[[quoteright:350:[[Literature/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/xenafication_snow_white.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs Left]]: Franchise/DisneyPrincess. [[Film/SnowWhiteAndTheHuntsman Right]]: LadyOfWar]]

->''"This woman - you know, with the long golden braids and a bullet helmet, armed with a huge sword - has arrived to challenge them. She is Freada, shield-maiden daughter of Hrothgar! Now, um, *ahem*, the daughter of Hrothgar is ''supposed'' to be Freawaru, which means 'peace weaver' -- not 'beater of ass.'"''
-->-- '''Website/SFDebris''', "Heroes and Demons"

The polar opposite of {{Chickification}} and a subtrope of AdaptationalBadass. We all know girls will need role models, so what do you do when you're adapting or sequelizing a work from a "less enlightened" time? Make your female lead into an ActionGirl!

The title comes from ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'', who is ''not'' an example but rather the inspiration, being something of a TropeCodifier for ActionGirl. Xenafication thus can be defined as "becoming like Xena". At least once, this has been lampshaded by having the character go [[BattleCry "AYIYIYIYIYIYI!"]] before kicking ass. Related to TookALevelInBadass and AdrenalineMakeover. Sometimes a specific form of AdaptationalBadass. Not to be confused with {{Xenofiction}}.



%%[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
%%* In ''Anime/RomeoXJuliet'', Juliet becomes Verona's very own Franchise/{{Zorro}}.

* Franchise/WonderWoman underwent this ComicBook/PostCrisis; while she was already a superhero, the 80's version of the character played up her Amazon Warrior roots and even has her killing some of her foes. The 2011 Post-ComicBook/{{Flashpoint}} reboot takes this up a notch by ratcheting up the Amazon warrior aspect even further.
* Occurred with ComicBook/LoisLane's ComicBook/PostCrisis reboot, though in truth it was actually a return to her Golden Age roots (in the pre-Silver Age comics, Lois was indeed quite the badass). Whereas her dominant characterization in the Silver Age had derailed her into a typical shrieking helpless damsel and in UsefulNotes/{{the Bronze Age|OfComicBooks}} it was attempted to make her TakeALevelInBadass, her revamped continuity fully restored her original badassery and gave her an [[MilitaryBrat army brat]] past to provide an origin for it, and made her highly adept at hand-to-hand combat as well as a wide range of weapons and vehicles. The ''very first'' post-crisis miniseries in which she appeared had her [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome beating up and commandeering the machine guns of a gang of terrorists]] holding her and a group of socialites hostage on a yacht, while Franchise/{{Superman}} lets her take care of things as he obligatorily carries the yacht to safety. Needless to say, this pretty much makes him fall for her even harder than he had already.
* In the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'', Susan Storm was originally TheChick of the team with a near useless power of invisibility. Creator/StanLee and Creator/JackKirby took partial steps to fix that early on giving her force field projecting powers. However, it was Creator/JohnByrne who really powered her up by having her [[SwissArmySuperpower nifty new ways of using her powers]] and learning to get aggressive enough to really use them well. Today, she is now considered one of the most powerful superheroes of the ''Franchise/MarvelUniverse'' and even ''ComicBook/DoctorDoom'' underestimates her at his peril.
* In some alternate timelines, ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'''s Mary Jane Watson has had spider abilities and used them as a superhero.
* Shadow Lass from ''ComicBook/LegionOfSuperHeroes''. Compare the fight with the Persuader. Some decades ago: Hides behind her shadows and cries for Mon-El to help. After-reboot: Blinds him and mops up the floor with him. (The generic setup is so similar that it well might have been an intentional lampshading.)
* ''ComicBook/SuperMarioAdventures'': Princess Peach, ordinarily the DesignatedVictim of ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'', is an asskicker on par with (if not greater than) Mario himself. She's just about unstoppable until Bowser resorts to [[HypnotizeThePrincess hypnosis]].
* ''Comicbook/RapunzelsRevenge'' has Rapunzel lassoing villains with her hair and generally kicking ass.
* While still starting the story as a DistressedDamsel, Zelda in the Nintendo Power ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' comics ends the story by capping Ganon with a Silver Arrow. Overlaps with AdaptationalBadass.

