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Stoic Woobie / Anime & Manga

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  • Akame from Akame ga Kill! was brainwashed into a Child Soldier that would protect the corrupt empire she lived under, killed thousands of people without question, and was separated from her beloved sister, who also underwent the exact same process she did alone. Then after she breaks her brainwashing, Akame is now hunted by her former rulers and forced to fight her own sister in a war to take down the empire who ruined her life.
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  • The Hero of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Setsuna F. Seiei, had been tricked by the bloody monster Ali Al-Saachez into murdering his own parents in the name of God. Throughout the entire series he openly shows the sadness and anger deep in him; he never laughs and almost never smiles - and the only thing that could probably heal him is Marina Ismail's song, Tomorrow.
  • Hagi (or Haji) from Blood+ is this. He's been physically abused by pretty much every opponent he's ever faced. He's been through it all: Impaled, crushed beneath rubble, almost died of blood loss when he was still human, took a blast of condensed energy, lost at least two appendages. Even all that abuse is nothing compared to the immense psychological trauma he's carried over for an entire century. Said trauma scarred him so much that he barely speaks.
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  • Atem/Yami Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh!. In his past life he was a Pharaoh who lost his father at the age of fifteen, then had to give up his life and his memories to seal himself and a great evil in the Millennium Puzzle. This plan was presumably for good until Yugi unexpectedly solved the Puzzle and freed him 3,000 years later. He never complains about his loneliness or captivity in the Puzzle, never complains about only being able to exist through Yugi, never complains about having to stop various bad guys using the other Millennium Items for bad ends and never so much as expresses his own desires about things. He comes close to despair a few times but never balks at all the responsibility he has to shoulder.
  • Yuki Nagato from Haruhi Suzumiya (who, notably, is partly an homage to the above mentioned Rei). Also woobie re-maker of world, although the remade world was considerably nicer, and she even left a reset button for the main character. For those unfamiliar, Yuki is the only member of the cast who remembers every iteration of the "Groundhog Day" Loop where Haruhi put them through the last two weeks of summer vacation over and over again. We "only" had to watch it eight times; she experienced it for subjective centuries. Since she's an Emotionless Girl, though, there's absolutely no angst shown.
  • A few examples stand out in Naruto:
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    • When Itachi Uchiha was four he watched people die in a world war. As Tobi said: "For a child, war is hell." He grew up under the pressure of being the Uchiha Clan prodigy while trying to maintain peace. At the prospect of his clan causing a rebellion, he received orders to murder them to maintain peace. After that, he developed a terminal illness, and chose to make his own little brother hate him... and yet he still died with a smile on his face. Death was probably the best thing that ever happened to that guy. And later, his little brother takes his eyes and he is resurrected as a zombie. Yes, even after he's dead, the Ninja world won't give him a break!
    • Kakashi Hatake. At about age 6, father commits suicide. He only recovers normal human emotions through second traumatic loss for which he blames himself. He also happens to be the sole survivor of his original team. One of the Genin he trained defected from the village and joined a terrorist organisation. To twist the knife further, said student was very similar to Kakashi and declared that he intended to kill everyone in their village, including his remaining students and Kakashi himself. Kakashi is continually late because of visiting the grave/memorial stone of his dead teammate, for whom he feels responsible. His only moments of on-screen angsting are at the Third Hokage's funeral and a scene in which he visits the memorial after the failure to retrieve Sasuke and asks the dead Obito how much he has changed. His face when he gets to the site of Naruto and Sasuke's fight at the Valley of the End, too late again, is a study in pain and self-hatred. He later finds out that his "dead" teammate (the same one whose grave he's constantly visiting) not only survived his "fatal" accident, but is actually the Big Bad of the story. And what happened to seal Obito's turn from Wide-Eyed Idealist to Diabolical Mastermind? Witnessing from the shadows as Kakashi was forced to kill Rin, their other teammate and the girl that Obito was in love with and asked him to protect. Considering all that he has gone through, he may very well be the most emotionally broken man in the story.
    • Shikamaru Nara. First he gets to see his sensei, who is like a father figure to him, killed right before his eyes. This plays out over a coming of age arc where he recovers and gets revenge on Asuma's killers. Everything okay, right? Nope. After the Ninja Alliance arrives to help Naruto against the Madara, Obito, and the Juubi, his father Shikaku and Inoichi are killed after the Juubi launches an attack that destroys Alliance HQ. So the guy who got him over Asuma's death is now also dead. Only a day after he was forced with his team to fight and defeat a zombie Asuma. Nice. While Ino cries after learning the fate of her father, Shikamaru is stoic after a brief bit of emotion.
    • Shino Aburame, at least in the anime fillers. During the war, he comes across his Childhood Friend and Big Brother Mentor Torune. Shino then realizes that a) his brother is dead, and b) he's going to have to kill his brother a second time. By himself. We then learn that Torune joined the Foundation so that Shino could have the chance to learn The Power of Friendship. Torune asks Shino if he has made any friends. Shino makes a distressed face, then replies, "I don’t know…I’m not sure if they consider me their friend.”
