->'''ComicBook/TheFlash:''' ...You lose.\\
'''ComicBook/{{Brainiac}} [[ComicBook/LexLuthor Luthor]]:''' Hardly. Look around you -- the Justice League is completely defeated, and so are you. For all your efforts, you have but inconvenienced me, '''speck'''. [[note]]said speck then rips Brainiac/Luthor apart and almost dies[[/note]]
-->-- ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Justice League Unlimited]], "Divided We Fall"''

Okay, so you've just gotten into a brawl with your local EldritchAbomination, just after you deliver the [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu Knockout Punch]] against him. Apparently as a final "screw you," something bad happens to you, or the world you live in, in such a way there is almost no way to solve that problem that will be done without sacrifice.

Congratulations, you just broke your arm punching out Cthulhu.

This trope is called upon as a way of showing the true futility of trying to stop the physical or literal manifestation of an all-powerful being. It really doesn't matter if you have powerful mythical weapons or giant galaxy destroying guns; the physical form of him is irrelevant to his powers to [[CurbStompBattle utterly smack you aside with merely a nod]]. It just can't really be done. {{Eldritch Abomination}}s such as the namer of the trope himself do not feel much pain from being punched out, since all you did was merely [[FightingAShadow destroy his physical manifestation]], and punching him out will only delay your demise as you:

# Stop him for now; when he wakes up, [[UnstoppableRage he is going to be pissed]].
# Find out your punch [[NoSell didn't even graze him]].
# [[PyrrhicVictory Have a broken arm, so when he wakes up, you will be screwed.]]
# Are now possessed or infected with TheVirus as a result of touching or killing him, and will eventually ''[[AndThenJohnWasAZombie become]]'' [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt him...]]
# Truly ''do'' defeat him, but only at the cost of [[PyrrhicVictory almost everything you were trying to save]], up to and including [[GoMadFromTheRevelation your sanity]] or your [[OurSoulsAreDifferent soul]].
# Truly ''do'' defeat him, but have drawn the attention of even ''[[FromBadToWorse worse]]'' [[NiceJobBreakingItHero things that]] [[AvengingTheVillain want revenge on you]].
# Kill his weak form, [[OneWingedAngel then he transforms...]]
# [[MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning Set off his back up plan]] - can be anything from a child with a water squirter to a bomb to the awakening of a giant demon.
# Find out that he was the sanest of the bunch; without him, the [[EvilPowerVacuum smaller fry are now beating up one another and the brawl takes out the world since there is no one to lead them]]. NiceJobBreakingItHero.
# [[TheProblemWithFightingDeath Have to face him again when you die because he's in charge of the afterlife.]]

This trope can also extend to normal all-powerful organizations, or an alien race where it is only a temporary victory and the next battle can be for sure a total defeat. For endings related to this trope, either 1) [[BittersweetEnding A close call]], or 2) [[DownerEnding all for naught]]!

SubTrope of PyrrhicVictory. Unlike DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu, this one ''will'' happen in a CosmicHorrorStory.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'': Slow-acting, but inevitable.. [[spoiler: If you gain the power to fight Witches, you will become a Witch.]] Played straight in [[spoiler: one timeline, to world-ending proportions]], averted in another [[spoiler: ''MercyKill'']], and invoked in a third. This trope is the driving reason for the plot of Homura's entire story arc.
* In perhaps a literal example, in ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', Sanosuke punches Shishio so hard that he shatters all the bones in his hands. Shishio is temporarily inconvenienced, and answers by punching Sano back, and defeating him instantly.
* In ''LightNovel/BlackBullet'' during [[spoiler: episode 4 when faced with an empty railgun and an attacking EldritchAbomination, Rentaro rips off his prosthetic arm, loads it into the railgun and answers DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu... at a fraction of the speed of light, leaving him armless until he was able to get a new one]].
* In ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'', a giant boar-demon attacks an Emishi village and the protagonist, Ashitaka, is forced to fight and kill him. In the struggle, Ashitaka receives a curse on his right arm, which [[CursedWithAwesome grants him superhuman strength]] but will eventually kill him. Indeed, the main point of the movie is that [[NiceJobBreakingItHero bad things happens when you kill a god]]. For example, Lady Eboshi, trying to create a new home for her people, decided to kill the boar god, but unfortunately, she did it by poisoning him, leading him to degenerate to the Boar-demon that attacked the Emishi village, as well as to the boar-demon brother to seek revenge. Later Eboshi decapitated the Deer-god (which is [[OurGodsAreDifferent much closer to an actual god]] then the other animal spirits in the movie), and as a result, The deer god goes OneWingedAngel and nearly kills everyone present there, and Eboshi has her arm bitten off by the head of another animal god.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''
** Several times when a Legendary made the scene, they show how they have the name.
** In ''Anime/PokemonTheFirstMovie'', Ash pulls a ShutUpHannibal, and proceeds to try to punch Mewtwo out. It fails, miserably. Then pulls himself off the ground and [[{{Determinator}} tries to punch Mewtwo out again]]. [[spoiler:He dies on the third try to stop Mewtwo.]]
* In ''[[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]]'', Camille defeats Scirocco by crashing his waverider into Scirocco's cockpit and crushing his body. With his dying breath, Scirocco mentally attacks Camille and leaves him catatonic.
-->'''Scirocco:''' "You may take my life, but I will take your soul!"
** [[spoiler:Eventually, he got better. Well, a little bit. Can't ever pilot again, but all it ever brought him was pain either way, right?]]
** [[spoiler:Averted in the movies, where Sirocco ''tries'' to pull a soul attack, but it visibly fails, and Camille manages to transform the Wave Rider back into Zeta Gundam. There's a certain feeling of triumph there, and game adaptations now follow through all the way to the transformation.]]
** ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'', the third encounter with the [[EldritchAbomination Devil Gundam]] ends this way. In order to stop it, Domon finds he has to kill his brother Kyoshi [[spoiler: who was at this point revealed to be GoodAllAlong, and kill his mentor Scartwz. And the Devil Gundam gets rebuilt and returns again later.]]
* ''Anime/HeavyMetalLGaim'': What happened to [[spoiler: L-Gaim Mk. II in its fight against the original Aug. Although the arm was ripped off]].
* In ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' Amelia tried to punch out the PhysicalGod Ruby Eye Shabranigdu but broke her arm instead. And there's the DangerousForbiddenTechnique Lina often relies on to defeat such demon lords with. Each use risks destroying the universe if executed poorly ([[spoiler: by attracting the attention of The Lord of Nightmares, leaving the fate of the entire universe to the erratic whims of its now cognizant Demiurge]],) like when Lina was swallowed up mind, body and soul to fuel it, only returning through a mixture of sheer luck and (in the anime) ThePowerOfLove.
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' does this roughly every time it turns around. One moment which comes to mind is when Goku uses his Kamehameha at Kaioken x4 in a BeamOWar against Vegeta, with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, and ultimately sends Vegeta flying into the stratosphere. Then Yajirobe gives Goku a light congratulatory slap on the back, and Goku screams in pain due to the HeroicRROD brought about by the Kaioken. Vegeta falls to earth, hurt but not nearly as badly as Goku is, and just transforms. The whole fight with Vegeta is this. He's beaten and forced to retreat from Earth, but Goku is on death's doorstep, and Gohan is left badly injured. And Vegeta recovers, though this is overshadowed by his recovery coinciding with an introduction of an even bigger threat, Freeza. Him surviving actually benefited the protagonists in the next arc.
** Tien often pulls this trope, over-exerting himself to near death, and in the fight with Nappa, it kills him.
** Tien has another case of this when overuses a DangerousForbiddenTechnique to try and slow down Cell to alone #18 to get away. The most he's able to do is slow him down, and his exerting himself left him too weak to even run away, and only survived because Goku saved him. And his actions proved futile in the long run anyways.
** The backstory for Piccolo Daimou in ''Manga/DragonBall''. Muten Roshi's master managed to come up with a technique to seal away Piccolo, but dies uses it, and Piccolo is later released anyways. Both attempts to reuse the technique fail, with Roshi screwing it up and dying, and Tien failing because Piccolo had a {{Mook|s}} take the hit for him.
* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'':
** Prior to the series, Queen Serenity's battle with the series first BigBad [[EldritchAbomination Queen Metallia]], where the most she can do is seal Metallia away, and dies doing so, and while not all the details are given, Metallia apparently managed to kill the rest of the Senshi as well. Metallia's marks another case of this, with everyone but Usagi dying before she's finally killed in the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]], though Usagi undoes the damage of her rampage. The [[Anime/SailorMoon anime]] also ends with this way, with the Senshi dying fighting the [[AmazonBrigade DD Girls]], Mamoru dying saving Usagi from Beryl, and Usagi as she dies from using the Silver Crystal to destroy Metallia, but she manages to revive herself and everyone else with it.
** The third story arc, both versions when Sailor Saturn stops Pharaoh 90 from bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, using her powers causes her to die and she only makes it back because Usagi saves her.
** The manga ends this way. [[spoiler:Eternal Sailor Moon does a HeroicSacrifice to prevent the AnthropomorphicPersonification of Chaos from rising. After [[UnexplainedRecovery she gets better]], we're told that Chaos was not completely destroyed. Sailor Cosmos confirms that Chaos will be reborn as a Sailor Senshi itself, and that it will instigate a huge cosmic war that will tear the galaxy apart and that the damage and sacrifice necessary to destroy it will ''be just as bad as losing the war''. While Cosmos [[OurTimeTravelIsDifferent traveled to the past]] to prevent its rebirth, she realized that Chaos' rise was inevitable and that there WAS no [[TakeAThirdOption Third Option]].]] Oddly the characters don't seem to perturbed by the bleak future that awaits them, preferring to enjoy their happy present lives [[spoiler:taking comfort that life will always go on even if the galaxy is destroyed by war]]. To be fair, given that Cosmos's plan to stop Chaos would ''kill the galaxy'', it's understandable that they were all right with their win.
* Asuka feels the full weight of this trope after defeating the [[spoiler:SEELE invaders and the Eva Series]] in ''[[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion End of Evangelion]]''. The last shot of her [[spoiler:half-devoured]] mecha juxtaposes it with [[spoiler:the regenerated Eva Series joining Shinji's InstantRunes]], heralding TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. Technically, Shinji Broke His Mind Punching Out 15 Cthulhi.
* In ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'', the dimensional robots are so powerful that conventional militaries stand no chance. You do have ''Zearth'', your own dimension robot which proved to be [[AlwaysABiggerFish more powerful than some of them]] but [[spoiler:it's run on your lifeforce and will drain you dead]]. Don't want to punch them? [[spoiler:Your universe will perish. You can't lose a single fight, either. And if you try to reverse-engineer the robots, the guys in charge will just eat everyone on your planet.]]
* This ends up happening to Jaden during his final duel with Yubel in ''Anime/YuGiOhGX''; [[spoiler:thanks to the nature of Yubel's monster effect, each time Jaden destroys (or forces Yubel to destroy) her copy, it merely evolves into a stronger version of itself. Eventually, Yubel becomes so powerful from Jaden's attempts to stop her, that the only way he ''could'' take her out is to intercept a FusionDance attempt of hers that would've resulted in TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt and use it to scrub the duel prematurely by ''fusing his soul with Yubel's, having the monster in his head for all eternity'']]. It's not that bad; [[spoiler: since Yubel was purged of the Light of Destruction when she and Judai got fused, and had all her Yandere urges satisfied, she calms down significantly and becomes friendly, if not a DeadpanSnarker]].
