This guy is a hero, pure and simple. He's almost always right, is a friend to all his bandmates, and morally superior. He has a well-rounded skill set. He's not as strong as The Big Guy, or as smart as The Smart Guy, or as sensitive and socially adept as The Chick, but he's close. He can personally accomplish a variety of goals, but his real superpower is getting the whole diverse set of personalities under his command to focus and pull together. He'll always know who to ask for help, and when—and usually how.
Other powers and skills common to the hero include:
- In many games or settings, he'll be Jack of All Stats; a well-balanced fighter with decent power and speed, and sometimes some ability at magic.
- If he fights with a weapon instead of with his words, most of the time, he'll use a sword or sword-like weapon as his weapon of choice, even in science-fiction settings where that wouldn't make sense.
- In a fight, whether it's with words or with fists, he will always win. And even if he loses, bet your life on it he will win the Heroic Rematch.
- In works that were created in the United States of America and where morality is Color Coded for Your Convenience, he will wear either Red or Blue (sometimes both), and if he's got a theme or powers expect them to be fire based. Lightning and Light'Em Up/holy power are also common Elemental Powers for the hero.
If the Hero has too much of the "positive" qualities listed above, he may degenerate into a Marty Stu. If he's too generic, then he's a Standardized Leader. They are sometimes the Only Sane Man trying to keep the team together—smoothing over disputes with an Ordered Apology if need be. If this is the case fans might consider him to be dull compared to more entertaining members of the team, in which case he suffers from Designated Protagonist Syndrome.
The Hero and The Lancer usually have a special chemistry within the Band, either a Ryu and Ken relationship or Red Oni, Blue Oni. They are often rivals with a strong mutual respect for each other, and are sometimes even Heterosexual Life Partners.
The primary romantic plot in the band will be between The Hero and The Chick, with The Lancer rounding out a triangle. For a female Lancer who doesn't double as The Chick, they will likely be an Unlucky Childhood Friend. (Bonus points if The Lancer is bisexual and is interested in both of them!) The Hero might also be a Chaste Hero or a Celibate Hero as an additional complication to romantic subplots.
Usually, this role will not be filled by a woman unless all the other roles are already women (as is often the case in Anime). If so, there might not be a Chick in the group (although there might be The One Guy or the Non-Action Guy), and the prize for "most feminine" will go to The Hero or The Smart Guy.
The Hero does not HAVE to be The Leader, or the most intelligent. This is usually justified by him being the youngest, most inexperienced, and/or newest member of the team. Thus, his more senior teammates may quite reasonably see him as the Tagalong Kid or the Sixth Ranger, even if he's clearly the central protagonist to the audience. He may even be something of The Chick if he's a Mouthy Kid or The Fool. Don't worry - in time, he will reveal his great potential, eventually swaying friend and foe alike to his cause. Even if he needs significant growing up to reach that point.
Note that The Hero will very often have Vetinari Job Security, particularly if leading (or just being the glue that keeps together) a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. The Lancer will not believe this until it's proven to him/her, of course, but it's nearly always true nevertheless.
See also The Ace, The Kirk, The Messiah, The Chosen One, and Hero Protagonist. A Superhero is, by the catch-all definition, a hero (often with superpowers) who dedicates their very life to... well, being a hero.
Note: It is important to remember that while the hero is usually also The Protagonist, they are not necessarily one and the same. Whereas the hero is defined by the character traits described above, The Protagonist is defined by their central role in the story. In Star Wars, for instance, Luke Skywalker is an almost ridiculously archetypical example of The Hero and is more or less the Main Character of the original trilogy, but the Prequel trilogy establishes the more antiheroic Anakin Skywalker as The Protagonist of the film series as a whole, even though he is a villain for more than half of the saga. See Supporting Protagonist for instances in which this is the case.
Anime and Manga
- Eagle Ken from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman is an important Trope Codifier for Anime / Manga heroes.
- Son Goku from Dragon Ball.
- Kouji Kabuto from Mazinger Z was the prototype for Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero.
- Named after his Birthdate, Twentyfifth Baam from Tower of God.
