An old Pepsi commercial had five bears emerging from the wilderness to terrorize a small town by spelling out "Pepsi" in a distinctly "YMCA"-style dance. After the townspeople fearfully comply to the beasts' request, a man remarks, "Heaven help us if they ever learn the Macarena."
Coca-Cola, on the other hand, is famous for its commercials with lovable, cute polar bears. A serious subversion.
Is it any wonder that Sugar Bear is the only cereal mascot who successfully runs off anyone who tries to take his Golden Crisp as opposed to all the other sorry saps like Lucky and the Trix Rabbit?
During the sugar-is-now-evil transition from Super Sugar Crisp to Super Golden Crisp in the 1980s, Sugar Bear could turn himself into Super Bear. Super Bear was a realistic-looking grizzly bear with no traces of cuddliness whatsoever. Eventually, Post figured out that a scary carnivore might not be the best mascot for a children's cereal, and the concept was dropped. Breakfast of the Gods takes advantage of that brief time that Super Bear was scary.
In the early '60s, when Sugar Bear became a sweater-wearing hipster, his TV ads showed him barging into sweet old Granny's house and stealing her cereal. A thieving nuisance, but at least he was mellow and good-natured.
In one memorable commercial, the Hamburglar planned to scare Ronald and the others out of their cheeseburgers with a bear costume, but they were onto him; they planned to humor him for a while, but unfortunately, a real bear came along first, who they mistook for him. Suffice to say, Hilarity Ensued.
Orangina has a dancing bear for its commercial who is about to attack a doe... until he sees the doe drinking Orangina!
Australian rum brand Bundaberg Rum features a polar bear as its mascot, the Bundy Bear, who prominently features in their advertising. Things do tend to be worse with "Bundy" around, but that's got more to do with how he's an enormous Troll to tourists.
A Capri-Sun commercial has a kid beating a giant cyborg bear with the straw from his pouch.
An ad for Hotels dot com has a family lost in some woods, and the father wandering outside the car briefly, before a bear seen briefly in the background chases him back and forth. In the end though, he just winds up, inexplicably, with just a broken arm as a result of the encounter.
Anime & Manga
The most infamous straight play in anime or manga would be Ginga Nagareboshi Gin. The primary nemeses are bears. The leader bear, Akakabuto, is an ungodly huge, strong and malicious bear with one eye.
The manga of its successor Ginga Densetsu Weed does this too...though later in the series. The main bear they fight is an Akakabuto Expy hybrid bear who kills GB.
Bizarrely drawn (and bizarrely voiced...seriously, they emit some kind of screech instead of growling) bears shows up several times in Haré+Guu. Actually, this is counted as normal for this anime.
Biomega gives us Kozlov, a Russian scientist who had his mind uploaded into a bear. He's also a sniper.
Sherwood the Monster Princess (not Hime, her sister) from Princess Resurrection has blood-immortal empowered Panda bears as her Servants. They have, for example, ripped to shreds an army of lesser vampires.
Even Ranma ½ includes an unbearable example. While in the original manga, Ranma fought Cologne on the beach while she summoned a shark to assist her, in the anime, the fight instead takes place in a mountain resort, where in an even more outlandish fashion, she creates an ice sculpture of a bear that she can levitate and use to attack on a whim.
When Ranma, Genma, and Soun need to retrieve the scroll of a Dangerous Forbidden Technique from a women's Onsen before Happosai does, they have the bright idea of painting Genma's cursed form (a 7-foot-tall panda bear) to resemble a huge, voracious bear and scare off the women. Unfortunately, the only paint they had on hand was white...
In Kamen no Maid Guy, after training in the mountains, Naeka feels as though she could take on a bear. She finds herself staring down a growling grizzly moments later, courtesy of Kogarashi. Turns out she's not as ready as she thought.
A similar incident occurs in History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi. Kenichi, annoyed by his training in the mountains, throws a rock at what he thinks is his eldest master secretly watching him. It turns out to be, you guessed it, a bear. Despite being a fan of How-To books, Kenichi does exactly the wrong things in trying to escape this particular bear.
Mahou Sensei Negima! takes the Mama Bear to literal levels, having a bear named Mama serve as the Apron Matron in charge of Ako, Akira, and Natsumi. She beats up anyone who dares abuse the girls serving under her.
Earlier in the series, Negi along with Ninja Kaede (only he was scared) are chased through the woods by a bear while carrying a giant cookable mushroom.
One of the most famous scenes in Hajime No Ippo has Takamura fighting against an angry bear to save his own life, after Ippo and the other Kamogawa boxers ran away from it when all of them were training in the mountains. Takamura actually wins against the bear in a hilarious and awesome moment. Despite that, Takamura spares the bear's life after he sees it's actually a Mama Bear with two cubs crying for it. The whole incident leaves Takamura with three giant scars on his chest and gaining him the title "Bear Slayer" after the thing hits the news. It also doubles with the Remember When You Blew Up a Sun? trope, as Takamura never shies away from reminding others that he beat a goddamn bear.
In My Heavenly Hockey Club, the hockey club runs afoul of a bear during a trip in the woods... and it makes a strong connection with Hana. Eventually they try to teach it to play field hockey so they can use it as a goalie in an upcoming game... but contrary to what they'd hoped, it's immediately noticed to be a bear and carted off, perpetuating the Running Gag of the team never getting to actually play a single game.
The World Is Mine has an overall bear motif: A giant bear-like creature called Hakumadon is attacking Japan, rampaging through whole towns and turning anyone who encounters it into slurry ("My daughter followed my mother into the woods and they both came back in a bucket!"). One of the two Mad BomberSerial Killers, Mon, always carries a stuffed teddy bear which is implied to be the only friend he had as a child. When Mon encounters Hakumadon, his partner Toshi dies and he gets shredded... but both miraculously survive, the only evidence being Mon's slashed teddy bear. When Mon and Hakumadon meet again, another character thinks he sees Mon once more getting killed, but again he survives. A few characters wonder if Hakumadon is a god sent to reclaim the earth or that it and Toshi+Mon are in a "killing contest". In reality, Hakumadon is an American shock-and-awe weapon/robot that went out of control — imagine the Big Dog rig but three stories tall, covered in shaggy fur with yard-long teeth and claws. Appears to have been inspired by the "Sankebetsu Brown Bear Incident" (see Real Life).
The Beastmaster Maeda Matsu in the Sengoku Basara anime, in a fit of temper, ultimately calls up a bear to attack her brother-in-law Keiji. Keiji is already making a hasty retreat and the bear attacks Matsu's husband Toshiie instead (though Toshiie comes out of it more or less fine since the whole thing is played for laughs).
The original Seven Warlords of the Sea all have an animal theme. Bartholomew Kuma's is, naturally, a bear. Both times he's appeared to antagonize the Straw Hats, things went south fast for the heroes. However, Kuma can also be a subversion, the first time appeared Zoro was able to appeal to Kuma's honor to be allowed to sacrifice himself in place of Luffy. In the Shabaody Islands, Kuma's arrival was what saved the Straw Hats, despite initial appearances.
We also get Kumacy, Perona's giant zombie teddy bear. He shows up in the middle of Ussop's fight with Perona — that's already going pretty badly - and delivers a nasty No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that forces the sniper to Take A Level In Bad Ass just to survive it.
Speaking of Arakawa's manga, this trope is played for laughs in Silver Spoon, when a Beware Of Bears sign in the woods makes our hero so nervous that he mistakes an approaching horse for a bear.
Ooku starts with a young boy getting mauled by a bear while picking mushrooms in the forest. And then the gendercide plague hits his family and spreads throughout Japan. The two may or may not be related
It turns out bears are carriers for the Redface Pox, said gendercide plague.
In Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, while searching for a lost girl, Sherlock comes across a bear. She tries to play nice with it, but this is a bear that can uppercut. That the bear knocks her into the sky and off the cliff is a major catalyst for the episode. When Sherlock, Kokoro and Airi come across that same bear later, it's still almost invincible.
Almost played straight in Hayate the Combat Butler, during a school hiking trip, one of the groups is terrorized by a huge bear. Which is then turned into a pet by Isumi.
Saint Seiya: Some of the training scenes feature fighting bears with their bare hands as a means of showing how dangerous it is.
Yaiba: When the revenant warrior Goemon Ishikawa Turns Red he transforms into a huge, armored Bear-Man armed with dual sais and Fuuma Shuriken.
Holo of Spice and Wolf finds out that her hometown was destroyed by a gigantic bear spirit.
The Digimon franchise has Grizzmon, an Adult-level grizzly bear. He's appeared twice in different anime series: first in the Digimon Frontier movie as the commander of the Beast Digimon army, and many appear late in Digimon Xros Wars as a staple Mook species in Apollomon's army. Expanded universe material bills the species as ferocious warriors with honourable spirits. Related is Bearmon, Grizzmon's lesser Child-level incarnation who takes the form of a bear cub, also appearing in the Frontier movie and Xros Wars.
Inverted in Haruhi-chan. In one episode, Tsuruya claims that she once defeated a bear.
Subverted with Shirokuma Cafe. Shirokuma is the friendly polar bear owner of the titular cafe, Panda is a regular customer who prefers the lazy lifestyle, and even the Badass Biker Grizzly, is a genuinely nice grizzly bear who just has a low tolerance for foolishness.
Tono To Issho: Azai Nagamasa fears that Oda Nobunaga will send a bear in place of his sister Oichi as a wife. He then imagines Oichi as a dominatrix in charge of a bear army.
Subverted - sort of - in an episode of Pokémon. In this case, the "bear" that was bad news was a Teddiursa, a cute-looking bear cub that stole food and blamed it on other Pokemon. At the end of the episode, when it was finally caught and scolded by the heroes, it evolved into a grown-up, ferocious-looking Ursaring, at which point the heroes fled in fear, and it simply watched with an expression that seemed to say "Huh?"
Paul's Ursaring exemplifies this more than any other specimen on the show. Almost NOTHING can even slow it down, and anything that DOES seemingly work on it invariably ends up making it angry, and consequently stronger. When it comes out, there's little Ash can do but gawk in horror as it annihilates his Pokemon.
