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Fragile Speedster

"All the world will be your enemy, O Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And if they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you."

The Fragile Speedster is fast. If you blink, he's not there anymore. He appears, strikes, and vanishes in the blink of an eye. Nine times out of ten, his occupation is a thief, a ninja, or some other type of The Sneaky Guy or a girl.

Still, being fast has its downsides — what you gain in mobility, you lose in durability. After all, it's hard to keep up that kind of speed when your armor is weighing you down. As a result, the Fragile Speedster is often forced to rely on dodging abilities to avoid getting struck in the first place, and if he does take a hit, down he goes.

A Fragile Speedster often relies on Hit-and-Run Tactics or Confusion Fu to gain an advantage over slower foes. He tends to have a quick attack speed (and thus possibly a high attack rate). If the character makes up a lack of durability by using speed as a way of evading attacks, he may function similarly to a Stone Wall.

Though exaggerated in fiction, this trope has some basis in Real Life. Armor is heavy.

They tend to play as Skill Gate Characters in video games, especially fighting games, where they tend to lend themselves to Button Mashing. Racing games often have a variant where the lighter vehicles have high acceleration and turning, but have a less powerful engine, lower top speed, and are also generally much easier for other racers to knock off the track in collisions due to their low mass.

Often overlaps with Glass Cannon, creating an archetype that's fast and powerful but can't take a hit. Contrast Mighty Glacier, who sacrifices speed for strength. Heavy characters can sometimes turn into Fragile Speedsters via Shed Armor, Gain Speed. Contrast the Lightning Bruiser, who is fast without any loss to durability.

A form of Competitive Balance.

Examples:

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    Anime And Manga 
  • Sena from Eyeshield 21, at least in the beginning. He eventually toughens up defensively a lot over the course of the series through many beatings.
  • Angelic Layer: Hikaru, Athena, and most of the Angels. It's never explained why so many people choose to construct Angels this way, but possibly it's to emulate The Champion Athena. Also possible is the fact that every heavyweight angel except for Shirahime looks absolutely hideous and unnatural. Case in point: Vasquez.
  • Lyrical Nanoha
    • Fate whenever she uses her Sonic Form. It allows her to move at Super Speed at all times, but at the cost of defense. Her opponents always note that, in that form, one hit is all it'll take to kill her. What they usually fail to note is that to land a single hit on Fate, you have to move faster than her—and no living canon character so far has even come close to that. Except Erio.
    • Signum becomes this in FORCE since the new setting's rules completely ruined the effectiveness of her Lightning Bruiser powers and technique which probably will force her to take a hit-and-run fighting style from now on.
    • Erio from StrikerS, although not to the same extent as Fate. Like Signum, he is a Belkan knight that have inherently stronger defense than their mage counterpart.
    • Chantez from ViVid has Super Speed as her personal skill. However, her attack power and her defense are very weak compared to her speed.
    • Micaiah from ViVid has a Barrier Jacket (or Knight Clothing) called Storm Armor, which is designed to give her immense speed but low defense. Due to her extremely strong sword attacks, Micaiah is specialized as a fast sweeper, but her low defense became a lethal disadvantage against Lightning Bruiser Miura, who has melee versions of Nanoha's Starlight Breaker.
    • The Numbers Tre, Nove and Deed are very fast and strong. Tre has Ride Impulse as her Inherent Skill and can compete with Fate's speed, Nove is faster than Lightning Bruiser Subaru, and Deed is shown using Flash Steps. However, like most Numbers, they have weak defenses.
    • Vivio became one, as she has lost most of her power in the Grand Finale of StrikerS. She has much weaker defense, and her attack power also decreased, but she's still very fast and her Counter Hitter skill allows her to strike immediately back, even if she can't dodge an attack. Thanks to her training, she has improved her defense skills, but if she miscalculates the opponent's attacks or misses the timing, Vivio will get a lot of damage.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, Fudomine player Akira Kamio is known among players as an extremely fast runner. His stamina is variable; in the anime he's able to more-or-less follow and keep up with a guy on a bicycle, but in an actual doubles game he and his partner almost collapse out of exhaustion. It doesn't help that one of his opponents was Kenya Oshitari, an even faster runner without stamina problems.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!: Negi Springfield, in the author's love of gaming references, fights this way in his standard form. His other form (which he can seamlessly switch to) is a Mighty Glacier. He eventually progresses to Lightning Bruiser.
  • Itagaki Manabu from Hajime No Ippo also qualifies. Actually, there's a page in the manga where his skills are graphed on a similar polygonal graph as the trope example picture shows, and only his speed is truly outstanding.
    • Ichiro Miyata used to be this before gaining his Jolt Counter.
    • Saeki Takuma is a straighter example, relying on his extremely high speed and reflexes to win fights; a few punches from Ippo were enough to take him down. He, Manabu, and Karasawa Takuzou were even considered the fastest boxers in Japan (Miyata wasn't in the running because he was focused on being the fastest IN THE WORLD), aptly named "Speed Kings" and fought for who was truly worthy of said title. Itagaki won in the end.
  • Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic!. It helps that his lethality comes from being a Combat Pragmatist, Especially in relation to all of his muscled, bruiser opponents. This also applies when he's fighting in his AS. In the first season's finale, he manages to win the fight between him and Gauron by attacking Gauron so rapidly and repeatedly that Gauron is unable to concentrate on using the lambda driver (at least, for an extended period). And in the physical fistfight with a muscled terrorist, he managed to beat the guy by speedily kneeing him and tasering him.
  • YuYu Hakusho
    • Hiei is capable of delivering 20 sword strikes in the blink of an eye. This is in a world of demons and martial artists where most are at or barely above realistic speeds. The only problems are that he can't take a hit and that in a few rare cases, his sword simply won't cut them. Every fight aside from his first against Yusuke is a Curb-Stomp Battle, the only question is which side of the curb stomping he's on.
  • Darker Than Black: Poor, poor Burger-Kun from the 2nd season. Super speed with none of the Required Secondary Powers His opponent makes it rain, which at his speed, immediately turns into buckshot. Makes you wonder what his plan was since he didn't carry a weapon of any sort and using his fists would destroy his own arm.
  • The Correl, a mobile suit from After War Gundam X, is a Humongous Mecha example of the trope. It's so delicate that it can't use any weapons other than a beam knife, but it's so fast that it can inflict Death of a Thousand Cuts on most enemy mobile suits it fights, and it nearly totals Garrod's Gundam. The downside is that it doesn't have any armor either, and Garrod destroys it by using a Gundam's weakest weapon: vulcans.
    • Union and AEU mobile suits have this as their hat. A special mention should go to Graham Aker though, with his souped up Overflag and GN Flag. By stripping the armor from the suit and installing progressively larger engines, Graham was able to increase his Flag's performance to the point where it was a match for the Gundams in terms of speed and maneuverability, if not armor or attack power (not that armor really mattered, as even heavily-armored suits get shredded by Gundams). The GN Flag was the logical conclusion of this process having no armor, one beam sword as a weapon, and a freaking Gundam engine rammed into the back. Yes, Graham stuck a Gundam engine into a Mook suit. Needless to say the result practically has Super Speed, at the cost of absolutely no defense.
    • This really applies to many of the Mook MS, particularly in MS IGLOO. Despite being 60-ton armored giants, Zaku are actually pretty vulnerable to attack by missile-equipped infantry and tanks due to poor situational awareness (like what tank crews have to deal with in real life, also being an 18 meter tall robot just makes you easier to hit). Due to this, the survival of most Mobile Suits seems to hinge around dodging cannon fire and missiles despite them being gigantic robots that dwarf all the weapon systems shooting at them.
    • The Earth Forces' Windams in Gundam SEED Destiny combine this with Death from Above. They're fragile and blow up with alarming frequency, but are armed with beam rifles (thus all but guaranteeing one-hit KO's), and can fly, giving them a massive advantage over ZAFT's slower, earthbound ZAKU's.
    • Astray from Gundam SEED and their successor Murasame from Gundam SEED Destiny is even more fragile speedster than their Alliance counterpart, Daggers and Windams. Notably, Murasame is even more of a Glass Cannon than any other grunt mech in this verse and could go toe to toe with Gundams since they pack immense firepower for a Mecha-Mook. There's a reason their armor is called Foaming Metal though...
    • The Eternal is a ship variant. It's the fastest spaceship in the series and can outrun every other type of ship. However it can't even take on a single Zaft mook ship by itself and win, as opposed to Archangel and its many weapons. Instead it's reliant on its mobile suits to protect it, and it's specifically designed to support and deploy the Freedom and the Justice, two of the most powerful mobile suits in the series.
  • Kuro from One Piece can move too fast to see; so fast, that apparently even he can't see who he's attacking. Once Luffy manages to catch him, however, the fight is over rather quickly.
  • In Naruto, Haku, the first speedster of the series couldn't take one punch from either Naruto or Sasuke despite his high speed.
  • Berserk
    • Casca, while not the physically strongest of the Band of the Hawk, is still capable of taking out mooks twice her size by way of her agility and dodging maneuvers. Casca can easily be deemed the acrobat of the Hawks, since she does some crazy flips and always lands on her feet even after she goes crazy from the Eclipse, but when she does get hit, she goes down. Casca is the opposite of her Lightning Bruiser lover Guts and Mighty Glacier comrade Pippin.
    • After acquiring the wind cloak and sword from Flora, Serpico becomes one of these. He can run, jump and even fly, but he has very little defense against physical attacks- when a troll hits him in the side with a spiked mace, he's down for at least two days.
  • Eureka 7 - The Alleluia IFO from the sequel is very quick and agile, but its armor and armament aren't worth a damn, as it was designed primarily as a EAW/EW platform. It plays the role of spotter for Kyrie.
  • In Popcorn Avatar, Kurando initially starts as this with the help of the Deva's wind powers, as Lisa observes that he has "no toughness or power".
  • Digimon often has this dynamic:
    • In Digimon Frontier, Zoe's evolutions (Kazemon most definitely, Zephyrmon is a bit of a Lightning Bruiser, but is still probably the physically weakest beast spirit) are probably the most egregious. They are lacking in powerful attacks and they cannot take a hit. They are also the fastest, at least until Takuya and Koji reach other evolutionary levels. They also have martial arts skills to make up for their low physical stats, meaning they double as Weak, but Skilled.
  • The Anti-Titan troops in Attack on Titan. They use an advanced system of ropes and grapples to gracefully Building Swing around, and being teenagers, they're quite light on their feet as well. However, they're teenagers going up against giants, so if a Titan manages to get a solid hit on one, or God forbid actually get a hold of one... Goodnight Vienna.
    • Ymir's Titan form is this by Titan standards. Smaller, faster and more acrobatic than normal Titans, but when caught out goes down quickly.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has Wrath, who is horrifically fast and agile, more than any character in the series aside from Lightning Bruiser Sloth, dodging bullets left and right and casually slipping past every defense to slice his enemies to pieces. Unlike the other Homonculi he lacks any special offensive or defensive power or even a Healing Factor, but he doesn't need one.

