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Handsome fighters never lose battles.
—Vega, Street Fighter
The Fighting Narcissist is arrogance and pride incarnate. He is the most beautiful, the most perfect, your superior in every way. And should you doubt this fact, he will make you pay for your folly, severely.
The Fighting Narcissist is a common character type in action series, especially common in martial arts media. He is a formidable fighter who happens to be handsome, extremely so, and takes pride in that fact to the point of capital sin. To him (and it's almost always him, not her) there is no one more beautiful or talented than himself, and to him both concepts are synonymous. He doesn't just happen to be both beautiful and talented, he's beautiful because he's talented, and vice versa.
He is selfish, vain and confident of himself, and condescending to anyone and everyone else. Physically, he tends to be slim, tall and fair, but with defined musculature. He will have Caucasian features, even if he's not actually Caucasian. He will be refined in speech and manners, with a tinge of condescension in his speech. He is usually quite seductive, perhaps even refined and charming, but he is nowhere near as pleasing as he might seem at first glance. Beauty is an obsession to him, and often he describes his actions in these terms ("My fighting style is the most beautiful", or "Seeing blood run is a thing of beauty", for example).
This is manifested in exotic weapons, fashionable clothing, body modification, even the use of makeup or masks. You can tell a character is a Fighting Narcissist at first glance: his appearance is genuinely striking. He also tends to be quite wealthy, and a member of the upper crust of society.
This attitude does not lend itself to altruism: Fighting Narcissists are almost universally bad. They have no friends, few allies and innumerable enemies. They see no one as their equal, and any alliance will be one of convenience. They might sometimes be a villain's Dragon, but have no loyalty to their master beyond convenience, and might even try to take the top seat themselves. The character is usually used as a formidable antagonist to The Hero who is thoroughly unlikeable and irredeemable.
As much arrogance as he might display, he is a talented fighter, dangerously so. Fighting styles lean towards the acrobatic and eccentric (they are mostly very fast). Another particular characteristic, curiously, is Combat Pragmatism. While all opponents are beneath him, no method of achieving victory is. He will use hidden weapons, underlings and all other sorts of nasty surprises. Victory is all that matters to him, and he sees using underhanded tactics as him being smarter and more cunning. Honor means nothing to him, since honor is, to a certain point, an altruistic attitude, and he always looks out for number one.
Another particular characteristic of a Fighting Narcissist is his attitude towards sexuality. By his definition, any other person is inferior to him, so he is often not actively sexually interested in anyone else. While often effeminate, he is rarely actively interested in men, although he might become obsessed with another fighter who's actually beautiful and talented as well. On the other side of the spectrum, his attitude towards women is almost universally, irredeemably bad. A Fighting Narcissist tends to abuse women and finds much amusement in it. If he actually considers a woman attractive, it is to the point of obsession, and this relationship can lead to massive amounts of Foe Yay. The bottom line is that a Fighting Narcissist generally does not deign anyone to be worthy of his desire, and any desire he might have for someone is ALWAYS unhealthy.
If a hero actually proves himself superior in anything, the Fighting Narcissist does not take it well. His high opinion of himself does not allow him to take defeat in any way lightly, and any humiliation he is subjected to instills irrational hatred in him. Oh, and scarring him in ANY way, especially in the face, will enrage him to the point of murderous insanity. If he doesn't get killed (or kill himself) expect him to act the part of Beauty to Beast, wear a mask and Black Cloak, and break every mirror he sees.
While he can be ambitious and seek power, the main reason a Fighting Narcissist actually fights is self-gratification. He does not fight to prove himself, because he has nothing to prove: in his mind he's already perfect. He does not seek a challenge, because such petty behavior is beneath him. More often than not, he fights out of boredom and bloodlust: he enjoys fighting and enjoys causing pain, period. Although rarely needing to work, he will often be a gangster, contract killer or bodyguard; basically, professions that expose him to violence. He might also go into Complete Monster territory and be a Serial Killer who uses fighting as an excuse to commit murder.
