinking about love, and become worried about her.
    • During Nagi's coup, when Natsuki objects to Shizuru holding off the enemy forces herself to allow her to escape, Shizuru angrily tells Natsuki not to act like a spoiled child and that she, as headmistress, has a duty to escape and help retake Garderobe and Windbloom, raising her voice for the only time in the series.
  • Naruto:
    • Asuma is almost always seen smoking, except for a few occasions. One instance is around the time his father, the Third Hokage, died. Another is when two Akatsuki members kill his friend Chiriku, and the rest of the members of his temple.
      Shikamaru: It's been two days since your last cigarette. When a chain smoker like you lays off, something's always up.
      Asuma: Sharp eyes, Shikamaru. If the likes of you can read my heart, then I'm still a rank amateur.
    • Kakashi usually acts like a total flake, but when Guy tells him he taught Lee the Hidden Lotus Kakashi is almost too mad to speak. Guy, who's usually Hot-Blooded and quite goofy, responds in kind, angrily telling Kakashi that he has no right to comment when he knows nothing of Lee, making this a case in which the relatively comedic "rivalry" between the two turns into a serious dispute.
    • Kakashi does it again during the Fourth World War arc, when the Edo Tensei technique makes him angry for the first time in the series.
    • Sai, who'd been forced to repress his emotions, acts similarly when a resurrected Deidara blows up Sai's "brother" in front of him, giving the perpetrator a terrifying Death Glare.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Similar to the Bleach example is Kaede; when she opens her eyes, something big is going down.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Rei is normally The Stoic and, other than her few close relationships, so indifferent to other people that she basically acts they don't really exist. When she meets Karowu, however, she is instantly on guard and eyes him with deep suspicion throughout their short conversation.
  • Nichijou: One time when Mio was telling Yuuko and Mai about winning a manga contest, Mai was acting like an airheaded Genki Girl. This clued Mio in that the conversation and the award she thought she had won were All Just a Dream (that, and the fact that a Wanyuudou had inexplicably replaced their bus).
  • Kofuku in Noragami is generally carefree, bubbly and ditzy but when Bishamon, who is looking to kill Yato, asks her about his whereabouts, she drops her childish personality and calmly tells her what happens between Yato and her is their business but if Bishamon does end up killing Yato, Bishamon better watch her back. And as the God of Poverty, she has the ability to summon more than enough damage-inducing gloom to make Bishamon back off.
  • In One-Punch Man, if Saitama drops his laidback attitude, then something has occurred that has seriously upset him. Examples include:
    • Arriving at the battlefield during the Deep Sea King arc and seeing the brutal aftermath. He even puts on an act about being a selfish asshole to protect the reputations of the other heroes who simply aren't as strong as him.
    • Facing off against Lord Boros, beating him with little effort, and then actually trying to comfort the pirate as he dies. Saitama was deeply disturbed by the fact that Lord Boros, the Dominator of the Universe, and likely the strongest alien out there was still nothing to him and he also identified with his struggle to find a tough opponent.
    • Chewing out Fubuki after she explained how her superhero mafia worked. Saitama may be a hero for fun, but the idea of someone strong hanging around weaklings just to make themselves feel better really got under his skin. A similar situation occurred with the martial artist Suiryu some time later.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: Kyoya Otori is a very cold, calculating, selfish man who never does anything that he can't gain from (at least, nothing that he'll admit to.) So when he blows up in Yuzuru Suou's face near the end of the manga and delivers an angry Reason You Suck Speech to him for forcibly wresting control of the Suou family businesses from Grandmother Suou and dashing Tamaki's hopes of someday reconciling his entire family in the process, despite there being nothing to gain and everything to lose from it.
  • Penguindrum:
    • The few times Shouma does not attempt to solve problems via words, things have got really bad. Specially the last one.
    • Similarly, his penguin #2, a Big Eater Extreme Omnivore, only once decided to share his meal with his "sister" #3. She refused it and left him all dejected — a foreshadowing of her and Himari leaving the Takakura family home. And later, the "Handsome Lech" older brother penguin, #1, ignoring the sexy pictures that #3 is waving at him, and #2 cracking raw eggs on his forehead instead of cooing and eating them. This foreshadows the Grand Finale, where Shouma and Kanba will be ret goned.
  • In Pokémon:
    • Brock's Croagunk was able to tell that Team Galactic is coming, particularly if Saturn's Toxicroak is among them, as he does nothing but stare at the door, and doesn't even move when Brock hits on Nurse Joy. This leads into a second moment from Brock, who promptly stops making the moves when the expected Poison Jab doesn't come.