- Yoh Asakura from Shaman King fits this trope well despite is laziness, his fiancce's training methods, his dislike to humans except his best friends being a twin brother of the series Big Bad Hao/Zeke Asakura.
- Despite him being abandon by his real parents, his abuse from his perverted,Jerky, mooching, Badass excuse of the mentor and guardian, his hidden bad side, and his statis as The 14 Noah, Allen Walker from D.Gray-man can stiil be qualified in this Trope.
- Hiroshi Shiba from Kotetsu Jeeg
- Akira Hibiki from Raideen
- Hyouma Aoi from Combattler V.
- Kenichi Gou from Voltes V.
- Kazuya Ryuuzaki from Daimos
- Banjo Haran from Daitarn 3
- Akira Kogane from GoLion. As is Keith in it's counterpart Voltron.
- Maka Albarn from Soul Eater.(The fact that Maka is a girl makes this a rather unusual example.)
- Yamatoagari and his robotsidekick good embodiment and title character from from Karakuridouji Ultimo
- Lina of Slayers, sort of; she is more anti-heroic, but does fit this Trope otherwise.
- America in Axis Powers Hetalia. Or at least he thinks so.
- Monkey D. Luffy of One Piece fits this perfectly. Despite being an Idiot Hero, he is The Captain and The Leader of the Strawhat Pirates, and is always the one to take on the Big Bad in the end of every big story arc. His normal outfit, before and after the Timeskip, is even Red and Blue.
- Maybe, maybe not. As of chapter 634 in the manga, Luffy has explicitly stated that he isn't, and doesn't want to be, a hero. In fact, he only agrees to save Fishman Island by being bribed with food. Then again, Luffy has never been a 'traditional' hero....
- The Hero and title character from Naruto has never been The Leader of any team he's been on yet, except in spirit. The genin of Team 7 are instead led by their teacher, Kakashi. When left to their own devices off the job, they tend to split up. When left alone on the job, it's less about who leads and more about whoever comes up with the best plan. When he's later part of a five-man retrieval team, Shikamaru is The Leader. Nonetheless, Naruto aspires to be the leader-est of all leaders, the Hokage.
- Simon from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is an example, but replace "sword" with "drill".
- Kuro from Kurokami qualifies this despite her lack of social skills, being Would Hit a Girl heavily physically abused alot, and being a a third part of the Bigger Bad of the anime.
- Nike from Mahoujin Guru Guru.
- Interesting variation in Gantz. Originally the Gantz team's nominated leader was Masaru Katou who seemed to be The Hero while the actual main character, his Jerkass old friend Kei Kurono, seemed to be The Lancer, despite Kurono being notably the more powerful fighter. But after the entire team, except for Kei, gets wiped out in a mission, and Kurono undergoes some serious character development, he becomes The Hero for the new team. And then he resurrects Katou. And dies. And Katou resurrects him.
- Rosette Christopher from Chrono Crusade. She's front-and-center in the team and the one that holds most of the group together. Her love interest isn't The Chick, but her Lancer, Chrono (who's less of an Unlucky Childhood Friend and more of a Starcrossed Lover).
- Tenma from Monster.
- Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach.
- He's more properly an Anti-Hero. Though he does take initiative among his own group of friends, this is by dint of him being the most powerful among them and being personally connected to the current conflict. The rest of soul society, namely the captains (some of them), are the ones who usually do The Hero-ing.
- Natsu from Fairy Tail. An interesting variation - Erza actually leads the team.
- Last but not least, Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star. His nickname is "The End-of-Century Savior".
- Shinku from Rozen Maiden
- Touma Kamijo from A Certain Magical Index might not have a sword or a "spectacular" power (although he sure knows how to use it), but he fits the role perfectly, as he always has a reasonable and admirable response to any villain's twisted logic and will save someone (often a girl) despite only having known them for less than a day.
- Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon.
- The Aqua TransSexual title character from Ranma ½ qualifies for this Trope.
- Aono Tsukune from Rosario + Vampire counts as this even though he's the Chick Magnet of the series. Especially later on, when he started holding his own in fights. That said, Inner Moka could be considered his co-heroine.
