Action Girlfriend

Ron, stop checking out Kim and focus!

"Oh, oops, I forgot to leave some for Kenichi again."
Miu, after beating up all the bad guys herself...again

It starts with an ordinary guy living an ordinary life then he meets a woman who changes his life forever. Unlike a typical Magical Girlfriend, the series is more about her kicking butt and taking names than causing hilarity to ensue. The story might be told through the guy's eyes, but as often as not she's the real star.

Fortunately for the guy, this doesn't mean she's completely out of his league. In fact, meeting her usually means the Ordinary High-School Student isn't so ordinary himself. That first fateful encounter will probably end up granting him special powers, or unlocking powers he didn't know he had. Maybe he did know, but didn't have a reason to use them.

In shows where Anyone Can Die, an Action Girlfriend has much higher chances of survival than most other love interests, since she is rarely subject to Cartwright Curse. In this case, they might become a Battle Couple.

She's likely to become an Action Mom, if she and her boyfriend marry and have kids, or if she becomes a parental surrogate. Contrast: No Guy Wants an Amazon. Compare with Violently Protective Girlfriend.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The title character of Shakugan no Shana, who helps Yuji discover that he bears the spiritual treasure Reiji Maigo.
  • From the Nasuverse is Ryougi Shiki of Kara no Kyoukai, who is the love interest of Non-Action Guy Kokutou Mikiya.
  • Revy from Black Lagoon, who kidnaps Rock for ransom from his boring life in Japan. Although she definitely did not get any weaker, and they're not confirmed to be a couple...yet.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Ryoko. Ayeka as well, but her refined nature prevents it from dominating her personality.
  • Burst Angel started out like this, but then the apparent "main character" was Put on a Bus...
  • Ennis in Baccano!. Granted, Firo's life was pretty interesting before the life-changing encounter, but the addition of Immortality and alchemy is still pretty sweet.
  • Mirai Nikki certainly has fun with this trope. Almost immediately after stumbling into The Game, Yukiteru encounters Yuno Gasai, a beautiful girl in his class who makes it her top priority to protect him from harm (and does pretty damn well, to boot). The catch? She's batshit frickin' insane, and at even her most "sane" moments likes to break into his house or send him hundreds of emails over the course of an hour.
  • Miu from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Kenichi repeatedly vows to protect her, despite the fact that she's still a more skilled fighter than he is. Eventually he comes close and has actively protected her several times when she was sick or disabled. Still, her Grandfather won't let him date her unless he can beat him in a fight. Said Grandfather is an Old Master.
  • Tokiko in Busou Renkin is this to ordinary high school guy Kazuki Muto - the series starts out with her resurrecting him from the dead after he got killed on the spot by one of the series' "homunculus" (evil demon things) and later kills the creature. She becomes Kazuki's mentor, and a little later becomes severely weakened due to a parasitic demon-infested probe, with Kazuki saving her life. He eventually surpasses her in power.
  • The Korean version Mazinger Z, Robot Taekwon V, has Yoon as a badass action girlfriend to Kim Hoon.
  • A good half of Yuuto's Unwanted Harem in Omamori Himari qualify, though Himari herself is the most obvious example. Yuuto himself has yet to actually fight, though he has the potential to equal or surpass all of the girls when he finishes his training.
  • Merry to Yumeji from Yumekui Merry could count; according to Isana, Merry does indeed like Yumeji, she just isn't fully aware of it.
  • Change 123 offers an interesting case where the girlfriend of the Non-Action Guy protagonist has three split personalities which are, each on her own way, Action Girls, but the main personality (whom he loves the most) is a Shrinking Violet.
  • In Black Butler, Elizabeth is revealed to be one. Wife of the Queen's Watchdog, indeed.
  • Though not his girlfriend yet, Seine of Hekikai No Ai ON is this to Tatsuya. She's the girl he had a crush on and she has been kicking ass since 300 years ago.
  • Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Haruka's badass side is rarely seen but the first time Yuto saw her angry, he decided he must never enrage her.
  • Yuu and Haruna of Kore wa Zombie desu ka?. The former revives Ayumu as a zombie and the latter inadvertently turns him into a Mahou Shoujo.
  • The many Magical Girlfriends of Sekirei are this by default, since they're battle aliens romantically involved with Puny Earthlings.
  • Gender aside, Full Metal Panic!'s Sousuke Sagara fits this archetype down to the letter, serving as the Troubled, but Cute (and completely out of his depth) covert bodyguard to Ordinary High-School Student and Audience Surrogate, Kaname Chidori.
  • Subverted by Ran Mouri from Detective Conan. She is Shinichi's Love Interest and an Action Girl but he's stuck as Conan and she's not aware of it... therefore, whenever she goes Mama Bear on anyone that threatens him, she doesn't know she's actually defending her "not"-boyfriend.
  • The title character of Iczer-One is a Yuri version of this, a battle android who seeks out Ordinary High-School Student Nagisa as her partner to fight invading aliens.
  • Played with in Sands of Destruction, where Morte is constantly forced to be violently protective of Non-Action Guy Kyrie, though their feelings towards each other are not explicitly stated until the end of the series, where it's clear they've fallen for each other at some point along the line.
  • Variable Geo: Washio is an everyman in a World of Action Girls, so he's fortunate that one of 'em happens to be his boss... and (secretly) his girlfriend: Reimi Jahana. As in, the two-time defending champion of the VG Tournament, who's the favorite to win for a third year in a row.
  • Cutey Honey is the quintessential anime version of this trope in every incarnation, particularly to her love interest Seiji, who is an ordinary journalist or reporter. Almost all of her male allies are no match for Honey's enemies and she usually ends up having to rescue them or bail them out of trouble.

