"The Luke Cage comic had some problems. He had all the rage of a revolutionary '70s black man, but angry black men in the '70s didn't write no jive funny books. And from the looks of his jibba jabba, I don't think they even had one around to do part-time consulting. So at any given time, Luke Cage may or may not have been saying things that mean anything. Then this nonsense moon language was sent to people even more square where they put it through a filter to make sure it was rated G."
Seto Kaiba in the 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh!! suffered this, or at least to the degree that someone who plays children's card games can be Badass. The heavy censorship in the show prevented him from beating people with his apparent martial arts skill or jamming guns with a card tossed in the air (among other non-gaming related badass deeds).
Most, if not all serious characters of the Pokémon anime. List includes Giovanni, Cyrus, Hunter J, the Iron-Masked Marauder, Lawrence III, as well as Ash's rival Paul (to an extent).
Whenever Marvel Comics does a family friendly book featuring Wolverine (such as Wolverine: First Class) readers are treated to the sight of a berzerker with foot-long, razor sharp, metal claws that never sheds any blood. This is usually accomplished by having him only use his claws on inanimate objects like doors and cars, and punching living creatures instead (how robots fare depends on how family-friendly the book is supposed to be - i.e. "all ages" or "for kids only" - and how human-like the robots are). Having Wolverine constantly retract his claws during combat does have the side effect of allowing them to have Wolverine constantly extend his claws, which is his equivalent of dramatically cocking a gun. Wolverine also never drinks or smokes in "family friendly" books, though he rarely smokes in regular comics anymore these days either.
The Moopets from The Muppets. They're presented as seedy, lowlife thug types, but don't drink, smoke or swear (although we do see Miss Poogy sharpening a knife at one point, for unknown purposes).
Courageous is an interesting example in that being a Christian film, the cops are often shown doing pretty spectacular things (even with both stun-guns and real bullet-guns), minus the profanity and the smoking, drinking, etc. Except at the picnic where they do drink, just responsibly.
Kelly Leak in the remake of The Bad News Bears somewhat comes off as this, despite the movie being PG-13. In the original film he smoked cigarettes, drove a motorcycle, and initially bullied some of the Bears. In the remake, however, he doesn't smoke, doesn't really have much of a bad attitude towards anybody except his former coach, that which is understandable, and his motorcycle is even replaced with a dirtbike.
Latin American dubs of North American movies tend to turn out this way because those countries have stricter censorship standards than the United States or Canada when it comes to profanity. Due to the still strongly Catholic nature of those countries, the Spanish-language dubs can't have the characters blurting "Jesus Christ!" whenever they get flustered - so instead you'll hear really bad dudes shouting "Cielos!" ("Good heavens!") Even "Jiminy Christmas!" sounds too close to the real thing for some Latin American censors, and tends to be replaced with something even more absurd.
Bad Cop from The LEGO Movie; he's the tough as nails Dragon to Lord Business, and yet he never uses anything worse than "Darn" when voicing his frustrations at not being able to catch the heroes.
Played for laughs with Truckle the Uncivil in Interesting Times. Mr Saveloy insists that he cut down on the bad language, and gives him a list of acceptable alternatives. He finds it doesn't work; even when Truckle uses a milder word, what you hear is the word he means.
Live Action TV
Dean Moriarity on Wizards of Waverly Place wears a leather jacket, kisses lots of girls, and is a temporary tattoo artist. Real badass there.
Much talk was made of how Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World was such a badass in high school, but this was ultimately a kid who didn't lose his virginity until well into college, never smoked or did drugs, and got drunk like twice in his life.
The titular character of ABC Family's The Middleman, although it's an interesting, tongue in cheek example of the trope. He's known for colorful euphemisms to replace swears (The saltiest he's been heard saying is "Coming in hotter than the devil's wedding tackle.") and in fact admonishes his sidekick for swearing. (It's censored with the tell-tale bleep and a censor box.) He also beats information out of a mook by repeatedly hitting the guy's head against a car... while reaching for a tall, cool glass of milk. It builds healthy bones.
Jay and his group in Degrassi were supposed to be the school's dangerous crowd of at-risk teens, but when the worst thing they did was break into a vending machine in the school, Boycott The Caf (and the rest of the fandom) dubbed them "The Candy Bandits".
Falco Lombardi is as hardcore as a fighter pilot in a game with an E rating can get. His favorite pastimes include kicking some tail and sarcastically calling you "Einstein".
Wolf O'Donnell with his dramatic "What the HECK!?"
Spyro the Dragon and his sidekick, Hunter, both fall into this in the original trilogy. They get away with as much attitude as the game ratings will allow. Unfortunately, lines like "You kicked their darn butts!" tend to send their lines into narm territory.
