Created By: Lyendith on October 27, 2011 Last Edited By: Lyendith on November 14, 2011
Troped

Boisterous Weakling

A character who is loud, pretentious, provocative, and can be beaten by a finger poke

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Rolling Updates.

Some characters like to brawl, mock authority and protocol, and will fight eagerly.

This character is just as loud and doesn't like to be ordered around. But contrary to the Boisterous Bruiser… he doesn't really have much to back it up. He is physically (and maybe emotionally) weak but that doesn't stop him from constantly calling out those who glower at him (or so he thinks). Sure he may pick on people weaker than him, but if he happens to realize his opponent can effectively kick his ass, either he will find a lame excuse, or insist and get his ass kicked. Or both. Don't expect that to make him think twice the next time, though: the Boisterous Weakling shows an astounding inability to acknowledge his own impotence. Even if he tries to bite, he has no fangs. "He" because this character is almost Always Male.

Usually Played for Laughs. Can overlap with Fearless Fool, Miles Gloriosus, or Small Name, Big Ego. Compare Fake Ultimate Hero and Feet of Clay, when the character is alledged to be strong by other people. Contrast Gentle Giant. Also contrast the Smug Super, who will usually have very good reasons to be smug.

An intellectual equivalent would be Know-Nothing Know-It-All.

Examples:

Anime and Manga:
  • Vinland Saga has Ormar, a rebelious punk who only dreams of the battlefield, gets in arguments for nothing and is always takling about the "honour of Nordic warriors". But whenever he has to actually use a sword it's painfully obvious he has no skills whatsoever. When we first see him, he can't even unsheathe his sword properly.
  • Haruka in the Mai-HiME anime, despite being a totally normal, powerless human and totally overwhelmed by the situation, will not let you forget that she is in command. She doesn't hesitate to face tanks and soldiers and even provoke a HiME while her own body is fading away. In her case, these guts are actually what makes a good part of the fandom like her.
  • Mr. Satan in Dragon Ball is actually rather strong for a normal human but inevitably fails to notice that the monsters he taunts and challenges can disintegrate him effortlessly or destroy planets on a whim. He gets better near the end of the series, though.
  • Black☆Star is essentially this at the beginning of Soul Eater, constantly boasting (very loudly) about his strength and anouncing his strategies out loud, which then leads to his ass getting kicked.
  • The Team Rocket in Pokémon is a trio of this, although Jessie and James use their Pokemons instead of fighting themselves.

Comic Books
  • Marvel Comics' Volstagg is somewhere between this trope and Miles Gloriosus Depending on the Writer.
  • Many minor Batman villains of the early Silver Age turned into this in The Dark Age of Comic Books, since they remained active supervillains but had their skills downplayed and their ridiculous motifs played up. Typically, they'd show up, full of bluster, and be dropped within a page or even a panel. Killer Moth, Catman (before writer Gail Simone rescued him), and the 1940s version of the Cavalier all got such treatment at various points.
  • Many criminals in Judge Dredd talk tough...but they can never stand up to a Mega-City Judge.
  • In The Golden Age of Comic Books, this was the role of many a teen sidekick...and, sadly, many a racist caricature.
  • The vast majority of the criminals seen in Garth Ennis's Punisher comics are tough-talking, gun-happy street criminals...but when they go up against Frank Castle, a trained soldier with military equipment, they're far less powerful and dangerous than they imagine. It's even Lampshaded in the first issue of the MAX series.
    The Punisher: Most wiseguys are one part street-smarts to two parts muscle. Enough to terrify the mooks that owe them money, but not much more.

Films:
  • 'Ol' Cigaret' in Emperor of the North is always boasting about how he's the toughest hobo riding the rails, but the real veteran 'A-No. 1' has his number right from the start. At the end of the movie he's so fed up with Cigaret's bragging that he just picks him up bodily and throws him off the train into a lake.
  • Ike Clanton in Tombstone is a loudmouth who starts several gunfights, but he's always the first to fall or flee despite his bravado. The obnoxious, bullying casino employee at the beginning, played by Billy-Bob Thornton, is another example.
  • During the sequence when "Happy" Hogan and the Black Widow infiltrate the villain's hideout in Iron Man 2, Happy turns into this due to a severe case of Overshadowed by Awesome.
  • Ash Williams plays this part throughout much of Evil Dead 2 and some of Army of Darkness, but by the end of each film he's become the catchphrase-tossing, boomstick-toting Bad Ass we all know and love.
  • Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China, thanks to a healthy dose of Wrong Genre Savvy.

