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The idea of a fandom and/or characters in a series disliking someone simply for not living up to the level of Badassery that would be expected of the series or genre. Even more so if a little Angst is involved: expect that someone to be called out as wangsty.

Expect an inherent Double Standard in this trope, with men who do not live to the expectation of badassery being consigned to the eternal fires of being called out as "wimpy". But this trope is not only for men... in fact, women are almost always hit the hardest with it: a non action girl, or a fragile one, is most definitely going to have a very bad fan reaction, moreso than men.

If the character in question is far more badass than the fandom gives them credit for, they may well be Underestimating Badassery. In rare cases, the fandom know that a character is badass, but dislikes them all the same, either because the character isn't "badass enough" or because they are badass for reasons other than, for example, fighting ability. A quick way to test this is to think about what a character actually does in fiction, and wait to see if any Fridge Logic emerges.

Compare Real Women Don't Wear Dresses, A Real Man Is a Killer.

This trope is possibly a consequence of I Just Want to Be Badass. The Wish Fulfillment aspect of fiction generally makes people want to see characters they identify with do things that are cool/heroic/manly (i.e. Badass), which allows them to experience Badassery via a proxy of themselves. When the audience is denied their Wish Fulfillment, they may dislike it and displace that dislike onto a character. Generally, any character that isn't a nail chewing badass (and/or is capable of showing... *eugh* emotion) will be instantly dismissed as a Scrappy or Creator's Pet.

Examples of What Measure Is a Non-Badass? include:


Anime and Manga

  • Mytho from Princess Tutu sometimes gets flak for this from the fandom, thanks to being a Distressed Dude for most of the first season... despite the fact that in the second season once he regains most of his heart he's revealed to be a better, more capable swordsman than fan-favorite Fakir. Given the ending, it's possible that the way this gets fans to prefer Fakir is intentional.
  • Ganta from Deadman Wonderland is often lamented to be a useless, cowardly pansy, with many fans much preferring Crow (who is often declared the most Badass character in that series). They seem to be ignoring the fact that Ganta is only 14 (compared to Crow, who is obviously much older than him) and was just a normal student who never really got into fights, and who is also new to Deadman Wonderland.
  • Yukki from Mirai Nikki, in that he is a young boy who was forced into a very violent world. He spends the first 20-30 chapters crying and running away. Then he gets broken and takes a Level in Badass.
  • Canada from Axis Powers Hetalia. Partly as a case of Misplaced Nationalism, many Western fans have a tendency to turn him into a Memetic Badass and Deadpan Snarker instead of the fairly nice, unassertive guy he is in canon.
    • China is also bashed once in a while because of his "girly" looks and voice, and he also gets some "revision" to make him more snarky and assertive (though not nearly as much as with Canada). Even though he's shown to have martial arts skills in canon and Super Strength rivaling America's in the anime.
    • Poland's Keet behavior and penchant for ponies and skirts makes him hated in some circles. Him being one of the few nations who will fearlessly stand up to Russia will be conveniently ignored by them.
    • In an odd case of this, fans of this kind don't hate Greece for being sleepy and laidback; they just want him to be with Turkey all the time because Turkey is the only thing that causes him to lose his calm, easygoing nature and hence makes him a Hot-Blooded Tsundere who's "stronger" and "cooler" than the calm Nice Guy he is with Japan everyone who's not Turkey. Some of these fans even seem to believe that Greece waxing philosophical, taking care of numerous cats, and being affectionate and respectful toward Japan makes him a "personality-devoid Shallow Love Interest" because apparently he can't be a strong or complex character if he isn't constantly angry, fight-happy, short-tempered, or otherwise "manly" like he is with Turkey.
    • Lithuania gets this sometimes, due to his Yamato Nadeshiko and Woobie tendencies...as with Poland, the fact that he definitely has shades of Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, and that it's the fandom itself that wimpifies him, tends to go ignored.
  • A couple of fans had this complaint about Canute in Vinland Saga. Many hoped he'd be killed off eventually. Which is moronic, since he is a historical figure that lived to be quite old, and thus the only guaranteed survivor amongst the heroes.
  • A complaint regarding a number of Demoted to Extra characters from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Prime example is Yuuno Scrya, but many would also level the complaint regarding Chrono Harlaown, who has shown himself to be genuinely Badass on occasion. Some people would even say this about Nanoha herself, because she seems to be nonlethal no matter how much property damage she ends up inflicting, up to and including blowing through a large portion of a warship from inside. It's actually supposed to be a sign of Nanoha's power that she has enough self-control to only inflict nonlethal but very, very painful magical damage.
  • Many parts of the Naruto Fan Dumb utterly embody this attitude as applied to pretty much any character: any time a character appears to be something less than a Badass who accomplishes everything without any effort whatsoever, you have hoards of people saying how they must suck as a character because they are "weak". In the rare occasions where they don't, they'll bitch that the writer sucks for not making them "badass enough" or turning them into Mary Sues.
    • Sakura is the most outstanding example, in both part 1 and 2. In part 1 she was rather useless and bossy. Not a good combination. Realizing this, she Takes A Level In Badass to catch up. What most people fail to realize is that, although she did get trained in combat, she was mostly trained as a Medic, a very important role. Some of this derivates from the fact that she's still bossy towards Naruto and her using of her super-strength to punish him over the stupidest reasons, even though this greatly lessened too after the time skip.
