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Humble Hero

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Well, maybe not totally average.

"If I wanted all the glory... I wouldn't wear a mask."

These are special kinds of heroes who just don’t care about their great power or the fact that they're world-famous adventurers, or the idols of millions, and so on. Despite the great power they possess, they always defer to their friends or allies, and rarely want to take the spotlight, even when their friends encourage them to do so. This isn't caused by low self-esteem nor by guilt. The characters honestly and truly don’t think of themselves as any better than anyone else, despite the great deeds they've done, or the inspiration they've become. In fact, such praise usually just embarrasses them.

Heroes of this type will often have their hands full with individuals who are Easily Impressed, and will often come to the aid of such a person and spend the rest of the episode trying to get them out of their hair or increase their self-esteem. The catchphrase for this sort of hero is "I was just doing my job" or "It was what anybody would have done" or "I'm Not a Hero, I'm...". They're also likely to point out who they think are The Real Heroes, or when told "you did it", respond "No, we did it." Humble heroes aren't too fond of flattery or grand gestures, and the simplest gesture is often the most valuable. They may not even protest a rank demotion, being too humble to care about rank at all.

This type of hero is often a result of Upbringing Makes the Hero especially if such a hero has Muggle Foster Parents and is Happily Adopted. If a hero isn't this at first but becomes one later, it may be the result of a powerful instance of Break the Haughty. Going towards an even darker route, a villain who has undergone a Heel Realization and a Heel–Face Turn usually feels the need to make up for the wrong they've done thereby becoming The Atoner, where they become a more humble person as a result of knowing the price of pride and arrogance.

One of the traits of an Ideal Hero. Tends to overlap with the All-Loving Hero as humility is usually one of these characters’ defining character traits and the Magnetic Hero as it's their humility to endears them into the hearts of everyone around them. Also usually a character trait of The Paragon as this type of hero wishes to set the example that power rests in the hands of everyone. This is often common in Nice Guys as well (particularly those with simplistic lifestyles or have little need for luxuries).

