"Aren't you scared?"
—Wisdom # 6
'Plucky' means brave and optimistic.
You might be able to pile life complications onto this young woman/girl, to the point where the audience would forgive her if she just refused to go on. She might even have an episode or so where she does throw in the towel, because human beings can only take so much of what the universe is handing out for her. But the Plucky Girl always comes back. That's the bravery part.
The optimistic part is the rest of it. This character leans toward the sane version of The Pollyanna, exhibiting a strong sense of optimism and an unassailable spirit that differentiates her from the grimness of a Determinator. You can beat her, but damned if she'll let you break her.
The purpose is to create a likeable character who the audience can root for. Often, the Plucky Girl takes center stage in a work, and this likeable character trait means audiences have a character to ground them in a work. It gives audiences a satisfying feeling when the Plucky Girl achieves something, as a result of them genuinely trying their hardest. It also allows the work to dive into dark territory, get the Cerebus Syndrome, while the character always stays bright. This allows the more lighthearted interactions from the Plucky Girl to balance out the darker themes, as well as for the character to naturally persist through whatever the writer throws at her.
Male versions exist, but they tend to be closer to Determinator territory instead.
Anime and Manga
- This trope is a staple of Shoujo manga, specially Magical Girl shows. So the heroine is Book Dumb, ultra naive, a Butt Monkey or is just starting with her mission and/or training in magic? The Powers of Love and Friendship will ultimately give her strength to keep on going!
- Candace White "Candy" Andree from Candy Candy. She has her breakdowns, but as soon as she's back to her feet, she comes back stronger than ever.
- Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket still is optimistic despite being orphaned, temporarily homeless, and living in a tent, bullied in the past, and helping a whole Dysfunction Junction with their trama.
- Elenore Baker from Madlax is pretty much this the entire series.
- Sayaka Yumi from Mazinger Z: Her mother was dead. Her father was Married to the Job and nearly never was there for her. the guy she liked was a sexist jerk (okay, Jerk with a Heart of Gold). One of her classmates was a Stalker with a Crush. And her country -and the whole world- was under attack of a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds and Mad Scientist who took lessons from Hitler. And she still was brave, hopeful and optimistic, not allowing anything got her down for long -she had several Heroic BSOD moments, but they did not last long-, and trusting they would win and things would get better, not matter what.
- Sora Naegino from Kaleido Star practically embodies this trope. No matter how much Training from Hell she is put through or what sort of abuse she receives, she always manages to pull through using sheer optimism and determination. And if she feels her strength sapping away, she will soon recover it.
- May Wong becomes this once she gets over her Jerkass phase.
- If it's made by Hayao Miyazaki, it probably has a Plucky Girl in the cast, if not as the protagonist herself, like Ponyo of Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (pictured above).
- The Sacred Blacksmith has Cecile who in the anime, despite lossing and needing saving a lot, never stops practicing and fighting.
- Mimi Tachikawa of Digimon Adventure.
- Nia Teppelin of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann will tell you she's not going to die. To your face. While you're shoving a pistol into her forehead. Or about to snap her in half with your claws. Or about to demateralize her. She may not be able to fight you, but she will tell you to fuck off (only very politely), because Simon's on his way, and that's a wave of pain you don't want to happen.
- Also Yoko, who went on and stayed as a cheerful, reliable and protective Cool Big Sis despite all the shit that happened to the Dai-Guren Brigade.
- Keiko Yukimura from Yu Yu Hakusho. While she's pretty much a Neutral Female, it's pretty amazing she pulls through after all the traumatizing events her boyfriends' life/career puts her in. In the manga, she didn't even hesitate to ask to be taken to the Dark Tournament when she found out Yusuke had gone there. She may be a bit frailer in the anime, but she still does her best to be there for her friends when needed.
- To different degrees there's also Yukina, Shizuru, Botan, Ayame, Hinageshi from The Movie, Kokou, Natsume, the Lady Doctor aka Yuusuke's ancestor and Mukuro.
- Naruto: Hinata Hyuuga. No matter how the Fan Dumb denies it for "feminist" and "shipping" reasons, her other theme aside of her crush for Naruto is her self-improvement and shredding her Fragile Flower side. She's one of the first people to adopt Naruto's ninja way: knowing that he's watching, she refuses to give up against Neji despite severe injuries, even standing up one last time after the referee ends the match to keep her from getting killed.
- And she reaffirmed her pluckiness by doing what she could to protect Naruto from Pain, fully knowing that this might be her last stand. While the manga made it both awesome and heartbreaking, the anime made it doubly awesome as before Pain can take her out, she manages to land a hit on him. Here it is. (Spoilers, obviously.)
- Also Sakura. No matter how the Fan Dumb also denies it for "How weak she is" and "shipping" reasons. See her fights vs Ino (where she deliberately pressed Ino's Berserk Button to avoid getting sympathy and broke Ino's Mind Switch Jutsu) and Sasori (where she got serious injuries and kept fighting anyway).
