If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk.They'll gloat. They'll watch you squirm. They'll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar. So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word.
The heroes in Fist of the North Star all have this trait in spades. Are you good, a woman or a child? They'll protect you and nurture you with a smile on their face. Are you evil? THEY'LL MURDER YOU.
The eponymous character of Lyrical Nanoha is one of the nicest people around and always tries to communicate with her enemies first. That does not mean she won't blast her opponents hard, if necessary, which may include students, friends or daughters. The fandom tends to refer to this behaviour as a kind of "Listen or be shot. Fail to listen, be shot again." mentality.
Dr. Kenzo Tenma from Monster is an excellent example. While a genius neurosurgeon, he's a humble, principled and compassionate doctor, loved by his patients. His only obvious flaw is his habit of manhandling those who offend his sense of justice. But when it becomes clear that he must go on a manhunt in order to save innocents from the monster he unwittingly unleashed on the world, he soon takes a level in Badass and becomes a fearsome vigilante.
Future Trunks from Dragon Ball Z is a Nice Guy that is very polite, and values life having come from a Bad Future where all the Z-Fighters have died. However, he's a Combat Pragmatist who is very serious in battle aiming to kill his opponents and even willing to fight his own allies if the situation calls for it. Such as when his father Vegeta wanted to aid Semi-Perfect Cell to become perfect. Trunks warns Vegeta that he will blast him to stop Cell but Vegeta thinks Trunks is too soft to shoot at his own father. Trunks proves Vegeta WRONG.
Luffy from One Piece. He's generally an oblivious person with a good heart, but has shown quite capable of taking on anyone, even his friends, if he feels they've done wrong.
Celty Sturluson is — underneath her fearsome reputation as the Headless Rider of Ikebukuro — easily the most sympathetic and benevolent figure in Durarara!!. Nonetheless, her fearsomeness is fully justified whenever she's dealing with lowly street thugs.
Shunsui Kyouraku of Bleach is easily the friendliest and most laidback of the captains. Despite that, he will do his job, even the more violent parts, when it comes down to it. In his very first arc, after giving Chad an opportunity to run away from the fight, he cuts him down. He also killed Starrk, who was actually a Reluctant Anti-Villain.
Touma Kamijou of A Certain Magical Index. He's compassionate to just about everyone, and many scenes show him helping out complete strangers who he just happened to pass by. He's also fairly upbeat despite his perpetual bad luck. However, threaten or harm someone on his watch, and he will punch your lights out. Even if you are a Physical God and World War 3 stands in his way.
Superman, having Super Strength and all, tries to exert the least amount of force he can to resolve a situation. Occasionally, he will use a bit more, even to the point of hurting a villain more than he has to.
Spider-Man is an example in that he does want to help, being the Trope Namer for Comes Great Responsibility. That responsibility does not extend to his fighting style, which is fairly brutal. Some storylines revolve around him becoming more vicious, usually after donning the black suit.
Though its often mentioned that when dealing with people like Kingpin or Doctor Octopus or just everyday criminals, he has to decrease his strength considerably as he could kill someone with little effort.
Some members of the X-Men fall into this category, those who are firmly idealistic or genuinely want to do good also use their mutant powers to shoot Eye Beams or Mind Rape.
Death from The Sandman is the best person you want to be with at a time of, well, death. A really sweet, caring person, she's also The Grim Reaper and when the need arises she can be really scary.
Fantastic Four Ben Grimm "The Thing" both figuratively and literally, he is one of the 4's most popular member, and is good with kids. But if anyone dares to harm his family and friends he'll pummel them to paste.
Doctor Strange is noble and a good judge of character, which means he will often spare villains whose intentions aren't wholly evil, particularly when they merely got in over their heads. But for the irredeemable? He won't offer them the chance to try again. The only Complete Monsters he spares are the ones he can't permanently De-power or kill.
Wonder Woman has always been an icon of kindness and nobility, preferring peace and diplomacy to war and aggression. Yet, of all of the members of the Justice League, she alone has never hesitated to use lethal force when it was needed, reminding everyone the Amazons are, at heart, still a Proud Warrior Race.
Robocop follows three directives: serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law. Nothing is said about not coldly blowing away killers, or not brutalizing a suspect before bringing them in.
Dirty Harry has no qualms about working outside the law or even torturing suspects, but he does try and lead a normal life.
Steve Rogers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is shown to one of the nicest, sweetest people you would meet. However, when fighting HYDRA and the invading Chitauri he is merciless, including throwing HYDRA soldiers off airborne aircraft and hacking off Chitauri arms.
