The Captain needs to actually run the Cool Starship, which is where the Bridge Bunnies come in. They're a pair (or trio) of young, attractive twentysomething women (see Office Lady) who practically live on The Bridge, and deal with opening hailing frequencies, giving orders to the pilots of the Humongous Mecha squadrons, reporting that the Readings Are Off the Scale, activating the Applied Phlebotinum, repeating whatever the computer is saying, warning of Negative Space Wedgies, and the like. A staple of Japanese anime shows that feature large capital ships. Off duty, they're frequently romantically paired with minor characters, or can be the Girl of the Week. They're invariably female, although a token male junior bridge officer may be sufficiently intimidated by them to serve as Comic Relief. Token males in this position will also likely be swinging their bat the other way, unless someone else on the crew fills that role. Less common in Western shows these days, where bridge personnel are more likely to be competent professional officers of both sexes. Women on the bridge aren't necessarily Bridge Bunnies per se, nor are junior officers doing menial jobs... but a bridge full of young, pretty female junior officers, and on which all of the senior officers with real authority are male, is a textbook example of the trope (compare Office Lady). A specialized version of Mission Control, with all the twists therein possibly applicable. They occasionally serve as Those Two Girls, commenting on the action and what's going to happen next.
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Anime and Manga
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross / Robotech
- Kim, Shammy, and Vanessa are the Trope Namers.
- The novels by Jack McKinney have Kim, Shammy, and Vanessa affectionately referred to as "the Bridge Bunnies" by the rest of the crew. The snarkier ones who dared used the nickname, "Gloval's Harem," learned very quickly from Claudia to never say that to their faces.
- Macross II, a sequel to Super Dimension Fortress Macross made without the original creators, included three young female mecha pilots (Natasha, Saori, and Amy) who fufilled a similar function.
- Sally and Miho from Macross 7
- Macross Frontier has a team of bunnies on the job on the Quarter, as well as Bobby, the male helmsman who is camp enough to count.
- The American-created sequel film to Robotech, The Sentinels, genderflips this trope by having the Commanding officer of the SDF-3, Admiral Lisa Hayes-Hunter, select a trio of handsome men to fill the same roles on her bridge.
- Kim, Shammy, and Vanessa are the Trope Namers.
- Martian Successor Nadesico's bridge crew were competent ship-runners supporting their Genius Ditz commander. Ruri and Megumi, particularly, had several focus episodes.
- All series of the Mazinger trilogy (Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer) featured Bridge Bunnies. They used to be a male trio, though, and wore white uniforms. They performed the ordinary functions of Mission Control, collecting and interpreting data and reading it to The Professor or the pilots of the Humongous Mecha, as well as sending them orders or receiving their messages. The trio of UFO Robo Grendizer Bridge Bunnies were called Hayashi, Yamada and Aoi.
- On Simoun, the Arcus Prima had them, but the Messis didn't. Of course, given the Simoun universe, it's possible that some or all of the Bridge Bunnies could have been young men who hadn't lost their female secondary sex characteristics yet.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: the lone female bridge bunny (Miriallia Haw aka Milly who was also one in the previous series) plays a relatively large role in the story. In the original Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, after going from Rich Bitch to Fallen Princess, Fllay Alster becomes a bridge bunny under Natarle Badgiruel's orders in the Dominion. The Archangel, meanwhile has the female (acting) captain Murrue, Milly herself, and a group of male bridge bunnies leaded (sorta) by Sai Argyle. All of the Dominion bunnies, along with Natarle and including Fllay, get killed in the final battle when Le-Creuset blows up their escape pod for the kicks. The Archangel ones survive.
