World of Action Girls
"Are all girls like this, or just the ones I know?"Gender equality is a bit of a funny thing. Not too long ago, having a woman kicking ass was an earth-shocking novelty. Now, however, there are loads of tropes and archetypes that effortlessly manage to combine a double-dose of femininity and a double-dose of asskickery. We have powerful video game heroines, we have powerful film heroines, we have powerful comic book heroines, people could go on and on about examples left and right and all over the place. In some fiction, however, it seems that being a woman instantly gives you masterful ability in gun-slinging, martial arts, swordplay, or sometimes more. In these settings, almost every major female character is an incredibly dangerous badass who could take on the police and military with their hands tied behind their back, and are far more numerous than the men. While that's not to say that the ass-kicking men are non-existent, they are either secondary characters or just vastly outnumbered. It's far more likely that the men will be a Non-Action Guy, tagging along and acting as either Mission Control or moral support. When you have only a small squadron of badass women, that's an Amazon Brigade. When nearly every man and woman and maybe even some kids are badass and the numbers are fairly equal, that's a World of Badass. This trope is not about the women of a World of Badass; rather, it is when the numbers are decisively tilted in the women's favor. Loosely related to the Improbably Female Cast.
— Ron Stoppable's newest female acquaintance springs into action (like all the others), Kim Possible
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Anime and Manga
- Black Lagoon is almost the poster series for this trope, indeed, this page's picture is from the show. While Mr. Chang and Dutch certainly are no slouches, compared to Revy, Balalaika, Roberta, Eda, Fabiola, Sawyer, Shenhua, not to mention Yolanda and others, they might as well just toss their guns up and kick back.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Kyubey has only ever contracted teenage girls to hunt Witches, going as far back as the stone age. Cleopatra, Queen Himiko, and Joan of Arc were revealed to have been Magical Girls.
- Claymore actually tries to justify this trope. Women inherently make better Claymores than men, because men are more likely to become Awakened Beings.
- Dog Days plays with this: while The Hero is a male, there are more named female warriors.
- El-Hazard: The Magnificent World features a cast of magically empowered females, with Fujisawa as its only noteworthy male since Makoto and Jinnai are a pair of highschool students with no combat ability whatsoever. There's the three priestesses for starters: Shayla Shayla, Afura Mann, and Miz Mishtal. Along with the demon god Ifurita, who's a biological super weapon. And finally, there's Kalia, easily the most powerful being in all El Hazard.
- In Freezing, the only combatants are females, with the paired males limited to wielding support powers.
- Gunslinger Girl is like this. Not only are all the characters young girls, but all of them have been trained to take advantage of how they're young girls.
- Considering it's a mass Gender Flip of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Koihime†Musou definitely fits this trope.
- In Kill la Kill, you've got the female protagonist, her female rival, her female best friend, the female member of the Elite 4, and the female Big Bad. The former two and the latter are the most powerful characters in the series, and the others are just as strong as their male counterparts. The only notable male fighters are the two members of Nudist Beach and two of the men of the Elite 4, and they all pale in comparison to the ladies.
- Noir, not is only almost every member of the cast some kind of badass assassin, but most of the cast is also female.
- To put things to perspective, the entire series has only one male character who meets the protagonists and lives for more than two episodes afterwards.
- Mid-Childa from the Lyrical Nanoha series. To the point where the local Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits seem to begin with "become a Special Forces Captain" and go up the badass ladder from there.
- In Vivid, it's become a joke among the fans that any girl who cannot beat up a grown man by age ten is disowned.
- Queen's Blade is a series narrating how a bunch of hot women fight each other in order to become ruler of the kingdom. There are some males, but they are, at most, secondary characters and not geared towards kicking ass like the females.
- Strike Witches is essentially about teenage action girls with magical power who tends to use guns as big as themselves to fight invading aliens.