[[folder: Fanfiction]]
* Taken to hilarious extremes in ComicsNix's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgxrYH6xbTU Bella Swan]]: [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5674909/1/Bella-Swan-Pregnant-and-Furious Pregnant and Furious]], which basically treats ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' like ''Fanfic/ThirtyHs'' treats ''Franchise/HarryPotter''. Probably justified, since she made a DealWithTheDevil.
* Hinata in ''FanFic/AGrowingAffection''. In the first book, she and Franchise/{{Naruto}} become training partners, and Tsunade decides to put them [[ShipperOnDeck as a pair]] through TrainingFromHell. By the middle of book 3, Kakashi acknowledges she is one of the ten strongest Leaf ninjas. [[spoiler: She kills Madara towards the end of the last book. With a little help from Sakura.]]
* Aurora from ''Literature/{{Maleficent}}'' is often given this treatment in fanfics, though arguably she had it in her in the original - it's just that there isn't much ass-kicking to be done when you live in a peaceful forest. In ''Seldom All They Seem'' by Creator/{{Bemusedlybespectacled}}, for example, Aurora is a thief, who can kick some ass if needed.
* If a ''Film/TronLegacy'' fic ''doesn't'' kill off [[SequelNonEntity Yori]], chances are, they'll end up doing this. Justified as Clu's rule is even nastier than Master Control, that she already fought against Master Control as a [[AcePilot pilot]] and [[TheEngineer saboteur]], and that someone has to be kicking ass and taking names for the Users [[DeterminedWidow with her bondmate out of the picture.]]
* Parodied in ''Fanfic/AngryMarinesRubyQuest''. Whereas in [[Roleplay/RubyQuest the original]], Ruby is more of an ActionSurvivor who is described as having a [[WomenAreDelicate "girlish figure"]] and requires the help of [[MenAreTough Tom]] to do most of the heavy lifting, here she's a CrazyAwesome ReligiousBruiser with UnstoppableRage who [[ActionGirlfriend saves Tom]] by punching a hole through the ceiling of his cell and escapes [[AbandonedHospital the facility]] by swimming to the surface [[spoiler:and then proceeds to flee with Tom to the moon]]. When questioned on how did she manage all her [[BeyondTheImpossible obviously impossible feats]], all [[TheNarrator the Angry Marine]] bothers to explain is that she's "guided by [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer40000}} the Emperor]]! [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments All things are possible by him!]]"
* Kairi Gaiden does this to Kairi during Kingdom Hearts II. Instead of getting rescued by Pluto and spending the game talking to the Twilight Town trio, she goes on her own adventure, earning her own Keyblade (instead of being handed it by Riku), honing the fighting skills she gained from her time trapped in Sona's body, and fighting a new foe.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Although Fiona is an original character, ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' does this to the PrincessClassic, DamselInDistress and SaveThePrincess tropes themselves by having her practice kung fu.
* Disney's ''Disney/CinderellaIIIATwistInTime'' features the [[PrincessClassic classic]] Franchise/DisneyPrincess escaping from a demon pumpkin carriage onto horseback in a tattered wedding dress with her disheveled hair blowing in the wind.
* Disney turned ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'''s [[TheIngenue Esmeralda]] into a street-smart CombatPragmatist ActionGirl who fights with Frollo's {{mooks}} on a regular basis. It's downplayed overall as they also [[AdaptationalIntelligence made her smarter than the original character]], and that the character trait that stands out most about Esmeralda in the adaptation [[PluckyGirl is her moral courage]] rather than being an ActionGirl.
* ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' does this with the mermaid from the original story. Her rescuing her prince from a shipwreck becomes a full action scene, and she later saves his life again from the sea witch. It's downplayed in the first film but in her prequel TV series and sequel movie she is a definite ActionGirl.
* ''{{Disney/Tangled}}'' makes Rapunzel a more pro-active character, who knocks out the male lead with a frying pan as soon as he sneaks into her tower. She also uses her hair itself as a weapon numerous times. Like Esmerelda, this is downplayed - as Rapunzel's strength lies in her kindness and compassion for others.