- Mobile Suit Gundam had Sayla Mass, Frau Bow, and Mirai Yashima (who actually was the pilot of the ship, making her The Lancer to The Captain Bright Noa), in addition to two male Bunnies named Marker and Oscar whose posts are over everyone else's heads. Sayla eventually gets promoted from Bridge Bunny to fighter pilot. Subverted in Zeta Gundam, where the bridge bunnies that helped Captain Henken Beckner and later Captain Bright are male.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Amy Limietta together with Those Two Guys Allex and Landy for the Arthra in the first two seasons. The third season has Shario Finieno, Alto Krauette and Lucino Lilie for Long Arch. In both cases, the commanding officer is also female, along with almost everyone else in the show.
- This is later subverted in the third season, after the destruction of Long Arch, Alto becomes the new helicopter pilot who replaces Vice, and Lucino becomes the helmswoman of the Arthra which replaces Long Arch, leaving Shario alone with Griffith.
- Most of Kaiba's monitoring staff during the Battle City tournament and Kaiba Corp Grand Prix arcs (and they All. Looked. The. Same. Except for their Hair Colors). Hilariously lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
Mokuba: You have a harem big bro?
Kaiba: Yes. I created them to shun them with my cold indifference.
- Tenchi Muyo! GXP: Yamada Seina's constantly-growing harem effectively serves as his bridge bunnies. Earlier, Those Three Guys filled the role before being Put on a Bus.
- Starship Operators: Naturally, most of the cast are female. This is justified by the fact that they're essentially a renegade ship funded and filmed by a television company who demanded that they switch the crews of the three bridges to all-female except the Captain (eyecandy for the viewer, both in real life and in-universe).
- Idolmaster: Xenoglossia: Naze, Sorewa, and Nareba.
- Ah! My Goddess surprisingly had this in The Movie, with Peorth having three subordinates in overseeing the Yggdrasil system: Ere, Ex, and Chrono.
- Digimon Tamers features the Hypnos operators Riley/Reika and Tally/Megumi. Riley advances to Ascended Extra status (due to her relationship with Yamaki), but Tally's role never expands beyond "We've got another Wild One; deploying tracer."
- Digimon Savers brings us another set: Miki and Megumi. (Yes, another Megumi with short blonde hair and no, she doesn't get any more character development. Be sure to check them out when the episode is animated by the 'fanservice' team.)
- Savers subverts it occasionally, when they actually go out and assist in the battle. The two PawnChessmon seen doing menial chores around the base belong to them.
- In Code Geass the Black Knights get three Bridge Bunnies named Futaba, Hinata and Minase in the second season.
- Ghost in the Shell
- There is a line of mass-produced female Bridge Bunny androids. Different organisations use different models, but every bunny-bot in the organisation is identical - Section 9 have brunete androids in a pink blazers, and the army seem to use models with short black hair and glasses (Glasses? On an android?). Not only can they man the control centre, they also come in handy when in one episode, two are used as sexy twins to distract the guards.
- Besides serving coffee, Section 9's operators are also the sole pilots of the unit's tilt-rotor aircraft, and can even take care of children.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has Maya Ibuki, Makoto Hyuga, and Shigeru Aoba. There are a bunch of others as well, but none are given names, distinctive character designs, or personalities.
- Played for laughs in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The immensely popular episode "Day of Sagittarius" has our Five-Man Band thrust into the roles of space battlefleet commanders, and their ships are all staffed with Bridge Bunnies of their own imagining.
- Haruhi's ship has assorted aliens.
- Itsuki's ship is staffed with henohenomoheji, actually a simple drawing exercise using hiragana characters to make a face.
- Mikuru's ship is staffed by stuffed animals - which really originated from doodles that Haruhi's voice actor Aya Hirano left on her scripts.
- Yuki, the unimaginative one, has staffed her ship with nothing but clones of herself.
- Only Kyon's ship has the more traditional Bridge Bunnies if you ignore their uniforms.
- Belvedere Coco, Celtic Midori, and Amarone Slantheav from Vandread. Subverted to a certain extent, because the only male on the bridge is the ship's navigator. In a further subversion, most of the female bridge crew are wearing relatively conservative outfits (one is pregnant, one dresses in a full-body bear outfit, and the captain is an old woman), whilst the guy is obliged to be naked in quite a number of scenes. Finally, the most scantily-clad woman on the bridge is later revealed to be a man in drag.
