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"Before the sun sets on the third day, you've got to get dear ol' princey to fall in love with you. That is, he's got to kiss you. Not just any kiss - the kiss of true love."—Ursula, The Little Mermaid
Finding your true love will cure 99.9% of magical maladies and curses, or your money back!
This trope is so ingrained in the psyche of western audiences it will never really be discredited, but often subverted. Its actually a Dead Unicorn Trope that's Newer Than They Think -- notice how many of the original versions of the stories listed below had nothing to do with a "kiss". It is also often modified to True Love's "First" Kiss as an Anvilicious lesson about chastity. Has a tendency to be a Big Damn Kiss.
Subtrope and most common form of Magic Kiss.
- Spoofed in a Capital One credit card commercial, where a princess kisses a frog... and he turns into a ferret, who starts rattling off legalese and provisos as the princess keeps trying to kiss him, turning him into different creatures. At the end, she leaves in disgust, leaving him as a portly centaur who protests that she's "just one kiss away" from a rich, handsome prince.
- Also spoofed in a beer commercial, the (Australian) girl sees a frog and hopes that if she kisses it it will turn into a handsome sheep shearer. The frog does change, but then when he kisses her, she turns into a pint of beer.
- Yet another spoof: a pretty girl kisses the Sci-Fi channel logo for no apparent reason and is turned into a giant frog.
Anime & Manga
- The ending to the Prétear anime (not the manga), where Hayate kisses Himeno to revive her after she wins the final fight at the cost of her life. It is no surprise considering that it's explicitly based on Snow White.
- Seen numerous times in Sailor Moon. Near the end of the first manga story, Mamoru brings back to life a seemingly dead Usagi by kissing her (Luna comments on this, saying that the princess has been woken up by the prince's kiss). The first anime version uses this at least two times: in the Sailor Moon R episode 69 (which actually contains a Sleeping Beauty reference), and later near the end of Sailor Moon SuperS (this time with Chibi-Usa and Helios). The ending of the Sailor Moon R movie may or may not count -- it was technically more of Intimate Healing, with Mamoru giving Usagi the life-saving nectar that way; but it's framed as this and to the rest of the team it definitely looked like another instance of the Power of Love in work.
- The Grand Finale of Tokyo Mew Mew uses two or three of these in succession. When the Mysterious Protector-turned-Big Bad releases his true (good) self and saves Tokyo, he has to sacrifice himself; Ichigo will have none of this and kisses him, giving him all her power. Then she dies, he kisses her and she comes Back From the Dead, minus superpowers... temporarily.
- In the last airing-order episode of the first season of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon saved the universe with one of these. Confused? Watch the series. He notably refuses to "try the same method" when faced with the world ending again, though, and the series continues for quite a while after the kiss with no romantic resolution due to one of the people involved thinking it was all a dream and the other being in denial.
- The hints that future Asahina and Nagato give to Kyon are textbooks examples of this trope: Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.
- The finale to Martian Successor Nadesico. Need a really large Boson Jump field in a hurry? Just get the leads to get over themselves and "initiate membrane-to-membrane contact" (thank you Ms. Fressange) already, saving themselves and the rest of the crew from explodey death.
- C.C. uses this to reverse Lelouch's Laser-Guided Amnesia at the start of Code Geass R2, depending on who you ask. Others (including Word of God) claim she made effective use of Save States. Still, quite the Ship Tease.
- Gankutsuou: In the finale, Your Mileage May Vary, but apparently Albert kissing The Count (on the cheek, but the whole mood of it under the moonlight still making it very Ho Yay-ish) manages to save The Count and make him overpower Gankutsuou, reverting back to being human and thus saving the day. At quite the high prize - since the Count was wounded by the time he became a human again, he soon died.
- The somewhat obscure Sabans Adventures Of The Little Mermaid had the villain Hedwig turn the title character's boyfriend (who was, of course, a handsome prince) into a vicious monster. Guess how Marina finally broke the curse?
- The Kodoku arc in Fushigi Yuugi ends with this trope. Nakago, of course, being the horrendously evil jerk that he is, doesn't know this.
