Created By: Felius on March 20, 2013 Last Edited By: Itzika on May 27, 2013

Too Tough to Act Tough

A character badass enough to not care about his image.

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Some characters act their strength, making sure everyone knows that messing with them will mean lots and lots of pain.

Others... don't. This trope is about those. Characters who are in fact, incredibly strong, but don't bother with the whole "strong" image. Or "illuminated". Or "wise" image. Or anything that is not a "proper image" for someone as powerful as him in the context of the setting.

This differs from obfuscating stupidity and similar tropes that it doesn't necessarily actually hide his power.

Needs a Better Title ; Needs a Better Description ; Up for Grabs

  • Jack Rackan in Mahou Sensei Negima! is a pretty clear case of this,
  • Jiraiya in Naruto as well. He's one of the Three Great Shinobi, but he acts the fool (especially in flashbacks where he dresses as a frog) and will forever be remembered as "Pervy Sage".
    • Also from Naruto, we have Killer Bee, Eight Tails' jinchuriki. He doesn't go out of his way to act tough, but he's much more interested in his rap than in holding up the image of a tough guy.
  • There was an anecdote about a military bar, full of guys trying to each act tougher than the next, with a few guys sitting quietly in a corner just nursing juice and milk. When the newcomer asks about them, he is informed they are actually special ops, and just don't feel the need to prove themselves to anyone.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • March 20, 2013
    isn't this Real Men Wear Pink?
  • March 20, 2013
    That's what I was thinking.
  • March 20, 2013
    Real Men Wear Pink is about "manly men" who have a stereotypically feminine interest.
  • March 21, 2013

  • March 21, 2013
    • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things has Commander Badass use this as the core tenet of his space future-religion of the Bran-Dao. According to him, by being secure in this manliness and putting your all into what you do, you would be able to enter Nirv-Man-a, where the universe recognizes your masculinity.
  • March 21, 2013
    You can cull SO MANY examples from misuse of Real Men Wear Pink, which definitely gets used to mean this a lot on the site.
  • March 21, 2013
    Quite closely related to Real Men Wear Pink but I'd say they are not quite the same thing. This is more about "badass" than "manly", the former which include quite a few behaviors that might not be connected with manliness, including the brooding loner, or female badass behaviours. I'd say it might be good to fuse them, but there are a lot of examples of both, so it might be good the make two tropes. Maybe Real Men Wear Pink as a subtrope of this I guess?
  • March 22, 2013
    If you're going to do that, you might as well say that Men Are Strong Women Are Pretty is the cause. There doesn't seem to be a direct, causal link between "toughness" and "manliness". Compare and contrast with Agent Peacock or the Combat Narcissit.
  • March 22, 2013
    Forgive me if I am misunderstanding, but this seems like "badass does not have to show off because s/he know s/he is badass" while Real Men Wear Pink is "manly dude is not afaid to act girly because he knows he is manly"
  • March 22, 2013
    Okay, that sounds right. We have a serious lack of examples right now. The first two on the list, the only fiction ones, don't have any context. What examples do we have from the misuse of Real Men Wear Pink?
  • May 27, 2013
    I suggest Stealth Badass as an alternate title. And nabbed from Real Men Wear Pink, we have:

    • The badass Anti-Hero of Darker Than Black, known and feared throughout the underworld as the Black Reaper, who earned his reputation by killing dozens of contractors before he got superpowers, is a skinny, innocuous guy who loves to cook. Seriously, leave him in a kitchen with nothing to do for five minutes and he'll start chopping vegetables. Valuable skill for a Big Eater, especially since the show drops strong hints that it's the remuneration for his powers. (It's actually just a quirk.)