    Comic Books 
  • The Flash (DC Comics) in his various incarnations is a superhero speedster. Depending on the Writer, the Speed Force, and the day of the week, the Flash is this. When his Required Secondary Powers are working properly, he's more of a Lightning Bruiser.
  • Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) from X-Men and X-Men: Evolution, and the list goes on. He may be able to break the sound barrier and deliver punches at the speed of light, but if a Tank does manage to land a hit, he's usually out and down. Depending on the writer, he might be presented as more of a Lightning Bruiser having taken some serious damage on multiple occasions, which logically should be the case all the time, as a body that can withstand the stress of traveling at the speeds he regularly hits should be immensely durable. This trope definitely applies for Quicksilver in X-Men Evolution. Getting hit once by any attack (regardless of its strength) usually sent this guy down for the count.
  • Spider-Man, in relative terms. He's much sturdier than the average non-powered civilian, but compared to most of the villains he fights against and heroes he pals around with, he's a lightweight. His fighting style is all about using his speed and reflexes to dodge around and make hit-and-run attacks.
  • Kevin in Sin City is one, at least compared to Mighty Glacier Marv, who has to handcuff himself to Kevin to land a single punch, which knocks Kevin out cold.
  • Lille Skutt, the small white rabbit from the Swedish comic Bamse, is extremely fast, but also extremely small and fragile. He's very aware of this, and as a result is afraid of most things that move and quite a few things that don't.
  • The speedster interns at the law firm where She-Hulk works have a clause in their contracts that requires their employers to provide hazard pay if circumstances require them to fight, because they do not have combat training and any injuries they suffer could result in accelerated blood loss.

    Fanfiction 
  • In the Buffy/Stargate Crossover fic All Your Base Are Belong To Her, Dawn embodies this trope despite not actually having super speed. Her extreme mobility is derived via Teleportation, but in all other respects she's still a slender, untrained, and definitely non-athletic girl who is in serious trouble if anyone manages to land a solid hit.

    Film 
  • Doc Holliday in Tombstone is dying of consumption and can often barely stand due to weakness, but he's still damn fast on the draw.
  • The main character of Whip It is the roller-derby version of a Fragile Speedster. Very fast and good at scoring points, but very tiny and easily knocked down if her opponent can catch her.
  • The Arcee Sisters in Transformers. Particular emphasis when in the final battle, one of them is easily shattered after one hit. The same goes for Jazz from the first movie in the series. He's even smaller than Bumblebee, fast, and agile to the point of being able to pull a Colossus Climb on Brawl, but is launched and downed by a single shot then easily torn in half by Megatron.
  • Dash from The Incredibles is capable of outrunning damn near anything that tries an attempt on his life, but often gets knocked around like a ragdoll if he is involved in physical combat. The latter part is justified in that he's only 10 years old.
  • The title character from Stan Lee's Lightspeed. Unlike most, this speedster shows actual negative effects from his power, ranging from windburn to problems with his metabolism and heart.
  • In the opening scene of Death Race (2008 remake) Frank drops his "tombstone" leaving his gas tank exposed to Joe's rack of missiles. However, Frank does have speed as an advantage and tries to finish the race. Joe blows him up on the last lap. He does however, manage to achieve a Pyrrhic Victory as his burning wreckage slides over the finish line in 1st place.
  • In the Godzilla movies, Megaguirus is among the fastest kaiju, using her speed to outmaneuver Godzilla at every turn, but is frail and easily destroyed once Godzilla adapts to her style.
  • As in the comic, Kevin of Sin City is fast and hits hard, but can't take a single punch from Marv before going down.
  • Quorra from TRON: Legacy could certainly hold her own against the Mighty Glacier Black Guards, but one good hit was all it took to send her offline. She also didn't stand a chance in hell against Rinzler.
  • The TIE fighters in Star Wars were designed to have no shields, with a focus on being fast, maneuverable, and cheap to mass-produce. Their high casualty rate is considered acceptable by the Empire. The Rebel equivalent is the A-Wing, which does have shields, just not as strong as those of the X-Wing.
  • In Godzilla (2014), the male Muto, thanks to flight and its relatively small size, is able to employ hit-and-run tactics with Godzilla but goes down instantly when Godzilla manages to get a direct hit in. The female, which is terrestrial, is a Mighty Glacier. This actually complements their separate fighting styles, allowing the two to work together well enough to gain the advantage against Godzilla: While the male is distracting Godzilla, it allows the much bigger and stronger female to attack Godzilla from behind. When Godzilla reacts to this and begins to overpower the female, the male flies around and attacks Godzilla again from behind, distracting him and repeating the cycle.