[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* Evelyn Carnahan in ''Film/TheMummyTrilogy''. In the [[Film/TheMummy1999 first film]], she is able to hold off most of her attackers (not so much a fully rejuvenated mummy, however), but not necessarily fight back. By the [[Film/TheMummyReturns second film]], she knows how to use Katanas and Sais, and aim guns with deadly accuracy thanks to living with an ex-legionaire for ten years and starting to remember her previous life as an Egyptian Princess
* In an attempt to make her an actual character (and cut down on the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters), Arwen from ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' was given a big chase scene on horseback that Glorfindel did in the book. She was originally intended to fight at Helm's Deep as well, in order to allow her and Aragorn to actually interact, but it was cut in favor of sticking closer to the books. By that point, however, fans had already dubbed her Xenarwen. Creator/LivTyler even comments on this in the extended version's behind the scenes, saying she had done months of swordplay training to prepare for Helm's Deep, before the fans caught wind and dubbed her "Liv Tyler, Warrior Princess", and the idea was scrapped.
* Hermione Granger didn't properly become an ActionGirl until the fifth ''Literature/HarryPotter'' book and even then she was still inexperienced. In [[Film/HarryPotter the films]] she gets Xenafied two stories earlier by riding around on the Whomping Willow (and somehow being able to use its momentum to throw Harry through the hole), being able to throw a pumpkin seed several feet through a kitchen window to break a sugar bowl, blast a cage door open and perfectly imitate a werewolf's call to save everyone. In the books the most she did was kick Sirius in the head to get him off Harry (oddly enough the film left '''that''' out). Also her ArmourPiercingSlap to Malfoy was changed to a punch.
* Daphne in the ''Film/ScoobyDoo'' movie banks on Creator/SarahMichelleGellar's ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' fighting moves to make her tougher. The trope is lampshaded when the gang [[PuttingTheBandBackTogether meets up after a long time apart]] and she reveals that she studied martial arts because she's so sick of always being the DamselInDistress.
* Susan Pevensie in ''Film/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' series of movies. This is to remedy some ValuesDissonance in the original book where Father Christmas says "battles are ugly when women fight". Susan doesn't fight in battle in the first movie - but she is shown to be an excellent archer and kills Jadis's dwarf at the end. By the sequel she's essentially a brunette Legolas and gets to fight and take part in battles. Lucy avoids battle completely in the first film, attempts to fight Nikkabrik in the second (as well as drawing a dagger when being faced by an army of Telmarines) and properly becomes an ActionGirl in the third. This is presumably due to the character being a teenager now.
* Creator/KeiraKnightley plays a scantily clad, sharp-shooting Guinevere in ''Film/KingArthur''. In the older pagan celtic versions of the tale Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere's original name) was a total badass.
* Elizabeth Swann from ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' was never [[PluckyGirl actually weak or passive]] in the [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl first movie]], and even fought alongside Will in the final battle. However, in the sequels she ditched the dress, [[ActionGirl grabbed a sword]], and TookALevelInBadass. It was partially explained for the [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest second movie]], with her telling Jack that Will taught her how to sword fight.
* Alice in Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/AliceInWonderland2010'' to a smaller extent. She becomes TheChosenOne who is destined to slay the Jabberwocky with the Vorpal Sword. She dons armour in the final scene but doesn't do too much fighting (she is still a ProperLady from Victorian society after all). But she still defeats the beast.
* While Irene Adler has [[BreakoutVillain gotten an expanded role]] in ''Franchise/SherlockHolmes'' adaptations for a long while, in the 2009 film ''[[Film/SherlockHolmes2009 Sherlok Holmes]]'', she becomes a definite ActionGirl, which is showcased in a MuggingTheMonster scene. This probably has to do with the fact that the film also emphasizes Holmes and Watson's (canonical) fighting prowess. In the sequel, Mary seems like she's getting this treatment as well - as she threatens an assailant with a gun. But she's not in the thick of battle for the rest of the movie (though she does prove integral in the climax).
* ''Film/TheThreeMusketeers2011'' makes [[TheVamp Milady]] a DarkActionGirl who can take down a half-dozen men while wearing a PimpedOutDress. In the original book, she had all her fighting done for her by minions.
* ''{{Film/Pan}}'':
** The film makes Tiger Lily an ActionGirl who fights with Peter against Blackbeard.
** In the book, Peter's mother was a standard Victorian woman. In this version she was a fairy who led LaResistance.
* In-universe example in the live action ''Film/PeterPan'' film. Wendy's version of Literature/{{Cinderella}} swashbuckles with pirates trying to steal her glass slippers and gutting any pirate who dares to call her "girly".
