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Glacier Waif

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A character whose lithe, lightweight appearance suggests a Fragile Speedster (or, at the least, a character of average size compared to others) but it turns out this character is a Mighty Glacier, fully capable of carrying a BFS or a huge war hammer.

Compare with Cute Bruiser, where a fragile-looking character is strong, but not slow. Also, like that trope, this trope is not confined to female characters. Often feature Muscles Are Meaningless. This trope is the inversion of Acrofatic. May be a Super-Strong Child depending on age.

Not to be confused with an Ice Queen, which has more to do with personality than toughness. For large firearms counterpart, see Small Girl, Big Gun.

Related to Pint-Sized Powerhouse, a character whose small stature contrasts their enormous power.



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    Anime and Manga 

     Films — Animation 

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The Orville, Security Chief Alara Kitan is an alien Heavy Worlder with full-blown Super Strength. Despite being a petite young woman she is fully capable of knocking a vault door right out of the concrete wall it is mounted in.

    Video Games 
  • The Arcana Heart series gives us Fiona Mayfield, a 13 year old Meido who has the highest power and defense of the cast but moves like molasses.
  • Backyard Sports: Fiona, who lugs around a sword bigger than she is, and has the most damaging normals in the game with it.
  • In Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, the follower Mazzy Fentan is a halfling, meaning she's lucky to top four feet tall soaking wet. She's also a fighter, which means she can and does wear the heaviest armor in the game, and in fact, with her 18 Dexterity, she is one of the best tanks amongst your followers.
  • If you haven't seen or played BlazBlue, Makoto from the Arc Stars in Arc Style: Baseball!! 3D doesn't appear to be a batting threat... but she can hit as hard as a Macho player.
  • In games with build customization like City of Heroes and Phantasy Star Universe, build is often purely aesthetic, so as long as your weak-looking character is of the correct class, they can deal out more punishment while moving more slowly than stronger-looking characters that went with another class.
  • Fuuka Kazamatsuri of Disgaea 4 is a skinny middle-school girl with no demonic lineage or combat training. This does not stop her from being the resident Mighty Glacier.
  • Cloud in Dissidia Final Fantasy is one of the shorter heroes and skinny as hell. He also carries a ridiculous BFS, is slow moving for a Cosmos warrior, and uses slow, telegraphed, predictable bashing attacks that send opponents crashing into walls for extra damage.
  • Guan Yinping of Dynasty Warriors 8, a Badass Adorable that swings around an extraordinarily large dual-headed Chuí / Chinese mace. Her Musou attack involves handing it to one of the soldiers, who then drops to the ground under its massive weight as if struggling to hold up a barbell before she takes it back and swings it about like a baton.
  • Ness from EarthBound has the build of an ordinary 13-year-old boy, the highest offense out of all the party members, and is quite slow.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, create a female Breton of the smallest weight possible and load up on heavy armor and two-handed weapons. Since Bretons are the physically smallest of all of the races you can play as, and female Bretons are even smaller, and you're roaming Skyrim, the land of the enormous, muscular Nords, you're essentially playing a tiny, slow-moving armor-plated waif of death whose spiked helmet barely comes up to most people's shoulders.
  • Fate/Grand Order: The Deuteragonist Mash Kyrielight is an otherwise simple, ordinary, sweet girl (with armor no skimpier than most females in the game). However, as you might guess by her Agility stat of D, her Endurance stat of A+, and the massive shield she carries, her role in any party is almost purely defensive.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Awakening has Cherche. Both her portrait and in-game model show her as smaller than many other characters, but her best stats are Strength and Defense while her maximum Speed is below average. One piece of official art even has her posing with a battle axe that's almost as big as she is.
