Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
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
- 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.