->"''Sheldon, is proving that you're single-handedly smarter than everyone else so important that you would rather lose by yourself than win as part of a team? ''"
-->-- '''Leonard''', ''Series/TheBigBangTheory''

Your super team has a habit of getting into trouble -- they're too naive, too inexperienced, and may want to hug the MonsterOfTheWeek instead of hurt it. You could send in a MysteriousProtector to help them out, but you've either done that already or you're saving it for later, and besides, you haven't even filled up all the slots in the team yet! But wait -- what if you could send in your occasional cavalry ''and'' use those character slots?

Enter the Aloof Ally. This ally is explicitly going after the same thing as you for [[SavingTheWorld the same results]], and shows up to help you, being initially stronger. Don't confuse that with being "on your side", though. When the heroes ask them "Why aren't you joining us? We're teammates!", they'll snap and brush them off for being too naive, trusting, and comparatively useless.

The Aloof Ally may reject ThePowerOfFriendship now, but later -- because the heroes keep trying -- they'll end up reevaluating their position and [[SixthRanger join up with the team anyway]]. Sadly, this usually involves a usefulness drop similar to GoodIsDumb. Though if not they may become TheLancer to the main character.

StockPhrases for the Aloof Ally include "IWasJustPassingThrough" and "IDidWhatIHadToDo". A standard pose would be the casual badass [[RebelRelaxation slouch]].

May also be TheRival.

Compare with the EnigmaticMinion, a villainous version. For attitude, compare to {{Tsundere}}. If the "initially stronger" part is badly done, it may result in a GodModeSue.

Compare to WhoNeedsEnemies.



[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Uryuu Ishida likes to pretend he's this. From the moment he and Ichigo first stop being enemies, their classmates notice just how compatible and alike they are. Later on the manga, the VitriolicBestBuds situation between Uryuu and Ichigo becomes a great source of amusement for everyone. Uryuu hates having Orihime point out just how close he and Ichigo have become.
** Byakuya becomes this in the early phase of the Arrancar Arc. On the surface, he follows Yamamoto's orders, but secretly exploits a loophole to ensure Renji and Rukia can get to Hueco Mundo to help Ichigo rescue Orihime which is technically in defiance of Yamamoto's wishes. It also allows Byakuya to maintain his distance from Ichigo [[spoiler: (although much later in the manga he doesn't mind admitting how important Ichigo is to him).]]
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'': C.C. had elements of this, particularly in the beginning of the series, in regards to our ByronicHero, Lelouch. According to her, "their relationship is strictly a contract", although she [[DefrostingIceQueen defrosts]] as the show continues.
* Corrector Ai, in ''Anime/CorrectorYui''. It's mainly because she has her very own personal issues, though.
* Piccolo and Vegeta from ''Anime/DragonBallZ''. Though they get less and less aloof as the series goes on, though. It eventually gets to the point where they're hanging out at parties and playing karaoke with the other fighters.
* Kaze in ''Anime/FinalFantasyUnlimited''. Sure, he "just happens" to arrive just in time to help the protagonists in practically every episode.
* In ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' this is actualy Kyoya Hibari's ''job description'' as Tsuna's Cloud Guardian.
-->'''Reborn:''' To be the aloof, drifting Cloud that protects the Family from an independent standpoint, and whom nothing can ever bind.
* Nao from ''Anime/MaiOtome''. It's not so much that she doesn't ''want'' to fight evil - she dislikes Nagi's evil and ambitious nature as much as Natsuki does - but that doing so takes away from her "Nao" time. She still complains after [[spoiler:her rapid promotion to Pillar late in the original series]], but tends to have a lot of fun beating up on the Slaves when it's time to throw down.
* Caren from ''Manga/MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'' refused to join with the Power Trio because she was bitter about a rumour that Rina had abandoned Caren's sister Noel when they were in danger. (In fact, Noel had made a HeroicSacrifice for Rina to escape.) Between [[IWasJustPassingThrough random rescues]], she sabotaged their civilian lives, interrupting Lucia's love confession to Kaito and leaving the three of them with a [[BigEater giant food bill.]]
