Cultured Badass

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"You have no dignity!"


Spenser: Has anyone ever told you that you coalesce reality? That you brighten a room and make everything seem lighter and more pleasant?
Susan Silverman: No. They usually only say that I'm good in the sack.

Spenser: (after a thoughtful pause) They are accurate but limited. And if you give me their names, I'll kill them.


In most media, the average Badass is usually a hairy-knuckled brawler unfamiliar with the finer things in life. But not this guy. Like his Trope-brother the Cultured Warrior, the Cultured Badass knows how to be sophisticated, is an expert on gourmet food and art, and knows just how to behave himself at a formal affair. In short, he knows how to be a gentleman.

But he also knows how to be a Badass. Just because he enjoys La Bohème and can tell the difference between bottles of 1938 and 1941 Moët et Chandon just from the taste sound of it being poured doesn't mean he's harmless. Get on his bad side and you will live to regret it if you are lucky. (If you're unlucky, you won't live at all.)

Similar to Cultured Warrior, except he's not in the military (though he might be a veteran). Sometimes he's a Badass Bookworm, though not necessarily. Sometimes he's a Warrior Poet, though often there's nothing spiritual about his love of culture... he just likes the finer things. When he's evil, he's Wicked Cultured and when he's nice (or Affably Evil), he's a Gentleman and a Scholar.

If a woman is a Cultured Badass, she's either a Lady of War or Silk Hiding Steel. See also Pop-Cultured Badass.

Examples of Cultured Badass include:


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Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • Koetsuji Akisame from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is a philosopher, a painter and sculptor so famous that he would be rich if he were willing to sell his works, and a chiropractor. He is also good at many musical instruments, theater acting, machinery, and math and physics, among others. Additionally, he can speak Russian and can perform a tea ceremony. He is also the best Jujitsu master in Japan who is capable of bending steel with just one finger. One of his many feats was to level down a fully staffed Russian military base all by himself, unarmed of course.
  • Hagi/Haji from Blood+ operates with an eye for sophistication. His weapon of choice? A cello case.
    • And he does play the cello pretty well, too. Not to mention he loves gardening.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The perfect mixture of culture and badass has been passed down the Armstrong family line for GENERATIONS!
  • Gravion bring us Klein Sandman, who is obscenely rich, has a crap ton of maids, lives in a totally pimped out castle, and did we mention he's rich? However, he can build and pilot badass mecha, and regularly performs Crazy Awesome feats of life threatening insanity as if it were normal.
  • From The Big O, Roger Smith and Alex Rosewater definitely enjoy the finer things in life, and while they are on opposite sides of the moral fence, they are both tough enough to get in their sentient mecha and kick your ass!
  • Albireo Imma from Mahou Sensei Negima likes to drink tea, speak politely, and can control gravity magic. His occupation is librarian, and he'll still kick your ass. Without actually being physically present.
    • After recent events, Negi probably qualifies, as he's a Quintessential British Gentleman who enjoys a Spot of Tea...and is capable of beating the crap out of you if you piss him off.
    • Negi's master Evangeline also qualifies, since she (also) enjoys tea (by Chachamaru), plays a wicked game of Go, and is in the Flower Arrangement Club. She is also one of the most powerful mages in the world with an enormous bounty on her and has earned a ton of titles in her long life.
