"If I am presented with a reasonable opportunity to save the day myself, I will at least try, and not wait for The Hero to do it."
The hero and the villain are having a Sword Fight or similar one-on-one altercation.
No, she stands there on the sidelines, mouth open, and waits for the dominant male to emerge and grab her by the arm. Or if she does try to hit the villain over the head with something, she's entirely ineffectual. And if she has access to a gun, she will either miss or hit the good guy.
Justified whenever This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself -- none of the hero's allies can jump in and help him then. Same goes for if she's incapacitated and couldn't help even if she wanted to. Note however that, at least from the writer's perspective, this is perfectly justified by the fact that the hero, almost by definition, should be able to defeat the villain on his own. If the hero were to use some underhanded trick while the villain fights honorably, it would skew the entire narrative. In general, the purer the hero, the more likely the Neutral Female. Someone closer to the Anti-Hero will be more likely to receive aid from the bystander, as they won't be expected to necessarily win honorably.
The situation doesn't necessarily have to be Hero vs Villain. It can also apply between good guys, especially in terms of romantic competition. The point is that the girl is still not helping either of them nor doing anything to stop the fight, not even by saying something that could settle everything between the combatants.
Compare Faux Action Girl; both tropes are often caused by the writers' unwillingness to have a woman fighting (and thus being hit by) a man. Also compare to Designated Girl Fight, when the woman is willing to mix it up, but will only ever do so against other females.
Anime & Manga
- Parodied in the first episode of Slayers, when Lina is attacked by bandits and Gourry comes to her aid. Lina is preparing to just blast the bandits into oblivion, but then realizes that she's supposed to be all passive and girly in these situations.
- Suzumiya Haruhi: Mikuru Asahina fits this trope rather well. The irony is that this is because she's ordered to be neutral by her time-travelling superiors, mainly her future self, which means the poor girl quite literally has herself to blame for her helplessness.
- Shigure from Ninja Scroll (the series, not the movie) spends a fair amount of time standing around and watching while the villains massacre the people whose savior she's supposed to be. She then proceeds to angst about it: "They're all dead and it's all my fault!"
- Kirara from Samurai 7. There isn't a single female fighter in this series. All the warriors in it are men.
- Tokyo Mew Mew had some Neutral Males—although the constant switching around of the boy in question was used to set up a few red herrings as to the identity of Ao no Kishi.
- My-HiME has Yuuichi as an understandably neutral male when his superpowered best friend starts trying to kill his also superpowered love interest. He's not the only one, though: Mai's little brother Takumi also does that at least thrice And the third one happens just before he dies, when his tomboyish girlfriend Akira's CHILD is destroyed.
- In Bleach, all Orihime or Rukia or even most of the non-shinigami cast ever seem to do is sit on the sidelines and gasp as asskicking commences before them. Many of them are anything but weak and have powers that could come pretty handy in aiding their allies in a fight (Ishida's arrows, for example). But that would mean that the shinigami would have to share the spotlight with someone else.
- Doubly subverted in the second fight between Ichigo and Ulquoirra. Till Ichigo tells her to stand back and she gets nabbed by some lackeys and becomes helpless, until rescued again.
- Another example with Ulquoirra and Ichigo starting to fight when Yammy pops up and Ishida
killsinjures him in about four seconds for interfering. In the context of this fight that's about all he can without irritating Ulq and having himself get chopped to bits. Yeah, Ishida basically becomes a neutral male.
- Anthy Himemiya from Revolutionary Girl Utena can be seen as this for roughly 90 to 95% of the series. Your Mileage May Vary on how neutral, though.
- The girls of Yu Yu Hakusho, barring Badass Grandma Genkai, are this, more often than not. To their credit, this trope is usually their last resort, but the fact remains.
- Completely Justified Trope in the Dark Tournament arc; they're only at the tournament as spectators in the crowd and as support for the Urameshi team.
