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Monster and the Maiden

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She's (usually) a human. He's anything else. Together, they work to achieve common goals.

She's often a mage, summoner, warrior, adventurer, detective or just an unfortunate average girl who got mixed up in an unusual situation. She will most likely be a human, but can be anything human-adjacent (for example, she might be an elf mage who entered a pact with a demon in a universe that has elves and humans living side-by-side.). Often times she's a skilled fighter, or at least capable of protecting herself, but it's also possible that she never had to fight anyone in her life. If she's not that good in a fight, she still often has other skills she can utilize, like intelligence, street smarts, charisma or empathy.

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He's most commonly a demon, ghost, beast or other supernatural creature like a vampire, but sci-fi works might feature an android, an AI or an alien. It's possible that he used to be human, but isn't anymore due to different circumstances. He also needs to be sapient - something like a female handler with a male Attack Animal isn't this trope. He doesn't need to be strictly a man, but needs to have a masculine presentation (like an android who has a masculine voice and name). It's worth noting that "monster" is used here in the broad way meaning "other", and has nothing to do with the "monster's" appearance (which can range from clearly inhuman to near-indistinguishable, like in case of a ghost or a highly-realistic android) or personality/behavior (from an aggresive berserker to a proper gentleman).

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Together, they work with each other to achieve some kind of a goal, noble or otherwise. This can be anything from winning combat tournaments, adventuring, solving mysteries, planning to take over the world or protecting it, to something as mundane as running the local inn, travelling with their wares or conning people out of spare change. Their dynamic can range from anything between Platonic Life-Partners to Snark-to-Snark Combat (or both at once) to even Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, they just can't be openly antagonistic and working against each other. Their partnership might be due to a deep bond between them, a strictly business relationship of convenience or unfortunate circumstances bringing them together, with the two trying to find a way to get out of their situation. Sometimes they might openly be in a romantic relationship, but platonic partnerships (often with heavy doses of Ship Tease) are more common. They usually see each other as even, and the matter of their differences doesn't really come up that often (though it's possible she thinks that Freaky Is Cool).

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Their skillsets and abilities often complement each other, allowing them to achieve things that would be impossible if they were by themselves: A ghost can't interact with the physical world, but he can give her advice, phase through walls or possess others. She might channel a demon for a strength boost in hand-to-hand combat or spells. A beast might protect her from physical threats, while she handles the diplomacy or is the brains of the operation.

Most of these duos work on the basis of contrast - women tend to be associated with gentleness and beauty, so pairing up a human woman with a non-human man, who often looks or behaves abnormally is interesting visually and/or dynamic-wise. In most modern works, she tends to be just as capable as he is, or at least has a different skillset she can use to not leave her completely helpless if he's not around. It's worth mentioning that while in most cases the "monster" will be the more physically stronger and imposing, this isn't a rule. An example like a human woman bodyguarding a frail, male alien also fits under this trope (though these examples are few and far between).

The most important part of this trope is just how different the two are on a basic, biological level; a pair made up of a human woman and a male demon will pretty much always qualify, but a pair made up of a human woman and en elf man is highly situational and depends on how (if at all) elves are inherently different from humans in this universe. Cyborgs are a similar situation- while a pair consisting of a human woman and a masculine-presenting android fits this trope, a pair consisting of a human woman and a male cyborg isn't inherently this trope (especially if he leans more into his human side). How their paticular species is seen in-universe might be a clue in more debatable examples (if he's considered an "anomaly" or "other", while she's the "standard", they qualify).

Often overlaps with Action Duo, Adventure Duo, Battle Couple (if the relationship between them is romantic), Female Flatfoot and Snarky Guy, Huge Guy, Tiny Girl, Interspecies Friendship, Odd Couple, Odd Friendship, Opposites Attract, Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, Talker and Doer, Willing Channeler.

