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  • Attack on Titan:
    • Oruo Bozad, a member of Levi's Special Operations Squad, initially appears to be a washed-up, immature moron who can't even talk and ride at the same time. We then hear that he's got thirty-nine solo Titan kills and nine assists under his belt.
    • Sasha Braus, who looks like a complete moron during her first few appearances, actually gets into the top 10 of the class, and is able to fend off a Titan without her gear at one point, using only a hatchet and arrows.
  • Baccano!: Jacuzzi Splot, who breaks down in tears trying to introduce himself and spends three episodes running around a train, trying to find someone to tell him how to escape an Urban Legend. Then it was revealed that he once knocked over 18 Mafia-owned speakeasies in one night, by himself, armed with a single Tommy gun. And then, he did battle against a guy who was armed with a knife, a fist-gun and a flamethrower, with nothing but one cherry bomb and his own elbows, on top of a moving train. He won by throwing the other guy off the train.
  • Bastard!!: A wild variation may well be Luche Len-Len, a sweet but somewhat dim child who can be "unlocked" and turned into the insanely super-powerful evil wizard Dark Schneider.
  • Best Student Council: Randou Rino. Her base persona is wet enough to drown Godzilla, but inside her (and manifested by her omni-present hand puppet) is a shrewd, intelligent, ass-kicking master of all she surveys.
  • Black Butler:
    • All of the Phantomhive's house staff. We have Lethal Chef Bardroy, clumsy Meganekko Maylene, and the optimistic overall sweet Finnian... all of them are really bad at their respective jobs, but will not hesitate to kick your ass if you dare threaten to harm his master. Maylene's not afraid to snipe you down, either, and Bard will simply grab his Gatling gun (or some flour and a match). Tanaka might be badass, too, but it's hard to say if it was implied that he killed the man outside Elizabeth's room or if Maylene shot him.
      • Tanaka proves himself to be a Master Swordsmen later on when he slices a bullet in half while its still in the air.
    • Lizzy and Undertaker — two morons who have been around since Volume One — have proven themselves to be complete badasses given the right conditions. So as a warning, never threaten Ciel's life in front of Lizzy nor attempt to kill a person who has made Undertaker laugh for five consecutive pages or they will rip you a new one while Ciel and Sebastian watch in Stunned Silence.
    • Grell Suthcliff is an interesting case. At first he seems to be Madam Red's extremely incompetent butler, until it is revealed he really is a shinigami while he becomes a much better fighter and an overall threat, he's still very comical and a definitive Butt-Monkey.
  • Black Cat: Train Heartnet is a fairly easygoing bounty hunter who just wants to eat and have fun... and escape his former life as the strongest of the thirteen deadliest warriors in the world. Much of the action comes from those who want Train to return to his old life.
  • Charmy from Black Clover is a young woman with the size and appearance of a child, comedically obsessed with food and eating, to the point where she'll neglect everything else in order to focus on sating her appetite, which seems largely endless. On top of that, her magic creates sheep. However, if you get on her bad side, she becomes one of the most dangerous characters, capable of one-shotting powerful mages with ludicrous ease by summoning a giant ram. She later manifests a second magic that lets her eat enemies' magic and add it to her magic power, letting her unleash a barrage of magically-enhanced punches and easily defeat a powerful elf.
  • Black Lagoon:
  • Bleach:
    • The vast majority of the time, Nel is a weird, annoying, and frankly stupid toddler. However, when Nnoitra almost kills Ichigo, she reveals herself as the former 3rd Espada (complete with re-aging up to her adult form), and turns the tables on the situation in seconds. She reverts back to her daft personality when the fight is over and eventually even ends up back in child-form.
    • This also applies for Nel's friends (and fraccion) Pesche and Dondochakka. They act ridiculous most of the time, but when Nel needs their help they nearly defeat the 8th Espada to reach her. Szayel admits they would have succeeded if they had fought him seriously from the beginning.
    • Wonderweiss Margera is a Cloudcuckoolander at very best. Then he's revealed as being capable of rescuing the top three Espada from their captain opponents and even Aizen from Yamamoto's prison and so completely outspeeding Ukitake he one-hits him before then being revealed as the one thing capable of sealing the strongest Zanpakuto in existence, Yamamoto's Ryujin Jakka.
    • Isshin is the Bumbling Dad for most of the first half of the series. Then we learn he's a captain-class shinigami when he kills Arrancar Grand Fisher in one blow, to avenge his long-dead wife.
  • Blood+: Nathan Mahler seems like a putz at first. He spends the vast majority of his time flirting with his comrades and doesn't seem overly concerned about anything (plus, the fact that he dresses like a fashionatta and talks in a stereotypically homosexual voice doesn't help). Then, out of nowhere, he pulls out his scary voice, which can shatter glass and stop twelve foot bat monsters in their tracks. From then on he proceeds to establish himself as one of the show's most formidable bad guys (to the point where even The Dragon/The Man Behind the Man is afraid of him). And he's the only one still standing after Saya rips him in two...
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Parodied (like everything else in this show) with "Super Rabbit". He's a really weak guy in a rabbit suit (his name is printed on his suit, and it's spelled wrong), but eventually he becomes hyper-aware and goes all out on the party.
  • Captain Harlock has the near totality of the crew of the Arcadia, who laze around the ship most of the time, only to turn into incredibly competent spacemen the moment the Red Alert goes off. As Harlock explains to the newest crewman Tadashi, the Arcadia is the crew's home first and a warship second, so anyone can do whatever they want as long as there's no red alert, the latter meaning their home is in danger.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Sakura Kinomoto/Avalon is a blissfully naive cutie, often acting rather childish and extremely oblivious to the obvious (most notably to the extreme infatuation she receives from both of her best friends), however she is often proved to be highly resourceful and formidable in the use of the Clow Cards.
  • Category Freaks: Any of the main characters of the manga. They may lay around, be lazy, be klutzes, be sex-crazed, have issues with self-esteem, or have the mind of a child... but don't piss any of them off. If you get entangled with just one, you'll probably end up dead. You don't want to see what will happen when you get the entire group involved.
  • Date A Live: Kyouhei Kannazuki is the perverted and masochistic vice-commander of the Fraxinus. He spent most of his screen time advocating the most perverted conversation choices and receiving odd punishments for doing so. However during his time with the AST he was acknowledged as being a fantastic commander and skilled fighter, as proved when he almost casually defeated a private military airship.
  • Deadman Wonderland:
    • Shiro initially appears to be an unpowered albino Starfire... until she's cornered by a bunch of dangerous guards in a watchtower. The tower explodes, and she rends the guards into many small parts.
