History VillainDecay / WesternAnimation

14th Nov '17 6:31:02 AM Shadowgazer
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Ra's Al Ghul himself suffered from this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and later Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse canon. Introduced as the leader of a global secret society, whose first villain plan involved wiping out 99% of the human race to save the planet, and once described by Batman himself in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Demon Reborn," as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than ComicBook/LexLuthor and ComicBook/TheJoker combined", Ra's would end up spending EVERY SINGLE ONE of his episodes trying out various wacky schemes to cheat death and expand his already 600 year long lifespan, instead of doing anything productive to menace the human race. Ra's al Ghul's Villain Decay is still debatable, considering how later in the canon, they refer to something called "The Near-Apocalypse of '09," which Ra's was behind, and apparently took the whole Justice League to stop.
** Ra's says in "The Demon Reborn" that he realized the Lazarus Pits effects were becoming shorter and shorter, so perhaps he was concentrating on finding out a way to live longer before trying another [[TakeOverTheWorld world domination effort]].
** His diminished threat is cemented in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' where not only has he pulled a GrandTheftMe on his own daughter in yet another plan to avoid death, he suffers an epic TheReasonYouSuckSpeech from Batman himself who tells him "You don't cheat death, you cower in fear of it... [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And you hit like a girl.]]"

to:

* Ra's Al Ghul himself suffered from this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and later Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse canon. Introduced as the leader of a global secret society, whose first villain plan involved wiping out 99% of the human race to save the planet, and once described by Batman himself in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Demon Reborn," as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than ComicBook/LexLuthor and ComicBook/TheJoker combined", Ra's would end up spending EVERY SINGLE ONE of his episodes trying out various wacky schemes to cheat death and expand his already 600 year long lifespan, instead of doing anything productive to menace the human race. Ra's al Ghul's Villain Decay is still debatable, considering how later in the canon, they refer to something called "The Near-Apocalypse of '09," which Ra's was behind, and apparently took the whole Justice League to stop.
** Ra's
stop. In a more justified example its not that he became less formidable, as much as the fact that his primary motivation became less harmful. Ra himself says in "The Demon Reborn" that he realized the Lazarus Pits effects were becoming shorter and shorter, so perhaps he was concentrating on finding out a way to live longer before trying another [[TakeOverTheWorld world domination effort]].
**
effort]]. His diminished threat is cemented in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' where not only has he pulled a GrandTheftMe on his own daughter in yet another plan to avoid death, he suffers an epic TheReasonYouSuckSpeech from Batman himself who tells him "You don't cheat death, you cower in fear of it... [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And you hit like a girl.]]"



* Liquidator from ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck''. In his first appearance he had a lot of water-based powers, but seemed to lose them after that. (In fact, he didn't even appear as a villain by himself in subsequent episodes, only appearing as a member of the Fearsome Five.) This is probably because not only was he way too powerful to be a recurring enemy to a BadassNormal, but there were only a handful of ways he could be truly beaten.

to:

* Liquidator from ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck''. In his first appearance he had a lot of water-based powers, but seemed to lose as if he lost them after that. (In fact, he didn't even appear as a villain by himself in subsequent episodes, only appearing as a member of the Fearsome Five.) This is probably because not only was he way too powerful to be a recurring enemy to a BadassNormal, but there were only a handful of ways he could be truly beaten. It is implied in Recap/DarkwingDuckS1E60JailBird when Negaduck acquires them and makes better use of them that he is just not creative and imaginative enough to use them to their full potential but this still counts as he was way more efficient with them in his solo appearance.
14th Nov '17 6:08:09 AM Shadowgazer
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Ra's Al Ghul himself suffered from this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and later Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse canon. Introduced as the leader of a global secret society, whose first villain plan involved wiping out 99% of the human race to save the planet, and once described by Batman himself as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than ComicBook/LexLuthor and ComicBook/TheJoker combined", Ra's would end up spending EVERY SINGLE ONE of his episodes trying out various wacky schemes to cheat death and expand his already 600 year long lifespan, instead of doing anything productive to menace the human race.
** Ra's al Ghul's Villain Decay is still debatable, considering how even in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Demon Reborn," Batman himself declared that Ra's al Ghul was more dangerous than both The Joker and Lex Luthor combined. Later in the canon, though, they refer to something called "The Near-Apocalypse of '09," which Ra's was behind, and apparently took the whole Justice League to stop.

to:

* Ra's Al Ghul himself suffered from this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and later Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse canon. Introduced as the leader of a global secret society, whose first villain plan involved wiping out 99% of the human race to save the planet, and once described by Batman himself in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Demon Reborn," as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than ComicBook/LexLuthor and ComicBook/TheJoker combined", Ra's would end up spending EVERY SINGLE ONE of his episodes trying out various wacky schemes to cheat death and expand his already 600 year long lifespan, instead of doing anything productive to menace the human race.
**
race. Ra's al Ghul's Villain Decay is still debatable, considering how even in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Demon Reborn," Batman himself declared that Ra's al Ghul was more dangerous than both The Joker and Lex Luthor combined. Later later in the canon, though, they refer to something called "The Near-Apocalypse of '09," which Ra's was behind, and apparently took the whole Justice League to stop.
8th Nov '17 7:58:15 AM xcountryguy
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** The show tries its hardest avert this trope with [[KnightofCerebus the Lich]] by having him show up only in big season finales--the less he shows up, [[FailureistheOnlyOption the less we have to see him being beaten]]. But even with only three real appearances to date, his impact has decayed just slightly enough that the writers decided to temporarily shelve the character by having Finn [[spoiler: turn him into a harmless giant baby]]. [[{{Irony}} Ironically]], this might be the ultimate example of villain decay, if it weren't made clear that the Lich we know and fear is still alive somewhere in there. For the next major finale in Season 6, a substitute villain is introduced, more comedic but just as threatening.

to:

** The show tries its hardest avert this trope with [[KnightofCerebus the Lich]] by having him show up only in big season finales--the less he shows up, [[FailureistheOnlyOption the less we have to see him being beaten]]. But even with only three real appearances to date, his impact has decayed just slightly enough that the writers decided to temporarily shelve the character by having Finn [[spoiler: turn [[spoiler:turn him into a harmless giant baby]]. [[{{Irony}} Ironically]], this might be the ultimate example of villain decay, if it weren't made clear that the Lich we know and fear is still alive somewhere in there. For the next major finale in Season 6, a substitute villain is introduced, more comedic but just as threatening.



** His diminished threat is cemented in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' where not only has he pulled a GrandTheftMe on his own daughter in yet another plan to avoid death, he suffers an epic TheReasonYouSuckSpeech from Batman himself who tells him "You don't cheat death, you cower in fear of it....[[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And you hit like a girl.]]"

to:

** His diminished threat is cemented in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' where not only has he pulled a GrandTheftMe on his own daughter in yet another plan to avoid death, he suffers an epic TheReasonYouSuckSpeech from Batman himself who tells him "You don't cheat death, you cower in fear of it....it... [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And you hit like a girl.]]"



''Ego Trip'' zigzags all over the place on this trope. Mandark does eventually TakeOverTheWorld as an adult, resulting in a CrapsackWorld BadFuture that Dexter and a bunch of other Dexters from other points in time (including FutureBadass Dexter) have to stop. However, it only happened because Mandark stole Dexter's [[MacGuffin Neurotomic Protocore]]. ''However'', this happened after Dexter became a meek pencil-pusher designing cubicles as an adult, while Mandark is his rich, successful, abusive boss. And when it comes down to who will win in the end, it's all rendered moot because [[spoiler: the day is ultimately saved by an out-of-nowhere, completely oblivious BigDamnHeroes moment by Dee Dee]].

to:

''Ego Trip'' zigzags all over the place on this trope. Mandark does eventually TakeOverTheWorld as an adult, resulting in a CrapsackWorld BadFuture that Dexter and a bunch of other Dexters from other points in time (including FutureBadass Dexter) have to stop. However, it only happened because Mandark stole Dexter's [[MacGuffin Neurotomic Protocore]]. ''However'', this happened after Dexter became a meek pencil-pusher designing cubicles as an adult, while Mandark is his rich, successful, abusive boss. And when it comes down to who will win in the end, it's all rendered moot because [[spoiler: the [[spoiler:the day is ultimately saved by an out-of-nowhere, completely oblivious BigDamnHeroes moment by Dee Dee]].



* While Gideon, BigBad of the first season of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' averted it in his first re-appearance in Season 2, "The Stanchurian Candidate", it was then played straight with him in "Weirdmageddon Part 1", where he is just a flunky to the true BigBad Bill Cipher, and his usual creepiness is completely absent in favor of the pure comedy of him being a stereotypical CorruptHick sheriff (as Wendy puts it: "He's gotten ''folksier!''"). Genuinely caring about his fellow prison inmate gang members also neuters his villainy. In the end, [[spoiler: his HeelFaceTurn doesn't come off as too surprising as a result]].

to:

* While Gideon, BigBad of the first season of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' averted it in his first re-appearance in Season 2, "The Stanchurian Candidate", it was then played straight with him in "Weirdmageddon Part 1", where he is just a flunky to the true BigBad Bill Cipher, and his usual creepiness is completely absent in favor of the pure comedy of him being a stereotypical CorruptHick sheriff (as Wendy puts it: "He's gotten ''folksier!''"). Genuinely caring about his fellow prison inmate gang members also neuters his villainy. In the end, [[spoiler: his [[spoiler:his HeelFaceTurn doesn't come off as too surprising as a result]].



* An interesting case with Aku in Season 5 of ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' in that it was somewhat self inflicted; frustrated by his inability to kill Jack in direct combat, Aku went for pragmatism and destroyed every time portal he could find before hiding out in his fortress, anticipating that Jack would die of old age or combat sooner or later. Unfortunately for Aku, sending Jack to the future turned him into TheAgeless, and in the fifty years that have passed between seasons Aku has become a nervous recluse trying to convince himself that he won't be stuck with an eternity of Jack hunting him. [[spoiler: He breaks out of it in Episode 9, gleefully corrupting Ashi into a female clone of himself and forcing Jack to surrender rather than kill her.]]

to:

* An interesting case with Aku in Season 5 of ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' in that it was somewhat self inflicted; frustrated by his inability to kill Jack in direct combat, Aku went for pragmatism and destroyed every time portal he could find before hiding out in his fortress, anticipating that Jack would die of old age or combat sooner or later. Unfortunately for Aku, sending Jack to the future turned him into TheAgeless, and in the fifty years that have passed between seasons Aku has become a nervous recluse trying to convince himself that he won't be stuck with an eternity of Jack hunting him. [[spoiler: He [[spoiler:He breaks out of it in Episode 9, gleefully corrupting Ashi into a female clone of himself and forcing Jack to surrender rather than kill her.]]



* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] has been reduced to a shell of his former self since the Clone Wars. In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', he was a ruthless rogue Sith Lord who easily massacred legions of Jedi and lead his own army of Mandalorians and Nightsisters to become a dangerous threat to both the Separatists and Galactic Republic. By the events of ''Rebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] is on the run, lost all of his followers, and relies more on manipulating the heroes to achieve his goals. Although he handily defeats the Imperial Inquisitiors and is a legitimate threat to the ''Ghost'' crew, he recognizes that he is no match for the Empire and would never defeat Palpatine and Darth Vader. [[spoiler:Maul's]] decay is justified as his numerous losses from the Jedi and brutal defeat at the hands of [[spoiler:Darth Sidious]] have robbed him of his former strength and turned him into a wreck.

to:

* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] [[spoiler:Maul]] has been reduced to a shell of his former self since the Clone Wars. In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', he was a ruthless rogue Sith Lord who easily massacred legions of Jedi and lead his own army of Mandalorians and Nightsisters to become a dangerous threat to both the Separatists and Galactic Republic. By the events of ''Rebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] [[spoiler:Maul]] is on the run, lost all of his followers, and relies more on manipulating the heroes to achieve his goals. Although he handily defeats the Imperial Inquisitiors and is a legitimate threat to the ''Ghost'' crew, he recognizes that he is no match for the Empire and would never defeat Palpatine and Darth Vader. [[spoiler:Maul's]] decay is justified as his numerous losses from the Jedi and brutal defeat at the hands of [[spoiler:Darth Sidious]] have robbed him of his former strength and turned him into a wreck.



* The Shredder of the '''second''' ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2003}}'' cartoon series, on the other hand, managed to emerge after seven seasons mostly unscathed by villain decay, growing more powerful to the point where the turtles stopped being able to defeat him with martial arts alone, and ''always'' portrayed as both [[MagnificentBastard scarily competent]] and pure evil. However, not all the series villains are so lucky--the Shredder's [[TheDragon dragon]], Hun, in particular, went from "tough" to "joke" in the space of one season, before regaining some measure of respectability during the last third of the show's second season, which he retains--mostly by not featuring him in any extended battles with the turtles--until the end of the show...[[spoiler: and gains a considerable power upgrade upon becoming an EmpoweredBadassNormal in ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'']]. Karai went from beating all four turtles and Casey Jones (easily) in her first appearance to Leo and Mike making a complete mockery of her in her own base when all they were there to do was steal an AncientArtifact.

to:

* The Shredder of the '''second''' ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2003}}'' cartoon series, on the other hand, managed to emerge after seven seasons mostly unscathed by villain decay, growing more powerful to the point where the turtles stopped being able to defeat him with martial arts alone, and ''always'' portrayed as both [[MagnificentBastard scarily competent]] and pure evil. However, not all the series villains are so lucky--the Shredder's [[TheDragon dragon]], Hun, in particular, went from "tough" to "joke" in the space of one season, before regaining some measure of respectability during the last third of the show's second season, which he retains--mostly by not featuring him in any extended battles with the turtles--until the end of the show...[[spoiler: and [[spoiler:and gains a considerable power upgrade upon becoming an EmpoweredBadassNormal in ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'']]. Karai went from beating all four turtles and Casey Jones (easily) in her first appearance to Leo and Mike making a complete mockery of her in her own base when all they were there to do was steal an AncientArtifact.



** Scott from the forth season was always [[LaughablyEvil comedic and a little dim]], but he was also devious and [[LackofEmpathy showed no remorse about using people to get ahead]]. The next season started off with him acting much the same way, sabotaging the other team and [[PsychoticSmirk smirking creepily]] while never losing the occasional slapstick gag. Once he got a crush on [[spoiler: Courtney]], though, he was Flanderized into a [[LoveMakesYouDumb complete moron]] and had pretty much all of his villainous traits dropped.

to:

** Scott from the forth season was always [[LaughablyEvil comedic and a little dim]], but he was also devious and [[LackofEmpathy showed no remorse about using people to get ahead]]. The next season started off with him acting much the same way, sabotaging the other team and [[PsychoticSmirk smirking creepily]] while never losing the occasional slapstick gag. Once he got a crush on [[spoiler: Courtney]], [[spoiler:Courtney]], though, he was Flanderized into a [[LoveMakesYouDumb complete moron]] and had pretty much all of his villainous traits dropped.



** From the [[Wiki/TFWikiDotNet Transformers Wiki]], regarding the first episode of the show, re: [[ButtMonkey Waspinator]]: "In a stark contrast to his later career, he actually proved to be a serious threat and had the advantage over the inexperienced Cheetor, pinning the young Maximal down in a canyon." Somewhere between blowing himself up with his own missiles in episode 4 and Rattrap kicking him in the nuts at the end of season 1 his true destiny came to fruition. Amazingly, [[spoiler: in ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' he suffered villain decay all over again as Thrust.]]

to:

** From the [[Wiki/TFWikiDotNet Transformers Wiki]], regarding the first episode of the show, re: [[ButtMonkey Waspinator]]: "In a stark contrast to his later career, he actually proved to be a serious threat and had the advantage over the inexperienced Cheetor, pinning the young Maximal down in a canyon." Somewhere between blowing himself up with his own missiles in episode 4 and Rattrap kicking him in the nuts at the end of season 1 his true destiny came to fruition. Amazingly, [[spoiler: in [[spoiler:in ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' he suffered villain decay all over again as Thrust.]]



** Even the films have done this. The Decepticons were nearly unstoppable at first, Starscream even managing to outmaneuver the Autobots and the air force in the first film -- in the sequel, they get thrown around. Although the extent of decay is hard to tell since [[spoiler: the Autobots and humans from around the globe have been fighting for two years now as a specialized task force. They're better prepared this time. Plus the fights aren't in crowded cities, so the Autobots can cut loose, especially Optimus]].

to:

** Even the films have done this. The Decepticons were nearly unstoppable at first, Starscream even managing to outmaneuver the Autobots and the air force in the first film -- in the sequel, they get thrown around. Although the extent of decay is hard to tell since [[spoiler: the [[spoiler:the Autobots and humans from around the globe have been fighting for two years now as a specialized task force. They're better prepared this time. Plus the fights aren't in crowded cities, so the Autobots can cut loose, especially Optimus]].



** Subverted at the very end of the first movie when [[spoiler: they team up with their ancestors, the Three Ancestral Witches]], promising to ''rip the Faeries' wings off''.

to:

** Subverted at the very end of the first movie when [[spoiler: they [[spoiler:they team up with their ancestors, the Three Ancestral Witches]], promising to ''rip the Faeries' wings off''.



* Cedric, TheDragon from ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', was quite menacing and monstrous in his first few appearances. As the series went on, though, his purpose largely became to get his clock cleaned by the heroines every few episodes, quickly robbing him of any serious threat. The series finale even [[YankTheDogsChain yanked his chain]] by [[spoiler: having him become supremely powerful...only to not realize he didn't know how to properly utilize it, and he gets beaten up rather easily AGAIN]]. Lampshaded in the first season finale, when [[BigBad Phobos]] [[YouHaveFailedMe chewed Cedric out for his failures epically]], then used his newly-heightened magic powers to curse him into a pathetically small and weak version of his OneWingedAngel form.

to:

* Cedric, TheDragon from ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', was quite menacing and monstrous in his first few appearances. As the series went on, though, his purpose largely became to get his clock cleaned by the heroines every few episodes, quickly robbing him of any serious threat. The series finale even [[YankTheDogsChain yanked his chain]] by [[spoiler: having [[spoiler:having him become supremely powerful...only to not realize he didn't know how to properly utilize it, and he gets beaten up rather easily AGAIN]]. Lampshaded in the first season finale, when [[BigBad Phobos]] [[YouHaveFailedMe chewed Cedric out for his failures epically]], then used his newly-heightened magic powers to curse him into a pathetically small and weak version of his OneWingedAngel form.



