The Lancer

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Now, don't get cocky...
"I see you are the surly, temperamental one who instigates, Wolverine. You cannot be the leader, then."

The lieutenant and Foil for The Hero.

The Lancer is usually easier to intuit in older works, but in a more complex Five-Man Band Lancer's three main traits, (being Number Two to The Leader, Foil to The Hero or Foil to the Team) may be divided amongst several members instead of combined into one character.

For example, in the event that The Lancer is a foil:

This is the member of the Five-Man Band who is most likely to not be a team player. He's the one who sneaks off on his own to advance the team's goals independently. He might be jealous of the leader, with an attitude of "Why can't I be the Leader?" When he does finally get his chance though, to his chagrin he may well find himself asking himself, "Now what would The Hero do?"

If The Complainer Is Always Wrong and there's a chronic complainer to act as the show's Butt Monkey, it's likely this guy. He's also the one most likely on the team to go Turncoat, and the last one The Hero will suspect. Conversely, if the rest of the Band members turn their backs on The Hero for some reason, the Lancer may be the only one who sticks by his side. The Hero and The Lancer may also be rivals for a love interest, or one of them will have a cute sister whom the other crushes on, only to have the brother say "My Sister Is Off-Limits!"

In the event that The Hero of the team is unable to lead, or the team temporarily has no Hero, The Lancer steps in. Sometimes, he's forced to take the position against his will. Either way, this plot is used to contrast the hero's leadership style against what the lancer's would be. A frequent ending for this plot is for The Lancer to gladly give up the reins of power while The Hero often notes that the team will be in excellent hands the next time he is absent.

Powers and skills common to The Lancer include:

When worst comes to worst, The Lancer is the one person on the team who is likely to die for the cause. He's also the most likely member of the team to pull a Face Heel Turn and get turned to The Dark Side (though this usually doesn't last), or end up Brainwashed and Crazy by the Big Bad or the Evil Genius (and if this happens, either The Chick or The Hero will talk him out of it).

It's becoming more and more common for this character to be female, either merged with, or contrasted with, The Chick. Having The Lancer be the other side to The Hero's coin is also fairly common. Having the character who is both most like and most unlike The Hero also being the strongest woman can create UST. If not multi-classed with The Chick, she may be in a Love Triangle, acting as the Veronica to The Chick's Betty in pursuit of the object of her secret desire, The Hero. A female Lancer and The Chick may develop into an Odd Couple, and even begin to work as a sub-team. A former Dark Magical Girl often becomes The Lancer after her Heel Face Turn.

This Trope is named for the man-at-arms of The Middle Ages, the term for a professional soldier. While the term also encompasses the members of the knightly class, a man-at-arms was not necessarily a knight. They were also men of lesser financial and social status than knights, but were equally trained and equipped to fight on horseback in full armour and with sword and lance, just like their social superiors. In this regard, he is most recognizable as King Arthur's right-hand man, Lancelot (portrayed as a better fighter than even the king in most versions of the myth).

Examples of The Lancer include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

