Force And Finesse

Noel: Well, all force and no style, just like usual, huh?
Sophia: You seemed to be handling the unnecessary acrobatics quite well on your own.

A subtrope of Red Oni, Blue Oni that could also be related to the Battle Couple.

This particular trope emphasizes the Red Oni, Blue Oni relationship by having a fighting style or weapon that reflects the user's personality. This often results in having a blunt force powerhouse and a precision striker.

  • The Force fighter is blunt, straightforward, and relies on sheer power to get through his battles. More often than not, he'll either use his bare fists or a really big sword to get the job done. He's probably on the slow side, but that doesn't make him any less dangerous. Expect this guy to be Unskilled, but Strong, at least relative to everyone else.
  • The Finesse fighter is much more cool-headed and strategic in combat. He'll often use a katana or an equally elegant weapon to slice through his opponents with deadly precision; if unarmed, he'll likely employ the use of karate chops, kicks, and/or precision strikes. He's much faster than his hotheaded partner and likely weaker in terms of power, which emphasizes his Weak, but Skilled status.

These fighters are either rivals or allies, but often go head to head with each other. And while they're not exactly the same, the contrast between brute force and precision is always apparent whenever they show up.

Subtrope of Opposing Combat Philosophies. The Red Oni in a Red Oni, Blue Oni pairing is likely to use force, while the Blue Oni typically relies on finesse.


Anime and Manga
  • This is a rather important key trait to all fighters in History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi.There are two types of fighters, "Sei" fighters who rely on wit, clear minds, and talent to fight. And "Dou" fighters who use aggressive emotions to fuel their attacks. Some fighters however can be both types.
  • In Berserk, Guts and Griffith. Guts is the BFS-wielding powerhouse of the two, while Griffith relies more on strategy and lethal precision, and wields a sabre.
    • The Lost Children arc has a boss fight against two bug-men of this type: the ginormous rhinoceros beetle guy just charges at Guts, while the praying mantis-man moves and attacks nearly too fast to see.
  • Natsu and Gray from Fairy Tail: Natsu is the hot-blooded smasher who use his fire dragon magic and fists to tear enemies apart with raw power. Gray, on the other hand, has many moves that rely on making weapons out of ice, including axes, swords, blades, spears and scythes.
  • Fist of the North Star has Kenshiro's fists and Rei's slicing techniques.
  • Vita and Signum, the two offensive fighters of the Wolkenritter team in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. Vita wields a hammer and is prone to going berserk, while Signum wields a sword with cold Germanic Efficiency. Accordingly, The Battle of Aces video game gives Vita a bonus to raw damage, while Signum profits from easier and longer combos.
  • One Piece has Luffy and Zoro. Luffy pummels through everything via fists while Zoro uses katanas.
    • Nami fights directly with the Clima-Tact while Robin fights indirectly by sprouting arms from anyone's backs.
  • s-CRY-ed has Kazuma and Ryuhou. Kazuma's Alter gives him a big metal fist while Ryuhou has a stand with precision blades.
  • Rurouni Kenshin exhibits this with Kenshin's precision reverse-blade and Sanosuke's BFS. Sanosuke later ditches his sword and relies on his fists, further enhancing this trope.
  • The first opponents in Samurai Deeper Kyo are a giant with a hammer and a midget so fast as to be nicknamed "the wind". Kyo finishes off saying "You're slow".
  • High School DD has Issei and Kiba. Issei fights with the Dragon Arm, while Kiba fights with swords.
    • On the girls' side, Rias fights with destructive energy manipulation while Akeno fights with lightning manipulation.

Fan Fiction
  • This is one of the themes of Sailor Moon fanfic Mars vs. Jupiter as Told by Mina, where Raye is finesse, due to her martial arts training. Lita is force, due to her raw strength, though she isn't terribly lacking in technique.

  • The Princess Bride has master fencer Inigo Montoya and wrestler Fezzik (played by Andre the Giant).
  • Thor and Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor has his trusty hammer while Loki tends to have a variety of knives.