** Rina herself was like this for an episode or two before joining the PowerTrio.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''. Some of Ash's more powerful Pokémon such as Charizard have had phases like this.
* ''Franchise/PrettyCure'':
** Subverted with Milky Rose from ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5GoGo''. She starts out exactly like this, saving Pretty Cure at the last minute with her awesome power and showing them up in everything at school. Then, when it turns out she's actually just the BrattyHalfPint mascot creature in humanoid form, she reveals that she only acted that way [[GenreSavvy because she'd seen it too many times on TV]]. From then on, she reverts to her original personality, though not to her original level of usefulness.
*** Cure Muse masked herself with a black costume and occasionally helps the other Cures to fight the villains from Minor Land. In speaking of helping, she really ''only'' helps them, but never finishes any MonstersOfTheWeek off, claiming that she's not on any side. The reason is that she hasn't the courage to fight Mephisto directly [[spoiler:who is her BrainwashedAndCrazy father]]. After revealing her true identity as [[spoiler:Ako Shirabe]] and rescuing [[spoiler:Mephisto]], she becomes a regular main character.
** And while we're on the topic, we have Makoto Kenzaki[=/=]Cure Sword from ''Anime/DokiDokiPrettyCure'' - mostly because of her [[MyGreatestFailure personal issues]]. [[DefrostingIceQueen She gets over it]] quickly.
*** Likewise with Cure Ace. She actually wants to join them at first, but she uses [[SecretTestOfCharacter Secret Tests of Character]] to strenghten before she finally joins them. Her StealthHiBye is also justified by [[spoiler:[[HourOfPower having a time limit for using her powers]]]].
*** Cure Fortune of ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' is this, too, due to the fact that [[spoiler: the Phantom Empire took her family and she doesn't trust Cure Princess because of her DarkSecret.]] When she decides TO gain allies, it's less because she's accepted ThePowerOfFriendship, it's because she wants to use them so that they can protect her while she grows stronger. Things seem to hint that that's going to be her HoistByHisOwnPetard moment.
* Saito Hajime from ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' would be a non MagicalGirl example.
* ''Anime/SailorMoon'':
** Tuxedo Mask in the first season. Especially because they didn't even know if he was an ally or an evil 3rd party much of the time. He would show up, briefly fight the MonsterOfTheWeek and leave often not even bothering to see if the Sailor Soldiers lived or not. Until the ball where he and Usagi rescue each other when he finally admits he's searching for the Silver Crystal for altruistic purposes (to rescue the princess of his dreams) they don't trust him.
** Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune (and later the Sailor Starlights), whose main issue with the FiveManBand was that they were all too idealistic and refused to use lethal force. In both cases, they devolved into {{Grumpy Bear}}s due to the idealistic nature of the show itself and the fact that any character's effectiveness against a monster tended to be [[StrongAsTheyNeedToBe plot-controlled rather than skill-controlled]].
* Ikki from ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' dislikes teamwork; he comes to battle whenever Athena's Saints need his help and is often seen coming in the nick of time to save his younger brother and friends from certain death. This tactic has always been exploited to their advantage, since the enemies are caught by surprise upon meeting/fighting him.
* ''Anime/SonicX'':
** Knuckles prefers to do thing alone, and tends to get pretty annoyed with Sonic's reckless ways and the group worshiping him. It was only in later episodes, that he grew more attached to the group.
** Shadow in season 3. He helps Sonic and his friends out when they need it, but he remains distant and is not an actual member of the team and sometimes ends up in conflict with them due to his extreme measures.
** Downplayed with Sonic himself. He is friendly and cheerful, but not very expressive and tends to prefer being beside himself until a threat appears. This is far less apparent in the comics.