- Sakura from Naruto is infamous for spending most of the time in battle just standing with a kunai in defensive position while her teammates do all the actual fighting (it made sense in the first arc, where she was left as the only one actually guarding the person they were supposed to be guarding). If they had indicated that she's supposed to be a non-combatant, this would have been a bit more acceptable, but the fact that she's supposed to be a highly trained ninja makes this all the more insulting. It isn't until after the timeskip that she does anything else.
- A couple girls in the series lapse into this at times, like in Team 10's fight against Kakuzu where Ino's only contribution to the fight was locating him. But a few arcs later, she makes up for it big time.
- Averted in the manga Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge, which is mostly about a schoolgirl fighting an axe-crazy chainsaw murderer. The main character is a normal guy who wants to help her out. How well does he do? Put it this way: the first fight, he nearly kills her by hitting her in the head with a pork chop he was trying to throw at the Big Bad.
- Subverted with Kamiya Kaoru of Rurouni Kenshin during the Kurogasa arc, where she was paralyzed by a powerful hypnotic suggestion by Jineh so the poor woman truly couldn't do anything but watch as she slowly suffocated to death. Until her Heroic Resolve forcibly breaks through the trance to stop Kenshin from killing Jineh. Since If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him is repeated through-out the episode, this becomes a crucial action.
- In Claymore, Claire was like this back when she was just a child, often gasping in horror as her mentor, Teresa, fought off the bandits invading the village, and eventually her own fellow Claymores. After Teresa died, Claire joined the organization, and tore this trope into shreds, replacing it with its complete opposite: the Action Girl.
- Claymore also has a Gender Flip for this trope as well: Raki. He often stood around, hoping that Claire would save her from the monsters attacking him. But in volume 14, of the manga, he, just like Claire, became more than capable of holding out on his own, or to be more precise, chop Yoma into hunks of meat.
- Averted by Videl in the tenth Dragon Ball Z movie. Broly is crushing the life out of Gohan, so Videl throws a crystal shard at him. He breaks it easily, but his concentration is broken long enough for Gohan to kick his way out of the stranglehold and start the Kamehameha Wave that (with help from Goten and Goku) does Broly in.
- Sakura of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is almost always this in the first season. She spends the first few episodes unconscious, and when she does awaken, she often wanders off in a semi-trance and needs to be saved. It's not her fault (she has no memories), but there is one exception. In one world, she is kidnapped and locked away in a castle. Naturally, the guys launch a rescue attempt, but rather than sitting there waiting for them to show up, she resourcefully escapes from her cell, discovers the secret of the place, and has to rescue the rescuers using her often-neglected super power. But considering she is wandering around with three expert fighters, it's not surprising they don't need or expect her help in fights.
- Pretty much every female character in Katekyo Hitman Reborn who isn't a Faux Action Girl.
- In Pokémon Special, during the first battle with N, Black yells at White to help him out as he's getting his ass kicked. She cries out that all her Pokemon aren't really hers, as they are actors from her talent agency, and that she has never been in a battle in her life. Black promptly goes into a hilarious Face Fault with the words, "Does not compute" over his head.
- Subverted with Dia's mom in an earlier arc. When there's a Zubat threatening to slit her throat, she manages to squirt some berry juice in its face before hitting it with her basket.
- Zigzagged in Rave Master. Elie helps twice when Haru's in the middle of a fight, but one of those times was accidental, and she sat in the sidelines in all his other battles.
Films -- Animation
- Subversion: In one memorable scene from Shrek, an inexplicably French Robin Hood is about to throw down Shrek and "rescue" Princess Fiona. But it's Fiona who ends up clobbering Robin and his Merry Men with some Wire Fu and Bullet Time moves.
- In Bambi, Faline just stands against a rock wall and watches Bambi and Ronno fight over her.
Films -- Live Action
- In Babes in Toyland, the hero and the villain are both shrunk down to toy size and then begin to engage in a swordfight while the normal-sized heroine watches them, very concerned. She could have just stepped on the bad guy!
- In The Princess Bride, Buttercup is almost laughably useless in Westley's fight against the Rodent of Unusual Size—she does actually try to fend off the ROUS with a stick, but fails utterly. She's not much better at most other points in the story either, and the one time she does something reasonably useful ("Do you promise not to hurt him?") everyone yells at her for it.