    • Normally, Paul doesn't care what opinions others hold of him, or what comments they make about him. He always battles with either complete stoicism or arrogance. But this cracks when he battles Pyramid King Brandon. Paul saw his older brother Reggie lose to Brandon, causing Paul to develop his harsh style of training, determined to never be a loser like Reggie. His motivation to beat Brandon grows when he finds out Ash beat Brandon, as Ash’s philosophy of kindness and friendship toward pokemon is so opposite Paul’s. When Paul finally battles Brandon, he is unable to defeat even one of Brandon’s pokemon, and Brandon’s comments get under his skin like no other. This is one of the only time that Paul is not only emotional, but seriously angry, to the point where he eventually gives up giving commands to his team and accepts defeat.
    • In the XY and Z series, after his battle with Wulfric; Ash ventures into the forest outside Snowbelle City. However, when Serena tried to console him as she was very worry about him and knew something wasn't right, he angrily yells at her for not paying attention to his feelings and for not leaving his business alone. Serena herself responds by throwing snowballs at Ash so hard that she knocks him down and his hat falls off; shouting "You're not the Ash I know!". However, realizing how harsh they were to each other, Ash and Serena return to their usual persona by the time of his successful rematch.
    • In Sun and Moon, Ash is concerned when the normally aloof-to-strangers stray Litten comes up to him extremely panicked and asking for his help — something it had never asked Ash for in previous episodes of the series. And it's doubly OOC, as here Litten is panicked. Normally, it's The Comically Serious, and while it had shown emotion before, it had never shown outright panic the way it does here. And it's no wonder, as the Stoutland that had essentially adopted it was dying. In the same episode, Bewear, who normally acts a comical guardian to Team Rocket, calmly puts her arms around Meowth to console him about the elder Stoutland's death. Even the team itself doesn't try any of their schemes after hearing about this.
    • Later in the same region arc, Ash's Rowlet has practically made a Running Gag out of its most inherent trait: being a Heavy Sleeper to the core. It's been seen sleeping in Ash's backpack most of the time, and has even been shown to sleep during a few battles. While it has been shown to be awake during many major battles, such as Trials, this case is a very serious one indeed. How serious, you ask? Well, Rowlet is a nocturnal Pokémon, meaning it mainly sleeps during the daytime in the early morning hours. Now keep in mind that this is not only the morning of Kukui's wedding ceremony, but it's also the early morning of Kukui's wedding ceremony. This is a time when Rowlet would be expected to be dozing away in Ash's backpack. Yet it's wide awake. In other words: Rowlet is awake at a time when it would normally be asleep. Kukui's shock is completely genuine — after all, how many days would you expect to see a nocturnal animal awake during the daytime?
      • It's immediately lampshaded by Kukui:
    Professor Kukui: ROWLET?! Rowlet, you're never awake! What's going on here?

    R-X 
  • Ranma ½:
    • One episode of the anime has Happōsai, the resident Dirty Old Man, acting extremely despondent and unlike himself. It culminates when Female!Ranma is forced by the fathers to put on a swimsuit and give the Old Master a show in order to raise his spirits... and he just tells her to Please Put Some Clothes On. At this point, everybody know there's something very wrong with Happōsai.
    • Akane, when Ranma does something silly, but she doesn't make him pay by punching him to the sun or hitting him over the head with her hidden mallet. When she's really angry at him, she gives him the silent treatment. Ironically, Ranma is the main one who gets bothered by it.
  • Haru of Rave Master is a pretty friendly guy who tries to be nice to everyone. When he happens to run into his sister's physically abusive ex-boyfriend Branch during a stop at one town, the others have to hold him back from physically assaulting the guy, and Haru admits Branch is the only person he outright hates.
  • In Reborn! (2004), Reborn always pushes Tsuna to succeed in any given situation and never gives him a break because he knows that Tsuna has the potential to pull it off. So it's a huge shock to Tsuna when Reborn tells him that he has no chance of defeating the strongest member of the Vindice.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0: Rei says "Good Morning". The entire classroom flies into a panic. There's also her reaction to seeing the Dummy System and being pulled to respond to an attack: she reacts about the same as she might finding a nuke.
    Toji: Well that was unexpected.
  • In a story arc near the end of Red River (1995), when Urhi fakes holding Nakia hostage to keep everyone from learning about her involvement of the previous king's assassination, he whispers to her that he wishes they could start over where they first met. This initially just seems like him expressing sorrow at missed opportunities, but Nakia is confused over the uncharacteristic sentimentality Urhi is showing. She realizes that it's a hint from him to go back to the pool where they first met. He hid Yuri's present-day clothing there, which she can use to magic Yuri to a different time period.