Compare A Girl and Her X and Symbiotic Possession. Contrast Demonic Possession, which is usually done without consent and with malicious intent, and Kill the Host Body which, of course, kills the host. Sometimes related to You Sexy Beast. If they're in a romantic relationship, but don't work together, that's Beast and Beauty (a specific dynamic) or Interspecies Romance (more broad category). If they have a child together, the offspring might have a Human Mom, Non-Human Dad. Death and the Maiden is a popular visual motif that portrays the personification of death with a young woman.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The title character of Hellsing is Integra Hellsing (granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing), who runs an organization responsible for defending Britain from monsters, despite being only about 23 (she was a very late child and the leadership was bequeathed on her by her dying father). Her right-hand man is Alucard, a super-vampire bordering on Eldritch Abomination, and they have a Lady and Knight motif going on.
  • Kill la Kill: Senketsu is a living Sailor Fuku uniform called a Kamui, who bonds with the lead character Ryuko Matoi, giving her fantastic abilities, though at the cost of some of her blood to use.
  • Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro: Neuro is a demon who literally devours mysteries. He comes to Earth after eating all the mysteries of hell and ropes an otherwise normal schoolgirl, Yako, into helping him be posing as a detective so he doesn't draw attention to himself. Over time, Yako develops a sense of empathy that Neuro lacks due to being a demon.
  • The Animated Adaptation of Pokémon: The Birth of Mewtwo focuses on the sapient, human-made pokemon, Mewtwo and a clone of a human daughter of one of the scientists who died in a car crash, Ambertwo. Ambertwo and Mewtwo communicate through telepathy while their bodies are slowly growing in vats, and become friends, with Ambertwo teaching Mewtwo about the world. Sadly, Amertwo proves faulty and dies, leaving Mewtwo grieving and aggresive.
  • Sailor Moon: Despite being a reincarnated goddess, Minako Aino/Sailor Venus is a relatively normal high school girl. Her mentor, Artemis, is a sapient white cat from outer space.
  • Spirited Away: A human girl named Chihiro befriends and works with Haku, a Nature Spirit who can turn into a dragon. Haku looks out for Chihiro while she works to get her parents back, and in exchange, she breaks the curse Yubaba and Zeniba placed on him.

    Comic Books 
  • Angel and the Ape: Super-sleuth Angel O'Day and her sidekick, Sam Simeon, a talking gorilla.
  • BRZRKR: The immortal half-god half-human B works with Diana, a human researcher trying to find a way to cure B's Complete Immortality in exchange for his work for the US military (who also employ Diana).
  • Excalibur (Marvel Comics): Early in the "Cross Time Caper" arc, the team finds themselves helping a young prince rescue a fair maiden from a hideous ogre while on a version of England based around medieval fantasy. Later it's discovered that this was actually a set-up, with the maiden hoping to become the prince's betrothed by having him rescue her. The ogre? Actually her rather posh butler who was playing the role at her request because he'd do anything to help his mistress.
  • Hack/Slash: Cassie Hack is a Badass Normal Action Girl who fights and kills serial killers. Her partner, Vlad, is a superhumanly strong man who comes from a lineage of demon-human hybrids.
  • In the 2000 AD series Nemesis the Warlock, the titular protagonist is a demonic, fire-breathing, magic-wielding alien Blood Knight who is fighting against a genocidal human empire intent on exterminating all aliens throughout the galaxy. His main companion is Purity Brown, a human Action Girl who joined Nemesis's resistance movement because said empire turns out to be just as oppressive towards its human subjects.
  • The Sandman: Rose Walker goes traveling to find her long-lost little brother and is accompanied by Gilbert, a heavyset, eccentric older man who promises to protect her. This trope comes into play when Gilbert is revealed to be Fiddler's Green, an escaped dream Morpheus has been seeking since the beginning of the story arc.
  • Superman: Superman and Lois's relationship would qualify. He is a superpowered alien hero while she is a normal human journalist. Whether as a married couple or colleagues with feelings for each other, they use their respective abilities and resources to fight crime.

