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This is the competent converse of the Redshirt Army.

They are not the protagonists, but just their support. We probably won't get to know many of them well, though those we do meet we'll probably know better than a Mauve Shirt. As far as Character Focus goes, they could be Cannon Fodder.

But they are not Cannon Fodder. Unlike the Redshirt Army, they will live. Unlike the Redshirt Army, they are openly competent at fighting their enemies, especially those that can kill you just by being looked at funny; they are truly helpful. Whether this help is acknowledged depends on the writer.

They can hit their opponent most of the time. They can go toe to toe with the enemy without being wiped out in seconds, and often without losing anyone at all.

Most of them still have no names given, and they still will dress alike. But again, they are not Cannon Fodder. Sometimes, they're even good enough to become a Badass Army.

Named for Errol Flynn's army in the classic film The Adventures of Robin Hood. Not to be confused with Brad Sherwood.

Examples of Men of Sherwood include:


Anime

  • The GM in Mobile Suit Gundam is the mass-produced version of the Gundam. They're completely expendable, but they hand out as much punishment as they take. While the central protagonists are equipped with the Super Prototype, it's the GMs in the background who won the war.

Comic Books

Film

Literature

  • The Fremen. Even though Paul Muad'ib Atreides was a fierce fighter in his own right, he didn't win the throne through a series of duels. He won it by having a huge army of highly-skilled, fanatical, and utterly faceless troops.
    • Who won against another huge army of highly-skilled, fanatical and utterly faceless troops that were until then feared by everyone in the whole galaxy.
      • Granted, the Sardaukar by the time of the first Dune book were arguably at their weakest due to Shaddam IV's rule and general arrogance/decadence, though they were still formidable. They're far more competent in the prequel books and Farad'n's Sardaukar in the sequels are as well (though we never really see them in action).
        • Interestingly, the Dune Encyclopedia provides background material that states Fremen who travelled offworld were stricken by disease and failed to adapt to humid environments.
  • The half-blood army of campers that Percy raises in the Percy Jackson books, who successfully hold the island of Manhattan against a legion of monsters.

Live Action TV

  • UNIT in the new Doctor Who. (Not so much the old Doctor Who.)
  • The Stargate Army Dudes!
  • The Rangers in Babylon 5.
  • A non-heroic example: the Others in Lost. The protagonists almost always come out worse off, and whenever they score a victory it's usually because they have the element of surprise, or some other clear advantage.
  • In 24, the CTU response teams have only two settings: they either prove ineffective at containing the badguys, letting them escape, or they trap the badguys, at which point the villains get their faces wrecked.
  • The Knights of Camelot in Merlin fluctuate between this and a Redshirt Army depending on the battle.
  • As the name of the trope suggests, any team of outlaws in any retelling of Robin Hood, including Robin of Sherwood, Robin Hood and The New Adventures of Robin Hood - though these groups do tend to involve A Load.

Video Games

  • The player's forces in any Real Time Strategy game, depending on the player.
  • The former Tekken Force members led by Lars Alexandersson in Tekken 6. Bonus points for Lars's second-in-command being a Mauve Shirt.
  • The Blood Raven and Ultramarine Tactical Squads on the bridge nearing the final level in Warhammer 40000 Space Marine. They can actually clear up the bridge of Chaos Marines and Bloodletters without you really having to do anything and can go that far without casualties.

Web Comics

  • The Azure City soldiers in Order of the Stick tend to die a lot, but they are also more than capable of killing large numbers of goblins. In fact, if Redcloak had not used the titanium elementals to breach the wall, and created Xykon doubles beforehand, the city might not have fallen.

Western Animation

  • The men of the Southern Water Tribe from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
    • Also the White Lotus society.
  • The metalbender cops in The Legend of Korra.
  • The lionesses of Pride Rock in The Lion King who fight the hyenas while Simba is fighting Scar.
  • In the Disney variant, Prince John's army prove to be an evil counterpart. Proof? They managed to get an arrow in Little John's hat.
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