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"Why are female soldiers always no-nonsense snipers? Says something about the writer, I think, if they perceive women as mostly poking holes in things from a very long distance away."
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The tendency to make a female character a ranged fighter while her male partner/teammate fights up close. In fantasy settings, she's the archer or a Squishy Wizard, and the burliest male character has a giant melee weapon. In comic books, especially Marvel Comics in the '60s and '70s, female characters are more likely to be given powers that are ranged or unconventional enough to let them stay back while their male teammates do all the up-close hitting. The most common exception to the "girls aren't melee fighters" rule comes when the female combatant is fighting someone who's equally matched.

Part of this is due to cultural taboos against showing women getting hit. Fighting from a distance is, almost by definition, safer than hand-to-hand combat, so there's inherently less chance of or opportunity for a woman getting killed if she's not actually coming to blows with someone else. It may also have to do with the fact that a skimpy costume or armor, which a lot of female characters get stuck with, looks less unbelievable on someone who isn't in melee. While Action Girls who get up close and personal with the bad guys have long since become commonplace, heroines are still more likely to have ranged powers than their male teammates.

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To some extent, this reflects the physical reality that women on average have less height, muscle mass, and bone density than men do on average, meaning they'd have a disadvantage in melee or close-range combat. In a case of Truth in Television, for exactly that reason the Soviet Red Army during World War II had divisions of female snipers, fighter pilots, machine gunners, and tank commanders, while still barring women from serving as regular infantry. However, this stops being sensible and turns into Stay in the Kitchen when a particular non-average woman meets or exceeds the physical fitness standards expected of men in close combat roles, but is denied the opportunity to do what she's good at merely because of her chromosomes. If physical standards are relaxed because of a need to replace heavy combat losses, then authorities who still cling to traditional gender roles may continue to refuse a particularly big and strong woman for front line combat even as they begin to draft men who are smaller and weaker than her.

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Ironically, this trope was often inverted in real life, at least with low-tech weaponry. Powerful war bows require a great deal of upper body strength to draw back, and javelins or spears also fly farther and hit with greater force when thrown by a person with stronger muscles and longer limbs to give the projectile more velocity. Crossbows could put women on more equal footing with men because they are drawn using mechanical spanning devices or more advantageous muscle groups. Other possible equalizers are slings, which use centrifugal force to speed up the projectile; and muskets, which substitute chemical propellant for muscle power. As for melee weapons, historical axes, maces, etc. were rarely as heavy and cumbersome as those in fiction. In particular, anything with a slicing edge like a sword or a stabbing point like a spear could often kill with relatively little force as long as decent technique was used. Two-handed polearms are good options because of their reach and the mechanical advantage provided by a long shaft: Naginatas Are Feminine in Japnese culture, and a signature weapon of the Lady of War. Still, the image of the lithe, graceful female archer persists in medieval fiction.

Together, a close-range guy and a long-range girl may form a Battle Couple. The classic pairing of a caster and a basher is Sword and Sorcerer. Occasionally mutates into the Two Guys and a Girl form of Fighter, Mage, Thief. This trope could also be considered an outgrowth of Men Use Violence, Women Use Communication: Even when women do use violence, they tend to do so in a less up-front and physical manner than men do.

Compare Short-Range Guy, Long-Range Guy when the gender dynamic isn't important.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • A Tricon Global ad campaign from the late 1990s featured the Taco Bell Chihuahua, Colonel Sanders, and a female Pizza Hut driver as Star Wars characters. They were besieged on all sides by a droid army. While the Taco Bell Chihuahua was completely unarmed and Played for Laughs, the Pizza Hut girl had a blaster pistol and Colonel Sanders bore a lightsaber.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Inverted in Appleseed: Deunan is only a very average size woman, while her Battle Couple boyfriend Briareos is an 8 feet tall cyborg. Deunan is the far more hot-headed of the two and always goes in first while Briareos covers her from the back.
  • The Asterisk War:
    • The main pair of Ayato Amagiri and Julis von Riessfeld. He's a Master Swordsman with a BFS, while she mainly fights at range with fireballs and booby traps. She has a rapier Lux as well, but it's mainly a weapon of last resort.
    • Also true of the robots AR-D and RM-C: he is a heavy brawler who favors a gigantic hammer, while she is a lightweight flier who fights with guns. That is until they go all Combining Mecha and RM-C gives up her weapons to AR-D, where he becomes able to shoot the head of his hammer at his opponents.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Soga (male) is a Close-Range Combatant who uses arm blades. By contrast, Reo (female) uses gadgets and incense, while most of Suzu's (female) powers make her The Minion Master in one way or another. Appropriately, Matsuri (male turned female) uses his sword, shuriken, and wind spells at both close and long range.
  • Inverted in Black Butler with Ciel and Lizzy. While Ciel carries a pistol and is an excellent shot, he has asthma and poor stamina. In one battle, he even sprained his ankle wearing high heels while Lizzy picked up a sword and smashed some Bizarre Doll's heads in. Both are badass, and the only reason why Ciel couldn't help in that scene was that his gun jammed.
  • In Black Lagoon, Hansel uses an axe, and Gretel uses a really big gun. Then again, we don't know what gender either of them actually is. They even switch roles, weapons included.
  • Buso Renkin: The Hayasaka siblings are Half-Identical Twins, and the brother uses a sword while the sister a bow; Tokiko, however, being an Action Girl, fights upfront and personal using a Magic Skirt.
  • Digimon Adventure At the ultimate level and above every digimon is shown to have some sort of projectile or at least a ranged attack, the girls at this stage only show ranged attacks in their arsonal despite what their champion stages before them displayed. The males all have some sort of melee ability to complement their ranged attacks. The only female who showed any physical ability was Angewomon which was only slaps and other basic ability only useful in a Cat Fight.
  • Doraemon Nobitas Chronicle Of The Moon Exploration: Inverted during the final battle, in which the boys mostly wield pistol and cannon gadgets, whereas Shizuka uses Super Gloves to throw large objects at the Imperial guards.
  • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai:
    • Played straight with Dai and Leona, with Dai providing the sword-fighting and Leona assisting him through spell-work or item utility.
    • Inverted with Pop and Maam, as Pop is a Squishy Wizard who's focused on spell-casting while Maam is more capable of close-range fighting (more so once she becomes a Bare-Fisted Monk).
  • In Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], the protagonist Shirou Emiya fights by reinforcing melee bludgeoning items like lead pipes and chair legs before eventually upgrading to actual swords, while his off-and-on ally Rin Tohsaka fights by firing magical projectiles from her fingertips and throwing magical gemstones. This is inverted with their Servants, Saber and Archer, who as their Class names imply, are a swordswoman and bowman, respectively.
  • Inverted in Gunslinger Girl. The cyborgs, who are body-modified little girls are built for combat, so the usual way using them is to use them to trash enemies up and front, while the handler (usually adult males) is stay behind for support. When the handler rushes front for whatever reasons, it usually doesn't end well.
  • From Inuyasha we have Kagome on the bow shooting magic arrows, and the title character on the sword 'n claws, slashing stuff up. Justified in that she's an ordinary (aside from the spiritual powers she inherited via reincarnation), untrained human girl from the modern age, and he's a half-demon. And even after learning to fight in her own right, Kagome quite sensibly builds on natural talent for archery rather than trying to force herself to become a melee fighter. Also inverted with Sango and Miroku who fit Sword and Sorcerer.
    • Although in Sango's case it is actually somewhat played streight when it comes to Miroku, as her main attack is usually to throw her weapon while he fights up close with his staff most of the time.
  • Inverted in Kaguya-sama: Love is War. While no actual weapons are ever used, Kaguya and Shirogane are occasionally shown with knives and a handgun respectively in promotional material as a visual representation of their Battle of Wits.
  • This is somewhat inverted in Lord Marksman and Vanadis. While most of the men do fight in close quarters, the main character Tigre fights exclusively with a bow and the female Vanadis who surround him fight exclusively with close combat weapons such as swords, spears, and staves.
  • Played with in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: between Subaru and Teana, the tomboyish Subaru is a melee fighter and the more feminine Teana is a ranged shooter. Additionally, among Fate's adoptive children, Erio and Caro, Erio fights with a spear, while Caro primarily uses summon magic.
  • Mazinger Z: Kouji's robot's signature weapon are its fists (and in the manga he usually fights with punches and kicks, using Mazinger's weapons to finish the enemy off). Sayaka's robot's signature weapon are its missiles (and her second robot is armed with missiles and optic beams). This pattern repeats in the sequels (Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer).
  • In Naruto, Tenten plays this straight with her enormous arsenal of ranged weapons, as does Temari with her fan. However, most of the other female characters avert this, particularly Sakura and Tsunade, who both pack a huge punch and both are seen getting hit (and getting up from said hits) multiple times.
  • Inverted in Negima! Magister Negi Magi with Negi as the ranged mage and Asuna as the martial artist/swordsman in front...initially. Even after Negi starts taking levels in badass and starts fighting up-close, though, Asuna remains on the frontline. The rest of the non-muggles in Negi's all-female class are also mixed between melee fighters (Kuu Fei, Setsuna...), ranged support (Konoka, Kazumi...), and all-around badasses (Kaede and Mana, mainly).
    • Though this inversion is semi-justified in that the spirit of the trope is upheld—keeping the most "delicate" character out of the fray. Negi's youth evidently trumps Asuna's femininity. Or lack thereof.
  • Inverted in Ōkami-san where Ryoko uses her boxing gloves while Ryoshi favors his slingshot. In his case, it's possible it's due to his fear of being stared at: he can hide and snipe from anywhere while their enemies are focused on the girl right in front of them.
  • The good guys organization, Hero Association, in One-Punch Man, has all manners of heroes of either gender with myriad of powers and abilities, but this trope still applies to its most powerful members: The Hero Saitama obliterates his enemies with his punch (yes, singular), while Tatsumaki the esper uses her telekinesis to pulverize her enemies while barely making any gesture.
  • Iska and Alice from Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World. Iska is a superhumanly fit guy who fights with magic swords while Alice is an astral mage with ice powers.
  • Inverted in Outlaw Star. Of the four crew members who typically see combat, the two women (Aisha and Suzuku) are melee fighters while the men (Gene and Jim) fight with guns most of the time.
  • Inverted with Liza and Grash in Project A-ko: The Vs. Grash is a Badass Normal who uses conventional weapons, but Liza has Super Strength on par with A-ko.
  • All the fighters in Puella Magi Madoka Magica are female, for obvious reasons, but only the tomboys—Sayaka and Kyouko—use melee weapons (or thrown swords). Mami, the Team Mom, uses magical guns and ribbons; Madoka, The Chick, has an Energy Bow and doesn't directly fight anyone in the final timeline. Homura is an Action Girl, not especially feminine or tomboyish, so she uses manly ranged weapons—non-magical guns and explosives.
  • In Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire, this is downplayed and inverted when Piers and Merah team up. It's downplayed in that they're both equipped with firearms. It's also inverted because Merah is also equipped with a kukri, making her better suited for melee combat (her acrobatics also helps) than Piers, who, due to his lack of melee weapons, is dedicated to sniping at a distance.
  • Rhi'a from Sands of Destruction is The Gunslinger in a show where every other character fights melee. However, this list of other characters also includes Morte, a girl with a BFS, which she's quick to use to smash things (and it usually is smashing, rather than cutting). The two of them tend to fight each other quite often, too. The manga drops Rhi's guns and normally keeps her a Neutral Female, but the one time she does join a fight, she uses her Dragon Breath for a ranged attack.
  • Shannon and Raquel Casull in Scrapped Princess. Shannon is a swordsman, Raquel is a sorceress.
  • Lina (Mage) and Gaurry (Swordsman) in Slayers. Probable aversion, given that Lina is no slouch with a sword herself.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Of the opening crew, Simon (drill), Kamina (katana), Yoko (rifle). When Yoko gets the controls of a robot, the Dayakaiser, it has a giant cannon on it; Gurren Lagann, by contrast, typically fights with a giant friggin' drill, with its ranged options being used once, maybe twice before being sidelined in favour of Giga Drills.
  • Inverted in Thou Shalt Not Die where Kuroi generally sit in the back lines and wait for a moment to move in to use his Mind Rape powers while Mashiro is focused on physical enhancement and therefore a front-line brawler and berserker.

