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->''"When all alone in my chair, I just go about wishing...\\
I want to be strong; I also want to be trusted..."''
-->-- From [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF2XAltk1NM Tails' theme]] from the ''SonicAdventureSeries.''

Like IJustWantToBeSpecial, IJustWantToHaveFriends and IJustWantToBeNormal, I Just Want To Be Badass describes one of those {{wish|Fulfillment}}es that consumers of media like to have [[WishFulfillment fulfilled]] by the works they consume. Typically, males are somewhat more prone to harbor this wish. A tentative explanation for this could be the fact that western popular culture's standards of masculinity and badassery have some similarities.

In order to fulfill this wish of their audience, the creator of a work will usually create a viewpoint character and, over the course of the story, make said character badass. This allows the audience to identify with the viewpoint character and as such experience badassery by proxy. Another way by which the author can fulfill this wish of the audience is to take a character that has already established his badassery and give said character a trait which the intended audience will identify with. Additionally, a writer can take a characterization with already-established badass credentials and [[{{Flanderization}} remove non-badass elements from said characterization in order to highlight the badassery]].

On the other hand, this trope can be used in conjunction with BeYourself, as we see a hero try to emulate more macho role models and fail miserably at imitating their machismo. At that point, they give up in despair and focus on what they can do, convinced that they are nothing special even as they learn some new knowledge or skills no one around thinks is important. However, when they are called upon to do what they have to for others, they find that those things they've learned have made them a near invincible BadassBookworm who saves the day while the macho characters look on in astonishment.

An EscapistCharacter targeted towards the male demographic will often be a product of this desire.

This trope can, in FanFic, lead to the creation of a MartyStu. It is also strongly connected to a PowerFantasy (being a means by which this wish is fulfilled).

This trope is very prone to being {{deconstruct|ion}}ed. A possible reason for this is that producers of media are usually not particularly badass and as such may regard this particular wish of the audience as immature or naive. This, of course, is merely a speculation. However, whole industries are built on playing this trope straight and allowing the audience to fulfill its badassery fantasies by proxy.

This can be akin to hanging a sign on your head saying, "Am looking for DealWithTheDevil, apply within." Or an invitation for TrainingFromHell. It's hard to tell the difference at first....

Arguably, video games in general have a strong element of this as their appeal. Many FPS games do at least in part avert or subvert this however. During some action games, there is a level where the game radically changes pace and becomes [[UnexpectedGameplayChange something different]]. For instance, an action game will toss in a stealth level where the player character is stripped of all their weapons. These levels are {{subver|tedTrope}}sions of this trope and gain their impact from the sudden loss of power the player character has experienced. SurvivalHorror games often rely on averting this to generate fear in the player. Feeling powerful and competent is not conducive to feeling scared, frightened, alone and weak.

This trope applies in two circumstances. The first is that a ''character in the work is motivated by the trope'' ('''the in-universe version'''). The other is that ''the work engages with (fulfilling, parodying, or being to some extent motivated and/or changed by) its viewers Wanting To Be Badass'' ('''the meta-version'''). There is often considerable overlap between the two types; if this wish was not prevalent in viewers, said viewers would probably react differently to characters motivated by the wish. The later is so common-place that only examples of playing with or subverting this expectation should be listed.

Denying the fulfillment of this wish (i.e. averting or subverting the trope) can result in WhatMeasureIsANonBadass occurring.

See also; WishFulfillment, IJustWantToHaveFriends, IJustWantToBeBeautiful, IJustWantToBeSpecial, IJustWantToBeNormal. Also heavily overlaps with IWantToBeARealMan given that the concepts of ''badass'' and ''manly'' are frequently interconnected. Arguably the cause of the PowerFantasy.

Compare/Contrast the DistaffCounterpart.