This is often a main characteristic of the Messianic Archetype and The Cape. Can also be a Socially Awkward Hero, especially when humility leads to being embarrassed by praise. See also Heroic Self-Deprecation, where the hero acts humble because he thinks he's a loser. Can turn into Martyr Without a Cause when taken to ridiculous extremes. Contrasts with It's All About Me, Small Name, Big Ego, the Smug Super, and the Glory Seeker. If Beauty Equals Goodness, then expect the World's Most Beautiful Woman to also be the height of humility. They may be paired with a more arrogant rival and form an Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist duo.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan gradually morphs into this as part of his character development. He goes from a stubborn hothead with severe anger issues to a more thoughtful and introspective person who admits he's not strong, and has made a lot of mistakes, yet continues to fight because many people have put their hopes in him, and even a weak person like him can make a difference.
  • Asta from Black Clover is this, having come from a peasant background compared to most Magic Knights who are aristocrats. When a drunk man wonders how a little twerp like Asta became a Magic Knight, he bashfully replies that he's surprised that he made it in too.
  • Bleach: It is implied that, long after the end of the Quincy Blood War, virtually no one but a select few people are aware of the crucial role Ichigo played in Yhwach's defeat (whereas the official story is that he was defeated by the Royal Guard). When called a hero to his face years later, Ichigo goes so far as to deny being one. In the Can't Fear Your Own World novel, Nel explicitly points out that he doesn't care for that kind of fame; while Ichigo's friends in Soul Society aren't entirely happy with this at first, they choose to respect his wishes out of gratitude.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma Kamijou saves anybody in trouble he sees and has even saved the world a few times, but he doesn't care at all that nobody really notices his efforts.
  • Son Goku from Dragon Ball, who only really cares about fighting strong opponents and pushing his limits as a martial artist, but has saved his universe several times over (and the Earth in specific a few more times than that). In Dragon Ball Super he openly says that he doesn't see himself as some kind of savior and that he helps people in need because that's how his grandfather raised him.
    • Pretty much the entire main cast of Dragon Ball is this, fighting villains either out of self-interest or because it's the right thing to do. The heroes are more than willing to let Mr. Satan/Hercule take all the credit for the exploits because they don't care about the limelight and are perfectly content in their normal lives. The first episode of Super centers on Satan trying to give a 100,000,000 Zeni reward to the Z-Fighters since he doesn't feel right keeping the money they rightly earned; Vegeta rejects it outrightnote , and Goku almost does the same until Goten and Satan convince him that bringing home that much money would make his wife Chi-Chi extremely happy.
  • Fairy Tail: During the Oracion Seis arc, we're introduced to "Iron Rock" Jura, one of the top ten wizards of the continent recognized for his incredible magical power. However, he's also shown to be pretty modest about his powers, as seen when he claims to be leagues behind Makarov, another of the ten. When he finally gets to fight though, he takes on Brain, the leader of Oracion Seis and apparent Arc Villain and quickly defeats him in a few spells, showing that he indeed was modest.
  • Food Wars!: Despite his cocky tendencies, protagonist Soma Yukihira is this at the core. He doesn't gloat to his rivals nor does he boast over his past achievements. He is very quick to recognize talent in other students and doesn't make the mistake of underestimating them. Says a lot that Even after becoming the 1st Seat of the Council of Ten (signifying he is the very best student chef of the current generation at Totsuki), Soma readily admits that Erina is better than him and believes he still has much to learn..
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The ending of the climax in the manga and Brotherhood brings full circle to Edward Elric's character development. Before the beginning of the story, after he has seen the Truth, Ed was under the impression that he could do anything with alchemy, including finding the "correct way" to resurrect his mother. This mindset costs him an leg, and then he sacrifices his arm to bind his brother's soul to an armor to save the latter's life. When meeting with the Truth for the final time, Ed realizes that he was just human with no god-like powers, and despite the feats he had accomplished with his alchemy, he couldn't save a little girl who had been merged with her dog with it. His brother sacrificed his soul to bring Ed his arm back. Ed gives up his ability to use alchemy in exchange for his brother's body and soul. Even without alchemy, Edward declares that he still has his friends and family. And they are the most important things in his life, not alchemy.
  • Takiko Okuda of Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden. (Overlapping, at least initially, with Refusal of the Call and consistently with Heroic Self-Deprecation.)
  • Played with in the case of Rudeus Greyrat from Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation. In terms of raw magical power, he's probably the most powerful magician in history, but he never realised, because he didn't interact with other magicians so much. By the time he actually came to accept it, he doesn't care, because he's already met people who could easily defeat him, so he assumes there are others. He also cannot wear Touki, so he is weak against any attacks that actually hit him. However, he does try to gather fame in an attempt that family and friends lost in the Teleportation Incident members might hear about him. In the end, his greatest ambition is to live in peace with his family and friends.
  • Ippo Makunouchi from Hajime no Ippo. Aaaaaaw, Ippo.
  • Subverted and Played for Laughs in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. During the Kyoto class trip, Shirogane notices Hayasaka's Quiet Cry for Help and does resolve to help her, but his attempt to do so ends up making it worse, as Kaguya's brother manages to track them down. When Kaguya later thanks him in Chapter 187 for helping Hayasaka, he tells her that it was nothing, with the narrator saying that it really was "absolutely nothing". The way he says it makes it look like he is just humble about it, when it really is just him going along with what Kaguya thinks.
  • Kengan Ashura has Takeshi Wakatsuki, who despite being one of the most successful fighters in the Kengan Association, is always willing to acknowledge his opponents' strength, and admits to being nervous about stepping into a match that he's almost guaranteed to win. This puts him in sharp contrast with most of the other regular Kengan fighters, who are mostly Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who walk into their fight with the assurance of victory without even knowing their opponents' strength.
  • Nanoha Takamachi from the Lyrical Nanoha series holds the title of the Ace of Aces, i.e. other aces acknowledge her as their better, — except she never actually uses it, or does anything else to stand out. The savior of several worlds and of countless lives resides in a small house in the suburbs of Midchilda, raising her daughter and occasionally showing up at work despite her maternal leave. The fact that her biggest role model seems to be her own mother Momoko, who is a bakery proprietor by trade, may have something to do with it.
  • Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier remains modest even after becoming a super-star, and claims that saving people's lives with her songs isn't anything special.
  • Mob of Mob Psycho 100 possessed godlike Psychic Powers, but believed that it didn't make him any different from others and chose to live life as a normal kid. Mob is admirable because he doesn't hold himself above other people despite his unmatched psychic abilities, and challenges himself to address his weaknesses instead of just trying to get a free ride based on something he didn't earn. Most of the antagonists are individuals who want an easy way to being feared or adored, and think that having an innate psychic ability that enables them to charm or coerce weaker people makes them entitled to something. Mob's combination of overwhelming power and humility causes his foes to realize that just having supernatural powers doesn't make them entitled to special treatment, and that they have to make themselves worthy of being respected just like anybody else.
  • Tenma in Monster, who never takes credit for his good deeds and maintains that all people are equal despite conspicuously being better than everybody else in every imaginable way.
  • Izuku Midoriya of My Hero Academia is this. Unlike some of his other friends, he isn't out looking for fame or praise, just fighting for what he believes is right. He seeks to be someone like his idol All Might, never lords over anyone with his Quirk, and aids anyone in need. Midoriya is probably the only other hero to match Stain's twisted view of heroes (in which anything less than perfect altruism is tantamount to villainy).
  • One Piece has The Hero Luffy who despite having a lot of accomplishments on his belt enough to obtain a fleet of 5600 people, he turns it down saying he regards them as friends and that they should just do their own thing. This in turn allows them to form the Straw Hat Grand Fleet.
  • Saitama of One-Punch Man is a bit zig-zaggy with humility. His goal is not fame and fortune, but he'd still like for people to appreciate him and his heroics. That, and he was actually very upset when he realized that, after three years of independent hero work, he was recognized by absolutely no one because he wasn't registered with the Hero Association. But overall, he is a hero because he wants to be, and will gladly ruin his own reputation to prevent other heroes from being spat upon because one Ungrateful Bastard can't appreciate having his life saved. Genos considers this humility the greatest lesson Saitama didn't realize he was teaching.
    • It also puts Saitama in opposition to most of the Hero Association, particularly the S-Class heroes. Just about every S-Class hero is in it for the glory and the fame, but Saitama is the one that actually solves problems, while the S-Class heroes frequently do very little in comparison, and sometimes nothing at all, because they consider the threat beneath them.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Ash Ketchum is a Spirited Competitor who is immensely proud of his team, but he never lords it over his friends and he always helps those in need without demanding anything in return. He even forgets to mention he's Alola's first Champion in Journeys until some fans bring it up in front of Goh! Even in the Grand Finale, after becoming the World's Best Warrior he declines to claim the title of Pokémon Master, believing that he needed to experience more of the world first.
  • Rebuild World:
    • Akira starts as a Street Urchin and sees himself as owing everything to his Virtual Sidekick Alpha who saves him repeatedly. He’s in part kept like this by Alpha being a Manipulative Bitch trying to make and keep him dependent on her. So when he gets bullied by older hunters for being an inexperienced Child Soldier, he typically just agrees with what they say and forgets about it.
    • The supporting characters who form on and off members of The Squad with Akira, Reina, and Togami, start off as Boisterous Weakling hunters but each undergoes a Break the Haughty experience (or multiple in Reina’s case) seeing them develop into this instead. Reina gradually gives in to being willing to give up on Pride and get better equipment, even wearing outfits obviously made for servants without it bothering her. And Togami pays for Training from Hell from Sink or Swim Mentor Shirakabe to catch up to Akira.
  • Rosario + Vampire: The Newspaper Club has defeated several dangerous enemies that were dangerous to society, but they never print their heroic feats on paper. However, there are still some rumors about them, causing them to be The Dreaded for some students.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's own Simon, who sees himself as nothing more than "Simon the Digger."
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi/Wild Tiger is considered to be mostly a joke of a superhero by his bosses and by people who watch HeroTV. Nonetheless, not only does he refuse to quit, but he insists on putting his heart and soul into superheroics, to the point that he gets a bit irritated when others don't show the same devotion to their jobs. When Karina/Blue Rose is struggling over her own priorities, she decides to ask him what makes him stick to it despite the frustrating, thankless nature of the job. His answer?
    Kotetsu: I'm a hero because I want to save people. Isn't that enough of a reason? I don't really care if anyone acknowledges me or not.
  • Played with concerning Yami Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh!. Despite saving the world numerous times, winning every tournament he fights in, and being crowned King of Games, he does not go looking for fame, has no problem with his friends not addressing him by his title or true name, and is confident in his skills but only brings it up when he's about to take the wind out of the antagonist's sails. Played straight with regular Yugi, who never brags and is one of the sweetest of the show's characters, though it's somewhat justified considering he was not the primary architect of the above feats, and the series puts great emphasis on friendship and teamwork as an enabling force.

  • In one of the Sistine Chapel's many paintings, Saint Peter is not shown boasting when he is given the power to bind Heaven and Earth. Instead, Peter kneels down before Jesus, bringing him closer to Earth, and puts his hand to his heart as if to say, "Really, you're picking me?"

