One of the classic video game character builds, along with the Mighty Glacier, Stone Wall and the Jack of All Stats.
The name about sums it up: 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.
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 a heavy suit of 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. The racing variant tends give lighter vehicles high acceleration and maneuverability but low top speed.
A Fragile Speedster often relies on Hit-and-Run Tactics or Confusion Fu to gain an advantage over slower foes. If the character has little offensive power and uses speed as a way of evading attacks, he may resemble a Stone Wall. If a Fragile Speedster has lots of offensive power, they're a Paper Ram.
Though exaggerated in fiction, this trope has some basis in Real Life. Armor is heavy.
A form of Necessary Drawback. Contrast Mighty Glacier, who sacrifices speed for strength and durability, as well as Lightning Bruiser, who is fast without any loss to strength or durability.
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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, enough to play defense as well as offense as he becomes one of the very few to take a hit from Gaou and stand back up (Albeit it wasn't completely full strength and from that point he was running on pure adrenaline). He is still extremely weak however. When one particular opponent slaps him on the back as a sign of encouragement and accidentally sends him flying, he lets Sena do the same to him to be fair. Of course, Sena goes all out with the hit, after which the opponent says that he didn't have to hold back...
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.
Fate from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha 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. Not that the astute observation does them any good whatsoever. Well, ironically enough, it would have for the first opponent she used it on: Signum, as noted in the quotes page. If Signum had felt like killing a child, of course.
To further the irony, Signum probably will become 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.
And it didn't help at all against Reinforce.
Erio also qualifies, although not to the same extent as Fate. Like Signum, he is a Belkan knight that have inherently stronger defense than their mage counterpart.
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.
Itagaki Manabu from Hajime no Ippog also is a Fragile Speedster. 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.
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.
Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho 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.
Also, a bat demon that Yusuke encounters during the Genkai Tournament arc. The bat is very fast but his attacks cause little more than paper cuts, which Yusuke takes advantage of.
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.
In terms of individual pilots, this Char Aznable's fighting style: aggressive hit-and-run tactics. Dash in, slice the enemy, dash out. Dodge in crazy patterns, line up your shot, down the enemy in one hit. He hits pretty hard when he can, but above all else, his trademark in battle is his incredible speed. "It doesn't matter how powerful you are if you can't hit me."
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...
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.
Averted with the CP9, and most people who know how to use Rokushiki. Using soru makes them move so fast, they can't be seen, but that doesn't make them fragile; another technique they know, tekkai, makes their body tougher than iron, at the cost of mobility. Lucci has such mastery over rokushiki, he can do both.
Also averted with Naruto (in both his Super Modes), and A the Raikage, and his father Minato the 4th Hokage, all of whom are Lightning Bruisers. However, Haku, the first speedster of the series couldn't take one punch from either Naruto or Sasuke despite his high speed. And Minato perhaps is so fast because he can't take a hit.
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 defence 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 Nirvash is stated to be the fastest LFO that the Gekkostate have and is capable of outrunning homing lasers. However it's only armenents are a pair of boomerang knives, compared to the beam cannons that most other units get.
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 inititally starts as this with the help of the Deva's wind powers, as Lisa observes that he has "no toughness or power".
Adventure had Lillymon, who has low physical stats, but is probably the fastest ultimate. She also qualifies as a Glass Cannon.
Most of Hawkmon's evolutions are this, at least compared to the other 02's digidestined.
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.
Also from Frontier, Koji's evolutions are this bordering on lightning bruiser.
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 somewhere between this (fast, but no real offense (see Super Friends), and a Lightning Bruiser without the defense (see Justice League Unlimited, specifically when he curb-stomps the merged Braniac/Luthor
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.
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.
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.
In the Shazam continuity that includes Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil and Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam, Mary Marvel is significantly faster than her brother but lacks his level of super strength.
In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen Of All Oni, Right points out that Viper fits this trope, fast and agile, able to get a good hit in here and there, but she is not as strong as Jackie and the others.
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.
