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"Genki" is Japanese for energetic or enthusiastic. The Genki Girl is a character -- usually a schoolgirl, but not always -- who acts like she's been mainlining Red Bull and crystal meth. She is possessed of an over-abundance of energy, such that she runs everywhere (often with arms waving wildly or outstretched like airplane wings), speaks quickly (sometimes unintelligibly so), and always does everything fast, fast, fast! She's filled with confidence and determination, regardless of whether she's competent or not. Although usually played exclusively for comedy, sometimes the Genki Girl slows down for a serious or introspective moment. But not for long -- she lives her life full-throttle. To sum it up, a good way of telling whether a female character is genki or not is to see if her family and peers are exhausted, astonished or even creeped out by her chronic outbursts of vitality. (A female character is by far the more common version, but this trope is not limited to females)
Despite what you'd think, the Genki Girl is usually not The Ditz. However, there have been a few blends. She is, of course, very often a Motor Mouth or a Nicknamer. If she focuses her powers on getting a boring guy to relish life, she's a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Less sympathetic portrayals often make her the Jerkass of the group. Alternatively she could be both. Some are even the resident Cloudcuckoolander.
If this is a RPG setting, she's almost always going to be the Fragile Speedster, thus fitting her personality. If she is in a Five-Man Band, she will almost certainly be The Big Guy (and probably an exception to the above if she is).
If a work of fiction gives its characters symbolic flowers that represent their personalities, the Genki Girl will likely get the sunflower while her animal is the cat, though her energy won't necessarily make her go crazy.
Whatever you do, don't give them too much coffee, cola or sugar. And definitely teach them that hard drugs are VERY, VERY bad. This is why she may be preferred with somebody who is practical.
Voice actors sometimes become famous for just being able to keep up the role.
Keet is a related but separate trope.
Contrast Emotionless Girl.
Categories with their own pages:
- Villain Mojo has a Deadpan Snarker assistant, Majordomo, who in turn has a Genki Girl assistant, Minordomo. Minor can be expected to say "Ohmygosh, OHmygolly..." at least twice per appearance, and will get worked up over something (complete with arm-waving and rapidfire talking -- her version of it goes from sentences to short phrases strung together in the end) more and more until finally having a heart attack. Luckily, she's an artificial human, so Majordomo just has to hit her reset button to get her up and genki again.
- Early appearances of Kitty Pryde started her out as a Genki Girl, though she actually matured during her run with the team.
- Her best friend Illyana Rasputin tended towards this when she was in an honestly good mood, which it must be admitted was not all that often after her... growing pains.
- Megan Gwynn (Pixie) follows both girls in starting this role, then she met Illyana a few times, and she's slowly being broken out of this trope.
- Harley Quinn, both in the comics and the DCAU.
- Misfit from Birds of Prey not only embodies this trope, she hangs a huge pink candy-striped lampshade on it.
- Cyclone from Justice Society of America.
- Casey from Strangers in Paradise. It may or may not be a part of her Obfuscating Stupidity.
- The Regency Elf in Cerebus the Aardvark.
- Deconstructed in Young Liars. Sadie acts the way she does because a bullet in her brain destroyed her inhibitions and ability to realize consequences.
- Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials.
- Gabrielle/Takako from the Tamers Forever Series.
- Alyssa from Keepers of the Elements.
- The fan fiction Nobody Dies takes this treatment of Rei and gives it a few twists.
Film -- Animated
- Young Ellie from Disney/Pixar's Up! is definitely one of these. Her wonderful mania for living makes you feel for her all the more when she finds that she can't have children.
- Toy Story:
- Jessie from Toy Story 2 and 3. What we see of her Show Within a Show character is pure Genki; in her real-life personality, though she displays quite a bit of cynicism and remorse, she still manages to fit this trope.
- Trixie the Triceratops from 3. Bonnie from the same film seems like she'll grow into one of these as well.
- Dory from Finding Nemo. Ellen Degeneres, her VA, is a real-life example.
- Rapunzel from Tangled is pretty lively. Her never having been outside before only makes her more excitable.
- Charlotte from The Princess and the Frog is a Genki Girl that seems to move entirely too fast for her brain to catch up.
- The Little Mermaid has Ariel who frustrates her father with how energetic and adventurous she is. Years later when she's grown out of it she ironically describes herself as "a real fish out of water".
Film -- Live Action
- Jordan Cochran in Real Genius.