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City:
    • While he would rather devote his free time to saving more lives, Samaritan attends tribute dinners and accepts awards only because he doesn't want to hurt the feelings of the people who give them to him.
    • Before Samaritan, there was the Silver Agent, the example that others aspire to. When one hero praises the Agent after a battle by saying they could not have won without him, the Agent demurs by assuring him they would have found a way.
  • In Before Watchmen: Minutemen, Silhouette saves hundreds of children from exploitation, and yet never expects any adulation for it. This is sharply contrasted with the Silk Spectre, who actually hires people to pretend to rob jewelry stores so that she can very publically "thwart" them and look like a hero.
  • Captain America, and to be honest, that's the Aesop to his character. Captain America embodies what he believes to be the idyllic and optimal standards of his countrymen. If he believed he were better than everyone else, his principles would be wrong by default. This trope is the reason why most attempts at replicating Cap end in failure. That, and shady government programs from around the world keep bringing in serial killers and sociopathic soldiers for their experiments with predictable results.
  • The title character of Mark Millar's Huck is a superpowered Gentle Giant who likes to do good deeds and isn't interested in publicity.
  • Lucky Luke He never stays around after the problem is solved, when the townspeople (or sometimes the president of the United States) want to reward him for his heroic feats.
  • Shazam!: While Captain Marvel is known as "The World's Mightiest Mortal", it's a title others have given him, not one he flaunts himself. He'll usually blush at any compliments given to him and accepts any praise with good-natured humor. It's implied that Billy's humility is one reason the Wizard Shazam chose him since flaws such as Pride were what caused Black Adam's fall.
    • One idea posited is that when Cap mentions that he has the Strength of Hercules, he isn't bragging about his power. Instead, Cap is acknowledging the beings that have given their powers to him, and giving them credit for his heroic acts.
  • Spider-Man: Most versions of Peter Parker, following their initial Character Development. Peter could very easily have been the showboating jackass that Jameson likes to pretend he is. But he'd rather spend his time saving lives and battling supervillains than making himself rich. Underscored in his case by his origin story, in which a moment of showboating jackassery led to tragic consequences.
  • Superman:
    • Being a reporter in his Secret Identity, there is no way that Superman is unaware of how the world views him. But he's denied being the world's greatest hero multiple times, usually remarking that The Real Heroes are the people who work to change the world every day who have no special powers. Humility is one of the character's core traits. Batman notes in Public Enemies that the temptation to use his powers in order to force his will on others isn't something Superman battles because the thought never even occurs to him. And that, more than his powers, makes Superman such a great hero.
    • The Legion of Super-Heroes!: When three teenagers meet Superboy to say they admire him greatly and want the greatest hero ever to join their super-hero club, a bemused Superboy mutters meekly that he just does his job.
    • Superman is again a very humble superhero in Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen (2019), and it's Played for Laughs during his "Secret Super-Powers" interview with Jimmy. He seems to seriously think that he has an innate ability to persuade anybody to buy him a hot dog. It's more than likely that people are just willing to give Superman a free hot dog because he's—well, Superman, but the guy's got such little ego that he can only rationalize this gesture of gratitude as having a supernatural cause.
    • Although Supergirl has occasionally been called "the world's greatest heroine", and is definitely one of the mightiest Earth's heroes, she simply regards herself as someone whose abilities entail responsibilities and duties. Nonetheless, she is not interested in fame or glory and she would definitely prefer being a normal woman.
  • In the Warrior Cats graphic novel A Thief in ThunderClan, Brightheart saves Rainpaw's life when an owl tries to carry him away. She doesn't get all the fuss everyone's making over her afterward, calling her a hero; she just thinks that anyone would have done it.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Princess Diana is not only a superhero but also a princess, but doesn't brag and takes everything and everyone seriously and earnestly, seeing for instance no shame in taking a job as a Burger Fool in Wonder Woman (1987) and after being late on multiple occasions due to her heroics considering herself unworthy to keep coming to work when her coworkers are trying so hard to make ends meet.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): During the Golden Age, there was a Running Gag in which people would attribute Wonder Woman's less public rescues to Steve Trevor, which drove him mad and had him occasionally yelling at his superiors. Even though he usually helped he didn't feel like he deserved any accolades or credit for something that someone else had primarily accomplished.

    Fan Works 
  • Ageless: Kyoshi felt guilty that she outshone Ban — the Avatar that led a splinter group of the water tribe to populate what would eventually become Kyoshi Island — so she made sure to erect a shrine for him.
  • Bait and Switch (STO): Lieutenant Commander Reshek Gaarra got a medal for saving the USS Spruance from a warp core breach, but he doesn't consider what he specifically did to be all that noteworthy, even though his captain did.
  • A Change of Pace: According to the Outsider, Legend struggles with this, wondering if he's doing good because it needs to be done, or if there's an ulterior motive he doesn't want to admit.
  • Codex Equus:
    • As stated by her Codexverse entry, Scarlet Bell, known as "the Whistleblower", is rather humble and only sees herself as an ordinary pony who did the right thing. In fact, it's partially because of this that she moved to the Grittish Isles and lived a quiet life in Hornbridge, wanting to get away from the public attention she received for her actions as a filly. Furthermore, she serves as a living example of the potential for people to do good in the Codexverse, regardless if they're legendary heroes or not.
    • Blue Suede Heartstrings is a justified example. Much like Elvis, Blue had a devoutly religious upbringing, and his humility became one of his defining traits. He hated being called "the King [of Music/Rock and Roll]" because he thought there were certain individuals who more than deserved his titles, and after Ascending to godhood, he preferred to appear as a mortal because he didn't want to be treated differently for it. Appropriately, one of his divine domains is Humility, which he uses to help redeem prideful individuals. It also led to him becoming friends with Fluttershy Posey of the Mane Six, being legendary individuals who are humble despite their great powers and positions. However, Blue's humility is also one of his biggest weaknesses - because of his experiences with arrogantly abusive celebrities/managers in the Second Age, Blue often gives himself too little credit even when it's well-deserved. To this day, Blue's friend, Prince Stoltur Skjöldur, the Deer god of Evil and Pride, has been encouraging him to have a little more pride in himself, as having too little pride is as bad as having too much. Many benevolent deities, including Queen Dazzleglow, are interested in Blue because of his humility, which they believe might help Equus break free of the malicious/complacent arrogance that is keeping it vulnerable to various disasters and cycles.
  • A Dance on the Mats: Anon is a downplayed example. He's pretty damn snarky toward his opponents, but he'll always offer them genuine praise.
  • Friendship Is Optimal: Always Say No: Greg is very modest about his heroic actions and quick to pass them off as nothing special.
  • Jonathan Joestar, The First JoJo: Jonathan repeatedly states that the incredible feats he accomplishes aren't that impressive.
  • Kyoshi Rising: Kyoshi is uncomfortable with receiving special treatment from anyone and insists that people call her "Kyoshi" instead of "Avatar".
  • Maria Campbell of the Astral Clocktower: Maria constantly ignores her own heroism, invoking I Was Just Passing Through at best. Even at her own knighting, she turns down the knighthood three times and afterwards says several times that she has no idea why she was knighted. Part of this is because she's a reincarnate from Bloodborne; most of the problems she solves would be laughably easy for any hunter, so they're not worth getting worked up about. And yes, she did expend real effort in many of those instances, but really, that says more about her own weakness than the difficulty of the task. She resolves to become worthy of her knighthood, even when her friends point out that technically knighthoods like this are just a formality to make exceptional commoners noble.
  • Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!: Izuku is a Kryptonian with a whole host of Combo Platter Powers, including Super-Strength, Nigh-Invulnerability, and seven types of vision. He doesn't think they're all that impressive when compared to All Might's Quirk, even as All Might's jaw is hitting the floor after hearing about Izuku's abilities. When he gets to U.A., he insists that he's just a normal guy when the rest of his class is gaping in awe at what he's capable of.
    Kyouka: So I know you asked us to stop talking about you so much, but your power is really amazing, Midoriya.
    Izuku: Yeah, people keep saying that, but I don't really think I'm that special. I'm only able to do all of that because of the way my body absorbs sunlight, so without that, I'm just a normal guy.
    Itsuka: Good to know we can beat you just by sitting around for five billion years.
  • Nobledark Imperium: The Word Bearers practice humility to sometimes extreme degrees. For instance, they remained an effectively homeless fleet-based chapter for fifty years after a Slaaneshi warhost razed their homeworld because the event had slipped through the cracks of the Administratum and they didn't want to make a fuss about it.
  • Elsewhere, but not Elsewhen: Used against Severus Snape. After banishing Harry to an Alternate Universe, Voldemort strolls into Diagon Alley in the full light of day. When Dumbledore tries to confront him, Voldemort doesn't rise to the bait and instead gives Dumbledore all the rope he needs to hang himself by letting him declare Harry is safe. Pulling one of the kids' adventure books featuring Harry from Flourish and Blotts, he savages the entire line and the idea that he was ever the brilliant promised prince, instead showing his awful life at the Dursleys' and Dumbledore's willing complicity in it. This immediately destroys Snape's entire image of Dumbledore and prompts him to immediately attack him, certain in the knowledge he'd completely failed Lily's memory by collaborating with Dumbledore.
  • Prelude to Axanar: Captain Sonya Alexander describes her fellow captain Kelvar Garth as liking to downplay his heroism during the Four Years' War, especially in the Battle of Cygnus III; he certainly does so, attributing his successful maneuver to luck and Alexander giving him the opening he needed.
  • Racer and the Geek gives us Sunny Breeze, a badass veteran and unsung hero with a tendency towards self-deprecation.
  • Someone Else: Carver is always quick to downplay his actions or credit them to someone else.
  • Stories from the Front: Stormfront. Surprisingly, because as a nymphomaniac Pegasus mare, she's exactly the sort of character whom one would expect to boast, but she doesn't — about anything. Save by implication, and only to her own diary.
    "I knew enough to operate a welding torch and reseal the coolant line and I suppose they considered that worth a medal."

