What Measure Is a Non-Badass?
The idea of a fandom and/or characters in a series disliking someone simply for not living up to the level of Badassery
that would be expected of the series or genre. Even more so if a little Angst is involved: expect that someone to be called out as wangsty
Expect an inherent Double Standard
in this trope, with men who do not live to the expectation of badassery being consigned to the eternal fires of being called out as "wimpy".
But this trope is not only for men... in fact, women are almost always hit the hardest with it: a non action girl
, or a fragile one
, is most definitely going to have a very bad fan reaction
, moreso than men.
This trope also leads to something of an Anti Intellectualism
attitude: The hard, grumpy, antisocial badass will be worshipped for being manly and tough, while The Smart Guy
, even if she's/he's just as awesome, will be treated as a pussy because they dare to resort to anything other than their fists (even though the smarter character will often use certain tropes that are seen as awesome
If the character in question is far more badass than the fandom gives them credit for, they may well be Underestimating Badassery
. In rare cases, the fandom know that a character is badass, but dislikes them all the same, either because the character isn't "badass enough" or because they are badass for reasons other than, for example, fighting ability. A quick way to test this is to think about what a character does in fiction and wait to see if any Fridge Logic
Compare Real Women Don't Wear Dresses
, A Real Man Is a Killer
This trope is possibly a consequence of I Just Want to Be Badass
. The Wish Fulfillment
aspect of fiction generally makes people want to see characters they identify with do things that are cool/heroic/manly (i.e. Badass
), which allows them to experience Badassery via a proxy of themselves. When the audience is denied their Wish Fulfillment
, they may dislike it and displace that dislike onto a character. Generally, any character that isn't a nail chewing badass (and/or is capable of showing... *eugh* emotion
) will be instantly dismissed as a Scrappy
or Creator's Pet
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Anime and Manga
- Mytho from Princess Tutu sometimes gets flak for this from the fandom, thanks to being a Distressed Dude for most of the first season... despite the fact that in the second season once he regains most of his heart he's revealed to be a better, more capable swordsman than fan-favorite Fakir. Given the ending, it's possible that the way this gets fans to prefer Fakir is intentional.
- Ganta from Deadman Wonderland is often lamented to be a useless, cowardly pansy, with many fans much preferring Crow (who is often declared the most Badass character in that series). They seem to be ignoring the fact that Ganta is only 14 (compared to Crow, who is obviously much older than him) and was just a normal student who never really got into fights, and who is also new to Deadman Wonderland.
- Yukiteru from Mirai Nikki, in that, much like Shinji, he is a young boy who was forced into a world of violence. For much of the run he is mostly intent to stay out of the survival game, sometimes protecting as best he can those he cares about (including enemies) and only killing when out of options, with utter revulsion. Importantly, he needs the guidance of Yuno and others to take effective action. Then after 20-30 chapters/18 episodes he gets broken and takes a Level in Badass.
- Canada from Axis Powers Hetalia. Partly as a case of Misplaced Nationalism, many Western fans have a tendency to turn him into a Memetic Badass and Deadpan Snarker instead of the fairly nice, unassertive guy he is in canon.
- China is also bashed once in a while because of his "girly" looks and voice, and he also gets some "revision" to make him more snarky and assertive (though not nearly as much as with Canada). Even though he's shown to have martial arts skills in canon and Super Strength rivaling America's in the anime.
- Poland's Keet behavior and penchant for ponies and skirts makes him hated in some circles. Him being one of the few nations who will fearlessly stand up to Russia will be conveniently ignored by them.
- In an odd case of this, fans of this kind don't hate Greece for being sleepy and laidback; they just want him to be with Turkey all the time because Turkey is the only thing that causes him to lose his calm, easygoing nature and hence makes him a Hot-Blooded Tsundere who's "stronger" and "cooler" than the calm Nice Guy he is with
Japan everyone who's not Turkey. Some of these fans even seem to believe that Greece waxing philosophical, taking care of numerous cats, and being affectionate and respectful toward Japan makes him a "personality-devoid Satellite Love Interest" because apparently he can't be a strong or complex character if he isn't constantly angry, fight-happy, short-tempered, or otherwise "manly" like he is with Turkey.
- Lithuania gets this sometimes, due to his Woobie tendencies...as with Poland, the fact that he definitely has shades of Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, and that it's the fandom itself that wimpifies him, tends to go ignored.
- Hungary is sometimes used as THE example of a "strong female character" and as a yardstick to measure all the other Hetalia girls with, with her fans then bashing the other girls for "not being strong enough". Conversely, she's also bashed due to the trope: many "feminist fans" believe that she was only a good female character when she was a little kid, due to thinking that she was a boy. They then state that when she became girlier and later became Austria's Violently Protective Girlfriend she "lost her strength" and "betrayed feminism" for hanging around Austria's Big Fancy House and protecting a Non-Action Guy like him.
- ALL the female characters have been smacked around with this trope, no matter how their personalities and roles are. For the "fandom feminists" Belgium is a weak whore for wearing a cute dress once and using flowing skirts sometimes (nevermind that she's a self-made woman and a Plucky Girl who doesn't let her brother Netherlands and other guys boss her), Belarus is a psycho bitch for dressing like an Elegant Gothic Lolita and chasing after her brother Russia (while Russia is fetishized and adored for being even more psychotic than she is), Taiwan is a stupid bitch who wants to be Japan's "child bride" and nothing else (even when she interacts with the Asian boys as an equal and without fear, and that she NEVER clings to Japan), Liechtenstein is a weakling whom everyone takes pity of (despite how she can handle someone as grumpy as Switzerland without even blinking), etc.
- The Nyotalia cast, when not being bashed for being too "girly" or "useless" compared to their male counterparts, are also sometimes used as a way to bash on the canon female characters, deeming them to be less badass and compelling than whatever potential the Nyotalia characters could have. The male Nyotalia characters are also sometimes deemed better than their canon female counterparts, simply because they'd appear stronger.
- A couple of fans had this complaint about Canute in Vinland Saga. Many hoped he'd be killed off eventually. Which is moronic, since he is a historical figure that lived to be quite old, and thus the only guaranteed survivor amongst the heroes.
