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Miles Gloriosus / Western Animation

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  • Zigzagged with Sir Tuxford in Adventures of the Gummi Bears. He's like this most of the time, but he can be somewhat brave if the situation warrants it; he's just slowing down in his old age.
  • Boo Boom! The Long Way Home: Christopher is this. He really likes to see himself as the hero and most important member of the group, and constantly brags about his many skills, but his coward nature and being the Plucky Comic Relief makes it impossible for him to live up to these claims.
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  • Woofer, the bloodhound from Clue Club, can be this. He and Wimper (his basset sidekick) are usually obedient to Larry, Pepper and D.D., but Woofer tends to brag about how he solved the crime when for the most part he hadn't done squat.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • Numbuh 86 is a rare female example. She yells at, insults, and intimidates any operatives who are subordinate to her like some Drill Sergeant Nasty, and is a textbook Straw Feminist... But then she quickly cowers and grovels when Numbuh 362 - her superior - gets angry at her. And in "Operation: E.N.D." when Chad tried to send the Moonbase hurtling into the sun, she did nothing but panic and lie on the floor sobbing.
    • And in "Operation P.O.O.L", Negative Numbuh 4 qualifies just as much. To all the kids, especially his own minions, he is seen as a fearmonging tyrant bullying everyone into doing his bidding. However, his Fatal Flaw is that, like everyone from the Mirror Universe, he is the opposite of his own real world counterpart and thus a Dirty Coward in contrast to Numbuh 4's braverly and boldness. This was revealed when he started shivering in fear to Numbuh 4 challenging him to a duel and even orders his minions to fire in an act of cowardice. It's also possible that he might secretly love Rainbow Monkeys since the real Numbuh 4 hates them.
  • Daffy Duck starts out as one of these in Draftee Daffy, right up until the moment when he gets a phone call informing him that "the little man from the draft board" is on the way to see him.
    • Still, it can considered mildly averted when noting Daffy's exploits in other wartime cartoons; he may be a coward, but he does have his moments.
  • The Braggart from season one of The Dragon Prince zigzags this trope. He's taken out rather easily by Rayla, but Rayla is a trained assassin, while this guy was a mercenary at best. His boasts about taking out countless creatures in Xadia are clearly overblown, but he's still a competent swordsman, using his speed, agility and enchanted weapon to defeat a far larger enemy.
  • Captain Hero of Drawn Together is a superhero who frequently ignores his super powers and whose Catchphrase is "Save yourselves!" Despite being fairly invincible (as the plot demands) his "Hero Shield" power is just grabbing an innocent bystander and using them to soak up bullets for him.
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  • DuckTales (1987): Major Courage, a boastful actor who plays a Captain Space, Defender of Earth! on TV in "Where No Duck Has Gone Before". Not realizing that Gyro's rocket has taken him, Launchpad, and the boys into space for real, or that the aliens they've been captured by are also real, Courage walks around making hammy heroic declarations and challenging the aliens to fights as if he's on set. Then he attacks Bulvan and gets smacked down. Realizing that the situation isn't just an act, he promptly escapes in the only ship, leaving the boys and Launchpad behind with the aliens.
  • On Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddie's cruel older brother fits; in The Movie, it took relatively little to take him down, compared to the standards of the show. Word of God claims this is because he had been dishing out abuse his whole life and almost never experienced it himself.
  • Zapp Brannigan from Futurama is the patron saint of this trope. He will never rush in to a fight, but obtained a reputation of being a good fighter through his willingness to sacrifice wave after wave of his own men, while avoiding any risk to himself. If he does end up fighting, it's because he believes he has an overwhelming advantage, or is too stupid to realize that he's in danger.
  • Lucius from Jimmy Two-Shoes. In one episode when he believed that a moon beast might threaten Miseryville, he rode up into space to defeat it. The moment he came across resistance, he freaked out and was defeated.
  • Felix the Cat, during the Van Beuren Studios era, encounters Old King Cole, who brags about his supposed heroics but then runs an hides from anything he perceives as a threat. Eventually, the spirits of pasts kings get tired of his bragging and proceed to "knock the wind out of the old windbag", and Felix has to face his own fears to rescue him.
  • Kim Possible: Adrena Lynn, the villain of the episode "All the News," is a TV-action star who claims to do "extreme" death-defying stunts, but in reality, she faked all of said stunts. Kim forces her to admit to being a coward who can't handle real danger by flying her around on a jet-pack.
  • In the The Land Before Time tv-series, episode "The Brave Longneck Scheme", the gang encounters a young longneck named Rhett, who loves to brag about his bravery and how he single handedly can fight off adult sharptooth. Worse, Littlefoot's friend Ali actually believes him. To prove to her Rhett is just bragging, they have their own sharptoot friend Chomper pretend to attack them. As expected, Rhett runs away in terror at the sight of Chomper.
  • Bumi from The Legend of Korra plays with this trope. On the one hand, he likes telling tales of his exploits, many of which sound completely implausible and no one believes him. However, in the season 2 finale, he manages to destroy an entire enemy base and rescue Team Avatar almost single-handedly. But the way he does it is mainly through completely implausible methods, like stumbling around in a blind panic avoiding enemy fire and jumping into an enemy mecha-tank that gets possessed by hostile spirits before accidentally using it to trash the enemy fortifications. The implication is that Bumi isn't lying about his exploits, merely the degree of professionalism he used to accomplish them.
  • The Little Rascals episode "The Zero Hero" has two examples. When Darla is on her date with Captain Muscles, he stops the bank robbers, but one of them deflates his costume. After Captain Muscles runs away, Alfalfa comes along dressed as Alpha-Man, but faints after Darla tells him that the bank robbers are not his disguised friends.