In addition to the examples of this trope taken from the novels, the film incarnation of Harry Potter is slightly more ruthless than his book counterpart - most clearly demonstrated from the exchange he shares with Umbridge in Order of the Phoenix before the latter is dragged off to an unseen fate by a herd of centaurs.
Umbridge: Potter, do something! Tell them I mean no harm!
Bilbo Baggins is generally a friendly and polite fellow who prefers to use his wits to get out of a situation rather than use a sword. But when Thorin is about to be decapitated by an orc leader, Bilbo flings himself at said orc and kills him.
Frodo Baggins tames Gollum by pointing his sword at his throat, threatening to cut it if he does not release Sam.
Gandalf contemptuously knocks out Denethor with his staff when the latter starts raving for his troops to abandon their posts and flee.
A more subtle example: Aragorn, probably the most noble human character, sees Boromir pick up the Ring. He orders him to give it back to Frodo—with one hand on his sword, prepared to attack Boromir if the Ring's power takes control of him. Which happens near the end of the movie, when Aragorn isn't around.Elrond, on the other hand, is shown to have not been capable of friendly fire when the Ring hypnotized Isildur during the previous battle with Sauron.
Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings. Sam begins to despair of Frodo's constant mercy toward the (in Sam's eyes) explicitly untrustworthy Gollum — until Frodo explicitly threatens to kill Gollum if he betrays them.
Sam looked at his master with approval, but also with surprise: there was a look on his face and a tone in his voice that he had not known before. It had always been a notion of his that the kindness of dear Mr. Frodo was of such a high degree that it must imply a fair measure of blindness.
The Culture is a hedonistic post-scarcity society whose citizens mostly live to entertain, educate and enlighten themselves and their peers and spread their beneficial lifestyle to others, but at the edge of their ethics are apocalyptically powerful starships and agents who will do any kind of dirty business to protect and expand the Culture's interests, and anyone who tries to harm them learns a fatally hard lesson in why it was a bad idea.
"You might call them soft, because they're very reluctant to kill, and they might agree with you, but they're soft the way the ocean is soft, and, well; ask any sea captain how harmless and puny the ocean can be."
There is a warning that gets repeated every few books "Don't Fuck With The Culture." Inevitably this is ignored to personally horrific results.
The page quote above comes from the Discworld novel Men at Arms. Later in the novel (and in other Discworld novels featuring the City Watch), recurring character Carrot Ironfoundersson proves that he fits the trope very well indeed.
The Knights of the Cross of The Dresden Files are modern-day paladins who will do their best to persuade Demonic Possession collaborators and victims to escape the thrall. If they refuse, though, the Knights have absolutely no compunction against killing them.
Harry: People like you always mistake compassion for weakness. Michael and Sanya aren't weak. Fortunately for you, they are good men. Unfortunately for you, I'm not'.
Harry Potter: From the last novel; innocent housewife Molly Weasley's cry of "NOT MYDAUGHTER,YOUBITCH!" right before she kills the powerful, insane sociopath threatening said daughter is an excellent example.
Hermione Granger as well. She's a generally nice and helpful girl, but she will not scruple to blackmail an amoral reporter, lure a sadistic teacher into a trap or disfigure (slightly) a traitorous teenage tattle-tale. She might also be quite vicious when scorned.
The desperate circumstances in Deathly Hallows drive several of the heroic characters to, among other things, resort to using the "Unforgivable" Imperius and Cruciatus Curses.
The team members of Rainbow Six are pretty decent people. It's noted that all of them are family men (though the video games with the expanded roster subverts this,) get along well with each other, are Reluctant Warriors and love a non violent solution if one presents itself. They are also the Foreign Legion, an international special forces Badass Crew who slaughter terrorists when needed, the Friendly Sniper team plan and execute a gut shot on one who murdered a sick girl, John and Ding torture, and get angry enough to threaten not to help the Swiss next time there's an incident when they won't help after the team was threatened.
This can be considered the hat of the "ideal" Terran in Perry Rhodan, as usually exemplified by the eponymous protagonist, his more personal friends, and most anybody under his command. Especially earlier in the series when morality is a bit more black-and-white yet, humans as a species are traditionally almost always willing to get along peacefully or even be friends with just about anybody else — but they're also quite aware that they live in a universe where not everybody exactly likes them and so remain ready and willing to deal as decisively as necessary with obvious enemies as well. The Solar Empire didn't have one of the most respected war fleets (and some of the biggest battleships) in the entire galaxy for no reason and wasn't shy about using it in defense of itself and its allies either.