    Fan Works 
  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs:
    • Downplayed in "What if Elfangor and Loren raised Tobias?". The Fangors are a pair of Badass Normals fighting against the Yeerks independently of the Animorphs. Loren was always human, but Elfangor (who used to be an Andalite) Shapeshifter Mode Locked himself as one years ago.
    • Inverted in "What if Tom was infested by a member of the Yeerk Peace Movement?", where Tom (a teenage boy) and Aftran (a Yeerk who identifies as female) work together to help the Animorphs by overthrowing The Empire from within.

    Films — Animation 
  • Lilo & Stitch: The main characters of the movie are a human girl Lilo and an alien named Stitch. While the intentions Lilo has towards Stitch are pure and clear from the start (she wants to befriend him with no ulterior motives), Stitch wants to use Lilo as a human shield to protect himself from his creator, who wants to capture him. After spending more time with Lilo, Stitch comes to genuinely care for her and see her as a friend and family member.
  • Moana: The protagonist Moana works with the demigod Maui. He starts off as a Cynical Mentor to Moana, but they become real friends by the end of the story.
  • Mulan: When Mulan decides to join the Chinese army in place of her elderly father, the (ex) guardian spirit of her family, a small dragon named Mushu decides to go with her. During her time in the army, Mushu does his best to make her into a hero to restore his place as Mulan's family proper guardian spirit.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • The Canterville Ghost: The titular character was a lonely and grumpy Elizabethan ghost bound to his English family mansion by a curse. When an American family with young, rambunctious children moves in, he attempts to scare them out. The boys think it is a great adventure and play along with his tricks. The little girl, however, makes friends with Canterville, and assists him in solving the riddle of the curse.
  • From The Exploits of Ebenezum / The Wanderings of Wuntvor we have "Damsel and Dragon", a terrible vaudeville act consisting of Hubert the Dragon and Alea, a damsel who was originally offered to him as as a human sacrifice. After Hubert has to leave on an extended absence, Alea forms "Giant and a Girl" with a formerly hostile fairy tale giant in a similar vein.
  • One of the perspective characters in Wings of Fire Legends: Dragonslayer, Wren, is a young girl who befriends an abandoned, sapient, male dragon who she names Sky. They travel the continent together for years, and learn each others' languages.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Beauty and the Beast (1987): The leonine creature Vincent aids female Assistant District Attorney Catherine Chandler in her cases while the two deal with their attraction to each other.
    • Beauty and the Beast (2012): Catherine is a normal woman and NYPD detective. Her boyfriend Vincent is a Super Soldier infused with animal DNA. Together they combat crimes and government conspiracies.
  • Blood Ties: The show focuses on a human private investigator named Vicki Nelson who enlists the aid of a vampire named Henry Vitzroy in her cases.
  • Many seasons of Doctor Who star a duo of the Doctor (a quasi-immortal, usually male Human Alien) and his young, female, human companion.
  • Forever Knight: Nick Knight is an 800 year old vampire working as a police detective in hopes of regaining his mortality and atoning for the people he killed. Natalie Lambert is a coroner whose slab he wakes up on after seemingly dying. She's a partial resister and he can't hypnotize her into forgetting, but she sets out to help him become human again.
  • Lucifer (2016): The series pairs human LAPD detective Chloe Decker with the devil himself, Lucifer Morningstar, who helps her with cases as a "consultant".
  • Sanctuary was a science-fiction series in the mid 2000s about a private group dedicated to protecting Abnormals, other creatures sharing Earth with us. Led by Amanda Tapping as Helen Magnus, she worked with a team including The Big Guy, who happened to be an intelligent Yeti.
  • Tracker: Downplayed: Mel Porter thinks she's an ordinary woman when she gets pulled into helping an alien bounty hunter track down fugitives on Earth, though she later finds out she's actually part alien herself.

    Music 
  • Dark Sarah: Sarah and the Dragon, previously an antagonist in The Puzzle, collaborate in The Golden Moth to steal a flying ship so they can reach Heaven Above, and several songs have a Ship Tease aspect to them. It ends badly: the Dragon betrays her to the gods when they reach heaven.