Jordan: I never sleep, I don't know why. I had a roommate and I drove her nuts, I mean really nuts, they had to take her away in an ambulance and everything. But she's okay now, but she had to transfer to an easier school, but I don't know if that had anything to do with being my fault. But listen, if you ever need to talk or you need help studying just let me know, 'cause I'm just a couple doors down from you guys and I never sleep, okay?
- Every role Bollywood actress Genelia D'Souza has done. Ever. Even in the non-Bollywood Indian movies. Her most famous Genki Girl role was in the Telugu film "Bommarillu". It was remade into three different languages, and she played the same character in ALL OF THEM.
- Christine McIntyre's character in The Brideless Groom. She doesn't even have a name, but she leaves one heck of an impression.
- Sophie in Mamma Mia. Donna and her friends are quite energetic as well, despite being in their fifties.
- Bahia Ben Mahmoud in the french movie Le Nom des Gens.
- Toby Walters from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
- Toyo from Ikiru is one of these, with her exuberance breaking Watanabe out of his death-inspired angst.
- Basanti from Sholay - one of her main character traits was that she doesn't stop talking
- Eden Brent in Bullets Over Broadway, inspiring the above page quote.
- Quorra from Tron: Legacy is very much one when not in a life-threatening situation.
- The eponymous character of Anne of Green Gables, who has a tendency to spout monologues lasting for more than a page. She stops this in the later books, though.
- The eponymous heroine of Pippi Longstocking.
- Prilla from the Disney Fairies series.
- Suzy Turqoise Blue from Keys to the Kingdom is almost perpetually cheerful.
- Wendy from John C. Wright's War of the Dreaming.
- Of all possible people in Warhammer 40000, we are given Magos Felicia Tayber, an Adeptus Mechanius tech-priestess from Death or Glory. With a prehensile tail/mechadendite. Whom Ciaphas Cain may or may not have slept with.
- The eponymous character of the Junie B. Jones series. So. Much.
- One of the first eccentricities Winterbourne notices about Daisy Miller is how she's just overflowing with energy and enthusiasm. "It was many years since he had heard a young girl talk so much."
- The eponymous character of the Ramona Quimby series is rambunctious and noisy and described as "the cheerleader type" by her older sister. Her excitable nature has been known to clash with her friend Howie's stoic demeanor.
- Andrew Vachss's Burke books have Pepper, although speaking to Burke somehow puts a damper on her energy.
- Alice Cullen.
- Kate Weatherhall from The Mysterious Benedict Society.
- Permanent Rose Casson, and how, from the Casson Family Series. She is described as recklessly boisterous (going so far to cause a traffic jam just to meet a boy her brother knows - and she's only eight!) and when told that her father is going to New York, she about bursts with energetic excitement. Also her older sister Caddy fits to a lesser extent.
- Beverly Brook in Rivers of London, her enthusiasm frequently leaves protagonist DC Grant exhausted. Especially when she is near a river (well she is an Anthropomorphic Personification of the river by the same name).
- Squirrelflight from Warrior Cats.
- Quite a few of Anne Tyler's heroines qualify, especially Pauline in The Amateur Marriage (one of the many reasons why she and her husband Michael are so mismatched). There's also Maggie in Breathing Lessons, Rebecca in Back When We Were Grown-Ups, Pearl and Jenny in Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, and Muriel in A Patchwork Planet.
- Effie Trinket from "The Hunger Games".
- Pauline Stoker from PG Wodehouse's Thank You, Jeeves.
Live Action TV
- Brook from Season 17 of The Amazing Race, who talked non-stop while working a speed bag and jumping rope. Also, Mallory from the same season.
- Momoyama in the Japanese drama Anna-san no Omame (a.k.a. The Best Friend of Beautiful Anna).
- Daisy Wicke from Bones manages to pull it off by being endearing when she isn't being incredibly annoying.
- Valeria Ferrer in Carrusel.
- This is a common trait on Coronation Street right from the first episode with Linda Chevski (which aired 9 December, 1960) to today's Kylie Platt. Combine this with Really Gets Around and you get one of the show's favorite archetypes, the classic "Tart with a Heart."
- Dharma from Dharma and Greg is the most energetic flower child you can imagine.
- Doctors: Cherry, particularly in her early appearances. When she first started work at the Mill, Michelle got her to put away all the medicine that had been left out, expecting to have to sort it out herself later. Not only did Cherry get it done in record time, while she was at it, she alphabetized all the cabinets to make things easier to find.
- Kaylee on Firefly.
- Kimmy Gibbler from Full House.
- Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Funnily enough, her daughter Rory is the more grounded one, but Rory has her genki moments as well.
- Rachel Berry from Glee is the triple-threat Genki Girl.
- Lily/Lola from Hannah Montana has her moments.
- Surely Daphne from Heroes must have been written with this trope firmly in mind.
- Carly from ICarly, with her loud and spastic nature and her Large Ham tendencies, can be considered this. Their Loony Fan Mandy as well.
- Emma from Jessie.
- Jessie Combs of Myth Busters. Kari slightly less so, but she also delves into this a lot.
- Abby Scuito on NCIS.
- Taylor Townsend of The OC.
- Patty Lane on The Patty Duke Show.
- Chuck from Pushing Daisies.
- Elliot Reid was for the most part of the first few seasons highly enthusiastic and quick-talking, tempered with bouts of self doubt (audience: AWWWW!). Her enthusiasm was more of a mask. She was very neurotic on the inside, due to bad childhood experience, overbearing parents, etc. She could be considered a Genki Girl later on, the way she pushes her boyfriends about (sometimes literally).
- CeCe and Rocky in Shake It Up.
- Smallville's Chloe Sullivan and Lois Lane are like this, and it's become a rather endearing trait in both of them.
- Sonny Munroe from Sonny With a Chance.
- Cat Valentine from Victorious.
- Claudia Donovan, a hyperactive, always-getting-into trouble techwiz from Warehouse 13.
- Tania Gunadi as this 2nd-grade teacher. "SO MUCH GLITTER!"
- Kang Jong Hee in Wild Romance is bipolar, so she goes through periods of excitability and depression. When she's happy, she's exceedingly happy and takes to biting people.
- Talk show examples:
- Rachael Ray, from her eponymous talk show. She purposely avoids "sob stories" and almost always has a smile on her face. She also works 100-hour weeks and is a rather shrewd businesswoman, and her energy and determination are usually quoted as the source of her success.
- Giada de Laurentis is a somewhat more sedate Genki Girl, also on Food Network. What probably helps is that, with that largish head and especially large eyes of hers, she even almost looks like a real-life anime girl. Or, to put it visually....
- Sandra Lee, also from Food Network... well, fits the "dosed up on caffeine" requirement at least.
- Ingrid Hoffmann is relatively sedate on her English-language show, but watch her in Spanish... it's like Rachael Ray raided Giada's closet.
- Similarly, Ellen DeGeneres is very energetic.
- Mickie James, though she fitted the bill more when she was playing her psycho character. Her entrance theme was a Suspiciously Similar Song version of "Hey Mickie" and she would literally bounce all the way to the ring. She calmed the bouncing down after her Heel Face Turn but still fit the trope.
- AJ Lee when she was on NXT season 3. Overly perky and energetic and she once appropriately had to give a speech about caffeine. "Caffeine will perk you up but I'm some natural dynamite baby".
- Christy Hemme from the first Diva Search was like this, standing out as the only girl who actually had a lot of personality. Trish Stratus even told her with her winnings she could go buy herself some decaf. Christy responded "it's all natural".
- Jessica James from the indie circuit and SHIMMER fame is like this as well. It rubbed off on her tag team partner Rachel Summerlynn when they formed Rachel And Jessica's Excellent Tag Team.
- A Wizards of the Coast free online supplement for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 describes Mercury Dragons as such.
- Pathfinder's Curse of the Crimson Throne AP gives us allied NPC Laori Vaus, the disturbingly enthusiastic cleric of a god of Pain and Loss ( Hellraiser ). So genki, she creeps out other members of her church.
- The book she's introduced in includes the wonderful description of how she made her pilgrimage "Armed only with her indomitable optimism and an appetite for pain."
- From the list of Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do In An RPG:
48. The elf is restricted to decaf for the rest of the adventure.
- Da Capo II has Yuzu, one of the characters in Nanaka's route, who is as Genki as they come, despite being an Ill Girl.
- Fate/stay night:
- Fujimura Taiga is an adult Genki Girl.
- Ilya is too... except she's a genki not-quite-evil girl who likes dismembering Shirou a bit too much. Shirou also realizes after spending a little time with her that it's all an act and that in reality she's immensely conflicted inside about whether to treat Shirou as a brother or an usurper.
- Tsuzuriko/Tojiko in Kara no Shoujo is your stock genki girl... going to school at an academy full of near zombies. You might say she stands out a little.
- From Katawa Shoujo, Emi and Misha, who are rather...interesting variants of the trope. For Emi, while she indeed is a cheery girl, it turns out she's not as drama (or trauma)-free as she initially seems. The loss of her legs was traumatic, but she learned to cope with that well. The loss of her dad she did not cope with at all. Part of getting her happy ending is to help her deal with her loss. In Misha's case, it's partly a pretense to hide the emotional trauma of Shizune rejecting her love confession, as well as being a coping mechanism for said trauma.
- Sachi in Sharin no Kuni. Natsumi used to be one as well until she was accused of seducing an upper-class boy and receiving her obligation. Natsumi gets hers back at the end of Chapter 5 and keeps it in the fandisc.
- Tsukihime: Arcueid Brunestud... well, when she's not out killing Dead Apostles and is spending time with Shiki instead, anyway. Kohaku definitely qualifies, too. Especially in Kagetsu Tohya and Melty Blood. In the original game, though, this is subverted to the point of being a punch in the gut
- Beatrice from Umineko When They Cry deliberately invokes this trope as per Ronove's suggestion at the start of the fourth arc to cheer up Battler after she crushingly deceives him by the end of the third arc. However, it turns out that Battler got over that very quickly, and Beatrice just ends up making a complete idiot out of herself.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Ty Lee, in contrast to her Foil, Emotionless Girl Mai.
- Also, the latest Avatar, Korra, in contrast to her mentor Tenzin.
- One of Tenzin's children, Ikki, is this trope personified.
- The Backyardigans: Uniqua is one of those. But in one episode, usually-Tsundere Tasha got to be the Genki Girl and show her "deredere" side.
- Batman: the Animated Series: Harley Quinn; even more-so in The Batman.
- Bionicle: The Legend Reborn: Kiina's portrayal qualifies her as one. It's in stark contrast, with how sour she behaved in the novel that takes place before the movie's events -- however, the movie was written first. It was also the only time we saw this side of hers, but it had already stained her image in the fans' minds.
- Maggie Pesky from The Buzz on Maggie.
- Gadget from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers is a combination of Genki Girl and Wrench Wench.
- Quinn from Daria lapses into this at times. Stacey, maybe even more-so.
- Dexter's Laboratory: Dee Dee. Oh dear is she ever.
- Frida Suarez of El Tigre.
- Yo from Fanboy and Chum Chum is so Genki, she can appear in two places at once.
- Goo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is a straight-up example. Madame Foster herself sometimes fills this role too, despite the fact that she's an old lady. Coco also shows elements of this at times, with a heavy dose of Cloudcuckoolander and The Unintelligible.
- Birdgirl from Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
- Mystique Sonia from Hero 108.
- Moofy, a one-shot character from Invader Zim is both a hilarious and downright scary example of this trope.
- Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Pepper Potts is a big-time Genki Girl.
- The main protagonist of The Itsy Bitsy Spider franchise, Leslie McGroarty is even more Genki. She also used to be a tomboy.
- Saffi from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- Ka Blam!: June started out as one of these, as well as the Ditz. In season two, she's still this trope at times, but much more snarky. In season three, this starts to drop out a little bit more as she becomes a sarcastic Jerkass, and by season four, this is gone, as she became a slight example of the only sane girl.
- Kids Next Door: Kuki Sanban (Numbuh Three). Her mom's name is even "Genki."
- Lola Bunny from The Looney Tunes Show.
- The eponymous (title) character of The Mighty B!, Bessie Higgenbottom, is an ambitious and optimistic 9 year old Honeybee scout who believes she will become a superhero called The Mighty B if she collects every Honeybee badge.
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Pinkie Pie is this merged with Cloudcuckoolander and Taken Up To Eleven.
- To everyone's surprise, later episodes deconstructed this. Parties are her way of validating herself, and if nopony likes them that must mean nopony likes her.
- When your life's career is party catering and cheering everypony up, receiving no approval is the worst that could happen.
- From the same series, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are an entire group of these. They tend to egg each other on.
- Fluttershy can get like this when animals are involved. Just hearing Rainbow Dash suggest she might want to get a pet is enough to set Fluttershy off.
