Genius Bruiser

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"Sir, I'm not going to ask again. Stop making a scene, or I'll remove you from this library."

Breadbun: I'm sorry. Being a powerful barbarian woman, you probably don't care about any of this...
Saurkraut: Saurkraut has master's degrees in liberal arts and finance. Saurkraut slayed many men to pay for it herself and admires Breadbun for doing the same.
Breadbun: ...I guess you really can't judge a book by its cover.

Saurkraut: Indubitably.

A Big Guy who is also a geek or tech-head. Often coupled with Gentle Giant in a dual subversion (not to be confused with a Double Subversion).

Basically what happens when you put Brains and Brawn in one character.

The diametric opposite of Dumb Muscle. This guy has not only huge muscles and fists, but a very bright brain! There is, however, a difference between "especially smart" and "not a total moron"; keep that in mind when adding examples. Here's a tip: A character who is strong but displays frankly average intelligence is simply not an idiot. But if they constantly spout Techno Babble and are considered an expert in some scientific field, that's especially smart. Similarly, if they're especially smart, they must also be unusually strong to qualify. "Beats people up" or "very physically fit" don't exactly count.

The inversion is the Badass Bookworm. In general, a Genius Bruiser looks huge and powerfully muscled, then unexpectedly shows off an intellectual side, whereas a Badass Bookworm looks like a standard geek, but then displays a surprising amount of physical prowess. If Authority Equals Asskicking, you may well end up with an Emperor Scientist. A Genius Bruiser is almost always also a Cultured Badass, but the two aren't necessarily always found in the same individual.

In fantasy, a Genius Bruiser is often a Magic Knight or a Mighty Glacier. Also tends to be combined with Lightning Bruiser, as the speed is frequently tied into intelligence or very specific training. See also Minored in Asskicking. In a Five-Man Band specializing in brawn, is The Smart Guy. In a Five-Man Band specializing in brains, is The Big Guy.

Examples of Genius Bruiser include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Golgo 13: medical knowledge? check. Mathematical genius? yup. Oh and he's the world's deadliest assassins with insane combat skills from hand-to-hand to sniping.
  • Germany and America from Hetalia
  • Jim Austin from Genesis Climber Mospeada (and his counterpart, "Lunk" from Robotech).
  • Peace from Corrector Yui is a wise, cranky old man who just happens to have the ability to summon and use giant, really effective firearms.
    • If we turn towards the Corruptors, Yagi fits the trope to a T.
  • Juumonji (OL/DL) of Eyeshield 21 is one of the three Hah-Hah brothers, a gang of thugs who used to beat up others on a pretty regular basis. But this image is part of his rebellion against his father; he happens to be one of the smartest people on the team (only behind the three acknowledged geniuses), often figuring out things other players miss badly.
    • Not to mention being pretty much one of the better players out there overall, managing to take dow much larger payers, be one of the few people to score againt shinryujii and nearly made the Japan team for the youth world cup, in case the "bruiser" part was ever called into question by his generally small page-time.
    • All of the Amino Cyborgs count as well.
    • And Shin of the Ojou White Knights, who doubles as a Lightning Bruiser to boot.
    • And Banba.
    • And Gaou, surprisingly. He looks like a caveman, started playing american footbal to find someone capable of chalanging him physically and plays incredibally brutally, but he's also very verbose, well informed and polite off the pitch.
    • Lastly, there's Agon. Strait A student and legendary player without any effort. To bad he's the worlds biggest jerk...
    • The most prominent example might be Akaba Hayato. Despite his skinny stature, he had skills that enables him to throw Kurita with ease, and talented enough to be Technical Advisor for his team, to the point he can recognize every player's movement weakness and shares them with his teammmates.
  • Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist is a genius alchemist who has seen the gate, and is also a soul trapped in a giant suit of armor Major Alex Louis Armstrong is also a genius alchemist, and is built like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Anti-Villain Scar is another capable alchemist (noticing a pattern here?) and a religious leader and is only slightly less hulking than Armstrong. Due to the intelligence it requires and the rigours of the job, most State Alchemists (and their enemies) will be either Genius Bruisers or Badass Bookworms.
  • The Prince of Tennis has several of those. Choutarou Ohtori is a very polite musician as well as a youth around 180 cms tall with an frighteningly powerful serve. Gin Ishida is a huge player form Shitenhouji who has developed the Hadokyuu, a tennis shot with 108 variations, two of them also used by his younger brother Tetsu and by Takashi Kawamura. Munehiro Kabaji is around 192 cms tall at the age of 13 (I swear) and can copy almost any tennis style with ease. Both Sadaharu Inui and Renji Yanagi, the most famous Data Players, are both over 180 cms tall as well; in fact, Inui's serve is the second strongest one in the circuit, right after Ohtori's. Genichirou Sanada is a fearsome leader and player as well as a kendo practitioner...
    • In the fanbooks Kabaji is also confirmed to have an exceptionally high IQ, with a mention of him possibly becoming a brilliant lawyer or doctor in the future.
  • All the center players in Slam Dunk. Specially Takenori Akagi, who's 197 cms tall and is not only the Shohoku captain, but a straight A student (There's a quite funny scene where Kogure explains this to Sakuragi and both he and Rukawa imagine a gorilla in a school uniform).
  • Kogarashi the Maid Guy in Kamen no Maid Guy reveals that he attended MIT (gives lectures, point of fact) and is quite intelligent, even if his idea of service tends to be a bit rough. Not quite what one would expect from his appearance as a musclebound man in a dress.
  • Jotaro Kujo from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has a Stand which specializes purely in exceptional strength and speed, without any of the fancy tricks that other Stands have until he randomly gains time stopping powers at the end of his arc. According to his enemies, however, what makes him most dangerous is his ability to think on his feet and out-strategize the enemy.
    • As well as every other "JoJo" from Part 1 through 4. Despite being hulking masses of muscle, or at least having their major fighting ability being pure fists, their wit and quick thinking are what get them out of otherwise fatal conundrums.
  • The title character from Space Adventure Cobra has superhuman levels of strength, agility and endurance, as well as a deadly Arm Cannon. But he's primarily a Gentleman Thief with numerous talents, from mechanic to art history, and he often beat his enemies by outwitting them rather than by brute force.
  • Viede from Chrono Crusade is implied to be one of these—although he's the most physically imposing member of the Sinners, he's shown in a flash back playing chess with brainy Big Bad Aion, and he serves as a voice of reason to both Aion and Genai.
    • Note that this is only in the manga. In the anime, most of his appearances on screen seem to consist of him punching his fist into his hand and laughing evilly.
  • Vinland Saga: Magnificent Bastard that he is, Askeladd can tear heads off with the best of them. And "the best of them" in this case can take out 30+ experienced warriors with their bare hands.
  • Yasutora "Chad" Sado from Bleach is another example. In the beginning of the series, Chad is ranked 11th out of over 300 in the class grade rankings.
    • Ichigo, as well. Ranked 13 out of the aforementioned 300 students and can pull off some impressive combat techniques.
  • Gai from the Getter Robo Go manga is not only beefy and strong, but both the Getter Robo's main mechanic and pilot of Getter 3. He's also maybe a little too obsessed with the Getter Robo. He can be seen wondering aloud if you can truly fall in love with a machine.
  • Jack Rakan in Mahou Sensei Negima, though he does his very best to pretend to be a moron.
    • In his own words, he's more experienced than smart. Any sufficiently advanced knowledge is indistinguishable from intelligence.
    • Negi plays this the most straight, having surpassed university level, knowing several languages and being able to throw around enemies 10 times his size (or being able to actually fight on equal terms with normal sized, but insanely powerful ones).
  • Marco Owen from King of Thorn. A Tattooed Crook and extremely Badass Action Survivor, he's also a brilliant computer hacker. In fact, that's what got him sent to prison in the first place—it wasn't until after he was behind bars that he started pumping iron and taking levels in badass.
  • Soul Eater. Franken Stein. PhD. Vivisected his best friend on a regular basis. Has issues differentiating between reality and his own stream of consciousness. And is the absolute hands-down strongest fighter for Shibusen when he is in his lucid phases.
    • Though he was anything but lucid when he sliced Medusa in two. In fact, his madness at that point is the reason why he was capable of striking even when the snake's arrow was at his neck.
  • The Major from Ghost in the Shell has a first class military cybernetic body and a master of both martial arts and tactics. She is also probably one of the best hackers in the entire country, if not even the world.
  • In The Legend of Thunder, Buson fits this, even though he's only shown to fight using his Pokémon. He's incredibly muscled, keeps showing off his powerful arms, and despite his crude sense of humor is the techie in his two-man army. His production sketch has a note saying he's a Tanuki personality (his partner is a Kitsune), and tanuki are known for being clever and sneaky while giving the impression of stupidity.
    • And in the Pokémon Special manga, there's Wild Child Sapphire, who can easily kick ass with her own bare hands. Despite the fact that she can't read, helping her father out in his studies means that she has a near encyclopedic knowledge of Pokémon biology and ecology.
      • She gets a great moment in proving it too- before challenging Gym Leader Roxanne, all trainers must take an aptitude test. Although Sapphire has a bit of trouble with the longer words, once she gets past those she gets a perfect score on the first try.
  • Leo Regulus from Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas may be Leo Aiolia's expy, but he has something Aiolia never had: brains. Not only is he a "fighting genius", he's a child prodigy (it was implied that he was one in general) and can outwit much older and more experienced opponents even without his considerable strength. Too bad his ultimate technique backfired on him because his body couldn't handle it.
  • From Digimon Savers, we have Masaru's dad, Professor Suguru Daimon. Brilliant scientist who designed and built the Digivice iC, and considering he did it in the Digital World, he probably had less to work with than Tony Stark's box of scraps. He is also a massive Hot-Blooded badass, who can punch out even the strongest Digimon, fought his partner BanchoLeomon to a standstill with his fists in their first meeting, and saved the Holy Captial by smashing a hole in the ground with his fist, making water burst out. And he actually survives getting a huge hole punched in his chest long enough to transfer his spirit to his partner's body. One of the most badass ass-kicking scientists ever.
  • Dragonball Z has Son Gohan. Learned fighting from his dad and his friends, (certainly not his father's brains), and made to study like hell by his mother, resulting in a kid who gets straight-As and smacks around gods.
  • Akisame from Historys Strongest Disciple Kenichi: master martial artist, but he's more famous for his artistic and intellectual abilities than for his ability to make men five times his size his bitch in less than a minute. His artistic ability is world famous and all of his works of art are priceless. He learned how to hack computers in less than five minutes by watching someone else do it. He regularly builds training machines by hand that would put the Saw movies to shame. He once built a Buddha statue by hand from the wreckage of a radio tower in the middle of a fight to use as a weapon (his opponent, an artist himself, was amazed), and singlehandedly designed a workout regimen that brings out 100 percent of the human body's muscular potential. He can throw stone Buddha statues around like paper weights, but he much prefers meditation, learning, and philosophy to kicking ass, probably because he's already mastered the art of whoopass.
  • Kai Hiwatari from Beyblade is the muscle hound of the Bladebreakers, and pretty much gifted.
  • Whitebeard in One Piece is the World's Strongest Man and yet able to match wits with Sengoku during the Marineford battle. If it wasn't, the Whitebeard pirates and their allies would have been finished earlier than expected. In fact, it seems that both Sengoku and Whitebeard consider the other their Worthy Opponent.
    • Back when Sanji was the most recent member and the Big Guy of the Straw Hats, he qualified. Legs strong enough to break the jaws of sea kings, and also a wide, in-depth knowledge of cooking, ingredients, and food preparation. Nowadays, both Chopper and Franky would also qualify: Chopper has a form where he's just big and brawny, and he has the knowledge to make the human body hurt; Franky is a comically large-fisted cyborg, and also a crafty engineer who built himself.
  • Several characters in Naruto have some shades of this, but the best example is Tsunade. Her strength as well as her medical skill are legendary (both derived from her excellent chakra control). She is the only character who has the maximum score in both Intelligence and Strength in the Databooks.
    • To a lesser extent, Chouza Akimichi. While he's not as booksmart as Tsunade, he's the head of one of the four noble clans of Konoha, comes across as fairly wise and intelligent, and is one of the more Badass parents, with plenty of raw strength.
    • Kakuzu from Naruto Shippuden also qualifies as this, since he is noted to be as smart as Shikamaru due to experience and as strong as Kakashi.
    • Kakashi himself counts too. He's one of the the top ninja in the world and quite smart as well.
  • Lordgenome of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Genetic engineer responsible for the entire Beastman race. Master hacker. Thousands of years old, with an immense and thorough knowledge of the Anti-Spirals and the workings of Spiral Energy. Considers using his mecha in a fight to be holding back. Trashes mecha several times larger than himself. Catches on fire from sheer manliness when he's about to beat the shit out of things. Instead of being vaporised by a big bang, he turns it and himself into a giant drill. Yeah.
  • Admiral Dozle Zabi of Mobile Suit Gundam is a brilliant commander and a seven-foot Badass who pilots a walking Weapon of Mass Destruction (the infamous Big Zam). His Dying Moment of Awesome remains one of the most epic moments in the franchise.
  • Lionel "Pops" Racer is a designer and builder of cutting-edge racing cars and engines, with the Mach 5 being his crowning glory. He was also a wrestling champion in his highshcool years and has only gotten bigger and stronger since then, as many thugs have found out the hard way.
  • Shinobu Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho. The man is a brutal fighting machine and a brilliant strategist.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Pictured above: Dr. Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy aka "The Beast" from X-Men. Blue, huge, furry, super-strong (depends on the writer, but sometimes he's said to bench press 70 tons), agile, and Nobel-level intelligent (generally regarded as the preeminent biochemist in the Marvel Universe, not to mention that he gave himself the power upgrade that made him look like how he is today, only stronger than he was when he looked more human). As a bonus, he was played by Kelsey Grammer in the third movie.
  • Atomic Robo, a big, rough guy who fought in World War 2, battled giant crabs, giant ants and giant assholes. He's also a genius beyond compare, not least because he's well... a robot.
  • Superman, who has created robot replicas of himself.
    • And, y'know, won a Pulitzer Prize for his journalism.
    • In Superman: Doomsday he complains that he has trouble developing a cancer cure. And then there is one of his Arch Nemesi - Darkseid, who also fits the trope to a letter.
  • Spider-Man can lift a bus and give you a lecture on chemistry. His villains also tend to be quite strong and intelligent:
    • The Kingpin (usually either a Spider-Man or Daredevil villain) is a criminal mastermind, but when he wants to get physical, he's also a massive bruiser. His bulk is famously described as "all muscle."
    • Doctor Otto Octavius, AKA Dr. Octopus, AKA Doc Ock. Nuclear-physicist level intelligence combined with four mechanical arms, each strong enough to lift a bus. Unfortunately for Spider-Man, also more than a bit insane.
    • Then there's Norman Osborn, who took a drug to boost his own intellect, becoming insane and super strong in the process. His successors (his son Harry Osborn and Roderick Kingsly, the first Hobgoblin) followed suit.
  • The Incredible Hulk started out as brilliant physicist Dr. Bruce Banner, before the radiation accident that turned him into the Hulk. Different personalities, including that of Dr. Banner himself, took control of the Hulk's body at different points and showed varying levels of brains and brawn, depending on which one was currently running things. They would occasionally borrow each others' skills, with Banner lending Joe Fixit his memories and computer skills when Fixit needed to figure out who had poisoned the Hulk and who was about to kill them. It Makes Sense in Context.
    • In Ultimate Marvel, The Abomination is just as strong as Hulk, but retains his genius IQ. Then the Hulk beats the crap out of him and rips his arms off while taunting him about how useless his knowledge was in a fight. "YOU THINK TOO MUCH!"
    • Also, numerous writers have taken note that innocents are never hurt during Hulk's violent rampage, and have since implied that even when he's a neanderthal-like monster, Bruce Banner's mind is constantly doing calculations to ensure that his actions never cause anything but collateral damage to buildings. Somewhat confirmed in Greg Pak's Hulk run, in which while fighting his son Skaar, the Hulk slammed the ground as if to attack, but was really aiming to pile up sand to shore up a collapsing building.
      • That wasn't Banner. That version of the Hulk(Greenscar) is intelligent enough to make that call for himself. Hulk's intellect varies considerably from incarnation to incarnation and writer to writer. Sometimes the Banner supermath thing is required, sometimes it isn't.
    • Of course, Ultimate Hulk reveals he retains his genius-level intellect in that same fight when he taunts the Abomination.
      • Also demonstrated in Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine (which took place before that fight but due to delays wasn't finished until considerably afterwards) where Ultimate Hulk is shown relaxing casually, offering Logan some hot coco.
    • Hulk's cousin, Jennifer Walters aka She Hulk, is both a super-strong superheroine and a practicing lawyer.
      • Fellow lawyer Augustus "Pug" Pugliese made his way through law school working as a bouncer, and is still a very powerful guy for a normal human.
  • A second-tier hero of the Thing/Hulk type: Alpha Flight's Sasquatch, a brilliant scientist who's usually in full command of his mental faculties. Notably also a genius bruiser before developing superpowers (he was a football player—American, not soccer. As though that wasn't implied by the "bruiser" part).
  • Dr. Hank Pym, founding member of the Avengers, could easily make the top ten list of most brilliant scientific minds on the planet. In his identities as Giant-Man and Goliath he is a towering behemoth.
  • From The Ultraverse title Sludge come the Bash Brothers (No, not THAT kind of Bash Brothers, but they do come awful close); Burke (the lawyer) and Monroe (the doctor) Basherowski, complete with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • Caitlin Fairchild in Gen 13.
  • A recent incarnation of Solomon Grundy in Justice League of America fit this trope, retaining his usual strength but trading Hulk Speak for eloquence and cunning. Since Grundy's entire gimmick is that he comes back a bit different every time he dies, it was probably inevitable that this would happen.
  • Maul of the Wild CATS is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who gets dumber as he uses his powers to get larger and stronger. For a while, he was also able to make himself smarter by shrinking, but that turned out to have side effects.
  • Tom Strong, who is usually portrayed as a cross between Reed Richards, Doc Savage, and Hercules.
  • Dr. Leonard Samson; a Marvel character who is the hero population's go-to psychotherapist. Also strong enough to trade blows with an enraged Hulk.
    • Karla Sofen (Meteorite/Moonstone of the Thunderbolts) could be considered Dr. Samson's evil counterpart. (Also a superpowered psychologist.)
  • Thanos, in the Marvel Universe, has constructed space vessels, cloned himself, and has often outsmarted superheroes and cosmic entities. He also has enough strength to hold his own against Thor and Thing simultaneously. But not Squirrel Girl.
  • Thunderball, aka Dr. Eliot Franklin, of the Marvel villain team the Wrecking Crew. Thunderball's intelligence is made all the more obvious by the fact that the rest of his team are rather dim-witted mooks.
  • A Golden Age Captain Marvel villain called King Kull (not related to the Robert E. Howard character), a muscular, club-wielding, loincloth-wearing protohuman who nonetheless invents Sufficiently Advanced technology and was the scientific rival of Mad Scientist Dr. Sivana.
    • Another Golden Age Captain Marvel villain was a criminal who went to prison for over 70 years and spent the entire time reading and working out until he was the smartest, most physically capable 100-year old man around.
    • Captain Marvel's main rival, Black Adam, also fits this trope. He has as much physical power as Superman (he practically beat the entire Justice Society on his own), but he's also superhumanly intelligent.
    • Really, the Big Red Cheese himself qualifies -- "Wisdom of Solomon" and all that.
  • Kilowog of the Green Lantern Corps is another one. He's one of the biggest Corps members, always fighting up close and personal and calling people "poozers", but he's also so smart that he designed the Rocket Red battle suits for the Soviet army.
  • Invincible has the Mauler Twins, a villainous pair of hulking omnidisciplinary geniuses. They're apparently the world's leading experts on cloning, and in all other fields are tied for 2nd smartest character in the book.
    • And by "apparently" the leading experts on cloning, one means they are in fact a second and third generation clone created by their own process. Or maybe third and fourth... The memory imprinting process is so perfect that they can never agree on who cloned who.
  • Tambi Baker is a Genius Bruiser; her twin sister is just a Bruiser.
  • In the Metal Men's feature in Bizarro Comics, the originally incredibly Dumb Muscle Lead is quite loquacious. Also, Jerkass Doc Magnus organizes a mission just to build his creations' confidence.
  • Bane is both a muscled madman and mentally on par with Batman, the world's greatest detective. Of course, the super strength is the only thing that seems to get through to any adaptations. Batman the Animated Series, The Batman, Batman the Brave And The Bold and Batman: Arkham Asylum don't make him stupid per se, but no focus is put on his great intellect. Batman and Robin on the other hand portrays him as a Dumb Brutish Giant Mook. Strangely, the only version that has any hints of Genius Bruiser is Lego Batman, which shows him reading a book with one hand and effortlessly beating Killer Croc at arm wrestling with the other. Odd that a Lighter and Softer Affectionate Parody would be the most faithful to the comics.
    • To go a bit further: the reason why Bane was able to break Batman nearly in half is because he engineered a mass Arkham break-out, so that Batman and crew were run ragged. He has also taken over leadership of the Secret Six at one point.
    • If the trailers are anything to go by, he will FINALLY be portrayed this way in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Batman himself. He's one of the most intelligent heroes in all of comics and has got a figure that can pass for Superman in a dim light, is one of the world's greatest martial artists and stealth fighters, and only seems lacking in a world filled with superpowered heroes and villains... all of whom he can figure out how to defeat.
  • Gorilla Grodd, one of the Flash's enemies, is a killer gorilla who's also a superintelligent Mad Scientist and Manipulative Bastard.
  • Monsieur Mallah, DC's other resident mad scientist gorilla, although he's notable for being the gay lover of another mad scientist... who's a brain in a jar.
  • And the Ultrahumanite, DC's FIRST resident mad scientist, who eventually transferred consciousness into that of a gorilla, originally written to be Superman's arch-enemy.
  • Roadblock from the G.I. Joe comic books. In the cartoons, he's an offensive rhyming stereotype. In the comics, he can snap handcuffs at will, genius in the kitchen, brilliant tactician and has deep philosophical beliefs. Granted... the Joes purposely recruit the strong and brilliant but Roadblock is, well, huge. The man carries a crew-served heavy machine gun and uses it like it's an ordinary rifle. Later, he gets his own cooking show. Doesn't last long, but it was his.
  • Adrian Veidt, a.k.a. Ozymandias, of Watchmen is a genius who advertises himself as "The Smartest Man in the World." He is also in peak human physical condition, able to fight off other superheroes with ease and catch bullets.
  • Marvel villain Iron Clad should be classed as one of these. Although he is rarely shown to be intelligent, he is supposed to have designed spaceships prior to gaining his powers.
  • Marvel also has Groot (at least, according to Maximus).
  • Iron Man villain the Controller is an engineering genius who designed the mind controlling slave discs and would eventually become bonded with an exoskeleton that made him phenomenally large and powerful. It's been joked that he went to MIT on a wrestling scholarship.
    • Would Iron Man himself count? Such, his strength is from his Power Armor, but in that armor he's strong enough to go up against the strongest villains Marvel has to offer (or heroes, for that matter), and he built that armor IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!!!
      • When Iron Man dons the Hulkbuster or Thorbuster armors, then he definitely qualifies. The former looks like a huge sumo wrestler (or in some versions, The Juggernaut), while the latter looks like The Destroyer.
    • Boris Bullski, the original Titanium Man. A master spy and KGB agent, he stands well over seven feet tall and can lift 1.5 tonnes without the armour.
  • Despite writers tending to forget that the "peak of human perfection" thing would also include brains, Captain America (comics) sometimes shows flashes of strategical and mathematical brilliance to go along with his strength.
    • Although his most commonly used brilliance is his shield. Aerodynamic or not, made of Phlebotinum or not, it's amazing how he throws it to return to him. Others who've tried to use the thing have tended to embarrass themselves. Cap has to calculate those trajectories in his head, in a fraction of a second.
  • Barracuda from The Punisher. During his time in the military he showed exceptional intelligence and cunning while leading his team in toppling whole governments by themselves.
  • Axwell Tiberius, the titular "monkeyman" in Art Adams' Monkeyman and O'Brien, is a ten foot tall superintelligent gorilla from a parallel dimension.
  • Computron, the gestalt form of the Technobots from Transformers, takes this trope so far it's actually a detriment. Gestalt Transformers who are stupid, such as Devastator and Bruticus, tend to be very effective, because they don't have much problem trying to focus the five or six different individual minds that make them up. Computron, on the other hand, is massively powerful (like all gestalts) but has to think through the full effects of every move he tries to make, which weakens him in combat.
    • Shattered Glass Grimlock started off as Dumb Muscle, but then got an upgrade that made him one of these.
  • Flynn "Flyin'" Ryan from Steelgrip Starkey And The All-Purpose Power Tool is a blue-collar construction worker, former Ivy League student teacher, handles the team's logistics and finances, and his hobbies include animal tracking and Eastern philosophy. Played Up to Eleven when it's revealed that he secretly developed the technalchemy behind the All-Purpose Power Tool.
  • Monet/M from Generation X. She'll let you know it, too.
  • Loki, at least in comparison to mortals (he's mostly average or below average strength-wise by Asgardian standards, but even the weakest Asgardian is still a god). Magnificent Bastard? Check. Consummate Liar? Check. Super Strength? You'd better believe it!
    • Some of his more memorable reminders of his physical ablities:
      • When turned into a woman, he ripped through a metal wall without even breaking a nail. Okay, it was technically Sif's body, but still.
      • Defeating 13 of the Dsir during Siege single-handed with very little magic.
  • Darkseid. He is one of the few villains who can take on Superman in a fight and is also a brilliant tactician who constantly manipulates everyone around him into getting him what he wants.