  • Sousuke Sagura from Full Metal Panic!. Especially after his childhood and backstory is shown in Kyokuhoku Kara no Koe. The poor kid suffered together with his beautiful single mother in the middle of ice cold mountains in a crashed airplane (where all other passengers died), saw his mother freaking die for him before his own eyes, temporarily went mute from shock while he was taken in by the Russian army, got sent away to the KGB to be raised as a child soldier and assassin, got taken in as a child soldier for the resistance in the middle of Afghanistan, the resistance ended up losing the war anyways, and he loses a bunch of his comrades and his kindly father figure... and that's just up until he was eleven years old. He's never shown to have ever complained or wangsted about any of it, and seems to take all of it in stride. There are very, very brief moments where his eyes are described to show loneliness, as well as moments where he's shown to have Bad Dreams about his mother dying.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Fate Testarossa is a Dark Magical Girl who has been put through hell by the person she loved and then left out in the dry, completely shattered. Nevertheless, she manages to get up on her feet and lead a relatively normal life. In the second season, she is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine where said person loves her back and her Cool Big Sis is alive—and one of the reasons she can wake up from it is her realization that this reality is treating her too good. In other words, she uses the level of her own suffering to determine if the current reality is fake.
    • Also, the Lady of War Signum and other Wolkenritter from season two. Fate has been through roughly a year of abuse by her maddened mother. The Wolkenritter are implied to have been through centuries of abuse by various masters who treated them like crap and whose orders they could not disobey. Then, after they finally find a master who loves them in Hayate who treats them like humans, it turns out that The Book of Darkness, the source of their magic, is slowly killing Hayate. Thus they begin stealing Linker Cores in a desperate attempt to keep Hayate alive.
  • Bleach
    • Shinji Hirako has been through two breakdowns, one in the past and one in the present, has seen his friends turned into monsters and has at one point or another been forced to fight them, had a soul-eating abomination implated into him by the Big Bad, and has seen the person he's closest to on the brink of death twice, with the second time leaving her chopped in half at the waist - yet every time we see him after those breakdowns, he's either smiling or emotionless.
    • Ryuuken Ishida initially appears to be cold, aloof, bitter, sarcastic and hypercritical. Then it's hinted that Beneath the Mask he might be gentle and protective. Then a Whole Episode Flashback arc reveals he used to be a warm and kind personality with high hopes for the future of the quincies until Aizen's Hollowfication experiments incidentally destroyed his Arranged Marriage and he was forced to sacrifice that hope. Then it's revealed he could not fix the problem and had to stand aside while a shinigami fixed it instead. Then his wife was killed and an attempt was made on his young son's life when a folkloric quincy prophecy came true. In the current storyline, he and his son Uryuu are badly estranged because Uryuu is furious that Ryuuken refuses both to use his quincy powers AND to explain his refusal. Ryuuken has downright encouraged his son to come to the worst possible conclusions about his motivations and we still don't know exactly why. Yet not once during all this has Ryuuken complained about how his life has turned out.
  • Unsui Kongo from Eyeshield 21. Where to begin...from the day he was born he's been compared to and completely overshadowed by his brother, who's better than him in every possible way without even trying. He puts himself through Training from Hell, but no matter how hard he works he'll only be a "good" player who'll never be half as brilliant as his lazy brother. Said brother, Agon, is a total jerk to him (and to everyone else) but gets away with it because he's just THAT special. Yet despite having every reason to angst and despise Agon, he instead focuses all his energy into helping his brother live up to his full potential. On top of that, whenever someone starts to feel sorry for him, he tells them not to bother themselves with someone like him.
  • Pandora of Saint Seiya. Sweet merciful Athena, the girl's life has sucked ever since as a kid she released Hypnos and Thanatos and then she became Hades's adoptive sister, but she never ever complains.
  • Kaname Kuran from Vampire Knight. He's had just as much shit happen to him, if not more, than fellow Woobie Zero, it's just that he doesn't Wangst about it.
  • Kurama from Elfen Lied is a particularly excruciating case of this with moments of very justified Mangst.
  • Wolfwood from Trigun. The Super Soldier formula treatments he was subjected to give him a Healing Factor and also make him age at a similarly accelerated rate. He probably knows he'd never make it to forty even if his body was capable of it, so what does it matter? And he never complains about it. Ever. He has a really grim worldview and gets mad at Vash for optimism, but he doesn't seem to feel that he, personally, has a raw deal.
  • Ikuto Tsukiyomi from Shugo Chara!. . . where do we begin, oh yeah! His dad walked out on his family because he didn't want to be the leader of the family company. His mom gets sick and he and his sister have to move in with old family friends. Said sister has a major stalkerish crush on him (Not so much woobie as comic relief but still) leaves his sister to go with the family friend to find their dad. Then he gets kidnapped by the family company, his mom gets remarried to the Evil Stepfather, said strepfather forces him into a contract, he has to crush the dreams of children, etc. When all he wants is to be free! Then, later in the series, he gets brainwashed and is thrown in the company jail cell thing . . . and he always stops what he's doing to protect the people he loves . . . DAWWW! Don't you just wanna give him a hug?
