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Male Might, Female Finesse

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"Might and Finesse have been passed down the Armstrong family line for generations!"

In fiction, male-female fighting pairs tend to have the guys dealing damage from close range while the girls stay out of the front lines and dish out damage from long range either as an archer or a mage (or both) or heal up the guy doing all the fighting.

Male Might, Female Finesse is basically Force and Finesse combined with stereotypical gender roles. It describes a foil where a physically powerful male character is paired with a Waif-Fu wielding Action Girl as an Action Duo.

This portrayal and dynamic exists because of the Mars and Venus Gender Contrast; stereotypical men are strong and durable while stereotypical women are agile and flexible, and it's rare for them to mix both attributes. This sometimes extends to their temperaments; men would be either boisterous or stiff while women would be more cheerful, open-minded, or sultry (though as they're Action Girl they're definitely never "fragile girls"). Of course, expect inversions every once in a while. For their fighting style, expect the man to be brawling with brute force while the female to be agile and graceful, with the woman tending to exercise She-Fu and/or Waif-Fu.

A Sub-Trope to Men Are Tough and Women Are Delicate. May be part of a Battle Couple, but not always. Can be justified if Huge Guy, Tiny Girl is in play.

Compare Guys Smash, Girls Shoot for another way the gender roles play in fighting.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, Annie spars with Eren, beating him quite soundly using sweeps and throws. She explains that because he's stronger than she is, she can't hope to win in a straight-up brawl, so instead she turns his own strength against him. He remembers this lesson later when he's up against the Armored Titan.
  • Berserk: Guts and Casca are a clear example of this. Where Casca in her swordplay focuses on her agility and finesse, targeting opponents' joints and using their weight and momentum against them; Guts in contrast utilizes his raw strength along with his BFS to cleave foes apart. Given they are a Lightning Bruiser and Fragile Speedster respectively, it's to be expected.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba:
    • Shinobu is this compared to other Hashira like Tomioka, Uzui, Rengoku, Himejima and Shinazugawa. She absolutely doesn't possess their physical might so she focuses on speed, skill and using her poisoned katana to end fights effectively. Played with regarding the other Hashira such as Kanroji, whom despite being a Girly Girl has overt Super-Strength which she makes good use of, whilst Iguro and Tokito in comparison use their speed, skill and precision far more than their strength.
    • Inverted with Tanjiro and Nezuko as well as Nezuko and Zenitsu her future husband. While Tanjiro and especially Zenitsu use precise and skilled sword strikes in battle, Nezuko by contrast just uses her immense demon strength to brutally overwhelm opponents with powerful kicks and punches.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Comparatively Goku and his wife Chi-Chi's fighting styles are this. While Goku tends to go for traditional heavy and powerful punches, kicks and head butts with his even more intricate attacks being centred around strength, Chi-Chi (as seen in her fights) uses mantis-style kung-fu jabs and strikes along with kicks and unlike her husband rarely punches.
    • In general, the female Z-Fighters like Android 18 and Videl don't tend to go for brute strength like the boys and more frequently use acrobatic and effective blows or in 18's case ki blasts. For example in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero 18 focuses on targeting Cell Max's weak point with ki, rather than just trying to slug it out with the kaiju bio-android like Gohan, Piccolo and Gotenks do for most of the battle.
    • Inverted with Universe 6 Saiyans, while a male like Cabba is a Fragile Speedster who fights with quick punches and ki blasts, the females like Caulifa and Kale even more so fight with the usual Saiyan raw strength and power. Considering the brutal fighting style of Universe 7's Fasha, this is on-brand for female Saiyans.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alex Louis and Olivier Mira Armstrong are usually depicted fighting with his fists and her sword respectively. Olivier is a Badass Normal who can wipe the floor with those using superhuman powers and alchemy with nothing but raw martial prowess, while Alex supplements his skill with alchemy and his sculpted physique. The typical personality traits for the two are reversed gender-wise though, as the male Alex is boisterous, affectionate and childish compared to the cold, collected and harsher demeanor of the sister Olivier.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple:
    • Kenichi and Miu have this dynamic. Kenichi is mostly an all-arounder with a speciality in durability and Stamina while being able to strike back with powerful blows. Miu, meanwhile, is far mor geared toward speed, agility, flexibility and finesse, all of which are top class among disciples, with her durability and stamina being her lower points. Granted, her strikes still do exceptional damage, but this is moreso due to her striking skills, precision muscle control and the sheer number of attacks she can pull per second, rather than pure muscle mass (her's being even smaller than Kenichi's in the earliest stages of his training, and he buffs up a *lot* throughout the series).
    • Highlighted in the first episode of the OVA where Kenichi and Miu have to fight a pair of disciples mirroring them, one being a heavily muscular guy and the other being a much smaller but faster and more agile girl. Note that the fight is not present in the manga.
    • Compared to the tall and muscular male masters of Ryozanpaku (with the exception of the small and old Kensei Ma), the lone female master of the dojo, Shigure, is much smaller and relies more on her weapon expertise than anything else.