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • Dr. Jumba from Lilo and Stitch is smart enough to create an incredibly powerful genetic experiment, and strong enough to go toe to toe with said experiment in order to obtain amnesty for the crime of creating him. Hell, he did better against Stitch than a 20-foot tall whaleman who was an expert in combat.
  • Professor Padraic Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective is the rodent Captain Ersatz of Prof. Moriarty, plus is very physically imposing due to him being a.. ahem.. big mouse.


Films -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • The actor Richard Kiel has played with this trope more than once; his James Bond villain Jaws is far from stupid, although he only gets one line of dialogue to truly reveal this. Years earlier, he appeared in a similar role in a Bond rip-off film titled A Man Called Dagger. At one point his Big Bad employer asks rhetorically why Hitler lost World War II, and Keil's character considers for a moment, then starts to give a complex and erudite answer before being cut off.
  • John Candy also played with this a little bit. Stripes for example has Ox.
  • Xander Cage in the movie XXX.
  • The musclebound Luther Stickell in the |Mission Impossible films and video games is also one of the world's foremost computer experts.
  • Killjoy in The Ice Pirates, played by the late John "Sloth" Matuszak, is not only the biggest of the pirates, but also the smartest and most Genre Savvy.
  • Star Wars:
    • Chewbacca is an enormous Wookiee who has the strength to tear your limbs off if you get him angry enough. He's also quite the engineer, able to keep the Millennium Falcon running, chart hyperspace routes, and repair C-3P0 from virtual scrap. In Revenge of the Sith, Chewie is a high-ranking commander of the Wookiee forces, so he must be skilled at strategy and military tactics.
    • Darth Vader is a huge guy with extensive cybernetic implants. He also built C-3PO as a child and modified his star fighter extensively.
  • Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2 is most definitely one of these. He's able to reproduce Tony Stark's Arc Reactor technology and bashes through Hammer's secure firewalls, as well as improve on Hammer's rather pathetic Powered Armor designs into genuinely viable weapons. During the prison-break sequence, he kills two men unarmed - one of them a burly prisoner and the other a guard who was grabbing him. Later, we see the aftermath when Hammer tries to lock him up - Vanko kills two "very dangerous" security guards entirely unarmed and strings up their corpses for no readily apparent reason except it was amusing.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Twins. He was a result of an experiment of producing an advanced human being by combining sperm from six fathers who are athletes and scholars. Being raised by a doctor, he's physically strong, spiritually pure, and excels in history, science, mathmatics, literature, and can speak twelve languages. Until he learns he has a fraternal twin played by Danny Devito who inherited the leftover genes and living in shady lowlife schemes.
  • A dock worker in Eraser hints at being a Genius Bruiser while he and his colleagues are observing an arms deal between the bad guys and some men from the former Soviet Union.

Boss: Damn Commies.
Bruiser: Actually, Sir, they're not Communists anymore. They're a federation of independent, liberated states.