- A complaint regarding a number of Demoted to Extra characters from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Prime example is Yuuno Scrya, but many would also level the complaint regarding Chrono Harlaown, who has shown himself to be genuinely Bad Ass on occasion. Some people would even say this about Nanoha herself, because she seems to be nonlethal no matter how much property damage she ends up inflicting, up to and including blowing through a large portion of a warship from inside. It's actually supposed to be a sign of Nanoha's power that she has enough self-control to only inflict nonlethal but very, very painful magical damage.
- Bleach: Orihime is The Medic, a Barrier Warrior and a true pacifist in a battle manga. In universe and out she is regarded as unsuited for battle. When her Trauma Conga Line was taken to its natural Heroic BSOD climax, she was castigated as irredeemable by a portion of the fanbase for not breaking out of character to fight back against villains even the combat characters were being thrashed by, despite her never once giving up trying to heal and shield those fighters. Conversely, combat characters who have suffered an Heroic BSOD and actually given up entirely (including the main character) receive sympathy, excuses and forgiveness from the fanbase who consider it to be character development. Eventually, Word of God himself stepped in to point out that Orihime's experience is quite a natural human reaction to the level of abuse and stress she had suffered. It didn't stop the double-standard.
- This somehow happened in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Many of Kamina's fanboys (which is about 90 percent of the people that watched the show), refuse to acknowledge Simon as the main character, simply because, according to them, he's not as badass as Kamina... despite the fact that the show made it clear that Simon far surpassed Kamina by the end of the show, and without Simon's help, Kamina wouldn't have made it as far as he did. In the Lotus-Eater Machine, Kamina himself admits that Simon has surpassed him. Misaimed Fandom at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.
- Probably due more to Replacement Scrappy Syndrome, for those who actually dislike Simon anyways. In terms of badasstry, Simon has done WAY more than Kamina has if only for the fact that he has much more screen time. May also have to do with Kamina's more moronic and over-the-top personality (moronic is not diminutive since fans love the fact that he acts like a moron).
- Additionally, Rossiu is considered The Scrappy by a large number of fans because he's the Only Sane Man and more subdued and cynical than the rest of the cast.
- Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist gets hit pretty hard with this in the 2003 anime version. He's not weak, but he's much more reluctant to fight than his brother, and has a much quieter personality in general. He's still a main player whose actions have a direct effect on plot development, but many fans dislike him for not being proactive or badass enough.
- This trope is probably one reason why Fuu from Samurai Champloo gets a lot of hate, having no fighting prowess and being The Heart of her group. There's some Misaimed Fandom in this opinion, in that while her co-protagonists, Jin and Mugen, are certainly badass, it's quite clear that they really lack social/life skills (Jin starts out stoic to the point of apathy and isn't good at anything except kendo; Mugen is a hotheaded Sociopathic Hero who doesn't plan ahead at all), and probably wouldn't have developed as people had Fuu not roped them into serving as her bodyguards.
- Fuu does start out rather spoiled, dragging along the two bodyguards without any planning. It's not so much that she influences the other protagonists (though one would argue that she's the primary instigator); they all contribute to their own developments. At a certain point, none of them want to be separated and learn their own personal lessons.
- Happens in the One Piece fandom too. If they're not badass, THEY SUCK AND ARE ANNOYING AND WEAK, no questions asked. Apparently, to many fans it matters not if a character is intelligent, has a wonderful heart, or has a strong moral compass. And never mind that many of the badasses on this show never would have gotten anywhere or would be dead by now if not for the 'weak' characters.
- Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion has many moments of angst, cowardice, selfishness, and reluctance and outright refusal to fight, but also has plenty of moments of heroism, bravery and absurdly awesome feats. But according to some people he is always the former and the latter are anomalies that should be ignored in favour of mocking him. (Or, in the instance of some famous pieces of fanfiction, have him take several thousand levels of badass.)
- Shinji was the audience stand-in with some wish-fulfillment thrown in. He was expected to grow into a badass, as with other shounen leads. When he didn't meet audience expectations, some audience members saw it as an attack against them. This would also explain why there are so many fix-fics where Shinji turns into what's expected from a shounen lead. One critic even pointed out that if Shinji had been female, Shinji would be far more popular and sympathetic (with Japanese audiences at least).
- It also may explain why female EVA fans sometimes tend to be more sympathetic to Shinji's plight than male fans. That, and there's Kaworu...
- For viewers of the anime version of Fate/stay night unfamiliar with the VN, Shirou wasn't Rescued from the Scrappy Heap until he finally subverted this trope. The early part of the series lacked the justifying and mitigating motivations behind Shirou's behavior, and revealed relatively late in the story how painful and potentially life-threatening his independent practice of magic was to him.
- Also, Sakura in the VN. She is a Distressed Damsel, and in her route she doesn't kick ass like Saber or Rin, but that doesn't mean it's her fault that she's horrifyingly abused by the Matou family, as well as raped constantly by her stepbrother Shinji. And yet fans continue to bash her, implying it's her own fault that she's an abuse and rape victim!
- Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is condemned by the fanbase for being emotionally crushed by all that happens to her at the start, this changes as the anime progresses and show more of Madoka's character and the situation that she is in.
- It would seem these fans focus on Madoka's justified grief at the situation without taking into account that Madoka is a firmly proactive protagonist, saving people from unwittingly killing themselves at the hands of a witch, singlehandedly trying to stop Sayaka from fighting, and trying to convince Homura to team up with Sayaka for her benefit; all of this meant to establish that trying one's best to do what's right doesn't always result in a happy ending. Perhaps the audience missed the point?
- The ending makes it a Defied Trope, as she rescues herself from the scrappy heap without becoming a badass. She essentially saves everyone with The Power of Love, by Rules Lawyering herself into goddessdom.
- One of the key reasons some Seto Kaiba fans find Yugi and his friends unlikable. (The other? Ron the Death Eater)
- This trope also sums up the attitude to non-dueling main characters who are sometimes seen as useless or unneccessary in a world where Duels Decide Everything.
- One of the reasons why many fans like Mikoto more than main heroine Index in To Aru Majutsu no Index. Sure, their difference in personality has somethng to do with it but the fact that Index is a more passive and usually non-combat character while Mikoto is an Action Girl definitely had impact.
