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Cowardly Sidekick

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[in front of the Dark Forest, a sign reads "Enter at Your Own Risk"]
Cedric: Oh, no! I'M not going in there! Can't you read the sign?
Graham: Come on, Cedric. There might be something important in here.
Cedric: Go if you want to. I'll wait HERE!

A Sidekick with a peculiar twist: presumably to serve as a Foil to a brave (or cocky) hero, they're so yellow that one has to wonder how the heck they ended up in the adventure business in the first place. The Cowardly Sidekick is often what happens when the Plucky Comic Relief isn't so... well, plucky. Anything but, in fact. This may cross over with Cowardly Lion and O.O.C. Is Serious Business if something (like the hero being in trouble) causes them to confront danger...possibly trembling in terror the entire way or suffering a delayed nervous breakdown afterwards.

Often overlaps with Bumbling Sidekick. Compare The Drag-Along, for which this usually wasn't his choice to begin with. Contrast Reckless Sidekick.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Myoga the flea in Inuyasha. Whoever he hides with in a battle has been used as an indicator of what's the safest place to be.
  • While Chamo of Negima! Magister Negi Magi may be mostly useless during fights (and not all that brave during the particularly dangerous fights), he's at least a capable strategist and is willing to be as useful a possible.
  • Tower of God : Evan Edroch, a highly skilled Guide is the companion of Princess Ha Yuri Jahad, whose adventures quite frankly freak him out. He isn't a coward, per say, he's just wary of the implications of some of what Yuri does. After all, he's a Ranker and wouldn't have made it through the tower if he were really a coward.
  • Yoki in Fullmetal Alchemist to Mei Chang and Scar. His usual reaction when thrust into a dangerous situation is to panic and hide behind more capable fighters. The only badass thing he does in the series ( hitting Pride with a car), he did while bawling his eyes out.

    Comic Books 
  • Deadpool: Bob, Agent of HYDRA and sidekick of Deadpool, despite no apparent abilities at all, somehow survives all the dangerous missions Deadpool drags him on, usually by running away. Deadpool considers him better at running away than anyone he's ever seen. Bob can become "invisible" when in danger— that is, hiding so thoroughly that he escapes harm.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dan Thompson's comical adventure strip hero Rip Haywire has his faithful dog, talking collie TNT, who is in near-constant panic mode.

    Fan Works 
  • Bob, assistant of Retro in Retro Chill, is this, constantly freaking out when he sees an alien despite being allies with them. His growing dissatisfaction with the job is what ultimately leads to his Heel–Face Turn.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the first Scary Movie, the BET news crew only stays long enough to say "White folks gettin' killed, we're outta here!" before making good on their report.

  • The Super Mario Bros. pinball has Luigi depicted as looking nervously on the playfield art, and places his target inside a cave.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Norin the Wary was quoted in several flavor texts as this sort of character before getting his own card with a very appropriate ability - he "runs away" whenever either player does anything. Originally a Joke Character, Magic players characteristically found a way to make him lethal by combining him with something that triggers as creatures enter or exit play. Since he's all but guaranteed to enter and exit every turn, playing him along with something like Confusion in the Ranks or Purphoros, God of the Forge makes him legitimately dangerous. And because his ability is so easy to trigger, he is extremely difficult to deal with permanently. (It takes something so situational that most serious players won't be running it, like Pull from Eternity.) He also makes for a hilarious and frustrating Commander in that format.


