Hero Gloating YKTTW Discussion

Hero Gloating
A smug hero always falls.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-10-29 09:04:56 sponsor: Psi001 (last reply: 2015-09-27 19:04:53)

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Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16.18

Cockiness 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.


Anime and Manga
  • 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 releases 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.
    • Ichigo Kurosaki, 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. Many 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. The guy can't stop talking about how awesome he is, and it always leads to him getting cut down to size.
  • 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.

Live-Action TV

Video Games
  • 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.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • In the final battle of Crash: Mind Over Mutant, Cortex insists he's going to take out Crash one on one with his bare hands. This is met with an outburst of laughter and mocking from Crash and Aku Aku, before he unveils a hidden stash of N.Brio's mutagen formula to even the odds. Cue Oh Crap! reaction as he hulks into a giant muscular beast.
  • In the first Spyro the Dragon game, Gnasty Gnorc's crystal encasing of the dragons was provoked from watching a news coverage where one of the elders claimed Gnasty to be simple and of no threat (and, just to be petty, ugly too).

Western Animation
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