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"Hey mister MP! Wanna know how it feels to be picked on by somebody bigger than you?"
Kamille Bidan (Addressing a man on foot while piloting a Gundam), Zeta Gundam Episode 1

A character who seems particularly adept and eager to take down bully-type characters with extreme prejudice, or at least show he has this streak in him. The Bully Hunter may do it by accident or while passing through the area, or he may actively seek out those who make others' lives miserable as a pastime and inject some hell into their lives in retaliation.

The high-school version of the Vigilante Man, these kids prefer to take matters into their own hands rather than wait for a teacher to sort the problem out. They may believe that teachers are useless when it comes to dispensing justice, or that while the teachers are competent, the school system isn't.

Such characters must be wary of running afoul of He Who Fights Monsters. At times, the line between bully, bully hunter, and victim are thin indeed. Often saves the world occasionally on top of his playground-peacekeeping activities. Sometimes from the bully. These are also the characters most likely to make the life of a Sadist Teacher hell. Other members of the faculty will either see him in action, misunderstand the situation and punish him alone, or if that person does know what is going on, will pull him aside to advise him on a more constructive means to deal with school bullying.

Can be a result of Bullying a Dragon or Mugging the Monster when the bully victims themselves are the ones who fight back. Can overlap with Big Brother Instinct if it's a specific person the bully hunter is protecting.

There is an adult example if the person is standing up to bullies in the workforce. If you punch out the guy at work who is tormenting his underlings, that comes under the grown-up version of this trope. If you're out fighting muggers, however, you're looking at a Vigilante Man. And if you take this to the extreme, you can end up as a Serial Killer Killer.

The appeal of this trope is obvious; everyone who has been bullied at some point in their lives will instantly sympathise with the urge to give a fictional tormentor a commuppance. As such, this can be a good way to introduce a heroic character as a guy or gal you can trust. It can also be used to give a backstory to an anti-heroic character if the bully hunter takes things too far; He Who Fights Monsters can be hinted at. All in the simple act of standing up to a bully.

Examples of Bully Hunter include:


Anime and Manga

  • Sendoh Takeshi from Hajime no Ippo became a Delinquent only to protect others from bullies and other crooks, going so far as to to make his own gang. When his grandma calls him a scumbag, sportswriter Mari answers "But he never bullied the weak, right? He was a righteous scumbag."
    • This is explained by his backstory. He once was brutally beaten up by highschoolers when he was in primary school, and he hated himself for not being able to protect his friends. The next day, little Sendoh grabbed his baseball bat and ambushed the bullies, beating them back as punishment. And one thing led to another soon...
  • Teru Mikami of Death Note was a highly kind and admirable version of this in high school. Unfortunately, he became a real Vigilante Man / He Who Fights Monsters as an adult.
  • Ichigo Kurosaki of Bleach takes a dim view of bullies and has an outstanding ability to fight them even before his transformation into a Shinigami. He takes down three bullies with extreme prejudice to defend a ghost, of all things, and it's later shown in a flashback that he defended Sado from an attack by groups of thugs, who was more than capable of defending himself but didn't due to his Actual Pacifist nature.
    • Also Tatsuki Arisawa, who became Orihime's best friend after protecting her from the bullies who cut her hair forcibly.
    • Ichigo continues doing this after he is depowered at the end of the Hueco Mundo arc, this time with the help of not-friend Uryuu Ishida who has taken up his duty to defend Karakura of supernatural threats.
  • Alice of Nightmare of Nunnally starts defending Nunnally's honour by pantsing anyone who bullies her.
  • Sora of Shitsurakuen is a female Knight in Shining Armour who fights to stop the boys from bullying the girls which they claim as their own. Sadly, the odds are pretty much against her.
  • Ranma from Ranma 1/2 does this occasionally -- for example, she stopped Kodachi from beating up the Furinkan gymnastic team further, rescued Gosunkugi from a group of masked kids trying to rob him, and in the anime he sought a direct fight with Mariko Konjou when Akane and her volleyball team were defeated and humiliated due to her cheerleader squad helping the opposite team cheat (and especially because poor Akane was genuinely depressed over it).
    • Ryoga too, most notably for defending a Brought Down to Normal Ranma from the rest of the males on the Nerima Wrecking Crew, since he thought that it was not fair to have them gang up on him in such circumstances.
    • Shampoo, in the episode of the Killer From Jusenkyo. When the Jusenkyo Killer had Ranma and Genma hoisted up on a rope, Shampoo jumped in to attack him despite being in cat form at the time. She also saved Ranma from Mousse when he tried to splash him with Spring of Drowned Duck water. Also in the 1st Movie, Shampoo saves Ranma and Lychee from Monlon, telling them to go on ahead while she deals with her.
    • More than once, Akane has tried to defend Ranma from the Nerima Wrecking Crew too, and kept trying to help Ranma fight off Ryoga during their first fight. And she's not this only towards Ranma: she also steps in to defend her friends when Happosai is around, and right after Ranma saved the gym team, she accepted to fight Kodachi for their sake - despite not being good at more artistic gym styles.
  • Seiji Sawamura of Midori no Hibi.
  • In the first episode of Zeta Gundam, Kamille gets beaten up by Titans military police. Later in the episode, he comes back in a Gundam and tells the MP, "Wanna know how it feels to be picked on by somebody bigger than you?", before taking off to join La Résistance.
  • The earliest record of Nanoha shows her being one of these, who caught Arisa bullying Suzuka and slapped her. Naturally, this ended up flowing into her career in Magical Girldom and the military.
  • Makoto Kino of Sailor Moon was expelled from her old school for fighting bullies, and her first appearance in the anime has her beating up a bunch of guys who are harassing Usagi on her way to school.
  • Ryoma Echizen from The Prince of Tennis doesn't show much emotion about it, but he really doesn't like it when his friends and teammates are bullied. See the beginning of the Yamabuki arc as one of the biggest examples: when a whole tennis team started bullying his Fragile Flower friend Sakuno, Ryoma stepped in and defeated everyone in the team as punishment. The only exception was when Kachirou had a fight with Arai, but that was because he wanted Kachirou to prove his own strength. And he did.
  • This is the entire premise of Holyland.
    • Not necessarily. Yuu's purpose in going to the city at night isn't to beat up anyone, bully or otherwise; it's to find his place in the world. And not everyone he fights is a bully; he even makes friends with a few of them. But yeah, lots of bully hunting does take place, more for self-defense than for justice.
  • Sonoko Suzuki from Detective Conan became Ran Mouri's friend by protecting her from bullies when they were little girls.
  • Misaka "Railgun" Mikoto of To Aru Majutsu no Index has been known to put herself in situations where the city's sizable delinquent population can attack her...and lose. She also makes it clear in her own series that she was looking for a Worthy Opponent, which she found in Touma.
  • In Seiran High School, never ever mistreat Nanako Misonou or Rei Asaka in the vincinity of one Kaoru Orihara. Did you get the memo, Aya Misaki or Fukiko Ichinomiya ?
  • Yoshitake of Daily Lives of High School Boys is strongly suggested to be one for Hidenori, and the "rubber band shooter" continued to be the latter's major inspiration... until The Reveal.
    • The girls' Backstory make this a far more Serious Business; a certainly bully caused 10 Bully Hunters from 4 elementary schools to form The Alliance and engage in warfare against the former. They barely made a draw.


Comics

 Grant Morrison: If anyone in the world's been bullied, then Superman exists to take out the bully, no matter how big or smart or armed that bully might be.

  • In one arc of Gotham Central, the detectives re-open the unsolved cold case of the bloody bombing of the Gotham High School Hawks baseball team. One of the the theories of the detective who had been investigating the crime when it was fresh was that two nerds who had been bullied by the popular jocks had thrown a pipe bomb into the locker room as vengeance, supported by the fact that the two of them had actually stood up and cheered at the memorial service. However, the two nerds, who by now have grown up to become wealthy software tycoons, emphasize that they would never have done such a thing, especially since some of the boys on the team had been nice to them. One of the jocks had actually been an unofficial member of their computer club. They recognize the man suspected of being behind the bombing and are able to point the current detectives on the right path.
  • Even Steven was a short lived comic strip, from the late 90s, in the Britsh Anthology Comic The Beano the strip involved a boy called Steven getting even with Bullies.
  • The titular girls of WITCH have a tendence to keep at bay their school's bullies. Particularly notable is Cornelia, who can occasionally scare them away with a couple words.