- Mary and Shelley are the Bridge Bunnies of the Durandal.
- The half dozen or so 100-Series Realians that were engineered to look exactly like Jr's (the captain) first romantic interest. Physically they are 12-year-old girls. The girls had added combat value against Gnosis, due to their ability to activate the Hilbert Effect.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has both female (Christina and Feldt) and male (Lasse and Lichtendal) Bridge Bunnies, but the girls, along with Bunny-Ears Lawyer captain Sumeragi, get much, much more attention. Presumably, this is because they, like
mostall but two women in the series, have...er...rather prominent bosoms.
- The survival rate is equal for Bridge Bunnies of both genders: 50%. Lichty and Christina die together and very tragically, Lasse and Feldt make it and return for Season 2, and are soon joined by another female bunny, Genki Girl Mileina Vashti, and much later by Mileina's mom Linda..
- Marie Parfacy, Saji Crossroad and Anew Returner join the crew as bridge bunnies. The first two mentioned only filled the roles temporarily, as they promoted themselves to Sixth Rangers (complete with Combining Mechas) by joining the Meisters in action ( Marie works with Allelujah, Saji works with Setsuna). Anew became the love interest to one of the Meisters until it is revealed that she is a Manchurian Agent and her subsequent and tragic death.
- Ryouko, Saki and Megumi in Dragonaut: The Resonance. Besides the standard Bridge Bunny duties, they also handle the Post-Episode Trailer.
- Geneshaft "justified" this with the explanation that, thanks to Genetic Engineering, society now consists mostly of women, and only a controlled number of men (to cut down on violence). This is just the beginning of the utterly stupid science in the series.
- Ayame Futaba, Ichijiku Hinata, and Mutsuki Minase from Code Geass R2. One magazine lampshaded this by saying that the girls were carrying out "the long-standing robot anime tradition of the trio of operator girls".
- In Sakura Wars each of the three theatre/combat troupes has a set of Bridge bunnies. The original Tokyo Team has the Kaze-gumi, who coridnate the attacks from headquarters with the male general and female major, run the train, airship, and of course serve as bridge crew for the larger airship the Mikasa. The girls also work as office ladies in the theatre, two of them doing paper work the third working the gift shop. The Paris team has Mel and Ci (a pun on the French word Merci), who dress in maid uniforms have the same theatre duties as their paris counterparts and similar battlefield duties. The New York Team, has the Rainbow Division, who again serve the same roles.
- Gall Force is what you get when you make a team of Bridge Bunnies into the protagonists.
- Tsubael from Blue Drop is perhaps more the competent Mission Control type, but her role in the series fits this trope rather well.
- RahXephon - In reference to an attractive female character, one male extra comments to another, "Whoa, check out the sweet new bridge bunny."
- Go Dannar had a couple, who apparently got promoted to mecha pilots by the end of the series.
- Full Metal Panic! references the trope: Teletha "Tessa" Testarossa, Genre Savvy captain of the Tuatha de Danaan, is young and attractive. When Kaname first meets Tessa, she assumes she is a Bridge Bunny, and Tessa plays along for awhile.
- Yuki(Nova) from Space Battleship Yamato.
- Outlanders has a set of bridge bunnies on Earth operating project Pheonix. They aren't given names, but one of them, without warning, guns down power-mad General Togo.
- Hosuke, an amoral mad scientist who wants to Take Over the World in Cannon God Exaxxion, has a great many of these to act as support crew for his mecha. Some of them are robots he's created, some of them are scientists he's brainwashed, and all of them have been programmed one way or another to love him and be absolutely loyal to him. (It's exactly as twisted and repulsive as it sounds.)
