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Jungle Princess

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"Me only simple jungle princess. What mean this word, 'kiss'?"
— "I Love a Film Cliche", A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine

The Distaff Counterpart of Tarzan of the Apes, this is a young woman of European extraction who has been raised in a jungle environment, usually by animals. Despite her upbringing, though, she has managed to grasp the basic rudiments of English, tools, and fashion — she is frequently seen wearing fetching leather or Fur Bikinis and wielding a spear. She is far more likely to have Rapunzel Hair than Wild Hair, and her legs and armpits will be inexplicably hairless. She's likely to be an Earthy Barefoot Character.

For some unfathomable reason, the animals of the jungle obey her slavishly instead of viewing her as lunch, and the woefully benighted Hollywood Natives treat her as a goddess. If the Jungle Princess is particularly naive, she'll buy into that belief. Even if she's not particularly naive and although she may well possess some fearsomely strong instincts and drives toward it, her isolation from humans has left her with no concept whatsoever of romance.


Inevitably she will be single when she first encounters a hunky American or European explorer. She will find him in the clutch of some local danger (being menaced by her tame leopard is always fun if it's a romantic comedy), rescue him, and romance will ensue. While the movie version of the Jungle Princess will let her explorer bring her back to his home and 'civilize' her, the TV version will insist on staying in the jungle, and so our hero will settle down in a nice treehouse and steal kisses from her when she's not busy ordering her lions to savage the occasional poacher.

In science fiction, many a Green-Skinned Space Babe is just a jungle princess with a dye job and a ray gun.

The trope name ultimately dates to a 1920 silent film serial called The Jungle Princess, but its common usage probably dates from the 1936 film of the same name starring Dorothy Lamour. The trope itself is older than that, though, with possibly the first example being Rima from W. H. Hudson's 1904 book Green Mansions.


See Nubile Savage, which is her default appearance. Compare Handsome Heroic Caveman. Not to be confused with The Chief's Daughter, where the leading lady actually fits the native culture (but is almost always called a princess for some reason).


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  • The mascot for Indian butter brand Amul in this commercial featuring Tarzan.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Capri from Animal Land.
  • Cutey Honey: This is one of Honey's transformations in episode 20.
  • Weda from Haré+Guu, has this appearance but the Jungle society she lives is fairly civilized and not totally disconnected from the Outside world (there are still buses to the city, for example). She can hunt however and does wear a Fur Bikini. In her backstory, it's revealed that she actually comes from a rich family in the city and moved to the Jungle at age 14 due to getting kicked out of her family for getting pregnant.
  • Magical Princess Minky Momo: This is one of Momo's transformations in episode 20.
  • Shanana from Makyou no Shanana
  • Onegai My Melody: Mana's favorite movie, Beauty and the Beast in a Jungle, follows this trope and Kuromi's nightmare magic inserts her into the main character role.
  • Sapphire Birch, Pokémon Adventures' take on the female avatar from the game, takes her role as Pokémon trainer and researcher so seriously she actually went native, wearing clothes made from leaves and moss and growing her fingernails into claws. She has little trouble reintegrating into human society, but she retains the mind-boggling strength and agility she developed in the wild.
  • Either subverted or deconstructed with San, the eponymous Mononoke-Hime of Princess Mononoke. While she fits a lot of the traits of a Jungle Princess (though the forest isn't exactly a jungle, and she obviously isn't of European extraction), her character, like almost anything else in the movie, is not as two-dimensional and clear cut as it seems at first.

