Vegeta: Congratulations, you've just destroyed the equivalent of 3 Raditz.
Krillin: That's right. What now, you son of a bi--
Vegeta: Nappa here is worth 5 Raditz.
Vegeta: And I am worth 15 Raditz.
Krillin: (disappointed) I...oh.
Nappa: Aw, come on. Don't get so down on yourself. At least you've proven that your Raditz is still stronger than our Raditz.
: I. Hate. All of you!
Sometimes a character is shown to be competent, maybe even heroic and badass. But that's not what they're remembered most for. Instead, they become remembered for their supposed "lameness". The fandom flanderizes
that one time the character made a stupid mistake
or got defeated in a shameful way, to the point the character looks like a complete weakling who cannot defeat an insect.
Maybe a parody version of the character is more was more well know than the character themselves
to begin with. Maybe the character is weak or unskilled at the begining of a series, but gains more skills and goes through Character Development
later after the character's intial protrayal had already burned its way into most peoples' mines. However it happened the character's "lameness" undergoes Memetic Mutation
and they reach Butt Monkey
status within Fanon
. Expect no one to care because it's funny
Contrast Memetic Badass
, Watch It for the Meme
(for when it's something bad enough
to draw people in).
Compare What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?
(which is a possible cause of this trope being in effect), What Measure Is a Non-Badass?
, Butt Monkey
, The Scrappy
, and Never Live It Down
Anime and Manga
Table Top Games
- Star Wars:
- Jar Jar Binks. In the actual Star Wars canon, Jar Jar's a pretty significant guy. He led the Jedi to the Gungan hidden city, "helped" broker an agreement with Boss Nass and (in his own away) helped with the fight against the attacking Droid army. In the later movies, he became the Representative of Naboo (!) and was instrumental in getting Palpatine seated as The Emperor. But he'll always be considered the worst character ever, worse even than characters who did nothing at all.
- The Stormtroopers are so memetically bad at hitting targets that they're the Trope Namer for Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.
- Abbadon the Despoiler from Warhammer 40K, or, as fans like to call him, Failbaddon the Armless. Though the character canonically is a very badass and dangerous villain, the fact he led no less than Thirteen crusades against the Imperium, and still failed to destroy it led to the development of his fanon portrayal as a General Failure.
- Kaguya Houraisan from Touhou. In canon, she's an immortal lunar princess with powerful time-warping abilities, and actually one of the harder bosses in higher difficulties. In fanon, she's a NEET who can't do anything but "HELP ME, EIRIN!!".
- Lunamaria Hawke, thanks mostly to her appearances in the Super Robot Wars games. While she missed a pretty big target once during the series (and the following times she opened fire during the series she had average marksmanship), the games turned it into her having outrageously bad aim (of the "wouldn't hit the moon if she was standing on it" variety) and she became a Joke Character.
- Megaman Legends:
- Teisel Bonne, who whenever he has to fight against Megaman he is bound to lose however given simply fighting against a highly advanced precursor combat android in the Legends games. In the other games he gets captured early to the point that some parts of the Fandom think of him like this while forgetting that besides doing all the raiding schemes before Bon Bonne and Tron came into scene.
- In Universe there is the case of Denise Marmalade (the Hero Antagonist) in The Misadventures of Tron Bonne. Suffering the same kind of punishment that Tron gets without a Mecha (on the first two rounds, on the third she gets it but it is a variant of a construction one barely modified) and fits the Failure Hero trope to a T. In universe even Tron that is a Villain Protagonist feels sorry for her and gives as a farewell present the Big Bad of the game. Cue the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming that is when Teisel says that Tron cares for her friend (which she denies).
- Mike Dawson from Dark Seed is considered a loser because of plot developments between the first and second games. In the second game, he becomes much whinier than he was in the first. He can't even win carnival games. Other reasons why he's a loser involve spoilers for the game.
- Ma-Ti from Captain Planet and the Planeteers. To the point that this very Wiki named a trope after the supposed lameness of his powers. When in actuality, Heart Is an Awesome Power, and much more practical than say, his fellow Planteer Wheeler's ability to accidentally burn down a forest if he's not careful.
- NONE of the Superfriends are particularly cool in hindsight, not even the ones based agreed upon Badasses like Batman, even if they were all busy saving the world Once an Episode. It's common in parodies for The Superfriends to be protrayed as overly friendly, old timey, cheesey heroes that wouldn't be able to hold a candle to the Darker and Edgier later interpretations of The Justice League and what they go up against.
- As noted above Aquaman gets this a lot because of his Superfriends version. Unlike the other heroes on the show though, for a long time it tainted the public's perception of him in other media as well (hence why he also gets his own mention in the comics section).
- The WonderTwins are often mocked and parodied for having a cheesey power set. Zan, the one that could take the form of water, gets this twice as hard because of how his power looks next to Jayna's ability to turn into any animal. As pointed in a Cartoon Network spoof commercial he could be beaten by a sponge...and not even an evil sponge.
- The original wonder duo, the powerless kid sidekicks Wendy and Marvin (and the Wonder Dog!) also get this often because of their percieved uselessness and unexplained presence (the powerless kids get to hang out with the all powerful grown up heroes, why exactly?). In one comic they show up only to later get mauled to death by The Wonder Dog, deconstructing their pressence in a superhuman setting.
- The Superfriends versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl are often mocked for having the ability to fly...on a team with an overfilled Flying Brick quota that already has that covered and then some. In a Fairly OddParents spoof, the Hawkgirl parody had "all the powers of a hawk and a gal!" And was the the last to arrive at a fight each time because how slowly she flew in comparison to the others...and then had her butt handed to to her once she actually got there.
- Vilgax from Ben10 technically isn't one (far from it, actually), but his Alien Force incarnation's Villain Decay was so badly received by fans that AF Vilgax is now for ever remembered as a complete whimp who got easily defeated by Diamondhead and generally stays in the shadow of his former, much more badass self. The writers did try to rerail him in Ultimate Alien, but a lot of fans still tend to ignore that.