open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Arguably Berserk goes from Low Fantasy to a heroic but dark fantasy at the end of the Golden Age arc where all the demons start coming out and become the main source of conflict.
- Or it was Heroic Fantasy all along without the characters noticing. After all Zodd the Immortal didn't exactly keep his existence a secret.
- Bikini Warriors: Which involves a group of heroines with typical fantasy roles, and go on an epic quest together, while clad in bikinis.
- Crimson Spell combines Heroic Fantasy with the Yaoi Genre.
- Dragon Ball early on in the series, before its Genre Shift to high-powered Space Opera.
- Fairy Tail focuses on the eponymous guild of wizard adventurers and the various quests they undertake for fun and profit.
- Fullmetal Alchemist started as this, though it quickly veered into High Fantasy territory. The 2003 anime version, on the other hand, stuck with Heroic Fantasy.
- Hunter × Hunter
- One Piece
- Queen's Blade. The heroines rarely have magic on their side while the villains do and often the only way to win a fight is through sword battles. While there is a grand plot involving the fate of the land, the heroines are largely unaware of it and just want to fulfill their personal desires.
- Rune Soldier Louie is a comedic Heroic Fantasy spin-off of the high fantasy Record of Lodoss War.
- Senyuu. A series with heroes, demons, swords and magic. Actually, more like a parody, but despite loads of gags and jokes remains heroic.
- Sword Art Online Though the narrative is driven by technology and is set in Next Sunday A.D., at its heart Sword Art Online is still fundamentally a fantasy of heroic warriors (and later, wizards) crusading across mythical lands, fighting for justice, honor and making the world a better place with swords and spells in their hands, courage and love in their hearts.
- The Tower of Druaga, based off of the video game of the same name.
- Quite averted in With Strings Attached, which is partially set on a continent that was once a place of Heroic Fantasy. However, by the time the four find themselves there, the skahs warriors have long since wiped out any threats, and are going crazy with boredom because they have nothing to do and refuse to become civilians. A major goal of some of the secondary characters is finding a way to restock the continent with monsters, since the gods refuse to do it.
- Played much more straight on Jim Hunter's world, but that's because it was built by a gamer.
- Army of Darkness, an Affectionate Parody of the genre.
- The Barbarians
- The Beastmaster (only the movie, not the science fiction books it was based on.)
- Blood of Beasts.
- Clash of the Titans.
- Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer
- Conquest mix this with Dark Fantasy and Horror.
- Kull the Conqueror.
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
- The Princess Bride is an affectionate and very gentle parody of this genre. The novel it was based on was darker and more of a deconstruction. Just like with Shrek, the heroes' goals are taken just (or almost) as seriously as they would be in a straight heroic fantasy.
- Red Sonja.
- The Sword and the Sorcerer.
- Wizards of the Demon Sword.
- The Bahzell series by David Weber.
- The Black Company
- Alison Croggon's Books of Pellinor.
- Codex Alera (quasi-Ancient Rome + Elemental Powers).
- Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian, Kull and Bran Mak Morn. To a large extent Howard invented the modern incarnation of this trope.
- Everything by David Eddings.
- Many of the older Discworld novels were comedic deconstructions/parodies of this genre, as are a few of the more recent ones. A very loose rule of thumb for the Discworld books: If the main character is Rincewind or Susan, it's probably going to be heroic or high fantasy; if it's Vimesy, the Watch, Moist, or Death, you are probably looking at low fantasy, the elderly barbarians are usually heroic fantasy, and if it's the witches then it's probably either going to be low or heroic fantasy. Pratchett seems to have started out creating straight parodies of heroic and high fantasy, and then gotten bored halfway through and slowly began integrating and exploring low fantasy settings more and more. Fans are divided as to whether the earlier (and punchier) heroic fantasy parodies are better or worse than the later ( and more thoughtful and elaborate/longer) low-fantasy-with-an-emphasis-on-social-themes-and-character-based-comedies.
- Back in the day, there were a number of less popular and deservedly-forgotten fantasy/comedy novels attempting to capitalise on the popularity of Discworld, which were almost always set in heroic or high fantasy universes. They tended to very bleak, because they had the same and sometimes an even more exaggerated casual approach to violence that you'd see in the earlier Discworld novels, but not the goofy and likeable supporting cast of recurring characters which stopped Discworld from ever becoming particularly dark.
- David Gemmell's books are a prime example.
- Michael Moorcock's The Elric Saga (another Deconstruction).
- D. E. Wyatt's No Good Deed... has many elements of this.
- The Exile's Violin: A hero armed with mystical weapons that fights a power mad Evil Sorcerer doesn't sound like the kind of thing that would happen in a Steam Punk detective story but it happens and checks off the other markers such as personal trouble and grey morality.
- Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road is a Reconstruction of these types of stories.
- Charles R. Saunders's Imaro.
- Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream (a Deconstruction geared towards showing just how screwy the genre's politics can get).
- C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry, the first major female character in Heroic Fantasy.
- Her husband Henry Kuttner was no slouch in the genre, with works like Elak of Atlantis, Valley of Flame and The Dark World..
- Karl Edward Wagner's Kane.
