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Sometimes, even if the sadness one feels is like the weight of the entire world on his shoulders, a malignant combination of cultural brainwash like Men Don't Cry and personal trauma has sealed a person to his or her feelings, and the tears simply refuse to flow despite the soul-crushing grief he or she is bearing.
There is, therefore, no stronger action that dictates a person's love, sensitivity and kindness than having him cry in his friends' place, to bear their pain for them so that they can have the courage to live on.
Anime and Manga
- Pictured above: After the ending credits in episode 3 of the second season of Gundam 00 there's a scene where Setsuna and Princess Marina are talking, and he says all he knows in life is fighting. Then Marina starts crying, and when Setsuna asks why, she replies "because you can't".
- In Black Rock Shooter, Mato, Yuu, and Saya all cry for Kohata when her love letter is posted on a bulletin board for the entire school to see. Saya cries right in front of her, which is not a good thing, as it causes her to realize what a terrible thing has happened to her and develop an otherself.
- A pair of knights in The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer has a strange version; the girl is stoic and strong, so when she got injured, the (unharmed) boy would cry in her place.
- In Fist of the North Star, when Asuka, Ein's adopted daughter, was asked why she is not crying at her father's funeral, she replies, "If I cry, Daddy won't be able to rest." Kenshiro hugs the brave little girl with warmth and kindness and weeps Tender Tears of sadness in her place.
- Edward Elric, the burnt out hero of Fullmetal Alchemist, irritably asks his childhood friend Winry "What are you crying for?" after she admits to having opened his pocket watch. She replies "Because you won't, neither of you will! So now I'm crying for you both!"
- Rock, the only truly decent human being in the Crapsack World of Black Lagoon, listens with sadness and horror rather than disgust at the coldly delivered Hannibal Lecture of Gretel, a little girl so traumatized by rape and torture with her twin brother Hansel back in Romania that murder has become the sole source of joy for them. He holds her in a tight embrace and weeps, begging her to accept the possibility that there is hope, and still a possibility of a new and happy life for a little girl like her. This act of sincere kindness, so alien to Gretel, was enough to move even a mass murderer like her to blush like a real little girl for the briefest of moments... and then one of the saddest moments of Does Not Know How to Say Thanks ever. Her version of thanks was to offer herself sexually to Rock, truly thinking that is the only way an adult will appreciate her in return.
- In Fruits Basket, Mayuko cries in front of Hatori and then says she cried in place of him. Hatori demurs, and Mayu demands her tears back with interest.
- The hero and the titular sea serpent of an old children's anime film called Serendipity visit an island with a custom like this trope: When their mermaid princess is especially sad, her court of fish cry for her so she won't have to.
- Inuyasha Final Act contains this, where Jaken does this for Sesshoumaru's sake after Rin dies.
- In Baccano Jacuzzi tells Nice that one of the reasons he cries so much at the smallest things is so that his tears can make up for all the times she wants to cry but has to stay strong.
- In the first episode of Ballad of a Shinigami, Momo is in tears at the end, and is called a crybaby by her fuzzy sidekick. She replies, 'The dead cannot cry, so I cry for them.'
- In Black Butler, episode 24, when Ciel is about to die, he comments that Elizabeth will probably cry a lot. Sebastian adds that Lizzie will cry for two, as she knows he never cries.
- In Spiral, at his mother's funeral, a young Eyes asked that his best friend Kanone do this for him from then on; Kanone promisesd. (Though he's never shown to do it on-screen, he's still largely emotional enough for the two of them.)
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Shadi cries for the mummies in a museum, due to his belief that they suffer a Fate Worse Than Death.
- During one point in Turn a Gundam, after Diana and Kihel have switched identities, "Diana" and her courtiers visit the gravesite of Kihel's father. Though she would very well like to grieve, the ruse -though initially only meant for fun- would be exposed and the relations between humans and the moonrace could break down, and so "Kihel" instead cries passionately in the stead of the original.
- In S-Cry-ed, after Kimishima dies, Kazuma shows a face of stoic acceptance, going on about how he's used to pain, loss, abandonment and all that stuff... but his Morality Pet, Kaname, has other thought.
Kaname: You're lying! You're sad too! Really sad! So I'll cry. I'll cry for you, too.
"She holds me while I have an honest-to-God sobbing breakdown of the sort that I probably ought to be embarrassed about, but somehow living with Sherlock's perpetual detachment has left me remarkably unselfconscious about whatever it is that I feel myself. I've become an avatar for his humanity. I must express all the emotion that he suppresses, so I end up doing double duty."
- The Trope Namer comes from the film Conan the Barbarian. Conan tenderly dresses the corpse of Valeria, the love of his life, as he prepares her funeral pyre for her journey to Valhalla. Yet for all his love, any tears that are left from his Men Don't Cry upbringing in childhood have been dried away by his twenty years of pitiless slavery. His best friend, Subotai, silently sheds Tender Tears as the Wizard asks, "Why do you cry?" To which the
MongolHyrkanian warrior answers: "He is Conan, Cimmerian. He will not cry, so I cry for him."
- Near the end of Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence and his Arab followers have succeeded in defeating the Turks, but their own internal squabbles have doomed any attempt at forming a united post-independence government before it began, leaving Lawrence broken and disillusioned. Sherif Ali, witnessing the defeated Lawrence, begins weeping, and when confronted by Auda abu Tayi over why he weeps for a man he claims to fear rather than love, he replies, "Because if I fear him who love him, how must he fear himself who hates himself?"
- In James Swallow's Warhammer 40000 Horus Heresy novel The Flight of the Eisenstein, Keeler cries over the news they brought Dorn; they have broken a brother's heart.
- From Ink Exchange, the second book in the Wicked Lovely series; "Then he was beide her, lifting her hands to his lips, crying tears she wasn't able to shed." The characters are, respectivley, Niall and Leslie.
- Invoked in House of Chains in the Malazan series. Trull Sengar cries because his friend Onrack cannot. Somewhat subverted because Onrack literally cannot cry, as he is undead
- Inverted in The Godfather. Bonasera, the undertaker, is pleading for Vito Corleone to avenge his brutalized daughter. When describing the state he found her in at the hospital, he says "She couldn't even weep for the pain. But I wept."
Live Action TV
- Something similar happened in Star Trek the Next Generation when Data's 'daughter' became capable of emotions he himself couldn't feel.
- To clarify, Data, as an android, was incapable of actual emotion. In their final scene together before she died, Lal tells her father that she loves him and he expresses regret (such as he is capable of) that he cannot return the emotion. She says that it's ok, she'll feel it enough for both of them.
- A very cynical and Rage Against the Heavens take in the song "Tomorrow, Wendy" by Concrete Blonde, about death, and addressing God.
Only God says jump, so I set the time
- Attempted in Macbeth: Siward refuses to mourn his son's death in battle. Malcolm offers to mourn for him, but Siward refuses that too.
Siward: Had I as many sons as I have hairs, I would not wish them to a fairer death: and so, his knell is knoll'd.
- A variant occurs in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. After Ike's father Greil dies, Ike tells Rhys a story Greil used to tell him about how the more tears are shed for someone, the more blessings they receive in the afterlife. Being The Stoic, Ike finds himself unable to cry, so he asks Rhys to cry in his place.
- In Blazing Blade, right before the final battle in Hector's path, Lyn cries in place of Hector for his recently deceased older brother Uther, in a Shout-Out to an earlier scene in which Hector tells her about how he tried to cry when his and Uther's parents died, but he simply was unable to..
- Another variant occurs in Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones if one takes Eirika's path. When it becomes clear beyond any shadow of doubt that Lyon cannot be saved, Ephraim tells Eirika that it's all right to cry, and to cry for him as well.