    • Edelgard from Fire Emblem: Three Houses takes this a step further, having a complete set of armor, the highest overall growths in the game with especially great numbers in Strength and Charm, and a good defense stat despite her canon height of 158 cm.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Ike is a pretty standard (if respectably muscled) human swordsman in a cast full of creatures, which he makes up for with a One-Handed Zweihänder and an appropriate moveset.
    • Same with Snake. He's even heavier than Ike, not to mention Ganondorf (a seven-foot guy in full plate armor), despite only wearing a jumpsuit and a Hyperspace Arsenal, and being human-sized.
    • Mr. Game and Watch looks like a lightweight and is knocked back like one, but his moves are on the "strong and slow" side.
    • And as of Smash 4, the best example has to be Mega Man. He's the size of Ness and Lucas, and one of the slowest characters in the game. However, due to him being, well, a robot, he's almost as heavy as Captain Falcon, and possesses some of the strongest moves in the game.
    • Shulk in 4. Despite being of average height, Shulk is classified as a heavyweight, with below-average speed (outside of Speed mode) and above-average attack power (especially when in Buster mode). It's no longer the case in Ultimate, where Shulk is instead a middleweight and sped up compared to 4.
    • Bonsly, as a Pokémon, is pretty small, but try to lift, carry, or throw it, and you'll notice it's surprisingly heavy. If the throw connects with anyone else, it hits like a truck, potentially knocking the victim off the screen.
    • Piranha Plant in Ultimate fits the description very well. It's got average size, but has below average speed and is one of the heaviest characters in the game.
  • Heroes of the Storm has Yrel, a relatively thin Draenei in plate armor, as one of the flat-out brickiest characters in the game through a combination of one of the highest base-healths, self healing, armor granting and other self-protection abilities. Considering some of the other warrior characters are giant monsters, wear extremely bulky power armor, or are otherwise huge or even more visibly defended, the difference is striking!
  • Hinako Shijo in The King of Fighters looks much like the rest of the female cast (she's thin, short and only 16 years old). Despite that, she's one of the slower characters who uses strength to her advantage. Why? Her style is sumo wrestling.
  • In the more recent Kirby games, Kirby can take a pretty solid hitting before dying (Not to mention Kirby's Epic Yarn, where he's just straight-up invincible.)
  • Poppy in League of Legends is a Yordle, a small, lightweight race. She has a hammer twice her own size and is one of the hardest champions in the game to kill on top of sporting respectable damage.
    • Rell, the Iron Maiden is a 16-year old girl who can switch between two forms- riding around the battlefield on a horse-shaped golem made of metal plates controlled by her Ferromancy, or stomping around on foot after dispelling her steed into its components and plating them to her body. When she's dismounted she is the slowest champion in the game (with her base move speed reduced to 250 in a game where the base movement speed for the next-slowest champions is 325note  but she also gains a powerful shield and bonus defensive stats (which stack with her ability to steal defensive stats from opponents she attacks) which makes her incredibly hard to bring down, and she's still tough even when unarmoured on horseback. Meanwhile her weapon of choice is a large jousting lance that she wields one-handed and can use when mounted to impale enemies and hurl them over her shoulder or smash the ground when she leaps off her steed, knocking everyone nearby into the air.
  • Mana Kawai from Lost Dimension, a cute, thin girl whose Gift is Overdrive, which grants her great physical strength. She's one of the few characters who doesn't use guns, instead punching enemies to death, but she has poor mobility. In her first conversation, she points out that her power is unfitting for a small girl like her. Her Bond route focuses on the self-esteem issues she suffers from due to her valuing cuteness but seeing herself as un-cute due to her strength.
  • Mass Effect gives you Tali, a petite Quarian who doesn’t look like much. She can also have more shields than almost anyone in your party and specializes in shotguns, making her a defensive and offensive powerhouse.
  • From Neptunia, Blanc/White Heart. Looking at her, especially compared to some of the more well-built characters, you'd be forgiven for thinking this petite, soft-spoken girl, bordering on Token Mini-Moe, was the local White Mage... until she snaps and reveals she's actually the Mighty Glacier: the lowest speed, but the highest physical attack and defense. Averted in Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online, where she switches role to a Priest, and thus becomes a Squishy Wizard.
