Running on pluck. Running on waves and pluck.
"Aren't you scared?" "Oh, yeah. But while I'm mouthing off, I'm Feisty Heroine. Nothing bad happens to Feisty Heroine."
— Wisdom # 6
Plucky means 'brave and optimistic'.
You might be able to pile life complications
onto this young woman/girl, to the point where the audience would forgive her if she just refused to go on. She might even have an episode or so where she does throw in the towel
, because human beings can only take so much of what the universe is handing out for her. But the Plucky Girl always comes back. That's the bravery part.
The optimistic part is the rest of it. This character leans toward the sane version of The Pollyanna
, blending the agency of the Action Girl
with the sweetness and wise charm
of the Spirited Young Lady
, while exhibiting a strong sense of optimism and an unassailable spirit that differentiates her from the grimness of a Determinator
. You can beat her, but damned if she'll let you break
Male versions exist, but they tend to be closer to Determinator
territory instead, because men always have to be MANLY
Not to be confused with Plucky Office Girl
, though they may overlap once in a while.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Batman: Stephanie Brown, the third Batgirl. Her ex-con of a father is starting to cause trouble again? Her mother's an addict? Her dad's trying to kill her? The father of her baby abandons her and she almost dies during delivery? The boy she's got her eyes on and who happens to be Robin's not interested in her? Batman tries to get her to quit being a crimefighter again and again - then fires her as Robin? She gets tortured, humiliated and almost killed and is forced to leave Gotham to heal? ... C'mon, you don't actually think that's gonna stop her, do you?
- Scrooge McDuck's most popular love interest, Glittering Goldie.
- May Parker aka Spider-Girl. Also her mom, Mary Jane Watson.
- Kitty Pryde, the Trope Codifier for comic books. Parents splitting up, new school, new freaky powers that somehow aren't quite as useful as the powers of your new classmates, and a demon attack on your first Christmas there? Not a problem! It Gets Worse? She gets over it.
- Jubilee. From about middle school age on life has constantly tried to crap all over her but not the murder of her parents, homelessness, being separated from her surrogate father figure, being captured and tortured by anti-mutant government initiatives, having the boy you have a crush on blown up, being crucified, losing her powers, or being turned into a vampire will stop her from forging ahead and realizing that life's what you make of it, so why not make it fun.
- Elena Potato in Monster Allergy.
- Mockingbird of The Avengers. While she's more cynical than most examples, this is at least justified by the fact that she's suffered more hardships than any other female character in Marvel's publication. She was framed for corruption, shot and nearly killed by overzealous SHIELD agents, had her home blown up and was nearly beaten to death, was raped, later her husband broke up with her because she killed the rapist, she seemingly died only to instead have been abducted by aliens and faced a disturbed stalker she was forced to kill while it took the appearance of her ex-husband, she reunited with the same husband only for the previous rapist to return and her mother gets shot because of her, ending with her and her ex breaking up once more, before being followed by her being fatally shot and revived via a super-drug that grants her eternal youth (cursing her to outlive everyone she cares about) to the most recent events of her being left behind enemy lines with no memory, where she's eventually brainwashed and has it revealed that her entire life may, in fact, have been a lie. While it's unclear how this will go, it should be noted that, prior to that, she was at her happiest in years.
- Annabelle Lennox in the Transformers fanfic Black Crayons. She's sweet and friendly, but she can be as brave and stubborn as her parents (or Ironhide) when she needs to. She sneaks her way into a warzone because she thought she needed to be there. Keep in mind that she's six years old at the time.
- Cloud Kicker in Ace Combat: Equestria Chronicles. For most of the time, whatever she's doing, she acts like a true optimist.
- Then there is Rainbow Dash, who isn't afraid to tackle any kind of challenge, believing fully she'll be able to handle it.
- Kumiko of Despair's Last Resort. She's hyper and fun loving despite having to deal with trials and murder. The first murder does break her for a while, considering that the victim was her best friend Chiyo.
Film - Animated
- Many heroines in the Disney animated canon.
- Wendy's daughter Jane from Peter Pan: Return To Neverland is this Played for Drama. She strives to be a Plucky Girl but has forgotten what it means to be a child, since she comes from the England of World War II - so she has all the practicality but none of the enthusiasm. By the end, she has recovered her spirits and has morphed into a straight example of it.
- Princess Merida from Brave.
- Coraline, so much so.
