YMMV She'll liven up your life I rock a lot of polka dots! I have touched glitter in the past 24 hours! I spent my entire day talking to children! And I find it fundamentally strange that you're not a dessert person; that's just weird and it freaks me out! And I'm sorry I don't talk like Murphy Brown!
And I hate your pantsuit. I wish it had ribbons on it or something to make it slightly cuter! Albeit not for lack of trying on her part. Let's say you're a soulful, brooding male hero , living a sheltered, emotionless existence. If only someone could come along and open your heart to the great, wondrous adventure of life Have no fear, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is here to give new meaning to the male hero's life!
She's stunningly attractive, energetic , high on life , full of wacky quirks and idiosyncrasies generally including childlike playfulness , often with a touch of wild hair dye. She's inexplicably obsessed with our stuffed-shirt hero , on whom she will focus her kuh-razy antics until he learns to live freely and love madly. Finally, she may be presented as a cheerful variety of Threshold Guardians , all the way from less uptight to psychopomps happily welcoming their clients into "another adventure".
It's a long-standing trope, but the term was coined in by film critic Nathan Rabin , who found it grating, as he believed it to be the result of Wish Fulfillment from stir-crazy writers.
He explicitly compared it to the Magical Negro , in that a Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists to help the protagonist achieve happiness without ever seeking any independent goals herself. Unfortunately, the term ended up being misused to describe simply quirky female characters, with many who are actually well-rounded being given this label.
Rabin would later disown the term , because instead of creating awareness of the "lack of independent goals in female characters", the concept instead accidentally ended up suggesting that ALL quirky and fun women automatically merited this trope, whether they actually fit in or not. This should be remembered when adding examples below. Also note that a protagonist can rarely be a MPDG because as the main character, she is most likely to have independent story arc and depth of character.
Despite all that or because of all that , there are ways of utilizing this trope without falling into that pitfall. Given enough time, Character Development can add to their personality and interests and pull them away from the MPDG foundation.
The story may even be told from their perspective , revealing that there is more to them than bringing adventure to brooding guys. Deconstructions of the idea may show that they resent being considered only useful for the benefit of the main character, idolized as something that they are not, or that once the main character reaches their "enlightened" stage, the MPDG moves on to the next person who needs their help.
From the girl's perspective, this trope becomes Single Woman Seeks Good Man , though whether the hero qualifies varies. May also overlap with Trickster Girlfriend if she enjoys playing tricks on the protagonist and deliberately misleading him just for the fun of it. Contrast Nerd Nanny and Yamato Nadeshiko for examples of calmer and more mature ladies. The Screwball Comedy is a genre driven entirely by this character type. If the latter, expect them to learn just as much from their cynical partner as they teach the cynic learns to enjoy life more while the immature one learns responsibility.
Her looks and personality follow the rules of this trope to a T, but, alas for the boy, she is of the variety that dies before he does. The Flower We Saw That Day becomes this for Jinta, former leader of a group of childhood friends that have drifted apart due to the loss of one of their friends. Subverts the usual Second Love part as Menma is the friend that died , and she came to Jinta for help accomplishing some unfinished business that's preventing her from moving on.
Ashita Dorobou has an interesting variant of this trope. Might be a Deconstructed Character Archetype of sorts. Straitlaced protagonist Kyouichi Miyasako, 30 years old, broke up with his quirky, free-spirited girlfriend Ashita Tendou way back in college, and has been haunted by regret ever since.
Suddenly, with a UFO hanging in the sky over Tokyo, she returns to him, wearing the same maid costume she was wearing when he dumped her, and she hasn't aged a day. He tentatively accepts her back into his life, even though something feels off about the whole situation. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Kyon was fine with his life as it was, or at least thought so until the day he decided to strike up a conversation with Haruhi, not knowing at the time what he was getting himself into.
Their meeting gave her the impetus to create the SOS Brigade. Rather than wait around for extraterrestrials, espers, and time travellers to show up, she decided they'd investigate strange happenings around their neighborhood in hopes of finding them herself, and she volunteered Kyon as her first inductee.
The series goes deper by exploring Haruhi's psyche, revealing that her eccentricity stems from her perpetual boredom. Complicated further when Koizumi explains that Haruhi unknowingly possesses the ability to reshape reality as they know it, according to her desires. And is convinced she may be the god of their universe. Despite Kyon's initial skepticism, this revelation sheds new light on his perception of Haruhi, and he eventually accepts that Koizumi may be right.
Although she has way more depth of character than the average MPDG taking care of her sick younger brother and such , she tries to win over Yuuhi's heart with her child-like enthusiasm.
However, although they end up being good friends , Yuuhi never loves her back, since he was already in love with The Heroine Aya. Their relationship ends tragically when Chidori dies in his arms shortly before the end of the story. However, it's Rosette's life that goes completely pear-shaped upon the chance meeting.
While he's actually the main character, his life revolves around drawing Yuki out of his shell to such an extent that everything else, even his singing career, takes a backseat to their relationship.
Unfortunately, it is Yugo who died at the exact moment Alita dragged him out of his shell. However, after he flat out tells her that he isn't in love with her and never will be, she becomes devoted to keeping Tsukushi and Domyouji together.
Daikichi starts the series contemplating suicide after a run of terrible luck, and happens to move into an apartment " haunted " by Kana, who manages to talk him out of it with her unique perspective, having successfully committed suicide years earlier with considerable dissatisfaction.