    • Which makes sense when Shiro turns out to be the one and only, Wretched Egg
  • Death Note:
    • Touta Matsuda. Conflicted and indecisive about Kira from the start, this aspect as well as his impulsiveness and absentmindedness are played up for comic relief. Determined to prove he isn't dead weight on the investigation team, he often acts on impulse and gets himself into hilariously sticky situations. Having been blessed with dumb luck, he manages to escape them unharmed aside from being a witness to everything else going wrong around him. His impulsiveness is finally not funny in the finale of the series, and ends up shooting Light five times after finding out he's Kira. It took three men to hold him back when he tried to give Light a coup de grâce headshot.
    • Also Ryuk. For all his lovable goofball portrayal, we get a reminder of his status as a Death God at the end of the series, when he murders Light without a second thought for having used up his entertainment value.
  • Defense Devil: Kukubara. Normally portrayed as a complete idiot who couldn't hurt a fly if he wanted, he unleashes his true powers upon proving his client's innocence and generally kills whoever his opponent is in a single attack. Admittedly, it is later mentioned that he was once one of the most powerful Devils in their world — but was kicked out for being too kind to innocent people instead of simply dragging them to Hell. His sidekick, Bichiura, is another example of this.
  • Laios of Delicious in Dungeon may be an oddball sometimes, but when it comes to action he knows what to do (most of the time) and how to win against whatever the dungeon throws at him and his team.
  • Demon Diary: Raenef Demon-Lord-in-training is a hopeless idiot who can't remember his lessons and is scared of his own magic. But if you get him scared, angry or upset you will suddenly realise that there is a very very good reason why he's the successor of one of the most powerful demon lords who ever existed. Same goes for Chris. He's an egocentric idiot who can't remember an incantation. However, he draws his powers from a god.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Zenitsu Agatsuma is a chicken who is scared of almost everything, neck-deep in debt, entered the Final Selection for the Demon Slayer Corps in the hopes of getting eaten by a demon, somehow survived, and is desperate to get married before he dies (which he believes will be very soon, given his line of work). In a pinch, however, he proves himself to be a formidable swordsman and master of the Thunder Breathing style, turning him into a literal Lightning Bruiser. It takes a lot to get this out of him, though, and he typically only shows his might when asleep.
  • Detective Conan: Something (usually a personal matter) might cause Kogoro to actually focus all his attention on a case, revealing him to actually be a very capable detective on his own. Meaning, he'll solve the case and kick the perp's ass if he needs to. He's also apparently a good marksman. Granted, since this happens at least three or so times in fifty volumes, it's very easy to forget.
  • DieBuster: Nono is happy, friendly and goofy most of the time. When she "stops" being happy, friendly and goofy, property values on Titan start falling in a hurry.
  • Digimon Adventure 02: Mummymon. He may be a bumbling goofball most of the time, but he's also an Ultimate level Virus type Digimon, and easily capable of defeating 3 Champion level Digimon.
    • Also, Patamon in both Digimon Adventure and 02. He's a completly childish Digimon half of the time. But when he digivolves into Angemon, he can be strong enough to destroy Devimon and give Myotismon a run for his money.
  • Dogs: Bullets & Carnage: Badou Nails is a textbook example of this trope. He's an idiot, he's a coward, he'd rather run like hell away from you than actually stand up to you... until you take his cigarettes away. At that point the MAC-10s come out and your best course of action is to get the hell out of range, and fast.
  • Dorohedoro: While Ebisu normally never manages to use her magic for anything productive, when she's on black powder (or other magically stimulating substances) she can transform herself into a powerful lizard (like a velociraptor). Turned Up to Eleven when she gets the devil hair clip lodged in her brain, which allows her to transform into a reptile/devil being even without using black powder (though she can only do so when under great emotional duress).
  • Dorothy of Oz: Abee at first appears to be a perfectly harmless amnesiac who hilariously mixes up his words in the most awkward way possible. He also happens to be an incredibly powerful telekinetic, and will not hesitate to throw someone off a cliff for threatening his best friend.
  • Durarara!!:
    • Mikado Ryugamine is a shy and meek Naïve Newcomer who gets overshadowed by his Keet best friend. He spends the first several episodes poking around and asking questions about the Dollars, a large and mysterious gang in the area. But when push comes to shove, Mikado reveals that he's got a few secrets up his sleeve: namely, that he is the leader of the Dollars.
    • Kida Masaomi and Sonohara Anri also counts. Kida's the playboy who simply knows his way around Ikebukuro — and it's most eccentric inhabitants — really, really well. Anri's the quiet Meganekko who has a nice rack and is the victim of sexual harassment by a teacher, who is worried about a missing "friend". It turns out that Kida is the founder and former leader of the Koukinzoku, until it got too violent for him, and Anri is the true user of the Demon Sword Saika.
    • Shizuo Heiwajima is also a case. Most people's first impression he's a thin, quiet, unassuming young man whose only noticeable quirk appears to be the inexplicable tendency to dress, as noted by some, "like some kind of nineteenth-century nightclub pimp." This impression typically lasts all of five minutes before some tiny nitpick sets him off and he demonstrates just why he's known as Ikebukuro's God of Destruction.
    • Walker Yumasaki and Erika Kurosawa. A couple of wacky, out-of-touch-with-reality fun loving otakus, who spend their days making doujinshi and cosplay and visiting conventions. They are both psychotic Torture Technicians infamous for their extremely creative (and unbelievably horrible) manga themed practices, and when they want to be, they can be badass heroes all on their own. With molotov cocktails. Other then that, they really are possibly the two friendliest guys you are likely to meet in the crazy hellhole that is Naritaverse Ikebukuro.
  • Elfen Lied: Nyu/Lucy has this in the form of a Split Personality, triggered through trauma or imminent danger. Nyu is cute, affectionate, and utterly harmless — but Lucy hates all of humanity and cuts people in half with her mind, no matter if those people were just innocent civilians.
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  • Fairy Tail:
    • Natsu, The Hero with a Weaksauce Weakness in motion sickness.
    • Also Lucy to certain extent.
    • Erza is an inversion: Resident badass, but is a Cloudcuckoolander if cakes and non-fighting activities are in question.
    • Juvia acts like a slightly stalkery fangirl most of the time, but try to harm her beloved Gray and you'll be painfully reminded of why she used to be one of Phantom Lord's Elemental Four.
    • Gildartz is as badass as he is clumsy. And he's easily the clumsiest character in the Fairy Tail universe (that isn't Played for Laughs).
    • Loke is introduced as a womanizing prettyboy with a debilitating fear of Lucy. He's Leo the Lion, leader of the Zodiac spirits.
    • Mirajane Strauss is a S-rank mage nicknamed 'The Demon'.
    • Ichiya, the perfume and handsomeness obsessed member of Blue Pegasus, whose behavior is so bizzare that most of the other characters are left in shock, has managed some impressive feats the few times he actually fought seriously. Even though he creeps out Erza by constantly hitting on her, she admits that he's definitely a powerful mage, despite his personality.
  • The Familiar of Zero:
    • Louise the Zero is an utter failure at magic. She is unable to use any element of magic and has never successfully cast a spell (all attempts have been disastrous). Later in the first series it is revealed that she's not as incompetent as previously thought, and in fact has the exclusive ability to use the most powerful element of magic of them all: Void magic.