- When she attempts to fend off the ROUS, it's only when it comes after her. Prior to that, when it was gnawing Westley's arm to bloody shreds, she just stood there and watched. Not only that, by having to come save her, he loses his opportunity to get his hands on his sword. Considering the book and movies are Deconstructive Parodies of fairy tales, this may have been intentional.
- The climactic fight in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves has Maid Marion stand aside and watch Robin and the Sheriff fight. This is after she was established as a Badass Action Girl in her first scene and after the Sheriff had tried to rape her only a few minutes before. Sure, she does try to burn the Sheriff with a candle, but is otherwise useless the entire fight, even when the Sheriff is about to kill Robin.
- Examples from films featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000:
- Played straight in The Girl in Gold Boots : in the "climactic" fight Michele just stands around not offering any assistance to the protagonist.
- Played straight again in Cave Dwellers, where the female lead, despite being handy with a sword, suddenly forgets all her combat training and just shrieks as Ator fights a giant snake.
- Subverted in the film version of Prince Caspian: While Caspian holds his sword to Miraz' throat, Miraz' wife grabs a crossbow and points it at Caspian (without climbing out of bed!), turning the scene into a Mexican Standoff.
- Inverted and played for laughs in Shaun of the Dead: During the gang's back garden safari to the Winchester, Shaun grapples with a zombie while Ed and David stand by and watch uselessly. Shaun even calls them on it: "Feel free to step in at any time!" Liz and Di are slightly more useful, the former knocking the zombie off of him with a chair, and the latter supplying Shaun with a weapon in the shape of a swingball pole.
- In Jurassic Park, this role is played by Tim. While Lex turns the power back on and Grant and Ellie try to keep a raptor out, he stands ineffectively behind his sister shouting encouragement instead of, say, passing Ellie the gun she's trying to reach with her foot so she can shoot the raptor before it devours them all.
- Subverted in Serenity, where Inara appears to do little during the Mal/Operative fight (after her initial attempts to help Mal ended up with the Operative casually tossing her aside), only to be revealed that her earlier "praying for Mal" by lighting incense was actually arming a flashbang.
- Subverted in the James Bond film From Russia with Love, where Tatiana ums for a few seconds, then shoots Rosa Klebb. Would have been played straight if not for Klebb's original method of death being scrapped for technical reasons (They couldn't find a way to make Klebb stabbing herself with a shoe knife not look stupid).
- Double Subverted in Spider-Man 2 and then subverted in Spider-Man 3. In 2 Mary Jane spends most of the final battle on the sidelines while Spidey and Doc Ock beat the tar out of one another. Eventually she builds up the courage to whack Ock with a big stick herself, with the music dramatically building this up... and Doc Ock owns her without even turning around. Props to her for trying, though. In 3, however, she drops a large cement block on Venom's head, which causes enough of a distraction to buy Spidey the time he needs to escape.
- Also triumphantly averted early in 2, when Aunt May strikes Octavius from behind with her umbrella, allowing Spidey to just barely avoid being skewered.
- In For a Few Dollars More, the Dead Little Sister might well have survived if she'd shot her rapist instead of herself.
- Subverted in High Noon, where the hero's wife is built in such a way to expect her to be a Neutral Female—she's a Quaker and a pacifist, and so would supposedly be neutral even if she were male. However, she eventually shoots one of the bad guys, and when the leader takes her hostage, she claws into his face, allowing her husband to shoot him.
- Dawn of the Dead. The actress playing Francine famously refused to be just another Screaming Woman; however during the first confrontation at the airport she just stands there while her boyfriend is fighting with a zombie, neither running nor helping. She does get better though.
- The |2004 remake gives us Luda, who's entire purpose for being is to 1.) Scream, 2.) be pregnant, and 3.) turn into a pregnant zombie and have a zombie baby. Needless to say, she isn't entirely helpful.