They get extra bonuses in the manga, with Foil elements like the fact that, even though they look the same age, Vash is Really Nearly Two Hundred and Wolfwood has accelerated aging from the experiments the Eye of Michael did on him, and based on his former orphanage-mates can't possibly be even eighteen. Also, he joined up with Vash because the Big Bad told him to.
  • Magical Project S: Pixy Misa becomes this in near the end of the series.
  • Gantz: Kei Kurono was undoubtedly The Lancer to The Hero Masaru Katou, his old friend. Until Katou died and Kurono became The Hero instead, whereupon Izumi becomes his Lancer. Who (plural) at some point got killed off by alien vampires, around the time Katou got revived (the incredibly awesome Osaka arc followed). That lasted till Kei got revived AGAIN, TWICE, so now three heroes are running around, with one of the Kei's and Katou leading a (probably) suicide commando against an alien invasion and another leading humans being held captive by said aliens into freedom.
    • In a story arc that focused on Katou action girl/the chick Reika got to spend time as his lancer
  • Rina/Green Pearl Voice from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch and Caren.
  • Minto Aizawa/Mew Mint from Tokyo Mew Mew is The Lancer to Ichigo Momomiya/Mew Ichigo.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Fate Testarossa, indeed an ex-Dark Magical Girl.
  • In StrikerS, Vita and Signum become Lancers to Nanoha and Fate, respectively.
  • Corrector Yui: Haruna Kisaragi/Corrector Harunawho was also a Dark Magical Girl for a time. In the second season anime, Control and Synchro/War Wolf are Yui's Lancers when they form a Five-Man Band IR and Rescue. Also, Ai Shinozaki/Corrector Ai is often Lancer-like towards Yui.
  • In Soukou no Strain, Lottie considers Sara her Lancer up until she realizes Sara's identity. She finally admits that maybe it's the other way around.
  • Natsumi aka Shiro Loli in Saint October.
  • Every Digimon Five-Man Band has had a Lancer primarily characterised as a stoic Ineffectual Loner to contrast the Idiot Hero, accordingly creating conflict between the two that's escalated with every series; they always eventually overcome the differences, sometimes developing into Bash Brothers. Traditionally they are associated with the colour blue, are either outright blonde or very dark hair, and are partnered with a canine Digimon, though none of these traits are absolute. To date:
    • Yamato is the series-internal Trope Maker and the straightest example: he and Taichi have a fire vs. ice complement, particularly in later evolutions, and their partners' Fusion Dance into Omegamon creates a guns vs. swords dynamic - the MetalGarurumon arm has a cannon while the WarGreymon arm has a sword.
    • Digimon Adventure 02 splits the role between Takeru in the first half - focusing on the conflict between himself and Daisuke - and Ken in the second half, focusing on the Hero/Lancer Bash Brothers dynamic and how Daisuke's influence and belief in him pulled him out of a pretty bad part of his life.
    • Ruki is the only female example, and inverts the standard Digimon dynamic in that while she is indeed the aloof one, she is certainly far more aggressive than Takato.
    • Kouji's dynamic with Takuya is a direct reprise of Taichi and Yamato's relationship, complete with the guns vs swords contrast in their strongest forms, which were even a Greymon and Garurumon respectively.
    • Touma's contrast with Masaru is played up mainly in respect to intellect and approaches thereof - Touma is The Chessmaster, while Masaru... isn't.
    • Kiriha, like Ruki, embodies something of a reversal of tradition - Taiki is a brilliant strategist; Kiriha isn't a slouch in that department, but is certainly much more of a Blood Knight. Incidentally, this time Kiriha is the one with a Greymon.
    • Yuu is easily the lightest example - there is some rivalry between him and Tagiru, but it's barely given any attention whatsoever... much like Yuu himself.
  • Kai of Beyblade switched between The Lancer and The Rival. Rei/Ray also had his moments.
  • Barnaby from Tiger and Bunny plays this role where his partner Kotetsu is concerned. He is the Blue Oni to Kotetsu's Red, and the Ineffectual Loner to his partner's Messiah / Cape.
  • Vegeta from Dragonball Z played both The Lancer and The Rival to Goku after joining forces with the heroes against Frieza on Namek. He's not the only Z Warrior who fits, either: Piccolo can make a good case. Previous to that, Yamcha, Krillin, and Tien (and Chi-Chi for about five seconds) all had a run as the Lancer.
  • Bleach tends to share and switch around the role of The Lancer over the course of the series. Uryu Ishida fits the rivalry mold, hating Ichigo Kurosaki based on his race and contrasting him in nearly every way. Yasutora "Chad" Sado acts as a good parallel with Ichigo's powers, since both have powers that stem from dark sources (read: Hollow-esque) that they use to protect people. Chad's power is akin to that of a Hollow, which is why - like Hollows - all his abilities have Spanish names; Ichigo actually has an inner hollow in his subconcious. However, Ichigo gained his inner hollow due to Training from Hell as a side effect, and he has to fight to keep his power from controlling him; Sado's always had his powers, and embraces it rather than fears it, since he's accepted that it's part of him. Both pull double duty, with Ishida also being The Smart Guy and Chad being The Big Guy.
  • The title character of Soul Eater is Maka's Lancer.(As much as a scythe who can take human form can do so.)
    • Almost all the characters in Soul Eater have a tendency to play off of eachother, switching from Hero to Lancer when the plot calls for it. The Weapons are also definitely people, just an unusual kind of shapeshifter.
  • Sanosuke Sagara in Rurouni Kenshin. He starts out as Kenshin's rival before quickly becoming his best friend, spent the gap between the revolution and the start of the series as a glory-seeking street fighter rather than an atoning wanderer, and prefers hand-to-hand combat over disciplined sword fighting (although he was skilled with his BFS, which he lamentably only used twice).
  • Until his departure, Brock played The Lancer to Ash in the Pokémon anime, though not the games (which are a different universe entirely).
  • GoLion did an interesting bit on this trope. While Isamu Kurogane was named LANCE by Voltron fans, he was not the original Lancer of the team. . . that job was temporarily held by Takashi Shirogane (Sven).
  • Erza of Fairy Tail is a stoic, badass Magic Knight and one of the top four mages in the guild. Has become very popular among fans since joining the group and has a rivalry with The Hero Natsu. However, given Natsu's tendency to challenge anyone and everyone more powerful than him, this may be debatable.
    • Gray could also be considered a Lancer within the group, given his rivalry with Natsu and their complementary elemental magic (Fire and Ice).
    • Gray is a better example, given the elements and his playing blue oni to Natsu's red. He even used to be The Rival. Erza is more like The Big Guy of their Five-Man Band.
  • Natsuki Kuga is Mai's Lancer in My-HiME, being both her Foil (Mai is very strait-laced, while Natsuki's willing to break a few rules to meet her personal objective) and opposite number in the Elemental Powers department (Mai uses fire, and Natsuki uses ice).
  • Naruto: Sasuke Uchiha fits this in almost every possible sense until his Face Heel Turn. Replaced later by Emotionless Guy Sai.
    • In the current war, Killer Bee is definitely this as he specifically promised Iruka he'd watch Naruto's back.
  • Suzumiya Haruhi plays with this, in that the Lancer, Kyon, is in fact both the narrator and the main character... with a little dash of The Hero, something that the flighty and childish Haruhi is definitely not.
  • Jet Link aka 002 is Joe Shimamura aka 009's Lancer in Cyborg 009. Albert Heinrich aka 004 and Francoise Arnoul aka 003 sometimes fits in, too.
  • Guts filled this role for Griffith in Berserk when he was still part of the Band of the Hawk.
    • After The Eclipse, Guts became the head of his own travel group and Serpico now fills this role for him and displays the typical antagonism of this archetype, at least until Guts definitively defeats him in Vritannis. Serpico then learns to trust his de facto leader and to work effectively alongside him.
  • Snagglebit in the obscure 1990s anime The Littl' Bits fit this trope to a T.
  • Eiji Shigure in Gravion may be the main character of the series, but is arguably the Lancer of the Gravion team, and often fills in the role with main pilot Toga. An odd variation of that, as while Toga is definitely the more pure-hearted of the two, he still depends on Eiji to keep him morally grounded in battle.
  • Roronoa Zoro in One Piece. Not only is he the straight man to all of Luffy's antics, he is the Number Two as Luffy's swordsman. Given the relative specialties of the two and the outcomes of the times they fight in the series, Zoro and Luffy are very nearly evenly matched.
    • One could also make a case for Sanji being the Lancer: a similarly cool personality, like Zoro's, contrasted with Luffy's, but also, as per the "He's the one who sneaks off on his own to advance the team's goals independently" bit in the description, Sanji has done just that on at least four occasions (Little Garden, Alabasta, Water 7 and Enies Lobby). Sanji also fits as lancer for his perv status in contrast to Luffy's Celibate Hero status.
  • There are several (and very different, personality-wise) Lancers in the Gundam meta series:
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, depending on your point of view either Simon is Kamina's Lancer, or Kamina is Simon's. Upon Kamina's death Kittan gradually qualifes for the role, showing a strong grasp of Kamina's ideals, but lacking the gift with words he and Simon have to express it.
    • Rossiu is certainly Simon's Lancer after the timeskip. At least until Viral's Heel Face Turn, at which point Rossiu gradually takes upon a more passive role.
  • Natsu Tanimoto, a.k.a. Hermit, combines this with a bit of Sixth Ranger to Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. One of the last to defect from Ragnarok to Shinpaku Alliance, and then unwillingly, Natsu and Kenichi have the same basic decency but are otherwise polar opposites.
  • In sports manga/anime, the sub-captain of the team is likely to be The Lancer to the captain. Either that, or The Rival within the team plays this role for The Hero (who isn not necessarily the captain). Examples:
    • The Prince of Tennis:
      • Seigaku: Oishi and/or Fuji, to Tezuka. Momoshiro, to Echizen and later, to Kaidoh
      • Fudomine: Kamio, to Tachibana.
      • Saint Rudolph: Kaneda, to Akazawa. Mizuki, to Yuuta (as a good example of a sneaky Lancer who uses less-than-ethic methods).
      • Hyoutei: Shishido, to Atobe; he actually took one for the team during the yakiniku battle (sacrificing himself by drinking Inui juice so his team could go on). Ohtori, on the other hand, is Shishido's own Lancer (which makes them also a very popular Ho Yay subject, even lampshaded once or twice in the Dating Sims).
      • Isn't Oshitari more of a lancer to Atobe? Besides Kabaji, Atobe is probably closest with him, often leaving important duties with him. They are also both All-rounders, coincidentally.
      • Yamabuki: Sengoku and/or Dan, to Anti-Hero Akutsu.
      • Rokkaku: Saeki, to Aoi.
      • Jyousei: Wakato, to Kajimoto.
      • Rikkaidai: Sanada, to Yukimura. Also, Renji to Sanada
      • Higa: Rin, to Kite.
      • Shitenhouji: Chitose (also Sixth Ranger), to Shiraishi. Koishikawa was supposed to be The Lancer, but Chitose's appearance shot that to Hell.
      • If we count the Tagalong Kids, Tomoka is The Lancer to chicky heroine Sakuno.
    • Captain Tsubasa:
      • Depending on the team he's playing, Tsubasa can hace several Lancers. Up to date: Ishizaki, Misaki, Wakabayashi, Hyuga, Pepe and/or Rivaul.
      • Wakashimazu and Takeshi, to Hyuga.
      • Oda, to Matsuyama.
      • Müller, to Schneider. Sometimes Schester too, though he's more of The Smart Guy A small subplot in Road to 2002 had Schneider trying to personally recruit Wakabayashi as his Lancer, too.
      • Napoleon, to Pierre.
      • Pascal, to Juan Diaz
      • Kaltz, to Wakabayashi (in the Hamburg team).
      • Leo (and briefly, Natourezza), to Santana
    • Subverted in Slam Dunk, where the vice-captain of the Shohoku team (Kogure) hardly gets any time on the court. Therefore, since we have Sakuragi as The Hero (from story-wise perspective, as he is the main character), he gets Rukawa as his Lancer.
    • Eyeshield 21 has many of these.
      • Kurita and Musashi are both Lancers for Hiruma.
      • Monta (and later on Riku) is easily Sena's Lancer.
      • Sakuraba serves as a Lancer to both Takami and Shin, although in some cases Shin could be his lancer (like in the Sagittarius).
      • Tetsuma is definitely Kid's Lancer, and a damn good one at that.
      • In a twisted sense of the trope, Agon could be concieved as Unsui's Lancer or Dragon, although a better case could be made for Ikkiyu and Agon switching off as Lancer and Hero/Dragon and Big Bad as well.
      • Gaou is certainly a Lancer for Marco.
      • Taka for Yamato, given the fact that the latter is Teikoku's primary ace, but they could be switched without much difficulty
  • Space Battleship Yamato (also known as Star Blazers) had two slightly different Lancers.
    • The very proper and by the book Daiuske Shima (Mark Venture) was a polar opposiste to Susumu Kodai (Derek Wildstar) who was originally more impulsive and devil-may-care. Both were also rival for the heart of Yuki Mori (Nova), although Shima quickly conceded, loving Yuki enough to let her go. The rivalry dissapeared completely with the maturing of Kodai and his inheriting leadership as the Acting Captain Yamato (Argo).
    • Although only slightly older than most of the rest of the crew, chief technician Shiro Sanada (Sandor) was Yamato's elder figure after the deaths of Captain Okita (Avatar) and Engineer Tokugawa (Orion). Sadly, Shima makes the ultimate sacrifice that many anime Lancers are known for. However, interestingly enough, in the recently released Yamato:Rebirth anime, Sanada actually becomes EDF Supreme Commander, in effect becoming Captain Kodai's superior officer; the rare case where the Lancer eventually gets promoted to outrank the Hero (even if it took 25 years).
  • Kuwabara from Yu Yu Hakusho. He's Yusuke's school rival-turned-best friend, frequently teams up with him for tag-team battles, and leads the Team Urameshi almost as often as Yusuke does in the Dark Tournament saga.
  • Daisy from Dragon Quest: Legend of the Hero Abel (a.k.a. the Dragon Warrior anime broadcast in English in The Nineties) is a good example of a female Lancer: a mercenary adventurer who started out more skilled than The Hero, and who seemed to have a crush on him (which got sublimated into her helping rescue the Damsel in Distress).
  • If you view the Allied Forces from Axis Powers Hetalia as a Five-Man Band, then England is The Lancer to America's Idiot Hero.
    • Fandom tends to see the East Asian nations as a Five-Man Band as well, and in such an environment Japan plays Lancer to The Hero China.
      • They also apply these dynamics to the Nordic group, with Sweden as The Lancer to The Hero Finland. Back in the days of their commonwealth, Lithuania was The Lancer to The Hero Poland.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has either Asuna or Setsuna acting as Negi's lancer for the earlier arcs. More recently Kotaro has taken the position. Nodoka might have a good chance after she takes a level in badass.
  • Riza Hawkeye is the stern, cool-headed, and female Lancer serving under Roy Mustang. Maes Hughes could be considered an even lazier one.
  • Thanks to Yes! Pretty Cure 5's insistence on dual-classing everyone, Nozomi has both Big Lancer Rin and Smart Lancer Karen to contend with. They manage to simultaneously act as foils for both Nozomi and each other.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Tamahome and Tasuki end up as a Blue Oni Red Oni patterned Hero and Lancer, respectively. Interestingly, they both have a Brainwashed and Crazy incident where one nearly murders the other.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club Shadow King Kyouya is The Lancer to Idiot Hero Tamaki, and secretly runs the club behind his back. Everyone else is aware of it though.
  • Chrono in Chrono Crusade serves as Rosette's lancer (particularly in the manga where Rosette is firmly the protagonist). While they usually seem eye-to-eye on moral issues, and they are in fact the Official Couple, they often clash and get into arguments—Rosette is Hot-Blooded and determined, while Chrono appears to be calmer and also slips into despair much easier. Rosette is a nun, and Chrono is a demon. Rosette is very open with her emotions, while Chrono tends to try to hide when he's upset.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has an interesting example in Keiichi. He starts off as a Decoy Protagonist, is a bit paranoid and actually steers into Villain Protagonist territory. In later arcs, the spotlight switches to the actual hero, Rika. Another interesting thing about it is the reversal of the usual optimistic-Hero and cynical-Lancer. Rika behaves cheerfully, but is secretly very cynical and has all but resigned herself to die. Keiichi, after a number of screw-ups caused by not trusting his friends, is optimistic and tells Rika that it is possible to beat the crap out of fate. He's arguably Rika's savior.
    • Rika even says something to a similar effect:

"There have been two worlds in the last hundred years where you never transferred here. Those were sad, dead-end worlds."

  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Yamamoto and Gokudera combine to become this for Tsuna. And Squalo, for Xanxus.
    • You could probably make a stronger argument for Hibari as the Lancer of the team. When he's actually ON the team, at least. He's extremely self-serving, unlike Tsuna who tends to get roped into helping other.
  • Rei is this to Kenshiro, in Hokuto no Ken.
  • Lancer, from Robotech, despite sharing the trope name, is a curious case, as he's less of a traditional Lancer and more of a mix of The Chick (uses his girly, "softer" looks and crossdresses to get the upper hand) and The Smart Guy (is level-headed and sneaky, as well as an Ace Pilot). Arguably, Rand and Rook rake turns to fill in more as Scott's proper lancer.
  • Judai of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has two Lancers in the earlier seasons—Sho, as the inseparable best friend, and Manjoume as The Rival, always trying to outshine him or be The Hero himself.
    • And from Yu-Gi-Oh! Katsuya Jonouchi (Joey Wheeler) fits. Also Jack Atlas from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's falls into The Lancer eventually.
  • Rei Miyamoto is the lancer to Takashi Komuro in Highschool of the Dead. Bonus points for being a member of the school's lancing club.
  • Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion likes to set up Shinji as her Lancer when in truth, she is the Lancer to him. While Asuka had formal training and has tons of self-confidence, Shinji has more natural talent and he eventually surpasses her in terms of synch ratio. Shinji always gets extra help from his mother's soul when he's in trouble. Asuka only gets the same once, right before her death. Jealousy towards the hero? Triple check.
    • Rebuild played this straight: not only Asuka acknowledges that she can't do everything alone, she's also the one who takes a bullet for the team and nearly dies in the process.
  • In HunterXHunter, Killuah fills this role perfectly. He even becomes aware of it himself.
  • Doraemon, despite the Character Title issue, is this to Nobita Nobi.
  • Slayers has both Gourry and Zelgadis vouch between the Lancer and The Big Guy roles depending on the situation. However, though Lina met Gourry first, Gourry is an aggressive and incredibly dumb swordsman, and Zelgadis is far more intelligent and tactile, thus Zelgadis is more or less this trope.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Miki Sayaka is this to Kaname Madoka's The Hero. Since this is a gleefully sadistic deconstruction of the magical girl genre, things don't exactly play out in a traditional manner...
  • In Clannad, Sunohara often serves as an opposite to Tomoya, as he actively seeks out a girlfriend, is rather book stupid, but also is aware of the issues regarding Tomoya's relationship.
  • Medaka Box: Zenkichi Hitoyoshi, the more level-headed, down-to-earth friend of the protagonist. That's not to say he can't be a Hot-Blooded Determinator...
  • In Saint Beast, Luca is very much the lancer. He is quiet, strong, always has good advice, and stands by The Hero no matter what. Moreover, his powers of darkness contrast The Hero's powers of light. Amusingly, his Love Interest is The Chick.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Batman fills this role in most incarnations of the Justice League of America. The darker interpretations fall into the Rival/AntiHeroic version of this trope, with Superman as The Hero.
    • Nightwing is an example of how the Lancer's traits depend on who The Hero is: when he fills this role for Batman, his empathy, idealism, and approachability are played up as a contrast to Bruce.
    • In a hilariously fitting Evil Counterpart, The Joker tends to be the Lancer (or more apropriately, The Dragon) to Lex Luthor on the rare occasions they team up.
  • Hawkeye of The Avengers. He tends to chafe under Captain America (comics)'s leadership, but it's clear how much like Cap he is—he led both his own Avengers franchise and the Thunderbolts for several years.
  • As indicated by the page quote, Wolverine of the X-Men.
    • He was also the Lancer for Luke Cage when the latter led the New Avengers.
    • Iceman was the Lancer of the original five, with an attitude bigger than Connecticut and a constant bone to pick with The Hero, Cyclops.
    • A solid case could be made for Angel as the Lancer of the original five, actually, right down to being a rival for the affections of The Chick. Unlike Iceman, Angel has actually done the leadership thing on occasion.
    • Wolverine (and Rogue, under similar circumstances years later) panicked and tried to refuse when ordered into a leadership position (despite proving rather competent in same). Nobody has had the nerve to try that stunt on Iceman. In fact, he was even slated to lead Alpha Flight when he ran away to join the X-Men instead (he was also in love with the team's eventual leader's red-headed wife.) Then again Logan has taken leadership positions since.
  • Moonstone of the Thunderbolts is somewhere between this trope and The Starscream.
  • Speedy I/Arsenal/Red Arrow has often played this role against Robin/Nightwing in the Teen Titans (and later the Outsiders).
  • Namor is perhaps the MU's resident Freelancer, having filled the role on every team he has ever been in, and simply filling that role for the MU heroes in general.
  • The Huntress was the Lancer to Black Canary's Hero in Birds of Prey, at least until the Canary left.
    • At which point she became the Lancer to Oracle's.
  • Deadpool would probably be horrified if he realised, but he ends up being this when he teams up with Cable. Sure, he wouldn't be anyone's first choice for a voice of reason, but no-one else can actually stand up to Cable when he's getting way too into the future mutant messiah thing.
  • Skywise from Elf Quest has a great number of complementary traits with his buddy and heroic leader Cutter. A drinker and womanizer, he is more lively and easygoing than Cutter, who naturally bears a keen sense of responsibility for the tribe. Skywise is a studious, curious dreamer, while Cutter prefers to live in the here and now.
    • A more likely interpretation is that among the Wolfriders, Strongbow is the lancer and Skywise is the smart guy. Unlike Skywise, Strongbow makes a habit out of disagreeing with Cutter a lot. In the later series, e.g. Shards, Rayek becomes the lancer.
  • For the current New Avengers line-up Hawkeye/Ronin seems to be The lancer for Captain America (Bucky).
    • Actually, it's the other way around.
  • In Young Avengers, Kate/Hawkeye is the Lancer to Eli/Patriot. They butt heads near-constantly (though that might just be them flirting), but Kate genuinely believes Eli is the only one who can actually lead the team.
  • Donald Duck fills this role nicely for Scrooge in the Don Rosa Uncle Scrooge comics, serving as a practical, pessimistic Foil for the overly-eager treasure hunter, ever ready with either a complaint or a snarky observation.
  • In Sin City, Dwight has had two lancers over the course of the series. In the story A Dame To Kill For, he employs the help of Heroic Sociopath, Marv. Later in the same story and subsequent stories after that, his lancer is Action Chick, Miho. Both lancers are extremely loyal to Dwight but are also far more violent, causing him to be unsettled more than once by their brutality.
  • Woody plays this role against his friend Eric in Quantum and Woody.
  • In Runaways Nico was originally this to Alex before the latter's betrayal and death. These days Gert, Victor, and Chase have all been known to alternate the role amongst themselves.


