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When humans cry, their tears are used to convey various emotions - most commonly, anger, happiness, sadness, and when having a breakdown. But tears also fall if people are scared out of their wits. If this happens, it may or may not be an indicator that they are slipping into insanity as a result of the fear.
For many, this is Truth in Television.
Anime and Manga
- In the final scene of the last episode of Monster we are treated to a flashback of Nina's and Johann's childhood where their mother is forced to give one of them up for an experiment. The two hold onto their mother's hand begging her not to let go, and their mother hesitates before handing over Nina who proceeds to scream "No!" in horror as tears spring from her eyes.
- Lovely Complex: Risa was either crying or was close to crying when she was threatened by Mimi.
- Shinji often indulged in this, especially in The End of Evangelion.
- Asuka during her Mind Rape.
- Nina in Code Geass does this during her spectacular Freak-Out.
- Also Kallen when she's about to be shot in her prison cell.
- Serial Experiments Lain: Happens quite a bit with Lain and Alice being the main suppliers of fearful tears. Special mention goes to the final episode where Masami Eiri turns into a grotesque gooey fleshy monstrosity that uses its giant tongue to try to eat Lain and Alice. Alice is so freaked out by this point that her sanity takes a sharp nose dive and she hits Lain out of fear while tears stream down her face.
- In episode 2 a suicidal drug user does this constantly.
- Gohan in Dragonball Z until about the Frieza saga. Used also in Dragon Ball for weak villains, bystanders, and sometimes a character encountering the next level of Training From Hell.
- Then again, Gohan is four to five during the above-stated time period. A better example would be Vegeta when he finally realizes he can't defeat Freeza. On the manga, the narrator even points out this is the first time Vegeta has actually cried out of fear.
- Being a six year old girl at the time, Vivio did this a lot in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, such as when the scary Belkan Knight suddenly appeared with weapons drawn, or the first time Nanoha-mama needed to leave her to go to work, or the period when she fell into the hands of Jail Scaglietti.
- Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia can only sob and make futile cries of "Go home!" when his sister Belarus literally tears down his door to demand that they get married. Proof that even Yanderes can fall into this trope when there's an even bigger Yandere in the room.
- This is usually Latvia's, Estonia's, and Lithuania's response whenever they have to deal with Russia.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: When Barry the Chopper threatens to kill Ed after capturing him, Ed sheds a few tears of fear as he tries to escape. Winry, having been captured by Barry and at his mercy, does this too.
- Envy does this in Brotherhood when reduced to his true true form and Roy prepares to kill him in one shot.
- Also in Brotherhood, Falman's eyes are streaming as he refuses to open the doors to Central HQ for Fuhrer Bradley. It's the exception to the rule that these are not Manly Tears - he's obviously just this side of wetting his pants, but standing up to a man who just totaled a tank with nothing but a sabre and a hand grenade takes brass ones, however pathetic you look doing it.
- Hellsing: Rip van Winkle's fight against Alucard was unique for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that she spends half the fight sobbing uncontrollably in sheer terror.
- Not quite unique, given that Luke Valentine had the same reaction to Alucard removing one of his restrictions.
- In the 7th OVA Seras is Mind Raped into reliving her horrible childhood. She cried out of sadness and fear as she was forced to watch her mother's corpse being raped and she cries as she is reliving said memories in the present.
- Karin: A little girl does this in chapter 13 when confronted with a serial killer who escaped from the Creepy Doll Boogie-kun.
- The eponymous character from Kaiji, along with other people, did this while crossing a beam bridge. As a matter of fact, this is a recurring trope in this series. We get to see a lot of men breaking into tears as they face the despair derived from the Absurdly High Stakes Games.
- Mirai Nikki: Yukiteru does this a lot, especially in the beginning.
- The other Yuno does this in chapter 53 after she's been stabbed by the first Yuno, as she's writing "Help me" on the wall with her own blood.
- In the anime of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Rosa is terrified to the point of a torrent of tears while she is being forced to eat her own daughter's living, laughing, disembodied head.
- Keiichi from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni combines this with Tears of Remorse and Berserker Tears in the first arc.
- Minoru of Karate Shoukoushi Kohinata Minoru does this during the two times he is almost raped by Pedro.
- And Minoru's friends do this as he gets his ass kicked by Kevin. Followed by him and his friends when they realize Kevin really intends to kill Minoru.
- In Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest Kuroda takes a break from blowing up stuff (and students) to try to rape a girl with his gun. When Kuroda announces these intentions the girl reacts by wetting herself and crying to the point where her face is a mess. Fortunately, Inugami interrupts him.
- Tsuna of Katekyo Hitman Reborn does this at times.
- Gankutsuou: Two men who are going to be executed do this during the public execution scene.
- Makoto does this in the last episode of School Days as he's being stabbed to death by Sekai.
- Lunar during the 2nd half of the 2nd Seto no Hanayome OVA, when everyone else starts disappearing.
- Takada in episode 35 of Death Note after Mello has kidnapped her.
- Light does this in the final episode as he lays on the ground writhing in pain from after Matsuda shot him and he realizes he's all out of options and he's going to die.
