Meet Bob. What a guy! Bob's brave, he's determined
, he's good at what he does, he's genuinely nice
, and, most importantly, his moral fiber has a higher tensile strength than spider silk.
Sure, he's a bit socially awkward
and has a few other harmless quirks, but that's all part of his particular charm
. The title can be taken as a play on Dark Knight
In tropese, the Dork Knight is The Ace
, The Cape
, the Knight in Shining Armor
or a similar character type infused with Adorkable
, where the endearing awkwardness serves to humanize an otherwise idealized hero. (It can also work in reverse, where an established loveable dork shows unexpected courage and prowess.) See also Badass Adorable
and Socially-Awkward Hero
. The goofier examples of this trope may overlap with Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
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Anime and Manga
- Yomiko Readman of Read or Die is practically the inventor of Adorkable. She can also kill you with a bookmark.
- Trigun: Vash the Stampede. He's a completely unstoppable (and non-lethal) warrior and one of the silliest men committed to animation.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Sweet, kind and cuddly Himura Kenshin. That's not to say he isn't a skilled disciplined Samurai with an unflappable sense of right and wrong, defender of the innocent, etc. etc.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Akemi Homura is revealed in a flashback to have started off life as a Moe Adorkable Meganekko. She turns to Take a Level in Badass to prevent Madoka's death, and gradually sheds layers of Adorkable in each iteration of a "Groundhog Day" Loop. However, when her feelings for Madoka bubble up to the surface, she's still the same Moemura at heart.
- Syaoran Li, beneath his supposed arrogance, turns out to be one in Cardcaptor Sakura, arguably Sakura herself evolves as such, both her competence as guardian of the cards and cluelessly innocent persona upped as the series goes on.
- Surprisingly common in Tiger & Bunny, especially with Wild Tiger/Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, Origami Cyclone/Ivan Karelin and Sky High/Keith Goodman.
- Son Gohan, represent. Has a bad case of Chronic Hero Syndrome, perfect grades, superpowers, and grew up in a tiny, isolated house up in the mountains with absolutely no frame of reference to tell him that no, normal people cannot jump eight meters into the air. Becoming a superhero with really clear Sentai influences really was the only option.
- After taking a level in badass, Tsukune Aono from Rosario + Vampire fits squarely in this. Taking on some of the most deadliest monsters one minute and being Adorkable the next.
- Seiya of Nurse Angel Ririka SOS is a hyperactive, clever, absolutely fearless goofball who doesn't have the best control over his powers (it's a work in progress,) but is always ready to help his Magical Girl Warrior best friend. Villains actually refer to him as a knight.
- Captain America is very much a Nice Guy and kind-hearted boy-next-door type who genuinely cares about others more than himself and isn't afraid to proclaim the ideals he fights for, namely the American Dream. There are some cynics who would sneer at this, but Cap honestly doesn't care. He'll still keep fighting for his ideals no matter what. On one occasion, Cap provides encouragement to a despairing Spider-Man by telling him "This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — No, YOU move." There's a reason why the Avengers know they can always trust Cap.
- He's become less so over the years, but Lee Falk's original depiction of The Phantom had definite moments of this, particularly around the woman he loves.
- Spider-Man is this. Dorky awkward teen with super powers. Trying to be a hero while trying to figure out his hormones at the same time.
- In Superman, the title character's secret identity certainly has Adorkable tendencies. This could be the result of Obfuscating Stupidity, being an Alien Among Us, or something else. In the modern comics, it's usually just because he's a farmer's son who moved to the big city. He doesn't really count as Alien Among Us, since he came to Earth as an infant.
- Captain Marvel definitely qualifies. He's a hero on par with Superman both in terms of physical power and nobility, and is completely unafraid of standing up to beings more powerful than himself (up to and including the Wrath of God) if he feels it has to be done. Yet he's also unfailingly polite, kind, friendly and compassionate, with a good (sometimes self-deprecating) sense of humor who tends to get completely flustered when women take interest in him. The fact that he's really a 12 to 15 year old kid in an adult superhuman body goes a long way towards explaining this.
Film: Live Action
- Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger.
- From that same universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson counts, too.
- Also, Thor is the unflinching gentleman around Jane.
- In Hellboy, Agent John Myers.
- In Condorman, Woody, mostly due to his being a Cloudcuckoolander.
- Luke Skywalker starts off like this. Over time - maybe because of The Reveal in The Empire Strikes Back - he becomes more composed and sober. Parts of the Star Wars Expanded Universe prove, though, that his adorkable side didn't really die.
- Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy hardly is the toughest guy around, and he does have his "nobody calls me chicken" problem. But he mostly is a good guy, who also can qualify as a Cool Loser.
- Dave Malkoff from the Troubleshooters series. Mike Muldoon may also qualify.
- Miles Vorkosigan is a tiny, hyperactive, Genius Cripple snarker with the soul of a Knight Errant and frightening levels of determination.
- Carrot Ironfoundersson. Polite, scrupulous, charismatic, rather literal-minded, and, particularly in his first appearances, a Fish out of Water. He's a bit like the Disc's equivalent of Benton Fraser.
- Dorky, earnest young minister Mightily Oats gradually becomes one of these in the course of Carpe Jugulum. References to him in later books indicate that he eventually becomes a full-blown Badass Preacher.
- Sir Gawain in the older stories of the Arthurian Cycle. He's a fierce warrior and the paragon of knightly virtue, and he has no idea how to talk to a girl.
- The White Knight from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.
- Ossian Bergman from "De skandalösa" by Simona Ahrnstedt is a nerdy scholar, who seems to be awkward when it comes to women. But he also seems to be a better person than his Chivalrous Pervert friend Gabriel, and in the end, he does get a woman after all.
Live Action TV
- Chuck: Chuck from season 3 onwards.
- Doctor Who: The Doctor in most, if not all incarnations. Special mentions go to the ridiculously awkward Fourth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, who can't seem to get the hang of holding a normal conversation, but have destroyed civilizations. Some might also consider Rory Williams, after he took a level in badass.
- Due South: Constable Benton Fraser, the quirky, unfailingly polite, straight-arrow Fish out of Water mountie.
- Simon Tam on Firefly.
- Blaine Anderson from Glee has become known as "Dapper" in the fandom for a reason: he constantly wears bowties, cardigans, polo shirts and sweater vests. He doesn't like to wear socks for some odd reason and has a passion dancing like Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to songs by Katy Perry. He also is willing to take on football players about twice his size if they mess with his boyfriend and probably could have taken him down considering he boxes and started his private school's chapter of Fight Club.
- John Watson in Sherlock has some elements of this, particularly in fandom portrayals. Both his sweater-wearing cuteness and his badassery have become memes.
- Spock in Star Trek. Julian Bashir in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Malcolm Reed in Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Power Rangers: The legendary Memetic Badass Tommy Oliver absolutely qualifies.
- From Angel, we have the Groosalugg (a title meaning "The Brave and Undefeated" - Groo for short), a champion from a swords-and-sorcery alternate universe, who is always eager to please his "princess".
- Gentaro Kisaragi. Enthusiastic, plans to befriend everybody even if he has to fight them first, preposterous haircut, surrounded by interested women.
- Commander Jeffrey Sinclair, commanding officer of Babylon 5. Badass Rules Lawyer Ace Pilot who is, in fact, a complete and utter dork.
- Hiro Nakamura of Heroes considers it his personal quest to "Save the cheerleader, save the world." He is absolutely giddy over the fact that he gets to be a hero just like his favorite anime and comic characters, and his enthusiasm tends to spill over into fanboying "Flying Man" because he has cool powers, too (though Nathan really wishes he didn't and certainly doesn't want Hiro yelling "FLYING MAN!" where everyone can hear).
- Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 has the iconic cleric, Jozan. He's a competent fighter, spellcaster, and orator, and very morally upright, but he's also The Klutz when it comes to being sneaky or anything else dexterous. In the iconics feature novels he suffers near-permanent Crush Blush around the paladin Alhandra, as well as Gibberish of Love and grinning like an idiot whenever she praises him. In the "Creature Feature" stories, meanwhile, he's the D&D equivalent of a good little Christian boy, so saintly sweet and gentlemanly he gives the rogue Lidda sugar overdoses. Then add on a tendency to be the No Respect Guy, and yeah.
- Shakespeare's Henry V is a fine leader and a victorious conqueror, effortlessly eloquent when rallying his troops to snatch victory from sure defeat. He is also full of awkward when trying to talk to the French princess (who doesn't speak English) and sounds like a total moron when trying to speak to her in French. This kind of depends on the actor playing Henry, but it's a common interpretation.
- Space Ace: Dexter; normally, he's The Ace, but thanks to Borf's Infanto Ray, he spends most of the game as a skinny, awkward teenager.
- Final Fantasy IX: Steiner is not the main hero, but he is a Dork Knight at times. He leans more towards being more of an Idiot Hero.