    Video Games 
  • Beyond: Two Souls: Jodie is bound to her Guardian Entity, Aiden, since birth. She's frequently frustrated with his overprotectiveness, but is ultimately happy that she has him. Near the end of the game, it's revealed that Aiden is actually the spirit of Jodie's stillborn twin brother.
  • Bioshock: One of the game's iconic enemies are the Big Daddies, hulking suits of armor who protect Little Sisters, human girls who are tasked with collecting ADAM.
  • The Blackwell Series: Rosangela Blackwell works with the ghost of a detective, Joey Mallone.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: A female/feminine V and Johnny Silverhand. She's a human mercenary, while he's a Virtual Ghost. He can't interact with the world directly, but he can give V advice and encouragement. Their partnership starts off through an accident, and they don't really get along for a long time, but they can grow closer together if the player so desires, and even give their lives for each other.
  • Darkstalkers: Donovan Baine is a Dhampyr (half human, half vampire) and travels with a human girl (though one who has psychic powers) named Anita. Donovan looks after Anita and wants to help her with the trauma she got from being shunned by other humans due to her psychic powers.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Devil May Cry 3: A variation with Dante and Lady. The former is half-demon while the latter is fully human. Both are on the heroic side but are antagonistic towards each other for most of the story due to Lady's prejudice towards demons. The climax shows them fighting demons side by side after both undergo Character Development and come to see each other as allies if not friends.
    • The Devil May Cry 2 novel has Dante teaming up with a human woman named Beryl. She is actually a prototype of the aforementioned Lady, being a female devil hunter with a BFG and a father who becomes a demon.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • A female Dovahkiin that belongs to one of the "men" races (Breton, Imperial, Nord or Redguard) can recruit the Khajit Kharjo or the Argonian Derkeethus as her follower. Likewise, a male Khajiit or Argonian Dovahkiin can recruit one of many female followers that belong to "men" races, like Lydia or Mjoll the Lioness.
      • Special mention should go to a female "men" Dovahkiin who recruits Farkas or his twin brother Vilkas. While both of them appear to be normal Nords, the Companions faction storyline reveals that the brothers are actually werewolves, like all high-ranking members of the guild.
    • A female non-beast Dovahkiin can arguably have this dynamic with Paarthurnax, the leader of the Greybeards, who is a dragon. They have to work together at least to an extent to resolve the main plot.
  • Fallout
  • Midna (and Zelda, to a lesser extent) and Link in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Midna is a Twili, a member of a race from the Realm of Twilight, who is proficient in Twili Shadow Magic and very much knows more than she lets on. Link spends quite a bit of time as a Hylian, but the dynamic is more apparent when Link is in his wolf form, as Midna rides around on his back, gives him orders, and generally corrals him around Hyrule to recover the Fused Shadows for her own ends. Following a near-death experience and a good helping of Character Development, it becomes much closer to a partnership between them, with a heaping dose of Ship Tease as well.
  • League of Legends: Downplayed with Lamb and Wolf, the Kindred. The two are a pair of spiritual entities representing death across Runeterra. Lamb is an anthropomorphic female... well, lamb in contrast to the much more animalistic male Wolf.
  • Lollipop Chainsaw: Juliet is a zombie slayer who wants to defeat the Dark Purveyors, find her family and get out of her zombie-infected town. She's accompanied by her boyfriend Nick, who's just a severed head (who she decapitated herself to stop the infection from spreading) she has attached to her skirt. Nick can still talk, briefly take over headless zombies to help Juliet with heavy lifting and be used as a projectile, but it's Juliet who has to handle most of the fighting and legwork herself.
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect: Ronan O'Connor comes back from the dead as a ghost, and starts a partnership with a teenage medium Joy Foster. She's trying to help him find his murderer and together they're trying to find Joy's Missing Mom.
  • Overwatch:
    • Ashe can summon her robot companion, B.O.B as her ultimate, who acts as a stationary turret and a temporary seventh team member. Outside of gameplay, B.O.B serves Ashe as her bodyguard and butler.
    • Winston is a hyper intelligent gorilla, who is sometimes deployed on field missions with fellow Overwatch members. He technically creates this kind of setup with any female Overwatch member he's fighting alongside with at the moment, but in-lore he seems to be the closest with Tracer and Mei.
  • Skullgirls:
    • Fillia is currently a host to a sentient parasite named Samson. Samson is attached to the back of her head, which makes him look like her hair, with which he can grab and hit opponents with. Fillia isn't that good of a fighter, so it's mostly Samson doing all the legwork for her, in exchange for Fillia's body supporting his own.
      • Samson also formed this kind of a duo with his old host, a woman named Delilah.
    • Squigly and her parasite Leviathan are a more sophisticated and harmonious equivalent. Leviathan is devoted to Squigly, especially since his old host was actually Squigly's father. Their moves are more like a dance, compared to Samson's more dominant and brutal fighting style, where Fillia is mostly dragged around by him.
    • To a lesser extent than Fillia and Squigly, we have Peacock and her parasite, the tiny bird-like Avery. Unlike Fillia and Squigly, whose bodies are literally merged with their respective parasites, Avery's body is separate from Peacock's, and he functions more like an Assist Character that appears in some of her attacks. Andy Anvil, another one of Peacock's assists, also qualifies.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole: Henrietta can summon Satan himself for her ultimate move.
  • Stardew Valley: A female Farmer can ask Krobus, a shadow person to move in with her. Krobus will help around the farm in the same way a human spouse will, even willing to help raise Farmer's children if she has any from a previous relationship.
  • Tekken: Killer Robot Jack finds and befriends an orphaned human girl, Jane, untill Jack eventually gets blown up by a Mad Scientist. Jane, now an adult, dedicates her life to rebuilding Jack (and succeeds).
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: Oleander entered a pact with a demon known as FHTNG (or Fred) to protect her home from the predator invasion. Fred is currently locked in a tome Oleander carries with her (and uses as an Improvised Weapon), but he can reach out from it to swipe his claws, or give some of his powers to Oleander. His plans regarding Oleander aren't fully clear, but for the time being he's fine with working with her.
  • Transistor: Red fights using the Transistor, a BFS with the spirit of her boyfriend, Mr. Nobody locked inside. He can't do anything by himself, but he offers Red company by talking to her and encouraging her during fights.
  • The Witcher:
  • The Wolf Among Us: Zig-zagged in case of Bigby Wolf and Snow White. While both of them are Fables, Snow White always looks like a regular human woman. Bigby owes his human form to an enchanted dagger he was stabbed with, and can transform back into a more monstrous wolf-like form at will (or when the situation calls for it). They work together to solve a mysterious murder of their neighbor and fellow Fable.