    • The only 2 girls of Ragnarok, Valkyrie and Freya, rely on kicking skills and Bo staff mastery respectively as opposed to other members of the group like Mighty Glacier Thor and Lightning Bruiser Berserker.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Although both Combat Pragmatists, Joseph and his mother Lisa Lisa from Battle Tendency exemplify this in their fighting styles. Joseph has powerful and heavy Hamon punches and attacks, Lisa Lisa fights mainly using her Hamon-infused scarf and agility (though one flashback shows her doing a traditional Hamon strike to destroy her husband's vampire killer).
    • Jotaro and his daughter Jolyne (the protagonist of Stone Ocean)'s respective Stands: Star Platinum and Stone Free. Star Platinum is all about raw power and Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs as a Lightning Bruiser, Stone Free, though still pretty damn strong in its own right, is more about problem solving and precision than fighting, with its string powers being a Swiss-Army Superpower.
    • Inverted with Trish in Golden Wind as compared to the Stands of other members of Bucciarati's gang like Mista, Fugo and Narancia, she has an overtly strength-based Stand, Spice Girl, which she uses to break off the front of a plane.
  • Yoshimori and Tokine from Kekkaishi. Yoshimori possesses a much greater raw power to build large kekkais, but it lacks precision and form. Tokine lacks Yoshimori's sheer force but has more skill and accuracy in forming the barriers.
  • My Hero Academia: The fighting styles and Quirk usage of the girls: Momo, Toru, Mina, and Jiro isn't centered around incredible power and strength like a lot of the male peers (e.g Midoriya, Bakugo, Shoto, Kirishima etc) but more skill and precision. Ochako and Tsuyu are notable exceptions brawling opponents like the most of the boys. Worth noting there's plenty of males in the class like Kaminari, Yuga or Mineta that have non-strength based Quirks too.
  • Naruto:
    • Inverted with Sakura and Sasuke, the former primarily uses powerful Super-Strength blows while the latter uses his grab bag of more precise justus (e.g the Great Fireball Technique and Chidori) Sharingan powers and speed. Played straight with Naruto and Hinata, while the former has immense strength and Chakra power, the latter has the Gentle-Fist style which is about precision and finesse.
    • Rock Lee and Tenten are also straight examples, Lee is all about strength and overwheming foes with punching and kicking while Tenten's fightning style is all about summoning weapons and using them skillfully. Neji is a combo-breaker in the trio as his Gentle Fist style like Hinta is more about precision.
    • Also inverted with Tsunade and other other two Legendary Sannin Jiraiya and Orochimaru. Tsunade fights mainly with her colossal strength whereas Jiraiya and Orochimaru more commonly use their precise jutsus and summons rather than outright brawling. Fair to note Jiraiya is still pretty damn strong himself (punching a giant ram off a skyscraper), even if his aforementioned old teammate crushes and overshadows him in regard to strength.
  • One Piece: The Straw Hats have a lot of this going on. While Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, Franky, Chopper and Jinbe have immense strength (the first three in particular) and are all primarily melee fighters; Robin and Nami by contrast prefer to fight from a distance, focus on using precise and effective attacks and aren't as scappy (Vivi also counts with her Peacock Slashers). Robin does avert this in Wano arc though, with her Demonio fleur Super Mode giving her a great physical strength boost. Usopp (a sniper) and Brook (a fencer) invert this, especially Brook with his elusive and precise Fragile Speedster swordplay.
  • Ranma ½: The two cases of boys who turn into girls thanks to the Jusenkyo Spring called the Nyanniichuan let individuals fill this trope.
    • Whether Ranma Saotome fits the trope is... questionable. The manga never overtly says anything about Ranma's forms affecting his strength vs. his speed, and both forms demonstrably possess Super-Strength and Super-Speed. However, in the manga, when Ranma is dueling his last male romantic rival Mousse for the first time, it's discovered that Ranma's smaller female form has less reach, and Ranma is forced to use a one-time cure for his Shapeshifter Mode Lock to resume his male form so he can win. In the anime, whilst Ranma does initially run into that same problem, he ultimately beats Mousse without needing to resume male form... however, it's stated at least twice, in a filler episode and an OAV, that Ranma's female form gains speed but loses strength compared to his male form.
    • During his battle with Herb of the Musk Dynasty, Herb, who is initially locked into a female form, uses a form of Ki Attack that has Ranma baffled, until Herb manages to turn back to male and uses the same attack, at which point Ranma can see what's happening. Herb's female form had done it so blinding fast Ranma couldn't make heads or tails of it.
  • Inverted in Spy X Family: Loid Forger/Twilight is a Master of Disguise spy who is considered The Ace in his organization, and he prefers using stealth, disguises and manipulation to finish missions, altough he's by no means unskilled in close quarter combat. Yor Briar, meanwhile, is a assassin who fights extremely up close and personal (the closest thing she has to ranged weapons is throwing her needles) and whose preferred method to an assassination is to blitz through all enemies and overwhelm them; she is also comically strong to the point it's actually a problem: she accidentally cuts through a wooden cutting board alongside the vegetables on top, can throw dodgeballs with such strength that they knock down trees, and hitting a ball with a tennis racket at full strength causes the ball it crumble in perfectly square cubes.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Tim Drake and Cassandra Cain are presented like this often, though Cass often tends to just make the other person look like a brawler in comparison with all her super fancy martial arts skills.