  • Captain K'nuckles from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack claims to be a great adventurer, but truth be told, he's more of a glorified bum.
  • The cartoon Mickey's Rival introduces the character of Mortimer Mouse: romantic rival, shiny new car owner, taller than Mickey ever hopes to be...and an obnoxious braggart. Mortimer tries to impress Minnie by waving a red picnic blanket in a bull's face. Oh, how courageous he is, taunting a slobbering, snorting brute...while there's a fence in between them. The fence of course is actually open, and Mortimer only needs two seconds upon realizing this to not only haul ass out of there, but to throw the offending red blanket on top of the girl he was trying to impress. What a guy.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has The Great and Powerful Trixie, a traveling magician-type unicorn whose show involves boasting of her magical superiority and using cruel tricks to show up anyone who dares call her out. Even outside of her show, Trixie's massive ego is easily her biggest flaw, getting her into all kinds of trouble. She's certainly talented with magic, just nowhere near as good as she claims to be. That doesn't stop Trixie from boasting all the same.
    • The episode "Boast Busters" introduces Trixie, where she claims to have vanquished an Ursa Major, a giant bear-like monster made out of the night sky. So when two young unicorns who buy into her stories are told not to believe it unless they see it, they go out and bring an Ursa Major to town, eager to see their new hero in action. Trixie, naturally, freaks out at the sight of a giant star bear monster, and is forced to admit that she made up the story of having vanquished one so she would look good. Once the creature is defeated by Twilight Sparkle (who reveals that it wasn't even an Ursa Major, but an Ursa Minor), Trixie promptly falls back on her old arrogance.
    • Played with in her return appearance, "Magic Duel," where Trixie's sub-par magical prowess is greatly boosted thanks to the powers of the Alicorn Amulet. The fact that the Amulet is simultaneously corrupting her mind means this doesn't go well. In the end, Twilight deceives Trixie into believing that she has unparalleled magical talent, in order to trick her into removing the Amulet.
    • This is played around with further after she becomes a regular character, where she's become a bit of a Cowardly Lion. She's quick to downplay her power and run to more competent heroes in a crisis. Yet Trixie is surprisingly useful in a pinch by dint of her cunning, dirty tricks, resourcefulness and half-decent magical power (even if it's not nearly as impressive as she likes to claim it is).
  • Major Man from The Powerpuff Girls was a one-shot character who at first seemed like an exaggerated Expy of Superman and a hero who might even replace the girls. But as it later turned out, he was not only Miles Gloriosus, but an Attention Whore who was purposely arranging for crimes and disasters to happen so he could fly in to stop them; he couldn't handle a real one if his life depended on it, and it wasn't hard for the Girls to expose him as the fraud he was when the newest giant monster came into town. The monster was a friend of theirs doing them a favor, apparently.
  • Samurai Jack: Da Samurai shows up at a tavern and boasts of being a highly skilled samurai, bullying the other customers who are afraid of him, but he ends up Mugging the Monster by provoking Jack, who reluctantly agrees to fight him outside. Jack already knows that his opponent is nothing but hot air: he cuts two sticks of bamboo and tells Da Samurai to take one, saying he's not worthy to face Jack's sword. The result is a Curb-Stomp Battle in which Jack runs circles around his increasingly angry opponent, effortlessly thwarting all of his attacks while humiliating him with smarting blows; each time, Jack gives Da Samurai an aphorism about the self-defeating nature of arrogance, and eventually cracks through his suit of Fake Muscles to reveal him as a scrawny guy with a pot belly. Then an army of robot bounty hunters appears out of the woods. Da Samurai is incapacitated while trying to flee, and Jack saves them both by destroying every single one. In the immediate aftermath he apologizes to Jack, admitting he isn't hot stuff like he thought he was, and what Jack did was amazing. Just then he sees that the destroyed robots have reconstituted themselves into a giant monstrosity which is rearing up behind Jack, and pushes Jack away from its beam weapon while getting hit himself. After putting it down for good, Jack tells Da Samurai that he has taken the first step on the true path of the samurai, and the next moment he's calling Jack sensei and begging for more instruction.
  • Tiger from Skunk Fu! did fight Dragon (the Big Bad, not The Dragon), but becomes this trope after the fact. However, when angered, he is known to fight ferociously.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob becomes one in the episode "Blackened Sponge". After he gives himself a black eye by accidentally hitting it with a monkey wrench, he tries to save face by telling heavily glorified tall tales about how he got it while fighting a villain from his dreams named Jack M. Crazyfish. Once he discovers that Crazyfish is Real After All, he drops the facade immediately, tells the truth about his black eye, and begs for mercy.
  • Die Fledermaus from The Tick, who looks and talks the part of superhero but is the first to flee when danger is afoot. In fact, he doesn't just flee, he sometimes faints! Note that while "Fledermaus" is German for "bat", the literal translation is "flying/fleeing mouse", a perfect description for a total coward.
  • Slugslinger from The Transformers always claims to be a fearless and talented gunman, which seems to be backed up by his results on the battlefield, but in reality he is nothing without his gun Caliburst. When Caliburt's ammo dries up, Slugslinger's true cowardice is revealed.
    • In Transformers Animated, Sentinel Prime is one of these. While being Optimus Prime's equal, he considers himself superior, and is constantly bragging about how he should be fighting Decepticons while Optimus should be repairing Space Bridges. Then Starscream falls out of the sky, and Sentinel goes straight into Coward Mode.
    Sentinel: What is that thing?
    Optimus: Oh that's right, you've never seen one up close. It's called: a Decepticon.
    • And, unlike Optimus Prime, he's kept his fear of organics from when they abused both of them.


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