Again, please remember that neither WishFulfillment nor the fulfillment of any specific wish (including this one) [[TropesAreNotBad is a bad thing]]. If reality matched our fantasies, we would not need to create fiction.
!!Examples of a character with this trait, or of the work playing with this expectation of the audience:


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Isidro in ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' is like this: even though he works a lot better as a FragileSpeedster with short blades and throwing rocks, he idolizes Guts (a LightningBruiser) and his {{BFS}}. This leads to problems, as he always insists on fighting like Guts instead of focusing on his true strengths like evasion, an accurate throw, and quick wits. Because his wish to be badass causes problems, there is at least a certain element of {{deconstruction}} at work here. Guts himself is possibly the most badass character in all of fiction, but it's a sure bet that no one who followed the series [[TraumaCongaline actually wants to be him]].
* Most HumongousMecha protagonists feel this way before becoming pilots, often crossing over with AscendedFanboy. So much that [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion Shinji Ikari]] was notable for ''not'' wanting to.
* Impmon from ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' does NOT enjoy being a HarmlessVillain. This eventually ends up being deconstructed, as [[spoiler:[[DealWithTheDevil the lengths he goes to]] to become badass [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity drive him crazy with power]], causing him to become a REAL villain and go on a murderous rampage. [[EvenEvilHasStandards He's appropriately horrified]] [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone when he snaps out of it]]]].
* Kosuna of ''Manga/DesertPunk'' just wants to be the #1 ActionGirl in the Great Kanto Desert, and becomes an apprentice handyman to Kanta to do so. She then spends the rest of the series learning that survival in the desert involves a lot of grunt work, trickery, and that doing your job right means using your gun as ''little'' as possible.
* [[Anime/MahouSenseiNegima Negi Springfield]] definitely qualifies. Already a [[{{Determinator}} hard-working]] prodigal mage at the age of 10, his quest for power increases after many of his students become his [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits mischievous]] [[TrueCompanions followers]], making him constantly worried for their safety. It doesn't help that he's [[OvershadowedByAwesome surrounded by a lot of ]] powerful people such as his more combat-trained pupils (Setsuna, Mana, Kaede, Ku Fei), his father's friends (Jack Rakan, Alberio Imma, Takamichi), and his former enemy (Evangeline), some of whom are game-breakingly powerful. Oh, and his father? An [[WorldsStrongestMan incredibly powerful]] war hero who is practically worshipped across the Magic World. That's a lot of hurdles to jump over. [[spoiler: It's no surprise then that he would push himself to incredible extremes, even learning [[NobleDemon Evangeline]]'s '''[[BlackMagic Dark Magic]]'''.]] He's definitely not your standard shounen hero.
* [[LightNovel/{{Durarara}} Mikado]] definitely qualifies because he wants to change something. [[spoiler: It's what led him to create [[ImageBoard Dollars]]. Later on you actually see that he has been badass all along.]]
* [[MafiaPrincess Asago]] from ''Manga/TokyoCrazyParadise'' so very desperately wants to be a badass to match Ryuji, her husband-to-be, but she is always overshadowed by [[SweetPollyOliver Tsukasa]] or runs into inhuman monsters. She [[TookALevelInBadass gets tougher]] by the end of the series.
* The ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' series has a few examples.
** Teana Lanster during ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers'' was a deconstruction of this. She was so desperate at being a badass as quickly as possible that her reckless actions placed both her and her teammates at risk. While she did eventually TakeALevelInBadass, she didn't do so until she let go of this mindset and concentrated on refining the skills and talents she had at a more sensible pace.
** Einhart Stratos in ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'' is a straighter example. Driven by the GeneticMemory of [[{{Reincarnation}} her ancestor]], she is in a constant quest to become strong enough to protect everyone she cares about. This drive of hers only became more intense when she met and trained with the old cast of ''Nanoha'', as she realized just how far she still has to go before she could reach their level.