  • Captain America: Bucky Barnes and Black Widow had this dynamic as a Battle Couple. Bucky had a cybernetic arm and used guns and his shield whereas Natasha was an acrobatic fighter with a Super Wrist-Gadget.
  • Cloak and Dagger: The titular duo is composed of Cloak, a Mighty Glacier type hero paired with Dagger, a Fragile Speedster type with She-Fu. Cloak enfolds villains and mooks in the darkness of his cloak, wherein they come face-to-face with their own wickedness. Baddies emerge quivering, terrified wrecks. Dagger is an angelic young woman who has had ballet and dance lessons and can fling "light-knives" that can cause villainous BSOD, or "cure" substance addiction.
  • Daredevil: A one-shot story by Jim Starlin saw Daredevil and Black Widow go up against a serial killer named Rose and her brutish sidekick named Charlie. Rose was a telepath who could mind control people and used knives for torture and killing while Charlie was large brute who attacked Matt with an axe and had solid muscle beneath his portly-looking physique. Matt and Natasha could also be argued to have this dynamic as well with Matt being a martial artist who incorporates boxing into his fighting style while Natasha is a Russian spy and Femme Fatale whose signature weapon is her "Widow's Bite" and is trained in ballet.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • Originally all the male members of the team had powers that were geared towards direct combat - elasticity, pyrokinesis and Super-Strength. By contrast, Sue originally only had the power to turn invisible. She later acquired the power to create a form of matter that she could shape any way she desired and her invisibility powers were expanded into turning other people and objects invisible as well. She easily has the most versatile power set of the FF while the men are largely geared towards brute force in comparison.
    • Galactus is a world-devouring Mighty Glacier, largely impervious to mundane weapons. However, populated worlds can be problematic, so Galactus for a time had a herald called Nova, a superheroine given the powers of blistering flames and limitless flight. Nova arrives first, informs the populace that "time's up," burns off their puny resistance, and then Galactus comes and finishes off their whole planet.
  • Hawk and Dove: The '90s version of the team featured a male Hawk whose strategy usually consisted of wading in and punching his opponent as hard as possible, and a female Dove who was weaker but more agile and much more subtle in her strategy.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Strangely enough, The Hulk and his cousin She-Hulk are presented like this as well as Hulk and Red She-Hulk when they are a Battle Couple. Even though Jen and Betty also have massive Super-Strength as Hulks, when paired with Bruce, most comics instead focus on their finesse in light of their smaller frames compared to him. Immortal Hulk doubles down on this with Hulk and Red Harpy, Bruce fights with his usual smash smash style while Betty makes good use of her wings and talons.
  • Invincible: The titular hero and Atom Eve his Action Girlfriend turned wife are a clear cut example of this. Mark is a pure Flying Brick who uses his vast strength and durability to overwhelm or outlast opponents, Eve by comparison has a Light 'em Up Imagination-Based Superpower which is incredibly versatile and Green Lantern-level precise with Hard Light. When working together they effectively make up for each other's weaknesses (Mark's lack of projectiles and fancy powers and Eve's lack of physical strength and toughness).
  • Justice League of America: Superman and Wonder Woman when they team up. Both are very powerful flying bricks. However, Superman is a mostly self-taught fighter with little to no formal training and is often shown to have an edge in strength over Wonder Woman. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is a Lady of War who has been taught armed and unarmed combat since she was a child and fights either with her iconic magical Lasso of Truth or atom-shaving sword. It was also once stated that Diana is faster than Clark though is mostly an Informed Ability.
  • The Mighty Thor: Thor and Lady Sif his off-and-on-again Action Girlfriend/amicable ex are frequently presented in this dynamic. Though both are highly skilled warriors with general divine strength, Thor of course has the massive edge in strength and power being a Flying Brick, whereas Sif is a versatile Lady of War swordswoman with great speed and agility.
  • New Gods: Big Barda and Mister Miracle are a rare inversion. Mister Miracle is quick, sneaky, acrobatic, and rarely even fights. Barda is a superstrong, trained warrior with little use for subtlety.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Man and Black Cat. Spidey is a Lightning Bruiser (albeit not on the same level as Hulk or Thor) with little formal training while Black Cat Depending on the Writer is a Badass Normal thief who relies on her martial arts, acrobatics, stealth, and sex appeal or has the ability to affect probability.
    • Cindy Moon aka Silk was bitten by the same spider that granted Peter Parker his powers. When Peter first encountered her, he observed that she was faster than him but not as strong.
  • Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.: The duo of Stargirl (AKA Courtney Whitmore) and S.T.R.I.P.E. (Pat Dugan) from DC comics have this dynamic. The former relies on a combination of speed and agility (along with her Cosmic staff to shoot) while the latter fights using Powered Armor that gives him greater strength to make for its slower speed. Stargirl and Atom Smasher also count as this as well whenever they are a Battle Couple.
  • Quasar: Inverted with Wendell Vaughn and his female successor Phyla-Vell. Both possessed the Quantum Bands which were basically the Marvel Universe's answer to the Green Lantern power ring but their approach to using these weapons was very different. While Wendell was versatile and creative with his constructs, Phyla's use was mostly limited to energy blasts and forming swords. This was a reflection of their backgrounds and personalities - Wendell was a S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy graduate who was deemed unfit for fieldwork due to his refusal to use lethal force and he followed a standard operating procedure of "contain, drain and attack". Phyla by contrast was a trained Kree soldier who had no problems with lethal force but lacked Wendell's versatility and imagination.
