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Rukia plush better
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"Rukia is a weirdo. She talks like a boy, and acts like a boy... But no matter what she did, she's always had a gentle aura around her."
—-- Renji Abarai on Rukia Kuchiki, Bleach
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In fiction, most Tomboys are depicted as openly disliking anything “girly”- or being associated with such things. However, something ultimately sneaks through despite her best efforts to hide the fact. She admits inwardly that she loves the color pink, has a thing for pumps and frilly dresses despite her normal manly wear (anyone for silk gloves?), enjoys cosmetics and perfume, swoons over cute things, or demonstrates an amazing knack for domestic work (especially cooking).

Reactions are variable. Initially, the character in question is ashamed of her “girly” lapse and tries to hide it. Later on, especially if it becomes a critical plot point, she might actually take pride in that fact and royally smash the tar out of anyone who dares to tease her about it. This usually surprises her peers, to say nothing of those who teased her earlier.

This character type is far more common in anime and manga than straight-up Tomboys, which may be due to Values Dissonance; in Japan, gender roles are very strictly enforced.  If a girl doesn’t measure up to this ideal of femininity, then she won’t be “desirable” enough. Thus, in Japanese media, tomboy characters are given enough feminine traits to avert this impression.

Since Real Life is far too complex for mere binary labels, this is definitely Truth in Television. Compare Tomboy Princess and Spirited Young Lady. Contrast One of the Boys, The Ladette, and Girly Bruiser. Inversion, and sometimes Foil, to the Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak, who's very feminine but can demonstrate clear prowess in a “manly man” pursuit. Distaff Counterpart to and Gender Inversion of Real Men Wear Pink.

Examples of Tomboy with a Girly Streak include:

Anime / Manga

  • Mikoto Misaka from A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific RailgunShe wears shorts under her skirt, and when allowed seems to do away with the skirt altogether. She's a bit violent and seems to enjoy a friendly fight. She's also a complete sucker for cute, childish Gekota (an In-Universe frog mascot), likes large stuffed animals, and is extremely protective of her "little sisters" aka her clones.
  • BerserkBeing a mercenary, Casca's usual usual consists of men's clothes and armour (and Boyish Short Hair to match), but when the Hawks were promoted to nobility, she is seen wearing much more fancy and feminine clothing. When Guts was teasing her (only after gawking at her very pleasing appearance), Casca truthfully stated she has no problem wearing dresses, but it's just not practical for her to do so with her profession and living environment.
  • Quoted and pictured above: Bleach has the boisterous Rukia Kuchiki. She likes drawings of bunnies, wears dresses when off-work, adores plush toys (as the picture shows), and in the anime can dress up in super ladylike kimonos. Her bankai invokes the looks of the very beautiful and feminine yukionna spirits, and Rukia herself is seen wearing a pretty white kimono when she uses it.. Her best friend and eventual Love Interest Renji even lampshades it.
  • The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird: Momoko Yamasaki may be an impulsive tomboy who takes no shit from anyone... but she tends to wear a blouse with a big bow on the front, isn't afraid to show off her cute figure in the summer episodes, and at some point she's seen wearing a rather girly and childish set of pajamas. She also tends to gush like a Smitten Teenage Girl when she's in front of Fighbird alias "her prince".
  • Dr. Slump: Arale is a super strong Cute Bruiser, loves poop, monsters, fighting games, and messing around, she also is sweet, ditzyFriend to All Living Things who doesn't mind girly things, likes to dress up animals, likes flowers and jewels (she generally just loves everyone and everything). Also a running gag is that she wants bigger breasts (despite being a robot) and in her manga resume, she mentions “feminine allure” as her main talent.
  • Fairy Tail: Erza Scarlet is a tomboyish Badass Action Girl, but she also loves cute outfits, dresses and jewelery and is almost never seen wearing pants.
  • Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics has Rose-Red, from Snow White and Rose Red. She is a spirited Tomboy and Genki Girl who also has her long hair down, wears a pink dress, helps her mother and sister with their textile work and Thinks Like a Romance Novel.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya is one of the most athletic cast members and quite possibly the most adventurous. She's also very heavily into pursuing a romance with aliens, time-travellers, espers and the like (regardless of gender), is a Supreme Chef and can be a decent Team Mom when given the chance.
  • Infinite Stratos: Houki Shinonono has been interested in kendo ever since she was a kid, can get very violent and generally feels uncomfortable in feminine or revealing clothing. However, she was also delighted when Ichika said he liked her cooking, blushes whenever he calls her beautiful and tries her hardest to tone down her temper. Makes sense considering she's Japanese, but it's also because she was constantly picked on by boys for being a tomboy when she was young.
  • Kara no KyoukaiHaving been Raised as the Opposite Gender and putting on a front for her lost male personality, Shiki Ryougi is extremely tomboyish, to the point that Azaka once asked if she was really a man (followed by Mikiya claiming his feelings wouldn't change even if she was). However, she seems to love feminine clothing (kimonos, to be precise), has a graceful fighting style and while she starts off hating ice cream, it eventually becomes her favourite snack. And she's a pretty good mother to her and Mikiya's child, Mana.
  • Kaze no Stigma: Being the series' resident Tsundere, it's probably no surprise that Ayano Kannagi is far from ladylike; she's hot-headed, constantly chews out Kazuma for his selfish actions, dislikes the idea of being protected and isn't against disobeying her father's orders if they collide with her own personal sense of justice. She also wears her hair long (in a Hime Cut, no less), seems to really like the colour pink (with it being the colour of both her pajamas and a dress she wears in one episode) and has a serious Sweet Tooth.
  • Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?: Seraphim is a Vampire Ninja who is brutally honest, swears constantly and is horrible at cooking. She also plays the violin and has the second longest hair in the series (after Eucliwood).
  • Mariasama ga Miteru has Rei Hasekura. She's a short-haired Bifauxnen who's also a skilled kendoka, but is also gentle, reads girly novels and loves sightseeing, cooking, and the word "sincerity".
  • Ookami-san: Ryoko Ookami is a tomboy to the extreme; her syntax and Japanese grammar is completely masculine, up to and including using the coarse-masculine pronoun of "ore" and she's a boxer. She also has a huge soft spot for cute animals and romance novels. Interestingly, she's ashamed of her girly side and tries to hide it.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: Haruhi Fujioka is a tomboy who dresses as she pleases and doesn't care if people mistake her for a boy. She's perfectly happy wearing the Ouran boy's uniform if that's what it takes to belong to the club. She's also blunt, pragmatic, and resolutely practical, and her clothing choices out of school reflect this feminine-but-practical aesthetic. On the girly side her hobbies include cooking and sewing and she doesn't mind dressing up in feminine clothes when the situation requires it.
  • Pandora Hearts: Alice acts like this. She is tough and wild, eats meat and can beat up her manservant, Oz, because she is the chain B-rabbit, but despite her tomboyish demeanor, she does not mind wearing elaborate dresses much.
  • Project A-ko: Despite initial impressions, A-ko Magami isn't totally devoid of femininity. In Cinderella Rhapsody, she tells her friend C-ko that she dreams of a perfect summer where she'd meet a cute boy and spend romantic evenings with him. She also goes shopping for dresses in hopes of attracting Kei's attention, and keeps her red hair pretty long.
  • Ranma ½: Akane enjoys martial arts and has quite a temper. However, she likes cute things and prefers to wear skirts and girly outfits, so if one were to judge based solely on appearance she's more like a girly girl with a tomboy streak. She aspires to be more like her Yamato Nadeshiko older sister, Kasumi, but unfortunately her domestic skills are... lacking. In her case, it's justified as Akane has a very idealised view of femininity coming from the early death of her mother- it's implied that she wants to be more girly to emulate the dead Mrs. Tendo.
  • Romeo X Juliet has Juliet herself. Due to the plot she has to pose as a boy (and a rather adorable one), and is also an accomplished swordswoman... but she loves flowers (especially lillies), is pretty thrilled when she gets to wear a fancy gown while still posing as a cute dude, and has no problem putting on cute dresses when in private.
  • Makoto Kino from Sailor Moon. On the one hand, a Tomboyish Huge Schoolgirl and Bully Hunter who gets unfairly painted as a Delinquent, is The Big Gal of her Five-Man Band and the one who gets most physical of them in a fight (besides Haruka/Sailor Uranus). On the other hand, she is the best among at domestic skills, from cooking and sewing to general housekeeping, and dreams of becoming a florist and baker.
    • Also Haruka Tenoh, she is an outright Bifauxnen in the first anime, but in the manga wears girly clothing and make up as often as she cross-dresses.
  • Shakugan no Shana: Shana is a hardcore, no-nonsense Action Girl, but still has rare moments where she acts like a girl, such as when she tries to learn how to cook so she can impress Yuji. Plus she has pretty girly looks that include long hair, Zettai Ryouiki and miniskirts.