In Rob Roy, Archibald Cunningham, the fop with the deadly blade. In his very first scene, the Scots mock Archie's skinny arms, and he is manhandled by Rob several times throughout the film. Although he is deadly fast with a rapier, he is ultimately killed when Rob grabs hold of his sword, using his raw strength to immobilize Archie for a killing blow.
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.
Hellboy II: Prince Nuada is one, according to Guillermo del Toro, who says that he thought of the character as having a condition similar to hemophilia.
The main character of Whip It was 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 could 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 tornin 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 film, 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 the Star Wars were designed to have no shields, with focus on being highly fast and maneuverable. And possibly to show how sadistic the Empire is.
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.
Most the rabbits in Watership Down are fragile speedsters. There are a few exceptions like General Woundwort and Bigwig). However, Dandelion stands out as the fastest of the rabbits and several times charges into a fight, gets in his shots, and gets out — once against a cat.
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.
Song of the Lioness: George, in addition to being the local king of thieves and having the patronage of the chief trickster God around that time is mentioned to have an almost supernatural level of speed while being a total Knife Nut.
The Hunger Games: Rue is very, very fast. And if they can't catch her, they can't kill her.
In Animorphs team leader Jake's flight morph is a peregrine falcon, a much smaller bird than the Big Badass Bird of Prey morphs the rest of the team use. This is somewhat ironic as Jake is physically the largest and strongest member of the team.
This trope also comes into play in The Weakness. When Jake's out of town, Rachel and the rest of the team morph cheetahs in an attempt to assassinate Big Bad Visser Three. It doesn't end well.
The Garatrons, an alien race suspiciously similar to the Andalites, fit this trope perfectly.
WindClan cats in the Warrior Cats series. They're described as being rather small and skinny, but they're the fastest cats in the forest.
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 defenceless freighter whose experimental stardrive makes it the fastest ship in the galaxy.)
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. Subverted (mostly) by Rey Mysterio Jr, who is the smallest and arguably quickest member of the main eventers, and Jeff Hardy, who does a lot of running and flying around. Both are able to absorb horrific amounts of abuse from larger opponents and keep fighting on... more or less playing real life Cherry Tappers.
Over in TNA Sarita and Rosita both wrestle with fast paced lucha libre style moves.
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.
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, though they tend to be Glass Cannons.
Elves in. 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.
Subverted with halflings, who do gain some benefit in AC and Dexterity, but lose out on their movement rate.
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.
For a defensive tack on this concept, there is the Duelist prestige class in 3.5: That class gives almost no damage bonuses, forbids two-handed weapons and armors if you want to profit from its benefits. However, it gives you a appreciable initiative bonus and a very high AC bonus, under the right conditions. Of course, you first have to get them to the (high) level where all these bonuses all fully applicable.
The quickling, an evil fey creature, is a monster version: very few hit points, tiny weapons, 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.
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 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.
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 Goblin Wolf Riders, Wood Elf Glade Riders and High Elf Ellyrian Reavers belong in this category. Heck, most fast cavalry do.
Skinks, too. 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.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 upgrades several of the speedster abilities of the previous cast, especially Spider-Man and Wolverine. For new challengers, the game introduces X-23, a female clone of Wolverine who excels at rushdown. It also adds a new DLC version of Jill Valentine who has some of the best mobility in the series, especially when she activates her Mad Beast hyper. The ultimate rerelease brings back Strider after his absence from the first version, and adds in Firebrand, who can fly all over the screen in less than a second and has a hyper that increases his speed further.
Chipp Zanuff, Jam Kuradoberi and Millia Rage from Guilty Gear
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.
The entire female line-up from Tekken since the beginning of the series
Well, there is one female who doesn't go for ultimate speed. Then again, how fast are giant pandas anyway?
Pikachu and Fox in Super Smash Bros., and Falco, Marth, Pichu, and Sheik (who can also turn into a Mighty Glacier) as well in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Mewtwo and Peach hover near here - they aren't exactly speedy, but generally more maneuverable... and ejectable. Sonic is so fast that he's Too Fast to Stop. Zero Suit Samus is very agile but she has low power and very light.