The character can also be used in a less extreme (i.e. non-murderous but still violent) fashion in lighter media: pro wrestling, for example, has myriad examples of arrogant and vain fighters. Also, very rarely, a Fighting Narcissist might actually be convinced to leave the dark side, but this is exceedingly rare, and many times it ends in his ultimate demise.
Related to Beauty Is Bad. Contrast Arrogant Kung Fu Guy, who, while also condescending of others and a powerful fighter, is not obsessed with his looks nor inherently evil and Gorgeous George, whose obsessions lead to ambiguity more than arrogance and is friendly with the females to heighten the ambiguity. Spiritual brother to the Smug Super. Often a successful blow to the face will be a Berserk Button. The Fighting Narcissist also parallels the Combat Sadomasochist in terms of the Seven Deadly Sins: where the Narcissist has Vanity/Pride as a staple, the Sadomasochist is into Lust.
Anime & Manga
- Bleach: Yumichika Ayasegawa, one of the very rare heroic examples because he may be a subversion. He certainly insists on presenting himself as such a person, but the reality is more complicated: his fight with Charlotte Cuuhlhourne reveals he's actually sacrificing his real self for the sake of his squad's philosophy due to his belief that Undying Loyalty is much more important than his own desires. Charlotte is used to lampshade this by genuinely being what Yumichika is pretending to be...but looks-wise, he's a mix of The Brute and Magical Girl. When they fight, Hilarity Ensues, followed by Mood Whiplash to reveal the truth about Yumichika.
- In the Invasion arc, the anime decides to play this trope straight for Yumichika by changing his Hidden Depths to something that's even more narcissistic than his public image. The first time Yumichika meets his clone, he's struck by the terrible dilemma of not being able to fight - because he can't bring himself to attack 'such a beautiful me'. On the other hand, his clone has no such qualms about the fight because he thinks the real Yumichika would look even more beautiful covered in blood...which is taking narcissism to the point of both sadism and masochism.
- DragonBall Z:
- Zarbon, Frieza's henchman. He takes a HANDICAP in most fights to preserve his good looks; he has the ability to transform into a much stronger but much uglier form, but only does so when it's a choice between doing so or being killed.
- Cell after achieving his Perfect form. Even more so in Kai:
Cell: I've achieved the perfect body! Go ahead, admire it. Admit it, you know you're jealous.
- Broly also has a reputation for this.
Broly: A monster? No. I am a god.
- Yuda of Fist of the North Star, quite possibly the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier in Japanese media. Pretty much any character that follows this archetype in any Japanese work is somehow based on him. His rivalry with Rei was based on proving his Nanto Kokaku Ken style was more beautiful than Rei's Nanto Suicho Ken.
- The legendary Major Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist has shades of this trope in both his combat skill and utter infatuation with himself and his beautiful muscles. Definitely a good guy though.
- There's also the homunculus Greed, who rarely uses his very powerful full-body armored form, because it makes his face ugly.
- Cobraja from Heartcatch Pretty Cure. The man even uses autographed photos of himself as weapons!
- Dio Brando of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a truly despicable example.
- Deidara from Naruto becomes crazy hysterical from having his "art" looked down on. He also shows signs of Green-Eyed Monster.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion--
- Asuka might qualify. The mere thought of no longer being the best pilot decreases her performance to the point where she can't fight anymore, which in turn makes her undergo a complete mental breakdown and become suicidally depressed. Then comes End of Evangelion where she returns for one final fight but this time, she's extremely pissed, tearing her foes apart with bare hands and screaming at full volume the whole time. Hey, what happened to "a fight should be clean and elegant, without waste"?
- Mari from Rebuild of Evangelion demonstrates tendencies of this with her Crazy Awesome Cloudcuckoolander Blood Knight personality.
- New Grappler Baki averts this trope for the most part, which fits its motto of "the strong is the beautiful." See this for an example; some kind of "practical beauty." Kureha Shinogi, however, is VERY MUCH a straight example.
- Pearl of One Piece wears heavy armor to protect his body from scars and goes a little nuts when he sees his own blood.
- Julius of Rave Master.
- Pisces Aphrodite, Lizard Misty (Who Word of God confirmed to be Aphrodite's disciple) and Papillon Myu of Saint Seiya.