Eventually, Kana convinces Daikichi that life is precious, and Daikichi's friendship cheers Kana immensely after years of solitude. Later, Kana deliberately plays the trope towards Inagawa up to a point. K In the anime, Shiro and Neko are both this for Kuroh.
At first, Neko seems to fit this exactly for both of them, showing up in Shiro's room naked and declaring herself to be his cat, but Shiro has a lot of this himself. And Shiro is much more of a love interest to Kuroh, with both of them seeing Neko as somewhere between a pet and a little sister. When Saruhiko meets the Blue King, and realizes he would fit into the Blue Clan better than the Red, Misaki doesn't understand him at all, and considers him a traitor, setting up for where their relationship is at the time of the series.
Megumi Noda fits this description, but her chosen inspire-ee, Chiaki , mostly wishes she'd just go away. Too bad she lives in the next apartment over, goes to his music school, and starts calling him her husband a few chapters in. Nodame's also such a manic pixie that she can't take proper care of herself at all , necessitating Chiaki to feed her and keep her apartment from turning into the Trash of the Titans. Subverted, because while she is instrumental in motivating Chiaki to take his musical career further, she is very much a well-rounded character of her own.
Her development later on in the series shows this very clearly. Takigawa Magister from Onani Master Kurosawa is the first to get the eponymous onanist out of his shell. The energetic Jyushimatsu plays a male example in episode 9 of Osomatsu-san. While practicing his baseball swing, he meets a depressed, unnamed country woman ready to jump off a cliff.
His wacky antics and funny personality make them become quick friends. Their relationship ends tragically when the girl has to return to her city on the day Juushimatsu was planning to confess to her, no less.
In her daily life, she sees herself only as a dull, proper scientist and ignores the spontaneous part of herself too much. Misha from Pita-Ten is this toward Kotarou. In the anime she's just doing it because she believes it's what an angel should do, in the manga it's originally because Kotarou is the reincarnation of his granduncle Kotaroh, the boy she loved who commited suicide.
Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei parodies this with Fuura Kafuka, the ridiculously upbeat Cloudcuckoolander , and Nozomu Itoshiki, a man who is always in despair.
However, the show is adamant about not giving anyone any Character Development whatsoever And even if they did, Kafuka's methods wouldn't develop anybody's character , save possibly making them clinically insane Life was normal for Tanukichi, until his fateful encounter with Blue Snow , who saves him from the Public Decency Squad at the railway station. Later that morning, he learns she's really Ayame Kajou , the vice-president of Tokioka Academy's student council.
Guess who she drafts as her first recruit? Mihoshi Akeno in Sora No Manimani , who has a touch of Unlucky Childhood Friend running through her in addition to being a hyperactive girl who wants to get broody book-reading protagonist Saku out into the world of the Astronomy Club.
He's zany, wacky, ballsy, Crazy Awesome , and encourages Simon toward the Call to Adventure , setting the series into motion. Sadly, he ends up dying in order to move the plot along , leaving Simon in a manic and depressive state. Nia, who replaces Kamina in this role after his death, she ends up being the one who helps Simon believe in himself again and serves as his strongest supporter. She dies at the end, minutes after marrying Simon post Timeskip, resulting in Simon Walking the Earth from then on to fill the world with flowers in her memory.
Ai and the other Video Girls are supposed to be sort-of Robot Girl versions this, created specifically to comfort young and kind-hearted persons in trouble, and supposed to comfort them without thinking of anything similar to their own agency It also deconstructs the role of the man in this sort of relationship, as it is heavily hinted that while a standard Video Girl would give "pure-hearted" boys like Youta the fun-loving companionship and comfort they need, said boys would never grow as independent people, nor gain the emotional maturity to enter a real relationship.
Furthermore, while "customers" know that a Video Girl's love is artificial from the get-go, they're so desperate for affection that a VG's devotion and unconditional affection would win them over regardless, and make them incapable of the real thing in the long run. On the other hand, it is explicitly shown as an experiment from Rolex with Video Girl Mai that equally lonely, brooding, but not-quite-pure-hearted boys would succumb to a severely codependent relationship and would end up broken even worse than they started.
Exploited in Welcome to the N. Flunk Punk Rumble subverts this. The girl forces him to help under the pretext of being the class president, making the life of the Delinquent loner hell with her hare-brained attitude and well-meaning schemes. She's only bugging him because she used to be a delinquent herself and can't relate to anyone else.
Haruko seems like one of these, attaching herself to soulful brooding main character Naota and being the main impetus behind his Coming-of-Age Story.
Up until it's subverted by the reveal that she had her own agenda all along and her wacky hijinx was part of a plan to manipulate Naota until he'd served his purpose and she's not really all that interested in him as a person at all — the ' Character Development ' she inspired in him was either incidental or mostly part of the plan although her last few lines suggest that she's genuinely taken a liking to Naota, even if her own personal mission took top priority.
Mamimi is a deconstruction, as her strange actions and her inappropriate advances on Naota are signs that she has serious issues of her own to work out.
Kotoura-san 's Manabe, bringing Har uka out of her shell with his love of life, wacky antics, and copious amounts of perverted Imagine Spots. Nyarlathotep please, call her Nyarko from Haiyore! Nyarko-san fits that second paragraph at the top of the page like she was poured into it. In fact, the few times Nyarko has toned herself down and acted demure, even Mahiro is surprised at how attractive he finds her.