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- "Mr. Niceguy" from Lost and Found by Will Smith is about how other celebrities treat him like a joke, but if he wanted he could buy out the stations they work for and leave them in the dirt... but it's not his style, because he's a nice guy. It even contains the lyrics "Sometimes y'all/Mistake nice for soft".
- The pink teddy bear who takes on the monstrous champion in the Imagine Dragons video for "Radioactive" gets pretty badly smacked around, like all the challengers before. Then it's the teddy bear's turn. The bear gives better than it gets.
- In World War II, right after the fall of France, Adolf Hitler was certain that Britain, whom he considered fellow Aryans he didn't want to fight anyway, would fold up after that defeat and surrender. However, Prime Minister Winston Churchill not only gave powerful speeches that his nation was not going to give up, but did more. Namely, he ordered British forces to sink idled French warships at Mers-el-Kébir, killing 1,297 French servicemen, to make sure Nazi Germany could not use them against Britain. In doing that, Hitler was shocked to realize Churchill was not only talking tough, he also wasn't kidding around at how far he would go to fight the Nazis.
- In this day and age when a world power can project itself, many terrorist groups and dictators have learned that countries who are dedicated to maintaining order in the world are not going to just sit idly by and let them get away with things, such as Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait and getting smashed by the UN for it, or Gaddafi's Libya and the terrorist group ISIS getting smashed by UN air power when the world took action.
- Really, most people in real life are like this to some degree. Would you be compassionate towards someone who tried to hurt your kid? Or another family member of yours? Or even one of your friends?
- A consistent trait of John Cena's persona is that he openly welcomes any challenge for any reason. ("If you want some, come get some"). He will accept and he will fight you with just as much effort and motivation as if you are The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels (the 'Respect' part of Hustle. Loyalty. Respect). And if you do manage to beat him, he will sincerely congratulate you, and even go to bat for you if needed. However, if you misjudged yourself or him and you're not up to task, he will have no mercy or hesitation about steamrolling you. Now, this would be perfectly acceptable ... except this aspect of his gimmick is downplayed if not outright ignored. So, he is often cast as fighting morally even when he doesn't have that. This leads to the multiple narrative disconnects in his feuds, when simply going with this trope and Sink-or-Swim Mentor would be easier to take, even fresh and novel.
Religion and Mythology
- Norse Mythology:
- Thor is a Hot-Blooded Boisterous Bruiser who spends most of his time drinking, eating and killing giants. Thor is humanity's best line of defense against the giants, who would otherwise destroy the world of men, and the stories told about Thor indicate that he truly does care for humanity.
- Though the argument could be said that this applies to almost all the Aesir. Yes they seem like a pantheon of berserker warrior types, but they are pretty honorable and if you interpret Ragnarok literally a lot of them sacrifice themselves to see evil devastated in the final battle for the fate of the universe. Thor is simply the most obvious example
- Egyptian Mythology:
- Horus and Ra. Horus is a vengeful warrior god who goes out of his away to avenge cosmic wrongs done against the universe. Ra routinely went to battle the evil serpent god Apep to stop the destruction of the world.
- Another one from Egyptian Mythology is Sekhmet. Holy crap, Sekhmet. The lion-headed goddess who not only utterly wasted an attempted coup against the gods by almost drowning the world in blood, she was also known as She Who Mauls and One Before Whom Evil Trembles. She is a vicious goddess, but her rage is against evil.
- Any deity from the Hindu pantheon who represents the destroyer aspect. Most notably Durga who defeated a terrible demon, Kali who was known for her fury against evil beings, Shiva who is related to a number of incidents of unmitigated spiritual badassery, and Indra who famously slew the dragon-like Asura Vitra releasing all the waters of the world.
- Hercules/Heracles of Greek lore. Yes he did a number of things as atonement for actions he committed under a supernaturally induced frenzy, but he genuinely fought for what was right.
- Lugh of Celtic mythology. The king of the Tuatha De Danann earns a place here for vanquishing Balor and utterly devastating the rest of the Fomori Army.
- Cuchulainn from Irish Celtic lore also falls under here. He is one of the most beloved Celtic heroes in mythology and a total badass to top it all off. He even managed to fight of an army tied to a standing stone while mortally wounded and died standing. According to some sources, a standing death was a true hero's death.