- Gundam series:
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Amuro Ray.
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Kamille Bidan.
- Gundam ZZ': Judau Ashita.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team: Shiro Amada
- Gundam 0080: Christina Mackenzie.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory: Kou Uraki.
- Chars Counterattack: Amuro Ray.
- Mobile Suit Gundam F91: Seabook Arno.
- Crossbone Gundam: Tobia Arronax.
- Victory Gundam: Usso Evin.
- G Gundam: Domon Kasshu.
- Gundam Wing: Heero Yuy (No pun intended).
- After War Gundam X: Garrod Ran.
- Turn a Gundam: Loran Cehak.
- Gundam SEED: Kira Yamato.
- Gundam SEED Destiny: Shinn Asuka, Athrun Zala and Kira Yamato all share this role, with them being The Hero at one point of the story.
- Gundam 00: Setsuna F. Seiei.
- Gundam Unicorn: Banagher Links
- Gundam AGE: Flit, Asem, and Kio Asuno
- Tenchi Masaki Jurai from the ENTIRE TENCHI FANCHISE!!!!, but mostlyTenchi Muyo!,Tenchi Universe, and Tenchi in Tokyo
- While there are Loads and Loads of Characters in Mahou Sensei Negima and several people for every other position in the Five-Man Band, there is only one hero - Negi Springfield, who also doubles as their ten year-old teacher.
- Nobita Nobi in Doraemon
- The eponymous character of Black★Rock Shooter OVA is not an example of this Trope. In fact, it's strongly implied that were she to follow this Trope to the letters (always win, resolving everything with force) she will not get the girl.
- Her videogame, & Manga counterpart however truly fits this trope very well.
- Nice Girl & The Medic Yoshika Miyafuji from Strike Witches
- Yugi and Yami from Yu-Gi-Oh!
- Lelouch Lamperouge /vi Britainnia from Code Geass
- Human Alien/Artificial Human Vash the Stampede from Trigun
- While The Protagonist is debatable, there's not much doubt that the hero of Medaka Box is none other than Medaka Kurokami herself.
- Kazuma Shudo of Kagerou Nostalgia steps into this role as the story progresses, shifting from a bitter, disillusioned, and nearly psychotic Anti-Hero, to The Leader of the reincarinated heroes, and a more or less altruistic (if still incredibly cynical) character.
- Madoka Kaname and Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
- Sakura Kinomoto/Avalon of Cardcaptor Sakura, albeit with Syaoran Li as a heavy Deuteragonist. Despite Executive Meddling's best attempts to make them co-Heroes, she is still obviously this in the Cardcaptors dub as well.
- Madoka Kyouno from Rinne no Lagrange
- In Saint Beast, Judas is the primary hero, but there's also a contrasting hero type in Goh, who acts as the hero in his absence. Both are natural leaders and decision makers, and the best and strongest angels in heaven, but Judas tends to act more quickly whereas Goh tends to reserve judgement.
- In High School DxD, Issei Hyoudou is the hero of the group and the one guy that holds everybody together despite the fact that he's an Idiot Hero who is only capable of thinking perverted things.
- Death Note presents an interesting subversion. While Light Yagami is clearly the Protagonist, whether he or L represents the Hero is entirely down to your own opinion.
- Superman. Every hero in comic books, at one point or another, has been compared specifically to Superman, either in how he's similar or how he's different. Even in the case of antiheroes and indy comics, as more often than not, the first thing they'll do is take a swipe at the Superman mythos. The entire genre of superhero comics starts with him. And that's why Superman will always be the greatest, most iconic representation of a superhero.
- Steve "Captain America" Rogers, Leader of The Avengers and the most heroic hero in the Marvel Universe.
- Archie Andrews from Archie Comics.
- Quantum from Quantum and Woody, though he's often deflated by Woody.
- The Justice League's original line consisted of seven characters who all fit this type in their own comics. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter. Superman would traditionally be The Hero in this situation but, for example, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner filled this role as a sort of Kid Hero during Morrison's run, being new and being a replacement for the League's original Lantern Hal Jordan. In lineups with only one of these seven, that hero tends to be The Hero.