* In his first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/YinYangYo'', Kraggler is an incredibly elderly gargoyle who is discounted by the siblings due to his age, then proves to be a very powerful and capable villain, who, rather than being defeated, is convinced to stop because of an apology for his mistreatment. From then on, he's treated as a joke villain (even moreso than the other villains, this being a comedy series) who's only a threat if he uses magic to reduce his age.

to:

* In his first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/YinYangYo'', Kraggler is an incredibly elderly gargoyle who is discounted by the siblings due to his age, then proves to be a very powerful and capable villain, who, rather than being defeated, is convinced to stop because of an apology for his mistreatment. From then on, he's treated as a joke villain (even moreso than the other villains, this being a comedy series) who's only a threat if he uses magic to reduce his age.age.
----
22nd Sep '17 12:34:35 PM RobTan
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

** [[InvertedTropes Inverted]] in ''Batman Beyond'' by Mad Stan, the show's resident BombThrowingAnarchist, who began the series as a comical, over the top paranoid weirdo whose grand plan was to blowup a library, and ended it as one of the few [[BadassNormal non-powered]] villains who posed a legitimate physical threat to Terry, and almost destroyed Gotham with a suitcase nuke.
29th Aug '17 9:24:34 AM MBG
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** ''Animated'' started out with the Autobots requiring all hands on deck to stand a chance against any of the Decipticons but by the end of season 3, Optimus Prime is able to take on Megatron single handed.

to:

** ''Animated'' started out with the Autobots requiring all hands on deck to stand a chance against any of the Decipticons Decepticons but by the end of season 3, Optimus Prime is able to take on Megatron single handed.


Added DiffLines:

*** Unicron, the planet-munching robot Satan, took this in the third season. Pretty well justified there; he'd been reduced to a head, so he had almost none of his old power and all his schemes were basically him trying to manipulate others into helping rebuild him.
3rd Aug '17 4:39:40 AM Silverblade2
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Ra's Al Ghul himself suffered from this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and later Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse canon. Introduced as the leader of a global secret society, whose first villain plan involved wiping out 99% of the human race to save the planet, and once described by Batman himself as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than ComicBook/LexLuthor and SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker combined", Ra's would end up spending EVERY SINGLE ONE of his episodes trying out various wacky schemes to cheat death and expand his already 600 year long lifespan, instead of doing anything productive to menace the human race.

to:

* Ra's Al Ghul himself suffered from this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and later Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse canon. Introduced as the leader of a global secret society, whose first villain plan involved wiping out 99% of the human race to save the planet, and once described by Batman himself as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than ComicBook/LexLuthor and SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker ComicBook/TheJoker combined", Ra's would end up spending EVERY SINGLE ONE of his episodes trying out various wacky schemes to cheat death and expand his already 600 year long lifespan, instead of doing anything productive to menace the human race.
9th Jul '17 9:58:55 PM patriciovalencia117
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Even though he is still a formidable recurring villain in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] has been reduced to a shell of his former self. In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', he was a ruthless {{chessmaster}} who easily massacred legions of Jedi and lead his own army of Mandalorians and Nightsisters to become a dangerous threat to both the Separatists and Galactic Republic. By the events of ''Rebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] is on the run, lost all of his followers, and relies more on manipulating the heroes to achieve his goals. Although he is still capable of defeating the Imperial Inquisitiors, he recognizes that he is no match for the Empire and quickly flees when Darth Vader arrives to confront him. Maul's case is justified as his numerous losses from the Jedi and brutal defeat at the hands of [[spoiler:Darth Sidious]] have turned him into a wreck.

to:

* Even though he is still a formidable recurring villain in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] has been reduced to a shell of his former self. self since the Clone Wars. In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', he was a ruthless {{chessmaster}} rogue Sith Lord who easily massacred legions of Jedi and lead his own army of Mandalorians and Nightsisters to become a dangerous threat to both the Separatists and Galactic Republic. By the events of ''Rebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] is on the run, lost all of his followers, and relies more on manipulating the heroes to achieve his goals. Although he is still capable of defeating handily defeats the Imperial Inquisitiors, Inquisitiors and is a legitimate threat to the ''Ghost'' crew, he recognizes that he is no match for the Empire and quickly flees when would never defeat Palpatine and Darth Vader arrives to confront him. Maul's case Vader. [[spoiler:Maul's]] decay is justified as his numerous losses from the Jedi and brutal defeat at the hands of [[spoiler:Darth Sidious]] have robbed him of his former strength and turned him into a wreck.
8th Jul '17 4:00:29 PM Manny20444
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** The Royal Flush Gang in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' was at their best in their first episode. In the second, they shoot themselves in the foot by alienating Melanie/Ten with their scheme. In their third and final appearance, they're on their last legs. King and Queen's relationship is falling apart as Queen constantly compares King negatively to her father the previous King, Ace is literally falling apart since they can no longer afford reliable repairs, and Jack ends up in prison by the midpoint of the episode. Batman barely has to do anything to beat them this time. They pretty much defeat themselves.



* The Royal Flush Gang in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' was at their best in their first episode. In the second, they shoot themselves in the foot by alienating Melanie/Ten with their scheme. In their third and final appearance, they're on their last legs. King and Queen's relationship is falling apart as Queen constantly compares King negatively to her father the previous King, Ace is literally falling apart since they can no longer afford reliable repairs, and Jack ends up in prison by the midpoint of the episode. Batman barely has to do anything to beat them this time. They pretty much defeat themselves.
14th Jun '17 11:49:46 PM merotoker
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* The first ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|1987}}'' animated series used heavy LampshadeHanging ("at last, Shredder, you've done something right!") to underscore how completely the Shredder had become a joke villain. While he was mildly threatening in the first season (although to what extent this is the case is cause for debate), villain decay set in very quickly after that, as it did with most of the series' villains.
* The Shredder of the '''second''' ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2003}}'' cartoon series, on the other hand, managed to emerge after seven seasons mostly unscathed by villain decay, growing more powerful to the point where the turtles stopped being able to defeat him with martial arts alone, and ''always'' portrayed as both [[MagnificentBastard scarily competent]] and pure evil. However, not all the series villains are so lucky--the Shredder's [[TheDragon dragon]], Hun, in particular, went from "tough" to "joke" in the space of one season, before regaining some measure of respectability during the last third of the show's second season, which he retains--mostly by not featuring him in any extended battles with the turtles--until the end of the show...[[spoiler: and gains a considerable power upgrade upon becoming an EmpoweredBadassNormal in ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'']]. Karai went from beating all four turtles and Casey Jones (easily) in her first appearance to Leo and Mike making a complete mockery of her in her own base when all they were there to do was steal an AncientArtifact.

to:

* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'':
**
The first ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|1987}}'' animated series used heavy LampshadeHanging ("at last, Shredder, you've done invokes it in the Ice King for CharacterDevelopment. IK was the BigBad at the beginning of the series (although he was a bit of an [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain ineffectual]] [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds woobie]] even then), but his character becomes increasingly {{tragic|Villain}} and [[FreudianExcuse sympathetic]] as [[BackstoryHorror his origin]] and [[LossOfIdentity former self]] were revealed. As the heroes grow to realize this, they begin to treat him with less animosity, and in turn he mellows out. By now, he's more an annoyance than a threat.
** The show tries its hardest avert this trope with [[KnightofCerebus the Lich]] by having him show up only in big season finales--the less he shows up, [[FailureistheOnlyOption the less we have to see him being beaten]]. But even with only three real appearances to date, his impact has decayed just slightly enough that the writers decided to temporarily shelve the character by having Finn [[spoiler: turn him into a harmless giant baby]]. [[{{Irony}} Ironically]], this might be the ultimate example of villain decay, if it weren't made clear that the Lich we know and fear is still alive somewhere in there. For the next major finale in Season 6, a substitute villain is introduced, more comedic but just as threatening.
* Rataxes in ''WesternAnimation/{{Babar}}'' and even more in the SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/BabarAndTheAdventuresOfBadou'', he was a ruthless slaver warlord in the Babar movie only to be turn into a JerkassWithAHeartOfGold in the first series and even more a wimpy husband in the sequel series. In the first series Rataxes could be mean and selfish, but was presented as LaughablyEvil and FriendlyEnemy, never really crossing the MoralEventHorizon, been a loving father and husband and, despite having a deep rivalry with Babar, even going into big deals to avoid war with his kingdom and trying to save Babar's baby daughter Isabelle from drowning. In the second series the decay is so total that he's presented as an abused husband.
* Ra's Al Ghul himself suffered from this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and later Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse canon. Introduced as the leader of a global secret society, whose first villain plan involved wiping out 99% of the human race to save the planet, and once described by Batman himself as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than ComicBook/LexLuthor and SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker combined", Ra's would end up spending EVERY SINGLE ONE of his episodes trying out various wacky schemes to cheat death and expand his already 600 year long lifespan, instead of doing anything productive to menace the human race.
** Ra's al Ghul's Villain Decay is still debatable, considering how even in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Demon Reborn," Batman himself declared that Ra's al Ghul was more dangerous than both The Joker and Lex Luthor combined. Later in the canon, though, they refer to
something right!") to underscore how completely called "The Near-Apocalypse of '09," which Ra's was behind, and apparently took the Shredder had become a joke villain. While whole Justice League to stop.
** Ra's says in "The Demon Reborn" that he realized the Lazarus Pits effects were becoming shorter and shorter, so perhaps
he was mildly concentrating on finding out a way to live longer before trying another [[TakeOverTheWorld world domination effort]].
** His diminished threat is cemented in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' where not only has he pulled a GrandTheftMe on his own daughter in yet another plan to avoid death, he suffers an epic TheReasonYouSuckSpeech from Batman himself who tells him "You don't cheat death, you cower in fear of it....[[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And you hit like a girl.]]"
** Also from BTAS, Killer Croc. In his first appearance he came up with a pretty good plan to frame Harvey Bullock, and gave Batman a pretty good fight. After that, he was mostly treated as DumbMuscle comic relief, and [[TheWorfEffect was used to demonstrate how awesome Bane and the Judge were by getting his ass kicked]]. And he was barely a threat to Batman anymore, who flattened him with one punch in the episode "The Trial".
*** He actually does have a couple of decent showings after that, and wasn't always portrayed as stupid; ironically, his DumbMuscle characterization started with (and was worst in) the episode "Almost Got 'Em", the irony being "Croc" was actually Batman in disguise. Unfortunately for Croc, this was his ''most famous'' "appearance", so this is how he is remembered.
** In his second appearance, while the ClockKing did gain a device that actually let him control time, he also didn't show a lot of what made him such a formidable opponent in his debut episode (his ludicrously precise timing and planning). This resulted in the man who was able to physically match Batman in combat being taken out the instant his device broke. [[TropesAreNotBad This may have been a good thing though]], for those who found him able to do such a thing [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief too hard to swallow]]. Fortunately he recovered from the decay in his ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' appearance as a member of [[Comicbook/SuicideSquad Task Force X]], in which his planning and precise timing were key to a totally successful mission by the team to steal the Annihilator from right out of the Justice League's headquarters.
* Batman's ''entire rogues gallery'' eventually suffers from this in ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'', with the exception of Hugo Strange and possibly Catwoman. In one of the later episodes of the series, Batman and Robin manage to take on and defeat literally ''all'' of them (minus Strange and Catwoman) in a couple of minutes and with no injuries at all. While it's arguable that some of this was due to their poor/nonexistent teamwork, it still looks pretty bad.
* The Royal Flush Gang in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' was at their best in their first episode. In the second, they shoot themselves in the foot by alienating Melanie/Ten with their scheme. In their third and final appearance, they're on their last legs. King and Queen's relationship is falling apart as Queen constantly compares King negatively to her father the previous King, Ace is literally falling apart since they can no longer afford reliable repairs, and Jack ends up in prison by the midpoint of the episode. Batman barely has to do anything to beat them this time. They pretty much defeat themselves.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', Clancy the bug man was a sadistic psychopath in his first appearance. When he appears in the GrandFinale, he has been turned into a generic bug monster for no reason. In fact, most of the villains that returned in the finale were decayed, with the exception of Charmcaster, who stuck to her role as EvilCounterpart to Gwen.
** [[ArchEnemy Vilgax]] is one of the most infamous cases of this trope in the franchise. In the Original Series, he was the Dreaded an ImplacableMan capable of [[CurbStompBattle beating the crap out of most of Ben's alien forms]] with nothing but sheer strength, and Ben couldn't defeat him in a direct fight until he unlocked [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever Way Big]]. When he returned in ''Alien Force'', he still had some moments of badassery, but now would more frequently lose to Ben ([[JustifiedTrope who by this point]] [[TookALevelInBadass was five years older, more mature and with a better understanding of the Omnitrix]]), most notably once losing to [[spoiler:Diamondhead, an alien form who previously couldn't even scratch him]]. Comes ''Omniverse'', now suddenly Vilgax is regularly the butt of jokes by other characters and is revealed to be scared of Ma Vreedle, a ''comedic'' villain, to the point she can send him running away by her mere presence.
** Even worse with the Forever Knights, who went from a mysterious evil organisation to ridiculously weak villains who served as the heroes' punching ball (to the point in one episode, Gwen felt like it was more important for Ben to assist his girlfriend's tennis match than keeping an eye on them). Fortunately corrected in season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien'', where their founder comes back and turns them back into a real threat. ''Omniverse'' bring them back into this trope, since their war with [[ReligionOfEvil the Esoterica]] has left them mostly decimated, with only a very small team still active.
** Charmcaster may not have suffered any decay in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', but she was hit by it pretty hard in her second ''Alien Force'' appearance, where she killed Gwen of an alternate timeline and kept on boasting about it to the present Gwen...[[AntiClimaxBoss only to get her ass kicked by Gwen several times afterwards]] despite her claims of power. Her first appearance in ''Ultimate Alien'' then made it worse, turning her into a mook who barely held off Kevin, the team [[TheWorfEffect Worf]], for a few minutes, and needed the help of two other bad guys to stand a chance against the heroes. Following an entry into the HeelFaceRevolvingDoor, however, she became a threat again, [[NotSoHarmlessVillain even temporarily killing the heroes at one point]] and from then on serving as a [[PhysicalGod godlike]] DimensionLord. She immediately decayed ''again'' in "Couples Retreat", in which she becomes [[{{Jerkass}} Darkstar's]] wishy-washy girlfriend who barely does anything throughout the episode. This is then undone by ''Omniverse'', where she becomes a legitimate threat again. She has permanently kicked Darkstar out of their original dimension, not to mention being super-competent when she temporarily teamed up with Ben, Rook and the gang to get back an artifact (she succeeds AND escapes, albeit with help from her PoisonousCaptive Adwaita) while they were trapped on the Monster Planet Anur Transyl. She's also gained new powers, including merging with her rock monsters to form a special armor and even [[ScaledUp transforming into a dragon]] like [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Maleficent.]]
** Darkstar was fairly
threatening in ''Alien Force'', being a superpowered ManipulativeBastard, but was hit by decay when he reappears in the first season (although finale of ''Ultimate Alien''. He is so starved for energy that he's been reduced to what extent skulking in alleyways preying on stray animals just to survive. He has also become predictable in his treachery -- the heroes stop his attempt to backstab them in the very end with a [[AntiClimaxBoss literal push of a button and he gets taken out with a single punch.]] In "Couple's Retreat", he's a [[WhatAnIdiot flat-out moron]] [[TooDumbToLive who fails to realize talking about how he wants to keep Gwen as a trophy in front of his emotionally unstable sorceress lover who he relies on to get a power boost is a bad idea]]. Finally, in ''Omniverse'', he regains his full power, only to be [[CurbStompBattle immediatly and undignifyiling curb-stomped]] by Ben as [[GodzillaThreshold Ghostfreak]].
** Zombozo initially {{defied|Trope}} this Trope in Ultimate Alien; In his original appearance, he was a horrific and creepy stalker-like character who required being a MookHorrorShow from [[CreepyGood Ghostfreak]] to be defeated, but was an otherwise one-shot villain. When he comes back in Ultimate Alien, he proves to be a decent, AxCrazy and still scary villain, forming an alliance between various villains to attempt RevengeByProxy on Ben and almost getting Gwen's aunt killed. Sadly however, WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse decided to play this trope straight by making him DenserAndWackier and having him going for petty theft such as rob bank. He recovers from it in his final appearance.
** Omniverse episode ''Special Delivery'' hits ''several'' villains with this. Most villains who show up in this episode could give a hard time to Ben in their previous appearances, and no less than three of them ([[DragonAscendant Psyphon]], [[ConMan Fisttrick]] and [[TheJuggernaut Trumbipulor]]) had been through impressive cases of NotSoHarmlessVillain. In this episode, they ''all'' [[VillainTeamUp gang up]] against Ben who at this point is alone and unable to call for help. Yet, he [[CurbStompBattle mops the floor with them]]. Psyphon gets slightly better on the plan of fight, but still manage to grab the IdiotBall.
** Psyphon was hit even harder in "Bengeance is Mine", in which all his previous intelligent characterization was thrown right out the window in favor of making him TooDumbToLive and completely reliant on Vilgax.
* Tuma, his Rock Tribe and the Bone Hunters in ''WesternAnimation/{{Bionicle}}: The Legend Reborn'' are virtually wholly separate entities from their depiction in the preceding stories -- Tuma goes from an intelligent warlord BigBad to a bumbling [[TheDragon underling]], and his tribe from an army of unbeatable warriors to goofy one-hit-kill {{Mooks}}... that couldn't even talk! The Bone Hunters received the same treatment, even though a single group of them could only barely be defeated in an earlier book. In a meta-sense,
this is actually an inversion -- the case movie was written first, and the rest of the story material later. [[AllThereInTheManual External sources did justify some of this threat decay better than the movie, though.]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', it took an age-ified Nigel and the rest of the team to take Father down in his first appearance ("Operation: G.R.O.W.-U.P.). Then a few cadets took him down in his next appearance ("Operation: T.R.A.I.N.I.N.G."), making him more of a comic-relief pest. Then the writers escalated his crimes by turning the KND into animals ("Operation: G.R.A.D.U.A.T.E.S."), and after that was taken care of, they had him extend school hours to 8:25 p.m. (a big deal, since the protagonists are school-hating children -- "Operation: P.R.E.S.I.D.E.N.T."). In ''WesternAnimation/OperationZERO'', he
is cause reduced to being completely ineffectual when faced with his father. ''Z.E.R.O.'' plays with this, however: [[spoiler:after his father banishes him for debate), not being competent enough, he goes into a state of depression which takes his moral opposite brother to pull him out of. Together they face their father and though Father is still afraid he tries to stand up for himself. Soon after he gets sucker punched and Grandfather begins to rag on him a bit and sets off his BerserkButton. His unstoppable rage is so fierce that it makes his heroic brother, who was previously shown to not be afraid of anything, step back and makes Grandfather, the unstoppable evil who has conquered the world, afraid. But before he can do anything he gives up because he's too depressed]]. This shows that it's not the lack of ability that holds him back but rather the lack of self-confidence.
* The Red Guy from ''WesternAnimation/CowAndChicken'' was a sociopathic demon in the pilot episode (to the point of being ''{{Satan}}'') Nowadays, he's still a jerk, but as opposed to being {{Satan}}, he's just a [[NakedPeopleAreFunny butt naked]] dude whose [[LargeHam voice almost always reaches its maximum]].
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''
** Vlad was once a MagnificentBastard and a very competent arch-foe with an often [[DracoInLeatherPants sympathetic side]]. But in the third season, he became a shallow crook with little redeeming qualities; his final plan was to force the world to let him save it from a giant meteor in exchange for world domination (an agenda that was poorly conceived) and 500 billion dollars...as if he wasn't already filthy stinking RICH!
** Skulker is another example. In his first appearance he was genuinely menacing, and had Danny looking over his shoulder scared. Fast forward to "Micro Management", where Danny could defeat him in a few blasts, and only became a threat when Danny lost his powers. It reached its peak in "Girls Night Out", where a ''bird'' chased him off.
* Liquidator from ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck''. In his first appearance he had a lot of water-based powers, but seemed to lose them after that. (In fact, he didn't even appear as a
villain decay set by himself in very quickly after that, subsequent episodes, only appearing as it did with most a member of the series' villains.
* The Shredder of the '''second''' ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2003}}'' cartoon series, on the other hand, managed to emerge after seven seasons mostly unscathed by villain decay, growing more
Fearsome Five.) This is probably because not only was he way too powerful to be a recurring enemy to a BadassNormal, but there were only a handful of ways he could be truly beaten.
* Mandark's first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' established him as clearly superior to Dexter in terms of brains,
to the point where the turtles stopped he could read minds, and saying his name invoked TheScottishTrope. He was quickly brought down to being able to defeat him Dexter's equal, with martial arts alone, his telepathy disappearing. In fact, ''WesternAnimation/EgoTrip'' even stated he had to resort to stealing Dexter's ideas to get ahead. Justified in that Mandark was badass until meeting [[AchillesHeel Dee Dee]] in that very episode, so as long as she's around, he's too lovestruck to do anything, even while she wrecks his lab. The '''real''' Villain Decay for Mandark came in the final season where he [[RetCon has a Flashback episode, revealing his birth name was "Sue," an innocent flower child that met Dexter years ago, taking the name Mandark after being refused friendship by Dexter,]] despite the fact that his debut ep introduced his real name as Ivan Astronomonov with the aforementioned nickname [[TheScottishTrope Mandark.]]\\
\\
''Ego Trip'' zigzags all over the place on this trope. Mandark does eventually TakeOverTheWorld as an adult, resulting in a CrapsackWorld BadFuture that Dexter
and ''always'' portrayed as both [[MagnificentBastard scarily competent]] and pure evil. a bunch of other Dexters from other points in time (including FutureBadass Dexter) have to stop. However, not all the series villains are so lucky--the Shredder's [[TheDragon dragon]], Hun, in particular, went from "tough" it only happened because Mandark stole Dexter's [[MacGuffin Neurotomic Protocore]]. ''However'', this happened after Dexter became a meek pencil-pusher designing cubicles as an adult, while Mandark is his rich, successful, abusive boss. And when it comes down to "joke" who will win in the space of one season, before regaining some measure of respectability during the last third of the show's second season, which he retains--mostly by not featuring him in any extended battles with the turtles--until the end of the show...end, it's all rendered moot because [[spoiler: the day is ultimately saved by an out-of-nowhere, completely oblivious BigDamnHeroes moment by Dee Dee]].
* D-Structs of ''WesternAnimation/{{Dinotrux}}'' initially rules over the crater without question, but when newcomer Ty comes along with his radical ideas of teamwork
and gains a considerable power upgrade upon friendship, D-Structs finds himself frequently outmatched by trux working together to fight him, and begins to notice that people are slowly becoming an EmpoweredBadassNormal in ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'']]. Karai went from beating all four turtles less terrified of him as a result.
* Zordrak of ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone'', while he always usually left the dirty work to his mooks the Urpney, he was initially presented as a calculating, reserved villain who tactized a lot of the plans
and Casey Jones (easily) had the odd moment of physical involvement (where upon things usually got a lot darker in her first appearance to Leo tone). While the second season starts off well with his discovery of the Nightmare Stone, he quickly devolves afterwards, having little role outside something of a demonic PointyHairedBoss for the Urpneys. Since Urpgor and Mike making a complete mockery of her in her own base when all they Blob's team were there now required to do was steal an AncientArtifact.concoct plans themselves, this did lead to a mild subversion in their case however.



* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''
** Sideshow Bob didn't suffer from this until many seasons into the show. His subsequent appearances always outdid the last and became a lot more violent and heinous, but he still never won. Around his fifth or sixth appearance he lost it though.
** Even worse, Mr. Burns used to be a greedy, heartless, megalomaniac CorruptCorporateExecutive, the villain of many episodes. He was regularly depicted as decrepit and with the mindset of a more reactionary era, but that didn't stop him from being entertainingly pure evil. Come Season 10 and beyond, he was inexplicably transformed into an inoffensive old man, most of the jokes about whom revolved around his senility and physical frailty. In other words, yet another victim of the terrible case of {{Flanderization}} which has plagued the series. Burns also showed a very dynamic sympathetic side, where he's almost a Scrooge like figure feeling the effects of a plentiful...but empty life. This is still shown occasionally but in a lighter manner.
** This trope is invoked in-universe in the Halloween special's ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' parody. After Groundskeeper Willie (in the Freddy Krueger role) is defeated, Bart and Lisa contemplate his return. He appears moments later, but has been reduced to an ineffectual villain whose buffoonery is even accompanied by jaunty music.

to:

* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''
** Sideshow Bob didn't suffer from this until many seasons into
In ''WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex'', No-Face was one of Rex's most powerful enemies. When the show. His subsequent appearances always outdid city of Kiev is quarantined to hold off some of the last most powerful [=EVOs=], No-Face emerges as their leader. Powerful and became a lot more violent utterly insane, No-Face defeats both Rex and heinous, but he still never won. Around Six in his fifth or sixth debut episode, and in his second appearance he lost it though.
** Even worse, Mr. Burns used to be a greedy, heartless, megalomaniac CorruptCorporateExecutive,
beat Rex within an inch of his life and even took on Van Kleiss, the villain of many episodes. He was regularly depicted as decrepit and with the mindset of a more reactionary era, but BigBad, for daring to suggest that didn't stop him from being entertainingly pure evil. Rex was needed alive. Come Season 10 and beyond, he was inexplicably transformed into an inoffensive old man, most of the jokes about whom revolved around his senility and physical frailty. In other words, yet another victim of the terrible case of {{Flanderization}} which has plagued the series. Burns also showed a very dynamic sympathetic side, where third appearance he's almost been captured offscreen, and easily put into a Scrooge like figure feeling the effects of full-nelson by Hunter Cain, by and large a plentiful...but empty life. normal human, before joining up with Rex's C-listers. This is still shown occasionally but in a lighter manner.
** This trope is invoked in-universe in
time, Rex curb stomps him twice, and when the Halloween special's ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' parody. After Groundskeeper Willie (in the Freddy Krueger role) is defeated, Bart and Lisa contemplate his return. He appears moments later, but has been reduced opportunity to an ineffectual villain whose buffoonery is even accompanied by jaunty music.kill him arises, Cain's able to threaten No-Face to back off.



* On ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', it took an age-ified Nigel and the rest of the team to take Father down in his first appearance ("Operation: G.R.O.W.-U.P.). Then a few cadets took him down in his next appearance ("Operation: T.R.A.I.N.I.N.G."), making him more of a comic-relief pest. Then the writers escalated his crimes by turning the KND into animals ("Operation: G.R.A.D.U.A.T.E.S."), and after that was taken care of, they had him extend school hours to 8:25 p.m. (a big deal, since the protagonists are school-hating children -- "Operation: P.R.E.S.I.D.E.N.T."). In ''WesternAnimation/OperationZERO'', he is reduced to being completely ineffectual when faced with his father. ''Z.E.R.O.'' plays with this, however: [[spoiler:after his father banishes him for not being competent enough, he goes into a state of depression which takes his moral opposite brother to pull him out of. Together they face their father and though Father is still afraid he tries to stand up for himself. Soon after he gets sucker punched and Grandfather begins to rag on him a bit and sets off his BerserkButton. His unstoppable rage is so fierce that it makes his heroic brother, who was previously shown to not be afraid of anything, step back and makes Grandfather, the unstoppable evil who has conquered the world, afraid. But before he can do anything he gives up because he's too depressed.]] This shows that it's not the lack of ability that holds him back but rather the lack of self-confidence.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpeedRacerTheNextGeneration'' had Zile Zazic, the main villain of the show, oil tycoon and trustee of the Racer Academy...who went through every possible process in which decaying villains could go through! It didn't help that he only carried out his plans first-hand two-thirds of the way through the season. By the end of the show, his plans became boring and predictable.
* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'':
** Jack Spicer became full-on comic relief with the emergence of Chase Young (even achieving memetic status for his lameness ''in-universe''). Chase himself became less of a threat ''to the Xiaolin monks'' when Hannibal Roy Bean was released, moving more into EvilerThanThou and EnemyMine plots against Bean, but he is still an EmpoweredBadassNormal MagnificentBastard to the end.
** Wuya too. Starting off as a fairly credible mentor to Jack, she eventually regained her magical power and managed to take over the world off-screen. Upon her return in the second season however, she was reduced to nothing but a loud, obnoxious whiner, and by the end of the season she was reduced to being nothing more than a cheering fangirl for Chase Young. She regained some of her villainous grativas in the third season, but even then, she was just never as cool as she was in the In the Flesh 3-parter.
* Valmont in ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures''. Just ''look'' at the guy. In the early seasons, he was a charismatic, refined, [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney rich-out-his-ass leader of a worldwide criminal organization]] who could very well be mistaken for a MagnificentBastard (He was even able to hold his own against (and get the better of) Jackie in their personal confrontations.) Then take a gander at the later seasons...knocking over convenience stores, living in an apartment no bigger than your bathroom (seriously), and leaning on the three goons he has left to pay for the bill at a pancake shop. The last time he's ever seen, in the show's final episode, he's become a ''bus driver''.
** The Dark Hand, the criminal organization in question, went with him, going from a NebulousEvilOrganization with an army of {{Mooks}} to Finn, Ratso and Chow. Until they decide to retire because, after being repeatedly beaten up by Jackie Chan and enslaved by evil sorcerers and demons with nothing but pain to show for it, they decided BeingEvilSucks.

to:

* On ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', it took an age-ified Nigel In ''WesternAnimation/GormitiTheLordsOfNatureReturn'', this was the fate that befell Orrore Profondo (Deep Horror), who, in the [[AllThereInTheManual backstory narrated in the toyline]], was a terrifying opponent, feared by all the Gormiti siding with the Wise Old One. He even managed to [[spoiler:trick the Air Gormiti into doing a FaceHeelTurn]]...but in the series (which takes place many millennia after the toyline story), he seems to play second banana to EvilOverlord Magmion and doesn't really show the rest competence a villain of his caliber should. However, this only seems to apply to his anime self: in the comics, as of now, he has retained all of his credentials and Magmion is just one of his underlings.
* While Gideon, BigBad
of the team to take Father down first season of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' averted it in his first appearance ("Operation: G.R.O.W.-U.P.). Then a few cadets took re-appearance in Season 2, "The Stanchurian Candidate", it was then played straight with him down in his next appearance ("Operation: T.R.A.I.N.I.N.G."), making him more of a comic-relief pest. Then the writers escalated his crimes by turning the KND into animals ("Operation: G.R.A.D.U.A.T.E.S."), and after that was taken care of, they had him extend school hours to 8:25 p.m. (a big deal, since the protagonists are school-hating children -- "Operation: P.R.E.S.I.D.E.N.T."). In ''WesternAnimation/OperationZERO'', "Weirdmageddon Part 1", where he is reduced just a flunky to being the true BigBad Bill Cipher, and his usual creepiness is completely ineffectual when faced with his father. ''Z.E.R.O.'' plays with this, however: [[spoiler:after his father banishes him for not being competent enough, he goes into a state of depression which takes his moral opposite brother to pull him out of. Together they face their father and though Father is still afraid he tries to stand up for himself. Soon after he gets sucker punched and Grandfather begins to rag on him a bit and sets off his BerserkButton. His unstoppable rage is so fierce that it makes his heroic brother, who was previously shown to not be afraid of anything, step back and makes Grandfather, the unstoppable evil who has conquered the world, afraid. But before he can do anything he gives up because he's too depressed.]] This shows that it's not the lack of ability that holds him back but rather the lack of self-confidence.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpeedRacerTheNextGeneration'' had Zile Zazic, the main villain
absent in favor of the show, oil tycoon and trustee pure comedy of him being a stereotypical CorruptHick sheriff (as Wendy puts it: "He's gotten ''folksier!''"). Genuinely caring about his fellow prison inmate gang members also neuters his villainy. In the Racer Academy...who went through every possible process in which decaying villains could go through! It didn't help that he only carried out end, [[spoiler: his plans first-hand two-thirds of the way through the season. By the end of the show, his plans became boring and predictable.
* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'':
** Jack Spicer became full-on comic relief with the emergence of Chase Young (even achieving memetic status for his lameness ''in-universe''). Chase himself became less of a threat ''to the Xiaolin monks'' when Hannibal Roy Bean was released, moving more into EvilerThanThou and EnemyMine plots against Bean, but he is still an EmpoweredBadassNormal MagnificentBastard to the end.
** Wuya too. Starting
HeelFaceTurn doesn't come off as a fairly credible mentor to Jack, she eventually regained her magical power and managed to take over the world off-screen. Upon her return in the second season however, she was reduced to nothing but a loud, obnoxious whiner, and by the end of the season she was reduced to being nothing more than a cheering fangirl for Chase Young. She regained some of her villainous grativas in the third season, but even then, she was just never too surprising as cool as she was in the In the Flesh 3-parter.
a result]].
* Valmont in ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures''. ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures''.
**
Just ''look'' at the guy.Valmont. In the early seasons, he was a charismatic, refined, [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney rich-out-his-ass leader of a worldwide criminal organization]] who could very well be mistaken for a MagnificentBastard (He was even able to hold his own against (and get the better of) Jackie in their personal confrontations.) Then take a gander at the later seasons...knocking over convenience stores, living in an apartment no bigger than your bathroom (seriously), and leaning on the three goons he has left to pay for the bill at a pancake shop. The last time he's ever seen, in the show's final episode, he's become a ''bus driver''.
** The Dark Hand, the criminal organization in question, went with him, going from a NebulousEvilOrganization NebulousEvilOrganisation with an army of {{Mooks}} to Finn, Ratso and Chow. Until they decide to retire because, after being repeatedly beaten up by Jackie Chan and enslaved by evil sorcerers and demons with nothing but pain to show for it, they decided BeingEvilSucks.