    • Uzumaki Naruto, due to a combination of this trope and Moral Dissonance spanning from his upgraded role as The Messiah, started suffering from this sometime around chapter 450. Which is funny considering that 10 chapters previously, he beat Pain, who was very powerful, and in his next fight he stomps the Nine-Tailed Fox. He hasn't lost any fighting power; he's just become a Crouching Messiah, Hidden Badass.
  • Orihime of Bleach gets a similar treatment, being bashed for being The Medic and a largely non-combatant. Though this likely stems partially from the fact that her powers are much more amazing and she isn't using them to her full potential, and probably more so Die for Our Ship related reasons.
  • This somehow happened in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Many of Kamina's fanboys (which is about 90 percent of the people that watched the show), refuse to acknowledge Simon as the main character, simply because, according to them, he's not as badass as Kamina... despite the fact that the show made it clear that Simon far surpassed Kamina by the end of the show, and without Simon's help, Kamina wouldn't have made it as far as he did. Hell, in the Lotus Eater Machine, Kamina himself admits that Simon has surpassed him. Misaimed Fandom at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.
    • Probably due more to Replacement Scrappy Syndrome, for those who actually dislike Simon anyways. In terms of badasstry, Simon has done WAY more than Kamina has if only for the fact that he has much more screen time. May also have to do with Kamina's more moronic and over-the-top personality (note that moronic is not diminutive since fans love the fact that he acts like a moron).
    • Additionally, Rossiu is considered The Scrappy by a large number of fans because he's the Only Sane Man and more subdued and cynical than the rest of the cast.
  • Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist gets hit pretty hard with this in the 2003 anime version. He's not weak, but he's much more reluctant to fight than his brother, and has a much quieter personality in general. He's still a main player whose actions have a direct effect on plot development, but many fans dislike him for not being proactive or badass enough.
  • This trope is probably one reason why Fuu from Samurai Champloo gets a lot of hate, having no fighting prowess and being The Heart of her group. There's some Misaimed Fandom in this opinion, in that while her co-protagonists, Jin and Mugen, are certainly badass, it's quite clear that they really lack social/life skills (Jin starts out stoic to the point of apathy and isn't good at anything except kendo; Mugen is a hotheaded Sociopathic Hero who doesn't plan ahead at all), and probably wouldn't have developed as people had Fuu not roped them into serving as her bodyguards.
    • Fuu does start out rather spoiled, dragging along the two bodyguards without any planning. It's not so much that she influences the other protagonists (though one would argue that she's the primary instigator); they all contribute to their own developments. At a certain point, none of them want to be separated and learn their own personal lessons.
  • Happens in the One Piece fandom too. If they're not badass, THEY SUCK AND ARE ANNOYING AND WEAK, no questions asked. Apparently, to many fans it matters not if a character is intelligent, has a wonderful heart, or has a strong moral compass. And never mind that many of the badasses on this show never would have gotten anywhere or would be dead by now if not for the 'weak' characters.
  • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion has many moments of angst, cowardice, selfishness, and reluctance and outright refusal to fight, but also has plenty of moments of heroism, bravery and absurdly awesome feats. But according to some people he is always the former and the latter are anomalies that should be ignored in favour of mocking him. (Or, in the instance of some famous pieces of fanfiction, have him take several thousand levels of badass.)
