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Action Girlfriend

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Ron, stop checking out Kim and focus!

"Oh, oops, I forgot to leave some for Kenichi again."
Miu (after beating up all the bad guys herself... again), Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

It starts with an ordinary guy living an ordinary life... until he meets a woman who changes his life forever. Unlike a typical Magical Girlfriend, the series is more about her kicking butt and taking names than causing hilarity to ensue. The story might be told through the guy's eyes, but as often as not she's the real star.

Fortunately for the guy, this doesn't mean she's completely out of his league. In fact, meeting her usually means the Ordinary High-School Student isn't so ordinary himself. That first fateful encounter will probably end up granting him special powers, or unlocking powers he didn't know he had. Maybe he did know, but didn't have a reason to use them.

In shows where Anyone Can Die, an Action Girlfriend has much higher chances of survival than most other love interests, since she is rarely subject to Cartwright Curse. In this case, they might become a Battle Couple and the guy to be an Amazon Chaser.

She's likely to become an Action Mom, if she and her boyfriend marry and have kids, or if she becomes a parental surrogate. Contrast: No Guy Wants an Amazon. Compare with Violently Protective Girlfriend.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black Butler, Elizabeth is revealed to be one. Wife of the Queen's Watchdog, indeed.
  • Burst Angel started out like this, but then the apparent "main character" was Put on a Bus...
  • Buso Renkin: Tokiko Tsumura becomes the girlfriend of the former ordinary high school guy Kazuki Muto at the end of the series' first arc. A highly skilled Alchemist Warrior, Tokiko first met Kazuki when he got himself killed by a monstrous homunculus while unnecessarily trying to save her life. After healing him, Tokiko becomes Kazuki's mentor before the pair eventually form a Battle Couple until Kazuki eventually surpasses her in power.
  • Case Closed:
  • Change 123 offers an interesting case where the girlfriend of the Non-Action Guy protagonist has three split personalities which are, each on her own way, Action Girls, but the main personality (whom he loves the most) is a Shrinking Violet.
  • In Code Geass Kallen Kozuki is the figure of the the Action Girl, it's even thanks to her involvment in the a terrorist cell and through his meeting with her that Magnificent Bastard Lelouch Lamperouge will enter the rebellion.
  • Cutey Honey is the quintessential anime version of this trope in every incarnation, particularly to her love interest Seiji, who is an ordinary journalist or reporter. Almost all of her male allies are no match for Honey's enemies and she usually ends up having to rescue them or bail them out of trouble.
  • Future Diary certainly has fun with this trope. Almost immediately after stumbling into The Game, Yukiteru encounters Yuno Gasai, a beautiful girl in his class who makes it her top priority to protect him from harm (and does pretty damn well, to boot). The catch? She's batshit frickin' insane, and at even her most "sane" moments likes to break into his house or send him hundreds of emails over the course of an hour.
  • Haruka Nogizaka's Secret: Haruka's badass side is rarely seen but the first time Yuto saw her angry, he decided he must never enrage her.
  • Highschool of the Dead: Zig-Zagging Trope with Rei. She used to date Takashi back when they were in middle school, but they drifted apart when Rei was forced to repeat her junior year. Since she believed Takashi had abandoned her, she began to develop feelings for his best friend, Hiashi. Yet, she still harbored feelings for Takashi, which resurfaced after Hisashi's death. As a result, she was conflicted and plagued with guilt, but eventually made up with him. Oh, and if anyone gets any ideas about threatening him while she's around..? Got one word for you: "Don't".
  • The title character of Iczer-One is a Yuri version of this, a battle android who seeks out Ordinary High-School Student Nagisa as her partner to fight invading aliens.
  • Yuu and Haruna of Is This A Zombie?. The former revives Ayumu as a zombie and the latter inadvertently turns him into a Mahou Shoujo.
  • Miu from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Kenichi repeatedly vows to protect her, despite the fact that she's still a more skilled fighter than he is. Eventually he comes close and has actively protected her several times when she was sick or disabled. Still, her Grandfather won't let him date her unless he can beat him in a fight. Said Grandfather is an Old Master.
  • A good half of Yuuto's Unwanted Harem in Omamori Himari qualify, though Himari herself is the most obvious example. Yuuto himself has yet to actually fight, though he has the potential to equal or surpass all of the girls when he finishes his training.
  • The Korean version Mazinger Z, Robot Taekwon V, has Yoon as a badass action girlfriend to Kim Hoon.
  • Played with in Sands of Destruction, where Morte is constantly forced to be violently protective of Non-Action Guy Kyrie, though their feelings towards each other are not explicitly stated until the end of the series, where it's clear they've fallen for each other at some point along the line.
  • The many Magical Girlfriends of Sekirei are this by default, since they're battle aliens romantically involved with Puny Earthlings.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Ryoko is fiercely protective of Tenchi, due to her feelings for him. She's gone so far as to openly defy Kagato, who was jointly responsible for creating her, because he tried to kill Tenchi. And in "The Daughter of Darkness", Ryoko instinctively recognized Mayuka as a threat to him and attacked her; resulting in Tenchi slapping Ryoko for it.
  • Variable Geo: Washio is an everyman in a World of Action Girls, so he's fortunate that one of 'em happens to be his boss... and (secretly) his girlfriend: Reimi Jahana. As in, the two-time defending champion of the VG Tournament, who's the favorite to win for a third year in a row.