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • Pictured above: Han Solo in Star Wars. "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."
  • Timon from The Lion King. To a quite hilarious extent.
  • Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan in Pirates of the Caribbean seem to take turns playing The Hero and The Lancer. They switch sides and betray each other so frequently it can be hard to keep track of who's on which "team" and who's just out for their own ends. The only person who seems to consistently fulfill this role is Joshamee Gibbs, as the Lancer to Jack Sparrow.
  • Rusty Ryan to Danny Ocean in the Ocean's Eleven movies.
  • The WWII biopic Patton depicts a "lancer reversal" between American generals George S. Patton and Omar Bradley. At first Bradley is Patton's lancer when Patton is made commander of the II Corps in North Africa and Bradley his deputy. Then after the invasion of Sicily, Patton is reprimanded for slapping a shellshocked soldier and Bradley is promoted over him. Bradley commands the U.S. 1st Army during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Meanwhile Patton was used to decoy the Germans into thinking the invasion would be at Calais. Patton becomes Bradley's lancer when he gives Patton command of the Third Army to implement "Operation Cobra", the Allied plan to breakout of the Normandy beachhead.
  • Snowman is this to The Bandit, hauling the all important cargo and occasionally saving the Bandit when the cops decide to get serious.
  • Sensible and dependable Arthur is the Lancer to dark and troubled Cobb in Inception
  • Bucky to Captain America (comics) in Captain America the First Avenger.
  • Iron Man to Cap in The Avengers. Out of the whole Dysfunction Junction, they have the most personality conflict for any number of reasons (idealist v cynic, reluctant soldier v ex-weapons maker), but still end up working well together. Hawkeye, by contrast, is the Sixth Ranger who only really opens up around Black Widow.
  • Gene Hackman is the lancer to a buy-the-book Wilhem Defoe in Mississippi Burning
  • In the movie Mr. Saturday Night Stan had the makings and ambitions to be a comedian but his brother Buddy Young had the guts to go and perform, so Stan becomes the more grounded manager to egotistical Buddy.
  • In The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya fulfills this role rather well to the Man In Black/Westley. At first he is arrogant and apprehensive of Westley's skills, but eventually goes on to be a faithful right-hand man and gains a deep-set respect for his skills to the extent that he believes that Westley is capable of anything (which essentially turns out to be the case).
  • Sam French is The Lancer to Jake Wyer, The Hero, in Fifty/Fifty.
  • Toy Story: Buzz Lightyear is Woody's Lancer in the second and third films, after their rivalry is settled in the first. He fits the definition so well it's almost scary. He begins as a rival to The Hero, has a similar design (law enforcing hero of a television show's toyline with a voice clip feature), acts as the team leader when Woody is away, ends up Brainwashed and Crazy in the service of the Big Bad for a while, and as is made obvious during said Brainwashed and Crazy time he's the most combat-skilled and dangerous of the cast.
  • Subotai from the 1982 Conan the Barbarian film. He teaches Conan how to be a thief, saves him from the Tree of Woe, and stands by his side during the Battle of the Mounds.
  • In Inception, Arthur is Mal's right-hand man throughout the film and takes the role of "Point-man" during the heist.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Chung Kuo, Karr is the Lancer to the European T'ang Lord.
  • Ron from the Harry Potter books fits the definition perfectly.
    • Even more so when you realize that King Arthur's lance was named Ron, derived from the original Welsh Rhongowennan. This may be Fridge Brilliance or just a coincidence, but considering all the other Arthurian references in the series, I'd say odds are slightly in favour of it being intentional.
  • In the Myth Adventures books by Robert Asprin, Aahz is the loudmouthed, worldly, cynical Lancer to the quiet, naive hero, Skeeve. The two become more alike as the series goes on.
  • Commander Vimes from Discworld spins this trope widdershins. He's the protagonist of Watch books, and is the cynical commanding officer of idealistic Hero Carrot. Plus, now that Vimes is Duke of Ankh, he would be Number Two to the king, if Carrot ever decided to actually take the job.
    • Also as Commander of the Watch and the richest man in the city, Vimes is effectively the second most influential and powerful man in the city, and often plays the Lancer role to the Patrician, though Havelock Vetinari is hardly the traditional hero.
    • Vimes has his own lancers: depending on the situation, other Watchmen (notably Carrot, Colon and Nobby) and occasionally his wife take turns at it. Angua is probably this most consistently for Vimes, especially in books that don't centre on the Watch. See Monstrous Regiment, for example.
    • In addition, many other Discworld characters have their own lancers: Colon has Nobby, Carrot has Angua, Rincewind has the Luggage, Granny Weatherwax has Nanny Ogg...
  • No one has yet agreed on a Five-Man Band configuration for the Animorphs, with Tobias, Rachel, and Marco all suggested for the role:
    • Tobias is the silent loner compared to Jake, the leader and center of the team.
    • Rachel would be a perfect Lancer if she wasn't already The Big Guy. Jake says flat-out he'd rather have her at his back than anyone else and he trusts her both to protect his father and kill his brother. She does the team's dirty work, and has the "challenger/thinks she'd be a better leader" aspects, and still can't quite shake that thought even after being smacked in the head with a Vetinari paradox. And she was the "someone" in Tonight Someone Dies via Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Marco is Jake's best friend. He shares a distinctly different and darker view; in his more serious moments, he presents alternative—even borderline ruthless—options. He thinks very differently than Jake, which can be useful for filling in blanks, and helps in formulating strategies when Jake has trouble doing so.
  • Panther from the Genesis of Shannara books "Armageddon's Children" and "The Elves of Cintra".
    • In Shannara, anytime a Leah shows up, it's to play this role for the main Ohmsford.
  • Mudge from the Spellsinger novels is the Lancer for Jon-Tom, being cynical and streetwise enough to counterbalance Jon's idealism, and carefree enough to keep Jon from turning maudlin about his exile in another world. Later in the series, Jon-Tom returns the favor, as his Morality Pet example helps Lovable Rogue Mudge adjust to life as (yikes!) a responsible husband and father.
  • Lancelot of King Arthur's Court is the original Lancer, both figuratively and literally. He became Arthur's number two immediately after joining and was every bit the socialite that Arthur never could be.
  • Bigwig from Watership Down is made of this trope, with some of The Big Guy for flavoring. He's unabashedly the Foil to The Messiah Hazel, the cynical tough guy acting as a grouchy but loyal second-in-command to the charismatic, idealistic leader.
    • He does such a good job, that the Big Bad assumes Bigwig is the leader. When Bigwig mentions that he is making his last stand at behest of his chief rabbit, the idea of a rabbit badass enough to boss Bigwig around terrifies the enemy so much they consider giving up their attack.
  • Patroclus of The Iliad fulfils this role to Achilles' The Hero: more thoughtful and level-headed than his best friend, his death is what snaps Achilles out of his proverbial tent.
  • The Wheel of Time gives us Mat and Perrin both serving as Lancers for Rand, the first contrasted because of his irresponsibility and refusal to accept destiny and the second because of his devotion to one person over the fate of the world.
  • In Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series, Antillus Maximus (Max) is The Lancer to Gaius Octavian (Tavi). He is a foil to Tavi in that he is Book Dumb, extremely strong with furycrafting and a hardened veteran of the legions, where Tavi none of the above, at least at first.
  • Sadrao from Black Dogs is The Lancer of their Five-Man Band. He acts as the foil to Lyra's bumbling, naive, bookishness by being a hardened and competent warrior. As the story progresses, Lyra loses these first two qualities and becomes more and more like Sadrao.
  • Maybeck in Kingdom Keepers. He is more cynical and grounded in contrast to Finn, which in a Disney work is a disadvantage. He also has trouble grasping the DHI's full potential because he's mentally blocked by his high expectations.
  • Colt Regan: Colt's partner Alex qualifies, as well as his friend Joseph to a certain extent.
  • In Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, Cuthbert and Alain are the two trusted companions in Roland's original Ka-tet (as told in Wizard and Glass). Being the polar opposite in personality to the serious, driven Roland, Cuthbert appears to be the lancer of the ka-tet and also the companion that Roland reminisces about the most. Alain could have also been a lancer, except that his cerebral personality is more in tune with Roland's no-nonsense demeanor. Eddie Dean (whom Roland states is much like Cuthbert) would become Roland's lancer later in life.
  • In Stephen King's IT, Richie Tozier is Bill Denbrough's lancer. Bill's The Stoic, a Deadpan Snarker and prone to the occasional Heroic BSOD; Richie's a Motor Mouth with a surreal sense of humour, who repeatedly stresses the importance of teamwork.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's "Valdemar Universe" the King's/Queen's Own Herald is supposed to be this to the King/Queen.
  • Bean is the lancer to Ender at Battle School in the Ender series, although Orson Scott Card revisits the story in the Ender's Shadow series to give Bean a badass upgrade