    • Shinji was the audience stand-in with some wish-fulfillment thrown in. He was expected to grow into a badass, as with other shounen leads. When he didn't meet audience expectations, some audience members saw it as an attack against them. This would also explain why there are so many fix-fics where Shinji turns into what's expected from a shounen lead. One critic even pointed out that if Shinji had been female, Shinji would be far more popular and sympathetic (with Japanese audiences at least).
      • It also may explain why female EVA fans sometimes tend to be more sympathetic to Shinji's plight than male fans. That, and there's Kaworu...
  • For viewers of the anime version of Fate/stay night unfamiliar with the VN, Shirou wasn't Rescued From the Scrappy Heap until he finally subverted this trope. The early part of the series lacked the justifying and mitigating motivations behind Shirou's behavior, and revealed relatively late in the story how painful and potentially life-threatening his independent practice of magic was to him.
    • Also, Sakura in the VN. She is a Distressed Damsel in her route she didn't kick ass like Saber/Rin, but that doesn't mean it's her fucking fault that she's horrifyingly abused by the Matou family, as well as raped constantly by her stepbrother Shinji. And yet the stupid "feminist" fans keep slutshaming and bashing her, saying it's her own fault that she's an abuse and rape victim!
  • Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is condemned by the fanbase for being emotionally crushed by all that happens to her and not react with violence or bitchiness, as well as hesitate in becoming a Magical Girl after her big sister mentor Mami dies horribly. The fanbase just ignores the parts on the fact that being a Magical Girl involves a Deal with the Devil and a lifetime of servitude and as we eventually realize, turning into an Eldritch Abomination for a single wish that you are very likely to screw up, and how Homura actively keeps Madoka from agreeing to such. Oh, and when her emotional breakdown reaches its current peak in episode 6 where she loses it and tries to stop Sayaka from fighting Kyouko by throwing away her Soul Gem, not knowing the effects of said action, the Fan Dumb calls her out as a "stupid bitch".
    • And in some circles, very bad things have been said about Sayaka and Mami after the first's Freak-Out and transformation into a Witch and the second going mad after learning the Awful Truth in the third timeline.
  • One of the key reasons some Seto Kaiba fans find Yugi and his friends unlikable. (The other? Ron the Death Eater)
    • This trope also sums up the attitude to non-dueling main characters who are sometimes seen as useless or unneccessary in a world where Duels Decide Everything.
  • One of the reasons why many fans like Mikoto more than main heroine Index in To Aru Majutsu no Index. Sure, their difference in personality has somethng to do with it but the fact that Index is a more passive and usually non-combat character while Mikoto is an Action Girl definitely had impact.
    • Thing is, Index can be Badass Adorable when she wants to. People just ignore that.
  • Out of the fans of Fairy Tail who prefer Erza over Lucy, a good portion of them were heavily influence by this.
  • If you follow an anime series in which the heroine is bullied or abused (specially by her classmates or her family) and doesn't resort to beating them up as a result... please think twice before reading the comments and/or reading about it on blogs. Mikan from Gakuen Alice, Tohru from Fruits Basket and Nanako of Oniisama e... are specially hated by stupid watchers who blame them for the hardships they go through "because they're weak whores who don't fight back".
  • Shouma Takakura from Mawaru Penguindrum gets potshots that range from mere affectionate jokes to straight-up bashing for not being as action-geared as his older brother Kanba. Even more so after episode 19.
  • Kaoru of Rurouni Kenshin is the head of her own dojo and is ostensibly a national-level fencing champion. But hanging around Kenshin and Sanosuke and the caliber of villains they fight means she is constantly outclassed.
  • Never mind that White of Pokémon Special has her own dreams (which basically boils down to making people happy nationwide with the added bonus of boosting the economy), knows what she has to do to achieve them, and can do it as well (which involves running her own business, an impressive feat for a girl in her mid-teens); she gets constantly bashed for not knowing how to battle right off the bat. Fans seem to ignore that Yellow and Platinum initially didn't know how to battle in their respective arcs.