One graphic novel in the Blacksad series had an (anthropomorphic) polar bear heading the "Arctic Nation", a Nazi/KKK fusion white-fur supremacy group. The leader was undercover. In the first album one of Statoc's enforcers is a brown bear.
A zombie bear (Ursa Major, of the Russian Avengers) appears in Marvel Zombies. It bites down on Machine Man's head where he impales it with spikes and rips it apart. Hell, you wouldn't want to get on Ursa Major's bad side in actual Marvel continuity either, even if he is a good guy. He's pretty tough. In fact, he's pretty tough even in human form.
There's a Far Side cartoon in which a bar fight is happening in an old Western saloon. From the speed at which people are running out the door/being thrown through the window, it's implicit that there's a pretty tough guy inside. Well, his bear is parked outside among the horses.
Gary Larson actually did this a few times. Another example can be summarized by quoting the caption. Two bear hunters are examining the gruesome fate of a third, and one of them says:
In another one, the well-known fact that female bears are fiercely protective of their offspring was lampooned, where the cartoon had a tired office worker absent-mindedly stepping into an elevator between a mother grizzly and her cub. (She seemed docile in the scene as shown, but according to the caption, what was about to happen would not be pleasant.)
The British comic 2000 AD had an ongoing strip about Shako, a polar bear Villain Protagonist supposedly inspired by the shark in Jaws, thus neatly combining the worst aspects of both bears and sharks.
The archenemy of the New MutantDani Moonstar is the Demon Bear, a gigantic spectral bear who steals souls and seemed to have killed her parents.
In a story by Wilhelm Busch, a bear eats the donkey of Saint Anthony, but Anthony makes the bear carry him instead.
Rhymes With Orange has a strip set in an office building. There's a live bear in a display case with the case labeled, "To put your emergency in perspective, break glass."
Tintin has an unfortunate encounter with bears in Destination Moon. At first, he is covered with cuddly bear cubs who want to get their paws on his lunch (sandwiches with honey), but he goes Oh, Crap when he sees the mean-looking parents coming.
A recurring storyline in Non Sequitur is "Homer the Reluctant Soul" which involves Homers numerous lives and rebirths; many of them end at the hands of a bear; at the end of one of his lives, it revealed that this is actually the same bear, whom he has met in the bear's numerous lives. (It's name in the afterlife is Maurice; when he confronts it there, it simply says, "Right, like the food chain is my fault?")
In the tenth day after his creation, the Monster in The Frankenstein Monster is confronted by a bear in the woods, whom he kills and uses its pelt to create his signature vest.
In Vigil, one of the many Uplifted Animals humanity has created are bears. Some of which joined XCOM, resulting in giant, power-armor clad humanoid bear soldiers with plasma cannons.
Films — Animated
Brave has Mor'du. He's twelve feet tall with razor sharp claws, one glowing red eye and an almost rabid taste for human flesh. You know, for kids! He also ripped off the leg of King Fergus, father of protagonist Merida, leading him to have an unending grudge against bears. Given Merida leads her queen mom to become a bear, Bears Are Really Bad News...
The climax of The Fox and the Hound. Where a bear is portrayed as some demonic beast spawned from the depths of Hell. (This has a lot to do with the fact that Amos shoots it but only wounds it, making it very, very angry, as wounded animals often are.)
The bear who fights the title character and his daughter in the Balto sequel. Thanks to his embodiment of an animal totem, he comes across as more of a spirit guide, but he's still fairly menacing and seems to believe Scare 'Em Straight is the best way to guide them.
The first movie had a fight with a bear near the beginning of Balto's journey to find the medicine, and the bear was portrayed as outright demonic.
Even though they are cubs and thus good the polar bears Muk and Luk spell this trope for their babysitter, "Uncle" Boris (who at one point says "I hate bears!"). Good thing that they apparently are stuck as cubs forever (if the time between the movie and sequels is of any indication)
Seemingly played straight in Brother Bear, when the main character sees bears as irritations at first and goes on to full-blown hatred towards them after one inadvertently caused his brother's death. Subverted when he turns into one and finds out that bears actually aren't so terrible.
Lotso, the teddy bear from Toy Story 3 is a straight example.
Supposedly played straight in Alpha and Omega when several bears threaten Humphrey and Kate due to Humphrey for accidentally making a cub cry, but ultimately a subversion. If such bears can be defeated by wolves with anime hair, then they clearly don't pose a threat at all (wolves are far too weak to even scratch a grizzly, so...). Though this proves otherwise. Subverted in the sequel A Howl-iday Adventure. Fearing that they might experience a repeat of what happened in the first film, Humphrey initially refuses to help a lost bear cub before doing so. But at the film's climax, the bear cub actually gets his mother and their fellow bears to effectively use this trope to defeat King and his rogue wolves and force them into retreating.
Films — Live-Action
The new Trope Namer, the 1976 film The Bad News Bears, actually has nothing to do with this trope. Those Bears just initially sucked at playing baseball.
The 1966 film The Night of the Grizzly is one of the earliest "Killer Bear" films.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: the prospect of a woman joining the news team will raise the possibility of the network being overwhelmed by bear attacks as they are attracted to her menses; at the film's climax the hero and heroine must defend themselves after falling into the bear pit at the zoo.
The all but forgotten 1979 eco-horror flick Prophecy features mercury-crazed, skinless, gooey mutant bear which is attacking the human populace nearby. Then the geniuses take her cubs...
Spaceballs: Spaceball-1 is about to self-destruct, and the bad guys are trying to get to their escape pods, but since it's a Mel Brooks movie, there were also a bunch of circus folk on the ship, and they took all of the escape pods. Skroob tries to buckle himself into what he thinks is the only empty pod, but there is also a bear, to make this part more hilarious. It scared President Skroob. Even funnier when you remember that the circus was ordered closed earlier in the film by Lord Helmet as punishment.
Ranger Brad: In my time as a forest ranger, I've seen bears do things not even a bear would do.
In The Edge, two men are stranded in the wilderness and must outsmart a bear in order to survive.
In Outlander, Kainan and several Vikings go searching for the creature that slaughtered a village. They find a giant bear. While the bear is bad enough in its own right, it wasn't the creature that slaughtered the village—and the Vikings assume that it was, and stop searching.
Grizzly featured a giant prehistoric killer bear going on a killing spree on ranger's station; the bear's claws are so sharp he can cut off a person's arms and decapitate a horse with a single swipe.
In Road to Utopia, bears intrude in the cabin and Bob Hope mistakes one of them for his girlfriend while he groped its paw and commented on its long claws. One of them even talks.
The Great Outdoors features a large bear (rumored to be a man-eater) which had her head fur removed via shotgun many years earlier by John Candy's character. This bear shows up toward the end of the movie and is shot in the butt with the shotgun lamp, causing the raccoons to make fun of her.
The 13th Warrior features man-eating bear-monsters as the primary antagonists who turn out to be neolithic cavemen wearing bearskins.
Grizzly Bear Activist/Lunatic Timothy Treadwell, subject of the documentary Grizzly Man, made it his life's mission to prove this trope wrong. His mission: Unsuccessful.
In The Love Bug, as Thorndyke's car is stuck in mud and his assistant Havershaw attempts to push it out, a bear enters the car, enticed by the food they had. After they get out, Thorndyke immediately takes off without Havershaw, but because his racing goggles are heavily smeared with mud, he doesn't realize there's a bear until he strikes it, making it growl and prompting him to faint.
The Japanese film Yellow Fangs, which was based upon the Sankebetsu incident.
An amusing example shows up in the film Shoot to Kill.
The upcoming film Red Machine features a killer bear as the central antagonist. In 2013, the film was retitled Endangered and in 2014 it was retitled Grizzly.
The Three Stooges met with foul-tempered bears on more than one occasion. They were a little more civilized than the trope usually allows for; one even proved capable of driving a car and signaling for a turn.
Ted is a comedy about a teddy bear named Ted who comes to life as a result of a child's Christmas wish. Years later, the boy is all grown-up and struggling to become an adult. Ted is a slacker who just wants to drink beer and smoke pot and wants his best friend to do the same. Not scary, but still bad news.
In Berserker, the cast is menaced by a regular bear in addition to the bear-masked viking remnant. The two even fight each other at one point.
Gone to absolutely ridiculous and eventually cinematic extremes in David Fletcher's Hunted: A True Story of Survival, in which a literal Mama Bear goes after the writer for killing her cub and it only ends when the writer manages to crush the bear under tons of ice. The kicker? It's supposed to be based on a "true story"
The favored combat morph for Rachel in Animorphs. She acquired it specifically because she knew the team was taking on their most dangerous mission yet. Also, the characters consider their polar bear morphs (biggest land predator) to the baddest of their Badass. They only bust them out for serious shock value and mayhem.
In Clive Barker's Sacrament, the main character is mauled by a bear and ends up in a coma.
Death Masks: the Denarians are first introduced. The first of them? Ursiel, a monstrous demonic bear rampaging through the alleys. It takes all threeKnights of the Cross to take him down. Compare later battles where the Knights go one-on-one with the Nickelheads, or when Ivy takes on a large group singlehandedly. Some Tropers have blamed Conservation of Ninjutsu... but good grief, it's a bear!!
Although they don't have flamethrowers, bears in the Spellsinger series are among the most physically-formidable of all Warmlanders. Several of the bad guys use bears as Mooks, or recruit a bear as The Dragon.
The first book in The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness has a giant, evil, demon-possessed bear that exists to kill things. If you suddenly can't see or hear any other animals, start praying.
Rasputin, a former circus bear which can drink beer and throw hand grenades, is adopted by the 27th Penal Panzer Regiment in Sven Hassel's The Bloody Road to Death. Porta is distraught when it gets killed in action. This, by the way, is based on fact (though the bear is fighting on the wrong side).
A Storm of Swords also gives us the famous scene in which Brienne the Beauty is dropped into a pit with a bear that's angry, starved, and has been trained to kill and devour men. Her only weapons? A blunted sword and a lacy pink dress. She holds her own until The Cavalry arrives.
In A Clash of Kings, the loathsome Amory Lorch is thrown unarmed and naked into the aforementioned bear pit. He dies horribly.
The bear is also the totem for the Northern House Mormont..a House which boasts a former Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, as well as Danaerys Targaryen's former right-hand man, who killed at least two Dothraki warriors in combat..and that's just what happened "on-screen". They're also the only house that still swears fealty to the King in the North.