Live-Action TV:
  • For a while in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this was Xander's role, thanks largely to his becoming Overshadowed by Awesome but still insisting on joining in the battles.
    • An even better Buffy example might be Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, at least before he Took a Level in Badass over on the Spin-Off Angel. Even there, it took some time for him to become as formidable as he initially thought he was.
  • In Lie to Me, Cal Lightman is thwarted at any bit of assault toward him. He is occasionally battered. He certainly is loud and boisterous, and antagonizes everyone.

Real Life:
  • There is a joke about a small animal (told in Russia about a hedgehog) standing and shouting "I am strong! I am strong". A passing bear gives it a kick. The hedgehog flies a few meters, stands up, brushes itself off and shouts "I am light, but strong!"
  • In professional wrestling this is thrown around a lot with heel character, while how pathetic they actually are varies, almost all heels are "chickenshit" to some extent and tend to suffer some mild Badass Decay when they make a Face–Heel Turn. A very common running concept is for a heel to mouth off and boast at a face how he is going to kick the latter's ass, only to be quickly knocked down or sent running when the face decides they've heard enough. Chris Jericho and The Miz are key modern examples (even if they prove to be more than all talk on occasion).

Video Games:
  • Dan Hibiki from Street Fighter likes to boast about how strong he is and invite people to learn martial arts from him, but he's actually hilariously incompetent.
  • Sir Prancelott of Scufflewick in Drakensang looks pretty though and always talks about his wondrous deeds.... except that he's the greatest Ted Baxter of Aventuria, his sword skills are useless, he can barely hold his own against a wolf and runs away from some goblins (later claiming that he was taking their attention away from you) and the only time he tries to take on a Linnworm (huge multi-legged reptile) he's knocked unconscious by the beast's breath. In short, he could be easily considered The Scrappy of the game.
  • Von Kaiser in both of his appearances in the Punch-Out!! series.
  • In Mother 3, the Mole Crickets are an entire species of this, at least until their champion is defeated with ease by the protagonist.

Web Original:

Western Animation:
  • One of the reasons Scrappy-Doo is the trope namer for The Scrappy is his habit of picking a fight with vilains obviously stronger than him.
  • Eric Cartman talks a big game, but when it comes to actual combat, he usually can't follow through. In one notable example, one mild slap from Kyle sends him crying to his mom.
  • Daffy Duck, despite being a self proclaimed "craven little coward" has a tendancy for flapping his big beak about his bravado and smarts and trying to place himself in the role of The Ace, usually literally getting in the face of someone way out of his league.
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • October 27, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    Would Scrappy Doo count?
  • October 28, 2011
    Lyendith
    If I trust his description on The Scrappy page, he would count, yes.
  • October 28, 2011
    Higurashiblood98
    [Anime/Manga]] Shippo from Inuyasha is the epitome of this trope. He's a smartass, yet he's useless in battle.
  • October 28, 2011
    azul120
    Contrast also with Gentle Giant.
  • October 29, 2011
    Omeganian
    There is a joke about a small animal (told in Russia about a hedgehog) standing and shouting "I am strong! I am strong". A passing bear gives it a kick. The hedgehog flies a few meters, stands up, brushes itself off and shouts "I am light, but strong!"
  • October 30, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Sir Prancelott of Scufflewick in Drakensang looks pretty though and always talks about his wondrous deeds.... except that he's the greatest Ted Baxter of Aventuria, his sword skills are useless, he can barely hold his own against a wolf and runs away from some goblins (later claiming that he was taking their attention away from you) and the only time he tries to take on a Linnworm (huge multi-legged reptile) he's knocked unconscious by the beast's breath. In short, he could be easily considered The Scrappy of the game.
  • October 30, 2011
    TBTabby
    Dan Hibiki from Street Fighter likes to boast about how strong he is and invite people to learn martial arts from him, but he's actually hilariously incompetent.
  • October 30, 2011
    Lyendith
    If Prancelott talks about his "wondrous deeds" he would rather be a Miles Gloriosus. The Boisterous Weakling doesn't claim to have done anything great, he just somehow refuses to acknowledge he's powerless.
  • October 30, 2011
    Psi001
    In professional wrestling this is thrown around a lot with heel character, while how pathetic they actually are varies, almost all heels are "chickenshit" to some extent and tend to suffer some mild Badass Decay when they make a Face Heel Turn. A very common running concept is for a heel to mouth off and boast at a face how he is going to kick the latter's ass, only to be quickly knocked down or sent running when the face decides they've heard enough. Chris Jericho and The Miz are key modern examples (even if they prove to be more than all talk on occasion).
  • October 30, 2011
    Earnest
    Contrast with the Smug Super, who may very well actually be strong enough to have reason to be smug.
  • October 30, 2011
    TonyG
    Eric Cartman talks a big game, but when it comes to actual combat, he usually can't follow through. In one notable example, one mild slap from Kyle sends him crying to his mom.
  • October 31, 2011
    Ryuuma
    ^^^^ He also refuses to admit his own weakness, so it counts.
  • October 31, 2011
    Lyendith
    Hum... guess there can be overlap...
  • November 1, 2011
    Higurashiblood98
    [[Anime/Manga]] -How about Hercule from Dragon Ball Z? He brags about his strength when he battles cell, and breaks a bunch of bricks with his bare hands, but then when he attacks Cell, the latter easily overpowers him and throws him out of the ring.