* D-Boy from ''Anime/TekkamanBlade'' almost fits with the description word for word. He's initially stronger than everyone else, wants to defeat the Radam, and doesn't really join forces with either the military or the Space Knights. The catch is, his reason to not join forces with either side is a bit complicated.
* Mew Zakuro from ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'', for all of two episodes before her issues were sorted out.
* ''Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise'' has Ultra Magnus. Jealously over his brother Optimus Prime being the one to be given the Matrix and command of the Autobots keeps him from fully joining the team (and thus being under Prime's direct command) and he's got a ''bad'' case of IWasJustPassingThrough. Yes, Magnus, you ''just happened to be wandering through the Sahara Desert at the right time to save the team.'' A JerkWithAHeartOfGold, he goes from "hates the 'cons a ''little'' more than he hates Optimus" to series regular who helps out in ''every'' episode but makes sure to remind everyone that he was just in the neighborhood and is ''not part of the team, '''really.''' '' As TF Wiki puts it, "This is either because Magnus can't deny his (somewhat buried and tarnished) noble Autobot nature, or because if Prime gets blown to tiny bits, the Matrix could get blown to tiny bits with him."
* Wolfwood in his first few appearances in ''Manga/{{Trigun}}''. It's likely [[spoiler:Chapel the Evergreen]] intended to carry out his mission this way, but he had far too much in common with Vash; that and circumstance led to them becoming virtual blood brothers.
* Seto Kaiba from ''Anime/YuGiOh'' ends up being this, [[TeethClenchedTeamwork even though he'd rather not be]].
* Kurama and especially Hiei of ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''. Though Kurama is nice, he does not often hang out with the group outside of battle. Hiei is a more extreme example, during the Sensui arc he appear just to ''save'' Yusuke from "Sniper" and take part to main battle.
%%* Angel Salvia of ''Manga/WeddingPeach''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Knuckles in ''ComicBook/SonicTheComic''. Of course it doesn't help that Sonic's so arrogant he always puts off new allies anyway.
* Bloodhawk in ''ComicBook/XMen [[ComicBook/{{Marvel 2099}} 2099]]'' was an occasionally ally of the X-Men, but initially declined offers to join the team for reasons of his own. He did eventually join up, though.
* In ''ComicBook/DeathOfTheFamily'', Batgirl acts like this to the Teen Titans. Kid Flash even tries to hug her...only to find out that she has devices on her suit to give people a shock!
* [[PhysicalGod Xadhoom]] starts out this way in ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'', only caring about the hero as someone that could help her kill more Evronians. They became closer over time.
* Mostly downplayed in [[ComicBook/{{Batwoman}} Batwoman's]] case. She's definitely an ally of Batman and the rest of the Batfamily, and will help them if she's available, but generally keeps to herself as far as superheroing goes.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Tatl Beryllia in ''Fanfic/TheBlueBlurOfTermina''. Initially, she only teamed up with Sonic because the Skull Kid abandoned and (indirectly) injured her. In fact, as shown by her letting Sonic fall in the Subterranean Forest, she makes it clear that she couldn't care less about his safety.
* Tuxedo Mask in ''Fanfic/CosmicWarriors''. He's appeared in the nick of time to save Usagi twice now.
* General Olivier Mira Armstrong in the ''FanFic/ElementalChessTrilogy'' is this to the main cast in the third installment. She really has no use for Roy Mustang, but she has enough regard for the rest of his team to take an interest in what's happening, and she even outright pities ''him'' when [[spoiler:he's unjustly sentenced to death]].

* In ''[[Literature/TheShatteredKingdoms Blood's Pride]]'', the mercenary called the Mongrel has been hired by the Shadari rebels to lead their uprising, but although the rebellion is indeed successful, she certainly didn't work closely with her employers in the course of achieving it (to the point where they often thought she'd betrayed them). She is contemptuous towards the self-appointed rebel leader who hired her, and has no particular interest in whether he and his gang survive to see the fruits of their rebellion. In fact, nobody is quite sure what she actually wants, and she deliberately keeps it that way.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': One can never predict when Illyria will assist Team Angel, or why. At one point, she rescues Gunn from a torture dimension just so she can throttle him in front of Wesley, apparently to play the YouOweMe card.
