Hero Gloating YKTTW Discussion
A smug hero always falls.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16.18Cockiness and confidence are common traits in a protagonist and to some extent, make for a somewhat amusing and even endearing quirk. There is a common rule however, that the moment they reach an insufferable level of smugness and arrogance in their bouts of heroism, that huge streak of villain slaying is about to end. At one point the hero has seemingly everything won, the villain is defeated, the world is saved and all is well, but they aren't going to be humble about it. The hero may invoke an Ironic Echo by using the villain's own taunt against them, essentially throwing it back in their faces now that the tables have turned. In some cases they may even unheroically toy with the villain or Kick Them While They Are Down. Alternatively cue an enormous self aggrandising speech about how easy their victory was or how much that villain sucks and is surely gone for good. Whether their profound boasting leaves an opening for the supposed Harmless Villain to make a genuine offensive move or it's just a case of Tempting Fate, their Laser-Guided Karma ends the moment the hero tries to rub in just how good they are. Things will then suddenly go horribly wrong. Often leads to a Break the Haughty or Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moments, as well as usually provoking a minor case of The Bad Guy Wins or Team Rocket Wins. The heroic counterpart for Evil Gloating. See also Unsportsmanlike Gloating, which often overlaps with this trope. Examples:
Anime and Manga
- In Bleach, Soi Fon falls victim to this so many times you'd swear Kubo had something against her:
- During her fight with her mentor, Yoruichi Shihouin, she stops to brag about her secret weapon: Shunkou. She claimed it was recently perfected and said Yoruichi was to be the first victim of it... until Yoruichi stole her thunder by revealing she could do it too, and was much better at it. Whoops.
- It happens to her again, during her fight with Ggio Vega. She pins him to a wall, using kido, and realses her zanpakuto. You'd think she'd use the opportunity to finish him off, right? Nope. Not without pausing to tell him what was coming first. Guess what happens?
- Finishing up our Humiliation Conga, after being trounced by Barragan, she tells Aizen, of all people, she's going to finish him once and for all... only to have her sure-shot fail when it was needed most, then gets lectured on why it didn't work, before being cut down. Damn.
- Also: Ichigo, due to some hidden blood knight tendencies, often can be quite cocky when facing opponents. In his battle with Kenpachi, he expresses relief that his zanpakuto can't go into a higher level...and is easily trashed. Against Byakuya, he constantly provokes him, which ends up biting him in the ass.
- Happens a lot in Pokémon, a lot of Ash's losses were a result of his ego and confidence getting the better of him.
- Done to an enormous rate with Tyson in Beyblade in a similar manner.
- Subverted in Dragon Ball Z: Gogeta completely humiliates Evil Boo before killing it.
- In Deryni Rising, Morgan defeats Charissa's champion in single combat, turns and walks over to her, levels his sword at her throat, and taunts, "Who now is the ruler of Gwynedd?" Unfortunately for him, his opponent isn't dead and Charissa has an enchantment on the the badge of office he's wearing. Ian Howell throws a dagger at Morgan and Charissa casts a quick spell to choke Morgan with the badge's chain, putting him off-balance and leaving him with the dagger in his shoulder.
- In the first Paper Mario, Peach boasts to a rampaging Bowser that Mario has always whooped his ass and that he may as well just give up now. Cue a Hopeless Boss Fight where Bowser uses the Star Rod to curbstomp Mario, marking the first time Bowser has canonically beaten Mario.
- In Sonic Unleashed, Super Sonic stops to mock Eggman as he begs for forgiveness, failing to notice the small remote in his hands, giving way for the doctor's first defeat against the hedghog's super form.
- Bugs Bunny was known for his trademark wise cracker demeanor and usually outsmarting his foes without so much as breaking a sweat. However the odd moment the rabbit got a bit too full of himself was usually a sign he was going to be at the recieving end for once.
- Used as a Running Gag in The Dreamstone episode "Frozen Assets", whenever a hero attacked the Urpneys and stopped to mock them, Blob came from behind and captured them in a net. Subverted in "Blob's Incredible Plan" however, where the heroes anticipate and laugh off the Urpney's new plan, and genuinely do offer them what is arguably their most humiliating defeat in the show's run.
- A series of defeats and childish mocking by The Powerpuff Girls imbittered Mojo Jojo into creating The Rowdyruff Boys.
- The entirety of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" is this, applied with a very large hammer.