- Elizabeth Swann-Turner and Will Turner are the Pirates of the Caribbean version of this. Used loosely, as heroes aren't as pure in her world.
- In Star Wars Luke Skywalker fits this Trope so well that Psychology textbooks show a picture of him in reference to the archetype of a hero. In parts of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, variations on "I won't leave you here. I have to save you" are practically his catchphrase.
- The fact that Luke is The Hero archetype was deliberate, George Lucas is said to have been heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces.
- Luke does subvert The Hero trope in one major way though - he Did Not Get the Girl and The Chick ends up with The Lancer instead.
- In 2003, the American Film Institute published their "AFI'S 100 Years" lists. Their list of heroes (see the end of this page for a list with links to the works they're from) has Han Solo placed at #14, and Obi-Wan Kenobi placed at #37; Luke Skywalker wasn't on the list at all.
- Avatar: Jake Sully, who else?
- 9 from... well, 9.
- Woody from Toy Story.
- Balian for most of Kingdom of Heaven
- Angel in Hot Fuzz ;) [context?]
- Harry Potter, of course.
- Jake of Animorphs.
- Sam Temple from the Gone (novel) series.
- Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings.
- Interesting because Aragorn is not the protagonist, but he's clearly The Hero, and The Leader. This does make him a Supporting Leader though.
- Even more interestingly, Tolkien himself made the argument that Sam could be considered The Hero of the Story, as he was the one whose story was closest to Bilbo of the previous book, who was definitely The Hero.
- In the X Wing Series books, there are always two to three primary protagonists and viewpoint characters. One or two, depending on whether this book is part of Michael Stackpole's run or an Aaron Allston novel - and which Aaron Allston book - is the suboordinate who experiences more Character Development, goes through personal revelations and a personal plotline, gets beat up, and is generally a good person but not quite "pure", often having some dark guilt, flaw, or secret. The other primary protagonist is always Wedge Antilles, who leads, bounces back from setbacks, has a plotline that isn't really all that personal, and is rarely wrong.
- 'Starfighters of Adumar, which is intensely Wedge-centered and has no other viewpoint characters, is the exception, and although Wedge is severely heroic and an Ace Pilot there too, he's not The Hero to the same extent.
- Paul from Dune
- Hector (for the Trojans) in The Iliad
- Hector period, really. Among the Greeks and Trojans he's just the best guy. Not that he doesn't have his bad moments, but almost everyone else is a total jerk.
- Hazel in Watership Down
- Finn from Kingdom Keepers
- Discworld usually subverts or averts this trope, often favoring the Anti-Hero instead. Carrot Ironfoundersson of the City Watch plays it straight, but he's not the central protagonist.
- In Percy Jackson and The Olympians, we're lead to believe that Percy is the hero of the series. The hero is not who we thought he was. Luke Castellan takes up that role instead.
- Percy is still The Hero of the series. He's just not the hero of the prophecy.
- Fireheart in Warrior Cats.
- In Death: Eve Dallas, but she is careful not to consider herself this.
- Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Nicole "Nikki" Quinn is this for the Vigilantes. Jack Emery is this for the Big Five later on.
- Garion in The Belgariad and The Mallorean
- Roland in The Dark Tower
Live Action TV
- Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Angel from Angel.
- At times he drops from the role of hero and becomes an Anti-Hero.
- The Doctor.
- While he fits this in most stories, he sometimes veers towards being an Anti Hero. The First Doctor was definitely not straight hero material.
- Malcom "Mal" Reynolds, of Firefly, though he's more of a Lovable Rogue.
- Max Evans of Roswell fits this to a T. His teammates frequently lampshades it regularly asking him "What do we do now, Max?" even if sometimes they openly criticize him for his "passively watching" instead of taking action sooner, something that doesn't change when he's actually declared the king of his planet.
- Col. John "Hannibal" Smith on The A-Team, though like Mal Reynolds, he's also kind of a Lovable Rogue as well as a Trickster. Notable for being most likely the only person in this trope to be over 50 years old.