House Mormont's women are also warriors because they had to protect their children and lands from raiders while the men where elsewhere. Many are rumoured to have slept with bears.
In The Belgariad, males of a certain family possess the power to spontaneously become bears when the Rivan King is threatened. Given that they're already from the local Viking analogue, this just makes them more dangerous. Fittingly, they're from a culture that worships Belar, the bear god. It's not certain whether this is just a happy coincidence or a very direct blessing from Belar himself, but it is definitely awesome. There is also an extremist sect devoted to Belar known as the Bear-Cult. In the Belgariad they're a mild annoyance, but in the Mallorean they definitely make things worse. Belar, meanwhile, generally appears as a young blond-haired warrior, and not a bear.
The dozy, good-hearted Bulgy Bears in Prince Caspian, a couple of dangerous non-talking bears, and the perpetually confused (though good fighter) Talking Bear in The Last Battle. In sum, for the protagonists, everything is even with bears.
There is also a bear mentioned in the round-up at the end of The Horse and His Boy, but there is nothing much wrong with that one that a good fist-fight won't put right.
Prince Caspian also provides a straight example of the trope when Lucy was attacked by a non-talking bear when they were traveling to meet the Narnian army. It serves as a warning that Narnia as a whole is not the nice place they were rulers of.
Richard Adams' Shardik, as referenced in the Stephen King entry above, features a bear which is believed to personify the power of God. Whether or not this is true, the bear only ever seems to maul the bad guys.
In the Cambridge Latin Course series of plot-oriented textbooks, a bitter British chieftain attempts to kill his rival chieftain with a bear he has spent a year training for murder. The bear breaks free of control and goes on a rampage, nearly killing the king. The rampage is stopped by Quintus, who has a penchant for heroic animal abuse. Nobody ever said it made sense.
The Bear Kingdom trilogy by Michael Coleman, might as well be called Bears Are Bad News: The Series. It takes place in an Alternate Universe, where bears have taken over, and humans are nothing more than slaves/pets, and sometimes...food.
In the Judge Dee story The Haunted Monastery, the judge, faced with a villain whose reputation and connections at the Imperial Court make him untouchable by the law, locks him in a room with an angry bear.
In Monster Hunter Vendetta, the MHI compound is attacked by an army of zombie animals, including at least one zombie bear that Owen and Agent Franks have to kill at close range.
In the Hoka stories, the aliens look like teddy bears, but they are indeed a menace. To your sanity, at least.
In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy, Logistilla's bear is her guard, and it menaces some of her family on occasion.
Elisha in 2 Kings 2:23-24, while walking up to Bethel, was insulted by some bandits. They had called him "bald head" and implied that he had been complicit in the death of Elijah. His response? Summoning two bears to come and maul 42 of them, making this trope Older Than Feudalism. There's a reason why this story isn't included in compilations of Bible stories meant for toddlers.
Also, David kills a bear and a lion that threaten his flock. People tend to forget that although he was only 12ish when he fought the giant Goliath, he was a pretty badass kid.
In the first of Keith Taylor's Bard stories, "Fugitives in Winter", Felimid tricks the enraged king hunting him into following a false trail into a bear cave. He wasn't expecting the inhabitant to be a two-headed monster that refused to stop at killing just the king, though...
Zig-Zagging Trope in Reverend Huuskonen's Beastly Manservant by Arto Paasilinna. Subverted in that the titular reverend adopts a bear cub, then a complicated series of events leads to him taking a grand tour or Eastern Europe all the way down to the Black Sea, training the bear to be an excellent manservant (unpacking suitcases, ironing and folding clothes, helping him during the sermons and running a bar with unrivalled efficiency). Played straight in that the bear's name is Beelzebub, and if you should threaten his master, he is still very much an adult male brown bear.
In The Curse of Chalion, the sick Roya Orico becomes much sicker when his pet bear is killed along with the rest of his menagerie, which was a gift from the Temple that magically kept him alive. But the leopard was the scary and dangerous animal.
In Paladin of Souls, a bear shows up, Foix dy Gura kills it, and the demon that was possessing the bear jumps into Foix.
In The Hallowed Hunt, Fafa the ice bear isn't killed, but:
Ijada: I was imagining the most bizarre things befalling you.
Ingrey: Did they include a six-hundred-pound ice bear and a pirate poet?
Ingrey: Then they weren't the most bizarre after all.
Grok from Star Risk, Ltd. is a nonhuman whose species strongly resembles bears. And he's not above using the resemblance to his advantage.
Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium series (inspired by Master of Orion) has the Bulrathi, a race of huge ursine Proud Warrior Race Guys, who are obsessed with melee combat despite almost everyone else using all manner of ranged energy weapons. During the Vague War, the Bulrathi would often interrogate captured humans, then hit them in the liver and send them home. After a few days, the person would die. In a quirk of evolution, Bulrathi speak with falsetto voices. On the other hand, they make excellent tenors, but good luck trying to watch a Bulrathi performance without bursting into laughter (unless you're afraid of having your head torn off). True to their nature, the Bulrathi even managed to use their voice as a weapon, specifically against the Silicoids, who use focused EM fields to move, communicate, and attack. The high-frequency sound emitted by Bulrathi warriors resonates with the Silicoid EM-emitting organ, requiring a single punch to disable it. One of the few Bulrathi featured in the series has become a Combat Pragmatist since the war, though. He never goes anywhere without his blaster and will take hostages if necessary, only engaging in honorable combat if he's sure he has the advantage.
Zigzagged in Seeker Bears, where the main bears are good, and most of the bears they meet along are okay talking with them. The only cases are Shoteka, Salik, Nanulak, Chogan, and rogue bears.
If you meet a bear in anyFighting Fantasy gamebook, it's likely going to attack you.
The Lindauzi in The Wild Boy are an alien race that covertly killed millions of humans with a virus, then appeared with a cure for anyone who would live with them. And those who did were bred and kept like humans do dogs. Guess what they look like.
In Combat Team by Murray Leinster the wildlife is so dangerous that the only way people can survive on the planet is with the help of domesticated mutant Kodiak bears.
In the first All American Pups book, Claude Coyote leaves the pups alone and runs when he thinks he hears a bear, and Jake is worried about having to deal with it. Turns out, the bear noises were only Fritz's hoarse barking.
Snuffles, a novella by R. A. Lafferty intially subverts this. Snuffles is an somewhat intelligent alien creature that resembles a bear and is very friendly until the second chapter where it's played straight, then taken Up to Eleven.
Walker, Texas Ranger featured bears a number of times, Episode 173 featuring a particularly scary one.
According to Scrubs, while unwanted pregnancy or STDs are not fun, "Losing a baseball scholarship because a bear ate your arm is a much worse consequence of sex." Probably true. This line immediately follows a flashback in which Elliott, having parked in the woods with her high school boyfriend, starts drizzling honey on him as part of foreplay when a ravenous bear comes and breaches the car, eating the poor guy's arm.
The Angel episode "Soul Purpose" is largely a series of nightmares experienced by Angel, who's being fed upon by a parasite. This includes a Squick-filled dissection scene involving, amongst other things, a completely random bear.
In a rather comical example, Jeff Corwin discovered that Asiatic black bears have really bad gas after eating a big meal.
During an episode in Alaska, Jeff pointed out that if a grizzly bear felt threatened, there was no way he could outrun or out-climb it. He'd just become its dinner.
Ivan Avi: I was born into an evil world. Skies choked with ammonia, seas full of benzine, baby farms! Random suffocations...bears...
Juken Sentai Gekiranger is a show about two competing schools of martial arts styled after animals. The evil school has Maku, one of the most ridiculously overpowered villains in the series. Guess what his power animal is?
The same goes for his Western counterpart in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, Grizzaka. Even the other villains are wary of pissing him off.
Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger/Power Rangers Wild Force has the Rangers gain a pair of bear zords: a black bear and a polar bear, able to shoot beams of fire and ice respectively. The Bear Brothers turn out to be too powerful for the main megazord to use reliably, forcing the Rangers to find a stronger zord that could handle the bears' strength.
One episode of Monk had a bear show up... twice. Both times were plot-relevant.
An episode of the Animal Planet series River Monsters filmed in Alaska had a run-in with a grizzly where it stole a salmon the host had hooked right off his line, then came back again. Only when the guide accompanying him fired a warning shot from the hugerevolver he was carrying did the bear finally leave.
An episode of Reaper had Sam trying to get someone to sell their soul, and being chased out of the guy's property by a polar bear. Which had been delivered to the jerkass by the Devil. Andi in particular was amused. Sam was not.
A sketch had a bearologist. He decided to kill his wife by releasing the bear he was studying, who then proceeded to... pick up a gun from a table and shoot her. (Which the scientist blamed on "too much TV", but the bear was revealed to be the bearologist's brother in disguise.)
One sketch featured a world in which bears killed everyone and took on the role of humans.
Stephen Colbert is famous for his fear and hatred of bears or "godless killing machines" (one once killed everything he loved), so naturally the featured film clip for his interview with The National Parks director Ken Burns features a river filled with almost a dozen grizzlies.
Colbert: That is the scariest film I've ever seen.
Inverted with David Letterman, who loves bears and was positively thrilled when Jack Hanna let him hold a pair of day-old cubs. In a more recent show, Hanna was recounting how he, his wife, and a family of hikers had a close encounter with a Mama Bear and her pair of two-year old cubs (ironically just after shooting a PSA for the National Parks) and Letterman felt it would've been a shame if Hannah was attacked because it would have meant the possible death of the bear.
In Northern Exposure, Holling Vincouer was once mauled by a bear (whom he named Jesse) while hunting. While recovering, he claimed to have a nightmare where he was pursued by all the animals he had hunted in the past. The experience changed Holling; while he had sworn vengeance against Jesse (to the point where Jesse had become his personal Moby-Dick), he vowed never to hunt any animal other than Jesse except with a camera.
Dwight from The Office wisely fears bears. He once went to see a movie about bear attacks, but mistakenly walked into Wedding Crashers, he stayed, because "bears attack when you least expect it."
