Created By: Desertopa on July 28, 2012

Self Styled Badass

A character believes him/herself to be badass, but is actually inept even by ordinary standards.

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There are some people you just shouldn't mess with. People who could tear you limb from limb as easy as looking at you. People who walk through life with the proverbial Big Stick slung across their backs.

And then there are the people who think they're those sorts of people.

A Self Styled Badass is a character who does not qualify as a big fish even in a small pond, but is nevertheless convinced of their own ability. You can expect them to attempt to show off their skills with feats that range from unimpressive to disastrous, or step into fights where they're completely out of their depth, sometimes even repeatedly without learning their lessons.

Compare Miles Gloriosus, who talks the talk but knows better than to try and live up to their own hype.


  • Wimp Lo from Kung Pow! Enter the Fist. Having been purposely trained wrong as a joke, he fails to catch on to the fact that his skills are losing him every fight he steps into.

  • Orman, of Vinland Saga. He's convinced that he's going to win glory in battle, but lacks basic skills such as drawing his sword properly. His attempts to impress his fellow vikings with his prowess invite only contempt and ridicule.

  • Nuwangi, in Utawarerumono. His attempts to demonstrate his abilities bear such fruit as breaking his fist on the protagonist's mask and breaking his arm attempting to chop a tree.
Community Feedback Replies: 4
  • July 28, 2012
    Might wanna make sure this isn't covered by Paper Tiger or it's subtropes.
  • July 28, 2012
    I checked through the related tropes, and looked at the works pages for the examples I could think of to make sure there wasn't already a trope listed to describe them before doing the writeup.

    Self Styled Badass might be considered a subtrope of Paper Tiger, but it's not covered by any of the existing subtropes and none of the miscellaneous examples listed on the page are examples of Self Styled Badass, with the possible exception of Johnny Bravo (it's been a long time since I watched it and I forget if he ever made a big deal out of his toughness or just his alleged coolness.)
  • July 28, 2012
    This is Small Name Big Ego, we're done here.
  • July 28, 2012
    Small Name Big Ego covers a bunch of different tropes itself, including Miles Gloriosus, but it looks like this is covered by Boisterous Weakling.