* ''Film/SnowWhiteAndTheHuntsman'' has Snow White donning knight's armor and leading a rebellion against the Evil Queen. In this version of the story, she hasn't just been forced to scrub floors, she's been locked in a tower for eight years. Like Esmerelda above, this is downplayed. In this case, Snow White's strength as a character comes from her kindness and courage and is about her journey to become TheHighQueen. The only fight scene she has is with Ravenna. The Evil Queen now becomes a BigBad who uses her powers to conquer entire kingdoms, technically making her an example of the trope too.
* Also occurs in 2012's other Snow White adaptation, ''Film/MirrorMirror'', with the seven dwarves training Snow White to be a CombatPragmatist ActionGirl.
* Dracula's brides in ''Film/VanHelsing''. In addition to getting names and characterisation, they also get plenty of fight scenes and are a lot more competent than the [[FauxActionGirl supposed heroine]]. They're also given the handy little power of turning into harpy-like creatures whenever they feel like it.
* The 2003 live action ''{{Film/Thunderbirds}}'' film reveals that Lady Penelope is quite a capable ActionGirl when she and Parker are ambushed on Tracey Island. [[GirlyBruiser She kicks ass while wearing her pink pantsuit and high heels]] and uses a ParasolOfPrettiness as a weapon.

* This is the whole point of ''Literature/ThePrincessSeries'' by Jim C. Hines. Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty -- all [[DamselInDistress Distressed Damsels]] in the original tales -- form a ''Series/CharliesAngels''-esque ActionGirl PowerTrio who kick ass throughout the fairytale world. Other alumnae include Literature/TheLittleMermaid -- who is the homicidally insane warlord and ruler of the merfolk -- and Literature/LittleRedRidingHood, who is a [[PsychoForHire psychotic serial-killer/professional assassin]].
* Literature/NancyDrew is another example like Lois Lane of this going in the opposite direction then swinging back with a vengeance. In the original stories of the 1930s, she was definitely more headstrong than a typical teenage girl of the time period, but her greatest strength was being stubborn and clever instead of being strong. After a near OrwellianRetcon of the stories in the 1950s, she became quite a bit more ladylike, with a lot more "smiling sweetly" and "asking nicely." However, after the Feminist Movement rolled around and the stories changed publishers in the 1970s, Nancy became a full fledged ActionGirl. The SpinOff series "The Nancy Drew Files" gave Nancy martial arts training and made the already-tomboyish George an accomplished athlete. The most recent series "Nancy Drew: Girl Detective" is a more partial example: They're not quite to the level they were in the "Files," but they have gotten a bit more clever, George is still athletic, but also a computer whiz, and the normally timid Bess is now a full-fledge WrenchWench.
* ''Literature/TheSecretsOfTheImmortalNicholasFlamel'' features plenty of mythological and historical {{Action Girl}}s such as Scathach the Shadow and Joan of Arc, but it applies this trope to several others. Perenelle Flamel becomes one of the most powerful sorceresses known to mankind, and Virginia Dare gets similar treatment.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* In ''Series/HappyEndings'' this happens mildly to Jane during Krav Maga and then much more dramatically to Penny after Jazz Kwon-Do. Jane is already kind of a violent, action ready person, but Penny is a very girly, LargeHam type of woman.
* In ''Series/LostInOz'', Princess Ozma is mentioned as having been trained from birth to fight the Wicked Witch, and is apparently in her 20s. [[spoiler: It's actually a subversion, as by the time the heroes rescue her she's lost all fighting capabilities and has been enchanted to be an eight-year-old]].
* {{Averted}} with Guinevere from ''Series/{{Merlin}}''. It would have been easy for the writers to simply give her a sword and have her display unlikely physical prowess in battle ...but she never does. Instead her worth is founded on [[DamselOutOfDistress her kindness and intelligence]], and she's managed to get herself out of several dangerous situations by using her wits or stalling for time until she's either rescued by other parties, or manages to escape by herself. On the odd occasion when she ''does'' wield weapons in self-defense, she's portrayed as a competent but hardly skilled fighter.