- Hilariously subverted in True Lies. Mousy Helen Tasker wants a little adventure in her life, but not if it requires her to cheat on her husband. Later, when she and Harry are both kidnapped, she tries to tell him "let me do the talking". Even later, Helen finds out her husband is a spy, and falls into true Neutral Female territory. Later still, Helen tries to help Harry by taking up a gun she has no idea how to shoot, and drops it. As Helen winces at her "oopsie", the gun falls down the stairs, still firing, and takes out every bad guy in the room. At Harry's look of incredulous awe, she shrugs and smiles. Kidnapped again, though, she smacks her kidnapper upside the head with a bottle of Dom Perignon, and is well on her way to the XP required for her level in Badass.
- Christine does this twice in the 2004 musical movie adaptation of Phantom of the Opera. In the musical it's based on, both times there was little Christine could do during the scenes; not so in the film. First she just watches worriedly during Raoul and the Phantom's sword fight, and then when Raoul gets the upper hand and is about to stab him she tells him not to.
- Nicely Lampshaded and subverted in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Lady Vanishes. The male lead fights a henchman for a bit with the woman just watching, until he shouts "What are you, a referee? Get in here!" Then they both easily subdue the man.
- Subverted as early as the book version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers; the female lead pretends to be a stereotypical Neutral Female until she can sneak the syringes full of morphine out of her shirt sleeves and poke the Mooks with them.
- Justified Trope and subverted by Chloe in the Darkest Powers series. While they're separated from the other two members of their group, her friend Derek is attacked by a man named Liam. She has a switchblade and desperately wants to help, and keeps trying to—she even lampshades this trope in her distress and frustration at not being able to help:
"I thought of all the times I'd been in an audience, snarking about the stupid, useless girl hovering on the sidelines of a fight, holding a weapon but doing nothing, watching the guy get pummeled."
- The thing is, the two guys in question are 1) werewolves, and therefore have super strength, and 2) moving so fast that every time she attempts to stab Liam, she has to pull up fast so she won't stab Derek instead. However, this trope goes from justified to subverted when Liam has Derek pinned—the second they stop moving, Chloe darts forward and stabs Liam in the back of his leg, thus allowing Derek to free himself and giving them both the chance to run like hell.
- Justified Trope and subverted in The Reckoning as well. This time, though, Derek and his opponent are both in wolf form, so it would be understandable if Chloe did nothing but watch. Even then, though, she manages to avert this trope entirely: She climbs a tree so that Derek won't have to worry about her getting hurt, and then notices that the other werewolf is badly scarred on one flank, meaning that his skin is unprotected there. She yells this down to Derek, and that strategy is what allows Derek (who has never been in wolf form before, and even now has only been in it for about an hour) to win the fight against an experienced werewolf.
- Gender Flipped, subverted, justified, and otherwise Zigzagged in the Stationery Voyagers episode "Choice After All." The Crooked Rainbow captures Oceanoe; and has him poisoned so he can't do anything (except try to fight off the poison that's making him see things.) The girls come to rescue him; but are ineffectual themselves because they're grossly outnumbered (and were trained as diplomats, not warriors!) Katrina Anguara, the pop star who was shooting a music video while Oceanoe was tortured in the background, stands idly by and does nothing for the sake of her career. In the end, Cavalore and Filforth have to do everything.
- Bella Swan spends most of her time standing around while Edward or one of the other Cullens fights off whatever vampire is trying to kill her. Justified the first time, since the fight starts out with Bella being tossed around, having limbs broken and leaving her in crippling pain. Still, that doesn't change the fact that she has the ability to do something during the fight with Victoria (cut her arm and use her blood as a distraction) and just stands there with her mouth hanging open instead of just doing it. The movies subvert this, as Bella tries to hold off James with mace and she quickly cuts herself without hesitation.
- This trope is explicitly defied in Mercedes Lackey's The Sleeping Beauty. When the Big Bad is fighting The Hero coming to save the princess, the former's job is somewhat harder when said princess is throwing everything she can reach at his head.
- Brought up in Tales of Kolmar, as Lanen thinks that if this were a tale she'd be expected to do this. A number of the fights around her are dragons versus demons or demon summoners and she just stays out of the way, not even wanting to be on the sidelines, but there's a memorable instant in Song In The Silence where a demon summoner who is immune to dragonfire turns out to not be immune to human fists.