    Comic Books 
  • Definitely Sheena, Queen of the Jungle herself. She is one of the Trope Codifiers.
  • Marvel Comics
    • Shanna the She-Devil. The similarity between her name and Sheena's is entirely coincidental, of course.
    • Storm of the X-Men spent part of her childhood and adolescence as a Jungle Princess; when her weather powers activated, she was also worshiped as a literal goddess.
    • The whole Marvel game actually got its first female-driven series in the 50s with a comic titled Lorna, The Jungle Girl. The whole thing was about this father and daughter that go to South Africa; the father is killed by some thugs and Lorna, having nowhere else to go, chooses to stay and train within the forest to eventually defend her people (animals and humans).
      • Aside from tiny differences in the origin story, Lorna was a blatant Sheena rip-off, right down to the romantic entanglement with a Great White Hunter and the monkey sidekick. That being said, it was also a distinct cut above most of Atlas's other offerings at the time.
    • Jann of the Jungle was a Jungle Princess heroine from Marvel Comics predecessor Atlas in the 1950s. She is still mentioned occasionally in the modern-day Marvel Universe.
    • After a bout of amnesia, Alpha Flight's Heather Hudson plays this role for the length of one annual.
    • The Marvel Universe has a tropical Lost World in Antarctica called "the Savage Land", the chief point of which at times seems to be to provide an excuse for heroines to get into skimpy Jungle Princess gear.
  • An extremely blatant fetish of comics artist Frank Cho, who has worked on such diverse series as the above-mentioned (and also Jungle Girl).
  • Cavewoman
  • Subverted in the French comic Sillage (a.k.a. Wake in English). In the first volume, the heroine Nävis (Navee) encounters a group of alien slaves who have been ordered to change the environment of her jungle planet for their masters' purposes and ends up winning them over not because they view her as a goddess but because she possesses superior logic. Unfortunately that still doesn't prevent the jungle from being destroyed, and she's adopted and "civilized" by the advanced culture of the title.
  • In the comic The Maxx, Julie Winters manifests in the Outback as the Jungle Queen, the embodiment of this trope. Later, it's revealed that the Outback is her subconscious, and she created the Jungle Queen in order to have control as an all-powerful goddess after having been brutally raped and beaten years ago.
  • The Phantom Jungle Girl from the pages of Don Simpson's Megaton Man.
  • "Kara the Jungle Princess" made two appearances in 1946 issues of "Exciting Comics".
  • Tara Fremont from Femforce.
  • White Princess of the Jungle was a jungle girl anthology comic book published quarterly by Avon Periodicals in the early 1950s.
  • Judy of the Jungle appeared in comic books published by Nedor Comics. She debuted in Exciting Comics #55 (May 1947). Mostly remembered nowadays for featuring early art by Frank Frazetta.
  • Princess Pantha was a Sheena clone that appeared in comic books published by Nedor Comics. The character was revived twice; first by AC Comics, and second by writer Alan Moore for his Tom Strong spin-off, Terra Obscura. She first appeared in Thrilling Comics #56.
    • Do not confuse her with the half-animal Panthea by underground artist Trina Robbins. (And Pantha from Vampirella doesn't even fit the trope.)
    • Tom Strong's own wife, Dhalua, is also an example, although she's actually black. (She's also a reconstruction of the trope—namely, what happens when The Chief's Daughter marries the hero and moves to a post-industrial nation, but never loses her edge.) There's also the alternate universe Tesla of the Tigers, who comes from a world overrun with jungle and whose father Tom of the Tigers was raised by... you can probably guess. Interestingly, Princess Pantha is romantically linked to Tom's Terra Obscura counterpart, Tom Strange.
    • One parodic issue of Tom Strong's Terrific Tales had Tesla going back to nature in a jungle, getting captured by poachers, and being put into a safari attraction with several other Jungle Princesses. It turns out they aren't a protected species.
  • Rulah, Jungle Goddess was Fox Feature's response to Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Her real name was given variously as either Jane Dodge (Zoot #7) or Joan Grayson (Rulah, Jungle Goddess #20). In the latter version, Rulah is a young aviatrix on a solo flight over Africa when her plane loses control and crashes. She replaces her clothes (which were destroyed in the crash) with a bikini made from the skin of a dead giraffe. Soon afterward, Rulah saves a local tribe from an evil woman; the grateful tribespeople declares her queen. Rulah decides to remain in the jungle as its protector. Rulah's comic adventures are sometimes startlingly violent; and there are generous helpings of Les Yay among Rulah and her suspiciously-pale native maidens. Said maidens being the subjects of peril, hairdressing, abduction, experiments, and much hugging when rescued.
  • Parodied by "Libby in the Lost World" in Penthouse Comix. Libby was a Jewish American Princess stranded in a Lost World by a plane crash and forced unwillingly into the role of Jungle Princess.
  • Ya'wara from the New 52 Aquaman series. Unique in that she's one of the few examples of a Jungle Princess who is an actual person of color rather than a displaced white woman in jungle gear.
  • Fantomah may be an example. She's a blonde white woman who lives in the jungle and protects it from various Evil Colonialists and indigenous villains. However, she has extreme magical powers to the extent of being a Physical God, and a sadistically vengeful personality, which combines to make her seem more like a Humanoid Abomination than an actual human.
  • Zhantika, Princess of the Jungle is the Big Bang Comics universe's equivalent of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • There's one of these in the artificial jungle in the movie Who's That Girl?.
  • The Tiger Woman, a 1944 Republic film serial, later edited into the feature ''Jungle Gold''.
  • Nyoka the Jungle Girl from the 1941 serial Jungle Girl.
  • Jungle Goddess, which was given the MST3K treatment.
  • Tanya Roberts made a pretty good Sheena for the 1980s.
  • You could make the argument that Claudia Jennings played one in the trash film Gator Bait, just switch the jungle for the Louisiana bayou.
  • The Shaw Brothers King Kong (1933) rip-off The Mighty Peking Man (or Goliathon) featured a particularly dim-witted version who was constantly on the verge of a nip slip.
  • Josephine Baker played this part in many of her stage performances and subsequent films.
  • Trader Horn: Nina was a toddler when African natives attacked her family, killing her father and spiriting her away. When white people find her 20 years later, she's the queen of her tribe.
  • Jungle Princesses (more often than not, naked) are the favorite victims of quicksand in notorious California quicksand-porn filmmaker Dave Lodoski's efforts.
  • Shandra: The Jungle Girl is a rare case of jungle princess as antagonist, with the heroes initially setting out to capture.
  • In Blonde Savage, an expedition into the deep jungle discovers a native tribe led by a tall white blonde woman.