  • Teen Titans:
    • The Battle Couple of Malcolm Duncan (Herald/Vox/Herald) and Karen Beecher (Bumblebee). Mal is a martial artist with sonic powers while Karen has the ability to shrink.
    • Inverted with the Nightwing and Starfire and Speedy and Donna Troy pairings, said girls are Flying Bricks while said guys are Badass Normals who rely on gadgets and agility.
  • X-Men:
    • Inverted with Gambit and Rogue when they are paired as Battle Couple. Gambit tends to be quick and elusive in combat, flinging kinetic energy at adversaries, while Rogue is a melee scrapper, able to absorb the traits and powers of those she contacts.
    • Wolverine's fighting style compared to Jean Grey is far more melee-focused and savage compared to her more graceful and varied Psychic Powers. The same applies to Wolvie and Storm as well as Wolverine and his Opposite-Sex Clone X-23, who thanks to having blades in her feet has a lot more precise strikes and general finesse compared to her clone dad.
    • Colossus, the Husky Russkie with metallic skin, is often paired with Kitty Pryde, an Intangible Woman who has trained in ninja skills. He's also paired with his sister Illyana, who's got a Cool Sword, magic and teleporting discs compared to his good old fashioned brute strength.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Friday Night Funkin' mod Mid-Fight Masses, this is represented in the respective musical styles of the two main opponents, Sarv and Ruv. Although both have a tendency to spam strings of notes, Sarv plays it off more elegantly with a sweet airy synth-like voice, while Ruv doesn't hold any punches and literally belts out notes in a voice so powerful it shakes the foundation of the church.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku has this relationship with both Pyrrha and Weiss. Izuku is a pugilist who initially makes up for his lack of experience with the incredible power of his Semblance. His Semblance provides nothing but brute force and speed and can't be directly used to bolster others. On the other hand, Pyrrha's and Weiss' Semblances can each manipulate the battlefield to their advantage and have a wide array of applications. Pyrrha is a Multi-Melee Master who uses her Semblance to give herself the illusion of inhuman grace and precision, while Weiss is a Dance Battler who wields a Royal Rapier who has a variety of supportive and attacking abilities with her use of Dust and her Glyphs. While both of them are better fighters than him at the start of the story, they lack the firepower to bring down a Giant Nevermore, which Izuku ends up doing in one punch.
  • Vow of Nudity: Haara the monk and Walburt the barbarian assume this dynamic while teaming up in The Lake of Fire.
  • RWBY fanfiction Wise as an Old Qrow: The Branwen twins Qrow and Raven are an inversion in their Signal Academy days. Qrow has a graceful fighting style which involves baiting and dodging while wearing his opponent down. Raven by contrast charges straight in with sheer, unrelenting brutality and aggression, screaming like an Ursa.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Incredibles: The super-strong Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is married to the super-stretchy Helen Parr (Elastigirl). Most notably seen when each is trying to infiltrate Nomanisan Island, Bob tends to power his way through obstacles and foes, while Helen relies on her elasticity to avoid detection and fit into places normal people could never get into. This is further elaborated upon in Incredibles 2, where Winston Deavor decides that Elastigirl's finesse is a better fit than Mr. Incredible's bluntness for his plan to improve the public perception of supers.
  • In Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse while Miles’ fighting style is largely brute force, Gwen has highly elegant and graceful She-Fu being far more acrobatic than both Miles and Peter B. Parker despite not showcasing the latter’s massive feats of strength (Peter B. is Stronger with Age). Justified as in the snippets of her life we see Gwen is a practiced ballerina in addition to being a drummer.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Cutting Edge: Male ice hockey player (a more brute-force sport) Doug is initially at odds with, and later falls in love with, female figure skater (a sport more focused on aesthetics) Kate.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Superman and General Zod are super-strong heavy hitters, while their female allies Wonder Woman and Faora use speed and precision to get the job done. Somewhat downplayed as Wonder Woman and Faora themselves also demonstrate immense strength; the gender difference is more oriented towards speed versus agility.
    • Suicide Squad (2016) offers a more traditional example with the villainous Brother–Sister Team of Enchantress and Incubus. Enchantress is a highly adept magic-user whose fighting style when she is forced to engage in melee combat consists primarily of teleporting around the room and keeping her enemies off-balance with quick strikes. While Incubus does possess some magical ability, he's a giant monster more than twice the size of a normal human who relies mostly on brute strength to act as the muscle backing up Enchantress.
  • Inverted in Godzilla with the MUTOs: the male is an agile Giant Flyer, while the female is larger, land-based, and relatively slower-moving (which is also Truth in Television for many insect species that inspired these creatures).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Shield Bash happy Super-Soldier Cap is paired with the acrobatic spy Black Widow.
    • In the Thor films Thor’s Lightning Bruiser style is paired with Sif and Valkyrie’s Lady of War weapon-fused fighting styles. Downplayed with Jane Foster Thor, she’s portrayed as a match for him in strength, though she has a few more intricate attacks than Thor, due to Mjölnir which she wields being fractured.