It depends on the game. Fox and Falco have average weight, and are among the hardest characters to kill vertically in Melee. Marth and Peach also have substantial horizontal recovery and Sheik's weight is respectable (again, Melee). Of course, they are all speedy.
It can also be noted, judging from the examples, that this series severely inverts the female bias of this trope. Prior to Zero Suit Samus, the only time a female character had above average footspeed was when she was disguised as a man.
Pai from Virtua Fighter. Aoi, Eileen, and, for a male equivalent, Lion, in the sequels.
Just like Street Fighter II has Chun-Li, Fatal Fury has Mai Shiranui, who is even a ninja; but as new characters were introduced, male children characters (like the Jin brothers and Hokutomaru) became the best examples.
In Art Of Fighting 2 Yuri Sakazaki was arguably the fastest character in the game with good power, however she can be easily defeated. Mickey Rogers is another example because his quick punch attacks make him sightly cheap and him being a Button Masher's dream come true, though he's pretty weak too.
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, 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.
Actually, an achievement can be earned by winning a Marked Man with the Krieger Racing WTR, so every player is probably going to try this at least once.
Actually, even with the high strength rating, the Carson Extreme Hotrod is very prone to crashed and getting VERY few drive-offs(where you crash, but aren't totaled and drive away) due to the fact that its front wheels are completely exposed, and if you lose a wheel, its an automatic totaling crash.
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.
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
It must, however, be noted that Zidane's Hit Points are second only to Steiner's for most of the game, making the Fragility part of his Speedster status somewhat suspicious. Could possibly be salvaged by the inferiority of his possible equippable armor as compared to Steiner's, though.
Zidane tends more towards Lightning Bruiser, given that he can actually take hits and dish out heavy damage.
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.
While Katt might be fragile, she is also incredibly strong. Towards the end, she's pretty much the hardest hitting character in the game, turning her into something more akin to a speedy Glass Cannon. Katt was also an interesting spin on her type in that she was the only character in the game besides Ryu with the ability to counterattack, thus one of her main strengths actually relied on her taking what limited damage she could sustain.
Rei, too, can hit very hard if developed and equipped correctly. He also has a Weretiger form he can assume to massively increase both his damage and his speed - though his defence remains negligible.
The Light class was one of the four classes in Gladius (along with Medium, Heavy and Animal) and fits the Fragile Speedster definition to a tee, even though its members can be male or female. They had a rock-paper-scissors advantage over Heavies.
Killer 7'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.
Grant Danasty from Castlevania III 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.
Richter Belmont in Symphony of the Night has special moves that allow him to move extremely fast and Sequence Break like a mofo; a dextrous Richter player can beat the game in less than ten minutes, and this is without glitches. However, he has as much health and defense as a classical Castlevania character (i.e. Simon, Trevor, and his Rondo of Blood self).
Naturally, Grant fills this role in Judgment, as do Carmilla and Death (!).
Maxim from 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 causes 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.
A good example of the Glass Cannon overlap is Archeops, whose Base Speed of 110, while better than nearly 95% of other species, is only its third-highest stat, just behind its Special Attack (112) and well behind its Attack (140, tied for tenth out of 649 Pokémon plus a few alternate forms with different base stats than their base forms). However, its ability halves its attack stats when its HP drops below 50% of maximum, at which point it becomes a speedy Pokémon with otherwise mediocre stats.
Squishy Wizard Sigilyph also counts, with an above-average speed of 97. And if you run into a Sigilyph with a speed of 322
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.
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.
The Heavy has two items that increase his speed. The Buffalo Steak Sandvich increases the damage you take and only allows you to attack with a melee weapon. The Gloves of Running Urgently make you get increased damage on hit.
Rodan and M.O.G.U.E.R.A. in Godzilla: Save the Earth and Godzilla: Unleashed. Baragon, Gigan and Megaguirus are an aversion of the usual Fragile Speedster rules - only the aforementioned daikaiju are faster, but they're quite damaging and reasonably durable; they instead sacrifice in other areas.