* ''Manga/OnePiece''
** During the Skypeia arc, the BadassNormal Skypeian, Wiper, goes one-on-one with [[AGodAmI God]] [[PsychoElectro Eneru]]. After a tense fight, Wiper manages to ''kill'' Eneru by using the [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique Reject Dial]], at the cost of severe damage to his own body. Unfortunately for Wiper, Eneru's electric Devil Fruit immediately acts like a MagicalDefibrillator, restarting the tyrant's heart. Sorry Wiper, looks like killing him once just isn't enough.
** Later on, Luffy faces BigBad [[spoiler:Magellan, who's coated in an armor of deadly poison]]. Luffy manages to get some hits in, [[spoiler:but ultimately he isn't strong enough to keep Magellan down and succumbs to the poison]].
* In ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', Netero nearly kills the Chimera Ant King Meruem [[spoiler:by stopping his own heart to trigger the incredibly powerful bomb implanted in his own body. This desperate move only fails because two of Meruem's strongest minions sacrifice most of their power and body mass to restore him]]. Later, Gon utterly destroys [[spoiler:Neferpitou, the second strongest Chimera Ant alive by forcefully aging himself to vastly increase his power. Said powerboost comes at the cost of a shortened lifespan and the possibility that Gon will never be able to use nen again]]. In a more literal example, [[spoiler:Gon's right arm is torn off by zombie!Pitou when Gon lets his guard down thinking the battle was over after he crushed Pitou's head. Gon pins the monster down with his own ripped off arm and finishes it off with a final "rock" attack that apparently leaves Gon on the brink of death]]. However this is subverted [[spoiler: when it's revealed the deadliest part about the bomb implanted in Netero is the ''poison'' that will kill everything that comes in contact with the bomb or people poisoned by it. That kills Meruem for good]]. Chapter 345 reveals that [[spoiler:even after a RealityWarper saved his life, Gon still hasn't fully recovered. [[BroughtDownToNormal He cannot see or use Nen anymore]]]].
* Forms the backstory of ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'': the destruction of Unicron in the previous series had the side effect of creating an unholy abomination of a black hole that unless stopped using the series' {{Plot Coupon}}s will annihilate the entire universe, possibly even the multiverse.
* ''Manga/MedakaBox'': This happens in a few instances, often to Zenkichi. Zenkichi kicks Oudo [[spoiler: off of a building!]]only to find that it has no effect. Later he does a HeroicSacrifice to try and [[spoiler: kill Kumagawa. It works, but Kumagawa's reality warper abilities just revive him anyway]].
* Happens in ''Manga/FairyTail'' during the fight against [[GreaterScopeVillain Master Hades]]. [[spoiler: Laxus realizes he can't defeat Hades, so he gives his magic power to Natsu. With Laxus' magic power added to his own, he singlehandedly defeats Hades. He then falls down, completely out of power and too sore to move at all, and watches helplessly as Hades gets back up and activates his One-Winged Angel move.]]
** This trope is in effect whenever Natsu manages to use [[SuperMode Dragon Force]]: Activating it usually allows him to beat the tar out of the current ArcVillain, but due to the manner in which he has to activate it [[spoiler:until the ''Tartaros'' arc and even then the aftereffects still happen]] (eating extremely potent sources of magical energy), this often leaves him completely and utterly exhausted afterwards and unable to really move. [[spoiler:This nearly got him killed in the battle against [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Mard Geer's]] OneWingedAngel, but luckily [[DemonSlaying Gray]] [[HeroicSecondWind was there to finish the job]].]]
** When [[spoiler: [[PlayingWithFire King of the Flame Dragons Igneel]]]] fought against [[TheDreaded Black Dragon of the Apocalypse Acnologia]] in the ''Tartaros'' arc, he managed to [[spoiler: tear off the Dragon King's arm in a SingleStrokeBattle, permanently crippling him from the looks of things. Acnologia tore a hole through [[TorsoWithAView Igneel's torso]] before ''killing'' him with his BreathWeapon in return]]. And all of this happened right in front of [[spoiler: Natsu's]] eyes.
** Gray was forced to [[spoiler:partially transform himself into a Demon using his newly acquired (meaning he lacked experience) Devil Slayer powers to tank Mard Geer's Memento Mori curse]]. It worked, but about a year or so later [[spoiler:he has lost control of the transformation. He becomes obsessed with destroying E.N.D, and doesn't care who he has to hurt or kill to do it. One of his new comrades in the Avatar Cult notes that the curse has stained his skin and his soul black]].
* A number of characters in the ''Anime/PrettyCure'' franchise are hit with this:
** Mepple and Mipple of ''Anime/FutariWaPrettyCure'' fall into a deep sleep that's ''said'' to last a thousand years after Nagisa and Honoka defeat the BigBad. It only lasts until the next week in ''Futari wa Pretty Cure [=MaX=] Heart''.
** ''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'' does this twice in the backstory. It's revealed that Kaoruko lost her powers as Cure Flower when she used so much energy from the Heartcatch Mirage to stop Dune, it shattered her Heart Perfume device. And Yuri is taken out of the fight for 3/4ths of the series when she uses her Pretty Cure Seed to block the Dark Precure's attack, the strain shattering it into two halves.
** ''Anime/PrettyCureAllStars DX 3'' has ''all'' the girls lose their transformation devices to Black Hole, force them to use the MacGuffin to repower them and defeat Black Hole, ''then'' lose their powers ''and'' companions. For all of a few minutes on-screen.
** ''Anime/SmilePrettyCure'' seemed to live off of this...
* Jonathan Joestar's apparent victory over Dio Brando in ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' turned out to be anything but. Even as a disembodied ''head'' Dio mortally wounds Jonathan with a new attack. Jonathan only has enough strength left to ensure his wife Erina's safety and dies trying to take Dio down with him. After several decades, Dio returns from the bottom of the sea in Part III after attaching himself to Jonathan's body and boasting a new power that makes his vampiric abilities seem like parlor tricks in comparison. It's up to Jonathan's great-great grandson Jotaro to put Dio down for good. Part VI reveals that even ''this'' didn't stop Dio's legacy.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** The titular character gets in a fight with [[TheDragon Kabuto]]. Naruto, being heavily outclassed, takes a pounding for most of the fight, with him only managing to land one hit on Kabuto, though it came in the form of the [[SphereOfDestruction Rasengan]]. The attack did a lot of damage, but Kabuto almost killed Naruto by severing some of his heart strings, which would have killed him if Tsunade hadn't saved him, and Kabuto managed to get back on his feet to help Orochimaru. Naruto did successfully get Kabuto to back off, snapped Tsunade out of her HeroicBSOD, and won a bet she made with him stating that he couldn't master the Rasengan.
** Villainous example in Naruto's fight with Pain. Seeing Hinata hurt prompts Naruto to lose more control and draw on more the [[EldritchAbomination Kyuubi]]'s power than he ever has before, [[DemonicPossession also losing control of himself to it]]. Pain attempts a stronger version of [[GravityMaster Shinra Tensei]] to stop him, but the possessed Naruto just breaks free while drawing even more power, and the Kyuubi nearly convinces him to break the seal and let him free. The trope is only narrowly averted by vision of the Fourth Hokage that [[CrazyPrepared he set up in case of such an event]], which allowed Naruto to regain control.
** Guy breaks his leg ''kicking'' out [[VillainSue Madara]] so hard that the latter's torso is blown open. His body also starts falling apart because he was using the [[DeadlyUpgrade Eighth Gate]]. [[spoiler:Naruto saved him from guaranteed death, but his leg was so far beyond repair that he remains cripplied.]]
* ''Manga/SoulEater'' has this as the backstory with [[BigGood Lord Shinigami]]'s battle with [[GreaterScopeVillain Asura]]. Lord Shinigami defeated Asura, skinned him alive and used his skin to make a bag to seal him in, and then anchored his soul into a firm location to suppress Asura's influence and keep him sealed. As a consequence, this forced him into a heroic example of OrcusOnHisThrone since he could leave to deal with any other menaces that threatened the world, which hit especially bad in the present when Asura is released by Medusa and escapes outside of where Lord Shinigami can move. The FinalBattle against Asura plays this trope twice. First when Crona tries to [[YourSoulIsMine devour his soul]]. She seemingly succeeds, but then later he just breaks and berates her for her ignorance. The protagonists try fighting Asura, but no [[NoSell shakes off]] everything they throw at him and in the end, after a reveal that Asura is in fact an embodiment of fear and [[AsLongAsThereIsEvil can never die as long as fear exists]] (hence why Lord Shinigami didn't kill him), the most that can be done is reducing him back to a SealedEvilInACan, at the cost of Crona's life, whom [[TheHero Maka]] spent most of the series trying to save.
* This occurs at the end of ''Anime/KillLaKill''. [[spoiler: After defeating Ragyo, Senketsu beings to unravel as a result of overloading himself with so many life-fibers. Rushing to get Ryuko back to Earth, [[HeroicSacrifice he burns up on re-entry whilst shielding her.]]]]
* The [[EldritchAbomination Safeguards]] in ''[[Manga/{{Blame}} Blame!]]'' include a {{giant|Mook}}, Cthulhu-shaped model. While Killy is carrying an even more [[LostTechnology eldritch weapon]], he [[LawOfInverseRecoil broke his arm shooting]] Cthulhubot.
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'': Levi is left injured and sidelined after [[spoiler:blocking an attack from the Female Titan to save Mikasa]]. He still manages to win the fight, as evidence of how deserving he is of his WorldsStrongestMan reputation. Eren also tends to do this constantly whenever he [[spoiler:fights other Titans, but it rarely slows him down for long since he has a HealingFactor]].
* In ''Manga/GetterRobo Armageddon'', [[spoiler:the two Getter Teams pool the power of Shin Getter and Shin Dragon to form the Final Getter Tomahawk, destroying Cohen, Stinger and what's left of Jupiter and its moons. However, doing so drained Shin Dragon's battery and blew off Shin Getter's arms. And then, the NegativeSpaceWedgie with teeth shows up..]].
* Played with in ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'': When Izuku first uses his new quirk "One For All", he literally breaks his arm punching out a giant robot (plus his legs after jumping in the air to punch out said robot) since his body wasn't fully prepared for the attack's overwhelming power. [[spoiler:Eventually, his use of "One For All" leaves his hand permanently disfigured, with doctors believing that continued use would eventually leave him completely unable to use his arms]].
* In ''LightNovel/KumoDesuGaNaniKa'' Ariel faces off against [[spoiler:Potimas]]'s most powerful anti-''[[KillTheGod god]]'' weapon, which by all rights should kill her with ease. She utilizes [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique a Virtue Skill]] to destroy it at the cost of reducing her remaining lifespan to a year and losing the ability to fight.
* Before the beginning of ''Manga/MissKobayashisDragonMaid'', [[spoiler:Tohru lead a solo assault on the gods in order to end the war between humans and dragons [[IJustWantToBeFree and be free of her responsibilities to the Chaos Faction]]. It only ended with her getting mortally wounded, and in the position Kobayashi found her in]].