    Films — Animated 
  • Manolo from The Book of Life isn't one to brag about himself.
  • Coco: Héctor composed his own song "Remember Me" not to pursue fame personally but in dedication and love to his daughter Coco.
  • The eponymous character from Hercules keeps his humility both before and after he defeats monsters. He finds his fans often annoying and/or dangerous, and only brags to his father. When he finally achieves his goal of becoming a god and is able to return to Olympus, he instead settles for staying with Meg as a mortal.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Steve Rogers' humility in Captain America: The First Avenger is his defining trait and a major contributor to why Dr. Erskine chose him for the experiment. His mundane concern for others and refusal to impose his will on them makes him perfect for stopping movie hecklers and freeing prisoners-of-war from polytheistic ex-Nazi god-wannabes.
    Red Skull: What makes you so special?
    Captain America: Nothing. I'm just a kid from Brooklyn.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): According to his Monarch Sciences bio, Dr. Serizawa is only the de facto spearhead of Monarch because, despite everyone's admiration of him and the world governments looking to him, he refuses to carry an official title; believing that "to maintain a balance between mankind and Titans, we must first maintain an equal balance of self".
  • The climax of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade hinges on Indiana Jones being humble enough to believe that a shabby cup belonging to a poor carpenter could be God's Holy Grail. Soon after the Grail is recovered, Jones is able to admit he cannot have that kind of power for himself and allows the Grail to drop into the Earth.
  • In The Sandlot, the fact that Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez is the best baseball player in the neighborhood isn't something he particularly cares about; he just loves playing the game with his friends. In fact, the first thing he does when he knocks the cover off a baseball is berate himself for ruining their last one.
  • The eponymous gunfighter in Shane refuses to be held up as a hero by the people he helps, and outright tells young Joey Starrett that the real heroes are people like the boy's parents, who are struggling to make a new life on the prairie.
  • Peter Parker/Spider-Man as portrayed by Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy even though he temporarily acts like a Big Name, Big Ego Jerkass in the third movie as a side-effect of the alien symbiote.
  • Star Wars:
    • Padme is like this in The Phantom Menace. Boss Nass is reluctant to ally himself with the Naboo because they have more-or-less treated the Gungans as an inferior species for years. So she doesn't bother trying to make excuses for it; she simply kneels and pleads with him for his help. Fortunately, it works. It helps that in the process of making the plea, she reveals the woman in the elaborate robes and makeup is her Body Double and she's perfectly content being seen as an anonymous member of her own security detail.
    • Obi-Wan. The Novelization of Revenge of the Sith describes him as "modest, centered, and always kind."
    • Rey wins her battle against the fearsome Kylo Ren by surrendering control and allowing the Force to work through her. Even after such a great victory, she spends The Last Jedi insisting she's "nobody" and when offered a chance to become the most important figure in the galaxy by becoming Ren's co-emperor, she refuses and is content with being nothing.