    Comic Books 
  • Although they're a Battle Couple too, girlfriend Ramona Flowers does end up fighting some enemies that boyfriend Scott Pilgrim doesn't want to fight (those enemies being women), something both of which Ramona and his enemies call him out for being a pussy on.
    • The first instance was in a bonus comic where Ramona had to help Scott fight. The main instance was against Roxanne Richter, Ramona's 4th evil-ex. In Scott's defense, his hesitance on fighting her was heavily implied due to the fact that she was armed with a sword and Scott wasn't.
  • Anyone who shacks up with Wonder Woman is going to fall into this trope, save maybe for Superman or Batman. Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman's golden age whipping boy, was a World War II U.S. intelligence officer, but couldn't exactly hold his own against Greek gods, sorceresses, or several hundred feet tall women.
  • DC Comics also has Big Barda and Mr. Miracle, two New Gods from the planet Apokolips. While Mr. Miracle isn't a pushover (the man regularly escaped deathtraps designed by Darkseid), Barda used to run the Female Furies, an all-female Apokoliptan strike team. Oh, and she's canonically almost as strong as Superman.
  • As seen below, Fox to Wesley in Wanted. Portrayed differently in the comics, where the characters are DC supervillain pastiches, and Fox is quite clearly Halle Berry cosplaying Catwoman, sent by Wesley's not-quite-dead father to make a man out of the geek.
  • The Invisible Woman has graduated to this, after being introduced as a rather... young love interest for Mr. Fantastic. Now that Reed Richards has evolved into the absent-minded superprofessor, Sue Storm has become the definition of Team Mama Bear.

    Fan Works 

    Film 
  • Leeloo from The Fifth Element. Although Corben Dallas was already a trained soldier before she fell into his cab, it still gave him a reason to come out of retirement for one last mission.
  • The Matrix: Trinity
  • My Super Ex-Girlfriend, except it's the guy's current girl-friend who gets the powers.
  • Wanted has the geeky protagonist receive assistance from Angelina Jolie (playing Fox, but really playing herself) transform him into a ninja assassin.