  • Kurodōji from Onmyōji is a little boy who looks cute and harmless, but he's an attacker-type who can carry and swing around a Sinister Scythe or a hammer much bigger than his body and deal massive damage. The fact he's sadistic and unstable despite his cute appearance helps.
  • In Persona 5, Haru is the sweetest, kindest member of the party, and has a fairly average build for a teenage high school student. In battle, she lugs around a big honking axe as a weapon (and a grenade launcher for good measure).
  • Mirke from Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, and by extension, any custom character built similarly to her. She is an orlan — essentially a furry, big-eared hobbit — half the size of most party members. She's also a Drunken Master Pirate who has as much Constitution as Edér and decent Might despite Orlans' penalties to that stat. Depending on how she's built, she can either be a Mighty Glacier or an outright Lightning Bruiser.
  • Pokémon:
    • Glaceon is like this, with amazing Special Attack and low Speed. Another Eeveelution that fits the bill is Umbreon. Despite being as big as a mid-sized dog and looking like a black cat with glowing rings on its fur, it has sky high defensive stats and works very well as a Stone Wall.
    • Scizor looks like a Fragile Speedster as it's rather scrawny and seems capable of moving at high speeds. It even learns moves like Bullet Punch and Agility. Its highest stats are actually Attack and Defense with well below average Speed, which is quite a bit lower than its earlier form, Scyther. Scizor's lasting power in spite of its Speed makes it popular to use.
    • Azumarill. A cute Aqua Rabbit Pokémon a bit under 3 feet tall, with decent defenses, rubbish speed, and an Ability that doubles its Attack to make it the 11th most powerful physical attacker.
    • Mawile is similarly short (only 2 feet tall) and only weighs 25 pounds. However it has the stats of a Mighty Glacier, one of the best defensive type combinations in the game (Steel and Fairy) and when it Mega Evolves, gets slightly bigger (3 feet and 50 pounds) but its defenses get decent boost and its attack becomes the highest of any Pokémon in the game (it gets Huge Power, the same ability Azumarill gets). Its speed remains the same (really slow).
  • Itsuki of Sengoku Basara, despite being a little girl lugs around a giant hammer and has the slowest attack speed of all the characters, even the definitive Mighty Glacier Xavi. However, she also has the option of tossing her Hammer and resorting to her fists, which while faster leaves her unable to block.
  • Marie, the Final Boss of Skullgirls, is a floating Undead Child who doesn't even look like she weighs a hundred pounds. But she's also a Damage-Sponge Boss able to endure ridiculous amounts of brutality before finally dying. As her Powers Do the Fighting, she rarely moves, usually just push the player into a corner or get out of one herself.
  • The rather petite Ashlotte from SoulCalibur IV is a reskin of Mighty Glacier Astaroth (as is obvious from her name). She shares his moveset, strength and low agility despite being barely more than half his size. She entirely made of an unknown metal alloy, powered by dark magic, and is the second heaviest character in the game (only Angol Fear, who's an Eldritch Abomination of sorts and thus shouldn't be judged based on looks alone, is heavier), so her hitting like a dump truck and being about as fast in spite of being tiny compared to Astaroth makes sense - all that steel can't possibly move fast, and with so much mass behind her blows, getting hit by her is roughly equivalent to getting run over by a car.
    • From Soul Calibur V onwards, one can make such a character via Character Customization if they feel like it. Seeing a small girl lug a huge axe around and toss people larger than her about is clearly a sight to behold.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, creating a female player character of any of the tank classes and choosing body type one will result in this.
  • Makoto in Street Fighter III 3rd Strike. She's one of the shortest characters in the franchise at under five feet, but when she hits you, you're going to notice. Unfortunately, she also moves pretty slow and her small size means she's got low reach and her dashing attacks leave her vulnerable if executed poorly.