  • In X Men First Class, the character best known as Beast goes from being a Badass Bookworm at the beginning to being a Genius Bruiser toward the end. This is because he injected himself with something that utterly transformed his appearance.
  • El Santo, the famous Masked Luchador hero of Mexico, was always portrayed as highly intelligent and cultured, and often as a true genius. To take just one example, in Santo En El Tesoro De Dracula, Santo invents a working time machine all by himself!
  • In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Professor Moriarty was a boxing champion at Oxford. Holmes himself is quite capable at deduction and hand-to-hand.
  • As strange as it may seem, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Despite their popular image as two lumbering monsters that anyone should be able to survive, they actually spend a great deal of time stalking their potential victims, waiting for a moment when they're alone, and taking out the most vulnerable target first.
    • Michael Myers, in particular. He usually observes his victims closely, figures out their weaknesses, takes advantage of it, kills their friends and family in order to weaken them mentally, cuts out all escape routes before he goes in for the kill and he knows when and who he can kill and when not.
    • Also, Jason is an excellent marksman, sometimes bordering on Bullseye territory.
  • Jason Bourne is this in spades. He speaks multiple languages fluently, can perform a Sherlock Scan that would make the original cry, plans and executes attacks and escapes in crowded areas with little to no prior notice, singlehandedly infiltrates the freaking CIA headquarters, takes down no less than three similarly trained Treadstone operatives in the first movie alone, and beats nine kinds of hell out of countless assassins and mooks with brutal efficiency.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Butler from Artemis Fowl speaks several languages, can cook well, is an amazing fighter trained in several martial arts, is a weapons expert, and has many other handy talents. On the other hand, can't find his way through theoretical physics very well. His intelligence is probably above-average, but it's hard to say for sure because almost everyone looks like an idiot next to Artemis Fowl. His little sister is also smart, but has too much compassion to become a bodyguard, and leaves to become a professional wrestler.
  • Most of the male characters in R. Scott Bakker's Second Apocalypse series. Kellhus and Cnaiur best represent this as extremely powerful warriors with ridiculously penetrating, Siscilianesque intellect.
  • Stephen King and Peter Straub's "Black House", a sequel to "The Talisman", features not one, but a group of examples for this trope. The "Hegelian Scum" are a small motorcycle club just like any other, except for two things. They manage a Brewing Factory for their favorite beer and are all, at the very leasy, graduates from areas like literature and medicine. Best example of this is Doc, who enjoys some poetry between the drugs and the bashing skulls.
  • Loial in the Wheel of Time series is basically a giant bear who has also been reading books for almost a century.
  • Anastasius in David Drake and Eric Flint's Belisarius series is a huge and ugly brute of a soldier, who wields an enormous longbow which only someone as hugely strong as him can pull, and yet is immensely fond of deep, philosophical musings.
    • Also from that series, Ousanas (wields a ginormous spear, fond of debating philosophy with Anastasius, to everyone else's dismay), Eon (warrior-king...who has one of the largest libraries in the known world and has read most of it), Raghunath Rao (the best assassin in India, one of only two men in the world to have survived a fight with Rana Sanga, argues Ousanas's favourite Greek philosophers are full of it).
  • In the CHERUB Series it's basically a requirement for joining CHERUB , seeing as the kids are required to be highly-effective spies. They all have at least some proficiency in languages, martial arts and technology.
  • In Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures, Chumley is a giant troll with the mind of a college professor. However, trolls generally play dumb so that they can get a mercenary work.
    • Human.. sorry, Klahdish, bodyguards Guido and Nunzio are also quite bright, despite appearing to be big dumb goons. From what was mentioned, they both got degrees in a college; specifically Guido got a master's type degree in financial college; Nunzio also was at least a schoolteacher and then an animal trainer ("seemed like a logical extension") before joining the Mob.
  • Joe Miller in Philip José Farmer's Riverworld books is an 800-lb prehistoric "titanthrop" who is the most fearsome warrior in the series. He is also capable of matching wits with his best friend Samuel Clemens and with Cyrano De Bergerac.
  • Trolls in Discworld fit this trope if exposed to colder temperatures. Their brain is made of silicon, which operates more efficiently in colder temperatures than warmer ones. However, there is an absolute limit, because although being made mostly of rock, trolls can eventually die of exposure as well as any other life form.
    • The scene where it's shown that trolls can die of cold exposure also has one discovering calculus. It's quite awesome.
    • Diamond, King of the Trolls, a troll born completely composed of, well, diamond. The diamond refracts light and allows his brain exceptional cooling due to the high heat conductivity of diamond.
    • Golems as well, although only he free ones show it.
    • Yet another Discworld example is the Librarian of Unseen University, a wizard transformed into an orangutan who is one of the most intelligent and sensible wizards despite the fact he only communicates by saying Ook or Eek (and is usually understandable to other characters). As an ape he's got easily twice the upper body strength of most humans.
    • Another, very specialized Discworld example might be Mr. Tulip, who really is a big dumb bruiser who's not even smart enough to be a proper drug addict - except in the field of art history, where he proves to have both astonishing depth of knowledge and natural instinct...as well of glimmers of humanity and emotion beyond rage.
      • Similarly, Jason Ogg, immensely strong and despite an otherwise limited intelligence, a good blacksmith and the world's best farrier.
    • Discworld orcs seem to have been created to fulfill this trope, although Mister Nutt himself is more of a Badass Bookworm.
    • A non-Discworld example from Terry Pratchett: Silver the Shand from Strata is a 3m tall, heavily muscled, bearlike being with huge claws. She's also a socialist, linguist, comparative historian and meat-animal herder.
  • Doc Savage is repeatedly described as a bronzed Adonis, and those Doctorates weren't honorary. Not to mention his brilliant but simian looking lieutenant 'Monk' Mayfair and the gigantic 'Renny' Renwick. The other three of the 'Fabulous Five' fit the Badass Bookworm trope.
  • Leland Hobie Hobart from Michael Flynn's Firestar tetralogy.
  • Honor Harrington is positively in love with this trope. The examples start just from its title character, Honor Harrington, who, in addition to her military genius, is also a very big and strong Heavyworlder woman with a 7'th degree black belt in coup de vitesse. There are also Anton Zilwicki (the genius hacker and intelligence officer built like a brick outhouse and a three times Greco-Roman wrestling champion in Manticoran Games) and Sir Horace Harkness, another brilliant hacker and engineer who fights with Space Marines just for fun. A number of marines themselves qualify too—like General Kevin Usher, the chief Havenite cop, who once affected a persona of a drunkard, or Brigadier Thomas Santiago Ramirez, who, being Heavyworlder, is much bigger and stronger than most of the cast, or Major Thandi Palane, Victor Cachat's girlfriend... And many, many others.
  • Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt from Gaunt's Ghosts. Two meters twenty (That's 7' 4") of solid muscle and capable of going head to head with a Space Marine, but also a tactical genius with the undying support of his men.
  • Far from the lumbering moron of the film adaptations, Frankenstein's Monster is a full Genius Bruiser in Mary Shelley's original novel. "The creature" educates himself very quickly by spying on a girl's lessons through a crack in a wall, growing into a remarkably intelligent, eloquent, and philosophical man. He is also an extremely powerful physical specimen, resistant to cold and injury as well as immensely strong, fast, and agile.
  • Similarily, Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan is not quite the muscular simpleton portrayed in the films. Raised by the (naturally) illiterate Great Apes, he teaches himself to read and write English from a bunch of books after finding his dead (human) parents' long-abandoned cabin, then rapidly learns half a dozen other spoken and written languages when introduced to civilization while also picking up the manner and social skills of a well-to-do gentleman, along with developing a witty, somewhat dark sense of humor.
  • Also, Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian. Most people only know the Ahnuld movies where he acts like just a big dumb lump of muscle, largely because the young Governator had trouble with his English lines so they gave him as few as possible, but in the original stories he's one of the smartest men in the world - not given to academic study before he became king and it became a necessity, but a very quick practical thinker (it's a big part of what makes him so incredibly dangerous) with a vicious cunning, a prodigious gift for languages, and surprising depth of thought when called for. He repeatedly survives bad odds not through doing stupid things, after all. This aspect of the character is probably highlighted most clearly in The Dark Stranger, basically a pirate yarn in which he single-handedly outfights and outwits Pictish warbands, viking raiders, cut-throat pirates, an exiled noble and a hunting demon... most (if not quite all) at once. He also apparently wrote the poem Road of Kings, used as chapter heads in Phoenix on the Sword, his debut story - and is introduced to the world as a king, drawing up a map of the Northern lands hitherto largely unknown to his Hyborian subjects. And he's a benevolent and quite competent ruler, at that!

Conan: "Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content."

    • In fact, Howard hints Conan was actually the most competent ruler of the entire world at his time, if you consider balance between taxes and quality of life a way to know how good a ruler can be:

Conan: "I found Aquilonia in the grip of a pig like you--one who traced his genealogy for a thousand years. The land was torn with the wars of the barons, and the people cried out under oppression and taxation. Today no Aquilonian noble dares maltreat the humblest of my subjects, and the taxes of the people are lighter than anywhere else in the world."