    -Black Star from Soul Eater would be a perfect example, since he ALWAYS boasts about his strength and announces his strategies out loud, which then leads to his ass getting kicked.
  • November 1, 2011
    Lyendith
    Yes Hercule would count. That's why he is in the first examples (it's Mr. Satan) =)

    I'm not a specialist of Soul Eater but as far as I know Black*Star is not a weakling at all when he gets serious. May count as a subversion though...
  • November 1, 2011
    Psi001
    Meowth from the Pokemon anime may count, he doesn't usually brag about his strength or offer himself to battles that much, but he has a big mouth and is noticably vain. In addition to that, you can count the number of times he has laid a hit in battle with your fingers, let alone won. Jessie and James have moments too (though it's more their Pokemon they are confident about than their own strength).
  • November 2, 2011
    LeeM
    Film: 'Ol' Cigaret' in Emperor Of The North is always boasting about how he's the toughest hobo riding the rails, but the real veteran 'A-No. 1' Has his number right from the start. At the end of the movie he's so fed up with Cigaret's bragging that he just picks him up bodily and throws him off the train into a lake.
  • November 2, 2011
    Psi001
    Daffy Duck, despite being a self proclaimed "craven little coward" has a tendancy for flapping his big beak about his bravado and smarts and trying to place himself in the role of The Ace, usually literally getting in the face of someone way out of his league.
  • November 3, 2011
    Ryuuma
    However, I'm not sure about Shippo. He may be annoying, but I never remember to see him insist in taking part to a fight, he usually avoid fighting as much as he can.
  • November 5, 2011
    Lyendith
    If he doesn't pick any fight he doesn't qualify... Inuyasha and me make two though, so I don't know...
  • November 10, 2011
    OmarKarindu
    The intellectual equivalent of this would be the Know Nothing Know It All.

    Comic Books
    • Marvel Comics' Volstagg is somewhere between this trope and Miles Gloriosus Depending On The Writer.
    • Many minor Batman villains of the early Silver Age turned into this in the Dark Age Of Comic Books, since they remained active supervillains but had their skills downplayed and their ridiculous motifs played up. Typically, they'd show up, full of bluster, and be dropped within a page or even a panel. Killer Moth, Catman (before writer Gail Simone rescued him), and the 1940s version of the Cavalier all got such treatment at various points.
    • Many criminals in Judge Dredd talk tough...but they can never stand up to a Mega-City Judge.
    • In The Golden Age Of Comic Books, this was the role of many a teen sidekick...and, sadly, many a racist caricature.
    • The vast majority of the criminals seen in Garth Ennis's Punisher comics are tough-talking, gun-happy street criminals...but when they go up against Frank Castle, a trained soldier with military equipment, they're far less powerful and dangerous than they imagine. It's even Lampshaded in the first issue of the MAX series.
    The Punisher: Most wiseguys are one part street-smarts to two parts muscle. Enough to terrify the mooks that owe them money, but not much more.

    Film

    Live Action TV

    Video Games
    • Von Kaiser in both of his appearances in the Punch Out series.
    • In Mother 3, the Mole Crickets are an entire species of this, at least until their champion is defeated with ease by the protagonist.

    Web Original
  • November 10, 2011
    Lyendith
    Wow o.O That should do the job.
  • November 12, 2011
    genewitch
    Live Action TV
    • Lie To Me Cal Lightman is thwarted at any bit of assault toward him. He is occasionally battered. He certainly is loud and boisterous, and antagonizes everyone.
  • November 12, 2011
    TBTabby
    Is this the same as Fearless Fool?
  • November 13, 2011
    Lyendith
    Can be related. Although the Fearless Fool can be badass enough to justify it (like Kamina).
  • November 13, 2011
    aunny
    What about calling this "All Bark and No Bite"?
  • November 13, 2011
    Omeganian
  • November 13, 2011
    Lyendith
    Well, there is an aspect of "All bark and no bite" but often it's more that they try to bite but have no teeth...

    I'll see the link for Il Capitano more in detail, thanks.

  • November 14, 2011
    Lyendith
    Please don't launch my tropes while I'm not looking, damn it...
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