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Strong Girl, Smart Guy

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Virtually everyone loves badass female characters. Whether they are an Amazonian Beauty, a Lady of War, a Glacier Waif, or a Kick Chick, it's immense fun watching an Action Girl at work. However, she can't be good at everything, as that would end up rather boring.

If a writer wants to give an Action Girl a partner in asskicking or even a Love Interest, but wants him to be more than just a Satellite Character, he can be given a skill set that compliments her combat prowess, making him a Smart Guy. He needn't be a Non-Action Guy, but he is defined far more by his intellect than his fighting abilities. In short, another take on The Smart Guy and The Big Guy.

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May coincide with Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl; Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy; or Action Girlfriend.

If he is a Badass Bookworm or Minored in Ass-Kicking, they might be a Battle Couple.

See also Brains and Brawn.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Action Girl Hungary and Princely Young Man Austria from Axis Powers Hetalia.
  • To everyone's surprise, Ciel Phantomhive and Elizabeth Middleford from Black Butler—the latter having turned out to have Implausible Fencing Powers while the former was always known to have been The Chessmaster.
  • Black Lagoon: The heroine Revy is a tough girl who scores with criminal organizations on daily basis, while her partner Rock is her group's negotiator who helps them communicate with "business partners" peacefully, and is an ace of psychological play and sweet-talking.
  • Durarara!! has Celty Sturluson and Shinra Kishitani. Celty is a Badass Biker with Super Strength while Shinra is a Back-Alley Doctor and Non-Action Guy.
  • This is the modus operandi of the fratello units in Gunslinger Girl: the young girls are augmented combat cyborgs, while their handlers are older men who, while generally no slouches themselves, mostly stick to directing the girls' fighting skills and conducting negotiations.
  • Lord El-Melloi II Case Files: Waver Velvet/Lord El-Melloi II is a detective who has magical powers, but is non athletic and has no talent for combat, so he depends on his assistant Gray to fight for him.
  • Nanoha and Yuuno had this dynamic during the second half of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Later seasons would see Yuuno be Demoted to Extra as Mr. Exposition.
  • Shikamaru and Temari of Naruto are close friends with each other and they eventually end up as husband and wife. The former has an IQ of 200 and fights with deep tactics, utilizing his Shadow Pin technique to take control of his opponent's body, and his techniques are used more for submission or incapacitation rather than doing heavy damage. The latter is a girl of strong personality and fights by blowing massive cutting winds at her opponents to overwhelm them.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • There's a villainous example: Dr. Tomoe is reputable science authority in his civil form, but in secret he is a mad scientist that uses Fantastic Science to summon an evil inter dimensional god. Said god possessed his daughter Hotaru, who became insanely powerful but doesn't truly rely on logic.
    • Usagi and Mamoru is also an example. Usagi is Book Dumb and childish (particularly early on in their relationship). Mamoru goes to medical school (K.O. University School of Medicine), gets to go to Harvard for a semester in Stars, although he never arrived, and the only one whose signature attack in canon isn't only Gratuitous English but also a Hurricane of Puns. note  However, she's the one who wields world-saving/shattering power, while he's her emotional support.