    • The Bash Brothers duo of Gilgamesh (male) and Thena (female) in Eternals. When they fight together, the hulking Gilgamesh's boxing-esque, fist-based fighting style contrasts with Thena's acrobatic flips, mastery of multiple weapons, and well-placed strikes.
  • In Pacific Rim, Hong Kong is attacked by a pair of Kaiju, the massive, hulking brawler Leatherback, and Otachi, a more slender creature with faster attacks, and the ability to fly. Otachi is shown to be female when it turns out she's pregnant.
  • Played straight in Watchmen when Nite Owl and Silk Spectre team up. The former is a heavy-hitting melee bruiser, while the latter employs Waif-Fu.

  • Inverted in the Urban Fantasy Pax Arcana series by Elliott James. Werewolf protagonist John is relatively weak by supernatural standards but blindingly fast, while his Valkyrie partner and love interest Sig Norresdottir is significantly stronger but also slower and fights with more brute force.
  • The Star Wars Legends novel Darth Bane: Rule of Two has the Sith Lord Bane instruct his apprentice Darth Zannah in a different form of lightsaber combat than himself, explaining that her smaller size, weaker musculature, and lack of nigh-indestructible orbalisk armor means she can't effectively use his Attack! Attack! Attack! variant of Form V: Djem So. He instead teaches her to use a double-bladed saber and Form III: Soresu, which she initially dislikes because the defensive style is more typically associated with the Jedi.
    • Inverted in the Novelization of Rogue One regarding Jyn Erso and Chirrut Imwe during one of Jyn's interior monologues. While watching Chirrut fight about a dozen Stormtroopers, she reflects on how she puts all her weight into her attacks, while he fights with all the grace of a Jedi.
  • Black Man (aka Thirteen). Variant 13's are genetically-engineered Alpha Males created as Super Soldiers, but they suffer from excessive Testosterone Poisoning. The protagonist encounters a female Variant 13, intended to avert the harmful aspects.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of The Six Million Dollar Man is "The Secret of Bigfoot", which has The Hero Steve Austin encounter a band of aliens living in a secluded woodland. They have a huge android called Sasquatch, whose strength keeps Colonel Austin in check. Sasquatch's chief controller is Shalon, an alien humanoid female with a device on her Utility Belt that allows her to warp time around herself, an effect that mimics teleportation. Only Steve's bionic eye can track Shalon in this accelerated mode.
  • Black Lightning (2018): Inverted with Jefferson and his daughter Anissa aka Thunder. Jefferson fights with Shock and Awe while Anissa has super strength and toughness.
  • Inverted in WandaVision, keeping up the tradition of the aforementioned Avengers: Endgame. Wanda Maximoff is the powerhouse in her relationship with The Vision, the one seemingly responsible for what is happening in Westview and later revealed to have caused it through a combination of her grief and her enormous magical power, and while Vision is no slouch as a physical fighter either, he is the more intellectual of the pair and the one who is trying to figure out what is happening. The final battle between Wanda and Agatha Harkness is a classic superhero slugfest, while the concurrent battle between Vision and White Vision/Cataract isn't settled through violence, but through a debate about the Ship of Theseus and the nature of their respective identities.

    Video Games 
  • Blade Strangers: Comparatively, Quote’s gameplay is about brutal up close Gun Kata Sword and Gun combos whilst Curly’s game is about zoning and keep away with More Dakka attacks with her guns.
  • Elden Ring has the graceful, katana-wielding Malenia as the female finesse and her double greatsword-wielding, half-brother Radahn as the male might.
    • Played straight in Giant Fist where Zophy, Wolf and Power King are all muscle-bound close-ranged power-houses, though Power King has plenty of ranged attacks to round out his strengths. Blackberry and Coma instead really primarily on magic or acrobatic combat.
    • Inverted in Star Resistance, where the male fighters are all long-ranged combatants, and it's the female characters Walhalla and Waldiola who are close ranged melee combatants with sword swings as their primary attack.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy II Maria is the graceful archer with the highest agility while Firion and Guy are the high HP and stamina heavy hitters with melee weapons.
    • Final Fantasy IV: Rosa and Rydia have low physical stats compared to the boys (especially Cecil, Kain, Yang and Cid) but have a grab bag of magical attacks and powerful summons in the latter case.
    • Final Fantasy VI: Sabin compared to the graceful Magic Knight girls Terra and Celes is might incarnate with his gameplay centred around strength and “Blitz” combos, yet Terra and Celes are beefier combat-wise compared to Locke the agile and fragile thief. Played straight with the kids, Wild Child Gau is The Berserker while Relm is Squishy Wizard.
    • Zigzagged in Final Fantasy VII. The BFS wielding Cloud compared to Aerith or Yuffie the graceful mage and speedy thief of the party respectively is strength-focused in regard to his stats and generally has some of the most devastating Limit Breaks, yet Tifa has such immense Super-Strength that Cloud in comparison to her is more precise and intricate not to mention being the best at magic behind Aerith and Vincent. Tifa is also more about physical might than most of the males in the party such as Barret, Red XIII, Cait Sith and Vincent who are projectile focused (Cid Highwind the being the exception, being a mighty melee fighter like Cloud with his spear fighting Dragoon attacks).