* The Decepticons of ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' suffer this in most versions. ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' and ''[[WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated Animated]]'' each had different methods to avoid them becoming ineffectual:
** ''Beast Wars'' avoided it by being more [[StoryArc arc]]-based with the Predacons often winning.
** Inferno, unfortunately, decayed so quickly that to anyone who's only seen the first season, his supposed power comes off as more of an InformedAbility.
** Rampage is a {{downplayed|Trope}} example. When he first appears, he's TheJuggernaut. Having his spark torn out and forced to serve Megatron made him the ImplacableMan. That's how badass he was.
** And yet, almost any episode where Rampage didn't have a major role in the plot will have him either get {{curb stomp|Battle}}ed or hand him TheWorfEffect. Often in a really silly way.
** From the [[Wiki/TFWikiDotNet Transformers Wiki]], regarding the first episode of the show, re: [[ButtMonkey Waspinator]]: "In a stark contrast to his later career, he actually proved to be a serious threat and had the advantage over the inexperienced Cheetor, pinning the young Maximal down in a canyon." Somewhere between blowing himself up with his own missiles in episode 4 and Rattrap kicking him in the nuts at the end of season 1 his true destiny came to fruition. Amazingly, [[spoiler: in ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' he suffered villain decay all over again as Thrust.]]
** ''Animated'' on the other hand doesn't always have them as the villains. They also reverse the TookALevelInBadass the Autobots as a whole went through by having a crew that was never meant for battle with tools that had primarily non-combat purpose in mind, so it takes the whole team to take down just one or two of the armed-to-the-teeth Decepticons.
** ''Animated'' started out with the Autobots requiring all hands on deck to stand a chance against any of the Decipticons but by the end of season 3, Optimus Prime is able to take on Megatron single handed.
** Starscream took a level up in badassery when he first fought the Autobots and was too strong for them (making up somewhat for the stupidity he displayed earlier), but later he's largely a joke because of how he keep getting his ass kicked by Megatron. Two other Decepticons, Blitzwing and Lugnut also suffered from this. Initially they would be considered {{Not So Harmless Villain}}s. They were dumb, but either of them could take all the Autobots on his own. But as time went on, they kept on getting beaten by plot devices and largely become jokes.
** Over the course of ''TransformersGenerationOne'':
*** Devastator goes from "the ultimate threat who needs half the Autobot army to bring him down" to "[[TheWorfEffect the guy who every combiner beats up at least once]]" to "an EliteMook who gets flattened by [[TheSmartGuy Perceptor.]]"
*** Galvatron was a competent and capable leader in the '86 movie, then was driven insane and became TheNeidermeyer. Early on in that particular portion of his existence, he was ridiculously powerful to the point of [[PersonOfMassDestruction being able to blow up small planets]], but that didn't last, and before long, he was just as ineffective as Megatron, if not moreso. And let's not even talk about what happened in post-G1 series...
** Even the films have done this. The Decepticons were nearly unstoppable at first, Starscream even managing to outmaneuver the Autobots and the air force in the first film -- in the sequel, they get thrown around. Although the extent of decay is hard to tell since [[spoiler: the Autobots and humans from around the globe have been fighting for two years now as a specialized task force. They're better prepared this time. Plus the fights aren't in crowded cities, so the Autobots can cut loose, especially Optimus.]]
*** The Cons performance is poor all around, sure Starscream and Brawl could do some damage, but they were defeated rather easily, as well as most of the other cons. Look at the body count: Autobots lost one guy of five, Decepticons lost five out of eight. Almost all fights with the Autobots, bar Megatron's participation, are pretty one sided. In fairness: in the first movie the Autobots get their asses handed to them by the Decepticons unless Optimus is around; it's the humans and their pesky magnesium "can kill a Decepticon in a few hits" weapons that do most of the heavy lifting in the first movie. The magnesium weapons are so effective that one human soldier is able to kill Blackout ''single-handed''.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'', following tradition, hands this to Starscream (again). He went from surprisingly competent in the pilot to standard [[TheStarscream Starscream]] near the end of the season. And while he dealt Arcee a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown in ''Partners'' and later [[spoiler:went rogue]], but eventually [[spoiler:crawled back to Megatron with his tail between his legs and becoming nothing more than a comic foil throughout season 3, who wailed in despair at Megatron's death in the series finale]] ultimately wrapped up the descent of Starscream from his formidable presence during the pilot mini-series and first half of the series proper.
** Averted with Knockout. Undoubtedly the least dangerous Decepticon character by default, two seasons in and he's remained consistent with his early appearances.
** The Vehicons were a force to be reckoned with in the pilot mini-series, with Arcee and Bumblebee getting trashed by a couple of them until the timely arrival of Bulkhead. Later in the series, one shot takes them down, and they drop like flies. Averted temporarily in "Thirst" when they [[spoilers:become zombies and prove quite difficult to take down permanently... as zombies do]].
** The Insecticons suffered from this and ConservationOfNinjutsu. The First delivered a brutal beating to Arcee, the Second took on Megatron and pummeled him, nearly winning, both having shot them to almost no effect. All subsequent appearances have them defeated stupidly easily by the Autobots and Megatron, who only need to shoot them once or twice to take them down, if that, [[spoiler:dying by crashing trees, for example]]. At first it seems that their insect mode is weaker to blaster fire, but by "The New Recruit" their Robot modes to fair just as poorly.
* The Commando Droids of ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' went from EliteMooks in their first appearances to almost as ineffectual as their ridiculously ineffectual cousin, the B-1 Battledroid. However, this may just be a result of them appearing more often and being pitted against more badass characters such as Jedi and veteran clone troopers - the former being [[OneManArmy One-Man Armies]] and the latter having enough experience to know how to deal with them. Even then, they are still a nuisance at best for those types of characters, and they are still enough of a threat for RedShirts and those not used to fighting wars.
** General Grievous's zig-zags this quite a lot. For example, early on in Season 4 he was fooled by Jar Jar, and General Tarpals managed to injure him at the cost of his own life, allowing the Gungan army to capture him. However, near the end of the same season, Grievous went up against the [[AmazonBrigade Nightsisters]] and their CavalryOfTheDead, led by Ventress (who for most of series prior to that had looked down on Grievous as if he were barely even worth her notice), and ''tore them apart''. The latter was one of the few examples in the entire ''Star Wars'' franchise in which [[WeHaveReserves the sheer overwhelming numbers of the Droid Army]] were used with appropriate ruthlessness.
* Even though he is still a formidable recurring villain in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] has been reduced to a shell of his former self. In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', he was a ruthless {{chessmaster}} who easily massacred legions of Jedi and lead his own army of Mandalorians and Nightsisters to become a dangerous threat to both the Separatists and Galactic Republic. By the events of ''Rebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] is on the run, lost all of his followers, and relies more on manipulating the heroes to achieve his goals. Although he is still capable of defeating the Imperial Inquisitiors, he recognizes that he is no match for the Empire and quickly flees when Darth Vader arrives to confront him. Maul's case is justified as his numerous losses from the Jedi and brutal defeat at the hands of [[spoiler:Darth Sidious]] have turned him into a wreck.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''
** Vlad was once a MagnificentBastard and a very competent arch-foe with an often [[DracoInLeatherPants sympathetic side]]. But in the third season, he became a shallow crook with little redeeming qualities; his final plan was to force the world to let him save it from a giant meteor in exchange for world domination (an agenda that was poorly conceived) and 500 billion dollars...as if he wasn't already filthy stinking RICH!
** Skulker is another example. In his first appearance he was genuinely menacing, and had Danny looking over his shoulder scared. Fast forward to "Micro Management", where Danny could defeat him in a few blasts, and only became a threat when Danny lost his powers. It reached its peak in "Girls Night Out", where a ''bird'' chased him off.
* In his first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/YinYangYo'', Kraggler is an incredibly elderly gargoyle who is discounted by the siblings due to his age, then proves to be a very powerful and capable villain, who, rather than being defeated, is convinced to stop because of an apology for his mistreatment. From then on, he's treated as a joke villain (even moreso than the other villains, this being a comedy series) who's only a threat if he uses magic to reduce his age.
* Ra's Al Ghul himself suffered from this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and later Franchise/{{DCAU}} canon. Introduced as the leader of a global secret society, whose first villain plan involved wiping out 99% of the human race to save the planet, and once described by Batman himself as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than ComicBook/LexLuthor and SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker combined", Ra's would end up spending EVERY SINGLE ONE of his episodes trying out various wacky schemes to cheat death and expand his already 600 year long lifespan, instead of doing anything productive to menace the human race.
** Ra's al Ghul's Villain Decay is still debatable, considering how even in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Demon Reborn," Batman himself declared that Ra's al Ghul was more dangerous than both The Joker and Lex Luthor combined. Later in the canon, though, they refer to something called "The Near-Apocalypse of '09," which Ra's was behind, and apparently took the whole Justice League to stop.
** Ra's says in "The Demon Reborn" that he realized the Lazarus Pits effects were becoming shorter and shorter, so perhaps he was concentrating on finding out a way to live longer before trying another [[TakeOverTheWorld world domination effort]].
** His diminished threat is cemented in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' where not only has he pulled a GrandTheftMe on his own daughter in yet another plan to avoid death, he suffers an epic TheReasonYouSuckSpeech from Batman himself who tells him "You don't cheat death, you cower in fear of it....[[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And you hit like a girl.]]"
** Also from BTAS, Killer Croc. In his first appearance he came up with a pretty good plan to frame Harvey Bullock, and gave Batman a pretty good fight. After that, he was mostly treated as DumbMuscle comic relief, and [[TheWorfEffect was used to demonstrate how awesome Bane and the Judge were by getting his ass kicked]]. And he was barely a threat to Batman anymore, who flattened him with one punch in the episode "The Trial".
*** He actually does have a couple of decent showings after that, and wasn't always portrayed as stupid; ironically, his DumbMuscle characterization started with (and was worst in) the episode "Almost Got 'Em", the irony being "Croc" was actually Batman in disguise. Unfortunately for Croc, this was his ''most famous'' "appearance", so this is how he is remembered.
** In his second appearance, while the ClockKing did gain a device that actually let him control time, he also didn't show a lot of what made him such a formidable opponent in his debut episode (his ludicrously precise timing and planning). This resulted in the man who was able to physically match Batman in combat being taken out the instant his device broke. [[TropesAreNotBad This may have been a good thing though]], for those who found him able to do such a thing [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief too hard to swallow]]. Fortunately he recovered from the decay in his ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' appearance as a member of [[Comicbook/SuicideSquad Task Force X]], in which his planning and precise timing were key to a totally successful mission by the team to steal the Annihilator from right out of the Justice League's headquarters.

to:

* The Decepticons of ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' suffer this in most versions. ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' and ''[[WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated Animated]]'' each Creator/{{Disney}} originally had different methods to avoid them becoming ineffectual:
** ''Beast Wars'' avoided it by
Captain Hook be somewhat dangerous in ''Disney/PeterPan'', with him being more [[StoryArc arc]]-based with the Predacons often winning.
** Inferno, unfortunately, decayed so quickly that to anyone who's only seen the first season, his supposed power comes off as more of an InformedAbility.
** Rampage
decently competent against Peter. However, by ''WesternAnimation/JakeAndTheNeverlandPirates'', he is a {{downplayed|Trope}} example. When he first appears, he's TheJuggernaut. Having his spark torn out now absolutely stupid and forced to serve Megatron made him the ImplacableMan. That's how badass he was.
** And yet, almost any episode where Rampage didn't have
has a major role in the plot will have him either get {{curb stomp|Battle}}ed or hand him TheWorfEffect. Often in a really silly way.
** From the [[Wiki/TFWikiDotNet Transformers Wiki]], regarding the first episode of the show, re: [[ButtMonkey Waspinator]]: "In a stark contrast to his later career, he actually proved to be a serious threat and had the advantage over the inexperienced Cheetor, pinning the young Maximal down in a canyon." Somewhere between blowing himself up with his own missiles in episode 4 and Rattrap kicking him in the nuts at
small ball on the end of season 1 his true destiny came to fruition. Amazingly, [[spoiler: in ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' he suffered villain decay all over again as Thrust.]]
** ''Animated'' on the other hand doesn't always have them as the villains. They also reverse the TookALevelInBadass the Autobots as a whole went through
hook. Maybe small children are scared by having a crew that was never meant for battle with tools that had primarily non-combat purpose in mind, so pointy hooks, but it takes the whole team to take down just one or two of the armed-to-the-teeth Decepticons.
** ''Animated'' started out
seems silly. Or maybe he was just so clumsy with the Autobots requiring hook that his crew did this so he would stop tearing his face off while grooming his beard. To be fair, [[LighterAndSofter the show is aimed at pre-schoolers]], so Captain Hook becoming less intimidating is kind of expected.
* ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest'':
** Dark Vegan was introduced as someone who could wipe out
all hands life on deck to stand a chance against any of the Decipticons Earth, and already ''had'' done so on multiple other planets, but by the end of season 3, Optimus Prime is able to take on Megatron single handed.
** Starscream took a level up in badassery when he first fought the Autobots and was too strong for them (making up somewhat for the stupidity he displayed earlier), but later he's largely a joke because of how he keep getting
his ass kicked by Megatron. Two other Decepticons, Blitzwing and Lugnut also suffered from this. Initially they would be considered {{Not So Harmless Villain}}s. They were dumb, but either of them could take all the Autobots on his own. But as time went on, they kept on getting beaten by plot devices and largely become jokes.
** Over the course of ''TransformersGenerationOne'':
*** Devastator goes from "the ultimate threat who needs half the Autobot army to bring him down" to "[[TheWorfEffect the guy who every combiner beats up at least once]]" to "an EliteMook who gets flattened by [[TheSmartGuy Perceptor.]]"
*** Galvatron was a competent and capable leader in the '86 movie, then was driven insane and became TheNeidermeyer. Early on in that particular portion of his existence,
third appearance he was ridiculously powerful had decayed to the point of [[PersonOfMassDestruction being able to blow up small planets]], but that didn't last, and before long, where Johnny frequently thwarted him without even knowing he was just there, and is more of a wacky nextdoor neighbor than a real villain. It's explained that he's stuck on Earth, and as ineffective as Megatron, if not moreso. And let's not even talk about what happened in post-G1 series...
** Even
a result is without his army or the films have done this. ability to replace his damaged weapons.
** Eugene aka "Bling Boy Boy", who started as Johnny's ArchEnemy but devolved into a frequent AntiHero friend of his.
*
The Decepticons were nearly unstoppable at first, Starscream even managing to outmaneuver the Autobots and the air force Lieutenant, Amon's electric stick-wielding [[TheDragon second in the first film -- in the sequel, they get thrown around. Although the extent of decay is hard to tell since [[spoiler: the Autobots and humans command]] from around the globe have been fighting for two years now ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', starts out as a specialized task force. They're better prepared this time. Plus the fights aren't in crowded cities, so the Autobots can cut loose, especially Optimus.]]
*** The Cons performance is poor all around, sure Starscream and Brawl could do some damage, but they were defeated rather easily, as well as most of the other cons. Look at the body count: Autobots lost one guy of five, Decepticons lost five out of eight. Almost all fights with the Autobots, bar Megatron's participation, are
pretty one sided. In fairness: in the first movie the Autobots get their asses handed to them by the Decepticons unless Optimus is around; it's the humans and their pesky magnesium "can kill a Decepticon in a few hits" weapons that do most of the heavy lifting in the first movie. The magnesium weapons are so effective that one human soldier is able to kill Blackout ''single-handed''.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'', following tradition, hands this to Starscream (again). He went from surprisingly competent in the pilot to standard [[TheStarscream Starscream]] near the end of the season. And while he dealt Arcee a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown in ''Partners''
villain, absolutely crushing Mako and later [[spoiler:went rogue]], but eventually [[spoiler:crawled back to Megatron with his tail between his legs and becoming nothing more than a comic foil throughout season 3, who wailed Bolin in despair at Megatron's death in the series finale]] ultimately wrapped up the descent of Starscream from his formidable presence during the pilot mini-series and first half of the series proper.
** Averted with Knockout. Undoubtedly the least dangerous Decepticon character by default, two seasons in and he's remained consistent with his early appearances.
** The Vehicons were a force to be reckoned with in the pilot mini-series, with Arcee and Bumblebee getting trashed by a couple of them until the timely arrival of Bulkhead. Later in the series, one shot takes them down, and they drop like flies. Averted temporarily in "Thirst" when they [[spoilers:become zombies and prove quite difficult to take down permanently... as zombies do]].
** The Insecticons suffered from this and ConservationOfNinjutsu. The First delivered a brutal beating to Arcee, the Second took on Megatron and pummeled him, nearly winning, both having shot them to almost no effect. All subsequent appearances have them defeated stupidly easily by the Autobots and Megatron, who only need to shoot them once or twice to take them down, if that, [[spoiler:dying by crashing trees, for example]]. At first it seems that their insect mode is weaker to blaster fire, but by "The New Recruit" their Robot modes to fair just as poorly.
* The Commando Droids of ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' went from EliteMooks in their first appearances to almost as ineffectual as their ridiculously ineffectual cousin, the B-1 Battledroid. However, this may just be a result of them appearing more often and being pitted against more badass characters such as Jedi and veteran clone troopers - the former being [[OneManArmy One-Man Armies]] and the latter having enough experience to know how to deal with them. Even then, they are still a nuisance at best for those types of characters, and they are still enough of a threat for RedShirts and those not used to fighting wars.
** General Grievous's zig-zags this quite a lot. For example, early on in Season 4 he was fooled by Jar Jar, and General Tarpals managed to injure him at the cost of his own life, allowing the Gungan army to capture him. However, near the end of the same season, Grievous went up against the [[AmazonBrigade Nightsisters]] and their CavalryOfTheDead, led by Ventress (who for most of series prior to that had looked down on Grievous as if he were barely even worth her notice), and ''tore them apart''. The latter was one of the few examples in the entire ''Star Wars'' franchise in which [[WeHaveReserves the sheer overwhelming numbers of the Droid Army]] were used with appropriate ruthlessness.
* Even though he is still a formidable recurring villain in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] has been reduced to a shell of his former self. In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', he was a ruthless {{chessmaster}} who easily massacred legions of Jedi and lead his own army of Mandalorians and Nightsisters to become a dangerous threat to both the Separatists and Galactic Republic. By the events of ''Rebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] is on the run, lost all of his followers, and relies more on manipulating the heroes to achieve his goals. Although he is still capable of defeating the Imperial Inquisitiors, he recognizes that he is no match for the Empire and quickly flees when Darth Vader arrives to confront him. Maul's case is justified as his numerous losses from the Jedi and brutal defeat at the hands of [[spoiler:Darth Sidious]] have turned him into a wreck.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''
** Vlad was once a MagnificentBastard and a very competent arch-foe with an often [[DracoInLeatherPants sympathetic side]]. But in the third season, he became a shallow crook with little redeeming qualities; his final plan was to force the world to let him save it from a giant meteor in exchange for world domination (an agenda that was poorly conceived) and 500 billion dollars...as if he wasn't already filthy stinking RICH!
** Skulker is another example. In
his first appearance he was genuinely menacing, and had Danny looking over his shoulder scared. Fast forward to "Micro Management", where Danny could defeat him in a few blasts, and only became a threat when Danny lost his powers. It reached its peak in "Girls Night Out", where a ''bird'' chased him off.
* In his first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/YinYangYo'', Kraggler is an incredibly elderly gargoyle who is discounted by the siblings due to his age, then proves to be a very powerful and capable villain, who, rather than being defeated, is convinced to stop because of an apology for his mistreatment. From then on, he's treated as a joke villain (even moreso than the other villains, this being a comedy series) who's only a threat if he uses magic to reduce his age.
* Ra's Al Ghul himself suffered from this in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and later Franchise/{{DCAU}} canon. Introduced as the leader of a global secret society, whose first villain plan involved wiping out 99% of the human race to save the planet, and once described by Batman himself as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than ComicBook/LexLuthor and SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker combined", Ra's would end up spending EVERY SINGLE ONE of his episodes trying out various wacky schemes to cheat death and expand his already 600 year long lifespan, instead of doing anything productive to menace the human race.
** Ra's al Ghul's Villain Decay is still debatable, considering how even in the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Demon Reborn," Batman himself declared that Ra's al Ghul was more dangerous than
giving both The Joker Lin Beifong and Lex Luthor combined. Later in Korra herself the canon, though, they refer to something called "The Near-Apocalypse fight of '09," which Ra's was behind, and apparently took the whole Justice League to stop.
** Ra's says
their lives in "The Demon Reborn" that he realized the Lazarus Pits effects were becoming shorter and shorter, so perhaps he was concentrating on finding out a way to live longer before trying another [[TakeOverTheWorld world domination effort]].
** His diminished threat is cemented in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' where not only has he pulled a GrandTheftMe on
his own daughter in yet another plan to avoid death, he suffers an epic TheReasonYouSuckSpeech from Batman himself who tells him "You don't cheat death, you cower in fear of it....[[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And you hit like a girl.]]"
** Also from BTAS, Killer Croc.
next one. In his first appearance he came up with a pretty good plan to frame Harvey Bullock, and gave Batman a pretty good fight. After that, he was mostly treated as DumbMuscle comic relief, and [[TheWorfEffect was used to demonstrate how awesome Bane and the Judge were by getting his ass kicked]]. And he was barely a threat to Batman anymore, who flattened him with one punch in the episode "The Trial".
*** He actually does have a couple of decent showings
''every single episode'' after that, though, he rarely does much more than show up, flail around a little bit, and wasn't always portrayed as stupid; ironically, his DumbMuscle characterization started get launched over the horizon in short order.
* The recurring villains in ''WesternAnimation/TheLionGuard'' all fall into this; going from genuine threats to either smug, inept or smug and inept.
** Janja went from a cackling, sinister villain
with (and a strategic cunning to an [[SmugSnake arrogant, but somewhat inept schemer]] who is prone to turning tail and running when things don't go his way. Case in point; in "Return of the Roar" and "Never Judge a Hyena by His Spots", he successfully manages to intimidate Kion and puts up a rather good fight against him (in fact, it's only Kion's roar that saved him both times). In "The Mibali Fields Migration", he's beaten up by a ''newborn''.
** Mzingo
was worst in) a sinister FeatheredFiend who served as Janja's personal spy. However, his competence went down as the episode "Almost Got 'Em", the irony being "Croc" was actually Batman in disguise. Unfortunately for Croc, this was his ''most famous'' "appearance", so this is how he is remembered.
**
series went on. In his final appearance, aside from a brief moment of competence, he's a bumbling ButtMonkey who is defeated almost embarrassingly easily in one of the series' most one-sided curbstomps.
** The jackals, in their first appearance, were very skilled [[ManipulativeBastard manipulators]] who managed to fool pretty much everybody until they were found out. In their
second appearance, while the ClockKing did gain a device that actually let him control time, he also didn't show a lot of what made him such a formidable opponent in his debut episode (his ludicrously precise timing their manipulation skills are so pathetic as to be non-existent and planning). This resulted in the man they become a bickering married couple who was able to physically match Batman in combat being taken out the instant his device broke. [[TropesAreNotBad This may have been a good thing though]], for those who found him able to do such a thing [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief too hard to swallow]]. Fortunately he recovered from the decay in his ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' appearance as a member of [[Comicbook/SuicideSquad Task Force X]], in which his planning and precise timing were key to a totally successful mission by the team to steal the Annihilator from right out of the Justice League's headquarters.are defeated easily.