- John Crichton of Farscape.
- Stargate Verse:
- The Red Ranger in most Super Sentai and Power Rangers series. A few Red Rangers have been Lancers, but they still receive the most focus in the series.
- Jamal from Ghostwriter.
- Garland in Maddigan's Quest.
- Leverage: Nate Ford is the Antiheroic Hero of Leverage Consulting and Associates.
- Star Trek: The Original Series. Captain Kirk is this to the Freudian Trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy.
- Noah's Arc: Though not an action-based series, Noah fits in that he has virtually all the non-combat qualities listed above. He's the protagonist, is morally superior (frequently choosing Honor Before Reason), and compared to the rest of the group has a more balanced personality. He's the one who holds the group together, frequently reminding everyone how much they care about each other, and is almost always right in situations where he provides guidance/leadership. Even the wearing red/blue somewhat fits, as there are several scenes where he wears red specifically to make him stand out from the rest of the cast. He's also invariably front and center in any promotional photos and more often than not in scenes where the whole main cast is together.
- Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler is all about this.
- Mentioned in Blues Traveler's "Runaround."
Like a bad play where the hero's right
- The word Hero comes from Classical Mythology, and was in fact derived, from Heracles. However, serious Values Dissonance kicks in because the heroes from Classical Mythology could be just as bad as their Gods.
- The Player Character of most video games in general.
- Tidus from Final Fantasy X is clearly the main character to the player, but he's a late-comer to the other characters, who already composed the rest of a Five-Man Band before he showed up.
- This is also an example of what can happen when The Hero and The Captain are not represented by the same character, or rather, when there is no Captain at all.
- Yuna takes up this role in the sequel. Very interesting considering that she was The Chick in the previous game. She even fights like Tidus and uses one of his swords in her Warrior dressphere.
- Sora from Kingdom Hearts was The Hero but not The Leader of his original Three Amigos Power Trio. That position went to The Lancer, Riku, who was older, bigger, stronger, and more adventurous. It was Riku's idea to build a raft and leave their home behind to visit other worlds. If Riku hadn't been a little too eager to seek his destiny, he might have become the de facto leader of a full Five-Man Band, with Sora and Kairi functioning as the team's heart and conscience. Sora might lead with his heart and by example, but Riku would have led with his head and from the front. Even after Sora formed a new Power Trio with Donald and Goofy, Donald was initially more the Leader due to his drive and seniority.
- Kazuya Mishima was The Hero of the first Tekken, and his looks and background somewhat supports it. However he proves otherwise in the second series and forward.
- Master Chief Petty Officer John 117 of the SPARTAN IIs. Not the strongest, fastest, smartest of the Spartans, or the best at anything at all, except in leading the others and always getting the job done. He is so unbelievably Mario in comparison that even though there is at least one SPARTAN that can do something better than him, he wins everything because there is nothing he is bad at. Nothing. And he knows it. That's why he was made The Leader of the rest.
- Although Cortana says he has one thing the rest didn't: LUCK.
- Another thing he is the best at is being the Bravest with a capital B, as said by Dr. Halsey herself. Spartans are by definition extremely brave and invulnerable (latter as symbolism, but proven with the best record of survival rate per engagement). However John takes it to the pure insane combined with his luck and courage to do the pure impossible even by Spartan standards.
- The Player Character in almost every RPG ever written. The Jedi protagonist and the Exile in Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 respectively, the Spirit Monk in Jade Empire, the Hero of Neverwinter and Drogan's Pupil in Neverwinter Nights, the Kalach-Cha in Neverwinter Nights 2, Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 1 and 2, etc, etc, etc. It should be noted that there's nothing stopping the character being an Anti-Hero or even a Villian Protagonist.
- Shepard stands out though in that s/he actually talks, giving him/her a more fleshed out personality (though you canstill choose that personality).
- In the Disgaea series, protagonists Adell of Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories and Valvatorez of Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten play the trope straight, Laharl and Mao of the other two games being antiheros.