- Cross Ange has Pamela, Hikaru, and Olivier acting as the communications for the team of pilots who fight against DRAGONs at Arzenal. Later on, they transfer to the Aurora submarine where the three of them handle control, navigation, and communications respectively.
- Evangelion 303: The commanding center in the Distler Base is managed by a bunch of technicians. Maya Ibuki is the most prominent of them, and Makoto and Shigeru seldom show up, but most of them are not given names, distinctive faces or personalities.
- A Running Gag in Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space involves people thinking the Space Rangers must be gay due to their campy hero costumes. When Captain Proton cites the large number of glamorous babes working in every alien-fighting organisation, reporter Buster Kincaid says that only proves the men are gay, as otherwise they'd be too Distracted by the Sexy to work.
- In Nepeta Quest 2011, Scoria is placed in a simulation of an Alternian admiral, and notes with glee that she now has these, even calling them "bridge bunnies".
- Galaxy Quest plays this trope snarkily straight. Gwen DeMarco's official capacity is inherited from her character in the Show Within a Show, Tawny Madison. Her job is to repeat everything the computer says, word-for-word. Lampshaded into a pile of smoking ash about three-quarters of the way through the movie: "Listen - I have one job to do on this ship, and it's stupid, but I'm gonna do it!"
- Also by the fact that the computer literally will not listen to anyone but her.
- It's no wonder the Thermians had trouble running the ship they built, when their own computer won't listen to them.
- Likewise in the Star Trek parody Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, where the primary job of the helmswoman is to look darn good and make fun of the Captain/Emperor. The extras at the back of the bridge are also all female (and all in high heels).
- Star Trek: Despite having been a clear Bridge Bunny in the original TV series (and subsequent movies), Uhura in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek is portrayed as smart, competent, and an aversion to this trope.
- In Arena, the control room of Logan's illegal gladiator combat broadcast is operated by Kawaii and Kaneko, a pair of attractive young women who spend half their time responding to barked orders by hitting buttons on consoles and the other half of the time being eye candy.
- Marlene and Charlene from Spaceballs. "Chew your gum!"
- Lampshaded in Carry On Spying. The captured heroes are taken to the villain's Elaborate Underground Base, which is full of women in Spy Catsuits bustling about.
Villain: This is our headquarters.
Hero: [eyeing a bridge bunny's posterior] Looks more like hindquarters to me!
Live Action TV
- Lt. Gay Ellis, the Moon Base commander in UFO (1970), becomes more like an office assistant when any male cast members visit the base. Partly justified because these men outrank her, but you'd think they could let her continue doing her job...
- When no superior officers are present, the Moon Base personnel subvert this trope: the Mission Control is staffed exclusively by women, who (despite their skin-tight outfits and purple wigs) are portrayed as being very competent at their jobs and give orders to the male pilots.
- Played straight at the subterranean SHADO headquarters on Earth, which has a largish number of young female staff in skintight uniforms. Their main function seems to be acting as a backdrop for the male cast.
- Space: 1999: Moonbase Alpha has a large number of female crewmembers, but in the first season only two of them, Dr. Russell and Sandra Benes, were recurring characters with any real part in the story, and Sandra mostly acted as a subordinate assistant to the male officers. The second season also added the shape shifter Maya as a recurring character.
- Star Trek
- Yeoman Rand from the first season. She is not shown doing much. She is useful mainly for getting kidnapped and making coffee with phasers.
- Which is actually pretty badass, when you stop to think about it.
- Uhura started under this trope. Short skirt and the old-timey phone operator headset. In the animated version her character started to show signs of breaking out of this role, handing off her Bridge Bunny duties to M'ress, the Bridge Kitty; and once the movies roll around, she ditches this completely and takes multiple levels in badass.
- Also averted in the original series pilot. Number One (played by Majel Barrett) is tough and competent. Her character was cut due to Executive Meddling. According to Word of God, they could keep "the woman or the Martian," (Spock) but not both. Played straight with Yeoman Colt; ironically her presence makes Captain Pike uncomfortable, as he's not used to having a woman on the bridge.