- Final Fantasy VII: Zack Fair is strong, handsome, loyal, determined, honorable, friendly, and all over a nice guy. He also is a serious badass and one of the strongest fighters in the series. However, as seen in Crisis Core, he's also 16-18 for most of his game and has the attention span of a hyperactive Labrador. Puppy, indeed.
- Alistair from the Dragon Age series. On the one hand, he's brave, noble, and heroic (making him a distinct rarity in the Dragon Age verse) and approves of the player being so as well - on the other, he's a bit of a Man Child who can barely get through a sentence without slipping into bad humor and/or Buffy Speak, especially if he's talking to a woman.
- Roy from Fire Emblem: The Sealed Sword is brave and a skilled swordsman, but he definitely has his awkward teenager moments, especially in his supports with any of his potential wives. His father Eliwood from the prequel game can fall into this sometimes, too, but to a lesser degree.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening we have Sumia. A Submissive Badass in the battlefield, a Cute Clumsy Girl outside of it.
- Prince Chrom, too. And his daughter Lucina (who can be mothered by Sumia) can have her moments.
- In truth, almost every character in Awakening counts to some degree. Characters like Severa and Henry are very upfront about it, while others like Frederick and Panne require a little more digging to reach their dorky sides.
- John in Immortal Souls looks and fights the part of a badass Nineties Anti-Hero, but he's really a softie who is a bit naive and cares about saving innocents and doing the right thing, though you do have to initially push him into it. He also gets absolutely tongue-tied talking to his Love Interest Allison and whenever the Black Witch tries flirting with him. Or when talking about Allison. Or when thinking about Allison.
- Double H from Beyond Good & Evil, whose dorkiness is actually directly tied to his badassery: He's fanboyishly obsessed with his Badass Creed, to the point of using its name as his Battle Cry ("CARLSONNN AND PEETERSSSS!") and applying quotes from it to everything he does, regardless of the circumstances. It helps that he's also an obsessively loyal Bruiser with a Soft Center.
- Mass Effect: Garrus Vakarian is of the Number Two/Friendly Sniper variety. He is a highly trained sniper who (1) aided in stopping a full scale assault on the galactic seat of government, (2) led a group of vigilantes on a space station that would put Mos Eisley Spaceport to shame, and (3) became the leader of a task force designated to prepare for the inevitable genocidal alien invasion. During the course of all of this, he has a bad habit of saying Innocently Insensitive things, and turns into a shy, stuttering confused mess when either making or receiving romantic/sexual advances.
- Homestuck: John Egbert starts off as a goofy dork. He quickly grows into a badass and the team's leader, without ever becoming less of a dork.
- On a more literal note, both Karkat and Dave are dorks, and they are knights. Bipbopbam. DorkKnights.
- Unsounded: In life, Duane Adelier was a skilled warrior, an exceptionally competent tacit-casting mage, and responsible for training young soldiers in the ways of battle pymary. He was also a noble, slightly goofy man who held on to an idealistic view of peace between the two major religions, the castes, and the political viewpoints of his country when few held the same, and was quite fond of dramatic operas and plays. The character currently still retains most of these personality traits, however the horrific trauma of the past six years has caused an air of hopelessness with all he does due to the loss of his loved ones, the betrayal of his country, and the firm belief his soul is now damned. Nevertheless, he still retains many of his idealistic and goofy traits and his competence in a fight.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Everyone. Sokka in particular stands out, and once Zuko gets better, he winds up with some of this too.
- The Tick: Arthur wants to be a super, and definitely has some dorky qualities, but is overshadowed by The Tick. The Tick, by contrast, is an Idiot Hero.
- Mickey Mouse in some of his earlier more abrasive years pre Flanderization into The Everyman (though it comes back on occasion, e.g. Runaway Brain).
- Rufus of The Dreamstone starts off as a pretty straight played example, being Mr. Imagination, The Klutz and a sword-wielding Badass Adorable rolled into one, however he gets diluted somewhat in later episodes.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Shining Armor, the Captain of the Royal Guard and Twilight Sparkle, his socially awkward and magically-gifted sister.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): both Leonardo (to the point he models himself after a Captain Kirk knockoff) and Donatello (even more when his crush, April, is present). Add an all-out goofball in Michelangelo, and is easy to see why the overtly serious\angry Raphael feels a little out of place.
- Sir Archibald Wavell. A quiet unassuming man with an eccentric but likable disposition who wrote an anthology of poetry. He was also the British commander in the Mediterranean theater and under his command the Allies won their first victories, and the Italian empire was reduced to a sort of fly paper for the German army. He is a large part of the reason for Italy's persistent reputation for limited prowess in World War II.