Comic Books

  • Nite Owl II of Watchmen definitely qualifies for this. Since he decided he wouldn't want to be involved in a futile battle of good against evil for the rest of his life and retired, he's clearly the "worst" of the main characters.
    • You should note that even Rorschach held this view for a period of time. And considering his popularity with readers, his view of Nite Owl II probably contributed to the way a lot of fans saw him. Rather ironic considering how Moore intended the exact opposite effect.
    • Parodied in I'm a Marvel And I'm a DC, where Dan and Cyclops discuss this trope.
  • Speaking of which, Scott/Cyclops himself seems to fall into this trope. Holds his own against Wolverine in hand-to-hand combat, takes out the entire team when they're brainwashed and he's injured, beats up six men at once with his eyes shut, pulls off impossible trick shots, earns the nickname Fearless Leader... and a lot of X-Men fans still think of him as a pussy, because he dares to not get along with Wolverine (which, when you think about it, is pretty badass in its own little way).
    • Later years come with an inversion - people don't like him because he takes several levels in badass one after another since Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, that it's just ridiculous - fans think that his balls took control over him and they are leading the X-men right now.
      • It has less to do with his actions and more with his many years of being a boring by-the-book Standardized Leader, constantly angsting over Jean Grey didn't help much either, then throw in inconsistent writing and voila. Though, as previously mentioned this has definitely changed over time.
      • Also, for the young teen male fan demographic (which, let's face it, is a large chunk of the audience for comics, stereotype or not), Scott's powers don't look like fun. Yes, they're potent, yes, they can be used to take down most targets...but the constant, unremitting self control they demand looks more like work than fun. Which it is, by any reasonable standard Scott's mutant ability is a curse, because he can't control it other than by use of his visor. Thus, even though Scott has, at times, displayed every single identifying mark of the Badass (he is, in fact, a major Badass), he's not the kind of badass a 13 year old boy wants to be.


Film

  • Played with, and possibly subtly deconstructed in Death Proof. The initial group of women that run into Stuntman Mike are treated as annoying, disposable types while the second group are the heroines we cheer for. No matter that the second group prove themselves to be irresponsible jackasses (such as abandoning one of their own to a seriously creepy possible rapist simply so they could whiz around in a car for a few hours); since they are indisputably Badass, we like them more than the theoretically more sympathetic (but non-Badass) first group.
  • Take any of Steven Seagal's later movies; the most common complaint will be that he hardly does any real fighting anymore since he's gotten older and put on weight. As if the acting, writing, and production values wouldn't be terrible if he'd managed to stay as fast and fit as he was in his first few films. Though this is perhaps what inevitably happens when you build your entire early film career on the fact that you're a total badass.
    • The fact the he is often replace with a double for a little of reason as walking hasn't helped.