- Thing is, Index can be Badass Adorable when she wants to. People just ignore that.
- Out of the fans of Fairy Tail who prefer Erza over Lucy, a good portion of them were heavily influence by this.
- If you follow an anime series in which the heroine is bullied or abused (specially by her classmates or her family) and doesn't resort to beating them up as a result... please think twice before reading the comments and/or reading about it on blogs. Mikan from Gakuen Alice, Tohru from Fruits Basket and Nanako of Oniisama e... are specially hated by stupid watchers who blame them for the hardships they go through "because they're weak whores who don't fight back".
- Many parts of the Naruto Fan Dumb utterly embody this attitude as applied to any character: any time a character appears to be something less than a Badass who accomplishes everything without any effort whatsoever, you have hoards of people saying how they must suck as a character because they are "weak". In the rare occasions where they don't, they'll bitch that the writer sucks for not making them "badass enough" or turning them into Mary Sues.
- Shouma Takakura from Mawaru-Penguindrum gets potshots that range from mere affectionate jokes to straight-up bashing for not being as action-geared as his older brother Kanba. Even more so after episode 19.
- Kaoru of Rurouni Kenshin is the head of her own dojo and is ostensibly a national-level fencing champion. But hanging around Kenshin and Sanosuke and the caliber of villains they fight means she is constantly outclassed. Still doesn't mean she deserves the utter SHIT she gets from fandom.
- Never mind that White of Pokémon Special has her own dreams (which boils down to making people happy nationwide with the added bonus of boosting the economy), knows what she has to do to achieve them, and can do it as well (which involves running her own business, an impressive feat for a girl in her mid-teens); she gets constantly bashed for not knowing how to battle right off the bat. Fans seem to ignore that Yellow and Platinum initially didn't know how to battle in their respective arcs.
- Nite Owl II of Watchmen definitely qualifies for this. Since he decided he wouldn't want to be involved in a futile battle of good against evil for the rest of his life and retired, he's clearly the "worst" of the main characters.
- Even Rorschach held this view for a period of time. And considering his popularity with readers, his view of Nite Owl II probably contributed to the way a lot of fans saw him. Rather ironic considering how Moore intended the exact opposite effect.
- Parodied in I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC, where Dan and Cyclops discuss this trope.
- Speaking of which, Scott/Cyclops himself seems to fall into this trope. Holds his own against Wolverine in hand-to-hand combat, takes out the entire team when they're brainwashed and he's injured, beats up six men at once with his eyes shut, pulls off impossible trick shots, earns the nickname Fearless Leader... and a lot of X-Men fans still think of him as a pussy, because he dares to not get along with Wolverine (which, when you think about it, is pretty badass in its own little way).
- Later years come with an inversion - some don't like him because he takes several levels in badass one after another since Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, that it's just ridiculous - fans think that his balls took control over him and they are leading the X-Men right now.
- It has less to do with his actions and more with his many years of being a boring by-the-book Standardized Leader, constantly angsting over Jean Grey didn't help much either, then throw in inconsistent writing and voila. Though, as previously mentioned this has definitely changed over time.
- Also, for the young teen male fan demographic (which, let's face it, is a large chunk of the audience for comics, stereotype or not), Scott's powers don't look like fun. Yes, they're potent, yes, they can be used to take down most targets...but the constant, unremitting self control they demand looks more like work than fun. Which it is, by any reasonable standard Scott's mutant ability is a curse, because he can't control it other than by use of his visor. Thus, even though Scott has, at times, displayed every single identifying mark of the Badass (he is, in fact, a major Badass), he's not the kind of badass a 13 year old boy wants to be.
- Notably, however, is its no so much that he isn't a badass, as stated previously. Its that his badassary isn't, well, blatant, or as blatant as Wolverine's. When dealing with a situation, Cyclops will think about it first and plan out a strategy, which, in fairness, he's very good at. After Captain America, he's the best strategist in the Marvel Universe. While Wolverine will just run into it head first and get similar results. However, this is usually ignoring something important: Wolverine can heal and has indestructible bones, Cyclops does not. Wolverine can just run into a situation, get tossed around, and recover in time to hit back, while Cyclops needs to use his brain in order to beat most threats to win. Combined with Running the Asylum, which lead Cyclops to becoming a massive Jerk Ass (since, for some reason, being a jerk is seen as Badass for some strange, stupid reason) to make him 'better'. Those who do like him tend to resent the writers, the Vocal Minority fans responsible for this attitude, and Wolverine for this, as it does come down to, basically, Cyclops being 'boring' because he's smart.
- While not usually, a Badass Normal hero will get heat for being 'normal' and not super powered. An yes, that includes Batman (though obviously, this is so rare its not really warrant noting). As there's many superheroes to which normal problems would be boringly easy, they need threats that would challenge them. But, this leaves the badass normals useless in these situations: If they're only human, than it would be ridiculous for them to deal with the same level of threats the other does regularly. But, in a shared universe, the normal guy will look pathetic in comparison: Superman can deal with planets colliding, while Batman can (just barely) deal with two trains colliding by himself. While they can be compensated in Team ups by the 'normal' guy doing something more flashy (such as performing some insanely cool looking martial arts moves to fight a group of enemies) while the super dos something more boring looking (like just a simple backhand to all three), usually, there will be a massive power slant, resulting in team ups being used to deal with middle ground threats at most while Superman Stays out of Gotham. Because of this, the Badass Normal will have a certain stigma to deal with: They'll have to really prove they're a tough badass, who can deal with the situation head on or else they'll be regarded as pathetic.
- The most notable of this case being Hawkeye of the Avengers: Despite being one of the most popular of the group and one of the most badass heroes in the Marvel Universe, he's often seen, in universe and out, by some as being 'the weakest' of Avengers, since while his teammates include Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man, he's 'just a guy with a bow and arrow'. The fact that he can keep up with these guys without falter is sadly lost on some people.
- This has actually started to become inverted in recent years, due to the popularity of Badass Normals (Batman in particular). Now it's the superpowered ones who are seen as less Badass because they have superpowers, yet the Badass Normals are written as being able to take on the same threats as they do.
- It doesn't help that Badass Normals tend to be shoehorned into the role of The Smart Guy in teamup situations, since it's a role they can conceivably fill without superpowers, which in the hands of a bad writer can make characters that are plenty smart in their own titles look like Dumb Muscle by comparison.
- Similarly, the Bat Family, Batman's partners, Robins, sidekicks, and mentees. While Batman has the same stigma as above, he's still seen as an incredible badass. So, his sidekicks, who unfortunately are limited in how many levels they can rise to or risk overshadowing him, tend to appear this (Dick Grayson being the poster child of Distressed Dude during the Silver Age does NOT help one bit). With exception of Cassandra Cain, they're occasionally hit with this by someone, the worst being Stephanie Brown. While each member have at least one skill they excel at (Dick's leadership and acrobatics, Tim's detective skills, Babs' intelligence, Jason's homicidal violence, etc) Steph is a realistic portrayal of a Badass Normal: She's got an average intellect and reasonable training and skills in fighting and athletics, she lacks Photographic Memory and Training from Hell the others possess. So, while she is, really, as badass, if not more so, than many real life people or action heroes, she's limited in what she could reasonably achieve.
- When Steph replaced Cass, there as many who screamed, if they didn't play the, albeit somewhat justified, Race Card. They stated that Steph didn't 'deserve' to replace Cass, which included such people as Gail Simone (who does regret reacting with such, due to how good Steph's run was), and to this day there's many a Hate Dumb that will decry her as 'weak', 'pathetic', 'stupid', and call her 'incompetent' for not having Charles Atlas Superpowers and being The Pollyanna.
- In the Teen Titans fandom, though some of the "weaker" characters will have their fans, they are generally hated for not being as badass, interesting, or compelling as the major members of the team. A few examples come from this:
- Aqualad/Tempest took heat from some fans and DC editorial for having "lame" powers (similar opinions exist about his mentor, Aquaman), and for coming off weaker, less "manly", and less proactive than the other male Titans. Even after he got an upgrade in power, his role gradually diminished and he was killed off. Phil Jimenez (who wrote the Tempest mini-series) has stated that the current editorial team wasn't too fond of the character.
- Flamebird, for being ditzy and more obsessed with Robin at first than actually fighting seriously. Even after her character development, her hatedom still considers her "too useless", "girly", "stupid", and a waste of space that could be given to tougher characters.
- Jericho, for being too sensitive, a "wuss", not being much of an action guy, and having a flamboyant costume and weird hair in his early days. The showrunners of the animated series had stated they felt the need to try to make him look more badass, as they considered him to be pathetic in the comics.
- Played with, and possibly subtly deconstructed in Death Proof. The initial group of women that run into Stuntman Mike are treated as annoying, disposable types while the second group are the heroines we cheer for. No matter that the second group prove themselves to be irresponsible jackasses (such as abandoning one of their own to a seriously creepy possible rapist simply so they could whiz around in a car for a few hours); since they are indisputably Badass, we like them more than the theoretically more sympathetic (but non-Badass) first group.
- Take any of Steven Seagal's later movies; the most common complaint will be that he hardly does any real fighting anymore since he's gotten older and put on weight. As if the acting, writing, and production values wouldn't be terrible if he'd managed to stay as fast and fit as he was in his first few films. Though this is perhaps what inevitably happens when you build your entire early film career on the fact that you're a total badass.
- The fact the he is often replace with a double for a little of reason as walking hasn't helped.
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon got flak for Megatron, who in the first film was touted as being an unstoppable badass and in the second film easily tore apart most threats, being unable to fight during the third film due his grievous injuries from the last film, namely, the large hole in his head from being shot at point blank range by Optimus. As he's too injured to do much by himself, he gets essentially bullied around by Sentinel and is later Curb Stomped by Optimus, and people see this as an insult to their childhood or call him Anti-Climatic, all the while ignoring the reason for this.
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen also gave Megatron Flak for coming Back from the Dead in a (theoretically) more powerful body, but utterly failing at his fight(s) with Optimus only succeeding at his first through a cheap shot, and failing at the second because of Optimus's upgrades.
- In Wreck-It Ralph, Fix-it Felix Jr. seems fairly unimpressive next to his Love Interest Sgt. Calhoun. But when the chips are down, he ventures out into much tougher worlds to save his game and faces down Cy Borg monsters in defense of the whole arcade.
- This trope is behind much of the Fan Dumb dislike of characters (especially the women) in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Badass characters can get away with murder, while characters who are decidedly not, such as twelve-year old Sansa, incite a negative fan reaction from both the moronic fanboys and the misogynistic fangirls who believe that it's anti-feminist to be girly and like it.
Although a lot of people who don't like Sansa cite Wide-Eyed Idealism and Nice Job Breaking It, Hero as the reason why her "uselessness" is such a problem. In spite of her general inaction, she still managed to be Rescued from the Scrappy Heap for many of them her once she wised up and became more worldly, without needing to take badass actions.
- Fight Club is supposed to be a deconstruction of this. Supposed to be. The movie less so.
- Ginny Weasley. Molly Prewett-Weasley. Nymphadora Tonks. Lily Evans-Potter. All of these women are bashed endlessly by the Fan Dumb and called "weak", "slutty", submissive to men", "submissive to gender roles" and other misogynistic insults for one or another "reason". (Several of them rooted in Shipping, sadly.) i.e, Ginny becomes more outspoken, blossoms into a fine Cute Witch plucky girl and Harry falls for her? It doesn't matter, she only developed to be more "desirable" to Harry and steal him from Hermione who deserves him so much more! What a Mary Sue!
- In-universe in the Vorkosigan Saga: near the end of Barrayar, Cordelia is furious when she realizes that she's respected for ordering a man's head cut off, when other women who endured much more are dismissed.
Live Action TV
- Because of the mystery surrounding the character and his agelessness, many LOST fans built up Richard Alpert as the answer to the entire show, the most powerful character, and, among some fans, a literal Memetic Badass and the show's version of Chuck Norris. Fans on GameFAQs and Lostpedia even developed a joke episode dealing with the idea that he is a superhuman badass. So when the end of season 5 revealed Richard to be an ordinary person with realistic flaws and personality (as well as being an Unwitting Pawn), the fandom reacted violently and Richard suddenly became unpopular.
- The beginning of season 6 had "Fake Locke"'s first act after killing Jacob being to beat up Richard in front of the Others for no apparent reason other than to establish his authority. That didn't go over well with the aforementioned people.
- This often happens on Survivor where people make it to the finals but are told they're not badass by the jury despite that the game's Slogan is "Outwit, Outplay", and "Outlast". They tend to forget that last "O"...
- Natalie White was considered this on Survivor Samoa, particularly by her aggressive competitors who were with her in the last tribal council. Then jury-member Erik stands up and delivers a speech in which he points out that since she's still in the game, she must be doing something right, and furthermore, did it in a way that didn't sacrifice her integrity. Meanwhile, Mick claimed to deserve votes (Natalie didn't), while Russell Hantz just sociopathically bullied his way through the game and finished by boasting "These two suck - Aren't I awesome?" to the jury. This speech may well have contributed to her 7-2-0 win. Much of a Base Breaker as it was, compared to the following season, this would be nothing.
- Sandra Diaz-Twine in Heroes vs. Villains had this by the Base Breaker fans as well as Russell Hantz himself. Russell claims that Sandra being able to win twice is somehow proof that the game's rules are flawed, because she would be terrible at physical challenges and have zero personal immunities under her belt, yet was good enough with people to know what was up, and was able to play the lesser of three evils. ("I hate Russell, too.") Meanwhile, Parvati already had a pretty loyal fan base and played a game more people approved of, as opposed to Sandra who went with the flow. Some Sandra supporters even pointed out that Sandra had more allies in the jury (including the entire Heroes tribe) and Russell should have considered that — Parvati did realize this and tried to get Russell to see this too, but he kept on insisting that Sandra had no chance of winning... just like he insisted that Natalie had no chance of winning in Samoa. Cue the Humiliation Conga.
- Becky likely received no votes because of the final four tie-breaker where she and Sundra took two hours to make fire. Never mind that she and Sundra helped Yul and Ozzie go on a chain of immunity wins when the mutiny reduced their tribe to four.
- In fact, the Survivor players accused of being this are almost always female. Matthew, Rupert, Bob, and Fabio were criticized by some for their lack of strategic play compared to others, but not nearly as much as the above listed females were.
- Overall, "niceness" tends to be an extremely underrated trait among a vocal portion of the fanbase who complain whenever a strategic player is beaten by a less strategic but more likeable one and call these "nicey nice" winners "undeserving" winners who won only because they were facing bitter juries who didn't appreciate the strategy of their opponents. This not only ignores that more often than not, these so-called "strategic" players had horrible jury performances (Sugar from Gabon, Twila from Vanuatu, Russell from Samoa and Heroes vs. Villains, Sash from Nicaragua) compared to the strategic winners who knew how to read and work the jury (Chris from Vanuatu, Todd from China, Parvati herself from Micronesia) or bring along opponents even more disliked than them (Brian from Thailand, Rob from Redemption Island, Danni from Guatemala), but also that niceness has proven to be a valuable asset multiple times like how Bob's fatherliness endeared him to Sugar and Fabio's likability compared to his opponents was most likely the major reason for Na Onka voting for him in the end in spite of having regularly made fun of him in earlier episodes.
- Dr. Keller suffered from this a bit in Stargate Atlantis. While the other doctors in the show are also pretty non-action-oriented, Keller's fragility, especially when contrasted with Teyla's hardy survival instincts in the episode "Missing", do make her a boring character for some. To be fair, she isn't a soldier, but Rodney's been pretty badass since his big sacrifice in the second episode, so Keller does look pretty weak by comparison.
- This happens a lot with Guinevere in the Merlin fandom, with her portrayal caught in a quagmire of Die for Our Ship, Real Women Never Wear Dresses, and a Misaimed Fandom that believes Morgana is a great feminist icon. Where to start? On the surface, Guinevere is essentially portrayed as a Shrinking Violet, a stark contrast to Morgana as a Spirited Young Lady. Morgana gets to do lots of cool things: sword-fight, telekenetically throw people through the air, stand up to King Uther and wear gorgeous costumes. Guinevere's role is to be Arthur's Love Interest, Merlin's Black Best Friend, and is often accused of being an Extreme Doormat.
- However, this is a huge simplification of each woman's characterization and Character Arc: namely that Morgana's fall into evil was marked by her It's All About Me attitude in which she ranks her own grievances and pain against the needs of others and begins a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against not just Uther, but everyone, including innocent people. In contrast, Guinevere (who is also deeply wronged by Uther when he has her innocent father executed) rises above her inner turmoil and explicitly refuses wallow in hate. Many fans seem to have completely missed the juxtapositioning of Guinevere's declaration that she would never seek vengeance against Uther because: "that would make me just like him" with the recent observations by several characters that Morgana is now no different from Uther. It also fails to take into account the fact that Morgana is quite often a Faux Action Girl, with plans that are ill-thought out and fail constantly, whereas Guinevere's attempts at proactivity have a far higher success rate (retrieving the morteus flower from the dungeon, arguing on behalf of the women in Ealdor for their right to defend their homes, discovering a vital clue that allows her and Merlin to outwit the Witchfinder, convincing the council to open the gates of Camelot and allow the refugees to seek shelter in the city, escaping Helios's men by submerging herself in the river). Though Guinevere has played the Distressed Damsel a few times, Morgana has been in similar situations just as often (as have all the male characters) and is extremely Weak Willed given the consistency with which she is placed under enchantments. Guinevere, on the other hand, has the unprecedented move of removing an object of enchantment from her body of her own free will (and thus breaking the spell she was under).
- The reactions to Lancelot and Guinevere are a perfect example of this trope. Most of the complaints about the episode state it as Guinevere's biggest Distressed Damsel moment, and that she needed three attempts by Morgana, Lancelot, and then Arthur and Merlin to rescue her due to her extreme incompetence. 1) It was Guinevere's You Shall Not Pass moment that saved Morgana, not the other way around, 2) In Lancelot's rescue, we never see her get captured, so we don't know if she tripped or ran into a group of bandits, and 3) All of that would have been for nothing had Gwen not kept up a Morgana impression throughout the duration of her imprisonment, which kept her alive until help could come. Uther even mentions that it would take a small army to beat the number of bandits in the fortress she was held in, so unless you're expecting her to spontaneously turn into River Tam, there was no way she could have escaped without help.
- An in universe example appears in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with characters such as Willow, Xander and Dawn being derided for not being badass. Buffy eventually bitches everyone out because they aren't, which comes back to bite her when her nemesis Faith appears and treats the potential Slayers as though they will be badass, in time.
- In any tabletop RPG, it's not uncommon for certain character builds to be considered badass or overly strong. In some cases this is simply because conventional player wisdom expects them to be (such being the case with many late-game Wizard builds in 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons) or because the setting declares them to be so (street samurai in Shadowrun, juicers in RIFTS). However, every gamemaster runs a game their own way and a character that is theoretically badass on paper may turn out to be useless because the challenges the party faces aren't in their area of expertise.
- To use one of the aforementioned examples, a street samurai in Shadowrun is a cyberwared-rocking, face-destroying nightmare of a combat monster... until the party realizes stealth, ingenuity and kill-free missions work out better. The end result is a screwed-out player rocking back and forth in his/her seat, looking utterly useless.
- In Dungeons & Dragons forums, you are worthless if you can't deal lots of damage. Thus metagaming pros like Divination Wizards are overlooked. So are smooth talking Bards and Rogues who can stealth and sneak and talk their way out of anyone who wants to listen.
- The Protagonist of Kingdom Hearts, Sora, seems to be somewhat of a Base Breaker because of this. He's goofy, naive, and lacks angst and ambition, and is incredibly gentle and empathic. His attitude sort of screams the opposite of badassery. He is also quite possibly the second most powerful individual in the universe, beaten out by a reality warping physical god. Without training or preparation, he has accomplished more than three of his (formally trained) predecessors put together. His combat prowess is ridiculously inflated in Kingdom Hearts 2's Action Commands, but this serves only to highlight the dissonance.
- Max Payne 3 has been met with tremendous backlash for various reasons, but among them is that Max is now well into middle age, heavier and bald.
- Eliwood from Fire Emblem Elibe. He says he doesn't like war that much. Clearly, he must be a pansy.
- He's screwed over by being balanced between Lyn and Hector (a Fragile Speedster and Mighty Glacier respectively, both of whom can easily become LightningBruisers). Compared to some of the other lords in this series, he's a freaking death machine, especially compared to his own son Roy from the sixth game.
- Roy and Eliwood are the same pre-promotion and Roy is a complete beast and better than his father post-upgrade. It also depends on whether you got lucky with the random number generator level system.
- Action Girl and Proud Warrior Race Girl Lyndis aka Lyn is used as THE yardstick by which a lot of FE females are measured. I.e., lead female Eirika from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is often compared disfavorably to Lyn, and "weaker" females like Ninian, Florina or Nino are hotly bashed for "not being strong women" like Lyn is.
- The aforementioned Eirika is often put under the microscope, nitpicked and/or downright bashed for being a sensitive Nice Girl aside of All-Loving Hero and the Action Girl, with some even openly denying that both she and Ephraim are the protagonists of the game... saying Ephraim is the only lead and using non-canon things like FANART to prove it. This has become worse ever since Fire Emblem Awakening has her in the Bride class: it doesn't matter that she's still a fighter and also gains access to staves, HOW DARES THE OFFENSIVE HOBAG WEAR A PRETTY DRESS... nevermind that the whole bride!Eirika is an optional download, that the Bride class is actually pretty useful, and that you can get Eirika as her usual Action Girl as well if you desire so.
- But this doesn't come anywhere near close to the sheer hatred poor Sumia gets for this in Fire Emblem Awakening. Never mind the fact that the single-handedly saved Chrom's life in her first battle, that she once hits him to get him out of his funk and that she never backs off the battlefield even if she's married with kids, the Fan Dumb still considers her "weak" and "anti-feminist" for daring to bake Chrom pies and do his laundry during their supports. Most of this hate comes from fans of other Chrom pairings who use this trope in an attempt to "justify" their Die for Our Ship towards here. (Much like Ninian in FE 7) It really doesn't help that two of Chrom's other potential love interests, Sully and the Female Avatar, are The Lad-ette and a Badass Bookworm respectively (and Sully is much more popular in America than in Japan); this made both poor girls (very powerful and likeable characters in their own rights, and good friends with Sumia to boot) the perfect vessels for the sexist fangirls who think "feminine bad, tomboyish good", often while reducing Sully and Female Avatar's worth as women to either of them getting Chrom's cock for herself.
- Metal Gear Solid 2's Raiden got a lot of flak from fanboys, mostly for being a Replacement Scrappy for Solid Snake, but attributed to him being a "weak, overly-feminine character" (despite the fact that he fought well, taking down several Metal Gears, killing the Big Bad, and did far better than most people could have done in his profoundly shitty situation, leaving with renewed purpose, the respect of his mentor, a renewed relationship with the woman he loved, and with the child of a castmate still alive). Metal Gear Solid 4 reinvented him to be a cyborg ninja, and these days, he's a lot more popular - even though his ninja self spent half of the game dying slowly of kidney failure and the other half whining about his awful situation (something which in Metal Gear Solid 2 he would have tried to deal with) and taking orders from a little girl. It just goes to show how shallow this trope (and/or people's standards of Badassery) is; Raiden was judged pathetic because of his appearance (his actions apparently did not matter).
- Also an example of Misaimed Fandom. Metal Gear Solid 2 revolved around the idea of Raiden rejecting puppetry and not being pigeon-holed into the role of Solid Snake in favor of finding his own identity. He kinda-sorta succeeded, and he had a reasonably hopeful ending. Come Metal Gear Solid 4, and Raiden has been forced into the role of Cyborg Ninja. Fanboys think this is awesome, when in the context of the series it is decidedly not.
- The title character of the Mega Man X series gets this a lot. His actual viewpoint (except for in the seventh game) is that he'd rather not fight, but does because he feels he has to. But because he wishes he didn't have to go to war, he's usually portrayed as a pansy and/or gay (though the latter has more to do with the Ho Yay between him and Zero). Zero, by contrast, is a Badass killbot with a laser sword, who enjoys Epic Battle Boredom, and is thus much more popular.
- Fans also like to completely ignore the fact that once X has all his upgrades and armors, he's an unstoppable One-Man Army who is much more powerful than Zero. Not only that but both he and Zero have climatically fought each other to a tie, Zero outright says X is the better Hunter, and a bad guy killed millions so X would fight him all-out (and had no interest in fighting Zero). But no, still a pansy because he realizes that after 8 wars, more fighting doesn't solve anything.
- It's truly amazing how many people can dismiss him technically beating Zero in X5, while surrounded by a virus that weakens him and renders Zero Nigh Invulnerable, and only succumbs to its effects after beating the death machine into the ground.
- But it cuts both ways. X is one of the more popular protagonists in part because he's considered to be farther up the badass scale than Rock and the others. Power Levels and Sigma's sometime-Magnificent Bastard status have something to do with it.
- The main reason people hate Edward/Gilbert in Final Fantasy IV. Rosa suffers from this too.
- Despite the fact that Rosa's Holy/White spell does almost as much damage as Meteo, but only to a single target, and takes far less time to cast. She's also the best, if not only, healer/support in the game and does more physical damage (sometimes insane damage) than any other mage-type character in the game.
- Carl Johnson from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas; his actual feats are comparable to those of Tommy Vercetti and Niko Bellic, but he also has a tendency to show compassion to those who he wronged. Because, you know, actually ''considering'' the ramifications of his actions every once in a while makes him a pussy.
- It does not help that some of his cutscenes involve some lack of competence. Pushed around by two cops, scolded by his brother or being literally raped by a psychotic woman does not help his case.
- Touhou has Rinnosuke, the only named humanoid male character in the entirely of Gensoukyou that isn't missing or dead who happens to completely lack any combat ability. If he isn't ignored entirely in favour of more badass characters, the fandom almost constantly portrays him as a Memetic Badass (known as MANnosuke) who all of Gensoukyou fears and/or a Memetic Sex God who is the constant target of everyone's affections (though granted, it is never certain whether Touhou fandom is joking or not). Furthering the trope, this may be linked to how Rinnosuke is the oldest and closest friend of Marisa (regularly considered the manliest character in the series), and a badass character having a non-badass friend is clearly blasphemy.
- In Pokémon, there is a small but vocal group of people who will not stand for anyone who uses non-attacking moves in their monsters. There seems to be a continuum here; one example of disagreement among this group is whether or not Sleep moves are acceptable.
- This is likely a side effect of competitive circles, who dislike moves and strategies that rely on luck calculations such as chance of evasion and duration of status effects. After all, one of their goals is for any two matches in which the players perform the same actions to have the same outcome, and thus conclusively prove which player is more skilled and not more lucky.
- Also from the Pokémon Black and White fandom are people who view N Harmonia as "weak and stupid" because he doesn't go around doing a ton of evil stuff like the other main-series antagonists before him did (this despite the fact that he does manage to use a Legendary Pokemon far more effectively than the others, and he still controls the story to a greater extent than any villain before him except Cyrus).
- In Dynasty Warriors, one of the biggest reasons Guan Suo gets backlash from fans is solely for his character design (Or more specifically, having flower in his hair). The majority of the backlash comes from fans from the west, who only seem to tolerate characters with a bishounen appearance if their actions or relevance screams badassery. But since he fits neither note , he is seen as a Scrappy in their eyes.
- Since Samus Aran's introduction, she had been built up in the fandom's eyes as a strong woman and a complete and utter badass. But then Metroid: Other M showed that she had in fact been traumatized by the things she had seen, despite that never being implied before, and fan reactions weren't pretty. It didn't help that the story's execution had some problems (much of which is arguably centered around flawed localization failing to account for cultural differences between the ways USA and Japan portray certain emotional reactions), among other oddities in the script like a justification for the Bag of Spilling that doesn't hold up.
- After the backlash, the idea that Samus was always regarded as a cold badass was used by Fanboys as a strawman against Other M's many, many detractors who completely miss the point, as nobody reacted badly when Samus mourned over the hunters in Metroid Prime 3 for example. It's that Other M turned her from capable woman to barely functional emotional cripple with severe daddy issues.
- This one of the reasons why Yuki from The King of Fighters was hated. Since she was a mix of Barrier Maiden and Ordinary High School Student who didn't fight, fans of other female characters thought she was stupid, useless, weak, and stole Kyo from "more deserving" strong females (and/or other males). Because a woman's fighting skills and physical strength are what determine if she "deserves" a love interest or not, and if she's a "strong female character" her success in life won't be complete unless she gets the boyfriend that the fangirls want for her.
- Some Homestuck fans are enraged at trollwoobie Tavros for failing to stand up to Vriska, who enjoys killing people and crippled him. And for being impaled on his own lance when he finally decides to confront her.
- Which leads to a horrible pun of the wheelchair bound Tavros not being able to stand up to Vriska.
- The creator of Survivor: Fan Characters has a very dim view of the tendency of some parts of the Survivor fanbase to blast players as "undeserving" just because they weren't as strategic as their opponents, especially in regards to claims that Russell Hantz "should" have won over Natalie and/or Sandra, and has criticized this mindset repeatedly in his comic. Whenever he sets up a strategic player to be beaten by a less strategic one, he'll make sure to point out that the winner might not have had the best strategic game but played a much better social game (Montana from Season 3, Ker from Season 7, Cherman from Season 9) and that their "strategic" opponent alienated members of the jury by either backstabbing more than they needed to (Baxter from Season 3) or turning off people with their sociopathic gameplay (Wrecker from Season 7, Bonnie from Season 9). This hasn't stopped some fans from complaining about these winners having "no game", especially in regards to Ker, but the SFC fanbase by large seems to be more accepting of these winners with Montana and Cherman easily being among the series' most popular winners.
- This trope is deconstructed in-universe in Great. The main character, Lyle, Takes A Level In Badass after realizing that his boring and mundane life sucks, and ultimately becomes a highly successful chef. The deconstruction comes in when his wife turns out to be a better chef than he, thus leading to everybody else finding Lyle's food inedible, and Lyle being unable to accept the fact that somebody is better than him. So he goes on a journey of self-discovery, and doesn't realize until the last arc that, even though he was very successful, he wasn't happy, and only finds contentedness when he settles for just running a small noodle shop in the park, and living a normal life. The comic is practically screaming to the reader that one does not need to be a Badass to live a fulfilling life.
- An in-universe example: in Season 10 of Red vs. Blue, Church claims that Washington has gone from being a Badass Freelancer who could fight toe-to-toe with Tex to Carolina's whipping boy - yet he is still a skilled fighter and has in fact turned the Blues into a much more effective fighting force. The Badass Decay is relative when compared to Carolina. And it gets completely revoked when he puts a gun to Carolina's head when she threatens Tucker and shoots her an Ironic Echo before walking out on her.
- Femmy bisexual Donnie DuPre from Demo Reel got the comments sections flinging homophobic insults like "pathetic f*g" because, get this horror, he ending up crying after being kidnapped, left in the woods to die, his every attempt at getting food failed, he was missing his dead mommy and he thought nobody would mourn him. What a whiny twit.
- Korra from The Legend of Korra has gotten heat, bashing, shaming and false Faux Action Girl accusations for daring to angst and cry when she feels she can't live up to Avatar Aang's awesome legacy, and especially for crying and maybe even considering suicide to allow for a better Avatar to be reborn (according to some) when Katara couldn't restore her bending in the Grand Finale. Among the more understandable criticism of how this was dealt with in-story, loud screams of "sexism" and "misogyny" were heard from "fandom feminists" everywhere.
- Fandom ONLY started to lighten up in the Asami hate when she showed herself as an Action Girl Badass Normal. And yet the moment she showed human reactions to the Love Triangle business, some people were and still are quick to accuse her of being "nothing but Mako's Clingy Jealous Girl" (Despite how she mostly defies the CJG trope.)
- The trope was actually lampshaded in series. Korra at first assumed that Asami was a prissy Rich Bitch only into shopping and makeovers, and only started treating her with respect when she learned she was a Biker Babe. Korra was NOT supposed to be seen as being in the right: it was established that she had a chronic lack of social skills due to her sheltered upbringing, that she was acting very rude towards the Spoiled Sweet girl who sponsored her and her team, and she also made lots of assumptions solely based on Asami's looks and her wealthy background without bothering to dig deeper. She later took these assumptions back, aknowledging that having girlier interests doesn't automatically equal to being a priss.
- And now there's the passive-aggressive and insidious war between Korra fans and Asami fans, in which the trope is thrown back and forth to make one girl look better than the other. And it has reached this very wiki and LOK example. Fandom truly is unpleasable.
- Lion-O from ThunderCats (2011) gets this treatment both in and out of universe. His more pacifistic and merciful attitude is dismissed and mocked by his own race for not adhering to their warrior culture values. On the fandom side, many fans have expressed a disliking of Lion-O for losing a lot of the battles he gets into, especially in contrast to his brother Tygra who beats him every time they fight. When Lion-O does overcome his enemies, it is usually done through cunning or seen as being done too easily or without any real skill.
- What's ironic is that a major theme of the series is showing how someone doesn't need to be badass to be heroic, nor do they even need to be a good fighter to be badass, and how ultimately ruling through strength instead of kindness causes more problems than it solves. In fact, it could be said that the series subtly deconstructs this trope, but it's something many fans seem to miss. Lion-O's real victories don't come from simply defeating Mumm-Ra, but through his ability to unite the races of Third Earth, some of whom have hated each other for centuries.
- That being said, Lion-O does become a much more competent warrior as the series progresses, and is even able to defeat enemies which Tygra cannot. He both Took a Level in Badass and got nice Character Development.
- Toa Vakama, the supposed leader of the Toa Metru from BIONICLE has built up an unrelenting hate-base for his Wangsty portrayal in the second movie, where even his own fellow Toa pushed him around. This, despite that he defeated the Big Bad almost all by himself (granted, through trickery, but still) and that his depiction in the comics and novels (which were written by the "official" writer, not the hired movie-writers) made him out to be far more competent and far less emo. Probably one of the main reasons for this hate is that the previous Fire Toa, Tahu, was a very badass, battle-hungry hothead. Vakama actually Took a Level in Badass in the third movie, but by then, the fandom's opinion had already been settled.
- Julie Yamamoto from Ben 10: Alien Force. The character gets incredible amounts of hate from the fandom, being called a Shallow Love Interest, a Damsel Scrappy and an useless character, to the point the writers ended up Pandering to the Base and having her break up with Ben. In truth, she was very rarely an actual Damsel in Distress (it happened only three times over the course of five season, each season being at least of 15 to 20 episodes) and Took a Level in Badass quite fast over the course of the show; she just happened to be less frequently involved in the whole "Saving the world" thing than the three protagonists.
- "Fabian strategy" is a term for a military strategy in which battle is avoided in favor of wearing down the enemy by misdirection, denying them resupply, and other generally non-violent tactics. It was named for the Roman commander Fabius Maximus, who knew that fighting Hannibal head-on was a losing proposition. He also knew that Hannibal was operating in enemy territory, making resupply difficult, and had virtually no ability to besiege Rome itself. Fabius therefore simply did not march out to fight. As time went on this seemed more and more cowardly to the Romans, who eventually removed Fabius and installed someone more aggressive as commander. Hannibal then crushed the Roman army at the Battle of Cannae, one of the worst defeats in military history. The Romans wised up and went back to denying Hannibal battle, and he achieved few other significant victories over them. The Fabian strategy has been utilized at other periods in history, such as the American Revolution and the Russian defense against Napoleon. Despite the proven success of the strategy in certain situations, commanders who implement it are often seen as weak and cowardly.
- Actually, the Fabian strategy was incredibly violent. Hannibal was actually able to recruit large numbers of allies among the tribes and city-states of Italy, who, after all, were hardly thrilled about Roman domination. Fabius' strategy was to deny Hannibal supplies and reinforcements from these allies by marching in to a place after Hannibal had left and massacring the town or towns that had helped him.
- Stalin felt his way about his son. When said son tried and failed to shoot himself, Stalin remarked that "he couldn't even shoot straight."