- Relena Peacecraft, Hilde Schbeiker, Sally Po, Cathy Bloom, Long Meiran and Lucrezia Noin from Gundam Wing.
- Dark example: Nena Trinity from Mobile Suit Gundam 00. While throwing the "V" Sign around, she absolutely refuses to give up her quest for three things: revenge, survival and (after achieving those) happiness, even in the face of death. She doesn't succeed, as her early screw ups catch up with her.
- A lighter example is Mileina Vashti, almost always plucky and happy despite being caught in the middle of a war. She lives to tell. Also Mileina's Onee-Sama and fellow Bridge Bunny, Feldt Grace. She gets very broken in season 1, then some more in season 2, but also pulls through and lives.
- Cleao Everlasting from Sorcerer Stabber Orphen will not let Orphen go kill himself before he returns her the Sword of Baltanders that her father gave her before dying, and which he needs for a very important quest. So what if she has to tag along with him and his apprentice Majic despite all the dangers it'll bring to her? She will follow them, become the Team Mom, and pull through no matter what.
- Most of the girls in Axis Powers Hetalia. These're be comfirmed in their profile especially:
- Belarus is described as one by Russia. But he quickly adds: "In a bad way".
- Resident Lady of War Vietnam is one too, as her profile says she's "a very headstrong woman" and that "there are many strong women in her history".
- Taiwan gets her profile in the fourth manga volume "An island girl nation with a headstrong and easygoing personality!" She shows it via cheering up Vietnam, teasing her brothers, and interacting with all of them as an equal. "It's okay, us Taiwanese don't believe in bad fortunes!" It's confirmed by her Image Song, "Poipoipoi". 'Poi' means "poof", and it's used in-context as "making problems and bad luck go POOF!"
- And throw Prussia inside for a Rare Male Example.
- Poland is an even better one. Who says that a Wholesome Crossdresser Valley Boy can't be unfailingly stubborn as well?
- Ukraine's latest profile says that she "will stand her ground until the last", and in-comic Belgium seems to almost refer to herself as one.
Belgium: I may be a bit plain, but I'm doing my best!
- Word of God refers to Liechtenstein as mature and strong-willed. Considering that she handles her older brother Switzerland's mood swings rather calmly and skillfully, it's not an Informed Ability.
- There's also Seychelles, who tries hard just to get people to know her name. She keeps doing it, and also manages to keep both England's arrogant behavior and France's lechery at bay.
- Also the Principality of Wy, in a Little Miss Snarker way.
- THE Plucky Girl in the series, however, is Hungary. Shown clearly not just in the profile, but in her interaction with pretty much everyone: she takes her Meido position in stride despite how it's not exactly easy, fights the aforementioned Prussia without hesitation, refuses to stay put when someone she dislikes is around...
- Maya Kitajima and Ayumi Himekawa from Glass Mask. The first decides to fulfill her dream of being an actress despite how odds always go against her, the latter refuses to have things handed to her and wants be famous for her own merits.
- Winry Rockbell and May Chang from Fullmetal Alchemist. Riza Hawkeye and Izumi Curtis are adult versions.
- All of the girls in Bokurano have their plucky moments, specially Anko Tokosumi, Kana Ushiro and Youko Machi.
- Fatal Fury: Despite being helpless in combat and painfully knowing it, Sulia Gaudeamus keeps going on and doing her best to help Terry, Joe, Andy and Mai stop her evil brother, Laocorn, and save him from himself. And if she has to commit suicide to save him... she will.
- Mai is this too, despite her bad luck in battles. More noticeable in the games, tho.
- And Kim's wife, Hot Mom Myenungsuk. In a subtle Crowning Moment of Awesome, when Kim was in the receiving end of a Curb Stomp Battle, she kept her cool and her trust in him, refusing to cry and break down for the sake of him and their kids as well as herself.
- Code Geass: Kallen Kouzuki When faced against the now practically superhuman Suzaku, she fights him to a standstill, reducing * both * of their machines to scrap before finally destroying Suzaku's machine with the very last blow she has left before her machine shuts down. Suzaku even wonders aloud how he can't beat her, even with his "live" Geass.
- Euphemia li Britannia and Shirley Fenette also count. Doesn't work as well, though.
- Saori Kido aka Athena, Miho, Aquila Marin, Shunrei, Princess Flair and little Helen (the two last from Filler anime arcs) of Saint Seiya.
- Also Ophicus Shaina, after her Character Development.
- Kotoko Aihara (later, Nurse Kotoko Irie) from Itazura na Kiss.
- Megumi "Megu" Minami and Sakurako Yukihira from Tantei Gakuen Q. Shino Katagiri is an adult version.