Literature


Live Action TV

  • Because of the mystery surrounding the character and his agelessness, many Lost fans built up Richard Alpert as the answer to the entire show, the most powerful character, and, among some fans, a literal Memetic Badass and the show's version of Chuck Norris. Fans on Game FAQs and Lostpedia even developed an entire joke episode dealing with the idea that he is a superhuman badass. So when the end of season 5 revealed Richard to be an ordinary person with realistic flaws and personality (as well as being an Unwitting Pawn), the fandom reacted violently and Richard suddenly became unpopular.
    • The beginning of season 6 had "Fake Locke"'s first act after killing Jacob being to beat up Richard in front of the Others for no apparent reason other than to establish his authority. That didn't go over well with the aforementioned people.
  • This often happens on Survivor where people make it to the finals but are told they're not badass by the jury despite that the game's Slogan is "Outwit, Outplay", and "Outlast". They tend to forget that last "O"...
    • Natalie White was considered this on Survivor Samoa, particularly by her aggressive competitors who were with her in the last tribal council. Then jury-member Erik stands up and delivers a speech in which he points out that since she's still in the game, she must be doing something right, and furthermore, did it in a way that didn't sacrifice her integrity. Meanwhile, Mick claimed to deserve votes (Natalie didn't), while Russell Hantz just sociopathically bullied his way through the game and finished by boasting "These two suck - Aren't I awesome?" to the jury. This speech may well have contributed to her 7-2-0 win. Much of a Base Breaker as it was, compared to the following season, this would be nothing.
    • Sandra Diaz-Twine in Heroes vs. Villains had this by the Base Breaker fans as well as Russell Hantz himself. Russell claims that Sandra being able to win twice is somehow proof that the game's rules are flawed, because she would be terrible at physical challenges and have zero personal immunities under her belt, yet was good enough with people to know what was up, and was able to play the lesser of three evils. ("I hate Russell, too.") Meanwhile, Parvati already had a pretty loyal fan base and played a game more people approved of, as opposed to Sandra who went with the flow. Some Sandra supporters even pointed out that Sandra had more allies in the jury (including the entire Heroes tribe) and Russell should have considered that -- Parvati did realize this and tried to get Russell to see this too, but he kept on insisting that Sandra had no chance of winning... just like he insisted that Natalie had no chance of winning in Samoa. Cue the Humiliation Conga.
    • Becky likely received no votes because of the final four tie-breaker where she and Sundra took two hours to make fire. Never mind that she and Sundra helped Yul and Ozzie go on a chain of immunity wins when the mutiny reduced their tribe to four.
    • In fact, the Survivor players accused of being this are almost always female. Matthew, Rupert, Bob, and Fabio were criticized by some for their lack of strategic play compared to others, but not nearly as much as the above listed females were.
    • Overall, "niceness" tends to be an extremely underrated trait among a vocal portion of the fanbase who complain whenever a strategic player is beaten by a less strategic but more likeable one and call these "nicey nice" winners "undeserving" winners who won only because they were facing bitter juries who didn't appreciate the strategy of their opponents. This not only ignores that more often than not, these so-called "strategic" players had horrible jury performances (Sugar from Gabon, Twila from Vanuatu, Russell from Samoa and Heroes vs. Villains, Sash from Nicaragua) compared to the strategic winners who knew how to read and work the jury (Chris from Vanuatu, Todd from China, Parvati herself from Micronesia) or bring along opponents even more disliked than them (Brian from Thailand, Rob from Redemption Island, Danni from Guatemala), but also that niceness has proven to be a valuable asset multiple times like how Bob's fatherliness endeared him to Sugar and Fabio's likability compared to his opponents was most likely the major reason for Na Onka voting for him in the end in spite of having regularly made fun of him in earlier episodes.
  • Dr. Keller suffered from this a bit in Stargate Atlantis. While the other doctors in the show are also pretty non-action-oriented, Keller's fragility, especially when contrasted with Teyla's hardy survival instincts in the episode "Missing", do make her a boring character for some. To be fair, she isn't a soldier, but Rodney's been pretty badass since his big sacrifice in the second episode, so Keller does look pretty weak by comparison.
  • This happens a lot with Guinevere in the Merlin fandom, with her portrayal caught in a quagmire of Die for Our Ship, Real Women Never Wear Dresses, and a Misaimed Fandom that believes Morgana is a great feminist icon. Where to start? On the surface, Guinevere is essentially portrayed as a Shrinking Violet, a stark contrast to Morgana as a Spirited Young Lady. Morgana gets to do lots of cool things: sword-fight, telekenetically throw people through the air, stand up to King Uther and wear gorgeous costumes. Guinevere's role is to be Arthur's Love Interest, Merlin's Black Best Friend, and is often accused of being an Extreme Doormat.
    • However, this is a huge simplification of each woman's characterization and Character Arc: namely that Morgana's fall into evil was marked by her It's All About Me attitude in which she ranks her own grievances and pain against the needs of others and begins a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against not just Uther, but everyone, including innocent people. In contrast, Guinevere (who is also deeply wronged by Uther when he has her innocent father executed) rises above her inner turmoil and explicitly refuses wallow in hate. Many fans seem to have completely missed the juxtapositioning of Guinevere's declaration that she would never seek vengeance against Uther because: "that would make me just like him" with the recent observations by several characters that Morgana is now no different from Uther. It also fails to take into account the fact that Morgana is quite often a Faux Action Girl, with plans that are ill-thought out and fail constantly, whereas Guinevere's attempts at proactivity have a far higher success rate (retrieving the morteus flower from the dungeon, arguing on behalf of the women in Ealdor, escaping Helios's men by submerging herself in the river). Though Guinevere has played the Distressed Damsel a few times, Morgana has been in similar situations just as often (as have all the male characters) and is extremely Weak-Willed given the consistency with which she is placed under enchantments. Guinevere, on the other hand, has the unprecedented move of removing an object of enchantment from her body of her own free will (and thus breaking the spell she was under).
      • It's a classic example of style over substance - in this case, Guinevere's decency, patience and kind heart is no match for Morgana's glamourous life-style. As this article puts it:

  Merlin fandom seems to believe that Morgana’s treacherous magical girl ass is a more empowering role model for women than Guinevere’s steady, quiet strength.

Tabletop Games

  • In any tabletop RPG, it's not uncommon for certain character builds to be considered badass or overly strong. In some cases this is simply because conventional player wisdom expects them to be (such being the case with many late-game Wizard builds in 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons) or because the setting declares them to be so (street samurai in Shadowrun, juicers in RIFTS). However, every gamemaster runs a game their own way and a character that is theoretically badass on paper may turn out to be useless because the challenges the party faces aren't in their area of expertise.
    • To use one of the aforementioned examples, a street samurai in Shadowrun is a cyberwared-rocking, face-destroying nightmare of a combat monster... until the party realizes stealth, enginuity and kill-free missions work out better. The end result is a screwed-out player rocking back and forth in his/her seat, looking utterly useless.


TV Tropes


Video Games

  • The Protagonist of Kingdom Hearts, Sora, seems to be somewhat of a Base Breaker because of this. He's goofy, naive, and lacks angst and ambition, and is incredibly gentle and empathic. His attitude sort of screams the opposite of badassery. He is also quite possibly the second most powerful individual in the universe, beaten out by a reality warping physical god. Without training or preparation, he has accomplished more than three of his (formally trained) predecessors put together. His combat prowess is ridiculously inflated in Kingdom Hearts 2's Action Commands, but this serves only to highlight the dissonance.
  • Max Payne 3 has been met with tremendous backlash for various reasons, but among them is that Max is now well into middle age, heavier and bald.
  • Eliwood from Fire Emblem Elibe. He says he doesn't like war that much. Clearly, he must be a pansy.
    • He's screwed over by being balanced between Lyn and Hector (a Fragile Speedster and Mighty Glacier respectively, both of whom can easily become LightningBruisers). Compared to some of the other lords in this series, he's a freaking death machine, especially compared to his own son Roy from the sixth game.
    • Roy and Eliwood are pretty much the same pre-promotion and Roy is a complete beast post-upgrade. Of course, YMMV and it also depends on whether you got lucky with the random number generator level system. (Roy is especially susceptible to the RNG, and his promotion comes tragically late.)
    • Don't forget how Action Girl and Proud Warrior Race Girl Lyndis aka Lyn is used as pretty much THE yardstick by which a lot of FE females are measured. I.e., lead female Eirika from Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones is often compared disfavorably to Lyn, and "weaker" females like Ninian, Florina or Nino are hotly bashed for "not being strong women" like Lyn is.
    • The aforementioned Eirika is often put under the microscope, nitpicked and/or downright bashed for being a sensitive Nice Girl aside of The Messiah and the Action Girl, with some even openly denying that both she and Ephraim are the protagonists of the game... saying Ephraim is the only lead. WTF.
    • Celica in Echoes gets hit with the same stick as Eirika, being called "antifeminist" for being a sensitive soul who doesn't like to fight. Some fans even compare her unfavorably to her original Gaiden self, as the more fleshed-out storytelling makes her sensitivity and self-sacrificing nature even more evident and for the fact that Jedah is able to use this against her, ultimately leading her into a trap and brainwashing her into becoming a witch. This particular plot twist has people calling her a "useless damsel in distress" and the game "sexist" despite the fact that Celica can more than hold her own in battles and has done some rescuing of her own (Valbar and his crew, Jesse, Est, Atlas's little brothers).
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty's Raiden got a lot of flak from fanboys, mostly for being a Replacement Scrappy for Solid Snake, but attributed to him being a "weak, overly-feminine character" (despite the fact that he fought well, taking down several Metal Gears, killing the Big Bad, and did far better than most people could have done in his profoundly shitty situation, leaving with renewed purpose, the respect of his mentor, a renewed relationship with the woman he loved, and with the child of a castmate still alive). Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots reinvented him to be a cyborg ninja, and these days, he's a lot more popular - even though his ninja self spent half of the game dying slowly of kidney failure and the other half whining about his awful situation (something which in Metal Gear Solid 2 he would have tried to deal with) and taking orders from a little girl. It just goes to show how shallow this trope (and/or people's standards of Badassery) is; Raiden was judged pathetic because of his appearance (his actions apparently did not matter).
    • Also an example of Misaimed Fandom. Metal Gear Solid 2 revolved around the idea of Raiden rejecting puppetry and not being pigeon-holed into the role of Solid Snake in favor of finding his own identity. He kinda-sorta succeeded, and he had a reasonably hopeful ending. Come Metal Gear Solid 4, and Raiden has been forced into the role of Cyborg Ninja. Fanboys think this is awesome, when in the context of the series it is decidedly not.
  • The title character of the Mega Man X series gets this a lot. His actual viewpoint (except for in the seventh game) is that he'd rather not fight, but does because he feels he has to. But because he wishes he didn't have to go to war, he's usually portrayed as a pansy and/or gay (though the latter has more to do with the Ho Yay between him and Zero). Zero, by contrast, is a Badass killbot with a laser sword, who enjoys Kicking Ass and Taking Names, and is thus much more popular.
