A Sidekick with a peculiar twist: presumably to serve as a Foil to a brave (or cocky) hero, they're so yellow that one has to wonder how the heck they ended up in the adventure business in the first place. The Cowardly Sidekick is often what happens when the Plucky Comic Relief isn't so... well, plucky. Anything but, in fact.
Anime & Manga
- Myoga the flea in Inu Yasha. Whoever he hides with in a battle has been used as an indicator of what's the safest place to be.
- While Chamo of Mahou Sensei Negima may be mostly useless during fights (and not all that brave during the particularly dangerous fights), he's at least a capable strategist and is willing to be as useful a possible.
- Pop/Poppu from Dai no Daibouken starts off like this.
- Yoki in Fullmetal Alchemist.
- Malak the thief in Conan the Destroyer.
- Snails in Dungeons and Dragons.
- The black servant in various Haunted House movies of The Thirties and The Forties. Putting aside Unfortunate Implications, one could call them sensible rather then cowardly; when they say "Feets do yo stuff!" running is usually a really good option.
- Herman "Fergie" Ferguson in Judge Dredd, after he and the title character escape the air transport wreck together.
- Ruby Rhod in The Fifth Element.
- Rip Haywire has his faithful dog, talking collie TNT, who is in near-constant panic mode.
- Craig from The Allen and Craig Show.
- In Rugrats, Chuckie Finster is literally scared of his own shadow. Contrast to Tommy, who is generally fearless.
- Penfold from Danger Mouse is an iconic example.
- Luigi in the Super Mario Bros Super Show and its sequels.
- Arthur from The Tick (animation). Actually explained in the pilot basically as Arthur being unable to tolerate how mundane his life was anymore; we even see him doing his work as an accountant in costume.
- Carl Wheezer from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron.
- Ron from Kim Possible.
- Antoine from Sonic Sat AM.
- The aptly named Cringer the Battle-Cat from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
- Fluttershy from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is known to freak out at falling leaves and her own shadow, when she doesn't have something more pressing to attend to, like scolding an angry dragon into leaving her friends alone or glaring a cockatrice into submission. "Cowardly" is perhaps not the correct word, so much as "cripplingly timid".
- Gus from Recess.
- Zilly from Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
- Also, black comedians have been using this joke for years. When the scary/deadly shit happens, they get the hell out of there. It's even used in the first Scary Movie, where the BET news crew only stays long enough to say "White folks gettin' killed, we're outta here!" before making good on their report.