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Good Is Not Soft / Western Animation

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  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Most of the Gaang fit this, being a team of heroic True Companions who seldom hold back when all hell breaks loose. At the climax, every single one of Aang's friends urges him to kill the Big Bad, and when Zuko pulls his long overdue Heel–Face Turn, Katara openly threatens to kill him if he ever looks like he's going to hurt Aang, and she clearly means it.
    • Iroh also fits this trope to a T. He's a kind old man who puts up with his nephew's Jerkass behavior, gives tea to random strangers... and cheerfully maims people who stand in his way.
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    • Avatar Kyoshi. Though definitely good, she did not believe in Thou Shalt Not Kill and never hesitated to give an enemy what was coming to him. Like a soldier, if an enemy needed dealing with, he got dealt with and that was that, no regrets. In her tie-in novel, she kills a gang leader by lifting him up on a bed rock and then letting him fall to his death. Someone likens the sight to a fire-breathing dragon sucking out someone’s soul.
      • It should be noted that Thou Shalt Not Kill was Aang's own personal conviction (part of his background as an airbender), and not an aspect of the Avatar. In fact, each and every previous life he accessed while meditating on the misty island was agreed on the point of doing what's best for the planet even though it might be unpalatable to his ethics. Avatar Yangchen, the previous Air Nomad Avatar and thus sharing Aang's pacifist religious beliefs, advised him that his duty as Avatar is to protect the world at any cost, even if means sacrificing his own morality.
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    • For that matter, Aang himself. Pacifistic, vegetarian, friendly, and take away Ozai's firebending so he can't be a threat again. Seeing how a bender considers their bending to be an essential part of their being, not unlike their very soul, this is a very unpleasant experience, very much a Fate Worse than Death from Ozai's perspective (not that Ozai didn't deserve it, though).
    • Monk Gyatso in Book One. The temple was subject to a surprise attack by overwhelming force of supercharged firebenders. This particular Airbender corpse was found atop a pile of at least 20 firebender soldiers. Said temple was the one where Aang learned his pacifistic ways.
  • The titular character of The Legend of Korra is this. If you're her friend she's fun and joking, if a bit egotistical. To enemies she's a terrifying Blood Knight, more than willing to give a complete beat-down, and it's pretty clear that she would have been willing to kill at least one of her opponents if she hadn't been...interrupted. In Book Two she actually does kill her uncle Unalaq, and doesn't express any problem with it. When the Earth Queen gets murdered, she’s more upset about the gruesome manner in which it happened and the effects it will have on the world than she is about the death itself. Book Three shows that she's not alone: in the final episodes, Mako, Suyin, and Tonraq do not hesitate to use lethal force on their opponents.
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  • Terry from Batman Beyond is far kinder than his mentor, but while he is Batman and like Bruce will not actively kill, unlike Bruce, he won't save villains from their own fate.
    Mook: I like to watch the crocodiles eat 'em. It's fascinating.
    *Terry fights them off, the same mook going into the water with them*
    Terry: You're right. It is fascinating. (Scream Discretion Shot)
  • In The Dreamstone, the Land of Dreams, despite being a Sugar Bowl in every other regard, is actually far more prone to violence than the Urpneys, and can be rather brutal (if not sometimes borderline sadistic) towards those that try to steal their stone, willingly or not.
  • Gravity Falls has some characters who fit the bill nicely:
    • Both of the twins, Dipper and Mabel, albeit in different ways.
      • Mabel tries to see the best in people and treat everyone nicely regardless of how they treat her (i.e., continuously being amiable to Pacifica even when the latter was a complete snob to her), but when her buttons are sufficiently pushed, she's downright scary. For example, in "The Last Mabelcorn", she's manipulated and tricked by a rotten unicorn who then rubs it in Mabel's face—and is shocked when Mabel responds by punching her in the snout and instigating a fight. Mabel also goes into attack mode when she sees Gideon hurting her brother.
      • Dipper, despite being compassionate and friendly, is more cynical and has significantly less tolerance for bad behavior. He also has no reservations about treating antagonistic people accordingly. Before Pacifica Took a Level in Kindness, he had no qualms about springing the knowledge that her ancestor is a fraud on her, and gladly rubbing it in her face. In another episode, he insinuates that Robbie's Jerkass personality makes him deserving of being in complete agony.
    • Wendy, for sure. She's a Nice Girl, but mistreat her, or her friends and all bets are off. When a shapeshifter deceives she, Dipper, Mabel, and Soos, she states, "He took us into his home, tricked us, and tried to destroy us. I say we return the favor," right before devising a plan to do so.
  • Kim Possible, a Disney character no less, is really caring and helpful, even more so as she matures. She has tried to reason with the villains at times, but most episodes have her resorting to her fists to resolve problems.
  • The original My Little Pony TV Specials demonstrated this trope at times as well. The series' first villain, Tirek, was straight-up killed — though "obliterated" might be a better way of putting it — by the Rainbow of Light. Their weapon of choice might be a Care-Bear Stare, but the Care Bears these ponies ain't.
  • Princess Celestia of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a loving, understanding ruler who nevertheless sealed her Arch-Enemy Discord in stone for more than a millennium — a period for which Discord was conscious the whole time. Celestia didn't lose any sleep over it because of his personality, and the same goes for the Mane Six after they manage to reseal him. Though they subvert this later when they set Discord free to give him a second chance.
    • She also banished her beloved sister to the moon for a thousand years, because the latter was trying to bring about The Night That Never Ends — which would've had omnicidal consequences. That is firm leadership, ladies and gentlemen (though Celestia, by all appearances, did lose quite a bit of sleep over that decision).