  • In Rent-A-Girlfriend, Kazuya's grandmother Nagomi is rather expressive when it comes to her feelings, whether chewing him out or gushing over Chizuru, whom she believes to be Kazuya's girlfriend. As such, when Sayuri, who's Nagomi's friend and Chizuru's grandmother dies, Kazuya expects Nagomi to be upset about this. Instead, Nagomi visits Sayuri's wake, offers her condolences to Chizuru, pays her respects and leaves while somberly noting that she'll see Sayuri soon, and her emotional restraint surprises Kazuya..
  • In Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire, when Merah, Chris and Piers try to contact Doug Wright to make a report, they are unable to contact him and eventually learn from his university that he suddenly left with Ricky and didn't tell anyone where he was going. The fact that he's been gone for a lot longer than usual and didn't leave any contact info this time around makes them realise that something is wrong.
  • Kenshin of Rurouni Kenshin has a couple versions of this. The most obvious is that his entire demeanor changes, but more subtly he'll drop the use of the extremely humble "sessha" and use the aggressive masculine "ore"note , which is when you know what the Hitokiri Battousai is present. Also, any time Kenshin the Thou Shalt Not Kill Martial Pacifist seems to be seriously out for blood is cause to be very, very worried.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Most fans recognize protagonist Usagi to be something of The Ditz. So when she tells classmates to stay out of an impending fight and study instead, everyone present wonder if she's coming down with something. No one at this point realized that concern for her friends happens to be the one thing above all else that makes her start taking things seriously.
    • An instance of the trope starts the series of events that triggers the major Reveals in episode 34. Usagi runs into Mamoru on the street and slaps him on the back (mostly to annoy him), but to her surprise, not only does he react in pain (she hit him right on the spot where Zoisite wounded him in the last battle), he doesn't talk his usual snide towards her. This immediately sets off alarm bells in Usagi which become klaxons when she discovers the blood on her hand. Which shows something since, in spite of all the grief he'd given her in the past, the moment something serious happens to him, she drops all her past animosity to figure out what's wrong. And things just start to come together from there.
    • The manga gives two examples with Minako/Sailor Venus:
    • A lesser example forms the start of the plot in SuperS episode 138. It basically boils down to, "Why has Ami the Bookworm suddenly turned Wrench Wench?" It's because she felt the impulse to help a widow mechanic in a pinch, which eventually gets the other girls involved.
  • Saki:
    • Mihoko keeps her right eye constantly shut, since it's a different color from her left one, and she's sensitive about it. When she becomes surprised, she sometimes opens that eye, such as when she played Hisa for the first time three years ago.
    • In the quarterfinals, an interesting case happens when Hisa's teammates notice that she's not herself. Saki becomes worried when Hisa isn't trying for her "hell waits" — Hisa has a strategy for choosing waits that are unlikely to work, knowing that she's only likely to win with them — while Nodoka, who plays more logically, is happy that Hisa is not playing that way. Mako notices that Hisa was less than confident going into the match, and wonders if she really is alright after seeing her with a suddenly renewed confidence.
    • In Saki Shinohayu -dawn of age-, Kanna is a short-tempered and fairly abrasive girl. As such, when she declines Kyouka's offer to hang out together with a smile and an apology, Kyouka knows something is amiss; Kanna had hoped to apologize to her friends for upsetting them, but none of them showed up, leading her to think she had driven them away.
  • In an episode of Samurai Pizza Cats, space-cadet Emperor Fred (who normally communicates by saying "Fuh-red!" and scat-singing) catches a nasty cold, and apparently upgrades from The Unintelligible to Talkative Loon ("This is to certify that kung pao chicken containing MSG may cause your BMW to have a headache...") This leads Al Dente to conclude that the emperor is very sick.
  • Played for Laughs during the Hot Springs Episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. When the class and Nozomu learn about a hot springs' detoxifying qualities, Nozomu goes on a rant about the dangers of recklessly detoxing. Cue the students coming out of the spring without any of their character flaws, like the lawsuit-happy Ms. Fanservice tripping and revealing a wetsuit underneath her towel, while just asking for a band-aid instead of threatening to sue, and the Stalker with a Crush respecting Nozomu's personal space and staying away from him. Nozomu, being Nozomu, is horrified by all of this.