- Miyako and specially Chiriko from Private Prince.
- Several girls from Vampire Knight - specially Yuuki, Yori and Fuuka before she dies.
- Queen Shushou from The Twelve Kingdoms. Youko, Shoukei and Suzu don't start terribly plucky, but Character Development soon fixes that.
- Anzu Mazaki from Yu-Gi-Oh! though Mai Kujaku, Rebecca Hopkins and Shizuka Kawai also have their moments.
- Jaden Yuki from the spinoff of the series counts as well as a Rare Male Example.
- Many girls from Mahou Sensei Negima qualify, but Nodoka surpasses them all. Every time she's encountered an enemy, despite having no combat skills whatsoever, her first reaction is to get out her artifact and fight, even when up against opponents completely out of her league, even when everyone else is panicking, lost in despair, or running away, even when she only just figured out that magic even exists. In the middle of the battle between Fate's party and Ala Alba at Ostia instead of retreating with the rest of the party she forced Kotarou to take her right in front of Fate so she could get his true name and then interrogated him as he was attempting to petrify her. And of course, when everything went wrong and several of her friends were erased from existence right in front of her by one of the most powerful characters in the entire series she gets up, steals HIS artifact, downloads the instruction manual from his brain, and teleports away so she can tell the rest of Ala Alba they're taking the battle to the enemy.
- Katsuhiro Otomo's early manga Domu: A Child's Dream: A Child's Dream gave us Etsuko, a little girl with immense Psychic Powers she uses to battle a Psychopathic Manchild Serial Killer. All the while she is spunky and headstrong, first responding to seeing him psychically manipulate a baby to fall off the roof ot the apartament complex with, "What an awful brat you are! Really now?!" and scaring the old man by using her powers to rattle the bench he is sitting on.
- Utena Tenjou from Revolutionary Girl Utena, who's both this and a Badass Action Girl. Just read about some of the stuff she does on the Crowning Moment of Awesome page and tell me she's not a Plucky Girl.
- Nadja Applefield from Ashita no Nadja. Sweet Lords, Nadja is some plucky girl and then more.
- In Pokémon Special, when told that the boy who rescued her two years ago has gone missing (and hasn't seen since), Yellow immediately agrees to go out and look for him despite the fact that she barely knows anything about Pokemon battling.
- Blue could also count. She's usually upbeat and optimistic despite having some of the worst luck ever. Especially at the beginning of the FRLG arc, where her parents disappear right in front of her.
- Wendy Garret of Gun X Sword has all the stubbornness of the Determinator combined with a sometimes inordinate amount of optimism. The introductory narrative to the second episode explicitly indicates that Wendy symbolizes hope in opposition to the despair of her partner, Van, but it wouldn't be hard to figure that out without the narration.
- Aura of Corsair boisterous, opinionated, and quick-tempered, and remains so even after she is kidnapped and threatened with execution.
- Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess. Behind that soft and caring exterior lies a will of iron and a girl who will stand up to the devil herself for the sake of those she loves.
- Sayaka Miki of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Shame that it's that kind of world, as it doesn't end too well for the poor "hero of justice".
- Fortunately for her (and many others), in the Grand Finale Madoka graduates to Plucky Girl... and is so powerful and strong that she rewrites the universe itself, and grants Sayaka a much more peaceful end.
- Sayaka does get to play this straight in Oriko Magica, though, specially via protecting herself and Hitomi during the witch attack on their school. Too bad they can't save Madoka.
- Hitomi is regerred as such by her seiyuu Ryoko Shintani, as well as by Aoi Yuki (Madoka) and Chiwa Saitou (Homura). She's an interesting example in how this trope has both strengths and flaws: she always smiles and tries to be there for her friends, but THE time Hitomi tries to directly resolve a conflict via making both Sayaka and herself face their shared feelings for Kamijou, she commits a huge mistake.
- After many, many ordeals and Break the Cutie episodes, both Rukia Kuchiki and Orihime Inoue from Bleach end up graduating into this at different times.
- Other plucky girls in this series are: Karin Kurosaki, Tatsuki Arisawa, Chizuru Honshou, Yoruichi Shihouin, Sui-Feng, Yachiru Kusachiji, Nanao Ise, Rangiku Matsumoto, Hiyori Sarugaki, Lisa Yadomaru, Mashiro Kuna, Tia Harribel and her Amazon Brigade (whose Villainous Valor was praised by Yamamoto before he nearly killed them), Senna from the first movie, Homura from the third movie, and recently Jackie Tristan and Riruka Dokugamine.
- Uryuu Ishida is also a very rare male version of this, being closer to the Plucky Girl archetype than to the grim Determinator.
- Pao-Lin/Dragon Kid and Karina/Blue Rose from Tiger and Bunny. Dragon is a headstrong Little Miss Badass who goes all out in superheroing; Rose hates the raw deal she got as a heroine but keeps going on because it lets her save lives.