    Western Animation 
  • Beetlejuice: Perky Goth's Lydia Deetz's best friend is Beetlejuice, who is described as "The Ghost With The Most", but acts more like a Literal Genie. She is his Morality Chain and the only one who can keep him at all under control; he, in turn, is her adoring protector and considers it his mission to make her happy.
  • Gargoyles: Eliza Maza is a human detective. She has the closest relationship with the Gargoyle leader Goliath, with whom she has some Ship Tease while they fight crime together.
  • The Haunted World of El Superbeasto: Suzi X is a bubbly, one-eyed super agent who fights crime and monsters in the city with her partner Murray The Robot (who also serves as Suzi's vehicles and has a huge crush on her).
  • Jane and the Dragon is about a peasant girl who lives and works in the royal palace and is best friends with the resident dragon. They help the king solve various problems in the realm.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • One of Twilight Sparkle's closest friends is a dragon named Spike. Though it's downplayed, since Twilight actually hatched Spike when she was very young and been raising him since (likely with help from other ponies), so Spike seems to identify more with ponies, rather than dragons. Spike also serves as Twilight's assistant and is her means of contact with Princess Celestia.
    • Fluttershy manages to befriend the Mad God Discord. She's pretty much his Morality Pet and the only character he cares about (except himself, of course).
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