Film

  • The outcasts in The Final, who lure all of the popular kids to a party so that they can drug them and torture them.
  • The title character of Matilda becomes an example of this after her father tells her 'bad people get punished'. She starts by playing pranks on her abusive father. Then she meets the Big Bad, Agatha Trunchbull, the sadistic headmistress of her school, and promptly directs her attacks to her.
  • A very violent example in Sleepers. During their time in a juvenile prison, John and Tommy were regularly beaten and sexually abused by Noakes (Kevin Bacon). Years later, after a chance encounter in a restaurant, the two men, now gangsters, violently shoot him to death
  • An odd accidental example in the first Spider-Man film; Peter Parker manages to take out the school bully completely by accident. Well, not by accident, but he begins by accidentally activating his webbing for the first time, which latches on to the bullies' lunch. When Parker panics and retreats from the lunch hall at a brisk walk, the lunch still attached, the bully of course follows him with the intention of battering Peter. Cue the bully cornering Peter against a row of lockers and fruitlessly throwing a series of punches, which Peter, with his spider-enhanced reflexes, effortlessly dodges, before Peter throws a single punch which knocks the bully on his ass! All without Peter knowing what the hell is going on!
  • This is one of the reasons Hanuman reincarnated into Maruti in The Return of Hanuman, especially for Minku. One time most of the students teased Maruti and Minku as they quickly become friends. Minku said that they cannot be friends because he's afraid that Maruti will also be teased if he befriended him. Maruti then got angry and lifted one of the teasing students' desk up on a ceiling fan.
  • Subverted in Three O'Clock High: The burly jock Craig Mattey is known for pummeling a bully, but he later admits that the bully's victim paid him to do it. The main character hires Craig's services against his own bully, but doesn't get his money's worth.
  • The short film Hitmen for Hire is about two hitmen who protect a student from bullies using violent means. It becomes incredibly scary when you realize who made the film -- Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine killers.
  • Dick Tracy: The Kid snatches wallets and other valuables for Steve the Tramp, a hideously ugly bum who lives in a shack on the edge of town. After bringing Steve a stolen watch, the Kid tries to help himself to some of Steve's roasted chicken - and gets viciously backhanded to the floor. That's when the titular detective (whose watch the Kid stole) shows up unexpectedly, orders Steve to let the Kid have some chicken, and knocks Steve around with surprisingly powerful punches that eventually cause the entire shack to collapse (fortunately, after all three characters have cleared out). The police soon show up and arrest Steve, whom Tracy says is getting what he deserves for daring to abuse a child. (He then asks the kid if Steve is his father, but the Kid just sneers and tells Tracy to mind his own business.)
  • In Aladdin Jasmine tells Razoul to let go of Aladdin. He calls her a street mouse before throwing her down so she reveals who she is and orders him to unhand Aladdin. Later she tells Jafar, "When I am queen, I will have the power to get rid of you."
  • What Bastian does with Falkor at the end of The Neverending Story.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers' motivation for wanting to join the Army and volunteering for the Super Soldier Experiment: "I don't want to kill anybody. I don't like bullies. Don't care where they are from."