    • In the novels it is explained that Void magic makes using other spells hard until you cast a Void spell for the first time, Louise is even shown using several common spells such as 'lock' on a few occasions with no problems.
  • Food Wars!: Eishi Tsukasa. Shy, easily pushed around and frequently in bleak moods, it's hard to believe that this pale, frail and emotional young man is in fact the legendary chef known as Der Weissritter des Tafel. Then you get him behind a stove and give him something to cook, and he will make you a dish which will make angels weep tears of blood and everything else you ever eat taste like ashes in comparison.
    • Isshiki Satoshi. Shameless nudist, laid-back goof, perpetual smiler and completely incapable of taking anything seriously for mor than five minutes. However, underneath the surface lies a deeply passionate man who, when roused into action, is a complete terror made even moreso by his perfect control over his own emotions.
  • Fruits Basket: Shigure comes across as a goofy Chivalrous Pervert, but in reality he's a Magnificent Bastard and The Chessmaster behind the entire plot. Upon rereading, fans will notice that he always says just the right thing to weaken Akito's psychological and mystical power over the Sohmas.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Hohenheim, although it might partly be a case of Obfuscating Stupidity. You can abuse him all you want if you're a certain Edward Elric, but just don't touch his kids, okay? In the first anime, he also has a very shady past involving mass murders and the quest for immortality.
    • Aside from Hawkeye, Mustang's unit appears to be comprised almost entirely of either idiots or wusses. At least until the chips are down, especially in the manga and in Brotherhood. Then they demonstrate just why a man looking to change the country would have handpicked them for his central unit and closest bodyguards.
    • And then of course we have Maes Hughes, who is usually a ditz who obsesses over his family at every possible moment, until we find out that he's really a badass Knife Nut who has Obfuscating Stupidity and figures stuff out way before anyone else.
    • Ling Yao is introduced as a Funny Foreigner who constantly collapses in the streets out of hunger, weasels his way into getting a free meal, jokes around, and sends his bodyguards to do his fighting while he runs away. It isn't too long before the audience learns he's an excellent fighter himself, has strong beliefs, and is very driven by his goals. Of course, very early on there were hints that there was much more to him that meets the eye, particularly due to any time he opened his often shut eyes.
    • Major Alex Louis Armstrong is a huge man, prone to ripping his clothes off and displaying his muscles at the slightest provocation, and in general has the temperament of a Big Friendly Dog with a side-order of Cuddle Bug and ham. However, Major Armstrong is a frontline-grade officer, a State Alchemist and a combat veteran of the brutal hellhole that was the Ishvalan War. He is immensely strong, the most agile member of Mustang's unit in spite of his size, an extremely capable martial artist and combat alchemist and he can transmute with a precision no other alchemist can match.note 
  • Full Metal Panic!:
    • Teletha Testarossa, a Genius Ditz teenage commander, despite usually being clumsy and tripping over her own feet, when her subordinates are put in danger, can even recapture a submarine from a freak terrorist group. Also, her claims about not be able to use guns, turn out to be false at these moments.
    • As a humorous example, she's capable of holding her breath underwater longer than her bodyguard Sōsuke realizes, considering her below-average performance in other athletic areas. She has to rescue him from drowning (and tries to smuggle in a Kiss of Life under Kaname's jealous eye) when he panics and dives in after her.
    • The biggest case of this, however, is Sōsuke himself. Thanks to his social ineptitude, tendency to treat any situation as a combat scenario, and an embarrassing introduction as the New Transfer Student, everyone at Jindai High quickly pins him as a not-entirely sane military Otaku who alternates between being a endless source of amusement and a giant pain in the ass. The idea that he genuinely could be a soldier and expert mech pilot serving as Kaname's undercover bodyguard never crosses anyone's mind, and even Kaname herself refuses to believe the idea until Sōsuke climbs into an Arm Slave and demonstrates just what talents he neglected basic social skills for. This is even more pronounced in the manga adaptation, which starts In Medias Res and doesn't reveal Sōsuke's true nature until several chapters in.
  • Future Diary: Yukiteru, the main character, may behave like a diary-writing bystander most of the time, but when both of his parents are killed in close succession and the assailants surround him, crap hits the fan.
  • Galaxy Angel: Colonel Volcott O. Huey is a usually even-tempered and complacent commander who takes the brunt of much of the show's comic relief slapstick. But tell him his mustache doesn't suit him, and he'll revert to his combat days as the "White Wolf" and proceed to destroy everything in his path to defend his mustache's honor.
  • GaoGaiGar: When Mic Sounders XIII was initially introduced, he was a childish, goofy robot who looked like the bastard child of a walkie-talkie and a Speak'n'Spell. However, he had an alternate mode — a rocker who could kick ass and energize teammates with the power of music. This mode was locked to ensure that the AI wouldn't abuse its power — or, more specifically, so that he wouldn't accidentally destroy the world — but came out on its own to protect Mic's friends (and in particular, the sister of the man his AI was based on). Later on, the limiter was released and Mic could change between modes at will.
  • Gate Keepers: That woman whose only job is to provide fanservice. Then she pulls out her bazooka in the final episode.
  • Get Backers: Amano Ginji is normally childish and goofy, and even when fighting can usually enjoy himself... unless the fight becomes a true, life-threatening ordeal. If that happens, or Ginji's psyche can't handle the strain, he goes into "Raitei" mode AKA "Lightning Emperor", and proceeds to show everyone just how he got to be the leader of the most powerful street gang in the Limitless Fortress, and why people nicknamed "Beastmaster" and "The Prince of Battle Terror" would take orders from him.
  • Ghost Sweeper Mikami: Tadao Yokoshima is usually best described as "lust-addled". However, if someone he has the hots for...er...he cares about is in trouble (read: Mikami, Okinu, and/or Luciola), his spiritual powers go into overdrive, and he becomes surprisingly cunning with his latter-half-of-the-manga monju. Of course, it helps that his spiritual powers are quite literally lust-fueled...
  • Golden Boy: Kintaro Oe comes across as a dumbass whose mind is perpetually in the gutter (when it's not in another woman's toilet), but beneath this goofy exterior is not only the mind of a crafty genius, but a kenpo practitioner who can open a can of whup-ass when push comes to shove.
  • Grenadier: Rushuna Tendou has a very ditzy, playful personality while being the best marksman in the known world. Then there's all the Fanservice that she's the source of. However, she isn't known as 'Vash the Stampede's' counterpart for nothing. Push her too far and her inhuman accuracy with an old but powerful revolver becomes fear incarnate for her foes.
  • GundamBuildFightersTry: Minato Sakai and Tryon 3 were not taken seriously when they debuted. Tryon 3 was a 70's style super robot complete with a Gattai scene brought to do battle with Gundams, everyone figured it would get destroyed quickly... until it demonstrated that it didn't just look the part, it had the sheer power of a Super Robot.