- Marduk of Babylonian mythology who managed to slay the mad progenitor goddess Tiamat, and used her body to create the world. He was also a deity of justice.
- Tengri of Turko-Mongol religions falls under this. He was the God the sky and the storm and was directly responsible for punishing wrong doings on the earth.
- From the Apache peoples of North America we have Fire Killer of Enemies and Child Born of Water who according to legend slew a number of terrible monsters that preyed on the human race.
- Notably, God from the three Abrahamic Faiths. As noted throughout The Bible, He is compassionate to those in need, especially to those who turn to Him for counsel, aid or solace. But He has no qualms whatsoever with punishing someone when they've done evil and are unrepentant of it. Jesus is the same way, though in His case, He directed it towards Satan, the corrupt merchants and moneylenders in the temple, and the manipulative Pharisees and Sadduccees.
- Also from Abrahamic lore, the Cherubim. The Cherubim were not tiny, Cupid-like goodie two-shoes: they were God's soldiers. Their original appearance was very similar to those winged, human-headed, bull- or lion-bodied creatures depicted in Assyro-Babylonian art. (In Ezekiel's vision, they're described with four heads: lion, eagle, bull, and human male.)
- The Archangel Michael is notably a patron of soldiers and policemen.
- Mars from Roman religion was actually quite a different figure from Ares of Greek mythology. One of his nicknames was Mars the Avenger.
- A not as widely known example comes from pre-Christian Armenian mythology. Vahaghn was a bit like the Armenian version of Thor and was known in legend as a slayer of evil dragons and is one of it's most beloved heroic figures. Just like Thor, he was also a thunder god.
- In a Universe as twisted as Warhammer 40,000, The Salamanders Space Marine Chapter stand out for being one of the few Chapters that will actively protect civillians and being pleasant people in general. However, they are also considered to be among the toughest and their preferred way to attack can be.....unpleasant. Also, pray to your dark gods if you fire upon civillains.
- BIONICLE: The Toa, though goodness and softness does depend on the individual Toa, they are all supremely powerful warriors dedicated to protecting the innocent. Best summed up in the 2006 storyline by Lewa, fighting one of the Piraka.Lewa: Peace loving, not weak.
- Transformers: Most versions of Optimus Prime tend to be this, especially if pushed too far. Even the original Generation One versions (both comic and animation) had their moments.
- Linkara from Atop the Fourth Wall is generally a nice guy, but is perfectly willing to commit cold-blooded murder on his enemies. In fact, he's done this so much that he started to turn evil, possibly subverting the trope.
- The Church Knights of From Winter's Ashes may be dedicated to dealing with terrible things so you don't have to, but that doesn't mean one might not stick a sword through your hand and drag you around by it to teach you a lesson.
- Pendorians are kind, generous people who never consider using force to impose their will on other cultures. They also react badly to things like Pendorians being kidnapped. One kidnapping was mentioned to have ended in the destruction of a city. Another caused an interstellar war aimed at killing everyone connected to the kidnapping.
- Reds: The UASR is portrayed as a decent nation with a leadership devoted to social and economic equality for all citizens. That being said, their nation's early history is marked by what is arguably political persecution against those believed to be trying to destroy American democracy, complete with Kangaroo Courts and summary execution. (Though to give them their due, once stability was restored the government had a major My God, What Have I Done? moment and undid as much of the damage as they could.) And it is stated that World War II was an even bloodier affair. Whether or not this extra bloodshed was their doing hasn't been revealed yet, but it's clear they are ready for a fight.
- Chaka of the Whateley Universe: she's cheerful, considerate, happy-go-lucky... and she kicked Montana's butt when he crossed the line with her friend. When she had to deal with Lycanthros, she broke half his ribs and smashed his face in with moonsilver.
- Taylor, protagonist of Worm, is a perennial bullying victim and wannabe superheroine, who, even as she infiltrates a gang of supervillains, refuses to spend any of her share of the ill-gotten gains, has managed to temporarily incapacitate a regenerating supervillain who becomes more powerful as the fight continues. Her way of ensuring that he doesn't get back up before the authorities arrive? Calmly use a knife to remove his eyes, since they'll regenerate... eventually.
