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Rookie Male Experienced Female

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He's new, she's not.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
ChromaNebula on Jul 26th 2013 at 9:45:57 AM
Last Edited By:
AerialQueen on Nov 12th 2017 at 1:12:37 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Our hero has just received The Call and goes to join the group of good guys. He is joined by a woman or girl, who is already a member of the group and has experience and successes under her belt. It may start with Samus Is a Girl. If he is The Leader, she will frequently be The Lancer.

Despite the fact that the female is more experienced and empowered in Act I, she still usually falls subject to Faux Action Girl or Damsel in Distress by Act III so that either the male hero can take center stage on his own, or he'll have to use all he's learned to help her for once as payback for showing him the ropes. In other words, it inverts Men Are Tough and Women Are Delicate at the beginning, but usually plays them straight by the end. See Quickly-Demoted Woman.

Will They or Won't They? is usually involved. May overlap with Weakness Turns Her On and/or Amazon Chaser. Frequently an Everyman/Action Girl pair.

Compare Men Are Generic, Women Are Special, Action Girlfriend, Violently Protective Girlfriend, More Deadly Than the Male, Useless Boyfriend, and Talented Princess, Regular Guy.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

  • In Sands of Destruction, Morte and Kyrie may count. At the start of the first episode, Kyrie has zero experience as an action hero or villain - he's a petty con artist who makes a living pretending to be a beastman so he can work as a waiter. Morte, on the other hand, has wanted posters in every bar in town.
  • The first several volumes of Bleach had this dynamic as Rukia trained Ichigo in how to be a shinigami.
  • Black Lagoon: Between the two leads, male and female, Revy is a hardened underworld Gunslinger, while Rock is a Nave Newcomer slowly engulfed by the life of crime.
  • "Videogame/Gatekeepers": [[Blow You Away Shun Ukiya]] and [[Childhood Friends Ruriko Ikusawa]].
  • "Anime/Zoids New Century": Between the leads, [[Trigger Happy Leena Toros]] is the experienced female to [[Rookie Red Ranger Bit Cloud's]] rookie male.

     Comics 

    Animated Films 

  • Kate and Humphrey from Alpha and Omega. The trailer says it best: "Kate is at the top of the pack; Humphrey is at the bottom of the heap."
  • Puss in Boots: Kitty Softpaws' gender not revealed until after she beat Puss in Boots in a fight. Later, due to her experience fighting and engaging in criminal activities, she becomes a member of his Power Trio.
  • Po and Tigress from Kung Fu Panda. Po is completely new to kung fu, having just been selected as the Dragon Warrior by Master Oogway. Tigress is the leader of the Furious Five due to her sheer expertise in kung fu.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Hiccup and Astrid. Astrid is the best in the arena; Hiccup is new to the scene.
  • Lucy to Gru in Despicable Me. Lucy the accomplished secret agent shows newbie Anti-Villain Gru the ropes in their mission to defeat another villain.
  • In Ratatouille, male newbie cook Linguini is specifically assigned to female veteran Colette for training.
  • The Rescuers: Miss Bianca is the experienced member, although she has apparently never led a mission before, while Bernard is merely a janitor.

     Live Action Film 

  • Avatar. Jake Sully just got to Pandora and is just getting used his new body and surroundings. Neytiri is selected to be his guide and teacher.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers is a young, unproven recruit that works closely with Major Peggy Carter. Even after he becomes Captain America, he never completely loses his "greenness", and she still outranks him.
  • Star Wars: Played straight with Luke and Leia. Luke is a naive farmboy who happened to get the memo from the droids he stumbled across; Leia is a senator running covert missions for the Rebel Alliance. Downplayed with Han and Leia; Han has experience in the criminal world, but not the Rebel Alliance.
  • The Matrix. When Neo joins Morpheus' team aboard the Nebuchadnezzar he's completely new and has no idea what's going on. A large fraction of the movie shows him learning how to act in the Matrix. Trinity is Morpheus' trusted second in command and thoroughly experienced and knowledgeable about the Matrix, as shown by her escape from the Agents at the beginning of the film. After Neo becomes "The One" he gains super powers and comes into his own as a hero.

    Literature 

    Video Games 

  • In Blade Runner, protagonist Ray McCoy is a rookie Blade Runner, while his female colleague Crystal Steele is a hardened veteran and also the best shooter of the department.

    Western Animation 

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has Katara as Aang's waterbending teacher; Toph as Aang’s Earthbending teacher.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy: Dudley Puppy and Kitty Katswell. He's a rookie agent who was taken on due to his potential; she's a special TUFF agent who's caught countless bad guys and is assigned to coach Dudley.

