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My friends, it has often been said that I like war. Friends, I like war. No, friends, I love war!

I love holocausts. I love blitzkriegs. I love defensive lines. I love sieges, charges, I love mop-up operations, and retreats.

Wars across prairies, in streets, in trenches, in grasslands, in frozen tundras, through deserts, on the sea, in the air,

I love every act of war that can occur upon this earth.

This is a character who takes delight in the elegance of war. At the one on one level it results in the preference for beautiful weapons and elegant tactics. Or it can result in a character who uses Xanatos Gambits, when Good Old Fisticuffs would have a greater chance of ensuring victory. Not necessarily incompatible with Combat Pragmatist.

Goes well with Warrior Poet and Blood Knight and may sometimes overlap. The sister trope is Showy Invincible Hero, when heroes care more about being badass rather than elegant.

Examples of Combat Aestheticist include:
  • The Operative in Serenity, especially compared to Mal. Also Atherton Wing. Though he is less formidable than the Operative he did kill a dozen men in duels and has a great love of swords.
  • Bleach: Rose cares so much about elegence in fighting that he objects when he's helped out of rubble because it ruined his attempt to artistically escape it.
    • Played with in the case of Yumichika who abhors ugliness but who defines beautiful combat by the Blood Knight style of the 11th division. Turns out he's hiding his true combat style because it's not what 11th division allows.
  • The Thrawn Trilogy - Admiral Pellaeon: he has long been tired of the act of war itself, but loves tactics for their own sake. Matching wits with an equally skilled opponent and so on.

    Grand Admiral Thrawn, too, was a big fan of strategy and elegance. In fact, his last words were: "But... it was so artistically done."
    • To be clear Thrawn was talking about his own assassination. So, he even appreciated being on the receiving end of war.
      • Huh? There's nothing Thrawn-like clever about your bodyguard sticking a knife in your chest. Thrawn was referring to the scheme for tricking and effectively enslaving the Noghri!
      • Nah! He was referring to the irony of the Noghiri getting rid of him!
  • Martin van Creveld wrote an entire book on the subject called The Culture of War.
  • Vega of Street Fighter fame: the only thing he loves more than fighting (in his trademark flamboyant style), in fact, is himself.
  • In Warhammer, champions of Slaanesh tend to exemplify this trope. Their sense of aesthetics gets more and more bizarre as they progress.
  • In Warhammer 40000, this is essentially one of the Eldar's hats.
    • Plus Lucius The Eternal, who fights all the more furiously against worthy opponents, but goes into apathetic ennui against unskilled enemies. Also, a lot of the Dark Eldar now embody this even more than their "good" cousins, with a lot of the troops competing to get the most elegant/spectacular/daring/hilarious kills.
    • There's also an alien race, mentioned in the fluff, that lives by Hollywood Tactics and measure success and victory in battle by how cool they were able to make the battle look, not if they succeeded at any tactical or strategic goals. This makes them infuriatingly annoying to fight, and unfortunately they have some very flashy technology that will kill you just as dead as any other species' weapons (just in a more flashy way).
  • Vinland Saga - Askeladd bemoans how no-one these days has any notion of beauty in fighting, everyone just screams and charges wildly. This attitude does not stop him from being a brutally effective fighter.
  • Treize Khushrinada of Gundam Wing. He goes so far as to betray his benefactors (even when their forces on the verge of winning) simply because they want to use computer-controlled Mobile Suits in place of human pilots, which Treize believes ruins the beauty of warfare and turns it into a "game" played by anyone rich enough to afford their own army, with the innocents caught in the middle suffering.
  • Lotton the Wizard from Black Lagoon. Laughable in this case as all he is actually good at is making an entrance; though to be fair, it is never shown if he is a decent shot because he's yet to get one off.
  • Michael Westen in Burn Notice fights with a concern for elegance. He is also a Combat Pragmatist.
  • The Sword Monks of The Scavenger Trilogy devote their lives to combat asthetics. They raise fighting to a form of sculpture -- an artwork carved in time, position and flesh.
  • Soul Eater's Death the Kid has slight elements of this due to his OCD-like obsession with symmetry. It's the reason why his weapon partners are the Thompson sisters; there are two of them, and they transform into identical guns, allowing him to fight with symmetrical weaponry. When one of the sisters is incapacitated, he refuses to use the other on her own for that reason.
  • In Hellsing, many characters would wear this description with pride, but the Trope Codifier has to be the Big Bad: The Major. His love for war surpasses any loyalty he might have ever had for Nazi ideals, his desire to create it is his sole motivation in life, and he extolls his immortal amore for every facet of conflict with greater poetic fanaticism than the most radical religious zealot. And this is Hellsing; there is plenty of religious zealotry to go around.
  • Miho from Sin City uses a lot of leaps and slashes, going through various ninja weapons in the process. Considering she's usually fighting random mob Mooks, it seems a little much.
  • Nifilhema in Lusternia. It's a package deal of Combat Aestheticist, Torture Technician, Combat Sadomasochist and Mad Artist: she spends most of her time devising tortures as unnecessarily intricate and harrowing as possible, for the sheer artistry of it. Her followers are much the same way, killing their enemies with as much style and finesse as possible.
  • Minbari in Babylon 5 are this. They have elaborate rituals around combat as around everything else, and their warships are the most pretty.*
    • Londo Mollari is an intrigue aestheticist. For instance he goes out of his way to assassinate Emperor Cartagia with a jeweled hyperdermic needle. He appears not to be alone about this: Apparently Centauri have as loving a care for their poisons as humans have for swords.
  • The Devil May Cry series is all about killing demons with maximum style. Both Dante and the player are expected to be Combat Aestheticists.
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