- Naruto: Sakura does this when she's frightened by how much Sasuke has changed as a result of the Curse Seal which makes him act more violent and sadistic.
- And Sasuke did this when he was younger after he found out his beloved brother was the one who killed their entire clan and is terrified his brother will kill him.
- Naruto himself did this as he was being mind raped by an Itachi lookalike in part II.
- Haku also does this in the anime, when his father just killed his mother and is about to kill him.
- Sakura does this in episode 5 after Kakashi hit her with a genjutsu that made her see an injured Sasuke.
- Bleach: Omaeda as he's being chased by Barragan. It's an understandable reaction considering Barragan has the power to age flesh and bone into nothingness. Even more justified in that if even a bit of his black flame touches you, you'll have to remove that part of your body, or you'll die without Barragan needing to put all the flame around you.
- Dondochakka frequently does this.
- Keigo in chapter 413 as he's running for his life from Aizen.
- Hiyori after Hollow Ichigo nearly strangles her to death.
- Orihime does this at least twice: when she sees Hollow Ichigo clearly during Ichigo's fight with Grimmjow (she was BADLY traumatized by having her brother's ghost turned into a Hollow) and when Ulquiorra all but kills Ichigo in front of her and Ishida, then Hollow Ichigo completely takes over to bring Ichigo Back From the Dead.. Both cases overlap with Broken Tears
- In a flashback, poor Rukia was sobbing in terror when the Hollow that killed and took over her Big Brother Mentor Kaien attacked her.
- When Ryuunosuke Yuki from the last arc was attacked by a gigantic Hollow, the poor boy began to cry in terror. Luckily, Ichigo and Co. saved him.
- Poor Tetsunosuke of Peacemaker Kurogane is prone to enduring traumatic situations such as running for his life so he occasionally lapses into this.
- Lenalee does this in chapter 88 of D.Gray-man as the Millennium Earl terrorizes her.
- Allen also gets these as he's taking a glimpse at Kanda's horrific childhood memories, though "tears of simultaneous fear, frustration, betrayal, and rage" might be a better description.
- Perfect Blue: Mima during the rape scene, during her Freak-Out moment after returning to her apartment, and as she's running for her life from Rumi.
- Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru: Yuki during episode 13 when his best friend Kanata reveals himself as Big Bad Reiga, tries to kill him with ice spears and he notices Reiga's stabbed Takashiro with the ice slabs because he shielded him.
- Sukisho: Sora as he's suddenly bombarded with memories of his horrific childhood, as he's struggling not to stab Minato after being mind raped into doing so, and as Minato decides to walk into the knife as his way of atoning for his past sins.
- A lot of characters in Highschool of the Dead do this, what with all the scary zombies running around. A notable example occurs at the beginning when a schoolgirl gets attacked by a zombified student and she starts crying profusely. Her friend soon gets attacked as well and cries in the same fashion.
- Sousuke of Full Metal Panic breaks down in tears when he is left behind to be killed by an atomic bomb heading his way, sobbing "I don't want to die." Out of all the horrific things he's seen and near-death experiences he has been through, this is the only time it happens.
- Numerous ship passengers do this in chapter 55 of Black Butler as they're being chased by zombies.
- Used in Claymore, the source of the current page pic.
- Happens at least twice in Franken Fran: to the female spy from chapter 5, and to officer Kuhou in chapter 13. Both times, Fran was about to operate on them, which make the young women's tears more than justified.
- The class rep does this when being scared in an episode of Ouran High School Host Club.
- In chapter 13 of No. 6 Safu has been kidnapped and is in the correctional facility against her will about to be operated on and feels tears come to her eyes upon learning this.
- Shion does this in episode 3 when he is being taken over by the "wasp".
- In chapter 16 of Koharu no Hibi Mika does this as she's confronted by Koharu.
- In Deadman Wonderland Ganta does this understandably as he's being forced to watch the Carnival of Corpses.
- In Shuffle Asa does this as Kaede is threatening her with a knife.
- Speed Grapher: A woman does this as a Depraved Dentist approaches her with his "instruments".
- Fruits Basket: Takei does this after being threatened by Black Haru. Tohru also does this in the woods when she thinks someone ominous is sneaking up on her and she hits the person with her bag but it turns out to be Kyo.
- Devil & Devill : In volume 1, a young girl has them as she's being transformed into an infant.
- Casca of Berserk gets these during the Eclipse as she's being confronted by demons as well as when she is raped to insanity.
- Skuld does this in Ah! My Goddess when Aoshima tries to take her away to rape her.
- In the infamous Hentai anime Kuroinu Kedakaki Seijo wa Hakudaku ni Somaru, the Cute Bruiser Luu-Luu is seen crying these when she's about to be raped by orcs under orders of the Sex Empire's leader Volt, who wants to have her impregnated by them to see what kind of "kid" would be born from it.
- Near the end of Infinite Crisis, Alexander Luthor Jr. nearly kills Nightwing with a blast of antimatter. Batman is so enraged he's willing to throw away his principles by drawing a gun and presses the barrel right into Alex's forehead, seconds away from blowing his brains out. Forced to face his own mortality after all of his delusions of godhood, Alexander starts tearing up in fear.