- Twenty from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, who also can't resist stripping in the middle of anywhere.
- Dilandau from Vision of Escaflowne is the epitome of this. "MY FACE !"
- Karen Kitaura, aka Schoen (or Schön if umlauts are your thing), from Weiss Kreuz. Her Code Name means "beautiful" in German, she was an ex-model, and she goes batshit when her face is scarred.
- Suzuki/Suzuka from Yu Yu Hakusho, who kills anyone who refuses to add Beautiful to his name.
- Hiromi Kisiragi of Eyeshield 21 is a cornerback who believes that only strength is beautiful; this factors into his exceptionally brutal play style. He's still far more sympathetic than most the examples of this trope, not least because his narcissism is rooted in his own self-loathing and past as a bully magnet; he's now out to prove to everyone that he's not a pushover anymore. And oh yeah, that he's pretty. He's more of a wannabe-Fighting Narcissist than a full on example.
- Ranma ½ features the Kuno siblings, Tatewaki and Kodachi, the latter of whom falls more neatly into this trope than her brother.
- Sailor Moon has Dark Kingdom General Zoisite, although he prefers to fight dirty, employing trickery and deceit.
- Mister X, assassin and enemy of Wolverine.
- Mister X may be more of an example of an evil Arrogant Kung Fu Guy, since he displays a great deal of bloodlust and desire to prove that he's the greatest fighter in the world, but little to no overt concern about his appearance.
- General Esteem from Ponies Make War, who's widely recognized as the greatest bladecaster in the world, and whose price for serving Titan was eternal youth. And to really sell the point, the first scene to focus on him shows how much time he spends on getting his appearance just right.
- Col. William Tavington from The Patriot certainly seems to qualify.
- In the Travis McGee novel The Green Ripper, Travis mentions one of his opponents always seems to be a bit too much "posing for the non-existent camera". It's just about this guy's only flaw, as he is a really good combat fighter.
- Lestat de Lioncourt from Interview with the Vampire.
- China Sorrows from Skulduggery Pleasant.
- Lord Flashheart from Blackadder.
"Next time you all get bored of your lives, give me a call then I'll come and kill you!"
- Wrestling has always had characters of this stripe, including
- Rick "The Model" Martel, who used his signature perfume arrogance.
- Wildman/Marvelous Marc Mero or Johnny B. Badd,
- "The Reflection of Perfection" Mark Jindrak,
- "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters,
- "The Narcissist" Lex Luger, who stared into a mirror before his matches.
- "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, who goes to great lengths to avoid being hit in the face, until a 619 by Rey Mysterio, Jr. completely turned him into a grotesque character who wears a face mask.
- "Ravishing" Rick Rude
- "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig
- This is the hat of Slaanesh-worshipping Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000. Since Slaanesh is the god of pleasure, exhilaration, aesthetics and narcissism, the typical skew of his cultists are sex, drugs and rock n' roll. Sexless genetically engineered super soldiers don't do sex so either they have to load up on the drugs and rock n' roll and seem very un-soldierish, or they become the pinnacle of the Fighting Narcissist.
- Meanwhile, there's Slaanesh's favorite champion in vanilla Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Prince Sigvald the Magnificent. He wears golden armour and carries a stylish rapier rather than the customary giant spiky axe of Chaos. All his warriors carry mirrored shields so that he can admire himself at his leisure, he suffers from the 'stupidity' rule because of his tendency to sit there and preen in the middle of the battlefield...and Sigmar help you if you think that means he can't slice you up at his leisure.
- Flea, of Chrono Trigger fame, is a tad more mystically inclined than the standard example but he has a quote which embodies the whole fighting narcissist philosophy:
"Power is beauty, and I'm deliciously strong!"
- "Mid-Boss" Vyers from Disgaea, although it's more of a facade.
- Draven from League of Legends is the younger brother of the famed Noxian general Darius; unlike his brother, however, he wanted only to be famous and have his name recognized everywhere, and so he went from being an ordinary executioner to a flamboyant, theatrical showman, turning executions into grand gladiatorial spectacles with him hunting prisoners down and toying with them before dispatching them with a decisive axe-toss. His quotes reflect this; nearly everything he says is some sort of boast.