    Comic Books 
  • Although they're a Battle Couple too, girlfriend Ramona Flowers does end up fighting some enemies that boyfriend Scott Pilgrim doesn't want to fight (those enemies being women), something both of which Ramona and his enemies call him out for being a pussy on. The first instance was in a bonus comic where Ramona had to help Scott fight. The main instance was against Roxanne Richter, Ramona's 4th evil-ex. In Scott's defense, his hesitance on fighting her was heavily implied due to the fact that she was armed with a sword and Scott wasn't.
  • Anyone who dates Wonder Woman is going to fall into this trope, save maybe for Superman or Batman. Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman's golden age whipping boy, was a World War II U.S. intelligence officer, but couldn't exactly hold his own against Greek gods, sorceresses, or several hundred feet tall women.
  • DC Comics also has Big Barda and Mr. Miracle, two New Gods from the planet Apokolips. While Mr. Miracle isn't a pushover (the man regularly escaped deathtraps designed by Darkseid), Barda used to run the Female Furies, an all-female Apokoliptan strike team. Oh, and she's canonically almost as strong as Superman.
  • The Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four has graduated to this, after being introduced as a rather... young love interest for Mr. Fantastic. Now that Reed Richards has evolved into the absent-minded superprofessor, Sue Storm has become the definition of Team Mama Bear.
  • In The Maze Agency, the man characters are a boyfriend/girlfriend pair who solve crimes. Gabe, the male half, is a Non-Action Guy who frequently needs to be bailed out of trouble by Jen, an ex-CIA agent turned Private Detective.
  • Most people who dated Supergirl fall into this category. She's arguably the mightiest female hero in The DCU, so any boy — who isn't related to her — will look a pushover compared to the Maid of Might. It isn't coincidence that her main love interest, Brainiac 5, doesn't match up to her physical power but is the greatest genius in the galaxy.
  • As seen below, Fox to Wesley in Wanted. Portrayed differently in the comics, where the characters are DC supervillain pastiches, and Fox is quite clearly Halle Berry cosplaying Catwoman, sent by Wesley's not-quite-dead father to make a man out of the geek.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Carol, already an Action Girl, become this to Harry - she's also a Violently Protective Girlfriend, and was long before they technically got together, with the two of them being a functional Battle Couple over 50 chapters before they actually get the more or less expected Relationship Upgrade. It is worth noting that Harry's a force of nature in his own regard, particularly as time goes on.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami has Commander Cathy, Keeper Mercury's second in command, trainer of her troops, Master Swordswoman and Jered's girlfriend since their first appearance. She has gone toe to toe with the Avatar himself, multiple times, and made a good showing. The second time, she actually beats his doppëlganger, but only because he knows Ami isn't evil and he's Throwing the Fight.
  • In the Facing the Future Series, Sam has become this after obtaining her own ghostly powers.
  • A Growing Affection: Hinata, Tenten, Yugao. Kohaku is an Action Wife.
  • With This Ring:
    • By all rights, Jade should be this. She's a highly trained career ninja and assassin, who later transitions to being a Darkstar operative. However, since her boyfriend is a Lantern with Enlightenment Superpowers, she's just not at his power level. She's still fighting the good fight against The Reach, though, mostly off-screen.
    • Zatanna Zatara could have been this if she were a few years older (and at one point was pretty keen for it to happen). She's a member of the Team who regularly kicks tail and takes names, and you don't want to know what a magic user can do with your name. Paul (repeatedly) turned her down gently, but he does encounter an Alternate Universe version of himself who married Zatanna's counterpart, Zorina.
  • In the Discworld, ubernerd Wizard Ponder Stibbons values a quiet uneventful life, ideally free of threats to life and limb or the possibility of serious physical damage. He manages this, more-or-less, until the day he first meets Assassin Johanna Smith-Rhodes. Their courtship is punctuated by lots of interesting activity, up to and including a field battle in a short war. Everything settles down after marriage, until their daughters start to get old and active enough to require Daddy's help in getting out of bother.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Leeloo from The Fifth Element. Although Corben Dallas was already a trained soldier before she fell into his cab, it still gave him a reason to come out of retirement for one last mission.
  • Trinity from The Matrix trilogy is a capable fighter and hacker even before she met Neo in the first movie, although after Neo Took a Level in Badass she gets relegated to the back while Neo kicks most of the asses.
  • My Super Ex-Girlfriend, except it's the guy's current girlfriend who gets the powers.
  • Wanted has the geeky protagonist receive assistance from Angelina Jolie (playing Fox, but really playing herself) transform him into an expert assassin.

