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"It causes me great emotional duress to hold in all this smoldering manliness."

There are several variant forms of angst. There is Wangst, the angst of whiners. There is Angst? What Angst?, which is angst that is barely even felt by heroes. And then there is Mangst, the angst of badass characters that may be Rated "M" for Manly.

A man who feels Mangst is the kind of guy who carries around a picture of the wife and child, both of whom were murdered by the Big Bad. Every once in a while he picks up that picture. . . maybe once every three or four days, mind, when no one is looking... and stares at it for a couple of hours. He never talks to other people about his private pain. Several things keep him closed up about it. First, he's not the kind of guy to get all weepy (unless you count the occasional bout of Manly Tears, of course). Second, he's not the kind of person who loads his problems on other people.

Mangst usually involves a man trying to fix his problem, right the wrong, prevent his tragedy from occurring to someone else, seek Revenge, etc. If he's not doing any of those things, it's because something's holding him back. When a Badass has Mangst, he may have an inner monologue, during which the source of his Mangst gets a regular mention. However, to mitigate potential Angst Dissonance, the character's monologue often is deceptively calm or metaphorical.

One of the things that turns basic Angst into Mangst is the source of the character's pain. When That One Case involved someone dying (especially if it was an innocent kid), the hero will most likely end up Mangsting. Having one's wife or girlfriend horribly killed by the Big Bad is perhaps the most common cause of Mangst in the world. Guilt over some past misdeed, or from failing to stop someone else's past misdeed, can also be a cause.

You don't seem to see many women Mangsting, though occasionally it does happen. This rarely carries through the entire work, however, as even Action Girls and Broken Birds tend to break down crying and need to be comforted before all is said and done.

Compare Manly Tears, which a Mangster occasionally engages in, but only in private. Often accompanied by Bad Dreams or Drowning My Sorrows. Very often the fuel which powers a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Mangst is generally the cause of a Mook Horror Show. Often combined with Best Served Cold -- though just as often its combined with Best Served Steaming Hot With Lots Of Screaming.

Not to be understood as a Tropemanteau of "Manga and Angst".

Examples


Anime and Manga

  • Fullmetal Alchemist is a prime example in the manga and second anime.
  • Inuyasha: Kagome, after breaking the jewel of four souls.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch, many times, but most obviously over the whole 'massacre princess' incident.
  • Guts from Berserk. He's got plenty of things to Mangst about.
  • Shiki from Tsukihime does this in Akiha's route, over Sacchin's death by Mercy Kill, a Tear Jerker in and of itself.
  • Conrad from Kyou Kara Maou has lots of Mangst concerning what happened to Julia and the events of the war 20 years ago.
  • The eponymous character of Naruto engaged in this for approximately one arc of the plot (Pain Invasion). Then he immediately went right back into Wangst, but then got out of the overall angst phase. For now...
    • Kakashi is a better example. He doesn't usually talk about it, but his family, all of his original team and many of his close friends are dead. He makes sure to spend time every day remembering them (usually while standing in front of the monument to fallen heroes). However, once his angst is dealt with for the day, he returns to being his snarky cheerful self (albeit an hour or two late).
  • Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara is a very broken man. Nonetheless, any sort of angsting he does over it is restricted to occasional quiet chats he has with Celty
  • In Sakura Wars, Maria, though female, engages in this kind of angst over the death of a former love interest (which she feels she should have prevented). She doesn't talk about it much, but sometimes she'll sit in her room with the door closed and stare sadly at his picture, and she frequently has Flashback Nightmares about it.
  • Bleach is full of this, to the point that it's harder to find a character that doesn't have some kind of Mangst going on.
  • Zoro from One Piece carries his dead friend's sword with him always and rarely if not never talks about it to the rest of the Straw Hats.
  • Wolf's Rain: What do The Alcoholic with a vendetta against wolves, the gangster wolf Anti-Hero, The Chosen One, and the cynical leader of the pack who works the train-yard have in common? They're sure less likely to break down in front of Cheza than Darcia or Toboe...
  • Joe Asakura of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman spends the first series with a serious hate on for Galactor. When he was a child, his parents were murdered by a Galactor assassin -- who then tried to kill him.
  • Balsa of Seirei no Moribito is the rare female example, living her life as The Atoner and never unloading her feelings on someone else.


Comicbooks

  • Marv from Sin City is filled to the brim with Mangst after Goldie's murder.
  • Batman. There is a reason his dead parents get mentioned on average every second issue.
    • Because his parents are DEEAAAAAAAD!!!?
    • Other heroes tend to either roll their eyes at this or take it way too seriously. The former think his coping mechanism is whacked and he must be dangerously close to insanity because of it, while the latter have gone through much worse (like the Martian Manhunter, whose entire planet was decimated and family killed, and unlike Superman, actually remembers them) yet still think that Batman's experience was so horrible that it excuses Jerkass behavior that wouldn't be tolerated from anyone else.
      • Perhaps a bit of Fridge Brilliance on the Manhunter's part, if he's aware of the fact that Batman has total recall (which he very well could, being psychic). In that case, it's not what happened to Batman, but the fact that because he has an eidetic memory, the pain of his parents' deaths has never and will never fade.
  • The Punisher.