  • Jake from Animorphs. From the very start of the series, his friends look to him as their de facto leader, even though he is reluctant and sees nothing special about himself. He assumes command because the group needs and expects him to. After the war, the world looks to him as a famed hero, showering him with praise and admiration, but he definitely doesn't see himself as worthy of praise.
  • Bazil Broketail:
    • Relkin is a decorated war hero, but he never lets the fame get to his head.
    • Just like Relkin, Bazil wants nothing to do with greatness of his deeds and considers them just a job he's supposed to do. He would rather hang out with his friends, fight more battles against evil together and, of course, have some good food and good beer.
  • Wilbur from Charlotte's Web. His only reason to achieve fame and admiration from others with the help of Charlotte is so that Farmer Zuckerman would let the pig live out his days instead of killing him for food. "Humble" is even one of the words Charlotte wrote on her webs praising Wilbur.
  • Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain, THE HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, goes to great lengths to invoke this trope as part of his reputation. As Vail notes he frequently seems to truly fit the role, without even noticing: he is astounded when targeted by assassins, when there are so many more crucial targets — neglecting to notice that his death would have horrific effects on morale — and when assigned to General Zyvan's staff, attributes his success in persuading the general to anything except that it's him who's doing the persuading.
  • Aquilius in Dark Creed. He's a Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine, who are usually well aware that they're worth ten Guardsmen in a straight fight and cop a massive attitude about that. Instead, Aquilius remains humble and respectful of the Guard even when he's lauded as the White Angel, and exaggerated stories of his deeds are used to keep the morale of the entire planet's military up. (It must be noted that he had to be ordered to let the stories spread.)
  • Captain Carrot of the Discworld is almost certainly the rightful King of Ankh-Morpork (the royal line has been presumed dead for centuries), (almost) never uses violence or lies, obeys orders, and pays for taking away items used as evidence. He's always described as being simple. The "Hero" part comes from the fact that "simple" isn't the same as "stupid".
    • Also from Discworld, Word of God holds that Nanny Ogg is actually more powerful as a witch than the dreaded Granny Weatherwax, but she's taken great pains to ensure that Granny (her best friend) never finds out. Nanny would far rather play the part of wise-cracking sidekick and Cool Old Lady than have to live up to a reputation for being powerful, so she covertly arranges to back up Granny's much-lauded feats of Awesome while limiting her own domineering behavior to her own daughters-in-law.
  • The Dresden Files
    • Harry Dresden. Harry is very humble. As one of the strongest Wizards of his generation, he could use his power to amass a lot of money and influence. Instead, he lives in a basement apartment with little amenities and works as a private investigator helping people. He depreciates himself and his own actions because while he has done some amazing and world-saving feats, he knows exactly how close he was to failure and how much came down to luck and his friends being with him. He would really like to just read a good book on the weekend or work on magical theory and item crafting. However, he follows the "Tao of Peter Parker" and when people need him, he will be there, whether it means helping his werewolf friends deal with magical fleas when he was getting ready for a date, or riding into battle against necromancers on a zombie T. rex. He resists the temptations of a Fallen Angel's shadow that lived in his head for a few years whose moniker is all about seducing her hosts into accepting the offer. He even turns the shadow against her original Fallen.
    • Sanya Knight of the Cross, has saved countless lives in his fight against many dark foes. He genuinely arrives just in time. He is also agnostic, despite receiving his holy blade from Archangel Michael himself, and like Harry, was possessed by a Fallen Angel but turned away from that path. He notes his belief in some higher power doesn't mean he cannot do this job of helping people. Whether there is a God, or God and the Fallen are just cosmic aliens, or he is just suffering from some delusion, his simple job of helping people is all that matters to him. He doesn't boast about his accomplishments or world-saving ventures. Perhaps best exemplified when he arrives at a burning apartment building with two people trapped on the second floor after the landlady, elderly and unable to help, screams, "Oh, God in Heaven, help us!" He saves them and the elderly landlady talks with him.
      Mrs. Spunkelcrief: God in Heaven. He must have sent you to us, son.
      Sanya: It was probably just a coincidence, ma'am.
  • The Redcrosse Knight from The Faerie Queene is the first to credit others who helped him defeat foul monsters and to point out his own faults when praised.
  • Fengshen Yanyi: while Jiang Ziya is indeed small potatoes compared to the other Immortals who actually trained for longer, he still severely downplays his abilities, claiming to his friend Song Yiren that he only did manual labor at the Jade Emptiness Palace. Still, he's able to instantly submit five dangerous demons alone and later defeat the Jade Pipa Spirit so bad she was forced to turn back to her previous inanimate form.
  • Harry Potter is this. Ron and Hermione have to convince him to teach them Defence Against the Dark Arts since, despite his accomplishments, he thinks he's just lucky rather than talented enough to teach others students what their Obstructive Bureaucrat professor refuses. Harry hates being famous for having survived the night of his parent's murder, hates being on the front page all the time, has to be brow-beaten into giving an interview despite the fact that giving it would help him, and doesn't want much to do with the Ministry of Magic and their propaganda plans, either.
    • Severus Snape refuses to believe that Harry is this and had him pegged as a Glory Hound with a swelled head even before he ever met Harry. This is pretty much due to Harry's resemblance to his father James Potter, Severus' enemy from Hogwarts. The two despised one another, with Snape viewing James as an arrogant guy (to be fair, even James' friends said he had a bit of a big head before growing out of it. On the other hand, James was quite talented in his schoolwork without really trying, a successful Quidditch player, and on good terms with most of the school outside of Snape.) Snape's willful ignorance of Harry's humility is a major reason the two had such a terrible relationship throughout the entire series even though Snape had made it his life's goal to protect Harry since he was also the son of the only woman Snape ever loved.
    • Hufflepuff House has this as both a virtue and a flaw — Hufflepuffs do have plenty of proud accomplishments to their name, but the difference between them and the other three houses is that Hufflepuffs don't go around bragging about it. The reason this is also a flaw is that this leads to them being easily overlooked by others.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Even after racking up an admiralty, uncounted medals, a wildly successful business enterprise, and a noble title in two different star nations, the title character still gets flustered when someone decides to give her some new accolade.
    • Insofar as the Republic of Haven has a guardian angel, Thomas Theisman is it. He singlehandedly put an end to the Committee of Public Safety's Reign of Terror, personally shot the dictator in charge, resurrected the Old Republic from the ashes of history, built the Republic's Navy into a fighting force to be reckoned with by anyone in the galaxy, handed the absolute best woman for the job the acting Presidency on a silver platter (while steadfastly refusing it himself).... and at the end of the day, is still convinced he's just a decent officer and loyal citizen doing what anyone would do in his situation. No, Tom. You're really not. note 
  • Azusa in I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level scoffs at the idea of her being an almighty witch. She's just a simple herbalist who hunts slimes. She does this deliberately, hoping to avoid the attention that being an almighty witch would attract. However, she also downplays all the legitimate hard work she put into curing Flatta's sick and quelling its plagues.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars
    "I do not believe that I am made of the stuff which constitutes heroes, because, in all the hundreds of instances that my voluntary acts have placed me face to face with death, I cannot recall a single one where any alternative step to that I took occurred to me until many hours later. My mind is evidently so constituted that I am subconsciously forced into the path of duty without recourse to tiresome mental processes. However that may be, I have never regretted that cowardice is not optional with me."
  • In The Lord of the Rings:
    • Gandalf describes the essence of heroism as humility: "So it is often with great deeds. Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere".
    • Frodo and Samwise are able to resist the lure of the Ring for so long because since they as simple country folk, the Ring's promises that they could be made kings or gods seem plainly ridiculous when their greatest wishes are to write a history book and have a nice garden.
    • Aragorn may be the rightful king of Gondor, but his greatest role in defeating the Dark Lord Sauron is to merely walk up to his gates and distract his evil eye while untrained hobbits decide the fate of Middle-Earth. Knowing he plays only a small part in a grand game, Aragorn is content to do his part as he was content to let the hobbits take the Ring to begin with.
  • In Sid Stills' Blues (Three-Quarters in the Bag in Alphabet City), Sid, a mostly retired famous musician, thinks he's just an old has-been and doesn't understand at first how popular he still is. When he meets Nathan's new bandmates, he checks behind him because he can't believe that they're so surprised and excited to see him.
  • Ruth Mallory of Someone Else's War genuinely thinks she's unintelligent and talentless, even though she's the one who puts an end to the evil army and makes it possible for the Child Soldiers to go home.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In the X-Wing Series, Wedge is like this to a certain degree. He demurs when called the greatest pilot alive, calls himself "regular old Wedge Antilles", and doesn't mind being in the background. That said, he's supposedly got a huge ego which only shows at all a few times, and even then they are minor displays. Wedge admits to himself when this is brought up that he does sometimes feel insulted by the rudimentary tactics that Imperial pilots have tried to beat him with.
    • By Legacy of the Force, now, he's got the ego. Once he tells someone that they know he wasn't involved in a plan because that plan failed. He doesn't fail even when he tries. Justified. Character history has shown him to be generally "perfect", but he can recall someone who died by way of involvement in many of his tales. He feels intense guilt over what he does but takes pride in it. A bit of a Tear Jerker to see a guy mentally torture himself for things that aren't his fault.
    • As noted, the novelization of Revenge of the Sith goes out of its way to describe Obi-Wan as one. It seems that Obi-Wan is the only being who doesn't understand how great a Jedi he is — when the Council proposes to send their "most cunning and insightful Master" after Grievous, he has no idea who they mean. He's also surprised when Mace Windu — the guy who created his own form of lightsaber combat — refers to him as "the master of the classic form... Not a master. The master." Anakin, however, is a subversion, in that he does his best to act, think and feel as a Humble Hero, but is still burning with the ambition and entitlement inside — all ripe for manipulation by Palpatine.
  • Saionji Kiyohiko of Stone King never really feels he did anything worthy of a title like 'Ishio, the Stone King of Ibaraki'.
  • The Swampling King: Subverted with Prince Josen; he spends all his time in disguise among the common folk, and they love him for it, but the truth is he just really doesn't want to have anything to do with the throne.
  • Tortall Universe:
  • In Dante's La Vita Nuova, Beatrice is so devoid of Pride that it astonishes God and merits her entrance into the heaven of humility, sitting within reach of the Virgin Mary herself.