Literature


Live Action TV

  • NCIS: Timothy McGee. Probably a lot more in other Crime and Punishment Series.
  • Adult example in Scrubs. Dr Kelso does his absolute best to make Elliot's life a living hell. When he engages in a particularly brutal session (while Elliot was in the middle of her own personal Trauma Conga Line), Dr Cox, the resident Jerk with a Heart of Gold, steps in and wallops Kelso so hard he has a squeak in his nose that makes him audible from a hallway away.
    • And out of his shoes, don't forget that. He whacked him so hard his shoes stayed perfectly stationary while his feet came out of 'em.
  • Tucker had this reputation in Grange Hill.
  • Seth Bullock in Deadwood hints at this background. When Hearst gets on a particularly loathsome role, Bullock interrupts with barely contained rage, stating that bullies never know when to shut up. Hearst takes the hint and leaves.
  • MTV Show Bully Beatdown is this trope manifested, with professional mixed martial artists as the bully hunters.
  • Happens on Step by Step, of all shows. When the nerdy Mark is being bullied, he doesn't tell anyone about it because he's too humiliated at being beat up by a girl. When his tomboyish stepsister Al finds out about it, she confronts the bully directly and gives her some very blunt threats about what she'll do if the bully ever picks on Mark again. The bully, remembering that Al beat the crap out of the toughest male bully in the school, immediately complies, allowing Mark to think that all he had to do was stand up to her.
  • Buffy has a habit of doing this, once pinning Larry to the wall when he was about to beat up Xander. Helps that she has Super Strength. Also saves the world.
    • She also gets a group persecuting witches to back down by smiling at them. The fact she is known as a pyromaniac (her old school gym), possible murderer (Ted, Kendra), borderline psychotic (thanks Cordy) or any combination of the above helps.
    • In a scene late in The Movie, Buffy is already in a bad mood when a lecherous male student grabs her rear end. Within seconds, she's judo-flipped him into the lockers and reduced him to a cringing coward who instantly apologizes. The other students at Hemery High just look on in shock, since Buffy has never been seen doing anything like this before.
    • And yet again during a self defense class when Larry the Jerk Jock is leering at a female student, and wanting to get his hands on her. Buffy bounds right up to her side and sweetly offers to be his partner instead, the implication that she will kick his ass six ways from Sunday very clear. Willow then intervenes, leaving Buffy to pout about ruining her fun.
  • The Criminal Minds episode "Elephants Memory" had a brilliant but deeply troubled student who was the victim of truly horrific bullying hunt down and kill all of his previous tormentors. Reid, a victim of bullying, is sympathetic to him.
  • In Season Two of Glee Santana blackmails bully Karofsky into forming the Bully Whips so they can win Prom King and Queen.
  • Jeff Winger in Community is an odd example of this. On the surface, he's a self-involved Jerkass who is thoroughly reluctant to involve himself in anything outside his little bubble, and isn't exactly shy about shooting nasty comments at people who he doesn't like very much. However, he consistently appears to be unwilling and / or unable to let bullying go unchallenged; every time a bully or group of bullies has appeared, even if his friends aren't the direct victims (although especially if they are) Jeff has almost inevitably ended up challenging and getting into conflict with them. He'll usually frame it as challenging them for being an obnoxious, irritating dickhead rather than a bully, but it's a consistent trait of his. In one episode we learn he himself was bullied as a child, which might explain it.
  • In an episode of Sliders, "The Guardian," Quinn tries to coach a younger version of himself on an alternate world to stand up to school bullies, hoping to right a wrong that happened when he was a kid. Partially subverted, as it turns out Quinn's goal is not to get back at the bullies, but to prevent his younger self from permanently disabling one of them with a baseball bat. Instead he teaches the kid self-defense so he fights them with his hands.
  • On Judge Judy, if the case is about bullying expect Judy to make the bully break down in tears.

Theater

  • Cyrano De Bergerac: Cyrano is now an adult who undoubtedly has suffered for bullying all his life given his enormous nose, but he proclaims himself a bully hunter at Act I Scene V by challenging anyone to bully his enormous nose threatening (and dispensing) Disproportionate Retribution:

Video Games


Webcomics

  • Antimony of Gunnerkrigg Court delivers a beautiful display of the trope when she takes down the class bully who was tormenting Kat. It cements their friendship.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Elliot admits that he used to have a bad habit of looking for bullies to fight. In fact, Tedd and Justin both met Elliot when he rescued them.
  • This is pretty much the profession of Shorty from The Infamous (not to be confused with the game In Famous).
  • Karate Bears are often bullies themselves but also hate bullies.


Web Original

  • In Xin, the eponymous character basically make this his "hobby", second only to his overall goal of reforming the corrupt school system.

 Xin: "Everywhere I go I run into idiots like you, who think they can do whatever they want, just because they know how to throw a punch. I'm just here to make sure they know how to take a few as well."


Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons episode "Bart the General", Bart doesn't just go bully hunting, he does it on a grand scale with the entire class ganging up on Nelson and his gang, complete with aid from Grandpa and Herman. He even goes far enough to get Nelson to sign a treaty saying he "respects Bart's right to exist."
    • The trope is even explicitly invoked in an earlier scene, when Bart angrily confronts a Mook who has stolen his sister Lisa's cupcake. Despite Lisa trying to warn him that the Mook works for Nelson, Bart tries to pummel the thug into submission, gets hauled off the floor, throws a wild punch without looking - and soon discovers that he has swung right at Nelson's face, bloodying it! Once Nelson realizes that it's his own blood he's tasting and not that of a victim, he immediately burns with hatred for Bart and warns him that he's now as good as dead. But Lisa is proud of her brother for being so brave, and points him out to the entire school as "Bart the Bully-Killer" - a moniker that Bart would just as soon not have.
    • Martin's Crowning Moment of Awesome in The Simpsons Movie when he beats up three bullies by himself! (He thought he was going to die in a nuclear explosion, so he figured he didn't have to be afraid anymore.)
  • Poindexter, the ghost of a bullied nerdy teen who lived in the 50's, in Danny Phantom, who now as a ghost targets him when he thinks Danny is bullying Jerk Jock Dash Baxter.
  • An episode of Fillmore had the safety patrol tracking down someone targeting bullies for humiliation, ending with An Aesop about there being better ways to deal with bullies.
  • A cut scene from So The Drama has Kim Possible comment that she could beat up on the Alpha Bitch, but doing that is beneath her. Still, she teaches sensitivity training to boys picking on Ron and as a four year old beat up pre K versions of Drakken, Killigan, and Monkey Fist. The one time it looked like she had been pushed to the point of attacking Bonnie, it ended up with Bonnie breaking down crying at the prospect of Kim justifiably thrashing her.
  • Adam West did this in an episode of Johnny Bravo.
  • On American Dad, Stan starts bullying Steve in an attempt to make the boy more assertive. After weeks of being beaten senseless, Steve does learn a lesson on taking action for himself, but not the one Stan hoped. Steve hires Stelio Kantos, Stan's former high school bully, off of Craigslist to beat the ever living daylights out of Stan until he agrees to leave him alone.
  • Deconstructed on an episode of Family Guy: Peter enlists Chris's help in scheming against a bully who had tormented him many years ago; the former bully is now a reasonable adult who doesn't really remember what he used to do as a kid. When they finally track the guy down, Peter threatens and taunts the other guy before ordering Chris to take him out. And then Chris....beats the living snot out of Peter, driving him to tears. Peter demands to know why his son has beat him. Chris replies, in a Crowning Moment of Awesome, that "you taught me to stand up to a bully - and I did!"
    • Just so this makes sense to those who don't understand, Chris was being bullied by this kid who was stealing customers from his paper round, insulted and humiliated him, etc. When Peter confronted the little punk, the kid starts insulting and cracking jokes about Peter, a fully grown man who gets into a glorious fist fight with a giant chicken, when he was trying to be civil, resulting in Peter beating him into unconsciousness. When he apologizes, the kid convinces him that its fun to hurt people, so Peter started bullying everyone, from his family to his friends to his paraphelgic cop neighbor. He decided to hunt down his own former tormentor when he realized it was his fault for why he was acting so dickish, only to find out he now has MS and is unable to walk by himself. Peter doesn't care, so Chris beats him up to stop him.
  • The first episode of X-Men: Evolution establishes Scott as this. Later episodes give this trait to just about everyone once mutants are revealed (Thought understandable since its, you know, them who're being picked on).
  • In ThunderCats (2011), Catfolk Rebel Prince Lion-O gradually becomes this, as he disapproves of Thundera's Fantastic Racism and sometimes sticks up for other species. This tends to get him in trouble, first attracting the ire of several thugs in the slums of Thundera after he witnesses them beating up a Dog, then almost getting killed by an Angry Mob after he tried to defend a pair of captured Lizards from them. He eventually actively engages in bully hunting, taking up a predatory Master Swordsman's challenge in hopes of defeating him.
  • Bugs Bunny tended to be a fairly good-natured fellow who didn't actually seek out bullies, but if he was provoked, or if he saw it happening, he'd take it upon himself to put a stop to it. In fact, they even had to create a new character to avert the He Who Fights Monsters danger the trope often runs into; though Elmer Fudd versus Bugs Bunny is an iconic rivalry, the factors that made it famous meant that there were actually very few Bugs vs. Elmer cartoons: Bugs is simply so much smarter than his would-be murderer that Elmer's threat is completely defused and Bugs starts to look like the bully. So they created Yosemite Sam, who was (relatively speaking) much smarter than Elmer, and far more belligerent, so that Bugs could have someone to face off against who wouldn't take too much audience sympathy from Bugs.
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