In an episode of Starsky & Hutch, Starsky gets kidnapped by a psycho cult. Things go about as expected, and at one point whilst trying to escape he turns a corner and comes face to face with a bear. A very large bear. That he is supposed to fight. With a rock. Yeah.
In one episode of Highlander, Duncan McLeod is helping a fugitive Native American woman who has stolen the child of a white mine owner to replace her own child that died of poisoning from polluted water from the mine. During the night, a bear wanders into the log cabin in which they're sheltering.
One All That skit had the crew smothering an unlucky Butt Monkey reporter freezing in the tundra with honey to attract a nearby polar bear.
In the Married... with Children episode, "Bearly Men", Al and Bud go hunting with Peggy's father to prove their manliness. Al and Bud run into a bear (they hit it with a car). Thinking it dead, they take the bear home... only for it to wake up and escape into Chicago. Al, Bud, and Peggy's father then have to go after it.
On Boy Meets World, as part of an Escalating War, one group of the main characters superglue the other main characters to their classroom seats, dowse them in honey and set a bear loose in the classroom. Givin that the source of the bear is never explained, nor do they get in trouble for it, this one goes directly under Rule of Funny.
In How I Met Your Mother, Marshall is worried about being uninsured while looking for work, and keeps coming up with worst-case scenarios about every situation, all of which include being attacked by a bear (well, a guy in a bad bear costume). The bad bear suit heightens the Rule of Funny, as does Marshall melodramatically screaming "NOT LIKE THIS" every time.
The Haven episode "Fur" featured hunting trophy animals coming to life and attacking people, including a bear.
In one episode of That's My Bush!, George W. Bush buys a bear for protection against the angry mob outside. This is a bad move, as the bear picks up a bolt-action rifle and hunts him down — all so the show could end on a pun about the right to arm bears.
On Longmire, one Victim of the Week was tied down in the forest and had meat tied to his body in order to attract a bear. The man was ripped apart by the bear and the seasoned cops and hunters who examined the scene considered it the most gruesome death they ever saw.
One of the early episodes of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman had the title character getting trapped inside of a cabin due to a rabid grizzly.
An episode of Grimm featured a type of Wesen called Jägerbar ("Blind Idiot" Translation of "hunter-bear"). They are notable for being the most animal-like in their "woge" form, especially females, who look like ordinary bears. Traditionally, Jägerbar love to hunt, especially humans. Modern Jägerbar, though, have mostly abandoned this custom. Naturally, the episode features those who still follow it.
Once on Destination Truth when in Hokkaido Josh and his team were dismayed to find out that besides being reputedly haunted the abandoned town they were visiting was also full of bears. And unlike the last time they dealt with bears in Alaska they didn't have any guns with them. Luckily the only bear the encountered was a stuffed one in a school.
Longmire: The Victim of the Week in "The Worst Kind of Hunter" was drugged, tied up, covered in meat and left in an area where a bear was known to live. It was one of the most gruesome crime scenes Longmire and his deputies have ever seen.
Played mildly for laughs in a Season 1 episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where Simmons (a biochemist who's usually fearless to the point of recklessness around dangerous animals) gets alarmed at the mere possibility that there might be bears anywhere within the reach of the long-range scanner during a hike through the Canadian wilderness.
If you wanted to release an album named "No Fear Restriction", what you'd put on the cover to match? Right...
The back of the album cover of Jethro Tull's Stormwatch has a 1000 foot tall polar bear stomping on an oil refinery station.
But if you're sitting there beside her/And a bear comes in the room/And you keep on going 'cause you're unaware/Then you know that you are there/Beyond the silver rainbow/You won't know if you're coming or going
Nekrogoblikon has a song called Bears.
Claws leaving scars, giant teeth tearing skin,
Fur on the outside and darkness within!
The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft noted a conspicuous absence of bears in some shamanic societies' legends, probably owing to the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-ness. Though Celtic lore does mention the bear as the king of the animals (a distinction kept until the popularity of the lion as a symbol for Jesus).
The Inuit and other Arctic peoples had mixed opinions about polar bears. On one hand, they are the biggest living terrestrial carnivore, so they were obviously feared. On the other, their mythologies usually held the polar bear with a lot of respect, as a sacred shamanic symbol.
Davy Crockett. King of the wild frontier. Killed him a bear when he was only three.
Averted by many Native American legends. Amongst the Navajo, for example, the bear is a symbol of healing, peace, and tranquility and harming one brings very bad luck. Then again, if you try to provoke a bear you're probably going to get everything you deserve.
Played straight by others. The Origin Story of Devil's Tower in Wyoming involves one or more gigantic bears trying to kill frightened children and the Creator raising the tower up under the kids to save them.
Keep in mind that there's a very important difference between black bears and grizzly bears. Black bears are generally regarded as the positive aspects of the bear, being peaceable and shy. Grizzly bears are almost literally called Ax-Crazy in some legends.
The dire bear made a pants-wettingly terrifying appearance in Neverwinter Nights 2, just so you could get a sense of scale: it is bigger than a friggin' garbage truck, and covered with bony spikes.
Werebear-ians: Barbarian Were Bears. Ouch.
There's a Running Gag about Dungeons & Dragons druids: no matter how good their stats, they will invariably reach level 5 as a human/elf/whatever, then spend the rest of their lives as a bear because the Natural Spell feat lets them still cast spells while in that form.
And to take this Up to Eleven, they have animal companions as well. So this means that they can transform into a bear (Wild Shape) and ride a bear (Animal Companion) while summoning bears (spontaneously cast summon spells). Oh, Crap.
We did the calculations on this once...you can get close to a hundred bears at 20th level without any bizarre min/maxing or obscure feats. Also, the same theory can be applied to most any animal.
Most templates in 4e have a requirement of a certain creature type being necessary in order for it apply, usually humanoid. However, the Death Knight template's only requirement is that the creature be level 11, which means Cave Bear Death Knights are realistic possibilities in any campaign.
In 4th edition, the Druid class gains at 1st level the ability to change into animal form (which doesn't technically change your stats, it just makes you look different and gives you different attacks) at will for as long as you want. So, technically, you could play a Druid who spends their entire life as a bear.
Plus, there's a spell in 3.5 edition called "Bite of the Werebear", which grants +16 strength, +8 CON, three natural attacks, and the Power Attack feat to the target. It has a range of self, but can be cast on familiars for...interesting results.
However, there's also Owlbears. I don't care what its stats are, an Owlbear is a bit difficult to take seriously.
Frequently lampshaded these days. Owlbears are survivors from a previous generation of D&D with many silly monsters. They come in normal, polar, and Pelor save us all, winged.
This is definitely the case for the enemies of Breland, considering the Brelish field elite bear cavalry (as befits Breland's coat of arms). Obviously, the Brelish themselves would tend to disagree.
To spread the fun around, the Book of Exalted Deeds introduces the prestige class the "Sentinel of Bharrai" for Ursinal-revering mages who want to escape the problem of Squishy Wizard syndrome. Among other things this class allows them to turn into bears, and eventually into dire bears, at will!
The Huraka (wind bears) of Exalted. While they are normally gentle wind herders, they also serve as the shock troops of the Air Elementals. You know you're screwed when giant, flying bears with wind powers come barreling toward you.
In the Old World of Darkness, what was stronger than a werewolf in its hybrid "war form"? A werebear in their version of same form. Not only that, but the incarnation of death itself was the aptly-named Death Bear, which had to be fought to bring someone back to life. Guess which changing species was the only one up to the task?
Ironically enough, the Gurahl (the werebears) are actually the ones who are supposed to make everything better. Just as werewolves are Gaia's warriors, werebears are Gaia's healers — they have the most potent restorative rituals of all the Changing Breeds, including the ability to bring the recently deceased back to life (but if they get there a little too late... well...)
World of Synnibarr took things step further, not only having a handful of bear subtypes with an assortment of powers (mostly psychic based), but also a set of 'Grizzlies'. While they were equally dangerous, the cake goes to the Giant Flying Grizzly; eye-lasers that would instantly kill you from 200 feet, the ability to fly 100 miles per hour, and the tenacity to stalk their prey 'vast distances'.
The flavor text for the Magic card Grizzly Bears: Don't try to outrun one of Dominia's Grizzlies; it'll catch you, knock you down and eat you. Of course, you could run up a tree. In that case you'll get a nice view before it knocks the tree down and eats you.
In the early days of Magic, a 2/2 creature with no abilities cost 3 mana, 1 of the creature's color and 2 of any color (Examples: Pearled Unicorn, Gray Ogre) while the Grizzly Bears (also 2/2 with no abilities) was only 2 mana; 1 green, 1 other. Thus, they're faster.
Some of the other Bears in Magic include Werebear (starts off a weak 1/1, but get 7 cards in your graveyard and it turns 4/4), Ashcoat Bear (You're not even safe from your opponent summoning bears during your turn), and Bearscape (They can come from anywhere!)
The bears of Tarkir are even worse news than usual, since they start at power 4 and weigh somewhere around a ton. The Khan of the Temur, Surrak Dragonclaw, earned both his position and his many scars by fighting one, which is an achievement roughly on par with stopping an oncoming car by punching it.
Warhammer: Borus Ursa, former Tzar of Kislev, rode a giant bear into battle. There's also a mention of a Chaos Lord whose chariot is pulled by skinless bears.
A grizzly bear is the standard mount for any of the Tzars or Tzarinas of Kislev, including the current incumbent Katarin the Ice Queen.
While the bear is the official symbol of the nation of Kislev, and associated with its line of Tzars to the extent that they are depicted in heraldry riding one (Kislev is based heavily on medieval Russia), Tzarina Katarin has only ever ridden a horse in real life. Unlike her father, the above-mentioned Boris Ursa.
Also the Dogs of War character, Beorg Bearstruck; a Norse barbarian that has transformed into a Were-bear. He leads a mercenary regiment of Norse marauders called the Bearmen of Urslo, who wear bearskins and display a bear-claw device on their shields. Beorg is quite obviously based on Beorn from The Hobbit, although he does also have a distant cousin called Ruprecht of Bearmark, who ran away to study poetry in Nuln...