    • There's also our old nemesis, Fate Averoncus. Who, much like Negi, also enjoys drinking tea and has the habit of offering his enemies to a drink before a fight, which is sometimes not even his intention.
  • Sanji from One Piece. Helps that he's the number one Chivalrous Pervert and Supreme Chef.
    • Additionally, Emporio Ivankov's right hand ummmm...person, Inazuma. With a big hairdo, and fancy clothes, and a glass of wine eternally clutched in his hands, Inazuma is able to kick ass and take names without spilling so much as a single drop.
    • Much earlier on, we had Captain "Iron Fist" Fullbody. However, after being bumped down to Marine Recruit so that he could work with both Jango and Captain Hina, he appears to have dropped the 'cultured' part.
  • Treize Khushrenda: urbane, enjoys a cup of tea, memorizes all slain for his cause, and can tidily hand Chang Wufei his ass.
  • Cowboy Bebop's philosophically minded and jazz loving Jet Black is a gardening, cooking, ass kicking machine.
  • Kenshiro Kasumi in Fist of the Blue Sky is a Cultured Badass that can actually pose as a teacher in a girl's university, and can read German fluently enough that he can read the names of poisons on a bottle. He can also pose as a translator, while still retaining the ability to cast a Death Glare potent enough to scare brigands, at which point the trope is lampshaded. And he is every bit as capable of rendering you "already dead" as his post-apocalyptic nephew.
  • Ren from Skip Beat! Cultured enough that he seems like two different people. One a wonderful heartthrob talented actor who is kind, refined, and gentlemanly. The other scary enough that when he gets angry Kyouko wants to crawl under a rock and die, not to mention his not yet revealed troubled past...
  • Full Frontal from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn when he is holding Banagher captive, he offers him tea, has no qualms with answering Banagher's questions, and treats him with the utmost of courtesy. Whether or not you think that he truly is Char, you can't deny the fact that he is classy
  • Spitfire from Air Gear is the Flame King of the Flame Road. He's also a hairdresser, and plays piano.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Batman's Battle Butler Alfred Pennyworth is much more than the skinny, soft-spoken, gentleman's gentleman that he appears to be. (He's a former SAS commando, after all).
    • Bruce Wayne himself isn't exactly an unsophisticated ruffian, either. He mingles with high society nearly every night he isn't dressed up as a bat.
  • Deathstroke The Terminator Slade Wilson is often seen sipping champagne and enjoying the finer things in life
  • V from V for Vendetta easily constitutes this. Every second line is a quote from some major literary source, he's a fan of the original Zorro film, and can dance too!
  • Doctor Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts and former Sorcerer Supreme, is an upper-class former surgeon trained in magic by a Tibetan mystic. To qualify as Sorcerer Supreme he had to go out and force Death into submission. His manservant, Wong, is much like an Asian version of Alfred.
  • G.I. Joe's Roadblock carries an M2 Browning heavy machine gun around and is also a gourmet chef.
  • Abominus from the Transformers Mirror Universe of Shattered Glass. The Shattered Glass Terrorcons are all well-regarded performers of some form or other, and when combined their foppish charm is magnified tenfold.
  • Wonder Woman is a princess, and thus remains very well-schooled in the ways of etiquette and grace even whilst fending off an alien invasion with her bare hands. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta, is even more regal and rigid then her daughter, yet capable of kicking just as much ass.
  • Dwight and Wallace from Sin City are both very well-read and enjoy the arts. A villain example would be Manute who speaks well and is obviously quite intelligent.