  • In the science fiction series, Alterien, Helena served in this role. She's skilled in Capoeira and she's also an Alterien. Titania later served in this role with the same qualifications.
  • Ludmilla Leonovna, in David Weber's The Apocalypse Troll, fits this trope to an extent, though as with Leeloo (above), her male love interest was a bad-ass himself before they met — a U.S. Navy captain who rose to that rank through the SEAL teams. It's just that she's an immortal Super-Soldier from The Future...
  • The Arts of Dark and Light: Caitlys Shadowsong, overlapping with a Magical Girlfriend. Caitlys is a Magic Knight from the elven kingdom, and is introduced to the protagonist Marcus more or less when she saves him from assassins trying to sabotage the diplomatic mission he is accompanying.
  • Ixchel in Astral Dawn serves in this role for Caspian. In addition to being a goddess of the moon, love and virtility, Ixchel is a master combatant. She even trains Caspian in spiritual combat.
  • Ennis is this to Firo in Baccano!. Granted, Firo's life was pretty interesting before the life-changing encounter, but the addition of Immortality and alchemy is still pretty sweet.
  • In Beyond the Boundary, Spirit World Warrior Mirai is this to Akihito. Played with in that Akihito is a half-human, half-youmu hybrid and his mother and friends are Spirit World Warriors as well, but he never actively got involved in supernatural adventures until Mirai came along.
  • Jody Stroud from Bloodsucking Fiends, a freshly turned vampire that enlists fresh-from-Indiana nightshift store manager to ease the adjustment to bloodsucking and enforced nocturnalism.
  • Kitai, of Codex Alera. In. Freaking. Spades. Only in the finale could Tavi possibly match her in direct badassery, except that he's her totem animal and they mutually gain power through that bond.
    • Any female character, really. If she's important enough to be included by name, she can hold her own against 99% of the populace in raw furycraft or swordswomanship.
      • This is a general trend in Jim Butcher's books - he's very gender-blind in assigning badassness, and many of his main characters have plausible romances with at least one other main character.
  • Most girls in Discworld. Special mention goes to Angua von Uberwald, werewolf cop and Action Girl. Also Adora Belle Dearheart who stamps on several men's feet with her stilettos several times, then wonders out loud whether or not she can push it through to the floor.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Most female Wizards - special mention to Elaine and Warden Commander Luccio, both for the protagonist.
    • Also for Harry, badass cop Karrin Murphy and reporter Susan Rodriguez, after she's turned into a proto-vampire.
  • The warrior Thorn to the cloth merchant Spendwell in Frostflower and Thorn. Though she's more of a sex interest to him than a love interest, really.
  • Gender aside, Full Metal Panic!'s Sōsuke Sagara fits this archetype down to the letter, serving as the Troubled, but Cute (and completely out of his depth) covert bodyguard to Ordinary High-School Student and Audience Surrogate, Kaname Chidori.
  • From the Nasuverse there's Ryougi Shiki of The Garden of Sinners, who is the love interest of Non-Action Guy Kokutou Mikiya.
  • Katniss and Peeta start The Hunger Games series as a Battle Couple. By Catching Fire, Katniss has slowly becomes this to Peeta's increasingly Non-Action Guy status. Especially apparent during the Quarter Quell.
  • Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mage Knight: Sabrina is this for Danny. She's his crush and a Lightborn drake that draws him into the world of knights and monsters.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Annabeth to Percy in the first book, as she's been training for years while he's only just discovered he's a demigod and relies mostly on his natural powers. By the time they actually get together, he's more than caught up and is a badass all of his own. He's still happy to admit there are some areas, particularly battle strategy, where she's more skilled than him.
  • The title character of Shakugan no Shana, who helps Yuji discover that he bears the spiritual treasure Reiji Maigo.
  • The college girlfriend of the main character in Starship's Mage is the commodore of her planet's militia by the time we see her again after the first book.
  • Kahlan Amnell of the Sword of Truth, especially before Richard learns how to properly use his sword and magic. After that, they're more of a Battle Couple She's also much better at tactics, even though he's more inspiring and has a better grasp of strategy.
    • Others' fear of Kahlan's power prevented her from developing any sort of relationship, including romantic ones. Richard fell for her before he knew how dangerous she was, and she was very surprised that he didn't care.
    • Cara to General Benjamin, forming a very heartwarming Battle Couple.
    • Nicci, first to Jagang (for very squicky values of "relationship"), and later, unrequited to Richard.
  • Jenny from The Truth of Rock And Roll, as the local Jerk Jock discovered to his regret when he tried to bully her boyfriend.
  • Any female Channeler in The Wheel of Time is this all over the place.
    • Special mention to Egwene, Nynaeve, and many of the Green Ajah who are in love with their Warders, forming many a Battle Couple.
    • Elayne, Aviendha, and Min would be this if their boyfriend wasn't the Dragon Reborn, the series's designated badass. It's not even a polygamous Battle Couple, it's entirely possible that he's a physical incarnation of the Creator himself.
    • Tuon for Mat. She looks like a pampered doll, but she's had combat training and faced assassination attempts since she was little. All her really extravagant clothes have loose pants and a tunic underneath it. The last three books are her slowly realizing that she's the Battle Couple variant of this trope.