Nakago: But how? How did you manage to break the spell? There's no method known in the world for curing Kodoku poisoning once it has entered a person's body and affected them!
Tamahome: You'll spend your whole life trying to figure that out!
- In To Love Ru, when Oshizu accidentally possessed Haruna's body, she thought one of these from Rito might wake Haruna's consciousness and free Oshizu. A couple of fighting dogs scared her out before the kiss actually took place; Rito wasn't sure if he was relieved or disappointed.
- Toradora!- Last episode, between Taiga and Ryuuji. Can be a tearjerker and a CMOH all at the same time.
Taiga: Just as I expected... It was like a rough, dry wilderness. Also, it was really warm... Hey, it's cold, so let's do it one more-- *gets Shut Up Kiss'd by Ryuuji* One more... *they kiss again* One more... *they kiss again and the camera pans out*
- Genderflipped example: Cosmo Yuki was kinda awakened from a Convenient Coma by Kitty Kitten's "warm kiss" in the Space Runaway Ideon movie, Be Invoked. Kinda, because they were dead, so their spirits were the ones who kissed. It Makes Sense in Context, we swear.
- In the second Inuyasha movie, Inuyasha had has human half sealed, causing him to turn him to turn into a full demon and go completely insane.
Kagome: "Inuyasha, I love you. I love you as a half demon." (Kisses him)
Inuyasha: (Snaps out of it) Kagome... (Kisses her back)
- In the movie only of Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie breaks the curse on Turniphead by giving him a True Love's Kiss. However, Sophie is already in love with Howl, so how can she be his True Love as well? Then, Prince Turniphead cheerfully notes that there's no reason someone can't have more than one True Love. So he's fine with Sophie being with her other True Love, Howl, while he goes to look for his own and he ends the war.
- Final Episode of Eureka Seven whereby Renton and Eureka kissed for the very first time and resulted in not only saving their planet from destruction, but they were also given a chance to go back to their planet to live together.
- Parodied in a Pokémon episode. Ash and the gang along with Team Rocket, are trying to wake a Snorlax up and Jesse suggests that a kiss from a "noble" Pokemon should wake it up. Well, Psyduck tries, it doesn't work (and Misty gets angry at it). So Meowth is forced to kiss it. However, instead of waking up, poor Snorlax is poisoned!
- In Brigadoon Marin and Melan, kissing is powerful stuff indeed. Marin uses a kiss to break through Melan's brainwashing and remind him of who she is to him.
- Kosumo restores a mindwiped and brainwashed Hitsuji's memories via this in Towa Kamo Shirenai. Sort of a justified trope in this case: she deduces that she can use her powers to debrainwash Hitsuji, but to do so she needs to have close skin contact with him. What would be better than a kiss on the mouth, huh?
- Spoofed in Ringo's Imagine Spots in Mawaru Penguindrum. And maybe played a little straighter when Shouma gives her CPR, doubling as her First Kiss
- Played for Laughs in Beelzebub. This is supposedly the cure to Hilda's magic-induced memory-loss, and everyone at Ishiyama have reason to believe that the Prince Charming with the magic lips is her "husband", Oga; he doesn't want anything to do with it. Hilarity Ensues. Especially when it turns out that Baby Beelzebub was Hilda's Prince Charming!
- Subverted in Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics' version of Sleeping Beauty, where the Prince's arrival is what sets in motion Princess Briar Rose's awakening rather than him kissing her - though they do get their Big Damn Kiss very soon. And outright averted in Snow White, which solves Snow's deal like in the original tale: she had a poisoned apple bite in her mouth, and when the dwarves knock off her glass coffin, it falls off and she's cured.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the Season 8 comics, Buffy needs one of these to awaken from a magically induced nightmare. Assuming that at least one person in the group must be in love with Buffy, Willow instructs everyone to close their eyes so that whoever that person is can cure Buffy while maintaining their privacy. The panels leading up to the kiss imply it will be Xander, but the kiss itself is not shown. As Buffy awakens, she mumbles something about the taste of cinnamon. A bit later, Buffy ask a fellow slayer to lend her some lipgloss -- which appears to be cinnamon flavored. Buffy immediately pick up on it. Unfortunately for the Slayer, she doesn't reciprocate the feeling. She makes up for it, however, by reciprocating something else.