Fanfic[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Bond. James Bond. Just because the man prefers vodka martinis ("shaken, not stirred"), enjoys regular fine dining, knows the word for "beautiful" in Afghan, thinks drinking champagne at the wrong temperature is "as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs", can identify classic cars on sight, stops to taste the caviar before leaving a room after being attacked by a thug, has "usual suites" in Vienna and Hong Kong, a better taste in wine than any of his succesive bosses, a First in Oriental Languages from Cambridge, and a penchant for wearing tuxedos and tailor made clothes, doesn't mean he can't kick your ass before you even realize what's happening. The movies especially played this up: he came across as more of a Jerkass in the original novels.
  • Dorian Gray in the live-action adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. When The Phantom's soldiers begin wrecking his house, he strides calmly through the firefight, looking utterly bored as he stabs people left and right. When one of the soldiers fills his entire torso with lead, he just stands there, takes a deep breath, and then cuts off the guy's breastplate and stabs him. As soon as the guy falls, he takes the handkerchief out of his breast pocket, wipes the sword clean with it, and puts it back in a dignified manner.
  • Everett Hitch in Appaloosa is the Far West version of this trope.
  • Sherlock Holmes is quite cultured just refuses to live up to the image and prefers the drunk/wasted/stoned eccentric genius style.
  • Leopold Alexis Elijah Walker Thomas Gareth Mountbatten, a 19th century gentleman and (fictional) inventor of the elevator thrown to the 21st century in the Romantic Comedy Kate & Leopold.
  • Hannibal Lecter of Silence of the Lambs, anyone?
  • Ghost Dog is a hitman who is also an enormous fan of Samurai culture and philosophy. And that's only the start of it: he also trains pigeons, reads classic literature along with books about philosophy, civil rights struggles, fantasy novels, and has warrior symbols from multiple cultures in his tiny shack.
  • Pretty much every Indiana Jones villain.
    • And Indy himself (he's a history archaeology professor after all...)
  • The Big Bad of Equilibrium, being a hypocrite, keeps an art collection and reads poetry, quoting Yeats right before the climactic fight. He is also a Gun Kata master.
  • With the exception of Ariadne, Arthur in Inception seems to be the least capable member when it comes to fighting. He's almost always dressed in a slick suit or his Waistcoat of Style with his hair combed back and seems to be primarily Cobb's smart assistant who manages the high tech equipment. However, in the first dream level he dream up one of the biggest guns and in the second level he he completely owns gravity, making Neo look like a cheap carnival artist.
  • Benedict from Last Action Hero.
  • English Bob from Unforgiven appears to embody this trope, although it is later implied that his debonair, cultured manner may be a facade (and also that he may be less of a badass than his public image would suggest).
  • Doc Holiday in "Tombstone" as portrayed by Val Kilmer. He speaks Latin, wears a spiffy purple vest, and shoots a double barrel sawed off.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Sherlock Holmes In the novels is portrayed more cultured than badass, but instances still arise that show the hidden badass within. For example, a goon came in and with some effort bent his fire poker. With little effort Holmes straightened it, barehanded. Oh yeah, and straightening a bar of iron is harder than bending it in the first place.
    • He's also a bare-knuckle boxer.
  • Robert B. Parker's hard-boiled detective Spenser is a gourmet cook, an appreciator of classical music, classical literature, and finely brewed beer, a lover of dogs, a respecter of women, and is absolutely capable of breaking you into several small bleeding chunks should the job call for it.
  • Simon Templar, the gentleman thief better known as The Saint.
  • Havelock Vetinari of the Literature/Discworld novels.