  • Super Mario Bros. examples usually are found in Mario Kart:
    • Spin-offs after the release of Mario Kart Wii classify Rosalina and Waluigi in the same rank as the massive heavyweights despite their thin figures; this is because Rosalina is a Statuesque Stunner, and Waluigi is Lean and Mean. In Rosalina's case, it extends beyond spin-offs, as her playable appearance in Super Mario 3D World makes her the slowest character in the team, but the only one capable of attacking enemies without power ups. Outside of the Mario Kart series, Waluigi tends to be rather slow and defensive despite his thin build; falling into a combination of this and Weak, but Skilled.
    • King Boo and Dry Bowser are downplayed examples: while both of them are too large for other categories, the first is a ghost (who's supposed to weight nothing but his crown) while the second is a living skeleton. This contradiction is partially solved in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe while King Boo is in the same Cruiser category as Rosalina while Dry Bowser is partially lighter (but still as powerful, if not more) than his living counterpart.
    • Mario Kart Wii has a vehicle falling in this category: the heavyweight kart Honey Coupe actually is the third heaviest vehicle in the game (it's even heavier than the bulkier Flame Flyer) despite being the smallest in its weight class, and like many Mighty Glaciers in this game, its speciality is drift and turbos (it actually is the heavyweight karts' champion in these categories) with a good top speed. Otherwise, it's the classical "slow to start, hard to stop" vehicle.
    • In Mario Kart 7, Metal Mario became a Tier-Induced Scrappy because of his heavyweight stats coupled with his middleweight size.
    • In the following game, he and Pink Gold Peach are weirder examples: despite being the same height and shape as Mario (again) and Peach, both of them are the sole Stone Wall characters in the franchise, having the weight of characters like Bowser, the traction of other heavyweights like Wario, the top speed and the acceleration of Cruisers like Waluigi and the handling of lighter Cruisers like Rosalina, all of this in middleweight sized vehicles which make them harder to hit.
    • In Mario Kart 8, Link, who has a lean Bishōnen build, is classified as a Cruiser heavyweight. Probably has to do with him being a realistically proportioned human of realistically average height in a game where squat, cartoonish builds are the norm. This is downplayed in Deluxe where he is in the same category as Rosalina.
  • Tales Series:
    • Presea from Tales of Symphonia. The in-universe reason she looks so fragile is that her aging process has been intentionally stunted; she looks like a twelve-year-old girl, but she's actually twenty-eight. That, and her Exsphere enhances her already-impressive strength. In battle, Presea wields large axes as her weapon of choice, some of which are bigger than she is. She also has the highest attack power and the most HP.
  • Audrey Heitinga from Valkyria Chronicles, a 17-year old Lancer in Squad 7. Despite how well-armored, heavily built, and low-mobility her class is known for being, she's quite slender yet can crush a watermelon with her bare hands. She also has the highest potential for anti-tank damage in the game, meaning at her peak she could theoretically tear through the Batomys in a single shot.
  • Raquel Applegate from Wild ARMs 4 is a small to average sized young woman with a BFS. She is slow enough that the other party members often get 2-3 turns for each of her turns, and hits hard enough to, with the right setup, defeat even Ragu O Ragula in a single blow.
  • Lin from Xenoblade Chronicles X is a slip of a 13-year-old girl yet fills the role of the party tank, carrying around a huge shield and minigun.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Toph Beifong from Avatar: The Last Airbender, being the The Big Guy of the Gaang despite being youngest, smallest and blind. She's actually an earthbender, and a powerful one. Before she joined the Gaang, she was participating in the underground local-type-wrestling league, fighting against bigger and tougher people. In the end of her introductory episode, she sweeps the floor with six of them at once. She doesn't fit the "glacier" part of the definition until she invents metalbending, which allows her to bend metal into an impromptu suit of armor at the cost of movement speed.
  • In TRON: Uprising, the slender Paige isn't as fast or as agile as Beck, but she's a lot stronger than him and can leap a lot farther.


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