** Vivio is just like Einhart in that regard, although fighting is more of a hobby for her than a compulsive drive. She wants to be strong enough to one day be able to protect those that gave her the chance to have a normal life, especially her Nanoha-mama.
** Rinne from ''Anime/VividStrike'' is another deconstruction. Due to her history with being bullied, she has an almost pathological need to be the strongest there is to keep anything else from being taken from her. This ends up alienating her from everyone around her and [[WeUsedToBeFriends would ultimately cause her to drive away her childhood friend Fuka]]. And unlike most examples, she actually hates martial arts.
* [[Manga/BakiTheGrappler "If one is born as a male, at least once in his life he will dream of becoming the strongest man alive. Grappler is the martial artist who aims to become the strongest in the world!"]]
* In ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'', this was one of the major motivations of Joshua, an IllBoy whose BlessedWithSuck HealingHands powers confined him to his bed. After being disappointed by a suggestion from [[TheMentor Father Remington]] to go through TrainingFromHell to grow strong, [[BigBad Aion]] offered him a DealWithTheDevil to gain immense power through a pair of demon horns. It worked, but [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity also turned him insane]] and allowed Aion to kidnap him and use his powers for his plans. This kicks off the main plot of the series, when his sister makes her own DealWithTheDevil to be able to rescue him.
* Several ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' have shown that this is their primary motivation. Often this is simply shown by them wishing to become their very powerful final form. Others have shown they just want to be better.
* [[MoeAnthropomorphism Sword Warrior]] Yamatonokami Yasusada of ''Anime/ToukenRanbuHanamaru'' just wants to be stronger. However, it isn't this wish that's the problem, it's why - he wants to become stronger to protect his previous master, [[UsefulNotes/TheShinsengumi Okita Souji]]. The problem? Okita died centuries before Yamatonokami (Okita's sword) was turned human by his [[NonEntityGeneral current master]], the one he ''should'' be trying to protect. He is also probably the least manly, most {{Moe}} example on this page.
* In ''Anime/CardfightVanguard'', the protagonist, Aichi Sendou wants to win the respect of his rival, Toshiki Kai by becoming good at the titular card game. [[spoiler: It gets heavily deconstructed when he awakens the PsychicPowers known as Psyqualia, which make him strong but also make him DrunkOnTheDarkSide the more he uses them.]]
* Usopp of ''Manga/OnePiece'' has this as his primary goal. He has stated his personal mission to be becoming "a brave warrior of the sea", and he has definitely worked to meet that goal ever since the Arlong Arc. By Water 7/Enies Lobby, and ''definitely'' by the time-skip, he has completely managed to [[TookALevelInBadass Take a Level in Badass]].
** Most characters in the story, like Luffy, strive to become the next Pirate King. Others have entirely different goals that fit this trope. Zoro, for example, wants to be replace Mihawk as the world's strongest swordsman.
* Saitama of ''Anime/OnePunchMan'' was originally a straight example. He is currently an aversion - he doesn't want to be this trope because he's the most badass in his series and it's ''boring''. Genos is also this but a straight example all the way (including getting the aforementioned Saitama to be his teacher) for the sake of getting revenge on a rival cyborg.
* After the death of his mother, the titular protagonist of ''Anime/RingingBell'' decides he wants to be a wolf. The problem? He's a lamb. Chirin thought that being a sheep is boring and that sheep are just a bunch of cowards - he wanted to be tough and powerful like a wolf. [[spoiler:In the end Chirin does become extremely strong however he lost everything in his quest to become powerful. He's not accepted by other sheep, he took revenge on his mentor, and he's not a wolf]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/KickAss'', two characters become superheroes: the title character because he wants to help people... and in a straighter version of this trope, [[spoiler:Big Daddy because he was frustrated with his marriage and thought his life was boring. He even creates a fake BackStory to enhance his new identity.]]
