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Fighting for Survival
"I suppose I should thank you, but don't think I couldn't have handled them meself! Still, you done right by me. I'll see that the favor is returned."

Heroes have it rough, people are Too Dumb to Live and Die Like Animals because of it. So when they get unexpected help from the populace they're trying to save, be they Heroic Bystanders, helpful NPC's, or even the villain's own henchmen, the hero counts his lucky stars that the common man will help, and are Fighting for Survival.

Go to the Analysis page to see examples of different archetypes of behaviour.

Compare to its opposite Dying Like Animals, which also uses various animal-based character archetypes.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z had the Spirit Bomb, which could grow stronger the more people focused their energy on it... even if they were just Innocent Bystanders or comic relief. Special mention goes to Mr. Satan for rallying the masses to help Goku - Sheepdog style.
  • Anytime Sesshomaru in Inuyasha helps the heroes, he's usually the Hippo, not interested in fighting, helping, or hindering them, but quite interested in killing the villain.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has multiple examples of these:
    • Tortoise (Riccardo, Seras)
    • Bulldog (Tosaka)
  • When everyone in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni actually starts working together in Minagoroshi-hen and Matsuribayashi-hen/Miotsukushi-hen, the characters metamorphosize spectacularly. Keiichi goes from Boar to Lion, Rena from Wolf/Boar Chimera to Owl/Soldier Ant Platypus, Shion from Wolf/Boar Chimera to Beaver/Soldier Ant Platypus, and Satoko from Rat to Bloodhound.

     Comic Books 
  • When the Green Goblin attacks a baseball stadium during a double-header, Spiderman gets assistance from both the pro players and the members of the halftime act.

  • One of the most memorable moments in The Sound of Music was during the Von Trapps' escape. There is an exchange between the Mother Superior and two nuns. When questioned on why they looked so guilty, they answered with "we have sinned"... and lifted up engine parts they'd stolen from the Nazis' cars!
    • And taken further in the Family Guy parody of that scene where one of the nuns has also sinned, and proves it by holding up a Nazi's severed head.
    "Hey, we didn't START this war!"
  • The Spider-Man films, the civilians pelt the Green Goblin to help Spiderman, and the train people stand up to Dr. Octopus for Spiderman (for all the good it does them, but the thought is there). Aunt May smacks Dr. Octopus at one point.
  • Many side characters in The Dark Knight.

  • The Narnia books have several of these. Some are actual animals.
  • The Sword of Truth series is practically made of this trope in book six, Faith Of The Fallen.
  • Matthew Reilly's Contest is one giant fight for survival.
  • Redwall has lots of Soldier Ants.
  • The Dresden Files, although humanity normally function as Ostriches, there is a very real understanding that without the Masquerade, humanity would quickly become a swarm of angry hornets, armed with plenty of firepower.
    • To a degree, the ever-increasing eagerness of the Little Folk to fight on Harry's side under Toot-toot's command seems like they're actually playing this trope straight because they like Harry: the pizza bribery just gives them the excuse to do so without breaking faerie prohibitions against unpaid favors.
  • War of the Dreaming features Lions Pendrake, as well as various platypi.
  • All over the place in Necropolis, with heavy resistance from the Vervunites, particularly the resistance forces caught outside the walls. Some of them offer such fierce resistance they receive field commissions from the Guard. Fittingly, many of the survivors join the Guard after Vervunhive falls.

     Live Action TV 
  • The season 3 finale of Buffy, in which the high school students join the scooby gang in defeating the Mayor in a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for pretty much all of them.
  • In a climactic attack on Kingsbridge in The Pillars of the Earth, the main characters mobilise the village to defend themselves. Jack is the Owl, suggesting they build a quick-and-dirty palisade wall in the two days they have to prepare; Richard the Lion (ha) trains them in basic combat; Friar Philip is the Sheepdog; Remegius and Elizabeth are Beaten Dogs with some useful inside information to share, and the rest of the villagers are Soldier Ants.
  • Power Rangers in Space: The citizens of Angel Grove are Soldier Ants as they rush to the Rangers' aid during the final battle in "Countdown to Destruction", led by Bulk and Skull.
  • On My Name Is Earl, Earl is stumped because after doubting karma, he went on a bender and wound up drunkenly tipping over his ex-wife's trailer, but he doesn't have any money left to rent a crane. Randy makes a comment about ants, and that gives Earl an idea. He asks all the people he befriended doing list items to help him flip the trailer back onto its foundation.