Patroclus in The Iliad is this — he's definitely the wiser one of his friendship with Achilles, practical, compassionate enough to comfort Briseis, faithful, skilled at healing, and (at least compared to other warriors) seems to be remarkably well-balanced. He also has plenty of wrath of his own, and is brutally efficient in battle, even vaunting over the occasional fallen enemy. (Most modern readers are likely to see Hector as the most definite good guy in the work, along with maybe Priam, so he might qualify as well.)
In Elmore Leonard's Pronto, Italian-born mafioso Tommy Bucks considers Americans to be soft and prides himself on being a hard man who can kill someone in cold blood without a second thought. US Marshal Raylan Givens is an honest American police officer and thus Tommy assumes that Raylan is ultimately soft. He holds unto this belief until the very end when he finally realizes that Raylan is quite willing and capable of just shooting Tommy dead in the middle of a crowded restaurant.
Live Action TV
CSI: Miami: Horatio Caine is genuinely caring of crime victims. He's not so pleasant with those who committed the crimes.
"You murdered thirteen people. You're a killer. You enjoy death. I hope you enjoy yours."
"I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again, I would."
Kamen Rider Amazon defeated his enemies not with fancy moves and cool weapons and kaboom endings to the fight, but by ripping the Monster of the Week apart with his bare claws and teeth and the serrated edges of his gloves. However, if you don't happen to be an evil monster, he's the nicest guy you'll ever meet. He's a Friend to All Children, Friend to All Living Things, and so forth. He once even saved a monster from being executed by his bosses for failing to defeat him! That monster became an ally for most of the rest of the series.
Doctor Who: From at least the Sylvester McCoy version onward, the Doctor himself is this. He's sent some bad guys to rather harsh endings to protect the innocent, has put good people in the line of fire or done otherwise unkind things as part of various gambits, and has had to make choices between bad and worse often. These things heavily weigh on him, but if it's between the destruction of Pompeii and letting the Pyroviles take the whole world, it often falls to him to throw the switch.
While it has been a large part of the other Doctors in the series before and since, this trait has been deeply explored during the run of the David Tennant Doctor.
The Doctor: If I don't like your plan, it will end.
Mr. Finch: Fascinating. Your people were peaceful to the point of indolence. You seem to be something new. Would you declare war on us, Doctor?
The Doctor: I'm so old now. I used to have so much mercy. You get one warning. That was it.
One of the Doctors is explicitly described as this. The Ninth Doctor is a Good Is Not NiceJerkass who thinks he is better than everyone else. The Tenth Doctor is the complete opposite, fascinated by humanity and its foibles, genuinely caring and nice, and anyone who threatens them dies, no mercy, no second chances.
And then we have TheEleventh Doctor, who demonstrates a great deal of compassion and caring for his friends. But that doesn't stop him from trying to wipe out the Daleks, erasing The Weeping Angels from time, and tricking The Silence into ordering their own execution at the hands of mankind.
The Eleventh Doctor practically Lampshaded this in the episode "A Good Man Goes to War."
Madame Kovarian: The anger of a good man is not a problem. Good men have too many rules.
The Doctor: Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.
In the series four finale of Merlin, the sweet, gentle, friendly Merlin carefully and deliberately murders Arthur's Evil Uncle Agravaine in cold blood. Okay, Agravaine had just drawn a knife on him, but a) Merlin could have easily dealt with the knife without harming the man holding it, and b) Agravaine had just discovered Merlin's secret, and Colin Morgan's performance makes it very clear that Agravaine wasn't leaving that cave alive.
And in the first episode of series five, sweet, gentle, friendly Gwen swiftly sentences her servant to death for treason, though she later reveals she had no plans on actually killing the girl. It was merely a trap to lure her father to Camelot to obtain information about Morgana.
It happens again in the season finale. Only this time, she outgambits the accomplice and actually executes her.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS. Thinking of threatening his family or his team? Bad idea. Gibbs was a Marine sniper. There is no mercy in a head shot from a mile away.
The Leverage team is all this, especially Nate and Eliot. If you've been royally screwed over by a Corrupt Corporate Executive, they will move heaven and earth for you. If, however, youare a Corrupt Corporate Executive ... Put best in the "Cross My Heart Job", where Nate calmly informs a man who kidnapped a woman's daughter to blackmail her into stealing a heart transplant from a dying 15-year-old how he will utterly destroy him if he ever tries anything like that again.