Final Fantasy VII's Cid Highwind, when in the Kingdom Hearts series. In the original game he's a chain-smoking Badass Grandpa with the filthiest mouth ever burned to a CD-ROM. In the jump to Kingdom Hearts he replaced his cigarette with a strand of grass and spends his time tending a shop instead of killing people with phallic objects.
In Kingdom Hearts, this is inverted for Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy when they appear in the series. Although they were no stranger to violence in their early cartoons, they started being known for being harmless characters that mostly appeared in Lighter and Softer kiddie fare (the preschool show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse being the prime example). With Kingdom Hearts geared towards an older audience (but still family-friendly), the trio was effectively allowed to not only return to violence, but to act as warriors/mages and genuinely kick some ass alongside Sora. The same goes for Mickey's appearance in Epic Mickey.
Sharla Rae Norvell, the leather-jacket-wearing rebel from the Purple Moon games, is designed to still be sympathetic, so she couldn't really be that rebellious or the parents would have complained. Her Freudian Excuse is played up, her vocabulary seems a little strained, and when she's introduced in Rockett's New School cutting class, the locker feature emphasizes that she's only pretending to smoke cigarettes.
X-Pletive from Essay Bee Comics Presents Fusion is a parody of this trope - he is a badass minister with high moral standards. He especially hates swearing. But his powers come from stimulating anger centers of his brain and the best way to get the riled up is to swear, so he swears like a drunken sailor.
Bart was conceived as a non-badbutt version of Dennis the Menace, but edgier animated shows make him look Badbutt by comparison. This was pointed out in South Park when a Bart Expy told Cartman he once cut the head off a statue, to which Cartman replied that he once tricked a boy into eating his parents.
Dennis himself really was a terror as far as 1950s toddlers go (he is often forced to sit in a corner as punishment), but the black-and-white TV series sanitized him so completely that Jay North (the actor who plays him) comes off as The Scrappy instead.
The SM:TAS take on Punisher falls under this trope. "Next time, Spider-Man....I will use lethal force!"
They also did a Story Arc with Carnage, who (as his name sort of implies) is a Serial Killer with superpowers in the original comics. Since he wasn't allowed to kill anyone in a children's cartoon show, he kind of sucked(Literally, he sucked the life force out of people).
One line by Robbie Robertson about Cletus Kasady (Carnage's human identity) having done things "too horrible to be put in newspapers" when nobody talks about murder or death (remember, Serial Killer) makes this painfully obvious to any audience member over 10.
This is especially blatant if you go back and read the original comics, which are much much darker.
Let's kick shell!
The fact that the theme song emphasizes the fact that Raphael is "cool but rude" and the coolest/rudest thing they could think of to showcase that fact was him saying "Give me a break!"
The comic book turtles had no problem cutting up human foot soldiers, but they were replaced by robot ninjas in the first TV series.
It especially got to be a problem when the writers decided that they couldn't show Mikey using nunchucks ever, not even in ways that caused no damage. They gave him a grappling hook that doubled as a magic lasso to tie up enemies, which made him look like The Chick on the team, even as Lighter and Softer as they already were.
Toph has shades of this, especially while training Aang. She is fond of calling Aang "twinkle toes", which may qualify as a Parental Bonus.
It apparently runs in the family. In the The Legend of Korra episode "Welcome to Republic City" her no-nonsense daughter Da Chief Lin Beifong is rather hamstrung in her dialogue while interrogating a perp.
Chief Bei-Fong: "That's ancient history. And it's got diddly-squat to do with the mess you're in right now!"
Sokka is The Smart Guy, but still was able to occasionally hit people with his boomerang, when he gets a Cool Sword in a later episode he's now has no chance to, since that would draw blood. Likewise, the skills of Knife Nut Mai are impressive, but the restrictions of children's television mean that she'll only be able to pin people's clothing.
Wolverine in every Saturday-morning kids-showversion of the X-Men ever. In the 90s series he was never able to land a single hit with his claws unless it was against a robot. Or his target was immune. Or his target could instantly heal it off. If he managed to pin someone and raise his claw to strike someone would convince him to stop or he'd be blindsided and the victim would escape unharmed.
Plus on the X-Men: Evolution series he always wore his motorcycle helmet while riding. Because having an unbreakable skull and healing factor wasn't protection enough.
This was made even worse by the network Standards & Practices office, who further watered down Wolverine. One comment from the episode "Longshot" literally wouldn't even let Logan be a badbutt: "Please delete or substitute for Wolverine's 'we saved his butt from some of Mojo's goons.'"
Link never actually uses his sword as a weapon (at least on sentient opponents). No slicing or thrusting whatsoever. He instead takes advantage of its beam-shooting properties and thus uses it more like a sword-shaped Boom Stick.
