Damsel In Distress: Anime and Manga

  • Shirayuki of Akagami no Shirayukihime occasionally falls into this category, though as a Plucky Girl she doesn't take it lying down and tends to try to do something about it herself. Played completely straight during the Tanburn arc, where she is not only kidnapped, but then kidnapped from her kidnappers.
  • In Bleach
    • Rukia Kuchiki gets to be the Damsel in Distress in the Soul Society arc, despite the fact that she was a bit of an Action Girl in previous episodes.She agreed to go because she knew she'd be executed for giving her powers to a human... and Rukia wanted to die in the first place. Despite her Quickly Demoted Woman status, it could be argued that Rukia was actually just a Badass in Distress... for a really long time.
    • In the Arrancar and Hueco Mundo arcs, Orihime Inoue. She went with Sosuke Aizen willingly to protect her friends right after they got their asses kicked by the Arrancar (had she not gone, they would've been killed and Karakura would've been destroyed right on the spot)... The story arc is NOT shy about showing the tremendous emotional and physical strain it brings on her to the extreme of causing her a Heroic BSOD that almost made her cross the Despair Event Horizon; sure, Ichigo and Ishida manage to reach for her, but things go wrong immediately afterwards, and before that she was throughly abused by Loly, Menoly, Nnoitora and Ulquiorra, among others. It takes Orihime almost a year to fully get over the horrible effects of her imprisonment.
  • Both in Burst Angel's anime and manga, this is the official duty of Meg. And invariably Jo goes tilt every time the thing happens.
  • In the anime of Chrono Crusade, Rosette takes on this role towards the end in the series. In the manga, Azmaria tends to play this role the entire time.
  • In Code Geass R2, when Kallen is captured and becomes a hostage for 1/3 of the season, Lelouch is swearing to rescue her. She is then put in a plexi-glass cage and given a frilly, cleavage heavy dress. Kallen is by far the show's number one Action Girl, Lelouch's personal bodyguard and one of the deadliest pilots in the CG universe, thus she re-affirms all three facts within moments of being rescued.
    • Instead of a Rescue Arc, Kallen's time as a Prisoner Of War is used as Character Development. She not only interacts with Nunnally and sees a different side of Lelouch through her, but also gets to punch Suzaku while wearing said frilly, cleavage heavy dress, which makes Suzaku realize he is Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. She ends up in a mini-Trauma Conga Line version of this as not long after the battle over Tokyo comes to its disastrous conclusion, during which she was finally freed from her imprisonment, she ends up back in distress again, as she tries to defend Lelouch, who she has been used to bait into a betrayal from her fellow Black Knights. Her comrades accuse her of being under Lelouch's geass. When he realizes Schneizel is behind this, it takes Lelouch shooing her off with a fake admission to using them all in order to save her.
  • Aura's kidnapping is the drive behind most of volume 2 and 3 of Corsair, however, being a Plucky Girl she doesn't act overly distressed about it or her impending execution, and when Ayace finally shows up to rescue her, her reaction is: "You're late!"
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist,
    • Winry is taken "hostage" by the military after Ed and Al discover the truth about the homunculi. Although Winry has no idea, if Ed and Al do something the government doesn't like, then the powers-that-be will kill her. To save her, they end up north, near Briggs, and enlist the unlikely help of Scar, the man who'd murdered her parents, by pretending to have him kidnap her. Granted, the fake kidnapping part of the plan was Winry's own idea, so she half rescued herself...
    • This dirty little trick was played off on Roy and Riza as well: the same situation was setup with Riza, to make sure Roy didn't act up. However, she's more of a Badass in Distress here because despite being a hostage, she knows it isn't fazed by it in the slightest. She remains courageous to the point where she can confront Selim Bradley about his secret identity as the homunculus Pride, and then use her position as a hostage to prevent him from killing her on the spot.
  • In the later Full Metal Panic! novels, Action Girl Kaname turns into an extreme Damsel in Distress. She may have more or less given up for a while after the events of Continuing On My Own, but it's only a temporary thing, and it's not that long before she starts to regain some of her old vigor and determination. After that she ends up being more or less mind controlled by Sophia aka the First Whispered Ever, but that's a bit of a different matter.
  • Future Diaries
  • Lampshaded in GUN×SWORD when Van asks Wendy "Why do you keep getting caught?" (As it happens, she keeps getting in trouble because she's not afraid to mouth off to the villain of the week . . . which usually pisses off said villain.)
  • Lyra/Kitty from Kimba the White Lion.
  • Nao from the Liar Game starts off as this, extremely naive and crying whenever someone who she put her trust in (even if she shouldn't) deceived her and always relying constantly on Akiyama to help her. But she matured and now, she's quite a force to be reckoned with, using her honest character to trick others, even deceiving Magnificent Bastards Yokoya and Akiyama on separate occasions without either of them realizing it until afterwards.