* While never particularly smart, the Trix sisters from ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' were competent enemies, acting on their own in the first season. They still were more than decent during the second season, even if by then, they were already reduced to the main villain's henchwomen; notable was their fusion into a single, powerful entity in the last episode. Then the third season came, and they became [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain little more than a joke]] - they even received some power-up at some point, but it turned to be useless.
** Subverted at the very end of the first movie when [[spoiler: they team up with their ancestors, the Three Ancestral Witches]], promising to ''rip the Faeries' wings off''.
** Valtor eventually suffered from this at the end of season 3. Even when he was well on his way to becoming the supreme sorcerer of the Magic Dimension, he began to grow mopey and whiny about how he was always hiding and that the Trix losing to the Winx meant that his defeat at the hands of the Company of Light years before was starting to repeat himself. When the Winx managed to hit him with the [[KryptoniteFactor Water Stars]] he became reluctant to even fight them. Even his [[OneWingedAngel demon form]] that removed his weakness to the water stars didn't save him, as he ended up letting the Winx free all of his spells that he had stolen, was abandoned by the Trix, and nearly frowned himself when recalling his water spell. In the end he fell under the control of the Three Ancestral Witches before being single-handedly killed by Bloom.
** Tritannus gets hit with this as well, at the beginning he was real menace to the Winx along with the Trix to who he granted powers to, but he slowly starts losing to the Winx to the point that the he gets easily beaten by [[UnscaledMerfolk Selkies]], who he and the Trix easily kick around.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''
** The Hive kids started out in their first appearance as a well-organized elite fighting force that proved to be an even match for the titular heroes (even taking them down in their first encounter when they had the element of surprise), but by the last season they had decayed so badly a single Titan (Kid Flash) could trounce them all fairly easily (except for Jinx, who had a HeelFaceTurn anyways). Even when they were badass, they hardly liked each other, and weren't all that bright, save Jinx and Gizmo (who was too immature to put his brains to effective use on more than one occasion). One could argue that without Brother Blood to scare them into competence, they just really didn't care about working in tandem anymore. They probably only stuck together at ''all'' by that point because they had nowhere else to go. There's also the fact that since ''Teen Titans'' played a speedster near their full potential, Kid Flash was probably more effective alone than the main five in most cases. This is kinda re-enforced by the fact they got just one person to watch their city for the five of them.
** Billy Numerous was actually somewhat competent in [[Recap/TeenTitansS4E9Overdrive "Overdrive"]]. He was able to continually thwart the Titans until he was outsmarted in the end. After that he wasn't competent anymore.
** Brother Blood himself got this pretty bad. His ''fighting ability'' never really went down- it was his intelligence and ability to make effective use of his other powers that suffered. In "Deception", for example, he seems to know almost everything that's happening in the HIVE from the start (including that Cyborg was TheMole), and he was only beaten in the end because Cyborg's half-mechanical brain was able to reject him. In "Wavelength" and "Titans East", he somehow ''give Cyborg his own powers by mistake'', is completely oblivious to when someone with no mental enhancements at all is capable of completely resisting him, and blows his top at the first opportunity. There's more to decay than just a decrease in power, after all.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', Clancy the bug man was a sadistic psychopath in his first appearance. When he appears in the GrandFinale, he has been turned into a generic bug monster for no reason. In fact, most of the villains that returned in the finale were decayed, with the exception of Charmcaster, who stuck to her role as EvilCounterpart to Gwen.
** [[ArchEnemy Vilgax]] is one of the most infamous cases of this trope in the franchise. In the Original Series, he was an ImplacableMan capable of [[CurbStompBattle beating the crap out of most of Ben's alien forms]] with nothing but sheer strength, and Ben couldn't defeat him in a direct fight until he unlocked [[AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever Way Big]]. When he returned in ''Alien Force'', he still had some moments of badassery, but now would more frequently lose to Ben ([[JustifiedTrope who by this point]] [[TookALevelInBadass was five years older, more mature and with a better understanding of the Omnitrix]]), most notably once losing to [[spoiler:Diamondhead, an alien form who previously couldn't even scratch him]]. Comes ''Omniverse'', now suddenly Vilgax is regularly the butt of jokes by other characters and is revealed to be scared of Ma Vreedle, a ''comedic'' villain, to the point she can send him running away by her mere presence.
** Even worse with the Forever Knights, who went from a mysterious evil organisation to ridiculously weak villains who served as the heroes' punching ball (to the point in one episode, Gwen felt like it was more important for Ben to assist his girlfriend's tennis match than keep an eye on them). Fortunately corrected in season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien'', where their founder comes back and turns them back into a real threat. ''Omniverse'' bring them back into this trope, since their war with [[ReligionOfEvil the Esoterica]] has left them mostly decimated, with only a very small team still active.
** Charmcaster may not have suffered any decay in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', but she was hit by it pretty hard in her second ''Alien Force'' appearance, where she killed Gwen of an alternate timeline and kept on boasting about it to the present Gwen...[[AntiClimaxBoss only to get her ass kicked by Gwen several times afterwards]] despite her claims of power. Her first appearance in ''Ultimate Alien'' then made it worse, turning her into a mook who barely held off Kevin, the team [[TheWorfEffect Worf]], for a few minutes, and needed the help of two other bad guys to stand a chance against the heroes. Following an entry into the HeelFaceRevolvingDoor, however, she became a threat again, [[NotSoHarmlessVillain even temporarily killing the heroes at one point]] and from then on serving as a [[PhysicalGod godlike]] DimensionLord. She immediately decayed ''again'' in "Couples Retreat", in which she becomes [[{{Jerkass}} Darkstar's]] wishy-washy girlfriend who barely does anything throughout the episode. This is then undone by ''Omniverse'', where she becomes a legitimate threat again. She has permanently kicked Darkstar out of their original dimension, not to mention being super-competent when she temporarily teamed up with Ben, Rook and the gang to get back an artifact (she succeeds AND escapes, albeit with help from her PoisonousCaptive Adwaita) while they were trapped on the Monster Planet Anur Transyl. She's also gained new powers, including merging with her rock monsters to form a special armor and even [[ScaledUp transforming into a dragon]] like [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Maleficent.]]
** Darkstar was fairly threatening in ''Alien Force'', being a superpowered ManipulativeBastard, but was hit by decay when he reappears in the first season finale of ''Ultimate Alien''. He is so starved for energy that he's been reduced to skulking in alleyways preying on stray animals just to survive. He has also become predictable in his treachery -- the heroes stop his attempt to backstab them in the very end with a [[AntiClimaxBoss literal push of a button and he gets taken out with a single punch.]] In "Couple's Retreat", he's a [[WhatAnIdiot flat-out moron]] [[TooDumbToLive who fails to realize talking about how he wants to keep Gwen as a trophy in front of his emotionally unstable sorceress lover who he relies on to get a power boost is a bad idea]]. Finally, in ''Omniverse'', he regains his full power, only to be [[CurbStompBattle immediatly and undignifyiling curb-stomped]] by Ben as [[GodzillaThreshold Ghostfreak]].
** Zombozo initially {{defied|Trope}} this Trope in Ultimate Alien; In his original appearance, he was a horrific and creepy stalker-like character who required being a MookHorrorShow from [[CreepyGood Ghostfreak]] to be defeated, but was an otherwise one-shot villain. When he comes back in Ultimate Alien, he proves to be a decent, AxCrazy and still scary villain, forming an alliance between various villains to attempt RevengeByProxy on Ben and almost getting Gwen's aunt killed. Sadly however, WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse decided to play this trope straight by making him DenserAndWackier and having him going for petty theft such as rob bank. He recovers from it in his final appearance.
** Omniverse episode ''Special Delivery'' hits ''several'' villains with this. Most villains who show up in this episode could give a hard time to Ben in their previous appearances, and no less than three of them ([[DragonAscendant Psyphon]], [[ConMan Fisttrick]] and [[TheJuggernaut Trumbipulor]]) had been through impressive cases of NotSoHarmlessVillain. In this episode, they ''all'' [[VillainTeamUp gang up]] against Ben who at this point is alone and unable to call for help. Yet, he [[CurbStompBattle mops the floor with them]]. Psyphon gets slightly better on the plan of fight, but still manage to grab the IdiotBall.
** Psyphon was hit even harder in "Bengeance is Mine", in which all his previous intelligent characterization was thrown right out the window in favor of making him TooDumbToLive and completely reliant on Vilgax.
* In ''WesternAnimation/GormitiTheLordsOfNatureReturn'', this was the fate that befell Orrore Profondo (Deep Horror), who, in the [[AllThereInTheManual backstory narrated in the toyline]], was a terrifying opponent, feared by all the Gormiti siding with the Wise Old One. He even managed to [[spoiler:trick the Air Gormiti into doing a FaceHeelTurn]]...but in the series (which takes place many millennia after the toyline story), he seems to play second banana to EvilOverlord Magmion and doesn't really show the competence a villain of his caliber should. However, this only seems to apply to his anime self: in the comics, as of now, he has retained all of his credentials and Magmion is just one of his underlings.
* Satan was big and scary in his first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', but he's become "a whiny little bitch" in God's own words ever since he was first established as the lover of Saddam Hussein. It's arguable that he started out pre-decayed, though. He LOOKED intimidating, but his master plot in his first appearance was conning the city out of a lot of betting money, rather than, you know, the End of Days or anything like that.
* Mandark's first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' established him as clearly superior to Dexter in terms of brains, to the point where he could read minds, and saying his name invoked TheScottishTrope. He was quickly brought down to being Dexter's equal, with his telepathy disappearing. In fact, "[[TheMovie Ego Trip]]" even stated he had to resort to stealing Dexter's ideas to get ahead. Justified in that Mandark was badass until meeting [[AchillesHeel Dee Dee]] in that very episode, so as long as she's around, he's too lovestruck to do anything, even while she wrecks his lab. The '''real''' Villain Decay for Mandark came in the final season where he [[RetCon has a Flashback episode, revealing his birth name was "Sue," an innocent flower child that met Dexter years ago, taking the name Mandark after being refused friendship by Dexter,]] despite the fact that his debut ep introduced his real name as Ivan Astronomonov with the aforementioned nickname [[TheScottishTrope Mandark.]]
** Ego Trip zigzags all over the place on this trope. Mandark does eventually TakeOverTheWorld as an adult, resulting in a CrapsackWorld BadFuture that Dexter and a bunch of other Dexters from other points in time (including FutureBadass Dexter) have to stop. However, it only happened because Mandark stole Dexter's [[MacGuffin Neurotomic Protocore]]. ''However'', this happened after Dexter became a meek pencil-pusher designing cubicles as an adult, while Mandark is his rich, successful, abusive boss. And when it comes down to who will win in the end, it's all rendered moot because [[spoiler: the day is ultimately saved by an out-of-nowhere, completely oblivious BigDamnHeroes moment by Dee Dee.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''
** Metallo became less and less of a credible threat with each appearance. Probably intentional, too. Metallo's appearance over the episodes maintained the damage he suffered from each prior appearance, implying that he wasn't getting internal repairs, either.
** Kalibak was perhaps the most obvious example. His first appearance was a whole-episode slugfest where he stood toe-to-toe with Superman. In subsequent appearances he's little more than a doorstop: Superman punches him out in less than a minute in "Legacy", and although he beat Franchise/WonderWoman he loses to Batman in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''. In his final appearance he finally got to do something useful... Because he was in an Enemy Mine situation with Scott Free and Franchise/TheFlash.
* While ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'':

to:

* While never particularly smart, the Trix sisters from ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' were competent enemies, acting on their own in the first season. They still were more than decent during the second season, ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''
** Discord is introduced as a [[TheFairFolk genuine threat]] that
even if ''[[GodEmperor Princess Celestia]]'' is afraid of, whose danger is limited only by then, they were already reduced his [[EvilIsPetty lack of ambition]]. In Season Three, however, he's deliberately released by Celestia to be reformed, and spends the main villain's henchwomen; notable was their fusion into episode hanging out in Fluttershy's house and having a single, dinner party with the ponies, being merely a {{Jerkass}} the whole time. Interestingly, he's every bit as powerful entity in the last episode. Then the third season came, and they became [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain little more than a joke]] - they even received some power-up at some point, but it turned to be useless.
** Subverted at the very end of the first movie when [[spoiler: they team up with their ancestors, the Three Ancestral Witches]], promising to ''rip the Faeries' wings off''.
** Valtor eventually suffered from this at the end of season 3. Even when
as he was well on his way to becoming the supreme sorcerer of the Magic Dimension, he began to grow mopey before, and whiny about how he's only pretending to be reformed so he was always hiding and that the Trix losing to the Winx meant that his defeat at the hands of the Company of Light years before was starting to repeat himself. When the Winx managed to hit him can screw around with the [[KryptoniteFactor Water Stars]] he became reluctant ponies. However, ultimately, [[BecomingTheMask Discord comes to even fight them. Even his [[OneWingedAngel demon form]] that removed his weakness to the water stars didn't save him, as he ended up letting the Winx free all of his spells that he had stolen, was abandoned by the Trix, consider Fluttershy a friend]] and nearly frowned himself when recalling his water spell. In the end he fell under the control of the Three Ancestral Witches before being single-handedly killed by Bloom.
** Tritannus gets hit with this as well, at the beginning he was real menace to the Winx along with the Trix to who he granted powers to, but he slowly starts losing to the Winx to the point that the he gets easily beaten by [[UnscaledMerfolk Selkies]], who he and the Trix easily kick around.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''
** The Hive kids started out in their first appearance as a well-organized elite fighting force that proved to be an even match for the titular heroes (even taking them down in their first encounter when they had the element of surprise), but by the last season they had decayed so badly a single Titan (Kid Flash) could trounce them all fairly easily (except for Jinx, who had
makes a HeelFaceTurn anyways). Even when they were badass, they hardly liked each other, for her sake. The decay goes even further in seasons 4 and weren't all that bright, save Jinx 5, where Discord is reduced to a "reality bending comic relief" type of character, and Gizmo (who was too immature to put his brains to effective use on more than one occasion). One could argue that without Brother Blood to scare them into competence, they just really didn't care about working in tandem anymore. They probably only stuck together at ''all'' by that point because they had nowhere else to go. There's also the fact that since ''Teen Titans'' played a speedster near their full potential, Kid Flash was probably more effective alone than the main five in most cases. This is kinda re-enforced by the fact they got just one person to watch their city for the five of them.
** Billy Numerous was actually somewhat competent in [[Recap/TeenTitansS4E9Overdrive "Overdrive"]]. He was able to continually thwart the Titans until he was outsmarted
role in the end. After that show mostly boils down to being a clingy, jealous brat trying to spoil others' fun whenever he wasn't competent anymore.doesn't feel he gets enough attention. (He steps back into villainy in "Make Friends But Keep Discord" and "Dungeons and Discords" by sending, or threatening to send, into a dangerous dimension.) Lampshaded by Tirek during the Season 4 finale.
** Brother Blood himself got this pretty bad. His ''fighting ability'' never really went down- it was his intelligence and ability to make effective use of his other powers that suffered. In "Deception", for example, he seems to know almost everything that's happening in the HIVE from the start (including that Cyborg was TheMole), and he was only beaten in the end because Cyborg's half-mechanical brain was able to reject him. In "Wavelength" and "Titans East", he somehow ''give Cyborg his own powers by mistake'', is completely oblivious to when someone with no mental enhancements at all is capable of completely resisting him, and blows his top at the first opportunity. There's more to decay than just a decrease in power, after all.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', Clancy the bug man was a sadistic psychopath in his first appearance. When he appears in the GrandFinale, he has been turned into a generic bug monster for no reason. In fact, most of the villains that returned in the finale were decayed, with the exception of Charmcaster, who stuck to her role as EvilCounterpart to Gwen.
** [[ArchEnemy Vilgax]] is one of the most infamous cases of this trope in the franchise.
In the Original Series, he was an ImplacableMan capable of [[CurbStompBattle beating toyline, the crap out of most of Ben's alien forms]] with nothing but sheer strength, and Ben couldn't defeat him in a direct fight until he unlocked [[AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever Way Big]]. When he returned in ''Alien Force'', he still had some moments of badassery, but now would more frequently lose to Ben ([[JustifiedTrope who by this point]] [[TookALevelInBadass was five years older, more mature and with a better understanding of the Omnitrix]]), most notably once losing to [[spoiler:Diamondhead, an alien form who previously couldn't even scratch him]]. Comes ''Omniverse'', now suddenly Vilgax is regularly the butt of jokes by other characters and is revealed to be scared of Ma Vreedle, a ''comedic'' villain, to the point she can send him running away by her mere presence.
** Even worse with the Forever Knights, who went from a mysterious evil organisation to ridiculously weak villains who served as the heroes' punching ball (to the point in one episode, Gwen felt like it was more important for Ben to assist his girlfriend's tennis match than keep an eye on them). Fortunately corrected in season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien'', where their founder comes back and turns them back into a real threat. ''Omniverse'' bring them back into this trope, since their war with [[ReligionOfEvil the Esoterica]] has left them mostly decimated, with only a very small team still active.
** Charmcaster may not have suffered any decay in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', but she was hit by it pretty hard in her second ''Alien Force'' appearance, where she killed Gwen of an alternate timeline and kept on boasting about it to the present Gwen...[[AntiClimaxBoss only to get her ass kicked by Gwen several times afterwards]] despite her claims of power. Her first appearance in ''Ultimate Alien'' then made it worse, turning her into a mook who barely held off Kevin, the team [[TheWorfEffect Worf]], for a few minutes, and needed the help of two other bad guys to stand a chance against the heroes. Following an entry into the HeelFaceRevolvingDoor, however, she became a threat again, [[NotSoHarmlessVillain even temporarily killing the heroes at one point]] and from then on serving as a [[PhysicalGod godlike]] DimensionLord. She immediately decayed ''again'' in "Couples Retreat", in which she becomes [[{{Jerkass}} Darkstar's]] wishy-washy girlfriend who barely does anything throughout the episode. This is then undone by ''Omniverse'', where she becomes a legitimate threat again. She has permanently kicked Darkstar out of their original dimension, not to mention being super-competent when she temporarily teamed up with Ben, Rook and the gang to get back an artifact (she succeeds AND escapes, albeit with help from her PoisonousCaptive Adwaita) while they were trapped on the Monster Planet Anur Transyl. She's also gained new powers, including merging with her rock monsters to form a special armor and even [[ScaledUp transforming into a dragon]] like [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Maleficent.]]
** Darkstar was fairly threatening in ''Alien Force'', being a superpowered ManipulativeBastard, but was hit by decay when he reappears in the first season finale of ''Ultimate Alien''. He is so starved for energy that he's been reduced to skulking in alleyways preying on stray animals just to survive. He has also become predictable in his treachery -- the heroes stop his attempt to backstab them in the very end with a [[AntiClimaxBoss literal push of a button and he gets taken out with a single punch.]] In "Couple's Retreat", he's a [[WhatAnIdiot flat-out moron]] [[TooDumbToLive who fails to realize
talking about how he wants to keep Gwen as a trophy in front of his emotionally unstable sorceress lover who he relies on to get a power boost is a bad idea]]. Finally, in ''Omniverse'', he regains his full power, only to be [[CurbStompBattle immediatly and undignifyiling curb-stomped]] by Ben as [[GodzillaThreshold Ghostfreak]].
** Zombozo initially {{defied|Trope}} this Trope in Ultimate Alien; In his original appearance, he was a horrific and creepy stalker-like character who required being a MookHorrorShow from [[CreepyGood Ghostfreak]] to be defeated, but was an otherwise one-shot villain. When he comes back in Ultimate Alien, he proves to be a decent, AxCrazy and still scary villain, forming an alliance between various villains to attempt RevengeByProxy on Ben and almost getting Gwen's aunt killed. Sadly however, WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse decided to play this trope straight by making him DenserAndWackier and having him going for petty theft such as rob bank. He recovers from it in his final appearance.
** Omniverse episode ''Special Delivery'' hits ''several'' villains
Nightmare Moon toy got hit with this. Most villains who show up in this episode could give a hard time to Ben in their previous appearances, Despite her name and no less than three [[VoiceOfTheLegion voice]], none of them ([[DragonAscendant Psyphon]], [[ConMan Fisttrick]] and [[TheJuggernaut Trumbipulor]]) had been through impressive cases of NotSoHarmlessVillain. In this episode, they ''all'' [[VillainTeamUp gang up]] against Ben who at this point is alone and unable to call for help. Yet, he [[CurbStompBattle mops the floor with them]]. Psyphon gets slightly better on the plan of fight, but still manage to grab the IdiotBall.
** Psyphon was hit even harder in "Bengeance is Mine", in which all his previous intelligent characterization was thrown right out the window in favor of making him TooDumbToLive and completely reliant on Vilgax.
* In ''WesternAnimation/GormitiTheLordsOfNatureReturn'', this was the fate that befell Orrore Profondo (Deep Horror), who, in the [[AllThereInTheManual backstory narrated in the toyline]], was a terrifying opponent, feared by all the Gormiti siding with the Wise Old One. He even managed to [[spoiler:trick the Air Gormiti into doing a FaceHeelTurn]]...but in the series (which takes place many millennia after the toyline story), he seems to play second banana to EvilOverlord Magmion and doesn't really show the competence
[[http://www.equestriadaily.com/2013/07/talking-nightmare-moon-lines-recorded.html her lines]] (apart from an EvilLaugh) sound like something a villain of his caliber should. However, this only seems to apply to his anime self: in the comics, as of now, he has retained all of his credentials and Magmion is just one of his underlings.
would say.
--> My star barrettes are fabulous!
* Satan was big and scary in his first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', but he's become "a whiny little bitch" in God's own words ever since he was first established as the lover of Saddam Hussein. It's arguable that he started out pre-decayed, though. He LOOKED intimidating, but his master plot in his first appearance was conning the city out of a lot of betting money, rather than, you know, the End of Days or anything like that.
* Mandark's first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' established him as clearly superior to Dexter in terms of brains, to the point where he could read minds, and saying his name invoked TheScottishTrope. He was quickly brought down to being Dexter's equal, with his telepathy disappearing. In fact, "[[TheMovie Ego Trip]]" even stated he had to resort to stealing Dexter's ideas to get ahead. Justified in that Mandark was badass until meeting [[AchillesHeel Dee Dee]] in that very episode, so as long as she's around, he's too lovestruck to do anything, even while she wrecks his lab. The '''real''' Villain Decay for Mandark came in the final season where he [[RetCon has a Flashback episode, revealing his birth name was "Sue," an innocent flower child that met Dexter years ago, taking the name Mandark after being refused friendship by Dexter,]] despite the fact that his debut ep introduced his real name as Ivan Astronomonov with the aforementioned nickname [[TheScottishTrope Mandark.]]
** Ego Trip zigzags all over the place on this trope. Mandark does eventually TakeOverTheWorld as an adult, resulting in a CrapsackWorld BadFuture that Dexter and a bunch of other Dexters from other points in time (including FutureBadass Dexter) have to stop. However, it only happened because Mandark stole Dexter's [[MacGuffin Neurotomic Protocore]]. ''However'', this happened after Dexter became a meek pencil-pusher designing cubicles as an adult, while Mandark is his rich, successful, abusive boss. And when it comes down to who will win in the end, it's all rendered moot because [[spoiler: the day is ultimately saved by an out-of-nowhere, completely oblivious BigDamnHeroes moment by Dee Dee.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''
** Metallo became less and less of a credible threat with each appearance. Probably intentional, too. Metallo's appearance over the episodes maintained the damage he suffered from each prior appearance, implying that he wasn't getting internal repairs, either.
** Kalibak was perhaps the most obvious example. His first appearance was a whole-episode slugfest where he stood toe-to-toe with Superman. In subsequent appearances he's little more than a doorstop: Superman punches him out in less than a minute in "Legacy", and although he beat Franchise/WonderWoman he loses to Batman in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''. In his final appearance he finally got to do something useful... Because he was in an Enemy Mine situation with Scott Free and Franchise/TheFlash.
* While
''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'':