- Intrepid Reporter Roxanne Ritchi from Megamind is very much this.
- MK from Epic.
Film - Live Action
- Giselle from Enchanted is this trope to the letter. When faced with the wildlife of New York City - gnats, pigeons, and cockroaches - she forces herself to smile and admit "Well, it's always nice to make new friends!"
- Odie from The Hairy Bird.
- The girl Micha from a German film Stahlnetz: PSI. She is kidnapped for ransom which her family cannot pay as it's not actuall rich and cannot escape on her own, but she still holds herself with dignity until the very end, (though she slowly begins to resign, but in her situation, it's hard not to; and she still doesn't break).
- Gemma from Dark Life. She's an orphan whose beloved older brother was sent to a reformatory, escaped from her cruel headmistress, went subsea on her own despite not knowing how to swim, and is constantly delighted byall the wonderful sea creatuures she comes across.
- The title character of The Journey of Natty Gann is bound and determined to find her father, and nothing is going to keep her from doing it, no matter how many people tell her that he abandoned her. She hops trains and hitchhikes from Chicago to Seattle, with little idea of exactly where her father is beyond "somewhere in Washington".
- Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer.
- Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) in Labyrinth won't give up her attempts to solve the Goblin King's seemingly-impossible maze and retrieve her baby brother.
- Scheherezade, the protagonist from the Framing Device of Arabian Nights, so much that she has a gambit named after her. She volunteers to marry King Shahryar (a madman who hates women and has ordered all his previous wives executed after the first one cheated on him) as part of a plan to cure his insanity - and she succeeds, becoming his Queen.
- Animorphs: Loren. She's Rachel Lite.
- Tortall Universe: Daine is probably the most obvious example. Her house was burned by raiders, her family killed and she survived only by accident, she was almost raped/murdered by an ex-suitor of her mother's, and was Raised by Wolves — all before the book starts. She then proceeds to demonstrate a great deal of ass-kicking, particularly so in the later books; in the third one, after she is told that the Emperor killed Numair, she proceeds to wake up an army of fossilized dinosaurs and rip the everloving shit out of the palace. She's not done. In the fourth book, after even more tragedy occurs, she kills Ozorne with only a badger claw, naked, and entirely out of magic. Yeowch.
- Sandry, from the Circle of Magic universe by the same author, tends to come across as the sweet, optimistic one of the four, but she survived several days alone in a dark, concealed room, with only a basket of embroidery thread for company while half the city died of plague around her, and when once again trappen in the dark (by an earthquake, no less) she is the one who figures out how to get herself and her friends out (though they all participate.)
- Philippa Somerville in the Lymond Chronicles.
- Lale of The Assassins of Tamurin
- Roald Dahl's Matilda is ignored by her parents and terrorised by the awful Miss Trunchbull, and just 6-7 years old. So what's a little super-smart girl to do? Obviously, play some 'subduing' pranks on your boastful, corrupt father to take him down a peg, then develop your latent psychokinetic powers to help that nice teacher who recognised your genius.
- Sarah from Greystone Valley.
- From Harry Potter: Lily Potter (standing between the Dark Lord and her baby without a second thought) Ginny Weasley (Cute Witch who does what she can to help Harry and Co.), Hermione Granger (member of the Golden Trio and Magical Girl Warrior extraordinaire), and Luna Lovegood - though it's hard to say with her what is indomitable pluck and what is sheer Cloud Cuckoo Land training.
- Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson's Millennium series occasionally teeters on the border between "Plucky Girl" and "Sociopathic Hero Girl".
- Maree Mallory of Deep Secret has "sheer if not-always-nice pluck" as one of her defining character traits. How much of a fighter is she? At one point, she permanently loses half her soul. Most people die within hours of this happening. Maree not only fights back, she walks miles to recover in Babylon. To put things in perspective, the only other person to survive this that we know of? A powerful and charismatic emperor who once conquered eleven different core universes and untold others.
- Mavra Chang from Jack Chalker's Well World series absolutely refuses to give up despite all of the Body Horror inflicted on her — seemingly cripplng mutations and body modifications only seem to make her even more determined. Hell, Mavra's probably ar her most dangerous when she doesn't even have any hands.
- Lia in Skinned by Robin Wasserman. Despite getting in a car accident, having her brain put in an android, her friends abandoning her, her sister sleeping with her boyfriend, and people believing she doesn't deserve to exist, she still keeps going.