- In Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, Red Guy is the tallest (and presumed oldest) of the main trio. He's also The Stoic to extreme levels (virtually never raising his voice or getting upset), and shows compassion to his friends. But in Episode Four ("Computers"), he gets sick of the insane, babbling Teachers making trouble, and starts fighting back: he calls out Colin the Computer for his stupidity and even tries to shut him down (Yellow Guy and Duck Guy never touch the Teachers), refuses to be taken in by the clicks and whistles the computer offers, and escapes the "digital world" Colin creates through sheer force of will. Granted, this gets Red Guy "killed"—or at least warped out of the reality of the show—but in Episode Five, he's still trying to save his friends by calling them from the real world. Red Guy even ends up saving the day in Episode Six by unplugging the device that seems to be powering the horrific reality he and his friends once inhabited.
- The Anglo/American Nazi War : The A4, despite fighting a brutal war, spend tons of valuable resources trying to help civilians and offer food to any enemy that surrenders. But what do they do to a nation that enslaved and murdered tens of millions, unleashed deadly gas attacks, murdered members of the British Royal Family, and turned all of France into a wasteland out of sheer spite? Well:
- The Nazi Reich endures horrific nuclear and biochemical attacks. Berlin and Nuremberg are not just destroyed, but rendered uninhabitable for centuries.
- When Nazi soldiers decide to impersonate British soldiers and murder civilians in order to scare civilians away, Special Forces hunt them down without mercy.
- Per treaty Germany is permanently broken into 15 permanently-occupied administrative districts to ensure another horror doesn't come back from the grave. In 2007 (almost half a century after the end of the war) a group of nationalists tried to militarily revolt to unite Germany, the A4 responded by obliterating the city of Stettin by orbital bombardment.
- In a more personal example, a respectable Kansas soldier who lost several of his comrades in war was implied to have abandoned his guard duty so that a group of Polish survivors could take brutal revenge on a group of former concentration camp commandants.
- RWBY: Humanity struggles to survive in a world full of monsters who seem to exist solely to destroy humans. As a result, the Huntsmen that protect people from the Creatures of Grimm need to give no quarter just to survive. The very first lesson Beacon Academy teaches its new students consists of Professor Ozpin launching the teens over a cliff into a monster-filled forest, with the warning that they need to kill everything that moves because the teachers won't come to their rescue. At the same time, Professor Oobleck challenges his students to understand what their motivation for becoming Huntsmen actually is. This challenge causes Team RWBY in particular a crisis of faith as Weiss (who joined to restore honour to her family name), Blake (who joined to atone for the crimes of her past) and Yang (who joined to experience the thrill of danger) begin to realise their personal desires are restricting their growth. Oobleck is extremely pleased when the girls' realise the most important duty of being a Huntsman is to protect the vulnerable and innocent... and no matter how brutal the world, or their lessons, this is the one thing they must never forget.
- In The Bully's Bully, to BB bullying bullies are her lullabies, she is the nicest kindest girl you can imagine, makes every effort to use reason, but when it comes to the crunch she beats down and later mind rapes bullies.
- In Freefall, Max Post nails this trope in a glorious speech.Sam: Fear vs. Hope. Hardly an even match.
Max: That's because you think of hope as something light and fragile. My version of hope has calluses and dirt under the fingernails and isn't above bringing brass knuckles to a fight.
- Megatokyo's Ping is usually very kind and innocent, since she's a Robot Girl built for live-action Dating Sim-ing; but threatening her, or her friends, will literally activate Berserk Mode.Ping: Sorry about the mess. I had to make a bad man go away.
- Julie seems to be becoming this way in Our Little Adventure as the story progresses.
- In Stand Still, Stay Silent, Just Before the End, Iceland took radical measures to protect its population against The Plague, which included destroying boats of refugees if they don't give the proper signal.
- Saxony Canterbury from Thunderstruck is basically a good guy, and he never loses his cool. Ever. But it's not a good idea to convince him you are a threat.
- In El Goonish Shive, Grace expresses the philosophy that if anyone is bad enough that fighting them is unavoidable she shouldn't hold back. This can be seen in her videogame play-style across genres from fighting games to platformers.