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You have your regular Action Girl. She has the looks, and the attitude. But you want to indicate her strength, without having her beat the crap out of someone. That's where Effortless Amazonian Lift comes in.
A Distaff Counterpart to Bridal Carry, this refers to women visually displaying the strength to lift and carry someone similar-sized or heavier than herself in her arms. This trope is used in an attempt to subvert gender expectations, and show that the woman in question has unusual physical strength. When involving a couple, it can also be used to show who wears the pants in the relationship. Usually displayed by a Cute Bruiser or a Big Gal. When done by someone with no such characteristics, it is even more notable.
Note that this does not refer to a woman simply carrying something. The action must always emphasize her prodigious strength.
Anime & Manga
- In Bleach, after Kenpachi's duel with Ichigo, Yachiru carries the former on her shoulder to get medical attention. A particularly impressive use of the trope because Kenpachi is very tall and muscular, while Yachiru looks like an eight-year-old but manages to effortlessly carry him to the top of a building by performing multiple two-story high jumps while carrying him. One of the author's many hints that she's more dangerous than she looks.
- Kei from Dirty Pair easily lifts a grown man and swings him over her shoulder to rescue him from heavy enemy fire. It's meant to emphasize her position as the "muscle" and Tomboy of the Tomboy and Girly Girl duo she forms with Yuri.
- Earth Maiden Arjuna: Juna carries Tokio in her arms to protect him from a monster in the second episode. She doesn't even seem to be aware of any strain, despite being in her human form.
- In Girls Bravo, Kosame attempts to kidnap Yukinari for Lisa. So she knocks him out, pulls him over her shoulder and starts kicking Kirie while holding him. Her strength is attributed to her status as a professional hitwoman.
- In the tenth episode of Love Hina, Amalla Su, Kaolla Su's elder sister tries to force Keitarō to marry her and runs away carrying him tied up. Keitarō wasn't exactly willing to marry her.
- Kaichou wa Maid Sama: Misaki is unusually strong; as part of her general "not needing help" stance, she carries her Love Interest Takumi several times (which annoys him immensely, since he's trying to impress her, not the other way around). In one episode, she crossdresses to enter a competition for a Butler Cafe; the first challenge is a race in which one partner must carry the other piggyback the whole way. Most of the other (male) competitors can't finish the course; Misaki comes in second.
- In Lovely Complex, Koizumi carries Otani in her arms after he failed to escape her. She manages to carry him quickly into a changing room while he struggles to get down. It's obvious who wears the pants in this ralationship.
- Ranma One Half plays with this.
- While Ranma won't allow Akane to carry him as a guy, he lets her carry him piggyback when in girl form, emphasizing how Ranma thinks of himself according to his gender. Note that Akane would have any trouble carrying his guy form -- she's sometimes seen dragging him by the pigtail while running (with Ranma trying to keep a cool composure all along).
- In a straighter example, Shampoo demonstrates the strength to catch Mousse in her arms after she saves him from a villain, continuing the trend of her being the dominant one in their "relationship".
- Makoto Kino of Sailor Moon is the group's Big Guy and physically the strongest of the Inner Senshi. In her debut, she lifts a guy over her head, with no signs of physical strain. She also does this during an ice-skating scene, and in a dancing scene, demonstrates the strength to lift Ami by the waist. And she does that without transforming into Sailor Jupiter.
- Karura of Utawarerumono demonstrates her ridiculous Super Strength by kidnapping and carrying Hakuoro Bound and Gagged with only one hand. She keeps him there while waiting for the other girls to prepare for the journey. And she doesn't even bat an eyelid.
- Kagari from Witch Craft Works bridal carries the male protagonist all the time. Although this may have more to do with magic rather than strength, it signifies her power and Violently Protective Girlfriend status.
- Natsumi of You're Under Arrest has no problem beating up thugs and carrying them over her shoulder. The epitome of a Cute Bruiser police officer.
- In Pokémon Special, 10-year-old Sapphire can carry three fully-grown adults on her back. While sprinting.