What did he know? He'd been classically educated. Then they remembered that that classical education had taken place at the Guild of Assassins, and froze.

"Nor were the 'loremasters' a separate guild of gentle scribes, soon burned by the Orks of Angband upon pyres of books. They were mostly even as Fëanor, the greastest, kings, princes and warriors..." The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", J.R.R Tolkien.

  • The titular character of the Erast Fandorin bovels
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Grand Admiral Thrawn, who led the Empire after Palpatine's death, was an art collector. But he had more than mental toughness. In a novella called "Side Trip", he disguised himself as a bounty hunter for an extended period and proved to be an excellent shot.
    • Thrawn wasn't just an art collector because he appreciated art in itself (not that he didn't)... he was able to determine the tactical makeup of a race/culture just by analyzing one of their pictures or sculptures. Needless to say, Thrawn is probably the first example of being Badass because he was Cultured, as opposed having either as separate parts of his character.
  • A number of protagonists in Feist's books, most notably Jimmy The Hand/Duke James and his grandson Dashel.
  • Tarzan can put on airs as Lord Greystoke one minute and rip out your throat with his teeth the next if you piss him off.
  • Seregil and later also Alec from Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series - always well-mannered, always insisting on wearing gloves (since callused hands would be such a disaster!), always speaking properly - that is when they're not busy with spying, fighting and stealing. Almost any member of Skalan Royalty counts too.
  • Jean Tannen from the Gentleman Bastard Sequence series. Master of sums, and lover of literature—he spends a few fair pages in one book debating with another man on the merits and faults of the Therin Throne's most reputed playwright. He's also built like a bull and skilled with throwing axes.
  • China Sorrows from the Skulduggery Pleasant books.
  • Jack the Ripper in Time Scout is a very well-read member of London society.
  • Derek Sagan in The Star of the Guardians. Quoting Tosca to his opponent while torturing him is among the things he does.
  • Agent Pendergast, oh so much.
  • Butler of Artemis Fowl, as well as being a Battle Butler, is a cordon bleu chef and has been shown to read classic novels in his free time.
  • Lord Peter Wimsey, the second son of a duke. Described in Dorothy Sayers' novels as speaking multiple languages (including French and Latin), a book collector, a well-known cricket player, very careful of his clothes, and who actually does correctly identify several rare wines based on taste alone in one short story (to be fair, the competition was designed to figure out which of three men was him—his taste for wines being famed all the way across Europe). Takes up detective work as a hobby mostly because he's bored and got a lot of experience doing intelligence work during World War II, and shows no squeamishness about killing the occasional criminal by accident, usually without the criminal ever realising he was dangerous.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Robert McCall, the hero of The Equalizer, is urbane and well-read. And an ex-spy with no compunctions at all with ending a person if they become a problem.
  • Duncan MacLeod, from the Highlander series, is a lover of opera, a reader of poetry, a bit of a gourmand, a lover of fine art, a skilled dancer, a collector of fine antiques, and is qualified to teach history at the college level. Oh, and did we mention he's a multiple black belt who regularly chops off the heads of his enemies with a katana (in the use of which he is an expert, naturally)?
    • Nicely justified - he's had a few hundred years to develop all of that.
  • Wesley Wyndam-Pryce from Angel is a good example. Cultured, almost foppish, yet quite badass when he needs to be.
    • He didn't start out as much of a badass, though (and when he was introduced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he was pretty much the antithesis of badass). As the seasons went by he gradually leveled up
    • Angel himself is an accomplished artist, a voracious reader, and skilled with languages human and demonic. Plus there's his longstanding love of ballet - strong enough to be the core of an entire episode, "Waiting in the Wings" and that he admitted to admiring even without a soul as Angelus. Part of the reason for his diverse abilities is simply his inhumanly long life; the rest is intelligence and perhaps a compulsion to make up not only for his evilness as Angelus but also his wastrel past as the human Liam.
  • Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • To a much lesser degree, Mal from Firefly, though the culture only shows up in a brief hints hint, such as his proficiency in ballroom dancing, or in the movie, when he displays knowledge of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". The Word of God says that he grew up well-read on a wealthy ranch.

Mal: Yes, I read a poem. Try not to faint.

    • Also Shepard Book. A preacher who discusses ancient Chinese philosophers, and is also a good enough shot that he can unerringly hit his opponents in the kneecap in a tense firefight. It's more than hinted at that he's a Retired Badass with a Mysterious Past.
    • And Simon Tam. Very well educated, dresses nicely, unerringly polite, but able to take on an entire corrupt government without flinching to protect his mei-mei.
  • To a certain extent, the title character of House. He's definitely not a gentleman, but he's very intelligent, a great doctor, well-read, fond of jazz... and heavily anti-social. Therefore, cultured and badass, even if he doesn't classically fit the trope.
  • Ben Linus of Lost is accomplished on the piano and skilled at chess (fittingly). He's well-read and speaks several languages. He'll also cripple you with his handy telescopic baton, then whip you around and use your gun, still in your hand, to shoot your comrade.
  • Your average Starfleet officer is probably better read and more erudite than your average Oxford professor. But when they're not watching ancient operas or helping Leonardo Da Vinci on the holodeck, they're kicking Klingon, Cardassian, and Romulan ass, giving the Borg a run for their money, and otherwise saving time and space as you know it.
  • When not playing the cello (a Stradivarius cello, to be specific) and tending to his priceless art collection (including apparent examples of lost works by famous painters), Stringfellow Hawke blows shit up in his Big Damn Gunship, Airwolf. Donald P. Bellisario likes his protagonists to be fairly well-heeled.
  • Gossip Girl's Chuck Bass. Wore suits to kindergarten and developed his taste for single malt at the age of twelve, but cross him and you're in for a world of hurt.
  • The impeccably dressed, bowler-hatted, champagne-drinking John Steed from The Avengers.
  • Paladin of Have Gun — Will Travel takes in the opera, ballet, recites poetry and classical literature off the top of his head, displays talent as an artist, and is the baddest man in the Old West.
  • Grimm gives us Eddie Monroe. He speaks German, High German, fixes clocks, plays the cello, collects stamps, is knowledgeable about antique cameras, and is a highly proficient chef who makes his own sausages, appreciates fine wine, and such. He's also the Grimm-universes version of a Big Bad Wolf, capable of ripping your arm off on accident