* The Diesels and Spencer from ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' suffered a lot from this trope. Diesel 10 as well. In TheMovie, he tried to have every single steam locomotive destroyed and ended up being thrown off a bridge and onto a barge full of sludge, but in one of the sequels he actually wants to take over the Steamworks because of the Dieselworks' poor conditions, and later trapping Thomas and Percy inside the Dieselworks and setting the entire place on fire only to end up being scolded by Sir Topham Hatt at the last minute and is forced to put out the fire he started and repair the entire Dieselworks as punishment because of this!



* An interesting case with Aku in Season 5 of ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' in that it was somewhat self inflicted; frustrated by his inability to kill Jack in direct combat, Aku went for pragmatism and destroyed every time portal he could find before hiding out in his fortress, anticipating that Jack would die of old age or combat sooner or later. Unfortunately for Aku, sending Jack to the future turned him into TheAgeless, and in the fifty years that have passed between seasons Aku has become a nervous recluse trying to convince himself that he won't be stuck with an eternity of Jack hunting him. [[spoiler: He breaks out of it in Episode 9, gleefully corrupting Ashi into a female clone of himself and forcing Jack to surrender rather than kill her.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''
** Sideshow Bob didn't suffer from this until many seasons into the show. His subsequent appearances always outdid the last and became a lot more violent and heinous, but he still never won. Around his fifth or sixth appearance he lost it though.
** Even worse, Mr. Burns used to be a greedy, heartless, megalomaniac CorruptCorporateExecutive, the villain of many episodes. He was regularly depicted as decrepit and with the mindset of a more reactionary era, but that didn't stop him from being entertainingly pure evil. Come Season 10 and beyond, he was inexplicably transformed into an inoffensive old man, most of the jokes about whom revolved around his senility and physical frailty. In other words, yet another victim of the terrible case of {{Flanderization}} which has plagued the series. Burns also showed a very dynamic sympathetic side, where he's almost a Scrooge like figure feeling the effects of a plentiful...but empty life. This is still shown occasionally but in a lighter manner.
** This trope is invoked in-universe in the Halloween special's ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' parody. After Groundskeeper Willie (in the Freddy Krueger role) is defeated, Bart and Lisa contemplate his return. He appears moments later, but has been reduced to an ineffectual villain whose buffoonery is even accompanied by jaunty music.
* Originally in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'', Bigmouth was a greedy and selfish VillainousGlutton who barely avoided slipping past the MoralEventHorizon in one early story by stealing the village's winter stores, not caring at all if it meant the rightful owners starving as a result. But as the series progressed, he slipped into going between LaughablyEvil and ObliviouslyEvil, and by the time he met Bignose, became more of a FriendlyEnemy to the smurfs.
* Robotnik from ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM''. Season 1 played him as a genuine threat and a [[KnightOfCerebus serious intimidating character]] opposed to his usual clownish forms in other media, but Season 2 introduced a StoryArc in which his continued failures and increasing irrationality and buffoonishness start to grate on assistant [[TheStarscream Snively]]. His obsession with destroying Sonic also led to several moments of BondVillainStupidity, something he was far too wary about originally most of the time. He was far from immune to it however as even in the first episode his decent plan failed solely because he became obsessed with hitting Sonic first.
* Satan was big and scary in his first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', but he's become "a whiny little bitch" in God's own words ever since he was first established as the lover of Saddam Hussein. It's arguable that he started out pre-decayed, though. He LOOKED intimidating, but his master plot in his first appearance was conning the city out of a lot of betting money, rather than, you know, the End of Days or anything like that.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpeedRacerTheNextGeneration'' had Zile Zazic, the main villain of the show, oil tycoon and trustee of the Racer Academy...who went through every possible process in which decaying villains could go through! It didn't help that he only carried out his plans first-hand two-thirds of the way through the season. By the end of the show, his plans became boring and predictable.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'':
** The Hobgoblin experiences this, being outclassed by the Green Goblin in his last appearance. The story editor John Semper hated The Hobgoblin character and only used him due to ExecutiveMeddling (his predecessor had plans to use the Hobgoblin instead of The Green Goblin and by the time Semper replaced him the toy had been commissioned and it was too late to change plans). So no surprise he became the Green Goblin's bitch.
** Doctor Octopus also suffers from this where in as the series goes he descends into being nothing more but Kingpin's lackey.
* The Commando Droids of ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' went from EliteMooks in their first appearances to almost as ineffectual as their ridiculously ineffectual cousin, the B-1 Battledroid. However, this may just be a result of them appearing more often and being pitted against more badass characters such as Jedi and veteran clone troopers - the former being [[OneManArmy One-Man Armies]] and the latter having enough experience to know how to deal with them. Even then, they are still a nuisance at best for those types of characters, and they are still enough of a threat for RedShirts and those not used to fighting wars.
** General Grievous's zig-zags this quite a lot. For example, early on in Season 4 he was fooled by Jar Jar, and General Tarpals managed to injure him at the cost of his own life, allowing the Gungan army to capture him. However, near the end of the same season, Grievous went up against the [[AmazonBrigade Nightsisters]] and their CavalryOfTheDead, led by Ventress (who for most of series prior to that had looked down on Grievous as if he were barely even worth her notice), and ''tore them apart''. The latter was one of the few examples in the entire ''Star Wars'' franchise in which [[WeHaveReserves the sheer overwhelming numbers of the Droid Army]] were used with appropriate ruthlessness.
* Even though he is still a formidable recurring villain in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] has been reduced to a shell of his former self. In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', he was a ruthless {{chessmaster}} who easily massacred legions of Jedi and lead his own army of Mandalorians and Nightsisters to become a dangerous threat to both the Separatists and Galactic Republic. By the events of ''Rebels'', [[spoiler: Maul]] is on the run, lost all of his followers, and relies more on manipulating the heroes to achieve his goals. Although he is still capable of defeating the Imperial Inquisitiors, he recognizes that he is no match for the Empire and quickly flees when Darth Vader arrives to confront him. Maul's case is justified as his numerous losses from the Jedi and brutal defeat at the hands of [[spoiler:Darth Sidious]] have turned him into a wreck.



** Ebon also suffers for this. He's threatening at first, but gets his ass handed to him in nearly every appearance even with help from his henchmen, and loses fights against supporting characters.
* Cedric, TheDragon from ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', was quite menacing and monstrous in his first few appearances. As the series went on, though, his purpose largely became to get his clock cleaned by the heroines every few episodes, quickly robbing him of any serious threat. The series finale even [[YankTheDogsChain yanked his chain]] by [[spoiler: having him become supremely powerful...only to not realize he didn't know how to properly utilize it, and he gets beaten up rather easily AGAIN.]] Lampshaded in the first season finale, when [[BigBad Phobos]] [[YouHaveFailedMe chewed Cedric out for his failures epically]], then used his newly-heightened magic powers to curse him into a pathetically small and weak version of his OneWingedAngel form.
* ''WesternAnimation/WolverineAndTheXMen'' had the Brotherhood of Mutants first appear with a relatively clever plan that framed the X-Men for an attempted assassination. As the series went on and on, however, [[Comicbook/{{Quicksilver}} Pietro]] became [[TookALevelInDumbass increasingly stupider]], and the effectiveness of group decreased.
* Creator/{{Disney}} originally had Captain Hook be somewhat dangerous in ''Disney/PeterPan'', with him being decently competent against Peter. However, by ''WesternAnimation/JakeAndTheNeverlandPirates'', he is now absolutely stupid and has a small ball on the end of his hook. Maybe small children are scared by pointy hooks, but it just seems silly. Or maybe he was just so clumsy with the hook that his crew did this so he would stop tearing his face off while grooming his beard.
** To be fair, [[LighterAndSofter the show is aimed at pre-schoolers]], so Captain Hook becoming less intimidating is kind of expected.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'':
** The Hobgoblin experiences this, being outclassed by the Green Goblin in his last appearance. The story editor John Semper hated The Hobgoblin character and only used him due to ExecutiveMeddling (his predecessor had plans to use the Hobgoblin instead of The Green Goblin and by the time Semper replaced him the toy had been commissioned and it was too late to change plans). So no surprise he became the Green Goblin's bitch.
** Doctor Octopus also suffers from this where in as the series goes he descends into being nothing more but Kingpin's lackey.
* Robotnik from ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM''. Season 1 played him as a genuine threat and a [[KnightOfCerebus serious intimidating character]] opposed to his usual clownish forms in other media, but Season 2 introduced a StoryArc in which his continued failures and increasing irrationality and buffoonishness start to grate on assistant [[TheStarscream Snively]]. His obsession with destroying Sonic also led to several moments of BondVillainStupidity, something he was far too wary about originally most of the time. He was far from immune to it however as even in the first episode his decent plan failed solely because he became obsessed with hitting Sonic first.
* The Lieutenant, Amon's electric stick-wielding [[TheDragon second in command]] from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', starts out as a pretty effective villain, absolutely crushing Mako and Bolin in his first appearance and giving both Lin Beifong and Korra herself the fight of their lives in his next one. In ''every single episode'' after that, though, he rarely does much more than show up, flail around a little bit, and get launched over the horizon in short order.
* Zordrak of ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone'', while he always usually left the dirty work to his mooks the Urpney, he was initially presented as a calculating, reserved villain who tactized a lot of the plans and had the odd moment of physical involvement (where upon things usually got a lot darker in tone). While the second season starts off well with his discovery of the Nightmare Stone, he quickly devolves afterwards, having little role outside something of a demonic PointyHairedBoss for the Urpneys. Since Urpgor and Blob's team were now required to concoct plans themselves, this did lead to a mild subversion in their case however.
* ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest'':
** Dark Vegan was introduced as someone who could wipe out all life on Earth, and already ''had'' done so on multiple other planets, but by his third appearance he had decayed to the point where Johnny frequently thwarted him without even knowing he was there, and is more of a wacky nextdoor neighbor than a real villain. It's explained that he's stuck on Earth, and as a result is without his army or the ability to replace his damaged weapons.
** Eugene aka "Bling Boy Boy", who started as Johnny's ArchEnemy but devolved into a frequent AntiHero friend of his.
* Liquidator from ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck''. In his first appearance he had a lot of water-based powers, but seemed to lose them after that. (In fact, he didn't even appear as a villain by himself in subsequent episodes, only appearing as a member of the Fearsome Five.) This is probably because not only was he way too powerful to be a recurring enemy to a BadassNormal, but there were only a handful of ways he could be truly beaten.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'':
** The series invokes it in the Ice King for CharacterDevelopment. IK was the BigBad at the beginning of the series (although he was a bit of an [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain ineffectual]] [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds woobie]] even then), but his character becomes increasingly {{tragic|Villain}} and [[FreudianExcuse sympathetic]] as [[BackstoryHorror his origin]] and [[LossOfIdentity former self]] were revealed. As the heroes grow to realize this, they begin to treat him with less animosity, and in turn he mellows out. By now, he's more an annoyance than a threat.
** The show tries its hardest avert this trope with [[KnightofCerebus the Lich]] by having him show up only in big season finales--the less he shows up, [[FailureistheOnlyOption the less we have to see him being beaten]]. But even with only three real appearances to date, his impact has decayed just slightly enough that the writers decided to temporarily shelve the character by having Finn [[spoiler: turn him into a harmless giant baby]]. [[{{Irony}} Ironically]], this might be the ultimate example of villain decay, if it weren't made clear that the Lich we know and fear is still alive somewhere in there. For the next major finale in Season 6, a substitute villain is introduced, more comedic but just as threatening.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''
** Discord is introduced as a [[TheFairFolk genuine threat]] that even ''[[GodEmperor Princess Celestia]]'' is afraid of, whose danger is limited only by his [[EvilIsPetty lack of ambition]]. In Season Three, however, he's deliberately released by Celestia to be reformed, and spends the episode hanging out in Fluttershy's house and having a dinner party with the ponies, being merely a {{Jerkass}} the whole time. Interestingly, he's every bit as powerful as he was before, and he's only pretending to be reformed so he can screw around with the ponies. However, ultimately, [[BecomingTheMask Discord comes to consider Fluttershy a friend]] and makes a HeelFaceTurn for her sake. The decay goes even further in seasons 4 and 5, where Discord is reduced to a "reality bending comic relief" type of character, and his role in the show mostly boils down to being a clingy, jealous brat trying to spoil others' fun whenever he doesn't feel he gets enough attention. (He steps back into villainy in "Make Friends But Keep Discord" and "Dungeons and Discords" by sending, or threatening to send, into a dangerous dimension.) Lampshaded by Tirek during the Season 4 finale.
** In the toyline, the talking Nightmare Moon toy got hit with this. Despite her name and [[VoiceOfTheLegion voice]], none of [[http://www.equestriadaily.com/2013/07/talking-nightmare-moon-lines-recorded.html her lines]] (apart from an EvilLaugh) sound like something a villain would say.
--> My star barrettes are fabulous!
* Tuma, his Rock Tribe and the Bone Hunters in ''WesternAnimation/{{Bionicle}}: The Legend Reborn'' are virtually wholly separate entities from their depiction in the preceding stories -- Tuma goes from an intelligent warlord BigBad to a bumbling [[TheDragon underling]], and his tribe from an army of unbeatable warriors to goofy one-hit-kill {{Mooks}}... that couldn't even talk! The Bone Hunters received the same treatment, even though a single group of them could only barely be defeated in an earlier book. In a meta-sense, this is actually an inversion -- the movie was written first, and the rest of the story material later. [[AllThereInTheManual External sources did justify some of this threat decay better than the movie, though.]]
* The Red Guy from ''WesternAnimation/CowAndChicken'' was a sociopathic demon in the pilot episode (to the point of being ''{{Satan}}'') Nowadays, he's still a jerk, but as opposed to being {{Satan}}, he's just a [[NakedPeopleAreFunny butt naked]] dude whose [[LargeHam voice almost always reaches its maximum]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' has two prevalent examples:
** [[AlphaBitch Heather]] is a justified case. While she was able to cheat and manipulate her way through the first season, she became pretty harmless in ''Total Drama Action'' due to nobody trusting her. As such, she didn't do much that season outside of cry over losing her hair. She's still a danger to the other contestants, but she's nowhere near as bad as she used to be.
** Scott from the forth season was always [[LaughablyEvil comedic and a little dim]], but he was also devious and [[LackofEmpathy showed no remorse about using people to get ahead]]. The next season started off with him acting much the same way, sabotaging the other team and [[PsychoticSmirk smirking creepily]] while never losing the occasional slapstick gag. Once he got a crush on [[spoiler: Courtney]], though, he was Flanderized into a [[LoveMakesYouDumb complete moron]] and had pretty much all of his villainous traits dropped.
* The Royal Flush Gang in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' was at their best in their first episode. In the second, they shoot themselves in the foot by alienating Melanie/Ten with their scheme. In their third and final appearance, they're on their last legs. King and Queen's relationship is falling apart as Queen constantly compares King negatively to her father the previous King, Ace is literally falling apart since they can no longer afford reliable repairs, and Jack ends up in prison by the midpoint of the episode. Batman barely has to do anything to beat them this time. They pretty much defeat themselves.
* Batman's ''entire rogues gallery'' eventually suffers from this in ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'', with the exception of Hugo Strange and possibly Catwoman. In one of the later episodes of the series, Batman and Robin manage to take on and defeat literally ''all'' of them (minus Strange and Catwoman) in a couple of minutes and with no injuries at all. While it's arguable that some of this was due to their poor/nonexistent teamwork, it still looks pretty bad.
* ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' creator and executive producer Creator/CraigMcCracken explicitly described Lord Hater suffering this effect in an interview with the Huffington Post[[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-hill/get-ready-for-lord-domina_b_7929048.html]]. As a result, they introduced DistaffCounterpart Lord Dominator. Throughout the second season, Hater slowly goes from the BigBad to a goofy AntiHero.
-->As Season 1 unfolded and Hater revealed himself to be more of a misdirected, lovable goof and not really a REAL bad guy, we knew that we had to introduce a serious and legit villain to shake things up and throw our whole goofy show back on its heels... After a whole season of having Wander handily defeat/befriend Lord Hater at every turn, it became hard to take him seriously as a credible threat.
** Hater's VillainDecay is lampshaded in-universe as well. Commander Peepers explicitly states that Hater's obsession with Wander has caused him to lose credibility. The first third of the second season revolves around him losing his place on the Galactic Villain Leaderboard and struggling to reclaim his place as the Greatest in the Galaxy.
-->'''Commander Peepers:''' "I'm sorry sir but it's true! You've spent so much time chasing him around the universe that you've lost any standing you had as a real villain!"
* While Gideon, BigBad of the first season of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' averted it in his first re-appearance in Season 2, "The Stanchurian Candidate", it was then played straight with him in "Weirdmageddon Part 1", where he is just a flunky to the true BigBad Bill Cipher, and his usual creepiness is completely absent in favor of the pure comedy of him being a stereotypical CorruptHick sheriff (as Wendy puts it: "He's gotten ''folksier!''"). Genuinely caring about his fellow prison inmate gang members also neuters his villainy. In the end, [[spoiler: his HeelFaceTurn doesn't come off as too surprising as a result.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'', [[spoiler:Peridot]], the show's first real villain, was introduced as a coldly emotionless and calculating agent of [[spoiler:the Gem Homeworld]], at one point crushing one of her robots underfoot because it had sustained damage. Half a season later, after being trapped on Earth, stripped of her vehicles and robots, defeated regularly and losing a foot, she's reduced to abducting Steven in the hope his healing powers can fix the Homeworld Warp panel and get her off this rock. [[spoiler:And shortly after that, she's poofed, loses her prosthetics - leaving her the size of a ten-year-old - and her schemes are reduced to locking herself in Steven's bathroom and refusing to come out, then offering an EnemyMine since it's the only way to preserve her own skin. Spending time with Steven and the Crystal Gems brings about a HeelFaceTurn after failing to reason with Yellow Diamond to save the Earth.]]