    • Howard's earlier character King Kull, often seen as a sort of proto-Conan given more to dizzying philosophical musings than the Cimmerians decidedly more Epicurean pursuits of wine, women and violence (in no particular order), is even more of this.
    • In fact, a lot of Howard's larger-than-life pulp heroes - Conan, King Kull, Solomon Kane, etc. - are not just Genius Bruisers, but Genius Lightning Bruiser Berserkers. The same also goes for many other pulp characters (notably Tarzan, as mentioned above). Seriously, these are very scary people, folks; thank gods they all have scruples...
      • This is kind of bizarre, given that Howard once said in a letter to a friend that he preferred to write Dumb Muscle heroes whose response to a dangerous situation would be to just punch, shoot, or swordfight their way out.
  • In Temeraire, dragons in general can be bruisers, but Maximus—possibly the biggest, strongest dragon seen yet in the series—has little problem working out mathematical problems with Temeraire, who's smarter than almost any other character.
    • To put things in perspective, Temeraire is a bit less than half Maximus' size... and Maximus is almost 50 tonnes when healthy.
    • Perspicia is a subversion of this because although she's a dragon and therefore automatically a bruiser and is smart enough to have independently come up with logarithmic tables and the Pythagorean Theorem she's also a self admitted coward.
  • A not-uncommon component of books by John Ringo.
    • The main protagonist, Lt. Michael "Mighty Mite" O'Neal, in the Posleen War Series, is described as being almost as broad as he is tall, with none of it fat.
    • The Space Marines in particular in the Into the Looking Glass series are all powerfully built, and highly intelligent, having to grapple not only with hostile aliens but with particle physics.
  • King Anheg of Cherek in David Eddings' Belgariad/Mallorean stories is a large, Viking-looking man, quite capable of wreaking havoc in battle, but is also considered clever and scholarly, spending many hours in his extensive library.
    • Ulath, of it's Spiritual Successor, The Elenium is seven feet tall, grim-looking and quiet. He also possesses remarkable intellectual depth in the fields of religious study, history, and philosophy. Bhlokow, the Troll-Priest may be another example, being a Troll who cheerfully engages Ulath in philisophical debate.
  • Jean, partner to Gentleman Bastard Sequence Locke Lamora, is officially the brawn to his friend's brains, but is book-smart to Locke's cunning. Being the son of a merchant, he's also gifted with numbers.
  • The eponymous Villain Protagonist of Space Vulture.
  • Captain Otto Harkaman of Space Viking is used at least once as a byword for The Big Guy, but he's also an extremely well-read historian who rarely fails to grab a few new history books every time he loots a city. Justified, because there's absolutely frak-all to do on board a ship in H. Beam Piper's Terrohuman Future History during a thousand or so hours in hyperspace before your arrival, leading all officers to adopt hobbies - his crew includes a gunnery officer who's a landscape painter, and an astrogator who's attempting to express physics in music.
  • Sgt. Taura, the eight foot tall genetically engineered super-soldier from Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga has an IQ of 135.
    • That may technically make her a Gifted Bruiser.
  • Most Hork-Bajir are rather dim, but one in every ten thousand has intelligence on par with other more intelligent species. Oh yeah, and they are also seven-foot-tall behemoths covered in blades.
  • Justicar Alaric from the Warhammer 40,000 Grey Knights novels. As a Space Marine he can kick ass good, but when crunch time comes it's his curiosity, intelligence and ability to think on his feet that pulls him through. It's explicitly noted at least once that his sharpness of mind is unusual and seen as a possible danger.
  • Charles Beckendorf from Percy Jackson and The Olympians is not only a skilled craftsman, but also built like a gorilla.
  • This trope does exist outside fantasy and sci-fi too... Henry, a college student from The Secret History, is a brilliant linguist and scholar, whose physical strength comes as a shock to most people. Including, sometimes, himself. It's implied that he broke open a man's skull by punching him..
  • Brendan Sealock, in William Barton and Michael Capobianco's collab novel Iris, is a hulking, craggy-faced amateur boxer... who just so happens to also be a technological genius.
  • Dr. Impossible, the Villain Protagonist of Soon I Will Be Invincible, began his career in supervillainy after a Freak Lab Accident gives him super strength and speed, to go along with his 300 IQ and mastery of all things technical. He's not nearly as strong or fast as any of his heroic nemeses, but he's more than capable of ripping an ATM out of the wall or overturning a semi, he can move in Bullet Time when he concentrates, and bullets simply bounce off his skin (although they do leave nasty bruises).
  • Uther Doul, the soldier/philosopher/historian/possibility theorist from The Scar embodies this trope so hard it's almost a Stealth Parody. Although his fighting style is so ruthlessly perfected and artful, you'd be better off calling him a Bookworm Badass than an anything-Bruiser.
  • Shadow, the protagonist from Neil Gaiman's American Gods, is definitely this trope. It's revealed as the book goes on that as a child he was a nerdy, bookish kid, but by adulthood most people tend to treat him as Dumb Muscle and he actually comes out and says he likes being The Big Guy—people leave you alone and don't demand much of you.
  • Mary Gentle's recurring character Baltazar Casaubon. Very tall, very fat but very strong, somewhat spacy, and always an absolute prodigy in his field (which changes from book to book).
  • Derek Souza of the Darkest Powers trilogy. He's in grade ten, but is taking college-level courses in pretty much everything, and is a damned good strategist and tactician. As for the bruiser part, he's over six feet tall, built like a linebacker... and is a werewolf. As such, he has enhanced strength, to the point where he once (accidentally) broke a kid's back and quite possibly paralyzed him by tossing him at a wall. Without looking.
  • In The Squire's Tales, Gerald Morris writes Sir Gawain as one of these.
  • Doroga from the Codex Alera. He's a Cool Old Guy from the Gargant Clan of the Marat, a Proud Warrior Race Guy so musclebound he has to rip the sleeves off to get shirts to fit him. He also learned to read extremely quickly, is a pretty good tactician, has a talent for figuring out the emotions and motivations of others and forplans of many kinds..
    • Ambassador/Warmaster Varg of the Canim from the same series also qualifies. Any Cane is an 8+ foot tall Wolf Man Proud Warrior Race Guy, but Varg is big, strong, and a skilled warrior even among his own people- and he's also a highly skilled Chessmaster (both metaphorically and literally), a shrewd tactician, and something of a student of military history as well. It's very telling that Guile Hero Tavi picked up a fair bit of what he knows via interacting with Varg.
  • Fandarel of the Dragonriders of Pern series. He is the Mastersmith, basically the highest-ranking Smith on the planet. He is described as being a giant of a man, tall, broad, and heavily muscled. But he is also a genius when it comes to machinery. In the first book he rebuilds a Lost Technology, namely flamethrowers, after a very short period of studying one example. In later books he is shown creating a telegraph system for Pern, as well as building a set of backup batteries for AIVAS and other feats of ingenuity and reverse engineering. Though AIVAS did help him with the batteries, they were based on a design he had used in making the telegraphs.
    • Contrast Robinton, the Masterharper, who fits the Badass Bookworm trope perfectly by being the power behind the throne (so to speak) in F'lar's efforts to get the Holders to take the threat of Thread seriously again (and in the process completely revolutionize their society). Robinton and Fandarel are like the black-square and white-square bishops in chess: between the two they cover the whole board.
  • Murtagh in the Inheritance Cycle. He is a master warrior, possesses superhuman speed and strength, regularly goes toe-to-toe with Eragon himself, and is the acting champion of the Empire, second in power and status only to King Galbatorix. At the same time, he's also a skilled tactician who enjoys reading and scholarship, and is complimented for his intelligence by several other characters.
  • As said in Our Dragons Are Different page, Western dragons were considered to be unintelligent until Smaug arrived.
  • Deconstructed and Reconstructed with Major O'Mara from Sector General: he always wanted to be a psychologist but was always assigned manual labor because of his enormous build. This drove him to become a foul-tempered Deadpan Snarker, which made him a better psychologist when he finally became one.
  • Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerson, husband of Amelia Peabody, is described by his wife as "Herculean" and also as "the greatest archeologist of this or any other age." His daughter-in-law can do charity medical work safely in the worst slums partly because she is widely loved, but also because "I will tear out your liver" if a hair of her head is mussed.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero in Hell, Calvin, Mephisto's "Bully Boy", turns out to be a college professor.
  • "Cujo" Hendricks from The Dresden Files is actually one, though his status as The Brute and tendency to not talk much causes Harry to think he's just Dumb Muscle. In the short story Even Hand, however, he's shown to be quite intelligent -He has a degree in Philosophy, is seen writing a thesis, and regularly quotes classic literature when he disagrees with his boss Johnny Marcone.
    • Bob the Skull would qualify since, in addition to being a spirit of intellect, he also has considerable magical power to throw around.
    • The same can be said of Ivy, since despite being a little girl, she knows all knowledge that has ever been recorded and is powerful enough to take on the Denarians, fallen angels who wield powerful magic of their own.
    • Dresden himself applies here. He's Book Dumb and Dumb Muscle by the standards of leading wizards, which still requires being smarter than the average human in this setting, and he happens to be physically fit and experienced in combat. Although not being a genius in any sense, he is well-versed in making potions and weaving powerful wards, which takes considerable skill to do. As for the bruiser part, ask Cassius, Nicodemus, the skinwalker, the gruffs, and the Ick how much of bruiser Dresden is.
  • Roman in Sergey Lukyanenko's Competitors looks like a heavyweight boxer and is not shy about punching people out when he has to. He is often seen beside Zinovy, the head of the Seekers, and most assume he is just dumb muscle. Then he gets back to their base and puts on his labcoat. Turns out Roman has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and specializes in AI research. He also barters well. Also Oleg, who is a sysadmin for a local newspaper but is in excellent physical condition and loves sports.
  • Taran'atar in the Star Trek Deep Space Nine Relaunch. Kira Nerys is used to seeing him in the holosuite, spending his spare time training himself for battle. Usually this consists of fighting hideous and powerful opponents; but on one occasion she finds him studying advanced mathematics - at a level far beyond her comprehension.
  • Voort SaBinring, aka "Piggy". Able to calculate hyperspace coordinates mentally (generally, this task is handled by a navigation computer). Get into a fight with him, you'll almost certainly be incapable of coherent speech for the next half hour or so.
  • Ivor in Perseus Spur is a massive fitness trainer who can use a high-tech collar to enhance his already insane muscle development until he can lift a couple of hundred kilograms, and who is smart enough that he speaks in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, such as referring to his job as "quotidian ennui". He's also a talented chef.
  • The Boneys from Xeelee Sequence novel Raft. Despite their tribelike mannerisms, they play with orbital mechanics with an ease that rivals trained scientists.
  • Honoria Glossop from the Jeeves and Wooster series: "...in addition to enlarging her brain to the most frightful extent, she had gone in for every kind of sport and developed the physique of a middle-weight catch-as-catch-can wrestler." The same trope applies to her identical-looking cousin Heloise Pringle, who went to the same school as Honoria, but is even smarter.
  • Fyodor from Starlight and Shadows trilogy by Elaine Cunningham is a big lad with an enormous sword and all the education non-witch can get in average Rashemaar village, The Berserker, and uncontrollable one at that. He also got a magic sense, can see spirits, is a good storyteller and smart enough to outtrick a drow. Sort of Lampshaded, as he carries a sword that is blunt piece of metal he normally cannot swing, but fits his strength well while in Unstoppable Rage (and the sword's sheer mass makes it truly unstoppable) and bears a strong enchantment, so it can cut or chip even things immune to normal weapons, blunt or not.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Sanctuary ; The Big Guy is a sasquatch, also deeply philosophical, knows and makes vintage alcohol, and almost on par with Henry , the designated techie, on mechanical matters. Henry himself, not exactly wimpy, is a mechanical genius. Not to mention a werewolf, and that all werewolves in this series are mechanical geniuses
  • Eliot Spencer from the show Leverage seems to fit this trope. If not, he sure looks the part.
    • No, he definitely fits the part. In fact, it's been repeatedly lampshaded, since the guy is a tactical expert and a really good chef, among other skills. He can identify CIA agents by their stance, Ex Marines by their knife fighting style and Spetznaz operatives by their shoe prints in the snow. Complete with Catch Phrase "It's a very distinctive (impossibly small detail he can use to identify something or someone)."
  • Speaking of Christian Kane, over on Angel, Lindsey fits the bill. A lawyer who taught himself several magical and martial arts, he gives the title character a run for his money once or twice.
  • Dean Winchester of Supernatural even though both his family and the demons think Sam's the 'smart one' Dean's actually been shown, repeatedly to be the genius: building a EMF out of an old cassette player, rebuilding the Impala from scraps after it's totaled, building an EMP OUT OF A CAR BATTERY. Basically hand him some tools, metal and duct tape and he'll make something that is both totally insane and also totally useful.
  • K'a D'Argo of Farscape slowly develops into this over the course of the show: while not a scientist like Crichton or Scorpius, he's skilled enough to build the odd weapon or musical intrument out of the junk he finds aboard Moya. Plus, let's not forget the fact that his Cool Starship Lo'La was little more than floating wreckage until D'Argo rescued and repaired it.
  • Derek Morgan is one of a small group of elite profilers in Criminal Minds, but he is also the muscular guy who tends to tackle inanimate objects. For indisputable proof, when Hotchner temporally left his position as leader of the team, Morgan was the one selected and he took over admirably.
  • A chart-breaking IQ is a must in the Impossible Missions Force, and Willie Armitage is also quite strong.
  • Human Target Christopher Chance fits this to a "T." The character looks like the result of a transporter accident involving G.I. Joe and Malibu Ken, but in almost every episode demonstrates a wide range of knowledge (e.g., speaks Japanese, Russian, & Chinese, knows enough law to fake out working prosecutors, creates a sermon for a monastery full of priests on the fly) in addition to his more expected fighting, bodyguarding, and strategizing skills.
    • Guerrero is on the opposite spectrum. The guy doesn't look like much and calls everybody "dude", and the pilot shows two thugs threatening to rough him up, only for him to calmly tell them their names, as well as the names of their children, and what he plans to do with them in their sleep. His fighting skills are on par with Chance, and his name alone is enough to break prisoners without him having to start his "interrogation".
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Captain Janeway's chief engineer is also a badass Klingon chick who can fix warp cores, deactivate bombs, or break your neck, depending on her mood.
    • Lt. Commander Worf. When the Jem'Hadar figure all they can do to you is kill you, but not actually break you... He's a Starfleet Academy graduate, a Mok'bara instructor, a capable love poet and Klingon Opera singer, has native-level understanding of Klingon language and culture (which wouldn't be surprising, excepting that he was raised on Earth), can manipulate and scheme at the highest levels of Klingon politics, keeps his wits about him under virtually any conditions (incomplete information, starvation, torture, extreme pain, maybe even Klingon rage) and can outsmart Captain Picard in ship combat exercises.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: Malcolm Reed, the ship's armoury officer can build phase cannons from scratch, invent stable force fields and instruct a layman on how to diffuse a high-tech mine. He can also kill you using any one of a hundred weapons. Or, he may just beat you into a pulp and blow up your spaceship for good measure. It depends on his mood.
  • On Discovery Channel's Dual Survival, survival expert Cody Lundin used his physics knowledge to build a home that costs nothing to heat or cool, built a lean-to in Nova Scotia that trapped the radiation from the fire to keep him and fellow survivalist Dave Canterbury cozy at 72 degrees on a 20 degree night, was able to explain in plain English to Dave how it worked. And Cody looks like he could bench press the VW Bug they found in the Desert Breakdown episode with very little effort.
  • TJ in Power Rangers in Space. Not only was he one of the strongest members, but he was also a great combat planner. Not surprisingly, considering he was an ex-Red Ranger.
    • Almost every Ranger team has at least one geeky Ranger (Billy, Kai of Lost Galaxy, Ethan of Dino Thunder, Chip of Mystic Force) and another that's more meek and intellectual (Trini, Kendrix, Madison, Rose), who could take out supernatural threats on a weekly basis.
  • Dot Com from Thirty Rock. His need to be the smartest person in the room at all times is, in the words of Jack Donaghy, off-putting.
  • B.A. Baracus of The A-Team.
  • Paladin of Have Gun — Will Travel. While not particularly huge, Richard Boone is a good sized man, and Paladin's intelligence is a defining characteristic.
  • Leo Knox of The Finder who is played by Michael Clarke Duncan, was shown in the pilot to be able to take down a hulking tough in one move (although usually he's a Gentle Giant) and is also a lawyer.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Rummelsnuff looks like a real life german Hulk with the brain of a fly, whom you'd rather expect to work as an enforcer for the Mob. However, both of his parents were classical mussicians and music teachers. The working class image is part of his art.


Myths & Religion[edit | hide]

  • Most Greek heroes are Genius Bruisers. The ancient Greeks believed as much in exercising the mind as the body.
    • King Odysseus of Ithaca is the epitome of this trope in Greek mythology. Odysseus was the Achaians' most cunning general as well as one of their best warriors. Most notably he commissioned the Trojan Horse used to invade Troy. At the end of the Odyssey, he demonstrates that he's still a Badass after all these years by performing some archery feats and then slaughtering a roomful of younger men. His combination of brains and brawns makes him the favored hero of Athena. However, like many Greek heroes, some of his best work was possible only with substantial help from the gods.
    • Prince Theseus of Greek mythology; his use of brains as well as brawn to pass tests, defeat opponents, and slay monsters.
    • Hercules was no egghead, but his Twelve Labors required a substantial amount of cunning as well as strength. When he found out that the Nemean Lion's hide was impervious to weapons, he strangled it. To fight the Hydra, which could grow its heads back, he seared the stumps with a torch. And to clean up the enormous and never-cleaned Aegeans Stables, he uses his strength to alter the course of two nearby rivers. Athena was the Olympian who liked Hercules best, excluding his father anyway.
    • Hephaestus, the god of the forge and Zeus' main artificer, was able to take on and humiliate Ares, the god of war, with cunning, trickery, and his technological genius.
  • The old Christian martyrology has several cases of Genius Bruisers who were high-ranked Roman soldiers before their conversions, becoming Badass Preachers and facing the cruelest tortures and martyrdom with much badassery. Some of the more popular examples are:
    • Saint George of Lydda. Assuming that he existed—he may not have—he was a powerful soldier and then able and charismatic captain and administrator for Emperor Diocletian. He stunned the Emperor by declaring himself a Christian just as said Emperor was beginning the last Roman persecution of the Christians; he refused all kinds of gifts to convert to paganism and was martyred for his trouble. Unlike many other martyrs, he had led a long enough life in the Roman military to make other badassery possible, and people naturally added new stuff to his story. The most famous of these additions has him slaying a dragon, saving the local Barrier Maiden, and then managing to convince everyone in her kingdom to convert to Christianity. He later became Patron Saint of a ridiculous number of things, including England, Georgia (the country), Genoa, Portugal (because of blood ties between the English and Portuguese royal families), the Palestinians (well, the Palestinian Christians, but the Muslims of Bethlehem and Lod[2] like him, too), Scouting, and armored units. This patronage, by the way, is why the flag of England looks exactly like the flag of Genoa and both are awfully similar to the flag of Georgia.
    • Saint Sebastian. This ex-captain of the prestigious Praetorian Guard (meaning, the guy was among the guards that protected The Emperor) was so badass that he had to be martyred twice (first by arrow shooting, later by flogging).
    • Saint Christopher. A man over 7 ft. tall who started out as an arrogant Genius Bruiser obsessed with finding the best and more noble king to serve, then became a Gentle Giant after coming to believe that Jesus Christ (specially as Baby Jesus) was such master, and remained a Badass Preacher as he was tortured and killed by the Romans.
  • Ogma of Celtic Mythology.
    • Cu Chulainn as well - he even courted his wife through the use of ridiculously complicated riddles.


Pro Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • George "The Animal Steele, Bill "Masked Superstar"/"Demolition Ax" Eadie, Little Spike Dudley and Matt "Prince Albert"/"A-Train"/"Giant Bernard"/"Lord Tensai" Bloom all were teachers before getting into pro wrestling. Steele would mostly wrestle during summer vacations. Matt Striker had to resign from his teaching position because the school system found that he had taken "sick days" when he was actually wrestling in Japan, or, as in the incident that caused his dismissal, wrestling a try-out match for WWE.
  • "Precious" Paul Elllering, best known for his work in the 1980s as the manager for the Road Warriors on television and off roles, is a member of Mensa and carried copies of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times with him to the ring during the Road Warriors' early days in Georgia in 1983. Despite this, he still accepted the ridiculous Rocco the ventriloquist dummy gimmick in 1992 WWE.
  • Scott Levy, better known to Professional Wrestling fans as Raven, has an I.Q. of about 160.
  • Similarly, pro wrestler John Bradshaw Layfield, who's about 198 cm and 130 kg, has made millions with his keen stock market acumen, makes frequent appearances on financial programs to dole out advice, and is a Senior Vice President with Northeast Securities, as well as CEO of Layfield Energy. And you thought the whole Screw the Rules, I Have Money thing was all an act...
    • Doubly appropriate as he's apparently a complete jerk in real life too.
  • Likewise, Accie Julius Conner (a.k.a. D-lo Brown) is a Certified Public Accountant.
  • WWE NXT participant David Otunga is a Harvard Law grad.
    • And a licensed attorney, having passed the Bar in Illinois.
  • Former wrestler and WWF Tough Enough season 1 finalist Chris Nowinski was also a Harvard grad. He went on to be signed by the WWF, and did quite well for himself until forced to retire due to post-concussion syndrome. He now heads the Sports Legacy Institute, a non-profit group dedicated to researching the long-term effects of concussions and other injuries in sports and sports entertainment.
  • Female wrestler Ms Chif is a genetics scientist outside the ring.
  • Modern pro wrestling is particularly good for these. When on the road, wrestlers have a lot of time in cars and on airplanes, so they take to reading to pass the time, which ends up with quite a few rather knowledgeable autodidacts. Mickie James has been slowly but surely working toward a Business degree, Shantelle Malawski (TNA Knockout Taylor Wilde) retired to focus on her psychology studies, and bodybuilder Chris Mordetzky (Chris Masters) is fond of reading books on politics on the road.
  • Michelle McCool is a former 7th grade science teacher.
  • Paul Levesque (Triple H) isn't just the "Cerebral Assassin", he's the guy currently transitioning quite nicely from wrestler to corporate business-runner. His initiative on hyping up incoming talent has led to nice starts in the WWE careeers of Sin Cara (the former Mistico) and Kharma (the former Amazing/Awesome Kong).
  • Glen Jacobs, better known as Kane, has degrees in English and Teaching, and has said that if he weren't wrestling, he'd be teaching.
    • He's also a quite knowledgeable blogger in political matters. Check out "The Adventures of Citizen X in the Land of the Free" sometime.