  • In Margaret Atwood's Year of the Flood, Zeb is the initially the lancer and the muscle to Adam One's founder and moral leader role in the God's Gardeners. A schism eventually leads Zeb to break away into a more militant organization along with a large part of the Garderners.
  • In the medieval epic poem The Song of Roland, Olivier serves as the Lancer to the main character, Roland. They are life-long companions and rivals (though Roland is stronger) and Olivier's clear-headedness and wisdom serve as a foil for Roland's recklessness and pride, his tragic flaws.
  • Ford Prefect in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • In Honor Harrington, Alistair McKeon best fits this trope for Harrington, even though Michelle Henke is Harrington's best friend. Andrew La Follet could also count.
    • Honor makes a point of encouraging this sort of relationship with her Executive Officers, as she considers the Captain/XO relationship to be one of the most vital factors in running a tight ship.
  • While Merlin is the protagonist of the Safehold series, and Cayleb and Merlin work closely together, Cayleb is typically the one calling the shots and the role of Lancer goes to his wife and co-ruler Sharleyan. It's noted by one character that they were working in near-perfect tandem even before they gained access to Merlin's technology allowing them to communicate over long distances.
  • In Death: Roarke is in this role, and also has The Smart Guy put in there.
  • Tom Clancy: In more than a few books, mainly Rainbow Six and The Bear and the Dragon, Ding Chavez is this to Team Rainbow's official leader, John Clark, in practice, although he's not actually Clark's immediate subordinate.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory
  • On the British series Hotel Babylon, the concierge Tony is a seasoned pro at the hotel business and very well-respected among his colleagues. When a general manager strays, he's usually one of the first to stand up for the good of the hotel or its staff and let a manager know he's going in the wrong direction.
  • Sergeant Arthur Wilson fron Dad's Army, he's Captain Mainwaring's polar opposite, second in command and best friend/rival.
  • On The Office, Jim is briefly promoted to co-manager and tries to be a lancer to Michael, tempering his need for fun with a need for work.
  • Clark has had a few Lancers in the ten seasons of Smallville. In the first few seasons it's Lex, his best friend and counterpart who is often portrayed as somehow being both Clark's polar opposite and kindred spirit. Once Lex starts to go evil, Oliver takes over the role.
  • Several Angel characters have Lancer qualities. Doyle was the initial one, but for most of the series, Wesley fulfilled this role as well as The Smart Guy. Gunn also filled this role for a time late season 3 and early season 4, but was usually The Big Guy. Connor fit for much of season 4. Easily the best fit that doesn't overlap with any other roles is Spike in Season 5.
    • Wesley, true to the trope, was the ruthless member of the team, as well as the sorcerer of the bunch, also betrayed the gang to save Connor, stabbed Gunn and shot Knox during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and, being the less stable of the group due to Fred's death, was expected by Cyvus Vail to make a move for Angel's position. Aware of it, Wesley pretended to be planning to betray Angel in order to get close to Vail and kill him. As the trope goes, Wesley was killed by Vail instead.
    • Cordelia was Interim Lancer between Doyle's death and Wesley's integration into the main cast, and was always Angel's real foil, despite being The Chick throughout.
  • Avon from Blakes Seven, even when Blake vanishes/dies and Avon slowly goes Ax Crazy. Avon is very unusual—a Lancer as leader as nightmare.
  • Sam Axe on Burn Notice.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Faith can act Lancer-y. Oh, and also Xander, despite also being the Buttmonkey.
  • Doctor Who
    • Captain Jack filled this role during his short tenure.
    • Doctor Who usually has a small ensemble, but groups exeeding three members would occassionally contain Lancers; for example Rory Williams and Ian Chesterton, both more 'classical' heroes in contrast to the Anti-Heroic Doctor.
  • Battlestar Galactica has Starbuck, the hard-drinking, cigar-chomping, attitudinal ( and in the 2004 reimagining, female) foil to Apollo, the much more straightforward hero of the show. Col. Saul Tigh from the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica Reimagined is also a good example.
  • Top Gear: Richard Hammond to Jeremy Clarkson. Hammond is a head shorter, a decade younger, and physically tough but emotionally fragile compared to Clarkson, yet they are inseparably bonded by a mutual love of fast, powerful cars. The third presenter, James May, acts a bit like a Lancer to Clarkson but they are more of an Odd Couple.
  • Firefly: Zoe plays the cool-headed Lancer to the often impulsive Mal, and Jayne plays the Heroic Sociopath Lancer.
  • House: Drs. Wilson and Foreman are both lancers to Dr House in different respects. Wilson is House's best friend, his opposite in almost every way, and the one most likely to play the Only Sane Man—in fact, when Hugh Laurie first read for the part of House, he was under the impression that Wilson was The Hero, and that House was The Lancer—but is not a member of House's team. Foreman, on the other hand, is the subordinate most likely to oppose House on any given matter, and in later seasons has become the de facto Number Two of the team (having stepped into the position of leadership on three separate occasions). Though his characterization has emphasized a fundamental similarity between himself and House, there are important (perhaps deliberate) differences—Foreman is stuffier than House, presenting an air of consummate professionalism in contrast to House's slip-shod and free-wheeling style of management.
  • Leo of The West Wing is a dead-on Lancer of the Blue Oni type to Bartlet's hero. Being The Lancer is also Josh's calling in life, according to Bartlet: "You know the difference between you and me? I want to be the guy. You want to be the guy the guy counts on." In the later seasons other characters lampshade the fact that Santos, to Josh, is his opportunity to be what Leo was to Bartlet.
  • Primeval: Stephen Hart later Abby Maitland.
  • Patrick Harper in Sharpe.
  • Star Trek: Spock is all over this trope. Indeed, he is by all counts equally as competent as Kirk. But where Kirk will go with guts and daring, Spock will always be cool, calculating, and logical. And yes, when the chips are down, Spock is ready at a moments notice to die for the cause (as seen in Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan).
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Riker was intended to perform the action roles that Picard (as The Captain) really should not be doing. Especially in season 1, he was a Kirk clone. After Growing the Beard, his role on the bridge was to anticipate Picard's orders and issue them so that the captain wouldn't have to.
    • Contrasts with Picard in Riker being a womanizer (Picard is not very successful with women) and somewhat impulsive (Picard is fairly cautious). Riker also fits the role in easily being the more gregarious and social (he plays in the ship's jazz group and runs the senior officers' poker games) while Picard is the more private and prefers solitary pursuits such as reading and archeology. Oddly enough, while Riker is obviously supposed to be the more physical (being younger and larger) compared to Picard's more intellectual, Picard tends to be the one who ends up in the most physical confrontations over the span of the series and movies.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Kira is Sisko's lancer in every aspect of the trope. If it were up to her, there wouldn't be any Starfleet personel on the station and she would be in command. In early seasons, she's yelling at Sisko every other episode and often completely ignores his orders when she believes she can handle things better. She grows to trust him in later seasons, but she always remains the person who challenges the captain's orders the most—somewhat unusually, considering that, as the Emissary of the Prophets, he's the equivalent of a saint or prophet of her religion.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: While he's not the first officer, Tuvok fulfills this role for Captain Janeway. He's calm and rational while Captain Janeway is usually very emotional. In later years, Seven of Nine plays the role.
  • Owen from Torchwood falls under this fairly well, at least in series 1. Owen is The Lancer to Gwen while Jack is away. When Jack returns, Gwen becomes his Lancer.
  • Deputy Jo Lupo to Jack Carter in Eureka.
  • Common in Super Sentai due to its reliance on the Five-Man Band structure, but special mention goes to Choujin Sentai Jetmans Gai Yuuki (Black Condor) for being a Captain Ersatz of the Trope Codifier, Condor Joe. Indeed, the entire cast of Jetman are Captain Ersatzes of Gatchamans Five-Man Band Trope Codifiers.
    • Other Sentai Lancers are well known for being either Boone Companion (Zyuranger's Mammoth Ranger), Rival (Hurricaneger's Kabuto Reiger, whom himself leads the main team's rival group), or the member who swipes The Hero's chances at leadership (White Kakuranger, Black Megaranger and Pink Timeranger).
    • A rather unique twist of The Lancer concept is given in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. Our hero Shiba Takeru (Shinken Red), is The Stoic. Then, we have the rebellious Sour Supporter Tani Chiaki (Shinken Green). Most people would call him The Lancer for being rebellious, but turns out he's The Smartass Kid instead. The Lancer turns out to the Extraordinarily Hammy Yes-Man Ikenami Ryuunosuke (Shinken Blue), not only because he's Takeru's second in command, but his personality is quite the contrast to Takeru. So, yeah, Ryuunosuke is definitely 'Hammy, hyperactive Lancer done right'.
  • Power Rangers, naturally, follows suit. Wes and Jen were a slight twist on the concept - they were The Hero and The Lancer respectively, but Jen was still the official team leader, even after Wes came into his own as a Ranger. Then there's Sky, Dillon...