- All of the important female characters in Sword of Truth, but especially Kahlan, Cara, and Nicci.
- Enola Holmes is the definition of this, eventually. It does take her running away from home with her brother, Sherlock Holmes, hunting her to force her into finishing school, and finding that she's a great detective herself at the age of 14. At the end, Sherlock and Mycroft are agape at how capable she is for her age.
- Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire. This becomes less appealing and more creepy as the story goes on though, as the goals Arya persists in achieving pretty much amount to mass murder. Her sister Sansa, too, who manages to stay cool even when life seems more and more persistent to break her.
- Pollyanna, anyone?
- Don't forget the eponymous Momo in the novel of Michael Ende. The evil men actually take over the world, but she still attempts to save it. She even dares giving one of the grey men a Care Bear Stare while she's left by all her friends.
- Sarah Crewe from A Little Princess.
- Josephine "Jo" March, as well as her older sister Meg, their younger sister Amy once she gets over her Spoiled Brat phase, and her pupil Annie aka Nan. (Too bad the fandom refuses to see Amy as such and pegs her as a Mary Sue out of Die for Our Ship butthurt.)
- The Chalet School is full of these, to the point where you wonder if it's a requirement to get into the school. Joey Bettany - who shares more than a few similarities with another Jo mentioned above - is but one example. Childhood illness, running away from the Nazis, war, her husband Jack being temporarily MIA, the deaths of friends, a shedload of children...nothing will keep her down for long. And then there's Corney Flower, Biddy O'Ryan, Daisy Venables, Mary-Lou Trelawney, Carola Johnstone, Len Maynard...the list goes on.
- In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, Istra, aka Psyche, is this. To the extent that she angers her older sister, Orual, for not being worried about being offered to a local god as a "bride", saying the god might actually be nice. It turns out Istra is right, and everything works out in the end.
- Stephanie Plum from One For the Money and the following books by Janet Evanovich. Faces down homicidal rapists and madmen with pluck, snark, and heavy coats of mascara. Interestingly enough, she's not entirely plucky - pretty much every time she's in direct danger, she's a terrified, blubbering wreck. She deserves the moniker because, even when she's out of her depth, terrified, and facing fates too horrible to consider, she doesn't give up.
- Gemma from Dark Life. She's an orphan whose beloved older brother was sent to a reformatory, escaped from her cruel headmistress, went subsea on her own despite not knowing how to swim, and is constantly delighted by all the wonderful sea creatures she comes across.
- Ninevah "Nin" Redstone from Seven Sorcerers by Caro King. Her Motto is "Have Courage and never give up!" She confronts a Bogeyman while armed only with a toohbrush and goes insane lengths to rescue her brother, along with everybody else needing help
- Most of the spirited heroines in P. G. Wodehouse's works; Joan from Something Fresh, Eve from Leave it to Psmith and Jill from Jill the Reckless are all good examples.
- The title character of Hugh Howey's Young Adult Space Opera Molly Fyde series.
- Lucy Pennykettle from The Last Dragon Chronicles.
- Beatrice Löwenström in Överenskommelser by Simona Ahrnstedt is a tough girl, but it seems like the Universe itself is out to break her down. But once the worst is over, she gets over it and moves on.
- Illiana Henriksdotter in "Betvingade" has a tyrannical father and a cold-hearted mother, who never show her any love. But it never seems to bother her that much, and once she gets married, she pretty much puts her abusive parents behind her.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz features Dorothy, a resourceful, smart little girl who is willing to slap lions in the face and learns not to be afraif by the Wicked Witch of the West.
- In Smallville, as much as we love to see one of Chloe Sullivan's many Break the Cutie moments, she always pulls herself together to help Clark at the end of the day. Season eight, "Abyss", "Bride" and "Legion", for instance. She has her memory slowly destroyed, making her gradually forgetting everything and everyone, attacked at her wedding, Jimmy almost dies, she is kidnapped by Doomsday to be possessed by Brainiac, and the Legion is about to kill her before Clark rushes in. She is up and about almost unnaturally quickly after the ordeal. And that isn't even half of it.
- Audrey Parker Of Haven: A young FBI agent who is sent to the small town of Haven, Maine to capture a killer but stays to solve the terrifying "Troubles" that afflict the town and to find her long lost mother and learn to be a "small town cop." Being cocooned alive, almost driving off a cliff and dealing with super powered freaks of nature only makes her pissed and/or more determined. Also a very capable Action Girl but could be considered a Broken Bird at times because of the emotional distance she keeps from people.