The Witcher takes this trope Up to Eleven. You can take down small armies of humans (or humanoids), fight off some lesser or even more epic monsters and stop powerful magicians on daily basis. Yet a single bear can tear Player Party composed entirely of grizzled veterans apart, one character per turn. It says something when short from flying dragons and high vampires, bears are the toughest creatures you may fight with. And they are much, much more common.
In Risk: Legacy, the Enclave of the Bear faction has bear cavalry as its 3-troop "vehicle" unit.
BattleTech features Clan Ghost Bear, one of the strongest Clans in the Inner Sphere. The Clan deploys huge bear themed such as the Kodiak and the Grizzly.
In the Warrior CatsAdventure Game campaign Mission of Mercy, the cats protect a young girl who gets attacked by a bear. Notable for being the only time bears appear in the series.
One of the factions in the Smash Up expansion "Awesome Level 9000" is Bear Cavalry.
In Ubu Roi Pile, Cotice and Père Ubu are attacked by a bear in the forest. Pile and Cotice barely manage to kill it, while Ubu hides and prays, coming out after the bear is killed and claiming they'd never survive the encounter without his prayer.
Transformers (Generation One toys) had a Pretender Bear named Chainclaw. He was an Autobot. And a hypochondriac.
The first figure in the BMOG toyline is Ursenal, who is essentially a bear made of guns. His profile◊ states that he's technically a good guy, but his tendency to shoot first and ask questions later is... problematic, to say the least.
Averted by teddy bears. They're so soft and cute and huggable!
In the Southern Vashnar mountains in Achaea, there is a point where the traveller must decide between going south or southwest. Southwest is a safe path leading to the city of Cyrene. There is a small and easy to miss sign at the fork in the path, which reads, "CAUTION: bears south". They're not friendly.
Speaking of Iron Realms, there's a whole race of humanoid bears in Lusternia, called the Tae'dae. Though usually Winnie-the-Pooh-esque Gentle Giant's, they're about eight feet tall and have the highest potential natural strength in the game.
In Age of Empires 3, the bears are treasure guardians but they're neutral. They'll only attack when you attack or when one of you cannons manage to get a AOE attack on them. There's 3 different types of bears, the strongest one being the Polar Bear(found in snow maps). There's also tamed bears.
Random wilderness-dwelling brown and cave bears in Baldur's Gate. While far from the toughest enemies of the game, they start off showing as neutral to you, become aggressive if you get at all close, and can serve up a good mauling if you stop to fight. And usually come in pairs or groups. Oh, and you can encounter them right after the tutorial, at level 1.
While Battle Bears is a game about bears, most of the enemies are also bear-based, including a brief fight with the Colbear and a Bearbershop Quartet.
Conkers Bad Fur Day has a level called "It's War", in which the game's reluctant, accidental antihero fights against an army of evil, fascist bears known as the Tediz. (Pun of "Nazis") These bears are more human than animal, but they are still creepy, and more horrifying is the boss of the level, a huge cybernetic bear with spider legs, embedded weapons, and a hand puppet of a girl, which he uses to lure Conker in.
Disaster: Day of Crisis had a bear as part of the many pre-release screenshot collections. And that bear means business. It's not your ordinary bear. It's a bear that's Made of Iron.
One of the quests in the Bloodmoon expansion pack for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind involves you hunting down and killing a Spirit Bear. Before doing that, you have to kill either Skaal hunters or werewolves, both incredibly tough enemies, and the bear has the annoying habit of entering the fray while you're currently engaged. The regular bears of Solstheim are no slouches either, being considerably more dangerous than any animal on Vvardenfell.
Bears in the sequel, Oblivion, are among the most hated and feared enemies in the game for their high attack power, health, and ability to stagger the player character. They are oftentimes more dangerous than most of the quasi-demonic hordes of Daedra currently invading Tamriel.
They keep this up in the following chapter Skyrim, where they are more dangerous than dragons. At least the dragons give you the courtesy of announcing their attack with a bellowing roar and circling you a few times beforehand. And when you hear a bear roar, you have only seconds to prepare before the creature gets back on all fours, rushes and mauls you.
Skyrim also has the Stormcloak Rebels, who have a prominent bear motif. Their generals even wear bearskin cloaks, complete with a hood made out of the bear's head.
Fallout 3 has the Yao Guai, giant, vicious, mutated bears that roam the Capital Wasteland disemboweling anyone they come across. In terms of dangerousness, they're second only to the Deathclaws.
And unlike their cousins in the Capital Wasteland, they are still hostile to you even if you have the Animal Friend perk.
Vargas, a boss from the beginning of Final Fantasy VI, had two bears for no apparent reason other than making the fight slightly more challenging.
There is a type of bear-like enemy in the mountains of Zozo that enjoys ambushing the party, stealing a LOT of money, and fleeing in its next turn. It made an annoying dungeon so much worse...
Fur Fighters had some of the Mooks as bears with polar-bears being the strongest and brown-bears making up the majority. Oddly not Black Bears and they were commandeered by a massive Cat.
Guild Wars has bears capturable as pets in the tutorial area of prophecies though it's difficult and having one is considered a status symbol. They're also capturable in the main game but then are considered worse than common pets, because they have a special attack that does nothing but slow their attack speed. In the "Presearing" (tutorial) area of Prophecies, the capturable bear is the black bear. Brown bears and polar bears are available as common pets in Prophecies and Eye of the North, and there is a special variant of the polar bear known as a Jingle Bear available as a reward for a holiday quest in Eye of the North.
The Norn in Eye of the North can shapeshift into anthropomorphic bears as well. Whenever you talk to a hunter for the first time, they'll turn into one and attack. Additionally, there's the Nornbear, a corrupted version you have to kill, and whose brief existence inspires a Religion of Evil.
Norn characters in Guild Wars 2 will be able to replicate the shapeshifting. It also includes the Kodan, a race of permanently anthropomorphic bears who consider themselves the most enlightened race.
In the old NES game Ice Climber, polar bears wearing sunglasses and swim trunks would show up and cause earthquakes. They could easily kill the player.
Katamari Damacy features a bear-themed Scrappy Level called Ursa Major in which the object is to gather the largest bear possible into your katamari. The problem? Picking up any sized bear, no matter how tiny, automatically ends the level and bears are everywhere! Even gathering a single bear-themed item like a "beware of bears!" sign or a "tiny teddybear" will end the level.
We ♥ Katamari ups the ante with a "Cowbear" level in which you must gather the largest cow and/or bear item to win. Now only must you dodge bear-themed items, you must be wary of cow and milk-themed items as well or the round will end prematurely.
The Bulrathi, from the first two Master of Orion games, landing on your planet generally made for having a bad day, unless you had a significant numerical and/or technological advantage over them.
One of the Druid's animal companion options in Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 is a bear. Try to guess what every player picks. Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer interrupts your not quite pleasant stay at the town of Mulsantir by having a bear show up at the gates. Not just any bear either, but a bear god. With an army. An army which includes ghost bears. To make matters worse, it's a bear god specifically out to kill you, meaning the residents of the town are keen to throw your woefully unprepared ass out against it like some sort of sacrificial lamb. If it weren't for Gann and his magical bear god weak-point detecting skills, you'd be fucked. Inverted if you decide to spare and recruit said bear god. You have a freaking bear god on your side!
The first enemies you come across in Akhma Cave in Rohan Online are Ursas, Warrior Ursas, Elder Ursas, and Ursa Mages, A.K.A. Giant Fucking Humanoid Bears From Hell. The weakest of them, the Ursas, start at level 20, but the most advanced Ursa types can easily go up to level 30. You will NEED a party in order to take these things (and Akhma Cave in general) on, because unless you're really high level, you WILL get eaten alive, particularly because the tougher ones like to mob you.
An eggbear (A bear that lays eggs) serves as an early boss in Tales of Eternia. Later, as a Secret Test of Character, Reid gets to be the same bear and relive its experiences that occurred just prior to his fight with it, ultimately fighting himself and Keele, though not before unleashing its wrath upon one of the traders who killed its family and random monsters who get in the way.
In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the two most deadly physical attacking monsters in the game are the Galf Beast and the Wolf Heddin. And which of these is the final evolved form of the bear? Actually, the bear has a divergent evolution and thus has two final evolved forms: the Galf Beast and the Wolf Heddin. Apparently, someone at Namco really likes bears.
The first monster Emil is attacked by is a bear. In New Game+ playthroughs, any monsters you inherited from your previous game can't defeat the bear until Marta arrives on the scene.
Kuma, Heihachi Mishima's guard bear from Tekken. Not so much with his Palette Swapped counterpart, Xiaoyu's sort-of pet Panda.
Druids in World of Warcraft can take the form of a bear to become more effective tanks. As it can deal decent damage while tanking, this is arguably their strongest form. What really speaks to their intimidating capability is their ability to scare things into attacking them over the much more dangerous people nearby. A human might be forgiven for focusing on the bear trying to claw their face off over the mage prepping a fireball, but when you can make a 60 foot dragon see you as the most dangerous thing around, you are one scary bear.
That was preceded by Druids of the Claw (who can turn into bears and boost allies' damage by roaring) and The Beastmaster Rexxar in Warcraft III, who could summon his bear from anywhere.
A purple (rather than red) Palette Swap of the Amani War Bear called the Amani Battle Bear has since been introduced to allow players who missed out on the War Bear to get something similar after Zul'Aman was retooled as a Level 85 Heroic instance, and is still fairly difficult to get in the time limit (it requires downing the enemies and bosses as efficiently as possible without wiping). One of the four bosses happens to be a troll infused with the power of a bear spirit who can charge distant players (one-shotting anyone who has the debuff from his charge), and who can turn into a bear, increasing his damage done to the tank and giving him the ability to roar and silence players.
As the racial mount of the forest trolls, bears feature in associated raids and dungeons. typicaly decorated with tiki masks, the tusks of something big and strong and even shrunken heads, the presence of green, muscular trolls riding bears is a sign that the enemy rider is an elite. The presence of these bears is usually a sign that things are about to get real.
Wrath of the Lich King also introduced an Armored Brown Bear mount available from the Dalaran mount vendor. It costs considerably more than the usual mount.
The reward for being part of the kills of every leader of the opposite faction, a feat that can require nearly a hundred organized players? A black war bear mount. Even better? Those bears were implemented in the closing days of Burning Crusade, during that brief period when mob levels (including faction leaders) were upped but players could not level yet. Despite (or because) of this, many top guilds actually got up at 4am to kill the faction leaders before WotLK came out. Despite the fact that killing one faction leader easily took 30 minutes because of the vast level gap. Bears are Serious Business.
The Hyldnir, a group of giant blue warrior women, ride polar bear mounts in battle, one of which you can receive as a rare reward from a daily quest, which itself can involve riding a fighting bear.
There is also a race of humanoid bears called Furbolgs in both World of Warcraft and Warcraft III. They are usually peaceful, shamanistic beings, but Demonic Corruption has been bad for many of them, turning them beastly and mindlessly violent. The presence of corrupted Furbolgs is usually lampshaded as a sign things are going badly for a region at large. When sane they admire the night elves' respect for nature and forest life and are thus old friends, and also hold the tauren in esteem due to their similar cultures. Any other race who wants their respect has to earn it.
One tribe of those fiercely guards a tunnel that connects between three zones, one of which can only be reached through that tunnel (and if you aren't a druid, you don't have easy access to another one). While it is possible to befriend them to the degree of them letting you pass with moderate effort, people who decide to skip that are in for one rough treatment when they try to run through the tunnel. Incidentally, two of the mentioned zones are crawling with other furbolgs and regular bears, as well.
Similarly, the Moonkin are a race created by the goddess Elune to protect her sacred shrines - they are half owl and half bear, to represent the wisest and strongest animals respectively. Druids can also assume their form in order to perform a caster DPS role.
Welcome Bears, a Beef Gate monster in the Western Plaguelands. Tirisfal Glades, a starting area, is directly adjacent to the Plaguelands, so unwitting low level characters were often mauled on wandering across the border. While the zone level has been significantly nerfed, they're still likely to kill the unwary.
Even that was one-upped by the Bear Reaver. Imagine a creature, wandering about the wilderness, that has the abilities of a Humongous Mecha demon that requires multiple characters at the level cap to kill, but with the graphic of a wild bear. According to the article, this was more dangerous than the demon itself. Making the humongous robot demon into a normal-sized bear made it more dangerous (mostly because it was harder to see coming).
There is even a ghost bear named Arcturis. The most awesome thing is that Hunters specialized in Beast Mastery can tame it.
In Infinite Undiscovery, Gustav the bear joins your party and proves to be a powerful tank (as you'd expect)...but counts as two characters toward the Arbitrary Headcount Limit. Also played straight with enemy bears and their daunting HP totals.
In part because he doesn't know the full story either.
Vindictus throws a giant, pissed off polar bear at you in the "Dethrone the White Tyrant" mission of Hoarfrost Hollow, who is easily the toughest boss of that particular part of the game. And just for an encore, there's a Red Tyrant Bonus Boss sometime after you get through with Hoarfrost Hollow which is even worse than the white one.
Everything's usually worse with the Polar Bears. Unless you play as them, that is.
In Team Fortress 2, the Heavy Weapons Guy, according to the Scout, is "like a big shaved bear that hates people."
And then comes The Warrior's Spirit, which are bear claws that enable the Heavy to cause more damagenote albeit with a slight health handicap. Brings a new meaning to "I will kill you with bear hands!"
The comic "A Cold Day in Hell" involves Scout, Soldier, and Pyro encountering three bears while they were searching for the Heavy in northern Siberia. The trio kills them, and it turns out that they were babies when the massiveMama Bear shows up.
In Samurai Shodown (aka Samurai Spirits) 0/5 Nakoruru is almost killed by a bear in Rera's storyline intro if not for Rera taking over Nako's body. Nakoruru is hesitant to defend herself for two reasons; one is that in Real Life the bear is one of the Ainu's most holy animal (Nakoruru being Ainu) and the other is that Nakoruru is a friend to all living things and doesn't like to use violence. Rera apparently pulls a Hollow Ichigo and kills the bear after taking over Nako's body because she doesn't feel like dying. Rera is not a bad person, just a part of Nako that doesn't like how Nako normally behaves.
Dragon Age: Origins has you fight bears from time to time, but also has bereskarns, bears with spikes that have been corrupted by the darkspawn taint. A high-level shapeshifter can actually transform into one. A Rogue with the Ranger Specialization can summon a bear. Mastering the specialization allows a Rogue to summon an even bigger bear. Anywhere. It's a pretty good meatshield/damage dealer too.
In Red Dead Redemption, the Tall Trees area in the northeast is populated by large grizzly bears. While not invulnerable (as with every animal, you can kill skin them), they can fuck your shit up quite easily. Whether or not they're more dangerous than cougars is up for debate, but they're certainly scary. And if you kill one bear, watch your back - most likely, there's more to come.
Throughout the game Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, the player regularly fights against golems, stronger-than-normal enemies that take the form of humanoids built from various substances. Then you get to the Ice Domain, where the golems are replaced by giant, undead polar bears.
Teddiursa is a small teddy bear. However, when it evolves at Level 30, it becomes the dangerous Ursaring. Ursaring is a Mighty Glacier that hits and moves like a truck. Weighing in at a base attack stat of 130, it is a beast to be reckoned with and its decent physical movepool is enough to back it up.
Cubchoo averts this trope, as it's a polar bear cub with a giant Snot Bubble. Its evo, Beartic, however, is the Unova Rape Bear.
Gen VI introduces Pancham and its evolution Pangoro, fighting-type pandas.
Naughty Bear wouldn't be the same game with some other animal.
Shinobido has bears in some mission. And they're insanely powerful, veeery suspicious, move erratically and can take a lot of damage before dying. However, you can kill them instantly if they're distracted (usually a salmon will do the trick).
Return To Krondor does not have any actual bears, but it has Big Bad Bear. He is taller than everyone else. He has muscles to match his height. He is a mercenary and a pirate leader. He will kill men, women, and children who get in his way. In the game, one small-time pirate name Knute left him and was thrown in jail. Bear broke into the jail with an army of mercenaries, killing everyone they encountered. He personally went down to the cells where Knute was held in and ripped Knute's cell door right off its hinges and told Knute to follow him. Then he grabbed Knute by the throat and demanded to know "Where is it?" and "What had Knute done with it?" Knute just kept screaming that he did not do anything. Bear called Knute a liar and sliced him to pieces. When you finally fight Bear yourself, you will find that he wears the best armour and uses the best swords. Oh, and you will find that he is completely immune to your attacks. He wears an amulet that makes him immune to your attacks.
Parodied in Castle Crashers. During the forest stage, you keep hearing vast thumping footsteps that cause various animals to void their bowels in terror. About halfway through the stage, a huge bear emerges from the bushes, only to be scared off by the continued footsteps, which turn out to belong to an enormous troll.
In Jables's Adventure, you encounter bears on the trip to The Lost Woods and they're one of the toughest enemies in the game. Then, Under the Sea, you encounter the SCUBA bear, who's invincible. Finally, in a volcano, you encounter a bear with a flamethrower, who's not only invincible but impossible to dodge (you have to find something fire-retardant to block him).
Volibear is based on the legendary 'armored bear' from League beta. It has the 'Chronokeeper Hater' buff, a reference to Zilean the Chronokeeper and the Riot developer Zileas who was supposedly against armored bears.
The Perils Of Akumos: The whole space station is trying to kill you. What next? Oh. A bear attacks you.
Mother 3 has the Honey Shower which coats an enemy with honey, causing it to be stung repeatedly by bees for minimal damage. Oh, and sometimes a bear shows up, too. The bear doesn't inflict "minimal" damage.
The Black Belt Demon's peat bear in Rumble Roses XX is unlockable.
In Thief, you can eavesdrop on a conversation between two guards about bear fighting as a blood sport. One of the guards laments that bears were ferocious when he was a kid, and the pit owners have to strap hooks and razor collars onto the bears to keep the fights interesting.
Aztec Wars has war bears as one of the Russian units. They're fast and utterly devastating against infantry, but useless against buildings and vehicles.
Brain Dead 13: In one death scene in the Trophy Room, a bear rug comes to life and mauls Lance down to the ground, and there is a Discretion Shot in which his body parts (green ooze, bones, eyeballs, baseball cap) fly over the place.
Averted in Civilization IV: The weakest military units in the game can kill a bear easily. Justified in that the game's goal is not the survival of an individual or a small group(that is to say, the situation in which one will find the vast majority of this trope in action), but the survival of an entire civilization...and bears have never been that big of a threat.
Kingdom of Loathing has bars in the Spooky Woods, but they're fairly weak monsters that are only a threat to absolute newbies. There are some straight examples, like the "clan of cave bars" players can encounter in the Hidden Temple (whose power and defense scale with yours up to a certain cap), or the heavily-armed Warbears that showed up for Crimbo 2013.
Inverted in the story mode of Tokyo Jungle. In Act 10, a bear acts as an Old Master to a Tosa dog that had been chased out of its territory earlier in the story. The bear feeds it and enlists the dog's help in securing its territory to help it regain its courage and confidence.
Subverted in Monster Hunter. The bear-like Arzorus certainly looks intimidating with its blood-red claws and armored paws but it is nothing compared to the many, much stronger monsters you will face. In fact a cutscene shows an Arzorus running in fear when a Zinogre draws near it. Any high-tier quest pitting you against them will generally have you fight two at once because only one would be too easy.
Bears are quite a nuisance in Board Game Online when they show up. They can chase you back several spaces or kill you. However, you can sic a bear on an opponent if you have cocaine.
In Girl's Garden, bears will try to chase down Papri if she comes within sight of them. They can be distracted by leaving pots of honey on the ground.
The titular character of Five Nights at Freddy's is an animatronic bear who entertains children by day and tries to gruesomely murder the security guard at night, with the help of three other robotic animals.
Even worse is the mysterious "Golden Freddy", a discolored Freddy suit that sometimes shows up, which outright crashes the game if it gets you.
The Brrr Bear from Wario Land 3. They have ice powers that they can use to freeze Wario and send him sliding back across the level.
Tomodachi Life: If two of your Miis get into a fight and fail to resolve it, you can view a daydream of them battling the other Mii, with the most common of the three types of daydreams being a tug-of-war over a stretchy teddy bear with a third Mii's face that has a permanent "Sad" expression.
Bears are one of the summonable unit in Warlock: Master Of The Arcane. They are reasonable early game unit, but lose effectiveness later in the game unless upgraded.
In episode 12 of Unforgotten Realms, Roamin the Paladin rides to the scene of a big battle on the back of, not just a bear, but Ursa Arkadios, Archduke of the High Bears! Oh, and they're loaded with every sword in the rulebook.
The possible inspiration for Jenka and Fust can be found in one of Kaja Foglio's other comics, ''The Cat On The Dovrefjell'' which was apparently based on a folk tale and involves a bunch of trolls experiencing this trope first hand.
In Laser Feet, a bear stars in the test pattern used when the creator is unable to upload that week's comic, for whatever reason, as seen here.
The invocation of this trope is how the title character in Charby the Vampirate finds out for the first time just how powerful he's become..he knocks a bear out with a desperately flailing kick. For scale, bear in mind that Charby has the body of an 8 year old boy.
Fan Fiction: John Freeman got quiet then dropped weapon and said "I have to kill fast and bullets too slow" and started killing Combines with bear hands.
There is a common joke among Survival of the Fittest handlers that inactive characters are killed and eaten by an "Inactivity Bear". Also, in her first post, version 4 character Maria Graham has a dream where she was actually "Robo-Bear 5000", which was a robotic bear disguised as a student and was going to avenge its kidnapping.
An episode of What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? featured a story about a man who wanted to find a bear, kill a bear, wear the bear's skin, and then maul his ex-girlfriend to death to make it look like some sort of freak bear attack. Nash was quick to point out the flaws in this plan.
Nash: Number one, it's a bear. Number two, it's a bear. Number three, and probably most important... HOLY SHIT, YOU FUCKING IDIOT! IT'S A GODDAMNED BEAR!
They also had another story where a man and his girlfriend were camping and a bear started to go into their tent while they were sleeping. The man managed to punch the bear in the face and drove it off. Both Nash and Tara agreed that punching a bear in the face to save your girlfriend is better than a marriage proposal. Tara was also concerned about her boyfriend finding out about the story as he wants to punch a bear and now has proof you can survive doing it.
The SCP Foundation currently maintains three "ursine"-tagged subjects: SCP-549, which would be a normal grizzly if it weren't 17 centimetres long; SCP-1048, a sapient teddy bear that can use any material to make more of itself; and "Bugsy," a grizzly that gets bigger and more aggressive the more people know about it.
In a roundabout sort of way, when the Game Grumps play Naughty Bear, their first part got decidedly low ratings due to their inability to complete the very first task of the game, even though the game itself was guiding them.
Parodied with a bear wandering around Springfield, not even getting angry once, but causing enough of a panic to lead to an extensive (and costly) bear watch program. Although as pointed out by Lisa, Homer was only paying $5, so regardless of whether it's a percentage or just $5 per person, it was the smallest tax hike in history.
In a more straightforward example, Homer is traumatized by a bear attack, and has nightmares of being attacked by vicious bear mascots.
Homer: Are you a Care Bear? Care Bear: (takes out a crowbar and starts tapping it) I'm an Intensive Care Bear. Homer: Why does a bear need a crowbar? Care Bear:...I don't like to get my hands dirty.
That bear later turns into an Androcles' Lion as Homer finds out that he had a defective tracking tag on his ear that kept sending painful jolts in its ear.
There was also a bear with a chainsaw. Chainsawbad. In the episode where Mr. Burns and the Rich Texan were destroying the environment, Kent Brockman announced that "Smokey the Bear" is now "Choppy the Lumberjack". Cut to a bear in a lumberjack get-up cutting a tree with a chainsaw, while an activist protested to his actions behind him. Choppy backhanded him angrily and revved up his chainsaw.
In another episode, Bart and Lisa are stuck in a forest fire. Homer arrives in a helicopter, and let down a rope ladder. Before the kids can climb it, a bear shoulders them aside and climbs the ladder himself (only being stopped from reaching the chopper by Homer cutting the rope).
One of Homer's dream sequences involves him as "Homey the Bear", a Yogi Bear parody in both appearance and animation style. Not so bad, until Homey proceeds to brutally maul Ranger Ned (Flanders).
Kent Brockman reported in season 7 about a bear who stowed away on a space shuttle that is now terrorizing the astronauts.
One of the most infamous cases of this trope took place in the episode, "Homer vs. Dignity." While pulling a prank for Mr. Burns that was an in-universe example of Pandaing to the Audience, a male panda mistook a panda costume-clad Homer for a female and implicitly raped him.
Even the tame bear and television host Gentle Ben attacks his handler after hungrily going for the food table.
In the second season finale of Moral Orel, Orel's father Clay gets drunk, accidentally shoots Orel, and promptly passes out after Orel calls him out. It is only then that a grizzly appears and begins sniffing around the camp. When Clay's drunken sleep-muttering attracts the bear's attention to them, Orel reluctantly empties the revolver he has to kill the bear and save his father.
Raven spends much of the episode "Hide and Seek" in disbelief that Melvin's imaginary friend Bobby is real, instead believing Melvin is telekinetic and won't admit it. Then Monsieur Mallah kidnaps Melvin and the other kids, and we learn that Bobby is not only real, he's a nightmarish teddy bear with super-strength. Beatdown ensues.
Beast Boy also tends to turn into a bear (among other ferocious creatures) when he's angry enough.
In the episode "The Quest", the first of three animal spirits that Robin has to fight his way past on his way up the mountain is a bear. The guy is polite about it, but the fight is anything but easy for Robin. (And contrary to what he says, the bear is the biggest foe he's fought up to now without help; any enemy bigger than Cinderblock (who's about a foot shorter than the bear) was fought by the Titans as a team.
In one episode of Darkwing Duck, Darkwing takes Launchpad and Gosalynn on a camping trip, only for a very mean bear to be a persistent problem. When it finally turns violent, Darkwing decides to use his flamethrowing gas gun on it ("Hate to do this to an endangered species," says the hero) only to discover that the "bear" is actually a robot created by F.O.W.L. agents.
In Space Ghost Coast to Coast, there's an episode that Space Ghost is attacked by a bear, because there's a shark in the set. According to his educational documentary sharks like to walk along with bear, so the shark, named "Kentucky Nightame", attracts him.
Pound Puppies (2010) has Squirt and Niblet, who are lost in the Canadian wilderness due to getting stuck in a plane's cargo, discuss this trope in "Homeward Pound". Niblet believes the bears will help them and Squirt believes the bears would kill and eat them, prompting the two to split up when they can't agree on what to do. In a subversion of the trope, Niblet manages to convince the bears to save Squirt from going over a waterfall and even provide them-and the rescue crew coming to find the two-with plenty of fresh fish.
Played for Laughs in Patches' take on three episodes (including the one above) in "The Secret Super Pup Club". In the first two scenarios (the Canadian wilderness and a construction site), a bear pops out to scare/threaten the Pound Puppies, only to be scared off when Patches leaps from nowhere and barks at it. It gets ridiculous when the third scenario involves five of them coming out of nowhere in a suburban neighborhood, only to be once again scared off by Patches.
Billy! He's the greatest warrior ever, a hero of renown! Who slayed an evil ocean, who cast the Lich King down! [...] Also...He fought a bear!
Arguably averted and then played straight with the bear in the episode "In Your Footsteps", who unlike most characters, looks and acts mostly like an ordinary bear. Despite trying to ineptly copy Finn's voice, clothes and mannerisms so he can be a hero too, he's shown to be harmless, none too bright, and misunderstood at least until the end of the episode where he brings the book of heroes, the Enchiridion, to the evil Lich possessing a snail (although it could also be due to deception of The Lich's part).
In The Venture Bros., the Revenge Society is recruiting new members, and during the Terrible Interviewees Montage, one of the interviewees is a guy in a bear costume. He's covered in blood, looks freaky, no one knows how he got there and just stands there, not speaking or doing anything except breathing creepily. Phantom Limb, Professor Impossible, and Baron Underbeit, all experienced supervillains, are scared shitless. And then he pulls out a knife.
In another episode, Brock fights a team of Vatican Swiss Guard bears.
And in another episode The Monarch forces a prostitute into a deathtrap gauntlet. Featuring the polar bear from Lost.
On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius punishes Samy with a bear on a stick. It eats him, chews him up, and spits him out.
In an episode of American Dad!, Stan has both his legs ripped off by a vicious polar bear, after being pushed in by the bear's tank by Roger, who wanted to save Stan and pretend to be a hero, so he'd let him move back in with him.
Subverted with Bosco, the Earth King's pet bear. He's more Beary Funny than scary.
The Gang themselves were skeptical that there was such a creature as "just a bear" and suggested that perhaps it was another type of creature, such as a platypus-bear, skunk-bear, armadillo-bear, or gopher-bear. But no, he's just... a bear.
Seriously, they can be downright sadistic sometimes. They once offered Garfield a whole table full of free food just to tempt him when he was trying to prove to Jon that he could go five minutes without eating. By the way, Garfield won the bet.
There is another verse of their theme song which is doubly creepy:
Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we never have a fight! Anyone who disagrees is never, ever right! If you have a point of view, then keep it out of sight! Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, WE NEVER HAVE A FIGHT!
To which Garfield questions them...
Garfield: But what about having an individual point of view? Bear 1: I have an individual point of view. Bear 2: And I agree with him. Bear 3: And I agree with both of them. All:We all have an individual point of view!
Gravity Falls has the Multi-bear, mortal enemy of the Manitaurs. He is (they are?) actually reasonable and accepts his/their death with so much dignity that Dipper, who's been trying to become a real man, refuses to kill him/them.
Goof Troop has two straight examples and a subversion. The Christmas special and "Winter Blunder-land" both feature a bear as an actual threat to the characters. In "You Camp Take It with You", when Goofy and Pete take Max and PJ camping, there is another bear. Everyone except Max is worried the bear would or did eat the boys, but he turns out to be just another father trying to protect his son in the wilderness (though in this case he was a Talking Animal and his baby had a diaper). In the ending scene, he is significantly nicer than Pete and about as nice as Goofy.
In the 3-part episode of All Grown Up!, "R.V Having Fun Yet?", the gang encounter a bear. Luckily, they are saved by a dog that Kimi found during their cross-country road trip.
Comedian Mitch Hedburg had a joke where he and a friend decided to go out to the woods to do drugs in order to avoid authority figures only to run into a bear, which was "even more of a buzzkill". The friend attempted to appease the bear by promising to prevent forest fires.
Smokey is way more intense in person.
This trope may be the reason the word "bear" exists in the first place. Linguists believe that the Proto-Indo-European word for "bear" (*h₂ŕ̥tḱos, which evolved into the Latin ursus, Greek arctos, et al.) may have become taboo because people feared that actually using the word would summon a bear. As a result, various Germanic peoples began calling them "brown" as a euphemism, resulting in the English bear and bruin, German Bär, et al. Other languages have their own euphemisms:
Even *h₂ŕ̥tḱos itself isn't much better—it roughly translates to "destruction/destroyer". Appropriate that as well as coming to mean "bear", "arktos" also came to refer to the region around the North Pole.
Beowulf is probably a kenning referring to bears that literally means "bee-wolf" (y'know, because they like honey).
The Russian word medved (honey-eater), is a (Proto-Slavic—compare Polish niedźwiedź, Czech medvěd, Croatian medvjed) euphemism for the now-lost original word for "bear", but medved itself became taboo in the medieval period. Instead of naming the animal directly, people would refer to it with nicknames, either endearingly-pejorative ("the hairy one", "the clumsy one") or respectful ("the master"); a common practice was to give it a similar-sounding human name ("Mikhail Potapych", "Misha"), a practice which also became popular in Romanian language (the bear was called Moş Martin - "Old Uncle Martin"). In Polish, shortened form miś was used.
In Finnish there's otso, kontio, and mesikämmen (the last meaning "honey-paws"). The official name karhu was also originally a euphemism.
The Nazis probably felt this way about Voytek. A bear... that drinks, smokes, fights, and carries ammo. However, in his personal life Voytek was known as a kind and lovable fuzzball, who loved sweets, baths and hanging out with his buddies. A case where he brought this upon someone: one day, when Voytek went to the steam baths, he found an enemy spy hiding in them. He roared and backhanded the spy, who promptly surrendered, presumably not having expected a bear to blow his cover.
Try to read all the way through this page without getting the chills. Some standout incidents include:
The woman who climbed onto her roof when the bear broke into her cabin. It followed her onto the roof and killed her. Nowhere is safe...
The one where a bear broke the necks of two campers, dragged them off, and ate part of them. When police found the bear five days later...it was guarding and protecting their corpses. Somehow the really disturbing implications of that last bit make this one even creepier.
The bear who apparently ripped the door off of a trailer to get to the man inside.
The bear who dragged a five-month-old off of the porch of her house and killed her.
The one where the only information they give us is that "his/her partially consumed remains were found." Especially scary is the guy whose half-eaten body was found in a campground when people woke up the next morning, or the one where "days later, searchers found his campsite with his bare skeleton, one intact hand, and both feet, still booted."
And then there's the guy who managed to drag himself 1.5 miles to a meadow to die after being mauled and partially eaten.
The Russian animal symbol is the bear. This trope was used in an American political ad during the Cold War asking, "If there's a bear in the woods, what are you going to do about it?" more or less.
You know the scientific name for the grizzly bear? Ursus arctos horribilis.
What's scarier than a bear? A rabid bear. One managed to smash through a house once and savaged everything in it until it was shot to death by the owner. Note that the bear even head-on charged his jeep! If Cujo was bad, this is much worse.
There's a reason the expression "loaded for bear" means "carrying the biggest gun you can get your hands on." In the muzzle-loading days, it meant cramming in extra powder. It takes quite a lot to put a bear down and there's a lot of Taking You with Me potential if you don't get it right.
Campgrounds in the more remote areas of Canada typically offer literature and lectures by the park ranger on proper bear safety. Despite this, examples abound of tourists failing to take rules like "don't keep food in the tent" and "don't get between a mother bear and her cubs" seriously and paying a heavy price.
As depicted in Grizzly Man, Timothy Treadwell had been hanging around bears for a long long time and filming them until two finally ate him and his girlfriend. Before that he apparently had such a way that he could get close to cubs without hitting the momma's Berserk Button. Guess it doesn't matter how much a strong connection you have to nature when there's a food shortage... It didn't help that he had stayed longer then planned and the bears that did know him weren't the bears in the area anymore
Stephen Colbert puts bears in the Threat Down for a very good reason. (See Live Action TV, also Phil Ken Sebben's dislike of bears.) Word of God says his fear of them is partly based on a recurring dream, and partly on the movie Man in the Wilderness. Also partly because his father, who was a doctor, used a hypothetical bear-mauling as an example of the kind of thing you can brush off with ease with the aid of modern medicine. Which explains the Fridge Brilliance of his referring to pundit Bill O' Reilly as 'papa bear'. Bears are the number one threat to America, and Billo is largely responsible for the modern TV personality Colbert professes to parody. Therefore, he's the greatest of the greatest threats to America.
When the Stock Market goes down, it's said to be in a bear market. It's said to be a reference to the way they attack; they swipe down with their paw. Along with the fact that bears hibernate.
Legendary NFL linebacker Dick Butkus was dubbed "The Most Feared Man in the Game." Who did he play for? That's right, the Chicago Bears.
In Finnish, an infuriated person is said to be "mad as a bear shot in the arse".
Gold Rush miners used to pit bears against everything. The bear always won so they got bored and imported some lions. The lion would roar and charge, the bear would crush their skull with one blow.
The Lewis and Clark expedition experienced grizzly bears for the first time when they were exploring the west. "Experienced" here meaning "coming across a creature so incredibly strong they were unable to kill it with all of their guns and had to hide up trees until it left." Climbing a tree is not a foolproof solution to bears. Bears, even grizzlies, have been known to climb trees, too. Standing on the ground, a big bear can reach as much as 10 feet into a tree.
Lewis: (in his journal) I find that the curiossity of our party is pretty well satisfyed with rispect to this anamal.
Bear-hunting was a favourite pastime of medieval Russian princes. Subverted in that, with armed retainers, clever tactics, and special-issue anti-bear spears (special rogatinas with oak handles and silver heads), it actually wasn't all that difficult to kill a bear. Pseudo-Demetrius I, the wacky early 17th century impostor that threw the country into bloody infighting, was very popular with the commoners of Moscow because of his badass stunt where he used his freakish strength to not only stop a bear in mid-pounce with his rogatina (that was standard practice), but also throw it backwards over his head. So if bears wrote TV Tropes, they would have to make a trope for "Russian Princes and Political Opportunists That Pretend To Be Such Are Bad News".
Berserkers. Norse warriors who, among other rituals, went into battle wearing bearskins. The Norse were scary enough, but God help you if you were attacked by a berserker.
Sort of a weird example, but this is SFW, yet so...bizarre.
In 2006 a brown bear nicknamed "Bruno" by the press became something of a cause célèbre when it wandered into southern Germany from Austria, making him the first bear to be seen in Germany since 1838. Bruno was extremely large and aggressive, showing a particular fondness for killing (but not eating) domestic animals. The fumbling attempts of the Bavarian government to deal with him (particularly Minister-President Edmund Stoiber's description of him as a "Problembär" ("problem bear")) attracted a great amount of derision. Bruno was finally shot to death by government marksmen.
Subversion: There was a drug bust of a Marijuana farm guarded by 10 black bears. They were so docile and domesticated that all that happened was that one of them sat on a cop car's hood for an hour, and then they just watched everything.
Most large carnivores attempt to avoid contact with humans unless they learn that humans are an easy source of food (either scavenging human refuse or hunting humans). Polar bears don't make any effort to avoid humans and appear to consider them to be exactly the same as everything else that's not another polar bear: food.
There is an old Inuit story of a woman who went to live among strange people. She became a burden, and so they placed her in a boat, took her out to sea and cast her overboard. She struggled to regain the side of the boat, but they cut off her fingers to keep her away. As she died in the water, she became Sedna, the godess of the sea and mother of all beasts. Her fingers became the walrus and seals and whales that the people would hunt to eat. But her middle finger became the white bear. When the other animals see a man, they try to run away. But when the white bear sees a man, he is filled with revenge and tries to kill the person who he believes murdered the woman from whose finger he was born. Wise Inuit stay away from the white bear...
...so, when you see a polar bear, it's the Goddess giving you the finger. Makes sense.
Both polar and brown bears are just asintelligent as they are persistent in their stalking of prey. They have the long term memory which popular culture ascribed to elephants, they are excellent trackers and navigators on rough ground, they regularly use tools to get food or to play, and the acting bear Bart found out how to make a bridge from a plank of wood. It's only a matter of time until they find out how to fire guns.
They're probably plotting as we speak. In a few centuries we'll see bears roaming the streets instead of humans, and they'll write a version of this page about humans. Oh wait, such a page already exists.
Subverted with this video. Apparently, they make hockey better. The Alaska U Nanooks disagree. Bears only know how to destroy.
The Svalbard Ski Marathon: probably the only annual sporting event where the entire track has to be surveilled by armed guards to stop polar bears from eating the competitors.
It's not just the marathon. In Svalbard you are required to carry a rifle while outside a settlement for self defense against polar bears.
One of the knights who killed Thomas Becket was Reginald FitzUrse, "son of the bear".
Even better, "Fitz" in those days indicated that you were the acknowledged but not legitimate son of someone. That's right: his name literally means bastard son of a bear.
The Sloth bear of Mysore, which plagued the Mysore province in India in 1957. The Sankebetsu Brown Bear incident, seen above, is scary, but while that killed seven people, and wounded two others, the sloth bear of Mysore killed 12 people, and mutilated a dozen others, making it the single bear responsible for most human fatalities ever. To make matters scarier? No one really knows why the bear attacked, it only ate three of its victims, so this cannot have been the primary motivation, implication that it was a "thrill killer", remains. And to make matters even worse, sloth bears attacks by clawing the face of their victims with their long claws, perfectly adapted for destorying termite mounds. Yep, thats right, most of those that died had their face torn apart, and most of those who survived live with such a face for the rest of their life. Eventually, after three hunts, Great White HunterKenneth Anderson shot it dead.