  • At the end of episode 12 of Servant × Service, the perpetually slacking Yutaka Hasebe comes into the office on Monday and... settles in to work with barely a word. His colleagues are massively creeped out to the point of staging an intervention to find out what's going on with him. Turns out there is some serious business afoot - he's just recently learned that his own father is the civil servant who approved Lucy's Overly Long Name, i.e. the person that the girl he's in love with wants revenge on. And worse, his father's justification for approving such a ridiculous name is that he was distracted because Yutaka was ill with a fever at the time, making Lucy's situation indirectly his fault.
  • Mark Ibaraki from 7 Seeds is usually very upbeat, friendly and goofy, with a constant smile on his face. When that smile disappears off his face? You know things are looking really, really bad.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, when Shana goes out of her way to avoid saying "Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!!!" for the most part, you know that some very serious shit is going down.
  • Six Half has everyone react like this when they first see Shiori act differently from what they are used to. Justified, she has amnesia and cannot remember what she was like before.
  • Skip Beat! has spent a lot of time developing Ren's (psychotic) Hidden Depths, but mostly from the reader's perspective. In chapter 194 we have a literal out-of-character be Serious Business when he freaks out at Kyoko for a personal matter while they're supposed to be the Heel siblings, and Kyoko is more astonished that he's breaking character while acting than that he's going full-on Bastard Boyfriend psycho on her. Even though they're alone in a hotel room. And they are not a couple.His breaking character as "Tsuruga Ren" and letting suppressed emotions and behaviors like rage appear was used this way at first, but it became enough the norm that it's gone to the next level. Earlier in the course of being Cain Heel he actually lost his temper while rehearsing a fight scene as a psychotic murderer and enjoyed the attempt to kill his co-star much more visibly than the character would, but luckily at that point he was about four cover identities deep, so no one was able to accurately interpret what had just happened. Though some came close, even working with false information.
  • Soul Eater:
    • Inverted with Death — if he starts acting in character, you know you're in some serious shit. He does occasionally put on his old scary voice just to scare his staff into paying attention, and is even more likely to treat the most dire of circumstances (Asura's resurrection, Kid's abduction) casually, even jokingly.
    • Also played straight: if Black☆Star is not yelling and Death The Kid is not OCD'ing over symmetry, prepare for an asskicking. Kid's an interesting example because the occasions he faces disorder and doesn't have a fit over it tend to be when he instead fixes on another inherent characteristic, that of him being a Shinigami (e.g Mosquito, minor point in his second fight with Black☆Star).
    • The death scene of Crona's mother Medusa definitely fits, their mother Medusa who welcomed them back and praised her child with open arms along by offering Crona's favorite dish. Finally, she then hugged Crona, who knows that their mother would never be so nice to them, freaked out and killed her. Which is what Medusa wanted
    • Crona themself is a weird two-in-one example; Crona's OOCness has different meanings depending on what side they're on. When evil, if Crona stops rambling like a lunatic then it's time to run. When good, Crona dropping their usual gloominess means that they're about to kick some serious butt. A possible third in the penultimate chapter of the manga. There, Crona calmly considers what has happened, what 'fear' is and what they can do about it and Asura. No fighting, no evil influence from Medusa. Just Crona. And it is awesome.
  • Squid Girl: Similar to the Bleach and Negima examples — when Chizuru opens her eyes, you're screwed. Except for the one time she was trying to be friendly instead of intimidating. And it was adorable.
  • Again like Gin, when Xelloss from Slayers opens his eyes, stops smiling, or volunteers unambiguous information, things have already gone completely downhill.
  • Exa from Superior is normally a nice guy, bordering on All-Loving Hero, but when he finally finds out that his love interest Sheila is the Demon King, he becomes single-mindedly obsessed with killing her, flat out stating that he will slaughter his friends and walk over their corpses if they get in his way.
  • Played straight in the ninth Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note novel which is animated as episodes 9-12, when everybody else's being gravely concerned with Uesugi's well-being after (1)Dropping off Top 50 in math when he always gets the first place, (2) skips both Cram School and The Team's proposed investigation, and (3) for an Academic Athlete, the impossible feat of slipping off the staircase. Kuroki has to skip the case because of it, possible to handle Uesugi's problem. Turns out the serious business is his vision has deteriorated to a point that he is already unable to read and a complete loss of vision is not impossible.
  • Tenchi Muyo! GXP During a space pirate invasion into the ship Seina is on board he gets an up-close look of a 'very bloodied and hate-filled face of Kiriko after she defends Seina from pirates that nearly kill him.