    Rushuna: YOU don't get a smile!
  • Hajime no Ippo: Ippo Makunouchi is a shy, awkward, overly-polite mama's boy... but once he steps into the boxing-ring, he becomes an intense and unstoppable fighter with a Dynamite Punch that can shatter bones, and an invincible stamina that allows him to keep coming back no matter how many times he's knocked down. It's not uncommon for people who've seen him in the ring, to completely fail to recognize him outside of it. Several times, this has worked to his advantage, since any opponent who've met him outside the ring is bound to underestimate the level of brutality he can unleash inside of it.
  • Happy Yarou Wedding: Akira is generally a goofy Dirty Old Man with occasional Crazy Jealous Guy moments, but the reason his father gave up interfering with him at all is because he firmly believes Akira would try to either kill or utterly ruin him and his company if he did.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • While not as badass as some, Fumi has proven herself to be extremely capable in certain subjects, her first appearance has her doing a complicated math problem in her head, but nearly overshadows Isumi when it comes to Cloudcuckoolander status in other departments. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like she'd be a badass Student Council President — yet.
    • Isumi is also a Cloudcuckoolander, plus she has No Sense of Direction, but give her a demon to clean up, and she's one of the most powerful spiritual fighters in generations and is actually called out by a chapter title and a powerful character herself to possibly be the most powerful character in the story.
  • Heroic Age: The titular character (Age) is ordinarily a curious and kindhearted boy who really wants nothing more than to just be friends with anyone, but when the time comes for him to go into battle on behalf of the Iron Tribe (humans), and especially the Argonaut, he is truly a force to be reckoned with.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • North Italy has a moment of this when he fights Turkey. It hasn't really happened since then, though notes and blog posts proclaim that he can be amazing at things if he actually tries. He is also said to be extremely skilled in the arts and trade.
    • South Italy also has one of these moments when he beats his Mafia up while trying to help Spain.
    • America in the movie fight scene: the man has skills. In the main series, he is known for being an oblivious justice-obsessed Large Ham with Leeroy Jenkins tendencies, who can also drag a car after himself for hours without breaking a sweat just to ask said car's owner, England, whether he can borrow the car for a ride. One of the earliest experiences England had with America as a kid included the boy (who looked like he was at most 6 years old) lifting a buffalloo and spinning it around like it was a ragdoll.
    • Latvia is somewhat spacey, lacks social tact and is Prone to Tears, but he's also called a "hidden genius" who "manages to do things that seem impossible." In one instance, he built an entire railroad alone at Russia's behest, despite being an agricultural nation and having no experience in doing so. Of course, it doesn't help that he doesn't work hard unless he's ordered (and threatened). According to one of his character profiles, he might be Obfuscating Stupidity, as it says he's "hidden his true strength and ability to handle things easily."
  • High School D×D: Issei spends much of the series lagging behind Rias' other pieces and makes a signature ability out of Clothing Damage, which is taken about as seriously as you'd expect by those around him. Make him take a situation seriously, like messing with his friends or halving the breast size of his female companions, and he will find a way to kick your ass.
  • High School Of The Dead: Kohta Hirano at first seems like a typical fat, otaku nerd, but once the zombie apocalypse happens, he reveals that he's quite deadly with firearms. In fact, his knowledge of how to use guns helps save the other characters several times through the series.
  • Is the Order a Rabbit?: Chiya in episode 5. She seems a uncoordinated when practicing with Cocoa, but shows amazing ability to dodge objects being tossed at her. She even hit a volleyball hard enough to knock out Cocoa, but passes out from exhaustion herself.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Jean-Pierre Polnareff, a ladies' man who's normally dumb as a bag of hammers and repeatedly has bad encounters with foreign toilets. However, when the chips are down (like with his fight against Vanilla Ice), he turns badass, accepting his (possible) death with a calmness that most would kill for.
    • Diamond Is Unbreakable:
      • Okuyasu Nijimura, who may be the single dumbest character in JoJo history. But he's also got one of the most dangerous Stand abilities in the series, enough strength to knock someone out in a single punch, and a will strong enough to come back to life after taking an explosion from Killer Queen to the stomach.
      • Shigechi is an overweight middle schooler and not exactly that bright, but his mastery over his Stand, Harvest, causes the heroes to consider him one of the most dangerous Stand Users in the Part. He even comes close to defeating Kira, only losing because he wasn't aware of Kira's Stand ability.
    • Vento Aureo:
      • Narancia Ghirga is a Book Dumb Butt-Monkey who's usually the first to be taken out when Team Bucciarati encounters an enemy Stand User. However, when given the chance to fight, he proves to be one of the most effective members of the team.
      • Vinegar Doppio, when first introduced, is portrayed as the boss's strange and somewhat dimwitted second-in-command. However, during his battle against Risotto Nero, he proves himself capable of taking him on until Diavolo takes over and finishes Risotto off.
    • At first, Johnny Joestar from Steel Ball Run comes off as possibly the least badass JoJo, being portrayed as whiny, incompetent, and overly-reliant on Gyro. But when given the chance in battle, he shows just how capable he really is.
    • JoJolion:
      • Joshu Higashikata, who isn't exactly that bright and is regularly used for comic relief. But during the Milagro Man Arc, he proves to be more intelligent than how he's usually portrayed.
      • Hato Higashikata is a Ditz who, like her younger brother, is usually relegated to comic relief. But when her "boyfriend", Tamaki Damo, ends up taking out the rest of the Higashikata household, she inflicts onto him a Curb-Stomp Battle so bad it sends him running for his life.
  • Kaiji: The titular character. In the first episode of series 1 he reveals that he committed a crime the victim didn't even suspect him for, and through the course of the first half of the series is betrayed twice by the same person in a spectacular display of bad judgement which makes the audience cringe. But when he finally decides to get serious he's capable of demonstrating incredible intelligence and bravery: at one point going so far as to cut off his own ear to fool his opponent (It Makes Sense in Context), thus leading to his victory... But then he makes a crucial mistake that even the viewer could see coming a mile off and loses everything. Again.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Apachai is normally a Friend to All Living Things, as well as being The Ditz. He's also known as the "Death God of Muay Thai", and for good reason. He will kill you if you start a fight with him. He accidentally nearly kills Kenichi on multiple occasions during sparring exercises because he never holds back.
    • Also Kenichi's father. Most of the time he is seen, he ends up knocked out by his wife. But when he visited Ryozanpaku and saw their Training from Hell, he tried to "rescue" Kenichi by putting him on his shoulder and running away while evading shigure's attacks, reloading with one hand a gun that you CAN'T reload with one hand and shooting accurately with it at the pursuing masters pointing his rifle backwards, underhanded while running in the opposite direction and not looking.
  • Kill la Kill:
  • Kinnikuman: The titular character and his son, Kinniku Mantaro, are both prime examples of this type of hero.