  • Tony Dinozzo in NCIS is The Lancer to Gibbs' leadership, though according to Ducky, Gibbs used to be much like Tony.
    • In the rare episode where Tony is The Hero, Timothy McGee is the lancer.
  • Fraggle Rock: Gobo, the reluctant leader of the Five-Man Band, had two extremely opposite Lancers—his best friend Wembley and Wembley's constant rival Red.
    • Although they get considerably less screen time, the Minstrels are a clear cut Five-Man Band, and it's obvious that Murray acts as the Lancer to Cantus.
  • Noah's Arc: Ricky, as a very clear foil to Noah. While Noah is very moral, relationship-oriented, romantic, and holds the group together, Ricky is much more pragmatic, highly promiscuous, sexually detached, and more than willing to abandon the group over a one-night stand. The stark contrast between them is lampshaded by both of them at different points in the series. Also, Ricky, Noah and Wade are involved in a love triangle highlighted in the movie.
  • Michael on Roswell frequently plays the classic Lancer to Max's Hero, as both lifelong best friend and, with his loner persona and occasional need for anger management, as his foil. Michael even briefly assumes the role of "king"/leader after Max's "death".
  • Tony Almeida on Twenty Four fits almost every part of this description in relation to Jack Bauer. This is an interesting case in that Tony initially seems like a calmer, saner, more soft-spoken counterpart to Rabid Cop Jack. But placed under enough strain (as exemplified by how they each handle the loss and/or potential loss of their wives), Tony can actually be far more emotional, reckless, self-destructive and vengeful than Jack.
  • Garibaldi on Babylon 5 - more aggressive than Captain Sheridan, prone to independent action, more of a covert operative, and does indeed get brainwashed at one point.
  • On Leverage Sophie most cleanly fits this role, often serving as a foil to Nate in the planning process, though the rest of the crew also occasionally fits into it at times. Eliot in some ways fits this role, as the opposite of Nate, preferring to fight his way out of situations then Nate's Chessmaster style. Parker in some ways fits into this as the only true thief among them, as well as being a skilled planner when it comes to heists. Hardison also is trying to develop the skills to run his own crew as well.
  • Faye Chamberlain on The Secret Circle is this to both Cassie and Diana during their times as leaders. She was the most strongly against binding the circle and functions as the bad girl of the circle.
  • DS Barbara Havers to Inspector Lynley; she challenges him at every turn and is the first to tell him when she thinks he's being an idiot. She would also follow him into fire if he asked her to, and anyone who challenges him will find themselves on the wrong end of her fury.
  • Warrick Brown fills this on CSI.
  • On CSI: NY, Danny Messer.
  • Probably Ryan Wolfe on CSI: Miami.
  • Hawk is this to Buck Rogers in the second season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Every Toa team in Bionicle has one of these, usually a Toa of Ice to balance out the Toa of Fire leader. The most prominent example would be Kopaka, who has a Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic with Tahu.
    • And to continue the tradition, Stormer is this to Furno in Hero Factory.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Gaz from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has elements of this, playing as the Lancer to Captain Price.
  • Manticore, a signature character in City of Heroes, is their version of Batman, especially among the Freedom Phalanx.
  • Kain from Final Fantasy IV is a good candidate for Trope Codifier: He's Cecil's childhood friend, his most trusted comrade and right-hand ally, and also his greatest rival, primarily in his competition for Rosa's affections. He's the dark and conflicted Anti-Hero to Cecil's noble and righteous Cape, and during a stint where he's Brainwashed and Crazy he acts as Golbez's Dragon. In The After Years he gets appointed the Captain of Baron's airship fleet, and with Cecil as king, Kain is his general now. And here's the real kicker—not only is Kain's weapon of choice spears and lances, but his job class is Dragoon. In other games in the series, the Dragoon job is called "Lancer," meaning not only is Kain the Lancer, he's a Lancer to boot.
  • Barret Wallace from Final Fantasy VII is a unique mix of Big Guy and Lancer, with bonus Token Minority points thrown in. He even founded leads the Well-Intentioned Extremist organization you start off as part of, and sometimes seems a little too ready to think of himself as The Hero early on. Ironically, when Cloud leaves the party after being incapacitated by Mako poisoning, it is expected that Barret will lead the party. Instead, he tells Cid, who appropriately wields a lance, that he's the new leader.
  • Final Fantasy IX rotates this role a bit during the game: it starts as Blank, but he doesn't last very long in the party. Then Steiner takes over the role, before Amarant firmly and truely takes on every trope associated with Lancerdom. Amarant is Zidane's psuedo-rival, and has a lot of Arrogant Kung Fu Guy issues that get solved during the course of the game. Oddly enough, the one character that actually uses lances, Freya, never actually takes on this role at any point in the game.
  • In Final Fantasy X, Jecht qualifies as the lancer to his original team members Braska and Auron. As for the main party, Yuna is The Hero with Tidus as her Lancer. Another interpretation has Titus as the hero, Yuna as The Chick, and Wakka as the Lancer. Or even another with Yuna as the hero, Kimahri Ronso as the Lancer, and Tidus as a modified version of the Chick.
  • Shara from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is the Lancer to Ritz.
  • In Final Fantasy XII, just as Ashe is the series most standard hero, Balthier is the most standard lancer.
    • He did claim to be 'the leading man,' but he matches more with Lancer tropes then the rest of the characters. Fran lampshades this when she replies to his "I am the leading man" by saying "I think you are more of a supporting role." He scoffs, and tells her to stop being silly.
  • Final Fantasy XIII has Lightning backed by Sazh. Being older he may very well have more military experience, but he has less drive as a leader (stepping down from a more active piloting career in order to take care of his son).
  • Fire Emblem
    • Fire Emblem 4: Duke Cuan is both the best friend and The Lancer for Lord Sigurd in the first part of the game. He also has his Lancer in the form of his protege Finn. In the second part of the game, Ayra's son Skasha is The Lancer to Sigurd's son Celice. And so is Leaf.
    • Fire Emblem 7: Hector and Lyn * both* fit as Lancers for Eliwood. Just like in Fire Emblem 6, Wolt The Archer and Magical Girl Lilina are sort-of Lancers for The Hero Roy. Hector also has his own Lancer in the figure of General Oswin, and it can be said that Marcus was Eliwood's Lancer before Hector and Lyn stepped in. Matthew the Thief has a short run as Hector's Lancer at the beginning, until Oswin and Serra come in. In "Lyndis's Tale", Lyn had Kent as her Lancer since Sain was a bit more of The Big Guy of her Troupe.
    • In Fire Emblem 8: The Paladin Seth is The Lancer to either Eirika or Ephraim, depending on the route you take. Innes fits more as Ephraim's Rival than Lancer. Considering Gerik and his mercenaries, Marisa the Crimson Flash fits as his Lancer since she's more of an Action Girl than Tethys, the Team Mom. In the case of Joshua, either Gerik, Marisa or Natasha (in a more serious, White Magician Girl-y way) cane become his Lancers through supports as he rebuilds Jehanna ) Rennac is The Lancer in L'Arachel's Power Trio.
  • In Gears of War, Dominic Santiago serves as Marcus Fenix's Lancer. No, not as his assault rifle. The character trope!
  • In Halo 3, the Arbiter plays the role of Lancer to the Master Chief. Johnson even more so
  • Proto Man (Blues) often fills in this role in the original Mega Man games. Zero in the X series takes it a little bit further, as his antisocial nature has led to more than one physical fight with X. Dex nails the Lancer role in the Battle Network games.
    • Dex tries, but he comes off as being the would-be hero that manages to do something right...almost never. Protoman and Chaud claim the role of Lancer all over again, being a far more serious threat to both the enemy and the hero.
    • Dex might actually be an inversion. He has nothing but leadership abilities. He's a fantastic leader and motivator, but lacks the competence to back it up, which is all Lan's. This would probably be why he ended up mayor of ACDC Town in the series ending.
    • Dex really functions more as a Big Guy of the charismatic Boisterous Bruiser mold. He started out as The Rival, but by the end of the first game Chaud had moved from Sixth Ranger into the Lancer position.
    • Interestingly enough Mega Man and Proto Man/Zero actual invert the weapon associations, with The Hero prefering guns and The Lancer using swords.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog actually has quite a number by some interpretations. In the early games Tails filled this role, being the Blue Oni to Sonic's Red Oni as well as his Same Gender Life Partner. Amy serves as a comic foil to Sonic in the more recent games, and was also the designated Lancer in Sonic the Comic. Knuckles has a long history of clashing with Sonic, which is played up in every single adaptation of the series to date. And in Shadow the Hedgehog, some stages present the player with the option of having Sonic himself as Shadow's Lancer.
    • And among the members of Team Dark Rouge functions mainly as the leader, with Shadow as her Lancer.
  • An early CRPG example: Nazim in The Magic Candle.
  • Though they're technically on opposite sides, the prosecutors from the Ace Attorney series often become closer to The Lancer after a few cases against the main character.
    • Miles Edgeworth serves as more of a permanent Lancer in the story, helping the protagonist out in every game they appear together.
  • In Sly 3, the titular character becomes that to Bentley.