  • In Tiger Mask, Baba was surprised when the title character during a match used a tomoe nage against an opponent, noting it was an extremely unusual move for him. Then Tiger Mask kicked his opponent's back before he could land and started the Fujiyama Tiger Breaker, and Baba realized that this explained the odd move.
  • Carol Olston from Tomo-chan Is a Girl! repeatedly gets compared to cotton candy by her friends because she's a ditzy Perpetual Smiler who never seems affected by anything...but when she does drop the smile, everyone sits up and notices. It's Played for Laughs in one arc, where Tomo wanted to wear a boyish swimsuit to the beach and Carol shuts her down with a Blank Stare that immediately makes Tomo apologize. However, it's much less funny later on, when Misuzu tells Carol that her Love Interest Misaki only likes her platonically; Carol has a major breakdown and leaves school immediately while crying her eyes out. Everyone who sees her like this is utterly stunned, and Misuzu (who's normally the queen of Trolling) immediately realizes how badly she messed up and runs to find Misaki so she can make amends by sending him to go comfort Carol.
  • Trigun. Vash's reaction to Monev the Gale's wholesale slaughter of a small town in the anime is a definite example of this. Vash is usually a goofball and kind to the point of preferring to be injured himself rather than hurt anyone else, even when people are actively trying to kill him, but after seeing what happened to the town he puts a gun to Monev's head gets this close to just blowing his head off.
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, it's clear that Fay's mental state has taken a turn for the worse not because he grows his hair out after losing his eye and takes on a generally more gloomy disposition, but it's because he drops the cutesy nicknames and actually calls Kurogane by his name, with the framing of the scene making it clear it's intended to be a Wham Line. Later on when he starts using the nicknames again it's a huge relief to everyone since it indicates that he's getting better.
  • During Urusei Yatsura, Ataru usually has either a goofy look or a perverted look on his face. When he's caught looking serious, things just got real. It's even pointed-out during the Anime itself.
  • Askeladd from Vinland Saga is a veteran mercenary commander who commonly exudes an aura of devil-may-care confidence, with copious amounts of jokes, snark, and light-heartedness to inspire his men. The man underneath is considerably more sombre, introspective and philosophical, and this side emerges only when Askeladd is facing something that he's really serious about. Once Canute has undergone Character Development and Askeladd realizes he's found someone who can realize his dream of ending the Viking Age, he discards the persona entirely.
  • In the 11th volume of Yotsuba&!, Yotsuba's prized teddy bear Juralumin is attacked by a dog. It smells afterwards, so she and the other children give Juralumin a bath. However, this damages Juralumin's voice box, meaning it no longer 'speaks'. Yotsuba leaves Juralumin with Asagi to 'have an operation'. As Yotsuba waits for it to be fixed, she is listless, morose, practically depressed, finding no joy in things she normally does like stacking blocks and making origami. It's not just surprising from a five-year-old; it's particularly surprising from Yotsuba, who is normally extremely energetic and constantly bouncing back when she gets upset. It's so rare that her father tries to take a picture of her being sad, only for her to bluntly remind him that it's rude to take pictures of people without asking.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has one which comes after that duel when Yami played the Seal of Orichalcos simply because he couldn't stand the thought of him losing and it caused Yugi to lose his soul. After a guilt-ridden Yami arrives at a mystical place where he can make contact with Yugi, who gives him an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech before challenging him to a duel in which he uses the Seal of Orichalcos against Yami. It turns out to be a Cruel to Be Kind situation, where Yugi lets himself become the darkness that Yami must defeat in order to move forward, but still...
  • Student of Yuusha Gojo Kumiai Kouryuugata Keijiban (AKA, Hero Union BBS) is a massive troll, who spends most of his time playing around or even insulting other heroes on the boards. On one occasion when he gives thoughtful advice to a new hero, the other regulars react as if the Apocalypse was imminent.
  • In Yuri Is My Job, Mitsuki Yano, Hime Shiraki's Childhood Friend, was an overly serious and strict girl around the time the two first met in elementary school. Around the time she first met Hime, the two paired up to play the piano accompaniment for the recital. Despite enjoying Hime's company, Mitsuki regularly scolded Hime whenever she got distracted chatting when they met up to practice. However, one day, after Hime supposedly went out with her other classmates, only to return and reveal to Mitsuki that she'd lied to them, thus spending the afternoon with Mitsuki instead, Mitsuki is so touched that she and Hime spent the entire afternoon talking.
  • ×××HOLiC: If Yuuko is wearing something she's has ever worn before, things are getting serious. note 

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