- As of episode 21, Kaede Kaburagi has graduated into this. So her beloved father was framed and she has just found out he's a superhero? Kaede immediately decides to go help him with her budding powers. And this is a ten year old girl.
- Mikan Sakura from Gakuen Alice.
- Rana Lingchen from Freezing.
- All the females in Fairy Tail: Erza, Lucy, Mirajane, Ur, etc..
- Ohana Matsumae, the main character of Hanasaku Iroha, is an interesting take on this Trope in that her pluckiness is presented as both a weakness and a strength. On one hand, her optimism and sincere desire to help people lets her accomplish some good things, but on the flipside her tendency to dive headfirst into something without a solid gameplan does backfire on her from time to time.
- Sakura Kinomoto of Cardcaptor Sakura to some extent. While she is rather determined and frequently shows little concern for her own well being, her disposition better resembles that of a real child under such situations, as such she does actually show fear and break down at times, relying on her friends' support to recover her strength.
- More straight up examples: Canon Foreigner Li Meiling and specially Sakura's best friend Tomoyo Daidouji.
- Tomoko Arikura and Kaoru Orihara in Oniisama e....
- Ringo Oginome and Masako Natsume from Mawaru Penguindrum. Himari graduates into this on episode 18, which also shows us exactly how indomitably plucky the deceased Momoka was.
- Rei Miyamoto from Highschool of the Dead.
- Kyouno Madoka from Rinne no Lagrange, going so far as to sing in the cockpit during a mecha battle... the same battle in which she deliberately tries to keep collateral damage to areas she knows to be empty of bystanders (such as the lot of a recently demolished house or a shop that had gone out of business the week before). Considering the genre she's in, she angsts remarkably little - and even when she does, she shrugs it off quickly and jumps right back to the other extreme on the optimist-realist scale.
- It is later revealed that she wasn't always like this: after her mother's death, Madoka was a depressed wreck until her cousin inspired her into the energetic girl always ready to help everyone regardless of what needs to be doing. Truly, Madoka's motto in life is Jumped At the Call: she doesn't pilot because she has to, she pilots because she wants to help.
- Batman: Stephanie Brown, the third Batgirl. Her ex-con of a father is starting to cause trouble again? Her mother's an addict? Her dad's trying to kill her? The father of her baby abandons her and she almost dies during delivery? The boy she's got her eyes on and who happens to be Robin's not interested in her? Batman tries to get her to quit being a crimefighter again and again - then fires her as Robin? She gets tortured, humiliated and almost killed and is forced to leave Gotham to heal? ... C'mon, you don't actually think that's gonna stop her, do you?
- Scrooge McDuck's most popular love interest, Glittering Goldie.
- May Parker aka Spider Girl. Also her mom, Mary Jane Watson.
- X-Men: Kitty Pryde, the Trope Codifier for comic books. Parents splitting up, new school, new freaky powers that somehow aren't quite as useful as the powers of your new classmates, and a demon attack on your first Christmas there? Not a problem! It Gets Worse? She gets over it.
- Annabelle Lennox in the Transformers fanfic Black Crayons. She's sweet and friendly, but she can be as brave and stubborn as her parents (or Ironhide) when she needs to. She sneaks her way into a warzone because she thought she needed to be there. Keep in mind that she's six years old at the time.
- The narrator (Emma) in the Spice Girls FanFic, Astral Journey: It's Complicated, wasn't going to let a out of control car and electric bolt kill her teammates on the football (soccer) pitch. Later, once she wakes from a coma, being in a host of pain and a body cast wasn't going to deter either. She even passes out from the pain.
- In Part 13, Emma refusal to give up save Melanie's life two and half years prior to the events of the work. While the rest had ran to get help, Emma stayed behind to give Melanie medical aid, all by herself. She explained that she learned it from watching an old sitcom.
- Giselle from Enchanted is this trope to the letter. When faced with the wildlife of New York City - gnats, pigeons, and cockroaches - she forces herself to smile and admit "Well, it's always nice to make new friends!"
- Many heroines in the Disney animated canon.
- Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.
- Nala from The Lion King, and Kiara in the sequel.
- Jasmine from Aladdin.
- Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
- Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
- Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
- Mulan from... Mulan.
- Rapunzel from Tangled
- Annie from Annie.
- Odie from The Hairy Bird.
- Coraline, so much so.
- The girl Micha from a German film Stahlnetz: PSI. She is kidnapped for ransom which her family cannot pay as it's not actuall rich and cannot escape on her own, but she still holds herself with dignity until the very end, (though she slowly begins to resign, but in her situation, it's hard not to; and she still doesn't break).
- Gemma from Dark Life. She's an orphan whose beloved older brother was Disproportionate Retribution sent to a reformatory, escaped from her cruel headmistress, went subsea on her own despite not knowing how to swim, and is constantly delighted by all the wonderful sea creatuures she comes across.