Sports[edit | hide]

  • Chess boxing is a sport designed for genius bruisers. The players alternate between rounds of boxing and rounds of speed chess. You can win by a knockout, a checkmate, judges' decision or by your opponent running out of time in the chess game.
  • Rich Franklin, who is considered one of the top fighters in the UFC and the promotion's former middleweight champion, was a high school math teacher at one of Ohio's top public schools. He holds a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati.
  • A number of Mixed Martial Arts fighters are surprisingly intelligent.
    • Rich Franklin is famously a former math teacher with a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Education.
    • Matt "The Law" Lindland ran for Oregon state representative but lost partially due to his opponent's anti-MMA ads. He also earned his nickname by successfully litigating to overturn a wrestling match he lost via illegal move. He went on to win the rematch.
    • Chael Sonnen also ran for state representative. More infamously, he took part in a money laundering scheme as a real estate agent while fighting professionally at the same time.
    • Shane Carwin is a full-time mechanical engineer and showed up to work as usual at 9:00 a.m. on March 29, 2010... two days after he won the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship.
    • Dr. Rosi Sexton has 10-2 win record and a Ph.D in theoretical computer science. She is one of the rare female examples.
    • Nick "The Goat" Thompson achieved his J.D. in Law and became a practicing attorney while amassing more than 50 fights across almost every major fighting promotion.
  • Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews. According to Men's Health Magazine, he's "very smart" with an extensive knowledge of kinesiology.
  • Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins is a Certified Financial Planner (he took courses during his stint in Ottawa), can fluently speak four languages, with a working knowledge of two others. With plans to learn Italian.
  • The Klitschko brothers are both reigning heavyweight boxing champions as well as doctors of Kinesiology. They are also pretty good chess players.
  • Along with the fighting examples, one must remember that most NFL players actually do finish college, many of them using their 5 years of scholarship (yes, they actually get 5 during which 4 are eligible as playing years), many of them actually earn Masters Degrees.
  • Bills Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was an economics major at Harvard and interned at a hedge fund.
  • Similarly, Andrew Luck—a star quarterback picked number one in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts—chose to remain at Stanford (the Harvard of the West) for an extra year to complete his degree in architecture and engineering.
  • Offensive lineman Ron Mix, the second ever American Football League player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,[3] was known as "The Intelectual Assassin" during his playing days, known as much for his Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness as for his playing prowess. He became a lawyer after his playing career, practicing out of San Diego for over three decades.
  • Alan Page, Hall of Fame defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings. Practiced law after his playing days, eventually becoming a Justice on Minnesota's Supreme Court.
  • "Touchdown" Tommy Vardell, longtime NFL fullback, once was late to workout for NFL scouts, because he was back at Stanford giving his Master's Thesis in Computer Science.
  • Shaquille O'Neal is widely recognized as one of the best centers in the history of professional basketball who often used his size (over 7 feet tall and over 300 pounds) to overpower opponents on the court. As of May 2012, it's now Dr. Shaquille O'Neal, as Shaq has earned a doctorate in education, which he earned with a cumulative GPA of 3.8.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Warhammer 40,000 has those simply by virtue of having lots of people ranging from "really tough" to "ludicrously tough".
    • This it taken to an extreme (As usual) with the Techmarines of the Space Marines. By definition they are the field mechanics and combat engineers of the Space Marines, but with all the custom high-tech weaponry and dangerous tools they have on hand, they are also among the most formidable individuals the Space Marines can field!
    • The Emperor himself was a giant of a man, and pretty much a Physical God, but also an Emperor Scientist who labored for years to create what would become the Space Marines, figured out and restored some ancient artifacts including the Golden Throne and, oh, personally dragged the humanity for a smoking wasteland of warring tribes to one of the greatest powers in the Galaxy, and that was but an early stage of his grand plan at which he was interrupted. One notch below are His "sons" (tweaked clones) the Primarches, all are exceptionally intelligent with superhuman strength, most of them are either powerful warriors, great statesmen, brilliant scientists, or any combination of the three. To put this in perspective, normal people saw them as obviously demigods when they were babies, and after being reunited with Emperor, they did not have to keep up with Super Soldiers stuffed with specialized implants, it's the Space Marines who used to look up at them.
    • In Necromunda spinoff set in the Underhive of the planet of the same name, the Heavy has to have both copious amounts of brawn to carry the massive squad-support weapons they use, and just as much technical skill to maintain them.
    • The Orks grow bigger as they become more important and aggressive, but this is a common trait which applies just as well to Big Meks, who design some formidable stuff and build it from scraps. As to the Warbosses - those who big and tough rule, those who win grow larger, but those who also understand strategy (and politics) also tend to stay around longer. Warlord Gazghull Mag Uruk Thraka has to qualify; not content with being as big as a Space Marine Dreadnought, he's brought the Imperial planet of Armageddon to its knees twice (the first time was just a test run, see) and, unusually for an Ork, has learned from his experiences to the extent that he can outwit most Imperial field commanders before they even make their decisions. And all whilst fighting in the front lines with his ladz.
      • Another Ork worthy of mention is Kaptin Bluddflagg, who can tell that Adrastia was an Inquisitor by her uniform, which is remarkable as Orks have a biologically enforced Large and In Charge thing going for their race (Adrastia is a mite shorter than the soldiers with her) and have no concept of uniforms (though more understandable for the Freebooterz, as they dress in a distinctive way to set themselves apart from their former clans). He also deduced Kyras' location very intelligently, not just by Ork standards, but by any standards. Don't believe me...
        • It should be noted that pretty much all the other factions, including the eldar, need external factors to help them figure this out. Bluddflagg manages it by logical deduction alone. So yes, for the purpose of the game Bluddflagg is actually above the average in smarts.
  • The Ogre warlord Greasus Goldtooth from Warhammer Fantasy Battle Fantasy is both a stunningly powerful (if also very lazy) warrior and an incredibly shrewd businessman who has built his empire on physical conquest, intimidation, bribes, and cunning trade agreements in equal measure. It helps that he commissioned a magic crown that increases his intellect.
    • From the same game, there's a Dwarf master engineer who, when not maintaining cannons, is ripping goblins in half with his Steampunk prosthetic claw-arm.
    • And Malakai Makaisson, the Slayer Engineer, responsible for, among other things, a fully automatic throwing-axe launcher, various successful modifications to the repeater cannon known as the Organ Gun, and the Warhammer world's first successful airship. All of this whilst under an oath to seek an honourable and violent death. And he's a Violent Glaswegian in all but name, right doon to th'accent.
    • Don´t forget our very own Gotrek Gurnisson: former engineer (DWARF engineer. Given the extremes to which everything is turned in the Warhmmer world, that should say a lot), now turned into what must be the single most dangerous creature in the Warhammer world, which is no small feat.
    • Also Azhag The Slaughterer, one of the strongest Orc warlords, who happens to have a crown that "gives him good ideas", probably because it contains the spirit of Nagash the strongest wizard ever, inventor of necromancy and all around evil dude. Most of the other famous Orcs and Goblins qualify too, especially Grobad Ironclaw, Grom the Paunch, Grimgor Ironhide and Skarsnik (if you count Gobbla).
  • The Adamantine Arrow of Mage: The Awakening endeavors to train all of their members to be formidable physical combatants (without the use of their magic) as well as highly capable with a wide range of mental skills. As their creed goes, "Adaptability Is Strength".
  • Many Euthanatos of Mage: The Ascension may also fall under this category. To counter the effect their assassin training has on their psyche, many of them dedicate what's left of their "normal" life to various forms of science and academics - from medicine, to philosophy, to computer science.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, properly made Fighter/Mage builds or gishes to use the common name illustrate this trope - they need to be. Generally however their physical strength is coming from spells, so that while often stronger and more dangerous in close combat than ordinary bruiser sorts while still having magical prowess to draw upon. The magic itself has a few limitations that can be exploited by a canny enemy mage.
    • In fourth edition, Assault Swordmages and Tactical/Resourceful Warlords rely on both strength and intelligence, and unlike the gish example above their strength is not a result of magical buffs, thus making them even better examples of this trope.
    • Too many canonic Forgotten Realms characters, for some of whom this comes with the territory - from a weretiger mage to the followers of Red Knight (the goddess of strategy).
    • Ogre Magi. They are as strong as regular ogre, but they are smarter than average human. And they can use magic.
    • While most of the Lords of the Nine Hells are both very intelligent and dangerous fighters, Bel, Lord of the First fits this trope best. He's the largest and most physically powerful of the Archdevils, but is an absolutely brilliant military mind. Indeed, most all of his type of devils, Pit Fiends, fit this very well.
  • Beckett the Gangrel scholar from Vampire: The Masquerade.
    • Clan Brujah tends to have quite a few of these. To the common outsider they may just look like your average street punk, caring little about any intellectual pursuits, but the facts are more complex than that. Back in the days of the medieval era they were known as the Learned Clan, and housed many Warrior Poets who were skilled both physically and intellectually. While this has detoriated quite a bit over the centuries, this bit of intellectualism crops up more than once in a while to further reinforce the clan's passions.


Toys[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Warforged in Dungeons and Dragons Online have been shown to be rather intelligent, despite their massive, muscular, mechanical bodies. A good example is Talbron, who you meet in the beginning. If you take the quest, he, the rogue, and the paladin accompany you through the caverns. In one situation, after defeating the Sahaugin, Talbron steps on a switch that reveals a pit of water in the center of the room. Since you have to swim down and retrieve the key at the bottom yourself, the other characters make up reasons not to go down. Talbron's excuse is "My joints rust easily. I will read until the situation resolves itself." At which point he pulls out a book and does exactly that.
  • Forte, in the Galaxy Angel gameverse; the anime version showed less of her "genius" side.
  • Almost all the members of the Knight/General/Great Knight classes in Fire Emblem fit here. They're all slow and powerful lance (and axes, after promotion) users with great defense, but at the same time they're so smart and dedicated to their mission that they're usually the right hands of the Lords... if they're not the lords, themselves. Notable examples are:
    • Hannibal from FE4;
    • Bors, Barth, Wendy, Fighting General Douglas and Liutenant Murdock from FE6;
    • Oswin, Lord Uther and Hector (one of the three main Lords) from FE7;
    • Emperor Vigarde of Grado, Gilliam and Obsidian Duessel from FE8;
    • Tauroneo in FE10.
  • Lexaeus (Kingdom Hearts) is a good example of this trope (or, at least, this would be more apparent if he got more than a few lines of characterization before his death); he's the musclebound, Earth elemental Big Guy of Organization XII, who knows when it's a good idea to wait for events to develop (rather than immediately charge into the action like your standard brute). In addition, in his cutscenes in CoM, he's usually seen pondering, or holding conversations with Zexion. Now, if only the fandom would realize this...
    • Xaldin is almost as large, and also one of the original six.
  • Demon King Odin from Odin Sphere is a gargantuan mountain of muscle whose weapon of choice is a ball and chain larger than most playable characters. More importantly to the plot, he is also a wise and cunning schemer, as befitting the king of a nation.
  • Don't let his ridiculous getup fool you: Birdie, from Street Fighter, is pretty on the ball, and has designs on Shadowloo.
  • Bentley the Yeti from Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon is a mountain dweller with a huge ice club, but speaks in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and comes up with a variety of barely pronounceable insults for Moneybags.

Bentley: Why, you brazenly avaricious, duplicitous, larcenous ursine!