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake plays this straighter and splits it down the middle concerning the four playable party members. Cloud and Barret have powerhouse toughness with their stats letting them muscle through most regular enemies with Barret being a Mighty Glacier and Cloud a Lightning Bruiser, whilst Tifa and Aerith being a Glass Cannon and Squishy Wizard respectively tend have comparatively more layered gameplay that requires timing and zoning which can be Difficult, but Awesome. That being said, Tifa can be upgraded to be more of a speedy tank like Cloud if you put the effort in. Similarly in Yuffie’s Intergrade DLC Canon Foreigner and staff fighter Sonon is more of a muscle tank that draws attacks away from Yuffie, who’s traditionally an agile Fragile Speedster.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Comparatively Squall and Zell’s gameplay is about dealing massive DSP with incredible strength whilst Selphie and Quistis (a Blue Mage)’s abilities are more intricate and situational but highly effective when pulled off correctly.
    • Final Fantasy IX: Adelbert and Amarant are heavy hitting tanks compared to the more delicate but very effective Garnet and Eiko. Then again The Hero Zidane for once isn’t a strength-based warrior, rather an average stats thief whose bread and butter is finesse.
    • Final Fantasy X: Auron, Kimhari, Tidus and Wakka have devastating physical attacks (especially the former two) while the girls Lulu, Yuna and Rikku in juxtaposition are more magic/summon/skill focused. Although Lulu can made extremely durable and Yuna extremely hard hitting if you’re feeling generous on the Sphere Grid.
  • Fire Emblem likes this trope a lot. Comparing the three lords of The Blazing Blade, Lyndis is a Fragile Speedster, Hector is a Mighty Glacier and Eliwood is somewhere in the middle. In The Sacred Stones, the female lord Eirika is quick but frail, while her brother Ephraim is a bit slower and much stronger and sturdier. Across the series, Pegasus Knights, a class with some of the best mobility in the game but poor defense, are almost exclusively female. On the flip side, slow, tough and mighty Armor Knights are usually men, and in some games all Armor Knights are male.
  • In Rise of the Kasai, male playable character Rau uses sheer might in battle while the female playable character Tati uses quick reflexes and flipping around.
  • Batman: Arkham City. Batman tends to use heavy punches and kicks while Catwoman flips around and cartwheels.
  • Zaalbar (a Mighty Glacier wookie) and Mission (a stealthy rogue girl) in Knights of the Old Republic.
  • Any party of a Marauder or a Templar (Strength-based male characters) and a Ranger (pure Dexterity-based female character) in Path of Exile.
  • Half-Life 2's Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance. The audio commentary for the first expansion/episode says that the reason Alyx can jump and climb better than the player is that she's more athletic while Gordon's more heavily built (and wearing Powered Armor, of course).
  • Hollow Knight has bosses examples of this trope with both Mantis tribes, but their respective leaders illustrate it the most: while the Mantis Lords / Sisters of Battle abuse Flash Steps to combo you, the Traitor Lord is slower and bulkier, prefers to corner you in a small arena, and inflicts double damage.
  • Mortal Kombat
    • The Lin Kuei assassins Sub-Zero and Frost
    • The Shokan warriors Goro, Kintaro, and Sheeva
    • Super Soldiers Jax Briggs and Sonya Blade, though Jax can become a Lightning Bruiser in Mortal Kombat 3 due to that game's Run feature.
    • Mortal Kombat X:
      • Inverted with the four-person team in the next generation of fighters introduced here. The team's two female members, Cassie Cage and Jacqui Briggs (the daughters of the aforementioned Sonya and Jax respectively), are the more physical brawlers while their two male teammates, Takeda (a ninja personally trained by Scorpion) and Kung Jin (the successor of Liu Kang and Kung Lao as a Shaolin martial artist), rely more on speed and skill.
      • This is the concept behind Ferra/Torr, two characters that fight as one. Ferra is small and fast, and Torr is huge and powerful.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Garrus tells the story of a female colleague, with whom he once resolved his differences in a sparring: the fight went undecided because he "had reach, she had flexibility". Afterwards, they had a "rematch"... in bed, and it must have been good, since he reiterates that "he had reach, she had flexibility".
  • Resident Evil seems to run on these rules when it comes to the melee styles of the cast (as especially seen in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D). Chris is a Good Old Fisticuffs powerhouse compared to the Waif-Fu Kick Chick combat of Jill or Sheva. Likewise Billy and later Jake are very much muscle compared to their respective female partners Rebecca and Sherry who are tool/agility focused (Jake in particular being a melee combo Lightning Bruiser). Most blatantly in Resident Evil 3 (Remake) Jill’s special move is a skilful evade while Carlos’ special move is more simply a fuck-off Megaton Punch. Leon is the trend breaker as his melee is about Bruce Lee-esque finesse with kicks and grabs whilst two of his female partners Claire and Helena’s melee moves are more scrappy with brawler punches. Although Leon is still more strength-based with his suplexes, compared to Ada a pure Dance Battler with acrobatics like Jill. Revelations 2 plays this straighter, making Claire a Kick Chick compared to Barry who just punches the shit out of biohazards like Chris.
  • Princess Leia being the only female character in Star Wars Chess falls into the finesse role teetering on Fragile Speedster, most of her victories involve her outmaneuvering her opponent and even in her defeat animations she shows superior footwork to her much stronger male opponents before they make contact with her once and end her.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Ryu and his pupil/fangirl Sakura Kasugano.