to:

** Ebon also suffers for this. He's threatening at first, but gets his ass handed to him in nearly every appearance even with help from form his henchmen, and loses fights against supporting characters.
* Cedric, TheDragon from ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', was quite menacing and monstrous in his first few appearances. As the series went on, though, his purpose largely became to get his clock cleaned by the heroines every few episodes, quickly robbing him of any serious threat. The series finale even [[YankTheDogsChain yanked his chain]] by [[spoiler: having him become supremely powerful...only to not realize he didn't know how to properly utilize it, and he gets beaten up rather easily AGAIN.]] Lampshaded in the first season finale, when [[BigBad Phobos]] [[YouHaveFailedMe chewed Cedric out for his failures epically]], then used his newly-heightened magic powers to curse him into a pathetically small and weak version of his OneWingedAngel form.
* ''WesternAnimation/WolverineAndTheXMen'' had the Brotherhood of Mutants first appear with a relatively clever plan that framed the X-Men for an attempted assassination. As the series went on and on, however, [[Comicbook/{{Quicksilver}} Pietro]] became [[TookALevelInDumbass increasingly stupider]], and the effectiveness of group decreased.
* Creator/{{Disney}} originally had Captain Hook be somewhat dangerous in ''Disney/PeterPan'', with him being decently competent against Peter. However, by ''WesternAnimation/JakeAndTheNeverlandPirates'', he is now absolutely stupid and has a small ball on the end of his hook. Maybe small children are scared by pointy hooks, but it just seems silly. Or maybe he was just so clumsy with the hook that his crew did this so he would stop tearing his face off while grooming his beard.
''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse''
** To be fair, [[LighterAndSofter the show is aimed at pre-schoolers]], so Captain Hook becoming less intimidating is kind of expected.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'':
** The Hobgoblin experiences this, being outclassed by the Green Goblin in his last appearance. The story editor John Semper hated The Hobgoblin character and only used him due to ExecutiveMeddling (his predecessor had plans to use the Hobgoblin instead of The Green Goblin and by the time Semper replaced him the toy had been commissioned and it was too late to change plans). So no surprise he became the Green Goblin's bitch.
** Doctor Octopus also suffers from this where in as the series goes he descends into being nothing more but Kingpin's lackey.
* Robotnik from ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM''. Season 1 played him as a genuine threat and a [[KnightOfCerebus serious intimidating character]] opposed to his usual clownish forms in other media, but Season 2 introduced a StoryArc in which his continued failures and increasing irrationality and buffoonishness start to grate on assistant [[TheStarscream Snively]]. His obsession with destroying Sonic also led to several moments of BondVillainStupidity, something he was far too wary about originally most of the time. He was far from immune to it however as even in the first episode his decent plan failed solely because he became obsessed with hitting Sonic first.
* The Lieutenant, Amon's electric stick-wielding [[TheDragon second in command]] from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', starts out as a pretty effective villain, absolutely crushing Mako and Bolin in his first appearance and giving both Lin Beifong and Korra herself the fight of their lives in his next one. In ''every single episode'' after that, though, he rarely does much more than show up, flail around a little bit, and get launched over the horizon in short order.
* Zordrak of ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone'', while he always usually left the dirty work to his mooks the Urpney, he was initially presented as a calculating, reserved villain who tactized a lot of the plans and had the odd moment of physical involvement (where upon things usually got a lot darker in tone). While the second season starts off well with his discovery of the Nightmare Stone, he quickly devolves afterwards, having little role outside something of a demonic PointyHairedBoss for the Urpneys. Since Urpgor and Blob's team were now required to concoct plans themselves, this did lead to a mild subversion in their case however.
* ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest'':
** Dark Vegan was introduced as someone who could wipe out all life on Earth, and already ''had'' done so on multiple other planets, but by his third appearance he had decayed to the point where Johnny frequently thwarted him without even knowing he was there, and is more of a wacky nextdoor neighbor than a real villain. It's explained that he's stuck on Earth, and as a result is without his army or the ability to replace his damaged weapons.
** Eugene aka "Bling Boy Boy", who started as Johnny's ArchEnemy but devolved into a frequent AntiHero friend of his.
* Liquidator from ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck''. In his first appearance he had a lot of water-based powers, but seemed to lose them after that. (In fact, he didn't even appear as a villain by himself in subsequent episodes, only appearing as a member of the Fearsome Five.) This is probably because not only was he way too powerful to be a recurring enemy to a BadassNormal, but there were only a handful of ways he could be truly beaten.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'':
** The series invokes it in the Ice King for CharacterDevelopment. IK was the BigBad at the beginning of the series (although he was a bit of an [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain ineffectual]] [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds woobie]] even then), but his character becomes increasingly {{tragic|Villain}} and [[FreudianExcuse sympathetic]] as [[BackstoryHorror his origin]] and [[LossOfIdentity former self]] were revealed. As the heroes grow to realize this, they begin to treat him with less animosity, and in turn he mellows out. By now, he's more an annoyance than a threat.
** The show tries its hardest avert this trope with [[KnightofCerebus the Lich]] by having him show up only in big season finales--the less he shows up, [[FailureistheOnlyOption the less we have to see him being beaten]]. But even with only three real appearances to date, his impact has decayed just slightly enough that the writers decided to temporarily shelve the character by having Finn [[spoiler: turn him into a harmless giant baby]]. [[{{Irony}} Ironically]], this might be the ultimate example of villain decay, if it weren't made clear that the Lich we know and fear is still alive somewhere in there. For the next major finale in Season 6, a substitute villain is introduced, more comedic but just as threatening.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''
** Discord is introduced as a [[TheFairFolk genuine threat]] that even ''[[GodEmperor Princess Celestia]]'' is afraid of, whose danger is limited only by his [[EvilIsPetty lack of ambition]]. In Season Three, however, he's deliberately released by Celestia to be reformed, and spends the episode hanging out in Fluttershy's house and having a dinner party with the ponies, being merely a {{Jerkass}} the whole time. Interestingly, he's every bit as powerful as he was before, and he's only pretending to be reformed so he can screw around with the ponies. However, ultimately, [[BecomingTheMask Discord comes to consider Fluttershy a friend]] and makes a HeelFaceTurn for her sake. The decay goes even further in seasons 4 and 5, where Discord is reduced to a "reality bending comic relief" type of character, and his role in the show mostly boils down to being a clingy, jealous brat trying to spoil others' fun whenever he doesn't feel he gets enough attention. (He steps back into villainy in "Make Friends But Keep Discord" and "Dungeons and Discords" by sending, or threatening to send, into a dangerous dimension.) Lampshaded by Tirek during the Season 4 finale.
** In the toyline, the talking Nightmare Moon toy got hit with this. Despite her name and [[VoiceOfTheLegion voice]], none of [[http://www.equestriadaily.com/2013/07/talking-nightmare-moon-lines-recorded.html her lines]] (apart from an EvilLaugh) sound like something a villain would say.
--> My star barrettes are fabulous!
* Tuma, his Rock Tribe and the Bone Hunters in ''WesternAnimation/{{Bionicle}}: The Legend Reborn'' are virtually wholly separate entities from their depiction in the preceding stories -- Tuma goes from an intelligent warlord BigBad to a bumbling [[TheDragon underling]], and his tribe from an army of unbeatable warriors to goofy one-hit-kill {{Mooks}}... that couldn't even talk! The Bone Hunters received the same treatment, even though a single group of them could only barely be defeated in an earlier book. In a meta-sense, this is actually an inversion -- the movie was written first, and the rest of the story material later. [[AllThereInTheManual External sources did justify some of this threat decay better than the movie, though.]]
* The Red Guy from ''WesternAnimation/CowAndChicken'' was a sociopathic demon in the pilot episode (to the point of being ''{{Satan}}'') Nowadays, he's still a jerk, but as opposed to being {{Satan}}, he's just a [[NakedPeopleAreFunny butt naked]] dude whose [[LargeHam voice almost always reaches its maximum]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' has two prevalent examples:
** [[AlphaBitch Heather]] is a justified case. While she was able to cheat and manipulate her way through the first season, she became pretty harmless in ''Total Drama Action'' due to nobody trusting her. As such, she didn't do much that season outside of cry over losing her hair. She's still a danger to the other contestants, but she's nowhere near as bad as she used to be.
** Scott from the forth season was always [[LaughablyEvil comedic and a little dim]], but he was also devious and [[LackofEmpathy showed no remorse about using people to get ahead]]. The next season started off with him acting much the same way, sabotaging the other team and [[PsychoticSmirk smirking creepily]] while never losing the occasional slapstick gag. Once he got a crush on [[spoiler: Courtney]], though, he was Flanderized into a [[LoveMakesYouDumb complete moron]] and had pretty much all of his villainous traits dropped.
* The Royal Flush Gang in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' was at their best in their first episode. In the second, they shoot themselves in the foot by alienating Melanie/Ten with their scheme. In their third and final appearance, they're on their last legs. King and Queen's relationship is falling apart as Queen constantly compares King negatively to her father the previous King, Ace is literally falling apart since they can no longer afford reliable repairs, and Jack ends up in prison by the midpoint of the episode. Batman barely has to do anything to beat them this time. They pretty much defeat themselves.
* Batman's ''entire rogues gallery'' eventually suffers from this in ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'', with the exception of Hugo Strange and possibly Catwoman. In one of the later episodes of the series, Batman and Robin manage to take on and defeat literally ''all'' of them (minus Strange and Catwoman) in a couple of minutes and with no injuries at all. While it's arguable that some of this was due to their poor/nonexistent teamwork, it still looks pretty bad.
* ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' creator and executive producer Creator/CraigMcCracken explicitly described Lord Hater suffering this effect in an interview with the Huffington Post[[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-hill/get-ready-for-lord-domina_b_7929048.html]]. As a result, they introduced DistaffCounterpart Lord Dominator. Throughout the second season, Hater slowly goes from the BigBad to a goofy AntiHero.
-->As Season 1 unfolded and Hater revealed himself to be more of a misdirected, lovable goof and not really a REAL bad guy, we knew that we had to introduce a serious and legit villain to shake things up and throw our whole goofy show back on its heels... After a whole season of having Wander handily defeat/befriend Lord Hater at every turn, it became hard to take him seriously as a credible threat.
** Hater's VillainDecay is lampshaded in-universe as well. Commander Peepers explicitly states that Hater's obsession with Wander has caused him to lose credibility. The first third of the second season revolves around him losing his place on the Galactic Villain Leaderboard and struggling to reclaim his place as the Greatest in the Galaxy.
-->'''Commander Peepers:''' "I'm sorry sir but it's true! You've spent so much time chasing him around the universe that you've lost any standing you had as a real villain!"
* While Gideon, BigBad of the first season of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' averted it in his first re-appearance in Season 2, "The Stanchurian Candidate", it was then played straight with him in "Weirdmageddon Part 1", where he is just a flunky to the true BigBad Bill Cipher, and his usual creepiness is completely absent in favor of the pure comedy of him being a stereotypical CorruptHick sheriff (as Wendy puts it: "He's gotten ''folksier!''"). Genuinely caring about his fellow prison inmate gang members also neuters his villainy. In the end, [[spoiler: his HeelFaceTurn doesn't come off as too surprising as a result.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'',
[[spoiler:Peridot]], the show's first real villain, was introduced as a coldly emotionless and calculating agent of [[spoiler:the Gem Homeworld]], at one point crushing one of her robots underfoot because it had sustained damage. Half a season later, after being trapped on Earth, stripped of her vehicles and robots, defeated regularly and losing a foot, she's reduced to abducting Steven in the hope his healing powers can fix the Homeworld Warp panel and get her off this rock. [[spoiler:And shortly after that, she's poofed, loses her prosthetics - leaving her the size of a ten-year-old - and her schemes are reduced to locking herself in Steven's bathroom and refusing to come out, then offering an EnemyMine since it's the only way to preserve her own skin. Spending time with Steven and the Crystal Gems brings about a HeelFaceTurn after failing to reason with Yellow Diamond to save the Earth.]]



* In ''WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex'', No-Face was one of Rex's most powerful enemies. When the city of Kiev is quarantined to hold off some of the most powerful [=EVOs=], No-Face emerges as their leader. Powerful and utterly insane, No-Face defeats both Rex and Six in his debut episode, and in his second appearance he beat Rex within an inch of his life and even took on Van Kleiss, the BigBad, for daring to suggest that Rex was needed alive. Come his third appearance he's been captured offscreen, and easily put into a full-nelson by Hunter Cain, by and large a normal human, before joining up with Rex's C-listers. This time, Rex curb stomps him twice, and when the opportunity to kill him arrises, Cain's able to threaten No-Face to back off.
* Originally in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'', Bigmouth was a greedy and selfish VillainousGlutton who barely avoided slipping past the MoralEventHorizon in one early story by stealing the village's winter stores, not caring at all if it meant the rightful owners starving as a result. But as the series progressed, he slipped into going between LaughablyEvil and ObliviouslyEvil, and by the time he met Bignose, became more of a FriendlyEnemy to the smurfs.
* The recurring villains in ''WesternAnimation/TheLionGuard'' all fall into this; going from genuine threats to either smug, inept or smug and inept.
** Janja went from a cackling, sinister villain with a strategic cunning to an [[SmugSnake arrogant, but somewhat inept schemer]] who is prone to turning tail and running when things don't go his way. Case in point; in "Return of the Roar" and "Never Judge a Hyena by His Spots", he successfully manages to intimidate Kion and puts up a rather good fight against him (in fact, it's only Kion's roar that saved him both times). In "The Mibali Fields Migration", he's beaten up by a ''newborn''.
** Mzingo was a sinister FeatheredFiend who served as Janja's personal spy. However, his competence went down as the series went on. In his final appearance, aside from a brief moment of competence, he's a bumbling ButtMonkey who is defeated almost embarrassingly easily in one of the series' most one-sided curbstomps.
** The jackals, in their first appearance, were very skilled [[ManipulativeBastard manipulators]] who managed to fool pretty much everybody until they were found out. In their second appearance, their manipulation skills are so pathetic as to be non-existent and they become a bickering married couple who are defeated easily
* D-Structs of ''WesternAnimation/{{Dinotrux}}'' initially rules over the crater without question, but when newcomer Ty comes along with his radical ideas of teamwork and friendship, D-Structs finds himself frequently outmatched by trux working together to fight him, and begins to notice that people are slowly becoming less terrified of him as a result.
* Rataxes in ''WesternAnimation/{{Babar}}'' and even more in the SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/BabarAndTheAdventuresOfBadou'', he was a ruthless slaver warlord in the Babar movie only to be turn into a JerkassWithAHeartOfGold in the first series and even more a wimpy husband in the sequel series. In the first series Rataxes could be mean and selfish, but was presented as LaughablyEvil and FriendlyEnemy, never really crossing the MoralEventHorizon, been a loving father and husband and, despite having a deep rivalry with Babar, even going into big deals to avoid war with his kingdom and trying to save Babar's baby daughter Isabelle from drowning. In the second series the decay is so total that he's presented as an abused husband.