Live Action TV
- The typical gun moll in the Adam West Batman, who typically stands around during the fights like a complete ninny. Even Catwoman does it to a lesser extent.
- Played straight in the Firefly pilot, where River has been captured by Dobson and Simon comes to save her. Once he intervenes, she stumbles out of the way and hides behind a stack of crates while they face off. Justified in that River just woke up from cryogenic storage a few hours previously, has been unconscious for most of the episode, and is completely confused, disoriented, and still recovering from three years of having her brain cut up. It doesn't help that she's a psychic who can't filter her perceptions and is surrounded by people who are scared or outright hostile.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander usually got the role of Neutral Female, despite being male. Justified as Xander has no special powers, and attempting to go up against the demons Buffy tends to be fighting would simply put him and his friends in harm's way, if not getting killed outright.
- The season 3 finale episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" does this, except the Neutral Female is Wesley. It's the final battle, and everybody gathers to rush at the Big Bad; a few seconds later, we see Wesley get knocked down, and he is pathetically unable to get up for the rest of the fight.
- The opening episode of season 3 ("Anne") specifically subverted this with Lily. She spends most of the episode completely useless, and during her and Buffy's daring escape from the demon world, she gets captured by the villain and threatened in order to stop Buffy from fighting. Then, in the middle of his villainous monologue, she pushes him off the balcony they're standing on. Later episodes (on Buffy's sister show Angel) show her as being far more independent, to the point of taking care of at-risk children.
- Done in Robin Hood with Kate. The problem was that Kate, as the Designated Victim of the gang, would always be the one to get captured, with the rest of the boys running in to save her. Kate would often try to free herself from whatever situation she was in (and was very vocal about Unwanted Rescues), but one of the other outlaws would always burst in right as she was on the verge of rescuing herself. As such, her continual insistence that she was "not some stupid girl" and that she "could take care of herself" came across as an Informed Attribute, and her role was that of a Neutral Female.
- Inverted, subverted, and generally played around with in the A Spy in the House of Love episode of Dollhouse. Female Echo fights Dominic who has been discovered as the titular spy. Meanwhile, male Topher dives behind a couch to get out of the way of the fight. Ivy joins him there, but immediately suggests they try and help Echo. Topher then insists that he has already helped Echo by imprinting her with the ability to fight very effectively.
- In the Supernatural episode Like A Virgin the brothers possess an ancient sword, the only thing they have capable of killing the dragons that have kidnapped a group of virgins. During the fight, the sword falls into through the grate under which the virgins are trapped, but not restrained in any other way. At which point every one of them fails the absolute minimum requirement of having agency in their own survival by not handing Dean the damn sword when he can't reach it. Instead Sam, who has longer arms, grabs it instead.
- Used and perhaps deconstructed in C-Drama The Holy Pearl: heroine Yao lacks kung fu skills but still gets chewed out for not realizing she can contribute to the fight via Magic Music. When Yu Die, who also lacks combat or magical skills, also tries to intervene in another fight, she explicitly makes things worse for the combatants and ends up fatally injured.
- Ashley Mizuki Robbins may solve all the puzzles, figure out the sub-plots and spend her games pulling her dad's fat out of the fire, but when it's time to confront the evil mastermind, she just kinda stands there and talks a bit. It's forgivable in that she's a teenage girl with probably little combat training facing down a gun-toting maniac whose anger is more with her father than her.
- Subverted at the end of King's Quest VI, where you will only win the final swordfight if you earlier slipped the princess a dagger, which she will use to stab the villain in the back when he's about to win. While the swordfight is going on, the princess isn't just watching, but visibly struggling against the ropes that bind her. The moment she frees herself, she's on her feet and advancing with the aforementioned dagger.
- A variation in The King of Fighters 2003: Rose Bernstein calmly sits on the sidelines and plays the piano while her older brother Adel and the player beat the tar out of each other. People are throwing fireballs around and she doesn't seem to have any supernatural powers, making her less than optimal help anyway.