    • Street Fighter plays with this a lot, actually. While there is plenty of variety among male fighters, nearly everyone who fits the Mighty Glacier archetype is a big, burly dude. Zangief, Hugo, T. Hawk, and Alex are all huge grapplers who can tank lots of damage and hit hard but have slow foot speed. Mika, the first female grappler of the series, is notably much more frail and quicker than her male wrestling peers. The trend is broken in Street Fighter 6 with Marisa, who actually fits the Mighty Glacier archetype, and is a big, burly woman.
    • Also, around half of the female cast is defined by either speed or acrobatic ability. Chun Li, Cammy, and Ibuki are all Fragile Speedster acrobats of one stripe or another, though Cammy occasionally fills more of a melee-focused Lightning Bruiser role. Makoto is a peculiar example in that while her walking speed is awful and she hits hard, she attacks fast and lacks defense, straddling the line between Speedster and Glass Cannon.
    • When it comes to Ninjas all of them are speed oriented but the males, Guy and Zeku, are Lightning Bruisers and the only female, Ibuki, is the game's defining Fragile Speedster. Her attacks individually do less damage than theirs but she strings hits more quickly than most of the rest of the cast.
  • Tekken:
    • Kazuya Mishima and his son Jin Kazama are unstoppable Lightning Bruisers who can transform into One Winged Angels, while their respective Love Interests Jun Kazama and Ling Xiaoyu rely on Waif-Fu to deliver the beatdown.
    • In Tekken 7, Kazumi Mishima in her base form is the Finesse to her husband Heihachi's Force, but once she turns One-Winged Angel, she now becomes the Force to Heihachi's Finesse.
    • This is the main difference between the main two practitioners of Good Old Fisticuffs, Lili and Miguel. Lili's "Street Fighting" incorporates a lot of acrobatics and ballet, whereas Miguel's "Untrained Brawling" is the kind of straightforward "pummel the enemy into mush with no finesse" you expect from a more traditional Street Brawler.
  • Speaking of Street Fighter X Tekken, this is more notable with official teams that involve one male and one female. In all cases the male character has more health than his female ally to emphasize this.
  • In Trine, we have Pontius the Mighty Glacier guy and Zoya the agile, sneaky thief woman.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Devil May Cry 2: Co-protagonists Dante and Lucia; the former's style of swordplay features strong (if not somewhat slow) attacks while the latter is less powerful than Dante but is quicker and more agile than him. Trish, however, is a "female might" inversion by virtue of being based on Dante's playstyle from the first game.
    • Played with in Devil May Cry 4 with the guys and the girls, Dante and Nero compared to Lady are more strength based with powerful blows and combos compared to her agile area control gun and missile gameplay. Yet Trish is flips this around with her gameplay style being largely straightforward brute force compared to the more intricate and precise combat of Vergil or Dante.
    • DmC: Devil May Cry: Dante is the son of a female angel and a male demon and has inherited the powers of both. His angelic powers are weak but hit fast, while his demonic powers are slow but devastating.
  • Awesomenauts plays with this: the male characters run the gamut in terms of capabilities, but the four females currently on the roster are all balanced toward speed.
  • Eddie and Ophelia in Brütal Legend: he sports a ridiculous Heroic Build and fights with a giant double axe, while she is a petite girl who dual-wields daggers and relies on evasive moves. Also an example of Huge Guy, Tiny Girl.
  • Inverted in Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Ryu Hayabusa's primary weapon is a katana and his fighting style emphasizes speed and precision. Rachel by contrast uses a large hammer and has a much slower fighting style based on brute strength.
  • Fei and Elly from Xenogears. The former fights with his fists and wields raw power while the latter fights with a rod, can use kicks, and is capable of using Ether spells.
    • Inverted in Xenosaga. Though they're both martial artists, Shion uses a M.W.S. and her fighting style involves hand-to-hand combat. Her older brother, Jin, uses a katana and his fighting style involves speed and precision.
  • This is Chie and Kanji's dynamic as the party's two physical attackers in Persona 4. Kanji is a traditional Mighty Glacier with high HP, Strength and Endurance, and average-to-low stats elsewhere. Chie's Strength is comparatively low (it's just below Yosuke's, who's not a physical specialist) but she has higher Agility, learns more multi-target and multi-hitting moves, and has skills that raise her critical hit rate. Interestingly, Chie is a Tomboy while Kanji has stereotypically feminine interests.
  • Arthur and Artoria Pendragon from Fate/Grand Order. Arthur's attack animations consist of an array of powerful strikes while Artoria's consist of relatively more graceful swordplay. This also extends to their Noble Phantasms both in-lorenote  and in-gamenote 
  • The ObsCure games:
    • Played straight with the dynamic between the siblings Kenny and Shannon. Kenny, a basketball player, can sprint as his special ability, while the Girl Next Door Shannon can solve puzzles more easily and perform first aid more effectively. (Ironically, it's Kenny who you spend the first half of the game trying to save from monsters.) It's inverted, however, with the other playable characters. The School Newspaper Newshound Josh finds items more easily and the delinquent Stan picks locks much faster, while cheerleader Ashley is the best fighter in the game thanks to her special ability that lets her do a quick rapid-fire attack with her weapon.