* In LightNovel/SukaSuka the main character eventually comes face to face with Shiantor the Lamenting First Beast. [[spoiler: Against all odds he manages to kill the Beast’s formerly human host; an action that leaves its essence very much intact. Unfortunately for the main character, it only needs to find another human host in order to revive itself, which just so happens to be poor [[LastOfHisKind Willem]]. Faced with the prospect of becoming an EldritchAbomination he tries to [[HeroicSuicide end things]] before it’s too late. In this regard he’s only partially successful and only succeeds in getting both of them sealed away.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/TheMightyThor
** Thor managed to slay the Midgard Serpent - a giant dragon among giant dragons - with a massive hammer blow to the head. He was already in constant pain and obliged to wear a full-body armor suit for support due to a curse by [[WhoWantsToLiveForever the goddess of death]], but the death blow ''reduced him to a pulped ([[AndIMustScream yet still living]]) mass of flesh contained within said armor''. Given he was prophesied to die after killing the Midgard Serpent, as per Myth/NorseMythology; this is actually a plus.
** A more graphic example was when he hit an invulnerable Viking named Herald Jaekelson so hard it nearly tore his hands off.
** There are many times in the comics where Thor managed to break his hammer, {{Mjolnir}}, while fighting some of his most powerful enemies, usually by utilizing the Odinforce. One example is when he tried to fight Exitar, the largest Celestial, in one of his older comics and shatters his Mjolnir into pieces trying to break into its skull.
** In ''ComicBook/FearItself'', [[spoiler:Thor's battle against his EvilUncle Cul Borson aka the Serpent aka the Norse god of fear -- who turned out to be the ''true'' serpent destined to kill him -- ends in a MutualKill. [[DeathIsCheap He gets better]], as always]].
* The only way for [[Comicbook/DoctorStrange Dr. Strange]] to beat Shuma-Gorath on his home turf was to tap into the demon's power source. Using Shuma's power started to make him become another Shuma-Gorath though and "killing" Shuma only sped up the process, so Strange had to commit suicide. Luckily someone else was able to save the Doctor, which was good a while later when we learn Shuma wasn't permanently dead.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'', this is the only way the only kind of win John Constantine ever pulls off. To get rid of [[MonsterOfTheWeek this issue's monster]], chances are [[AndYourLittleDogToo either someone he loves has to die]], or [[NiceJobBreakingItHero his actions set up an even greater problem to be dealt with at a later date]].
* One ''Comicbook/{{Exiles}}'' arc features ComicBook/{{Galactus}} attacking earth, and for once he's actually at full strength rather than nearly dying from starvation. Eventually team powerhouse Thunderbird manages to break Galactus' skin and insert a device specifically made by that earth's Reed Richards to hurt the creature. Thunderbird is left brain dead from the shockwave though he does manage to get Galactus to flee.
* At the climax of Marvel Comics' Generation One ''[[ComicBook/TheTransformers Transformers]]'' series, Circuit-Breaker, a.k.a. [[HandicappedBadass Josie]] [[GeniusCripple Beller]] attacked [[GodOfEvil Unicron]] with all her power, paralyzing him long enough for Optimus Prime to destroy him with the Creation Matrix. Sadly, however, Beller was left catatonic as a result.
* Played straight litterally in [[ComicBook/LesLegendaires Les Légendaires]], where protagonist [[MagicalGirl Jadina]] attempts to punch the GodOfEvil Anathos. Anathos stops her attack with ''one finger'', and ''causes her arm to break in the process''. Even worst, he mentioned she is lucky he needed her alive at that point, because otherwise he would have let her ''kill herself'' punching him. [[spoiler: Then immediately subverted when Jadina [[OutGambitted Out-Gambits]] [[DidYouJustScamCthulhu him]].]] And before this, [[TheHero Danael]] already suffered a case of TheVirus against Anathos when coming up with a scheme to prevent him from reincarnating into Shimy, only to serve as the host instead of her.
* In ''Comicbook/FinalCrisis'' Franchise/{{Batman}} shot Comicbook/{{Darkseid}} with a [[KryptoniteFactor Radion]] bullet, mortally wounding him. The dying God of Evil inflicted the Omega Sanction on Batman [[spoiler:trapping him in a cycle of death and rebirth into horrible lives]] and accelerated the universe's decay which his rebirth started out of spite.
* In ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyMicroSeries'' Issue #2 [[spoiler:the Sonic Double Rainboom certainly defeats the gremlins, but completely paralyzes Dash's wings for two months]].
* Occurs whenever Batman and Franchise/{{Superman}} fight, if Superman doesn't outright win.
** An almost literal example in ''ComicBook/BatmanHush'', when trying to survive against a BrainwashedAndCrazy Superman, even with his krypnoite ring, Batman could land a few punches on Superman before not being able to punch him anymore because impacts broke every bone in his hand.
** Another occasion in ''Comicbook/ADeathInTheFamily''. The Joker has just killed Robin, and Superman is withholding information from Batman. Batman angrily punches Superman. Given the dark tone of the story, what happens next is actually pretty funny.
--->'''Superman''': (Unfazed) Feel better now?\\
'''Batman''': (Clutching his fist) I think I broke a couple of knuckles!\\
'''Superman''': No, they're just badly bruised. You're lucky I rolled with that punch. You could've crippled yourself.
* Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}:
** Once in the Pre-Crisis universe Comicbook/{{Supergirl}} and Comicbook/{{Superboy}} attempted to punch Comicbook/{{Darkseid}}. They were amped up by Highfather to insane amounts and let's remember they could ''pull an entire galaxy's worth of planets without said power up''. None of their punches [[NighInvulnerability even hurt]] Darkseid and barely even catches his attention.
** Supergirl trashed the Anti-Monitor during the ''Comicbook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'', but he took her out. She {{d|yingMomentOfAwesome}}ied and her existence was erased from the memory collective of the universe... for a while.
* In the Franchise/SpiderMan storyline "Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut" Spider-Man's second fight with TheJuggernaut goes like this. Struggling to find a way to hurt him, Spidey tries ramming a tanker truck into him only to find it just made him angry. Ultimately Spider-Man manages to win the fight by tricking Juggernaut into a load of cement, but due to how Juggernaut's powers work (he doesn't need to eat, drink, sleep, or even ''breathe''), Juggy eventually just dug his way out. Keeping the latter part of the trope from being played straight, Spidey's confrontations with the Juggernaut after that were rare and handled ''much'' differently; in the most recent one, Spidey [[SheatheyourSword simply gave him what he wanted]] so he'd go away.
* Played for laughs in one ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' strip; after the Kite Eating tree grabs his kite, Charlie Brown gets angry and threatens to kick it in the stomach. Then he does, only to find out the hard way that "these Kite Eating Trees have hard stomachs..."
* During ''ComicBook/UnderworldUnleashed'', Neron allowed any villain to leave if they didn't want to trade their soul for power. Mongul made the mistake of also trying to attack him. Neron promptly snaps his neck.
* ''ComicBook/{{Arawn}}'': Owen manages to destroy the godlike demon spawned from the Cauldron of Blood, who even the pantheon of gods had trouble dealing with, by destroying the Cauldron itself with Math's Sun Axe. He ends up dying in the resulting explosion, but is later resurrected by Arawn.
* ''ComicBook/JonathanHickmansAvengers'': The Multiverse Exploration Team. They manage to [[spoiler: permanently kill two Beyonders, a '''huge''' accomplishment given how powerful Beyonders are. But all of the team except Thor and Hyperion die in the process, with Thor losing an arm and Hyperion having his right eye gouged out. And than the rest of the Beyonders come swarming out to finish them off. Thor and Hyperion realize that there's no way in hell they'll win or escape, so they settle for just [[DyingMomentOfAwesome charging into battle and trying to take out as many Beyonders as they can before they're killed]].]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In the ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'':
** During the FinalBattle of the Generational Transitions Arc with [[PhysicalGod Strife]], [[spoiler: Thistle Whistle]] headbutts her with all her might to interrupt one of her attacks. Her blow is enough to stun Strife for a moment...but broke every bone in [[spoiler:Thistle Whistle]]'s body and killed her instantly. However, this attack ''was'' enough to earn Strife's respect and Strife still holds her in high regard to this day, even constructing a statue to her in her realm.
** A ChildProdigy made the [[WeaponOfMassDestruction Concept Killing Spear]] to try and kill life itself. She succeeded in murdering the demi-god of Sharing Love Cupid...but this ended up [[RetGone erasing every life Cupid and his Concept ever aided in making from existence]] along with him. While the nameless filly didn't care much for that, this trope comes in full force when [[MamaBear Cupid's furious mother Venus]] descends from the spirit world and [[CurbstompBattle easily kills her]] in revenge before giving her a ''very'' harsh but well deserved punishment. [[spoiler:On top of this, Cupid's Concept would eventually be resurrected by fusing his Shadow of Existence with a mare named Lovestruck.]]
** In general ''truly'' killing off a Concept will always end in this, as they ''will'' take the thing they represent with them along with everyone who was alive because of it.
* ''FanFic/WithThisRing'': [[spoiler: Several years before the story proper, [[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]] gathered up his friends and allies, and managed to stop an evil cult from summoning an EldritchAbomination; at the cost of one of their number being driven insane, and several of them dying. [[MyGreatestFailure Including Zatanna's mother.]] [[HarsherInHindsight Zatara's never forgiven him]] for getting her involved]].

* The [[Film/Amityville3D third film]] in the ''Franchise/{{Amityville}}'' series has the haunted house getting [[StuffBlowingUp destroyed]], though this fails to stop the evil, with it just living on in the form of mundane objects like lamps and clocks salvaged from the rubble, which allows the evil to spread out all over the country and establish "new homes" when people obtain the junk.
-->[[WebAnimation/NeuroticallyYours Amityville toaster, makes breakfast spooky. Spooky talk from toaster. Spooky eat me toast. Yum yum yum. Human hand.]]
* ''Film/{{Damnatus}}''. All the heroes give their lives to try and stop G'guor, an Eldar spirit accompanying them pulls a ThanatosGambit, and inquisitor Lessus invokes [[EarthShatteringKaboom exterminatus]] on the planet, but the outro voiceover implies that G'guor will ''still'' be back someday.
* The 1998 film ''Film/{{Fallen}}'' is about a demon that can leap from one body to another instantaneously. It ends with [[spoiler:the lead character leading it into the middle of the woods, then poisoning himself before shooting the demon's current host. Cut to a nearby ''cat'', and the narration picks up again: "Oh! You forgot something, didn't you? Back at the start, I said I was going to tell you about the time I ''almost'' died. [chuckles] Be seeing you."]]
* In ''Film/TheAstronautsWife'' - a RecycledInSpace version of ''Film/RosemarysBaby'' - the heroine [[spoiler:tricks the alien possessing her husband by acting like she's going to commit suicide through a variation - an ''awesome'' variation - on the ElectrifiedBathtub, only to electrocute him instead. Unfortunately, the alien manages to flee her husband's body and possess her instead, for a DownerEnding]].
* ''Film/RockyIV'' ends on a happy note, as Rocky defeats the [[HuskyRusskie superhuman Soviet boxer]] Ivan Drago and avenges his friend Apollo Creed. In ''Film/RockyV'', however, we learn that Balboa's gone bankrupt thanks to a shady accountant. Rocky tries to take another title fight to earn money, but the match with Drago gave him career-ending brain damage.
* In the remake of ''Film/TheHaunting1999'', Elinor becomes a Christ-like figure, confronts the villainous ghost, Hugh Crane who has transformed into a twenty-foot, roaring, Witch-King of Angmar lookalike and defeats him with ThePowerOfLove, banishing him through the Gates of Hell which are conveniently placed in his hallway. Don't ask. The spirits imprisoned within the house are released and Elinor conveniently dies. It's like something out a Saturday morning cartoon.