- The King of Fighters XI pokes fun at this with Adel's "G. Princess" move; it calls Rose into the battle... by which we mean she strolls in under an umbrella and makes fun of Adel.
- Zelda does little to assist you in the fight against Ganon in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, except scream when you're hurt.
- Aversion: In the final battle of The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, Princess Zelda actually fights—competently! -- alongside Link; in fact, the final boss would be impossible to beat without her.
- Zelda does the same in the penultimate battle of Twilight Princess.
- Lampshaded in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, the first game in the series where the player has to switch between Link and Zelda to complete tasks, to paraphrase: "You go off into the dungeons and I wait here, it is family tradition"; after which the Eccentric Mentor informs Zelda she has to go and help anyways.
- Iris, during the fights between Zero and Colonel in Mega Man X 4. Supplemental material justifies this: She and her brother were the result of an experiment to create the ultimate combat reploid. The repliforce scientists couldn't get the warrior and pacifist sides of the personality to mesh, so they were split into Colonel and Iris and they have a mental link from sharing over half the same mental programming. She's literally unable to go beyond her neutral-ness if Colonel's alive.
- In the manga of the same game, Iris points a gun at her own head and threatens to kill herself if either of them continues to fight.
- Prince Charmless of Dragon Quest VIII, despite being male, is one of the most annoying examples of this trope that one will ever find.
- Pokey from EarthBound:
Pokey pretended to cry!
- Subverted spectacularly in Kingdom Hearts II. Xaldin is trying to make the Beast choose between his magical rose and Belle. He hesitates for a moment, at which point she takes a third option, elbowing Xaldin in the chest and stealing the rose while he's distracted.
- However, one hilariously bad example played straight happened as well, when Axel was kidnapping Kairi. While both Hayner and Pence at least attempted to stop them, Olette just sat and watched, even though she was sitting on one of the couches right next to her.
- Averted the exact same way in both Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4: Leon is fighting the final boss. Ada runs and gets him a bazooka. Stuff blows up.
- In 4, Ashley Graham is a justified example. She's a small teenager with no combat training. She will, however, duck when you fire and hide in out of the way places until you call her. Hysterically averted with the Knight Armor alternate costume. She's indestructible and too heavy to carry off.
- The first fight with Ramsus in Xenogears has a neutral (or at least non-combat) female for both sides. Ramsus has Miang on his side, whereas Bart and Fei have Margie. Both will occasionally heal their comrades but neither take part in the fighting directly (Miang isn't even a selectable target).
- Princess Peach plays this straight in most games she's in with a few exceptions:
- In Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time, Peach doesn't fight the Final Boss, but she does help the Bros. out by tossing them Stars to attack with. Of course, when things get really tough, she faints, leaving them on their own.
- She helps out when Bowser first appears in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story by reducing his power with Starlow. Later when the Bros. have to face the Kretin both Starlow and Peach are there, but they don't do anything to help.
- Peach subverts the trope in the first two Paper Mario games. In both cases she's being held captive in... inaccessible places, but still takes care to make sure that Mario is sent all information she finds out. In the first game, she is also able to send Mario items to help him out and is able to give Twink the power to stop Kami Koopa.
- In the second Paper Mario game, she also manages to resist possession by the Shadow Queen long enough to completely refill Mario's various health meters.
- Subverted big time in Fate/stay night with Sakura, who keeps trying to make Shirou stop participating in the Grail War and despite having the potential of Tohsaka knows nothing of fighting or real magecraft. She's actually the biggest powerhouse of any single character in the entire game... and she is not on your side by that point.
- Nicely averted at the end of Outlaws (1997 video game). When the Not Quite Dead Big Bad comes into the room and puns a gun to the main character's head (echoing the way he killed the main character's father), his daughter shoots him.
- In Final Fantasy IV, Rosa just sort of shouts at Kain when he shows up to steal Fabul's crystal and nearly kills Cecil. Seventeen years later, she does nothing to stop Kain's dark side from kidnapping her, and in the battle between Edward and Dark Kain she sits on the sidelines, untargetable, doing nothing to help, not even healing Edward.