  • Thrall from Warcraft is mostly represented as a magic type character (he is a Far Seer). But other sources show that he is just about as accomplished in physical fights. Being raised as a Gladiator really helps.
    • Shamans in general fit this trope, mostly. Even allowing for specialization, they excel in both spellcasting and melee combat.
    • Ogre-mages especially in Warcraft II. Ogres upon being upgraded even say "we're not brainless anymore!"
      • Although their next quote disputes the "genius" part a bit, when they go "I've got the brain!" "Nuh-uh!"
    • Anduin Lothar: An accomplished warrior, commander of the Alliance forces, and skilled diplomat who cemented the Grand Alliance.
  • Damon Baird from Gears of War. He doesn't just shoot people and take steroids like all the other Gears! He has some understanding of the Locust language and a head for technology and mechanics. He fixes nearly anything and everything that ever breaks in the game. When asked to improvise a bomb with few parts available, he replies, "Regular or extra strength?"
  • In The Sims 2: Bon Voyage, if you can persuade him to join a playable family, Bigfoot begins play with all his skills and talents maximized.
  • Very strong and a remarkably skilled fighter, what made the Practical Incarnation in Planescape: Torment such a dangerous and effective person was his cunning and near complete lack of morals: a Genius Bruiser Manipulative Bastard.
  • He doesn't display much sign of higher education in his actions or dialogue, but as he player is him, Badass Biker Ben of Full Throttle shows a great deal of unconventional genius. How many other bikers would think to use mechanical toy bunnies to clear a minefield?
  • Fawkes from Fallout 3. Game Informer describes him as being "smart, funny, and damn near unkillable". He's an enormous green beast who looks like Nemesis' down syndrome-afflicted half-brother, and yet is very intelligent and philosophical.
    • This is due to having been locked in a cell for most of his life in which the only diversion was a computer terminal with access to massive amounts of data and a huge library of electronic books.
    • Super Mutants in general are quite strange. While most of them are brutes, some are actually very intelligent. However, those are rather rare in Fallout 3's setting. The only two smart super mutants around DC are Fawkes and Uncle Leo, who randomly wanders the wasteland and manages to retain his human conscience through zen. No, really.
      • This is actually a plot point in the previous Fallout games. The Forced Evolution Virus, which "perfects" humans by turning them into Super Mutants, also grants them genius level intellect... or rather, is supposed to. Unfortunately, one of the problems that can't be solved even with 200 years of slow but steady progress in the field of retroviral evolution is the fact that the IQ upgrade only works on the unmutated genetic structures of Vault Dwellers. Apparently after a single generation of exposure to the titular Fallout, human genetic damage isn't enough to markedly impact human appearance or skills, but it is enough to react unpleasantly with the FEV to reduce the minds of the Super Mutants created from them to that of particularly dim-witted children. Later in Fallout 3, this is the revealed as the motivation behind The Enclave's plan to introduce their plague into the water... it's designed not to kill all the people in the Capitol Wastelands, only those whose genetic structures have been too badly damaged to be converted into Super Genius Mutants. So the Vault inhabitants survive, everybody else dies.
    • With the right levelling, perks, and chems, the player character in a Fallout game can become one as well: able to hack any computer, pick any lock, smooth talk any merchant, and, if need be, kill Super Mutant Behemoths. Bare handed.
    • Let's not forget Marcus for Fallout 2. In New Vegas, he's the only non-Legion character who consistently uses the Latin pronunciation of Caesar (Kai-Sar).
    • Also in Fallout: New Vegas, Legate Lanius is a brutal Blood Knight who revels in bloodshed and quite tough in direct combat. However, he's actually a relatively decent tactician who if you decide to engage him in conversation is actually a surprisingly intelligent man who will not toss away the lives of his men pointlessly and will actually retreat if the player makes a very good argument (most of which has to do with logistics).
  • Frank Gaunt of Operation Darkness is a heavy machine-gunner and close-combat specialist who also seems to have some knowledge of nuclear physics and other specialized fields.
  • Steroid Gontarski in Jagged Alliance 2, one of the strongest mercs in the game AND when dealing with repair and electronics is one of the best mercs outside of the ones who assign both specialty options as one of the two. He is hindered only be his lack of agility, but he is also very cheep to hire.
    • He also refuses to work in the same team as Ivan Dolvich (one of the designated Badasses), which many fans consider to be a serious drawback.
  • There is a series about some guy who had a genius-level IQ, fluency in a half-dozen languages, and enough skill with a vast array of weaponry (from sniper rifles to tranquilizer darts to aerosol spray cans and matches) to bring down telekinesis masters, armed tanks, overmarketed yellow rodents, and berserk clones of a legendary villain.
  • Metroid's Samus Aran is implied to be a pretty sharp woman; she's about twenty different flavours of badass in battle, but she's also apparently quite learned in biology and designed her own gunship. During the times we can hear her thoughts, she's quite philosophical, too.
    • And if her cameo appearance in Tetris is anything to go by, she also plays the double bass.
    • Samus's nemesis, Ridley, also has a very high level of intelligence which has earned him a command position both in the Space Pirates organization and under Mother Brain. And Ridley is a giant, winged space dragon that eats people.
      • Although this is usually a case of All There in the Manual (he rarely ever appears in person outside his inevitable boss battles), this aspect of his personality was finally brought to light in Other M, where he displays far more cunning than in previous games.
  • JC Denton from Deus Ex is either a badass Super Soldier or a badass Solid Snake type sneaker, but a competent secret agent either way. He often gets into discussions on political philosophy with curiously knowledgeable bartenders or ultra-advanced AIs. Alex D from the sequel, however, always reacts in similar situations with "Huh?" or "What do you mean?"
    • Apparently Alex's intelligence was programmed out...
  • Gaia Online plays with this trope with Labtech X, who is a huge man but has never been seen in anything but a lab coat.
    • Gambino himself might qualify as a more eccentric variation, as he's dabbled in mad science in between playing the stock market, picking fights with vampires, and being generally clueless how to deal with other people.
      • Of course, Labtech X is Gambino's clone, so naturally they'd both be genius bruisers.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, Vector the Crocodile is classified as a power character, and is shown to be a brilliant detective. He unfortunately sometimes doubles as a total idiot - but then most of Team Chaotix does that.
  • Sly3 has Dr.M. a well-spoken scientist who used to plan elaborate heists and can go toe to toe with the group's strong man Murray... as the landowner of the island the vault and its contents were legally his property.
  • Sol Badguy, the insanely powerful and violent warrior from Guilty Gear, is also the brilliant scientist Frederick.
    • Potemkin also counts. While he looks like the ridiculously Dumb Muscle right hand of President Gabriel of Zepp, he is also very polite, erudite, and must be smarter than he appears if he's been directly tasked by his own president to undertake covert missions on his behalf. Not to mentions he's also a talented artist.
  • Prototype's Alex Mercer is a human superweapon that shrugs off antitank missiles and can throw cars hundreds of meters. He also has a PhD. he earned himself, and by the end of the game, the combined knowledge of practically the entire field of genetics and the operations of military equipment.
  • Adell from Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories: Cursed Memories is a surprise example. A Hot-Blooded fist-fighter who puts Honor Before Reason, he manages to shock the entire rest of his adventuring-party when, during the Tournament Arc, he solves a highly complex Geo-Puzzle after a brief glance and two seconds of thinking-time. As it turns out, he doesn't charge headfirst into every conflict because he's too stupid to think of anything else - but simply because that's his style.

Adell: Never underestimate me. I hate cheap tricks and dirty tactics. If I put my mind to it, I can solve these things pretty quick. Just because I like to rush into things doesn't mean I can't think.

  • Edgar of Final Fantasy VI is a talented engineer, having designed an entire castle capable of subterranean travel, a small arsenal of machine weaponry, and is capable of repairing practically any broken equipment you come across. Oh, and put a spear in his hands and he'll make shish kebab out of you in about three seconds flat. His twin brother Sabin is no idiot either, despite being a Bare-Fisted Monk and one of the stronger players in the game.
    • Cid from Final Fantasy IV is a much better example. As the game's resident Cid, he's the engineer in charge of the airships, but is also a formidable physical fighter too, preferring to bash his enemies in with hammers and wrenches.
    • Cid Highwind of Final Fantasy VII is also an excellent example. Featuring some of the highest HP and Strength stats in the game, the second-best limit break damage, serious muscles and a nasty mouth, he also has stacks of engineering blueprints in his house and a massive airship named after him, presumably because he designed the damn thing himself.
      • Oh, and he's the world's first astronaut (is hinted to have had a hand in building the rocket too), runs a town, has flown a light plane, a jet powered airship & a more traditional zepellin style one. He's quite possibly the most booksmart FF hero ever. And a powerhouse.
  • You can play Commander Shepard as one of these in Mass Effect. Arguably Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams fits the trope as well.

Ashley: Just because I can drill you between the eyes at four hundred meters doesn't mean I can't like poetry.

    • No matter how you play Shepard, s/he shows him/herself to be very intelligent throughout the series, quite Genre Savvy, and capable of coming up with creative solutions to many problems.
    • Grunt, the genetically-engineered Super Soldier Krogan in Mass Effect 2 is raised via Neural Imprinting. While he's The Big Guy of the party, he's actually quite articulate and contemplative for a Krogan (if still just as much of a fight-happy Boisterous Bruiser in the field). The Shadow Broker DLC reveals that he's into Ernest Hemingway on his spare time.
    • Before Grunt, we had Wrex. Disillusioned with his people because their nature will doom them to extinction. Knows that the purpose of a stealth ship is NOT to get into slugging matches. Can con clients into hiring him on as a permanent bodyguard against a particular enemy of the client, even after failing the original contract to kill said enemy. Genre Savvy enough to see Saren as Obviously Evil and not even waiting to get paid for a job he was hired and ends up becoming the only surviving merc. Eventually becomes the man with the plan on saving his species if he survives to the second game.
    • The Shadow Broker is revealed to be one of these in "Lair of the Shadow Broker". He took over a criminal empire and ran it in such a way that no one even figured out that power changed hands. He himself is three times the size of a krogan. His species is said to be this, in fact: strong as krogans, smart as salarians.
  • Pick any member of the Belmont family, and you've got a pretty good chance of finding a Genius Bruiser. Notable examples include Juste, Richter and Julius. Alucard is also a fairly sharp guy, particularly in his Aria/Dawn of Sorrow persona of Genya Arikado.
    • Justified in that he is Dracula's son, and immortal, meaning he has lots of free time.
  • Iron Tager from BlazBlue is a massive, genetically and cybernetically modified hulk of a man, almost eight feet tall and over a thousand pounds. When he's not throwing his weight around in battle, he's working as a researcher directly under the greatest scientific mind in the world.
  • Ganondorf is usualy portrayed this way whenever he's not a drooling beastie, but sometimes even then. He always plans ahead of time and is rather methodical. Tricking Link into opening the sacred realm so he could get the Triforce (The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time), setting up plagues and curing them through Aganihm in order to gain (political) power (The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past), and apparently setting up several resurrection plans are some of his highlights. Even when things don't go his way, he can salvage the situation. Feeding on the Twili's hate and allowing Zant to release him, as well as getting around every seal placed on him are examples of this. He is also a beastly fighter: in his human form, he's a good seven feet tall, and deadly with swords and his bare fists, while his true form is a gigantic boar more than capable of crushing Link with his sheer size.
    • Although not technically canon, he appears in a fairly high-tech-looking computer lab in the Subspace Emissary in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, overseeing everything as it transpires. Given that his only immediate ally besides Master Hand is Bowser, it's not too much of a stretch to assume that ol' Ganon's technologically savvy, too.
  • It may not look like it, due to his recent portrayal as a comic relief and his overall lack of common sense, Bowser is far from idiotic. Similar to the 300 IQ Dr. Eggman, Bowser designs and builds all of his technological contraptions, and while his plans usually fail because the good guy always wins, they are well thought out by the big man.
  • Wild ARMs 5 has Elvis, the foremost among the fore of Filgaia historians and a real top-class scientist. Oh, and he's absolutely huge, seems to be built out of nothing but muscles which he flexes a lot, and he beats the party down with his bare fists.
  • In Halo, Spartans, Sangheili/Elites, and to a lesser extent Jiralhanae/Brutes. Though they don't often show it, Mgalekgolo/Hunters are quite intelligent, too.
  • Resident Evil: Albert Wesker. Described as a child prodigy, one of Umbrella's top researchers, master of The Plan, and is capable of punching people through walls after his viral upgrade.
  • Backyard Sports: Dmitri Petrovich.
  • Sarevok from Baldur's Gate: An enormous Black Knight who's by the numbers literally as strong as an ogre (which are a lot bigger still), but also The Chessmaster running everything from behind the scenes in the first game (and again, by the numbers on his statistics, literally a genius).
  • Tales of Symphonia has Regal Bryant: He's the second strongest fighter of the group and quite skilled in Chi arts, even capable of firing an energy blast once. However, he is also the president of the Lezareno Company and a duke, therefore the character that expresses himself in the most refined manner. He's also the one the smart woman of the group will turn to due to his general maturity.
    • And then the sequel had Richter Abend, who was a scientist at Sybak University.
  • Dr. Hank Freebird of Trauma Team. Genius orthopedic surgeon with a military honorable discharge. Who fights crime as Captain Eagle in his spare time. Including picking up and tossing a car at a drug smuggler, or punching a thug through a ceiling. Yet has enough fine control to operate various medical tools during orthopedic surgery.
  • Jack Cayman of MadWorld is actually an incredibly sharp dude coupled by experience as former Grand Champion of Deathwatch. He's able to wax philosophy as he carves mooks in half and by the time he's facing the Final Boss it's implied he's already figured out the entire scheme of Deathwatch and who's really behind it.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Heavy may not be the smartest bulb in the team, but his knowledge about big guns and their firepower is second to none, even going into detail about the costs of firing his own weapon, and touting about how he has yet to see anybody who can outsmart a bullet BOOLIT.
    • And in Poker Night At the Inventory, it is revealed that he went to college and that he has a Ph.D in Russian Literature. He also has refined tastes when it comes to drinks and music
    • If you watch the Russian version of Meet the Heavy, it shows that he is actually very intelligent, he just can't speak English well.
      • What's more, in the Russian version (his native language) of his Meet The Team, his grammar is perfect and he acts fairly intelligent, showing that his monosyllabic English speech is simply the result of English being a second language.
  • Eddie Riggs of Brutal Legend is not only a Hot-Blooded warrior, but being that his life as a Roadie requires him to maintain others' equipment, he's also mechanically adept enough to build practically anything as long as he has the tools around with him. Being a roadie is also where he picks up his strength, heavy lifting and all.
  • Piers in Golden Sun: The Lost Age is a beefy sailor and a textbook Mighty Glacier. He also has powerful healing spells and indicates in some cutscenes that he's trained as a medic, figures out ancient Magitek in moments, infiltrates a town under security upgrades for a special occassion, discusses at length the state of the world since the decline of Alchemy... oh, and it's implied in some of the Lemuria cutscenes that he was originally going to leave the country as a spy for King Hydros. There might be some justification in his age, but he refuses to disclose his age, so we don't know if he's Really Seven Hundred Years Old or not.
  • Kratos, who despite being a brute who kills anything that so much as looks at him funny, is still intelligent enough to succeed at obtaining pandora's box, a task many adventurers before him failed, the path to it requires as much wit as it does brute strength. In fact, he spends just as much, if not more of his time solving puzzles than he does killing monsters and Gods.
  • Malik Caesar is the most muscular and tallest man in your party but instead of using them to fight, he uses his magic to fight. Magic, in turn, is based off the intelligence of the mage. He is also the person that the other characters turn to due to both his experience and his knowledge.
  • Golbez of Final Fantasy IV is an eight-foot-tall hulk of a Tin Tyrant with Shoulders of Doom and marked proficiency in the use of BFSs. And on top of that is wellspoken, a mage of great skill, and a masterful Chessmaster.
  • Adray Lasbard from Star Ocean 3. He's 6'2", immaculately muscled, totes around a big frickin' Katana, and, oh yeah, he's considered a Wizard.
  • Seven of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is first described as 'a mountain of a man', but employs strategies such as putting in objects to stop the doors locking after going through them. He was also a detective.
  • Birdbrained moments aside, Utsuho Reiuji of Touhou demonstrates pretty good understanding of nuclear physics in Hisoutensoku. Possibly a Required Secondary Power for her since nuclear power is her specialty.
  • Letho of Gulet in The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings is a large hulking man mistaken as Dumb Muscle by those he works with. This in turn makes it easier for him to manipulate them since all he has to do is play along and make them underestimate him as he secretly manipulates them for his own ends.
  • Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI, although insane, is very strong in terms of magic, and if his height in the Dissidia games are anything to go by (6'2"), he's definitely not a small person in height, at least, and yet he is also apparently very adept at technology, as he was implied to have created Terra's Slave Crown, was seen piloting a Magitek Armor Mecha, and utilizing two cranes in an attempt to prevent the Returners' airship from leaving Vector. If the CGI opening for Final Fantasy VI implies anything, Kefka is apparently also skilled in maintaining the Magitek armors. Oh, and he also managed to manipulate both sides to leave himself at the top.
  • The Knights of the Old Republic series has few, if any, truly stupid main characters. But the character who fits this trope has to be Bao-Dur from the second game. He built a custom droid when he was a kid, made weapons for the military including the mass shadow generator that wiped out a planet and ended a war, says designing planetary-class defensive shields is 'a hobby', and starts idly taking apart and rebuilding your ship piece by piece because he's bored. He also has a military-grade artificial arm with weaponized force fields and starts out with a very high Strength score and multiple points in unarmed combat.
    • Mical. He talks like a teacher, is a historian/scientist, and can be trained as a Jedi Consular - the class that focuses most on the Force rather than lightsabers. He starts out as a Soldier class. You find him in the deadly sub-level of the Jedi Temple, from which almost no one has returned alive.
  • Oleg Kirlov of Saints Row:The Third. Outsizes everyone by about 3 feet,(Up and across)can shove cars aside like nothing, was the genetic model for The Brutes...and is well read, speaks with impeccable dictation, and loves playing chess.
  • Michael Thorton from Alpha Protocol. Depending on the background you chose, Mike can have multiple PhDs, crack ciphers in his spare time, learn foreign languages amazingly fast... Even in gameplay, you can make Mike a technical whiz without compromising too much on his killing prowess.
  • Minute Man in Freedom Force is a Captain America (comics)-themed hero who can leap tall buildings and has enormous strength. He's also a nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project. In one mission, a villain sets off the timer on a nuclear bomb. Guess who has to disarm it?