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Bully has the preppies, though your mileage may vary on just how badass they are.
  • Pictured above: Dudley of the Street Fighter series defines this trope: you try kicking arse in a ruffled shirt and bowtie, and having tea whilst wearing gentlemen's sports gloves.
    • Also, Eagle from Street Fighter. His batons are nothing to sneeze at, and he's also rather polite and sharp-dressed.
  • Despite appearances, Sten from Dragon Age: Origins. The man is a true lover of art, as well as soft-spoken intellectual, despite being a Proud Warrior Race Guy the size of a refrigerator. Though his pseudo-Confucian life philosophy makes him rather stiff-necked with some issues, like women's rights.
    • Hawke from Dragon Age 2. Has an expansive library in their estate, maintains a personal diary and is shown to be perfectly capable of dealing with the aristocracy of Kirkwall. In their spare time, they regularly battle Blood Mages, slay High Dragons, end a city-wide invasion by taking down the Qunari Leader in honourable single-combat. In Legacy they even defeat an Ancient Tevinter Magister who was one of the first Darkspawn.
  • Vulcan Raven from Metal Gear Solid. The man is a seven foot tall Inuit/Alaskan Native American who is capable of not only lifting a twenty-millimeter Vulcan cannon, a gun normally mounted on fighter jets, and carrying its refrigerator-sized ammo supply on his back, he's able to do it in the middle of the permafrost layer. Without a shirt. And he can run, too. One would expect that, in order to balance this out, he'd have to be pretty simple-minded; just a dumb brute, right? Wrong. As Naomi tells us, "He's a Graduate Emeritus from Alaska University, so he's a quick thinker, too." He has a thing for philosophy and was trained as an Inuit Shaman, so he has supernatural powers as well. And after he's defeated? He accepts his death with peace in his heart, knowing that he will return to mother earth through the ravens, who are eating his flesh as he gives his dying speech.
    • The Hiimdaisy webcomic ups the ante by having him sing before even fighting.

"Liiiiisten to my heart, you will understaaaaand~"

  • Andrew Ryan in BioShock (series). The man might not be much of a challenge physically, but he hits you with a huge mental/emotional revelation that completely changes the way you look at the game on the second playthrough. He's completely nonchalant when you encounter him, playing golf on the other side of his bulletproof glass. Then he proceeds to make sense of everything that's happened in the game so far, all while forcing you to be his captive audience due to using a mind-control phrase, which your Voice With A Radio Connection has also been using to get you to kill Ryan in the first place. Then he makes you kill him. Andrew Ryan is many things, but a coward is definitely not one of them.
  • In his introduction scene in World in Conflict, French commander Sabatier is forced to cooperate with American troops under Colonel Sawyer's command. After an American officer fails to pay due respect to French culture, Sabatier breaks into an angered monologue in French about American barbarians, until the "barbarian" Sawyer politely asks him to shut the hell up—in fluent, accent free French (he then proceeds to reprimand the officer who caused the incident). It is later mentioned that the Colonel is also fluent in Russian and a few other European languages.
  • Several from Mass Effect :
    • Shepard. Greatest warrior (all races included) the galaxy ever created, gave the finger to the Reapers twice, is lusted by every species in the galaxy (and every gender), was killed but s/he was deemed Badass enough to be brought back to life, familiar with Hobbes and Machiavelli.
    • Liara. Galaxy-known Prothean expert despite being almost a kid (106 human years, which is little more than a child in asari terms) and biotic user.
      • In 2, with help from Shepard, she kills and takes the place of The Shadow Broker. Give her ten minutes and she can start a war.
    • Mordin Solus. Creator of the genophage.[1] Omnidisciplinary Scientist. Former salarian special forces member. Owns a clinic in Omega. Killed two units of highly trained mercenaries with only a pistol and some toxic gas. *sharp inhale* Once with farming equipment.
    • Thane Krios. Can kill anything with his bare hands, is a galaxy-class assassin and a deeply philosphical and religious man, praying before and after his missions and casually quoting Thomas Hobbes at one point during a conversation with Shepard about the fate of his homeworld.
    • Urdnot Wrex, which is particularly surprising considering he's a krogan. Naturally he's a tough and badass fighter, but he's also introspective, highly intelligent, and even philosophical.
      • Grunt, another krogan, is similarly introspective, if not as intelligent. He's also a fan of Ernest Hemingway.
  • Ezio Auditore, the protagonist of Assassin's Creed II, is a friend of Leonardo da Vinci and can become a patron of the arts by buying dozens of actual Renaissance paintings for his villa.
  • The Disciple from Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords certainly counts. Speaking with a generous vocabulary, a soft voice, and greeting the player with a bow, The Disciple constantly shows the a wide array of knowledge and savvy. He intellectually points out that the Jedi are flawed but are needed because, even if they make mistakes, Jedi are necessary symbols for the unification of the Republic, and recognizes the importance of the Restoration Project and Onderon. Despite being an upright fellow, his starting class is Soldier a.k.a. the class with the highest base Strength and most weapon specialties and feats in the game. If trained, he can become a Jedi Consular, the class that receives the most Force Powers in the game. He excels in all levels of kicking ass while remaining polite and intellectual.
  • In Jade Empire, Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard definitely presents himself as this.
  • Slayer from Guilty Gear. He perpetually smokes a pipe and wears a suit and tie while fighting, and can make his opponent disappear by reading a haiku.
    • Don't forget Potemkin. He is very intelligent and also has a knack for drawing, painting and poetry.
  • Kyle and Forde from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones are among the most trusted retainers of the Renais court and very badass cavaliers. Kyle is very well-mannered and appreciative of art (he collects wood figurines, many of them made by his artist sister Mia), Forde is a talented painter in his spare time.
  • The Honest Hearts DLC for Fallout: New Vegas gives us Joshua Graham, a New Canaanite missionary (essentially a post-apocalypse Mormon). He is soft-spoken, erudite and obviously well-read, with a philosophical streak and a penchant for quoting Bible verses. He was also once the infamously brutal Malpais Legate of Caesar's Legion (where his education was helpful in translating threats of death and orders to conquered tribes). Joshua's put that behind him now, but he rightfully remains perhaps the most feared man in all the Mojave Wastes and will kill without hesitation when he feels it necessary.
    • The Courier themselves, if played with high intelligence can reveal themselves to be familiar enough with the works of Virgil and Cicero to be able to quote them from memory. In Latin.
  • Professor Layton is a tea-loving gentleman in every regard, as clearly evidenced by the fanciness of his top hat. He has also shown off his extensive fencing skill to the villains of both the second game and the movie, the latter case being handicapped by fighting with a pole he found against a real sword. His greatest display of badassery was arguably ramping the Laytonmobile (basically just a car with a higher roof for the all-important hat) onto the deck of a giant war-machine in Unwound Future to get his adopted child back.
  • Gar in Arcanum is one of several 'pure melee/dodge' followers who excels in melee combat... but he's the only one to have very strong opinions regarding tea.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Girl Genius has a lot of them, given that most Mad Scientists and nobles (which often overlap) fit here more or less. Of particular note, there's Jorgi, a particularly contentious Jägermonster and son of a wannabe philosopher (which in a town full of mad scientists' minions may be more common than average). Conversely, many people from Mechanicsburg and lands under its control who used to be more violently inclined when younger, no matter their status and training, did "ride with the Jägers", i.e. joined the army of Heterodynes for a while. And the Smoke Knights have their moments that remind us these people call princes and princesses "cousin" and "grandma" because they are indeed born and raised by nobility, just don't get to inherit the titles to the land (which in itself gives those who do a good incentive to not miss their own training sessions, of course [1] [2]).


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Phase of the Whateley Universe. Raised from an infant in the wealthiest family on earth, he's intelligent, urbane, well-read, and loves opera and classical music. He's a gourmet, and a brilliant businessman. This makes him utterly unprepared to be a high school girl in a Super-Hero School.
  • Lord Doom, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Wealthy? Check. Highly educated? Check. Loves the classics? Check. Patron of the arts? Check. Gourmand? Check. Friend to All Children? Check. Published author and poet? Check. Olympic-level athlete? Check. Mad scientist dedicated to ruling the world? Check.
  • Cassidy Cain from Grandmaster of Theft. Cultured: She's heiress who attended a private school, speaks in a eloquent tone, dresses in expensive & fancy clothing, drinks tea, and intellectual who treasures knowledge in addition to being well read in philosophy, psychology, and plenty other topics. Badass: She's an experienced thief who developed her own martial arts style, trained every since she was young, Plucky Girl, and can do Le Parkour alongside use said knowledge to her advantage.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender gives us several examples of this, but Iroh is by far the greatest. He loves tea, has an appreciation for music, likes to share many pieces of wisdom from his decades of experience, and will utterly wreck your shit if you push him far enough. He's the most Badass character on a show full of badasses, but his softer side is what really makes him such a compelling character, and it's the one we see most often.
    • Aang is as well as he is shown to be quite knowledgeable of other cultures including pre-war Fire Nation.
    • Toph's background of living in a very high class family gives her decent knowledge to be able to blend into high society; she just chooses not to act that way.
    • Also, Piandao, a Badass Normal One-Man Army who enjoys painting, calligraphy, and rock gardening.
  • Charles Foster Ofdensen, the manager of Dethklok in Metalocalypse. He's less "Cultured Badass" and more "Badass Professional", but we don't have a trope for that yet. The effect is the same, though.
    • He did get himself beaten by the weird guy in the mask so a little less badass...Still badass though and just being able to handle Dethklok without dying or going stark raving bonkers is badass.
      • His record against the mask guy is 1 and 1, they've each claimed a victory over each other. And the mask guy is a legendary assassin...who according to record is Ofdensen's equal.
  • Exo Squad brings you the Neo Sapian Marsala: Well spoken, and extremely intelligent (even by his genetically engineered standards). That said, he is still taller and stronger then any normal human, and is a capable E-Frame Pilot. You could probably add Wolf Bronski into the mix as despite his rough exterior, the fact you can set a watch to him belching, he is well educated when it comes to trains and has a thing for the arts.
    • While knowledge of trains could be seen as more of a hobby than a sign of culture, his appreciation of art does show Hidden Depths.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • King Ashurbanipal of the Neo-Assyrian Empire was equally famous for the cruelty with which he treated his conquered foes and his singular devotion to literature in a time when almost nobody else cared about reading. He amassed one of the world's earliest libraries with texts scavenged from across the empire and pillaged from foreign lands—sometimes, if another ruler had a text Ashurbanipal really wanted, he'd suggest that maybe they should offer it to him as a gift if they didn't want their head on a spear. If you've read The Epic of Gilgamesh, you can thank Ashurbanipal, since it's one of the many ancient texts that survived thanks to his library.
  • Theodore Roosevelt: hated being called Teddy, how many cultured people do you know that like nicknames that end with 'y'. Graduated from Harvard. Wrote several books including history books. Owned several exotic animals, exotic meaning dangerous and badass, such as bears and badgers. Was also a combat veteran, a skilled horseman, and was once shot in the chest at a public event and kept giving his speech. For an HOUR AND A HALF.
    • Also known for being very polite to people who pissed him off, until they took it too far, at which point he took off his glasses so they wouldn't break, and beat the shit out of them.
      • While president, he once boxed with a bear. The fight left him blind in one eye for the rest of his life. He was also a skilled negotiator who hammered out a treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War, which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.
    • TR recruited his famous Rough Riders cavalry regiment largely from two groups: cowboys and Harvard football players. He personally had been both.
    • Franklin Roosevelt: As cultured as Theodore, but polio did not let him tame bears. Oh yeah, was president while paralyzed from the waist down (The Other Wiki notes he is consistently rated among the top three Presidents in history by many historians. The guys in front of him? Lincoln and Washington.)
      • Not only that - during his campaign, he HID his paralysis. He would be propped standing up to appear in public. His wheelchair was always hidden by a desk. He did everything he could to project energy and strength both mentally and physically, never letting the public know his legs were wrecked, which must have been painful beyond belief.
  • The Roman general Scipio Africanus was a great lover of Greek culture and a great reducer of the number of Greek-trained Carthegenian mercenaries.