  • Yoite and Miharu from Nabari no Ou fit this trope. Both are stoic and aloof, yet do their best to hide their pain from everyone around them.
  • InuYasha provides an unexpected example with Sesshoumaru. He starts as a stoic egotistical cold killer, and his whole character arc is basically a huge Break the Haughty, mostly done to him by his father. He feels like the outcast son since he inherits a sword that cannot kill, instead of getting his father's powerful sword Tessaiga that was given to his lowly half-human brother. Through his seeking of Tessaiga or just trying to get more powerful, he gets his arm chopped off, his potential love interest gets killed off, and the technique he obtains because of this can only be mastered through the death of his Morality Pet. The final straw is when he learns his sword is just a cast-off piece of Tessaiga and that this technique was meant for Inuyasha all along instead of him, a revelation so shocking that even Inuyasha's friends can't believe how cruel Sesshoumaru's father has been. Then powerless, he's attacked by the Shikon no Tama itself and is almost killed. During all this he barely shows any emotions and even less says what he's feeling out loud, to the point of Jaken emoting for him.
  • The eponymous character in Black★Rock Shooter. She seems to be crushed with the weight of the world, and depending on the incarnation, might not even be able to speak. When Black★Rock Shooter Stella BRS breaks her stoicism and say what is in her heart, it's tears-inducing.
  • Jeremy from A Cruel God Reigns is a mixture of this and the Tin Man. After he finds out his mother knew his stepfather was sexually abusing him all along, Ian doesn't believe him when he admits to the abuse, he runs away back to Boston and works as a teenaged prostitute and becomes a Functional Addict to drown out his post traumatic stress disorder, attempts to kill himself three times, and is then brought back to England by Ian to recover, Jeremy denies feeling anything toward sex, pain, love, and emotional attachment in general. He also suffers from a case of the Thousand-Yard Stare quite often. But whenever anyone brings any of this up, he denies that anything is wrong and usually yells at them that he doesn't need or deserve their sympathy or help.
  • Ryu of Kimi ni Todoke has it pretty difficult; arguably, he's had it a lot worse than any of the other main characters, being in unrequited (at least for now) love with his childhood friend and having lost his mother to a car accident when he was little: to add salt to the wound, she died whilst driving to pick him up from school. This doesn't stop him being the least outwardly emotional character in the whole series.
  • Girls und Panzer
    • Mako Reizei typically appears somewhat aloof and slightly bored, but she has a fairly difficult life. Her parents died in an accident when she was in elementary school, and the last time she spoke with her mother, they had an argument, leaving her unable to apologize. Her only remaining family is her elderly grandmother, who has collapsed several times, worrying Mako to the point at which she can't sleep well.
    • Maho Nishizumi. The entire reason why she serves as the Nishizumi heiress, which forces her to live up to her mother's expectations and often act coldly toward her younger sister Miho is so that Miho will be free to choose her own path in life. Unfortunately, her mother makes it clear that she doesn't approve of several of Miho's choices, causing her to leave tankery for a while, which was not what Maho hoped would happen. Maho seems quite distressed when her mother considers disowning Miho, especially since it would seem to void all her sacrifices.
  • Rurouni Kenshin's Aoshi started as a child soldier, became A Father to His Men but had to watch his side lose without proving themselves, passed up all his personal opportunities to stay with those who couldn't make their own lives in the new era, had to watch them die to protect him, and finally turned Death Seeker to honor them. Through it all he barely expresses anger, let alone anything else. Though he might move into Iron Woobie territory since even after his Heel–Face Turn and lots of meditating he goes back on a path of violence when he doesn't have to, albeit that one at least with noble goals .
  • Attack on Titan: Levi has experienced nearly all his closest friends and comrades killed in various cruel ways from before the beginning of the series up until now, but has kept a mostly expressionless face throughout. Mikasa would also count to a lesser degree.
  • Kishou Arima from Tokyo Ghoul. Hinted at in the Prequel Jack, and expanded upon in the Sequel :Re. Known for his stoic demeanor, his personal thoughts remain guarded and no one really understands him until his Day in the Limelight chapter. Bred as a Tyke Bomb, he was a failed Half-Human Hybrid born with enhanced physical abilities, but a significantly shortened lifespan. Though a gentle person at heart, he was forced to serve a Government Conspiracy, killing for his masters without any hope of obtaining the freedom or normal life he secretly craved. Over the 18 years he worked as an Investigator, the guilt over killing caused him to become a Death Seeker, seeing no other way to escape. He was also Secretly Dying, slowly going blind as his body broke down from accelerated aging, and forced to supervise the experiment to create his own replacement. Finally defeated by his protege, he commits suicide and confesses his secrets to Kaneki before dying in his surrogate son's arms — finally feeling he had something good to leave behind. In spite of all this, he never complains, at most offering a wistful comment about enjoying an undercover assignment as an Ordinary High-School Student. His poker face is so good, other characters and the audience alike failed to realize the full scale of just how miserable he really was the entire time.
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