* In ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'', Hiccup [[spoiler:loses half his left leg in the process of defeating the humungous dragon at the end]].
* At the end of ''Film/SilentHill'', Rose finally rescues her daughter and defeats the Order by way of [[DealWithTheDevil letting Dark Alessa]] have her RoaringRampageOfRevenge. However, when they leave Silent Hill, they're still stuck in the Fog World, and the movie ends with both them and her husband in their house at the same time, in two worlds, unable to communicate except for a single static-laden voice mail. In [[Film/SilentHillRevelation3D the sequel]], it turns out that in the interim she [[AuthorsSavingThrow somehow finds a way]] to get her daughter back to the real world, but not herself. Too bad for her, the Order was able to do the same thing with [[spoiler:Vincent]], thus setting up the events where [[spoiler:Dark Alessa and the powers of the Order are defeated ''for good'', Pyramid Head pulls a quasi HeelFaceTurn, and Heather, her dad and Vincent all get to go home, just as the permanent ash fall is coming to an end. They pass a [[VideoGame/SilentHillDownpour prison bus heading into the town's general area,]] just as it starts to rain and the creepy music kicks up again, meaning that all they did was change who the instigators and victims were going to be]].
* The 2011 adaptation of ''Film/TheWhispererInDarkness'' expands on the ending by having Wilmarth discover the Mi-Go performing a ritual that will open a portal and allow for a mass invasion. [[spoiler: He succeeds in preventing said invasion, though most likely only temporarily. He is also unable to escape from the Mi-Go, with the final scene revealing his brain has been removed and placed into a jar for transport]].
* In ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'', this happens ''two fucking times''.
** In the film's climax, Superman, Batman, and [[spoiler:Wonder Woman]] defeat [[spoiler:Doomsday]], but in the process [[spoiler:a good deal of both Metropolis and Gotham is leveled, and ''[[HeroicSacrifice Superman dies]]''. [[NotQuiteDead Kind of]]]].
** Additionally, Luthor managed to [[spoiler:[[TheBadGuyWins kill Superman]]]], but not to [[spoiler:discredit him--apparently a HeroicSacrifice does wonders for PR--and [[HumiliationConga to add insult to injury]]]], he's sent to prison and ''[[TheWoobie shaved]] [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking bald]]''. And even worse? [[spoiler:Due to Batman's meddling, Lex gets transferred to [[HellholePrison Arkham Asylum]], ''after'' being {{Mind Rape}}d by Steppenwolf]].
* ''Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock'': Kirk manages to defeat Kurge and avenge everyone the villain has hurt (and most importantly, find Spock) but he has to destroy ''The Enterprise'' to do it all. His brief, sad expression as he watches it burn up says it all.
* At the end of ''Film/{{Predator 2}}'', [[spoiler: Harrigan kills the Predator, only to immediately face several more Predators that materialize in front of him. However, the trope is averted in that the others don't want revenge; on the contrary, they give Harrigan a gift and send him on his way]].
* Creator/JohnCarpenter's entire "Apocalypse Trilogy":
** In ''Film/{{The Thing|1982}}'' [[spoiler: the characters are able to make a stand against the monster, but by the time they're done all but two are dead, and the survivors are likely to freeze to death. It's also not entirely clear if they actually succeeded in destroying the Thing or if they've only temporarily contained it, and there is a faint possibility one of the two survivors could be a Thing]]. To make things even darker there's an AlternateEnding where [[spoiler: a dog is seen running away from the ruins of the camp, implying that the thing escaped, and [=Macready's=] efforts were for nothing]].
** ''Film/PrinceOfDarkness'': [[spoiler: The EldritchAbomination is prevented from bringing something even ''worse'' into our world and trapped in another dimension, but at the cost of the {{Love Interest|s}}'s life, along with most of the rest of the cast. The final scenes also hint that it will find a way back. The final scene has the main character reaching for a mirror, [[NothingIsScarier but we don't see what happens next]].]]
** ''Film/InTheMouthOfMadness'': Poor John Trent tries again and again to punch out Cthulhu, but he just doesn't stand a chance. He constantly tries to find ways to outwit mad writer Sutter Kane, but the latter constantly remains one step ahead. Trent tries to burn the manuscript for an insanity-inducing novel? [[spoiler: Too bad, another one shows up in the mail]]. He tries to warn the publisher to keep the novel from coming out? [[spoiler: He already delivered the manuscript, the book's been selling like hotcakes, and there's a movie about to come out.]]
* Occurs in nearly every successful attempt to stop ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'':
** Godzilla's first fight with Mothra left the adult Mothra dead before the larva sealed itself off in a cocoon, and even that wasn't enough to stop him forever. The only thing keeping this trope from being played entirely straight is that Godzilla ends pulling a HeelFaceTurn in the later movies.
** ''Godzilla vs Biollante'' is a case of this being played for Godzilla himself. He manages to kill Biollante, but the anti-nuclear bacteria he's infected with starts acting up so much he has to return to the sea and can't leave.
** In ''Godzilla vs King Ghidorah'', the cyborg pilot of Mecha-King Ghidorah isn't able to kill Godzilla and while she survives, Mecha-King Ghidorah is wrecked by Godzilla when it drags him out to sea, meaning all the fight did was temporarily slow him down before he returned for another attack.
** The remake of Godzilla vs Mothra has both Mothra and her EvilCounterpart Battra [[EnemyMine teaming up against]] Godzilla. They manage to defeat him, but all they really do is drag him out to sea again where Godzilla kills Battra, meaning in the future Mothra would have to face him alone. She's not strong enough to stop him by herself, though Mothra didn't appear in the later films in this series as it is.
** In ''Godzilla vs Space Godzilla'', the humans built HumongousMecha MOUGERA to stop Kaiju attacks. It fails completely its first fight with Space Godzilla. The second fight, it manages to destroy the crystals on his shoulders, which prompts him to wreck the thing so badly the crew is forced to abandon it. Godzilla later finishes the job and completely destroys the robot after killing Space Godzilla.
** In ''Godzilla vs Megaguirus'', humans try to kill Godzilla using a KillSat that fires an UnrealisticBlackHole. Not only does this manage to do little more than inconvenience him, it causes a horde of giant insects to appear, including the titular Megagerius. The only thing that stopped them was [[AlwaysABiggerFish Godzilla himself]]. The humans try the weapon again and it apparently kills him, up until the last scene of the movie, where we hear him roar again indicating he survived.
** ''Godzilla All Monsters Attack'', has all three of the Guardian monsters that were meant to stop die trying. Some quick acting by humans manages to seemingly kill him, but his [[FromASingleCell heart survives and starts to regenerate his body]], meaning he'll return, and this time there won't be any Kaiju to stand in his way.
** ''Godzilla Final War'', a rare case of this not involving Godzilla. Instead it's when Mothra fights Gigan at the climax of the movie. Mothra manages to keep Gigan out of Godzilla's fight with Monster X, but he [[MutualKill injures her fatally before she can kill him]].
* In ''Film/XMenApocalypse'', it's almost a literal case if not for the limb broken being the lower one. Quicksilver uses his SuperSpeed to deliver some punches on Comicbook/{{Apocalypse}}. Then En Sabah Nur [[DoNotTauntCthulhu catches on and traps his foot to the ground]], and it takes a while to get Peter free. As a result, Peter's leg is later shown in a cast.

* In [[Creator/JRRTolkien Tolkien's]] books:
** In ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'':
*** When Fingolfin sees all his army defeated, he rides to the very gates of Angband to defy [[{{Satan}} Morgoth]] himself, inflicting several wounds to him. It doesn't end well. However, he did inflict wounds on Morgoth that ''would never heal''. There's a reason why this is one of the greatest [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome Crowning Moments of Awesome]] ever.
*** The final battle of the First Age could qualify too. Sure, the hosts of the Valar have destroyed Morgoth's forces and he's captured and beaten, but the entire continent that everyone not living in Valinor has called home since the dawn of time ends up so damaged it breaks apart and gets swallowed by the sea. Though Morgoth is sealed beyond the Void, it turns out one day he will escape leading to the Dagor Dagorath, the final battle that will destroy everything.
*** Melkor essentially writes suffering and imperfection into fate before the world's creation, and after he becomes Morgoth pours his essence into Middle-Earth itself, so that even after his spirit gets banished, his presence remains; he ''is'' the evil that exists in the world.
** In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'':
*** There's that famous scene where Gandalf killed the Balrog but died from the ordeal. [[HeroicSacrifice "Fly, you fools!"]]
*** Éowyn's shield arm actually ''was'' broken by the Witch-King, but that wasn't the worst wound she suffered. Just ''touching'' the Witch-King is enough to seriously harm you, so when she and Merry stabbed him, their respective weapon arms were hurt and they needed special medicine to recover. Éowyn wound up so deeply comatose she was at first mistaken for dead.
*** Frodo himself never recovered from his adventures. The wound that the Witch-King inflicted upon him never fully healed, and he was also damaged psychically from his possession of the Ring. Eventually, he had to abandon all that he used to love and depart to Valinor just to come into terms with his inner pain.
* In Creator/HPLovecraft's original stories:
** In "Literature/TheDreamsInTheWitchHouse", a fellow manages to stop a servant of said Eldritch Abomination, but is unable to save the child from sacrifice. Though he manages to stay sane throughout the ordeal, he is later killed by an EldritchAbomination drilling itself out of his body as punishment, and his friend, seeing this, ends up in a mental institution.
** This also happens in ''Literature/TheThingOnTheDoorstep''.
** Even the ''original'' ''Literature/TheCallOfCthulhu'' had a textbook example of this. When the titular Thing attacks, a sailor rams him with a yacht, forcing him to retreat back to R'lyeh. The problem is, Cthulhu is still very much alive, having reformed soon after getting punched out. As for the sailor, not only does [[GoMadFromTheRevelation the entire ordeal push him off the deep end]], [[AvengingTheVillain but it's hinted that Cthulhu's cultists kill him soon afterward.]] Ironically, Cthulhu himself isn't even all that high on the power-scale of Lovecraftian abominations. Yes, he's bigger than a Deep One or Mi-Go, but he's really just a mouthpiece for the ''real'' cosmic-caliber deities like Azathoth and Yog-Sothoth.
** Any kind of victory over Lovecraft's {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, is, at best, delaying the inevitable. Which is the point of the expansion to the ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' role-playing game, ''TabletopGame/DeltaGreen''. A task force, that doesn't officially exist, whose duty is to 'delay that inevitable' for another few years, and continually.
* In ''{{Literature/Touch}}'', there have thus far been two attempts to combat an otherwise unbeatable foe. One person tried riding a nuke down its throat and died in the process. The other survived, but six years later, they're still waiting for his skin to grow back.
* In ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'', the gods of Olympus are in no shape to fight a war against the giants precisely because they're still broke from fighting the Titans and Typhon.
* A literal case in the first book of ''Literature/WarOfTheDreaming'': Peter Waylock attempts to use Thor's hammer against an enemy sorcerer, and ends up breaking both his arms -- not good, considering he also can't walk.