Nick in Grimm. Despite his more brutal and merciless ancestors, Nick himself is a fairly reasonable Grimm who follows within the law of what a good police officer would do, including having Wesen friends/allies. However, he begins to use his reputation as a Grimm to terrify several Wesen into giving him the information he needs and will shoot to kill to protect himself or someone else.
Buffy herself. If you're human and not cutting up dead bodies or killing children she's quite nice. If you are then she's all for prison, death, Prison Rape then death, basically having a soul makes such actions inexcusable.
Every member in Team One in Flashpoint are very likeable and friendly people off the field. Their first course of action is usually to talk with the hostage taker without any violence but they will not hesitate to pull the trigger on anyone threatening a hostage. And if someone threatens a team member...
John from Sherlock is one of the nicest people you could hope to meet and it's quite easy for people to take a liking to him, even if they've just met him. But he is willing to shoot you if you happen to piss him off or threaten someone he cares about.
On Justified this is a defining characteristic of US Marshal Raylan Givens and the other Kentucky Marshals. In the opening scene of the series vicious killer Tommy Bucks found out that when Raylan tells you to leave town in 24 hours, you do so or Raylan is more than willing to shoot it out with you in broad daylight. Two seasons later mobster Wynn Duffy found out that Raylan is more than willing to play Russian Roulette with him because Duffy would not answer questions about a cop's murder.
In the same vein Chief Deputy Marshall Art Mullen might seem like an old man with bad knees but if you really piss him off he will go "old school" on you with a phone book.
Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson is a nice fellow who likes to joke around but in an instant he can turn into a Cold Sniper and put a hole in a hostage taker's head.
Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks might have a chip on her shoulder about being a petite, black woman but when she is disrespected she will not hesitate to bring down men twice her size.
In Norse Mythology, Thor is a Hot BloodedBoisterous Bruiser who spends most of his time drinking, eating and killing giants. Thor is humanity's best line of defense against the giants, who would otherwise destroy the world of men, and the stories told about Thor indicate that he truly does care for humanity.
Notably, God from the three Abrahamic Faiths. As noted throughout The Bible, he is compassionate to those in need, especially to those who turn to him for council, aid and friendship. But he has no qualms whatsoever with punishing someone when they've done evil and are unrepentant of it. Jesus is the same way, though in his case he directed it towards Satan, the corrupt merchants and moneylenders in the temple, and the manipulative Pharisees and Sadduccees.
The moment that perhaps cements this more than anything else in many fans' eyes is the ending to Overlord, where a scientist forced his autistic brother to communicate with the Geth, in the most barbaric way, then pleads with Shepard to allow it to continue. The Renegade option is to allow it but break his jaw and show disgust over his actions. The good one however is for Shepard to take David to refuse, dodge shots fired at him/her, optionally smash the scientist's face in and threaten to kill him.
Shepard: "You even think about coming after your brother and this bullet will be waiting for you." *
You can go full Paragon in this ending where Shepard's voice is barely suppressed rage, or take the neutral options where s/he doesn't bother holding back how pissed s/he is and lets him utterly have it.
Upon meeting Gavin Archer again in 3 as part of a team of ex-Cerberus defectors, Shepard makes it clear that even though they going to save him along with everyone else from the Cerberus forces assaulting the base, they still have nothing but utter contempt for him! Shepard also can mention that David is still safe and been rescued from Grissom Academy, but Gavin is still not going to get within a light-year of him!
Another example comes up in I Remember Me. If Shepard has the Colonist background s/he was attacked and nearly taken by Batarian slavers when s/he was sixteen. Because this becomes common knowledge Shepard is asked to talk to a girl who was taken by slavers and is Driven to Suicide. The Paragon ending has Shepard save her, then the officer who asked for help despairs the point in fighting if they can't even keep little girl safe.
Shepard: To make people who do these things pay. It's not the severity of punishment that deters crime, it's the certainty.
The is one of the two times that Shepard, paragon Shepard, is absolutely furious.
A Renegade Shepard, on the other hand, is a good demonstration of the sister trope, Good Is Not Nice, in that Renegade Shepard can be a real Jerk Ass yet no matter how bad s/he can be Shepard is still trying to save the galaxy.
Turians in general, and Garrus in particular, show that not only are they incredibly polite and friendly, they're exceptionally ruthless and militaristic. Their combat philosophies directly reflect this: they hit the enemy with absolutely overwhelming force to end the fight as soon as possible.