  • Lupin III: Clarisse, Murasaki, Fujiko (sometimes)... The character trope was used back in the Manga, and is expected to occur. There's one in pretty much every Lupin movie or TV special, in fact. See the Animated Films page.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: Let's see... a Mysterious Waif who's below the Competence Zone and happens to be the daughter of the main character? Yup, Vivio was destined for this role the moment she was introduced. With her now actively training on her powers, and another Time Skip putting her into the Competence Zone's minimum age, she likely won't end up as Damsel in Distress again.
  • Subverted in Magic Knight Rayearth, as a part of the Twist Ending of the first season. The girls thought that Princess Emeraude was the Damsel in Distress. She actually had the power to break through Zagato's prison all the time... but didn't do it because she was in love with him since they met. And because she was the real Big Bad. Who summoned the girls to KILL her, and Zagato kidnapped her to save her from them. The problem was solved in the end. Very dramatically.
  • Happens several times in Mahou Sensei Negima! First is Konoka during the Kyoto arc, but that's a Justified Trope since she had not waken up her own powers and she didn't have any similar to self-defense training. Then a demon captures Asuna. Lastly, Asuna and Anya are held captive by Fate. Unfortunately, the rest of the team is unaware of this, as Asuna is replaced by a doppelganger, and Anya is MIA to begin with.
  • Invoked in Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Maria Louise really wants to play the Damsel part so her Knight in Shining Armor George De Sand will come to her rescue, so she gets Domon to help her plan her own kidnapping so he can fight George, who refused to duel with Domon per Honor Before Reason motifs. It backfires spectacularly. Not only does the far more Genre Savvy George deduce their plan right from the start, but he also delivers a "What the Hell, Hero?" speech to Maria as he and Domon fight. Maria and Rain Mikamura barely escape with their lives from the battlefield and, as punishment, Maria is sent back to Neo France until the Neo Hong Kong arc.
  • Relena Peacecraft from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is falsely accused by her detractors of being one. Since she's an Actual Pacifist she never fought her way out guns blazing, but she wasn't a Damsel Scrappy either, actually trying to talk down her captors in the three instances where she's in enemy hands throughout the anime (by Romefeller late in the TV show, White Fang near the end, and Mariemaia's in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz) even showing her Guile Hero chops by turning the first instance into a massive payoff. She once even dissuaded Heero from killing or harming her with words alone.
  • Monster
    • Realizing that Johan has plans to meet up with (and presumably do horrible, unspeakable things to) his estranged twin sister, Nina, Tenma rushes off to rescue her. The thing is, in the rush, the good doctor seems to have not accounted for two things — 1) Being mostly a Non-Action Guy, he is woefully unprepared for things like a crazed lackey stabbing him in the face with garden shears and 2) Nina is pretty damn awesome in the art of Aikido, which she immediately demonstrates by saving him. Looks like she didn't need your help after all, Tenma. Too bad the same couldn't be said for her parents...
    • Also played straight with Eva when she is rescued from The Baby by Martin
  • One Piece: Nico Robin twice.
    • Most of Enies Lobby is a Rescue Arc where the Straw Hats are fighting the CP 9 to save Robin. However, her status as a damsel in distress is justified by the fact that she willingly let herself get captured. She felt she had to die, so she surrendered to the World Government. Plus, although she was bound with Seastone by the time she regained the will to live, she still tried her best to escape, and the only reason she failed was because Spandam kept using Funkfreed to keep her in line. She started fighting back the moment she was freed from the Seastone.
    • The second time was when Bartholomew Kuma blasted her to Tequila Wolf, where she was forced to work as a slave. But in this case, she was saved by Revolutionaries more or less instantly and was not bound with Seastone anyway, making her status as "distressed" questionable at best.
  • In Otoyomegatari, Mr. Smith's refusal to marry Talas out of pity meets bewilderment: Saving her is what a man does, right?
  • Pokémon:
    • Pikachu often gets itselfnote  caught in Team Rocket's traps. However, it often gets itself out, so this is an aversion.
    • Nearly every character, male of female, had a turn as this. Amusingly, the Team Rocket trio themselves might actually be one of the most recurring examples.
    • In Pokémon Special, Platinum initially seems to be the living embodiment of the trope, as she rarely goes ANYWHERE without getting herself into trouble. It was so obvious that Diamond was able to point out and lampshade this only after 4 chapters into the story; most anime and manga characters don't realise this sort of thing ever.
    • A Gardevoir actually serves as the damsel in the episode where Hunter J makes her first appearance.
  • Generally played straight in Ranma ˝ with Akane. Two plotlines in the 38-volume manga (and two of the movies) involve her Bound and Gagged and in need of rescue. A good number of the other girls fall prey to this throughout the series, and the entire female cast winds up like this in the second tie in movie. Ranma himself holds the Distress Ball (both in male and female forms) more than once and needs someone from his harem to rescue him.