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.
This can be subverted in games that allow promotion to the Assasain class, where Thieves tend to gain respectable attack AND the chance to Silence enemies, thereby becoming Glass Cannons.
The Myrmidon is a lesser version of this, focusing more on an insanely high crit hit chance and decent attack rate, and less on dodging (still one of the least hit characters)
Pegasus Knights, and certain types of Magic Users also apply this trope.
In the Monster Rancher games, the Rabbit and Pixie characters are extremely high dodge and quick movement. 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 her.
Averted in the MMORPG City of Heroes and City Of Villains as any archetype, including the tough as nails Brutes and Tankers, can get superspeed powers if they wish.
They can, however, choose Super Reflexes for their defensive powerset (rather than, say, Invulnerability), making them closer to the "Fragile" end if they don't make that dodge roll. (They still have above-average hit points)
In the second Knights of the Old Republic game, Mira fit this trope perfectly- in fact, her opposite number was also a prime example of the Mighty Glacier.
In the first, Mission Vao had 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 Cybuster is, while classified as a Super Robot, is more or less a mix of both Real (high speed and weak armor) and Super robot (high HP and many attacks that rely on high Will to use) class specs, which is why some dub is as "the robot that doesn't know what it wants to be".
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 will die in one hit but be faster than most everything else.
Getter Robo also is a fragile speedster. In comparison with other Supers, its armor is a bit lacking in most games. This liability is worked around with the Open Get and Getter Vision abilities.
And so the general strategy is... let Getter-2 do all the work on the mooks, and then Getter-1 deal with the boss — no one gives a shit about Getter-3!
However, for the most part, the strategy would be let Getter-1 do all the work , with adapters if necessary — no one gives a shit about the other form. This is caused by several problem. While Getter-2 is a Fragile Speedster, it has crappy damage output and has Crippling Overspecialization in form of being unable to attack flying units. Getter-3 is extremely useful in some games that has water parts, has powerful ammo long range attack, and an attack that is usually as strong as Getter-1's second strongest attack actualy with much cheaper Energy cost. On the other hand Getter-1 is a Glass Cannon of a Jack of All Stats kind. It did not have the armor and evasion of the other form, but it has decent evasion and armor as it is, and with Open Get, it can survive in a more evasive ways. Getter-1, being the main form, also gets all the new attack upgrades that has the best damage output in the game.
Though, in Z you can turn Getter 2 into a Lightning Bruiser due to Hayato's stats being better than usual and Getter 2 having better accuracy. By boosting his already high-for-a-super robot skill stat by a few numbers, giving him attack again, upgraded armor and an E-Field, you too can have one of the most badass units in a SRW game.
The biggest exception is probably the Ausenseiter, which is standard Super Robot size (roughly fifty meters tall, with most Reals and fast Supers being twenty to twenty-five) and practically untouchable. Of course, it was custom built for Ratsel Feinschmecker, so it's to be expected.
OG also gives us the Fairlion twins piloted by Latooni Subota and Princess Shine Hausen, who are probably the best examples of the Fragile Speedster. The Fairlions by themselves are very dodgy real robots with decent evasion stats and the "Double Image" ability, but sticking Latooni and Shine in them makes them virtually untouchable, especially once Shine hits 130 Will and her Prophecy ability activates. Arm them with some long-range weapons and keep them near each other so they can use their Combination Attack, and they can slaughter entire waves of mooks and emerge unscathed.
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.
The SEED Destiny Gundams are becoming more Lightning Bruiser in Z especially, which gives them good defense and the extremely broken VPS armor ability, which lessens all non-beam weapon damage. The ∀ Gundam has always been this way, in all appearances it can take a hit and dodge fairly well along with having an I-Field, which greatly reduces or nullifies beam weapon damage.