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', the Dragon (no, not [[TheDragon that one]]) took independent action and led a strike force of [[GenderRestrictedAbility male channelers]] in storming {{Mordor}} and sealing the hole in the Dark One's prison. (He disregarded the original plan, to include females and use certain absurdly-powerful power-enhancing artifacts, after the forces of evil overran the locations of the access keys to said artifacts and political strife among the channelers resulted in all female Aes Sedai refusing to participate.) Good news: mission accomplished. Bad news: the Dark One subsequently tainted the male half of the One Power, thereafter driving anyone who used it insane and thus causing ''[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the Breaking of the World]]''--the face of the world reshaped, billions killed, and the entire utopian society crushed into mythology. Though the society was kind of in the crapper from a decades long war against the forces of darkness anyway, though at least not entirely broken up.
* ''Literature/OldKingdom'' series:
** In ''Literature/{{Sabriel}}'', Sabriel's father uses the bell Astarael, which sends anyone who hears it deep into Death, to try to permanently kill the book's undead villain. It doesn't work. It does, however, delay him enough for Sabriel to get away and find a better way of killing him. Which also doesn't work. So she [[SealedEvilInACan seals him away instead]].
** In ''Literature/{{Abhorsen}}'', the only way to seal the BigBad would result in [[spoiler:the death of the caster of said seal thanks to a backlash effect and the BigBad trying to [[TakingYouWithMe take her with him]]. Lirael goes through with it anyways, but survives when the Disreputable Dog bites off her hand, saving Lirael's life]].
* A frequent DownerEnding in Creator/PhilipKDick short stories. In "Faith of our Fathers", the EldritchAbomination in question turns out to be ''{{God|IsEvil}}'', and the minor wound the hero received in the encounter ends up being fatal. However, it is seen as a vaguely optimistic outcome, as it's hinted rebellion is impossible, so his minor act of defiance (in punching Cthulu in the face) is a victory for the human spirit. After he is 'branded' as a result with a deadly sore, which slowly spreads over his body, he chooses to ignore it and spend his last night alive making love with his girlfriend as an act of humanity, [[DoomedMoralVictor denying Cthulhu a moral victory]].
* In "Thor Meets Captain America" by Creator/DavidBrin a soldier broke the spear by which he ought to have been killed over his knee. The spear belonged to Odin, and his knee didn't really like the treatment.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/BloodAngels'' novel ''Deus Sanguinius'', Rafen manages to slay the EldritchAbomination Malfallax. However, [[spoiler:Malfallax's death comes with a curse that triggers the Black Rage in all of the nearby Blood Angels, and while Rafen manages to free them of it, Malfallax's true form is still alive in the Warp, plotting vengeance on him]].
* The first arc of the ''Literature/{{Deathstalker}}'' series ends with the protagonist delaying the Recreated long enough for them to be restored to their true forms. However, the stress of doing so leaves him too exhausted to return to his point of origin or even fight effectively. Instead, a man who destroyed countless armies is murdered by a pack of half-mad drug addicts, far from friends and allies. [[ProphecyTwist They even took his boots.]]
* In ''[[Literature/ForgottenRealms Azure Bonds]]'', the red dragon Mist lays down her life to destroy the vile god [[EldritchAbomination Moander]].
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** Harry's origin story goes both ways. Voldemort as Cthulhu: Harry survives Voldemort's attack, but both his parents had to die in the process, Voldemort is left alive as a wandering spirit with a big grudge against Harry, and [[spoiler:Harry is now a [[SoulJar Horcrux]], carrying a piece of Voldemort's soul around with him]]. Harry as Cthulhu: Voldemort kills both Harry's parents. But when he tries to kill Harry, who is protected by ThePowerOfLove, his spell backfires, destroying his body and forcing him to wander as a spirit until someone can forge him a new one.
** In ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets Chamber of Secrets]]'', [[spoiler:this almost happens to Harry -- he kills the Basilisk, but is poisoned by its venom, and he would have died if it hadn't been for the restorative properties of phoenix tears]]. Not to mention that Hermione was turned to stone halfway through the book trying to find it and the infamous Chamber of Secrets (she did, fortunately, and this ultimately helped Harry find it.) This is probably a {{homage}} to the multitude of serpent-or-dragon examples of this trope listed under the Mythology heading.
** In ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Deathly Hallows]]'', [[spoiler: Harry is forced to give his life to stop Voldemort (who, due to his extensive use of [[SoulJar Horcruxes]], is now a borderline HumanoidAbomination). The reason for this sacrifice is that during his failed attempt on Harry's life, Voldy accidentally transferred a bit of his soul into Harry's body, [[TomatoInTheMirror turning Harry into a Horcrux.]] This means that as long as Harry is alive, Voldemort can't die either, because a bit of his soul will be tethered to Harry's body.\\
The good news is that the reverse is also true--that due to a complex bit of magic that occurred during Voldy's resurrection, ''Harry's'' soul is bound to ''Voldemort's'' body, allowing Harry to return to life without the soul fragment in him. This means that after Neville destroys the final Horcrux, Harry can finally kill Voldemort.]]
*** Also in ''Deathly Hallows'', there's that fable "The Tale of the Three Brothers," where the brothers escape a narrow brush with [[TheGrimReaper Death]]. Pretending to be impressed, Death [[JackassGenie grants each brother a wish]]. The oldest brother asks for a wand that can win any magic duel (to avoid Death through violence), and the middle brother asks for a stone that can bring people back from the dead (to basically cheat the system). [[TheProblemWithFightingDeath It doesn't end well for either of them.]] The [[YoungestChildWins youngest brother]] averts this trope by requesting an InvisibilityCloak so he can avoid trouble. This peaceful, humble method of "hiding from Death" works. He lives to a ripe age and, when he feels his time has come, he "greets Death as an old friend."
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfPrydain'' book ''The Black Cauldron'', the only way to destroy the eponymous ArtifactOfDoom is for someone to willingly throw himself/herself into the Cauldron, an act that would kill that person as well. [[spoiler:Prince Ellidyr, who for most of the book was a PrinceCharmless, saves the day by making the sacrifice.]]
* The ''Literature/{{Goosebumps}}'' book ''How To Kill A Monster'' ends with the heroes captured by the monster, even after their attempts at killing it by making it fall through the stairs and poisoning it. [[spoiler:Said monster is allergic to humans, and keels over dead after merely licking one. Unfortunately, the monster's friends are pissed off after this.]] Cue the terror, as the book ends with the heroes alone, far away from town, [[spoiler:and in a marsh filled with these hungry, soon to awaken creatures. Hopefully the other monsters are allergic to humans too]].
* ''Literature/MobyDick'' is an early example of this. Ahab spends the entire story [[{{Determinator}} relentlessly pursuing the unusually large whale]] in search of revenge. This determination gradually reduces his sanity as he becomes more and more obsessed with his target. When he finally does catch up to the whale, it takes the lives of all but one of the crew, and it's not even clear if Ahab's efforts even hurt it.
* In Literature/TheBartimaeusTrilogy book ''Ptolemy's Gate'', Nathaniel uses Gladstone's Staff to destroy [[EldritchAbomination Nouda]], but he did so by ''exploding'' the staff at point blank range, ending in mutual kill.
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's short story "The Valley of the Worm," the main character, Niord, [[spoiler: succeeds in killing the [[EldritchAbomination giant title creature]] and its [[HumanoidAbomination piper/herald]], but is mortally injured in doing so. As he dies, the story ends]].
* This is a frequent trope in the works of Creator/StephenKing.
** In ''[[Literature/NightShift Jerusalem's Lot]]'', [[spoiler: Boone manages to destroy the book, ''[[TomeOfEldritchLore De Vermis Mysteriis]]''. But the evil is not destroyed (Boone notes, "The burning of the book thwarted...''it'', but there are other copies"), and to cut his family's ties to the evil, he [[DrivenToSuicide dives into the ocean.]] Unfortunately, that doesn't work either, as a descendant of the Boone line takes up residence in the ancestral home, and events begin again]].
** In ''Literature/{{IT}}'', [[spoiler: Eddie Kaspbrak loses his arm battling the title monster, and dies. He does weaken the creature enough for the rest of the Losers' Club to kill it]].
** In ''Literature/{{Carrie}}'', [[spoiler:Margaret actually manages to seriously hurt Carrie, badly enough that her blood loss contributes to her death by the end. Margaret doesn't live to see it, though, as Carrie quickly kills her with a psychically-induced heart attack]].
*** In the [[Film/Carrie1976 1976]] and [[Film/Carrie2013 2013]] film adaptations, this is changed to [[spoiler:Carrie throwing every knife in the kitchen at Margaret, crucifying her. However, the guilt of killing her own mother, on top of all the people she killed at prom, causes Carrie to commit suicide soon after. Score one for Margaret from beyond the grave]]!
* ''Literature/ThePowerOfFive'': Sapling had to die to [[DidYouJustScamCthulhu trick the Old Ones]] the first time. When Matt incapacitated them in ''Evil Star'', he almost died (and would have, had [[HealingHands Pedro]] not been present). When the Old Ones are finally defeated for good, it requires a HeroicSacrifice from [[spoiler: Scott]] and a KillTheOnesYouLove from [[spoiler: Richard]] to [[spoiler: Matt]].
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': This is the general problem with fighting reapers. Eric steals the divine authority one of them has over death in order to become immunity to its magic, but he is still only mortal. He losses his advantage immediately after Reno Grade decides that he is a threat.
* ''Literature/MercyThompson'': In ''River Marked'', Mercy manages to take out the [[EldritchAbomination River Devil]] but ends up in a wheelchair with a broken leg, broken knee, serious burns, and various cuts and lacerations requiring four staples and one hundred and forty-two stitches. Of course the real problems are [[spoiler:the River Devil is only mostly dead ''and'' she used the magic walking stick to do it. Apparently blooding one of Lugh's creations in the heart of a prehistoric monster made of magic is a whole new kind of trouble]].
* ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'': Beowulf manages to kill the dragon and save Geatland, but is bitten by the dragon in the process, and is killed by the dragon's venom shortly after.
* In ''Literature/TheLionTheWitchAndTheWardrobe'', the [[EvilOverlord White Witch]] ceremonially slaughters [[CrystalDragonJesus Aslan]], seemingly securing her tyrannical reign over Narnia. But given that Aslan is explicitly Narnia's UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}}, he comes BackFromTheDead and destroys the White Witch, freeing Narnia from her grasp once and for all.
** Aslan specifically mentions that the "Deep Magic" which predates them both was carved onto the stone table. WordOfGod (not that one) says this was a reference to Moses's stone tablets, and the shattering was an end of the old religion of Narnia and the beginning of the new. It was the Witch's own actions which triggered this event.
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'': Touma is up against [[PhysicalGod Othinus]], and manages to destroy Gungnir when she throws it at him. Gungnir is a weapon which, when thrown, ''destroys the entire universe as a side effect''. In a literal example of this trope, Touma breaks two of his fingers doing so. However, he ultimately fails to defeat Othinus, as she draws on another source of power and then mortally wounds him. He only wins thanks to talking Othinus into a HeelFaceTurn.
* At the very start of ''Literature/TheSagaOfSevenSuns'', the only surefire method the protagonists have for killing [[EldritchAbomination Hydrouges]] is [[RammingAlwaysWorks ramming ships into them at FTL speeds]]. AwesomeButImpractical doesn’t even begin to describe it; a valuable ship and all of its crew lost for the sake of killing ''one enemy at a time''.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In the seventh season of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', the Scoobies take on [[spoiler: [[MadeOfEvil The First Evil]], who cannot take corporeal form and therefore can't be killed]]. They manage to defeat its army, but only after [[spoiler: destroying the Hellmouth by [[EarthShatteringKaboom blowing up Sunnydale]] and after the deaths of Spike, Anya, and several potentials]]. Even then, [[spoiler: they never truly defeated it. How can you defeat pure evil]]?
