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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, usually of European extraction, though she has been known to be of another race or even Not Quite Human. She has been raised in a Hungry Jungle, usually by Natives though sometimes by animals. Despite her upbringing, though, she has managed to grasp the basic rudiments of Hulk Speak English, tools, and fashion — she is frequently seen wearing fetching leaf, leather or usually Fur Bikinis and wielding a hunting knife and spear. She is far more likely to have neat hair and makeup without any calluses or scars with Perma-Shave than Wild Hair or even be an Unkempt Beauty. She almost always Prefers Going Barefoot. She will very rarely be depicted in primitive shoes like sandals or moccasins sometimes compared to the natives who still go barefoot. She is also far more likely to meet Hollywood Beauty Standards than be an Amazonian Beauty, or have a Rugged Scar. She is also likely to meet her love interest via Rescue Romance, live in a Treehouse of Fun, travel via Vine Swing or Zebra, have an Animal-Themed Fighting Style, or be excellent at combat parkour.

There are two very different sub tropes of the jungle princess. Firstly there is the Jungle Queen; a Noble Savage living In Harmony with Nature, who often has powers like controlling animals, causing them to obey her instead of seeing her as lunch. Even the insects. She might even have literal magic Elemental Powers, Animorphism or even Green Thumb, though those abilities are more rare. She tends to care far more about saving her animal "friends" she already can control, than even knowing the names of her people, aka the woefully benighted Hollywood Natives who treat her as a queen or 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.

The Jungle Queen is also likely to be stoic, and unforgiving to villains who would dare hurt innocent animals, especially in modern incarnations. She is also likely to be a Chaste Hero with no concept of romance. Allowing the Bold Explorer to manipulate her, in a suspiciously positively framed way. She is ofen painted as an object of desire or another beast to find in the wild and tame rather than her own adventurous character with a dynamic personality. She is also likely to speak in Hulk Speak English. Due to her care for the environment and her animal slaves over human lives, she is more likely to only fight the Corrupt Corporate Executive or Evil Poacher than other very dangerous criminals, hostile tribes or supernatural threats, especially in modern fiction. She is also always going to save the forgettable Distressed Dude more than ending up in danger herself.

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 Evil Poacher. The Jungle Queen was originally popularized by Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, and she was actually becoming far less popular by the late ‘40s. Eventually, Jungle Opera faded out as a genre and soon after increasing environmental awareness in pop culture resulted in the Jungle Queen’s return, because some authors thought that reducing jungle dwelling characters and cultures to Noble Savages living In Harmony with Nature and making the jungle friendly to those people and only hostile to environmental criminals, would reinforce a Green Aesop. It had the unfortunate opposite effect of a Clueless Aesop and resulted in stereotypical and overall poorly characterized depictions of native cultures, along with less perils from the Hungry Jungle that Real Life people, especially indigenous people and conservationists, deal with. It also resulted in a general lack of Worldbuilding.

The other sub trope of the Jungle Princess known as the Jungle Girl, who is much more similar to the Tarzan Boy, and also generally more popular today than the Jungle Queen. She is far more likely to be a Non-Powered Costumed Hero; working like a Knight Errant who travels from village to village helping local villages and fighting dangerous criminals. Unless the author intends to make her morally ambiguous, she is usually more of an Ideal Hero than her Noble Savage alternative. Although she cannot control animals, she is still likely to have one or more Action Pets that she can understand though body language. If she has a love interest, expect them to enjoy adventures traveling as a Battle Couple and rescuing each other when the situation calls for it. If she has no love interest, or the love interest is unavailable, she is likely to go on adventures with her Action Pet or even a Badass Native friend, who will sometimes be a Kid Sidekick. Her friendship with the natives is also likely to be more neutral, but if they do treat her as a goddess or queen, expect her to not like to be worshipped. If anything, as an Ideal Hero, she is likely to sacrifice everything for them and have undying loyalty to her tribe. In terms of personality, this variation is often more friendly and will even go out of her way to Save the Villain. Her foes still include environmental criminals, but she is also allowed to fight a greater variety of villains who don't harm the environment, these include Human Traffickers, Those Wacky Nazis, the Witch Doctor, Cannibal Tribe or other hostile natives, aliens, Hired Guns, warlords, pirates, Egomaniac Hunters who are Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, Not Quite Human villains, supernatural threats, and the dangerous plants and animals of the Hungry Jungle. If she ends up Chained to a Rock or Locked Up and Left Behind, expect her to find a way out eventually of her own wit or be rescued by a friend, who probably owes her from when she has done the same for them.

