Contralto of Danger YKTTW Discussion

Contralto of Danger
The lower a female character's voice is, the more threat she can pose.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-04-01 11:27:18 sponsor: FredMSloniker edited by: xanderiskander (last reply: 2014-03-01 10:16:22)

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The Distaff Counterpart to Badass Baritone: If a female character's voice is noticeably lower than other women's in the work, it's a sure sign that she is a lot more dangerous than them. As such, contralto voices are usually reserved for tough Action Girls and Femme Fatales.

Some female characters, in the meantime, may go from a higher-pitched voice to a menacing contralto when they're about to kick someone's ass, or during changes of their persona when the character gets serious. A common reason for a change in persona is for the character to tap into some mystical power. Being taken over by their Super-Powered Evil Side could be another reason for this since Evil Sounds Deep. Or maybe they just get in the zone during Let's Get Dangerous moments and the deep voice is reflecting that.

Compare and contrast Badass Baritone, and Women Are Delicate, at least when it comes to a "feminine" vs. "masculine" voice. May overlap with Evil Sounds Deep.


Anime and Manga
  • The Lady of War Signum in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's has a very low and powerful voice for such a slender woman and is unarguably the best fighter in that season and in many later Lyrical Nanoha installments. The Abridged Series even calls her "the manliest character on this show" (and that despite her very feminine forms) and exaggerates her voice to an outright male Badass Baritone.
  • Akira Kogami from Lucky Star pretends to be a cheerful, high-pitched 14-year-old for the camera, but as soon as it's switched off, she reverts to her borderline psychotic, abusive real self with a husky contralto.
  • Kyoko Sakura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica has quite a low voice. The third Drama CD, Farewell Story, revealed that her voice used to be much higher, until her father murdered the rest of her family.
  • Elfen Lied: Whenever the protagonist is in her Nyu persona, she is like an innocent young girl. When she switches to her Lucy persona, she has a much lower voice to match her dangerous and threatening nature.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: In the anime adaptation Rika's voice deepens drastically during scenes where she drops her cute facade, and lets her cynical persona from reliving a Stable Time Loop slip through. It's played for fear and mystery.
  • Kill la Kill:
    • Ragyo and Satsuki Kiryuin have noticeably prominent deep voices compared to the rest of the women in the cast, especially when it comes to exercising their authority over others, although they have their share of action as well.
    • Inverted with Nui Harime who has a high pitched and cute sounding voice, which ends up being played for danger, and fear instead by contrasting Satsuki. She's also highly competent in battle despite not having Clothes Make the Superman applied to her like other characters.
Film — Animated
  • The tough-as-nails Space Marine Sergeant Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph has the lowest female voice (she is voiced by Jane Lynch) and is by far the most overtly badass character in the movie.
  • Megara from Hercules has a sultry, husky voice, atypical of both Disney female Love Interests in general as well as for female characters in the movie. She's also working for Hades (albeit unwillingly), and at one point tries to seduce Herc into revealing his weaknesses, though she just ends up falling for him instead.

  • Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings, a character often described by lesser mortals as incomprehensible and dangerous (which isn't surprising considering she hails from an age when her kin was the main source of trouble in the Middle Earth), speaks in a deep contralto in the book.
  • Descriptions of Admiral Michelle "Mike" Henke in the Honorverse frequently include her 'husky' contralto voice. While she is neither a Femme Fatale nor a classic Action Girl, she is an extremely dangerous commander with a devious mind, and a full-fledged Lady of War (and member of the royal family) to boot.

Live-Action TV
  • In Xena: Warrior Princess, Xena's voice is much deeper than Gabrielle's, since among the two, Xena is a seasoned fighter, while Gaby is a bard.
  • Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory usually has an adorably squeaky voice... until she gets pissed off. Then her voice drops low and the other characters know she means business.

Western Animation

Video Games
Will go under Always Female, Characterization Tropes, and Voice Acting Tropes.
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