Fan Works

  • Fire Emblem fanfic loves this trope.
    • Henry has loads of this the "Future of Despair" comic series in Awakening fandom. His wife Panne is dead from the beginning (she's not even shown alive in the comic, just her corpse brought back by the hunters who accidentally shot her), he's left with a newborn Yarne, but rather than being a good father to the boy he goes over the edge crazy and runs off to get himself killed to be with Panne again, claiming his love for his son is "tainted".
    • A lot of Chrom/Female Avatar works also give Chrom boatloads of this trope, from worrying manfully over his suddenly-delicate wife as she pops out their perfect little daughter to bawling just as manfully when she goes through with the sacrifice ending. (Which she always does, for the "delicious drama", of course)
    • Kent/Lyn fanfics from Kent's point of view love this trope, too. Lyn is chickified to hell and back so Kent can angst over all the bad things that happen to her, have happened to her, or will happen to her.
    • Pick a yaoi fic, any yaoi fic from the heyday of Blazing Blade fandom, and the "seme" will be manfully mourning the death of his beloved uke. Raven/Lucius and Kent/Sain were the undisputed kings of this.
    • One Fates fic has Saizo doing a ton of this over his romance with Sakura and how apparently his clan Does Not Approve of them being together.

Films -- Live-Action

  • Khan Noonian Singh. But then, he is portrayed by Ricardo Montalban, so what do you expect?
  • The Arnold Schwarzenegger film Collateral Damage, where Ahnold's dead wife and son are the motivation for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. The first ten minutes or so are him wallowing in angst (while occasionally beating things up); the rest of the movie is him beating things up (while occasionally wallowing in angst).
  • You'd think someone as tough as Conan the Barbarian would suffer from no Angst at all, but you'd be wrong. He's a Mangster of the first water.
  • Rambo.
  • Martin Riggs from the Lethal Weapon series.
  • The Thin Red Line. Every character. (Mangst).
  • Col. Mortimer from For a Few Dollars More is made of this trope so much that it's not until the Denouement that Manco figures out that he has any Mangst at all.
  • Leonard Shelby from Memento. The guy's in a pretty shitty situation (his wife violently raped and killed in front of him, literally not being able to remember anything that just happened a few minutes after the fact), but is so revenge-minded that it comes off more badass than woobie.


Live-Action TV

  • Desmond on Lost does this plenty.
  • Derek Reese from The Sarah Connor Chronicles did this a lot.
    • His brother Kyle, from the original movie qualifies also, though less so.
    • A female (sorta) example of this is Cameron, who shows the closest thing to emotionless angst over the various problems she has, including a private but deep-down fear that she will "go bad" again and try to kill John. In fact, this fear and the conflict in her programming is a defining element of her character. It is mostly internalized and she doesn't talk about it, except very occasionally when she contemplates issues about suicide, or when she asks Sarah if she's like a bomb waiting to go off.
  • Giles on Buffy tends to do this quite a bit. Notably, he did this when Joyce Summers died. He sat in his house, drinking scotch and listening to Tales of Brave Ulysses, a song that both he and Joyce had enjoyed.
    • Buffy pulls this in season five, and it's part of Riley's own angst. When her mom is sick, she waits until she's alone to cry about it, and turns the music up real loud, to boot.
  • Patrick Jane epitomizes this trope: intense tragedy about which he generally will not speak, revenge seeking, and a single bout of Manly Tears - all wrapped up and hidden behind a Jerkass Facade with a side helping of The Atoner.
  • Leroy Jethro Gibbs; for the first three seasons neither the audience nor the other characters are is aware of the fact that his first wife and child were murdered by a Mexican thug after witnessing a crime. Gibbs being Gibbs, the drug lord has been more than dealt with. The emotional issues, though...that's another story.
  • In The Wire Omar Little, the ultimate badass, does this quite a bit. When his boyfriend is brutally tortured and murdered, he channels his pain into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. He does the same thing in the fifth season when his friend Butchie is murdered to get to him. It doesn't go well.
  • The Winchester brothers from Supernatural could've had this. Instead now it's just mostly Wangst. Especially in the case of Dean Winchester.
    • Bobby , however, fits this trope to a tee. He secretly mangsts about the death of his wife and her zombification, which he mainly deals with via alcoholism and gruffness. One good thing about the Bobby character is that he tends to get the Winchesters to man up and not be so wangsty. And Meg seems to mangsts a little about Lucifer's death, although of course, she might just be acting.
  • Cain from Tin Man. Considering he's an Darker and Edgier counterpart to Nick Chopper from the original Oz books, this makes sense. Eight years in a metal coffin with the holographic recording of his family's torture on an endless loop...Yeah, he's got some of this to burn off.
  • Vince of The Cape, who started out as a devoted and loving father but is framed and supposedly killed. The only things he can do for his family now is to protect them as a costumed vigilante and occasionally give his son "messages from his father".
  • Vorenus from Rome. His total stoicism is ironically the cause of much of his angst, since he has trouble adjusting to civilian life with his family after years of fighting in the army.