  • All of the Crimson Demon Clan in KonoSuba are this writ large. An entire race of Chuunibyou wizards that run entirely on badass bombastic speeches that looks absolutely ridiculous to everyone else in the world (and even one or two of their own number). But they are completely capable of backing those speeches up, as shown when a unit of the Demon Lord's forces, over a thousand strong and led by a highly magic-resistant general, try to take on a handful of Crimson Demons. It's a one-sided magical slaughter, and the only concern they have is about using the resulting light show to attract tourists.
  • Kure Nai: Shinkuro. For 11 episodes he leaves the viewer wondering how on Earth he could have possibly been trained by a family of ex-assassins, who even gave him a sword-like blade placed into his arm; he was tough, but showed no real fighting skill. Then comes the finale, where he suddenly uses insane skills to obliterate the enemy, afterwards revealing that he had never even used his trained abilities because he "regretted having the weapon placed inside him too much." After taking out one of the big bads in under a second with it. Which was awesome.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh!!: Yuri acts this way whenever his Demon King side gets activated, and although he won't kill his enemies he usually succeeds in scaring the crap out of them.

    M-S 
  • Master Keaton: Keaton Taichi Hiiraga. At first glance he appears to be a bumbling part time lecturer with a keen interest in archeology. But he is actually an extremely competent ex-soldier with vast networks of important people (he is friends with a British prince!). When the situation calls he can even turns random items into deadly weapons or survival kit a la mcGuyver.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico:
  • Mazinger Z:
    • Boss is the Butt-Monkey, Hopeless Suitor and Plucky Comic Relief Gonk character from this series and the sequel Great Mazinger. He is mocked and ridiculized by his friends and belittled by the villains, and he gets beaten easily in each battle. Still, when he is angry he can get scarily competent and even badass. He is Acrofatic and perfectly capable of holding his own on a fistfight, and although his Humongous Mecha is a pile of scrap gets destroyed in every fight, he has blown up some dangerous Robeasts and pulled off several awesome Big Damn Heroes moments. Also, threatening Kouji -his vitriolic best bud — or Sayaka — his crush — is a bad idea.
    • This holds especially true in his Mazinkaiser and Shin Mazinger incarnations — in the former, he gave a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to The Dragon of The Movie; in the latter, Boss Borot's first official appearance consists of it grabbing a high-powered missile right out of the air, and tossing it straight into the sky.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Elma is a harmony dragon who is often clueless, easily tricked, bribe-able with snack food, and stranded on Earth. However, she's also noted to be Tohru's equal. The relevant power level of this aspect isn't shown until Ilulu and Clemene appear and show how Tohru (and by extension, Elma) eclipse other dragons in might. Hell, even arrogant jerk Clemene refers to her as Elma-sama, showing her status among harmony dragons.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Une. Her Split Personality is even more of a pacifist and stooge of Oz (and her military side) than "Queen" Relena turned out to be, despite being a good enough arguer to seriously talk down the most distrusting of souls. As for the Oz side of Une, this is the woman who cold-bloodedly assassinated Relena's foster father (Ambassador Dorlian) and pushed a no longer useful tool of a man out the back of an airplane, shooting him as he fell. It's no wonder she was semi-suicidal on the integration of those personas, the death of Trieze aside.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Patrick Colasour (in the later part of Season 2).
  • Mob Psycho 100: Not surprising for the creator of One Punch Man, his other work has a few.
    • Shigeo Kageyama got his nickname "Mob" from "Mob Character," aka a side character or NPC, being fairly lackluster in academics, sports, socializing, etc. He's also the most powerful Esper in the series pretty much bar none. If he's pushed far enough, he's a terrifying force of nature, but he simply hates fighting or having to use his Psychic Powers against other people, and avoids it whenever possible.
    • Dimple is originally shown to be a decently powerful evil spirit, but after being stripped down to a scrap of his former self by Mob, becomes something of a hanger on. Despite this he singlehandedly devours an army of 100 evil spirits, is shown to be an agile and capable pilot for Mob's body when he's asleep or otherwise unable to defend himself, and that's not even getting into his time absorbing power from the Divine Tree.
    • Mob's boss and mentor, Arataka Reigen, is a Phony Psychic with no special powers and a generally bizarre skillset. He's also the one to reform most of the Claw organization with some admonishment over their behavior, and is capable of pulling out some impressive tricks in self defense when the cards are on the table. His leadership is even partly responsible for taking down the Claw organization at large.
  • Monster: Wolfgang Grimmer is a very laid back and friendly journalist, who under pressure or menace snaps into a berserker-like state that he calls "The Magnificent Steiner", after a Hulk-like show he watched when he was a kid. Turns out that he was a victim of a combination of psychological experiments and brutal spy training during his childhood, and he is a bit of a Stepford Smiler about that.
  • Inverted in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun. Kashima is introduced as a handsome Chick Magnet who is good at everything from sports to academics, and about 70% of her official artwork also has her sporting a suave look on her face that gives the impression of a "bad boy". It takes less than a day of knowing her for Sakura to realize that while Kashima is genuinely the cool-looking genius she's famous for being, she's also genuinely an air-headed moron.
  • My Hero Academia: Mineta. Stunted, uncharismatic, creepily perverted, his costume makes him look like he's wearing a diaper, and he has a severely limited Quirk (can produce sticky balls from his head). Yet he's been able to use his ability to great effect (mainly by trapping his target) and has defeated multiple villains, as well as the heroine Midnight (in great part by letting her underestimate him). The fact that he's willing to overwork his Quirk (which outright injures him as a consequence) if it means saving the day and protecting his comrades has earned him a fair bit of respect as well.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • The Baka Rangers are probably some of the biggest badasses in the story, but while they're Book Dumb, the only one that really fits this trope is Badass Normal Makie Sasaki, who can pull off impossible feats with a rhythmic gymnastics ribbon and also somehow managed to maintain some subconscious memory of being under Evangeline's control. The main Ditz of the staring True Companions is incredibly powerful, but doesn't qualify due to being The Medic.
    • Jack Rakan, though he is always badass. I pity the poor fool who thinks that they can outsmart him easily.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Shinji Ikari has an unique ability to go berserk in his Humongous Mecha when having received enough mental pain. He transforms then into an enemy-killing war machine, famous all over the universe. When taken out from his mecha, he is usually just a sobbing, depressed wreck of a boy.
    • Though how much of this is actually Shinji and how much is the Eva itself taking over is somewhat debatable. Certainly the most badass moments (such as Shinji's first battle) are all Yui-sama.
    • Diving in magma in an unprotected Eva to save Asuka or knifing an Angel with guts torn open still qualifies him — no Yui-sama there.
    • Taking on Zeruel singlehandly and almost winning, even with only one arm? He was only stopped that time because the power went down. And if At-Fields are true to series canon, they are generated from the pilots (or dummy plugs). Guess what makes berserk EVA 01 undamageable. Amd in the second Rebuild movie, not only does he defeat Zeruel, he does so by forcing Unit-01 to enter a berserk state, replacing his lost arm with one made out of an AT Field, busts out Eye Beams, and nearly destroys the world by the time all is said and done!