- Sonic is both the hero of the series and Team Sonic's (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles) de facto Leader.
- Mario, of course. He names the franchise, is the main playable character, is the Jack of All Stats, etc., etc.
- Link from The Legend of Zelda is literally an incarnation of this Trope. In most of the core Canon, Link is specifically titled "Hero" of something: of Hyrule in the original and A Link to The Past, of Time in Ocarina of Time, of Winds in Wind Waker, Chosen Hero of the Gods in Twilight Princess, and Hero of Legend in Skyward Sword.
- Fox McCloud of Star FOX.
- Although there's the possibility of it being too obvious to be worth listing here, the majority of the main characters in every Dragon Quest game serve as the Hero, to the point that in Dragon Quest VIII the hero's default name is Hero. Nearly all of them have balanced abilities and use (or have the option of using) swords, and many of them have lightning and/or fire in their selection of attack magic. One of the only exceptions is the Hero from Dragon Quest II, who learns no magic at all and serves as the physical fighter of the party.
- Another DQ Hero-Subversion, in V the hero plays the role as more the party's priest, and his son is the legendary hero. Ironically though the son of the priest hero from V can't function without his father's help considering that the son is inexperienced, and he doesn't know what he's doing.
- In Final Fantasy XII, Ashe, while not the protagonist, is probably the most standard hero in the series.
- Rush Sykes of The Last Remnant.
- Crono from Chrono Trigger
- Dean Stark from Wild ARMs 5. You can do anything as long as you don't give up
- Devlin McCormack from The Orion Conspiracy. Unlike a lot of games out there, he is different. How so? For starters, he is a middle-aged guy who has a number of issues. He was not a good father or a good husband. He does feel bad about it. His son and wife are both dead. He fought as a soldier in the Corporation War. However, the game demonstrates that he seems to prefer using his brains and guile rather than a gun and physical combat. He also engages in lying, petty larceny, blackmail and some Shoot the Dog moments. The Chick is also not attracted to him. With all that said, he does lead the charge more than once in the game.
- Rosalyn from Okage is another case of the hero not being the player character, generally being a superb Hero's Guild Member and overshadowing Ari. But then, everyone does that last bit.
- Septerra Core has Maya as this.
- Fear Effect has Hana Tsu-Vachel/Mei Yun in this role.
- Played straight in most of Fallout 3, but subverted in four of the five add-ons (Broken Steel being a continuation of the main storyline, very heroic, and something of an Author's Saving Throw for the original ending). The main game revolves around one man's dream to bring free, radiation-free water to the Wasteland, and how his child either achieves or subverts that dream.
- Operation Anchorage requires the player to aid one of the least sympathetic non-psychopathic factions in the game (who only exist as a faction because they broke away from a group that decided it was more important to protect innocents from 8-foot-tall genocidal mutants than to hoard technology).
- The Pitt forces the player to choose between allowing miserable slavery to continue in the name of rebuilding the only working steel mill on the east coast and finding a cure one of the most devastating mutations in the Wasteland, or freeing the slaves by replacing a Reasonable Authority Figure with his treacherous lieutenant, who then plans to use his former Lord's infant child to find a cure as fast as possible, her health be damned. Also, it is implied that choosing the latter will allow the steel mill to rot, a significant setback for rebuilding.
- Point Lookout has the Lone Wanderer caught between a Badass and a Chessmaster. While none of his actions are decidedly heroic or villainous, he gets outsmarted by brain-damaged drug addicts and (depending on what side quests he follows), a 200-year-old death trap. Both these events paint the hero as more of a gullible imcompetent than anything else.
- Mothership Zeta is mostly a fight for survival, ending with the player willingly destroying a craft capable of traveling to other planets. That, you know, aren't ruined.
- In the Video Game/Fable series, Heroes are a classification of people in Albion who possess the disciplines of Strength, Skill, or Will, and as such have extraordinary fighting and magical abilities. The player character in each game has control over all three disciplines, and can either play this trope straight or horribly invert it.
- Despite (or quite expectedly due to) being a Genius Bruiser, Roy from The Order of the Stick is The Hero instead of The Big Guy or The Smart Guy.