She might even be a Nemesis Magnet, who often ends up a Badass in Distress from villains who want revenge because Being Good Sucks. She is also far more likely to have her own quirks like if she Prefers Going Barefoot in civilization due to her upbringing or sometimes she is a Badass Bookworm. She might still be an Innocent Fanservice Girl due to cultural differences, and if she is a Chaste Hero she will either have more chemistry and opinions about how she is treated or it will be based on traditions rather than ignorance. She often has no superhuman abilities apart from understanding animals, Super-Senses and Awesome by Analysis. She is also likely to be a Cunning Linguist. She is still often pack equal or more brute force than the male characters, though some might have realistic weaknesses as a female and compensate with her wit. This variation was made popular by characters like Rulah, Jungle Goddess, then in the midst of the environmental Author Tract of the ‘70s, Hanna Barbara created Jana of the Jungle who, along with Rulah, become this variation’s Trope Codifier, later followed by Frank Choe’s reimagining of this character with Dynamite Comics’ ‘’Jungle Girl’’ comics, which became a Trope Namer. Frank Choe also established the new standard, and arguably more cool, look of unkempt and muscular characters instead of the classic Hollywood Beauty Standards; this look is even used by Jungle Queen variations today like modern depictions of Sheena.

There is also a third, older and less direct type, as the love interest of the Tarzan Boy, where she is going to be nothing more than a helpless Damsel in Distress, who frequently ends up Bound and Gagged as a Human Sacrifice, Chained to a Rock or Locked Up and Left Behind by the Evil Poacher as she waits for the Loincloth clad Tarzan Boy to rescue her. This variation is far less popular now.

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 R ima from W. H. Hudson's 1904 book Green Mansions. In Space Opera, many a Green-Skinned Space Babe is just a jungle princess with a dye job and a ray gun.

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).

If you’re an author: See Write a Jungle Opera


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

    Anime and Manga 
  • 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: Momo transforms into one in the episode "Lord of the Jungle".
  • 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 third 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.
  • Princess Mononoke: As a baby, San was given to the forest spirits by her parents in return for their own lives. Their cowardice disgusted the spirits so that they took in San to raise as their own. San grows up to be one of the spirits' fiercest warriors against the encroachment of human settlements. Eventually, she meets Ashitaka, whom as an Emishi facing the encroachment of the Yamato has some understanding what the spirits are going through, and forms a difficult but sincere friendship with him.

    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 Queen (later retitled to Lorna, The Jungle Girl. Lorna's father loses his leg to a lion and later dies. Lorna, having nowhere else to go, chooses to train with her African friend M'Tuba and stays within the forest to defend her people (animals and humans).
    • 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.
    • 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, manifests a skull face when using them, and exhibits a sadistically vengeful personality, which combine 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.
  • Parodied in Tales Designed to Thrizzle with Jungle Princess, who wears the usual leopard-skin bikini but also a hennin.
  • In Maelstrom Media's Prymal Jungle Warrior, the titular heroine is princess of the lost kingdom of Atlantea, hidden somewhere near the Rio Negro in Brazil. She spends much of her time trying to protect the jungle from looters.