- Zhang He, from Dynasty Warriors, is obsessed with developing beauty and grace in everything from himself to the formation of his soldiers.
- And Zhong Hui just can't seem to find enough hours in the day to remind everyone of just how amazing he is.
- A rare heroic example is Jean Pierre from Fighters History. A gymnast who got utterly pissed when he received a less-than-perfect score in a tournament, he dedicated himself to train endlessly to hone his beautiful acrobat moves, and enters the tournament to see the results of said training.
- Ash Crimson, from The King of Fighters. Subverted, it's a facade
- Whether or not Bowser is to be considered beautiful, he considers himself the epitome of physique and manliness. Hilarious self-worship moments abound in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.
- Launch Octopus from Maverick Hunter X, hilariously enough. He joins Sigma simply because he considers himself an 'artist' of underwater combat and gets offended when his fighting style is called 'Maverick'. While he's not conventionally pretty by human standards, he speaks in a refined and snotty form of speech and says that 'even my explosion is beautiful' when he dies.
This pissed off a lot of people, because Launch Octopus is That One Boss and never came across in the original like this. (His opening taunt is gesturing at you with a tentacle and then pointing to the floor, which doesn't exactly scream "Artiste".)
- From Mega Man Zero series we have Pegasolta Eclair. When you fight him he introduce himself as "Dr. Weil has a plan as beautiful as myself," and his death quote is "Wah! How could this happen to me!? But...my death, it's so beautiful!"
- Street Fighter's Vega/Balrog/Claw is the best example of this kind of character. Rich, sexy and evil beyond belief, he leads a double life of a nobleman by day and an assassin by night. Not to mention he joined Shadaloo because he just really loves killing people. He has a disturbing fixation on both Chun-Li and Cammy, considering Chun-Li the perfect rival in beauty and technique, and because Cammy was made beautiful by Bison himself. The only reason he returns in IV is because he's looking for the data on how to create spare bodies (AKA Seths) for Bison, which would theoretically allow him to live forever.
- The Suikoden series has an entire class of "Narcissist" characters: foppish aristocrats (or in one case, a conman pretending to be) who have great admiration for themselves, but are surprisingly skilled swordsmen. Atypically for this trope, the Narcissists invariably befriend the hero, and get along very well with each other. Typically, they're under the mistaken impression that the hero is part of their clique. Suikoden V introduces the series' first female Narcissist, who unsuccessfully tries to get the hero to dress more "appropriately" (ie in gaudily foppish clothing).
- Super Punchout had a boxer named Narcis Prince, whose weak spot was his perfect face; a successful punch to his chin would cause him to get pissed off, move faster, hit harder, and make several fatal mistakes in a row, most of which left him open for another sock to the face.
- Zelos Wilder from Tales of Symphonia deserves mention. He even has a title called Narcissist and various battle quotes to go with it.
Zelos: I'm just too pretty! Seriously!
- Lee Chaolan, from Tekken...somewhat. While he does prize elegance in battle greatly, defeating him is much more likely to make him determined to improve himself and/or his tactics than to make him declare a vendetta against you specifically. In other words, while he tends to assume that he's at the zenith, he's still capable of accepting that he hasn't achieved it yet, and is more likely to blame himself than you. Think of it as trying to deserve his own narcissism.
On one hand, he fits this trope in a lot of aspects: he was The Dragon to Heihachi, and later, to Kazuya, while having no loyalty towards them (and probably having plans to take them down eventually); one of his post-match animations in 5 is he saying “You need to fight with more class”; his fighting style is faster and more acrobatic; and his motivations are ultimately the pursue of more power, and trying to get revenge on Kazuya and Heihachi for the humiliation he’s gone through by their hands. On the other hand, he takes defeat by Lars pretty well, makes an alliance with him that goes past his immediate goals (he admits owing a lot to Lars and repairs Alisa after the events in Scenario Campaign), appears to treat women fairly, and, among the characters directly related to the Mishima Family (Lars notwithstanding), he is the most moral one (though that’s not to say he is a nice person). Maybe he’s a Subversion?