- From the original My Little Pony we have Surprise, whom Pinkie is heavily based off in G4. She enjoys pranking people, is very active, and is very loud.
- To everyone's surprise, later episodes deconstructed this. Parties are her way of validating herself, and if nopony likes them that must mean nopony likes her.
- The Oz Kids: Dot Hugson was completely Genki. She also had a cute, witty, tomboyish and humorous personality.
- Recess: Cindy, one of the kindergarteners. Miss Grotke can be a mild example at times.
- Iris from Ruby Gloom.
- Teen Titans: Starfire. Partly justified in that her powers manifest from unleashing her emotion. (Although all evidence suggests that anger works better in a fight. In the first episode we learn anything about it, she cheerily explains that her starbolts require "righteous wrath.")
- Izzy from Total Drama Island.
- Transformers Prime: Miko, who transferred to an American school to escape a life of piano lessons and ends up in the middle of a war between alien robots, to her absolute delight. Also played by Tania Gunadi, who is good at these.
- WITCH: Hay Lin loves life, designing clothes, painting and sending armies of mooks flying with a wave of her arm.
- Boxxy. Internet wars were started over her newfound popularity, with many users (rather hostilely) asking the question "how much genki is too much?"
- Miley Cyrus. Her little sister Noah is also extremely bubbly, energetic and confident, but she's just 10, so who knows how she turns out.
- Japanese singer and actress Tomoe Shinohara.
- Ariana Grande.
- Comedian Elvira Kurt breathes genki.
- Hayley Williams of Paramore, so, so much, if the way she answers interviews, tweets, and acts on stage is anything to go by. Not many people would Tweet about how much underwear they're going to buy or make jokes about their own chest during an interview.
- Bella Thorne and Zendaya Coleman. Bella even moreso, since her Disney Channel intro shows it up.
- Felicia Day: Her promotional video for Dragon Age: Redemption is marked by energetic smiling, bobbing, and annotating.
- Amanda Tapping, who never seems to slow down and is always bright, bubbly, enthusiastic, and an all-around goofball.
- Demi Lovato, when she's in a good mood or with her fans, especially in regards to her fans.
Anime and Manga
- The Area no Kishi protagonist Kakeru is a student who channels his love of football into working tirelessly first as manager for his high school football team, and later in the series to overcome obstacles becoming a player himself.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Just like Taiwan is the Asian Group's Genki Girl, her "brother" South Korea can easily be seen as a male version.
- Bleach: Asano Keigo is constantly active and cheerful (or entirely down in the dumps), to the point that he get's on Ichigo's nerves. Though Keigo does have some introspective moments, they are few and far between.
- Future GPX Cyber Formula: Jackie Gudelhian, Johji Ohtomo and Bleed Kaga are adult versions of the trope. The latter, however, drops off his genki-ness in the ZERO arc when he began to become serious.
- Raphael from Tenshi ni Narumon, to a lesser degree.
- Most of the Robins have this to some extent, although this was most obvious in Golden Age Robin (which was translated into that of the TV series.)
- Jeko from the Col Sec Trilogy is a small, wiry, hyperactive young man who's always trying to rile the resident Tsundere. (On an off note, although it's not anime, it's mentioned at one point that he's Japanese-American.) Enough said.
- Fregley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
- Harry Potter: Ludovic "Ludo" Bagman is energetic and enthusiastic; he is also described as resembling and acting like an overgrown schoolboy.
- Beetle Bailey's Asian Token Minority character Corporal Yo sometimes has the trait of getting really, really excited about anything he finds interesting, and he likes to run around doing everything as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn: Kieran is a Genki Boy who is obsessed with glory. Unfortunately, he and Mia never interact.
- The Scout from Team Fortress 2.
- Order of the Stick's Elan is happy-go-lucky and energetic.
- Taisei from Sakana, who is extremly cheerful, light-hearted and energetic.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang -- when not having to save the world -- is cheerfully energetic and quite confident. He provides a contrast to the other guys in his group: snarky Sokka and brooding Zuko.
- Code Lyoko: Odd Della Robbia has plenty of energy and confidence. And his Lyoko Warrior form is cat-based.
- Family Guy: Peter Griffin is either this or an Adult Child.
- Neddie from The Oz Kids.
- SpongeBob SquarePants.
- Lance from Voltron: Legendary Defender