- Tenchi Muyo!, with a full cast of super powered heroines... and only two males, Tenchi and his grandfather the legendary Juraian prince, Yosho, worth mentioning. He and the others often have to rely on Washuu's reality warping scientific genius, Ryoko's raw power and tenacity, and Ayeka's Juraian powers to save them. Then there's the spiritual embodiment of Jurai's greatest battleship Tsunami, queen of the universe (by proxy of Jurai) Funaho, and captain of the royal guard Misaki. With women like these running the show, who needs Tenchi, indeed.
- An odd example, since Tenchi is the main character and eventually becomes the most powerful of them all, but aside from him, his Grandfather, and a handful of villains, everyone with power lacks a Y chromosome.
- In Change 123, the focus is mostly on female-on-male (with female usually being more skillful) or female-on-female fights, with the latter ones being more prevalent from the chapter 20 onwards. (And, on top of that, there is also an all-female ninja clan!) This creates an interesting situation during the sport festival, when the teachers insist that girls should be the "riders" on the "battle on horses", believing that they would be less aggressive than boys, not knowing that there is a badass girl in each of the three teams, one of them being also a Blood Knight.
- The twelve Hime of Mai-HiME are all action girls, and the major male characters barely do anything until the finale.
- Girls und Panzer. Yes, the title says all that you need to know to get the example.
- Date A Live fits this, with all the Spirits and AST troops being female. It's implied there may be a reason for this. The talent to the use the Realizer tech is very, very rare, which is why they have kids like Origami and Mana. Seems like only girls have this talent. This may apply to the spirits also, as only females may be able to host the spirits' energy. Shido's ability to seal them may figure in somehow also.
- Tenchi Muyo: War on Geminar has a literal and justified case in Geminar: the power to use the planet's Humongous Mecha is hereditary and apparently recessive (i.e. usually both parents must possess it for their children to inherit it), but there's only one male with the power for every ten females, making the men a rare commodity seldom allowed to risk their lives on the battlefield. Or at least, that's the Watsonian explanation; the Doylist explanation would be that it's a series starring a male relative of Harem Genre Trope Codifier Tenchi who just happens to have the power.
- Master of Martial Hearts, though it manages to be really, really terrible about it (so terrible that series whose female cast are mostly Distressed Damsels and/or Faux Action Girls usually look less sexist by comparison).
- Variable Geo centers around a women's-only competition for combat waitresses. As such, the cast is predominantly female and all of them are formidable, using a broad range of fighting skills - from martial arts, to pro wrestling. The only noteworthy males are Damian and a mysterious old master, who offers Yuka advice.
- Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer - the only notable male combatant is Oujiro/Wizard.
- Akuma no Riddle is about an all girl class with one Ordinary High-School Student and the rest are high school assassins going after her.
- Highschool of the Dead: While not all of its female cast are fighters, the majority of the named ones are with Rei and Saeko, being the two foremost examples among them.
- Rei was a member of her school's Sojutsu Club ("spear fighting") and had years of additional training at home, from her father. She can also hold her own when unarmed, due to years of study in martial arts.
- Saeko is her dark counterpart, who was the former captain of their school's Kendo Club, who also happens to be an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight. So she's perfectly content to find herself in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse, since it allows her to indulge her violent impulses without restraint.
- Saya begins the series as the group planner, but eventually becomes their second gunner. While her mom took self-defense, while working on Wallstreet, and is said to be a better shot than her father.
- Simply put: aside from Takashi, Hirano, and Saya's dad (Souichiro), all of the ass kickers are female.
- In Blade & Soul, virtually all of the main female characters are one. Lesser capable ones, along with many men are killed regularly throughout the show.
- Almost every single girl in Unlimited Fafnir is one, as they all have a "D marking" on them, allowing them to summon anti-matter to create weapons with. This comes in very handy against the dragons that attack humanity every now and then.
- While the Birds of Prey (themselves an Amazon Brigade) have gone up against male villains, they're usually dangerous primarily due to their super powers or their resources and intellect. If someone is shown to be able to go toe-to-toe with the heroines - especially Black Canary - in hand-to-hand combat, ten-to-one says it's a woman. In fact, there are a surprising number of women out there who live only to prove themselves against worthy foes in personal combat.
- The 2006 version of Heroes for Hire was filled of girls: Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Black Cat and Tarantula. And none of them plays it soft, they all kick ass.
- The Ame-Comi Girls collectible figures and comic book series depicts an alternate version of the DC Universe where only women are superheroes and -villains.
- In Sucker Punch, the fantasy worlds Baby Doll dreams up are certainly this. Given that they're made to reflect the desire of her and the other female inmates to fight back, it makes sense they'd be badass soldiers.
- The challenge in The First Dwarf King is finding females who aren't action girls.
- The Tortall Universe and the Circle of Magic Universe, both created by the same author, drift into it. While there are quite a few very strong male mages and fighters, nearly all of the protagonists and the majority of their allies (and sometimes enemies) are female, and they can all kick ass. For example, the main cast of Circle of Magic is composed of five girls and three guys, all of whom are some of the greatest mages in the world.
- It also gets deconstructed in The Will Of The Empress, when Empress Berenene refuses to abolish an ancient custom that allows the men in Namorn to kidnap women and hold them until they sign a marriage contract, because in her opinion strong women should be able to escape as she did, and her empire needs strong women. Sandry points out to her that, as the soon-to-be empress, it's not likely that she was held as strongly as a normal bridenapper would ( Sandry herself was locked in a box).
- Due to Gender Rarity Value making men far too few and considered too delicate of temperament to ever be involved in conflict or even left out in public, this is the world of A Brother's Price. Jerin does reasonably well as a Distressed Dude, much better than Cira expected from anyone, let alone a man, but he'd still have been in a lot of trouble without her.
- Clockwork Century. Not only the female protagonists, but any minor woman who finds themselves in a dangerous situation seems to be able to handle a firearm with remarkable proficiency. That's what you get when you create a Steam Punk American Civil War Alternate History with Zombies.
- Chicks in Chainmail: Both the theme of the series (every hero is an Action Girl) and in many stories, where the societies are dominated by women warriors.
- The world of Frostflower and Thorn is unusual in that all warriors are female, not just the main characters. Also unusual: The author is adamant, both in the story itself and in the author's notes, that this is not at all a female-dominated society and that it is in fact very patriarchal.
- My Dark And Fearsome Queen: In the first book there are three Amazon Brigades fighting each other.
- In the Rihannsu Romulan society is quasi-matriarchal, and the first book makes a point of mentioning that there are more women than men in the Romulan military. And while Arrhae in The Romulan Way doesn't get many action scenes she still must've qualified, considering she's actually a Starfleet officer on a deep cover assignment. In general if a female character isn't a soldier, she's a high-ranking politician.
- In the Ciaphas Cain women without some form of combat training are few and far between. We've got the Sisters of Battle making multiple appearances, Cain's Love Interest and editor Amberley Vail is an Inquisitor, the Valhallan 597th is a coed regiment with multiple female officers including the commander Regina Kasteen, and even Mira, a planetary governor's daughter, trained for the royal guard. And many of the other female characters are Slaaneshi cultists.
Live Action TV
- Pretty Little Liars is this. Almost all important characters are female and at some point each of the main 6 are either an Action Girl or Damsel in Distress. Examples of action girls include: Aria karate fighting in 4A finale, Emily killing Lyndon James, Spencer in all of 3B and the season 2 finale, Hanna putting a tire iron to good use on Holbrook. Mona any time she dons a hoodie. Besides this all the other main chess pieces to the overall mystery and plot are female such as Shana, Ali's mom, Detective Tanner, Cece, and Jenna.
- Once Upon a Time veers into this territory. Although there are competent male fighters in the series (Charming, Rumplestiltskin, Captain Hook), they are frequently outnumbered by the numerous badass women surrounding them. Snow White and Emma are the most prominent, Snow being an excellent archer and a capable swordswoman, while Emma's good with a gun (despite that being useless against dragons and ogres) and her fists, and gets in on the sword action as well. Regina is one of the most powerful characters in the series with her magic, and her mother Cora is even more ridiculously powerful, not to mention Mulan and Little Red Riding Hood. Even the non-combat trained Belle steps up and kicks some ass when needed, and uses her love of books to great advantage. Plus, Red's Grandmother has a crossbow and will take you out to protect her granddaughter. Men in this series are in no way portrayed as comparatively weak, but the female fighters tend to be in the front line more often.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Aside from the many Slayers including Buffy, there's witches Willow, Tara and Amy, the former demon Anya, Buffy's little sister Dawn who is trained by her in Season 7. Buffy's two strongest foes are the Physical God Glorificus/Glory, and the First Evil who is an Eldritch Abomination that usually appears in Buffy's form. The only recurring female who doesn't regularly kick ass is Joyce, but even she gets her chance in School Hard. By contrast with the males, only Spike, Angel and Riley are competent fighters, and the latter two are Put on a Bus. Otherwise Giles is The Mentor and Xander is just a normal person, they certainly get their moments of badassery but are definitely not as powerful as the women save for Dawn.
- In any series written by Joss Whedon it's pretty much this trope.
- Hyrule Warriors focuses on an almost all female ass-kicking team of heroines, who are strong, powerful, and can beat the tar out of everyone. There are only two male heroes, with eight female heroines.
- Gensokyo, the primary setting of the Touhou series, is filled to the brim with girls who will unleash Bullet Hell on you. It seems there's exactly one humanoid male character to be found in Gensokyo, and he's a Non-Action Guy who appears only in side-stories, not the games themselves.
- Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai also counts as a World of Badass, but on average the best fighters are female, much more emphasis is put onto the fights between the female characters than the male ones and the player character himself is mostly a non-combatant who does very little fighting.
- Neptunia has every single playable character as a female and would kick anyone's ass in their fight against piracy. By the way, Piracy's female too, and tries to indulge in being an Omnicidal Maniac.
- Rumble Roses: every female characters are strong, tough, and are not afraid to get down and dirty. And it only has one playable guy.
- The whole premises of Scarlet Blade the game only features female classes, who all wear Stripperific outfits, and pilot Powered Armor mechs.
- Super Heroine Chronicle is an upcoming Super Robot Wars style game featuring characters from various female-led anime series.
- Fire Emblem Awakening playthroughs will very often result in this due to Story And Gameplay Segregation. While not every woman in the game starts off as a certified Badass, a good number of them can reclass into female-only Pegasus Knight class and, from there, Dark Fliers. Dark Fliers have access to the "Galeforce" skill: which allows them to move again after killing an enemy unit. In short, this makes your female units infinitely more valuable as units than the male ones - since the ability to take two turns in a turn-based game is a complete Game Breaker.
- ...With three to four exceptions: Owain, Inigo, Brady, and (if you're playing as a female Avatar) your son Morgan (If you play as a male Avatar, Morgan will be your daughter instead), who are boys who can inherit galeforce from their mothers. In fact, they're often considered superior to girls with galeforce since they also have access to Aggressor, another extremely powerful skill, this one exclusive to men and which, unlike Galeforce, is DLC exclusive and cannot be passed down.
- While there are a lot of Badasses in the Dead or Alive franchise, the women are definitely the ones who make the biggest impacts. However, this is often overshadowed by the fact that the game is Best Known for the Fanservice.
- The hero, villain and supporting cast of Shantae are almost exclusively female and all kick ass.
- Skullgirls qualifies; not only is its playable cast exclusively female (albeit with two male DLC characters planned), but even non-playable women have a tendency to be tough, and only women can become the titular Skullgirl.
- Otomedius, being a spinoff of Gradius, is ironically this. Complete with Fanservice and flying motorbikes with lasers and missiles, the entire cast are girls who are Badass Flying Bikers. (Though there are a few males too.) Well, many villains are females too.
- Mass Effect has just as many kickass leading ladies as there are males, if not more.
- Thessia is a literal example, being home to a race of female-looking aliens, most of whom have biotic powers or military training due to their long lifespan.
- In Dragon Age, unless a female character is explicitly stated or shown to be a non-combatant, they are probably an Action Girl. Women in general have a lot more power and respect in Thedas as compared to other High Fantasy works, largely due to the massive influence that the prophet Andraste and Her female-exclusive Chantry have had on the world. By the time Inquisition roles around, female combatants are seemingly even more common than their male counterparts.
- Advanced Variable Geo is possibly the Trope Codifier in gaming, as it's one of the earliest all girl fighting game series. The premise is largely the same as the OVA, which centers on a MMA competition for combat waitresses.
- Senran Kagura has a cast comprising entirely of bouncy female ninjas, every one of them a Badass. In-story, it's not like men can't becomes Shinobi (in fact two retired men are important support characters), it's just the handful of focus students for each school happen to be female.
- Marilith is less extreme, as Marshall does get his share of the spotlight, but Valentino, Marilith, and even the barely-trained Kimiko overshine him.
- Drowtales has several badass male characters and several non-badass females, but mainly features the loads and loads of amazons. Justified in that elven sexual dimorphism is the reverse of human: females are taller and stronger. The dominant culture values fertility, strength in combat, and honor. Thus, princesses are expected to grow up to be military commanders.
- Jet Dream stars a team of male Badasses who become Action Girls after exposure to Gender Bender Applied Phlebotinum. Not only are many of their adversaries female, but the various processes used to turn men into women in the series also provide Bio-Augmentation, enhancing the new woman's strength, agility, and endurance. It's implied that after a generation or two, many of the world's men will voluntarily become women (and most of the remainder will become WholesomeCrossdressers).
- The Dreadful: Kit, Liz, and Erin are all skilled gunslingers, and Jeanne has no problem bringing her fists to a gunfight. The only males to demonstrate badassery thus far are Burke (who's killed early on) and much later El Sabueso (who first appeared as a total goofball in a side comic).
- Magick Chicks is set at Artemis Academy: an all girls military school for monster hunters in training, where the student body consists of badass normals, espers, ninja, witches, and a Magical Girl.
- Dead Fantasy focuses almost entirely on the female cast of Dead or Alive duking it out with the women of Final Fantasy. The only males of note, so far, have been Hayate, Cloud Strife, and Ryu Hayabusa.
- RWBY: The male villain can't handle a 15 year old girl and when a Huntress appears, turns over the fight to his pilot, a woman with superior fighting abilities to himself. A man is in charge of the combat academy and is probably very badass but it's mostly his side kick, a woman, who sees the action while he sits back playing the Eccentric Mentor. The story's two student teams are a team of four girls and a team of two girls, two boys. One boy is badass but lets his Genki Girl take the lead and the other boy is Plucky Comic Relief. He's hinted to be potentially powerful but for now keeps getting saved by the girls. So far, the number of actions girls are double the number of action boys.
- Gotham Girls is mainly focus on Batgirl and her foes, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman.
- In Kim Possible, most female characters can put up a fight, even those who've never been in a fight before, like Kim's school friend Monique. The male characters tend to be klutzes, though ridiculous experts in non-combatant fields such as rocket science. While plenty of male fighters exist, most of the fight scenes are between the girls.
- In Winx Club, every female character who can do magic are really powerful and can take on anything, though there are also plenty of males who are also strong and capable with and without magic, although that tends to vary on the plot.
- On Steven Universe, the title character is both The One Guy and the Non-Action Guy of an otherwise all-female species of Magical Girl Warriors. Among the human characters, the two biggest Badass Normals are both girls, Sadie and Connie.