    Video Games 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Professor Ace is happy to follow Zophy and his friends for the possibility of picking up riches along their adventures, but he is extraordinarily combat-averse. In Attack of Darkforce, he is a permanent member of the hero team and has frequent speaking parts, but always disappears just before the fighting starts. David and Marian, two child companions of Zophy who do participate in combat, usually tease Ace for his disappearances or his attempts at bravado. He's actually so much of a coward as to maintain a robust information network that helps Zophy out in Giant Fist - as he explains, he wants to avoid getting himself into danger as much as possible, so it behooves him to keep up to date on the dangerous people that he might run into.
  • Roll from Mega Man (Classic). Although the game don't often bring attention to it, her database profile in Mega Man & Bass gives "cowardice" ("she's a scaredy cat" in the Japanese version) as her "bad point". Indeed she's one of the very few non-fighting robot characters in the classic series.
  • Luigi is depicted this way in the more recent Super Mario Bros. games, which is partially integrated from the 90's cartoons. Best shown in Mario & Luigi, in which he refuses to join Mario in his quest, so he has to be dragged kicking and screaming.
  • Pommy in Bomberman 64: The Second Attack!, who hides whenever a boss appears or whenever the alarm sounds in the Gravity Generator rooms.
  • Kao the Kangaroo:
    • Round 2 has the pelican in the tropics levels, who can't follow you into the temple because he's afraid of the dark.
    • Mystery of the Volcano has the Shaman, who's really easy to frighten about the whole "lava monsters running around" business.
  • King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! has many places that Cedric doesn't want to go inside with Graham, preferring to wait for him outside. (Cedric not being able to enter certain areas was partly the result of memory constraints: removing context-specific lines for Cedric made room for more animations.)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Originally a Cowardly Lion, Tails became this post-Sonic Unleashed. Best exemplified in Sonic Forces, were we see him literally cower in fear when threatened by a relatively weak enemy.
  • Some of the partners in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon are this, though they all prove to be brave when it's truly necessary.
  • Daxter from the Jak and Daxter games normally doesn't like getting into scary situations, and makes a complaint about it at the beginning of Jak 3. Nonetheless, he's willing to put his life in danger many times to help Jak out, and remains loyal through and through.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts games, both Donald Duck and Goofy have their moments of cowardice in contrast to Sora's fearlessness. Notable examples include Donald getting freaked out by Ursula when she comes out of hiding, him and Goofy cowering in fear in the Underworld, and both freaking out over Jack Skellington's "Christmas" toys and their monster forms. None of this except the last affect Sora, one bit.

    Western Animation 
  • In Rugrats, Chuckie Finster is literally scared of his own shadow. Contrast to Tommy, who is generally fearless.
  • Penfold from Danger Mouse is an iconic example. In the first series episode "Rogue Robots", the narrator reveals that his codename is "The Jigsaw", because "when confronted with a problem, he goes to pieces." If he's not trying to make excuses not to go on the latest adventure, he's running off screaming or cowering behind the more traditionally heroic Danger Mouse. Consider this Wild Take from "Trouble with Ghosts":
    Penfold: (face right in the camera) Ahh! Vampires! Help, help! (runs back towards the dead end of the corridor and collides with the wall) Mum! Mummy! Mum! Dad! (jumps halfway up the wall, then onto the ceiling) Ooh! Ahh! Ooh! (jumps over to a grating and tries to pull it open) Vampires, help! (jumps over to another wall and tries to scramble up it with his bare hands) Save me! Oohohh! Oh, please! (begins running back and forth up the corridor) Somebody do something, oooh!
    DM: (who has been watching Penfold's meltdown while leaning casually against the wall) Well done, Penfold, don't let them see you're frightened.
  • Arthur from The Tick. Actually explained in the pilot basically as Arthur being unable to tolerate how mundane his life was anymore; we even see him doing his work as an accountant in costume.
  • The aptly named Cringer from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) is constantly cowering from things (although he can force himself to defend Adam if his master needs it). This is not the case for his Super-Powered Alter Ego Battle Cat, who sometimes seems rather contemptuous of his Cringer personality.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Fluttershy is known to freak out at falling leaves and her own shadow, when she doesn't have something more pressing to attend to, like scolding an angry dragon into leaving her friends alone or glaring a cockatrice into submission. "Cowardly" is perhaps not the correct word, so much as "cripplingly timid".
    • Spike the baby dragon, too, can show some great reluctance around danger and often hide behind his pony friends, although he has moment of bravery. And it's quite sensible for some of the things he's afraid of — like around Discord, who is a Mad God of Chaos.
  • Pokey from Gumby is usually very reluctant to go along with Gumby's plans, often preferring to play it safe. He still goes along anyway with little coaxing.
  • Shaggy and Scooby-Doo are each other's Cowardly Sidekicks, leading to frequent gags where they each try to hide behind one another. Contrast Scrappy Doo.
  • In the Super Mario World episode "Ghosts 'R' Us," Yoshi is too scared of ghosts to want to enter haunted houses (which he couldn't do in the Super Mario World game for reasons that weren't explained in-universe but had to do with sprite memory limitations) until his friends are trapped inside one and he has to rescue them himself while dodging Boos. He also runs scared from a red Wiggler until he finds wings.