* This is the basic idea of ''Comicbook/{{Wanted}}'', both the original comic and the movie adaptation. The protagonist is a loser guy who becomes a badass when he finds out he has a badass gene inherited from a father he never knew. The comic book (but not the movie) also [[spoiler:attempts to deconstruct this trope by scolding the reader for identifying with the main character, who's essentially a violent sociopath]]. Perhaps not coincidentally, ''Wanted'' was written by Creator/MarkMillar, the same guy who also wrote ''Kick-Ass''.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Cyril, the bellringer mouse from the Literature/{{Redwall}} fic ''Fanfic/TheUrthbloodSaga'' has as his life's ambition to become a warrior someday, resenting his status as a lowly abbey novice and feeling as if his elders will [[AdultsAreUseless always treat him like a child]]. While he becomes somewhat less enthusastic about the idea and more accepting of his place after his younger brother Cyrus [[spoiler: just barely survives being wounded by a visiting soldier]], he still has it as his ultimate goal.
* ''LightNovel/DemonKingDaimao'' fanfic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8514012/1/Keena-the-Defendants-of-Constan-Magic-Academy Keena & the Defendants of Constan Academy]] has this happen to usual DamselInDistress Keena, who not only wants friends (due to the remaining characters being PutOnABus), but also wants to find herself useful in combat. Turns out [[spoiler: she actually ''is'' skilled in combat. Chapter 6 reveals that she actually has trained and learned to fight, but never got the opportunity to do so]].
* ''Fanfic/MegamiNoHanabira'': Sara wants to be badass for someone other than herself: her girlfriend Kaede got hurt protecting her from a demon, and Sara wants to learn to protect herself so Kaede doesn't have to push herself too far for her.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', Flynn Rider modeled himself on a fictional character, an adventurer, TheCharmer, and rich enough that he could do anything and go anywhere. Which explains Flynn's career as a thief.
* In ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'', Hiccup wants to be acknowledged and respected by his village, as well as his father and the girl he crushes on. He does achieve all of this, but not in the way he expected.
* Po Ping, the title character of ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' has spent most of his life wishing to be a legendary kung fu master like his idols, the Furious Five. That wish ends up being granted inadvertently and he's forced to grow into the role of being a badass, but ultimately succeeds.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/{{Condorman}}'', comic book writer Woodrow Wilkins insists on everything he writes being as realistic as possible. Therefore, he attempts to build and test all of the gadgets that his titular superhero will utilize. This dogged insistence on verisimilitude leads him to [[JumpedAtTheCall jump at the chance]] to go on a ''real'' spy mission, which leads him straight into a DefectorFromCommieLand plot and forces him to finally grow up a bit.
* The protagonist of ''Film/KungFuHustle'' has been trying to be one since he was bullied as a boy by older kids. In his mind, this means to join the baddest gang in China. He finally gets his wish, but only after a HeelFaceTurn and a pummelling by the Beast "unblocks his chi", resulting in him becoming the greatest kung-fu master in history.
* A subplot in ''Film/ScoobyDooMonstersUnleashed'' is Shaggy and Scooby tired of being TheLoad of the gang and trying to be real detectives,
* {{Deconstructed}} in ''Film/TriadElection'': Jet believes being feared by everyone is what will get him noticed in the Hong Kong underworld, many of which includes assassinations from Chairman Lok of the Wo Shing Wo. Unfortunately, it's the only thing he's good for; it's implied Jet has been in hiding for so long because of all the hits he's being doing for Lok, making it unlikely for him to climb the ladder and be a legitimate candidate for Chairman in the future (which Lok promises), let alone a promotion. {{Lampshaded}} by one of the "Uncles" of Wo Shing in the climax of the sequel, who's never heard of this lowly foot soldier.
* Kylo Ren from ''Franchise/StarWars'': ''Film/TheForceAwakens'' is a villainous example. He models himself after Darth Vader, [[spoiler: his grandfather]], and considers himself his successor, but secretly feels inadequate due to his (relatively) weak Force powers and struggles with the "temptation" of returning to the light side. Eventually he [[spoiler: kills Han Solo, his father]], believing this will give him the clarity he needs and prove his resolve to both himself and his master, Supreme Leader Snoke. It doesn't.