  • The Elves VS Dwarves dynamic in Tolkien's novels is full of this. The straightforward dwarves tend to use axes and hammers while the more graceful elves opt for bows and daggers.
  • Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar in Neverwhere. Croup does most of the important hurting, such as assassination and Cold-Blooded Torture, because Vandemar's violence is so unwieldy that it's seldom useful except as a vague threat.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons module T1 The Village of Hommlet. Two of the NPCs living in the Inn of the Welcome Wench are Kobort, a hulking fighter with superhuman strength who has a sword and an axe, and Turoko, a monk who uses daggers in combat.
  • The two warrior heroes included in the base Second Edition of Descent: Journeys in the Dark are Grisban, a brutal dwarven berserker with a giant axe, and Syndrael, a knightly elven Lady of War who fights with a sword and a shield.

Video Games
  • Asura's Wrath uses this dynamic with Asura and Yasha. Asura uses his fists for everything while Yasha prefers to use Razor Wind.
  • Dante and Vergil from Devil May Cry. The hotheaded Dante uses a BFS and a pair of guns while the calculating Vergil uses a katana and summoned swords.
  • Guilty Gear contrasts Sol Badguy's BFS with Ky Kiske's more traditional longsword.
    • Ragna and Jin share a similar contrast in BlazBlue: Ragna's got his BFS while Jin has his katana.
    • The third game, Chrono Phantasma adds the more beatdown-oriented Yuuki Terumi and Hazama, who fights with a stylish chain/butterfly knives combo. An unusual example in that they're technically the same character.
  • In Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Ike (force) and Marth (finesse) share this dynamic.
    • Ditto Marth and Lucina in the fourth game. They have the same moveset, but Lucina doesn't have Marth's "sweet spot" on the edge of the sword. Her strikes are weaker than Marth's sweetspotted hits, but stronger otherwise, meaning proper spacing is less important with her. Ike still shows as a force fighter, while Robin shows up as a new finesse fighter—his moves have limited uses in their "strong" form before he must rely on weaker versions of them for awhile.
  • The Wonderful 101 has an interesting variation of this trope. Wonder Red is still the straightforward force fighter with a giant fist, but this time Wonder Blue is more of a laid back trickster that uses a sword.
  • Melee styles of Resident Evil 5 protagonists reflect this. Musclebound Chris uses simple but powerful punches and kicks which throw people around (and dislodge giant boulders), while slender and comparatively small Sheva fights with a lot of leaps, sommersaults and roundhouse kicks.
  • Xenogears has Fei and Elly. Fei fights with his fists, while Elly fights with a rod.
  • Fu Xi and Nu Wa in Dynasty Warriors. Fu Xi carries a greatsword while Nu wa has a rapier and shield. Fu Xi is powerful, slow, and hits like several trucks tied together. He can wipe out entire teams of enemies with a single swing, but his windups are so long that they can be avoided or interrupted by faster officers and even faster enemy Mooks. Nu Wa's attacks are precise, quick stabs, individually weaker than Fu Xi but extremely good at dueling officers, who are often hit so quickly that they cannot counterattack or interrupt her, but leaves her open to being swarmed by multiple foes.

Web Animation
  • Scythe-wielding Ruby and magic-oriented fencer Weiss are the most prominent example in RWBY, but all the pairs in Teams RWBY and JNPR are this including Jaune and Pyrrha from the latter; since Jaune doesn't have a definite fighting style, Jaune is the brute force, oftentimes simply throwing himself at the opponent again and again, as seen in his fights against Cardin and the Ursa. Pyrrha is the finesse in this pair, having the training and coordination to carefully direct her strikes and defenses, or, thanks to her Semblance, the defenses of others.
    • The other Force and Finesse examples are Nora, who uses a hammer/grenade launcher, and Ren, who relies on his Aura more than his twin submachineguns. And then there's Yang, who is a Boisterous Bruiser with a pair of shotgun-gauntlets, compared with Blake, who's fighting style pretty much screams Ninja.
      • Yang is also the force to Neo's finesse, and Neo effortlessly dodged Yang's rage-fuelled punches, tripped Yang multiple times, and used Yang's own strength to knock her out, nearly giving Neo the opportunity to kill Yang.

Western Animation
  • Amethyst and Pearl form this sort of dynamic in Steven Universe, with reckless whip-user Amethyst being the force, and the graceful spear-wielding Pearl being the finesse. The leader of the Crystal Gems, Garnet, seems to favor force slightly, but ultimately displays a balance between the two in most of her fights.