- Lampshaded in Order of the Stick. When Roy's kidnapped sister is asked why she didn't bother to warn her rescuer (her older brother, no less) of an ambush over an accidental slight before kicking his sword over to him, she explains that she's True Neutral, and goes both ways.
Pompey: That is so hot.
- Therkla also joins this territory when she realizes that between the compelling arguments of Lawful Evil against Chaotic Good is a whole slew of inappropriate ego. So she tries to compromise hard. It doesn't end well.
- Gender Flipped and Justified Trope in the Ciem Webcomic Series. Having just gotten his powers back, Donte is still too busy regenerating health (and in Classic Gerosha, youth) to be of much use when Ciem battles Musaran.
- Also justified in that there are few three-way interactions in The Sims that make for credible fight scene material.
- And Double Subverted later. When Candi saves Denny, he doesn't just sit and watch at first... he calls the cops! Yet, he deduces by their apathy that Arfaas controls some of them; and hangs up realizing that they want him dead and won't come to his rescue! So in the end, he's forced to stand idly by and watch his girlfriend fight a homicidal maniac anyway.
- Alt-Zoe in Sluggy Freelance. Justified Trope since, like all Dimension of Lame characters, she's completely and utterly opposed to violence.
- Averted in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, when Jean saves Bob from a bigfoot. She had resented being reduced to a damsel in distress earlier in the story.
- She also resents it when he tries to leave her behind where it's safe in the subsequent storyline.
- An interesting subversion happens in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Two Face Part Two": An employee of the mob boss Thorne was a neutral female up until she tries to hit Two Face over the head with a container, when she is tackled by Two Face's fiancée (another previously neutral female, and a Face, believe it or not). Making it also a straight example of a whole different trope, Designated Girl Fight.
- Played with in the first part, where Thorne's moll sits out a fight between Harvey Dent (Pre-Two-Face) and Batman vs. Thorne's men, not because she was scared or ineffectual, she was just enjoying the show, describing it as "Wild!", disturbingly excitedly.
- Joker and Harley both avert and play this one straight. Often Joker will tell Harley to sit out and let him handle "Batsy" on his own, in which case she will merrily cheer him on, as if she was watching a TV show. Other times she will help in the fight, often bringing out bigger and badder weapons than the Joker himself (although Joker tends to stay more of the threat since he's a better fighter than she is).
- In the comics, however, Harley is a much better and stronger fighter than Joker (after getting low level superstrength and agility from one of Poison Ivy's chemicals), although Joker usually carries more lethal weaponry. Regardless, he most often uses her as his strong arm while he stays behind, not bothering to fight unless he is facing Batman himself.
- A hilarious inversion comes in the Batman/Superman crossover World's Finest, where Harley and Mercy, Luthor's assistant, take an instant dislike to one another, and have an all out brawl in the background while Joker and Lex talk business.
- In another example of Kim Possible playing with gender dynamics, in a number of fights between Kim and Shego, the "neutral female" role is filled by Ron.
- Aelita used to be like this in the early seasons of Code Lyoko. After spending some time at the boarding school with her friends, she gains a little more confidence, and when she gains an energy attack near the start of Season 3 (actually more powerful than her friends' attacks), she became able to kick ass alongside the others.
- Justified because she her powers are mostly defensive and she's the only one who needs to "survive" the fight.
- Justified and averted by Dana in Batman Beyond. She's more of an Innocent Bystander than an Action Girl, so when the action comes close to her, she usually focuses on staying out of the way. But when she's can't get out of the way, she fights back. She actually successfully protected Batman at one point.
- Played straight briefly, then beautifully subverted in the episode Jet, of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Male protagonist Aang goes one-on-one with the also male titular character Jet, while Aang's female friend Katara watches from the sidelines. However, after the initial realization that Jet is attacking Aang, pretty much all of the action takes place in the treetops, well above Katara's head. The instant the combatants come back to earth, with Aang clearly getting the worst of it, Katara steps in and proceeds to kick Jet's ass, blasting him back with water before he can blink, and freezing him to a tree! He is essentially defeated after that.