- The title character of The Journey of Natty Gann is bound and determined to find her father, and nothing is going to keep her from doing it, no matter how many people tell her that he abandoned her. She hops trains and hitchhikes from Chicago to Seattle, with little idea of exactly where her father is beyond "somewhere in Washington".
- Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer.
- Tortall Universe: Daine is probably the most obvious example. Her house was burned by raiders, her family killed and she survived only by accident, she was almost raped/murdered by an ex-suitor of her mother's, and was Raised by Wolves—all before the book starts. She then proceeds to demonstrate a great deal of ass-kicking, particularly so in the later books; in the third one, after she is told that the Emperor killed Numair, she proceeds to wake up an army of fossilized dinosaurs and rip the everloving shit out of the palace. She's not done. In the fourth book, after even more tragedy occurs, she kills Ozorne with only a badger claw, naked, and entirely out of magic. Yeowch.
- Sandry, from the Circle of Magic universe by the same author, tends to come across as the sweet, optimistic one of the four, but she survived several days alone in a dark, concealed room, with only a basket of embroidery thread for company while half the city died of plague around her, and when once again trappen in the dark (by an earthquake, no less) she is the one who figures out how to get herself and her friends out (though they all participate.)
- Philippa Somerville in the Lymond Chronicles.
- Lale of The Assassins of Tamurin
- Roald Dahl's Matilda is ignored by her parents and terrorised by the awful Miss Trunchbull, and just 6–7 years old. So what's a little super-smart girl to do? Obviously, play some 'subduing' pranks on your boastful, corrupt father to take him down a peg, then develop your latent psychokinetic powers to help that nice teacher who recognised your genius.
- From Harry Potter: Lily Potter (standing between the Dark Lord and her baby without a second thought) Ginny Weasley (Cute Witch who does what she can to help Harry and Co.), Hermione Granger (member of the Golden Trio and Magical Girl Warrior extraordinaire), and Luna Lovegood - though it's hard to say with her what is indomitable pluck and what is sheer Cloudcuckooland training.
- Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson's Millennium series occasionally teeters on the border between "Plucky Girl" and "Heroic Sociopath Girl".
- Maree Mallory of Deep Secret has "sheer if not-always-nice pluck" as one of her defining character traits. How much of a fighter is she? At one point, she permanently loses half her soul. Most people die within hours of this happening. Maree not only fights back, she walks miles to recover in Babylon. To put things in perspective, the only other person to survive this that we know of? A powerful and charismatic emperor who once conquered eleven different core universes and untold others.
- Mavra Chang from Jack Chalker's Well World series absolutely refuses to give up despite all of the Body Horror inflicted on her—seemingly cripplng mutations and body modifications only seem to make her even more determined. Hell, Mavra's probably ar her most dangerous when she doesn't even have any hands.
- Lia in Skinned by Robin Wasserman. Despite getting in a car accident, having her brain put in an android, her friends abandoning her, her sister sleeping with her boyfriend, and people believing she doesn't deserve to exist, she still keeps going.
- All of the important female characters in Sword of Truth, but especially Kahlan, Cara, and Nicci.
- Enola Holmes is the definition of this, eventually. It does take her running away from home with her brother, Sherlock Holmes, hunting her to force her into finishing school, and finding that she's a great detective herself at the age of 14. At the end, Sherlock and Mycroft are agape at how capable she is for her age.
- Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire. This becomes less appealing and more creepy as the story goes on though, as the goals Arya persists in achieving pretty much amount to mass murder. Her sister Sansa, too, who manages to stay cool even when life seems more and more persistent to break her.
- Pollyanna, anyone?
- Don't forget the eponymous Momo in the novel of Michael Ende. The evil men actually take over the world, but she still attempts to save it. She even dares giving one of the grey men a Care Bear Stare while she's left by all her friends.
- Sarah Crewe from A Little Princess.
- Little Women: Josephine "Jo" March, as well as her younger sister Amy once she gets over her Spoiled Brat phase and her pupil Annie aka Nan. Too bad the fandom refuses to see Amy as such and pegs her as a Mary Sue out of Die for Our Ship butthurt.
- And also Rose Campbell from the Eight Cousins books.
- The Chalet School is full of these, to the point where you wonder if it's a requirement to get into the school. Joey Bettany - who shares more than a few similarities with another Jo mentioned above - is but one example. Childhood illness, running away from the Nazis, war, her husband Jack being temporarily MIA, the deaths of friends, a shedload of children...nothing will keep her down for long. And then there's Corney Flower, Biddy O'Ryan, Daisy Venables, Mary-Lou Trelawney, Carola Johnstone, Len Maynard...the list goes on.