Feedback: 51 replies

Jul 26th 2013 at 11:31:46 AM

Y The Last Man and the comic version of Wanted. In both cases the hero starts out as a total wimp, and tries to hit on the Action Girl, but only in Wanted do they hook up.

Jul 26th 2013 at 12:46:12 PM

Sometimes the Experienced Female is the Rookie Male's mentor (whatever happened to Mentor Girlfriend, anyway? Did that get launched under another name?).

Jul 26th 2013 at 12:57:39 PM

Subtrope of Stereotype Flip, and specifically flips Men Are Tough and Women Are Delicate.

Compare Men Are Generic Women Are Special, Action Girlfriend, Violently Protective Girlfriend, More Deadly Than The Male, Useless Boyfriend, and Talented Princess Regular Guy. In some kinds of stories, this may overlap with Dominatrix.

Sometimes related to Weakness Turns Her On.

May start with Samus Is A Girl.

The protagonist is likely to be an Everyman.

  • In Captain America The First Avenger, Steve Rogers is a young, unproven recruit that works closely with Major Peggy Carter. Even after he becomes Captain America, he never completely loses his "greenness", and she still outranks him.

Jul 26th 2013 at 1:09:23 PM

Avatar also has Katara as Aang's waterbending teacher (they both also briefly study under an older, male, master but it's ultimately Katara who serves as a more experienced water bender in the series as a whole).

Jul 26th 2013 at 1:18:09 PM

In Sands Of Destruction, Morte and Kyrie may count. At the start of the first episode, Kyrie has zero experience as an action hero or villain - he's a petty con artist who makes a living pretending to be a beastman so he can work as a waiter. Morte, on the other hand, has wanted posters in every bar in town.

Jul 26th 2013 at 1:26:43 PM

The first several volumes of Bleach had this dynamic as Rukia trained Ichigo in how to be a shinigami.

Jul 26th 2013 at 1:50:36 PM

you should also note that despite the fact that the female is more experienced and empowered in Act I she still usually falls subject to Faux Action Girl or Damsel In Distress by Act III so that either the male hero can take center stage on his own, or he'll have to use all he's learned to help her for once as payback for showing him the ropes.

Jul 26th 2013 at 2:06:33 PM

The Rescuers: Miss Bianca is the experienced member, although she has apparently never let a mission before, while Bernard is merely a janitor.

Jul 26th 2013 at 2:22:23 PM

Fixed your formatting.

Jul 26th 2013 at 2:50:24 PM

In Ratatouille, male newbie cook Linguini is specifically assigned to female veteran Colette for training.

Jul 26th 2013 at 11:29:37 PM

Jul 27th 2013 at 12:32:15 AM

In The Pendragon Adventure Bobby becomes a Traveler under the guidence of his Unlce Press. Even though Bobby is the "head" Traveler, every other Traveler he meets has more experience than him including the first one: Loor, a young woman from a warrior territory.

Jul 27th 2013 at 12:59:20 AM

Namespaced and italicized work titles.

I think Neo and Trinity in the first The Matrix movie counts.

Jul 27th 2013 at 10:30:47 AM

We should do something about those "may be" examples and Zero Context Examples.

Also, this may overlap with Quickly Demoted Woman.

Jul 28th 2013 at 12:58:22 PM

Yea, these examples need to explain the dynamics in the pair's relationship. Don't just put down list of pairs.

Also please rewrite the description without the Alice And Bob scenario. That's an Example As A Thesis. You don't need an example in your trope description when you have an example section right below it.

Aug 14th 2013 at 12:13:51 PM

  • [[Film/Avatar Avatar]]: Jake Sully just got to Pandora and is just getting used his new body and surroundings. Neytiri is selected to be his guide and teacher.

Aug 18th 2013 at 3:38:08 PM

Video games

  • Final Fantasy VII begins with Tifa as a seasoned member/co-leader of AVALANCHE, who recruits Cloud to join their group in the fight against the Shinra Corporation. By game's end, Cloud becomes the group's de facto leader after Barret gives up his position as co-leader, and Tifa abdicates hers after failing to hold the group together in Barret's absence.

Aug 18th 2013 at 4:20:49 PM

  • In Blade Runner, protagonist Ray Mc Coy is a rookie Blade Runner, while his female colleague Crystal Steele is a hardened veteran and also the best shooter of the department.

Aug 18th 2013 at 5:29:26 PM

Literature:

  • In the Sword Of Truth series, Richard Cypher begins as a Naive Newcomer who knows nothing about the magical world around him while Kahlan, his Love Interest, essentially holds a title which makes her higher than queens, and is far more powerful, experienced and trained in battle than he is. This does not last beyond the third book, as from that point on, Character Development makes Richard the hardened leader of the entire free world.