Given the prevalence of female characters in fighting games following this trope, The King Of Fighters is notable for featuring several female heavy hitters and male speedsters. King (a Muay Thai kickboxer), Blue Mary (a tough grappler), Hinako (a powerful sumo wrestler) and Vanessa (a bare-knuckled brawler) are all female and none of them could be considered fragile, while Choi, Sie, Bao, Chris and Benimaru are all male examples of the troper.
Aliens Vs Predator 2 features the Runner alien, which is essentially the same as an always crouching drone, except it moves faster but 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. Subverted with the Spathi Eluder; though one of the fastest things in known space period, it can take an impressive beating. Pays for it by only being able to do decent damage while running away. It also makes fighting every Slylandro probe you encounter worth the effort, since it's one of the few ships that can almost match its speed.
Lightweights in Mario Kart were more or less like this. They could accelerate quickly, and were 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.
Ace, the Carnotaurus from Dinosaur King. He isn't so fragile (he is a dinosaur, after all), but he is the fastest of the D-Team's dinosaurs.
Nikki in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis is an aversion. She's very fast, but also quite a heavy hitter and reasonably sturdy. Her flaws are an extremely low max SP that her weapons don't improve, and her core skills requiring special items that she needs to defeat enemies with another of her skills to get.
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.
In Super Mario 64 DS, Luigi is the Fragile Speedster out of the four (Wario is the Mighty Glacier, Mario is the Jack of All Stats and Yoshi does his own thing). He's a little imbalanced, however, and he is almost unanimously considered the best character in the game. You'd only use the other three for stars exclusive to them or for a change of pace.
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).
Perseus and Goemon from Fate Nuovo Guerra are this with Glass Cannon attributes. The former because of his armor-piercing weapon, and the latter because of his superior strength stat.
In Freedom Force, Flash expy Bullet is a textbook example. His upgrades give him super-healing and better defenses to make him less fragile. There's also Liberty Lad and Sea Urchin, who have high agility stats but also can't take a hit.
The Morrigi from Sword of the Stars, who tactically can outrun the speed-focused ships of most of the other races, but have the second-worst armament ability after the Liir... And, of course, their ships are bloody expensive. Strategically, the Morrigi's FTL system make their fleets faster the larger they are — and the biggest Morrigi fleets can move about twice as fast as the fastest anyone else can do (though, if you are able to build fleets that size, you've already won). The Zuul are a combination of this and Glass Cannon: Frightening tactical speed even on combat cruisers, More Dakka to make Heavyarms proud, ships held together with chicken wire and prayer.
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. There are some exceptions, like Knalgan Gryphon Riders, which have fearsome mobility and impressive striking power, but compensate by having a matching price tag. 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.
The Normandy in Mass Effect is the most advanced piece of human technology and also full with much more turian technology, so it can survive one or two good hits in a battle. However, the primary design goal was to make it so incredibly fast and maneuverable that it doesn't get hit at all. Even though classified as a frigate, it's actually tiny compared to other warships and not intended for battle at all.
The problems inherent in being a Fragile Speedster cause it to get utterly curb-stomped by the Collectors at the beginning of Mass Effect 2. When Cerberus designed the Normandy SR-2, they attempted to refine the specifications to let it withstand more of a punch. Shepard can find further upgrades to allow it to shift into Lightning Bruiser territory.
In terms of gameplay, the Vanguard is probably the best example. The primary class power they get is Charge, which launches them forward at relativistic speeds into an unfortunate enemy. A clumsy Vanguard will die a lot, while an experienced Vanguard can clear a battlefield faster than any other class.
In multiplayer, the Drell Adept and Vanguard fit this role; they are incredibly fast, but they have weaker barriers than any other class.
Isabela from Dragon Age describes her Duelist fighting style this way in the first game. When she becomes a party member in the second, she can be either the DPS type or a borderline evasion tank.
In the Battlefield series Jeeps and Buggies are the vehicle version of the Fragile Speedster.
In 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. STA Ps and speeder bikes on the ground also probably qualify.
And the Republic and Imperial special jet pack troops have less armor than normal infantry.
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.
Sonic the Hedgehog. Damn, that blue ball of fur can run fast, but, he still has to jump on enemies to kill them, or run them over.
And he's pretty much toast without those rings he relies on. Without them, he becomes a One Hit Point Wonder.
Zig-zagged with Espio the Chameleon. He's pretty tough... but only in the anime. In Sonic Heroes he's your typical speed-type character, only with invisibility powers and some giant shuriken (ninja stars).
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.
Rogues (and druids in cat form) in World of Warcraft fit the character archetype, having rapid attack rates and speed boosts available when necessary. Mages and hunters also fit, as their PvP tactics rely on kiting.
Guy in the original Final Fight and Final Fight 3 fills this role, with his Distaff Counterpart Maki fulfilling the same role in Final Fight 2. Oddly enough, Lucia, the second female player character in the series, is actually stronger than Guy but not as quick as him. Poison and her palette swap Roxy cover this role among the bad guys.
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 agressive.
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 seperate weapons (the Crash Bombs and Time Stopper) instead of the usual one.
You can still do damage with a Ground Pound, but the timing involved makes it easier just to avoid enemies.
Unless you're fighting a boss at which point it automatically becomes That One Boss.
Time Splitters: 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.
Assassins 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.
In Wonderland Online, all PK characters are like this. Adding CON(defense, increases HP) is useless.
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.
Starcraft II replaces the Vulture (which is only playable in the campaign) with two of these: the Hellion and the Reaper. The Hellion has a flamethrower which is helpful against other weak ground units, but the Reaper is next to worthless against enemy units. But if you vacate your base for a minute to attack, Reapers and Hellions can rush in and lay waste to your workers. Reapers have the added benefit of being able to avoid ramps (where defenses typically are built) and doing fairly powerful damage to structures.
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.
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.
On the much more dangerous front, there's Pleinair in the DS remake of the first game. Her SPD stat puts thieves to shame, and unlike a thief, she has A-level proficiency in guns. Because gun damage is based on the character's speed and HIT stats, the result is an unstoppable goddess of destruction who dodges everything.
Black spirits in Eien no Aselia tend to do pretty light damage, but since they can hit up to four times in a single round they can usually bypass any of the shield abilities in place. Then they get to have some critical hits.
The Assassins from Iji all love to warp all over the map, but in terms of this trope, the absolute king would be Asha, who's reflexes are so honed he can dodge anything up to and including a an undodgable screen filling nuke. The only reason you have a chance is because he feels dodging antiquated weapons (read: your weakest) is beneath him. True to form, he ends up with less HP than the player character herself.
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 armour, 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 armour at higher levels; but his low HP and defense keep him a Fragile Speedster, although still more resiliant 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, defence 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.
Fansy the bard in EverQuest used this offensively.
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 defence and regeneration. By normal human standards he's still a Lightning Bruiser who can take enough damage to kill a platoon.
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, dieing 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 her damage is pretty low and 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 reilaint 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 eventually subverts the trope; 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.
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.
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.
We see a glimpse of this when the Flash and Lex Luthor switch bodies for an episode. The JLU are unable to contain Lex-in-Flash, and have to trick him into knocking himself out by playing with the gravity settings on the Watchtower. This episode made it clear that Flash, if he were just a bit smarter/more devious, would be unstoppable.
Wally knows full well how much damage he can do - the catch is that he's too nice a guy to risk the collateral damage to teammates (or even overkill his opponents) by fighting at full power. Luthor, without that limitation, cut loose with everything Wally could do but doesn't.
And there's also the fact the one time we see him go all out to defeat Lex Luthor who was fused with Brainiac, resulting in him literally punching every bit of Brainiac out of him by running around the world over and over again and building up speed, it nearly results in him being sucked into the Speed Force. So while part of it is just not wanting to hurt anyone, he also needs to be careful to avoid that happening.
One thing to also consider is that when the Flash really cuts loose, he can come close to the speed of light. With the increased speed comes increased mass. ("Infinite speed = infinite mass" is the primary theory as to why we can't crack the speed of light. We would simply become too dense to move.) This allows him to hit things at high speed without shattering the bones in his hand and arm. If he built up the speed, he could conceivably one-hit Superman and there would be nothing "Big Blue" could do to avoid it.
Another layer of this is that Flash is by far the leaguer with the most unrealized potential, as demonstrated by a considerable amount of Character Development throughout the series.
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.
Bumblebee and Blurr of Transformers Animated. Blurr, in fact, seems to have no other weapons. He even resembles XLR8. There's also the recently-introduced flying, acrobatic twins, Jetfire and Jetstorm. (They're actually reminiscent of Más y Menos, which may come from having largely the same creative team.) Transformers being the oft-rebooted series it is, all four characters have had multiple previous incarnations, but they weren't Fragile Speedsters.
Sari moves into this role from Team Pet in season 3, once she gets in touch with her heritage.
Aang. In general, airbending is the Fragile Speedster to earthbendings Mighty Glacier, focusing on agility and tactic rather than brute force. Judging from the flashbacks, the airbenders usually are less bulky in their stature. However, as they are martial artist, it's not determined how "fragile" they are.
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. Her Agni Kai with Zuko (during which she was less focused on being quick and agile than she was blowingshit up) comes to mind.
The thin guy in Ice Hockey was the fastest, but could be ran over fairly easily.
Kid Flash in Young Justice. He seems to have a hard time stopping and ends up running into things a lot of the time. This is lampshaded in an early episode, and as revealed there and in the tie-in comic, is justified, he got his powers by recreating the accident that gave the current Flash his powers, but he had less of the chemicals that caused it, so his powers are weaker. This is shown when Impulse comes back from the future and shows that he is faster than Kid Flash, even though he's younger (according to Word Of God, Wally doesn't have a connection to the speed force like Flash and Impulse).
The fact that Impulse is 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."
Arcee from Transformers Prime. She's fast and skilled enough to get the drop of Megatron and several other enemies who are far larger than her, but she often has trouble damaging tougher opponents.
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."
Admiral Sir John Fisher is famous for saying "speed is armour," and was a proponent of battlecruisers, which were warships as heavily armed as a battleship, but with armour no more than that of a cruiser. The resultant trade-off in armour 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.
Jutland wasn't a demonstration of a flawed concept, but was a demonstration of what happened when you tried to stick a fragile speedster/glass cannon into a position better suited to a mighty glacier.
Which makes no sense from an operational perspective, seeing as they are major fleet assets with the same crew sizes, firepower, and costs as line battleships. Also note that after Jutland, no other country built battlecruisers to the British specification of "high speed and firepower but light armour", while existing ones that were built as such had their armour increased and classification changed to that of a "fast battleship".
The Germans on the other hand, took the approach of comparatively scaled down armament and speed with a decent amount of armour. As a result, they only lost one in the same engagement where the British lost three. This same approach would be carried over to the Deutschland and Scharnhorst classes in World War II.
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.
Of course, they're still no match for the more heavily-built types of antelope, so their prey usually consists of Fragile Speedster herbivores like gazelles.
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.
Mounted archers. Their task was to harass the enemy by shooting at him - to irritate the enemy into rash charges which would disorganize the enemy. Such skirmishing tactics would require vast spaces of open field to employ their mobility - if employed in close terrain, they would be hacked to death by heavies (who would not catch them at open). They also were outshot by foot archers, and tended to avoid them.
The Mongols specialised in agile, massed mounted archers, and conquered half the world with them.
The Mongols had their cataphract cavalry too, who were just as well armoured as any European knight at the time. The heavies dealt the final killing blow once the light troops had skirmished the enemy into exhaustion.
The existence of Light Infantry. Though they occupy many roles throughout history, the main point of their existence is to bring highly mobile infantry support for the Heavy Infantry.
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 tyre - 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.
The Ariel Atom takes the same guiding principles, sacrifies a bit of performance, and gains that the car is actually road-legal, and therefore not confined to a track. You'd probably still not want to commute in it, though...
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.
This is only a general rule. There are some notable exceptions, like the Bricklin SV-1. It was a supercar in its day, but was designed to keep its driver alive. Hence the "S" in its name, which stands for "Safety."
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.
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 MiG-31 took the concept and made it slightly (slightly) more feasible. It will still take most of the state of Texas to turn around, but it actually has a gun and is theoretically capable of a faster speed than the MiG-25. Its primary purpose was as a single-pass interceptor in multiple waves of fighters.
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, 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 manuever, twist and turn, and launch a volley of countermeasures to avoid the incoming projectiles; the Blackbird pilots instead responded by simply accelearting 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 pictures*
The SR-71 was originally designed to launch drones, serving as a launch platform for early UAVs, until it was realized that the SR-71 could go higher than the drones, fly faster, and were much easier to recover.
, which meant it could specialize in its roles quite well.
Ferns are the Fragile Speedsters of the plant world. They are nearly always the first plants to reappear after a large land-clearing fire, but can't compete with grasses, shrubs, and trees in the long term.
Examples of this trope are rare in robotic combat, but Mighty Mouse from Robot Wars fits to a tee. It was lighter than just about every other robot in the field, and had no real weapon, but was fast enough to spend entire fights running away, much to the amusement of the audience.
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 WW 2, 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. It would zoom by the slow-moving bombers before the pilots could line up a shot. It's frame was made of wood, and it's light construction made it very vulnerable to enemy fire, relying almost totally on it's blistering speed for defense. There was even a risk of the plane disintegrating on landing, though it was hardly helped by the fact that it's landing gear consisted of a single skid.
WWII American tank destroyers in general (excepting the M36, which had fairly respectable forward armour), the M18 Hellcat in particular. The Hellcat clocked in at 60mph (97km/h) on road, making it the fastest armoured 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 armour depending on location.
WWII Motor Torpedo boats, e.g. American PT boats, and their modern descendents the Fast Attack Craft described as "eggshells armed with sledge hammers".
Depending on which predators you ask, both ornithomimmids, or ostrich dinosaurs, and their colloquial namesake and other rattites can be viewed as falling under either this trope or the Glass Cannon. Modern ostriches can run at 40 mph, and given a similar leg structure it's generally agreed that ornithomimmids were the fastest of all creatures of their day. However, if you're bigger, stronger, and most importantly capable of actually catching the damn things, from your POV at least, they'll essentially be fast food. It's now thought that tyrannosaurs developed their Lightning Bruiser/Glass Cannon skills, particularly as juveniles, specifically to run down their ornithomimmid drumstick dinners.
Note that this view is somewhat subjective, though. Predators that are smaller than ornithomimmids and rattites, like dromaeosaurids and wild dogs, would have a more difficult time bringing them down, which is where the Glass Cannon trope comes in. Considering that an ostrich can kill a lion with a single kick or (according to one report) bend a half-inch-thick iron bar with a single kick, it's not that hard to imagine that Ornithomimmus would have used a similar strategy if defending itself was the only option remaining.
Modern ostriches have an additional strength over modern predators that the ornithomimmids may or may not have had (we can't be sure until we find a fossil with complete skin impressions) - they still have thick scaly skin on their feet allowing them to run through obstacles (such as thorns) that mammalian predators would have to go around.
In baseball, Herb Washington was hired by Athletics owner Chuck Finley simply because he, as a former sprinter in college, would make a good pinch runner. He couldn't hit, field or even run the bases that well (although his speed sometimes made up for it), but this was avoided by never having him do anything but run the bases as a pinch-runner.
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.
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.
The .223 Remington and it's 5.56 NATO counterpart. Both are very lightweight bullets and travel at speeds in excess of 3,200 FPS, both are capable of hitting a target extremely hard and causing considerable damage, but they tend to easily break up and fragment on contact with a hard target. Though their small size does allow them to effectively penetrate some body armor that would deflect larger bullets, especially against the fiber based Kevlar. But then this is why military body armor uses ceramics.