In Lair of the Shadow Broker, the special Paragon solution to dealing with a hostage situation is to have Shepard do a Badass Boast mentioning either the Paragon or Renegade choices for two of the most extreme actions in the previous game and saying that the hostage taker had better have a better plan than hoping a hostage will deter you. Although the intent was to intimidate the hostage taker into letting their guard down so Liara could free the hostage, there's a strong implication that if it had really come to that, Shepard wasn't bluffing.
A full list for just Shepard showing how Good Is Not Soft would take all day, but here's his/her reaction to criticism for all the human lives lost when Shepard gave the order to save the Council during the Battle of the Citadel.
Liara counts as well. A curious, well meaning archeologist, her time with Shepard meant she Took a Level in Badass. After Shepard supposedly dies, Liara becomes obsessed with getting him\her back. During Redemption, she plays nice with shady characters like The Illusive Man, but fends off rape attempts by killing her attackers. After she hands Shepard over to Cerberus in the hope s\he can be brought Back from the Dead, Liara becomes an information broker where she taps her inner Dark!Willow and threatens to flay people alive. But the Good Is Not Nice facade is a weak mask and when Shepard finds her she all but breaks down over her obsession and feelings of betrayal to him\her.
None of Shepard's True Companions are soft, but not all are good. The "good" squad members would qualify for no other reason than anyone who follows Shepard winds unhesitatingly racking up an astronomical kill count, but others qualify for other reasons. An incomplete listing of the characters following this trope includes...
Fan favorite Garrus Vakarian is incredibly nice guy who genuinely tries to do the right thing. He was essentially a Cowboy Cop in Mass Effect 1 and in Mass Effect 2 killed so many crime lords in a Wretched Hive the population called him Archangel.
Kaiden Alenko and Ashley Williams both are loyal, decent Alliance marines who willingly follow Shepard into hell in the first game and show no compunctions about gunning down minions of the Big Bad and criminals. Despite later disagreements with Shepard and being poor judges of character, they remain firmly on the side of humanity and the Council, doing their best to protect innocent people.
Wrench Wench Tali starts the series as a slightly shy, sweet-tempered girl on her Pilgrimage. In her first scene, she kills attackers trying to bring her down with an explosive and spends the rest of the series in the thick of heavy fighting.
Captain David Anderson shows these traits when he serves as a mentor and leader. The Expanded Universe shows he has no problem dealing with the bad guys with force, as he was also an N7 (human special operations). In the third game, he not only leads the entire human resistance on Earth as an alien fleet tries to harvest humanity for many months, but then leads the ground forces which make the suicide run when The Enemy Gate Is Down.
Samara is a civil, regal, somewhat distant but unfailingly polite member of a strict monastic order. Her code of honor demands she gun down criminals in cold blood.
Jacob Taylor is a decent man working for a questionable organization. When he discovers his father has spent ten years living in a puerile sexual fantasy by forcing his crew to eat neurotoxic food, he has no problem seeing to his death or to his incarceration. "[After] what happened here, I should vent his head!"
Thane Krios is attempting to atone for a lifetime as an assassin, so despite good intentions he may not count as "good." He has absolutely no compunction about killing villainous wrongdoers and is introduced when he kills a crime lord and then prays for forgiveness.
Kasumi Goto is a master thief. That's literally the only negative thing you can say about her. She's nice (very sympathetic to the other characters, particularlyJack,) kind (saved a little girl from slavers,) friendly, and sociable, with her input on morally ambiguous decisions showing high morals. She's also a devastating Glass Cannon that uses stealth to stab enemies in the back, so skilled that Spectres consider her a Worthy Opponent and when mocked about her dead lover she goes into a quiet rage before taking out a crime king's invincible gunship. And the thieving part? Turns out she's now doing it from casinos and giving the proceeds to war victims.
The Expanded Universe anime film Paragon Lost portrays James Vega as a young, idealistic soldier - but a highly effective commando leading his squad against mercenaries and racers. By the events of Mass Effect 3, he has a slightly darker persona, but still remains loyal to the mission of saving humanity and the rest of the galaxy.
Steve Cortez is a nice guy mourning the death of his husband and a competent Alliance pilot. Since he never enters ground combat, many players overlook that he's a complete Bad Ass. Not only does he fly into a hot LZ in just about every mission (an act of great courage), but he scores an impressive number of kills in air-to-air combat. By a similar token, Jeff "Joker" Moreau, pilot of your Cool Starship, is a Deadpan Snarker with Hidden Depths who is quite personable. He seems positively ecstatic when his ship the Normandy delivers killing blows to enemy ships.