  • The Matoran of BIONICLE are Platypi with examples all over the list. The race's hat as a whole seems to be a mix of Badgers and Soldier Ants, preferring to live in peace but willing to back up the Toa heroes or even fight without them if necessary. Some Matoran have also aided Toa by being Bloodhounds, Beavers, Owls, and Mockingbirds. Turaga elders (Matoran who were empowered as Toa, then gave up their powers and retired) tend to be Tortoises and Sheepdogs as well.

    Video Games 
  • Meta Knight from Kirby can be very much a Raven, especially in the anime.
  • The countless random citizens in Half-Life 2, and probably the rebels as Soldier Ants or Beavers.
  • The Suikoden series has a population that exceeds some small towns, so a full list of examples would be a fool's errand.
  • As does any BioWare game. Jade Empire seems especially populated with people looking to help you out. Some of those were part of The Plan that the games's Chessmasters decided to enlist in order to keep you on the board...
  • Mass Effect shows this a LOT. Feros is attacked by geth, but the colonists are actually holding out against repeated geth assaults by the time you show up. Noveria has a whole group holding out against the Rachni outbreak in the labs. And then you have the turians, who are all given basic military training, and the krogan, who are a race of near-universal badasses.
    • Shepard's various attempts to foster this are also a theme throughout the games, culminating in the War Assets system in Mass Effect 3, which is a numerical rating of how much badassery you can expect from the rest of the galaxy in the endgame.
    • In Mass Effect 3, we discover the Leviathan, the race who inadvertently created the Reapers, and enslaved the galaxy prior to that. They don't particularly care for the suffering of the lesser races, but they're pissed at the Reapers for displacing them, and they can't hide anymore since Shepard forced their hand... er... giant tentacle.
  • Solatorobo eventually turns anyone with an airship or a robot (given the setting, that's pretty much everyone, period) into a giant nest of Hornets for the final battle against Tartaros.
  • Happens sometimes in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim when a dragon attacks near a village, with frequently amusing results. While some of the common people in villages are minimally armed, many of them are not. This sometimes results in a mob attacking a dragon with bare fists.

     Western Animation 
  • One of the saddest parts of Superman: The Animated Series was Darkseid's invasion of Earth. While parading a beaten Superman through Metropolis, detective Turpin started throwing rocks at Darkseid's forces, inciting others to do so, and managing to free Superman in the process. It was a bit of a Downer Ending, since Darkseid killed Turpin to mar the whole affair with blood so Superman would know not to mess with him.
    Superman: The world didn't need a Superman... just a brave one.
    • That episode also had the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit as Soldier Ants, fighting off most of the invasion force while Superman was busy stopping their WMDs.
    • Before Superman's capture, Turpin directs a battle copter and casually takes out Steppenwolf with two well-placed Anti-Air missiles.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender :
    • In a flashback episode, when Sokka tried to warn the Fire Nation settlement that Jet was going to blow up the dam, they didn't believe him. But the old man Sokka stopped Jet from brutalizing vouched for him and they evacuated the town.
    • The battle for the Northern Air Temple: Aang gets air support from the other glider-pilots at the Temple, and of course the Mechanist comes through with the War Balloon in the end.
    • Throughout much of the show, the heroes can actually count on quite a bit of support from folks they meet on the way, including several groups who are actively fighting the Fire Nation, culminating in an assault on the Fire Nation capital which fails, forcing the heroes into hiding. For the rest of the series, they have to stay in hiding in Fire Nation territory until they join forces with the Order of the White Lotus.

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