    • Misato Katsuragi qualifies, as well. At home, she's a slovenly Hard-Drinking Party Girl, but on the job, she's an extremely daring and competent strategist.
  • Kosuke Hatanaka, main character of the boxing manga One Pound Gospel, is quite simply an utter idiot, stupid enough he once crossed himself during a boxing match and nearly killed himself multiple times trying to slim down enough for his weight class in time for the match. He also went directly from amateur to B-class professional (and you need to be a formidable boxer to even be allowed to test for the B-class license rather than start with the C-class), and every time he has his mind on the match his opponents discovers with horror that his dieting problems don't keep him from being one of Japan's strongest featherweight boxers whose victories have only been by knock-out, including the one against the Asian-Pacific Champion in the last chapter of the manga.
  • One-Punch Man: Saitama isn't stupid, but his intelligence is on par with the average person: he did extremely poorly in the written portion of the Hero Association entrance exam. In the physical test, however, he completely blew away his competition: he is faster, harder, and much stronger than any of his heroic peers. He's simply bored and lazy, due to the fact that being the most powerful being on Earth makes being a superhero boring.
    • A lot of other powerful heroes look pretty goofy but are worthy of their class and ranking. For example Watchdog Man, a lazy and horribly-mannered man in a dog suit who acts like a dog-and keeps his city clean of monsters. Fellow S-Rank hero Puri-puri Prisoner is a Camp Gay hero with a harem of criminals. Despite this he still has a strong feeling of justice and is more down to earth than the rest of the S-rank heroes, who tend to be more self-absorbed.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt:
    • Brief is a nerdy wannabe ghost exterminator, a frustrated virgin, and has a crush on Panty, who doesn't reciprocate. However, in episode twelve, he manages to fend off a few ghosts on his own, and even saves Panty from Scanty and Kneesocks when she starts losing her powers.
    • Also, Chuck is the Team Pet seemingly only capable of saying his name repeatedly and getting crushed to a pulp every episode. Not only does he pull off Car Fu once in a while, in the final episode it's shown that he can go One-Winged Angel on command to turn into a monstrous Hellhound. The same goes for Fastener, Chuck's demonic equivalent, but he is less of a moron when out of combat and slightly less of a badass when in it (his powered-up dragon form was easily annihilated by a fire blast from Chuck).
  • In Peacemaker Kurogane, it's easy to forget that the Comedian Trio, the girly looking boy carrying a pig and the creepy psychic are five of the ruthless Shinsengumi captains who could kill you in a blink of an eye.
  • Pretty Cure: Various installments of the franchise tend to have someone like this, including Nozomi Yumehara of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 and Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO!, and Love Momozomo of Fresh Pretty Cure!.
  • Problem Children Are Coming from Another World, Aren't They? (*gasp*):
    • Kurousagi. Most of the time, she's ditzy and useless... until episode 6, when her recently recruited super-people nastily fake-threaten to abandon the team, and teleport to the other side of the world to start a fight without permission. Kurousagi thoroughly loses her shat, follows and catches up with them in a matter of minutes. Izayoi proves elusive, so she plays a Gift Game with him, which she manages to bring to a draw while landing a pulverizing punch on a falling clocktower. Keep in mind, Izayoi effortlessly beats elder gods into a pulp with his bare fists, and this is the first time we see him fail to win a contest.
    • Following and finding them wasn't that hard for her. She has direct link to all Little Garden surveillance systems and can use teleportation stations free of charge. But the fact that she could keep up with Izayoi relatively easy is impressive on its own.
  • Psychic Academy:
    • Zerodyne. Nearby his brother, he loses about twenty years of maturity, doofs around class all the time (even gets called out for acting like a student!) yet he is the most powerful aura master in the world, and boy does it show.
    • Under NO circumstances should you EVER threaten his brother. While Zerodyne has protected Ai when he was in danger, he never actually hurt anyone... but when the ADC came to take Ai away, Zero almost choked a woman to death.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Ryōga Hibiki. When going up against the series protagonist, he's basically treated as a Butt-Monkey. But give them another opponent, and he can unleash a stunning amount of whoopass.
    • Ryōga at least is the main character's rival, and as such has to be just slightly weaker than him. Being slightly weaker than the main character pretty much requires that he be stronger than everyone else, he is portrayed as enormously strong and makes the Made of Iron characters look to be Made of Plasticine. Of course, Ryōga IS a bit of an idiot and a rather nice guy when not being overly paranoid, so this might still qualify.
    • Ranma's father Genma is usually portrayed as bumbling, lazy, cowardly, selfish, petty... you get the idea. However, he's one of the highest-level martial artists in the series, can still hand Ranma his ass in serious combat (that is, outside comedic, slapstick Megaton Punches,) and devised two particular martial arts styles, the Yamasenken and Umisenken, that are unusually deadly for the Ranma ½ universe. Even the other characters were shocked with disbelief at discovering that the lazy slob had created such powerful schools.
    • Happosai also qualifies. Most of the time he's just a Jerkass Dirty Old Man who makes life miserable for everyone by his petty acts. However, he is also the most powerful character in the series capable of defeating both Ranma and Cologne with ease. Fortunately, he rarely gets really dangerous, and can be quickly distracted and taken out by throwing womens underwear in his direction.
  • Reborn! (2004):
    • Probably one of the biggest examples of this trope ever, Tsuna Sawada. He kicks ultimate ass when in Hyper Dying Will Mode.
    • Given the series' comedy origins, a lot of the characters have an element of this, especially Takeshi Yamamoto and Ryohei Sasagawa.
    • Also Lambo. Idiot as a kid, still an idiot 10YL but badass 20YL.
    • Dino as well. He is extremely clumsy, unless he is around his subordinates.
    • And as of the most recent story arc Iemitsu, you know Tsuna's father showed us just how big of a hidden badass he is by using dying-will flames to KO Tsuna and canceling Tsuna's powered-up Hyper Dying Will Mode with one punch
  • Mega Man Zero/Rockman Zero manga, in a complete change from the actual games, makes Zero a character of this sort. In his normal state, he's a coward with no memory of his past as a hero. Hit the right trigger, however, and the legendary hero returns, with his signature helmet and insane combat prowess. The manga actually calls this version Rockman Zero — which is just the name of the game series, not the character.
  • Rune Soldier Louie:
    • This is the whole premise; the better part of the show is about priestess Melissa who has been given a mission by her god to support apprentice mage Louie to become a "Valiant Champion", for which he seems to be completely unfit. Instead of using his magic in combat, he'd rather punch monsters in the face with his fists and when told to use his magic wand, he breaks it by whacking it over a monster's head. But with Melissa's guidance and combat training by Genie, he becomes a much better fighter and shows to be a genuinely good person who never gives up helping people in need.