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Klaus and Othar from Girl Genius are prime examples. They are both immense men, towering over most normal people but they are also Mad Scientists. The two of them once got into a rip-roaring brawl from one end of Castle Wulfenbach to another busting through walls as they did so.
    • Also, the constructs known as Punch and Judy are pretty big and tough. A member of one of the "traveling Heterodyne shows" based on the adventures of the previous generation cheerfully plays Punch as the big, slow and stupid type that folklore would have him... until he meets someone who knows what he was really like. Then we find out that aside of repairing tractors and building toys, he's good at operating surveilance station equipment. And, once he got voice at all, talks like someone well-read. He also is most likely to be the maker of a mechanical hand Dimo got after time skip. It turns out that being a personal servant of two adventuring top-tier mad scientists is conducive to learning more advanced skills than luggage hauling.
    • The Jäger Generals. Big, heavy-hitting bruisers... and extremely intelligent, at least in tactics-savvy and world-wise ways.
  • In Looking for Group, Krunch Bloodrage, the Tauren minotaur-like member of the main group is known to be part of two brothers, one a scholar and one a warrior. While he is confirmed to be the scholar and is generally the most knowledgeable of the party, he often relies on pure brute strength in battle and to solve other problems.
    • And despite being "the scholar", he has been shown to be capable of taking down a dragon and killing it without much effort.
    • Later, we see what Krunch's brother, a proper warrior, actually looks like. Suffice to say Kruch finds it amusing that other races could mistake him for a warrior.
  • Parodied with Dr. Birding in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, who is a genius with the ability to turn into a Hulk-like monster. He would be a Genius Bruiser—if his paralysis didn't carry over to that form. Martin, his son, is an example of Dumb Muscle.
  • In Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, both Godots are extremely strong and tough, thanks to Heavyworlder physique, but also shown to be quick thinkers. Buck have a reputation of "the human who gets things done" - he's able to outsmart his enemies (and occasionlly employers) and come up with complex plans at moment's notice...
  • In the fantasy theme of Irregular Webcomic, although Alvissia has the most common sense of the party, Draak has the most book smarts. He is also clearly the physically strongest member of the party.
  • Sauerkraut of Trigger Star. The party's Big Girl sports dual master's degrees in literature and finance.
  • Uni-Man of Axe Cop starts off as a normal-looking, albeit extremely intelligent, man with a magical unicorn horn (It Makes Sense in Context). Events through the story see him use his own magic to permanently transform into a muscle-bound Mighty Glacier who keeps his intelligence and later builds an invisible lab. He's now seen with a lab coat instead of a suit and tie.
  • Homestuck: Equius Zahhak loves being STRONG and also builds robots. And then destroys them in steel-cage brawls in order to blow off steam. With his bare hands.
    • Dirk has an AI of himself that almost passes the Turing Test, builds robots, and is able to understand the Sburb code. He's also an alternate universe version of Bro Strider and like Equius, also has death matches with robots.
  • Illyra of Rumors of War is The Big Guy in a smarts-centric Five-Man Band. Not that she doesn't qualify as The Big Guy on her own merits, she just tends to fall into The Big Guy role since she isn't as nice as Occela, and she isn't as motivated as Elysia. You know what? Never mind.
  • The gamer of the future is expected to follow this road, according to Nerf Now.
  • More combative members of the Veiled tend towards the gray area between this and Badass Bookworm. Murai says it all in one simple sentence: "Our specialties are hand-to-hand combat and comparative theology."
  • In The Whiteboard, Doc easily qualifies, being a polar bear and built like one would expect of a member of the bear family who builds things like pizza teleporters, mecha, and reality-altering devices (as a paintball gun!) as a hobby.
  • Roy from Order of the Stick is the party's fighter and leader. He also holds an MBA. The party's wizard is insulted when a mind-flayer finds Roy's brain to be the most appetizing in the party. When his Dumb Muscle Evil Counterpart asks how he intends to use his Intelligence score in combat, he says "I'll figure something out". That something later turns out to be collapsing a ceiling on him.
  • In Jet Dream, Marlene is both the team's strongwoman and a brilliant scientist capable of achieving actual advances in the field of science!


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In The Gamers Alliance, Ismail, the captain of the Black Guard, is quite a strong and skilled warrior but also has a good understanding of politics and magic thanks to having been taught by his friend Belial.
  • Marz Gurl
  • In Survival of the Fittest, professional boxer Bobby Jacks stands at 190–1 cm and weighs in at 93 kg. He's also shown to be very intelligent, capable of trickery, fighting very tactically, and being able to quote Shakespeare (relevantly) purely from memory.
  • In the RPs Insane Cafe 2: Rise of the Shurlups and Insane Cafe 3: The Curse of the Haunted Hotel features Zachary Johnson, an anthropomorphic Clydesdale who is very well versed in biology and is shown to be capable of tearing doors out of the wall with his bare hands.
  • Zachary, Kozlov and O'Neill from Darwin's Soldiers are very well-respected scientists. And each of them are blessed with titantic strength.
    • Hans Donitz in the story Ship Of State is capable of understanding and explaining how the Einstein-Rosen bridge works. He is also a huge man with great strength and extraordinary combat prowess.
  • Odysseus and Attila the Hun from Fate Nuovo Guerra. One's a Guile Hero best known for the original Trojan Horse and a Lightning Bruiser, and the other's a tactical genius who also happens to be a Mighty Glacier.
  • Ultra-Man, a stalwart member of the Global Guardians is a bit of a mix between the Gentle Giant and the Genius Bruiser. Regardlesss, he is the moral compass of the team.
  • At the Super-Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, there are plenty of examples. Pyrs is a huge, brutish mutant 'with a brow ridge you could camp under', but obviously knows just what people think of him. We see him at the Whateley Weapons Fair (don't ask), looking for holdouts because he knows everyone assumes he wouldn't use anything other than a fist.
    • Maybe a better example: Montana, who looks like a huge blond Sasquatch. But his real power is a genius-level ability with small electronic gadgets.
      • Phase is almost as strong as Lancer, has beat Chaka and Tennyo in fair fights, throws giants around like large balloons, can take Phobos on when she's raging, and she knows more about accounting than the accounting professor, can speak multiple languages, can type Paradise Lost in twenty minutes, knows classical literature like the back of his hand, reads several books a day, stores every bit of intelligence her network gives her in her mind, and is probably the most intelligent person at Whateley without their powers.
  • Ashpaw Longstripe in Tasakeru treads the line between this and Badass Bookworm.
  • Muhammut Kali; fifteen feet tall, able to punch through solid steel, and wields a sword taller than a man with incredible power. He's also the president of a steel company and a brilliant businessman.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Spider-Man the Animated Series took a peg from this for Dr. Connor and his Lizard form for their version of Secret Wars.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants' friend Sandy Cheeks is a scientist who taught Spongebob all he knows about Karate.
  • Panthro in Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) is another example.
  • Rhinox from Transformers: Beast Wars. The fact that he turns into a rhino (well, a really tiny rhino that's smaller than a gorilla...) is one half of the equation; the fact that he's usually the only Maximal with a clue is the other. These smarts carried over after his eventual Face Heel Turn after his spark took over Tankor.
    • Which it turns out might actually have been for the best; at one point in the original series, he temporarily became evil and proved a far more effective bad guy.
      • The idea was to turn him into a Predacon. What no one (even Megatron) anticipated was that he would prove such a good Predacon. He very nearly succeeded in outmaneuvering everyone, including Megs. Correction, Optimus knew exactly what would happen and just waited for Rhinox to make his move instead of mounting an attack on the Predacon base.
    • Megatron is another example, being a huge, physically imposing Chessmaster. Rampage also counts in a Hannibal Lecter-ish sort of way.
    • I, Grimlock.
  • Freakazoid!! villain Cave Guy is one of the series' stronger and smarter villains, being a large and powerful neanderthal with the mind (and dialect) of a Yale graduate/New Yorker subscriber.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Farmer MacDonald's gargantuan sons Buford and Cletus. Cletus graduated from Stanford Phi Beta Kappa, and Buford is a renowned nuclear physicist. Jackie's read his books on the subject.
    • Similarly, Ratso of the Dark Hand is sometimes very perceptive for Dumb Muscle. Oh, and he used to study theoretical physics before becoming a thug.
      • Also, Tohru, despite being built like a sumo wrestler and easily capable of tearing a building apart with his bare hands, has been proven to be quite intelligent and is Uncle's apprentice in magic, and has solved many of the problems that have faced the team with simple common sense.
  • Rare case in Jack Fenton from Danny Phantom in that he doubles both as a Dumb Muscle (because he's a Bumbling Dad) and Genius Ditz; his ghost invention works. One episode has also stated he held straight 'B-'s throughout his school years.
  • Marsala in Exo Squad is this and a Gentle Giant (and even the personal Beast for the resident Chick): he is both physically intimidating, like most Neosapiens, and a surprisingly insightful orator and tactician. This also applies to Phaeton and, perhaps, Shiva, the two Neosapien villains who rose out of nowhere and freaking conquered most of the Solar system through cunning strategic planning.
  • During a flashback during an episode of The Simpsons, a big brawny soldier who is called Ox (short for "Oxford" as it turns out, not a reference to a farm animal) effectively explains the concept of a "tontine":

Ox: Duh, essentially, we all enter into a contract whereby the last surviving participant becomes the sole possessor of all them purty pictures.