  • Falco from Star FOX fits this trope like a glove.
  • Dio from Ogre Battle 64 as well as Vice from the original Tactics Ogre.
  • Rei in Breath of Fire 3. Interestingly, he starts the game as a Big Brother Mentor: it's only after the seven year Time Skip that he returns to a more mature Ryu as his Fragile Speedster Deadpan Snarker Lancer.
  • In Tales of Symphonia's initial Five-Man Band, Genis, Lloyd's best friend, plays the role of the more smart and cynical Lancer to Lloyd's idealistic Idiot Hero. Zelos, who joins later, also takes up the lancer role.
  • Tales of the Abyss has a possibility of three different lancers in the party. Luke, the Idiot Hero, has Guy (Childhood friend, Guardian and possible Rival), Jade (Smart Guy, Deadpan Snarker and The Spock) or Tear (Action Girl and another Spock).
  • Tales of Vesperia is what happens when you give The Lancer his own game. Yuri is Chaotic Good to the core, unafraid of breaking the law to do the right thing, and frequently gets into arguments with his best friend and rival; Flynn, who takes on the role of a Supporting Leader for much of the game. Yuri himself gets his own, "proper" Lancer in the form of Karol; who is much more cautious and cowardly than Yuri is, but has a more idealistic sense of right and wrong and ultimately develops into a brave leader while Yuri continues to fight in the shadows of other people. Judith, being an extreme Blood Knight, is more of The Big Girl with sprinklings of Lancer traits. She's too similar to Yuri in personality and moral outlook to qualify fully, however.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Though The Lancer and not The Hero of his Three Amigos, Riku was the leader by virtue of being one year older and because of his natural drive. He had very clear and strong ideas about what he wanted, and Sora and Kairi followed his lead. Sadly, he was Too Cool to Live, and so fell to The Dark Side. He gets better only after Sora has become clearly much cooler than him.
  • Junpei Iori, of Persona 3. Eager to prove himself, bitter about the Protagonist being chosen to lead the team over him, brash, loud, poor grades, and a girlchaser.
    • And in FES, where Aegis is the Protagonist, Yukari acts as the Lancer to her.
  • Yosuke is the Lancer in Persona 4, oh so very much. Due to the Protagonist being both The Stoic and a Heroic Mime (aside from battle cries and text speech), Yosuke is much more talkative and chipper, with a little Deadpan Snarker tossed in. While he's very willing to have the Protagonist take over as leader during the early parts of the storyline, his final Social Link scene reveals that he had been a little jealous of the Protagonist's comptetence, and starts a friendly brawl between the two to knock said impulses out of him.
  • Felius is Clarissa's lancer in Wild ARMs XF.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: Etna, vassal of negotiable loyalty to demon prince Laharl. Being his go-to girl, and the one who cheerfully tells him she will kill him and take over if he doesn't prove himself worthy of being the overlord. Her starting weapon also happens to be a lance. Rozalin from the second game (with elements of The Chick later), Almaz from the third, and Fenrich from the fourth also qualify.
  • Lin from Advance Wars: Dark Conflict/Days of Ruin. Possibly combination Smart Guy/Lancer, but definitely a lancer.
  • Alicia, from Valkyria Chronicles, is this, with a touch of Team Mom.
  • Post-Divergent Character Evolution, Luigi now acts as the somewhat reluctant companion to Mario.
  • Almost every main character from the numerous chapters of Live a Live has a Lancer to go along with him or her. The most clear example, however, is Straybow, who is both a rival to the chapter's main character Orsted and eventually that chapter's final boss after his Face Heel Turn.
  • Grandia II: Millenia is the Lancer and also the Veronica to Ryudo.
  • Dogi the Wallcrusher serves this role to Adol in the Ys series.
  • Fate/stay night has a character called 'Lancer', who also fits this trope fairly well; not only is he amongst the most well-rounded of all the Servants (but isn't a protagonist like Saber) but he also plays the role to the hilt when he joins up with the heroes late in Unlimited Blade Works.
  • In Mass Effect 1, Shepard has Ashley and Kaidan, the ones with the most dialogue among the crewmates. And as Shepard's character is fluid, they can fill the role of different Lancer types.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Miranda Lawson is the official lieutenant to Shepard, but Garrus actively serves as Shepard's de-facto Lancer. During the endgame, there are points where you need to split the squad in two and pick a second leader - the three good choices are Miranda, Garrus or ex-marine Jacob. Picking anyone else will end badly.
    • In Mass Effect 3, either Garrus (if he's still alive by this time) or the Virmire Survivor counts as this, though the former counts a bit more, having been by Shepard's side for all three games. This is particularly solidified in the last conversation Shepard has with him, where s/he states that "There's no Shepard without Vakarian".
  • Dragon Age: Alistair is very much your cheerful, goofy Lancer. Morrigan can have elements of this as well.
    • For Dragon Age II, Varric is Hawke's lancer as well as the sibling that survives the escape from Lothering. Aveline is a bit of this as well.
  • Knights of the Old Republic has Carth in the first game and Atton in the second as default, though given the size of your party in both cases other characters might fill the role instead.
  • Neverwinter Nights limits your party size to one or two at a time, but all of the possible party members can be lancers.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 has a very large party by the end, but the characters most likely to fit as the Lancer are Casavir, Bishop, Sand, and Khelgar.
  • Ramus, and later Nash qualify as the Lancer to Alex's Standardized Leader in the original Lunar the Silver Star.
  • Rasche from Luminous Arc 2, "Lancer" is his job.
  • Black Rose is this to Kite in .hack. While he is clearly the Hero, she comes on almost all important missions with him and is almost equally famous in the setting. Her Tsundere personality foils Kites at time. She's not as well due to the character class she plays.
  • Matt Horner from StarCraft II is this to Jim Raynor, an excellent example of the more-traditionally heroic character on a less-traditionally heroic team
  • Garet is Isaac's lancer in Golden Sun. Also The Big Guy. Jenna to Felix in the sequel.
  • Digital Devil Saga: Heat is definitely the Lancer for the Embryon. While the Hero, Serph, is calm and Level-Headed, Heat is reckless and quick-tempered. Serph is Ice element, Heat is Fire. He is the only member to fully embrace his Atma power. Oh, and he pulls a Face Heel Turn in the sequel, and dies shortly after..
  • Lufia
    • In the series, you have Aguro for The Hero and Guy for Maxim. Both wear green, and have simillar battle styles with more strength and less magic power.
    • Luffia 3 has Dei the thief, if not Seena. The guy has his moments after his quests toward the end of the game, unlike other secondary characters.
    • The Ruin of Lore has Torma.
    • Lufia 2's remake, Curse of Sinistrals, however, turns Guy into The Big Guy and Dakar into The Lancer.
  • In most fanworks, Kirisame Marisa plays this role for Hakurei Reimu. Marisa is the hard-working Badass Normal (or as normal you can be in a world of overpowered girls with magical powers) while Reimu is the lazy genius, and Marisa tends to have her own agenda for solving incidents, while Reimu just wants to get it over with since its her job. This isn't really played up in the games (except for perhaps Imperishable Night, where they face off against each other) because according to the storyline, the chosen character is the only one that actually goes out and solves the incident.
  • The Orion Conspiracy has the engineer Meyer put in this role for The Hero Devlin McCormack. Meyer loves to cuss. He was a soldier in the Corporation War and is more cynical about it than Devlin. Meyer shows how Badass he is by fighting and killing off Captain Shannon and fending off Lowe the xenomorph. Unfortunately, we do not get to see that fight with the xenomorph. He also has a big picture attitude to situations, in contrast to Devlin, who looks at the little details.
  • Fear Effect. Royce Glas is in this position, and is the opposite of Hana on a number of things.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Orestes: Pylades acts in this capacity to his friend Orestes, in Euripides' play.
  • Romeo and Juliet: Mercutio is Romeo's right-hand man and best friend. He even goes so far as fighting and losing a duel in his name.
  • Hamlet: Horatio.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Humorously enough, the author of Cwen's Quest was unaware of this particular trope when he named his character Riddly Lancer. Fits the bill too, well actually only up to the third sentence of the description that is... but Cwen is definitely the leader between the two characters.
  • Haley "It's frustrating how Lawful you people are sometimes" Starshine in Order of the Stick.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, while Torg usually takes center stage and, in his "unique" way, come up with a solution to the big problems, Riff is usually there as well, ready to solve things his own way. Which usually involves laser weapons, giant robots, and blowing stuff up.
  • Dave Strider of Homestuck has taken this on this role voluntarily, at least for the human team. He's John's best friend, and is the Badass katana-wielding time-travelling stoic Deadpan Snarker to John's Idiot Hero/messiah. Despite the fact he's probably the most all-round skilled of the human players, was the first to fully assume the mythological responsibilities placed upon him (as the Knight of Time), and proceeded through the game significantly faster than John (until the latter Came Back Strong anyway), he resigned himself to a supporting role out of feelings of inadequacy and the inability to face his own mortality.