EDI, as an AI, can literally be inspired to modify her central directives towards what can only be called humanitarian virtues and loyalty. If this happens, she states that her overwhelming priority is no longer her own survival. Other things - people - are worth fighting for to the death.
Wrex becomes this if he survives the first game, becoming the leader of the krogan race. He knows that if the krogan do not make serious changes, then they are going to die out. He assumes his authority with violence if he has to and if others refuse to go along with the reforms, they're left in the dust.
Tekken: Jun Kazama is The Chosen One and pure as the driven snow. This does not mean however she isn't devilishly effective in a fight, possess a series of powerful moves...brutal even, or in no shape to punch out Cthulhu. Or go all Mama Bear. Or as the latest game suggests go downright demonic in the pursuit of good.
Her niece Asuka is another great example. Nice, friendly, gets along well with the likes of Lei (a cop) and Leo (very moral knight\soldier archetype,) and Bully Hunterextraordinaire aiming to take down her cousin Jin,hard. In fact when they first met she tries to revive him, then punches him into a wall because he was an Accidental Pervert.
Good is not Soft does not even begin to describe Angel. Of all the characters she is the closest to the Big Good, capable of Flight, shoots Frickin' Laser Beams, fights exactly like Kazuya or Devil, and will genuinely mess you up. With most people she's lovely, doesn't matter if they're good, evil, Darker and Edgier, Big Bad, whatever. With something like Ogre however she's downright frightening.
By the very nature of the series, most of the heroes in fighting games are this. Street Fighter? Chun Li, Guile, and Cammy as a good girl are very caring individuals, justice minded, Guile's a family man, and they are among the best fighters in the series. Tekken? See above. Mortal Kombat? You are expected to murder your opponent after a fight, with LiuKang turning into a dragon to rip them in half, Raiden electrocuting them until they blow up, Stryker blowing their head clear off, and they can do this to the other good guys.
Mariko "Spirit" Tanaka of Wing Commander is the nicest, kindest, gentlest creature in the series. Then she goes kamikaze on a Kilrathi held space station her fiancé is on.
Star Wars: Dark Forces Saga has Kyle Katarn, who through the course of the games was with the Empire, became a rebel, then a Jedi, fell to The Dark Side, gave up the Force, became a Jedi again for revenge, then began teaching others. His view of the Force and how to act is it's less about what you do, but how you do it. A good person for example can use bad means to achieve a good end, Good Is Not Soft in action.
Tellingly, Jedi Knight had a good and bad ending, dependent in part on what Force powers Kyle chooses. In Jedi Academy Luke will praise Jaden if s\he chooses light side powers or a mix, or become concerned if more dark powers are chosen...but, perhaps because you're Kyle's apprentice, even if you choose entirely dark powers you will be able to choose the light side ending.
As far as characters go, Bastila believes that a single misstep no matter how minor will doom a person, yet the likes of Carth or Mission believe Good Is Not Soft and are portrayed as being more light sided than Bastila.
Between the two games, it turns out that the Jedi Masters take their own stance on Good Is Not Soft. While they are happy to let the galaxy burn, they also Mind Rape Revan and attempt to strip the Exile of her force powers.
If you remain Light Side after defeating Bastila, she will express amazement that the Dark Side did not make her stronger, nor did the Light Side make you weak. This is foreshadowed by Juhani thinking the same thing. Malak will express the same, resigned revelation if you defeat him and offer to turn him back to the Light Side.
Juhani is a soft spoken Jedi and of all the characters is the most concerned about being light sided. That's because she did fall before. Quite kind, caring and helpful, she's also rather vicious and utterly pissed at what's been done to her, to the point of indulging The Dark Side unless talked around, then becoming frightened of what she could have done.
Myst: Atrus is an archetypal Absent-Minded Professor, creating Portal Books to fantastic worlds and living according to an extremely optimistic worldview, but after being betrayed and imprisoned by his own sons, and his library destroyed, when finally released he takes the books where the sons have been trapped and burns them! Then, in order to save his wife, Atrus goes on to create a trap book for his egomaniacal father.
A retcon reveals that the sons were not killed, and another set of books exists to let them out if they reformed.
In one tie-in novel, he agrees to lead a slave revolt in battle, despite his reservations about warfare and his lack of military experience.
“People talk about my sons, and the evil things they did, but still I remain strangely mute. I do not discuss my own actions that day, or the rage I felt when I burned the two Linking Books that had snared them.”