** Wesley himself qualifies for the majority of season four. He rescues Angel from the bottom of the ocean, and even allows Angel to feed on him when he realizes that pig's blood is not enough for the severely malnourished vampire. Wesley's motive in all of this is not to earn Angel's forgiveness and get back on the team; he simply does it because he recognizes Angel's importance as a force for good in their ongoing struggle against evil. Angel actually ''does'' forgive him and offers to let him back on the team, but Wesley responds coldly and still stays the hell away for a while. When he does eventually rejoin Angel Investigations, it's more out of mutual necessity than anything else, and there's still a lot of tension between him and the rest of the group (namely Gunn).
* Sailor Mars and, later, Sailor Venus from ''Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon'', which is part of the reason that they grow to become friends after a long struggle of the former trying to get the latter to join the Sailor Team.
* The Go-On Wings from ''Series/EngineSentaiGoOnger''. Fortunately, once [=JumboWhale=] shows up, he's much friendlier and manages to talk them round.
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' has a number of examples:
** The big mystery for a good deal of ''Series/PowerRangersZeo'' was "Who is the Gold Ranger?" The badass with his own ThemeSong would appear in a golden streak of energy, save everyone's butts, and then vanish. He eventually said that he'd lose his powers if he revealed his identity. We found out who he was after [[spoiler: he lost them ''anyway'' due to his three souls coming apart.]] Eh, ItMakesSenseInContext.
** It worked well enough to be [[RecycledScript repeated next season]]. Who is the Phantom Ranger? We never found out his deal, and when asked about it later, different writers have different ideas and all will say "Well, that's what ''I'' think it'd be cool, but nothing like that was anything like official."
** The Magna Defender from ''Lost Galaxy'' was against the bad guys, but out for revenge and viewed the Rangers as being in the way. He eventually had just enough of a Face Turn to make a HeroicSacrifice, and his successor was a proper SixthRanger.
** ''Time Force'''s Quantum Ranger tended to treat the main team with no small amount of bitterness, often bordering on outright contempt... especially toward the Red Ranger. He mellowed out somewhat as the series went on, but he was never more than a JerkWithAHeartOfGold until the finale.
** The Lunar Wolf Ranger from ''Wild Force'' is a partial example: he liked the main team well enough, and was totally on their side, but he wasn't a very social guy and couldn't forgive himself for making their lives difficult while he was BrainwashedAndCrazy, despite the Rangers' easy forgiveness. So outside of battle, they didn't see him much.
** The Omega Ranger of ''SPD'' started out this way (being from the future, he thought their gear was SoLastSeason) but got better quickly. The Shadow Ranger, on the other hand, kind of had to be aloof as he was the team's commanding officer, and he made perfectly clear that [[HelpingWouldBeKillstealing he wouldn't bail them out of every little scrape they got in]].
** The Robo Knight from ''Megaforce''. Justified, as he's a superpowered, emotionless robot programmed to protect Earth and its environment: while he's aware that his programming overlaps with the Megaforce Rangers' main mission, he still believes that, since humans are inefficient beings, inherently fragile and valuing more other humans than their mission, he would be more efficient by working alone, and more useful to the mission and the team by embodying this trope.
** Deconstructed in ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'' with Burai the Dragon Ranger. He usually only showed up to bail the Zyurangers out of a jam, but that's because [[spoiler:he's LivingOnBorrowedTime and when he's not fighting he's always freating about the little time he has left.]]
* Yuto Sakurai[=/=]Kamen Rider Zeronos in ''Series/KamenRiderDenO'', who works towards the same goal as Ryotaro[=/=]Den-O, but chastises his fellow Rider for thinking that protecting the timeline is the same thing as protecting people. He does eventually mellow out, though.