    • Even with guidance and combat training, he's still a mage...
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Kenshin Himura. Usually very easy-going, he reverts to a deadly (though Technical Pacifist) swordsman when lives are in danger. And if he's pushed even further than that, he loses all hint of Technical Pacifism and goes into full-on murderous "Battousai" mode.
    • This change, unlike many series where a transformation usually comes as a surprise to those who witness it, is understood by the other characters from the start, since he was a legendary and merciless assassin 15 years ago.
    • It is both this trope and Obfuscating Stupidity. Kenshin truly is a bumbling idiot by nature, but his Battousai mode is completely under his control and he can activate at will or even be in it full time if he wanted. He just prefers to be his bumbling idiot self.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Main protagonist Tsukino Usagi/Serena Tsukino. She spends a good portion of the anime bitching about how she doesn't want to be Sailor Moon and shrieking at the top of her lungs whenever confronted with a problem. And acting incredibly stupid. But in the end she still beats Queen Beryl and protects Earth!
    • That's because she is the embodiment AND exaggeration of a normal girl's flaws, and also since every time she awakens to her powers fully, Bad Things happen. But still, she's protective enough of those she loves to go charge against her enemies, even when she's bitching about having to do it. Lampshaded in the R season, when a depressed Usagi is monologuing in Mamoru's apartment after the other Senshi are captured by Rubeus and she, Chibi-Usa and Mamoru barely escape.
      Usagi: Surely at this rate, I would've already said "I can't do this! I'm scared! I'm sleepy!" (sigh, smiles sadly) How odd. I said it as if I really meant it.
    • Minako Aino/Sailor Venus, of whom Usagi is an Expy, is easily seen as a lazy teenager. She has killed monsters by herself for over a year before any of the other Sailor Soldiers were activated, and the reason there's no crime left in Minato Ward in the main series is that she beat up and left for arrest all criminals (and we mean all of them: she even got the panty thieves) in the time left between heroics and idol chasing.
  • Saiyuki:
    • Goku can turn from kid who only thinks about food and fighting to a rampaging, unstoppable demon when his limiter is broken. Usually breaks if Sanzo is in trouble. Basically, he's Ginji Amano but Really 700 Years Old.
    • It's also been revealed by new sidestory series Ibun that Sanzo's master Koumyou Sanzo was considered a big-time Cloudcuckoolander as a novice. The only reason people are less likely to think this when he is older is because he's immediately recognizable as a Sanzo priest and has TWO scriptures, which is sorta a declaration of badass, and Zen koans are pretty out-there to begin with "so maybe he's just THAT Enlightened that we can't understand a thing he's saying". Ukoku says flat-out at one point that he can't tell if Koumyou is a genius or a complete moron (Koumyou replies "I get that a lot.") His disciple Kouryuu (aka, the MAIN CHARACTER) seems to have made his goal in life to curb the moron tendencies. Until his goal in life becomes avenging his master's death, but that's another story (the main one).
  • Saki: Remember Touka? You know, the comic relief, Butt-Monkey, Unknown Rival of Nodoka whose great moment in the tournament involved her getting her butt kicked by practically everyone in her table? Well, the manga chapters set after the Prefecture finals reveal that when she's surrounded by powerful enemies, the normal Touka sort of... goes to sleep, and a personality dubbed "Cold Touka" by Hajime takes over. During the training camp, this Touka joins a table comprised of Saki, Koromo, and Fujita "Pro". She then proceeds to curb stomp them. Repeatedly.
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo:
    • Played with. Kyoshiro seems to have this going on, being a kindly Lovable Coward and perverted medicine seller with Kyo as a Superpowered Evil Side that comes out when he's forced to draw his sword. However, this gets subverted when fairly early in the manga, Kyo takes over full time. There is an even greater subversion later namely, that Kyo and Kyoshiro actually are two separate people and while Kyo has killed plenty of people, the whole "killing a thousand people" reputation was something Kyoshiro did, and his bumbling was really Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • While Benitora really IS a idiot who is head over heels for Yuya. He doesn't really want to become the Shogun like his Dad wants him to. (Yukimura is probably more Obfuscating Stupidity than this trope, though.)
    • Bontenmaru is a Boisterous Bruiser and only came to the Forest because he heard that a group of Action Girls had gone to defeat Nobunaga. What he found disappointed him greatly, except for Okuni. Then again, he IS the famed Dokuganryuu AND a former member of the Shiseiten...
  • Sands of Destruction: Kyrie is utterly hopeless and useless male protagonist, who pretty much ends up doing nothing useful for almost the entire series. Then, in one magical moment, he activates his Destruct Code powers and begins disintegrating everyone into sand. Oh, and he can fly.
  • 3×3 Eyes: Pai is The Ditz until things get messy, then her third eye on her forehead opens and her other personality, a magic-wielding Badass comes out. In episode 4, though we learn she's not the ditz we thought she was.
  • Sgt. Frog: The titular character. He may act like an idiot most of the time but God help you if you touch his Gundam... Or if his surrounding air is hydrated as strong as on his home planet, which is how he got to be General in the first place: heartlessness and efficient. But then the Nyoro creatures come from the sky to suck him dry, cancelling out his effectiveness.
  • Shaman King:
    • Yoh Asakura. He pretty much sits around in his pot leaf t-shirt fondling oranges and listening to Bob CDs but then turns into a badass when people threaten people he wants to protect.
    • Lyserg Diethiel to an extent too except it's more of a case of crouching emo hidden badass. Most of the time he's just a little whiner who sits around saying how he needs strong friends but he actually owns a few people in battle.
    • Chocolove and Horo Horo, for goodness sake. Although Horo Horo proved his own during the fight with Yoh in the beginning of Shaman Fight, he ends up as the Butt-Monkey for a good long time, even as the weakest member of Team Ren. That's until in the manga we learn about his past, his real name and the Ainu meaning to it, and the true identity of his adorable Koropokuru — Damako, his childhood sweetheart who essentially froze to death because of him. Chocholove is aiming to become the world's greatest comedian, despite the lameness of his jokes, and it's not until later we learn why exactly he does. (He used to be the leader of a murderous gang who's parents were killed by a burglar on Christmas Day, and had to witness his teacher killed by the gang members he had left in order to hone his shaman powers. Of course, it turns out that he and his gang members had made peace and they had followed him to the Shaman Fight later.) THEN we find out about his connection with the Golem kids... and they send him temporarily to hell, and more.
    • Asakura Mikihisa. He's the goofball dad who just wears a wooden mask and married into a family of traditional Japanese shamans. Who is also the biological father of Yoh and the current incarnation of Hao. Who also sometimes shows up only in his underwear and gets frequently called a "Pervert" or "Freak", enjoys climbing mountains for training and is apparently handy with a barbecue set. And then the the Hana-gumi tried to kill the Golem kids he was playing guardian for.