- In All Fall Down, Portia weeps at the climax-- not for her own sake, but for what the Modern Prometheus could do to her friends.
- Occurs during the scene before Stanley rapes Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanche is feeling very intimidated by Stanley's drunken advances on her so she cries, causing her mascara to run down her face.
- During the second half of the movie in which the Titanic is sinking, pretty much everybody is now clearly horrified and sheds a few tears here and there.
- Stan Laurel in several of his performances.
- The Passion of Joan of Arc is pretty much 80 minutes of tears of fear(or faith, or desperation, or..). And it works really, really well.
- Tomoka does this in Juon 2 as Kayako coils her hair around Tomoka's neck and strangles her to death.
- Bam Margera was reduced to tears in the second Jackass film after being locked on a bus with a cobra. Then he managed to jump through the bars of the door trapping him in.
- Casey (played by Drew Barrymore) does this in the infamous opening of the first Scream movie where she is being stalked and harassed by the killer.
- Sidney (played by Neve Campbell) too when the killer chases her for the first time.
- In James Swallow's Warhammer 40000 Deus Encarmine, Adept Pellis as the Dark Apostle breaks into his rooms.
- That Hideous Strength: This occurs when Merlin realizes that redemption equals being possessed and killed by an Eldritch Abomination.
- At one point in The Vor Game, Miles Vorkosigan begins crying in front of the villainous commander of a rival mercenary fleet. She thinks it's hardly in his nature to weep in fear, and she's right; he's just violently allergic to her perfume, which she finds hilarious.
- In Flashman at the Charge, Flash bawls his eyes out with shock, fear and self-pity after the prince he was minding gets killed.
- In A Series of Unfortunate Events "The Ersatz Elevator" after Esme pushes the children down the elevator shaft they find the Quagmire siblings locked in cages, terrified, and looking like they've been crying.
- In Teresa Frohock's Miserere An Autumn Tale, Lindsey asks if it's all right to cry when she's afraid -- it doesn't means she's whiney.
Live Action TV
- River Tam of Firefly often falls into sobbing fits during her worst mental breakdowns and panic attacks, particularly in The Movie.
- Kaylee (and probably half the audience with her) cries tears of sheer terror in "Objects In Space" when Jubal Early threatens to rape her.
- In The X-Files episode "Pusher", Scully tears up while trying to desperately pull Mulder from his trance induced by a crazy man who can will people to do things with his mind. Actually, both Mulder and Scully are near tears in that scene, as Mulder is forced to include Scully in his and Model's game of Russian Roulette.
- Shirley Bellinger of Oz does this right before she is hanged.
- A lot of the characters cry in this manner in the season seven finale episode "Sanctuary" of Grey's Anatomy. Rather understandable really, seeing as how there's a shooter in the hospital.
- Are You Afraid of the Dark?: The character Joyce does this in the episode "the Tale of the Vacant Lot" as she finds disgusting marks on her body as a result of a Deal with the Devil.
- Supernatural: Misha Collins (no, not Castiel, Misha Collins) in The French Mistake.
- In Prison Break Tweener does this in his cell while T-Bag serenades him and says that he's "coming for you."
- Lost: In the first episode Kate is scared to the point of tears of the whatever-it-is that tore the pilot out of the plane.
- Played for laughs in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny after an enraged Arf completely wailed on the recently made sane Levi while blaming her for the recent events that happened to her master.
Levi: S-stay away! Stay away!
Arf: Behave already. We're gonna try Dr. Shamal's sealing magic.
Levi: (starts crying) Auu...
Levi: WAAAAAAAHHH!!! What is it?! Why are you bullying me?! Did I do anything bad to you? I haven't even done anything yet!
Arf: Err... well...
Levi: The fragments are not coming out because of us, they're doing so by themselves! How is that our fault? If you don't like blue then just say it!
Arf: You don't have to put it that way...
Levi: Who cares about you! WAAAAAH! I hate you!
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Happens to Annie and Parley when they face Jeanne in the etheric world in chapter 30.
- This probably explains Karkat's reaction in Homestuck to seeing Gamzee apparently advance upon him while holding the Warhammer of Zillyhoo. (Contrast to other characters in both Homestuck and Problem Sleuth, who've also shed tears at the sight of the hammer, but purely out of wonderment at its sheer splendor.)
- Shaggy and Scooby Doo have done this a few times.
- In Teen Titans, Terra does this at the end of the second "Aftershock" episode.
- Also, Raven in "The End".
- Zuko of Avatar: The Last Airbender does this in the flashback which explains how he got his scar. These are simultaneously tears of absolute heartbreak, given he's being forced to face the fact that his father doesn't love him at all. He goes back into denial about it for a few years afterward, though.
- Another example is Toph (who is blind) crying when she and Sokka are hanging from the airship. With only Sokka's hand for contact - and her grip slipping - she cannot see a thing, and only knows she's high in the air.
- Katara also does this when Hama controlled her with bloodbending.
- Doug Funnie in the episode, "Doug's Secret Song"