    Literature 
  • In the science fiction series, Alterien, Helena served in this role. She's skilled in Capoeira and she's also an Alterien. Titania later served in this role with the same qualifications.
  • Ixchel in Astral Dawn serves in this role for Caspian. In addition to being a goddess of the moon, love and virtility, Ixchel is a master combatant. She even trains Caspian in spiritual combat.
  • Jody Stroud from Bloodsucking Fiends, a freshly turned vampire that enlists fresh-from-Indiana nightshift store manager to ease the adjustment to bloodsucking and enforced nocturnalism.
  • Ludmilla Leonovna, in David Weber's The Apocalypse Troll, fits this trope to an extent, though as with Leeloo (above), her male love interest was a bad-ass himself before they met — a U.S. Navy captain who rose to that rank through the SEAL teams. It's just that she's an immortal Super Soldier from The Future...
  • Katniss and Peeta start The Hunger Games series as a Battle Couple. By Catching Fire, Katniss has slowly becomes this to Peeta's increasingly Non-Action Guy status. Especially apparent during the Quarter Quell.
  • Most female Wizards from the The Dresden Files - special mention to Elaine and Warden Commander Luccio, both for the protagonist.
    • Also for Harry, badass cop Karrin Murphy and reporter Susan Rodriguez, after she's turned into a proto-vampire.
  • Kitai, of Codex Alera. In. Freaking. Spades. Only in the finale could Tavi possibly match her in direct badassery, except that he's her totem animal and they mutually gain power through that bond.
    • Any female character, really. If she's important enough to be included by name, she can hold her own against 99% of the populace in raw furycraft or swordswomanship.
      • This is a general trend in Jim Butcher's books - he's very gender-blind in assigning badassness, and many of his main characters have plausible romances with at least one other main character.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Annabeth to Percy in the first book, as she's been training for years while he's only just discovered he's a demigod and relies mostly on his natural powers. By the time they actually get together, he's more than caught up and is a Bad Ass all of his own. He's still happy to admit there are some areas, particularly battle strategy, where she's more skilled than him.
  • Kahlan Amnell of the Sword of Truth, especially before Richard learns how to properly use his sword and magic. After that, they're more of a Battle Couple She's also much better at tactics, even though he's more inspiring and has a better grasp of strategy.
    • Others' fear of Kahlan's power prevented her from developing any sort of relationship, including romantic ones. Richard fell for her before he knew how dangerous she was, and she was very surprised that he didn't care.
    • Cara to General Benjamin, forming a very heartwarming Battle Couple.
    • Nicci, first to Jagang (for very squicky values of "relationship"), and later, unrequited to Richard.
  • Any female Channeler in The Wheel of Time is this all over the place.
    • Special mention to Egwene, Nynaeve, and many of the Green Ajah who are in love with their Warders, forming many a Battle Couple.
    • Elayne, Aviendha, and Min would be this if their boyfriend wasn't the Dragon Reborn, the series's designated badass. It's not even a polygamous Battle Couple, it's entirely possible that he's a physical incarnation of the Creator himself.
    • Tuon for Mat. She looks like a pampered doll, but she's had combat training and faced assassination attempts since she was little. All her really extravagant clothes have loose pants and a tunic underneath it. The last three books are her slowly realizing that she's the Battle Couple variant of this trope.
    • Birgitte Silverbow, in a reincarnating Battle Couple with Gaidal Cain, though she's by far the better known of the couple.
  • Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mage Knight: Sabrina is this for Danny. She's his crush and a Lightborn drake that draws him into the world of knights and monsters.
  • Jenny from The Truth of Rock and Roll, as the local Jerk Jock discovered to his regret when he tried to bully her boyfriend.
  • Most girls in Discworld. Special mention goes to Angua von Uberwald, werewolf cop and Action Girl.
  • Zanna Martindale to David Rain in The Last Dragon Chronicles.
  • The warrior Thorn to the cloth merchant Spendwell in Frostflower and Thorn. Though she's more of a sex interest to him than a love interest, really.