    • Usagi is also the Strong Girl to her brother Shingo's Smart Guy. Usagi is an Action Girl who ends up rescuing her brother a few times, while Shingo gets good grades and makes fun of Usagi for being Book Dumb.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, Yuji Sakai, despite having the truth of the world only recently revealed to him, manages to figure out how his enemies' Unrestricted Methods work and find the weaknesses in them, and excelled in both analysis and long-term strategy. Shana, meanwhile, was raised to be the perfect fighting Flame Haze with vast power, but had a tendency to rush her opponents head-on. This is even reflected in their signature Unrestricted Methods by the end. While Shana manifests her fire to do solid physical damage, Yuji's own unique spell allows him to do basically anything by deconstructing the principles of the world and then reconstructing it as he sees fit.
  • Detective Conan: Shinichi Kudo and Ran Mouri have this general dynamic, especially once the former got turned into a six-year-old. Before that, Shinichi was in at least decent shape (having been the school's soccer ace for several years), but still far behind Ran, who could punch holes in stone pillars without blinking.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics:
    • Mister Miracle uses his genius intellect and various gadgets to become the world's greatest escape artist. His wife, Big Barda, is an Amazonian Beauty who was once the head of the Female Furies, an elite squad of female warriors.
    • The parody comic The Inferior Five featured Dumb Bunny, a superheroine described as "strong as an ox and almost as intelligent", and Merry Man, the 98 pound weakling son of the world's two most powerful heroes who used his intelligence to to survive as a costumed hero. They were teammates and an on-again-off-again romantic couple.
    • When Cass came to Bludhaven to help out Tim, Batgirl and Robin had this dynamic.
    • Nightwing and Starfire if paired up. He's a highly skilled fighter but is also a trained strategist while she's an alien with firebolts, super strength, super durability, and flight.
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    Films — Animated 
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Kida and linguist/explorer Milo Thatch. She's defended the borders of Atlantis for thousands of years, while he's the first person to accurately pinpoint the sunken city in centuries.
  • The Croods have Eek and Guy. She's a Neanderthal, with enough strength to wrestle creatures five times her size, while he is a Cro-Magnan, who knows how to make fire and always has a new idea to try out.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • Astrid and Hiccup. She was the most promising young dragon hunter in Berk. He was the first viking to befriend a dragon and, in doing so, became Awesome by Analysis.
    • Even in the second movie, she's the best dragon rider in Berk, while he spends his days inventing and exploring.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Going from rivals in the first movie to best friends and confidantes in the second, Po and Tigress fit this trope. She is the leader of the Furious Five and the fiercest fighter in the Valley of Peace. He is an Ascended Fanboy with an encyclopedic knowledge of kung fu history and trivia, along with the ability to learn new techniques incredibly quickly (at least when properly motivated).
  • Minions: Supervillainess Scarlet Overkill is proficient in Waif-Fu, can take on dozens of foes at once, and has a penchant for armored dresses armed with missiles. Her husband, the evil, but chill, Herb is a prolific inventor, makes all of Scarlet's gear and seems to find her megalomania incredibly attractive.
  • Treasure Planet: Captain Amelia and Doctor Doppler. She's a hardened war veteran with the scars to prove it. He's an awkward astronomer, frustrated with how little his intellect can actually help people.
  • Zootopia: Rabbit officer, Judy Hopps, is not an imposing figure, but can use her speed and agility to take down opponents ten times her size. Nick Wilde, on the other hand, is a shifty Con Artist who knows the titular city and its citizens like the back of his hand and can talk his way out of almost any situation.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie segment "Cleopatra Schwartz". The title character is a strong black Action Girl who can beat up bad guys or shoot them dead. Her husband is a short Hasidic Jew who studies the Talmud at night. Together They Fight Crime!.
  • The Dark Crystal: Kira is an energetic and worldly girl who knows how to talk to animals, navigate the wilderness and slingshot predators. Jen was educated by the Mystics in math and writing.

