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Me only simple jungle princess. What mean this word, "kiss"?
—"I Love A Film Cliche", A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine

The Distaff Counterpart of Tarzan of the Apes, this is a young woman of European extraction who has been raised in a jungle environment, usually by animals. Despite her upbringing, though, she has managed to grasp the basic rudiments of English, tools and fashion -- she is frequently seen wearing fetching leather or fur bikinis and wielding a spear. She is far more likely to have Rapunzel Hair than Wild Hair, and her legs and armpits will be inexplicably hairless.

For some unfathomable reason, the animals of the jungle obey her slavishly instead of viewing her as lunch, and the woefully benighted natives treat her as a goddess. If the Jungle Princess is particularly naive, she'll buy into that belief. Even if she's not particularly naive and although she may well possess some fearsomely strong instincts and drives toward it, her isolation from humans has left her with no concept whatsoever of romance.

Inevitably, she will encounter a hunky European explorer (rather than a -- perish the thought -- relationship with a native) usually by rescuing him from some local danger, and they will fall in love. While the movie version of the Jungle Princess will then let her explorer bring her back home and civilize her, the TV version will not allow it, and instead he finds himself settling down in Malaria Central and stealing kisses from her when she's not busy ordering lions to savage the occasional poacher.

In science fiction, many a Green-Skinned Space Babe is just a jungle princess with a dye job and a zap gun.

The trope name ultimately dates to a 1920 silent film serial called The Jungle Princess, but its common usage probably dates from the 1936 film of the same name starring Dorothy Lamour.

See also Nubile Savage. Not to be confused with The Chief's Daughter, where the leading lady actually fits the native culture (but is almost always a princess for some reason).

Examples of Jungle Princess include:


Anime and Manga

  • Sapphire Birch, Pokémon Special's take on the female avatar from the game, takes her role as Pokémon trainer and researcher so seriously she actually went native, wearing clothes made from leaves and moss and growing her fingernails into claws. She has little trouble reintegrating into human society, but she retains the mind-boggling strength and agility she developed in the wild.
  • Weda from Haré+Guu, has this appearance but the Jungle society she lives is fairly civilized and not totally disconnected from the Outside world (there are still buses to the city, for example). She can hunt however and does wear a Fur Bikini. In her backstory, its revealed she actually comes a rich family in the city and moved to the Jungle at age 14 due to getting kicked out of her family for getting pregnant.
  • Makyou no Shanana
  • Either subverted or deconstructed with San, the eponymous Mononoke-Hime of Princess Mononoke. While she fits a lot of the traits of a Jungle Princess, her character like almost anything else in the movie, is not as two-dimensional and clear cut as it seems at first.


Comicbooks

  • Definitely Sheena Queen Of The Jungle herself.
  • Storm of the X-Men spent part of her childhood and adolescence as a Jungle Princess; when her weather powers activated, she was also worshipped as a literal goddess.
    • The Marvel Universe also has Shanna the She-Devil. The similarity between her name and Sheena's is entirely coincidental, of course.
  • An extremely blatant fetish of comics artist Frank Cho, who has worked on such diverse series as the above-mentioned Shanna the She-Devil, Cavewoman, and... Jungle Girl.
  • Subverted in the French comic Sillage (aka Wake in English). In the first volume the heroine Nävis (Navee) encounters a group of alien slaves who have been ordered to change the environment of her jungle planet for their masters' purposes, and ends up winning them over not because they view her as a goddess but because she possesses superior logic. Unfortunately that still doesn't prevent the jungle being destroyed, and she's adopted and "civilized" by the advanced culture of the title.
  • In the comic The Maxx, Julie Winters manifests in the Outback as the Jungle Queen, the embodiment of this trope. Later, it's revealed that the Outback is her subconscious, and she created the Jungle Queen in order to have control as an all-powerful goddess after having been brutally raped and beaten years ago.
  • Jann of the Jungle was Jungle Princess heroine from Marvel Comics predecessor Atlas in the 1950s. She is still mentioned occasionally in the modern-day Marvel Universe.
  • "Kara the Jungle Princess" made two appearances in 1946 issues of "Exciting Comics".
  • After a bout of amnesia, Alpha Flight's Heather Hudson plays this role for the length of one annual.
  • Tara Fremont from Femforce.
  • White Princess of the Jungle was a jungle girl anthology comic book published quarterly by Avon Periodicals in the early 1950s.
  • Judy of the Jungle appeared in comic books published by Nedor Comics. She debuted in Exciting Comics #55 (May 1947). Mostly remembered nowadays for featuring early art by Frank Frazetta.
  • Princess Pantha was a Sheena clone that appeared in comic books published by Nedor Comics. The character was revived twice; first by AC Comics, and second by writer Alan Moore for his Tom Strong spin-off, Terra Obscura. She first appeared in Thrilling Comics #56.
    • Tom Strong's own wife Dhalua is also an example, although she's also a subversion of the norm because she's actually black. There's also the alternate universe Tesla of the Tigers, who comes from a world overrun with jungle and whose father Tom of the Tigers was raised by... you can probably guess. Interestingly, Princess Pantha is romantically linked to Tom's Terra Obscura counterpart, Tom Strange.
      • Rather than a subverted Jungle Princess, Dhulua was full dues-paying a Chief's daughter.
  • Rulah, Jungle Goddess was Fox Feature's response to Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Her real name was given variously as either Jane Dodge (Zoot #7) or Joan Grayson (Rulah, Jungle Goddess #20). In the latter version, Rulah is a young aviatrix on a solo flight over Africa when her plane loses control and crashes. She replaces her clothes (which were destroyed in the crash) with a bikini made from the skin of a dead giraffe. Soon afterwards, Rulah saves a local tribe from an evil woman; the grateful tribespeople declare her queen. Rulah decides to remain in the jungle as its protector.
    • Rula's comic adventures are sometimes startlingly violent; and there are generous helpings of Les Yay among Rulah and her suspiciously-pale native maidens. Said maidens being the subjects of peril, hairdressing, abduction, experiments, and much hugging when rescued.
  • Parodied by "Libby in the Lost World" in Penthouse Comix. Libby was a Jewish American princess stranded in a Lost World by plane crash and forced unwillingly into the role of Jungle Princess.
  • Tom Strong's wife Dhalua is a reconstruction of the trope—namely, what happens when The Chief's Daughter marries the hero and moves to a post-industrial nation, but never loses her edge.
  • Ya'wara from the New 52 Aquaman series. Unique in that she's one of the few examples of a Jungle Princess who is an actual person of color rather than a displaced white woman in jungle gear.