* Noah Bennett can be like this in ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' whenever he's working for the latest BigBad. For example, when he joins Danko in Season 3 he's doing it to protect Claire and moderate Danko, though he actively works against the heroes.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The [[OurElvesAreDifferent Eldar]] [[RecycledInSpace from]] ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' are often thought of as a [[BlackAndGreyMorality "good"]] race, and are often lumped in with the Imperium in campaigns. However, there is a famous quote that sums up that they are ''not'' trusted allies: "Make no mistake, human. We do not fight for your Emperor. We fight against Horus."
** The Imperium's Space Marine chapters can fall under this as well, choosing when and where they fight. The Dark Angels and their successors in particular are known for this. Showing up and providing aid without warning, then leaving just as fast.
** During the Horus Heresy, the Alpha Legion often went out of their way to aid Imperial forces even though they were on Horus' side, leading to speculations that they were {{Fake Defector}}s, or at least [[HazyFeelTurn just nominally tied to the traitors]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Etna in ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|Cursed Memories}}''. Like you, she is also out for Overlord Xenon's blood. ''Unlike'' you, who is doing it for the good of the world, Etna's just doing it for the [[BraggingRightsReward bragging rights]] and doesn't want your woefully underleveled ass stealing her thunder. She does eventually join you. However, it's not because she's [[DefrostingIceQueen warmed up]] to you or learned the [[PowerOfFriendship the meaning of friendship]], but because you [[GoodIsDumb accidentally depowered her and now she needs a meat shield until she's back up to snuff]].
* Midna in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' starts out as a version of this, but has a gradual change of heart.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'':
** Shadow the Hedgehog. He helps out every now and then, but he's a pretty standoffish individual, even to his own friends. He lampshades this in ''VideoGame/SonicChronicles'':
-->'''Shadow:''' Don't expect me to join in on your group hugs and picnics!
** Knuckles the Echidna prefers to work in solitude and keep his distance from the others. But that's understandable since he is destined to live alone, guarding the Master Emerald.
* Proto Man, the brother of VideoGame/MegaMan, is a free-spirited robot who prefers to live life on his own terms. Nonetheless, when his family and allies are in danger, he'll come to their aid.
* Judas from ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2'' is one for a short while in the beginning of the game, but he eventually comes around and agrees it would be easier for everyone to just travel together. [[spoiler: There's several good reasons he was reluctant to join, including a poor reputation and the fact that he ended up betraying his last group of friends.]]
* Yuan from ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' seems to flip between this and EnigmaticMinion. [[spoiler:Ultimately, he's an Aloof Ally who fully supports the heroes, though he never joins the party itself.]]
* [[spoiler:Asch, Luke's [[CloningBlues original]]]] from ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' fits this trope perfectly. While he does join the party sometimes and is on their side, he mostly does his own thing off the side and has an {{Oranyan}} attitude towards the party and outright refuses to join them most of the time, mostly because of his resentment towards Luke. He also acts like a {{Jerkass}} to everyone that's not Natalia.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout|1}}'''s Mysterious Stranger perk gives the player one, albeit one who never gets CharacterDevelopment. As does ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' (which has him turn up randomly to kill any enemies you targeted in VATS).
* ''[[VideoGame/AdvancedVariableGeo Advanced V.G.]]'': While the other girls befriend Yuka soon [[DefeatEqualsFriendship after their defeat]], [[DefrostingIceQueen Reimi]] regards her as a WorthyOpponent, rather than a friend. But she isn't ''completely'' without feeling for her and has used her status as Chairwoman of the Jahana Corporation to conduct investigations of [[ResearchInc Section-9]], on Yuka's behalf.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration'': Axel Almer becomes this after his HeelFaceTurn. He makes sporadic appearances In ''OG Gaiden'', aiding the heroes during tough fights, then leaving after the fight's over. He becomes a permeate ally in ''2nd Original Generation'' but admits that he feels uncomfortable being around them because of the bad blood between them. (the fact that one of them is the ''Good'' [[EvilTwin Twin]] of his ArchEnemy doesn't help in that regard.)