- Played for laughs in Fushigi Yuugi when dainty Wholesome Crossdresser Nuriko sees a weightlifting contest in progress, effortlessly picks up and holds the current contestant and the weight overhead, and walks away with the prize.
- In The DCU, being the Big Gal, Big Barda is often portrayed carrying around other heroes, including her husband, Mr. Miracle.
- The She Hulk does this regularly, often for an easy gag.
- Samus carrying Kevin in one of the Captain N the Game Master comics. It's a rather clear image of her being in charge. Kevin's protests only add to that demonstration.
- In one of the Archie Comics there is a couples surfing competition where the man lifts the woman up while on a surfboard on the ocean, but when Archie is too weak to pick up Betty, Betty carries Archie!
Films -- Live-Action
- Adam's Rib. As part of her defense strategy to show that women are like men so they should be treated the same, Amanda calls a circus strongwoman to the stand. The strongwoman demonstrates that women can be as strong as men by picking up Adam, who is both Amanda's husband and the district attorney trying the case.
- Played with in Ever After. When Danielle and Henry are attacked by gypsies, Danielle is told she can take "anything she can carry" and get away. She proceeds to pick up Henry and walk away carrying him on her shoulders. In this case, the action is meant to emphasize her audacity and determination, rather than strength. Charmed by it, the gypsies invite them to stay for a meal.
- In the Mercy Thompson series, a female firefighter who's a werewolf was pleased when werewolves abandoned their masquerade, because it allowed her to play this trope straight when saving people, rather than feign being no stronger than a non-werewolf woman.
- BeastMaster shows a female love interest carrying a wounded prince. When the hero doubts her strength and asks whether she's strong enough to carry him, she replies, "I'm strong enough to carry you."
- Atalanta from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is able to lift Hercules himself in a bout of playfulness.
- Small Wonder: Vicki looks like a 10-year-old, but has no problem picking up her father, Ted; her brother, Jamie, or any other male character. Justified because of her Robot Girl status.
Myths & Religion
- There is a German legend called "Castle of the Faithful Wives" where the women of a castle begged a king who had laid siege to them to be allowed to leave with their children and whatever valuables they could carry on their backs. The king agreed and was astonished to see the women leaving with their husbands on their backs.
- In the beginning of Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning shows the strength to carry her younger sister, Serah, without showing any fatigue. The action is also meant to show Lightning's protective feelings toward her sister.
- Colette from Tales of Symphonia at some point lifts Regal to take him along with them. One handed. And then she comments that he's lighter than she thought. While he's twice her height and more muscular.
- In Carl Clover's story mode in Blaz Blue Continuum Shift, we have Makoto demonstrating her sheer strength in two manners -- the one that matters to this trope is when she escapes from Carl with Tsubaki in tow. To emphasize, Makoto's roughly 49 kilos, Tsubaki is 47 kilos (possibly without Izayoi), and she still dead sprints away from Carl.
- In the first and third Mass Effect games, a female Shepard can just pick Kaidan up to carry him into the Normandy if he can't walk even with assistance.
- El Goonish Shive: During the year-long party arc, Elliot (while genderbent) says, "This calls for some manly muscle. Hey, Nanase! Can you push this sofa for us?" Nanase is of average height but not particularly muscular, yet still quite strong, apparently, as she shoves the couch over unassisted.
- In one episode of the Mega Man cartoon, Roll carries Dr. Light and the governor this way, one in each arm.
- In the first episode of The Legend of Korra, Korra lifts Tenzin and his three children into a hug without breaking a sweat.
- A slightly more subtle one in the third episode: she convinces the anti-bending protester to provide some information by lifting him straight up over her head, by his shirt--with only one hand.
- Teen Titans loves to show just how strong Starfire is. Wether it's lifting Beast Boy in hippo mode, lifting ten times more weight than Cyborg can with JUST ONE ARM or even being the only one out of the Titans who can lift a special Tamaranian goblet (which is apparently made out of depleted uranium).
- Hal Sparks jumped into the arms of Lucy Lawless in The American Comedy Awards. She held him without