- Torg from Sluggy Freelance, though when he's in one of his "wacky moods" you'd never realize it.
- Lance from Gold Coin Comics, ultimately.
- Julie from Our Little Adventure, but mostly because the rest don't really want that job.
- Elliot of El Goonish Shive.
- Cale'Anon Vatay of Looking for Group is a textbook example. He starts the comic as a "lone and righteous wolf," but quickly accrues of group of fellow adventurers, including the warlock Richard as his Lancer, whom he develops a close - if somewhat dysfunctional - relationship with. He is not the most intelligent of the bunch, clearly failing to recognize evil early on, but often displays quick thinking and good strategizing ability, especially after taking numerous levels in badass. (He is definitely the newest to adventuring of the main characters, having started out the comic with a healthy dose of Wide-Eyed Idealist.) Considering the actions of some of his group members, he can also be seen as an Only Sane Man. He fights with two swords and eventually shacks up with the resident Action Girl.
- In Sinfest, Storytime Zombie defines the good guy as the hero who gets to win in the end.
- Sasha Hunter is an undoubtable one in Greek Ninja.
- Neil Sinclair of Survival of the Fittest is arguably the hero of the series. He might not always make the right calls, but he's about the only character who retains his moral high ground throughout the game, and strives ceaselessly to save as many people as possible. He has the distinction of being the only character ever to form an effectual pro-escape group. Which has a good chance to have succeeded, cliffhanger and Pyrrhic Victory notwithstanding; if nothing else, it's the closest the students have ever come to beating the system.
- Robin of Teen Titans.
- Averted in Code Lyoko, where none of the protagonists is placed as the actual "hero", the attributes being instead shared between them: Jérémie is The Leader (and the one in love with The Chick), Aelita is the one leading the plot, Ulrich is the one with the Heroes Prefer Swords and fighting attributes, Yumi is the The Kirk and Odd is the hot-headed one.
- Xiaolin Showdown started out with Omi as the hero. Later, the role was transferred to Raimundo.
- Kwame of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, which gives him the honor of saying the Invocation before their By the Power of Greyskull ritual.
- Hank of the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.
- Palmer of Titan Maximum is a Deconstruction of the classic Mecha Team hero, being a glory-seeking Jerk Jock who as his former Lancer turned Big Bad Gibbs can tell you is "an egomaniac troglodyte who will let you all die a fiery hell before he shares even one iota of glory." Palmer does in fact put himself over the team and is directly responsible for Gibbs' Face Heel Turn (having once left him to die so that he wouldn't be late for a hot date), though he does have some degree of care for his "Friends".
- Simba from The Lion King.
- In fact, every single animated Disney movie has one.
- Bulletproof, the African-American cyborg of Cops.
- The Tick (animation). He's also The Big Guy, believe it or not.
- Jack/Bionic 1 of Bionic Six.
- Captain Zachary Foxx from Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.
- Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski from South Park.
- Jack of Xyber 9: New Dawn, The Chosen One as a King Arthur-related archetype.
- In Futurama being an impulsive Cloudcuckoolander and Idiot Hero has not stopped Philip J. Fry. He tends to have the most focus, often saves the day (even if accidentally) and most importantly of all, is the one who drew the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits together.
- Almost anyone named Optimus (whether it ends in Prime or Primal).
- Aqualad on Young Justice, though he's said he's willing to pass the mantle on to Robin (currently The Lancer) once he's matured and gotten better at working with a team, instead of as Batman's partner.
- Littlefoot from The Land Before Time
- Megan from My Little Pony.
- Finn from Adventure Time.
- While established more as The Smart Guy of a three member ensemble, Sam of Totally Spies! is usually enthasised as what holds the team together, usually saving the team at least once per episode and sometimes even stopping the villain almost singlehandedly at times.
- Oddly Rufus was established as such in early episodes of The Dreamstone, though was quickly downgraded more to Kid Sidekick and occasional Decoy Protagonist akin to Amberley later on.
- Optimus Prime in all versions of Transformers.
- Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.