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'': [[BadassBookworm Orran]] is [[https://youtu.be/5v7Ft7sGGsg this]] regarding Ramza, also the trope [[https://youtu.be/86vQNSxSSpk arguably]] may fit for [[TheChessmaster Delita]].
* In ''VideoGame/LordsOfTheRealm2'', any nobles you ally with will typically not send help to you when you ask, especially the Bishop. The only practical use for an ally is to prevent them from openly attacking you, so it's often wise to ally with whichever noble is closest to you so you can build up your forces and take them down when they eventually call off the alliance.
* Both Morrigan and Sten fit the bill in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. Sten is accompanying the Warden because s/he negotiated his release from prison in exchange for his help against the Blight, while Morrigan has been sent along on the quest by her mother for unknown reasons. Both are societal outsiders (Sten is from a country with a BlueAndOrangeMorality system, Morrigan is an apostate mage raised in the wilderness) and neither is at all friendly to anyone else in the group, including and especially each other. Whether they thaw at all depends on the player's interactions with them.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Eriko in ''VisualNovel/YuNo'' has goals that seem to match up with Takuya's and is perfectly trustworthy, but she's rather distant and doesn't feel like lending Takuya much direct assistance if she can help it.
* ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'':
** Ange kind of walks the border between this and the MysteriousProtector. She has all of the attitude of this trope ("Leave the jokes to your hairstyle," was her response to Battler claiming that he was trying hard to beat Beatrice) with the aims of the other.
** Bernkastel appears to be this [[spoiler:but from the end of [=EP4=] onwards, it's made clear that she is most certainly not Battler or Ange's ally]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' version three, Dominica Shapiro's part in SADD was very much one of these, although she was slowly becoming more and more of a part of the team.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Franchise/{{Batman}} likes to ''think'' he is one of these for the WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague, but let's be honest, he's just fooling himself. He's a part-timer, you know.
** Justice League's real example is Aquaman, who'll generally help out when called on, but isn't actually a league member and is more concerned with ruling his kingdom than doing good.
** Nightwing in the episode of ''[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries The New Batman Adventures]]'' "You Scratch My Back".
* Red Arrow fills this role early in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''. [[spoiler: This turns out to be [[JustifiedTrope justified]] by the fact that Red Arrow is a clone who was programmed to get into the Justice League, and going solo achieved that goal faster than joining the team would have]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011'' episode "The Duelist and the Drifter", when young hero Lion-O stops at the [[DescriptiveVille Swordsmans' Town]], an eccentric, rabbit-like [[TheDrifter drifter]] appears to deliver several suspiciously ambivalent {{Adventure Rebuff}}s. He warns against getting involved in the SwordFight culture there, and notes repeatedly that he will not help, and does not care what happens to Lion-O should he fail to heed him. He cares so little, in fact, that he keeps showing up wherever Lion-O happens to be, full of advice.
--> '''The Drifter:''': "...if you expect me to help, [[ImplausibleDeniability you haven't been paying attention]]."
* In any ''Franchise/XMen'' cartoon, pretty much any character who's a member of the team in the comics but not the cartoon fills this trope, helping the X-Men on occasion but declining to officially join for one reason or another.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'', Lapis Lazuli wishes to protect Steven [[spoiler:and ultimately imprisons Jasper under the ocean to do so]], but has no love for the Crystal Gems and thus counts for this trope. [[spoiler:Even more so after she's defused from Jasper. Steven convinces her to stay and make Earth her home, thus putting her more firmly on their side, but still holds hard feelings towards the Crystal Gems. She's now willing to work with and help them for Steven's sake, but unlike [[SixthRanger Peridot]], she's decidedly not a Crystal Gem and still dislikes the planet.]]