    Live-Action TV 
  • As Time Goes By: As revealed in the reunion special, when Lionel was in Kenya years ago he took on the financial burdens of supporting the family of a man who worked on his plantation but died, so all the kids could go to school and the mother would be well off. For this, the family calls him "Father." He never once spoke of it to Jean or mentions it in his book My Life in Kenya, despite being sure it must have come up at one point, but when Jean insists he never talked about it, Lionel just accepts he might not have and leaves the matter to rest. He just did what he saw as the right thing to do and did it. There is no need to fuss about it.
  • Captain Apollo from Battlestar Galactica. One of the good examples is shooting the marooned Cylon Red-Eye to save a town on the planet Equilus without any thought of recognition and leaves the planet soon afterwards.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • Most of the main characters, while sometimes prone to showing off or letting their stubbornness cloud their views, are ultimately in police work because they want to protect people. Holt in particular has an incredibly impressive record, but he's never the one to bring it up. Even Jake, who can be an Insufferable Genius and desperately wants everything to go the way it does in badass action movies, proves himself to be doing this for the right reasons. If asked to choose between glory or doing the right thing, he'll choose the latter, no hesitation.
    • Minor character Detective Dave Majors is The Ace, and is a Living Legend to all the other cops in New York, to the extent that Amy and Jake compete for his attention when they get assigned to a case with him. However, Majors doesn't appear to notice this, and is incredibly down-to-earth and chill, to the point that you have to wonder if he even knows his reputation. When Amy rejects his request for a date, he's mildly surprised, as he's never been turned down before, but almost instantly shrugs it off and isn't the least bit upset with her.
  • Charmed: Leo never talks about his time in WWII, and considers himself a Failure Hero because he couldn't save his two best friends, but when convinced to go to a reunion (under the guise of being his own grandson), in a room full of war heroes everyone is honored to meet him, just because they think he's related to Leo Wyatt.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor, although capable of extreme, often horrifyingly destructive displays of arrogance when pushed too far, is extremely humble compared to his own race, the Time Lords. He's even stated that he really only wants a quiet life of sightseeing with his friends.
  • Exploited in The Good Wife when Eli coaches A.D.A. Finn Polmar on a campaign interview. As a career campaign manager, Eli knows that humility plays well on TV, so he tells Finn to play straight the fact that he doesn't feel like a hero regarding the courtroom shooting where Will was killed.
  • Hercules in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Not only is Hercules humble, but he is quite proud of his best friend Iolaus, being sure to point out to the attractive woman Iolaus is talking to that Iolaus has saved Hercules many times.
  • The Lone Ranger. People normally figured out it was he who solved their problems only after he left.
  • Mr. Robot: Elliot serves as this trope as he is shown to be extremely humble and down to earth and only uses his hacking skills for good and benevolent reasons. Unlike most of the other main characters in the series (Angela and Tyrell), who only want power and glory, Elliot doesn't want any of this stuff and is fine with the way his life is and only cares about doing the right thing.
  • Person of Interest: Harold Finch, despite being the man who built God, insisted that he wasn't special, and tried to teach the Machine that he wasn't worth more than any other human life (it doesn't work). Whenever he needs help from someone he had previously helped, he always asks politely and never implies that they owe him anything. The response is always a declaration of Undying Loyalty.
  • Star Trek:
    • Worf and Martok are as close to this as can be expected for Klingons. Despite both being prime examples of the Proud Warrior Race Guy, they both care more about doing their duties and protecting the empire than fulfilling any political ambitions, despite what Chancellor Gowron seems to think.
    • Captain Picard is also fairly modest about his accomplishments, as a visiting Klingon ambassador comments.
      Picard: I have been...pleased to offer occasional assistance to the Klingon people in the past.
      Ambassador Kell:
      ' Your modesty is very human, Captain. I will excuse it.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise gives us Captain Archer. Despite being the man ultimately responsible for creating The Federation, he's more than happy to let others take the spotlight, and even rewrites one of his speeches to avoid taking credit for his accomplishments.
  • Wallenberg: A Hero's Story: Wallenberg - a Swedish diplomat who falsified papers to allow refugees to escape the Holocaust - says he can only take credit for saving a "few" lives when in reality it was close to 100,000.

    Multiple Media 

  • "Alternate Realities" begins with Twilight saying that she's no more qualified to run Equestria than any of her friends.
  • "Wind Beneath my Wings" is a song where the speaker praises a (possibly deceased) benefactor who clearly deserves more credit for her life than anyone knows about.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Buddhism
    • Several teachings (especially the Tibetan variation) practice humility as part of their religion. In fact, it's one of the important traits for the state of enlightenment. In fact, Buddhism even teaches the concept of "emptiness" of one's self (known as Śūnyatā).
    • Apparently, this trope is one of the reasons why Bhutan (a Buddhist kingdom) is considered to be one of the happiest countries on the planet and eighth happiest country, according to 2009 Business Week edition. Many Bhutanese don't own important luxuries that western countries value the most (i.e. expensive mansions, sports cars, HD TV, Internet, etc.), yet they are considered to be the happiest people on the planet because Bhutanese people don't have to worry about owning such luxuries when most of them live in simplistic lives. This was actually one of the Bhutanese government's concerns when they finally lifted their ban on television and internet.
  • Christianity:
    • In the Gospels, Jesus asks those he heals and saves not to tell others of his great deeds and teaches his followers not to do good words so they can be seen (as the Pharisees do). Charitable acts and other good deeds should be kept between the hero and God; a secret from everyone else. "Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."
    • The Catholic Church claims that this is how visionaries, aka people who are allegedly chosen by [insert: God, Jesus Christ, Our Lady the Virgin Mary, etc.] to be given diverse revelations regarding the Faith, should behave. i.e Saint Catherine Laboure (who met Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal) didn't take credit for her visions and revelations, worked as a nun and nurse her whole life, and her identity as the actual visionary was only revealed after her death.
    • Pope Francis has presented himself as a humble pastor rather than a grand figure and emphasized avoiding Pride in his teaching. One such gesture of humility has been choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by his predecessors. He is also known for favoring simpler vestments void of ornamentation, including refusing the traditional papal mozzetta cape upon his election, choosing silver instead of gold for his piscatory ring, and keeping the same pectoral cross he had as Cardinal. Not to mention many little things like calling a divorce, pregnant — and distressed - woman personally as detailed here.
  • In Arthurian Legend, Sir Gareth of Orkney comes in disguise as a kitchen boy who only asks food of King Arthur despite his noble appearance. He later gets knighted by Sir Lancelot by equaling him in combat and he later goes on the lady Lynette's quest to save her sister without revealing his noble blood for most of their journey and enduring her constant berating of his apparent kitchen boy status.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Nomine: Litheroy is notable among the archangels for his great degree of personal humility. He's very plainspoken, rarely stands on ceremony, will readily explain his plans and intentions if his angels ask, and is by his preference on first-name basis with his servants — he will accept descriptive titles like Archangel or Abbot, but would really prefer for his angels to just call him Litheroy.