    Literature 
  • Encyclopedia Brown: The titular Kid Detective got his nickname because of his Encyclopedic Knowledge. His best friend, Sally Kimball, is a Cute Bruiser who acts as his bodyguard and frequently beats up male bullies (one of whom called them "Mr. Brains and Miss Muscles").
  • Lindsey Davis uses this trope in her crime novels of Ancient Rome. The primary pairing is strong-minded aristocrat Helena Justina, who finds her smart guy in streetwise private investigator Marcus Didius Falco. A sub-plot involves the romance between Falco's clever but socially disadvantaged sister, Maia Favonia, who shucks off a deadbeat husband to take up with tough street cop Lucius Petronius. The third significant pairing, in later books, concerns Falco's spiky private investigator daughter, Albia, and her on-off almost-romance with magistrate Tiberius Faustus ( a rare uncorrupt lawman).
  • The Hunger Games feature this dynamic with Katniss, the physically powerful and talented archer, and Peeta - The Social Expert (while he is quite strong, he isn't very skilled in battle).
  • Urban Dragon's Arkay is strong enough to pick up a car and regularly fights off crowds of people twice her size. Meph has military training and isn't half bad with a gun, but his first love was paperwork and almost all his contributions are intellectual.
  • Cryptonomicon: Amy Shaftoe is an Action Girl from a long line of adventurers. Randy Waterhouse is a bookish tech genius. They get into a romance.
  • Courtney and Mark from The Pendragon Adventure. She's an athletic jock, he's a smart and unathletic nerd.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agent Carter:
    • The titular Agent Peggy Carter has no qualms over solving a problem with Good Old Fisticuffs, and Howard Stark provides her with intel and gadgetry, every bit the inventor his son would become.
    • Peggy and Jarvis, as well. He is a decidedly Non-Action Guy, but Peggy spends a lot more time around him, since Stark is hiding from the SSR, and Jarvis shows some skill as a pilot, forger, and people-person. It's worth nothing that Peggy and Jarvis' relationship is entirely platonic, as Jarvis is a Happily Married man.
    • Peggy's eventual love interest in Season 1, Agent Daniel Sousa, did fight in World War II, but was injured severely. He needs a crutch to get around and walks with a pronounced limp. Despite that, he uses his injury to catch opponents off-guard and was even able to outsmart Dr. Faustus.
    • Season 2 introduces Jason Wilkes, a black scientist trying to make it in 1950s California. He gets inadvertently roped into this season's conspiracy, and the sparks fly between him and Peggy.
    • The Arc Villains of Season 2 are Calvin Chadwick, a Sleazy Politician, and his wife, Whitney Frost, who has been infected with an extradimensional substance called Zero Matter.
    • Dr. Samberly is a Mad Scientist working for the SSR, who is constantly hitting on Rose Roberts, who has been charged with manning the SSR's talent agency front, as well as guarding the secret entrance to the agency itself. She isn't very fond of him, though.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to really love this trope.
    • Resident badass Melinda May and her psychiatrist ex-husband Andrew. She was the muscle on the original Team Coulson and had earned the nickname "Cavalry" long before then. He was one of SHIELD's staff psychiatrists, and specialized in helping cope with the supernatural.
    • Bobbi Morse, a.k.a. Mockingbird, and her ex-husband Hunter. Bobby almost matches May in hand-to-hand combat, and her batons let her hit extra hard. Hunter, while no slouch in a fire fight, would rather talk his way out of a sticky situation, and his ties to the criminal underworld are immensely valuable to SHIELD.
    • Played With by Daisy Johnson and Lincoln. Both are smart and both are strong. Lightning-powered Lincoln was one of the Inhumans' best guidance counselors who helped Inhumans adjust to their transitions. Daisy's shockwave powers allow her to level a city block with little effort; however, she was conscripted into SHIELD long before she experienced Terragenisis, as her skills as a hacker had caught their eye.
  • Firefly: Ex-revolutionary Zoe and Ace Pilot Wash. She's a warrior who still makes her former CO, Mal, nervous. He's useless in a firefight, but can pull incredible stunts with Serenity.
  • Leverage: Parker and Hardison. The Thief and The Hacker.
  • Dexter: Played with. At first sight, Action Girl police officer Debra and forensics expert Dexter fall into this. However, even if the other characters aren't aware of it, Dexter is actually quite strong and can handle himself in a fight (he's also skilled in jiu jitsu).
  • Legion: Kerry (the girl) has superhuman fighting abilities, while Cary (the guy) is a genius inventor. They sort of share the same body.
  • Stranger Things: Eleven and Mike. Eleven is a powerful Little Miss Badass with psychic powers but, due to her isolated upbringing, she can barely speak. Her love interest Mike is a smart, nerdy boy who teaches her some vocabulary.