TG: im not a hero
TG: my bro was
TG: john is
TG: im not


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Exo Squad: Alec DeLeon more often than not was The Lancer to squad leader JT Marsh, though Marsala sometimes filled that role as well, depending on the mission at hand. Marsh himself could be considered the lancer to Admiral Winfield, who was the Captain.
  • Ironically, although being the title character, Sonic the Hedgehog was actually his team's Lancer. However, his deeds may also make him the Hero, next to Princess Sally.
  • Brooklyn in Gargoyles, especially when Goliath promoted him to be his Number Two. He differs that while Goliath is very physical and direct in his methods with a knack for inspiring his clan, Brooklyn is quieter and more calculating at work as a superb tactician who can organize assaults that seemingly can whup anybody. His only major weakness is that he hates Demona with a fury strong enough to attack her on sight, to the frustration of the clan. Brooklyn is the second type of lancer in that he holds Goliath in high esteem and has no desire to challenge his authority, much less replace him. Still, during the extended time that Goliath was absent, Brooklyn was in charge and old veteran Hudson deferred to his authority and there is no question that he is really good at the job.
  • In Transformers: Beast Wars, when the Maximals find themselves short one Optimus Primal, it comes to a vote to determine which of the Lancers will lead in his absence - Dinobot, or Rattrap. Dinobot was the big, straightforward warrior type, and Rattrap was the small, underhanded saboteur type. On another occasion, Rhinox started to give the orders, as he was in a Very Bad Mood.
  • In the followup Beast Machines, while Primal was absent Cheetor had stepped up to fill the leadership gap, causing him to become The Lancer when Primal returned. This time, it was more the "chafes under his authority, wants to usurp and lead" variety.
    • No, he just realized that Optimus was slowly but surely turning into a fanatic, and was concerned about the future.
  • Arcee in Transformers Prime (Bumblebee is The Chick).
  • Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the most perfect examples of the Lancer.
    • Most of all in the Eastman and Laird version. Not so much in the Saturday morning cartoons.
  • In Thundercats, Tygra doubled as Lion-O's Lancer and The Smart Guy. The latter is relative since the team's Big Guy, Panthro, was a Genius Bruiser.
    • In the 2011 remake, Tygra also gets a gun to contrast with Lion-o's Sword of Omens, and he overall plays The Lancer role much straighter than the original did.
  • Katara of Avatar: The Last Airbender merges the roles of The Lancer and The Chick, being both the romantic interest of The Hero and one of his most reliable combat partners.
    • Come the series finale, Zuko seems to fit this role more and more as he bonded with the group and became less of The Sixth Ranger. By this point Katara has taken on the aspect of Team Mom as well.
  • Kevin Levin of Ben 10 Alien Force.
  • From The Tick (animation) animated series we have Die Fledermaus. His live action counterpart Bat Manuel too.
  • Sparky from Beethoven the Animated Series is the funny, sarcastic, energetic sidekick of Beethoven, the serious and clean cut The Hero.
  • Digeri Dingo from Taz-Mania could count as a lancer for Taz.
  • Duke L'Orange in The Mighty Ducks, a former Gentleman Thief turned freedom fighter, contrasts nicely to not only Wildwing but the rest of the team, especially since he's the only one who regularly uses a melee weapon. (a laser sword)
  • Shao Lin in Captain Simian and The Space Monkeys is both The Lancer and the Action Girl. She is as cautious as Charlie Simian is not; her The Stoic attitude balances his boisterous, cheerful personality.
  • Raven in Teen Titans fits the trope closest, being a Dark Is Not Evil Anti-Hero, and having very subdued emotions to contrast Hot-Blooded Robin. However, Cyborg tends to be the one who leads the team when Robin is away, despite (or perhaps because of) being The Smart Guy. The show plays with team roles of the Five-Man Band. Cyborg and Beast Boy tend to switch off on which one is being The Big Guy or The Smart Guy, and Cyborg has shades of The Lancer as well.
  • Prowl of Transformers Animated. A quiet, stoic Ninja who is Not Good with People, he contrasts The Cape (trope), Optimus Prime.
  • Transformers: The Primes of the original G1 also had their lancers: Optimus had Ironhide and Rodimus had Ultra Magnus. Magnus then became Optimus Prime's lancer due to his previous lancer being sorta dead.
  • Simon Belmont of Captain N the Game Master is how not to do the Lancer.
  • In Titan Maximum, Gibbs is a Deconstruction of the type of lancer who has issues with the hero's authority. The stress of being the Only Sane Man to a Jerk Jock hero on the previous team as well as having to deal with Palmer's willingness to abandon others for his own petty purposes elevated his own, quieter Jerkass tendencies, causing him to massively Face Heel Turn and making him the Big Bad in the present.
    • On the "modern" team (i.e., after Gibbs leaves) Jodi and Sasha switch off being the Lancer and The Chick. Sasha has the most traditionally Lancer-esque characteristics, but Jodi is polar opposite of The Hero and is the one who goes off on her own while Sasha stays with the group.
  • Bluegrass. the wingless cowboy of Silverhawks, fits this trope, as he uses the main controls of the Miraj spaceship.
    • Latter member Captain Flashback would fit this as well.
  • While Longarm of COPS, may have the many traits of the average American hero, he is no more then a lancer to team leader Bulletproof.
  • Evangelyne of Wakfu is The Lancer to Yugo. Apart from being several years older and one of the more competent fighters, she's a calm, snarky Tsundere, while he's a cheerful Kid Hero, but with a sense of maturity and responsibility.
  • Bionic Six has some sort of tossup between the wife (Helen), and the biological son (Eric).
  • Speaking of Eric from above, the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon has a cowardly caviler by that name.
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Shane Gooseman, the genetically engineered Supertrooper of the is a rare inhuman example. Definitely a little more...questionable in his methods, especially when contrasted with The Hero Zachary Foxx. There's also the fact that Zach is Happily Married while Shane's a Chick Magnet, and that Zach is the eldest person on the team (late 30's to early 40's) while Shane is 19 - barely older than Zach's son.
  • In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, even though they are no longer master and padawan, and they both hold the same rank as 'general' during the Clone Wars, Anakin is Obi-Wan's lancer when they are on a mission together. Each Jedi knight has a clone officer as a lancer. Obi-Wan's is Commander Cody and Anakin's is Captain Rex (inevitably becoming The Dragon once the 501st becomes Vader's Fist).
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, Astrid eventually becomes Hiccup's Lancer, with her energetic ferocity and physical nature contrasting against Hiccup's more quieter and intellectual manner. They initially are at odds first with Hiccup's goofing up at dragon training and then when he completely upstages her with his newfound knowledge of dragons giving him a overwhelming advantage. Eventually, she finds out his secret and Hiccup and Toothless win her over. From then on, she is not just in growing love with Hiccup, but is glad to be the muscle to Hiccup's brains both on the job and in their relationship.
  • In Futurama, in a case of The Hero (Fry) being an impulsive but good-natured idiot with occasional flashes of genius, his Lancer counterpart is the rational, intelligent but hot-tempered Leela.
  • Bloo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
  • Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes, when it suits her to side with Jimmy.
  • Buttercup in The Powerpuff Girls
  • Alice Nimbletoes, Angelina Ballerina's best friend, in the original and CGI series.
  • Vince LaSalle from Recess. While he was never at odds with T.J. (minus the one Feud Episode), the earliest episodes showed him to be more reluctant to join the others' crazy schemes. He's also the "cooler" member of the gang, compared to T.J.'s genkiness.
  • Jake the dog is this to his best friend Finn in Adventure Time.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Kobe Bryant to Shaquille O'Neal from their generation of the LA Lakers. The seasoned Shaq was The Big Guy and the captain, while the rambunctious Kobe was the rookie. Their relationship was frequently punctuated by fueds played out in the press. Now that Shaq retired, Kobe's become the face of the Lakers, with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum sharing the role of The Lancer.
  • When they were both on the Chicago Bulls, Scottie Pippen was seen as a lancer for Micheal Jordan, who was practically The Messiah of basketball.
  • Russell Westbrook, the cocky Red Oni, to Kevin Durant, the collected Blue Oni. Unlike Kobe and Shaq, Durant and Westbrook are Heterosexual Life Partners.
  • Dwyane Wade to LeBron James in the Miami Heat. James is the theatric champion on the court; Wade is the leader and the face of the team.
  • Jason Terry to Dirk Nowitzki in the Dallas Mavericks.
  • Tim Duncan to Tony Parker in the San Antonio Spurs.
  • In Irish Rugby Union, Brian O'Driscoll was The Leader from 2003 to 2012, captaining the national team, with Paul O'Connell serving as the Lancer. Blue Oni O'Driscoll was the focal point of the team's backs, a smaller, skillful player who scored tries and lead by example, while vice-captain O'Connell was a Red Oni, the Made of Iron, Determinator leader of the forwards, and a frequent giver of Cluster F-Bomb Rousing Speeches. In addition to their personal contrasts in playing and leadership styles, O'Driscoll played for eastern province of Leinster, while O'Connell played for their bitter rivals Munster in the south, with each being considered the central figure in their team.
  • The Who is an interesting example. Pete Townsend was the band's artistic leader, but was also violent and dealt with depression. He wasn't the band's frontman, though. He left that up to "second-in-command", Roger Daltrey who was more reserved in comparison and often served as the more mature member of the group.
  • The Beatles are another interesting variation: John Lennon started out as The Hero, with Paul McCartney as The Lancer.
  • The Rolling Stones has Keith Richards as The Lancer to Mick Jagger.
  • Ace Pilot Staff Sergeant Nils Katajainen (36 kills) to Captain Hans Wind (78 kills) in the Finnish Air Force in WWII. They usually flew as a pair. Both were awarded the Mannerheim Cross, roughly the Finnish equivalent of Victoria Cross or Congressional Medal of Honor.
  • Michael Vick to Donovan McNabb in the Philadelphia Eagles. McNabb was the calm, collected quarterback leader with a passion for the sport, while Vick was the "bad-boy" second-in-command who was in legal troubles, especially with the dog-fighting.
  • Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton served as George Washington's Number Two during the Revolutionary War and Washington's time as president. While Washington was stoic, deliberative, and against bare knuckle politics, Hamilton was brash, quick witted, and famously one of the most vicious political fighters of his generation. This proved useful to Washington, who relied on Hamilton's intricate thinking and writing skills to serve as his Army chief of staff and most trusted secretary, much to the annoyance of others on Washington's staff.
  • Likewise Rahm Emanuel. A dirty, armtwisting guy from Chicago, who was once a senior advisor to Bill Clinton, as he was to Barack Obama. Did you know he studied ballet?
  • Shuuichi Ikeda to Toru Furuya; they voiced for the main antagonist and the main protagonist of Mobile Suit Gundam respectively.
  • Michael Wittmann, one of the most successful armored commanders of all time, had Bobby Woll as his gunner. They were so in tune that, eventually, all Wittmann had to do was give Woll a direction where enemy tanks could be found and let Woll do the rest. Luckily for Woll, he wasn't with Wittmann when the latter's luck ran out in August, 1944.