- Gail Emory of American Gothic, at least in the first half of the series...
- Veronica Mars of Veronica Mars, the unflappable young PI who is roofied and date-raped, best friend is killed, family splits up, ostracized by her old friends, yet somehow trudges through and comes out mostly on top. And her relationships? Suspected murderer of best friend, and also a man who could possibly be her biological brother (he's not). Well, let's just say she's incredibly determined.
- Allison Young, a resistance fighter captured by Skynet in the future who absolutely refuses to give in, even when pushed to the point of total emotional collapse. She tries to escape twice, refuses to eat when the machines try to interrogate her, and spins a story designed to trick the Terminator that tries to mimic her into walking into a trap. It doesn't work, and Cameron kills her for her troubles, but she gave it her best shot. And even when dying, she stares her killer defiantly in the eye and refuses to yield an inch.
- Vicki, the First Doctor companion from Doctor Who. She was orphaned by a space accident, and we meet her after she's been stranded on an isolated desert planet awaiting a rescue mission while being psychologically terrorised by a repugnant monster with unclear motivations who turns out to be a man she thought was her friend in disguise - she'd still been making the best of it, by befriending the local wildlife. After the Doctor takes her on she will have occasional scenes where she will remind the others of what she's lost and that the Doctor is now her only family, but is mostly resolute and cheerful, happy to take the lead in a crisis (like in "The Space Museum"), and with a big scoop of Nightmare Fetishist and Fluffy Tamer to boot.
- Djaq from Robin Hood originates from the Holy Land which is being torn apart by war in which she lost her father, mother and twin brother. She was then enslaved and brought to England in chains, all the while hiding her gender from her jailers. When she's rescued by Robin Hood, her fellow prisoners abandon her while she's helping out the outlaws. Yet she joins the gang, contributing her skills as a scientist and a medic to the country that is at war with her own, overcoming race and gender prejudices, and proceeding to kick ass all over the place whilst keeping her rather wicked sense of humor, resulting in one of the few times in which a character with obvious Mary Sue qualities manages to be imminently likeable.
- Miki Momozono/Goggle Pink from Dai Sentai Goggle Five. She gets hit massively with a fatal bomb that nearly killed her, yet she still dragged her body to get up so her friends and Kid Sidekick won't worry about her. Then she gets trapped in a devil diary, is tied up and the diary gets burned from the outside (which would burn her eventually), and her friends can't get her out, only able to watch as she burns. Instead, she escapes from the book on her own using just her wits and brains, delivers a condemning speech to those who trapped her (and dozens of innocent kids), then proceeds to kick ass.
- Subverted by Gabrielle in Xena: Warrior Princess. She starts off plucky, but in season 4, she joins the church of the One True God, throws in the towel, her staff and her joy. she becomes a determinator and never comes back. Lampshaded in an episode set in modern time. Mad Scientist raids Xena and Gabrielle's tomb and clones them. Gabrielle is plucky, Mad Scientist turns her into a determinator. Fan complains, Mad Scientist says you will only ever see plucky Gabrielle in the repeats of Seasons 1-3 - "Only in the re-runs."
- Stephanie from LazyTown. Case in point.
- The titular character in Dong Yi never gives up on, or breakdown over whatever she is doing, even when the odds are completely against her.
- Carmen Carrillo from Carrusel. She may not have the best family situation at first (though It Gets Better). But she always makes sure to study and do well in school, so that someday she can go to college and obtain a career. Plus she is always nice to everyone. She is very prim and proper- while always remaining determined, so her being ladylike and staying out of trouble may be a not so obvious way of remaining strong so that she can achieve her goals.
- Princess Aurora in Once Upon a Time, lampshaded when she is called this by her kidnapper, Cora, when Aurora flatly refuses to play along with her games.
- Gretel/Ava is driven by her faith that she'll find her father again. In Storybrooke, she's managed to take care of herself and little brother while hiding the fact that their parents are missing, and in the Enchanted Forest, she even manages to stand up to Regina by telling her that family will always find each other. At the end of "True North," the two children are reunited with their father.
- Susan Grey from The Bletchley Circle is the driving force behind the investigation, the one who gets the band back together.
- Kelsey Winslow from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue.
- Caroline Forbes from The Vampire Diaries, no matter how many times she's abused, tortured, neglected or looses someone she loves, she always holds her head high, smiles and is there for her friends.
Religion and Mythology
- Antigone from Greek Mythology, who refuses to abandon her father Oedipus even after learning the truth of her birth. She also defies her uncle Creon when he orders to not give burial to her brother's corpse, and prefers execution rather than renouncing to her beliefs.
- Many Christian martyrologies have tales about young and not-so-young girls who choose torture and death rather than renouncing to their beliefs and worshipping non-Christian Gods, and many of them are described as plucky to the extreme.
- For that matter, the Blessed Virgin Mary is this to Catholics, oh so very much.
- Deconstructed in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. The main female's pluckiness, perseverance and resourcefulness were supposed to show how dehumanized Mother Courage had become thanks to her sucky life (the deaths of her children included), as a detestable personification of the evils of capitalism. The audience embraced her instead.
- Romeo and Juliet: Juliet Capulet, believe it or not, and especially considering the time period it's set in. She disobeys her parents, follows her heart, takes the initiative even more than Romeo (to the point of them qualifying as Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy in the era's standards), braves disownment and being trapped in a tomb to stay true to the man she loves (or at least believes she loves - give her a break, she is a teenager after all) and chooses to die with him rather than just bow to her elders.
- Molly Brown in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. "I ain't down yet" is her Catch Phrase.
- Swanhilde from Coppelia. She's unwilling to just take her boyfriend Franz's sudden abandonment to favor the titular Coppelia and later desert him when it turns out that he's in danger of losing his own soul. So she will go into Dr. Coppelius's home to see what's going on with her "love rival" with her own eyes and later protect Franz as much as she can once Coppelia's Robot Girl nature is revealed
- Annie from Annie.
- Chell from Portal. She never, ever gives up. It's official. It's on her record!
- Chell is closer to a Determinator than this trope, though. It's hard to tell, admittedly—no one knows how optimistic she is, how emotional she is, or even what she's thinking, for obvious reasons
- Asuka Kazama from Tekken. And Jun, and Christie, and Xiaoyu, and Lili...
- Almost every female from The King of Fighters, with special mentions to Athena Asamiya, Mary, Momoko, Malin, Leona, Whip, Bonne Jenet, Kula Diamond, May Lee, and any membress of the Women's Team.
- Fatal Fury, aside of all the girls who double as The King of Fighters Action Girls, adds ladies like Tsugumi Sendou and Hotaru Futaba. In The Movie, Kim's wife Myeungsuk also qualifies as such.
- Fire Emblem gives us both female and male examples:
- Linde from the Fire Emblem Akaneia games. Alongside Maria, post-Heel-Face Turn!Minerva, Yumina, Lena, Elice, Tiki, Feena, etc. Gaiden adds Cellica, Sonia, etc. Merric and Rickard are Rare Male Examples.
- From Fire Emblem Jugdral, we have several either in the White Mage or the Action Girl fields.
- Seisen's first generation: Adean, Briggid, Tailto until she's horribly broken, Ferry, Mahnya, Raquesis, Sylvia and Ayra. Dew is The One Guy, sorta.
- Seisen's second generation: Lana (and Mana), Patty (and Daisy), Fee (and Femina), Nanna (and Janne), Altena, Larcei (and Radney), Leen (and Laylea). On the enemy side, we have the Anti-Villain Ishtar. On the rare male example side, there's Corple (and Sharlow) and specially Seliph.
- Fire Emblem: Thracia 776: The aforementioned Nanna alongside Mareeta, Tanya, Karin, post-Heel-Face Turn!Olwen, Sara, Safy, Lara, Tina, Eda, Linoan, Misha and Princess Miranda, with Evayle or better said, an amnesiac Briggid, Machyua, Selphina and post-Heel-Face Turn!Amalda as older versions. The Hero Leif and Asvel are rare male examples.
- Nino the Mage/Sage from Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword. Oh poor little innocent, sweet, freaking determined Nino.
- Lyndis/Lyn, Louise, Priscilla, Serra, Farina, Fiora and Rebecca, too. A good part of Florina's Character Development comes from her doing what she can to become one. If you want rare male examples, look no further than Sain, Guy and Wil.
- In Fuuin no Tsurugi, set 20 years later, Princess Lilina is this and some more. Makes sense since her dad is Lord Hector and her mom can either be Lyn, Farina or Florina. Other than her, we have: Clarine, Ellen, Princess Guinevere, Thany, Thite, Lalum, Sue, Milady and Fir. Adult versions include: Echidna, Igrene, Cecilia and Niime. "Mayfly" versions include the dragon Fa Rare male examples include Lugh, one of Nino's sons and The Hero Roy whose mom can be either Fiora or Lyn.
- Princess Tana from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. So plucky that she refuses to stay on the sidelines even when her brother Innes demands her to do so, helps both Eirika and Ephraim as much as she can despite her limited battle experience, can convince the very distraught Cormag to defect with words alone and hook up with him if they have an A support, and pulls Ephraim out of his Heroic BSOD after he sees that he can't bring Lyon back and loses one of the stones to him.
- Eirika, too. Despite her naivete and seeing her kingdom and others go down, she keeps going on.
- And L'Arachel, too. So plucky that she can bring Eirika out of an Heroic BSOD when she has to assume that Lyon's too far gone to be truly saved, after his Superpowered Evil Side uses him to steal the MacGuffin from her.
- Also Natasha and Amelia. Both young ladies come from Grado, an Empire that is starting to invade and threaten other countries, but they decide to fight back and join Eirika and/or Ephraim's groups so they can save the world and Grado itself.
- The rare male examples? Ewan and Ross.
- Fire Emblem Tellius: Mist, most prominently. Also to some extent Mia, Jill, Lucia, Elincia after her Character Development, Sanaki, Laura, Micaiah, Heather, Eda and others. The rare male examples are Rhys, Oscar, Rolf, Boyd, Geoffrey and specially Kieran.
- Fire Emblem Awakening gives us several too: a female Avatar (default name: Robin), Sully, Lissa, Maribelle, Nowi, Tharja (in a... strange way, that is), Cordelia, Sumia (who's normally more of a Submissive Badass), Emmeryn (specially when she fearlessly goes through an Heroic Suicide to stop an upcoming war, Say'ri and the grown-up Tiki. And maybe Ke'ri, if Lon'qu's testimony is to be believed.) And let's not forget the male Avatar, Prince Chrom, Stahl, Vaike, Henry, Donnel and Ricken as Rare Male Examples.
- From the second generation there's Sully's daughter Kjelle, Sumia's daughter Cynthia, Nowi's daughter Nah, Tharja's daughter Noire (in her own way) and Chrom's daughter Lucina. And we also have some rare male examples like Olivia's son Inigo and Lissa's son Owain. Oh, and Morgan counts in here whether as a boy or a girl unless they get corrupted by Grima after the death of his Avatar mom/dad.
- The title character of the freeware action/adventure Iji is a teenage girl who wakes up six months after an alien attack kills her family to discover that scientists have implanted nanotech in her to combat the invaders, but her only support is her little brother Dan, who has grown bloodthirsty, cynical and emotionally distant. Even after she discovers that humanity is on the brink of extinction and the earth is a charred husk, she presses on with the mission Dan gives her. This first quest fails miserably, the second makes the situation even worse, and, depending on the player's actions, Iji fails to save her brother from an assassin, which traumatizes her horribly. And yet she still carries on. The player can choose to play her as an Action Girl or pacifist; regardless, the final boss is awed by her determination.
- From No One Lives Forever we get Cate Archer, superspy extraordinaire. Almost the entirety of UNITY believes a woman can't be a proper spy, her mentor is killed, every single agent has died before her, she's continually put on missions often promised to be simple but always end up extremely dangerous, and she's being sabotaged. Of course this doesn't stop her. She gets bonus points for having been a very successful cat burglar, starting out when she was just a teenager.
- Sigrun of Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is unusually cheerful for being a member of a group of Death Seekers with the goal of achieving a Heroic Sacrifice, joking that she'll try harder next time whenever she gets through a battle. During party banter with Nathaniel, she states that being Wangsty about it doesn't really help her much, and demonstrates that it would just get annoying really fast.
- Leliana in Origins lives through a tremendous amount of nasty stuff, yet comes out of it stubborn, courageous, and possibly the sweetest girl you will ever meet.
- Krile from Final Fantasy V. She's already an orphan when you meet her. Then watches her grandfather die right in front of her. Then his spirit tells her she needs to take his place in defeating the warlock that just killed him. And she does, while still being cheerful enough to poke fun at the hero and pioneer the role that would appear in every numbered Final Fantasy after her.
- Tifa Lockhart, Aerith Gansborough and Yuffie Kisaragi from Final Fantasy VII, but specially Aerith.
- Selphie Tilmitt from Final Fantasy VIII. Her original home was destroyed, many of her friends were killed, the world was about to end, and she still maintained her plucky attitude and sense of humor. Worryingly, she's also always the first one to propose an excessively violent solution to a problem, such as skinning a Moomba to use as a disguise for escaping captivity.
"Blow it to smithereens with a rocket launcher! BOOOOOM!"
- Rinoa Heartilly would count as well.
- Alena from Dragon Quest IV.
- The female protagonist route added to Persona 3 in the PSP version turns the player character into one. The darker the game's plot gets, the more determinedly upbeat her dialogue options become.
- All of the Persona 4 girls show different shades of this after their Shadows are dealt with. Special mention goes to Rise Kujikawa, who took control of her Persona, Himiko, right after the Shadow Rise fight.
- And beating them all out is Maya Amano from Persona 2 who's catchphrase is "Let's think positive!" She remains upbeat throughout the game, serves as a Team Mom for the group, and gets promoted to Protagonist in Eternal Punishment.
- Maria Renard from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, doubled as a Badass in Distress. Right after being freed, you can control her all the way from where she's held captive to beat up Dracula all by herself and her pets (which is a case for most people anyway, since she's stronger and faster than Ricther.)
- Amy Rose of the Sonic the Hedgehog series often has shades of this.
- Ghost Trick's Lynne gets killed no less than five times in one night, but she'll be damned before that will keep her from laughing it all off with her cheerfull theme tune every time Sissel has to go back in time to undo her deaths. And then there is the bravery she displays when she gets trapped in a sinking submarine with Kamila. Kamila couldn't wish for a finer protective older sister surrogate even if she wanted to try.
- Chun Li. Oh my, Chun Li. The first Action Girl in fighting game history simply can't be less. Followed by Cammy White, "Rainbow" Mika Nanakawa, Sakura Kasugano, Karin Kanzuki, Elena, Ibuki, Maki Genryusai, Makoto, Rose, Ingrid...
- In regards to non-fighting female charas, Yun's Hot-Blooded "non-girlfriend" Houmei is this; considering how calm she is when around her, her little sister Shaomei might count too. Eliza Masters can be considered to be an Older and Wiser version: we don't see a lot of her but she's almost always smiling and patient, and the mere fact that she's Happily Married to a dude who's very often fighting out there implies that she's got quite the patience.
- While a number of BlazBlue girls qualify for this in some shape or form, Makoto Nanaya clearly stands head and shoulders above the rest. If she can stand to rebuild a positive outlook on life in the wake of a lifetime of wall-to-wall Fantastic Racism, you're going to need some heavy ordinance to break her down - physical injury, financial woes, mind games, a trip through the Boundary, and Yuuki Terumi's mental penis don't work.
- Kairi from Kingdom Hearts. She was prepared to take on Saix unarmed at one point, and Axel commented on her guts.
- Quite a lot of the female characters from the Soul Series. Nearly every female character who has ever appeared in a Soul game is either this trope, or an Ice Queen. Cassandra, Xianghua and Talim are this big time, Sophitia and Seung Mina were this in their earliest incarnations but grew out of it to eventually become other tropes, and in the most recent game Soul Calibur V, Pyrrha (specially when she manages to pull herself together after years of Break the Cutie), Yan Leixia (who runs away to both refuse an Arranged Marriage and to seek for adventure) and Natsu (Taki's pupil and one of Leixia's travel partners).
- In Tears To Tiara 2 we have Charis. The little girl around seven or eight years of age right smack in the middle of a war, has to abandon her home, and witness destruction, atrocities, and quite a number of monsters. And she never gives up and never stops being cheerful. At Eburon Hamil is about to charge suicidally into the Imperial ranks for a chance to take Izebel with him, before Tart points out to him Charis is going to follow him on his suicide charge, all cheerful and smiles. He stops himself to not get her killed.
- The sisters Nakoruru and Rimururu from Samurai Shodown, as well as Cham-Cham and Charlotte Marie Colde.
- Mary Clarissa Christie, the main character from Shikkoku No Sharnoth. The minigame is even based off of it: If her mental state falls too far, you lose.
- Emi Ibarazaki from Katawa Shoujo, a young woman who lost her legs and her father in an horrifying accident, but around a year later she had already relearned to walk, and is the star of Yamaku High's track team. Once you pursue her route, though, it's a Deconstructed Trope. Emi knows that loss of a relationship is normal, and it is best to be strong and move on. However, at the same time, the same stubbornness that enables her to deal with her issues prevents Emi from growing close to anyone because she is afraid that the pain of loss will prevent her from moving onto the future. This prevents anyone from helping her when she does need it.
- Nothing gets Hiyoko Tousaka down for long. Not even being unintentionally killed by her best friend/love interest and then cut up into pieces by a mad doctor keeps her from taking an active role in the plot and helping Ryouta when he needs it the most.
- From the Ace Attorney games, we have Maya Fey - always doing her best to smile in the face of all kinds of crap. She's followed by Trucy Wright in Apollo Justice and Athena Cykes in Dual Destinies.
- Mikae Morikawa, Arisa Miyoshi, Chiemi Fujimoto and Yumi Matsumiya from True Love Junai Monogatari
- From New Vindicators, there's Kirstie Arnett, also known as Parabola. While her Neo-Sapien powers can be useful, and she's not entirely helpless in a hand to hand fight, she's not quite an Action Girl and relies more on strength of character.
- Princess Sissi, the plucky farm girl who deals with danger and tribulation after tribulation to get married to her sweetheart, Prince Franz, all the while believing that she can bring peace to Austria and Hungary and helping who she can on the way.
- All four Chan daughters in The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, but Anne and Nancy in particular.
- Penny Gadget of Inspector Gadget.
- Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
- Apple Bloom from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Granny Smith was this as a filly as well.
- Pinkie Pie sometimes takes up the role too.
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders are pre-school versions.
- Annie from Adventures from the Book of Virtues.
- Amberley of The Dreamstone.
- Kim Possible.
- Suki and Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Asami Sato from ATLA sequel The Legend of Korra, who has has remained strong, kind, and supportive despite multiple betrayals and disappointments and a lot of loss.
- Toot from Drawn Together became a mix of this and Jerkass Woobie after going through Character Development.
- Julie Kane in Motorcity. The token female Action Girl of the Burners, who actually believes there might be still some good in her father.
- Princess Ilana in Sym-Bionic Titan. She's fairly cheerful, something of a Granola Girl and passionate about school-related activities. Although she is shown to worry about the state of the people on her planet.
- Miko from Transformers Prime, who is ever eager to get her self in to the action.
- Tinker Bell is portrayed as this in the Disney Fairies franchise. In her original film she was more of a Yandere, though she still showed traces of this when she fearlessly took a a bomb away from Peter and almost sacrificed herself to help him.
- LaToya Jackson. She was in an abusive relationship for a decade and then suffered the loss of her brother. Yet when you watch her in interviews, she's the happiest she has ever been.
- Malala Yousafzai.
- US Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug. In the Atlanta Olympic Games she gave the performance of her life, anchoring team USA — forever after nicknamed "The Magnificent Seven" — to its first-ever team gold medal. But the Americans' last rotation, vault, was a disaster. No gymnast — not even the fabled Shannon Miller — had managed to "stick the landing", and every step was another chip in their lead. Then disaster struck — Dominique Moceanu sat down her vault. Twice. Last to go, everything rested on Kerri — who sat down her first vault, severely spraining her ankle in an injury that normally renders someone unable to walk. But not Kerri, who stood up, shook it off, limped back to the start of the runway, and vaulted again. This time, she stuck it — on one foot — and ensured that team USA would indeed win gold. Then she crumpled to the mat in agony, and had to be carried by her coach to the podium so she could stand with the rest of her team.
- Aliya Mustafina, the greatest Russian gymnast since Svetlana Khorkina, was on top of the world in 2010, winning all-around gold and qualifying into every single event final at the World Championships. She was expected to dominate the next two years and be a major threat to the all-around podium in London. But at the 2011 European Championships, Mustafina tore her ACL on a vault, instantly ending her season. In gymnastics, an ACL tear is almost always a career-ender, and many people wrote her off. But Aliya didn't write herself off, and a year later she came out of the London Games as the most decorated gymnast there — including a bronze in the all-around and Russia's only gold medal on the uneven bars. Never again shall Aliya Mustafina be counted out of anything.