    • Birgitte Silverbow, in a reincarnating Battle Couple with Gaidal Cain, though she's by far the better known of the couple.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sarah, from Chuck. At least until Chuck Took a Level in Badass and they got together, at which point they became a Battle Couple.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Rory might be the Whoniverse's resident badass, but he doesn't exactly like the adventurous lifestyle. His wife Amy is far more gung ho about going on adventures. She even saved Rory's life several times.
    • In the same vein, River Song, the aforementioned couple's daughter and eventual wife of the Doctor is certainly more actiony compared to the main protagonist. While the Doctor would solve problems with his brains, River would solve them with some feminine charm and a gun.
  • Farscape. Aeryn Sun, with John Crichton as the ordinary guy, at least until he Took a Level in Badass/Craziness.
  • Firefly Zoe is an action wife. She is Mal’s second-in-command and lethal in too many ways to count if you cross her. Wash, her husband, has his moments, but is generally a geeky, funny guy who’s happy staying with the ship.
  • The 90s TVB drama, Justice Sung, have it's titular character, Sung Sai-Kit, being an attorney and official serving the Manchurian Court in the Qing Dynasty, and Sung's asskicking martial arts practitioner girlfriend, Ling-Long, often coming in to bail him out of trouble, even breaking into prison when Sung gets subjected to a Frame-Up and easily kicking the snot out of multiple guards. The sequel, Justice Sung II is set years later with has Sung Sai-Kit and Ling-Lung married with a son, so she becomes an Action Mom, even fending off multiple mercenaries after her family with twin swords.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand: When Sura was being attacked and Spartacus shows up and starts killing her attackers, does she run and hide? Hell no! She picks up a sword and kills one herself!
  • The younger version of Mary Winchester from Supernatural would count as this trope, since it was revealed that she used to be a hunter herself even before John had learned about the existence of monsters and demons.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed Syndicate: If one looks at things from Henry Greens point of view, he's a clever analyst but a bumbling field agent, and Evie Frye swings into his life like the damn dashing assassin dame that she is, kicking ass all over the place while taking over London's underworld on the way to finding mystical artifacts.
  • Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice: Princess Sapphire. Although Almaz is certainly no slouch in combat ability, its clearly obvious that Sapphire is the stronger warrior. It should be noted however that Sapphire's primary affinity (based on stats and evilities) is towards ranged combat while Almaz is a close combat fighter.
  • Almost any female player character or Love Interest in the Dragon Age games falls into this category:
    • Dragon Age: Origins has the female Warden, who at the time is arguably the most badass person in Thedas, for whichever character she romances. Optionally, the Female Dwarf Noble was this for Gorim in her backstory, though it was a Secret Relationship due to their class differences.
    • Female Hawke in Dragon Age II qualifies - one doesn't become the Champion of Kirkwall without being sufficiently badass, after all - as does a romanced Isabela. Aveline eventually becomes this for Guardsman Donnic.
    • The female Inquisitor in Dragon Age: Inquisition is this for whomever she romances, being literally the only person standing between Thedas and complete annihilation. A romanced Cassandra or Sera falls into the category as well; Vivienne is this for Duke Bastien.
  • Final Fantasy VII: After Tifa consummated her feelings for Cloud "Beneath the Highwind", they officially became a Battle Couple. While in the cgi film sequel, she becomes a full-fledged action mom, by fighting Loz to defend Marleen, and later, protects Denzel from a group of Shadow Creepers.
  • Mass Effect:
    • If the player chooses Shepard to be female and romances Kelly in Mass Effect 2. Or Samantha Traynor in Mass Effect 3.
    • Really fem!Shep counts as this no matter who she ends up romancing, considering she is by far the most badass person in the galaxy, let alone the squad.
    • All of the female squadmember romance options are quite capable of holding their own in a fight. Special notes go to Liara and Ashley who can be of the violently protective sort.
  • Elaine Marley is this to Guybrush Threepwood in Monkey Island. Still, Guybrush is pretty competent in Insult-related duels, but as an Adventure Game protagonist relies more on his wits.
  • In Sands of Destruction, Morte and Kyrie form a Battle Couple about halfway through, though his infatuation with her was obvious from the start. While he's capable in a fight, he'd really rather talk things out if possible; she just pulls out her BFS and starts swinging.
  • Tengaar from Suikoden. She and her boyfriend Hix live in a town with a very rich warrior culture. He doesn't like fighting, but she's more than determined to "make a man out of him". While she's less of a physical warrior, she's also an pretty good knife thrower, and an excellent magician.
  • Silvia from Viewtiful Joe is this with Joe. Though she is initially the kidnapped Damsel in Distress in the first game (unless selected as the protagonist character noncanonically.)
  • Clementine can become this to either Louis or Violet in The Walking Dead: Season Four. Whether it's fighting walkers or Lilly and the Delta, Clementine and Louis/Violet will for the most part have each other's back.