- Yeoman Rand from the first season. She is not shown doing much. She is useful mainly for getting kidnapped and making coffee with phasers.
- Quark: The Bettys, played by two of the Doublemint Gum twins. One of them was a clone (the pretty one) and they both lusted after The Captain Quark.
- Battlestar Galactica - Flight Corporal Rigel (played by Sarah Rush), though Athena tends to work in the bridge as well.
- Battlestar Galactica (2003)
- The three main bridge operators are a woman and two men, Dualla, Gaeta, and Hoshi, respectively. The male bridge officers, Gaeta and Hoshi, are eventually revealed to be in a relationship . . . with each other. Fans of these three characters have enthusiastically claimed the "bridge bunny" moniker.
- Lt. Dualla is a classic Bridge Bunny being young pretty and subordinate.
- Stargate Atlantis:
- Major Kevin Marks, who always seem to be around the currently visited ship. He was present on every US-made ship so far — even being in two places at once. His role is a bit hazy; due to the Daedalus-class' bridge configuration it's unknown if he's pilot, weapons officer or something else. In addition to his multifarious roles, he also seems to be the ship's XO, that is, second in command. The only time he's shown doing anything else is when he's hacking his own console to regain control of the Daedalus before it crashes. He fails. Sort of. Sheppard dives in with a Traveler ship and jumps through the planet with both ships in hyperspace; Marks finishes hacking a few seconds after that.
- Walter Harriman. He has one job, consisting of repeating which Chevron is encoded and locked, and damn, does he do it well. He also opens and closes the stargate's iris. Lampshaded in the seventh season episode "Heroes".
- Space Mutiny had Bridge Bunnies who were downright Playboy Bunnies. They were wearing singlets and everything. (Granted, some other bridge staff wore actual uniforms, but still...)
- Doctor Who: In "The Day Of The Daleks", future-Earth is run by a male Controller. All the technicians who report to him appear to be blonde young women.
- The Man from UNCLE. The hiring practices of UNCLE include a lot of beautiful women communications experts. Lampshaded in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E, a TV movie made fifteen years after the series, when our heroes gripe over the lack of pretty girls working in U.N.C.L.E's new headquarters.
- Starships in David Weber's Honor Harrington cycle tend to have a high number of females aboard, but the author usually avoids invoking it as this trope. One female character, however, is called out in-story on the disproportionally high number of bishonens in her bridge crews.
- The Past Doctor Adventures novel The Indestructible Man by Simon Messingham is a deconstruction of Gerry Anderson's work, including UFO. The bridge bunnies of SILHOET (an expy of SHADO) are the daughters of the rich and powerful — women who'd normally be models, actresses or trophy wives, but as much of Earth is a dystopia, SILHOET gives them a secure position in an influential organisation to curry favour with their parents.
- In Mega Man X: Command Mission, you don't start with a base, so one chapter is spent taking someone else's base. When you find that it doesn't come with a Bridge Bunny, the next chapter is spent doing the most logical thing - taking someone else's.
- Mega Man X8 brought in Layer and Palette as the new bridge bunnies to accompany Alia, who has been in the series since X5.
- The Resistance Base has a pair in Mega Man Zero; the Guardians' airship base has a full trio in Mega Man ZX.
- Super Robot Wars Original Generation:
- Rio Mei Long and Eita Nadaka for the Hagane and Eun Hyojin for the Hiryu Kai. Rio becomes a pilot early on, and Eita gets a de-facto promotion to second-in-command after Daitetsu's death in Original Generation 2. Poor Eun never gets any spotlight.
- Bit of trivia, while most nameless human character (like Mook and Red Shirt) either have their eyes cover with a gear or shade. Nameless Bridge Bunnies are given proper portrait similar to named character. Super Robot Wars Original Generations given proper portrait to all characters, yet the Bridge Bunnies still get special treatment for there are portraits of two different Bridge Bunnies.