Comic Books

Fan Fiction

Films - Animated

  • Mulan turns out to be one of these. Sure, she's not exactly good at traditionally feminine things (double when she's nervous) and turns ouit to be an amazing Sweet Polly Oliver, but she did like the makeover she got for the matchmaking deal (it was not exactly her fault that said matchmaker was a Jerkass) and she went through her most awesome moment in the whole movie, defeating the Huns, while having her hair down and wearing a simple but feminine dress.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire is packed with these. First there is Helga, the Femme Fatale slash Action Girl. Kida, the romantic lead, is a fierce warrior and very outdoorsy and ballsy, but also sexy and in touch with her feminine intuition. The older example is Cool Old Lady Ms. Packard, the no-nonsense Communications Officer. She is a Deadpan Snarker Ms. Fan Disservice with a touch of Action Girl, but is very gossipy and surprisingly compassionate. Averted with Wrench Wench Audrey, who is a hardcore tomboy through and through.
  • Zootopia: Officer Judy Hopps has an unwavering dream of being a real cop, wants to be the center of the action, is strong-willed, and feels most comfortable as a leader, but she also shows an interest in fashion and cute things, wears a pink shirt during the third act, and shows her emotions readily.
  • Edith from Despicable Me. She is interested in Gru's cool high-tech gadgets, thinks its cool that her bed is a hollowed-out bomb, was excited about Gru shaping her pancakes like a "dead guy", is violent to grown-ups she doesn't like and has a generally gross sense of humor. However, she is in the same ballet class as her sisters and is always seen wearing pink (and almost nothing else), especially her pink sherpa hat.
    • Margo has an inverted moment of this in the sequel: at Agnes's princess birthday party, when all the other girls are wearing princess dresses, Margo is wearing knight's armor.

Films - Live Action

Literature

Live Action TV

  • Friends: Monica, despite being bossy, competitive, loud, extremely strong and the most athletic of the girls, is also very domestic, longs for a family and children and loves cleaning and cooking.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Robin is this, being a gun toting, scotch drinking Canadian who was raised as a son by her father but eventually rebelled as a teenager. As a result she has an odd mix of masculine and feminine traits. For example she was a hockey player as a teenager and frequently goes to the shooting range. But she was also a teen pop star and fashion icon.
  • Leverage: Parker the Thief may be more at home cracking vaults and hanging over rooftops at night, but she's no slouch at moving around in dresses and stilettos (as "The Studio Job" demonstrated).

Video Games

  • Understated with Final Fantasy III's Refia. She's the adoptive daughter of a blacksmith and has no problem with fighting, traveling, etc. But there is a bit of frill in her outfit and she sports a pair of earrings, plus she readily befriends girly-girl Salina and sympathizes with her boyfriend trouble.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Yuffie is a loudmouthed, fast-talking thief with a hugely inflated opinion of herself, but she talks in girly-girly Valley Girl slang and is less brave than the other girls, often looking to Cloud to comfort her when she gets panicked or upset.
  • Persona 3: While not an explicit example, Mitsuru Kirijo could very well be the least feminine of the main heroines; she's brutally honest, has no fashion sense (she relies on her family's stylist), can't understand a classic romance to save her life and plays a stern, disciplinarian role in the party rather than a warm, nurturing one. At the same time, her hair is the longest in the group, she has a graceful fighting style and, while it isn't brought up as much, she shares Yukari's fear of horror stories.
  • Persona 4: Chie Satonaka is an almost to-the-letter example. She's headstrong, brash, athletic, energetic, into martial arts, a Big Eater with a particular hankering for meat, and a huge Lethal Chef. However, she's also deeply concerned with how unfeminine she is, appreciates being seen as a girl by guys (the best way for Yu to romance her, in fact, is to compliment her on being girly when she displays such traits), and has several phobias (scary stories and bugs, with Golden adding thunderstorms) traditionally seen as feminine.
    • Naoto Shirogane also qualifies. She's the least feminine of the main heroines, but she also has a hidden Shrinking Violet side and acts as the group's Team Mom e.g. her first action after she joins is to get the party to the hospital for check-ups. Not to mention she's the only girl who can cook properly, something even the resident Yamato Nadeshiko Yukiko can do.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening:
    • Severa is a huge Tsundere, is initially in the Mercenary class which used to be male-only, and has next to no brain-to-mouth filter. But she also has extremely long hair in Girlish Pigtails, adores jewelry, is infamous for her shopping trips...
    • The Female Avatar can be seen as one. On one hand she's a Magic Knight, is pretty blunt, cannot cook to save her life (unless she does it for non-humans) and can be given very tomboyish looks if the player wishes; but on the other she's also the Team Mom of the cast, can be given a super girlish appearance, is handy at sewing and washing clothes, and when Chrom implies that he doesn't think she's feminine enough, she gets VERY angry at him.

