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The Woobie is an individual who suffers. This trope is The Woobie on a wider scale, applying to an entire group. In particular, woobieness happens to be a trait of an entire species (alien or otherwise) or fantastic race. The reasons for this can vary. Maybe they are endangered. Maybe they are misunderstood or discriminated against. Whatever the reason, the audience and/or characters in-universe feel sorry for them. As with many tropes of this nature, Your Mileage May Vary.
Examples of Woobie Species include:


Anime And Manga

Film

  • The Ewoks and Twi'leks from Star Wars. There's even more in the Expanded Universe.
  • The Na'vi from Avatar exist to make us feel sorry for the plight of indigenous peoples.
  • In Titan A.E., humans could be seen as this, as Earth was destroyed by the Drej, making humans galactic drifters.
  • The alien "prawns" from District 9 are another racism-related example combined with What Measure Is a Non-Cute?.

Literature

  • Many aliens in Animorphs apply.
    • The Yeerks are the misunderstood variety...for the most part. They are basically blind, sentient slugs who only take hosts to compensate for their biology. Only those in power and those seeking power can be said to be really evil, as most of them are either swept up in the propaganda or afraid to challenge superiors.
    • The Taxxons suffer from terrible Horror Hunger.
    • The Hork-Bajir were nearly wiped out in an attempt to deprive the Yeerks of hosts.
    • Gedds seem to be inferior to many species in just about every way. And they are the basic Yeerk host.
  • The House elves in Harry Potter.
  • In David Brin's Uplift saga, humans themselves are presented as a Woobie Species. Most aliens despise or hate them as an upstart rogue species that never had a proper upbringing, but even in-universe a few view them as The Woobie.
  • In A. E. Van Vogt's Slan, the titular species, hated and hunted by ordinary humanity, bore a striking resemblance to the smart kids who get picked on at school, the primary demographic of most science fiction of the time.
  • Discworld goblins. Of all the intelligent humanoids on the Disc, Fantastic Racism may hit them the hardest - they face poverty and social marginalization wherever they live, and in many areas aren't legally considered people and can be murdered and enslaved with impunity.
    • Possibly Discworld orcs as well. They're considerably less pathetic than the goblins, but it's not as if they wanted to be bioengineered cannon fodder in someone else's war. The only named orc character is a woobie in his own right.
  • The Nephilim of the Hush, Hush series. Their entire purpose is to be tracked down by fallen angels and be mindraped into spending the rest of their lives in the service of said fallen angels. Said service consists of the fallen angels possessing their bodies for two weeks out of every year, and using them for physical sensations that are usually sex. While the Nephilim are still conscious in their possessed bodies. Also, Word of God states that Nephilim become immortal and frozen at the age they are when they are forced into the service of fallen angels, so they get to look forward to an eternity of this treatment.

Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • The Demi-humans in Chrono Cross are discriminated against and exploited by humans.
  • The Spathi from Ur-Quan Masters. They are pantophobics and are born in such numbers that they receive no attention from their parents. They had a chance to have a protective bubble put around their planet, but due to a mix-up, they are now Reluctant Warriors for an alien dictatorship.
    • Also from Star Control we have the Utwig, who are horribly depressed because they accidentally broke their Ultron, which is the most important MacGuffin (or Magic Feather, Your Mileage May Vary depending on your interpretation) in the history of their society. Of course, there is a quest where you can fix it.
    • The ultimate woobies in the Star Control franchise, of course, are the Ur-Quan, whose entire civilization was enslaved by tyrannical Hypnotoads and reclaimed their freedom only after a lengthy campaign of mind control-disrupting self-torture. Small wonder half of them became control freaks and the other half became Omnicidal Maniacs.
  • Dragon Age's elves have not had it easy, that's for sure. Their original homeland was invaded by the Tevinter Imperium, and they were enslaved. They were freed after they helped Andraste overthrow the Imperium and established a new homeland. This was invaded by the Chantry (which was founded by Andraste's followers) because they didn't help stop the blight that was going on at that point, and are now either second class citizens living in walled off alienages in the cities, or in the forests, where they try to reclaim their heritage, and even then are often seen as troublemakers.
  • Mass Effect's Protheans. They get invaded by the Abusive Precursors, all but a few scientists are mind-controlled, warped into Bee People, and implanted with enough technology to be possessed by their commander without notice. The remaining scientists went into cryo-sleep to wait out the invasion, which took so long that very few were left by the time the VI in charge thought it safe enough to wake them up. Their reward? Dying of starvation in the very deathtrap that doomed their species to oblivion, with the hope that future species would catch on before the invaders return.
    • Also, despite being one of the main enemy species, the geth. All they ever did was act out of self-defense when the quarians attempted to destroy them all simple for having become self-aware. Despite the situation, they remained almost depressingly cooperative and friendly to the quarians before the war over Rannoch broke out. Even afterwards, they are still more than willing to make peace, but are forced into siding with the Reapers in self-defense because the quarians are trying to exterminate them again.
    • Speaking of the quarians, whether you see them as committing unjustifiable genocide on the geth, or simply trying to stop them before they could turn against their masters in a spat of Wrong Genre Savvy, it's hard to deny that their current lives aren't easy. They live on a giant fleet, that has limited resources, and could be crippled by destroying the few liveships they get all their food from, are seen as outcasts and troublemakers by the rest of the galaxy, and must spend all their time in their environmental suits or become very sick and possibly die.
  • The Mudokons in the Oddworld saga. The utter woobieness of the main character as he tries, in his hapless way, to free his fellow woobies from a lifetime of slavery is the main appeal of these games.
  • Gorons and Zoras from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Ganondorf starves the Gorons when their leader refuses to hand over the Goron's ruby, and later tries to feed them all to a dragon in the fire temple as a warning to those who would defy Ganondorf's rule. Also, the Zoras are frozen under ice after Ganondorf takes over; they get better, but in real life this is the kind of thing that would kill you.
  • Half-elves in Tales of Symphonia, who are the outcasts of society, rejected by both humans and elves. The fact that the evil organization that's rounding up humans into concentration camps is made up entirely of half-elves certainly doesn't help the race's image, either. It gets to the point that the two half-elves in your party have to pretend to be pure-blooded elves just to have a decent life, and the Big Bad is a half-elf trying to bring about an Assimilation Plot to end racism by making everyone the same race of lifeless beings.
  • The Dunmer from The Elder Scrolls have a long series of hardships throughout their history, but the absolute worst comes by the time of Skyrim, where their homeland is buried by an erupting volcano and invaded, forcing them to disperse into other lands as refugees...only to be discriminated against and looked down upon by the natives there.

Web Original

  • SCP-955 ("Mr. Sillybug") just wants to be your friend, but with a face like that and a startle reflex that involves sparying highly corrosive mucus everywhere, that tends to end poorly.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Endangered species.
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