    Video Games 
  • This is made into a sub-theme of Brütal Legend, where Eddie Riggs' profession as a roadie leads him to do all the saving-the-world work in the game, but defer all the credit to well-intentioned but functionally useless Rebel Leader Lars, echoing what he does in our world, where he does all the real work in managing the worst band in the world, but never shows his face. The finale makes it clear that the resistance is just humoring him and fully recognize that he's the real hero.
  • In Dawn of the Dragons, the turnip-picking farmhand turned dragon-rider isn't exactly thrilled about his/her rising status as a Living Legend but plays along to keep up morale.
  • In Disgaea 4, no matter what he accomplishes (be it starting a rebellion, defeating Badass Freakin' Overlord Zetta, or challenging God himself), Valvatorez will always insist he is merely a simple Prinny Instructor that relies on his comrades and the power of sardines.
  • Although Terry Bogard is known by his massive badassery all around the world (and sometimes even crossover universes), he doesn't boast about it half as much as he has right to. Many of his quotes in KOF XIII are borderline self-deprecating.
  • Fire Emblem
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Ike is the poster boy for this trope, eventually renouncing his title of nobility and going back to his humble roots.
    • Edward from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn also counts. Despite being a core member of the Dawn Brigade, having lived his life on the streets and barely survived, by the end he decides to be a simple commoner, against the wishes of Queen Micaiah.
    • Prince Seliph from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War is this too. He's always kind and almost a little shy when not fighting and openly wonders if he's truly fit and strong enough to bring down The Empire. His cousin Leif from Thracia 776 is pretty similar, too.
      • And so is their companion, Ced, who remains kind and down-to-Earth while leading the Magi Squad and fighting for the freedom of the countries under the Grandbell tyranny. And when Seliph's group comes to recruit him, he even berates himself for not doing enough for the people in his eyes.
    • Even more so, Morva from The Sacred Stones. He both led the Five Heroes and dealt the fatal strike to Fomortiis the Demn King, but refused to take credit for his heroic actions and instead of founding his own nation like his friends, he led a quiet life taking care of both Caer Pelyn and the Darkling Woods alongside his adoptive daughter, Myrrh, who later joins Ephraim and Eirika's quests. (Sadly, by that time, poor Morva... was killed and turned into a Draco Zombie. )
  • Halo. The Master Chief views himself as a soldier doing his duty and nothing more, though you wouldn't guess it from the man who saved the galaxy. Twice.
  • Poppy from League of Legends is referred to as The Chosen One who will bring glory to Demacia, but she has never considered herself a hero, much less the Hero of Demacia. Ironically, she already wields the hammer that Only the Chosen May Wield — but that's only because she's determined to find the actual Chosen to give it to them.
    Poppy: I'm no hero. Just a Yordle with a hammer.
  • Rean Schwarzer from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is this especially in Cold Steel III where he tells people that he's just some run-of-the-mill guy and not some national hero.
  • Mario's contemporary, Link from The Legend of Zelda is as well. Along with his trademark courage, being humble is generally his only canon personality trait. He gets overconfident once in Hyrule Warriors, but quickly gets a cold shower for it.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Paragon Shepard is like this. A sufficiently noble Shepard will eventually get a mission to rescue drugged hostages wandering among the terrorists. If you manage to save every one of them, when Admiral Hackett calls back to thank you, you can tell him you were "just doing your job." Given what a Scrappy Level this mission is, that's one humble hero. At one point in Mass Effect 3, s/he even wonders why Hackett essentially made him/her the leader and human ambassador of the multi-species fleet, despite the fact that s/he's the only reason most of them even agree to be in the same room together.
    • In the same vein, Ryder can be one of these, passing off some of their accomplishments as nothing, or a team effort.
    • Andromeda teammate Jaal is somewhere between this and a heroic self-deprecator. His family includes several top-flight badasses, from his grandmother down to (most of) his siblings, and Jaal himself answers directly to the head of La Résistance when first met. The only one who doesn't seem to realize what a big deal he is... is Jaal.
  • Despite saving the world twice from invading aliens, Kurt the janitor from MDK2 refuses the fame he has garnered and is perfectly content to continue his cleaning duties aboard the Jammy Dodger.
  • Zero from the Mega Man X and Zero series. By the Zero series he believes that, as someone created purely to destroy, he has no place in trying to change the world, and instead uses his strength to support others who can, like X and Ciel.
    Zero: I never cared about justice, and I don't recall ever calling myself a hero. I have always only fought for the people I believe in.
  • Similar to T. Hawk above, Nightwolf from Mortal Kombat is one of Earthrealm's defenders and is known for his politeness, selflessness, and humility, a stark contrast to the comically inflated ego of the (still well-meaning) Johnny Cage.
  • Amaterasu from Ōkami. She the sun deity of Nippon who is destined to rid the land of demons but makes no point of establishing her identity to the people she helps. The office of Celestial Envoy exists so that someone will tell the world what she has done for them since she won't do it herself.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Miles "Tails" Prower is more humble than his speedy, blue friend. Not that it's hard.
  • Star Trek Online: Ja'rod, son of Torg, captain of the IKS Kang and the first genuinely good member of the House of Duras we've ever met. In the backstory he was offered a seat on the Klingon High Council for his exploits but refused:
    "Until I have fully proven my worth to the Empire, I do not deserve to be in your number. I will return to Qo'noS as a hero, or not at all."
  • T. Hawk from Street Fighter IV. He's become quite beloved by his people, the Thunderfoot tribe whose lands he recovered from M. Bison... but he has repeatedly refused to become the chieftain despite his merits since he believes he's too inexperienced and young for such a task.
  • Even though he's usually a Silent Protagonist, (Super) Mario is usually characterized like this.
  • Tales of Vesperia: Yuri Lowell, the protagonist. He rarely takes credit for his actions; when his initial goal of retrieving the lower quarter's Aque Blastia is completed, he lets Flynn take the credit for bringing it back to the people, and ends the game nothing more than just another guild member despite defeating the World's Strongest Man and killing an Eldritch Abomination. It's deconstructed by Flynn, who hates being rewarded for the things Yuri's done.
  • White Knight Chronicles: You. No, seriously. The game features an incredibly robust character creator that you use to create the "Avatar" character. In terms of the game, the avatar serves as Exactly What It Says on the Tin for online multiplay but also tags along as a Heroic Mime for the main story quest. The story plays out and the avatar generally keeps silent, but is clearly with the main party in the cutscenes, despite being one of the main players in a fight for the fate of the world.
  • Yakuza: Downplayed with Kiryu. Kiryu is The Ace and masters a wide variety of skills over the course of seven games. He will downplay his accomplishments in most fields, but happily engage in a Badass Boast when it's time to remind someone why they call him The Dragon of Dojima.