- Patrick Rothfuss's The Kingkiller Chronicle (although the protagonist is leaning toward Anti-Hero territory and may get worse in the upcoming book 3).
- The Malazan Book of the Fallen, especially during Karsa Orlong's storylines.
- Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon is either a Darker and Edgier or Deconstructed Trope version (or possibly Distaff Counterpart) of the King Arthur story.
- Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit: While it later turns out that the fate of the kingdom is at stake, the story follows a lone mercenary on the run, who is trying to hide the prince from assassins send after him by his own father.
- The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks.
- Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series.
- The Lineage of Tellus starts off as this before the problems shift from the heroes to the world, wherein it becomes High Fantasy.
- Everything by R. A. Salvatore.
- Lynn Abbey's Rifkin series.
- The Shadowleague trilogy.
- The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, for which The Epic of Gilgamesh may or may not have been an inspiration.
- Lord Dunsany's "The Sword of Welleran" and "The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth", as well as a few other short stories here and there.
- Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe. While the fate of the kingdom of Tortall is on the line in the Song of the Lioness and the Immortals quartets, the focus throughout remains on the coming-of-age of Pierce's heroines. Later books have lower stakes, but all have a good down-to-earth feel, and fairly nuanced morality.
- Talion: Revenant: The book's genre. It centers around Nolan's quest to stop a bandit leader, and later protect a king.
Live Action TV
- GARO, though it is debatable, as it has various Dark Fantasy elements.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
- Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire is a parody of the genre.
- Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger with dinosaurs and a Super Sentai twist.
- Legend of the Seeker.
- Roar (pre-Arthurian British Isles).
- Arguably Robin of Sherwood what with its use of archetypes and mysticism.
- The Adventures of Sinbad
- Black Sabbath stands as the modern musical Ur-Example for this in their early batch of songs such as ''The Wizard''. They weren't alone, considering Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull were greatly inspired by Tolkien.
- Ronnie James Dio is the one who truly brought this to prominence, as Dio was a massive fantasy nerd and part of bands whose whole shtick revolved around muscular barbarians slaying dragons. This was most evident with his band Elf and his later solo work. See ''Holy Diver''.
- Heavy Mithril is either this or High Fantasy in rock form.
- The whole genre of Power Metal is defined by heroic tales of fantasy folk heroes and heroines, and takes Heavy Mithril Up to Eleven.
- ElvenQuest is a parody.
- Dungeons & Dragons. Though the game system is flexible enough that the enterprising DM can apply it to almost any fantasy subgenre, as printed it tends toward Heroic Fantasy.
- Exalted is what you get when you combine this with the tropes of wuxia, ancient myth, and a dash of shonen anime style to taste.
- As does On Mighty Thews, which even comes with a list of substitutions to make things more pulpy.
- Warhammer generally occupies this league of the fantasy landscape, though it is diverse enough to encompass both High Fantasy (the wars of Aenarion against the Daemons, the Great War Against Chaos) and Low Fantasy (the traditional WFRP millieu, involving cultists and ne'er-do-wells stabbing each other in the dark alleys of Altdorf) as well. Being a wargame, the "heroes" in Warhammer tend to be great military commanders and the conflicts wide-ranging wars, rather than bands of adventurers and their skirmishes, though there are plenty of the latter at work also (Gotrek and Felix, pretty much everyone from the Warhammer Quest spin-off).
- Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior.
- The Dark Souls series.
- Dragon Age. While the first game has a "unite the people to fight an army of evil" main plot, the side plots that make up the biggest chunk of the game follow the genre pretty straight. The second game focuses completely on a single protagonist rising in power within the hierarchy of one city, with the main factions being Templar (sword) and Mage (spell).
- The Elder Scrolls is one of the most prominent video game examples in modern media, at least from the perspective of each individual game. Taking a broader look at the series in its entirety (as well as digging deep into the rich backstory), and its High Fantasy elements come into greater focus.
- The Fable series.
- Fantasy Quest.
- God of War plays it pretty straight, though starting with the second game the scope of the events becomes considerably bigger, as it grows into a full blown war among the gods.
- Monster Hunter is mostly this as well. The levels of mysticism are very slight (down to the special mode of the Longsword in Tri and its derivatives), but everything else is totally straight: minimal overarching plot, for the most part it's just a world where people make a living slaying or capturing giant monsters for the chance at building more weaponry with which to slay or capture tougher giant monsters.
- Prince of Persia.
- The Reconstruction (Deconstruction, ironically).
- Skies of Arcadia is a Reconstruction of this setting, with Schizo Tech and Ocean Punk thrown in for flavour. Much of the world is equivalent to the real world 15th/16th Century, but there's also fantastical creatures, adventurers and explorers, myths, and widespread use of magic and magical weaponry. Not to mention the Sky Pirates, of course.
- Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.
- The Witcher: A lone monster hunter hunting a sorcerer who stole the alchemical secrets from the witchers.
- Adventure Time.
- Fire and Ice.
- As a lot of film critics have noted, Shrek and its original sequel might have been written as self-conscious affectionate parodies of "fairy tale movies" but both movies use and celebrate heroic fantasy tropes so whole-heartedly that they both feel more like straight "fairy tale movies"/ heroic fantasy with lots of humour and character development.
- Thundarr the Barbarian.