Music

  • Oblivion, the opening song of Crack the Skye by Mastodon absolutely drips with this trope.
    • The entire album pretty much falls under this trope.
  • The Rolling Stones: Paint It Black. Classic.


Videogames

  • Squall from Final Fantasy VIII deconstructs this one pretty brutally. So he never met his parents, never really got along with the other orphans, and was abandoned by his "sister". Sure there's the traditional manliness where he's always there for his True Companions, no matter what, even if he won't say that he cares for them, but the solution to his personal problem? Never have close relationships again. He gets better, because Love Redeems.
  • Heidern fits the article description word for word. Yet he is currently commanding a top-rate mercenary squad and raised an adopted daughter with a Super-Powered Evil Side. And he kicks ass.
  • The World Ends With You has Beat. He beaks out into Manly Tears on Beat Day 4, but all and all he's doing it to save his Dead Little Sister.
  • Betrayal at Krondor has Gorath, whose entire life has been tough decisions upon tough decisions (with the occasional sprinkling of disaster and tragedy), but - as befits a badass 260-year-old dark elf chieftain - keeps a tight lid on it, because he's wise and tough enough to draw whatever conclusions need drawing, take it like a man, and move on the next objective already.
  • Female example, (well, sort of...) Samara from Mass Effect 2. She gave up her retirement and half her life to go hunt down and kill her daughter, a Depraved Bisexual who kills people by having sex with them. If you try to console her, she gets slightly pissy.
    • Garrus Vakarian as well. Has had his life fall apart and by the time Shepard finds him he's hold up and being assaulted by mercenaries. What does he do? He channels it all into being Space Batman and turns his disappointment in having his former Band of Brothers killed into unrelenting hatred for the one who betrayed him and even then Shepard can teach him to forgive.
    • BioWare shoots for this pretty often, especially on their Estrogen Brigade Bait. Sky is hunting Gao the Greater's slavers (and tends to extend the vendetta to any slaver). Carth Onasi is hunting his Smug Snake of a former commander who turned his planet into ash, killed his wife, and turned his son to the Dark Side.
  • Max Payne deals with the death of his wife and child by shooting up entire armies of mobsters and thinking in metaphors.
  • John Marston displays shades of this trope. He tells people that his wife and child are being kept by the government (and he does it in copious amounts), but channels it into anger against the government.
  • Gears of War, or more exactly, Marcus, Dom, and Cole. Marcus does it because of a shitty childhood. Dom's kids were killed, his brother, and he had to euthanize his wife. Cole never got to say a lot of things to his Momma. Now that she's dead, he still writes her letters to tell her things so that he can vent his problems. Not too sure about Baird though; he's just an asshole hiding his problems with Deadpan Snarkery.
  • Alistair in Dragon Age: Origins, on the death of his mentor. Sten keeps his very much to himself. Oghren vacillates between this and Angst? What Angst?, though he can descend into Wangst. Loghain, if he lives to be The Atoner, though he'll more often deflect it with bitterness. Nathaniel Howe in Awakening, over the actions of his father in Origins.
    • The Warden themselves can be played as this. Notable examples being, the Human Noble having their entire family murdered by Arl Howe, the Dwarf Noble was framed for the murder of their older brother and exiled and the Dalish Elf's best friend ending up a ghoul after being infected with the Darkspawn Taint.
    • If having played a male Warden who pursued a romance with Morrigan, this is invoked by your companion Ariane in Witch Hunt when she notices that The Warden unconsciously fiddles with the ring that Morrigan gave him when he thinks no-one is looking.
  • Boone, from Fallout: New Vegas could well be the poster boy for this trope. His pregnant wife, Carla, is dead, he's not speaking to his best friend (who may have feelings for him), and he's still hurting about having been at Bittersprings and being forced to kill dozens of non-combatants, including women and children. Yikes.
  • Jim Raynor spends pretty much all of Star Craft 2 in this state over Kerrigan getting turned into the Queen of Blades
  • Godot aka Diego Armando from Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations has a bad case of this, which drives him to treat Phoenix like shit for most of the story and culminates in him devising a convoluted plan to protect Maya from her aunt's machinations, which leads to him murdering Misty Fey. The reason? He "failed to protect" his girlfriend Mia from being killed by Redd White...never mind that Diego was comatose at the time, and even if he hadn't been White would've killed anyone who stood in his way and then killed Mia.
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