In Final Fantasy VII, although Aerith Gainsborough is very kind to most people and she can be very understanding, she doesn't hesitate to challenge anyone who gives her a hard time. She's ready to break into Don Corneo's mansion on her own without thinking of her own safety before Cloud stops her. After Cloud, Aerith, and Tifa break into Don Corneo's bedroom, Aerith threatens to "rip them off" if the Don doesn't tell them what they want to know. She isn't afraid to let Cait Sith know what she thinks of him when she learns that he's a spy. And of course, she isn't afraid to head by herself to the Forgotten City to summon Holy even though it's only logical that Sephiroth will most likely try to stop her.
Litchi Faye-Ling may be a doctor and a former medical officer at Sector Seven, but she still has a strong moral compass and an IQ above room temperature - when Hazama comes a-knockin', she is unafraid to sass at him and, when that doesn't get him to leave, draw Matenbo to evict him by force. While he does offer her the opportunity to join NOL in exchange for the chance to save Arakune after that fails, she doesn't believe he'll hold his end of the bargain one bit, and only winds up Forced Into Evil out of desperation over her own condition. Even when she is under the Librarium banner, she isn't afraid to chew out Relius over his badparenting (this, sadly, convinces him to set Ignis upon her and Carl). Litchi is not afraid to step into 'evil' territory, do things she didn't like and stain her already perfectly good image and reputation in order to pursue good deeds, that's how much 'not-so-soft' she is.
Makoto Nanaya is no different despite being an Intelligence Division Lieutenant (under Captain Hazama himself, at that) - it's sundry that her loyalties are more to her friends than any government. When Hazama tries to assassinate Jin in Slight Hope, she is swift to call him on it and, when negotiations fail, parry the knife and attempt to beat the shit out of him. When that doesn't succeed and Jin has to freeze Hazama to get them both to safety, this only changes her priorities somewhat - to save her friends from him. In her bad ending, she has the gall to call Relius out on sending a still-injured Jin to what appears to be certain death against Ragna the Bloodedge and, again, demand he step aside lest she knock him on his ass (for all the good that does her), and even in the good ending she has no hesitation in demanding an explanation from Hazama about all the crap he tried to pull.
In Galactic Civilizations the humans are seen by most races as very soft, as they are diplomats by nature and will always try to solve their problems peacefully. The resident warrior/bully race, the Drengin, pity humanity particularly, and decide to show the rest of the universe just how pitiful it is. They convince another race, the Xendar, to start a war with the "soft" race. Needless to say, humanity reveals that millennia of internal warfare have grown a very hard shell beneath the soft crust; it promptly mobilizes and curb-stomps the Xendar back to their homeworld. After the Xendar die altogether due to interference by the Drengin, Humanity disbands its army and goes back to being peaceful and polite with everyone as if nothing had happened. The Drengin decide it's a wise idea to leave the "soft" race the hell alone.
Sonic the Hedgehog may be the nicest character alongside with Tails and Cream, but if you're Dr. Eggman or any other villain, expect him to not only go start kicking your ass, but also say some snide and/or cocky remarks about you while doing it. Even in Sonic And The Secret Rings, Erazor Jinn learned the hard way as he was brutally sealed away for being so irredeemably evil.
Kei "Edge" Nagase of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has this strange preoccupation of not wanting to fight, being a combat pilot, and regrets Osea going to war with Yuktobania. Soft spoken, loyal to Blaze, and well liked by her team, she comes across as very much a pacifist. She also holds soldiers at gunpoint after being shot down, fights like a demon (literally in one case where the enemy pilots claim mythical demons had taken her over, causing her to kill most if not all of them) and beats the hell out of the traitor.
Sophitia Alexandra may be Purity Personified and one of the most unambiguously good characters in the Soul Series, but her fighting style is quite brutal and she is certainly not afraid to fight dirty, including moves like Groin Attacks and Neck Snaps. And while she is an Apologetic Attacker, she does so with an air of confidence and dignity. She is genuinely sorry she has to hurt her opponents, but she is not going to let anything stop her.
Linkara from Atop The Fourth Wall is generally a nice guy, but is perfectly willing to commit cold-blooded murder on his enemies. In fact, he's done this so much that he started to turn evil, possibly subverting the trope.
Chaka of the Whateley Universe: she's cheerful, considerate, happy-go-lucky... and she kicked Montana's butt when he crossed the line with her friend. When she had to deal with Lycanthros, she broke half his ribs and smashed his face in with moonsilver.