    • Not to mention the fact that he was a gentleman that, when his troops offered him a young woman upon the capture of a city, he returned her to his fiancée, instead of brutally raping her.
  • King Jan III Sobieski of Poland, whose claims to fame include leading the combined armies of the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to a resounding victory against the numerically superior Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Vienna in 1683, is said to have been a highly cultured lover of poetry and food, and an enthusiastic amateur astronomer.
    • The constellation Scutum (Latin for "shield") in the southern summer sky is supposed to represent his coat of arms; it is the only constellation which does not owe its name to classical history or mythology.
  • Gene Tunney (who was World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1926 to 1928) was a lover of literature and poetry, a practiced actor, and an accomplished singer. He once forcibly dragged someone over to a window just to show them a beautiful sunset.
    • The moral of this story is, as has been repeatedly stated, just because they like the finer things doesn't make them any less badass, and also that if a World Heavyweight Boxing Champion tells you to look at a sunset, you look at the goddamn sunset.
  • Editorialist, social critic, philosopher, and political radical Dwight Macdonald was in the habit of inviting intellectuals he disagreed with to come to his house and fight.
  • In fact, being able to handle yourself in a fight used to be part of the requirements of a proper gentleman. Check this article for a discussion of this point.
  • This was common among, and even somewhat expected of Samurai, especially during relatively peaceful times; one's education and cultural skills, such as tea ceremony and flower arrangement, became as important in determining honor and status as one's actual strength in battle.
  • While the Scottish Highlanders have been stereotyped as savages and of course sometimes justly(it has to be sometimes true after all), it was not unknown for Highland nobles to be cultured folk, well educated in famous universities. While still being as Badass as a true Scotsman should be.
  • Roald Dahl. He wrote excellent satire (before he started writing children's books, he was known as the "Master of the Macabre"), was educated at Eton School, won several awards for photography, and wrote the screenplay of You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He was also a known Casanova, a sportsman and a RAF fighter ace.
  • Chessboxers.
  • Medieval and Renaissance knights were mostly born into nobility, and therefore schooled in social graces from an early age. This form of knighthood could be considered to start with the crowning of Charlemagne and his efforts to establish a more strongly unified Western Europe through social reform. Earlier knight equivalents, such as of the Migration Period, do not fall under this trope. Otherwise, this certainly applies in full force by the 14th century, where social and spiritual considerations became teaching points of the greatest fightmasters of the era.
    • Well, that was the ideal, anyway, in a fashion not dissimilar to samurai. And like the samurai, whether any one knight actually lived up to that ideal or not was another matter entirely.
  • Cultured badass? This... Is... Sparta! Spartans were obviously known as fierce warriors but they were also expected to have a "strong mind and body". Education was just as important as being able to cave in a skull.
  • Doc Holliday. They didn't just call him "Doc" because they thought it was a cool name. Before graduating as a qualified dentist, he received an extremely good secondary school education - as his father was loaded - whereas most of the other prominent figures of the Wild West were comparatively fairly ill-educated. He could play the piano, was well versed in Shakespeare, studied mathematics, history, rhetoric and grammar and spoke Latin fluently as well as possessing very good French and Ancient Greek. He was also very refined in his demeanour, displaying the manners of a Southern Gentleman.
  • Don't forget Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. A noble prince who was known for building villages to aid peasants, had been celebrated by the pope, and had improved culture and lifestyle of his entire country during his reign, marks him as cultured. The title 'the impaler' and being credited as one of the major real life sources that the worlds most notorious vampire (Dracula) was based, probably marks him as a badass. And if not, there's the fact that he has a listed victim list that ranges from 40,000 to 100,000, showing he's more then willing to raise and wipe out armies.
  • Italian Medieval and Renaissance nobility used their great wealth and influence(and for a long time they had far more wealth then their northern counterparts)to patronize art. Among the things they did was sponsor the Humanist movement which had it's disadvantages(it held the Medieval period to much in contempt and thus ignored it's technological, legal, and artistic innovations), but did do much to recover Greco-Roman civilization. They were also often ferocious galley captains and dominated the seas so much that their chief enemy was each other. They incorporated mathematics and science into warfare(notably in the new star-forts designed to take advantage of firepower), and even private mayhem(as in their fighting styles for the rapier and the sidesword). They also had a brutal labyrinth of kin and factional politics which reminds one of an Italian stereotype.
  1. "Actually, modified virus to work with existing genophage. *Sharp Inhale* Much more complex."