    Literature 
  • Amara in Codex Alera, whose primary abilities give her Bullet Time Super Speed, but who doesn't have much in the way of earth- or metalcrafting to let her ignore damage she takes. In fact, the lack of Required Secondary Powers limits just how fast windcrafters can move without injury. Tavi nearly liquefied his arm at one point.
  • LACs in Honor Harrington. Very high acceleration, lots of offensive power (for their size) but dead meat to anything that actually manages to hit them.
  • Fletcher Renn in Skulduggery Pleasant, unlike his fellow protagonists he has virtually no combat training or ability whatsoever, and his only asset in a fight is his teleportation. He will go down from one solid punch, and even with a baseball bat his attacks aren't that powerful, but as long as he keeps moving, he can hit his opponent again and again from every angle until they drop.
  • Daughter of the Lioness: Aly herself is this. She's a highly skilled Knife Nut like her dad (who is more of a Lightning Bruiser), but she's not as hardy as her mother the knight and doesn't take being hit hard as well.

    Live Action TV 
  • The final season of Blake's 7 replaces the Liberator ("the most powerful fighting ship in the galaxy") with Scorpio (a nearly defenseless freighter whose experimental stardrive makes it the fastest ship in the galaxy.)
  • Mighty Mouse from Robot Wars fits to a tee. It is lighter than just about every other robot in the field, but is fast enough to spend entire fights running away, much to the amusement of the audience.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Cruiserweights are usually a fair bit smaller than heavyweights and capable of many faster and more acrobatic stunts and moves. However, most of them will be beaten with just a couple of power moves by a big guy. The real-life fragility of the cruiserweights is what led WWE to eventually end their cruiserweight division, as the frequent injuries made booking and having enough talent in the division too much of a headache.
  • The Amazing Red is perhaps one of the fastest people in the ring and can perform many moves in an instant. However due to his size, all it really takes is one hit to knock him out even against fellow cruiserweights and X Division wrestlers.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Speedsters are one of the major build types in the HERO System — one of the sourcebooks was even called The Ultimate Speedster. They can be very powerful— a high speed stat is very powerful in the game, and certain builds can give them damage outputs that even dwarf that of the Mighty Glacier— but they tend to be Glass Cannons.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Elves. High Dexterity, meaning they move faster and dodge more easily, is countered by reduced Constitution, which renders them far less resilient than a human of the same class and level.
    • Classes such as Thieves and Assassins emphasize speed and Dexterity, doing their damage with bonuses from flanking and sneak attacks rather than large weapons and high Strength. Under the right conditions, they can dish out much more damage than a Fighter, but cannot wear heavy armor and receive fewer hitpoints per level.
    • The quickling, an evil fey creature, is a monster version: very few hit points and an extremely short lifespan, but capable of giving the Flash some serious competition in a sprint. Don't even bother rolling initiative for this one.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Eldar are fast and fragile, but more specialized than weak, their unit are extremely effective in the right place. This trope applies more to their basic troops and vehicles; while HQ and Elite units, especially Wraithguard and the Wraithlord, are considerably more resilient.
    • The 5th Edition update pushes Dark Eldar well into the fragile speedster / Glass Cannon end of the spectrum, giving them even more powerful offensive capability at the cost of significantly reduced survivability.
    • Eldar Harlequins are also masters of fragile speedster combat, relying heavily on speed, agility, and stealth to compensate for their almost complete lack of armor.
    • The Tau tend to rely heavily on mobility to cover their weaknesses in close combat, though their primary emphasis is on picking their enemies apart with superior firepower.
    • Tyranid Genestealers combine this with Glass Cannon. They can cover a tremendous distance per turn and have excellent initiative and weapon skill stats, comparable to a lot of the Eldar and Dark Eldar's close combat specialists. Once they get in melee, they can deliver a massive amount of rending high-strength attacks that kill enemy units extremely quickly. Of course, their poor armor save means that they can be easily shot to pieces, and their high points cost ensure that any player must be careful with them.
  • Light 'Mechs in BattleTech tend to fall into this role; being lightweight, they can get potentially high speeds out of a relatively small engine, yet that same low weight limits how much armor and firepower they can carry, so speed (possibly augmented by jump jets) is frequently their only real protection against heavy weapons. Several entire classes of non-BattleMech units also qualify for the role: Hovercraft are pretty much the fastest type of land unit, but highly prone to finding themselves abruptly grounded and vulnerable to being pounded to pieces in short order, VTOLs are light and fast but susceptible to losing their rotor and crashing, and conventional fighters, while being really extremely fast relative to anything that usually operates on a ground map, suffer from both poor armor and the aerospace critical hit rules (short version, pretty much anything that hits such a fighter may go critical). In fact, during ground support missions any kind of fighter, including the more solid aerospace versions, qualifies because taking any damage whatsoever forces them to make a 'control roll' to avoid abruptly losing altitude and potentially imitating a lawn dart; this together with their capacity to carry quite a bit of firepower plus an external bomb load actually pushes the larger models into Glass Cannon territory.
  • In the starship miniatures game Full Thrust, the Federal Stats Europa's missile-heavy fleet strives to be Lightning Bruisers. In practice, while their ammo lasts they're more like fast-moving Glass Cannons, during which time they can pretty much wreck your day, especially if your ships are Point Defenseless or they (the FSE) get even a little lucky. But once their missiles are spent, they're pretty solidly this trope.
  • While most Exalted are Glass Cannons, Scourge caste Infernals are inclined to be speedsters. Adorjan's charmset doesn't contain soak improvers, bonus health levels or parries (Scourges tend to avoid damage by being somewhere else), but a Scourge can reach speeds without trying that a Solar has to expend a lot of effort to hit.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Skinks. They're among the fastest infantry in the game, with a move score of 6 and initiative 4... but their toughness score is so low even elves consider them fragile. Ranked-up units tend to be used for flanking enemies, while the skirmishers tend to run around picking off war machines and chariots in a hail of poisonous blowdarts.

    Video Games 

Fighting Game
  • Ninja Girl Ibuki in Street Fighter. She is very fast but she has low health and doesn't do that much damage.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes introduces fan-favorite Strider Hiryu, who can jump on walls and teleport at the cost of low health, and Red Venom, a special version of Venom that moves much faster than the other characters but takes more damage.
  • Taokaka from BlazBlue. She is the fastest character in the game(save Fu Rin Ka Zan Bang) and she specializes at dashing at high speeds with a slash attack. But she has the lowest health next to Carl and Amane.
  • Super Smash Bros.: Zero Suit Samus is very agile but she is very light.
  • In Art of Fighting 2 Yuri Sakazaki was arguably the fastest character in the game with good power, however she can be easily defeated.

Other Games
  • In AVirusNamedTOM the player character is definitely this trope; He can dodge those drones with extreme ease but if he's unlucky enough to get hit by one he respawns in a corner and loses a whopping 100 energy.
  • In Forza Motorsport 4, small cars like the Lotus Elan and Mazda Miata offer extremely good handling, but they're tiny and slight nudges can cause them to spin out. On the other end of the size (but NOT weight) scale would be the Le Mans Prototypes.
  • The X-Universe games are full of these. M5 class ships (scouts) go extremely fast but die with a couple blasts from a heavy fighter's cannon or a single shot from a capital ship weapon, and ships made by the Boron move fast but have weak shields. Ships made by the Split are very fast and have pathetic shielding, though they have more firepower.
    • X3 has two racing ships. The slower one is easily twice as fast as the third-fastest ship in the game, and the fastest is really unfeasibly fast - you can easily smack into things if you're not very careful. Neither is armed, and both have essentially no shielding. Then again, nothing in the game has a realistic chance of ever managing to land a hit on either ship....
  • Most of the Speed class cars in Burnout Paradise qualify, but no car plays this trope straighter than the Krieger Racing WTR. The Champ Car lookalike, the last car that you unlock in the game through the "find it in Paradise City and run it into the wall" method, is easily the fastest car in the game, but if you're stupid enough to use it in a Marked Man or Road Rage event, it'll take exactly two wrecks before you lose. Compare that to the Mighty Glaciers, like the Carson Inferno Van, that can take up to a dozen hits before losing, but are slow as hell.
  • Helicopters from Prototype are the only vehicles capable of outrunning Alex Mercer, by halfway of the game, however, that can be taken down two, normal, non-musclemass enhanced flying kicks.
  • The Final Fantasy series offer us the Thief and Ninja classes, which embody this trope. Character examples include Yuffie, Rikku, Edge, and others. Although as soon as a ninja has access to Dual Wield ability, at which the stronger weapons have usually been obtained, it will usually immediately become a Glass Cannon.
  • Due to averting Homing Boulders, Total Annihilation provides some rare RTS examples. The Scouts/Fighter jets don't have much in the way of armor, hp, or attack(the Scout jet has no attack period!), but good luck actually hitting the damn things if they're at top speed.
  • Killer7's Con Smith fits this trope to a T. He dual wields fully automatic pistols, can burn blood to run extremely fast, and has the least health of any member of the Smith Syndicate.
    • From the same game, Ayame Blackburn.
  • Castlevania:
    • Grant Danasty from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse fits this category fairly well; he's fast and can cling to surfaces, but also has a very weak weapon and takes more damage from enemy attacks than the main character.
    • Similarly, Maria Renard, also from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. She moves faster than the pimp-walking Richter, has a slide attack that allows her to tear right through the bridge part of Stage 7, but she has even less defense than Richter, both in Rondo and Symphony.
    • Maxim from Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. Juste himself is already pretty damn fast, but Maxim is even faster still, but has much less defense, and speed based attacks. He does have a healing spell, but it costs loads of hearts and the button combination is awkward.
  • Several Pokémon can be put into this kind of classification; the most extreme example being Ninjask. Ninjask has one of the highest speed ratings in the game, plus an ability (Speed Boost) that makes it even faster. It even has OK attack. Not surprising, it has very low base Defense and HP. It's also partly based on a ninja, surprise surprise.
    • The Speed Forme of Deoxys has the highest Speed stat in the game at an incredible 180, and average stats everywhere else. It's mostly used to set up passive damage and Standard Status Effects, and then flee before taking too many hits.
      • Its attack form isn't much slower, but has the highest Attack value of any Pokémon, period. However, it has virtually no Defense and most attacks will KO it in one hit.
    • Accelgor, a ninja slug is ludicrously fast and has decent special attack, but its defenses are very poor. Weavile is another standout example - it's not as fast as many of this list, but it hits with decent power, and despite the surprisingly good special defense, it's typing and low physical defense means it goes down fast. In Pokémon, this trope very often overlaps with the Glass Cannon.
    • Actually, most Electric Pokemon tend to fall under this. Electric Pokemon are basically the fastest type in the games (particuarly Electrode and Jolteon, which are in the top five of all Pokemon in terms of speed), but most of them share the same weakness: their base Defense is usually pretty low. Which also makes them fall under the Glass Cannon trope. Because, they're faster than most other types, they can attack first and do some real damage, but one Earthquake attack and down they go.
    • Greninja is a rare Water type Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon, finally taking away Starmie's crown as the fastest Water pokemon in the game. However, while Starmie has respectable defenses to go with its speed and power, Greninja is on the frail side, and can easily be done in by a well-placed Thunderbolt or Mach Punch. This is especially the case in competitive battling, where it's very popular to equip the amphibian ninja with a Life Orb.
    • The move Shell Smash basically makes any pokemon that learns it this. It doubles both attacking stats and speed while dropping both defenses. Give it a white herb and the pokemon hits Lightning Bruiser territory.
  • The Scout Class in Team Fortress 2 is a strong example of this trope. A potent hit-and-run fighter, good scouts can wreck an enemy team, taking out key targets like medics. But scouts die. They die and they die: every other class in the game can kill scouts efficiently. Sometimes the only way to survive even seconds is to exercise some good ol' fast-movin' Confusion Fu.
    • The Soldier has a weapon called the Escape Plan, which increases his speed inversely compared to how much health he has.
  • In Fire Emblem games, the Thief has low hit points and low defense. His attack is mediocre and there's a good chance of seeing "No Damage" against an armored opponent. However, he can steal valuable items from enemies, and he'll dodge more shots than he'll take.
  • In the Monster Rancher games, the Hare and Pixie characters are rated very highly on the speed factor. However, they have low defense. Often fights against heavy defense enemies (like golems and knights) will run time out as the heavy can't hit the speedster, and the speedster can only deal minimal damage. This means the speedster is more likely to win, but it's a gamble, as chances are one hit will completely KO that particular speedster.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic Mission Vao has low hit points, but a very high dexterity and skills like slicing and repair that could thin the ranks of her enemies, or stealth to sneak right past them.
  • How you tell the difference between Real Robots and Super Robots in Super Robot Wars, apart from the obvious stylistic traits and attacks. A Real Robot type (especially ones from Macross) will have roughly 3000 HP and almost never get hit, taking their damage in the four digits when they actually take a shot, while Super Robots will top six or seven thousand and take their triple-digit shots like, if you'll excuse the expression, Real Men.
    • The Garland from Destiny is the most infamous example in the whole franchise, due to D's Game-Breaking Bug that makes tanking impossible, makes a mech that dies from one hit but is never hit a complete monstrosity.
      • The Armored Troopers are replacing the Garland in ZII. They die in one hit but are faster than most everything else.
    • Gundams are the original SRW Fragile Speedsters, their whole purpose in all the games (except the G Gundam characters, they usually are in the Glass Cannon area) is to dodge like crazy but have paper thin armor.
  • Aliens vs. Predator 2 features the Runner alien, which is essentially the same as an always crouching drone, except it moves faster but is not able to sustain as much damage.
  • Star Control likes this trope. Most of the smallest ships (and generally least expensive, though there are exceptions) can run circles around their larger counterparts, dodging incoming projectiles with impunity and generally falling apart after half a second of actually getting hit.
  • Lightweights in Mario Kart are more or less like this. They can accelerate quickly, and are excellent off-road, but are really easily knocked around by the heavier classes. If the player slows down for even a second (Red/Spiny Shells, anyone?), expect someone from behind to drive into them, sending them careening off a ledge. Lightweights in any racing game are like this.
  • Faith of Mirror's Edge is a prime example. She can't take too much in the way of subautomatic fire. Good thing she can cross a hallway, shimmy up the wall, and scoot down an airvent in the time it takes some of the enemies to turn and get a bead on her.
  • Sasha from Rondo of Swords is a typical example. Great movement, terrible defense.
  • The Manta from Unreal Tournament 2004 and Unreal Tournament III. Very fast, decently armed, and a great choice for Car Fu against enemies on foot. On the downside, it has the lowest HP of any vehicle, gets taken out by a single anti-vehicle rocket, and is easily knocked around.
  • The Hunter infected in Left 4 Dead have insane parkour skills allowing them to move in a blur and strike like a bolt of bad-smelling lightning. Unfortunately, they still get sent ragdolling with a single well-aimed shotgun blast. Every Common Infected, for that matter.
  • Rider of Fate/stay night has poor endurance as well as having neither terribly powerful attacks nor the ability to take a hit, but she's incredibly agile and very fast, making her very difficult to hit, and can fight in conditions that other Servants would have problems with, such as while speeding up the side of a skyscraper (as Saber discovers to her dismay).
  • In The Battle For Wesnoth, there are two kinds of fragile speedster: scouts, and elusive units. Scouts are strategically fast units that excel at capturing and threatening villages with their fast movement, but are not as tough or hard-hitting as main-line infantry. The other kind of fragile speedster, the elusive units, rely heavily on their dodging ability to survive in combat. Their low hitpoints and poor resistances make them especially vulnerable to magical attacks and poison, though on the flipside, they can also race back to villages and heal quickly. This category includes the poison-wielding Orcish Assassin, the skirmishing Fencer and Saurian Skirmisher, the life-draining Ghost, the backstabbing Thief, and the simply irritating Footpad.
  • Ivan and Sheba, both of Golden Sun, are very much fragile speedsters, lacking in health but having a high speed. Since that only affects turn order, which doesn't amount to much, they're also blessed with a high amount of Psynergy Points, meaning they can both rain down their spells with impunity.
  • No More Heroes actually has a Fragile Speedster as a Boss: Jeane has remarkably low health for a boss, but can counter your grabs, dodge pretty much all of your attacks, and moves incredibly fast.
  • In EVE Online, frigates and especially interceptors use their speed as the primary form of defense against larger ships: larger ships have massive cannons, but the guns are so big they can't track small, fast-moving opponents. Most larger ships will therefore rely on smaller ships to offer "point" defense. That being said, if one of those massive cannons is able to hit a frigate or interceptor, they'll only need one hit.
  • In multiplayer Mass Effect 3, the Drell Adept and Vanguard fit this role; they are incredibly fast, but they have weaker barriers than any other class.
    • The M-44 Hammerhead tank skirts the edge between this and Glass Cannon - it's fitted with a really powerful gun and is very nimble, but bursts into flames if the bad guys so much as look at it funny.
  • In Star Wars Battlefront 2, on space maps, each faction has an Interceptor-type fighter that is much faster than the normal fighters, the bombers, or the shuttles but dies with a single missile hit. On the ground there are STAPs and speeder bikes, and the Republic and Imperial special jet pack troops combine this with Glass Cannon.
  • The Ordos Raiders of Dune II. Faster than regular Trikes at the cost of armor, making them the fastest and weakest vehicle in the game.
  • Command & Conquer: This is the NOD faction's primary shtick. They may not hit too hard, may not endure too much punishment, but damn, they're fast. Fast and up to their ears in cloaking technology, enabling them to ideally strike from virtually every angle.
  • Generals gives the role to the GLA. Their units, unable to stand in a straight fight against China or the US, are built for hit and run attacks until they can be upgraded.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • The X-29 as depicted in Ace Combat games has tended to fit this archetype, with incredible acceleration and max speed but taking hits poorly. Its standard missiles aren't weaker than other planes', though. The Cariburn also fits this, since a single missile hit can take the damage meter up to 51% even on Normal. Its standard missiles also aren't weaker than normal, and it blends with Glass Cannon as it can equip QAAMs.
  • Ace Combat's Spiritual Successor, Vector Thrust introduces the F-15 Streak Eagle and its rival P-42 experimental Flanker. Both aircraft exaggerate this trope by being able to outclimb a Saturn V rocket, but literally carry no armor nor weapons at all. Not even paint! Needless to say, they're considered by the fanbase to be joke characters.
  • The Viera race from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2. They are usually the fastest race and their strength ranges from medium to pretty strong. However, their HP is not so hot so a few strong hits can quickly down a Viera unit.
  • The Red Gazelle from F-Zero definately qualifies. Incredibly fast, but... you might want to do your best to stay away from anyone who might be feeling aggressive.
    • Twin Noritta is by far the smallest vehicle in the series at just 780 kg. It accelerates like no one's business, but it can be put down by even a glancing hit. If it ends up in the middle of a pack of other racers, it is in for a world of hurt.
  • Mega Man
    • Another example of a boss that would qualify would be Quick Man from Mega Man 2. He certainly lives up to his name, but happens to be one of the robot masters that takes double damage from the Mega-Buster (for reference, Metal Man, the guy mocked for being weak to it, takes half the damage Quick Man does), and is weak to two separate weapons (the Crash Bombs and Time Stopper) instead of the usual one.
    • Slash Man from Mega Man 7 fits under this trope as well. Small, speedy, two weaknesses (Freeze Cracker and Scorch Wheel/Burning Wheel).
  • Your ship in the After Burner series. You can go full throttle and give Sonic a run for his money, yet one hit from a missile (except in Climax) will cause you to spectacularly blow up.
  • Anyone who eats a Mini Mushroom from the Super Mario Bros. series. You can run faster and jump higher, but you also become a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • TimeSplitters: From the second game onward the game has a couple of basic stat distributions for it's characters. The Monkey is the fastest and weakest, having 20 out of 20 for agility and 4 out of 20 for stamina.
  • The A-Wing and V-Wing in Rogue Squadron are the fastest ships in the game, but have the durability of paper.
    • Add to that the eponymous TIE Fighters from the game of the same name. Fast and maneuverable, but a single laser blast is likely to cripple your flimsy little craft, and a second is almost guaranteed to turn it to scrap. TIE Bombers fare a little better, but it isn't until the TIE Advanced that the TIE series of ships (not counting the sluggish Assault Gunboat) can actually take a bit of a beating.
  • Jak X: about half the available cars are built for speed over durability, but the ones that most exemplify the Fragile Speedster approach to combat racing are the Mayfly Firebat and the Havoc A4 V12. While going really fast in a racing game would usually be a good thing, there are plenty of weapons dotted around the tracks and you can be killed by brushing against a wall, meaning that a high velocity often only serves to put you in front of someone's machine guns.
  • Assassin's Creed II has both thieves and Agile-type guards. They can keep up with Ezio doing Le Parkour - normal guards can freerun too but can't keep up - but aren't that resilient or powerful. Even early-game normal guards can do a number on thieves if you don't help them. "Agiles" are the only guards fast enough to actually catch up to Ezio in a straight, unobstructed run on flat terrain, but all counter kills are immediately lethal against them, and unlike regular guards they can be tired out by the player constantly attacking them.
  • Horses in Red Dead Redemption can outrun any predator in the game, and for good reason. Taking even a nibble while riding one will send you falling faster than you can draw a gun, and that's fast.
  • The Virus in Pandemic 2. Its fast evolution and high infectivity make it the quickest disease to play, but it's the most fragile and highly susceptible to the environment and drugs.
  • StarCraft has a number of these:
    • Terran Vultures are the fastest units in the game and are great at harassment and scouting, but aren't very durable and do little damage against anything that isn't a basic-tier unit or worker. With Spider Mines, they can outmanoeuvre and trap units that would otherwise destroy them in a straight fight, but they generally tend to be relegated into a supporting role or forgotten altogether once the enemy starts fielding large numbers of ranged units.
    "Vulture Hover Bikes...they were fast, light and highly maneuverable and gave their riders about as much protection as a paper hat.""
    • Zerglings are very weak but very fast early game melee units that can be used in a Zerg Rush to go for an early win. They get a bit trickier to use as each side unlocks stronger units.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron has Fragile Speedsters in the form of the Scout (car) and Scientist (jet) classes. While the Scouts are the smallest, the Scientists are the fastest, have the greatest mobility due to flying over most obstacles ... and they have the tiniest health bars. Luckily, this also means they're really good at getting away from their opponents.
  • Fei-Yen, the fastest virtuaroid and a Genki Girl in Virtual-ON, has very fragile armor and weak attack until she activates her panic mode.
  • The "paper" form of your ball in Ballance fits this trope: it it very fast and light (sometimes too much - it can accidentally fly off rails), and can use the fans to propel itself upwards, but it cannot push anything out of its way or be used to operate buttons, levers etc.
  • In Disgaea, the thief classes can steal equipment, induce any status effect, run very far, and even steal ATK, DEF, or any other stat the opponent has what have you, but most of them do terrible damage even with guns and bows, their forte, and typically don't take more than just a couple hits if you're lucky. Thieves can even be a whole 1000 levels higher than a warrior, and the warrior will beat the thief like there's no difference.
  • Compared to other games, Samus in Metroid: Other M feels like this with the odd recovery system where you need to stand still to charge up to recover at low health. This means that you can't heal most of the time. And she is very fast and can do ninja like dodges. In Hard mode, you are restricted to just 99 health, and so many attacks can OHKO you if you get hit, making her even more fragile. Samus can literally tear through rooms lategame at high speed.
  • Vindictus character Lann is a fast dual-wielder with almost no armor, who relies on his dodge skill to avoid attacks; starting out well into the Glass Cannon end of the spectrum, and easily the most fragile character at low levels. He can develop the ability to wear heavier armor at higher levels; but his low HP and defense keep him a Fragile Speedster, although still more resilient than the mage Evie. With the right skill build, he can become a Lightning Bruiser at very high levels.
  • Vandal Hearts II has perhaps one of the purest examples of this in the form of a unique piece of light armor called L-mach; any character wearing it has their Movement increased by 30 and thus can cross an entire map in one or two turns... but their max health is reduced to ONE.
  • The Sengoku Basara series has characters like Uesugi Kenshin, Fuuma Kotaro and Ishida Mitsunari. All of them have very high movement speed and attack speed and are good at stun-locking opponents (and in Kotaro's case the ability to combo infinitely in the air), but below-average attack, defense and HP values and end up in trouble if their opponents get on the offensive.
    • Kotaro's cameo in the anime also showcases this: He spends most of his fight with Takeda Shingen Flash Stepping around the arena and wearing down Shingen's block, until a single well-placed punch sends him flying.
  • Dungeon Crawl: The spriggan race plays this trope straight, with extremely high movement speed, very low hitpoints and mostly abysmal weapon proficiencies. Some builds though, especially Spriggan Berserkers focused on short blades, can possess some serious damage output, being more of a Glass Cannon and way too often relying on Death of a Thousand Cuts.
  • Repede in Tales of Vesperia. His defense and HP are somewhat lower then some other members of the party, but has an ability that increases his movement speed in battle, and other abilities that activate when he makes use of Free Run, which make him excellent for Hit-and-Run Tactics. He can still hold his own in a head-on fight in the hands of a skilled player, though.
  • Battlestar Galactica Online: Strikes can run rings around the other two classes of starships and outrun them easily in a straight chase, but deal little damage and die in a handful of hits if a Line manages to hit them. Interceptor-types within their classes have the least HP and the most mobility while having the least number of weapon mounts, at least until you get to Lines whose Interceptors have the most mounts, even exceeding the Assaults.
  • Boney and Salsa in Mother 3. Both of them are speedy animals (a dog and a monkey, respectively) with okay attack power (lousy attack power in Salsa's case), poor defenses, and low HP.
  • In Syndicate (2012), according to his infobank entry, Agent Tatsuo's augmentations are focused on speed at the expense of defense and regeneration.
  • K.O the mouse in Little Samson'' is the fastest character in the game and also the best climber. But he has the smallest health bar, dying in one or two hits without upgrades.
  • Kaede in Duel Savior Destiny is extremely fast, good at cancels and very easy to combo with, but even when blocking she tends to take quite a bit of damage.
  • Catwoman in Batman: Arkham City. Compared to the boys, she has much less health but is far faster (Though Nightwing may be faster in some areas). She also has limited options in combat (3 tools max), causing her to be much more reliant on dodging.
  • The ninja in N. Fast enough to outrun missiles on a straightaway, but a One Hitpoint Wonder that can be killed by anything.
  • The sports car in Zombie Driver; it has little armor and doesn't plow through zombies very well, but goes like a Corvette on nitrous.
  • Every Homeworld game starts you up with scout fighters that are ridiculously fast, but start popping like balloons as soon as someone directs an anti-fighter weapon in their general direction. Cataclysm starts out like this, but it doesn't take long for the weak fighters to gain the ability to combine into more powerful (and actually useful) corvettes, and near the end of the game they get upgraded to full Lightning Bruiser status.
  • With the Small Frame trait in Fallout: New Vegas, the Courier's Agility is increased, but their limbs are more easily crippled.
  • In Guild Wars 2, Thieves are often forced into combat-heavy situations with less-than-adequate defense, and very few defensive skills at their disposal. Instead, they rely on an awful lot of dodge-rolling, turning invisible, Shadow Stepping, crippling their enemy while using speed boosts, and just generally being a pain in the ass. With some builds that emphasize offense in addition to their ability to Back Stab For Massive Damage, they often straddle the line between this trope and Glass Cannon territory.
  • Klaus von Lichtenheim in Exit Fate has the highest speed stat of all playable characters in the game, often making him capable of taking multiple actions before the enemy even gets one. But since he's in fact a cat, he can't equip armor and has very bad defense.
  • In the MechWarrior series, Light mechs are very agile, accelerate quickly, and offer very small profiles. They also have very little armor and generally weak weapons. Taken Up to Eleven with the Solitaire in Mechwarrior Living Legends, a mech with armor so thin that it can lose an arm from bumping into a tree too hard. On the other hand, it's the fastest ground asset in the entire game and carries a honking huge gun on its shoulder (or more accurately, is its shoulder). Battlearmor in Living Legends is actually quite slow and can only survive a couple shots from most weapons, but make up for it by being the most agile asset in the game - it can sprint around, and jump jet in any direction, allowing a good battlearmor player to jump onto enemy battlemechs and kill the pilot.
  • In Devil Survivor 2 Fumi, Joe and Hinako all get very high Agility but aside from that they develop Magic or Strength predominantly, meaning they really can't take a hit.
  • Robots in Mutant League Hockey are faster but less resilient than skeletons or trolls (on teams at or around the same rating, at least. According to the game's manual, the all-robot Turbo Techies consist of the sole exception to this rule, GIL-9000, and a bunch of copies based on his blueprints; their frailty is explained by the use of inferior materials in their construction. The robot teams tend to suffer a lot of casualties in games against violent teams, especially troll-heavy ones.
    • This is also true in Mutant League Football. In fact, they're the fastest and most fragile of five races in that game. Also, robot receivers and running backs are't sturdy enough to break most tackles, so they go down pretty fast when hit and can't break out of coverage. This means that, yes, troll-dominated defenses spell trouble for them. They also don't get many kills except on dirty plays.

    Web Comics 
  • Robin, from It's Walky! and Shortpacked!, could probably create a sonic boom if she felt like it. She's only physically fragile compared to super-strong people like Sal or Beef, though, but her main vulnerability is her emotional and mental stability... Hence, still fragile, just in a different way.
  • Dot Dash from Everyday Heroes can punch her opponent multiple times before he even knows she's there. However, she can be knocked down if caught off-balance.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: Scrambler, Quickie Go-Go, Accelerator, and — what the heck, most of the speedsters at Whateley Academy. Hyper actually broke a couple of his own fingers punching a 'brick' in the eye as he ran past at about a hundred miles an hour.

    Western Animation 
  • Más y Menos of Teen Titans. Also Kid Flash. It takes a while for Jinx and Rouge to catch him, but when they do they find him very easy to hurt.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender :
    • Aang, until he learns earthbending. In general, airbending is the Fragile Speedster to earthbendings Mighty Glacier, focusing on agility and tactics but with no defensive abilities to speak of.
    • Azula seems to fall under this as well. Usually, she's too quick for the protagonists but on the few occasions they manage to land a blow, she gets knocked back pretty hard.
  • Kid Flash in Young Justice is actually an aversion. He is super fast, but while he's not as tough as Aqualad or Superboy, he is tougher than Robin or Artemis. The truly fragile speedster of the show is his cousin. Impulse being faster than Kid Flash means that he's also more fragile. While Kid Flash can't take most hits, he often uses himself as a cannonball. Impulse does not, as evidenced by the fact that his costume doesn't have as much padding. Kid Flash is also physically stronger than Impulse. Kid Flash is shown carrying Artemis, Robin, and Miss Martian at different times, without visibly tiring and with no detriment to his speed. When Blue Beetle asks if Impulse can carry someone, Impulse answers "I'm fast, not strong."
  • TRON: Uprising: In comparison to more well-trained programs like Tesler and Paige, Beck is this, faster and more agile than both, but far less resilient and with less punching power. In comparison to the normal Programs, he's a Lightning Bruiser. Acknowledged by Pavel in "Price of Power". He boasts that he was always stronger and smarter than the Renegade, but with the Upgrade Artifact he is faster, too.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: Ilana's mech Corus is this. As well the Mutraddi in "Under the Three Moons."

    Real Life 
  • Admiral Sir John Fisher is famous for saying "speed is armor," and was a proponent of battlecruisers, which were warships as heavily armed as a battleship, but with armor no more than that of a cruiser. The resultant trade-off in armor made them faster than the battleships of their day, but in turn made them vulnerable to just about anything better-armed than a cruiser. The British concept of high-speed and heavy firepower never really panned out though, and was invalidated both in practice and by advances in technology. To give an example of how flawed the concept was, the British lost three battlecruisers during the Battle of Jutland. Since battlecruisers equaled full-sized battleships in terms of cost, crew, and size, this is not to be taken lightly.
  • Cheetahs. They're the weakest of the big cats and they have to eat quickly because of their inability to defend their kills from other carnivores, but they're the fastest land animal alive. In fact, they're so lightly built that they have difficulty pulling down a prey animal that's standing still, so they use their speed itself as a weapon: they intentionally startle antelopes into running at top speed, overtake them, and trip them.
  • Russian blues, and some other meek breeds of house cats who just want to get along with the world, are lightweight, relatively delicate and ill-suited for the harsh environment outside. As a result, any fight-happy street-smart tomcat would beat the stuffing out of a Russian blue with ease... if it could catch it. They're so fast that the main reason their owners are discouraged from letting them outside isn't that other cats will wallop them - it's that if they feel threatened they'll bolt so quickly they might easily find themselves in unknown territory and might not know how to come back home.
  • Skirmishers. Traditionally, these were specialist foot soldiers or horsemen tasked with conducting reconnaissance and disrupting the enemy without being drawn into combat with them, which necessitated a comparatively high degree of mobility and the ability to strike enemy with minimal risk of retaliation. As such, they tended to be lightly armored at best, and operated in smaller groups than most other formations. While such troops were able to move around more freely than otherwise and presented a smaller target to the enemy, it also meant that they tended to be outnumbered and would generally lose a straight fight.
  • Many super fast cars. Fast yes, but be wary if you crash.
    • Racing cars in general are extremely delicate and fragile - even sturdy looking NASCAR stock cars' bodywork can be shredded by a blown out tire - except when it comes to the driver's safety zone. In Formula One cars the monocoque 'survival cell' is made of stabilized carbon and steel and is basically indestructible, even at ridiculous speeds. In NASCAR and other touring and rally cars the driver is encased in a solid roll cage. The peripheral parts however, like suspension or wings, will break if they come into any kind of force acting in the wrong direction. The front wings and suspension especially can withstand huge loads pressing down on them but are so delicate in a forward facing collision that almost every driver had at least once a race ruined because they touched something they shouldn't have touched. Like the back of another car. This is partly for performance reasons as lighter cars will be faster, but also for safety as the peripheral parts will dissipate the forces of the impact away from the driver.
    • By contrast any road-legal car (with the exception of some really high-end supercars) going faster than about 80 mph is subject to this trope; no crumple zone or airbag could possible dissipate that amount of energy, and weight considerations (which is why trucks are safer) aren't quite as relevant when you're hitting a solid object, which is usually what happens.
    • The Classic Mini was designed as a very small car before anyone thought of crumple zones; the engineers thus stressed giving the car the best possible handling ability in order to give the driver the tools to avoid crashing under the widest possible range of circumstances.
    • The Caterham R500, it has no doors, no roof, no air bags, practically nothing in the way of any sort of safety features. That said, it has a power to weight ratio of 500 BHP per ton, can out-accelerate a Ferarri Enzo, the fastest road legal Ferrari ever made, and on a track it can beat the Bugatti Veyron, the fastest production car ever made. Because it's essentially an engine strapped to the bare minimum of parts to classify a vehicle as a car it can accelerate like mad and since it's so light a driver can wait until the last concieveable moment to start braking before a turn. Not bad for a car that's barely been changed since 1957.
    • Any racing car designed by Colin Chapman. Drivers who raced his Lotus-cars in their prime said that while they are incredibly fast and light, they are also mobile death traps. Many drivers, sadly, fell victim to his creations. He is still regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, innovator in F1 design though.
    • The 2010 Red Bull cars designed by Adrian Newey. They dominated the latter half of the season but suffered many mechanical failures. Averted in 2011 when the Red Bulls rarely suffered any mechanical failures and their #1 driver Sebastian Vettel dominated the championship.
  • Boffer LARP players usually know at least one Skinny Fast Kid. They're usually male, between the age of 16 and 25, and a new enough player that they can't deal or take much damage. Even a low level NPC could take them out, if they could just catch them. If a Skinny Fast Kid decides to play a NPC, beware. There is a story about Russian Tolkien-based yearly LARP, Hobbit Games. One year they had a rule that players without armor have 1 HP, armor with RL protection gives +1 HP, historically accurate (therefore heavy) armor gives more HP bonus. At one point one camp needed to send a messenger to allied camp a few kilometers away through enemy territory. On a hot summer day. The messenger decided to run unarmed and wearing only swimming trunks. Nobody managed to catch him.
  • The American-built F-104 Starfighter was a supersonic fighter aircraft that was, among other things, slightly faster than the F-16 Fighting Falcon, cheaper than the F-5E Tiger II, and better armed than the Soviet Su-15 Flagon. It was a Mach 2 capable interceptor, and was a pants-browning terror to fly. Its high speed, low cost, and moderate firepower came at the expense of protection and the ability to actually control the damned thing. It was notoriously easy to damage or crash a Starfighter, even when you weren't trying. Heaven help you when the enemy wanted a turn to actually try. This led to a record of safety issues (most notably, the forward edges of the wings were so thin and razor-sharp that they were actually hurting unwary ground crews) and many less-than-flattering nicknames like "The Missile with a Man in it," "The Widow Maker," or most evocatively, "The Lawn Dart."
  • The MiG-25 "Foxbat" is the fastest armed aircraft ever, with a high flight ceiling and a fairly fast rate of climb as well; all of these characteristics are highly desirable for interceptor aircraft in order to quickly gain height and keep up with high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and bombers. However, it's practically useless in a dogfight against other fighters, as it has no internal gun and can't turn very quickly. Also qualifies as fragile outside of combat because its engines had to be frequently replaced. It was typically operated no faster than Mach 2.5 - its airspeed indicator was redlined at Mach 2.85 - but it was capable of flying at Mach 3.2. The particular aircraft that was observed at this speed destroyed its engines in flight.
  • The American SR-71 Blackbird is an even more extreme example. The fastest manned, air-breathing vehicle ever, but completely unarmed. It leaks fuel like a sieve when it's on the runway—which fuel, by the way, was so exotic it was used as coolant—but it has to as it heats up so much in flight due to the speed that it needs a loose fit to compensate for the expansion. It fits this trope even more once you consider its primary defense from enemy fire—it outran it. With a cruising speed of a little over Mach 3 (about as fast as a bullet) and with a service ceiling of roughly 25 km (80,000 feet), it relied on no armor what so ever.

    When targeted by enemy fire, most pilots begin to maneuver, twist and turn, and launch a volley of countermeasures to avoid the incoming projectiles; the Blackbird pilots instead responded by simply accelerating to a point that no aircraft could catch them, no shell could strike them, and no missile could go fast enough to challenge them. Having an especially low (for the time) radar cross section was just overkill. Of course, being an unarmed strategic scout that was not weighed down by weapons helped—it was built to do nothing but fly fast and take picturesnote , which meant it could specialize in its roles quite well.
  • The North American P-51 Mustang used by the American and British air forces in World War II was one of the fastest piston-engined fighters of the war and the longest-ranged with a single engine, but was very vulnerable to enemy fire. Most inline-engined aircraft in general were relatively frail compared to radial-engined planes (although the Il-2 Sturmovik of flight sim fame was a major exception, earning nicknames like "Concrete Plane" and "Flying Tank") due to their liquid cooling, but the Mustang's radiators and coolant lines were particularly vulnerable, making any hit forward of the cockpit a potential One-Hit Kill.
    • The infamous Japanese A 6 M Zero was even more fragile due to its total lack of armor or even self-sealing fuel tanks, but its strength was more Artful Dodging than pure speed—it was actually quite slow by 1943, able to easily outfly American Hellcats and Corsairs but unable to outrun them and thus very vulnerable to high-speed power dives.
    • The German Me-163 Komet, also from WW2, was this. It was a rocket-propelled interceptor aircraft designed to kill bombers and capable of speeds close to the speed of sound. In fact, it was too fast - often zooming by the slow-moving bombers before the pilots could line up a shot. Its frame was made of wood, and its light construction made it very vulnerable to enemy fire, relying almost totally on its blistering speed for defense. There was even a risk of the plane disintegrating on landing, though it was hardly helped by the fact that its landing gear consisted of a single skid.
  • WWII American tank destroyers in general (excepting the M36, which had fairly respectable forward armor), the M18 Hellcat in particular. The Hellcat clocked in at 60mph (97km/h) on road, making it the fastest armored fighting vehicle of the war, used a long-barreled version of the 76mm gun used by the Sherman... and had only 5 to 25 millimeters (0.2 to 1 inch(es)) of armor depending on location.
  • Among bicycle models, road bikes fit this trope the best. They generally consist of a rigid and lightweight aluminum frame, to best optimize speed; they also have large, skinny tires with flat treads and high puncture resistance, and typically utilize multiple gear speeds and a derailleur to make steep inclines manageable. However, the amount of emphasis placed on making the bike fast sacrifices much of the comfort, and road bikes are completely useless for off-road cycling.
    • Really high-performance road bikes have carbon fiber frames. While this makes them very lightweight and fast (not to mention eye-wateringly expensive), carbon fiber lacks the relative pliability of metal. If subjected to strong enough forces a carbon fiber frame will snap and instantly make the bicycle unridable. And because it can't be welded or bent back into shape, the entire frame needs to be replaced.
  • Motorcycles have a superior power-to-weight ratio compared to automobiles, allowing even an average bike to outclass an exotic sports car in acceleration and, in some cases, top speed. However, they are also considered one of the most unsafe modes of transportation on the road today because of the risk of being easily thrown off by one of the millions of drivers operating 2+ ton cars, trucks, and vans.
  • Technicals are made of this trope. Being nothing more than simple pickup trucks with light weaponry attached to the back they can't deal or take much damage compared to heavier armed and armored targets. However in comparison they're much quicker and maneuverable, and capable of hitting targets and getting out of the line of fire quicker than others may be able to properly respond.


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