* As mentioned above, Maid Marian from the BBC's ''Series/RobinHood'' had a secret identity as the Night Watchman, a masked and hooded vigilante who was giving alms to the poor long before Robin came up with the idea. Despite Marian having a reputation as an ActionGirl in the original ballads, the Night Watchman was clearly an attempt on the writers' behalf to have a "strong, modern take" on Marian, an idea that (in the context of the show) was somewhat unnecessary for several reasons: a) Marian already had a vitally important role as the spy and informant within Castle Nottingham, b) the concept was stuffed full of FridgeLogic (why didn't anyone notice that the NWM had breasts? Why did Marian need the guise in the first place considering taking food/money to the poor was hardly illegal? Where did she get her combat skills in the first place?[[note]]She claims her father had her trained so that she "would have choices", but given that Sir Edward spends the entire show fretting over her and forbidding her to do things means that this explanation makes even ''less'' sense[[/note]]), and c) despite being presented as a skilled fighter, the writers often had her thrown into the role of DamselInDistress ''anyway'' (and most of her best badass moments were done ''without'' the disguise). For the most part, the writers get away with it considering their Marian ''was'' a three-dimensional character in her own right, and the idea fitted in well with Marian's rebellious attitude, but often the Night Watchman just felt like an excuse to have their lead female do an occasional back-flip or karate chop.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime''
** Snow White in particular is an extraordinary ActionGirl more than willing to fight anyone who tries to keep her away from Prince Charming (at one point planning to snipe the Evil Queen with a magic bow and [[InstantDeathBullet Instant Death Arrow]]). In this case it's fully justified as, after the Huntsman spares her, she becomes a forest bandit to survive. Season 5 reveals that she got her start as a teenager, with help from Hercules.
** Little Red Riding Hood also kicks copious amounts of ass, [[spoiler:though in her case, it's because she ''is'' the Wolf in this adaptation--the trademark red cloak is an enchanted item that keeps her from transforming, and once she finds out the truth, she uses her wolf form to help her friends--after making sure they get ''far'' away from her first.]]
** Ditto for Red's grandmother. Far from being eaten by a wolf, this one stands guard all night with a crossbow and is able to shoot a gun out of someone's hand when her granddaughter is threatened. NeverMessWithGranny indeed.
** A smaller case with Princess Anna from ''{{Disney/Frozen}}''. It's established that she knows how to swordfight, a skill she didn't display in the film (not that she was ever in a situation where she would ''need'' to demonstrate it). She and Kristoff become a BattleCouple once or twice, and she was the one who trained Charming. She explains that she learned from her soldiers after the film.
** Implied with Maid Marian, as she's shown drawing a weapon to help fight a snow monster. However the monster is quickly destroyed by Regina's magic - and Marian is not in any other battle scenes.
** Downplayed with The Blue Fairy. She's a pacifist most of the time, but ''does'' lead an attack against Regina in the war.
** Tiger Lily also becomes an ActionGirl who is also a former fairy and therefore force for BigGood.
** The SpinOff series does the same with Alice in ''Series/OnceUponATimeInWonderland'', wherein our female protagonist is able to take out a number of asylum orderlies all by herself. The second episode shows her being taught by her love interest in a flashback.
* Lucy Lane in the comics is best known as ComicBook/JimmyOlsen's stewardess love interest (though she did become Superwoman for a while). In ''{{Series/Supergirl 2015}}'' she's a MilitaryBrat who has become a major by the time she debuts in the show. She even [[spoiler: assumes control of the DEO at the end of Season 1]].
* Carol from ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' was an anti-social ShrinkingViolet who was too afraid to fight zombies and other enemies, but from Season 3 onward she becomes a CoolOldLady OneWomanArmy who slaughters hordes of walkers and AxCrazy humans alike and is willing to make the harder choices that others are too afraid to consider. Taken UpToEleven when she completely lays waste to a cannibal base holding her friends hostage, annihilating an entire armed group of sociopaths.

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* Noticing that most wrestling promotions of the USA were only giving women five minutes to wrestle, Penny Banner and Tom Randolph opened PGWA in 1992 where women would be able to wrestle for fifteen to thirty minutes. A match with Lexie Fyfe under the banner is credited with getting [[Wrestling/{{Lita}} Angelica]], who was primarily known for managing otherwise, a wrestling role in the WWF.
* Wrestling/{{Jacqueline}} was originally brought into WWF to feud with Wrestling/{{Sable}} and due to the latter's contract saying she couldn't take bumps, she came off looking rather weak. About a year passed and Jackie was able to show off her true ring skills, often getting in matches with men and even briefly winning the male Cruiserweight title.