  • Deconstructed in Revolutionary Girl Utena. Many shows have DID girls who go through Hell and back, but remain sweet and nice and without many psychological marks because many writers won't know what to do. Utena points out that in RL, people of both genders stuck in these roles will stop being "pure" and "sweet" and start acting more passive-aggressive and manipulative, if they're forced into situations where they can't seize direct power. This is very obvious in the cases of Shiori Takatsuki (looks sweet and gentle and demure, but is very malicious and has horrible self-esteem since her "best friend" Juri is a beautiful and strong Lady of War), Kozue Kaoru (repeatedly gets herself in trouble and flirts/sleeps with other guys to catch the attention of her twin older brother and "prince", Miki), and specially Anthy Himemiya (once performed a huge sacrifice, paid the price by both suffering immense physical pain and becoming a passive figure as the Rose Bride, ultimately became a mix of Broken Bird and puppet to her Manipulative Bastard brother Akio a.k.a. Dios aka End of the World) and Utena Tenjou (she's not one since the beginning, but her insecurities and naiveté more than once play quite a part into shoving her close to the "role") This is not to say that Being Tortured Makes You Evil, or that it's stupid to be remain nice after a tragedy. It's just pointing out a general trend: if weakness is imposed on people, it will bring consequences.
  • Done twice in Rosario + Vampire, once to Mizore through an Arranged Marriage, once to Moka for being a Living MacGuffin. In Moka's case, it's actually both this and Badass in Distress, depending on which of her personalities we're talking about.
  • Naru Osaka of Sailor Moon needs to be saved from a Monster of the Week attack fairly regularly, to the point where it gets frequently lampshaded in Fan Fiction.
  • Saori Kido in Saint Seiya. Often hir role in the story is be kidnapped or offers herself as a hostage to save her friends. Despite that she is the goddess Athena!
  • Cho Kanan, Lirin, and Yaone all hold their own separate moments in Saiyuki. Both Yaone and Lirin being saved successfully by Kougaiji. And Kanan becoming the traditional Disposable Woman.
  • Samurai Champloo: Given the number of times that Fuu ends up getting kidnapped, she made a good investment in saving the two male leads to be her bodyguards. Considering how most of the kidnappings were all just random encounters, you wonder why she wasn't more concerned with separating from them. This was lampshaded in an old "Anime Insider" magazine, which featured a match-up pitting Fuu against Excel and Hyatt in an eating contest. On her stats, Fuu's pet peeve is listed as "getting kidnapped."
  • Akiko in Shonen Onmyouji gets her moment when a group of demons kidnap her in order to use her blood to heal their master, as well as lead Masahiro into a trap. Of course in the end either Masahiro or Akiko would have been enough to heal their master, but Masahiro has some pretty steller spiritual powers in terms of combat so is more of a threat.
    • She was pretty much asking for it really. She followed Masahiro out at night, despite the fact that Masahiro had specifically directed her to stay in her room so she could be protected by the spiritual barrier his grandfather had erected.
  • Subverted in Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie, where it becomes clear over time that Sara is just pretending to be Robotnik's hostage.
  • Subverted regularly in Sonic X, most notably with the episode Young Girls Jungle Trap where the female characters are captured multiple times — and get out of it entirely by themselves multiple times, too.
  • Played with in Spice and Wolf. Holo isn't a Damsel in Distress - in fact her counterpart Lawrence usually takes the part of the Distressed Dude - but she's Genre Savvy enough to be well aware of the trope. She jokes around with Lawrence about him liking meek women he could comfort, and enthusiastically play-acts the part for him in jest. She even fools Amati into being her Knight in Shining Armor, largely for kicks. When she's genuinely crushed by the revelation that Yoitsu has been destroyed, she bitterly accuses Lawrence of hiding it from her because he liked seeing her helpless and ignorant.
  • In the second arc of Sword Art Online, Asuna is still trapped in cyberspace in a different game under control of a domineering Game Master. While said Game Master has had months to wear her down and use his admin privileges to stop any plot she devises, the contrast between her hardcore Action Girl persona in the first arc and the helpless damsel in the second was taken poorly by some fans.
  • Nia generally fits this role in the third and final arc of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The third was justified because she was Brainwashed and Crazy. Once she snaps out of this with the help of Simon however, she fits this trope to a T.
  • In The Castle of Cagliostro, Clarisse is pursued by the Count and one of Lupin's priorities in this story is protecting/rescuing her.
  • Parodied in The Devil King Is Bored when the titular Devil King kidnaps a kingdom's princess because he's, well, bored, and thinks that fighting some heroes would be fun. He even places a portal to hell in the middle of a populated town. With a sign above it that says "Portal to Hell."
  • Rachel from Tower of God, at least twice. Pretty bad track record for a girl who wanted to climb the Tower by herself. Then again, she's learnt a few things or two.
  • Akiko Aoshika from Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest. Haguro tries to invoke this trope with Ryuuko, but she points out that Inugami isn't interested in her.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Anzu falls into this role more than once and is kidnapped, brainwashed, possessed, or has her life endangered by nearly all of the villains in the series. This even carries over to spin-offs, such as Yu-Gi-Oh! R, where she's kidnapped by Yako to be the vessel for Pegasus's resurrection, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Forbidden Memories, where Seto kidnaps her pre-incarnation, Teana. However, in a bit of an out-of-character moment, she invokes the trope once to lure out Dark Yugi in one of the manga's early chapters, putting herself in danger with the Playing Card Bomber.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters has a maiden from a village who is chosen as a sacrifice to the Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

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