    Live Action TV 
  • Sarah, from Chuck.
  • Farscape. Aeryn Sun, with John Crichton as the ordinary guy, at least until he Took a Level in Badass/Craziness.
  • The younger version of Mary Winchester from Supernatural would count as this trope, since it was revealed that she used to be a hunter herself even before John had learned about the existence of monsters and demons.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand: When Sura was being attacked and Spartacus shows up and starts killing her attackers, does she run and hide? Hell no! She picks up a sword and kills one herself!
  • Doctor Who: Rory might be the Whoniverse's resident Badass, but he doesn't exactly like the adventurous lifestyle. His wife Amy is far more gung ho about going on adventures. She even saved Rory's life several times.
    • In the same vein, River Song, the aforementioned couple's daughter and eventual wife of the Doctor is certainly more actiony compared to the main protagonist. While the Doctor would solve problems with his brains, River would solve them with some feminine charm and a gun.

    Video Games 
  • Tengaar from Suikoden I. She and her boyfriend Hix live in a town with a very rich warrior culture. He doesn't like fighting, but she's more than determined to "make a man out of him". While she's less of a physical warrior, she's also an pretty good knife thrower, and an excellent magician.
  • Final Fantasy VII: After Tifa consummated her feelings for Cloud "Beneath the Highwind", they officially became a Battle Couple. While in the cgi film sequel, she becomes a full-fledged action mom, by fighting Loz to defend Marleen, and later, protects Denzel from a group of Shadow Creepers (seen at 2:35-2:45).
  • Princess Sapphire. Although Almaz is certainly no slouch in combat ability, its clearly obvious that Sapphire is the stronger warrior. It should be noted however that Sapphire's primary affinity (based on stats and evilities) is towards ranged combat while Almaz is a close combat fighter.
  • Elaine Marley is this to Guybrush Threepwood in Monkey Island. Still, Guybrush is pretty competent in Insult-related duels, but as an Adventure Game protagonist relies more on his wits.
  • If the player chooses Shepard to be female and romances Kelly in Mass Effect 2. Or Samantha Traynor in Mass Effect 3.
    • Really fem!Shep counts as this no matter who she ends up romancing, considering she is by far the most badass person in the galaxy, let alone the squad.
    • All of the female squadmember romance options are quite capable of holding their own in a fight. Special notes go to Liara and Ashley who can be of the violently protective sort.
  • In Sands of Destruction, Morte and Kyrie form a Battle Couple about halfway through, though his infatuation with her was obvious from the start. While he's capable in a fight, he'd really rather talk things out if possible; she just pulls out her BFS and starts swinging.

    Visual Novels 
  • Saber, Rin and Sakura in their respective routes in Fate/stay night.
  • Arcueid Brunestud from Tsukihime, who gives Shiki a reason to use his Mystic Eyes of Death Perception and pretty much transforms him from an everyman to an incredibly broken badass.
    • To a certain extent, Ciel counts in the game.
    • Akiha would count except that in the route where she gets some real action, she's not the girlfriend. Also, while she could kill you in 2 seconds, she has no real battle experience.
  • Akai Ito: Hatou Kei's girlfriend does all the fighting for her. Good for her.
  • Depending on the boyfriend - it's a dating sim - Hiyoko of Hatoful Boyfriend can be this or half of a Battle Couple. In the first game there's little chance to explore this, but in the second she makes up for that and repeatedly acts the bruiser for her less vigorously athletic male companions.

    Webcomics 
  • Hungary/Elizaveta from Axis Powers Hetalia is this to Austria, although crossed with Violently Protective Girlfriend. While she's a potent Action Girl in her own right, it's never a good idea to mess with her ex-husband/boyfriend.
  • In Girly, officer Hipbone is this to Policeguy when he's not fighting too. An old opponent faced him when he had retired from the force (and thus couldn't get into fights without ending up in trouble), so she fought for him. The guy tried to mock him for this, but Policeguy just sat back and enjoyed the show.
  • In Agents of the Realm, Jordan is this for Mackenzie, although both are girls and Mackenzie doesn't know about it.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: Leela to Fry since they got together.
  • Kim Possible: Kim is the Hero Protagonist and Ron is her sidekick, eventually becoming her boyfriend.
  • After season 12 of South Park, it seems very likely that Wendy will become one of these for Stan when she grows up.