Careful, she really knows how to handle a spear.
The Distaff Counterpart
of the Apes, this is a young woman of European extraction who has been raised in a jungle environment
, usually by animals
. Despite her upbringing, though, she has managed to grasp the basic rudiments of English
, tools and fashion — she is frequently seen wearing fetching leather or Fur Bikinis
and wielding a spear. She is far more likely to have Rapunzel Hair
than Wild Hair
, and her legs and armpits will be inexplicably hairless.
For some unfathomable reason, the animals of the jungle obey her slavishly
instead of viewing her as lunch, and the woefully benighted Hollywood Natives
treat her as a goddess. If the Jungle Princess is particularly naive, she'll buy into that belief. Even if she's not particularly naive and although she may well possess some fearsomely strong instincts and drives toward it, her isolation from humans has left her with no concept whatsoever of romance.
Inevitably she will be single when she first encounters a hunky European explorer
(rather than -- perish the thought -- starting a family with a native man
). She will find him in the clutch of some local danger
(being menaced by her tame leopard
is always fun if it's a romantic comedy), rescue him, and romance will ensue
. While the movie version of the Jungle Princess will let her explorer bring her back to his home and 'civilize' her, the TV version will insist on staying in the jungle
, and so our hero will settle down in Malaria Central and steal kisses from her when she's not busy ordering her lions to savage the occasional poacher.
In science fiction, many a Green-Skinned Space Babe
is just a jungle princess with a dye job and a ray gun.
The trope name ultimately dates to a 1920 silent film serial called The Jungle Princess
, but its common usage probably dates from the 1936 film of the same name starring Dorothy Lamour.
See Nubile Savage
, which is her default appearance. Not to be confused with The Chief's Daughter
, where the leading lady actually fits the native culture (but is almost always a princess for some reason
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Anime and Manga
- Sapphire Birch, Pokémon Special's take on the female avatar from the game, takes her role as Pokémon trainer and researcher so seriously she actually went native, wearing clothes made from leaves and moss and growing her fingernails into claws. She has little trouble reintegrating into human society, but she retains the mind-boggling strength and agility she developed in the wild.
- Weda from Haré+Guu, has this appearance but the Jungle society she lives is fairly civilized and not totally disconnected from the Outside world (there are still buses to the city, for example). She can hunt however and does wear a Fur Bikini. In her backstory, its revealed she actually comes a rich family in the city and moved to the Jungle at age 14 due to getting kicked out of her family for getting pregnant.
- Makyou No Shanana
- Capri from Animal Land is this.
- Definitely Sheena, Queen of the Jungle herself.
- Storm of the X-Men spent part of her childhood and adolescence as a Jungle Princess; when her weather powers activated, she was also worshiped as a literal goddess.
- An extremely blatant fetish of comics artist Frank Cho, who has worked on such diverse series as the above-mentioned Shanna the She-Devil, Cavewoman, and... Jungle Girl.
- Subverted in the French comic Sillage (a.k.a. Wake in English). In the first volume the heroine Nävis (Navee) encounters a group of alien slaves who have been ordered to change the environment of her jungle planet for their masters' purposes, and ends up winning them over not because they view her as a goddess but because she possesses superior logic. Unfortunately that still doesn't prevent the jungle from being destroyed, and she's adopted and "civilized" by the advanced culture of the title.
- In the comic The Maxx, Julie Winters manifests in the Outback as the Jungle Queen, the embodiment of this trope. Later, it's revealed that the Outback is her subconscious, and she created the Jungle Queen in order to have control as an all-powerful goddess after having been brutally raped and beaten years ago.
- Jann of the Jungle was Jungle Princess heroine from Marvel Comics predecessor Atlas in the 1950s. She is still mentioned occasionally in the modern-day Marvel Universe.
- The Phantom Jungle Girl from the pages of Don Simpson's Megaton Man.
- "Kara the Jungle Princess" made two appearances in 1946 issues of "Exciting Comics".
- After a bout of amnesia, Alpha Flight's Heather Hudson plays this role for the length of one annual.
- Tara Fremont from Femforce.
- White Princess of the Jungle was a jungle girl anthology comic book published quarterly by Avon Periodicals in the early 1950s.
- Judy of the Jungle appeared in comic books published by Nedor Comics. She debuted in Exciting Comics #55 (May 1947). Mostly remembered nowadays for featuring early art by Frank Frazetta.
- Princess Pantha was a Sheena clone that appeared in comic books published by Nedor Comics. The character was revived twice; first by AC Comics, and second by writer Alan Moore for his Tom Strong spin-off, Terra Obscura. She first appeared in Thrilling Comics #56.
- Tom Strong's own wife Dhalua is also an example, although she's actually black. There's also the alternate universe Tesla of the Tigers, who comes from a world overrun with jungle and whose father Tom of the Tigers was raised by... you can probably guess. Interestingly, Princess Pantha is romantically linked to Tom's Terra Obscura counterpart, Tom Strange.
- One issue of Tom Strong's Terrific Tales had Tesla captured by poachers and made into a safari attraction along with several other Jungle Princesses. It turns out they aren't a protected species.
- Do not confuse with the half-animal Panthea by underground artist Trina Robbins. (And Pantha from Vampirella doesn't even fit the trope.)
- Rulah, Jungle Goddess was Fox Feature's response to Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Her real name was given variously as either Jane Dodge (Zoot #7) or Joan Grayson (Rulah, Jungle Goddess #20). In the latter version, Rulah is a young aviatrix on a solo flight over Africa when her plane loses control and crashes. She replaces her clothes (which were destroyed in the crash) with a bikini made from the skin of a dead giraffe. Soon afterwards, Rulah saves a local tribe from an evil woman; the grateful tribespeople declare her queen. Rulah decides to remain in the jungle as its protector.
