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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 
  • Claudette from Queen's Blade qualifies since she is thin like the rest of the cast but she feels no need to use much speed in battle when she can simply summon lighting strikes on her enemies.
  • Koneko Toujou from High School D×D has the body of a short and particularly slender underclassman. However, as a Rook, she's Nigh-Invulnerable and has the most raw strength of Rias' team, routinely tossing around debris several times her size like pebbles and managing to throw a Stray Devil dozens of times her size across the room.
  • Virgo Shaka from Saint Seiya looks like a lean woman. He barely moves in a fight while he mops the floor with those fools enough to fight him.
  • Kokoa Shuzen in Rosario + Vampire is a 15-year-old girl who's on the small side for her age. She swings around her 100 kg Morph Weapon with about as much effort as a normal human would need to swing a flyswatter. She's also by a significant margin the slowest of the main characters.

    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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ryuuguu Rena in Higurashi Daybreak. With her "normal" weapon she's the Jack-of-All-Stats, but with the axe she's a classical Mighty Glacier. She gets the Ironclad Cleaver in the expansion, and she becomes incredibly slow but her strength gets boosted to Game-Breaker levels.
  • 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.
  • Hotarumaru from Touken Ranbu. He looks like a Fragile Speedster, but unlike the other younger-looking characters in the game, he is a Mighty Glacier instead. Justified, since unlike most of the younger Tourabu characters who are tantou (short swords), Hotarumaru is an oodachi.
  • Ike from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance can't exactly be called a "waif", but in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he's a pipsqueak when compared to other Mighty Glaciers like Bowser, Ganondorf and Donkey Kong. Despite this, he's a heavy character, attacks slowly, moves slowly, and hits like a train (the developers actually went so far as to update his design by making him look buffer in the next game to reflect later FE installments). In the Fire Emblem series, Ike is actually more of a Lightning Bruiser.
    • 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 its 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • 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.
    • In Mario Kart 8, Link, who has a lean Bishōnen build, is classified as a 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Pokemon 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)

    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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