    Visual Novels 
  • Akai Ito: Hatou Kei's girlfriend does all the fighting for her. Good for her.
  • Saber, Rin, and Sakura in their respective routes in Fate/stay night.
  • Depending on the boyfriend — it's a dating sim — Hiyoko of Hatoful Boyfriend can be this or half of a Battle Couple. In the first game there's little chance to explore this, but in the second she makes up for that and repeatedly acts the bruiser for her less vigorously athletic male companions.
  • Arcueid Brunestud from Tsukihime, who gives Shiki a reason to use his Mystic Eyes of Death Perception and pretty much transforms him from an everyman to an incredibly broken badass.
    • To a certain extent, Ciel counts in the game.
    • Akiha would count except that in the route where she gets some real action, she's not the girlfriend. Also, while she could kill you in 2 seconds, she has no real battle experience.
  • Either Kate (a.k.a Shining Nova) or Madame Scorpion can be this to random mook Stan in Henchman Story. He can upgrade the relationship to a Battle Couple depending on player choice.
  • All five main routes of Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! involve Yamato, the strategist of his friend group, getting together with a girl far more combat-capable than he is.

    Web Animation 
  • Tex of Red vs. Blue for Church, played for laughs (more the girlfriend part for laughs than the action part...).
  • Nora is this to Ren as of Volume 8 of RWBY.

    Web Comics 
  • In Agents of the Realm, Jordan is this for Mackenzie, although both are girls and Mackenzie doesn't know about it.
  • In Girly, officer Hipbone is this to Policeguy when he's not fighting too. An old opponent faced him when he had retired from the force (and thus couldn't get into fights without ending up in trouble), so she fought for him. The guy tried to mock him for this, but Policeguy just sat back and enjoyed the show.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Parley is this to Andrew once they get together.
  • Hungary/Elizaveta from Hetalia: Axis Powers is this to Austria, although crossed with Violently Protective Girlfriend. While she's a potent Action Girl in her own right, it's never a good idea to mess with her ex-husband/boyfriend.
  • In Rascals, without a doubt, Reiko with her man Skye in their team up hi-jinks as seen here.
  • In Slightly Damned, Kieri is this to Buwaro after their Relationship Upgrade.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: Leela to Fry since they got together.
  • Kim Possible: The titular character is this to her sidekick and eventual boyfriend, Ron. Interestingly enough, he is the one that inadvertently gets her into the action in the first place: he encourages and helps her go and help out a trapped billionaire (the security person tried to contact Team Impossible, but accidentally added a k beforehand) back when they were just pre-teens. Since then, Kim has seen her heroics as an extension of her drive to help people, while Ron has been by her side all the way. They finally get together by Season 3, and Season 4 has them go through life as a couple while still dealing with the usual heroics business.
  • Burn is like this to Chet in Turbo F.A.S.T.
  • South Park: Wendy Testaburger in "Breast Cancer Show Ever".

Alternative Title(s): Action Wife