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''
** In the season five finale, Sam Winchester deliberately breaks his arm punching out Lucifer when he, after inviting the Devil to possess him, [[spoiler: somehow manages to throw the both of them back into the Devil's Cage]]. The upside: [[spoiler: the Apocalypse is averted]]. The downside: [[spoiler: Sam's soul is trapped, for the foreseeable future, in an abyss with an enraged and betrayed Satan]]. The personal kickback is nonexistent.
** Also used for BlackComedy earlier in the episode. Castiel hits [[ArchangelMichael Michael]] with a MolotovCocktail of sacred oil to buy Dean time. Michael is far too powerful to killed by this, and is merely temporarily banished. Lucifer is ''pissed'' ([[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou only he gets to dick with Michael]]) and [[spoiler:promptly makes Castiel explode]].
** Played straight on both a physical and emotional level in the season six finale when [[spoiler:Castiel]] becomes a PhysicalGod. The first thing he does to demonstrate his newfound power is blow [[spoiler:the ArchangelRaphael]] to smithereens with the snap of his fingers. Unfortunately, to get this power in the first place, he had to absorb the souls of all the monsters in Purgatory. [[spoiler:Castiel]] very quickly goes DrunkWithPower and begins using it to kill off anyone he finds who he disagrees with on something. Upon having a HeelRealization, [[spoiler:Cas]] helps the Winchesters, Bobby, and [[spoiler:Death]] arrange a ritual to return all the souls to Purgatory, [[spoiler:but the soul-less Leviathans that he also absorbed remained behind, and now that he was once again "just" an angel, they quickly ripped him apart from the inside out]].
** In the season seven finale, Dean and Castiel manage to [[spoiler: kill [[BigBad Dick Roman]]]], thus stopping the [[EldritchAbomination Leviathans']] plans to TakeOverTheWorld. However, [[spoiler: the backlash from Roman's death drags Dean and Cas into Purgatory]].
** This happens again in season 9. In order to kill [[spoiler:Abaddon, last of the Knights of Hell]] with the First Blade, Dean has to take on [[spoiler:the Mark of Cain, which then corrupts his soul, gives him an insatiable bloodlust, and eventually turns him into a demon]].
** Before any of them, in the S4 finale, Sam, while [[spoiler:hopped up on demon blood]], killed [[spoiler:Lilith, the first demon]]. Unfortunately, it turns out [[spoiler:Lilith]] was also [[spoiler:the last seal]], and Sam killing her caused [[spoiler:Lucifer to break free]].
** In "Weekend At Bobby's", [[spoiler:Bobby]] gets a hold of Crowley's bones from when he was human and uses them to torture him until he agreed to [[spoiler:call off their deal]]. "Taxi Driver" reveals that Crowley was so pissed off by this that [[spoiler:he bought off Bobby's [[{{Psychopomp}} reaper]] Ajay, so that when Bobby died, Ajay took him to Hell]].
** The Darkness comes very close to [[spoiler:''killing God himself'']] in the Season 11 finale. Dean initially assumes this will give her total control of reality, but she explains to him that [[spoiler:since [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil darkness and light cannot exist without the other to contrast it with, it will actually destroy everything in existence,]] [[SuicidalCosmicTemperTantrum including herself]].
* The basis of the Wraith conflict in ''Series/StargateAtlantis''. The tech level of Earth and its allies is enough to hold them off, but there are so many of them each victory is just delaying the inevitable.
* ''Series/StargateSG1''
** The first 8 seasons of consist of the Tau'ri and their allies trying to avoid (and sometimes causing) Type 6(ish). As the Tok'ra are fond of saying, lots of warring Goa'uld are preferable to one all-powerful Goa'uld.
** In season 10, SG-1 manages to "kill" all of the Ori (they're energy beings so "kill" isn't quite the right word), but this doesn't stop their followers from continuing their war on the galaxy. It also means [[spoiler: that when Adria ascends, she now has all the power that was once split among all the Ori. This makes her insanely powerful]].
* This trope very nearly comes to pass in the Season 4 finale of ''Series/{{Angel}}'', when Angel narrowly succeeds in thwarting rogue {{Power|sThatBe}} Jasmine's attempt to {{brainwash|ed}} the entire human race [[KnightTemplar for its own good]] by breaking her powers of illusion. While this does weaken her somewhat, it mostly just convinces her that humanity [[OmnicidalManiac should die instead]]. Thankfully, Angel's son Connor (who is Jasmine's mortal father) turns up and manages to punch her out for good. Hey, being Cthulhu's dad [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu has its advantages]].
** And the trope then ''does'' come to pass, as with her out of the picture, the human race goes from its Jasmine-induced state of perfect understanding and empathy with all other human beings to [[HumansAreFlawed normal]]. The crash brings out suicidal and homicidal tendencies in most of the population, including Connor himself. The good guys are forced into a DealWithTheDevil for a ResetButton and the Devil in question claims to be dealing with them out of respect for their demonstrated aptitude for inflicting pain and suffering on levels its own minions had failed to match. The messenger of said Devil starts out by congratulating the heroes for "thwarting world peace". NiceJobBreakingItHero.
** The series finale features Angel and his gang causing as much damage as they can to Wolfram and Hart, having determined there is no way to take down the Senior Partners themselves. They successfully destroy their agents on the mortal plane and disrupt operations enough to set back the apocalypse significantly. However, the time they purchased for Earth costs them heavily and the BigBad send [[BolivianArmyEnding an army to make their displeasure known]].
*** And the comics show that this results in L.A. being cut off from the rest of the world and plunged into Hell. NiceJobBreakingItHero.
* ''Series/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark'':
** In "The Tale of the Curious Camera" the protagonists destroy the camera by making it take a picture of a mirror, but the demon possesses a video camera instead. Then they smoke it out of that, only for it to invade the computer.
** In "Pinball Wizard", Ross wins the life-size pinball game, but is doomed to replay it forever.
** In "Super Specs", the attempt to close the portal to the parallel universe results in that universe taking over "our" space and trapping the heroes in a PocketDimension.
* At the climax of the TV miniseries version of Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/TheShining'', [[spoiler: Jack regains himself long enough to turn the hotel boiler's wheel back, increasing the boiler pressure and destroying the Overlook. But the ending shot shows [[SequelHook that a new Overlook Hotel is going to be built on that same spot..]]]].
* In Series/DoctorWho "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways" when Rose Tyler uses the power of the Time Vortex to destroy the Daleks she is nearly killed by the vortex. The Doctor saves her by absorbing it, but this causes him to regenerate.
** In the AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho story Neverland the Eighth Doctor saves Gallifrey from being infected by Anti-Time by materialising the TARDIS around the satellite containing the Anti-Time. However in the process he is infected with Anti-Time and becomes the monstrous Zagreus.
* ''Series/JyuKenSentaiGekiranger'': the show's penultimate episode has Rio attempt a suicide attack on [[BigBad Long]]'s OneWingedAngel, which so appeared indestructible and has easily beaten the Gekirangers with they tried to stop him. Rio enters long's body and release all of his ki causing both of them to explode apparently killing them both. But, as Long reminded us already, [[CompleteImmortality he can't die]], right as appears again a few seconds later and mocks how Rio just gave his life for nothing.
* Depending on the interpretation, this may be one possible interpretation of ''Series/TwinPeaks'':The Return. [[spoiler: It's theorized that Cooper entering the alternate universe, finding Laura, and causing her to remember her previous life was enough to destroy Judy, but also wiped out the alternate timeline that Cooper and Laura were in.]]

* The final act of Fireaxe's epic 4 hour album Music/FoodForTheGods centers around [[{{Satan}} the devil]] leading [[TheLegionsOfHell an army of demons and damned souls]] and conducting an all-out invasion of Heaven to try and murder God, which culminates in a [[spoiler:type 5]].

[[folder:Mythology & Religion]]
* In [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Greek Mythology]], Sisyphus managed to cheat death by chaining up Thanatos. However, doing so messed up the whole cycle of life and death. So eventually the impulsive Ares frees Thanatos, and Sisyphus was dragged to the underworld. His punishment? Sisyphus must roll a boulder up a steep hill... But it will always roll back down again whenever he's almost at the top, forcing him to perform this pointless task forever. In some versions he doesn't ''have'' to, he was just told he'll be let out if he actually manages it and he refuses to give up.
* In ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', this trope is why Odysseus's journey home was so long and grueling. Early in his voyage, he defeated Polyphemus the {{Cyclops}}, first by [[GoForTheEye blinding him]] [[EyeScream with a giant red-hot stake]] and then with [[WhosOnFirst a little wordplay and trickery]]. But on his way out to sea, Odysseus made the fatal mistake of boastfully declaring his identity to Polyphemus. And Polyphemus just happened to be the son of Poseidon, who proceeded to make Odysseus's life miserable for the next twenty years...
* Ragnarok, the end of the world in Myth/NorseMythology, is full of this. The gods kill the giants and monsters, but almost all of them get killed in the process. Odin gets killed by the giant wolf Fenrir, but is avenged by his son Vidar. Thor kills Jormungandr, the Midgard Serpent, but dies of the monster's poison. Loki gets killed by Heimdall, but not before bringing Heimdall down with him. And Tyr and [[HellHound Garm]] kill each other.
* Doubly subverted in the Sigurd legend, where he is warned beforehand that the blood of the dragon Fafnir is very poisonous, and builds a special pit trap to channel the monster's blood away from him. But then he finds out too late that a piece of the dragon's treasure - a ring - is cursed, and it becomes the catalyst in a long and bloody plot arc that eventually got adapted into [[Theatre/TheRingOfTheNibelung a Wagner opera]] and likely served as the inspiration behind [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings another cursed ring]].
* In Myth/JapaneseMythology, [[NobleWolf wolves are regarded as one of the most powerful and noble yokai]], and while friendly to humans, it's [[BewaretheNiceOnes known that's unwise to piss them off]]. For example, in a myth in Tōno monogatari relates that a few people of the Lide village spotted three young wolves in their reeds, but despite it being common knowledge that [[DoNotTauntCthulhu attacking a wolf is a very bad idea]] the farmers [[IdiotBall somehow thought killing two wolves and capturing the third]] (presumably to domesticate) would be a good idea! Result: [[RoaringRampageofRevenge the other wolves got mad and started to harrass the citizens of Lide village]]. Further arm breaking happened later. The village tried to fight back by hunting the wolves down, but the pack was stealthy, and refused to directly confront the humans. However, a man called Tetsu ([[MeaningfulName Iron in Japanese]]) challenged the wolves to single combat, and a female leader accepted. Tetsu proceeded to [[CombatPragmatist wrap his arm in a jacket and jam it straight into the she-wolf's guts]]. Sure it killed her, but she still had enough strength and willpower to amputate Tetsu's arm, and [[RealityEnsues Tetsu died of blood loss]].
* In some versions of the Mordiford Wyvern legend, the dragonslayer Carston is poisoned to death by the monster's blood.