* Paul in ''Literature/{{Duumvirate}}''. His best friends are {{Transhuman}} badasses, and he desperately wants to keep up.
* Nevere Burvelle, the protagonist of ''Literature/TheSoldierSon'' by Creator/RobinHobb, is this. He's raised to be an OfficerAndAGentleman, goes through TrainingFromHell... and in the end is [[spoiler:thwarted by magic that makes him grossly obese. He grows into something quite non-traditional, but clearly not the badass he (and his dad) expected. Thus, Nevere is a subversion (or, if it's his Wanting To Be Badass that causes his being thwarted, he is a deconstruction) of the trope]].
** Nevare never had much of a choice. As the second son, he was (by religious doctrine) always meant to be the soldier of the family. The ending of the first book, however, shows that he was well on his way to being badass and the potential was solidified even more throughout the rest of the series, thanks to his Trainer From Hell.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* An (in)famous episode of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' where wimpy, nerdy Jonathan had an attack of this trope and used a spell to turn himself into a full-blown MartyStu. ''Series/{{Buffy|the Vampire Slayer}}'' being, well, about '''Buffy,''' obviously this couldn't last.
** After his [[BadassDecay infamous fall from grace in season 4 onwards]], Spike has a interesting case of "I just want to be badass ''again''". In the season 5 episode crush, [[ThrowTheDogABone he gets close to accomplishing this]] when Drusilla invites him to terrorise the globe with her again. This being [[ButtMonkey Spike]] however, it doesn't last until even the end of the episode, and he ends up [[YankTheDogsChain even more pathetic than before]] as a result.
* Joxer from ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' lives and breathes this trope. Aphrodite even grants his wish in one episode.
* In ''Series/TheRiches'', little old lady Nina wants to run away from her pampered mundane suburban life to live a life of excitement and danger as a travelling con-artist.
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', this is their interpretation of the [[HeroicWannabe Wonder Twins]] and [[IdiotHero Booster Gold]].
* ''Series/TheWalkingDead'': [[FauxActionGirl Andrea]] is this in Season 1 and the first part of Season 2. By the end of Season 2, however, [[TookALevelInBadass she can actually hold her own against a surprising amount of walkers before hitting the ground exhausted.]] Unfortunately, [[BadassDecay this is dropped early on in Season 3 after she becomes the Governrs slu - erm, partner]]. She spends the rest of the season trying to prove herself as a powerful, diplomatic leader in Woodbury. She has moments, but overall, no one really takes her seriously, and her actions throughout the season - such as abandoning Michonne for a stranger and repeatedly defending the Governor ''despite'' knowing about his unstable tendencies - cause her to be labelled as TheScrappy by most fans. Eventually, all of her indecision and poor choice in loyalty culminate in [[spoiler: [[AlasPoorScrappy her death]]]].
* ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'': [[MilesGloriosus Mac brags about being a badass constantly]] as well as knowing karate [[WhatTheFuAreYouDoing which he doesn't]]. Mac also likes his {{Action Hero}}es [[EscapistCharacter muscular and tough-looking]] and not just for the [[PerverseSexualLust obvious reasons]], [[ArmouredClosetGay though that too]]. However he's too much of a DirtyCoward to fulfill this fantasy of his and live up to his claims.
* Kasumi of ''Series/SamuraiGourmet'' [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructs]] this. He's just trying to enjoy his retirement, and the obstacles to this are usually no more than social awkwardness. Still, when those obstacles arise, it cues the IndulgentFantasySegue where a Sengoku ronin shows him [[WhatWouldXDo how a real samurai would handle the situation]]. This tends to inspire him ''toward'' action, but not always all the way, since real life is real life.

* Parodied in the song "Girl All The Bad Guys Want" by Bowling for Soup
* Music/JohnnyCash song ''Folsom Prison Blues'', where the protagonist has shot a man in Reno "just to watch him die".
** Also ''Don't Take Your Guns to Town'' by same artist, which song ends in tragedy.
* Deconstructed in Immortal Technique's song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dRgYd5Mxs0&feature=related "Dance With the Devil."]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* {{Deconstruct|ion}}ed with Solid Snake in ''Franchise/MetalGear''. Snake is badass all right, but at tremendous cost to his own life. He is cynical, bitter, jaded, [[ShellShockedVeteran has a massive case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder]], is so level-headed that many would consider him inhumanly emotionless, is controlled and manipulated by his superiors, and exists as a puppet. Even his free will is brought into question, with Liquid alleging he is controlled by his genes. Unfortunately, this trope is so pervasive that many people who played VideoGame/MetalGearSolid [[MisaimedFandom completely missed the point]] and saw Solid Snake as the ultimate action hero badass and desperately wanted to be him... which resulted in...
** ...Raiden in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2'', an even more savage {{deconstruction}} of this trope than Solid Snake. As an audience proxy character whom the player is encouraged to identify with, he essentially serves as a living lecture to the audience against wanting to be badass by, at the start of his portion of the game, first failing miserably at being badass and then being harassed by his girlfriend because of his emotional distance (a common trait of badassery). Then, in the later portion of the game, it is revealed that he is exceptionally badass. Unfortunately the circumstances through which his badassery was generated [[TrainingFromHell were so excruciatingly traumatic]] that only a complete masochist would want to undergo them. Finally, when the audience gets their [[WishFulfillment wish to be badass fulfilled]], the game begins [[NoFourthWall demolishing the fourth wall]] and reminding the players that they are playing a video game and hence are not really badass at all. During the game, several events and situations occur that directly copy (or are obviously analogous to) segments of the original VideoGame/MetalGearSolid, further forcing the players to ask themselves whether or not they truly wish to be like Solid Snake (because being like Snake would not be nice, fun, heroic or awesome). If that weren't bleedingly obvious enough, the game's plot involves [[spoiler: the entire game being a simulation of the events of the original game, designed to turn the player-character into Solid Snake!]].
* Cloud Strife in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' is a {{deconstruction}} of this trope as well (in addition to attacking the audience for having this wish in the first place). Cloud so wanted to be badass that [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything he deluded himself into living in a fantasy world where he was an elite super-soldier]], all to impress the ladies. [[GoMadFromTheRevelation The revelation of this delusion resulted]] in [[HeroicBSOD a cataclysmic nervous breakdown]] as well as having to save the world from an OmnicidalManiac. Unlike with Raiden, the audience does eventually get its WishFulfillment.
** Cloud is at his most badass when hes not trying to be.
* Mocked in a frequently forwarded webcomic stereotyping the three major current gen console users:
-->'''Xbox 360 users:''' "[[RatedMForManly I want to be manly, for in reality I am not.]]"\\
'''Playstation 3 users:''' "[[{{Bishonen}} I want to be pretty, for in reality I am not.]]"\\
'''Wii users:''' "[[GrowingUpSucks I never want to grow up!]]"
* ''VideoGame/IWannaBeTheGuy''.
* This is the reason Hammer from ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' [[spoiler: [[FaceHeelTurn eventually turns evil]]. In the end he's practically the only one on your team who isn't superpowered in some way, and this weighs heavily upon him.]]
* Deconstructed in both [[Franchise/MassEffect Mass Effect 1 and 2]] by both Corporal [[LeeroyJenkins Jenkins]] and Conrad Verner. In the case of Jenkins, he has a highly ''romanticized'' image of what it means to be a soldier, and when he actually goes on the first major mission in the game, he's gunned down and killed in minutes. In the case of Conrad Verner, he's more [[ButtMonkey played for laughs]] and is a TakeThat [[ThisLoserIsYou of the players.]]
* Carver from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''. He suffers from a massive inferiority complex due to his twin sister having magic, and his [[PlayerCharacter older sibling]] either also being a Mage or [[OvershadowedByAwesome just a better fighter than he is]]. Much of his interactions with the other party members revolve around him (rather unsuccessfully) trying to prove he can be more than just Hawke's kid brother. Depending on the player's choices, these issues can get either better or worse as the story progresses.
** In two of the game's DownloadableContent, he can serve as a GuestStarPartyMember, and is generally OlderAndWiser. Carver may even [[CharacterDevelopment say that he misses adventuring with Hawke, and be confidant enough to explicitly patronize]] ''his older brother/sister''.
** The whole game deconstructs this audience desire (as well as the concept of the BigBad). Yes, [[PlayerCharacter Hawke]] becomes insanely badass, to the point of being an in-universe MemeticBadass, but [[spoiler: s/he is also partially responsible (inadvertently) for some of the most disastrous events in the plot, and may lose everything s/he has fought for and everyone s/he cares about.]]
* This is ''the'' defining trait of the Chaos Hero from ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI''; having been bullied and abused all his life, he just wants to gain enough power to stand on his own and not have to rely on anyone, even if he has to [[spoiler:sacrifice his humanity]] to get there. This is a core principle of the chaos alignment - survival of the strongest.
* The ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' series has Riku, who swung this way in his younger days. He just wanted to be strong enough to protect his friends. Ten years later, growing dreams of glory and adventure made him swing more towards IJustWantToBeSpecial.