- Rula's comic adventures are sometimes startlingly violent; and there are generous helpings of Les Yay among Rulah and her suspiciously-pale native maidens. Said maidens being the subjects of peril, hairdressing, abduction, experiments, and much hugging when rescued.
- Parodied by "Libby in the Lost World" in Penthouse Comix. Libby was a Jewish American Princess stranded in a Lost World by plane crash and forced unwillingly into the role of Jungle Princess.
- Tom Strong's wife Dhalua is a reconstruction of the trope—namely, what happens when The Chief's Daughter marries the hero and moves to a post-industrial nation, but never loses her edge.
- Ya'wara from the New 52 Aquaman series. Unique in that she's one of the few examples of a Jungle Princess who is an actual person of color rather than a displaced white woman in jungle gear.
Films — Animation
- Princess Rosella from Barbie as the Island Princess.
- Either subverted or deconstructed with San, the eponymous Mononoke-Hime of Princess Mononoke. While she fits a lot of the traits of a Jungle Princess (though the forest isn't exactly a jungle, and she obviously isn't of European extraction), her character, like almost anything else in the movie, is not as two-dimensional and clear cut as it seems at first.
Films — Live-Action
- There's one of these in the artificial jungle in the movie Who's That Girl?.
- The Tiger Woman, a 1944 Republic film serial, later edited into the feature ''Jungle Gold''.
- Nyoka the Jungle Girl from the the 1941 serial Jungle Girl.
- Jungle Goddess, which was given the MST3K treatment.
- Tanya Roberts made a pretty good Sheena for the 1980's.
- You could make the argument that Claudia Jennings played one in the trash film Gator Bait, just switch the jungle for the Louisiana bayou.
- The Shaw Brothers King Kong rip off Mighty Peking Man (or Goliathon) featured a particularly dim witted version who was constantly on the verge of a nip slip.
- Josephine Baker played this part in many of her stage performances and subsequent films.
- Discworld has lost kingdoms of Amazons which use their male prisoners to do specifically male jobs ... like opening pickle jars, sorting out those funny noises in the attic, capturing spiders and putting them outside, and rewiring plugs.
- Rima the Jungle Girl was the heroine of the 1904 novel Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson. She wasn't white or European; she belonged to a lost race that even the local Indians didn't know of. Her skin — depending on the lighting, it seems — varied in color, and in bright sunlight seemed "luminous".
- The novel was made into a movie starring Audrey Hepburn in 1959.
- Rima starred in a short-lived (but beautifully illustrated) comic book from DC Comics called Rima the Jungle Girl.
- Rima even appeared in three episodes of The All-New Superfriends Hour.
- She's now part of DC's First Wave pulp-fiction imprint.
- Meriem, the wife of Korak the Killer, The Son of Tarzan (1915) literally fits this archetype. The daughter of a French General and a "princess in her own right", young Meriem was kidnapped by Arabs, and rescued by Korak. The two then spent their teen years together in the jungle before being found by Tarzan.
- Deconstructed in Gentlemen, the Queen! by Wilson Tucker. The titular character, a human girl raised by Martian desert rats and referred to as the Desert Queen, has suffered a lot of realistic consequences from her environement. She has Wild Hair, is missing one eye and most of her teeth, can barely speak, and has a broken arm that didn't set quite right.
- Jasmine from Deltora Quest. A variation is that she only appeared to Lief and Barda to steal their stuff, but eventually came back and save them before they're eaten by the Wen. She also appears in the anime adaptation. Frequently paired with Lief in fanfiction, and the anime has a few hints of it as well, though you have to look for it to see them.
- Although by the end of the second series, it's clear that it's officially canon.
- Katy Perry invokes the "Western girl trapped in jungle by plane crash" variant of this trope in the music video for her single ''Roar," complete with a leopard-print bikini top and grass skirt. It does hold one aversion: the handsome explorer-type who was also in the crash with her immediately gets eaten by a tiger.
- The song "Queen of the Savages" by The Magnetic Fields.
My girl is the queen of the savages
She don't know the modern world and its ravages
Instead of money she's got yams and cabbages
She lives in a dome
I don't care if I never get home
- Jill of the Jungle
- Zhu Rong, from Koei's Dynasty Warriors franchise, takes this to its logical extension as a fully-fledged Jungle Queen. Not only is she the only blonde-haired female in an ostensibly all-Asian lineup but she's married to a barbarian king and worshiped as a bona fide Goddess by her people. Oh, and there's the obligatory jungle-kini she wanders round in, too.
- Her being worshipped as a Goddess is, in DW canon (and the book it was based on), justified. She's the descendant of the god of fire.
- Ayla of Chrono Trigger - Chieftain of the prehistoric peoples, one of the two blondes among the group, and insanely strong. She's engaged to marry one of her own tribesman, but she most definitely is the "man" in that relationship.
- One of the playable characters with the actual name in TimeSplitters series.
- Maya from the second Killer Instinct game.
- Rima from Brutal Legend.
- Nidalee from League of Legends.
- Jana of the Jungle, part of The Godzilla Power Hour. Jana was raised in the Amazon jungle and was more fluent in English than most jungle princesses.
- Magnolia from the 2007 series of George of the Jungle.
- Jungle Janet from the animated series of The Tick.
- On Adventure Time, there is a character actually named "Jungle Princess".
- There's also Susan Strong, though she lives underground, in the ruins from After the End.
- One of Tarzan's animated counterparts actually met an Amazon princess raised in the jungle (not her village).