    • The funny part was that he spoked like a dumb muscle before he turned out be educated on difficult English.
  • Jack Bennet and his adoptive son JD, codenamed Bionic-1 and IQ respectively, from Bionic Six.
  • Winsor from My Gym Partners a Monkey.
  • Sherman Cortez is half of the team's strategic, tactical, and tech support on Hot Wheels Battle Force 5. He uses his math skills to perfectly time his escape from a Death Trap corridor. Keep in mind that the time each trap has before activating is faster than any human being should be able to react, let alone do calculations. Sherman is just that awesome.
  • Bulkhead is a cross between this and Genius Ditz in Transformers Animated.
    • Bulkhead could be considered a double subversion of this.
    • Husky Russkie Strika is another example. Besides being a huge tank, she's also a brilliant tactician.
    • Megatron is a Magnificent Bastard as well as Large and In Charge. He's also almost as strong as Lugnut. I'd say that qualifies him for this trope
  • All of the Constructicons in Transformers Generation 1 are brilliant engineers, and have other specialties beyond that. For example, Mixmaster is the foremost chemist amongst the Decepticons.
    • Of course, individually, they're not really bruisers; sure, they're no slouches in the physical strength department, but it's not till they form Devastator that they really exemplify the physical half of this trope. Then he is/they are as dumb as a brick.
  • Cyborg of Teen Titans is both the team's second physically strongest member (surpassed only by Starfire) and the resident technology expert, qualified to build, modify, or repair just about anything you can think of. Of course, having a computer built into your head helps.
    • As a villainous example, The Dragon of the fifth season villain is Monsieur Mallah - a tactically clever, Gadgeteer Genius talking gorilla.
    • Another villainous example is Slade.
  • Megabyte from ReBoot is urbane, intelligent, and just about the strongest regular character on the show. This makes the rare occasions he goes bestial even more frightening.
  • Occasional Kim Possible villain Motor Ed is a large, muscular, mullet-haired mechanical genius who even outsmarted Wade at one point. As Wade put it, "He's not as dumb as the hair-cut would lead you to think." Seriously.
  • Exile from Road Rovers also qualifies. He's one of the largest and most muscular members of the team and has super strength, but he also serves as the team's mechanic. Several episodes has him fixing (or breaking) some very complex vehicles or electronics.
  • Thailog from Gargoyles is smarter than Xanatos and stronger than Goliath.
    • Goliath himself is no slouch at this either. Yeah, he's a hulking Proud Warrior Race Guy, but while he doesn't have Xanatos and Thailog's brand of cunning, he's very well-read, perceptive, and cultured.
  • Taurus Bulba is a huge bull who likes to pick up and manhandle both his own henchmen and Darkwing Duck, but who is at the same time a Diabolical Mastermind so clever he's not only running his operations from inside prison but also has an entire flying base constructed inside it just waiting to take off at his convenience.
  • Octus from Sym-Bionic Titan.
  • Buford from Phineas and Ferb. He's definitely The Big Guy, and is also the resident bully (though he was just saving his goldfish,) but he's also fluent in French and has quoted Voltaire.
  • Muzzy from Muzzy in Gondoland. While being a Gentle Giant, he uses advanced alien technology and is very skillful with computers.
  • Helga From Hey Arnold!! is already fairly known among her classmates as a formidable bully. She's also a talented writer/poet, and quite intelligent for her age.
  • Big Macintosh from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic certainly counts. He's a farmer and a stallion who has his first name for a reason, and is strong enough to knock a dogpile of over twenty adult mares off of him. He can also do mathematics on a level that frustrates Applejack and knows at least a little chiropratic. If that isn't enough, when he's "discorded",[5] he starts acting so dumb he resembles a dog more than a pony.
  • Amon, the Big Bad from The Legend of Korra, a very agile fighter who is perfectly willing to fight benders along with his followers and is also an incredibly charismatic public speaker and utterly brilliant Chessmaster.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The majority of people who work for the FBI, CIA, or hell, any intelligence agency in the entire world qualify as this. Not only do you have to have above average intelligence to even qualify to work for them, but after you become accepted into the job you have to go through rigorous physical training every month, or even every week to keep yourself in shape. Operatives especially have to keep themselves and their bodies well-built and muscular, seeing as how they often put themselves in harms way all the damn time.
    • This also holds true for many special operations units. While they do have to be in incredible physical condition, their training is frequently described as being primarily a mental test - which makes sense, given the huge breadth of skills each man has to master. Every soldier in the US Army Special Forces (the Green Berets), for instance, has to master at least one foreign language just to get the job in the first place, to say nothing of learning advanced emergency medicine or applied chemistry & physics.
      • The Military Channel series Surviving the Cut, which looks at the selection process for elite American military units demonstrates this. The Special Forces episode showed that one of the toughest challenges faced by the candidates wasn't hauling a 440 pound barrel several miles: it was designing the jury-rigged cart they'd use to haul it.
  • Given how many military people of all branches have master's degrees or higher, examples could go on all day. In fact, pretty much anyone in a military "technical" field, given how much material they must commit to memory. Especially pilots. They practically get a degree in aeronautical engineering before ever planting their butt in a seat. Even Dubya. Even in general this holds true: considering how the military is much more technical, computerized, and robotic in many ways nowadays, you don't just need to be an ass-kicker anymore, you also need to be a techno whiz.
    • US Navy and Air Force senior NCO's (E-6 and above) are required to complete a bachelor's degree, and officers of all branches of the US armed forces are required to be college graduates.
  • The Wonderlic Personnel Test is an intelligence test frequently given to NFL pre-draft prospects. The highest scorers tend to be offensive linemen (generally some of the biggest, strongest guys on the field). The quarterback, often regarded as the smartest on the team—often described as a team's "field general"—averages third, behind the offensive tackle and center (whose job, significantly, is protecting the quarterback until he either runs the ball out, hands it off to a running back, or passes it to a wide receiver), respectively. The running backs and wide receivers average dead last.
  • Dolph Lundgren, the well-muscled actor famous for playing Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and He-Man in the live-action Masters of the Universe, has a master's degree in chemical engineering. He also received the Fulbright Scholarship to MIT, though he quit when he pursued an acting career. Also fluent in three languages and can get by in two others. Rumours that he has a 160 IQ score are however "exaggerated" according to him. Back on the brawn side, besides his generally muscly action hero persona a la Rocky and Masters of the Universe and impressive build, he's a black belt who's won a variety of martial arts competitions, and served in the military as a special forces team leader.
  • Carlo Pedersoli, better known as "Bud Spencer" of Spaghetti Western fame. 193 cm of pure muscle and fat, a pilot, a degree in law, holder of several patents... On a side note, you wouldn't believe, seeing his fat, Hulk-like stature in the movies, that he was also a professional swimmer before he took up acting.
  • Though he probably hasn't beat anybody up since high school (if he ever did at all), physicist Neil De Grasse Tyson described his cool, muscular, black high school self as a "nerd who could kick your butt".
    • He was captain of his high school wrestling team and wrestled at the collegiate level during his undergraduate years at Harvard (earning a letter his senior year). No doubt much butt-kicking was involved.
  • Chess-boxing. Yes, it exists.
  • Ice hockey players Douglas Murray and George Parros are both the epitome of a stereotypical hockey player (large, heavy hitters who are not afraid to get physical during a game), yet they're also both Ivy League grads—Murray from Cornell, Parros from Princeton. Murray even runs his own business, UberTap, that produces a three-spout beer keg tap.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most decorated bodybuilders in history. He also has a history of intelligent investments with his fortunes, and use to work as the Governator of California. Even back during his bodybuilding days, he came across as a student of psychology and a master manipulator. Reportedly, he would sabotage other contestants by deliberately lying about his workout regimen so his opponents who were listening would deliberately over- or under-train and ruin their chances. When he became known as an action star, he had already been a self-made millionaire for years.
  • Recently retired Mexican boxer Marco Antonio Barrera is a qualified lawyer.
    • His countryman and one-time opponent Juan Manuel Marquez is still recognized as one of the top 10 boxers in the sport. Marquez is also an accountant.
  • Sylvester Stallone has a lot going against him with his garbled speech, but is actually a very sly businessman, and the more intimately involved with a film's production he is the better-quality film it usually turns out to be. Let's not forget that he wrote the Rocky script. It was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, and Sly himself was nominated for Best Actor. Sly himself had also scored over 130 while taking an IQ test in Larry King's television show, if one thinks such a test (especially under such circumstances) is controversially a good indicator of intelligence.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt was a very effective president, as well as a heavyweight boxer with a black belt in Ju Jitsu. Not to mention his excellent grades in Harvard and his extensive zoological work.
  • Byron White, who was one of the greatest running backs in University of Colorado history before pursuing a career in law which took him to the Supreme Court.
  • Heavily muscled punk icon Henry Rollins is also a writer and a poet who owns his own publishing house.
  • Chris Langan, measured IQ around 200, is a certified MENSA member. He currently works as a rancher in Missouri and can bench press 500 lbs. He may also serve as an example of the dangers of correlating IQ with scientific authority. Langan has proposed various theories, including his prized CTMU (Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe), but most of the scientific community regards him as a crackpot.
  • John Knox, one of the leading theologians of the Protestant Reformation, began his involvement with the movement as a bodyguard for George Wishart. His Weapon of Choice was a two-handed sword.
    • He also survived 19 months of being a galley slave when he was captured by the French.
  • Vladmir Putin, Premier-Minister of Russia, is a black belt (6th Dan) in Judo.
  • Whilst boxer Nikolai Valuev looks like he's carved from stone, apparently he's a pretty smart guy.
  • Gorillas are incredibly smart by animal standards, as well as strong enough to move trucks.
    • Chimpanzees and dolphins too. Chimps can use tools and have surprisingly good memories, and are several times stronger than a similar sized human. Dolphins, while being incredibly strong and fast aquatic acrobats, appear to have a language of their own, in addition to being able to solve puzzles, help humans in danger, and even learn rudimentary math concepts.
    • On land we have the elephants who have the largest brain of any land based animal today. Elephants can feel a lot of the same emotions we do and are considered by some scientists to be on level with great apes and perhaps approaching dolphins. They are also so big and strong they can casually knock down trees for food and can curb stomp pretty much any other land animal. In the sea we have the orca who can learn strategies to hunt its prey in any situation (knocking up ice floes, beaching, spy hopping) which are taught and passed down through generations, and demonstrate problem solving abilities (like when they steal fish from fishermen by splitting into different groups). They are also one of the most powerful hunters in the sea to the extent that some orcas have developed a taste for the great white shark; now let that sink in for a moment.
  • Genius Composer Georg Friedrich Haendel ("The Messiah" etc. etc.) was a big, strong man with a hair-trigger temper. He is said to have made a difficult primadonna more cooperative by picking her up bodily and threatening to throw her out of a window, and to have thrown a kettle-drum (the smallest of which, for those not in the know, are bowls of solid copper at least half a meter wide and half a meter deep) at a violinist who had played a bum note.
  • Ancient Greek philosophers, orators and poets were all former hoplite soldiers. Greek culture prized both physical and mental achievement.
    • According to at least some sources, Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher and founder of the first institution of higher learning in the western world, was a two-time Olympic champion in pankration. "Plato" is actually a nickname meaning "broad shoulders." He was apparently a pretty burly guy.
    • Plato's teacher Socrates was not only a hoplite, but served with distinction at the battles of Potidaeum and Delium in the Peloponnesian War and may have earned his living as a stonecutter. Even by ancient Greek standards he was a force to be reckoned with!
  • Myron Rolle. Rhodes scholar and 6'2" 215 pound safety for Florida State University.
  • Benito Mussolini was arguably a subversion. He talked a good game, and boasted an impressive intellectual background, but once he actually gained power he screwed things up so badly in both both the political and military spheres it was hard to tell if he was a more incompetent general or statesman.
    • However, he actually was pretty smart, writing highly influential works on fascism that were actually coherent, if repulsive, and creating a genuine political theory (something you can't really say about Mein Kampf).
    • Also, one might argue that Mussolini's problem wasn't his brain but his birth: he was Italian. Modern Italy had always been the sad sack among the Great Powers of Europe, with regionalism, low levels of development in the South, and general political apathy dragging it down. It didn't help (from Mussolini's perspective) that Italy had been on the winning side of World War I, meaning that Italians didn't have half as big of a national chip on their shoulders as the Germans, and that Italian nationalists tended towards Italian irredentism rather than a yearning for the Roman Empire. Had Mussolini been born in Germany, given his smarts and sanity...yeah.
    • On the brawn side, Mussolini was one of the few world leaders to be willingly photographed shirtless, and it wasn't bad.
  • Cannibalistic, necrophilic and 6'9" serial killer Edmund Kemper was discovered to have an IQ of 136 when he was tested at the age of fifteen.
  • Kevin Grevioux, the Scary Black Man who played werewolf Raze in the Underworld movies, was working on his Master's degree in genetic engineering until he decided to go Hollywood. Oh, yeah, and he wrote Underworld, basing the script on his knowledge of interracial dating.
  • Chris "Jesus" Ferguson can cut vegetables with a thrown playing card. While he is certainly an imposing figure at the poker table, the five-time bracelet winner (including a main event title in 2000) owes his success largely to his knowledge of game theory and development of computer simulations, as he has a Ph.D. in computer science.
  • Rene Descartes, the great 17th century French mathematician and founder of modern philosophy, also served as a mercenary soldier in Bavaria and seems to have drawn inspiration from his battlefield experiences.
  • Tim Ruddy, former center for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Miami Dolphins football teams, who at 6'3" and 300 lbs. easily manhandled oppossing linemen for 15 years, finished high school with a perfect 4.00 GPA, and graduated from Notre Dame with a 3.86 GPA (including a perfect 4.00 during his junior and senior years) and a B.S. in mechanical engineering.
  • All Astronauts are in space for the specific reason of doing complex research in space, but also must keep remarkably fit in order to fight muscle degeneration and bone loss that are consequent of long durations of a lack of gravity.
    • Specific case: Buzz Aldrin, second man on the Moon—also decorated fighter pilot, graduated #2 in his class at West Point, earned a Ph.D in astronautics from MIT (literally writing the book on manned orbital rendezvous for NASA)...and delivered an epic upper-cut to a Moon-landing conspiracy theorist who was harassing him (note: Buzz was 80 years old at the time, and the lady who was with him was his daughter, making Buzz Aldrin a Papa Wolf and a Badass Grandpa as well).
  • Any Society of Creative Anachronism heavy fighters. History re-enactment is considered a very nerdy hobby, but those guys fight in full armour with rattan weapons and are trained to hit hard. SCA has given the initial spark on researching and reviving the original Medieval Western Martial Arts.
  • Most NCAA athletes fall into this category. Universities insist on both academic and athletic prowess, and a lot of coaches aren't afraid to bench a player who is struggling in their classes.
    • The NCAA even uses this as an advertising point—their commercials show students in labs and other academic settings while a narrator comments, "Most of our athletes will go pro in something other than sports."
  • Szeklers (Transylvanian ethnic Hungarians) are generally seen as aggressive, violent and in general, very strong fighters. One of their prominent figures (Janos Bolyai) is known for being the first person to discover non-Euclidean geometry. Another (Sandor Csoma) is best known as the author of the first English-Tibeti dictionary.
  • Former boxing champion - and Mensa member - Bobby Czyz.
  • Japanese famous writer Mishima Yukio, who was also a first-rank kendo master and had an impressive physique; however, this case is a little bit different, for the reason he trained himself so hard in order to reach this impressive physical abilities was part and parcel of his own philosophy of Existence and Beauty. In a very strange and mindsrewing book , Sun and Steel, he even explained how the beauty of the body shaped by years of bodybuilding was a perfect mirror of his theory of morality and aesthetic. Yeah, strange guy indeed.
  • Alexander the Great is a preeminent example of the Genius Bruiser. Most people know him as just the conqueror, but the kid was educated by Aristotle and managed to impress foreign dignitaries with his genius. He outdid his much more experienced father in generalship when he was just 18. He then proceeded to create one of the largest land empires in history. A personal favorite story: after his conquests in Persia, part of his spoils was a beautiful chest. He set it aside to carry his equally beautiful and painstakingly written copy of Homer's poetry, a gift from Aristotle.
  • Charlemagne. The guy was over 6 feet tall and despite the beer belly was muscular. He used to terrify his enemies because of his height and built. He also stabilized the political situation of Europe for the first time in centuries, established the largest western European empire since the Romans—it's been equaled only by Napoleon and Hitler—minted the first silver coins since Rome fell, mediated ecclesiastical disputes, founded schools, spoke and read several languages (he tried to learn to write but gave up as too old), and had five wives and God-only-knows how many concubines.[6] They don't call it the Carolingian Renaissance for nothing.
  • Saladin probably counts. His brilliance as a military leader was well known, but he was also well versed in science, mathematics, and poetry.
  • Dr. John Turner, senior citizen, psychiatrist, and can probably hand your ass to you.
  • Ernest Rutherford, Nobel winning scientist and keen rugby player (at least as a university student).
  • Meet Alexander Karelin: law school graduate, opera lover, and unstoppable heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler legendary for regularly lifting his 300 pound opponents off the ground. Considered one of the strongest men in the world, Karelin once got a 500 pound refrigerator to his apartment by bear-hugging it and walking up eight flights of stairs.
  • This kitten is both smart and strong enough to move the object out of away to get the toy back.
    • They also seem to pay respect to their dead, the only creatures apart from humans to do so.
  • Dromaeosaurid dinosaurs. Fast by dinosaur standards (comparable to a modern bear), very strong (lots of kicking and biting power), and very smart by dinosaur standards (about as smart as an ostrich and other dumb modern birds and mammals, with an EQ about half that of a cat or dog)
    • Even Tyrannosaurus Rex could count. It wasn't as intelligent as the Dromaeosaurids, but it was close to it. And, obviously, it was a Bruiser (the speed of T-rex is a hotly debated issue, it may not have been much faster than a human, despite its big strides).
      • Tyrannosaurus Rex have a brain 2 to 6 times larger than other large Theropods, this is because the type of prey he goes up against. Large Carcharodontosauridae like Giganotosaurus need to be large because they hunt gigantic sauropod who are dumb and use their size as their natural defense. But by the time Tyrannosauridae appeared the prey they face are smaller but faster, tougher and well armed. To bring down prey like Triceratops or Ankylosaurus, T.rex will need to bypass those defenses and make a quick kill because any injury will most likely to be lethal or crippling for the T.rex. Because of the abundance of well armed herbivor, nature has produced a predator that is large and powerful but also intelligent.
  • Chess-boxers can fit this trope if they also fit the Smart People Play Chess trope. Not only must they be experienced boxers, but they must be at least Class A in chess playing strength (which is as strong as a strong amateur chess player).
    • Josh Waitzkin, the former chess prodigy whose early career was portrayed in Searching for Bobby Fischer, doesn't box. Hopefully his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu makes up for it.
  • Meme macro Professor Badass - Kevin Stewart: fashion designer, style director for ESPN Magazine, co-owner of Roger Charles New York design studio (and no, the photo doesn't come from a shoot, this is just how he rocks it on a daily basis)
  1. John had previously helped him recover his wrecking ball from the Lost & Found
  2. Lod is the Hebrew name of Lydda, George's hometown; it is today home of Ben-Gurion International Airport and a very large Arab Israeli ghetto.
  3. his longtime teammate, Lance Alworth, was the first
  4. which, technically, it ultimately did did... at Agatio's expense
  5. has his core personality trait reversed
  6. And a suitably large number of children, towards whom he could be extraordinarily, even annoyingly, protective--he was famous for insisting that he must dine with all of his children every day he wasn't on campaign. Particularly his daughters: he only ever permitted one to marry, but when they all had children out of wedlock with various "friends" in the palace, Charlemagne was more than happy to turn a blind eye.