In Stinging a Singer, he turns down a sword offered to him by a wandering merchant because it's useless for not firing beams. He later decides to get it due to supposedly having the power to make ladies like him, but turns out it's fake. When he tries to fight later, it turns out despite his skill with the beams, he's not actually a very good swordsman and gets disarmed before he tries to swing it.
G.I. Joe: These men (and women) are supposed to be the best of the best of the best that the U.S. armed forces can offer. And yet, starting with the second season, they routinely find themselves run into the ground by their new drill sergeant: Sergeant Slaughter—a pro wrestler. And Snake Eyes, supposedly the baddest of the bad (a ninja, no less, who except for the lack of a healing factor and indestructible skeleton might even good enough to give Wolverine a run for his money), never even manages to land a single blow on his opponents. Fat lot of good all of those blades, small arms, and martial arts training do under the circumstances.
Conan The Adventurer. It's Conan the Barbarian — FOR KIDS! Interestingly, was hailed by many fans as capturing the authentic feel of the novels and comics better than the movies, despite Conan not doing much in the way of kingdom-building, enslaving, and stamping-beneath-sandaled-feet. Mesmira defiantly straddled the line since most of her schemes would have killed somebody in a more mature-rated show. Instead they are Put on a Bus or rescued in the nick of time. Wrath-amon seemed on the surface to be more dangerous as the main antagonist, but in reality suffered from the same madman plan hangups as Cobra Commander, except with magic.
Fowlmouth from Tiny Toon Adventures has, as his name would suggest, a problem with dirty language. In the early series he would curse constantly, which was censored with the classic BLEEP sound - his starring episode sounded like it was edited by a mouse dancing on a Morse Code transmitter. Apparently this was too suggestive, as in the Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation special he was reduced to saying "dad-gum" instead of his usual cussin', pretty much losing the character's (admittedly one-dimensional) point for existing in the first place.
Jade and the "ancient art of butt-whoop." Jade is only supposed to be about ten years old, after all.
Jackie's "yang" side, as brought out by the Tiger Talisman. In his first appearance, he was stealing and beating the crap out of people just for kicks and giggles. But as seasons went by, his actions became swayed by whether or not a small child thought he looked "cool." His Yang side actually drifted into Badbutt territory in his debut episode and from then on because Jade guilt trips him into being less of a jerk, and even Jackie's Yang side cares for Jade (and wants to look good for others), so the badass who restrains himself for the benefit of kids watchers is basically applied in universe.
The Dark Hand itself. Supposedly an uber scary criminal syndicate with its hands in everything, and capable of giving the secret service organisation constant grief, they still don't use any guns and they'll only actually use weapons capable of drawing blood against Jackie who is capable of easily dodging them anyway. And this being a kids cartoon, the 3 most active henchmen resemble The Three Stooges more than professional criminal badasses. And of course they eventually hit massive villain decay, going from having a ton of members to just the three stooges henchmen, The Dragon (who went from nearly killing someone to being a strong yet bumbling opponent) and the leader who lost all his fighting skills and ended up a cowardly hobo.
The cartoon utilizes this trope often in combination with Mundane Made Awesome for some of the recurring characters, such as Hustler Kid, who sells things like contraband candy to the other kids. One episode revealed that other schools have their own Hustler Kids.
Lobo as he is presented in Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League. He drinks, but the drink is only implied to be alcoholic (it is highly explosive though), he uses only family-friendly swears (the exact same ones he uses in the comic, point of fact), only alludes to serious violence and never kills anyone on-screen, has a family friendly laser gun, only uses his signature meathook to grab things in a non-harmful fashion, and doesn't go much further than a few sleazy comments towards Lois Lane and Wonder Woman on the 'sex' front. He's also shown to have, if not a Hidden Heart of Gold, at least a Hidden Heart of Pyrite or some other almost-precious-looking metal.
Finn and Jake zigzag around this all the time. The show also uses idiosyncratic slang words and phrases. "Oh my Glob" is probably the most commonly used of these. In the earlier episodes there was some usage of mathematical terms (and the word "mathematical" itself) as all-purpose expletives and/or intensifiers, though this isn't as common in the later episodes.
Marceline is a half vampire who eats shades of red. The season 5 episode "Red Starved" establishes that she can drink blood, but chooses not to for moral reasons.
This sort of thing crops up a lot in the more dramatic episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. While nearly every character has moments, Rainbow Dash and Applejack probably get it the most often, with the former often acting like a hotshot athlete/fighter pilot and the latter being a rough and tumble cowgirl. It's especially evident in the comic, which goes pretty much as far as it possibly can with the "Let's go kick some flank/rump/butt" style storylines as they can manage while still being an all-ages comic.
She Zow does this. A lot. There are episodes where an unexpurgated version would be a Cluster F-Bomb stream.