Films -- Live-Action

  • There's one of these in the artificial jungle in the movie Who's That Girl?.
  • The Tiger Woman, a 1944 Republic film serial, later edited into the feature Jungle Gold.
  • Nyoka the Jungle Girl from the the 1941 serial Jungle Girl.
  • Jungle Goddess, which was given the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment.
  • Tanya Roberts made a pretty good Sheena for the 1980's.
  • You could make the argument that Claudia Jennings played one in the trash film Gator Bait, just switch the jungle for the Louisiana bayou.


Literature

  • Discworld has lost kingdoms of Amazons which use their male prisoners to do specifically male jobs ... like opening pickle jars, sorting out those funny noises in the attic, capturing spiders and putting them outside, and rewiring plugs.
  • Rima the Jungle Girl was the heroine of the 1904 novel Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson. She wasn't white or European; she belonged to a lost race that even the local Indians didn't know of. Her skin -- depending on the lighting, it seems -- varied in color, and in bright sunlight seemed "luminous".
    • The novel was made into a movie starring Audrey Hepburn in 1959.
    • Rima starred in a short-lived (but beautifully illustrated) comic book from DC Comics called Rima the Jungle Girl.
    • Rima even appeared in three episodes of The All-New Superfriends Hour.
    • She's now part of DC's First Wave pulp-fiction imprint.
  • Meriem, the wife of Korak the Killer, son of Tarzan fits this archetype.
  • Deconstructed in Gentlemen, the Queen! by Wilson Tucker. The titular character, a human girl raised by Martian desert rats and referred to as the Desert Queen, has suffered a lot of realistic consequences from her environement. She has Wild Hair, is missing one eye and most of her teeth, can barely speak, and has a broken arm that didn't set quite right.
  • Jasmine from Deltora Quest. A variation is that she only appeared to Lief and Barda to steal their stuff, but eventually came back and save them before they're eaten by the Wen. She also appears in the anime adaptation. Frequently paired with Lief in fanfiction, and the anime has a few hints of it as well, though you have to look for it to see them.
    • Although by the end of the second series, it's clear that it's officially canon.


Live-Action TV

Music

  • The song "Queen of the Savages" by The Magnetic Fields.

 My girl is the queen of the savages

She don't know the modern world and its ravages

Instead of money she's got yams and cabbages

She lives in a dome

I don't care if I never get home


Toys


Videogames

  • Jill of the Jungle
  • Zhu Rong, from Koei's Dynasty Warriors franchise, takes this to its logical extension as a fully-fledged Jungle Queen. Not only is she the only blonde-haired female in an ostensibly all-Asian lineup but she's married to a barbarian king and worshiped as a bona fide Goddess by her people. Oh, and there's the obligatory jungle-kini she wanders round in, too.
    • Her being worshipped as a Goddess is, in DW canon (and the book it was based on), justified. She's the descendant of the god of fire.
  • Partial example: Ayla of Chrono Trigger - Chieftain of the prehistoric peoples, the only blonde among the group, and insanely strong. She's engaged to marry one of her own tribesman, but she most definitely is the "man" in that relationship.
  • One of the playable characters with the actual name in Time Splitters series.
  • Maya from the second Killer Instinct game.
  • Rima from Brutal Legend.
  • Nidalee from League of Legends.


Western Animation

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