* The WWE "Divas" as a whole got a big boost from 2001-2004 when David "Fit" Wrestling/{{Finlay}} came on board and was placed in charge of the division. More time and effort went into matches, storylines and pushing women who could actually wrestle. The Divas got to wrestle in rougher matches as well such as hardcore matches, tables matches and even a steel cage match. After Finlay went back to being an active wrestler, they quickly went back to the bikini models, short and tedious matches, and girl drama formula once again. Things slowly turned in their favour again in TheNewTens, with WWE themselves dubbing it the 'Women's Revolution'.
* Wrestling/TrishStratus is the wrestling queen of this trope. She came into Wrestling/{{WWE}} as a manager with an athletic build, but little actual fighting ability of her own, was shown as a submissive type for most of her early tenure, and then stepped up her in-ring work in a BIG way. She's now remembered as fondly for her impressive matches as for her impressive looks, and is WWE's Hall Of Fame.
* Dutch Mantel was to Wrestling/{{TNA}}'s knockouts what Fit Finlay was to WWE's divas, taking them from valets who occasionally fought to giving them their own division where they sometimes wrestled in ''Impact'''s main event. Likewise, the division got a lot less time and importance once he was no longer a factor.
* Women wrestlers often debut as valets or managers to male superstars, before eventually making the transition to in-ring competitor. {{Wrestling/Naomi}}, Wrestling/SummerRae, {{Wrestling/Carmella}} and even further back with {{Wrestling/Jacqueline}} mentioned above all debuted as valets but became wrestlers full-time.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'' series does this for Zhenji, Yueying, the Qiao sisters and Diaochan. Sun Shangxiang is a borderline example as she was known as something of an ActionGirl by the standards of her time.
** ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar''-branded spinoff ''[[VideoGame/FistOfTheNorthStarKensRage Ken's Rage]]'' does a similar thing for Mamiya, taking her from TheLoad to a tricky and technical character capable of going one-on-one with the other powerful martial artists in the series.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'': Amy Rose was kidnapped in her first video game appearance in ''VideoGame/SonicCD''. She was given a [[DropTheHammer Piko Piko Hammer]] in ''VideoGame/SonicTheFighters'' then ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' and was more than capable of taking care of herself. Prior to that, she had a mild form of this. Her InformedAbility of being a spunky tomboy who could fend for herself started coming into light with the SpinOff games. Though she's [[GirlinessUpgrade gotten less tomboyish]] over the years, this trait being passed to newer female characters like [[VideoGame/SonicRushSeries Blaze]] and [[VideoGame/SonicBoom Sticks]].
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'':
** Kairi in the first game spent 80% of the story inside of Sora's heart, with her body an empty shell. In the second game she acquires a Keyblade and is able to kick plenty of ass to save Sora and the others. [[spoiler: ''Dream Drop Distance''[='=]s secret ending reveals Kairi is going to receive formal keyblade training to be able to hold her own alongside her friends.]]
** The [[Manga/KingdomHeartsII manga adaptation]] took it further: [[spoiler:Kairi saves Sora from Xigbar]]!
** While Ariel in ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' franchise qualified as an ActionGirl, she was made into a guest party member in ''Kingdom Hearts'' and kicked more ass than she did in the movie or TV series (though neither of them had Heartless so who's to say she wasn't already like that?). Way before ''Kingdom Hearts'', the ''VideoGame/TheLittleMermaid'' for the NES cemented her status as this.
* Yuna in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2''. She goes from being a White Mage / Songstress / Summoner (All the stock 'female' jobs in that franchise) to being gun slinging ActionGirl who thanks to the metagame Dressphere system, can be any of several 'boyish' jobs such as Warrior, Dark Knight and Berserker.
* Fitting with the Alice in Wonderland example in Film, Alice takes ''several'' levels in badass in ''VideoGame/AmericanMcGeesAlice''. Justified as it's a BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda''
** The titular Princess Zelda has progressively become more active in the games as the series went on. Originally just a classic DistressedDamsel, in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'' she gained the badass alter-ego Sheik, who admittedly didn't do much against the actual BigBad. But in the later games, starting with ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker Wind Waker]]'', it became her schtick to fire Light Arrows at Ganon during the final battle, and in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]'' she even [[spoiler:helps Link push his sword into Malladus' head]]. ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]'' has her [[spoiler:spending most of the game entombed in crystal and serving as a DistressedDamsel again at the very end, but the first part has her getting all the way through one and a half major areas by herself before getting caught and needing Impa's help for bodyguard services, not to mention her backstory]].
** ''VideoGame/HyruleWarriors'' pulls this off with a lot of characters. Zelda goes to battle in full battle gear, Sheik becomes a MusicalAssassin, and the likes of Ruto and Fi along others become PromotedToPlayable. Since this is a ''Franchise/DynastyWarriors'' spinoff, each of them deal with {{Mooks}} by the thousands.
** Impa undergoes a similar development to Zelda; in her initial appearance she's an elderly servant, but later games turn her into an Amazon Warrior who acts as Zelda's bodyguard. Since ''Ocarina of Time'', her role varies from game to game between the two archetypes, but ''Skyward Sword'' [[spoiler: includes [[IWasQuiteALooker both]] [[MiniatureSeniorCitizens of them]] thanks to TimeTravel shenanigans]].
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros''
** Princess Peach goes through this a lot. Sure, she's on the recieving end of a kidnapping a lot in the main series, save for those times when she's playable like ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'' and ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld''. In spin-offs, however, she shows herself as a very strong and capable fighter. The ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' series tends to make her a helpful character even when captive, causing trouble for Mario's enemies and helping from afar, and she's outright playable in ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario''. And in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' she is a very powerful fighter for her weight class and [[FightingClown odd fighting style]].
*** On an interesting note, one scrapped concept for the ''VideoGame/{{Skylanders}} [=SuperChargers=]'' Toys/{{amiibo}} hybrids had Peach going full Xenafication with a suit of knight armor and a sword. The idea was rejected by Nintendo, however, who considered these changes too extreme and favoured Donkey Kong and Bowser.
** Princess Daisy. When she was first introduced in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioLand'', she was actually portrayed as a DamselInDistress where she is kidnapped by the evil alien Tatanga, and Mario had to defeat the alien to save her. Now, she's a TomboyPrincess who appears in various spinoff games alongside Peach and prefers competing in sporting events more.
* ''VideoGame/WWFNoMercy'' decided to make the female wrestlers[[note]]this game predated the term 'Divas'[[/note]] playable competitively at the expense of realism and moveset accuracy. Trish Stratus, for example, used the koppu kick, rolling senton and choke w/bodyscissor in this game, even though at the time the game came out she was still in her "so bad she can botch a catfight" stage. They were also given enough stats to be competitively played rather than minimal stats like female wrestlers usually are in [=WWF/E=] games. Lita in particular was given a High Flying stat of 4, which made her not just competitive but fairly dangerous.
* Rinoa of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' is pretty prone to getting kidnapped for about 75% of the game. Then she's suddenly placed into a coma and when she comes out of it [[spoiler: she has sorceress powers]] giving her a GameBreaker LimitBreak where her Magic stat is raised to 255 and she can cast spells without depleting her stock.
* Chun Li in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII'' was only fighting to avenge her father's death. If she wins the tournament she spends the rest of her life as [[IJustWantToBeNormal "an ordinary girl."]] [[CapcomSequelStagnation Subsequent rereleases]] show that she got tired of that VERY quickly and became a police officer. Then ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha'' retconned it further, showing she was a member of Interpol long before the Street Fighter 2 tournament. At some point she does retire, only to come out to [[MamaBear rescue the children she adopted]] before ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII''.
* ''[[VideoGame/SoulCalibur Soul Edge]]'' had Sophitia's sister Cassandra as an offscreen character who led a normal life. In ''Soul Calibur II'' she became a playable character who took up the weapons to rescue her sister.
* ''VideoGame/TheWalkingDead'': Clementine was just an innocent little girl who liked to play and have fun, but as soon as the zombie apocalypse comes down on her [[spoiler: and the death of her best friend/surrogate parent Lee]] she graduates to a full on ActionGirl defending herself and outsmarting people bigger than her.
* Jennifer Parker got hit with this trope very hard in ''Videogame/BackToTheFutureTheGame''. In the film trilogy, Jennifer was a [[TheLoad useless]], [[TheChick emotional]] SatelliteLoveInterest to Marty, but [[spoiler: in an alternate timeline]] in the game she becomes a rebellious bad girl stirring up trouble for the Citizen Brown Regime and actively assists Marty in taking it down.