    • The second game plays it much straighter, as most of the male characters are Unskilled, but Strong while all of the female characters are Weak, but Skilled. The athletes Kenny and Sven have the ability to move heavy objects and hit enemies harder, while Corey can take more damage and is the only one able to climb narrow ledges. Stan, with his his ability to pick locks, is the one exception among the guys. The girls' special abilities, meanwhile, are either intellectual in the case of the computer hacker Mei and the Genius Ditz puzzle-solver Amy, or supernatural in the case of Shannon, who can suck dangerous dark auras out of the environment.
  • Yakuza 0: Holy mother of inversions, Batman! The fast, boxing-influenced Rush-style is taught by middle-aged homeless guy Kamoji, and the acrobatic Breaker-style by tracksuit-wearing street entertainer Areshi. Meanwhile, the only female trainer, miss Tatsu, teaches Beast, a slow, hard-hitting style focused on using improvised weapons, big haymakers, throws, slams and joint locks.
  • Inverted in Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight himself is a small and nimble fighter whose primary weapon is essentially a shovel-shaped polearm, which he uses to slash at enemies and hit projectiles out of the air. Meanwhile, his partner Shield Knight is bigger and stronger and prefers to charge at her enemies head-on, using her enormous shield to shrug off attacks and batter the enemy into submission. If you use Body Swap Mode to make Shovel Knight female and Shield Knight male, you can play this trope straight.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge, the only 2 human playable characters (Casey an April) can be considered this. Casey is a Lightning Bruiser with a high range value who's fighting style is all about big meaty strikes while April specializes in speed with fast and skilled martial arts moves (aside from the attacks invoking her studio equipment) while having the lowest power rating of the cast with 1 star (although her actual damage values are much better than the star ranking implies).

    Web Animation 
  • Wolf Song: The Movie includes in its cast a pairing between Lightning, a more traditional fighter during battles with the strength to go with it and a tough demeanour; and Raina, who is more pragmatic and uses less direct approaches. This is first noticed during the time they first meet (and fight) and still pops up on occasion afterward.
  • Mocked in Zero Punctuation's review of Assassin's Creed Syndicate.
    "We play as twins, Jacob and Evie Frye, one of them is brash and reckless and direct-combat-oriented; the other is smart and measured and more suited to stealth. I'll leave you to guess which one's the boy and which one's the girl, but here's a hint: try to think like the laziest writer in the fucking universe."

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • The People Are Awesome YouTube video features lots of clips where men do amazing sports activities or potentially dangerous stunts, while the few clips with women all focus on their flexibility.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The shows’ main Firebender and Waterbender Zuko and Katara can be regarded as this with Zuko being straightforward and aggressive while Katara is graceful and full of finesse. Inverted with Aang and Toph the main Airbender and Earthbender, Aang “Twinkle Toes” is light and acrobatic whilst Toph is direct and powerful. Aang has to painfully learn to be more aggressive and steadfast when learning Earthbending from Toph and ignore his tendency to think around problems.
    • Zuko and Azula play this straight, he’s physically stronger and has way more stamina while she’s far quicker and much more skilfully dangerous with her Firebending yet still a Glass Cannon Fragile Speedster compared to her big brother. This is why in the Final Battle she has to resort to attacking Katara while having a Agni Kai with Zuko as she was simply tiring out fast and needed a way to get her brother off her — leading to Zuko Taking the Bullet. Fittingly Azula loses to Katara who manages to out finesse and skill her, though Azula’s Villainous Breakdown at the time was likely helping matters.
    • Inverted with Sokka and Suki, he’s a Guile Hero and agile swordsman whereas she’s a strong Cute Bruiser. Funnily enough Sokka’s one time opponent and non-serious Ship Tease Ty Lee is also more of a physical powerhouse compared to him.
    • Played with concerning Aang and his successor and reincarnation Korra from the Sequel Series. Initially it’s a clear cut inversion, Aang is patient and graceful while Korra is aggressive and direct and learning to be otherwise is immensely difficult for both of them. Yet at the end of their respective journeys Aang becomes a formidable force of nature while Korra has become a skillful and efficient Avatar and Bender.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: Ben's favorite aliens are melee fighters, and Kevin's preferred fighting style boils down to "hitting opponents really hard". Gwen attacks with Mana and magic, or with more precise martial arts.
  • Castlevania: Where Trevor and Alucard’s fighting styles are largely attacking with great speed and strength wielding melee weapons (barring a few exotic moves here and there) Sypha the magician in juxtaposition is all about busting out a large assortment of Fire, Ice, Lightning, Wind magic that she uses as skillfully and creatively as an Avatar. Consequently she tends that have highest enemy kill count of the trio. Subverted with the fourth member of the party from the game the show is based on, Grant Danasty who’s a Fragile Speedster but he got Adapted Out.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Hulk's fighting style relies primarily on punches, grapples, and throws. She-Hulk is more acrobatic and uses her legs more than her cousin.


Video Example(s):


Gilgamesh and Thena

The male Gilgamesh, with a fist-reliant fighting style, and the female Thena, who is acrobatic and uses multiple weapons, work in tandem to defeat a Deviant.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / MaleMightFemaleFinesse

Media sources: