The current storyline of the show you're watching has come to a climax as the Good Guy squares off, mano a mano, against the BigBad
. The Bad Guy is very strong (naturally), and everything the Good Guy throws at him is ineffectual, perhaps even brushed aside casually. The Bad Guy then proceeds to lay into the Good Guy with painful attack after attack -- perhaps even a "deadly" attack, or two
deadly attacks. The Good Guy slumps to the ground, bloodied.
If you didn't know better, you'd think it was all over. But wait! The Good Guy is getting up again! And he's hitting the Bad Guy with more attacks, but they're reasonably effective this time (perhaps he just Leveled Up
mid-battle). The Bad Guy has now taken a pretty good amount of damage... and he falls, defeated. You almost let your surprise get in the way of being pleased that Good has triumphed. "Hmm," you might think, "the Good Guy took way more damage than the Bad Guy just did, and he was weaker to start with. I guess that villain just can't take it like he can dish it out."
I suspect this must
have been done already, but I can't find the page with any search terms I can think of. The basic idea here is: good guys can take unlimited damage when it comes down to the wire, sometimes even explicitly Breaking Their Limit
in order to continue fighting, but the Bad Guy cannot withstand more than a couple good hits. Alternately, the Good Guy can call on his incredible inner power, whereas the Bad Guy doesn't have that kind of ability. This is not ImmortalHero
. This trope is more about *why* the hero never dies; it's because he either can tank massive damage, or he builds levels mid-fight, whereas the Bad Guy cannot do either of those things. The hero just has to last long enough to hit him hard a few times, and the villain falls.
Examples: Pick a fight, any fight, in:
- "Bleach" (such as Ichigo vs. Captain Zaraki, where Ichigo comes back from the dead twice mid-battle).
- "One Piece" (seriously, any good guy versus any bad guy, but Usopp vs. Mister Four is an especially interesting one because Usopp survives a blow to the head from a 4 ton bat that fractures his skull, then beats Mr. 4 with a single hammer shot; also see Luffy vs. Rob Lucci).
- "Naruto" might count, such as when Naruto comes back to life after Sasuke pile-drives him off a cliff in the fight at the end of the series.
- Gohan of "Dragon Ball Z" using his "hidden power" against anyone, most notably in Gohan vs. Cell, when he goes SSJ 2.
Sorry for the mainstream examples, but popular shounen series are suckers for this trope.
I'm not going to take the time to list a bunch of examples until you guys can tell me if this one's been done yet. But if we do start listing examples, there will be lots of them, and maybe some interesting aversions (hint: Kenshin Himura vs. Makoto Shishio