* Most of the portrayals of the [[Myth/JapaneseMythology mythological]] Amaterasu in media give her magical properties, including her three Sacred Regalia - Mirror of Yata, Yasakani Jewel and the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (she's mainly using a sword for magic, not direct slicing) - and wearing Shinto robes. She ran and hid in a cave after her brother Susano'o vandalized her belongings, and then ran from her other brother Tsukuyomi when he murdered a servant in front of her. However, when she appears in ''VideoGame/{{Smite}}'', she flips those usual portrayals around: she's a warrior goddess decked in {{Samurai}} armor and her play style - including debuffing and using her Mirror of Yata to actually harm her enemies - involves hacking and slashing her enemies with Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, which can create a SwordBeam that also debuffs enemy hits. Basically, she becomes a FrontlineGeneral that leads her team by literally fighting the best she can in front.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfZelda'' cartoon, Zelda got xenafied. She could use all of Link's weapons except his sword, and favored, of course, [[GuysSmashGirlsShoot the bow and arrow]]. Her fighting ability seemed to swing wildly from episode to episode, from only nominally competent to almost as good as Link himself. In fact, there's several episodes where Link's ChronicHeroSyndrome and general stupidity gets him into trouble, and Zelda needs to rescue ''him''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheSamuraiSword'', 'Danger Prone' Daphne Blake is suddenly revealed to be a kick-ass martial artist good enough to be invited in a competition for the best in the world.
* TheCutie Zoey from ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' starts as a DamselInDistress, but [[spoiler: goes into HeroicSafeMode in "Eat, Puke, and Be Wary", turning into a CuteAndPsycho ActionGirl in the process. ThePowerOfFriendship later gets rid of the psycho part, but keeps the ActionGirl part.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicApplejack Applejack]] got this treatment versus her prior appearances in the older shows. In the original, they defeated enemies with song and dance. In Season 4, she has a [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMFNOlQ43o0 one-on-one duel with a Chimera]]. Just look at her whole character compared to G1. In the original cartoon, her main contribution to the one episode she's in is to fall off of a rickety old bridge and need to be rescued. The UK comics make her a CuteClumsyGirl bordering on WalkingDisasterArea ([[MemeticMutation "Who's a silly pony?"]]) with an insatiable hunger for apples that's usually played for comedy, or paints her as a child who won't stay out of the cookie jar. Mind you, she ''does'' have "Applejack's Amazing Adventure" where she singlehandedly (singlehoofedly?) rescues the Twinkle-Eyed Ponies and straight-up ''kills'' the BigBad of the story, so there's more to her than meets the eye, but that's an exception to the rule; the JokeCharacter got ADayInTheLimelight and pulled a LetsGetDangerous moment once and ''only'' once. ''FIM'' AJ is a hardworking farm pony, very reliable, and very strong. The only time we get "silly pony" antics is in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E4ApplebuckSeason "Applebuck Season"]], when she'd been going for ''days'' without rest and her pride wouldn't let her accept help.
** From the same franchise, [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicRainbowDash Rainbow]] [[SelfDemonstrating/RainbowDash Dash]] is this, BIG TIME. In her previous incarnation, she was [[TheFashionista a fashionista]][[note]]Rainbow Dash [[MemeticMutation always dresses in style]].[[/note]] [[TastesLikeDiabetes who lives in a cutesy world without any real danger]]. ''Friendship is Magic's'' Rainbow Dash, on the other hand, [[SuperSpeed is the fastest flier in Equestria]], [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu kicked a dragon in the face]], and is a JerkWithAHeartOfGold, ActionGirl, and G-rated [[TheLadette Ladette]] all in one, [[BadassAdorable cute yet badass]] package. There's a reason why she's the partial TropeNamer for TwentyPercentMoreAwesome.
* Hilariously in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', in "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS11E4TreehouseOfHorrorX Desperately Xeeking Xena]]" Creator/LucyLawless herself gets this. She saves Bart and Lisa, then beats up the Comic Book Guy, before flying the Simpson children to safety--and not in a plane.
-->'''Lisa:''' Xena can't fly!
-->'''Lucy:''' I told you, I'm not Xena. I'm Lucy Lawless.
* In the original ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}'' Supermarionation series Tin-Tin Kryano is sometimes involved in missions and is an excellent pilot, but is mostly Jeff Tracy's secretary or Brains's lab assistant. In the CGI ''WesternAnimation/ThunderbirdsAreGo'', "Kayo" Kryano is Tracy Island's head of security, and has her own stealth Thunderbird vehicle.