Dark Action Girl

Aw darn, I Broke a Nail... in your sternum!

"I'm pretty much the Queen Bitch of the Universe."
Sarah Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, Starcraft: Brood War

Those stupid boys and their ridiculous little games. What's a girl to do? Well, if you're this girl, most likely beat them up.

The villainous version of the Action Girl. Likes dressing in black and keeping her nails particularly long and sharp, unless the story cares about practicality. A popular combination with The Baroness, but usually not The Vamp or the Femme Fatale, since she prefers to pummel The Hero to a bloody pulp instead of seducing him, but there are certainly exceptions, and these exceptions can be incredibly dangerous.

She's usually someone's Evil Counterpart. She tends to enjoy beating up tougher-looking characters, and a man's refusal to fight back tends to annoy her, and the chivalrous guy can end up badly battered.

You'd think that this would be the point where the Action Girl and the Dark Magical Girl intersect. Go on, keep thinking that way. We'll see how long you live. Hang on, let me get my stopwatch.

The Dark Action Girl is the Dark Magical Girl's polar opposite: fiercely independent, cruelly carefree, and almost never interested in making friends. While the Dark Magical Girl tends to desperately want to be loved, the vast majority of Dark Action Girls would rather be feared. Just as the Dark Magical Girl almost always does a Heel-Face Turn, the Dark Action Girl almost never does. If she is brought over to the side of good, even if only for an episode, expect her to be reluctant about it at best. If she stays, she'll remain more violent and indifferent than the rest of the True Companions. Typically, the Dark Action Girl will only aid the Action Girl against another villain because she considers herself the only one allowed to defeat her.

If an All-Loving Hero offers her friendship, expect her to take it as an insult. The Dark Action Girl is generally immune, or at least resistant, to The Power of Friendship. The Power of Love can soften her up sometimes, but it's a crapshoot; the foolish boy could just as easily wind up getting used and discarded, rejected violently, or just plain killed for his trouble. Deliver Us from Evil sometimes happens, but even then, the resulting Action Mom is almost always more of a Sociopathic Hero with the child serving as a Morality Pet. Though, more often than not, especially if her little one is the fruit of an Unholy Matrimony, you just get an Evil Matriarch. Of course, if the child starts picking up some of her mom's habits, she might become a Little Miss Badass, and from there it's a short trip to the scary side of Badass Family.

For some reason, while the audience may feel more comfortable for Action Girls to fail to live up to their reputation or follow a standard to avoid being hit, you will almost never find a Faux Dark Action Girl. This is probably because the standards the decade or culture sets for women usually don't apply to villains. But, this doesn't mean that Faux Dark Action Girls do not exist.

If there are no Action Girls on the good side and all of the heroic females are damsels in distress, the work is likely using the Madonna–Whore Complex trope.

Compare Classy Cat-Burglar, Dark Magical Girl, and Dark Chick.

Action Girl + Dark Action Girl = Designated Girl Fight.

Examples

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Adiane from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann beats down an entire brigade on land and is the most violent and psychotic member of the Beastmen Generals. Her Gunmen even brings to mind Vagina Dentata.
  • LadyDevimon from Digimon Adventure was thrown in, apparently at the last minute, as one of these. The only reason for this, however, appeared to be to set up an Evil Counterpart with whom Angewomon could have a Cat Fight, complete with slapping and hair-pulling. They even brought her back in Digimon Adventure 02 just to repeat the process.
  • Karinka from Steel Angel Kurumi toes the line. She beats another main character, and lives primarily so she can destroy the main character and steal her boyfriend. Oh, yeah, she curses like a sailor, too.
  • Grell Sutcliff of Black Butler is a male-to-female Transsexual who, in battle, uses a chainsaw and takes sexual pleasure in fighting Sebastian. She's later revealed to be at least a half of Jack the Ripper and Madame Red's accomplice in murdering the prostitutes.
  • A brief glimpse of Caerula Sanguis' distant past in Volume 9 of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order shows that when she was part of the Chinese Triads, she was very much an example of this trope. After meeting Victor Byron, however, she softens a little. She softens further after meeting John Farrell in Volume 8, to the point that she became something of a Hero Secret Service, at first against Victor, to protect John Farrell's grandson, Arthur, eventually extending her protection to the whole of humanity.
  • Naruto has a load of bait-and-switch Dark Action Girls who sometimes don't live up to their initial posturing or pull a whiplash-inducing High Heel-Face Turn, but the standout is Tayuya, the flute-playing, Sir Swears-a-Lot genjutsu expert of the Sound Four, who easily cows her Ax-Crazy coworkers, punches out the eponymous hero, and demonstrates, perhaps better than anyone in the series, save Uchiha Itachi, why genjutsu is not the "soft" one of the three main ninja skill sets. She then goes toe to toe with Shikamaru, the smartest guy in the whole series, and proceeds to back him into a corner and break his nigh-unbreakable binding jutsu with sheer brute force and bloody-mindedness. The only thing that stops her is having a forest dropped on her courtesy of Temari, a Badass Action Girl whose idea of a "cat fight" is breaking her opponent's spine and then tossing them across the room.
  • Revy from Black Lagoon is a Protagonist version of this, a deadly gun slinger who would likely go on a killing spree For the Evulz if not for Dutch and Rock. She gets a bit better though with Rock's help.
    • Balalaika was also one before she graduated to The Baroness of Hotel Moscow, having been a sinister soldier sniper for the Soviets during the Afghan War.
  • Nena Trinity from Gundam 00, though she's more of a Dark Female Gundam Pilot.
  • Although Rizelle of Chrono Crusade prefers to use her powers to get other people to do her dirty work for her, when confronted by Rosette, she proves herself to be one of these, using her marionette strings and Femme Fatalons to cause a massive amount of (clothing) damage in the process.
  • Bleach has many with its Loads and Loads of Characters.
    • Several Arrancar in Aizen's army are, namely Tier Harribel, who is the Third and only female member of the Espada and a reserved yet deadly fighter. Her Amazon Brigade Apache, Mila Rose, and Sun-Sun, and Cirucci Sanderwicci, a rude and cocky bitch, are as well.
    • The Vandereich have Bambietta Basterbine, a Blood Knight with a Commissar Cap and Zettai Ryouiki, who is seen gleefully joining the Seiteirei invasion and cheerfully bisecting almost everyone in her way. Her next big appearance involved her slicing a guy in half in a moment of frustration after asking him to have sex with her.
    • Bambietta's gal-pals fit in here pretty well, too. Specifically Candice Catnipp, who fries Kenpachi with her Psycho Electro powers and later attacks Ichigo in the most Hot-Blooded way. Aside of that Liltotto Lamperd stretches her mouth to eat her enemies, and Meninas Macallon cutely drops entire buildings on hers.
    • Yachiru Unohana was one of these way back in the day. She was Soul Society's most brutal fighter and even today she is widely feared as Soul Society's most infamous criminal. The only reason she wasn't executed was because Soul Society wanted her on their side.
  • GUN×SWORD's Fasalina, who (unlike the only other girl in her group, Melissa, who was merely confused) fully embraced the methods of The Claw and, most of the time, puts up a damn good fight against the heroes.
  • Highschool of the Dead: Before the outbreak, Saeko Busujima was the captain of her school's Kendo Club, so she was already proficient with a sword. Then "They" came, which gave her the perfect excuse to use it - 'cuz Saeko is an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight, who literally gets off on violence. Which she openly confessed to Takashi, when she told him how she'd once beaten a would-be rapist within an inch of his life... and enjoyed it. Not because he tried to rape her, but because of the euphoric glee she got from beating the ever living sh*t out of someone without restraint. And she's GOOD at it. Which is why Takashi's glad she's on their side and regards her as a necessary evil.
  • InuYasha: Kagura started off as this and eventually softened via Character Development into an Aloof Ally of the good guys that fitted the cynical version of a Heel Face Turned Dark Action Girl; strictly speaking, she was a Dark Action Girl due to being enslaved to the Big Bad, which made her a Broken Bird as well.
  • One Piece has its fair share, from Miss Double Finger (and arguably Miss Merry Christmas) to Kalifa. Boa Hancock initially appeared to be this, but mellowed out over time (though she can still be cruel to enemies). The sole female member of the Blackbeard Pirates, Catarina Devon, counts.
  • Sabrina and Lorelei of Pokémon Special. Interestingly enough, both of them have joined forces with the protagonists at some point due to an Enemy Mine situation; in fact, Sabrina does so against Lorelei.
  • Claymore, as a World of Action Girls, has its Dark Action Girls.
    • Ophelia is a complete lunatic obsessed with taking lives. She even kills her own fellow Claymores. She would have killed Claire if Irene hadn't intervened, which lead Ophelia to beg her dearly departed brother to protect her, while alone in the woods, and then moving to a hateful and (at least in the anime version) profanity-flooded monologue that ended with three F-bombs before "awakening".
    • Also the even worse Roxanne, a Manipulative Bastard and Psycho Lesbian who, while she was still alive, would stalk powerful Claymores until she learned their technique and kill them when she was done doing so, allowing her to rise to the rank of Number 1.
    • Then there's Priscilla. The most powerful Awakened Being in the series due to her intense hatred, she's arrogant, calm, and brutal. Just after Awakening she killed Teresa, and has the vast power to utterly trash Alicia and Beth, Riful's daughter, and numerous Abyssal Ones.
  • Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist. Beautiful, cruel, and seductive, she's the only female of the Homunculi and uses her Femme Fatalons as penetrating spears. Her "lust" is one for violence and murder.
  • Evangeline from Mahou Sensei Negima!, before her Heel-Face Turn. Not that she'd ever admit to having made one.
  • Fairy Tail has several.
    • Ikaruga, a reserved and proud assassin who uses her katana to send slashes through the air that slice through all of Erza's armors as she tries to slaughter her, qualifies.
    • Erza Nightwalker, Erza Scarlet's Edolas counterpart and a Sociopathic Soldier who fought Scarlet to a draw before a Heel-Face Turn, definitely counts.
    • Minerva Orland is the cruel Ojou of Sabertooth who gives Lucy a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and tortures Millianna. Then after losing to Erza, she leaves to join a Dark Guild. After that she joins Tartaros, but then pulls a Heel-Face Turn.
    • Kyôka of Tartaros, the head of the Nine Demon Gates, is first introduced callously disregarding the people she killed who could not handle her Curse, terrifying fellow Dark Action Girl Minerva. A Dominatrix and Sadist, her Cold-Blooded Torture was enough to break Erza, whom she later matches blow for blow and came very close to defeating.
    • Seilah is a fellow member of Tartaros who calmly uses her Macro to command Elfman to destroy the Fairy Tail Guild, nearly killing everyone inside. She then shows herself to be a Yandere when she wants to kill Lisanna because she was embarrassed in front of Kyôka, and then kicks Mirajane's ass and nearly kills her.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Kyouko Sakura. She gets better, to the point of even pulling a Mercy Kill/Heroic Sacrifice so that Sayaka (who she has become very sympathetic toward) doesn't have to die alone, even admitting that part of the reason she became a Magical Girl in the first place was because she wanted to protect someone.
  • Any of the Sailor Animamates from the last season of Sailor Moon's. Sailor Animamates were the servants of Big Bad Sailor Galaxia, who was hunting down Star Seeds/Sailor Crystals across the universe. They were all once good, but Sailor Senshi become evil when they lose their Sailor Crystals.
    • The Doom and Gloom Girls, Queen Beryl's last and strongest warriors from the anime, who very nearly succeeded in defeating the Sailor Senshi.
    • Also the Ayakashi Sisters, Evil Counterparts of the Inner Senshi and pretty competent combatants. In the anime, however, they have a collective Heel-Face Turn.
  • Gavrill Madaraki from Franken Fran, the almost-invincible shapeshifting leader of an army of pillaging thugs.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has Belarus, a Clingy Jealous Girl and Boisterous Bruiser who skirts the line between this and Action Girl. She has been known to carry around knives and, while not villainous (she's more childish and extremely jealous/obsessive than evil), is often portrayed as having darker motives than the other Action Girls in the series, plus she has a Hair-Trigger Temper and exhibits strange behavior.
  • Annie Leonhardt of Attack on Titan has shades of this, being a cold and cynical soldier who enlists in the infamously corrupt Military Police Brigade, abandoning her Fire-Forged Friends without a second thought. She's also one of the Titan Shifter spies, and her rampage as the Female Titan leaves scores of veteran soldiers dead. She turns out to be a more complicated case, hinted to be a Broken Bird with serious Daddy Issues. Word of God explicitly states she isn't inherently evil, though it's hard to deny that she's a Sadist that likes to get.....creative with her kills. When Eren and Armin attempt to talk to her, she goes on one final city-smashing rampage before encasing herself in a Crystal Prison, denying the military the chance to learn her secrets.
  • Every female villain in the Pretty Cure franchise does count to a degree, but the most outstanding example is Dark Precure who doesn't rely on Monsters of the Week.
  • Pirotess from Record of Lodoss War, a female dark elf who serves as the villainous counterpart to the high elf on the heroes' side, Deedlit.
  • The Villain Protagonist Lucy/Kaede from Elfen Lied. Mariko and her four clones, too. All of them have Vectors that can cut people into pieces.
  • Saori, Kikako and Mako Fujisaki/Valkyria from Brynhildr in the Darkness. Saori can cut people into pieces, Kikako has a powerful Breath Weapon, and Valkyria has an arsenal of powers that can kill people. And she's the one who actually enjoys killing.
  • N'rala/Nurara from "Captain Future"... as far as the zeitgeist allowed it. The Captain once floored her with a karate chop and commented "You're just a woman after all".
  • Since Defeat Means Friendship, there are only a few female characters from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha who still are Dark Action Girls:
  • Zorin Blitz and Rip Van Winkle from Hellsing. Both are Nazi Vampires that enjoy death and destruction.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, Mai Kujaku becomes one in the Doma arc and eventually steals the souls of Pegasus and Jonouchi (though, she has a Heel-Face Turn right after stealing the latter's soul).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    • The two female Seven Stars Assassins, Camula and Tania, are among the four strongest members. Aside from Amnael, they are the only members to win against the Key Guardians, but both of them end up defeated by Judai.
      • Tania is actually a tiger, and she becomes an ally in the third season.
    • Asuka becomes one temporarily during the second season when she becomes a member of the Society of Light, and she replaces her Cyber Girl deck for a White Night deck.
    • If you see the Big Bad of the third season, Yubel, as a girl, then "she" counts as one. Woman Scorned is pretty much the reason for
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's:
    • Aki is one as the Black Rose Witch, a violent and destructive duelist with Psychic Powers, before reconciling with her parents.
    • Misty and Carly as Dark Signers. Misty tries to avenge her younger brother's death by trying to kill Aki, the person she thinks is responsible, and nearly defeats her twice. Carly defeats Divine in a duel, in which her final attack sends him falling down a building, nearly killing him, and could have defeated Jack if not for a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Sands of Destruction features a couple, though who and to what extent varies by adaptation:
  • Tokyo Ghoul features several of these, all deadly Ghouls that enjoy playing with their food and killing anyone that gets in their way.
    • Binge Eater Rize Kamishiro, a serial predator that targets attractive young men and enjoys "gently scrambling" their insides.
    • The series loves pulling a Samus is a Girl, with the major threats of the side-stories Jack and Joker both revealed to be women.
    • Perhaps the greatest example in the series is the legendary Hero Killer, the One-Eyed Owl. She is considered the most dangerous Ghoul in Tokyo, a brilliant Evil Over Lord, and so dangerous that only Arima has been able to take her on in battle.

     Comic Book 

    Fan Works 

    Film - Animated 
  • Shenzi, Zira, and Vitani are nonhuman ones from The Lion King films. Shenzi is a hyena and one of Scar's henchmen. Zira is Scar's former mate, and tries to avenge his death by leading the Outlanders into war with the Pride Lands. Vitani loves to fight, does the most damage to Simba during the ambush, and holds her own against Nala.
  • In Barbie In Princess Power, Kara's cousin Dark Sparkle is Super Sparkle's arch-nemesis.

    Film - Live Action 

    Literature 
  • The Radix: Adriana Borgia, modern descendant of 'that' Borgias, is one of the novel's strongest ass-kickers, and a master of Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Malina Kekapania of Two Serpents Rise poisoned a city's water supply, killed a god, and awakened giant fire serpents to chase foreign sorcerers, whom she saw as an occupying force, out of the city.
  • Bellatrix Lestrange of Harry Potter. Voldemort's Dragon and a total Yandere for him, she takes great joy in torturing others and murders Sirius Black, Dobby, and Tonks.
  • Protagonist example who is still "Dark": Lale of The Assassins of Tamurin.
  • Hester Shaw in Mortal Engines becomes a completely merciless killer.
    • Stalker Fang is at least as much of a bad girl. Being horribly crippled then turned into Brain in a Jar inside a Killer Robot chassis can do that to someone.
  • Angelina, supposedly reformed murderess turned Special Corp agent/wife of 'Slippery Jim' DiGriz. Always carries an arsenal of lethal weaponry on her person, and has the ability to produce a .75 calibre recoilless from Hammer Space whenever she thinks her husband is getting too slippery for her taste. Supposedly, her more psychopathic impulses have been removed by the psych-techs, but Jim frequently has to restrain her natural enthusiasm for killing and torture.
  • Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku's main follower...cruel, skilled, and a major threat, with a tendency to pull a Not Quite Dead every time she seems defeated. While she ultimately turns against Dooku, it's not a Heel-Face Turn so much as a case of Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
  • War from Good Omens, who's as deadly as she is beautiful. Considering she's the Anthropomorphic Personification of war, this shouldn't be a surprise.
  • Rare heroic example: Rachel from Animorphs, who begins as an Action Girl but gets closer and closer to this trope as the series goes on. Taylor could be seen as an actual villainous example, though she generally avoids using her unique fighting skills in favor of psychological manipulation.
  • Phrygiar Navaris from the Codex Alera is a psychotically obsessive swordswoman and one of the top five blades in her civilization - she normally hires herself out as a mercenary, and has racked up a kill count in the hundreds during her life (and those are just the ones we know about). Aquitainus Invidia from the same series is more like The Vamp, The Chessmaster, and the Reliable Traitor all in one person, but she's more than capable of getting her hands dirty if she has to.
  • Makala of The Blade of the Flame, both before her in-backstory death and after she gets bitten by a vampire. Exhibits Clingy Jealous Girl traits after the spoilered event too.
  • Death's Mistress, aka Sister Nicci, of the Sword of Truth series. She serves the Imperial Order in their war against the "good" factions, a terror to the forces of the New World and a heroine to the Order, and is one of the main threats to Richard Rahl in Faith of the Fallen. Interestingly enough, she is also a Dark Magical Girl, Femme Fatale, and a Stalker with a Crush at times. Eventually, she does a High Heel-Face Turn and joins Richard's party, and is afterwards their Black Magician Girl.
  • Kitiara from Dragonlance.
  • Ivana Vasilyeva from Dale Brown's Wings of Fire.
  • Penny from Lies, the third book in the Gone series.
  • Lara Raith in The Dresden Files alternates between being Harry's Friendly Enemy and a reluctant ally. Being a White Court vampire, she is superhumanly strong, fast, and durable, but still needs to feed on the life energy of humans.
  • Miss Hakkendottir from the steampunky The Hunchback Assignments: beautiful, thoroughly evil, and considers Mooks a disposable/consumable resource. Extra points for her two half-mechanical attack dogs...
  • Lisbeth Salander of The Millennium Trilogy. She slashes the throat of one thug with a broken bottle and scares his gang off by acting herself, violates her sadistic guardian and blackmails him with evidence of his rape, reveals her solution to her pedophile father was to Kill It with Fire, attacks then chases down a Neo-Nazi who she causes to crash before leaving for dead, and that's just the first book. And she's one of the good guys.
  • Electra from Greek Ninja somewhat falls under this trope.
  • Redwall had a few over the course of its twenty-two book run:
    • Mossflower: Tsarmina the Wildcat Queen doesn't seem like one of these at first. A scheming evil princess who poisons her father and frames her brother so she can become queen, Tsarmina leaves the fighting to others, preferring not to dirty her paws. During the final battle she tries to run away and is cornered by Martin the Warrior, the most famed fighter in the series' history, and you figure, game over. Instead she goes absolutely berserk and proceeds to give Martin the beating of his life, before his Implacable Man status spooks her into a mental breakdown and she runs into a lake. Huge, utterly mad, and capable of shredding chainmail with her claws alone she definitely belongs on this list. Plus, the physical and psychological fallout from this battle scars Martin for the rest of his life.
    • The Pearls of Lutra: Sagitar Sawfang, head of Emperor Ublaz's Trident Rats has a reputation as a formidable fighter, and lives up to it when she kills Rasconza, despite having taken a knife through her chest. Corsair ferret Romsca is also a deadly combatant, fighting Monitor-General Lask Frildur to a Mutual Kill; Lask's successor as Monitor-General, Zurgat, is the same sort of slavering monster that he himself was, despite being female.
    • Marlfox: Three of High Queen Silth's daughters, Vannan, Predak, and Ziral, are capable fighters, wielding their axes with the same skill as their brothers. Silth herself was purportedly a vicious fighter back in her day, though now, old and sick, she isn't up to much fighting.
  • Lucy Pennykettle from The Last Dragon Chronicles when possed by the Shadow.
  • Tansy in Mira Grant's Parasite subverts this trope by combining it with Genki Girl and working for the least bad of the factions in the story. But she still actively searches for reasons to kill things and without the Morality Leash of her creator would do so for the most trivial of reasons.
  • Female Careers from the The Hunger Games series, which include Clove from the first book, and Cashmere and Enobaria from Catching Fire. Enobaria in particular even had her teeth sharpened to a point after ripping out someone's throat with her teeth in the Games she won.
  • Dime Novel hero Nick Carter had quite a few of these. Perhaps the most dangerous was Dazaar the Arch Fiend. Her specialty was knife throwing; she could throw a knife hundreds of yards with extreme accuracy.
    • Another of Dime Novel hero Nick Carter's female enemies was Zanoni the Woman Wizard, a skilled hypnotist and chemist (poisons were her specialty). She was a truly nasty piece of work.Once, after being captured by Nick, he warns her not to try to "make love" to him as a way to get out. Her reply conveys her fiendishness: "Have no fear, my pretty man, my cornucopia of driveling goodness. When I make love to you, it will be to your articulated skeleton—to your empty, fleshless skull—to your heart preserved in alcohol and your liver thrown to the dogs."
  • James Bond
    • Hera Volopoulos in The Facts of Death was raised by Konstantine Romanos, the novel's Big Bad, to be the top of her field in combat and assassination.
    • Margareta Piel in DoubleShot is a killer with an insatiable bloodlust who specializes in daring assassinations and is attracted to other deranged people like herself.
  • Pernica the Swift in Codebook of the Cosmos faces as many as four street robbers in a row with a double set of knives, and wins. In The Dominion Device, she even confronts a hall full of Germanic warriors. With a drinking horn. And earns their respect by giving black eyes to a couple of them.
  • In Dark Heart, Wyre is a gleefully sadistic assassin who volunteers her service as a bodyguard to the heroes Myrren and Raine. Later on, Myrren takes a level in badass and becomes one as well in order to fight Wyre when she realizes her real intentions.

    Live Action TV 
  • Sarah Corvis in Bionic Woman reboot is to be a prime example. She teaches the Action Girl protagonist just so that she can fight her later. Sarah also seems to like to drop hints, though it's been shown she does have a motivating romantic interest.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Faith is half this, half Dark Magical Girl. Her abilities are action-based, not magical, and the fights between Buffy and Faith are adrenaline-spiked highlights among the series' many action sequences. Directors, stunt directors, actresses, and stunt doubles always seemed to go all out whenever one of these scenes came up. At the same time, her issues are much more of the DMG vein, and she is eventually redeemed DMG-style in a two-part episode of Angel. However, even after Faith returns and joins up with Buffy, the two constantly butt heads, often violently.
    • Darla. While in flashbacks, she's less action-y and more just plain evil, during the first season, she was The Master's Dragon. That is, until she died.
    • God of Evil Glory should be mentioned, seeing as she was the Big Bad of a season.
    • Wishverse Buffy, to the point where Faith is Lighter and Softer.
  • Callisto, Xena's Evil Counterpart from Xena: Warrior Princess. She does pull a Heel-Face Turn later in the show's run, actually. It takes divine intervention, though. It requires Xena — who, at this point, had died and become an Archangel — to take on all of Callisto's sins and suffering, thus damning herself to Hell for All Eternity. This removes all of Callisto's memories of being evil, which, not coincidentally, leaves her with more or less no memory of her life after turning twelve.
    • And of course, Xena was one herself prior to her Heel-Face Turn.
    • Then when Callisto is reincarnated, it happens to her all over again, including the Heel-Face Turn, as Livia/Eve, except she doesn't lose her memories.
  • Ebony of The Tribe. She was also The Baroness and a female Magnificent Bastard.
  • Gretchen Morgan from Prison Break. Really dark action girl. Do not mess with her.
  • Ana Espinosa from Alias.
  • Fiona Glennane from Burn Notice is one of the rare exceptions of this trope to do a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Being a Long Runner Power Rangers had quite a few of these: Scorpina, Archerina, Astronema, Trakeena, Vypra, and Tenaya 7, just to name some of the most prominent. And of course its Japanese counterpart Super Sentai naturally has these.
  • Miss Parker from The Pretender.
  • Vlad from season 4 of Lexx. Most of her scenes with Kai involved her beating the snot out of him.
  • Isabella Gisborne from Robin Hood. One of only two Sheriffs in various versions of the story (the other being from Robin of Sherwood) to successfully kill Robin Hood.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive Tess Mercer of Smallville has repeatedly demonstrated that, in addition to being an expert Manipulative Bastard and Chessmaster, she is not a slouch in the physical department either, having fought Lana, Lois, Green Arrow, Zod, and fellow Dark Action Girl Mad Harriet on relatively equal footing (she had to cheat against Zod by using Kryptonite brass knuckles; still, the fact that she devised and built Kryptonite brass knuckles is pretty badass in and of itself!). Harriet and the Female Furies also fulfill this trope, as did Lana when possessed by Isobel Thoreaux.
    • Chloe Sullivan in season ten, Collateral, is an unusual combination of this and Woman in White.
  • In Doctor Who, Melody Pond was one of these, since she was a psychopathic Tyke Bomb raised to kill the Doctor. She does perform a Heel-Face Turn and becomes River Song, though.
  • Cold-blooded Israeli assassin Mikel Dayan in Leverage. She's more of a Punch Clock Villain than anything else though.
  • Katherine Pierce from The Vampire Diaries.
  • Morgana Pendragon from Merlin (2008).
  • Sqn Ldr Knox from Invasion: Earth, who has no qualms about employing the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on a man in a hospital bed.

    Multi-Media 

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The lion goddess Sekhmet in Egyptian Mythology. She also was given titles such as the "(One) Before Whom Evil Trembles", "Mistress of Dread", "Lady of Slaughter" and "She Who Mauls". In a myth about the end of Ra's rule on the earth, Ra sends Sekhmet to destroy mortals who conspired against him. Sekhmet's blood-lust was not quelled at the end of battle and led to her destroying almost all of humanity, so Ra poured out beer dyed with red ochre or hematite so that it resembled blood. Mistaking the beer for blood, she became so drunk that she gave up the slaughter and returned peacefully to Ra.
  • The Morrigan of Celtic Mythology was known for being a war and death goddess. She's certainly on humanity's side as Dark Is Not Evil for the Celts, but she was also a Blood Knight who loved to throw a wrench in human wars by fighting for whoever was winning...and then fucking something up so the other side would start winning. Her name meant either "Great Queen" or "Great Terror", and her most infamous moment was being responsible for the death of Ireland's greatest hero because he was too tired for a one-night stand.
  • "The Black Goddess" Kali of Hindu Mythology has shades of this. She comes out when Durga loses her composure and is a Blood Knight. An example of this would be whenever she devoured a demon who could regenerate From a Single Cell and the following bloodlust caused her to do a victory dance that caused earthquakes throughout several worlds, but she still calmed down in the end. However she's firmly in Dark Is Not Evil territory as she usually only comes out to play whenever the gods have to kick the asses of especially evil beings.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Among the evil foreigners of New Japan Pro Wrestling, there was Chyna, who was notable for working in a region with a much stricter male-female divide than say, The International Wrestling Federation or World Wrestling Federation in the North East United States. She was about the same size later breakout star Prince Devitt, possibly stronger than him, almost as agile and easily as evil.
  • The six foot, 200 pound vampire Rio Storm in California's Ultimate Pro Wrestling, though she ended up subverting this trope by turning face and teaming up with Gangrel. Before that though, they had tried to bring Melissa Coates and the aforementioned Chyna to deal with her and she was frequently considered a de facto heavyweight title holder contender(for reference, John Cena held that belt).

    Roleplay 
  • Silencia Venemosa in Dino Attack RPG was a ruthless bounty hunter who single-handedly ruined two major corporations by foiling a heist on one, a sequence of events that resulted in the deaths of four small-time criminals, both CE Os, and at least two innocent bystanders (though neither actually died by her hand). The untold story of what she did at Dacta Corporation is said to be even worse.

     Tabletop Games 
  • From the Dark Eldar of Warhammer 40,000, comes the wyches, each one a leather bound gladiatrix with a well-earned penchant for murder. The greatest of them and the absolute queen of this trope (to her fans at least) is Lelith Hesperax, who can murder an enemy squad before they can even fight back. She's so Bad Ass, an in-joke is that her hair counts as a power weapon.
    • There's also Lady Malys, also of the Dark Eldar, who goes for more of the "Dark Lady of War" approach. She's been compared to a Magical Girl anime villain, razor-edged steel fan and all.
    • Also, while wyches are not exclusively female, a majority of them are. The Dark Eldar value skill and potential above all else, so there are virtually no gender barriers. That also means that the Dark Eldar can hold this trope to every career path, from Haemonculus to Incubus to Archon.
    • Their fantasy counterparts are just as hardcore - only they replace the Blood Sport aspect with a Blood Cult; they're referred to as the "Brides of Khaine" (he's the elven god of murder).
  • Pathfinder has Szuriel, Seraph of Devastation, and Horseman of War. Once a fallen paladin, she now represents all of war's worst aspects, and of all the evil female deities is the one who most frequently gets physical.
  • Magic: The Gathering has several, from the Pyhrexian general and Hero Killer Tsabo Tavoc to the Anti-Hero necromancer Liliana Vess, to the Cult of Rakdos' Maze Champion Exava.

    Theatre 
  • The Witch from Into the Woods placed a curse on The Hero and his wife before the events of the show, practically abused her daughter, Rapunzel, by locking her in a tower for years, and cut off Rapunzel's hair and banished her into the desert. While the Witch had to work with the heroes for a time, she was the first cast member to start taking initiative when the Bigger Bad started killing everyone, and was dead set on sacrificing Jack to the Giantess. Then, towards the end of the show, she curses the heroes when they all confront her, throws away her magical beans, and vanishes, possibly committing suicide. And on top of all that, she's got attitude.
    • She is, however, one of the more sympathetic versions of this trope: She apparently really did care for Rapunzel, despite having no idea how to properly raise her, and is devastated (and sees her attempts to keep her away from the prince confirmed as correct) when Rapunzel is trampled on by the giant's wife, killing her.
  • Lynette Fromme and Sara Jane More in Assassins. The title of the play makes it rather obvious as to why these two ladies fit the trope.

    Theme Parks 

     Toys 
  • Lucidique from Tortured Souls. Notable in that she starts out as a more standard Action Girl, going from an idealistic young woman who wants to save Primoridum from its corrupt ruler, to a vengeful, inhuman Anti-Hero who'll slaughter anyone who so much as annoys her.

     Video Games 
  • League of Legends has some Dark Action Girls.
    • Katarina the Sinister Blade is this to a T, being Daddy's Little Villain and a professional killer who uses knives. Her default skin has her dressed all in black, she's very aggressive and violent, and loves carnage. Her selection quote is even "Violence solves everything!"
    • Evelynn the Widowmaker, a deadly, psychotic assassin who Loves the Sound of Screaming, is definitely one.
  • From World of Warcraft:
    • Sylvanas Windrunner is THE dark action girl. Banshee Queen, Dark Queen of the Forsaken, Dark Ranger...she's basically a Dark Lord who just happens to work for the Horde, although Garrosh sees it in action in Silverpine when she raises new Forsaken from the Alliance dead.
    • Jaina Proudmoore, after the gigantic amount of Break the Cutie Mists expansion dropped on her. She is a Nominal Hero as Sylvanas is, and just so happens to rule an entire city of mages. Before that Establishing Character Moment in Theramore, she was a naive peace-seeking girl... who could hold her own against Arthas. Now that her Berserk Button has been pressed so hard that it broke, the only thing stopping her from literally drowning Orgrimmar in a massive deluge and exterminating the orcish race is Love Interest Kalec and the orders of King Varian.
  • Sarah Kerrigan, post-infestation, in Starcraft and Starcraft II. Queen of Blades, ruler of the Zerg swarm, Manipulative Bastard, and Chessmaster extraordinaire. In the aftermath of the Overmind's death, she manages, through grit, will, and a burning need for vengeance, to exact bloody revenge on all her enemies and establish herself as the de facto ruler of not only the Zerg swarm, but also the entire Kroprulu sector (see quote at the top of the page). At the start of Starcraft II, the entire sector lives in fear of her inevitable return.
    • She partially evolves beyond this in her chapter of the game, mainly because the swarm is fleshed out more giving her more people to interact with. Very much keeps the "Action" part, though - it's a rare mission she doesn't personally involve herself in.
  • Christie from the Dead or Alive series is this. She is a professional assassin with a creepy The Only One Allowed to Defeat You Les Yay fixation on Helena.
  • Barbariccia, the Archfiend of Wind and sole female member of the Archfiends from Final Fantasy IV, who fights the heroes in the Tower of Zot.
  • Beatrix, the general of Alexandria, is one for most of the first two discs of Final Fantasy IX. Anytime she's fought by the party, it's a Hopeless Boss Fight. Lani the bounty hunter takes over for the rest of the game.
  • Larxene of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories certainly fits the bill. She's well aware of it, too - her personal title is "The Savage Nymph", and she delights in taunting the heroes with "clues" that turn out to be completely fake. Plus, in RE:CoM, she manages to martial-arts kick Sora to the ground...TWICE. She's an absolute bitch to fight and, well, a bitch in general too!
  • The Fire Emblem series has always granted us with lots of heroic Action Girls. Likewise, there's usually at least one badass female villain in each game. And just as the female heroes in this franchise are typically exceptionally heroic, the villainesses tend to be absolutely vicious.
  • Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid believes in Equal-Opportunity Evil and always has some female henchmen in his gangs. As with everything in the series, things are a bit more complex with Sniper Wolf, Olga, and Fortune, but Laughing Octopus, Raging Raven, Crying Wolf, and Screaming Mantis of the Beauty and the Beast Unit are just completely insane.
  • Speed Buster, the not-so-nice old lady with a BFG from No More Heroes, is probably what happens when the Dark Action Girl survives into her 70s.
    • In fact, every female opponent in No More Heroes probably qualifies under this trope, especially Bad Girl.
  • It is heavily implied that Nathyrra of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark used to be one. Almost every female drow that shows up in the campaign, as well as Aribeth in the original after her Face-Heel Turn and if you keep her on the dark side in Hordes of the Underdark, also qualify.
  • Risky Boots, the villainous pirate captain in the obscure Game Boy Metroidvania Shantae.
  • Menardi, from Golden Sun, fits this trope, although it's revealed in the sequel that she and Saturos were actually saving the world...after the heroes killed them. (Oops.)
    • Just ask any soldier of Tolbi, and they'll tell you she still fits the bill, no matter her intentions.
    • Menardi's sister, Karst, is also very much an example.
    • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn introduces Chalis. She prefers subterfuge, but she's still a very dangerous opponent and a wielder of Dark Psynergy.
  • Baldur's Gate
    • Bodhi from Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Even if your PC is a heavily armoured warrior with an Infinity+1 Sword or two, she can probably wipe the floor with him or her in single combat with her bare hands, while wearing less than required by decency.
    • Simply because playable characters are almost automatically good at combat, any evil female Player Character is bound to count too, unless particularly inept in combat, as is any evil female group member, which actually only includes Shar-Teel and Viconia.
  • Tavion and Alora from the Jedi Knight sequels. Both are dark jedi and (sub-)bosses.
  • Rubi Malone easily outshines, or outdarkens, Shego. Let's see, she's a Guns Akimbo, Hard-Drinking Party Girl Psycho for Hire, spends half the game on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, goes into an Unstoppable Rage when the blood of some mook she shoots gets on her face, and has a penchant for the Groin Attack, using a gun or a sword. Oh, she wears a Slasher Smile during these last two actions. And she's voiced by Faith. Put it this way, she is far too dark to ever be a Disney Villain.
  • Tati from Rise of the Kasai, while not really a villain, qualifies for this trope. She's absolutely vicious and won't hesitate to kill any Kasai warrior she sees. Her family was slaughtered by the Kasai, she once hung out with her era's equivalent of a street gang, and she's cursed with a mark that is gradually corrupting her. She hates the world for this curse as well. Hatred runs through her veins.
  • Sasha from inFAMOUS would also fit this trope. She was formerly Cole's (or, more accurately, Kessler's) girlfriend, and she's also one of the boss encounters in the game.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, if your character is female, Mercurio says something about not wanting to speak of some matters (a vampire being a slut) in front of a lady. Your response is that a knee to the crotch tends to get men talking. He immediately talks.
  • Jack of Mass Effect 2, a shaven and tattooed biotics experiment, whose experiences have left her unstable, to say the least...though traveling with Paragon Shepard can make her a bit more balanced and less sociopathic.
    • This can be applied to a female Commander Shepard, as well, if you choose Renegade options in the game.
    • Tela Vasir, asari Spectre working for the Shadow Broker and willing to bomb innocent people to get at her target, and tough as nails, providing one of the most difficult fights of the game after going through a lot of abuse beforehand.
  • Kat in Halo: Reach is a case of a Dark Action Girl in the protagonist's team. This doesn't make her exactly "good", however.
  • Selvaria Bles in Valkyria Chronicles. She is practically invincible, and she has zero interest in serving anyone else but the Big Bad, Maximillian. Her virtue, however, is due to loyalty, not due to for sheer lulz and evil.
  • Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects
    • The female Imperfects would definitely fit here in this trope. Solara incinerates people, Fault Zone loves to make the ground tremble with her seismic accelerators, and The Wink seductively slashes people. All three are fueled by hatred and vengeance, just like their male comrades, Brigade, Hazmat, and Johnny Ohm.
    • And then there's the killing machine, Paragon, though she's not really one of the Imperfects.
  • Juri Han from Super Street Fighter IV. Notable because the vast majority of playable female characters in the Street Fighter games are on the side of good.
    • Also, Cammy and the Dolls used to be Dark Action Girls, as Bison's brainwashed Bodyguard Babes. Cammy has a full Heel-Face Turn once her inner humanity is unlocked. In the case of the other Dolls, however, it's not that easy: they suffer heavy physical and mental consequences, and at least one of them (Julia a.k.a. Juli) has become an Empty Shell due to it. (Though another, Juni, is in her path to recovery after waking up from a coma, so not all hopes are lost.)
    • The cynical, sexy, and very pragmatic Crimson Viper fits in as well. Subverted, actually: she's a genuine Action Girl posing as a Dark Action Girl. While cold to the other warriors, she still has a kinder side that she shows to her daughter Lauren.
    • And in Ultra Street Fighter IV, we meet another: Decabr/Decapre, the only Doll aside of Cammy who remains fully active. Even more so: she is a clone of Cammy.
  • She may be of neutral alignment, but Rouge the Bat qualifies for this. Blaze the Cat also was one for most of Sonic Rush.
  • The Tales Series has a few of these, along with several heroic Action Girls. Notable Dark Action Girls, however, include;
  • Izebel from Tears To Tiara 2. She's strong enough to beat up any member of your party. And there's no Designated Girl Fight. She's seen taking on Hamil in the opening movie, while it's Laelius who takes on Tarte.
  • Every female character from the BloodRayne series, including the main character. Especially the main character.
  • Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins is a Badass Black Magician Girl with a snippy attitude and a morally ambiguous stance.
  • Queen Myrrah heads into the fray with some new battle armor for Gears of War 3's multiplayer.
  • Septerra Core has Selina, who apparently goes back and forth between this and Action Girl a couple of times throughout the game.
  • BioShock 2 has a stable of Big Sisters, all of them psychotic, suped-up DAGs
  • Daisy Fitzroy of BioShock Infinite shows traits of this.
  • Resident Evil has Alexia Ashford. She's completely sociopathic and believes all around her exist only to be experimented on. When in human form, she does not seem so threatening. Then she transforms into a monster that uses her blood like napalm and fights Wesker to a stand-still.
  • The Soul Series has a few. Tira is the best example, completely insane and just loves to kill. She also killed Sophitia and corrupted her daugher Phyrra into the local Dark Magical Girl. Ivy is one but on the good side... just a good side that doesn't care about all the other good sides.
  • From Tekken, we have Anna and Nina Williams, both assassins.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic the main character can be this if you choose to be female and Dark Side. The many faceless female Dark Jedi you run across throughout the game also presumably count.
  • Vacant Sky has Sandarga, who Does Not Like Guns presumably because she'd rather tear people to shreds close up, and will kill anyone who annoys her (which is most people).
  • Cetsa from The Way qualifies, being the leader of the Blue Scarves.
  • Ayme from Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the lost Ocean is one of Giacomo's two right-hand people (the other being a man named Folon) and terrorizes the party alongside her two comrades on several occasions throughout the game. The party fights all three of them together in two big events, and she proves to be an extremely challenging opponent both times. She's also the one who directly killed Kalas' brother and grandfather.
  • The King of Fighters has Vice, Mature, Orochi Leona and Orochi Shermie.
  • In Disney Princess Enchanted Journey, Zara is this. She's older than the heroine and an ex-princess who uses her magic for evil.
  • Akatsuki Blitzkampf had two of these:
  • In Sands of Destruction, Morte dances along the line between this and straight-up Action Girl for a good part of the game, eventually deciding she prefers being heroic while still not quite losing her Blood Knight tendencies.

    Visual Novels 
  • Rider of Fate/stay night embraces this image, although she does show a nice side — how much depends on the scenario. Her alignment is Chaotic Good. I guess you don't have to be evil to be a Dark Action Girl, though.
    • Saber Alter probably counts as one too.
  • Villain Protagonist Saya from Saya no Uta.

    Web Comics 
  • In Homestuck, thirteen year old Vriska Serket is an murdering egomaniac- the most violent, sadistic, and remorseless of all the trolls and is considered evil even by the standards of her barbaric planet. She is responsible for the deaths of thousands of trolls, as well as a teammate, and for seriously crippling two of her "friends" (and later killing one). She also purposefully facilitated a chain of events that led to an indestructible demon to be created and kill many, many more people- just because she wanted to have the glory of killing said demon. She's also among the most powerful characters in the comic. Later, however, she begins to realize that her upbringing was what caused her to become like this, as she was forced to hunt other trolls to sate the hunger of her spider-monster custodian, under threat of death. For the first time, she also feels true remorse after killing one of her friends. Her contact with and romantic interest in John also helps her see the error in many of the things that she's done. However, just as she comes to the conclusion that she doesn't want to kill or hurt people anymore, she is killed by Terezi in order to save the remaining trolls, as her plan to fight Jack Noir would have resulted in their deaths. As a consequence she has become one of the most controversial characters in the fandom. Later, we encounter Vriska in a dream bubble two years after her death. She's changed quite a bit.
    • Meenah Peixes is the Dark Action Girl for the pre-scratch trolls. She greets people by trying to kill them and is indirectly responsible for a few deaths in her team (even though she had no intention of causing them). She also idolizes her post-scratch counterpart, who is a genocidal tyrant. She's not anywhere near as bloodthirsty as Vriska was, although just as egotistical and belligerent, and a lot more mischievous. Needless to say, when the two meet, sparks fly.
    • Because almost every female cast member of Homestuck is an Action Girl in some sense, essentially all female antagonists in Homestuck count as this.
  • Saturday in Cucumber Quest is a thief and a gunslinger (well, star-shooter-slinger). She isn't as evil as some of the other villains, but she definitely causes a lot of problems for the heroes.
  • Mag IsaLucia fits this trope.
  • Sal Walters, from It's Walky, tends to weave in and out of the "dark" portion of Action Girl. She wasn't above opening a can of whupass on her own brother, though.
  • Considering that until, Agatha freed the other Jaegers, she was doing pretty well holding her own against guards and Othar, Jenka from Girl Genius likely qualifies. Mamma Gkika, being one of the Jager Generals, probably falls somewhere between this and Lady of War. Von Pinn is just Ax-Crazy. And then there's Dupree, who's axe CRAZIER. She routinely attempts to murder entire towns (and, it's implied, only fails because her commanders won't let her) and actively taunts Von Pinn, who can tear Jagers apart with her bare hands.
  • Kria, the demon mare of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , is a Dark Action Mom. But given the comic, her appearances are Villains Out Shopping.
  • Hortense in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja...at least, so far as we know.
    • Not to mention the good doctor's mother, Mitzi.
  • In Blade of Toshubi, Lamika, aka Lady Snow Blood, kind of falls into this trope.
  • Sabine, Crystal, and, to an extent, Tsukiko (she mostly creates undead Mooks but can fight very well if she has to) from The Order of the Stick.
  • Lifolei (which is on the 'good' guys side!) and Thlassa of Juathuur.
  • Kusari from Sluggy Freelance - a masked assassin with superhuman powers who unfailingly follows the orders of the villainous Hereti-Corp executives. Her perhaps even more dangerous "sister", Oasis, is too nuts to count, especially as she imagines she's actually good.
  • Reng-Lo from Harkovast, who is notable for being a skilled warrior and complete psycho.
  • Sakido from Slightly Damned certainly had a history as one of these. She was one of hell's most elite warriors in The Great War before retiring to the ring of the slightly damned. She shows us what she's made of when she takes down the guardian of hell and then single handedly fights her way through the legions of demons to get her little brother and his friend Rhea to the mortal world, even though she knows she'll die in the process. Doubles as a Crowning Momentof Heartwarming
    • Lazuli plays the role much straighter, and is pretty terrifying.

    Web Original 

     Western Animation