Visual Novels

  • Clannad: Kyou Fujibayashi is aggressive, loud, athletic and violent, but she's very good at cooking and is very proud of her Rapunzel Hair.
    • Tomoyo Sakagami also qualifies. Despite being masculine in her behaviour and her insane fighting ability, she got upset when Sunohara suspected she might be a boy in disguise and proved to be a good cook when she prepared Tomoya's meals. She also has super girly looks and, in the Tomoyo After game, she took care of her and Tomoya's home while he worked, dealing with her Dark and Troubled Past via becoming a Team Mom for the two of them, her younger brother, said brother's girlfriend, and her half-sister..
  • Fate/Stay Night: Saber is a stoic female warrior who, due to the circumstances of her life before the Grail War, has trouble seeing herself as a woman, and indeed has a rather masculine self-identity. However, in the modern era, she is free to explore her femininity: she keeps her hair up in a Prim and Proper Bun kept in place with a ribbon, habitually wears dresses (such as the blouse/skirt combo given to her by Rin, and a Battle Ballgown when fighting) and loves stuffed animals.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Rainbow Dash is the most tomboyish member of the Mane Six. But she isn't above being in a fashion show, wearing a dress at a gala or going to the spa but she draws the line at getting a hooficure. In the same light, her Equestria Girls counterpart wears a skirt over bicycle shorts.
    • Though Applejack is similarly tomboyish, being a hard-working, plain-talking farm girl character with a characteristic disdain for anything "too frou-frou", she displays a similar willingness to indulge in more feminine things, like wearing a fancy dress to the Grand Galloping Gala in season one, or happily going to the spa and getting a massage in season two. The Season 4 episode "Simple Ways" shows she can look very nice in a dress if she wants to.
    • Scootaloo, the tomboy of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, is still the only one to care enough about her appearance on camera to smile and pose, rather femininely. Also, despite her protests regarding mushy stuff, she's on board with playing Shipper on Deck for her teacher Cheerilee and Big Macintosh. It's even more apparent with her Equestria Girls counterpart, who normally has a very boyish wardrobe and hairstyle, but has no problem wearing a dress for the Fall Formal dance.
    • Apple Bloom is likewise in the middle between Tomboy Scootaloo and Girly Girl Sweetie Belle. She's a farm girl like Applejack and a little 'uncouth' - with no problem belching and getting her hands dirty. Yet her trademark accessory is a cute pink bow, and she enjoys getting dressed up for the Grand Galloping Gala.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil has Jackie Lynn Thomas. She is very good at sports and skateboarding but also enjoys fashion, romantic-fantasy movies and having romantic dates with Marco.
  • The Buzz on Maggie: Maggie Pesky loves heavy metal music, hanging out and R-rated action movies... but she really also joins fashion, doing ballet and anything else girly.
  • The Oz Kids: Dot Hugson is a tomboyish young farmgirl, who loves to hanging out with boys, riding horses and having fun. But, she joins reading fairy tales, wearing dresses and playing dolls.
  • Arguably, Katie "Pidge" Holt from Voltron: Legendary Defender. She's quite the Bifauxnen and has an interest in technology and videogames, but before pulling her Sweet Polly Oliver stunt she looked VERY feminine (Rapunzel Hair included), can be quite emotional when her family and friends are in trouble, was quite the Shipper on Deck for Allura and Lance in the last season (even giving up on a video game she really wanted to get money to buy Allura a new dress for a date), and at the very end she styles her hair in a short yet feminine cut similar to Ami Mizuno's. As a plus her Cool Big Sis, the aforementioned Allura, is a Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak.
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