- In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, Istra, aka Psyche, is this. To the extent that she angers her older sister, Orual, for not being worried about being offered to a local god as a "bride", saying the god might actually be nice. It turns out Istra is right, and everything works out in the end.
- In Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia we have Polly Plummer, Lucy Pevensie, Jill Pole and Aravis Tarkheena.
- Gemma from Dark Life. She's an orphan whose beloved older brother was sent to a reformatory, escaped from her cruel headmistress, went subsea on her own despite not knowing how to swim, and is constantly delighted by all the wonderful sea creatuures she comes across.
- Ninevah "Nin" Redstone from Seven Sorcerers by Caro King. Her Motto is "Have Courage and never give up!" She confronts a Bogeyman while armed only with a toohbrush and goes insane lengths to rescue her brother, along with everybody else needing help
- Audrey Parker Of Haven: A young FBI agent who is sent to the small town of Haven, Maine to capture a killer but stays to solve the terrifying "Troubles" that afflict the town and to find her long lost mother and learn to be a "small town cop." Being cocooned alive, almost driving off a cliff and dealing with super powered freaks of nature only makes her pissed and/or more determined. Also a very capable Action Girl but could be considered a Broken Bird at times because of the emotional distance she keeps from people.
- Gail Emory of American Gothic, at least in the first half of the series...
- Veronica Mars of Veronica Mars, the unflappable young PI who is roofied and date-raped, best friend is killed, family splits up, ostracized by her old friends, yet somehow trudges through and comes out mostly on top. And her relationships? Suspected murderer of best friend, and also a man who could possibly be her biological brother (he's not). Well, let's just say she's incredibly determined.
- The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Allison Young, a resistance fighter captured by Skynet in the future who absolutely refuses to give in, even when pushed to the point of total emotional collapse. She tries to escape twice, refuses to eat when the machines try to interrogate her, and spins a story designed to trick the Terminator that tries to mimic her into walking into a trap. It doesn't work, and Cameron kills her for her troubles, but she gave it her best shot. And even when dying, she stares her killer defiantly in the eye and refuses to yield an inch.
- Any female Doctor Who companion, by definition. Any of The Doctor's companions turn into a Plucky Girl or Determinator if they've spent enough time with him, to the extent that he introduces Donna Noble as "the plucky young girl who helps me out" in one episode. Heck, he gets Doctor Malcolm from the episode Planet of the Dead into a Determinator willing to become a martyr to save The Doctor (and the bus full of people he's on). This isn't the first time he's an effect on people he barely knows, either. In fact, Davros lampshades this, rather darkly:
Davros: "You take ordinary people and you fashion them into weapons. Behold your Children of Time transformed into murderers. How many have died in your name?"
- Djaq from Robin Hood originates from the Holy Land which is being torn apart by war in which she lost her father, mother and twin brother. She was then enslaved and brought to England in chains, all the while hiding her gender from her jailers. When she's rescued by Robin Hood, her fellow prisoners abandon her while she's helping out the outlaws. Yet she joins the gang, contributing her skills as a scientist and a medic to the country that is at war with her own, overcoming race and gender prejudices, and proceeding to kick ass all over the place whilst keeping her rather wicked sense of humor, resulting in one of the few times in which a character with obvious Mary Sue qualities manages to be imminently likeable.
- Miki Momozono/Goggle Pink from Dai Sentai Goggle Five. She gets hit massively with a fatal bomb that nearly killed her, yet she still dragged her body to get up so her friends and Kid Sidekick won't worry about her. Then she gets trapped in a devil diary, is tied up and the diary gets burned from the outside (which would burn her eventually), and her friends can't get her out, only able to watch as she burns. Instead, she escapes from the book on her own using just her wits and brains, delivers a condemning speech to those who trapped her (and dozens of innocent kids), then proceeds to kick ass.
- Subverted by Gabrielle in Xena: Warrior Princess. She starts off plucky, but in season 4, she joins the church of the One True God, throws in the towel, her staff and her joy. she becomes a determinator and never comes back.
- Lampshaded in an episode set in modern time. Mad Scientist raids Xena and Gabrielle's tomb and clones them. Gabrielle is plucky, Mad Scientist turns her into a determinator. Fan complains, Mad Scientist says you will only ever see plucky Gabrielle in the repeats of Seasons 1-3 - "Only in the re-runs."
- Stephanie from LazyTown. Case in point.
- The titular character in Dong Yi never gives up on, or breakdown over whatever she is doing, even when the odds are completely against her.
- Carmen Carrillo from Carrusel. She may not have the best family situation at first (though It Gets Better). But she always makes sure to study and do well in school, so that someday she can go to college and obtain a career. Plus she is always nice to everyone. She is very prim and proper- while always remaining determined, so her being ladylike and staying out of trouble may be a not so obvious way of remaining strong so that she can achieve her goals.
Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends
- Antigone from Greek Mythology, who refuses to abandon her father Oedipus even after learning the truth of her birth. She also defies her uncle Creon when he orders to not give burial to her brother's corpse, and prefers execution rather than renouncing to her beliefs.
- Many Christian martyrologies have tales about young girls who choose torture and death rather than worshipping non-Christian Gods, and many of them are described as plucky to the extreme.
- For that matter, the Blessed Virgin Mary is this to Catholics, oh so very much.
- Arguably deconstructed in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage And Her Children. The main female's pluckiness, perseverance and resourcefulness were supposed to show how dehumanized Mother Courage had become thanks to her sucky life (the deaths of her children included), as a detestable personification of the evils of capitalism. The audience embraced her instead.
- Romeo and Juliet: Juliet Capulet, believe it or not, and especially considering the time period it's set in. She disobeys her parents, follows her heart, takes the initiative even more than Romeo, braves disownment and being trapped in a tomb to stay true to the man she loves (or at least believes she loves - give her a break, she is a teenager after all) and chooses to die with him rather than just bow to her elders.
- Chell from Portal. She never, ever gives up. It's official. It's on her record!
- Asuka Kazama from Tekken.
- And Jun, and Christie, and Xiaoyu, and Lili...
- Almost every female from The King of Fighters, with special mentions to Athena Asamiya, Mary, Momoko, Malin, Leona, Whip, Bonne Jenet, Kula Diamond, May Lee, and any membress of the Women's Team.
- The KOF: KYO manga adds Kyo's girlfriend Yuki, specially when she stands up to Iori in the middle of a Go Through Me. Not halfway bad for a Barrier Maiden Girl Next Door.
- Fatal Fury, aside of all the girls who double as King of Fighters Action Girls, adds ladies like Tsugumi Sendou and Hotaru Futaba. In The Animated Movie, Kim's wife Myeungsuk also qualifies as such.
- Nino the Mage/Sage from Fire Emblem 7. Oh poor little innocent, sweet, freaking determined little Nino.
- Lyndis/Lyn, Louise, Priscilla, Serra, Farina, Fiora and Rebecca, too. A good part of Florina's Character Development comes from her doing what she can to become one.
- In Fuuin no Tsurugi, set 20 years later, Princess Lilina is this and some more. Makes sense since her dad is Lord Hector and her mom can either be Lyn, Farina or Florina. Other than her, we have: Clarine, Ellen, Princess Guinevere, Thany, Thite, Lalum, Sue, Milady and Fir. Adult versions include: Echidna, Igrene, Cecilia and Niime. "Mayfly" versions include the dragon Fa
- Princess Tana from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. So plucky that she refuses to stay on the sidelines even when her brother Innes demands her to do so, helps both Eirika and Ephraim as much as she can despite her limited battle experience, can convince the very distraught Cormag to defect with words alone and hook up with him if they have an A support, and pulls Ephraim out of his Heroic BSOD after he sees that he can't bring Lyon back and loses one of the stones to him.
- Eirika, too. Despite her naivete and seeing her kingdom and others go down, she keeps going on.
- And L'Arachel, too. So plucky that she can bring Eirika out of an Heroic BSOD when she has to assume that Lyon's too far gone to be truly saved, after his Super-Powered Evil Side uses him to steal the MacGuffin from her.
- What, no Natasha or Amelia?
- From Fire Emblem Jugdral, we have several either in the White Mage or the Action Girl fields.
- Seisen's first generation: Adean, Briggid, Tiltyu until she's broken, Ferry, Mahnya, Lachesis, Sylvia and Ayra.
- Seisen's second generation: Lana (and Mana), Patty (and Daisy), Phee (and Femina), Nanna (and Janne), Altenna, Lakche (and Radney), Leen (and Laylea). On the enemy side, we have the Anti-Villain Ishtar.
- Fire Emblem Thracia 776: The aforementioned Nanna alongside Mareeta, Tanya, Karin, post-Heel Face Turn!Olwen, Sara (who mixes this with Strange Girl), Eda, Linoan, Misha and Princess Miranda, with Evayle or better said, an amnesiac Briggid, Machyua, Selphina and post-Heel Face Turn!Amalda as older versions.
- The title character of the freeware action/adventure Iji is a teenage girl who wakes up six months after an alien attack kills her family to discover that scientists have implanted nanotech in her to combat the invaders, but her only support is her little brother Dan, who has grown bloodthirsty, cynical and emotionally distant. Even after she discovers that humanity is on the brink of extinction and the earth is a charred husk, she presses on with the mission Dan gives her. This first quest fails miserably, the second makes the situation even worse, and, depending on the player's actions, Iji fails to save her brother from an assassin, which traumatizes her horribly. And yet she still carries on. The player can choose to play her as an Action Girl or pacifist; regardless, the final boss is awed by her determination.