- Fables: Parodied. Frau Totenkinder had a major problem with princes, and went around cursing them and their loved ones left, right and centre. Over the years, she became particularly fond of transforming them in a manner where they needed to persuade a human to fall in love with and kiss them to cure them. But they were all temporary cures, and the prince would find themselves transforming back when their wives became mad at them. Over the course of the story she takes responsibility for almost all of the situations where "True Love's Kiss" was needed to cure a curse. Just because she liked it.
Parodied again with a porcupine who goes around telling human girls he was cursed by a witch and must be kissed to transform into a handsome prince... he's lying. He was cursed, all right, but he was always a porcupine and the curse was a perverted attraction to human girls. He learned the kiss-me-I'm-a-prince "scam" from a frog he met once.
Parodied yet again -- Fables enjoys playing with this trope -- by a talking snail who meets young Prince Charming and tells him that she is a transformed princess. When Charming offers to kiss her, she replies that her curse is much more proper and will require a wedding first. Charming brings the snail back to meet his parents, who respond by ordering her cooked for dinner and bemoan the talking animals currently flooding their kingdom.
Fables also inverts this with a rabbit cursed by a rabbit witch to become human -- unable to transform back, unless he can make another rabbit fall in love with him and receive True Love's Kiss.
To neutralize an apartment building, Bigby Wolf has Sleeping Beauty prick her finger within, causing herself and all within to fall asleep. Only, when they try to use Prince Charming to wake her, it becomes apparent that he no longer qualifies... but when Flycatcher, the former Frog Prince tries, it works. Another time, she was woken from the spell by an affectionate police dog who happened to be named 'Prince'.
Flycatcher, the Frog Prince, occasionally reverts to frog form when excited, nervous, or scared. Only his wife died, badly, back in the Homelands, while he was trapped in frog form, unable to help, no less. When he reverts to a frog in modern-day New York, there's no possible fix until Christmas, when Santa Claus brings his wife back to life, just long enough for one kiss.
- Final Crisis: How do you save someone from the Anti-Life Equation when it pops up? Well if you're Barry Allen, you kiss your wife. And maybe the Speed Force does something, too.
- Justice League of America: In one run, the Queen of Fables has made all the fairy tales come to life and warped them so she can rule the world. This includes making Wonder Woman into Snow White. The heroes know they need a Prince Charming to wake her up with a kiss, so Aquaman (King of the Seas) volunteers to do it.
Aquaman: You're of no use here anyway... not for this. As Superman has just informed me, this is a job for a handsome prince.
Green Lantern: I thought you were the king of Atlantis.
Aquaman: Which means I was once a prince. Close enough.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: In the 50th issue of the comic, Sonic's kiss wakes Princess Sally from a coma.
Film -- Animated
- Shrek used it straight as part of a larger subversion. The female lead had a curse that turned her into an ogre by night, which could only be broken by True Love's Kiss. However, when said love, the ogre Shrek, kissed her, she became an ogre permanently -- which she preferred. Of course, there is the opening monologue, which mocks this trope lightly; you can see how seriously Shrek takes it.
In the sequel this is mentioned twice. Once as the only thing that can seal a "Happily Ever After" potion, and again in relation to Fiona's father, the Frog Prince.
When Shrek first meets Fiona. Fiona is faking a "sleeping beauty" post, and expects Shrek to wake her up by kissing her. Instead, he violently shakes her.
- And then in the fourth movie, the only way to undo the Bad Future was a True Love's Kiss. Shrek spends a great deal of the movie trying to get Fiona to fall in love with him all over again and kiss him. She does (angrily and only to get him to stop asking her to do it) in the middle of the film, but it doesn't work because now she doesn't love him. It works the second time though.
- WALL-E: At the end, a "kiss" from EVE restores WALL-E's apparently lost memory. Note that this is one of the few straight examples that can be explained beyond The Power of Love: EVE's "kisses" are literally electric.
Film -- Live-Action
- Buckaroo Banzai. Buckaroo uses this (with a little help from the Black Lectroids) to resurrect Penny Priddy.
- Enchanted, Giselle has an "I Want" Song called "True Love's Kiss", and expresses her beliefs that "it's the most powerful thing in the world."
It's also played straight near the end of the movie, when, like a good Disney princess, she's hexed to sleep. She needs a Troperriffic True Love's Kiss before midnight (of course) in order to wake up. Robert, of course, manages to rouse her in the nick of time with this. And it's after Prince Edward fails to do so.
- Legend: At the end, Lily awakens after Jack kisses her.
- The Matrix: Smith kills Neo in the Matrix, but when Trinity kisses him in the real world, he gets better.
- The conclusion of the film The Brothers Grimm (based as it is around the Beethoven Was an Alien Spy trope) has Jacob rescuing twelve girls trapped in an enchanted sleep by giving this to the oldest one of them, Angelika, the woman he spent the film pining for. At first this seems to be the only thing that can save his brother Will as well, but discovers as he's about to do it that Will is alive and well and he'd rather have Angelika do the honors here (she obliges).
- Snow White and the Huntsman: subverted and played straight. Snow gets into a coma caused by a poisoned apple, and the Prince's kiss fails to revive her. Then the titular Huntsman kisses her, and she gets better. It's nowhere explained about the meaning of this, though. Supposedly the filmmakers thought the audience would recognize this trope on their own.
- Sydney White: Parodied when Sydney was simply exhausted from staying up all night for her paper and fell asleep in the library, causing her to be late for the presidential debate. The Love Interest finds her and treats it as if she would never wake up, culminating with the kiss to "break the spell".
- In Talking to Dragons, a book in a series famous for modernizing fairy tales without subverting them, Daystar uses this to transform Shiara back from being turned into stone.
- His Dark Materials: Lyra and Will save the multiverse from falling apart with their First Kiss.
- It was a bit more involved than that.
- There's no evidence of that beyond possible subtext.
- There's no evidence of that beyond possible subtext.
- It was a bit more involved than that.
- In Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, this get subverted all to hell (since the 'hook' of the series is that there is an ambient magic in the land trying to make events turn out like fairy tales). One unfortunate prince was a frog for decades and was restored to human form when an infant princess picked him up and kissed him. Not that there was any love -- she just liked animals and liked to kiss things. Close enough, apparently.
- Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman plays with this. A kiss can't directly cure transformation into a monster, but it restores the transformation victim's flagging morale and keeps her from giving up on a cure.
- In Beastly, the terms of Kyle's curse are that he must genuinely love a girl, she must genuinely love him back, and both must prove it by kissing. He tries to end the curse early by having his Shallow Love Interest of a girlfriend show up and kiss him in the dark. Since neither love each other, it doesn't work. Of course, it's played straight at the end of the book.
- Deconstructed in Greg Costikyan's short story "And Still She Sleeps". No one can wake up the maiden who's been asleep for centuries, because no one can truly love her when they can't get to know her. In the end, they put her in a museum until some future wizard can figure out how to wake her.
- In Esther Friesner's Majyk By Design, the magician-protagonist's estranged wife asks him to turn himself into a frog, so she can use this to prove her point that she still loves him.
Live Action TV
- Chuck: In the series finale It's implied by Morgan that this kind of kiss will help restore an amnesiac Sarah back to normal. Chuck decides to put this to the test after Sarah invites him to kiss her, and it's left to the viewer to decide if the kiss truly did work.
- Eureka: Subverted, when Carter's hippie sister suggests that he kiss Allison as a way to stop a time loop. Since they live in Eureka, Land of Science, this doesn't work the way it does in the movies (or at all).
- Haven: Audrey's cheek kiss to Nathan awakens his ability to feel touch, though only hers.
- Merlin: Arthur is put under a spell that makes him fall in love with a spoiled princess. The only way to break the spell is if he is kissed by the woman he truly loves. Cue Guinevere and a rather spectacular kiss...
- My Hero (TV): Subverted. George, attempting to break through a villain's mind control over Janet, announces that he's giving her a True Love's Kiss, but later confesses that what actually broke the mind control was him using the kiss to covertly slip her the antidote to the Phlebotinum the villain had been using on her.
- Once Upon a Time: Subverted often, and usually in a nasty fashion. In the pilot, Snow White kissing her mortally wounded husband doesn't do a thing. In the third episode, Mary Margaret (the brainwashed Snow White) tries it to revive "John Doe" (said husband again), and while it brings him back, he immediately goes back to his estranged wife (who isn't her). Lastly, Sheriff Graham kissed Emma, remembered everything about his past life in the fairy tale world...right before Regina decides to kill him.
- And when Belle tries to invoke this, it actually ruins her budding relationship with Rumpelstiltskin. Ouch.
- Played straight in the Season 1 finale, when Emma kissing a comatose Henry on the forehead breaks the curse on Storybrooke, waking Henry up and restoring the townsfolk's memories.
- Terra Nova: Jim kisses Elisabeth to infect her with a virus that will help cure her memory loss.
- An actual literary version can be found in the Grimms' "The True Bride", in which the heroine breaks the spell over her prince (an evil princess bewitched him to forget her) with a kiss. This little tidbit was retained when the story was adapted for The Storyteller.
- "Snow White": As with many fairy tales, the product of many rewrites (especially Disney's); originally this was an aversion, as the dwarfs dropped the coffin and the poison apple fell out of her mouth. It is also worth noting that The Brothers Grimm themselves rewrote this one, changing the wicked mother to a Wicked Stepmother (a trope in of itself now) so as not to terrify children.
- "Sleeping Beauty" (a.k.a. "Briar Rose"), in the Grimms version. In the earlier Perrault version, Sleeping Beauty simply wakes up after 100 years, and the prince just happens to be there. In an earlier Italian variant, the prince raped her and she gave birth to twins. One of the babies crawled up to her body and suckled the flax out of her finger, reviving her. Then the princess took her children to see the prince, who had returned home to his wife. (That is, in the versions other than the ones where, ashamed and enraged about her rape, she eats her children.) Then, Perrault rewrote it into simply this.
- "The Frog Prince": In the original Brothers Grimm version, the prince turns back to normal after the princess throws him against a wall. They still get married even after the attempted murder.
- There's a Scottish version, "The Well at the World's End", where she kisses him and then cuts his head off (though he did ask her to). Apparently he needed a girl who was both kind and brave. And possibly crazy.
- There's a similar one but with the genders inverted and princess cursed in a white cat form instead of a frog.
- "The Queen Who Sought a Drink from a Certain Well" and a whole bunch of others, with the chop off my head approach in the lead.
- "The Little Mermaid" zig-zags this in the Disney version of the story, in which Ariel needs the "Kiss of True Love" to become human permanetly, though it does not work out that way.The original version of the story required that she actually married the prince to become human forever, on the condition that if he betrayed her, she would die. The Mermaid failed to make him love and marry her, as he was in love with another girl, and her sisters tried to help her via telling her to kill him with a magic dagger... but she couldn't bring herself to do so, and ultimately died. (Though in a revised version, she sorta Ascends to A Higher Plane of Existence)
- The third-party D&D supplement The Book of Erotic Fantasy has a lesser version of the Resurrection spell that requires the caster to kiss the target. Unlike most examples here, it doesn't require the two to be in love, however.
- Subverted in the first game of the Dark Parables series, which is based on the story of Sleeping Beauty. The prince did kiss the sleeping Princess Briar Rose to break her enchantment, successfully waking every person in the entire castle - except her. A thousand years later, at the time of the game, she's still asleep.
- Subverted in Devil May Cry 4. The Big Bad has been defeated, Dante and Nero have made their peace, and Kyrie is safe. Nero and Kyrie lean in, sunset in the background, for the big moment... and suddenly Nero pulls out his gun (no, seriously, the revolver) and blasts a demon. He looks up to find a horde of the game's weakest enemy coming at himself and his love, asks her to wait, and then spends the credits kicking their asses. You never actually see the kiss happen.
- A rather darker and less PG-rated version shows up in Dragon Age, in which having sex with Morrigan can prevent one of the Wardens from having to die after slaying the Archdemon. Though it is something of a subversion, as love is in no way required.
- At the end of Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp, Dirk uses this to resurrect Daphne. That's The Power of Love.
- Played with in Final Fantasy VIII when Squall finds the rest of the party waiting for him after carrying a comatose Rinoa across Horizon Bridge to find the person who can help her. Quistis teases that all Rinoa might need is a kiss from "the prince". Squall is not amused.
- Subverted again in the Fan Remake of King's Quest II. Kissing Valanice won't break the spell, leaving Graham to resort to another method to break the enchantment.
- Played with in Odin Sphere when Odin places his daughter Gwendolyn in an enchanted sleep and promises her to Oswald in return for Oswald slaying a dragon. Oswald ends up refusing to kiss Gwendolyn in order to wake her until he's sure that the spell on her won't force her to love him.
- Subverted at the end of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II: Darth Vader has apparently killed Juno Eclipse. Starkiller leans down tearfully as if to kiss her--and before he does, she wakes up and kisses him instead.
- This happens in the climax arc of Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. Although it was more of a Sacred First Kiss combined with the Chaos Emeralds.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang and Katara are lost in a maze and a folk tale says they have to "let love lead the way" to get back out. One of them suggests a True Love's Kiss, but they don't decide to go for it until their torches are almost gone. They lean in, the light goes out... and crystals in the ceiling begin glowing, marking a path. Katara guesses that the lovers from the folk tale just put their torches out to see the crystals and find their way, and love had nothing to do with it. (We weren't shown if they actually kissed or not - can you say Ship Tease?)
- The Animated Adaptation of The Legend of Zelda satires the Frog Prince example. Ganon turns Link into a frog, and a witch informs him that the only cure is the kiss of a princess (Ganon apparently "knows the classics well"). When Link points out that he tries to get Zelda to kiss him Once an Episode and never succeeds, the witch gripes "I said it was simple! I didn't say it'd be easy!"
- In The Flight of Dragons, Princess Melisande wakes from the semi-coma which occupies her for about a third of the movie. Her foster father, the wizard Carolinus, thinks it was a magic relic which awakened her, but she corrects him with the information that it was a kiss from Designated Hero Peter. (Unlike many of the examples on this page, it was not their first kiss.)
- Spoofed in a Garfield and Friends U.S. Acres two-part episode, 'Snow Wade and the Seven Dwarfs' near the end between Roy Rooster (as the prince) and Wade Duck (as Snow Wade). Though, Orson Pig tried kissing Snow Wade before this.
- Disney canon:
- Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.
- Sleeping Beauty is arguably the Trope Namer. In this specific version
- Pictured above: The Little Mermaid plays around with the trope: Ursula informs Ariel that she must receive True Love's Kiss from Prince Eric in order to remain human. While Eric is willing to kiss Ariel if she wishes and as the picture shows, thanks to Ursula's meddling Eric fails to do this before Ariel's three days are up - and right as he and Ariel were about to kiss. Things work out in the end, however, and no thanks to any kissing. (Though they do get their kiss!)
- In Beauty and the Beast, Belle's Dying Declaration of Love resurrects the Beast as a human prince. Their kiss transforms the castle's servants back into humans.
- And of course The Princess and the Frog. Naveen can kiss any princess, even the Princess of Mardi Gras or his wife. No masquerade princesses for him!
- In one Aladdin episode, Dark Magical Girl Sadira tried to take Aladdin away from Jasmine by altering everyone's memories so that she would seem like the princess engaged to Aladdin, while Jasmine would become a street rat. However, Aladdin and Jasmine still experienced Love At First Sight. After Aladdin realized Jasmine might make a better true love for him than Sadira, he and Jasmine kissed, restoring everything to the state preceding Sadira's spell.
- Subverted in Frozen. The only way to save Anna after her heart becomes frozen is with an act of true love. Despite what everyone thinks a kiss is not required. Said act is pulled by Anna herself - it's her Heroic Sacrifice in which she goes Taking the Bullet for her sister Queen Elsa, to protect her from Prince Hans.
And they all lived Happily Ever After.
- ↑ who had lost her memories thanks to some mind manipulation and a faulty Intersect.