    Comic Books 
  • In Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, the archers and swordsmen of House Citrine are all female and male, respectively. It's averted with the women of House Amethyst, who like to get up close and personal with their enemies.
  • In Body Bags, Mack "Clownface" Delgado and his daughter Panda. Mack dual-wields huge knives, Panda uses various firearms.
  • DC Comics:
    • Inverted with The Joker and Harley Quinn. The Joker most often uses guns in his crimes, and Harley is best known for her mallet.
    • Inverted with Green Arrow and Black Canary when they are teamed up. Also slightly averted as Dinah has a ranged option with her Canary Cry while Oliver later learns sword-fighting.
  • G.I. Joe pairs sword-wielding Snake-Eyes with Scarlett and her crossbow and throwing stars. Also averted in that Snake isn't above using a gun when the situation calls for it, and Scarlett is such a good hand-to-hand combatant that she was the early team's martial arts instructor.
  • Invincible and Atom Eve. Invincible is a Flying Brick and Lightning Bruiser who fights up close, while Eve relies on her ability to psionically transmute matter.
  • Marvel Universe
    • X-Men provides a sibling example. Illyana Rasputin is a teleporter and sorceress; while her older brother Piotr hits things really, really, really hard. Although Magik (Illyana) usually needs time to teleport and only has her full complement of sorcery when she's in Limbo, so she ends up relying on slicing things up with her soulsword.
    • We have the twins Quicksilver, who punches things very fast; and the Scarlet Witch, who makes motions with her hands and warps reality.
    • Also in The Avengers, we have an inversion with Hawkeye and his ex-wife Mockingbird, basically Marvel's Alternate Company Equivalent of Green Arrow and Black Canary. Hawkeye's an archer, the best in the world, in fact; Mockingbird's a fighter who prefers to fight with her battle staves, and is one of the best fighters in the Marvel Universe, at least on the same level as Nick Fury and Captain America (and that's before gaining their respective powers). Given his past relationships with Black Widow and She-Hulk, and his recent relationship with Spider-Woman, Hawkeye in general seems to have a thing for women who can do the punching while he does the shooting.
    • Reed and Sue Richards when they go in Battle Couple mode: Reed using his Rubber Man powers to attack up close (well, for a given value of "close") while Sue blasts things from a distance with her invisible forcefields.
      • This was actually inverted in their earliest appearances, as Reed used tech while Sue turned invisible to attack.
  • In Preacher, Jesse Custer and his best mate Cassidy beat people up, while Jesse's girlfriend Tulip guns them down.
  • Shadowpact: The male characters are Nightmaster who fights with a magic sword, Blue Devil a stuntman and actor who was transformed into a demon with super strength and durability, Ragman whose possession of evil souls can grant him super strength and Detective Chimp who, as shown in his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Karnevil is much stronger than a normal human. On the female side, we have Enchantress and Nightshade. The former is a cunning and powerful sorceress while the latter fights with shadow powers that allow her to teleport or form constructs.
  • In The Walking Dead, Andrea quickly becomes an elite sniper whose skills prove invaluable to Rick's group, even though she had no firearms training or experience before the zombie holocaust.
  • In the 6-part Warlord of Mars volume Lords of Mars, after being transported to Barsoom, Jane is thaught how to use a rifle and proves herself a natural. It becomes her weapon of choice for the remainder of the story, while Tarzan and John Carter use either swords and knifes or their bare hands. Earlier in the same story, Tarzan tries to use a rifle for the first time and fails misserably.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Jirou has this relationship with Izuku when paired up together during the Heroes vs. Villains exercise. Izuku's spider-powered abilities make him an ideal frontline fighter who's equal parts strong, fast, and tough, making him the "Smash". While Jirou has been trained to box, she can't come close to his physical strength and relies on the debilitating effects of her sound-based Quirk to disorient her foes and support him by gathering info with her Super Hearing.
  • Taken literally with the Item Gods in Fail to the King!. Tav and Phoenix seem like the odd ones out until you remember that -by Disgaea mechanics- a staff user's normal attack can only be used from one square away, while a spear can attack from two.
  • In Horseshoes and Hand Grenades and its subsequent sidestories, male and female characters fight with diverse weaponry. Since there are so many of them, it can be divided into different ways:
    • For Kamen Riders, Riderman and Kamen Rider Den-O Rod, Gun and Wing Form technically attack from the distance. Kamen Rider Amazon, Joker, Nadeshiko and Den-O Sword, Axe, and Super Climax Form all worked when they were in close combat.
      • And when they weren't in Kamen Rider Form: Chosuke uses his fists to punch the lights out of people and JK had a pair of guns filled with rubber bullets.
    • The female characters also varied: Yuki, Miu, Yayoi, Rumi, and Haruka all use weapons that let them attack up close. Tomoko, Erin, and Mari were better suited in the back.
    • Inverted in Month of Sundays, Abe and Taira wielded swords and axes while Ibuki used a kusarigama to ensnare his opponents. Teruhiko also fights by shooting spikes and using a sonic howl. Miura later comes in but since he has the power of the Aries Zodiarts, he also steps back to use his sleeping powers on the opponent. Rumi, as stated above, charges toward opponents with a vaulting pole, kicking them in the face for good measure.
      • Shingo and Hina Izumi also invert this: Shingo, being a policeman, fires his rifle at the enemy. Hina punches people in the face.
  • Inverted in Mass Effect Human Revolution, where the guys of the Deep Eyes are the riflemen while Jane The Squadette is the melee specialist.
  • Played With in Mellorine! Mellorine!. Luffy, Zoro and Usopp are subjected to a magical Gender Bender, which complicates matters when they're subsequently attacked, as Luffy and Zoro find that their muscle mass and center of balance have shifted considerably. Sanji later notes that of the trio, Usopp's fighting style is likely impacted the least by the change. However, this doesn't stop Luffy or Zoro from tackling the enemy head-on in their usual fashion, setbacks be damned, while Usopp hides — the physical impact the change has had upon his body pales in comparison to the psychological impact.
  • In Olivia Goes West (a crossover between The Great Mouse Detective and An American Tail), this trope is inverted when Fievel and Olivia try to rescue Olivia's father from Jebediah's gold mine a second time and are armed by helpful Mousehicans with a tomahawk and a bow. Fievel figures that due to his previous experiences with a slingshot, he would make better use of the bow, leaving Olivia to pick up the tomahawk.
  • In The Prayer Warriors this is averted. The women, when they fight, use a fairly diverse arsenal of weapons, such as a gun (Mary), a dagger (Ebony), a sword and a spear (Clarisse), and a club (Annabeth and her opponent). Among the men, most use swords, but also can use an axe (Draco), a sword and spear (Percy Jackson), or a sniper rifle (Grover).
  • Soul Eater: Troubled Souls is a Soul Eater fanfic that provides yet another inversion in two OCs, Tsuji and Rowena Ricardsen. Tsuji is an archer and works best supporting people from a distance while Rowena has Super Strength and prefers close-range combat with her oversized sledgehammer.
  • Averted and Lampshaded in Supernova where Vivi figured Nami would be a long-ranged support fighter due to her "magic" (clima-tact) and wouldn't be much good in a close-up fight. Not only was Nami originally a staff fighter but she casually does a hundred squats with an 800-pound weight on her shoulders.
  • Zig-Zagged with TRON: Endgame Scenario: Sam and Quorra mostly play it straight, even if she's certainly no stranger to close combat. Jet and Mercury are an inversion, as Mercury is a Blood Knight who prefers a close-quarters fight with her rods, and Jet is relatively weak in melee combat and devastating at sniping range.
  • Simultaneously acknowledged and defied by Katniss and Glimmer in Valkyrie On Fire, as Glimmer favours hand-to-hand combat- whether unarmed or with weapons- while Katniss is more skilled at archery.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blade: Trinity. Action Girl Abigail Whistler uses a compound bow while the title character has a sword.
  • Inverted in The Cabin in the Woods: When Marty and Dana are trying to get out of the underground facility beneath the cabin, Marty gets his hands on two weapons. He keeps the gun for himself... and gives the knife to Dana. The inversion is somewhat justified in that Dana, who had to either survive or be killed last in order for the ritual to work, was marginally safer - except that neither of them knew that at the time.
  • Inverted in Edge of Tomorrow, where Cage prefers the shooting weapons while Rita wields a BFS.
  • Inverted in Hellboy (2019). Although Alice eventually starts using a handgun, most of the time she's seen punching the crap out of her opponents while Hellboy and Daimio focus much more on their guns.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss is a skilled archer, while Peeta is a wrestler whose main skill is physical strength. The rest of the Tributes fall into this as well with the exception of Marvel, whose skill with thrown spears is his hallmark (and the method behind his only on-screen kill).
  • In 2004's King Arthur, Guinevere is a Woad warrior-maiden and mostly fights using a bow and arrow, while Arthur fights with swords. She does get in on some melee action during the film's final battle.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: While both Max and Furiosa show ability in both melee and ranged combat, Furiosa is definitely the better shot of the two, while Max does more damage against the War Boys close up, including going toe-to-toe with Rictus Erectus and an implication of what he did offscreen to the Bullet Farmer and his mooks using a kukri and a fuel can.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Inverted in The Avengers: Black Widow is a good shot but an even better martial artist, while Hawkeye is good at martial arts but phenomenal with a bow.
    • Played straight in Avengers: Age of Ultron with the Maximoffs (see below). Pietro uses his Super Speed for hit-and-run tactics, while Wanda uses telekinesis and energy projection.
    • Invoked, lampshaded, and inverted in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
      Peter Quill: [to Gamora] It's just that swords were your thing and guns were mine.
  • Our Friend Power 5: While the male turtles are all taught Taekwondo, Yesular instead relies on her magic wand, and is generally less involved in combat scenes.
  • Inverted in Snow White and the Huntsman: When Snow White fights in the climactic battle, she does so with sword and shield while her childhood friend William spends the entire movie fighting with bow and arrow.
  • Star Wars:
    • Of the main characters in the Star Wars movies, the only ones who use lightsabers are all male. In the original trilogy, Leia is the only one whose blaster bolts never miss. However, there are female lightsaber-wielding Jedi in minor supporting roles.
    • In Attack of the Clones Anakin wields a lightsaber and Padme uses a blaster.
    • Zig-zagged in The Force Awakens: For the most part, Rey uses a staff and Finn uses a blaster. However they don't use those weapons exclusively since Rey does use a blaster later on and they both, at different points, use Anakin's lightsaber, with Rey being the last.
  • Willow takes it both ways. Mad Mardigan prefers a sword over all else but is willing and more than able to use a crossbow, and Sorcia's primary weapon is a bow and arrows but she carries a rapier that she is rather skilled with.

    Literature 
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Peter and Edmund are supplied with swords, but Susan with a bow. Lucy only gets a dagger as a weapon of last resort, being The Medic. In the film version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy inherits Susan's bow. In The Silver Chair, it's inverted as males Eustace and Puddleglum get the bows while Jill gets a hunting knife, but played straight again by The Last Battle when Jill gets a bow as Eustace gets a sword.
  • Clockpunk and the Vitalizer features a downplayed setup at first: The Vitalizer smashes telekinetically while Clockpunk attempts shooting with her weak gun. Subverted during the latter half of the story, since Clockpunk dumps her gun to occupy The Vitalizer while the superweapon he's after is moved. Once she has him at her mercy, she's the only one doing any smashing.
  • Inverted in Codex Alera with the Battle Couple of Bernard and Amara- he's an archer, she's a swordswoman. That said, Amara's fighting style relies on using speed and flight to deliver a single killing strike and get out of combat range again rather than the blow-trading which this trope associates with masculinity. Likewise, while Bernard is a Master Archer, his specific weapon dramatically emphasizes his brute strength rather than his skill or finesse.
  • District 12 sends one boy and one girl to compete in The Hunger Games. The boy is a wrestler. The girl is an archer.
  • Insomnia: uses this, with an interesting variation. Ralph and Lois both learn how they can weaponize their aura's against Atropos. To achieve this, Ralph makes a hand movement identical to a karate chop, while Lois makes a finger gun and pretends to shoot.
  • Zigzagged in the Kate Daniels series: most of Kate's friends (and her Love Interest) are super-strong shapeshifters, but subverted in that Kate herself is known as a swordswoman who's as deadly as any of them. Double Subverted because Kate is actually a Magic Knight with growing magical power, who simply Fights Like a Normal to hide her past.
    • Played straight in Magic Strikes, where Kate forms a Gladiator Games team with six shifters. Among those other six, the two women are the only gunfighter and mage.
  • Inverted in the Mediochre Q Seth Series. Dhampinella is an unarmed hand-to-hand combatant (and a darn good one) while Joseph is The Gunslinger by choice and only fights unarmed if he has to. Neither Mediochre nor Charlotte fight much, but in the first book, Mediochre borrows one of Joseph's guns and Charlotte clubs someone with a rock and occasionally struggles up-close-and-personal with Mooks.
  • Played straight with the main male and female protagonists of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Simon is a swordsmannote  and Princess Miriamele is an archer (and the cover of the last book has both posing with their respective Weapon of Choice). However, when they travel together during the last book, they do start training each other in the other's weapon.
  • Variation in Monster Hunter International: Owen Zastava Pitt, the main protagonist, uses Abomination, a fully-automatic Saiga-12 shotgun with a bayonet (silver-inlaid, of course), while his wife and other female characters tend to use longer-ranged weapons. Earl Harbinger, being a werewolf, plays it straighter.
  • Switched around in Relativity: Overcast (the male) uses a gun while Zephyra is a karate expert.
  • Averted in the first Song of the Lioness book. When Alanna and Jonathan go against an ancient group of evil spirits, Alanna is the one who uses the sword, while Jon maintains their magic shields.
  • In Spirit Hunters the two guys are samurai while both girls are spellcasters. However, Sura is also good with spear and shortsword and Chiri is decent with a pair of kama.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Luke and Mara often fall into this pattern when fighting together, especially before she becomes a full Jedi, though even after she is still more likely to use her blaster than Luke.
    • Fate of the Jedi: Luke and Ben tend to fight with their lightsabers, while Vestara and Jaina tend to fight with force lightning and from a star-fighter, respectively. For example, in Vortex, Vestara throws her lightsaber to an un-armed Luke, then starts shocking Abeloth.
    • It took Leia five years after Return of the Jedi for Luke to build her a lightsaber, and even then only because Han basically bullied them into it. And it was many more years before she was even marginally competent with the thing.
  • In Starship Troopers, men are the infantry, women are the pilots. It's explained that women have been discovered to have better reflexes.
  • The Wheel of Time has Birgitte Silverbow and Gaidal Cain. And for the Sword and Sorcerer approach, Aes Sedainote  and their Warders.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inverted in the first season of Altered Carbon, both in the present day and in flashbacks. Kovacs can smash if necessary but seems to prefer guns. In flashbacks, he's paired with his sister Rei, who can shoot if necessary but will use a sword if at all possible. In the present day, he's paired with Ortega, who gets fond of smashing things after she gets a super-strong cybernetic arm.
  • Arrow:
    • Inverted as with their above comic selves, Oliver is an archer with Improbable Aiming Skills, while Canary, in season 2, is a former member of the League Of Assassins, capable of killing entire rooms of people. Like most inversions, Ollie's just as good at fighting, if not on her level, and she's no slouch with a bow either.
    • Played straight with Ollie's island friends. Slade is a Sword nut ASIS combat specialist who likes to get up close with his kills, while Shado is an archer capable of casually hitting targets, and teaches Ollie how to shoot. Like above, she's also a great fighter, and he's a crack shot with rifle or pistol.
  • Game of Thrones for some reason gives Arya archery skills that she's specifically stated to lack in the books, though she still favors the sword.
  • Inverted in Justified, in which male deputies Raylan Givens and Tim Gutterson are noted for their skill with guns, while their colleague Rachel Brooks is far more likely to deliver a brutal baton-beating than pull her sidearm.
  • Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation: All five turtles are trained in hand-to-hand combat but while the male turtles use melee weapons, the sole female turtle Venus uses magical attacks in conjunction with martial arts.
  • Once Upon a Time: Prince Charming's main weapon is a sword; Snow White's is a bow and arrow. Most of the other characters also follow this trope, with the female villains being spell-casters while male villain Captain Hook primarily uses his hook (though he does use a gun on Belle), supporting female hero Granny using a crossbow and Emma, having grown up in our world in the modern day, preferring to use a pistol (though when she does embrace her storybook heritage, it's with both of her parents' weapons). The only exceptions are Rumplestiltskin (male, spellcaster), Mulan (female, swordfighter), Robin of Locksley (male, archer) Though "Robin Hood" plays this straight as of Season 7 as she's the daughter of the legendary archer with comparable skill and Red (female, werewolf).
  • Revolution: Miles's main weapon? A katana. Charlie's main weapon? A crossbow. Episodes like "Chained Heat" show this trope in action. Even when Charlie ditches the crossbow for a gun by episode 10, she's still shooting.
  • Stranger Things plays this trope straight via a subverted inversion. Jonathan plans to use a gun on the monster, while Nancy practices strikes with a baseball bat. After they both actually try the gun on old cans, though, Nancy proves to be a superior shot, so they trade weapons.
  • Super Sentai:

    Tabletop Games 
  • Of the five signature Solars in Exalted, the girls are a mage and an archer, while the guys are a brawler the size of a house, a master swordsman, and a kung fu Ambadassador.
  • The supervillain The Denier enforces this for his mooks in the GURPS module School of Hard Knocks: his male minions get equipped with axes, the female ones with guns and grenades.
  • The iconic characters of Pathfinder tend to be notably even-handed with regard to their gender-to-class distribution. Sure, you have a muscular male fighter and a slinky female sorceress, but you also have a male wizard and a female barbarian (who uses a slain giant's shortsword as a two-handed greatsword).
  • In The Witcher: Game of Imagination dryads, a One-Gender Race, start with very high Shooting skill in their splat, while being the only race with no starting melee skills in said splat.

    Video Games 
  • In 7 Blades, the player can choose between two playable characters - a guy with a sword (or seven, per the title) or a girl with a gun, which she nicknames 'Kittykat'
  • Completely averted in Arcanum. Male and female characters, including the player protagonist, can develop their skills for whatever weapons they want, be it melee, throwing, archery weapons, or firearms. There are some minor differences in the starting statistics of males and females (the former start with more strength, the latter start with more dexterity), but these don't strictly favour melee or ranged fighting. You can gear your characters towards whatever you want, there are both close combat and ranged forms of traditional weaponry, magic spells, and technologically advanced weaponry. If anything, the magic-technology dichotomy of the setting is much more crucial to your and other characters' choices concerning weapon specialisations.
  • In The Banner Saga, this comes into play. All the female characters who join your party are archers while the vast majority of the men who join are melee warriors. Rook does both and Eyvind is a sort of exception in that he can cast long-ranged spells. He still can club enemies with his staff. The sequel both doubles down but also averts it some. It doubles down with the Horseborn race who fit the trope to a T (male horseborn use flails while female horseborn use throwing spears.) It is averted though with the introduction of Folka who is a spear and shield-wielding warrior and Zefr who is mostly a support character but who can stab enemies with her spear (though she is so weak that it is generally advisable not to).
  • In Bayonetta, the all-female Umbra Witches wields guns, and while we don't see as many Lumen Sages in the series, the few seen all have been shown to wield melee weapons. However, this trope ultimately only applies ceremonially, as Umbra Witches are very much capable of pummeling their enemies with fists and heels, while Lumen Sages can cast a variety of spells to fry their targets from afar.
  • Your initial party in Blaze Union works like this, featuring Garlot the (lance-wielding) knight, Jenon the swordsman, and Siskier the archer. From the point the party begins to expand, though, you accumulate lots of heavy-hitting melee ladies and a couple of ranged-fighter men.
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare subverts this trope. Resident Action Girl Ilona apparently used to work as a sniper for Spetsnaz, which would make you think she's more of a long-range fighter in-game. However, when we see her in combat, she never uses a sniper rifle and uses the standard assault rifle loadout of the male characters, and is in fact the only character in the entire game to engage in extended hand-to-hand combat when she fights Hades.
  • Initially played straight in Chrono Trigger where the Unlucky Childhood Friend uses guns and the Rebellious Princess uses bows. Then averted by the cavewoman who simply uses Good Old Fisticuffs, and the male sorcerer whose Tech attacks are all ranged spells (in contrast to the other two guys and the robot on the team.)
  • In Clash of Clans, the first two basic units are the swordfighting male Barbarians and the female Archers. Averted with the flame shooting Wizards and the close combat Valkyries.
  • Dark Devotion inverts this trope with the Dual Boss Elinor and Aureus: Inseparable Wardens. Elinor wields a spear and fights at close range, while Aureus wields a bow and keeps his distance from the player.
  • Arguably zigzagged (at least in the sense of seeming to avert it, only to play it straight) in Dead Island. There are four playable heroes, and there's both a melee male & female duo and a ranged male & female duo. However, the male heroes are the blunt weapon specialist and the throwing weapon specialist, whilst the female heroes are the gun specialist and cutting weapon specialist. The gun specialist also specialises in using cutting melee weapons as well.
    • Then the sequel Dead Island: Riptide adds one more hero... a male character whose specialty is beating zombies to death with his fists.
  • Diablo has a similar arrangement, with a female Rogue who functions best as an archer, and a male warrior and wizard.
    • In the sequel, the two close-quarters combat classes - the Barbarian and the Paladin - are male. The Sorceress is a ranged combatant, and the Amazon specializes in bows, javelins, and spears - only the latter is close-quarters. The Assassin and Necromancer inverts this dynamic where the former has an entire skill tree for martial arts and wields a katar by default while the latter summons minions, casts bone and poison skills, and curses enemies.
    • While Diablo III allows players to choose the gender of any class they play, this trope is reflected in the iconics of each class — the Barbarian and the Monk, the primary melee fighters among the Nephalem, are male; while the Demon Hunter and the Wizard, the primary ranged attackers, are female, though the Witch Doctor and (added later) Crusader invert this dynamic.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Etna's default weapon is a spear (semi-ranged) and she is shown using a gun in cutscenes. However, she's still much more melee-oriented than Flonne, the White Magician Girl / Archer / Battle Mage. The female Player Mooks have a variety of proficiencies as well depending on job class.
    • It's inverted for the humans, however: Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! uses a gun and Jennifer uses her fists.
    • In Etna's cameo in Makai Kingdom, she gets a huge-ass minigun instead.
    • Played straight in Disgaea 2 with bare-knuckled Adell and gun-toting Rozalin.
    • And in Disgaea 3, Sapphire comes with a gun, but she also has proficiencies in bow and Ax.
    • Played straight again in Disgaea 5 with fistfighting Killia and gunslinging Seraphina.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins plays this mostly straight. You can get up to eight members on your team; two men with huge swords, clubs or axes, one man with a dagger-sword combination, and one man with shield and sword filling the Tank role. Then there are two women who are mages, one who's intended as an archer, and a golem who punches things to death. That last one used to be a dwarven woman, but is now rather ambivalent about the whole idea of gender.
    • However, the Expansion Pack Awakening averts this with the two rogue party members: the male rogue Nathaniel is better suited as an archer, and the female rogue Sigrun is meant to duke it out in melee (however, thanks to readily available Skill Point Resets in Awakening, you can re-spec them at any time). You also get one female sword and shield warrior, Mhairi. The Witch Hunt DLC also pairs a female warrior with a male mage.
    • Dragon Age II again averts this with Aveline and Isabela—a brawny "Guardian" warrior and a swashbuckling Pirate Girl, respectively. Of the four ranged party members, only one is female (the mage Merrill). Played straight with Hawke's siblings - Carver is a swordsman, Bethany is a mage.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition has nine companions, three from each class (Warrior, Mage, Rogue), and one female character from each set of three, so technically the game averts this since the one female melee fighter (Cassandra) is proportional to the number of male melee fighters, as are the two female ranged fighters (Vivienne, Sera) to the number of male ranged fighters, although it should be noted that Vivienne is a Magic Knight making her more melee-focused than her fellow male mages, and inversely, Cole is a rogue who specializes in dual-wielding daggers, although you can equip him with a bow.
  • The classes of Dragon Nest sort of falls into this. The male classes, Fighter and Cleric, are both pretty up close and physical. Meanwhile, the female classes are Archer and Sorceress, who are both mostly ranged.
  • Ness and Paula in EarthBound. However, the character whose physical attack is ranged is Jeff.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Heavily Downplayed in terms of the Player Character throughout the series, at least until it did away with classes and attributes starting with Skyrim. The starting Skills (including weapon skills) were determined by the race of character, regardless of gender. However, gender did account for differences in the starting Attributes (Strength, Agility, etc.). Males in the races with gender attribute differences tended to have higher starting physical attributes, making them (initially) better with melee weapons while females tended to have higher starting mental attributes, making them (initially) better spell casters. The difference is small enough to be made up within the first level or two if you so choose, leading to Purely Aesthetic Genders.
    • In the series' backstory, Lost Orphaned Royalty and future Queen of Morrowind, Barenziah, was the sole survivor of her noble Dunmeri family and was placed into foster care with the Imperial loyalist Count and Countess of Darkmoor until she became of age to take over as Vassal Queen. She Played With the trope, as she wanted to train in combat with the sons of the Count and Countess, but was forbidden. She was given a bow to practice with instead. However, when the adults weren't around, she would spar with the boys and bested them more often than not.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy plays this straight with the exception of Lance, who mainly uses guns and ranged attacks. In the case of Anna, who wields a set of bows almost as large as her, the trope's usual implications are averted, as the other party members repeatedly note that she must be extremely strong to be able to use them effectively.
  • The relationship of Vanguard-Reyvateil as a Battle Couple in the EXA_PICO games is this. The male vanguard attacks enemies at close range while a female reyvateil shoots magic from afar.
    • Although it's partially averted with the female vanguards, all of which wield melee weapons: Krusche wields a chainsaw, Amarie a combination between a bow, dual swords and a lyre; and Cocona a hairclip that turns into a bladed battle scepter (Ar tonelico II) and a duet of laser tonfas (Ar tonelico III).
    • Ar nosurge follows this but has a wrinkle. The guardians here (Earthes and Delta) have both long and short-range weapons. Earthes, in particular, uses guns exclusively.
  • Inverted with the companions in Fable II: Sister Hannah, the Hero of Strength; Reaver, the Hero of Skill; and Garth, the Hero of Will.
  • In Fairy Bloom Freesia, Listine (the second boss) fights with his sword, while his partner Shynie (third boss) uses her agility and a limitless supply of knives.
  • Played straight with the two original characters from Project X Zone. Kogoro uses blades, Mii uses guns.
  • Inverted in Fallout: New Vegas. Your humanoid male companions are a mechanic who uses revolvers, a Cold Sniper, and a doctor who uses energy weapons. Your humanoid female companions are a mutant assassin who uses a helicopter blade as a BFS, a scavenger armed with a Power Fist, and a cowgirl with a Short-Range Shotgun. This carries over to the DLC as well; in Honest Hearts, the female companion uses gauntlets while the two males prefer .45 pistols, and the only companion in Dead Money who has a default weapon other than fists is a male ghoul with a 9mm pistol.
    • This is also true with Fallout 3, where of the male companions include a former raider who uses a fully automatic assault rifle, a ghoul with a sniper shotgun, and an intelligent Super Mutant with a Gatling Laser, (not that any of them have a problem using melee weapons) while the two female companions include a cybernetic Brotherhood of Steel Paladin wielding a Super Sledge and a depraved former slave whose default range weapon is pitifully short-ranged double-barrel shotgun but is very proficient in close quarters combat. note 
  • Played straight in a lot of the Final Fantasy games, where not everyone can use everything.
    • Final Fantasy II: While all the characters' builds are fairly customizable, Maria's starting equipment is a bow while the other core party members, all of which are men, start off with melee weapons. The other female party member Leila, however, prefers knives.
    • Final Fantasy IV: Rosa uses a bow and is the only character who does so, and all three female characters are mages. Note that Gilbert/Edward/Spoony uses a harp.
      • Note that Edward and Paladin!Cecil can use bows, as can Palom and Porom, but there's usually little reason to equip them thusly. The bow and arrow is actually the most useable weapon in the game, with rods (usable by Rydia, Tellah, Palom, and Porom) being a close second. Rosa is the only character restricted to bow use, which in turn makes use of her "Aim" skill.
      • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years balances this out by adding five new female party members (Luca, Ursula, Harley, Izayoi, and Brina) that use close-ranged weapons. However, the latter three are still frail, so it's recommended to put them in the back row, making this a downplayed inversion.
    • Final Fantasy VI: Fairly open due to the system which allows all characters to use melee and ranged weaponry as well as magic. Early in the story, however, the only characters able to use magic are Terra and Celes, both female.
    • Final Fantasy VII is an interesting exception: Of the three dedicated missile fighters, Barret and Vincent are male while Yuffie is female, but the hand-to-hand combatist and the dedicated mage, Tifa and Aerith respectively, are female.
    • Final Fantasy VIII mixes and matches. All of the female antagonists use ranged attacks, and all of the male antagonists have at least one melee attack, but there's one ranged and two melee attackers of each gender among the six main characters, and one melee and two ranged attackers among the three males played in flashbacks.
    • Final Fantasy IX continues the trend of exceptions: Two White Magician Girls (both of whom can use ranged attacks and summon magic) and a melee fighter round out the females, while the males have a thief, a black mage, a martial arts mercenary, and a knight. Quina's gender is unknown and even called "s/he" throughout.
    • Final Fantasy X The females are a thief who uses melee attacks, a black mage with a ranged attack, and a standard White Magician Girl with a (uselessly weak) melee attack, who, like the two before, can use summon magic. The guys have physical attacks, but the ranged fighter is a guy.
      • In Final Fantasy X-2 how each character (All of whom are female) attacks depends on the dress-sphere (Job class) they use, but the default spheres- warrior, thief, and gunner- include two melee attackers and one ranged.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, one of the few Final Fantasy games where everyone can equip anything, Fran, Ashe, and Penelo have stronger magic skills (Penelo having the most MP) than Vaan, Balthier, and Basch, who are stronger with physical attacks (Basch has the least MP).
    • Final Fantasy XIII tends towards flipped genders. Sazh and Hope are both males that use ranged weapons (guns and a boomerang, respectively), leaving Snow as the only melee-centric male with his fisticuffs. Fang is a woman who uses a short-range lance, while Vanille uses a fishing rod to attack from afar. Lightning's gunblade can smash or shoot, but she seems to favor the blade part.
      • Final Fantasy XIII-2 plays it notably straighter. Both party members have the ability to smash and shoot, as Serah's sword can become a bow and Noel's swords become a javelin. However, the creators specifically gave Serah a bow to "preserve her femininity".
    • Final Fantasy XIV averts with the Warrior Of Light. Any gender of any race can be an effective member of any class. Also inverted with the Leveilleur siblings. Alphinaud is a tactician and an arcanist, who stays back, casts spells, and uses a summoned Carbuncle to fight for him. His sister Alisaie on the other hand is a Red Mage and prefers a more direct approach.
    • Final Fantasy XV gender inverts this in Episode Prompto, Aranea, uses a Blade on a Stick while Prompto stays back and attacks from a distance with guns.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics, male units have an extra 7% boost to their HP and 25% boost to their physical attack, whereas female units have an extra 7% boost to their MP and 25% boost to their magical attack. As such if you want to get the most out of your units in this game, it's best to play this trope straight and have your male units stick to physical jobs while having your female units stick to magical jobs. Among the special units this still applies, with only Ramza and Cloud being exceptions, as those two have the female MP/MA bonus in addition to their male HP/PA bonus, which makes them the only units in the game naturally good at fulfilling a physical/magical hydrid role.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance's only female race, the Viera, have pretty much all magic and ranged classes, except the Fencer and Assassin. The sequel's Gria have more melee abilities, though one cheap way to win is to have a Gria Hunter fly to the highest point and have her shoot all the enemies.
  • Partially invoked by Golden Axe. The Amazon, Tyris Flare has a long-sword, but is the weakest of the three characters in combat, and is much better with her screen-clearing magic attacks. The Dwarf, Gilius Thunderhead, and Barbarian Ax Battler have quite a few more direct attacks, but weaker magic.
  • The Golden Sun franchise usually played this straight. The three females from the first two games were all magic-based. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn subverted it hard, giving us Princess Sveta, who has the strongest physical strength of any character in the series.
  • Inverted with Alex & Ash in Hotline Miami 2. Alex, the sister, fights up close with a chainsaw, while Ash, the brother, provides fire support with guns, which he either brings himself or picks up from dead enemies.
  • While both protagonists of Hunted: The Demon's Forge are capable of shooting or melee, Caddoc is a melee specialist while E'lara is the ranged specialist.
  • Inverted in Immortal Souls. Technically John and Raven both have both ranged and melee attacks to use, but Raven is most commonly depicted in the game's advertising as wielding a large ornate medieval-style sword, while John is more commonly shown dual-wielding typical modern-day revolvers.
  • Infinite Undiscovery, Aya has a bow and tiny dagger, Capell a gladius.
  • Iron Marines:
    • Almost all the female Hero Units are ranged attackers with the exception of Guiying who fares far better in melee combat. Averted with the male heroes who have a mix of ranged and melee attackers.
    • The army units with the longest range are the female snipers as compared to the male Rangers and Engineers who have a far shorter range. The mech units with the longest range is the female-piloted Shellstorm as compared to the mid-range Flamewalker and the melee tank Brawler, both with male pilots. It's Zig-Zagged with the Emyprean units — While the straight-up melee Guardians are male, the female units are the support class Diplomats, while the ranged units are the male Channelers.
  • The King of Fighters has more than a few noteworthy exceptions, such as Blue Mary (special agent with a combat style involving various submission holds and throws), Vice (grappler who relies on brute force and has very few moves that aren't command throws), and Vanessa (six-foot-tall female fist-fighter). There's also a few downplayed or zig-zagging examples, as seen with Leona (stoic mercenary with various explosives who can also slice people to ribbons with her hands and possesses close-range energy projection), Shermie (another grappler by default—this time based on Japanese puroresu—who abandons her throws for longer-ranged electrical attacks in Orochi Mode), and Angel (nimble striker-grappler hybrid who specializes in Confusion Fu via her Unchain Circle roulette of special attacks). Unsurprisingly, most of the women listed above come equipped with Boobs of Steel.
  • Though all three of the playable characters in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep wield Keyblades for melee attacks, Aqua, the lone female, is singled out as being an exceptional mage, and most of her unique moves and abilities are spell-based.
  • The Last of Us: While Joel can use guns and Ellie can sneak up on enemies with her switchblade, it's clear that Joel is better in the thick of it with melee weapons, while Ellie is a great support with a hunting rifle or a pistol. During the winter chapter, where you play as Ellie, it's made abundantly clear that Ellie is not that great in one-to-one confrontations either with clickers or human enemies, and it's better to either use guns or to sneak up on them.
    • Subverted in the sequel. Abby is a strong, muscular woman, who can deal massive damage with melee weapons, though again, she can also use guns. Her companion is Lev, who very clearly favors staying behind her and using a bow.
  • Seen as a tendency in League of Legends in which at one point just under half of the ranged champions were female, while a bit less than a fifth of melee champions were female. Riot has since evened the odds somewhat.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In Lufia & The Fortress of Doom, both of the male party members have no offensive spells and rely on melee attacks for damage, while both female party members are the offensive magicians of the party. Furthering this trope, Jerin is the only member who can use bows, which make up for their low damage by hitting all enemies in a group. Lufia can attack physically, if you want to let her magical talents go to waste.
    • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, the only shooting weapons are guns, which can only be used by Artea and Dekar. While Selan's magic is much more useful than her physical attacks, Tia is a dedicated smasher.
  • Mass Effect:
    • You can both play this straight and invert it, depending on Shepard's combat class. For example, played straight with Soldier Male!Shepard and Liara as his teammate/love interest, but inverted with Vanguard Female!Shepard and Garrus as her combat partner/love interest.
    • Inverted with human teammates in Mass Effect. Ashley is a soldier, Kaidan is a support character better kept to the back ranks.
    • Also inverted with Tali and Garrus: Tali carries a shotgun, while her best friend/possible lover Garrus is a sniper. He teases her about it when she says fighting husks is easy because "they just run up to us!" and he counters that he's a sniper and "[she's] the one who likes things at short range."
  • Master of the Monster Lair: Kate can equip bows and staves, while Owen can't. Conversely, Kate can't equip axes or swords, while Owen can. Kate also has far more offensive magic than Owen.
  • In Max Payne 2, Max's signature weapon is a Beretta pistol, a fairly short-range, close combat weapon. Mona's signature weapon is a sniper rifle.
  • Metal Gear plays this straight with some of its characters. Sniper Wolf, for instance, is the only female member of Foxhound and the group's crack sniper. There's also Quiet, a sniper who usually covers Snake from a distance while he infiltrates and fights up close. Even the Skulls have the females always as snipers while the males always fight up close.
    • Averted with the Boss whose skill in hand to hand combat is legendary while the crack sniper of her unit is a very old man.
  • The Elimination Platformer Metal Saver plays this absolutely straight with its player characters: the boy (Hanbit) punches and kicks enemies while the girl (Narae) shoots them.
  • Each of the male protagonists in Might & Magic: Heroes VI's campaign mode have Might-oriented classes as their defaults, with Sandor being a barbarian, Anton being a knight, and Kiril being a heretic, while the women, Irina and Anastasya, have the magic-oriented Monk and Necromancer classes respectively. Downplayed in that the player has the option of switching their hero's class at the start of the campaign.
  • In Monster Hunter this is averted for human characters, as any hunter can use any weapon, and inverted for the signature Battle Couple monsters of the first game, the Raths: Male Rathalos is a flying wyvern that keeps watch from the air while its' mate Rathian patrols her territory on the ground. The actual moves used by them reflect this during gameplay, as Rathian is more fixated on using ground-based attacks, usually only taking flight to administer a tail-swat with her poison stingers or to deliver clawing strikes, and saves most of her fireballs for ground-to-ground fire, whereas the Rathalos is much more prone to taking to the sky to blow fireballs, even having a sequence in which he will circle the battlefield from very high up, lobbing a series of fireballs at hunters before returning to closer range.
  • Nocturne: Rebirth inverts this with the Final Boss. Khaos can only attack with spells while Shylphiel is a Magic Knight with a BFS.
  • In Ogre Battle, the starting male class is a swordsman, while the starting female class is an archer. In general, males are better in the front row, though at the most advanced classes, they get some use in the back row.
  • Path of Exile has only classes that fit this trope by default: ranged characters (Witch, Ranger) are female while close-combat characters are male (Marauder, Shadow, Templar, Duelist), with a class capable with any form of combat (Scion) also being female. Due to how character building works, it's entirely feasible to make a Duelist or Shadow into an archer, a Shadow or Templar into a spellcaster, or a Ranger into a close-range swashbuckler.
  • Played with in Perfect World: Fourteen character classes exist between six playable races. Two of those classes are Always Male (Barbarian and Edgerunner, both melee-oriented and Strength-based), and two are Always Female (Technician, which is Dexterity-based, and Venomancer, which is Magic-based; both are chiefly ranged-combat based). For the remaining ten classes (Assassin, Blademaster, Duskblade, and Seeker are chiefly melee; Archer, Cleric, Mystic, Psychic, Stormbringer, and Wizard are chiefly ranged) character gender is a purely aesthetic concern.
  • Tends to vary in the Persona series:
    • Between the Persona 2 duo logy, Ulala (a boxer), Eriko (a fencer), and Lisa (kung fu practitioner) fight up close, but all three are also far better suited to magic. The other two women with ranged weapons (Maya and her pink handguns, Yukino and her razorblades) are the same in that regard, and while Eikichi uses a concealed machine gun, his magic is low.
    • With the exception of the female protagonist added in the PSP version, all of the females of Persona 3 play this straight to some degree. Yukari plays it the straightest (uses a bow and arrow; has the highest magic stat in the game), and Mitsuru and Aigis are variations of it (Mitsuru uses a rapier, but like Yukari, is far better suited with magic, and Aigis is a physically-inclined robot who uses guns and other artillery). Then there's Fuuka, who provides support and doesn't fight at all.
    • Persona 4 again gives us Yukiko (throws fans and is the resident Black Mage) and Naoto (uses guns and also good with magic), but averts it with Chie, a kung-fu enthusiast whose move pool is mostly physical, albeit fitted towards a Critical Hit Class to contrast Kanji's plain brute force.
    • In Persona 5, Ryuji and Yusuke are both better at melee than casting, while Ann and Haru are better at magic. Though Makoto ends up pretty good at both.
  • In Phantasy Star Online 2, male characters start with higher melee attack power, while females are better at techs and ranged attacks. That said, the difference is so tiny that the practical effect is all but nonexistent.
  • In Pokémon, the male-only mon Gallade specializes in the Attack stat, is Psychic/Fighting, and all his damaging moves are melee attacks of the "Physical" type. His counterpart Gardevoir, which can be either gender but looks feminine, was originally Psychic only and later given the Fairy-type, specializes in Special Attack and all its damaging moves are ranged and of the "Special" type.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - The Prince wields a large sword and the dagger of time, Farah uses a bow.
  • Inverted in Puyo Puyo Tetris. One attack animation depicts the female Elle punching and another depicts her male twin Jay shooting a fireball.
  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2: Inverted when you are playing as Barry and Natalia. Barry is an adult man and uses guns as his main weapon. Natalia is a little girl, and her only weapon is a brick. She can throw it, but it is more powerful if used close-up for stealth attacks.
  • Averted in Romancing SaGa as any character can use Bows, but Claudia definitely fits this due to her High Battle Point (BP) and BP Regen at the end of the game and the high-end techs for Bows use a large amount of BP, she even starts off with a bow.
    • Her bodyguard, Gray, uses a sword as his default weapon, though. Even moreso if you play as him, since Falcata, his ultimate weapon, is a katana.
  • Rhi'a from Sands of Destruction is The Gunslinger in a game where every other character fights melee. However, this list of other characters also includes Morte, a girl with a BFS; she's part of a Battle Couple with Knife Nut Kyrie, whose Limit Break involves throwing several knives. You could almost argue that the two of them are inverting the trope since he doesn't have to get up close to deal damage, even if throwing isn't precisely shooting.
  • Sengoku Basara hasn't got that many female characters to begin with, but about half of them are primary ranged weapon wielders. The female characters also account for all but one of the games' ranged weapon users in total.
  • Inverted in Shadowrun: Dragonfall: Eiger is The Big Guy and Glory is all about close combat. Later played straight with Gobbet and Is0bel in Shadowrun: Hong Kong.
  • In Skies of Arcadia toys with this. Vyse and Enrique, both male, use swords, and Drachma uses a hook hand. Aika, a female, attacks with a boomerang, but Gilder, a male, uses guns. Fina's weapon, Cupil, can either smash or shoot depending on what form he's currently in.
  • While not really a female, "Princess" Kenny in South Park: The Stick of Truth uses a bow as her weapon.
  • In Splatoon, the Inkling Boy amiibo unlocks challenges involving the melee-style Roller weapon, while the Inkling Girl unlocks challenges with the sniper-like Charger weapon. Averted with the actual gameplay, though, where an Inkling's gender has no effect on their equipable weapons, or anything else, really.
  • Star Ocean:
  • The "cover" image for Rise Of The Hutt Cartel, an expansion to Star Wars: The Old Republic depicts a female character Dual Wielding blaster pistols and a male character sporting a lightsaber and a clenched fist.
  • Street Fighter has a loose example with Ibuki. She usually has weapons that have to be thrown such as Kunai, Bombs, Smoke Bombs, and Shiriken. When she is with a male character she is associated with such as Guy and Birdie they both use physical power against their opponents (especially Birdie who can smash an opponent into the ground) they usually form this trope. Even with most of her female friends such as Makoto, R. Mika, and (to a lesser extent) Sakura are physical fighters who can complete this trope with two female examples.
  • Inverted with the dual Big Bad/s of Streets of Rage 4: Mr. Y fights with a submachine gun, a rocket launcher, and grenades; while Ms. Y fights with a sword that she can imbue with lightning.
  • Inverted in Super Chariot, with the Princess wielding a sword to fight while the Fiance uses a slingshot.
  • Super Mario 3D Land has Boom Boom and Pom Pom, the Dragons of the game. Boom Boom attacks with his fists while Pom Pom throws boomerangs.
  • The Super Robot Wars series does this fairly often. The KoRyuOh in Alpha, canonically piloted by Brooklyn, is primarily Melee-oriented while Kushua's RyuKoOh form uses ranged magic. However, Ryu Kou Oh and Kusuha are much more powerful in melee, as their finishers involve a giant massive sword, while Bullet and Kou Ryu Oh use a spear. In Compact 2/Impact, You have the paired team of Kyosuke (Alt Eisen) and Excellen (Weiss Ritter), which is repeated in Alpha 2 with Arado (Wildwurger) and Seolla (Wildfalken). MX (and KoRyu/RyuKoOh) played with the idea by having the combination being a single machine that transforms from one form to the other depending on the situation. In MX's case, this was reserved for the Mid-Season Upgrade.
    • Similarly, entries with a choice of protagonists will often assign the female to the Fragile Speedster Real Robot whereas the male pilots the brawny Super-type. Indeed, Kusuha is pretty much the ONLY female in the series solely associated with super robots (though Z2's lack of a super robot original and Esther's nagging implications of importance may lead to her getting one as well).
      • She gets a speedy Real in Saisei-hen, But you can choose Crowe's Mid-Season Upgrade, and it does not necessarily have to be the brawler.
      • J allows the player to subvert this by choosing the machine separately, but given that Touya starts as Kouji Kabuto's classmate, while Calvina begins aboard the Nadesico, they're definitely steering you that way.
      • Out of the two 'Real Robot' choices, however, Calvina's stats and abilities suit the power-fist using Coustwell, whereas a Real Robot-pilot Toya (by default) has a higher ranged stat and Assail/Rush Attack, a spirit command that is utterly useless for the same machine, but a godsend for the Weissritter-expy Bellzelute.
      • Original Generation: The Moon Dwellers solidifies it by putting Calvina in the Bellzelute and Toya in the Super Robot Granteed.
    • Subverted in Endless Frontier, where Haken is a gunslinger while Kaguya is the one to swing a big sword.
      • Double Subverted, actually. Many of Haken's attacks are using his melee gun, or at point-blank range, and many of Kaguya's attacks deal with swarms of projectiles.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • In Melee, the hordes of Fighting Wireframes that appear in Multi-Man Melee come in male and female varieties. The male version attacks head-on, while the females prefer to hang back picking up items to use against the player. This does not apply in Cruel Melee mode, which has no items and turns both types of Wireframes into hyper-aggressive Demonic Spiders.
    • U/3DS has 3 types of customizable Mii characters, a Brawler, a Gunner, or a Swordsman. In the trophies (and the Fighting Mii Team lineup) both the Swordsman and the Brawler are male Miis, and the Gunner is a female Mii.
    • Inverted in terms of Smash newcomers Robin and Lucina: Lucina is the skilled swordfighter, while Robin prefers spells over swords. And while Robin has a female variant as well (who plays this trope straight with Chrom in her Final Smash), male Robin is the default gender of the two. To a lesser extent, Lucina also inverts this when compared to Marth (of whom she is a Moveset Clone) - her blade's power isn't concentrated into its tip like Marth's is, so her fighting style is less focused on keeping enemies at arm's length.
  • Inverted in Sword of the Stars with the Zuul. Male Zuul are Squishy Wizards, powerful psychics but not that tough in CQC. Female Zuul on the other hand are combat monsters capable of fighting Powered Armor.
  • Subverted in Tales of Symphonia: Most characters have a combination of melee and ranged attacks, with the exceptions of Regal, who is a physical attacker (with a single healing spell), Raine and Genis (female White Mage and male Black Mage, respectively) and Presea, who despite being a small girl, is the game's resident Mighty Glacier.
  • Inverted in Tears to Tiara 2. Daphnis the Wholesome Crossdresser Meido shoots. His master Elissa The Ojou carries a huge hammer.
  • The dual plotlines in Threads of Fate centered around a male and female protagonist, respectively. The girl specialized in long-range magical attacks, although she was also equally competent with her Rings of Death.
    • Ironically enough Mint is very proud of her dropkick and it's her first resort in cutscenes on anything that she can get near to, even things that she would be better off nuking from a distance.
  • Torchlight has these archetypes with the male Destroyer and Alchemist with the female Vanquisher as a nod to its Spiritual Predecessor (although the class roles are technically flexible).
    • Torchlight II allows you to select your character's gender but official media often sticks to having male Berserkers and Engineers with female Outlanders and Embermages.
  • In The Return of Ishtar, the sequel to The Tower of Druaga, Gil focuses on fighting enemies up close with his sword, while Ki focuses on ranged attacks with her magic skills.
  • Inverted in Valkyrie Profile Silmeria. Alicia uses a sword while Rufus uses a bow.
  • In the second Viewtiful Joe game, his girlfriend Sylvia is playable as a secondary character (rather than being a bonus mode as in the first) and uses a gun instead of punches.
  • WarCraft III:
    • Night Elves have only two melee units, one is male, the other... kinda looks like one (though the species has no sexes and does not reproduce at all). All their ranged units (save one) are female. Their heroes are two male, one each for ranged and melee.
      • Rather inverted in spirit if not letter within the background - with the men of the race being asleep for centuries as part of their druidism studies, the Night Elves' military troops were entirely women while men were largely support casters (well, Druids of the Claw turning into bears as they see fit notwithstanding) for long until attrition, time and the necessities of MMO character customization relaxed this divide.
    • Humans, Naga, and Undead have only one female unit each, which is ranged. Female heroes for these races are all ranged.
  • Inverted in Warframe with the Necramechs. The masculine Voidrig is a dedicated ranged fighter with lots of abilities that keep enemies out of arm's reach and transforms into a devastating defensive turret. The feminine Bonewidow is a brutal melee fighter, who wears (not wields, wears) a tower shield and wields an Ironbride greatsword...one-handed.
  • Warhammer-The End Times: Vermintide: Played straight, inverted and subverted in the release trailer. While all the heroes have both melee and ranged abilities, the male Dwarf Ranger and Empire Soldier dispatch the Skaven with melee attacks, while the female Bright Wizard kills them with ranged magic. The male Witch Hunter inverts it, preferring to use guns, while the female Waywatcher subverts it by using both arrows and Elven blades to fight.
  • World of Warcraft has no gender restrictions on class; any class can be either gender. However, a demographic study showed that while not all female players are healers, they do statistically prefer ranged DPS to melee.
    • NPC-wise, centaur males are just about always physical fighters, centaur females are just about always casters. Their hunters are also males, though, so centaur guys occasionally do shoot arrows.
    • Naga also fall into this trope, with the more monstrous-looking males exclusively melee fighters, and the more humanoid and elegant females exclusively casters. This may have some lore justification, in that the Naga queen was well known to be a powerful mage, and may not have held men in general in high regard. It's implied the men are far less intelligent than their women, hence brute strength vs study-intensive magic.
  • Inverted in Ys Origin - Hugo relies mainly on bombarding the enemy with magic missiles from afar. Yunica, lacking any sort of magical ability, gets in close and goes to work with her axe ( or later on, her father's greatsword).

    Visual Novels 
  • Inverted more in retrospect than directly in Hatoful Boyfriend. In the first game Hiyoko and Yuuya can hook up and become a Battle Couple, but they're rarely shown in combat. The second game has Yuuya happily using firearms, while Hiyoko sometimes uses melee weapons - everything from an uprooted mailbox to various intentional weapons, though apparently she uses even edged ones like a club - but is entirely adept with fists and feet, too. Of course, given the fact that Yuuya (and 90% of the population) is a bird-sized bird, and Hiyoko is a Huge Schoolgirl human, this would only make sense.
  • Inverted in Steam Prison due to cultural differences: the heroine Cyrus, coming from a culture where firearms are almost unknown, continues to use her sword once she's retained as Eltcreed's bodyguard; both Eltcreed and Ulrik use handguns, which are widespread in the Depths and have rendered swords mostly obsolete there. On Ulrik's path, Cyrus tries to learn how to use a gun and Ulrik later asks her to train him with a sword, only for each of them to discover that they have absolutely no aptitude with the other's weapon and are better off sticking with what they know.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue inverts it with Sibling Team North and South Dakota. Big brother North favors the sniper rifle while his sister South prefers to fight up close.
  • RWBY:
    • Inverted in that Lie Ren, a male fighter, uses 2 sub-machine guns as weapons, where as his partner Nora Valkyrie uses a giant hammer.
    • Inverted by Roman Torchwick and his female sidekick Neopolitan. Roman usually spends his time shooting at people with his gun-cane (though he can hold his own in close combat), while Neo is an expert hand-to-hand combatant, and her umbrella doesn't seem to have any ranged capabilities at all (unusual in this series).

    Webcomics 
  • Battle Couple Ace and Freeda in Commander Kitty play this straight when battling a giant chimera. Freeda whips out a blaster and starts shooting, while Ace tries to...wrestle it.
  • Errant Story inverts this with the major characters. Jon is a gunslinger and prefers to have as much distance as he can (at one point he fakes fleeing a battle in terror so that he can take up a sniping position) and Ian is a mage. Sarine and Sara are also both mages, but Sarine usually dual-wields short swords while Sara primarily uses her magic for Super Speed.
  • The God of High School averts this with the main trio by having all three main characters smash. Mo-Ri and Dae-Wi do it with their fists while Mi-Ra does it with a sword. It's played straight with Priest Axley and Priest Saturn though.
  • Played straight with the Pre-Scratch Kids in Homestuck (John and Dave use hammers and (1/2)swords, Rose and Jade use needlewands and riflesnote ). Completely thrown out the window with the trolls and Post-Scratch Kids.
  • Inverted in Nightmare Factory. Emai is a body manipulator who prefers a more hands-on approach to fighting, while Kreyul can't be violent without bleeding from the mouth. He has more indirect abilities, such as teleportation and using his drawings to tell the future.
  • The Order of the Stick: Action Girl Haley is the order's archer and the androgynous, possibly genderqueer Vaarsuvius specializes in ranged magical attacks. The guys are all melee fighters - even the bard, once he gets the Dashing Swordsman Prestige Class.
  • Played fairly straight in Our Little Adventure with the main four group members. The trope was averted for a while with their fifth member Pauline the barbarian, until she died.. Later subverted when Lenny took levels in Ranger and Jordie joined the group as a cleric.
  • Inverted in The Senkari where both Freija and Rachel smash (With sword and spear respectively) while Val is in charge of a company of archers.

    Web Videos 
  • While Noob has a correct balance of male smashers and shooters, the ten-ish female characters are a different story: Couette, Elyx and (according to the novels) Kary are healers, Gaea and Roxana magic users, Gaea's reroll, Ivy and Nazetrîme's real incarnation do distance DPS. Saphir can do both as a paladin but is more Barrier Warrior oriented until she has to replace Fantöm as her team's tank. The only female characters with actual hand-to-hand combat-oriented classes are Golgotha, Omega Zellette and Nazetrîme who's not using her real character, and the two latter only lasted a handful of episodes in the web series.

    Western Animation 
  • Averted in Avatar: The Last Airbender, where benders of both genders freely mix short-range and long-range attacks. Non-benders can be either. While Mai sticks to knife throwing, Ty Lee and Suki are both melee fighters. Sokka, the main non-bender on the good guy's team, fights at both distances (his signature weapons are a sword and a boomerang).
    • In The Legend of Korra, most benders are both close range and mid-range, including Korra. Lin Bei Fong, Jinora, and Ikki tend to favour long-range attacks, though they do get close and personal when called for it. Asami fights hand-to-hand.
  • Notoriously inverted in Futurama, where Turanga Leela uses martial arts while Fry either uses laser weapons or some form of passive self-defense.
  • Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. seems to have done this to She-Hulk, giving her "energy-projecting punches", while the boys (mostly) just hit things. Subverted in Red Hulk's case, since his gimmick is going to be having lots of guns.
  • Inverted on Kaeloo: Mr. Cat (and Stumpy on occasion) use bazookas and guns, and Kaeloo and Pretty beat up whoever they're fighting.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Star is a Magical Girl princess who mostly uses her staff to blast her opponents, while Marco is a Badass Normal who engages his opponents in hand-to-hand combat with karate.
  • Inverted in Steven Universe with Battle Couple Steven and Connie - Steven mainly fights defensively and supportively, with his attacks being either magical disabling effects or throwing his shield, while Connie uses a BFS.
  • Averted in an interesting way in Teen Titans with the Battle Couple of Robin and Starfire - he's a Badass Normal with an array of ranged and close-combat weapons, and she's a Flying Brick with both Super Strength and the ability to fire energy blasts. Both are equally capable of smashing or shooting. For the rest of the team, Cyborg (who has superstrength and a sonic cannon) also does both, but Beast Boy tends to turn into big, powerful animals to fight at close range, while Raven, though her mystical abilities make her probably the most powerful member of the team, tends to fight from a distance and stay out of direct combat. The Titans pretty much cover the whole spectrum of this trope.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: Averted with White Tiger who specializes in slicing her foes with her electric claws. Inverted for the Frightful Four; Wizard, The Claw, and Trapster use range attacks, while Thundra is The Brute who does all the smashing.
  • In Wakfu, the two females of the Brotherhood of the Tofu — Evangelyne and Amalia — primarily attack from a range, Evangelyne with her bow and magic arrows, and Amalia with her control over plant life. The males — Ruel, Yugo, and Sadlygrove — favor more close combat. Sixth Ranger Cleophelia subverts this somewhat; she uses sometimes a hand crossbow but also is enthusiastic in hand-to-hand fights.
  • In Winx Club the Winx girls usually blast their opponents with magic while the male Specialists have to fight with swords and other weapons.
  • In Young Justice the male members of the team are either straight hand-to-hand combatants or include hand-to-hand with their weaponry. The female members of the team, however, have telekinesis and a bow-and-arrow so they do not need to physically touch their opponents. This is more balanced come season 2, where melee female heroes are introduced to the Team in the 5-year gap. Furthermore, although Artemis is primarily long-range, she has been shown to be quite good in close-hand combat. Her sister definitely prefers it, fighting with swords.

    Real Life 
  • NFL player Mitch Unrein is married to Olympic Trap Shooter Corey Cogdell.

Alternative Title(s): Men Fight Women Shoot

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