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Cute Bruiser

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She'll leave you cat-atonic (even if she's supposed to be the big bad wolf).

Atrocitus: You appear feeble.
Supergirl: I punch above my weight.

Like the Old Master, the Cute Bruiser is a living, breathing, and frequently painful lesson in never judging a book by its cover.

She appears to be a kid, but in battle she fights like a bruiser. Bruisers tend to melee combat focused on punches and blocks. Traditional bruisers are large husky men who win fights due to their size and strength allowing them to both absorb and put out heavy damage. This contrast between appearance and combat style is what makes the character surprising.

The Cute Bruiser's Weapon Specialization will probably be Good Old Fisticuffs, a club, a hammer, or martial arts that focus on direct blows to your opponent instead of pressure points or judo throws. They'll only rarely be using a bladed weapon (unless it's a BFS of some variety) or depending on projectile weapons, with the exception of throwing heavy objects. When confronted with a locked door, her likely solution is to just smash it open. In short, she deals out the blunt trauma very well.

The Cute Bruiser also has some tanking abilities. She is not a Glass Cannon who depends on dodging. (Dodging is acceptable behavior, but a Cute Bruiser can take a blow if needed, and so doesn't depend on it.) At the end of a fight, expect her to be covered in bruises and scratches, but still with a smile on her face (assuming the fight was won). She might even be Rock steady, hitting like a Mighty Glacier, and standing like a Stone Wall. Might have Super-Strength as justification.

She is usually The Big Guy in a Five-Man Band, a common subversion of the usual traits associated with that character type. Personality-wise, she can vary quite a bit. She might be a Boisterous Bruiser, she could share some traits with a Little Miss Snarker, or she may just stick with the apparent contradiction of an innocent Cheerful Child who can mix it up in a bar fight. If she is affiliated with a powerful villain, expect to see just how someone with her appearance got to that position.

Almost always a Pint-Sized Powerhouse. Possibly a Super-Strong Child, in which case she may be a Glacier Waif. When she works out enough, she can evolve into an Amazonian Beauty; a Cute Bruiser typically has toned muscles, but her muscles are always on the leaner side. If she retains her cute looks well into adulthood, even after she becomes a mother, she becomes an Action Mom. When past the age of cuteness she usually disappears as a character before re-emerging in old age as a case of Never Mess with Granny. If she deliberately plays up the "cute" aspect to get people to drop their guard, this can overlap with The Fake Cutie. Despite what this entry may suggest, this is not an Always Female trope; a young boy who can punch far above his weight would also qualify.

Super-Trope to Girly Bruiser. Overlaps with Badass Adorable, Little Miss Badass, and Small Girl, Big Gun (when firearms are present).

Compare Child Mage and Waif-Fu, which have a similar contrast between appearance and combat effectiveness, but using a different combat style. Contrast with the Lady of War, who is elegant in combat.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Asian Animation 

    Card Games 
  • In Tarot Motifs, Strength is often depicted as a young girl holding up a beast.

  • Noodle of the band Gorillaz. Being the product of a Super-Soldier project, she has mastery of all forms of weaponry as well as hand to hand combat.
  • The kid boxer in Audioslave's video for "Doesn't Remind Me."

  • Sid from Sequinox is the most physically combative of the team, and she is also a delightful teenage girl.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Several of the comedy-based wrestling promotions in Japan feature Kaicho Ramu, whose gimmick is that she is a little girl, possessed by a demon, and strong enough to casually suplex and chokeslam adults. She actually started when she was 6 years old and (as of 2009) is 8 or 9 years old. (She should be about 11-12 years old as of December 15, 2012 now.)
  • Riho (born June 4, 1997), now formerly of the Ice Ribbon promotion, has a similar gimmick, minus the possessed-by-a-demon thing. She started when she was 8 years old on May 29, 2006, and 15 years old now (as of December 15, 2012).
  • WWE's Bayley is an adorkable kid-friendly babyface wrestler whose offence is based around power moves.
  • Alexa Bliss' original Face gimmick is that of a Plucky Girl who loves glitter and sparkles. She proved very popular with younger fans and became a Token Wholesome, but pulls a Face–Heel Turn to become Hotter and Sexier. Once she returns to being a Face years later, Alexa is given a Closet Geek character.
  • Liv Morgan. She began as a Tomboyish Plucky Girl, then gets a Girliness Upgrade in later gimmicks but never loses the Plucky-aspect of her character.

    Visual Novels 
  • Tomoyo Sakagami of CLANNAD is a quiet, somewhat soft-spoken young lady who aims to be student council president. She also used to (and still can) beat up gangs of delinquents with her bare hands and can deliver upwards of 500 kicks in a matter of two to three seconds with enough force to lift her targets off the ground and keep them there.
  • Bakumi Moriyama of Crimsoness, a high school girl who, after one bad day, goes on a rampage and destroys everything in her path, including a crocodile, a demonic statue, and a door. The game ends with her splitting Earth in half with her BARE HANDS.
  • Shikikargura from Visual Novel Princess Waltz is about half the height of the other princesses and carries no weapon. Don't think that makes her weak.
  • Ohtori Chihaya, in Rewrite, looks like your average high-school girl (albeit quite adorable). She also can lift more than six times your average adult male's lift capacity, without breaking a sweat. And walk out of several falls that would cause anyone else serious injury.
  • The titular character of Tsumugu Logic, an 18-year old teen who normally doesn't get aggressive and is generally a pleasant person to have around, is shown to be capable to overpower three trained guards all by himself. The one who sent them visibly shows surprise at that, and the visual novel style doesn't quite let us see what exactly goes down, but the description says enough. It should also be mentioned that his family has a vague relation to crime to begin with.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: Anjren's a cute, expressive girl, but don't underestimate her, she can kick some serious ass! Especially when she activates her Powered Armor.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Martha's cute, friendly, and also especially strong when in her element.
  • Gorilla Girl: Jenny Silverback might be a small girl, but she has the strength and the temper of a gorilla.
  • RWBY: In a World of Action Girls, there were bound to be a couple of these.
    • The main protagonist, Ruby Rose, is the youngest member of the main cast at 15. She's about half the size of her weapon, which is a scythe/sniper rifle combo she designed herself. She's also more passionate about weapons than people.
    • Nora Valkyrie is this and Girly Bruiser. She's a Genki Girl with a heart motif who almost never stops grinning, even when told she's at risk of dying. Her weapon is as unsubtle as she is; a grenade launcher/hammer combo which, like Ruby's weapon, can propel her through the air. The grenades it fires also have hearts on them.
    • The one character who fits the spirit of this trope most is actually Yang Xiao Long, Ruby's older half-sister. She's a Lightning Boisterous Bruiser who uses a boxing-like style augmented by wrist gauntlets with incendiary shotguns built into them. She's not the brightest or most graceful fighter in the world but her immense strength and ferocity in combat are usually more than enough to get the job done. That is not all: if her hair gets damaged in any way, her standard response is to activate a Super Mode where her eyes flash red and she becomes even stronger, faster and crazier in battle. She's also the Team Mom of RWBY and the resident Ms. Fanservice along with Pyrrha Nikos.

Alternative Title(s): Knockabout Kid