Aug 18th 2013 at 5:53:30 PM

To expand on Wanted:

  • Wesley Gibson in Wanted starts out as a total wimp, while the Fox is a master assassin serving a cabal of supervillains. She mentors Wesley into becoming the most dangerous killer on the planet, and by the end they're on an equal level of combat prowess. They hook up halfway through the comic after she teaches him how to be better in bed.

Aug 18th 2013 at 6:28:09 PM

The Matrix example should be edited from the OP until someone can confirm whether it fits, or not. Plus, it's in need of contex, as are the two comic book examples.

Aug 19th 2013 at 3:42:30 AM

Expanded The Matrix example to show how it fits.

Aug 20th 2013 at 3:10:02 AM

I'm generally more interested in verbs than in nouns, and thus I find the examples where the rookie man develops but the veteran woman stagnates the most interesting.

Aug 24th 2013 at 12:41:59 AM

The Wanted context looks good, now Y The Last Man just needs some.

Aug 24th 2013 at 4:11:41 AM

  • In the first few episodes of Scrubs JD and Carla had this dynamic. Carla was a skilled nurse with lots of practical experience, while JD came fresh from med school and never really dealt with actual patients before.

Aug 24th 2013 at 5:44:00 AM

See also Ensign Newbie and Sergeant Rock. We probably need a general trope about those duos, like Rookie Veteran Duo?

Aug 24th 2013 at 5:49:23 AM

Duh. This is a sub trope of Student And Master Team, in most cases.

Aug 24th 2013 at 6:45:13 AM

Honor Harringon, in Honor Among Enemies. Aubrey Wanderman is a young rating on his first assignment. His friend Ginger Lewis is that too, but she is older and has a lot more experience as she comes from the merchant fleet. Later on she also gets an promotion to Senior Chief out of crew needs and raw capability.

Aug 24th 2013 at 9:43:46 AM

^^ Doesn't have to be. The rookie male may be a rival to the experienced female instead of a pupil. Never once it's stated that the relation of them are mentor-student, only that they work in the same place.

Aug 26th 2013 at 4:10:00 AM

Ghost Hunter for the PS 2 sets up this dynamic early on with its lead, Lazarus Jones and his partner, Anna Steele (who of course gets kidnapped before the tutorial).

Aug 26th 2013 at 6:17:58 AM

I don't think Hermione and Harry count. Hermione is as new to the wizarding world as Harry. The fact that she gets so far a head is a way to signal her intelligence and doesn't make her more experience (since she's not). Actually, Ron is the experienced one.

Aug 26th 2013 at 9:31:13 AM

I agree that Hermione and Harry don't count.

Aug 26th 2013 at 12:22:46 PM

Cloud meets Barret before Tifa in that game, so does it really count? Also, Gru is a rookie agent but he is an experienced super villain tapped specifically for that experience so I am not sure that one counts either.

Aug 26th 2013 at 12:37:42 PM

^@Cider - According to the trope description, all that's required is that the female already be a member of the group and that she has to be more experienced than the male. Then, the male then goes on to surpass her in some way.

At the start of the game, Tifa is both a member and co-leader of AVALANCHE and is the one who recruits Cloud, because she's the one who recommended him to Barret. Cloud had told her he had made it into SOLDIER (1st Class, no less) which is why she thought he'd be a strong addition to their group. Since he was a former agent of Shinra so he thought, who better to help take it down?

Cloud starts off as a member of AVALANCHE but eventually becomes its leader after Barret leaves the group, and Tifa gives up her position as co-leader for the reason covered in the spoiler. So, unless I'm missing something, it fits the trope.

Aug 31st 2013 at 12:39:23 PM

What Final Fantasy VII example? Also, the Ghost Hunter example needs clarification.

Aug 31st 2013 at 1:18:05 PM

@ChromoNebula - It's right in the middle, 17 posts down from the OP.

Sep 3rd 2013 at 3:59:41 AM

Ron Stoppable mainly works as Kim Possible's assistant in their missions, and is usually shown to be far out of his league considering the situations they get into, especially early in the series.