    • Fans also like to completely ignore the fact that once X has all his upgrades and armors, he's basically an unstoppable One-Man Army who is much more powerful than Zero. Not only that but both he and Zero have climatically fought each other to a tie, Zero outright says X is the better Hunter, and a bad guy killed millions so X would fight him all-out (and had no interest in fighting Zero). But no, still a pansy because he realizes that after 8 wars, more fighting doesn't solve anything.
      • It's truly amazing how many people can dismiss him technically beating Zero in X5, while surrounded by a virus that weakens him and renders Zero Nigh Invulnerable, and only succumbs to its effects after beating the death machine into the ground.
    • But it cuts both ways. X is one of the more popular protagonists in part because he's considered to be farther up the badass scale than Rock and the others. Power Levels and Sigma's sometime-Magnificent Bastard status have something to do with it.
  • The main reason people hate Edward/Gilbert in Final Fantasy IV. Rosa suffers from this too.
    • Despite the fact that Rosa's Holy/White spell does almost as much damage as Meteo, but only to a single target, and takes far less time to cast. She's also the best, if not only, healer/support in the game and does more physical damage (sometimes insane damage) than any other mage-type character in the game.
  • Carl Johnson from Grand Theft Auto San Andreas; his actual feats are comparable to those of Tommy Vercetti and Niko Bellic, but he also has a tendency to show compassion to those who he wronged. Because, you know, actually considering the ramifications of his actions every once in a while makes him a total pussy.
  • Touhou has Rinnosuke, the only named humanoid male character in the entirely of Gensoukyou that isn't missing or dead who happens to completely lack any combat ability. If he isn't ignored entirely in favour of more badass characters, the fandom almost constantly portrays him as a Memetic Badass (known as MANnosuke) who all of Gensoukyou fears and/or a Memetic Sex God who is the constant target of everyone's affections (though granted, it is never certain whether Touhou fandom is joking or not). Furthering the trope, this may be linked to how Rinnosuke is the oldest and closest friend of Marisa (regularly considered the manliest character in the series), and a badass character having a non-badass friend is clearly blasphemy.
  • In Pokémon, there is a small but vocal group of people who will not stand for anyone who uses non-attacking moves in their monsters. There seems to be a continuum here; one example of disagreement among this group is whether or not Sleep moves are acceptable.
    • This is likely a side effect of competitive circles, who dislike moves and strategies that rely on luck calculations such as chance of evasion and duration of status effects. After all, one of their goals is for any two matches in which the players perform the same actions to have the same outcome, and thus conclusively prove which player is more skilled and not more lucky.
    • Also from the Pokémon Black and White fandom are people who view N Harmonia as "weak and stupid" because he doesn't go around doing a ton of evil stuff like the other main-series antagonists before him did (this despite the fact that he does manage to use a Legendary Pokemon far more effectively than the others, and he still controls the story to a greater extent than any villain before him except Cyrus).
  • In Dynasty Warriors, one of the biggest reasons Guan Suo gets backlash from fans is solely for his character design (Or more specifically, having flower in his hair). Note that the majority of the backlash comes from fans from the west, who only seem to tolerate characters with a bishounen appearance if their actions or relevance screams badassery. But since he fits neither [1], he is seen as a Scrappy in their eyes.
  • Since Samus Aran's introduction, she had been built up in the fandom's eyes as a strong woman and a complete and utter badass. But then Metroid: Other M showed that she had in fact been traumatized by the things she had seen, and fan reactions weren't pretty. It didn't help that the story's execution had some problems, among other oddities in the script like a justification for the Bag of Spilling that doesn't hold up.


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Real Life

  • "Fabian strategy" is a term for a military strategy in which battle is avoided in favor of wearing down the enemy by misdirection, denying them resupply, and other generally non-violent tactics. It was named for the Roman commander Fabius Maximus, who knew that fighting Hannibal head-on was a losing proposition. He also knew that Hannibal was operating in enemy territory, making resupply difficult, and had virtually no ability to besiege Rome itself. Fabius therefore simply did not march out to fight. As time went on this seemed more and more cowardly to the Romans, who eventually removed Fabius and installed someone more aggressive as commander. Hannibal then crushed the Roman army at the Battle of Cannae, one of the worst defeats in military history. The Romans wised up and went back to denying Hannibal battle, and he achieved few other significant victories over them. The Fabian strategy has been utilized at other periods in history, such as the American Revolution and the Russian defense against Napoleon. Despite the proven success of the strategy in certain situations, commanders who implement it are often seen as weak and cowardly.

Notes

  1. His very addition was based on his popularity base on Chinese folklore rather than Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
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