  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Bob once got a Congressional Medal of Honor for saving the world. He keeps it on his mantle, tends to forget it's there, and most of his neighbors don't seem to realize he has it.
  • In Girl Genius Jiminez Hoffmann saves a king's life and puts an end to a war that has lasted generations. He treats it as no big deal. And gets chewed out for it because that war was the only thing keeping the people involved from waging war upon the surface. Luckily they end up turning their combined forces on the Other instead.
  • In The Order of the Stick one of the prequels, "How the Paladin Got His Scar" reveals the paladin O-Chul to have been this in his youth to a rather extreme degree. He sees nothing special about repeadly putting himself in the line of fire (which continues into the main comic) but is also apologetic when promoted for doing so.
    General Nhek: He's always like this. Last time I promoted him, he apologized to me.
    O-Chul: I still live with the burden of having failed to properly fulfill the duties of a lieutenant.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: After maturing over the course of the Time Skip, Ben Tennyson became this in Ben 10: Alien Force. When referred to by a Plumber as "the legendary Ben 10" his response is to shrug and say "Guess so." This falls by the wayside in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien when he gets a severe case of Acquired Situational Narcissism from becoming a celebrity in The Unmasqued World, although he becomes much less haughty following this arc.
  • Bugs Bunny can sometimes be this or at least act the part. In his earlier cartoons, he tended to be an Attention Whore with Jerkass tendencies, but those traits were handed over to Daffy Duck, and Bugs became much humbler, even if he did take a casual level of pride in his fame and fortune that annoyed Daffy to no end. (Of course, this being Bugs, it's just as likely that he's annoying Daffy on purpose.) In one short, a mad scientist tries to take his brain:
    "Sorry, Doc, but I need what little I've got."
  • DuckTales (2017): Donald Duck. While in his younger days he was "one of the greatest adventurers of all time!", now he's a Retired Badass who just wants to lead a normal, boring life and ensure a good, safe upbringing for his nephews. Of course, although he wants to be done with adventure, it seems adventure's not quite done with him.
    Storkules: You're a hero, whether you want to be or not.
    Donald: I do not. But thanks, friend Storkules.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades: Conrad "Duke" Hauser, who doesn't call himself a hero, but just an "ordinary Joe". In a flashback, he refused a medal for saving one of his men from a land mine with a Diving Save because he considered himself responsible for putting the soldier in danger in the first place by not clearing that mine beforehand.
  • Saint Walker from Green Lantern: The Animated Series, when asked who he is when first meeting Kilowog, introduces himself as "merely a conduit of hope." This is of course, right after he takes down a giant Red Lantern battleship with a single punch.
  • Penny from Inspector Gadget is content with letting her bumbling uncle bask in the glory and fame of dozens of monumental achievements, even though almost all of the credit for them is rightfully hers.
  • Captain Marvel's introduction in Justice League cemented him as this, stating "It was nothing, really" when he received a compliment. It's worth pointing out that the person complimenting him is Batman, and the reason for said compliment was that Cap took down the Parasite in seconds when several other heroes failed to slow the villain down. Elongated Man even points out that Cap was blushing at the praise and tells Cap not to be so modest.
  • Kim Possible fights supervillains and saves the world as a hobby, but plays it down whenever she gets attention for it, and when a movie producer decides to make a film about her, it doesn't seem to have ever occurred to her that her adventures would be worth retelling. As she would say, "No big."
  • The Mask: The Mask despite his ego and his quirks is this as he lives in Stanley's apartment instead of living somewhere that will be more to his style so though he run for mayor and became assistant to the President of the United States, he still prefers doing mundane things such as dancing at the Coco Bongo, watching TV, playing with his dog and stopping the criminals and supervillains which shows that The Mask, unlike most mask personas, prefers not to use his power to go any higher than needed even got bored listening to a tribe that is worshipping him and doesn't think himself much of a god at all instead thinking himself as a genuinely insane madman who otherwise leads a normal life and does normal things in his life.
  • Mike Chilton in Motorcity has done a lot of good for the residents of the titular underground civilization, and is somewhat famous (infamous in Detroit Deluxe) for it, but is still very down to earth about his accomplishments.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Twilight Sparkle is the personal student of the supreme ruler of the nation, is perhaps the most powerful unicorn alive, and has personally been involved in saving the world on multiple separate occasions. Despite all this, she doesn't brag and actually gets a bit timid when her assistant Spike brags about her. She seems more interested in learning about magic and spending time with her True Companions. She retains her humble nature even after she is turned into a princess with a rank that equals her teacher's; blushing and giving an embarrassed grin when acknowledged or praised is something characteristic of her. Even becoming an alicorn princess doesn't make her haughty; she rarely invokes her title.
    • All of the Mane Six. While Rainbow Dash does have the occasional Glory Seeker moment, the girls don't talk loudly about their achievements and would rather spend their time hanging out together between them or with their families than being celebrated for their exploits. They may be willing to confront powerful antagonists, but only because it's the right thing to do and they greatly care about their beloved land.
    • Twilight Sparkle's human counterpart in the Equestria Girls series is also extremely humble despite her amazing intelligence. She doesn't brag about her being the number one student at a very elite academy but thanks to the jealousy and bullying from other students, her humility becomes self-loathing. It takes becoming friends with the other counterparts of the Mane Six and Sunset for Human Twilight to fully become a humble hero.
  • The Owl House: Luz Noceda is exceedingly humble, no matter the situation. Whenever something greatly positive occurs, Luz makes certain to offer praise to all of the other people involved in said positive event before she offers any to herself. Even when she is arguably the one who deserves the most credit for the event, or one of her friends insists that Luz is doing something they couldn't, such as Amity offering her praise and encouragement for Luz taking her place as Grom Queen, Luz still brushes it off as nothing big.
  • The titular Samurai Jack is highly skilled in several areas of combat, especially in the way of the sword, and he frequently delays his quest to return to his own time by helping people in need. He's also quiet, polite, and never brags about his accomplishments or the fact that he's a prince.
  • Shadow Raiders: Graveheart has kept The Alliance together in their war against The Beast; his catchphrase is "I'm just a miner".
  • Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, frequently has chances to snatch up glory in both his personal and superhero life. He avoids such chances, not only because of risk but because he's just not that kind of guy. Still snarky, though.
  • In the Spiral Zone episode "Profiles in Courage", a reporter tries to get each of the Zone Riders to describe his/her own heroism. Instead, they praise their teammates and the brave civilians who have helped them out. Lampshaded when the frustrated reporter asks Dirk "Don't you people ever talk about yourselves?"; Dirk's response is a Little "No".
  • Aerrow from Storm Hawks. Despite often displaying a cocky attitude in battle, he's remarkably down-to-earth. In "Second Chances", he was reluctant to take part in the team's newfound celebrity lifestyle, saying it wasn't what being a Sky Knight was about.
  • Optimus Prime in Transformers is this in his many incarnations.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Humble Heroine


Oliver overshadowed by Nanao

"Glare". The Sword Roses discuss how the rest of the class is fawning over Nanao after the fight with the garuda in the previous episode, and ignoring Oliver's contributions. Pete and Chela note that Nanao's fighting was flashy and easy to follow, whereas Oliver's analysis and strategizing was harder to pick up on.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / OvershadowedByAwesome

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