- Sigrun of Dragon Age: Awakening is unusually cheerful for being a member of a group of Death Seekers with the goal of achieving a Heroic Sacrifice, joking that she'll try harder next time whenever she gets through a battle. During party banter with Nathaniel, she states that being Wangsty about it doesn't really help her much, and demonstrates that it would just get annoying really fast.
- Krile from Final Fantasy V. She's already an orphan when you meet her. Then watches her grandfather die right in front of her. Then his spirit tells her she needs to take his place in defeating the warlock that just killed him. And she does, while still being cheerful enough to poke fun at the hero and pioneer the Plucky Girl role that would appear in every numbered Final Fantasy after her.
- Tifa, Aerith and Yuffie from Final Fantasy VII, but specially Aerith.
- Selphie from Final Fantasy VIII. Her original home was destroyed, many of her friends were killed, the world was about to end, and she still maintained her plucky attitude and sense of humor.
"Blow it to smithereens with a rocket launcher! BOOOOOM!"
- Worryingly, she's also always the first one to propose an excessively violent solution to a problem, such as skinning a Moomba to use as a disguise for escaping captivity.
- Alena from Dragon Quest IV.
- The female protagonist route added to Persona 3 in the PSP version turns the player character into a Plucky Girl. The darker the game's plot gets, the more determinedly upbeat her dialogue options become.
- All of the Persona 4 girls show different shades of this after their Shadows are dealed with. Special mention goes to Rise Kujikawa, who took control of her Persona, Himiko, right after the Shadow Rise fight.
- And beating them all out is Maya from Persona 2 who's catchphrase is "Let's think postitive!" She remains upbeat throughout the game, serves as a Team Mom for the group, and gets promoted to Protagonist in Eternal Punishment.
- Castlevania: Maria Renard from Rondo of Blood, doubled as a Badass in Distress. Right after being freed, you can control her all the way from where she's held captive to beat up Dracula all by herself and her pets (which is a case for most people anyway, since she's stronger and faster than Ricther.)
- Amy Rose of the Sonic the Hedgehog series often has shades of this.
- Ghost Trick: Lynne gets brutally murdered five times in one night but she'll be damned before that will keep her from laughing it all off with her cheerfull theme tune every time you have to go back in time to resurrect her. And then there is the bravery she displays when she get's trapped in a sinking submarine with Camila. Camila couldn't wish for a finer protective older sister surrogate even if she wanted to try.
- Chun Li. Oh my, Chun Li. The first Action Girl in fighting game history simply can't be less. Followed by Cammy, Rainbow Mika, Sakura, Karin, Elena, Ibuki, Maki, Makoto, Rose...
- In regards to non-fighting female charas, Yun's Hot-Blooded "non-girlfriend" Houmei is this; considering how calm she is when around her, her little sister Shaomei might count too. Eliza Masters can be considered to be an Older and Wiser version: we don't see a lot of her but she's almost always smiling and patient, and the mere fact that she's Happily Married to a dude who's very often fighting out there implies that she's got quite the patience.
- Mary in Shikkoku no Sharnoth. The minigame is even based off of it: If her mental state falls too far, you lose.
- Emi Ibarazaki from Katawa Shoujo, a young woman who lost her legs and her father in an horrifying accident, but around a year later she had already relearned to walk, and is the star of Yamaku High's track team. Once you pursue her route, though, it's a Deconstructed Trope. Emi knows that loss of a relationship is normal, and it is best to be strong and move on. However, at the same time, the same stubbornness that enables her to deal with her issues prevents Emi from growing close to anyone because she is afraid that the pain of loss will prevent her from moving onto the future. This prevents anyone from helping her.
- Milny from Planescape Survival Guide. Even being briefly dead cannot undo her optimism.
- Angel in Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles. It seals Freckles's Love At First Sight.
She did know. She was not in the least afraid. She was depending on a rattlesnake to live up to his share of the contract and rattle in time for her to move. The one characteristic an Irishman admires in a woman, above all others, is courage. Freckles worshiped anew.
- Princess Sissi, the plucky farm girl who deals with danger and tribulation after tribulation to get married to her sweetheart, Prince Franz, all the while believing that she can bring peace to Austria and Hungary and helping who she can on the way.
- All four Chan daughters in The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan, but Anne and Nancy in particular.
- Penny Gadget of Inspector Gadget.
- Apple Bloom from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Granny Smith was this as a filly as well.
- Pinkie Pie sometimes takes up the role too.
- Annie from Adventures from the Book of Virtues.
- Amberley of The Dreamstone.
- Kim Possible.
- Toph, Suki and Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Mai and specially Ty Lee count after their Heel Face Turns.
- Korra from ATLA sequel The Legend of Korra takes this up as well, Lin Bei Fong is an adult version as befits her for being Toph's daughter, and recently Asami Satou has joined them.