    • "A Canterlot Wedding" features the villain Queen Chrysalis threatening the population of Equestria with an attempted invasion. Consequently, it also features the Chrysalis having to deal with Princess Celestia shooting Frickin' Laser Beams at her face. To everyone's surprise — including her ownChrysalis proves powerful enough to defeat Celestia, but none of the fandom seemed to care.
      • It's worth noting that in this case, Chrysalis, who's the queen of an Emotion Eater race, was pretty much beyond all power limits during the battle, as she'd been feasting on the love between Shining Armor and Princess Cadence. In the sixth season finale, when faced with the prospect of fighting Celestia (and all of the other Mane Cast) again, she promptly turned tail and fled.
    • King Sombra's case is very similar to Discord's in nearly every respect. Bonus points for the method with which he is dispatched upon his return (he is the first and only antagonist in the show to be Killed Off for Real).
      • Oh, and Sombra's fate when Celestia and Luna took him down in the past? His physical form was ripped apart and his soul was sealed under the arctic ice.
    • She deals with the dangerous and sociopathic Cozy Glow this way too, first by sending her to Tartarus (literal Hell) and later sealing her in stone (which, as established with Discord, leaves one conscious). When push comes to shove and the Godzilla Threshold is met, she doesn't care in the slightest that Cozy Glow is a child and will do what she must to protect Equestria.
    • The Mane Six are like this too. Twilight Sparkle might be among the most diplomatic and patient members of the cast, but threaten her friends or loved ones and you better be prepared to face weapons-grade magic. Rainbow Dash and Applejack, the former especially, being the most athletic members of the group, tend to waste little time in putting their considerable physical abilities to use despite their respective fun-loving and level-headed natures. Even Fun Ponified Pinkie Pie (who becomes abruptly terrifying when her Berserk Buttons are pressed and wields a cannonnote  in combat), sweet and timid Fluttershy (whose Mama Bear instincts manifest in the form of a superpower called "the Stare"), and the sophisticated, ladylike Rarity (who was kicking angry manticores in the face by the second episode) will gladly step up to the plate if you pose a large enough threat.
      Rarity: Fighting's not really my thing, I'm more into fashion, but I'll rip you to pieces if you touch one scale on his cute little head!
    • Rarity gets special mention because she is shown using martial arts stances. The others have abilities that can be turned to combat. Rarity, on the other hand, set out to master asskicking at some point before she knew she'd be up against monsters with some regularity, and has no fear about leaping into the fray against creatures several times her size.
    • The Tree of Harmony had absolutely no qualms killing the entire Mean Six in response to them attacking it, even the clone of Rainbow Dash who didn't do anything bad aside from accompany the other clones and didn't even attack the tree. While it's unknown if the tree was sentient at that point, when it later appeared as a fully sentient apparition of Twilight Sparkle it went full Sink-or-Swim Mentor and forced the Young Six to face their worst fears, on threat of being trapped forever underground if they failed, to teach them a friendship lesson. It might be a Greater-Scope Paragon, but "soft" is not in its vocabulary.
  • The Powerpuff Girls fit this trope to a T. Generally sociable and friendly, they even manage to get along with several members of their Rogues Gallery when the villains aren't actively doing something evil. Nonetheless, their typical approach to crime-fighting is "beat the ever-loving shit out of the bad guys and dump their broken bodies in jail."
  • Optimus Prime of Transformers: Prime is one of the nicest, most purely heroic characters imaginable. He's also a giant alien war-machine and willing to brutally kill an opponent who has proven irredeemable. It doesn't matter if you used to be his friend. It doesn't matter if you used to be his mentor. It doesn't matter whether you're a human he could easily crush in a fair fight, another Transformer he's on roughly equal footing with, or even a god-like being like Unicron. Once you've crossed that line, nothing else matters any more. You're going down, and going down HARD.
    • This is a trait shared by many Autobots (and Maximals) throughout the Transformers franchise, both figuratively and literally. Optimus just tends to embody it best. When your race has "war machine" as a species trait, you tend to be ready when push comes to shove.
    • In the G1 cartoon, during a flashback to his first meeting with Megatron and being rebuilt into Optimus, there is a scene where he just blasts holes into 'con after 'con after 'con. In Transformers: The Movie, Optimus literally runs over one Decepticon and blasts several others before he confronts Megatron.
    • Alpha Trion qualifies for this as well, for rebuilding him. After all, he knew warriors would be needed, so when two of his friends were injured, he didn't just rebuild them as they were — he rebuilt them as badass Decepticon-slayers. Imagine waking up in the hospital with an Arm Cannon in preparation for the next time you ran into the guy who put you there.
  • While they're not like this in all incarnations, the 2003 version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles certainly fall into this territory. They have no qualms about killing but are generally pretty nice to their friends, and even when they bicker, you can still tell they love each other.
    • One particular instance came when Michaelangelo, the most lighthearted member of the group, pulled the pins off the grenades that a soldier of an invading alien force was carrying. He makes a quip about having done so right before the grenades detonate... with the soldier still carrying them.
  • Lion-O from ThunderCats (2011) would seem to be soft compared to other Cats, since he is the only one willing to try and convince his enemies to stand down and show them kindness. However, this kindness does not extend to their bosses, such as when he defeats the king of the rats Ratar-O without hesitation. He also doesn't let his compassion get in the way when innocent lives are at stake, such as blowing several Lizard fighters out of the sky in the season finale.
  • In Young Justice, Psimon assumes that because M'gann is a cheerful, friendly Naïve Newcomer, she'll fall apart with a Breaking Speech and a selection of her worst fears. It works for about a minute. Then she gets PISSED. (Something which becomes a bit too common after the Time Skip, to the point that the much gruffer Good Is Not Nice hero Superboy calls What the Hell, Hero?.)
    Psimon: Now now, my pretty. I know you don't want to do anything you'll regret.
    Miss Martian: You don't know me AT ALL!

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