* An interesting case with Aku in Season 5 of ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' in that it was somewhat self inflicted; frustrated by his inability to kill Jack in direct combat, Aku went for pragmatism and destroyed every time portal he could find before hiding out in his fortress, anticipating that Jack would die of old age or combat sooner or later. Unfortunately for Aku, sending Jack to the future turned him into TheAgeless, and in the fifty years that have passed between seasons Aku has become a nervous recluse trying to convince himself that he won't be stuck with an eternity of Jack hunting him. [[spoiler: He breaks out of it in Episode 9, gleefully corrupting Ashi into a female clone of himself and forcing Jack to surrender rather than kill her]].

to:

* An interesting case ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''
** Metallo became less and less of a credible threat
with Aku in Season 5 of ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' in each appearance. Probably intentional, too. Metallo's appearance over the episodes maintained the damage he suffered from each prior appearance, implying that it he wasn't getting internal repairs, either.
** Kalibak
was perhaps the most obvious example. His first appearance was a whole-episode slugfest where he stood toe-to-toe with Superman. In subsequent appearances he's little more than a doorstop: Superman punches him out in less than a minute in "Legacy", and although he beat Franchise/WonderWoman he loses to Batman in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''. In his final appearance he finally got to do something useful... Because he was in an Enemy Mine situation with Scott Free and Franchise/TheFlash.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''
** The Hive kids started out in their first appearance as a well-organized elite fighting force that proved to be an even match for the titular heroes (even taking them down in their first encounter when they had the element of surprise), but by the last season they had decayed so badly a single Titan (Kid Flash) could trounce them all fairly easily (except for Jinx, who had a HeelFaceTurn anyways). Even when they were badass, they hardly liked each other, and weren't all that bright, save Jinx and Gizmo (who was too immature to put his brains to effective use on more than one occasion). One could argue that without Brother Blood to scare them into competence, they just really didn't care about working in tandem anymore. They probably only stuck together at ''all'' by that point because they had nowhere else to go. There's also the fact that since ''Teen Titans'' played a speedster near their full potential, Kid Flash was probably more effective alone than the main five in most cases. This is kinda re-enforced by the fact they got just one person to watch their city for the five of them.
** Billy Numerous was actually
somewhat self inflicted; frustrated by his inability competent in [[Recap/TeenTitansS4E9Overdrive "Overdrive"]]. He was able to kill Jack in direct combat, Aku went for pragmatism and destroyed every time portal he could find before hiding out in his fortress, anticipating that Jack would die of old age or combat sooner or later. Unfortunately for Aku, sending Jack to continually thwart the future turned him into TheAgeless, and Titans until he was outsmarted in the fifty years end. After that have passed between seasons Aku has he wasn't competent anymore.
** Brother Blood himself got this pretty bad. His ''fighting ability'' never really went down- it was his intelligence and ability to make effective use of his other powers that suffered. In "Deception", for example, he seems to know almost everything that's happening in the HIVE from the start (including that Cyborg was TheMole), and he was only beaten in the end because Cyborg's half-mechanical brain was able to reject him. In "Wavelength" and "Titans East", he somehow ''give Cyborg his own powers by mistake'', is completely oblivious to when someone with no mental enhancements at all is capable of completely resisting him, and blows his top at the first opportunity. There's more to decay than just a decrease in power, after all.
* The first ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|1987}}'' animated series used heavy LampshadeHanging ("at last, Shredder, you've done something right!") to underscore how completely the Shredder had
become a nervous recluse trying joke villain. While he was mildly threatening in the first season (although to convince himself that he won't be stuck what extent this is the case is cause for debate), villain decay set in very quickly after that, as it did with an eternity most of Jack hunting him. the series' villains.
* The Shredder of the '''second''' ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2003}}'' cartoon series, on the other hand, managed to emerge after seven seasons mostly unscathed by villain decay, growing more powerful to the point where the turtles stopped being able to defeat him with martial arts alone, and ''always'' portrayed as both [[MagnificentBastard scarily competent]] and pure evil. However, not all the series villains are so lucky--the Shredder's [[TheDragon dragon]], Hun, in particular, went from "tough" to "joke" in the space of one season, before regaining some measure of respectability during the last third of the show's second season, which he retains--mostly by not featuring him in any extended battles with the turtles--until the end of the show...
[[spoiler: He breaks and gains a considerable power upgrade upon becoming an EmpoweredBadassNormal in ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'']]. Karai went from beating all four turtles and Casey Jones (easily) in her first appearance to Leo and Mike making a complete mockery of her in her own base when all they were there to do was steal an AncientArtifact.
* The Diesels and Spencer from ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' suffered a lot from this trope. Diesel 10 as well. In TheMovie, he tried to have every single steam locomotive destroyed and ended up being thrown off a bridge and onto a barge full of sludge, but in one of the sequels he actually wants to take over the Steamworks because of the Dieselworks' poor conditions, and later trapping Thomas and Percy inside the Dieselworks and setting the entire place on fire only to end up being scolded by Sir Topham Hatt at the last minute and is forced to put
out the fire he started and repair the entire Dieselworks as punishment because of it this!
* ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' has two prevalent examples:
** [[AlphaBitch Heather]] is a justified case. While she was able to cheat and manipulate her way through the first season, she became pretty harmless
in Episode 9, gleefully corrupting Ashi ''Total Drama Action'' due to nobody trusting her. As such, she didn't do much that season outside of cry over losing her hair. She's still a danger to the other contestants, but she's nowhere near as bad as she used to be.
** Scott from the forth season was always [[LaughablyEvil comedic and a little dim]], but he was also devious and [[LackofEmpathy showed no remorse about using people to get ahead]]. The next season started off with him acting much the same way, sabotaging the other team and [[PsychoticSmirk smirking creepily]] while never losing the occasional slapstick gag. Once he got a crush on [[spoiler: Courtney]], though, he was Flanderized
into a female clone [[LoveMakesYouDumb complete moron]] and had pretty much all of his villainous traits dropped.
* The Decepticons of ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' suffer this in most versions. ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' and ''[[WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated Animated]]'' each had different methods to avoid them becoming ineffectual:
** ''Beast Wars'' avoided it by being more [[StoryArc arc]]-based with the Predacons often winning.
** Inferno, unfortunately, decayed so quickly that to anyone who's only seen the first season, his supposed power comes off as more of an InformedAbility.
** Rampage is a {{downplayed|Trope}} example. When he first appears, he's TheJuggernaut. Having his spark torn out and forced to serve Megatron made him the ImplacableMan. That's how badass he was.
** And yet, almost any episode where Rampage didn't have a major role in the plot will have him either get {{curb stomp|Battle}}ed or hand him TheWorfEffect. Often in a really silly way.
** From the [[Wiki/TFWikiDotNet Transformers Wiki]], regarding the first episode of the show, re: [[ButtMonkey Waspinator]]: "In a stark contrast to his later career, he actually proved to be a serious threat and had the advantage over the inexperienced Cheetor, pinning the young Maximal down in a canyon." Somewhere between blowing
himself up with his own missiles in episode 4 and forcing Rattrap kicking him in the nuts at the end of season 1 his true destiny came to fruition. Amazingly, [[spoiler: in ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' he suffered villain decay all over again as Thrust.]]
** ''Animated'' on the other hand doesn't always have them as the villains. They also reverse the TookALevelInBadass the Autobots as a whole went through by having a crew that was never meant for battle with tools that had primarily non-combat purpose in mind, so it takes the whole team to take down just one or two of the armed-to-the-teeth Decepticons.
** ''Animated'' started out with the Autobots requiring all hands on deck to stand a chance against any of the Decipticons but by the end of season 3, Optimus Prime is able to take on Megatron single handed.
** Starscream took a level up in badassery when he first fought the Autobots and was too strong for them (making up somewhat for the stupidity he displayed earlier), but later he's largely a joke because of how he keep getting his ass kicked by Megatron. Two other Decepticons, Blitzwing and Lugnut also suffered from this. Initially they would be considered {{Not So Harmless Villain}}s. They were dumb, but either of them could take all the Autobots on his own. But as time went on, they kept on getting beaten by plot devices and largely become jokes.
** Over the course of ''Franchise/TransformersGeneration1'':
*** Devastator goes from "the ultimate threat who needs half the Autobot army to bring him down" to "[[TheWorfEffect the guy who every combiner beats up at least once]]" to "an EliteMook who gets flattened by [[TheSmartGuy Perceptor.]]"
*** Galvatron was a competent and capable leader in the '86 movie, then was driven insane and became TheNeidermeyer. Early on in that particular portion of his existence, he was ridiculously powerful to the point of [[PersonOfMassDestruction being able to blow up small planets]], but that didn't last, and before long, he was just as ineffective as Megatron, if not moreso. And let's not even talk about what happened in post-G1 series...
** Even the films have done this. The Decepticons were nearly unstoppable at first, Starscream even managing to outmaneuver the Autobots and the air force in the first film -- in the sequel, they get thrown around. Although the extent of decay is hard to tell since [[spoiler: the Autobots and humans from around the globe have been fighting for two years now as a specialized task force. They're better prepared this time. Plus the fights aren't in crowded cities, so the Autobots can cut loose, especially Optimus]].
*** The Cons performance is poor all around, sure Starscream and Brawl could do some damage, but they were defeated rather easily, as well as most of the other cons. Look at the body count: Autobots lost one guy of five, Decepticons lost five out of eight. Almost all fights with the Autobots, bar Megatron's participation, are pretty one sided. In fairness: in the first movie the Autobots get their asses handed to them by the Decepticons unless Optimus is around; it's the humans and their pesky magnesium "can kill a Decepticon in a few hits" weapons that do most of the heavy lifting in the first movie. The magnesium weapons are so effective that one human soldier is able to kill Blackout ''single-handed''.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'', following tradition, hands this to Starscream (again). He went from surprisingly competent in the pilot to standard [[TheStarscream Starscream]] near the end of the season. And while he dealt Arcee a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown in ''Partners'' and later [[spoiler:went rogue]], but eventually [[spoiler:crawled back to Megatron with his tail between his legs and becoming nothing more than a comic foil throughout season 3, who wailed in despair at Megatron's death in the series finale]] ultimately wrapped up the descent of Starscream from his formidable presence during the pilot mini-series and first half of the series proper.
** Averted with Knockout. Undoubtedly the least dangerous Decepticon character by default, two seasons in and he's remained consistent with his early appearances.
** The Vehicons were a force to be reckoned with in the pilot mini-series, with Arcee and Bumblebee getting trashed by a couple of them until the timely arrival of Bulkhead. Later in the series, one shot takes them down, and they drop like flies. Averted temporarily in "Thirst" when they [[spoilers:become zombies and prove quite difficult to take down permanently... as zombies do]].
** The Insecticons suffered from this and ConservationOfNinjutsu. The First delivered a brutal beating to Arcee, the Second took on Megatron and pummeled him, nearly winning, both having shot them to almost no effect. All subsequent appearances have them defeated stupidly easily by the Autobots and Megatron, who only need to shoot them once or twice to take them down, if that, [[spoiler:dying by crashing trees, for example]]. At first it seems that their insect mode is weaker to blaster fire, but by "The New Recruit" their Robot modes to fair just as poorly.
* ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' creator and executive producer Creator/CraigMcCracken explicitly described Lord Hater suffering this effect in an interview with the Huffington Post[[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-hill/get-ready-for-lord-domina_b_7929048.html]]. As a result, they introduced DistaffCounterpart Lord Dominator. Throughout the second season, Hater slowly goes from the BigBad to a goofy AntiHero.
-->As Season 1 unfolded and Hater revealed himself to be more of a misdirected, lovable goof and not really a REAL bad guy, we knew that we had to introduce a serious and legit villain to shake things up and throw our whole goofy show back on its heels... After a whole season of having Wander handily defeat/befriend Lord Hater at every turn, it became hard to take him seriously as a credible threat.
** Hater's VillainDecay is lampshaded in-universe as well. Commander Peepers explicitly states that Hater's obsession with Wander has caused him to lose credibility. The first third of the second season revolves around him losing his place on the Galactic Villain Leaderboard and struggling to reclaim his place as the Greatest in the Galaxy.
-->'''Commander Peepers:''' "I'm sorry sir but it's true! You've spent so much time chasing him around the universe that you've lost any standing you had as a real villain!"
* While never particularly smart, the Trix sisters from ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' were competent enemies, acting on their own in the first season. They still were more than decent during the second season, even if by then, they were already reduced to the main villain's henchwomen; notable was their fusion into a single, powerful entity in the last episode. Then the third season came, and they became [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain little more than a joke]] - they even received some power-up at some point, but it turned to be useless.
** Subverted at the very end of the first movie when [[spoiler: they team up with their ancestors, the Three Ancestral Witches]], promising to ''rip the Faeries' wings off''.
** Valtor eventually suffered from this at the end of season 3. Even when he was well on his way to becoming the supreme sorcerer of the Magic Dimension, he began to grow mopey and whiny about how he was always hiding and that the Trix losing to the Winx meant that his defeat at the hands of the Company of Light years before was starting to repeat himself. When the Winx managed to hit him with the [[KryptoniteFactor Water Stars]] he became reluctant to even fight them. Even his [[OneWingedAngel demon form]] that removed his weakness to the water stars didn't save him, as he ended up letting the Winx free all of his spells that he had stolen, was abandoned by the Trix, and nearly frowned himself when recalling his water spell. In the end he fell under the control of the Three Ancestral Witches before being single-handedly killed by Bloom.
** Tritannus gets hit with this as well, at the beginning he was real menace to the Winx along with the Trix to who he granted powers to, but he slowly starts losing to the Winx to the point that the he gets easily beaten by [[UnscaledMerfolk Selkies]], who he and the Trix easily kick around.
* Cedric, TheDragon from ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', was quite menacing and monstrous in his first few appearances. As the series went on, though, his purpose largely became to get his clock cleaned by the heroines every few episodes, quickly robbing him of any serious threat. The series finale even [[YankTheDogsChain yanked his chain]] by [[spoiler: having him become supremely powerful...only to not realize he didn't know how to properly utilize it, and he gets beaten up rather easily AGAIN]]. Lampshaded in the first season finale, when [[BigBad Phobos]] [[YouHaveFailedMe chewed Cedric out for his failures epically]], then used his newly-heightened magic powers to curse him into a pathetically small and weak version of his OneWingedAngel form.
* ''WesternAnimation/WolverineAndTheXMen'' had the Brotherhood of Mutants first appear with a relatively clever plan that framed the X-Men for an attempted assassination. As the series went on and on, however, [[Comicbook/{{Quicksilver}} Pietro]] became [[TookALevelInDumbass increasingly stupider]], and the effectiveness of group decreased.
* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'':
**
Jack Spicer became full-on comic relief with the emergence of Chase Young (even achieving memetic status for his lameness ''in-universe''). Chase himself became less of a threat ''to the Xiaolin monks'' when Hannibal Roy Bean was released, moving more into EvilerThanThou and EnemyMine plots against Bean, but he is still an EmpoweredBadassNormal MagnificentBastard to surrender the end.
** Wuya too. Starting off as a fairly credible mentor to Jack, she eventually regained her magical power and managed to take over the world off-screen. Upon her return in the second season however, she was reduced to nothing but a loud, obnoxious whiner, and by the end of the season she was reduced to being nothing more than a cheering fangirl for Chase Young. She regained some of her villainous grativas in the third season, but even then, she was just never as cool as she was in the In the Flesh 3-parter.
* In his first appearance in ''WesternAnimation/YinYangYo'', Kraggler is an incredibly elderly gargoyle who is discounted by the siblings due to his age, then proves to be a very powerful and capable villain, who,
rather than kill her]].being defeated, is convinced to stop because of an apology for his mistreatment. From then on, he's treated as a joke villain (even moreso than the other villains, this being a comedy series) who's only a threat if he uses magic to reduce his age.
14th Jun '17 11:37:01 PM Sammettik
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** [[ArchEnemy Vilgax]] is one of the most infamous cases of this trope in the franchise. In the Original Series, he was the Dreaded an ImplacableMan capable of [[CurbStompBattle beating the crap out of most of Ben's alien forms]] with nothing but sheer strength, and Ben couldn't defeat him in a direct fight until he unlocked [[AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever Way Big]]. When he returned in ''Alien Force'', he still had some moments of badassery, but now would more frequently lose to Ben ([[JustifiedTrope who by this point]] [[TookALevelInBadass was five years older, more mature and with a better understanding of the Omnitrix]]), most notably once losing to [[spoiler:Diamondhead, an alien form who previously couldn't even scratch him]]. Comes ''Omniverse'', now suddenly Vilgax is regularly the butt of jokes by other characters and is revealed to be scared of Ma Vreedle, a ''comedic'' villain, to the point she can send him running away by her mere presence.
** Even worse with the Forever Knights, who went from a mysterious evil organisation to ridiculously weak villains who served as the heroes' punching ball (to the point in one episode, Gwen felt like it was more important for Ben to assist his girlfriend's tennis match than keeping an eye on them). Fortunately corrected in season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien'', where their founder comes back and turns them back into a real threat. ''Omniverse'' bring them back into this trope, since their war with [[ReligionOfEvil the Esoterica]] has left them mostly decimated, with only a very small team still active.

to:

** [[ArchEnemy Vilgax]] is one of the most infamous cases of this trope in the franchise. In the Original Series, he was the Dreaded an ImplacableMan capable of [[CurbStompBattle beating the crap out of most of Ben's alien forms]] with nothing but sheer strength, and Ben couldn't defeat him in a direct fight until he unlocked [[AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever Way Big]]. When he returned in ''Alien Force'', he still had some moments of badassery, but now would more frequently lose to Ben ([[JustifiedTrope who by this point]] [[TookALevelInBadass was five years older, more mature and with a better understanding of the Omnitrix]]), most notably once losing to [[spoiler:Diamondhead, an alien form who previously couldn't even scratch him]]. Comes ''Omniverse'', now suddenly Vilgax is regularly the butt of jokes by other characters and is revealed to be scared of Ma Vreedle, a ''comedic'' villain, to the point she can send him running away by her mere presence.
** Even worse with the Forever Knights, who went from a mysterious evil organisation to ridiculously weak villains who served as the heroes' punching ball (to the point in one episode, Gwen felt like it was more important for Ben to assist his girlfriend's tennis match than keeping keep an eye on them). Fortunately corrected in season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien'', where their founder comes back and turns them back into a real threat. ''Omniverse'' bring them back into this trope, since their war with [[ReligionOfEvil the Esoterica]] has left them mostly decimated, with only a very small team still active.



** Ebon also suffers for this. He's threatening at first, but gets his ass handed to him in nearly every appearance even with help form his henchmen, and loses fights against supporting characters.

to:

** Ebon also suffers for this. He's threatening at first, but gets his ass handed to him in nearly every appearance even with help form from his henchmen, and loses fights against supporting characters.
This list shows the last 10 events of 120. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=VillainDecay.WesternAnimation