- The other Original battleship, Super Robot Wars W's Valstork, has Shihomi and Akane Ardygun, and the male Horris Horaian. The Captain in this case happens to be the girls' father. Shihomi later graduates to Captain after her dad gets tossed far far into the past.
- Star Trek Online gives your character a collection of Bridge Officers who crew the various stations on the ship. Naturally some players choose to make them Bridge Bunnies. Just like in this video Of course gender equality applies so it's equally possible for a female character to have a collection of male Bridge Bunnies.
- The Xenosaga Trilogy gives us Mary and Shelly Godwin, made even better since every third phrase out of their mouth is "Little Master". Or, in Mary's case in the first game, "Little Maz-da."
- The prologue of Xenogears features a cluster of Bridge Bunnies with exotic hair colors shouting about a vaguely-defined catastrophe.
- Orbulon in WarioWare: Twisted!. It plays the trope as to have literal Bridge bunnies, (Though they were space bunnies)
- Mass Effect 2: Shepard's yeoman Kelly Chambers is a Bridge Bunny. She is a Bisexual omnisexual greeneyed redhead. Her secondary duty is as the crew's psychological counselor, and as she puts it, a little passion makes people open up to you.
- It is confirmed in 3 that Cerberus put Chambers there specifically for Shepard to hit on (she's a possible love interest an can be romanced even if you're with someone else, but won't trigger the "Paramour" achievement), and to keep Shepard and the rest of the crew under control. In other words, to be the perfect Bridge Bunny. A ship the size of the Normandy wouldn't really have any clerical work that can't be done by computer, especially since the ship has an AI on board, and the Normandy Mark I had a conspicuous lack of yeomen/Shepard wranglers.
- Mass Effect 3 has Samantha Traynor taking over Kelly Chamber's role and a lot more. Unlike Kelly Chambers, who served as Yeoman, Samantha Traynor is the Normandy's Communications Specialist and also manages the War Room's data together with EDI, who specifically requested her presence on the Normandy. Her role as the secretary that notifies Shepard of any new messages or incoming vid calls is only logical given her job as the ship's Comm Specialist, but it's not her main job aboard the Normandy. She also refuses to feed the Commander's fish.
- In Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, there are three ladies in the ranger headquarters who sit before a huge computer monitor on the top floor. They have to keep track of the rangers, they confirm quest completions, and other stuff.
- In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun', Kodiak and Montauk were commanded by McNeil and Slavik (both male) respectively. But both had one male and one female as their supporting officers. The game split the difference: In Kodiak, Chandra had the speaking roles and in Montauk, it was Oxanna.
- Almo and Coco of the Galaxy Angel gameverse.
- In Sluggy Freelance Zoe and Gwynn take on this role during the "Stick Figures in Space" arcs.
- Subnormality - "I did establish a 50-trillion dollar interstellar fleet of exploration for solely the purpose of viewing thousands of female cadets in jumpsuits of a tightly-fitting nature! And I did personally design those jumpsuits, and your Honor they did hug and cling as as though a koala in a windstorm! And I did leer! How I did leer! Never have you seen such leerings!"
- El Goonish Shive - Tedd decides not to play Star Trek Online since he can't have a crew of bridge squirrels.
- Outsider - The bridges of Loroi warships are populated entirely by attractive female elvish-looking individuals, but that's largely because male Loroi are rather less common than female ones and to place them in danger would be a little wasteful. The whole of their military would seem to be female.
- In the Legion Of Superheroes animated series, Triplicate Girl serves as a three-person Bridge Bunny team.
- L'Etranger from Max Steel has his submarine, the Akina, staffed solely by female SIRENS in full-body (yet form-fitting) armor and helmets.
- In Phineas and Ferb, the Fireside Girls sometimes become this when they have to help pilot inventions.