  • Discworld has lost kingdoms of Amazons which use their male prisoners to do specifically male jobs ... like opening pickle jars, sorting out those funny noises in the attic, capturing spiders and putting them outside, and rewiring plugs.
  • The 1904 novel Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson may be the Trope Maker. She wasn't white or European; she belonged to a lost race that even the local Indians didn't know of. Her skin — depending on the lighting, it seems — varied in color, and in bright sunlight seemed "luminous".
  • Meriem, the wife of Korak the Killer, The Son of Tarzan (1915) literally fits this archetype. The daughter of a French general and a "princess in her own right", young Meriem was kidnapped by Arabs, and rescued by Korak. The two then spent their teen years together in the jungle before being found by Tarzan.
  • Deconstructed in Gentlemen, the Queen! by Wilson Tucker. The titular character, a human girl raised by Martian desert rats and referred to as the Desert Queen, has suffered a lot of realistic consequences from her environment. She has Wild Hair, is missing one eye and most of her teeth can barely speak, and has a broken arm that didn't set quite right.
  • Jasmine from Deltora Quest. A variation is that she only appeared to Lief and Barda to steal their stuff, but eventually came back and saved them before they could be eaten by the Wen. She also appears in the anime adaptation. Frequently paired with Lief in fanfiction, and the anime has a few hints of it as well, though you have to look for it to see them.
    • Although by the end of the second series, it's clear that it's officially canon.
  • Downplayed in The Lost Years of Merlin with Rhia(nnon)—she was raised in the woods and wears Garden Garments, but she speaks fine and all that, since she was raised by a Plant Person and her house is a sapient tree. Also, she's Merlin's twin sister.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Katy Perry invokes the "Western girl trapped in jungle by plane crash" variant of this trope in the music video for her single ''Roar," complete with a leopard-print bikini top and grass skirt. It does hold one aversion: the handsome explorer-type who was also in the crash with her immediately gets eaten by a tiger.
  • The song "Queen of the Savages" by The Magnetic Fields from 69 Love Songs.
    My girl is the queen of the savages
    She don't know the modern world and its ravages
    Instead of money she's got yams and cabbages
    She lives in a dome
    I don't care if I never get home


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Jungle Woman in GLOW, apparently from some part of South America, typically teamed with the very urban Spanish Red. In WOW she had an expy in Jungle Grrrl apparently from Mexico. She blended into urban civilization very quickly but still came to the ring barefoot and smeared with dirt.
  • Brooke Adams wore a Jungle Princess costume for the 2007 Cyber Sunday Halloween contest. She even posed with a snake!

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Wasteland 2010, Cammie is the series' equivalent, although her "jungle" is "the forests of the Midwest."

    Video Games 
  • Jill of the Jungle
  • Zhu Rong, from Koei's Dynasty Warriors franchise, takes this to its logical extension as a fully-fledged Jungle Queen. Not only is she the only blond female in an ostensibly all-Asian lineup, but she's married to a barbarian king and worshiped as a bona fide Goddess by her people. Oh, and there's the obligatory jungle-kini in which she wanders round, too.
    • Her being worshipped as a Goddess is, in DW canon (and the book it was based on), justified. She's the descendant of the god of fire.
  • Ayla of Chrono Trigger - Chieftain of the prehistoric peoples, one of the two blondes among the group, and insanely strong. She's engaged to marry one of her own tribesmen, but she most definitely is the "man" in that relationship.
  • One of the playable characters with the actual name in TimeSplitters series.
  • Maya from the Killer Instinct series, especially in KI2 - the 2013 reboot reimagined her as a member of a clan of guardians.
  • Rima from Brütal Legend. While the Zaulia are a tribe of amazons (who wear KISS-style facepaint), Rima fits better by virtue of being their leader.
  • Nidalee from League of Legends.
  • Citra from Far Cry 3 is a Western note  woman who rules a Pacific island and doesn't wear very much. She wasn't raised by the natives but has enthusiastically taken to their ways. She is attracted to the game's American protagonist and not to the local men. Also qualifies as an evil version, because she encourages Jason's Blood Knight attitude and Sanity Slippage, and eventually entices him to kill his friends and loved ones and have sex with her- and then decides that since their child(if she actually is pregnant) will grow to be a greater warrior than his father, Jason has now outlived his usefulness, so she stabs him to death.]]
  • A Damsel in Distress version is Miho from Toki, who's the princess of Toki's tribe.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Jungle Girl


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