* In the legend of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambton_Worm Lambton Worm]], Sir John Lambton is told by a wise woman that after killing the dragon, he must kill the next living thing he sees or else his family will be cursed for the next nine generations. He tells his servants to send a dog into the swamp after he signals his victory, but his father gets overexcited and runs ahead of the dog to [[WellDoneSonGuy congratulate his son]]. Sir John can't bring himself to kill his father, so he gets the curse.
* John Henry, the steel-driving man, is an example of this in American folklore. In a tunnel-digging race against a steam drill, he won [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer using only a hammer]] ... but died from the ordeal.
* In the Literature/BookOfGenesis from Literature/TheBible, Jacob wrestles with the Angel of the Lord and has Him pinned down, but the Angel gives Jacob a permanent limp before blessing him with [[MeaningfulRename the new name Israel]].

* ''Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG''
** Pterisa's lightning bolt barely even hurt [[spoiler:the Darkitect]], and was more akin to [[DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu Flipping Off Cthulhu]] than [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu Punching Out Cthulhu]]. [[spoiler:The Darkitect responded by knocking off her helmet, causing Pterisa to suffer a HeroicBSOD.]]
** Kate Bishop successfully managed to [[spoiler:defeat the Maelstrom on Adventurers' Island]], but the whole ordeal combined with several other discoveries about her past ultimately pushes her over the deep end.
** The team did eventually expel the Maelstrom from the planet, but it is still ''very'' much alive, and there is no guarantee that it won't someday try to come back. Additionally, [[AnyoneCanDie at least half the cast died]] in the process of achieving that temporary victory, as well as the fact that Kate, Sam Race, Sarah Bishop, and untold numbers of other survivors were severely traumatized by the experience.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The premise of the ''TabletopGame/ArkhamHorror'' Board Game is to keep the [[EldritchAbomination Ancient One]] from awakening, because this trope is the best possible outcome if it has to be fought. They don't just deal the usual [[HitPoints Stamina]] and [[SanityMeter Sanity]] damage: they dish out [[WoundThatWillNotHeal unhealing wounds]], [[AnArmAndALeg remove limbs]], force players to sacrifice hard-won prizes or die, force players to sacrifice ''each other'' and their NPC allies for time, MindRape players to death, or just disintegrate people outright with a TouchOfDeath. Meanwhile, the Ancient One's mooks are wreaking havoc in and around Arkham.
* In ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'', it's possible (if your investigators are insanely brilliant and cunning) to hit Cthulhu with a nuclear weapon. The game has rules for what happens when you do this. What are the rules? Cthulhu regenerates about 15 minutes later... but now he's radioactive.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', the Exalted killed the Primordials. Their Death Curse has led to two apocalypses so far and counting.
** Also, She Who Lives In Her Name's last act before being sealed away was to RetGone vast swathes of Creation into nothingness. According to accounts by TheFairFolk, who witnessed the whole sequence of events from outside creation, even the splendor of the First Age was just a tiny, burned-out remnant of what Creation used to be.
*** To be more specific, the RetGone didn't just destroy physical area, it supposedly annihilated nine-tenths of Creation on a conceptual level. Whole principles of being ceased to exist, leaving only what players and characters understand as conventional reality. It's a reality with magitech, super-sorcery and god-given Elder God-smacking heroes. But the implication is that the time before the Three Spheres Cataclysm is more or less impossible to wholly comprehend.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Kult}}'' plays with this. [[spoiler:[[HumansAreCthulhu Humans are actually super beings]] who are unaware of their power. Various supernatural forces try to prevent humans from being awakened, yet their efforts seem to be futile.]]
* This is why you can't kill a Titan in ''TabletopGame/{{Scion}}'' - Fate, being an utter asshole in the ''Scion'' universe, will go berserk if something that big is taken out of reality. When Ymir died, the Ice Age ended, causing worldwide catastrophe. The best the Gods can do is make the Titans into SealedEvilInACan.
* The whole business of fighting Chaos in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''. Any really powerful daemon simply cannot be destroyed by physical means, as they live in the Immaterium, and there's exactly one {{psy|chicPowers}}ker powerful enough to fight them on their turf... and he's on the life support for the last ten millennia. All that HeWhoFightsMonsters could do is to banish the daemons back to the Warp, for them to return again later. Even though such banishments aren't exactly the bed of roses even for the Daemon Princes, and many lesser daemons could be vanquished entirely with proper procedure, this fight is essentially a defensive one, with no chance of a true victory. And the Enemy is dangerous indeed.
** For example, take Lucius the Eternal, Champion of Slaanesh, one of the aforementioned Great Champions. If he is killed in battle and the foe takes even the slightest satisfaction from or pleasure in his death, he [[DemonicPossession possesses]] his killer and eventually takes him over entirely, with the former victor now nothing more than another screaming face on Lucius's armor...
* The whole idea behind the Tarrasque ("The", not "a"; also note the capital letter) in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. It's a mouth with a giant body attached to it. It wakes up every couple of years for a few days, then just chows down on everything in sight, demolishing whole kingdoms before going back to napping. On the off chance you manage to fight it, you're in for a big one. It can remain conscious and fighting all the way down to -30 HP (and it has a lot of health to start with) and regenerates health automatically no matter what happens. The only way to permanently kill it is with a Wish spell, and that has a 50% chance of allowing it to come back after a while. Don't have a Wish spell? Your best bets are to either bury it alive (it won't die, but it will remain unconscious at -30 until somebody decides to be a dick and unbury it) or put it at the bottom of the ocean (it will manage to surface eventually, but it will take a long time; it will get enough health back to swim about five feet up, get knocked unconscious from drowning, get a bit more health back and keep doing this... until it surfaces).
** The fourth edition decided to cut directly to the chase: Defeating the Tarrasque merely makes its physical form sink back into the earth, from which it is inevitably revived. All you've done is cut short its current rampage. The Tarrasque in that edition is a curse laid upon the earth by a being older than the gods, and cannot be undone by mortal hands. In ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' it is non-killable: It will revive automatically no matter what you throw at it.
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'': if one of the big colourless {{Eldr|itchAbomination}}azi - even the weakest of them - attacks, you will automatically have to sacrifice a permanent even if you manage to kill it. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, will cost you six permanents. Meaning that even if you're able to kill the creature, you will have lost quite a bit of board presence.
** Later versions lack the Annihilator value - it turned out to be less fun than the designers liked - and so they increased the oomph of the on-cast triggers they get. For example, the new Emrakul, known as the Promised End, will take over your mind when your opponent summons her, ''even if you counterspell'', giving them a turn where they can make you trash your own board presence and make the most ill-advised attacks possible. You do get a make-up turn, but it'll generally be one with much less in your hand and the most powerful creatures you controlled dead in a ditch.
* In one Time of Judgment scenario in ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'', the [[EldritchAbomination Wyrm]] materializes in the Aetherial realm and makes a beeline for Earth. Rorg, the Celestine of the Asteroid Belt, attacks the Wyrm but [[NoSell fails to injure it]]. To boot, the Wyrm breathes balefire in Rorg's face, blinding him.
* Frequently, stopping the latest BigBad in the ''The TabletopGame/YuGiOh [[Metaplot/YugiOhHiddenArsenal Duel Terminal Storyline]]'' causes mass amounts of death and destruction, then causes the appearance of the next one.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* {{Bloodborne}} is a cosmic horror story wrapped up in a bittersweet game where there are no happy endings for anyone. The worst end comes in the hardest-to-reach ending [[spoiler:where, after killing the Moon Presence, you become the new child of the eldritch entities. Given that even when they try to help humanity things still go wrong, it's not hard to imagine that your new form will have a very negative effect on the planet as a whole]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'', in a literal interpretation of the trope, Dunban loses the use of his right arm after using the Monado to repel the {{Nigh Invulnerab|ility}}le armies of Mechon not once, but ''twice''. And [[{{Determinator}} even after that]], he just [[KatanasAreJustBetter switches to a weapon light enough]] to wield with the only arm he can still use and joins your group again later on.
* ''VideoGame/XCom''
** In ''VideoGame/XComTerrorFromTheDeep'', X-COM forces manage to destroy the EldritchAbomination that the aliens were attempting to revive that ''definitely'' would have killed humanity (being effectively invincible once awoken). Unfortunately, the alien city T'leth (in which the abomination was sleeping) managed to rise above the waves before the final victory, and explodes rather spectacularly. This first of all kills all the aquanauts who secured the final victory, and second, severely poisons huge swaths of the ocean and setting off cataclysmic cascading environmental disasters, such that by the time of the final game in the series, ''X-COM: Apocalypse'', the earth has almost completely been reduced to a wasteland.
** And by the end of ''VideoGame/XComApocalypse'', humanity's last bastion of hope, Mega-Primus, has been devastated by the extended interdimensional war.
*** Except that, by that time, humans already have a number colonies on other worlds, including Mars, as per ''Interceptor''. Furthermore, the original plan was to build a number of [[MegaCity Mega Cities]] to hold all of Earth's population, but the enormous costs only allowed them to build the prototype - Mega-Primus. It's possible that they may build others eventually.
* The process of defeating Lavos in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' resulted in it [[spoiler:absorbing the MysteriousWaif who had power over space and time]]. Now in ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'', the result is far worse, an entity that consumes time itself, who cannot die because there is always another timeline where it ''didn't'' die.
** That doesn't stop you from chasing the bastard to the literal End of Time and using the eponymous piece of AppliedPhlebotinum to cross the time streams, [[spoiler:which [[SaveBothWorlds saves both worlds by fusing them into one,]] [[UrbanLegendOfZelda releases Schala from the Time Devourer's clutches]] and [[RetGone erases said Time Devourer from history]]]]. The only thing that [[BittersweetEnding taints this finale]] is that everything you've done over the course of the game didn't happen in this shiny new timeline, and several characters were only born or created as a result of your actions... so what happens to them?
* Most of the defeats of Dark Matter in the ''Franchise/{{Kirby}}'' series seemed to be type 1 of this, with Dark Matter just coming back meaner and with an even more grand attack on the ''Kirby'' universe in the next game. So far, it looks like he finally ''is'' dead for good after ''Kirby 64''. Humorously, Kirby doesn't really care; as long he carries his MacGuffin weapon all he does is smack the shit out of Dark Matter and return to eating and sleeping.
* Everyone in ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'', [[spoiler:with the exception of the main character, it seems]].
** Not really, since each character's actions added up and [[spoiler:destroyed all three evil abominations at the end, thanks to Mantorok's TakingYouWithMe scheme]].
** One case we have a character that believes in this trope that his actions against the Ancients will bring this about, but most hints of the plot is that he survived, likely since his actions didn't do anything to stop the Ancient that is the antagonist in storyline you're playing in, but serve the purpose of preventing [[SummonBiggerFish the one you summon to kill Pious' Ancient]] from destroying the world itself, but he had no way of knowing that.
* In ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2: [[NeverwinterNights2/MaskOfTheBetrayer Mask of the Betrayer]]'', it is likely that the person who kills the spirit-eater will receive the curse next. Also, you can try to devour the soul of [[spoiler:Myrkul]], but Kaelyn will advise against it, warning that doing so might result in this.
* ''Persona''
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'s'' heroes [[spoiler:defeat the avatar of Nyx, but unfortunately, Nyx just keeps on coming, responding to humanity's subconscious wish for death. The main character has to [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice himself]] to hold Nyx at bay permanently]]. Then in the ExpansionPack, the heroes end up just going ahead and beating up [[spoiler:humanity's subconscious wish for death itself]] - but even then, it's stated that it's going to take a lot more work to solve the root problem.