Sep 16th 2013 at 7:49:11 PM

  • The Legend Of Zelda franchise uses trope in general with the relationship between Link and Princes Zelda. Link is the avatar of "Courage", so he charges bravely into the unknown. Zelda is the avatar of "Wisdom", she she's usually far more savvy and experienced.
    • The first game which really demonstrated this dynamic was The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina Of Time, where Zelda is shown to be extremely competent and knowledgeable even as a child, and after the seven-year Time Skip has only grown more wise and capable.
    • In The Legend Of Zelda The Wind Waker, Link is a complete nobody from a island in the middle of nowhere. He has some training with a sword, but that's about it. When Tetra the pirate arrives at his island, she's far more savvy, capable, and experienced then he is (despite being roughly the same age). By the end of the game, though, he's grown into his destiny as the Hero of the Wind, and has to rescue her in the third act when her true identity is revealed as Princess Zelda.
    • In The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess, Zelda is again the embodiment of Wisdom, but she barely has any screen time or interaction with Link. Instead, the "Experienced Female" role is delegated to Midna (the eponymous Twilight Princess), who guides Link along the entire journey and, provides exposition, and uses her magic to battle alongside and assist him. Through Character Development, she becomes his Implied Love Interest.

Sep 16th 2013 at 8:50:14 PM

^^ Would Kim and Ron count though? Kim always appeared more experienced/competent than Ron, but the series established they started working on missions together from the very beginning.

Sep 17th 2013 at 12:11:47 AM

  • This is the dynamic between Maxwell Smart & Agent 99 in the Get Smart movie, where 99 is the experienced field agent while Max, a skilled analyst, is on his first mission.

Sep 17th 2013 at 3:55:28 AM

Beware: If the female is merely smarter than the male, but no more experienced (looking at Kim Possible and Harry Potter examples), then it doesn't count.

Cuz I believe that's another trope already.

Sep 17th 2013 at 5:36:41 PM

Bleach. Ichigo starts out being trained by Rukia, since other than his ability to see ghosts, he knows nothing about the spirit world and how shinigami work. Eventually, due to his natural talent, he becomes more and more badass on his own.

Sep 23rd 2017 at 8:48:59 AM

  • In The LEGO Movie, Emmet is an ordinary Lego figurine, while Wyldstyle is the Action Girl Master Builder who has to explain their current situation to Emmet.

Sep 23rd 2017 at 9:56:14 AM

  • Do the New 52 versions of Aquaman and Mera count?
  • In Spider Riders our hero Hunter is new to this whole Inner World/giant spider/magic stuff while Corona is the experienced Spider Rider.

Sep 23rd 2017 at 10:43:54 AM

  • Good Omens: Anathema has had a lifetime (and so have her ancestors) of figuring out Agnes' prophecies about the end of the world, so she stays much more on top of things than poor Newton, whose sole contribution to preventing Armageddon is his inability to touch electronics without destroying them (he once managed to short out power to a neighborhood).
  • Kiba No Tabishounin The Arms Peddler: Souna is rescued by Garami (the titular arms merchant) in exchange for his servitude. Thanks to her, he slowly gets better at living in post-apocalypse Earth, but he has a long way to go before surviving alone. Garami, on the other hand is very, very good at dealing with raiders and monsters.
  • Claymore: At the beginning of the series, Clare allows a boy named Raki to tag along, effortlessly dealing with the various monsters the Claymores exist to take out. Post Time Skip, Raki is quite capable of defending himself.

Sep 23rd 2017 at 3:43:28 PM

In the original series of the Pokemon anime, Ash was the rookie just becoming a Pokemon trainer, while Misty was a co-gym leader. The later series mostly reverse this as Ash is more experienced while the female co-star is usually the rookie, though since the latter is often native to whatever region Ash travels to, there are still odd touches of this.

Sep 25th 2017 at 5:29:17 AM

No, this has nothing to do with THAT Experienced Female. Get your head out of the gutter.

Sep 26th 2017 at 11:14:45 AM

Comic Books

  • In Nightwing rookie cop Dick Grayson gets partnered with the tough Officer Amy Rohrbach who eventually learns his secret. After Rohrbach gets promoted she asks him to turn in his badge or give up his nightly activities in an attempt to protect him. Dick chooses to give up his badge rather than his mask.

Sep 26th 2017 at 11:45:22 AM

This can overlap with Rookie Red Ranger...with that context in mind, is this just Rookie Red Ranger where the former leader was female? Or is Rookie Red Ranger more a case of leadership being on the newbie, whereas this has nothing to do with leadership?

I ask because I was about to suggest this example:

Power Rangers Wild Force: Cole is a Rookie Red Ranger who replaced the more experienced female yellow ranger Taylor as the ranger's leader.

Nov 12th 2017 at 1:12:37 PM

  • "Videogame/Gatekeepers": [[Blow You Away Shun Ukiya]] and [[Childhood Friends Ruriko Ikusawa]].
  • "Anime/Zoids New Century": Between the leads, [[Trigger Happy Leena Toros]] is the experienced female to [[Rookie Red Ranger Bit Cloud's]] rookie male.

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