  • Sorcerer Hunters: Carrot Glace is a scruffy, scrawny, lazy, largely single-minded Lovable Sex Maniac... who just happens to be not only basically immune to magic, but absorbs it to power his Involuntary Shapeshifting into various monster forms.
  • Soul Eater:
    • Black*Star's absolute confidence in himself makes him into one of these. Unless he is truly pushed he is too busy chewing scenery to fight well. Death the Kid is a form of inversion; he's normally stoic and badass, but if his OCD gets activated he usually devolves into an ineffectual, sobbing wreck. That said, if his OCD is pushed too far, it results in Kid's reaction in episode 3: obliterating his asymmetrical target and inadvertently demolishing the pyramid it was in.
    • The normally goofy Shinigami can be wonderfully Badass when the need arises. He reacts to Asura's resurrection by calmly inquiring how he is... and pointing out that, unfortunately the Kishin is "going to have to die again". Notable in that he actually uses typically comedic tropes in real combat including using his Armor-Piercing Slap, the Shinigami Chop, as a particularly devastating weapon.
    • Patti is quite the skilled fighter when not acting as a Weapon for Kid. She takes down numerous opponents in hand-to-hand combat training, and is very... enthusiastic at a firing range.
    • The Death Scythe Tezca Tlipoca initially seems clinically incapable of acting serious, and makes a fool of himself on a regular basis. Then he fakes his own death, tracks someone halfway across the world, and holds his own against one of the more powerful villains.
    • Spirit Albarn is absolutely an immature womaniser and Bumbling Dad to his estranged daughter. But as 'the' Death Scythe he is also a very powerful Weapon, whether with a meister (Stein, Maka, and Shinigami in the anime) or not.
  • Soul Eater Not!: Meme is introduced as a typical big-breasted ditz character. Then we find out that she can beat people up in her sleep.
  • Spiral: Rio is a Cute Clumsy Girl who loves melons and cute things, but is scared of thunder. Cross her, however, and she'll reveal her true self, as one of the 'Blade Children' — a ruthless, calculating murderess with a degree in Magnificent Bastardry. Indeed, it initially seems like her Cute Clumsy Girl personality is just Obfuscating Stupidity, but she still acts the same way when alone, or hanging around her fellow Blade Children...

    T-Z 
  • The Prince of Tennis: Takashi Kawamura.
  • Slayers: In the anime, Gourry Gabriev is a swordsman with extremely poor memory (often forgetting whoever he and his companions fought in the past) and a bumbling idiot who can't grasp onto any explanation, but if he's provoked enough, or if anyone, namely Lina, is in danger, he becomes an utterly badass swordsman and pushes the Badass Normal creed as far as it can go.
    • It is also stated that Gourry has the potential to be an extremely powerful sorcerer, with a power rivaling Lina's... if only he could memorize the spells.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Enji Koma, the goofy head waiter of Anteiku that often waxes nostalgic about his wild youth. No one takes this seriously, often ignoring or mocking him. It turns out he's merely been a Retired Badass for long enough that the younger characters haven't heard of him. When he comes out of retirement, he quickly proves that the "Devil Ape" is one of the most dangerous character in the series. (He's still wearing the same goofy hairstyle under his Cool Mask, though.)
  • Transformers Victory: A mild example is Holi. In the first few episodes, he's portrayed as naive and childlike, but when the rest of the Rescue Patrol Team arrives, he turns out to be a very competent commander in his own right.
  • Trigun:
  • Trinity Blood: Abel Nightroad (Crusnik 02) may be a perfect example of this trope. It's hard to tell if its just an act or not.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-: Fai D. Flourite comes off as a total, overjoyful, optimistic and somewhat annoying idiot. Seemingly useless without magic. However, when a battle arises and the kids are in danger, he has shown that he has great physical skills and staff skills. Though, sometimes that goofy air is about him in battle, just to piss off Kurogane. Bad ass none the less.
  • Tsukihime:
  • Ultimate Muscle: Kid Muscle, a champion wrestler trapped in the body of an abject coward. He's also The Ditz, which doesn't help.
  • Ultra Maniac: Nina. In the manga, her cat Leo is attacked by Sayaka and she blasts a huge hole in the ceiling of the gym with her magic.
  • Vamp!: The Magic Man, who dresses like a Salaryman and willingly gets violently abused by his boss... until he finally decides to drop the act and call him out. Subverted in that it's implied anyone in the room is inherently more powerful than the boss, but they were all either fooled into believing they couldn't beat him or were playing this trope.
  • Vampire Knight: Kaien Cross.
  • Vandread: The Ditz/Cloudcuckoolander Dita proves to be this when she breaks out her Determinator qualities in the first season finale.
  • Viewtiful Joe:The titular character is a selfish, idiotic and lazy slacker, but whenever Silvia or Junior are in danger, he kicks some serious ass.
  • Violinist of Hameln: Queen Horn usually acts like a ditzy Cloudcuckoolander, but when she gets serious, she gets DEAD serious.
  • Virtua Fighter: The anime version of Akira Yuki is an Idiot Hero who can't stop eating. Whenever the situation is going out of control, though, he equips his gi and turns himself into a serious fighter until his enemies are defeated, sometimes so far that it reflects his original persona in the game.
  • The Voynich Hotel: Elena is nice, chipper, and polite till you piss her off, or threaten her boyfriend. Bad, bad things happen when you anger an ancient island goddess.
  • The World God Only Knows:
    • Mari Katsuragi looks like an ordinary House Wife, right? Well, this housewife also used to be a member of a biker gang and instantly pulls out the Tsundere if sufficiently provoked. In this state, she can break chairs merely by kicking them at the wall hard enough.
    • Elsie shows signs of developing into this as time passes. She's normally a bumbling ditz, but on one occasion when her nii-sama Keima's life is seriously threatened, she rises to the occasion by capturing the attacker in a jar.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Jounouchi/Joey is frequently mellow if not just plain goofy, but tends to get incredibly serious when his friends are in danger. In season zero, he shows moments of genius during some of the "games". Oh, and by the way, don't hurt his friends. He WILL break your face.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Judai/Jaden is one of those few cases where "things went bad."
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: Kazuma Kuwabara is the same as Ryōga above: a punching bag or joke for the protagonist, but mighty against anyone else.
  • Zeorymer: The main character Masato is mostly just an angsty teenage boy, who's still trying to wrap his head around how he went from being an Ordinary High-School Student to piloting a Humongous Mecha. He doesn't want to hurt anybody, not even his enemies — after all, they're still people — and he DEFINITELY doesn't want any innocent bystanders getting hurt. However, when he's actually attacked... he starts grinning like a loon, wielding his mecha like it's an extension of his body, trouncing the opposition without mercy, ignoring "Collateral Damage" completely, and just generally enjoying being the pilot of a walking WMD.
    Miku: Masato, we have to lead them towards the forest! Too many civilians are getting hurt!
    Masato: To hell with them! Let THEM worry about the civvies and trip themselves up!


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