- Konami Beat'Em Up Violent Storm features Julius, a muscular Greek statue who declares "BEAUTY IS JUSTICE!" when he comes to life to attack you. For normal players, he's very tough, being the penultimate boss, but a YouTube video of high-level play shows that he's vulnerable to grab attacks whenever he randomly breaks into his gratuitous bodybuilding pose.
- Ghirahim from The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword spends much of the cutscene before the second battle against him commending his own beautiful body.
Ghirahim: Lovely, aren't they? You'll find the supple skin of my arms tougher than any armor. Doesn't their shape just leave you...breathless? Behold! Such beauty! Such a pure form! Such an exquisite physique! Such stunning features! Yes, I've pretty much got it all. Though there is one teensy, tiny thing I lack...Namely, mercy.
- Dawn of War
- In "The Last Stand" mode for Dawn of War II, the Chaos Sorcerer has two different build paradigms: the Doppelganger-generator, and the "Narcissist" build who turns all Doppelganger-buffs into self-buffs.
- Also worth mentioning is that the TLS Sorcerer uses the same voice actor as Sindrii Myr, who set new standards for The Starscream by successfully offering his Chaos Lord as a sacrifice for his own daemonic ascension.
- Duke Tanas Oliver from Fire Emblem Path of Radiance is the most beautiful man ever and an enemy to all ugly people because they sinfully look upon him with envy. He will fight on the behalf of anyone else who meets his high standards though. Not in ways they often like but always for their own good since only he really understands beauty. Only he truly knows how to defend it.
- In Fate Stay Night, Gilgamesh is a king of this trope (amongst the many other things he is king of) and hits practically every part of it spot-on. In the Unlimited Blade Works route, he passes over a perfect opportunity to kill all the main characters in one fell swoop because part of the house they were fighting in was on fire, and it was getting soot on his clothing.
His earlier appearance in Fate/Zero sees him abandon several of his unique one-of-a-kind super weapons from his Hyperspace Arsenal. They had been used to attack an ugly Eldritch Abomination and had gotten muddy and slimy as a result.
- Erfworld: Ansom falls somewhere between here and Knight in Shining Armor, but this is what Jillian hangs a subtle lampshade on in the last panel here.
- A rare heroic and female example is found in Cassidy Cain, the protagonist of Grandmaster of Theft. She takes pride in her skill and beauty in battle, developing her style to be graceful and not waste any actions in addition to disliking being hit. She also admits to enjoying showing off her talents during combat and taunts others on their lack of grace as a fighter. Furthermore, she fits being a Combat Pragmatist. However, she does have a clear set of morals unlike most, generally directs this attitude towards enemies as a means to infuriate them, and she's far more focused on refining her skills if she's defeated so she can overcome the person in the future.
- Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Beauty and the Beast: "No one's slick as Gaston/No one's quick as Gaston..."
- Bugs Bunny briefly serves as mascot for a Gorgeous George-style wrestler named "Ravishing Ronald" in Bunny Hugged. Ronald lasts about five seconds against his opponent, "The Crusher."
- Neil from Class of the Titans, who is literally a descendant of Narcissus.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog's Bayou loves himself so much, he makes his slave slugs stuff shed skins of himself. His most used word is "me" and variations of it. He's SO vain, that even when his stuffed shed skins attack him, he cannot bring himself to attack them.
- Sunstreaker, from Transformers G1, is a cross between this and Blood Knight. He's a ferocious fighter whether or not you're on his side (pretty much the only person he actively seems to like is his twin Sideswipe, and even then they bicker), and Primus help you if you scratch his paint. Oddly enough, he's one of the good guys.
- Kung Fu Panda 2, the Big Bad Lord Shen. First clue is that he's a white peacock. He's smug, calculating, looks down on everyone, and when he fights his movements are noticably more graceful and elegant than the other kung-fu fighters.
- While he became the Fat Bastard in old age, Herman Göring was a dashing fighter pilot in his youth and diagnosed as a narcissistic sociopath during the Nuremberg trials.