Pendorians are kind, generous people who never consider using force to impose their will on other cultures. They also react badly to things like Pendorians being kidnapped. One kidnapping was mentioned to have ended in the destruction of a city. Another caused an interstellar war aimed at killing everyone connected to the kidnapping.
Ping: Sorry about the mess. I had to make a bad man go away.
Kim Possible, a Disney character no less, is really caring and helpful, even more so as she matures. She has tried to reason with the villains at times, but most episode has her resorting to her fists to resolve problems.
Optimus Prime of Transformers Prime is one of the nicest, most purely heroic characters imaginable. He's also a giant alien war-machine and willing to brutally kill an opponent who has proven irredeemable. It doesn't matter if you used to be his friend. It doesn't matter if you used to be his mentor. It doesn't matter whether you're a human he could easily crush in a fair fight, another Transformer he's on roughly equal footing with, or even a god-like being like Unicron. Once you've crossed that line, nothing else matters any more. You're going down, and going down HARD.
This is a trait shared by many Autobots (and Maximals) throughout the Transformers franchise, both figuratively and literally. Optimus just tends to embody it best. When your race has "war machine" as a species trait, you tend to be ready when push comes to shove.
In the G1 cartoon, during a flashback to his first meeting with Megatron and being rebuilt into Optimus, there is a scene where he just blasts holes into 'con after 'con after 'con. In Transformers: The Movie, Optimus literally runs over one Decepticon and blasts several others before he confronts Megatron.
Alpha Trion qualifies for this as well, for rebuilding him. After all, he knew warriors would be needed, so when two of his friends were injured, he didn't just rebuild them as they were - he rebuilt them as Badass Decepticon-slayers. Imagine waking up in the hospital with an Arm Cannon in preparation for the next time you ran into the guy who put you there.
KingSombra's case is very similar to Discord's in nearly every respect. Bonus points for the method with which he is dispatched upon his return (he is the first and only antagonist in the show to be Killed Off for Real).
The Mane Six are like this too. Twilight Sparkle might be the among the most diplomatic and patient members of the cast, but threaten her friends or loved ones and you better be prepared to face weapons-grade magic. Applejack and especially Rainbow Dash, being the most athletic members of the group, tend to waste little time in putting their considerable physical abilities to use despite their respective level-headed and fun-loving natures. Even Fun PonifiedPinkiePie (who becomes abruptly terrifying when her Berserk Buttons are pressed and wields a cannon*
a party cannon, mind you, but a cannon nonetheless
in combat), sweet and timidFluttershy (whose Mama Bear instincts manifest in the form of a superpower called "the Stare"), and the sophisticated, ladylike Rarity (who was kicking angry manticores in the face by the second episode) will gladly step up to the plate if you pose a large enough threat.
The original My Little Pony series demonstrated this trope at times as well. The series' first villain, Tirak, was straight-up killed — though "obliterated" might be a better way of putting it — by the Rainbow of Light. Their weapon of choice might be a Care Bear Stare, but The Care Bears these ponies ain't.
The titular character of The Legend of Korra is this. If you're her friend she's fun and joking, if a bit egotistical. To enemies she's a Blood Knight, more than willing to give a complete beat-down, and its pretty clear that she would have been willing to kill at least one of her opponents if she hadn't been...interrupted.
Iroh from Avatar: the Last Airbender fits this trope to a T. He's a kind old man who puts up with his nephew's Jerkass behavior, gives tea to random strangers... and cheerfully maims people who stand in his way.
Lion-O from Thunder Cats 2011 would seem to be soft compared to other Cats, since he is the only one willing to try and convince his enemies to stand down and show them kindness. However, this kindness does not extend to their bosses, such as when he defeats the king of the rats Ratar-O without hesitation. He also doesn't let his compassion get in the way when innocent lives are at stake, such as blowing several Lizard fighters out of the sky in the season finale.
Miss Martian from Young Justice is generally a decent, heroic person who genuinely cares for her team-mates. However, she's not above mentally assaulting enemies that really get on her bad side; as Psimon learned in the episode "Image". In season 2, she becomes even more ruthless to her foes.
In a particularly scary way, Avatar Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender, when in the final battle he refused to compromise his principles by granting the defeated Fire Lord Ozai a merciful death, and instead Mind Raped him, ripped out a portion of his soul, and condemned him to an And I Must Scream fate as a powerless, completely defeated shell for spirits alone know how long, always to remember what he had been and never to be able to get it back except by the very death that was denied him.