    Music 
  • In the song "Alice of Human Sacrifice", Rin and Len Kagamine are noted to have this dynamic.
    A stubborn elder sister
    A smart younger brother
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    Video Games 
  • Call of Duty: Zombies has Misty, the Action Girl who serves as Russman’s Lancer within Victis, and Marlton, Victis’s Smart Guy. They get a fair bit of Ship Tease.
  • Professor Layton prequel trilogy has this with Emmy Altava and the titular professor. She is the physical combatant, while he is the genius investigator. However, she can also solve puzzles and he is no slouch in combat (especially with a sword).

    Webcomic 
  • Bozzok and Crystal from The Order of the Stick are a dark take on this. Bozzok is a half-orc rogue and crime lord who relies primarily on his subordinates and his overestimated wits for his dirty work. Crystal is ahyperviolent assassin with more confirmed kills than brain cells and Haley's rival. Their dynamic is one of convienience : she would not survive a week in Greysky City without his guidance and he sees her as a weapon or attackdog to point at people, a literaly example when he has her revived... as a flesh golem (a Frankenstein's Monsteresque entity) and he notes how easier she is to control since she's not impeded by her petty bloodlust. This backfires when Haley is able to point out this dynamic to get Crystal to attack Bozzok and then relying on Bozzok's ego to infuriate Crystal to finish him off. Crystal later dies being tricked by Haley into a pit of molten metal.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: An experienced, but poorly educated female Hunter of Monsters is the Team Dad, an Unskilled, but Strong male Bookworm is the Team Mom.

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Brother–Sister Team Dipper and Mabel. Mabel's strength is rarely brought up, but she is a lot stronger than most girls her age. Dipper is obsessed with the titular town's mysteries and secrets.
    • Dipper and his Precocious Crush Wendy also fit, as she was raised by a family of very manly lumberjacks and is just as good at it as they are.
  • In Justice League Unlimited, the Huntress, an Action Girl, and The Question, an apopheniac sleuth, team up regularly to take down the bad guys, before ending up romantically involved with each other, as well.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Kim is the Strong Girl to both her brothers's Smart Guys. She's a strong figther who saves the world, Jim and Tim are annoying brats who are also scientific prodigies. Kim is very smart but lacks the scientific knowledge of her brothers and doesn't understand many of their terms, phrases, or inventions.
    • Kim is also the Strong Girl to Wade's Smart Guy. Wade is a Non-Action Guy but provides Kim with all the gadgets and information she needs to fight her foes.
    • Drakken and Shego are a villainous example: He invents plans to Take Over the World, she beats up people in their way. An unusual case in that Shego is far more intelligent than Drakken at everything except inventing bizarre gadgets — she simply prefers to let somebody else do the planning while she does the fighting.
  • The Legend of Korra: Metal-bending prodigy Kuvira, and her fiancé, the Evil Genius Baatar Jr.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Princess Star Butterfly has lots of magic power at her disposal, while her human best friend Marco is a safety-obsessed Neat Freak who tries his best to teach her about Earth culture.
  • Teen Titans: Alien Berserker Starfire, who hails from a planet of Proud Warrior Race Guys and adopted son of Batman Robin, who learned to fight crime from the world's greatest detective.
  • An interesting case with Arnold and Helga from Hey Arnold! While she's quite smart, Helga is mainly known as a Cute Bruiser bully who does not hesitate to use physical force. Arnold, however is mature, never resorts to violence, and gives advice to everyone.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • Marie Kanker is the Abhorrent Admirer to Edd and the Strong Girl to his Smart Guy; Marie is a thuggish, belligerent lout while Edd is a mild-mannered child genius.
    • Sarah is the Strong Girl to Jimmy's Smart Guy. While Sarah can be manipulative, Jimmy has proven himself to be an extremely cunning mastermind, as shown in the episodes "If It Smells Like an Ed," "Stuck in Ed," "Cleanliness Is Next to Edness," and "Tinker Ed".

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