** Terra of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' so desperately wishes for this that it [[spoiler:makes him very easy to manipulate by [[BigBad Master Xehanort]],]] and as a result causes several tragic moments throughout the game. Incidentally, he directly interacts with young Riku.
* {{Deconstruct|ion}}ed in ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine''. In a similar vein to the aforementioned Cloud Strife above, Capt. Martin Walker, the PlayerCharacter, is told by Col. John Konrad [[spoiler:who is actually personification of his own guilt over actions he's undertaken because of this need]] that trying to feed this desire through fiction is pathetic and delusional. Many of the relevant lines of dialog are implicitly [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou aimed at the player as much as at Martin]].
* ''Videogame/FireEmblem:''
** Ross, Amelia, and Ewan from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones'' are three youngsters who join an army of badasses with zero fighting experience themselves. All three of them begin ''very'' weak physically, and express a desire to better themselves. It's a rather known fact among the fandom that if you choose to train them, they become blessed with MagikarpPower and end up as freaking powerhouses. In short, Ross, Amelia, and Ewan are three cases of "I Just Want to Be Badass" who [[TookALevelInBadass more than get their wish]].
** ''[[Videogame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]]'' and its sequel ''Radiant Dawn'' has Reyson, one of the [[{{Bishonen}} very beautiful]] and very frail princes of the [[{{Animorphism}} heron tribe]]. In his support conversations with the protagonist Ike, Reyson reveals that he at times ''despised'' himself for his inability to fight after the human nation Begnion massacred the heron tribe and all but destroyed their home, Serenes Forest. He was jealous of his caretaker, the [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority immensely powerful king]] of the Hawk laguz tribe, Tibarn, and tried to toughen himself up by force so that [[PayEvilUntoEvil he'd be able to one day take revenge on humans]]...only to make himself sick in the process. He mostly came to terms with his status as a NonActionGuy, seeing as he is able to [[SupportPartyMember help out through singing]] his magical galdrs, which do things like heal allies, cure them of harmful conditions, and grant them {{Extra Turn}}s.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', Jaune Arc is angry that he's PluckyComicRelief and wants to be a great warrior like his [[FamousAncestor legendary war-hero great-great grandfather]]. He at first rejects Pyrrha Nikos' offer to train him because he thinks if he can't succeed on his own then it doesn't count, but eventually relents. The training starts to have results, but he's still leagues below everybody else.
** Ironically, even though he isn't a great fighter, he still demonstrates a lot of tactical prowess - in Episode 8, he does a fantastic job of directing Pyrrha, Ren and Nora in their battle against the Deathstalker, taking advantage of their skills and personal strengths to methodically take the scorpion monster apart. This is in contrast to our plucky heroines on Team RWBY, who rely on one of Ruby's {{Indy Ploy}}s and a ''lot'' of TeethClenchedTeamwork. He's also a NiceGuy with a kind heart, who is willing to step up and protect not only his teammates but even horrible people who antagonise him. Jaune ''is'' a badass, it's just he undervalues himself due to his lack of physical prowess.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Tedd in ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive''. Especially after he felt weak about something [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2003-12-22 far worse than a school bully]]. His attempts look [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2011-09-30 less badass and more adorable than he'd like to.]] But at the same time he tries to circumvent his [[UnSorcerer powerless status]] and back from the {{foreshadowing}} [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2004-08-24 dream]] we know he can accept becoming more like his apparently EvilOverlord counterpart in AlternateUniverse, if he needs [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2011-10-07 this]] to fight back.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/ThaliasMusings'', Thalia speculates that this is her sister [[TeamMom Calliope's]] reason for dating [[WarGod Ares]], the Pantheon's resident DumbMuscle. That, and [[MrFanservice Ares is hot]].
* ''Website/TheArtOfManliness'' recognizes and deconstructs this trope. It gives advice to men about what it means to be masculine/badass while deflating some of the more immature ideas some have about being manly.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Tuffy Smurf of ''TheSmurfs'' wants to be just like Hefty Smurf, and will prove himself to be like him constantly by doing some daring things that usually put the other Smurfs in danger.
* Sokka from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' is revealed to be this when, in a season three episode, he admits to feeling incredibly weak and unimportant [[ElementalPowers alongside the others in the group]].
* Rainbow Dash from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is motivated by this, most commonly demonstrated by her desire to join the Wonderbolts, an elite team of fliers. This is despite the fact that she's part of a group that is regularly called upon to save the world, and the filly Scootaloo wants to be just like her when she grows up.
* Pulverizer in ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012'', he wanted to be a ninja like the turtles, but he stinks at it that he can't even do a descent move right and was too lazy to try training to improve his skills or physique. He managed to join the Foot Clan who use him as CannonFodder, and then he thought he could be like the turtles by dousing himself with mutagen, instead he became a horrible blob monster so in a way he got what he wanted.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* You, me and everyone else wants to become a badass too.
** Unless you truly ''are'' badass.
* Military recruiters have a tendency to use this to their advantage.
* Anyone who has ever dreamed of, let alone, tried, skydiving. ''Ever''.
* This came up A LOT when commentators were trying to interpret George Zimmerman's motivations after he killed Trayvon Martin.
* Some people who take up sports have this trope in their mindset by proving to others how much of a badass they are through competition. This is especially prominent in sports like MMA or boxing, where one gets to prove their badass creds by defeating another in combat.