Oh, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She just won’t go away, will she? The romantic dramedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opens in theaters tomorrow, and it seems to be only the newest incarnation of an age-old cinematic trend of young, whimsical women redeeming somewhat depressed and uncertain men with their quirky wiles. But though you know her as Zooey Deschanel, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is also a literary figure, identified by her charming left-of-center personality, her pronounced (and sometimes left-of-center) beauty, and her function as a usually rather flat character who serves to lead the male protagonist into self-discovery before disappearing (or dying). Click through to read about a few of our favorites, and then look at this Manic Pixie Dream Squirrel for extra credit.
Midori Kobayashi, Norwegian Wood
Haruki Murakami’s novels are filled with Manic Pixie Dream Girls — but to be fair, they’re pretty much filled with Manic Pixie Dream everything, from wells to cats to entire worlds. The most blatant character who fits the mold, however, is Midori, an outgoing and vivacious friend of Toru who distracts him from his emotionally fragile girlfriend with her confidence and sexuality.