    Fan Works 
  • Vow of Nudity: Haara, a reclusive warrior monk who lives alone and naked in the wilderness, showcases many elements of this archetype within her characterization. The other half of her background (an escaped slave from the Genasi Empire) averts some of the Fridge Logic usually present within this trope, justifying her familiarity with most scavenged tools, cultured grasp of language, and lack of body hair.
  • Wild Child AU features Madison Russell as a downplayed version of this. After being rescued from San Francisco by Godzilla following the battle with the MUTOs and taken to his island, she tends to dress in clothing Godzilla ‘stole’ for her rather than making her own attire, but she is respected by the other titans as Godzilla’s ‘pup’, making her essentially their princess if Godzilla is the Titans’ king.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Ape Woman series.
    • Captive Wild Woman: The Ape Woman started life as an exceptionally intelligent gorilla, Cheela, from the Belgian Congo. Brought over to the United States, she is turned into a human, Paula Dupree, by means of human hormone and cerebrum transplants. While she doesn't ever return home, she has an approximation of the jungle in the Whipple Circus, where she gets employed for the lion taming act once it's discovered that she has an eerie control over animals, whom she can gaze into submission. As a gorilla with no human past or education, she is incapable of human speech, but she does understand it. Her love interest is the American Fred Mason, for whose safety she ends up sacrificing herself.
    • Jungle Woman: The possibility is brought up that the gorilla Cheela actually started life as a human and was turned into a gorilla by an undisclosed scientific experiment. All the same, even as the human Paula Dupree she has the strength of a gorilla. In human form, she is a skilled swimmer and over time has picked up some capacity for human speech. Her playground this time around is the Crestview Sanatorium, which grounds contain a lot of vegetation. With Fred no longer in the picture, Paula's romantic interest shifts to the American Bob Whitney, who does not return her feelings.
    • Jungle Captive: The Ape Woman is brought back to life with science and soon after given a new hormone donation to bring back her human self Paula Dupree. However, as a human she's not all there anymore due to damage to her human cerebrum. She's killed before she receives a new one (or her old one heals).
  • In Blonde Savage: An expedition into the deep jungle discovers a native tribe led by a tall white blonde woman.
  • George of the Jungle: Ursula Stanhope becomes this at the end of the movie after she marries George.
  • Gator Bait: Claudia Jennings, just switch the jungle for the Louisiana bayou.
  • Josephine Baker played this part in many of her stage performances and subsequent films.
  • Jungle Girl: Nyoka the Jungle Girl.
  • Jungle Goddess, which was given the MST3K treatment.
  • In Liane, Jungle Goddess, researchers in the African jungle find a young white woman living with a tribe, that adores her as goddess. She is Liane, the long lost daughter of the rich shipowner Amelongen.
  • The Mighty Peking Man: A particularly dim-witted version who was constantly on the verge of a nip slip.
  • Shandra: The Jungle Girl is a rare case of jungle princess as antagonist, with the heroes initially setting out to capture.
  • Sheena: Tanya Roberts made a pretty good jungle princess.
  • The Tiger Woman, a 1944 Republic film serial, later edited into the feature ''Jungle Gold''.
  • 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.
  • Who's That Girl?: There's one of these in the artificial jungle.
  • Yor: The Hunter from the Future: A desert version with Roah, a blonde woman who was raised by a clan of mummy-like creatures, who revere her as a goddess. Or something. It's kind of hard to tell what's going on in this movie.

  • 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. Rima, the female lead, 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". The novel was made into a film starring Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins in 1959.
  • 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.
  • In Tarzan and the Lion Man (1933), Tarzan meets Balza, who lives with a group of English-speaking gorillas. One year later, she's Hollywood royalty.
  • 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 Jasmine and Lief are interested in each other romantically, and get married at the end of the third series.
  • 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.
  • Helene Vaughn of the Ki-Gor tales in the Jungle Stories pulp magazines becomes this after leaving civilization behind to stay with him in the jungle.

    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: Jill is the leotard-wearing blonde heroine of the series. She climbs vines, throws knives, and eventually saves and marries a prince.
  • 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, the Bestial Huntress, from League of Legends is a mysterious human/cougar woman who one day was discovered in the jungles of Ixtal, eventually growing up as the territorial leader of a pack of native, implicitly magical cougars.
  • 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.
  • In Star Sweep, Princess Rio lives in a jungle and has tanned skin to match.
  • Cookie Run has Tiger Lilly Cookie, a mysterious cookie with floor-length hair, a tiger, and limited language skills. She's a formidable warrior with her spear and often rides her tiger into battle. She's also a literal princess, being the long lost twin of Princess Cookie and granddaughter of Hollyberry Cookie.
  • Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire had Aiela, princess of the Kurak tribe, from the Valley of Eodon,. Aiela is the bronze-skinned jungle beauty that haunts the Avatar's dreams, the same guy who underwent an epic quest to represent the 8 Virtues. Aiela is supposed to be the Avatar's designated romance partner and even joins your party, but you can opt for a different princess - Aiela's younger adopted and pyromaniac sister Tristia.


    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Jungle Girl


Candace (or Candar) Flynn

Candace really has embraced Africa - and how!

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / JunglePrincess

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