Contralto of Danger

The Distaff Counterpart to Badass Baritone: If a female character's voice is noticeably lower than those of other women in the work, it's a sure sign that she either is a lot more dangerous than they or is more masculine. As such, contralto voices are usually reserved for tough Action Girls, Tomboys, Lad-ettes, Ladies of War, Bifauxnen, Femme Fatales, and even young boys.

Some female characters, in the meantime, may go from a higher-pitched voice to a menacing contralto when they're about to kick someone's ass, or during changes of their persona when the character gets serious. A common reason for a change in persona is for the character to tap into some mystical power. Being taken over by her Super-Powered Evil Side could be another reason for this since Evil Sounds Deep. Or maybe she just gets in the zone during Let's Get Dangerous moments and the deep voice is reflecting that.

Compare and contrast Badass Baritone, and Women Are Delicate, at least when it comes to a "feminine" vs. "masculine" voice. May overlap with Alto Villainess and Evil Sounds Deep.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • There are several Japanese voice actresses who make a career out of playing deep-voiced women in who either are in positions of command or have great fighting skills. The biggest example and possible Trope Codifier for anime is Yoshiko Sakakibara (Haman Kahn, Integra Hellsing, Queen Nehelenia, etc); other members of this "club" are Sanae Kobayashi, Romi Park, Ai Orikasa, Mitsuki Saiga, Minami Takayama, Megumi Ogata, Masako Katsuki, Yoko Soumi, Mayo Suzukaze, Marina Inoue, Miyuki Sawashiro, etc. Notice how many of these women aren't incapable of using higher tones, but are often recognized by these kinds of roles.
  • Nana Mizuki is often known for voicing high-pitched action girls (like Fate and Riful), which seems out of place with this trope. However, because she will almost always sing within the series she plays in, the truth of her powerful voice is revealed, and expect plenty of asskicking to the the tune of her awesome songs. Some of her roles, like Inner Moka (see below) or Tsubasa, play it perfectly straight, though.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's:
  • Setsuna Sakurazaki in Mahou Sensei Negima! has a very low and powerful voice for such a slender and petite woman and is unarguably among the best fighters in the series. This also extends to the fact that she can pass for a male.
  • Akira Kogami from Lucky Star pretends to be a cheerful, high-pitched 14-year-old for the camera, but as soon as it's switched off, she reverts to her borderline psychotic, abusive real self with a husky contralto.
  • Kyoko Sakura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica has quite a low voice. The third Drama CD, Farewell Story, revealed that her voice used to be much higher, until her father went crazy upon learning the truth about the increased attendance of his church being a result of his daughter's mahou shoujo powers and went Pater Familicide upon everyone in the family, killing everyone except Kyoko (who was the only survivor because of said mahou shoujo powers).
  • Elfen Lied: Whenever the protagonist is in her Nyu persona, she is like an innocent young girl. When she switches to her Lucy persona, she has a much lower voice to match her dangerous and threatening nature.
  • High School DXD: Xenovia's normal voice, which is deeper than any other female in the series and fitting for her role as the Big Girl of the main cast. Made even more evident when she practiced "how to be a normal teenage girl":
    Xenovia: (voice several pitches higher than her usual coarse-and-masculine voice) Let's get along, 'kay, Issei-kun!
    Issei: That cutesey voice does NOT suit you!
    Xenovia: (switches straight back to her normal-unfeminine voice) I know, I tried to copy Irina, and it was SO difficult.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: In the anime adaptation, Rika's voice deepens drastically during scenes where she drops her cute facade, and lets her cynical persona from reliving a Stable Time Loop slip through. It's played for fear and mystery.
  • Kill la Kill:
    • Ragyo and Satsuki Kiryuin have noticeably prominent deep voices compared to the rest of the women in the cast, especially when it comes to exercising their authority over others, although they have their share of action as well.
    • Ryuuko Matoi has a very noticeable growl in her voice and is the only good Action Girl in the series. At least until episode 17.
    • Inverted with Nui Harime, who has a high pitched and cute sounding voice, which ends up being played for danger, and fear instead by contrasting Satsuki (some have even described her voice as "sickly sweet"). She's also highly competent in battle despite not having Clothes Make the Superman applied to her like other characters. Though being a Life-Fiber Construct, she doesn't need special clothing...
  • Accel World: The anime has Yuniko (AKA Scarlet Rain) put up an act with high pitched voice to seem cute so she can get closer to Haruyuki, but when she drops that facade her normal speaking tone is much more deep, gruff, and angry to emphasize her Little Miss Badass and Cute and Psycho character traits.
  • Revy, Roberta and Balalaika of Black Lagoon, the three scariest and most Badass women in the entire series, all speak with a contralto.
  • While Moka Akashiya of Rosario + Vampire fame is normally a Genki Girl who talks in a higher pitched voice, when her rosary is removed and Inner Moka is let loose, her deeper, more guttural tone is just one indication that the S-class monster is released and someone is about to "learn their place".
  • Most members of the eponymous Amazon Brigade in Claymore have low, contralto voices, even though women with higher registers ought not be trifled with either.
  • Bleach has the Action Girls Rukia Kuchiki, Sui-Feng, and Rangiku Matsumoto. For the Dark Action Girls, there are Tier Harribel, Emilou Apacci, Franceska Mila-Rose (Sayuri Ishizuka), and some more. All of them are able to kick ass and underestimating often results to defeat or death.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's:
    • Aki Izayoi has a rather deep voice for a Yu-Gi-Oh! heroine. She is also a Dark Action Girl and a psychotic psychic in the first two seasons, and even as a child, her voice was noticebly low, especially when she discovered her psychic power. However, since the third season, when has become a genuine Action Girl, her voice doesn't drop lower like in the previous seasons when she is about to kick ass.
    • Carly's voice becomes much lower after becoming an Ax-Crazy Dark Signer.
    • Misty, who is also a Dark Signer, has a low and mature voice even in her normal appearance. However, she is not really Ax-Crazy, but her calm, low voice reflect her Tranquil Fury character.
    • Both Carly and Misty get even lower voices and Voice of the Legion when the Earthbound Immortals take control of them, which happens when they try to redeem themselves.
    • Sherry LeBlanc is a Badass Action Biker Babe and a very skilled duelist who can rival even Yusei. She eventually has a Face-Heel Turn, but then Crow and Aki defeat her and she joins the crew.
  • Tokyo Ghoul primarily inverts this, in a very subtle way. While Action Girl Touka tends to use a rougher, lower voice, most of the truly dangerous women in the series have high-pitched and girlish voices. As part of her role as the Fake Cutie, Roma speaks in a high-pitched and squeaky voice while Big Bad Eto speaks in a girlish, playful voice that adds to her childlike disguise.

    Films — Animation 
  • The tough-as-nails Space Marine Sergeant Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph has the lowest female voice (she is voiced by Jane Lynch) and is by far the most overtly badass character in the movie.
  • Megara from Hercules has a sultry, husky voice, atypical of both Disney female Love Interests in general and female characters in the movie. She's also working for Hades (albeit unwillingly), and at one point tries to seduce Herc into revealing his weaknesses, though she just ends up falling for him instead.
  • Played straight by Adagio Dazzle and Aria Blaze in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks, but subverted by Sonata Dusk, who has an airheaded Valley Girl-type voice.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Mina Harker's normal voice isn't exactly high-pitched (she even does an Alan Quartermaine impersonation at one point), but it really dips down when she says, "Save your bullets, these men are mine!" right before turning vampirey and attacking the mooks going after them.

    Literature 
  • Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings, a character often described by lesser mortals as incomprehensible and dangerous (which isn't surprising considering she hails from an age when her kin were the main source of trouble in the Middle Earth), speaks in a deep contralto in the book. In the movie she's played by actress Cate Blanchett, who isn't exactly squeaky-voiced either.
  • Descriptions of Admiral Michelle "Mike" Henke in the Honorverse frequently include her 'husky' contralto voice. While she is neither a Femme Fatale nor a classic Action Girl, she is an extremely dangerous commander with a devious mind, and a full-fledged Four-Star Badass (and member of the royal family) to boot.
  • Darwi Odrade from Heretics of Dune is described as having a "soft contralto" voice. She is a Bene Gesserit, so the badass part goes without saying.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Xena: Warrior Princess, Xena's voice is much deeper than Gabrielle's, since between the two, Xena is a seasoned fighter, while Gaby is a bard.
  • I, Claudius averts this with Messalina. She has a high, feminine voice, while being a rather villainous character.
  • Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory usually has an adorably squeaky voice... until she gets pissed off. Then her voice drops low and the other characters know she means business.
  • Shirley from Community normally speaks in a high-pitched voice to try and show she's friendly but her voice drops at least an octave when she drops the facade.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • Natalya Neidhart has a pretty deep voice for a woman and is definitely an ass-kicker.
  • NXT's Becky Lynch has a voice lower than most men.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect: The female Commander Shepard, voiced by Jennifer Hale, speaks in a rough, smoky contralto and, since the games lean on Purely Aesthetic Gender, she's just as terrifying a combatant as the male version. A renegade Femshep sounds a half octave lower, especially when she is snarking or threatening to kill people.
    • In Mass Effect 3, the female krogan "Eve", voiced by Lani Minella, has a deep, bass voice, not unlike the males of her race. She's also more than capable of not only holding her own, but rallying violent and hot-tempered krogan men to her cause.
  • Halo 4: Commander Sarah Palmer, also voiced by Jennifer Hale, sports a deep tone whenever she talks on-screen, and is a Four-Star Badass through and through.
  • Diablo III: Jennifer Hale does it again, this time with nightmarish effect, when Leah is possessed by Diablo following Adria's betrayal.
  • Ilona, in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, has a thick, low Russian accent, and is the only Action Girl in the main cast.
  • Zhu Rong from Dynasty Warriors.
  • Guilty Gear's Baiken speaks in this tone, indicative of how violent and aggressive she is, and also alluding to the fact that she is based off Kenshin Himura, whose seiyuu, the aforementioned Mayo Suzukaze, also spoke in a contralto for him. Justice also speaks in this tone, as befits the leader of the Gears.
  • Due to the nature of how the female characters are portrayed, most female champions in League of Legends spots this. This is especially true with any champion voiced by Karen Strassman note , where the said champion will spot a deep voice, especially with Fiora, who spots a a French accent.
    • Just to make the list shorter, here are the female champions that doesn't spot a deep voice: Lulu, Tristananote , Annienote , Luxnote , and Jinx note .
  • Zigzagged in Akatsuki Blitzkampf. Mycale plays it more or less straight as she's a pseudo-Magical Girl whose voice is deeper than her child-like looks would make one expect, but the Dark Action Girl Marilyn Sue completely averts it with her high-pitched and almost shrill voice. In the meantime Kanae has a rather mature voice but sounds more squeaky when she gets hit, Perfecti borders on an antagonistic version of Cute but Cacophonic, and the softspoken Anonym manages to reach a happy medium of sorts.
  • Skullgirls's Painwheel, voiced by Danielle Mc Rae, has an intensely deep Guttural Growler voice: quite fitting for an angry science experiment with a major bone to pick.

    Web Animation 
  • TOME: Kizuna has a much huskier voice than the rest of the female cast members. Her voice is used this way to portray her as being an Action Girl, before we actually get to see her fight. It also plays up her Creepy Monotone mannerisms.

    Web Video 
  • Diamanda Hagan has an impressively deep voice most of the time, however when she's angry her voice realistically gets higher. But considering the body count she racks up in her videos the 'dangerous' part of this trope is still in full effect.
  • Carmilla has a much deeper voice that suits her snarky brooding vampire self.

    Western Animation 
  • This is a common shtick of voice actress Jennifer Hale. She has a range of lower and higher pitched voices to use for weaker or tougher female characters respectively. One of the best examples of this is her voice for Jean Grey and her Super-Powered Evil Side, the Phoenix, which are higher and lower, respectively.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • June, a bounty hunter Zuko hires to find and capture Aang, has a deeper voice than the other female characters to portray her as dangerous.
    • Avatar Kyoshi also has a deeper voice. And both she and June are also done by Jennifer Hale.
  • The Legend of Korra:
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Premier villain Nightmare Moon takes it to its greatest extent. Ditto Queen Chrysalis in her true form, and Sunset Shimmer from Equestria Girls.
    • On the good side, there are Applejack, Princess Celestia, and Princess Luna when sufficiently incensed. At odds with the trope, all three are generally neutral to feminine in general behavior, even Applejack.
  • Young Justice: Artemis's voice is lower than that of Miss Martian and Zatanna, both of whom are far more feminine than her. She's also quieter, more mysterious, and more tough-acting than them. In the second season, she plays this up as a Deep Cover Agent among the villainous Light.
  • Teen Titans has Raven, a powerful Dark Magical Girl who usually speaks in a deep-voiced monotone.
  • Sylvia, Wander's snarky and ass-kicking steed in Wander over Yonder, has a deep contralto courtesy of April Winchell.
  • The deepest female voices among both the protagonists and the antagonists of Steven Universe belong to the most physically powerful of each faction - Garnet for the heroes and Jasper for the villains.

    Real Life 
  • Generally, humans tend to lower the pitch of their voices when angered (but not to the point of yelling yet).