** This is a ''very'' common theme in ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' games.
*** Yes, but it's not usually taken to this extent. ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Nocturne]]'', for example, ends on a fairly upbeat note if you get the Freedom ending (if we ignore the fact that you have simply given this incarnation of the universe some time until God decides to reboot it again). ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' completely averts this, and strongly hints [[spoiler:after beating Margaret]] that [[spoiler:''Persona 3'''s main character's death might be somehow reversible.]]
*** Actually, that's the extent it's always been taken to in ''Persona''. In the first one, [[spoiler:Defeating Pandora causes Maki's ideal world to disappear, along with ideal Maki. Which means the actual version of Maki that the characters got to know and care for disappeared into the ether]]. In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}} Innocent Sin'', [[spoiler:they fight and defeat the literal incarnation of humanity's malice, only to have one of their allies die, which in turn fulfills a prophecy that causes the end of the world. The only way to fix it? Strike a deal with an entity of immense power to rewrite history... effectively undoing all the personal growth the characters have experienced and significantly weakening the side of good]]. ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}} Eternal Punishment'', in a rematch against [[spoiler:the big bad, one of the main characters has to be sacrificed because his mere presence gives tips the scales in the big bad's favor]].
*** ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Nocturne]]'' implies that the protagonist of ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' was cursed with a FateWorseThanDeath for killing [[GodIsEvil YHVH]] in the climax of that game. It didn't even stick, as YHVH[=/=]God will keep coming back as long as anyone believes in him. [[spoiler:The Demi-Fiend can put himself in a position to help take down God for good... By allying himself with Lucifer, discarding his humanity and then destroying all of Creation, leaving no humans left to resurrect God with their faith. Even then, the ending doesn't say if you succeed, merely that Lucifer is preparing for a second Rebellion -- and you just invoked ItsPersonal against ''God''.]]
*** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' invokes this at the end of the Law route. In it, the protagonists and Satan wipe out everyone on Earth under YHVH's orders. Immediately after, they feel a lot of regret and turn on YHVH so Satan can judge him. As a result of taking part in the battle, though, Satan crumbles to dust afterwards.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}''
** In [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaI the first game]], Dracula curses Simon Belmont just before he is killed, giving him wounds that would never heal. Subverted in [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaIISimonsQuest the sequel]] when Simon gathers up Dracula's body parts and resurrects him to kill him again, releasing himself from the curse. Yes, that's right. He punched out Cthulhu, broke his arm doing so, then brought back Cthulhu and punched him out ''again'' with the broken arm.
** In ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow'', Julius also paid a hefty price for his victory against Dracula. While he does [[spoiler:kill Dracula for good (reincarnation doesn't count)]], he loses his memories and becomes an amnesiac wanderer that gets trapped in Castlevania for ''decades''.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', one thousand years ago, a group of four adventurers sealed the game's SealedEvilInACan - only to find that once they hid the [[MacGuffin keys to that evil's power]] away, they each became trapped in a black box. And the seal only [[ExtyYearsFromNow lasts a thousand years anyways]]...
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', [[spoiler:Golbez]] and [=FuSoYa=] manage to take out [[spoiler:[[TheManBehindTheMan Zemus]], which only succeeds in [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere releasing his spirit, Zeromus]]]]. This also severely weakens them to the point where [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat their most powerful attacks]] [[NighInvulnerability do absolutely nothing]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'', the first fight the party has with [[BigBad Exdeath]]. Only Galuf is able to fight, and he isn't able to kill him, just drive him off, and dies from the injuries he gains in the fight.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', Celes manages to stab Kefka... it just happens to coincide with him becoming a God and destroying the world. It's a long, long time before the heroes are able to try a second time.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' [[spoiler: Cloud's fight with Sephiroth in [[DoomedHomeTown Neblihim]] is revealed to have been this late in the game when Cloud gets back his memories of it. Cloud runs Sephiroth through with the [[BFS Buster Sword]], which fails to kill him and gets him impaled with the Masamune, but while stabbed he manages to grab hold of it and toss it and Sephiroth into a fissure that leads him to falling into TheLifestream before passing out his injuries. [[MegaCorp Shinra]] afterwords made an effort to cover up the whole incident, which lead to Cloud's friend Zack being killed and Cloud left on his own. And of course, Sephiroth wasn't gone for good, having avoided being absorbed into TheLifestream and continued his plans.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'', your party manages to defeat Garland the apparent mastermind behind everything... which allows Kuja to take control of the Invincible. Then your party beats up Kuja... which causes him to compliment you because he was depending on your party driving him to the edge so that he can go Trance (which he learned how to do during the course of your party punching out a lesser Cthulhu) and mainline the souls stolen by the Invincible into himself to make him a planet destroying god.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', the traditional Final Summoning kills the Summoner who performs it and only temporarily gets rid of the monster Sin, which is why the heroes [[TakeAThirdOption look for another way]], hoping to [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu eliminate Sin once and for all]].
*** And when they [[spoiler:are able]] to find one [[spoiler:it causes the main character (the saved summoner's {{Love Interest|s}}) to cease to exist, since he was from a dream world sustained by the same entity responsible for creating Sin]]. ''FFX-2'' [[spoiler:makes this all better by bringing Tidus back in the [[GoldenEnding best ending]]]].
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'', where [[spoiler:you kill the Immortal Guardian Caius, and everything seems to be well, only to be kindly reminded that the heart of the goddess of time and death was beating inside his chest and by stabbing it you killed her, making time, life and death cease to exist. Which was Caius' goal all along. NiceJobBreakingItHero]].
** The game also sheds a new light to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', when you find out that, in fact, [[spoiler:your arm should've been broken when you killed Orphan, and the only reason it didn't was because the Goddess took pity and resurrected everyone, thus creating the time rift that caused all the events in the sequel to happen. Which means that if the benign Cthulu that you accidentally murdered in XIII-2 hadn't saved everyone in XIII, she wouldn't die and... break everybody's arm. So to speak..]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyDissidia'' has this in its sequel ''Dissidia 012'' when the prequel cycle, Cloud, at the time a warrior on [[BigBad Chaos]]' side, turned on Chaos out of fear of Tifa being hurt in the conflict. After a fight in game, Chaos [[TheBattleDidntCount simply laughs off Cloud's attempt and kills him]], which led to Cloud being revived in the next cycle as a warrior on Cosmo's side, but his death in the battle meant he longer had the memories of the early cycles
* The hero of the first ''{{VideoGame/Diablo}}'' game winds up with a case of TheVirus, since the only way he could come up with to utterly stop the Lord of Evil was to shove a chunk of it into his face. The hero of ''VideoGame/DiabloII'' figures out a better way... [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer and hits it with a hammer.]]
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'': Sigma breaks his arm (or more accurately, his brain) when he first beats the first Cthulhu [[spoiler:Maverick Zero]] before the events of [[VideoGame/MegaManX1 the first game]]. Defeating [[spoiler:Zero]] causes his own infection with the Virus, which he then mutates by adding his own consciousness to it, turning him into the Big Bad and Cthulhu for most of the series to come. [[VideoGame/MegaManX5 Four games later,]] [[spoiler:The massive space colony Eurasia [[ColonyDrop falls,]] jogging Zero's memory as Cthulu and causes him to challenge X to a duel. X wins, but Zero uses Soul Body moments before exploding, mortally damaging X]].
* This is the basic tone of the ending to ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia2008''. A sequel might change it, though.
* In ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' lore, the Forerunners were forced to activate the Halo Array in order to stop [[TheVirus the Flood]]. The downside? The Halos did so by killing ''all'' sentient life left in the galaxy, including almost every Forerunner. Even worse, several Forerunner installations that were left with intact Flood samples have only limited defenses against outside interlopers vulnerable to Flood infection. Eventually, the Flood on Delta Halo are able to take advantage of this to escape and infect Slipspace-capable ships, with one making it all the way to [[spoiler:Earth; it takes an allied Elite fleet glassing a chunk of Africa to prevent the planet from falling to the Flood]]. While the good guys do eventually defeat the Delta Halo outbreak, the fact that there are still many Flood samples out there waiting to be released (not to mention the Flood's potential ''extra-galactic'' origins) means that the galaxy can't rest just yet.
* In the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3HXgvl8lp0 E3 video demo]] of ''VideoGame/{{Scribblenauts}}'', God, riding a skateboard and holding a shotgun, fights Cthulhu. As per the trope, they both die at the end of the fight.
** The question is: which one was supposed to be the Cthulhu, given the choices?
* From ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'':
** Aegwynn, the super-powerful Guardian of Tirisfal, comes up against the avatar of Dark Titan Sargeras and defeats him with surprisingly little effort. The downside? Sargeras' spirit escapes his dying body and enters Aegwynn's womb, possessing her unborn child who later becomes the first game's BigBad.
** The story of Broxigar The Red Axe, who [[OneManArmy single-handedly]] challenged the horde of Demons during the first Burning Legion invasion to face him while buying his allies time. The horde of demons ''[[AtopAMountainOfCorpses failed]]'' to take him down, causing [[BigBad Sargeras]] himself to personally attend to this little Orc. Broxigar struck Sargeras, only managing to struck a tiny chink and dying a horrible death at Sargeras' own hand. But it was an absolutely [[DyingMomentOfAwesome GLORIOUS]] death, and allowed his allies to focus their ritual on that tiny chink to banish Sargeras back.
* ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'': [[spoiler:During the final battle, Medusa suddenly appears and literally destroys her arm punching out Hades]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'''s worst ending is essentially this: [[spoiler:After Rozalin/Overlord Zenon awakens again, she's not in the mood to listen to any reason and Adell is forced into fighting her. He accidentally kills her in progress, which doesn't inconvenience her spirit too much as she possesses Adell and the first thing she does is to make him [[ShootTheDog eat/brutally kill his siblings]]]].
** Another NonStandardGameOver can be invoked if you defeat [[spoiler: Laharl]] before you're supposed to, because he [[spoiler: [[SuicidalCosmicTemperTantrum throws a superpowered temper tantrum]] and destroys all of existence]].
* An inevitability in ''VideoGame/WarningForever'', in which your tiny ship fights an enemy that comes back bigger each time after it dies. It [[AdaptiveAbility evolves to cover whatever weakness you exploited last time]], so no matter how skillfully you defeat some ultimate form it had developed, it will be back, and while you'll be exhausted from the last fight, it will only be strengthened by your efforts to destroy it last time.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' video game, there is a sequence in Peter's level where you can punch God. [[OneHitKill This goes about as well as one would expect.]]
* Two out of the three ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' endings feature this trope. [[spoiler:In order to slay the Archdemon, a Warden must be sacrificed. [[HeroicSacrifice You can take the blow yourself]], or send either Alistair or Loghain to do it for you.]] You can also TakeAThirdOption, but the jury's out on what consequences this will have for Thedas in the future.
** There's a more blatant example in the gameworld's lore: that of the [[VestigialEmpire Tevinter Imperium]]. The [[ZombieApocalypse Darkspawn Blights]], one of which you spend the whole game repelling, are the broken arm resulting from Tevinter's long-ago, [[BlackMagic blood-magic-fuelled]], AndManGrewProud attempt to enter [[SpiritWorld The Fade]] and usurp the power of {{God}}.
** Solas in ''Videogame/DragonAgeInquisition'' dislikes the Wardens because he believes that wiping out the Old Gods entirely could have dire consequences for the world ''even worse'' than the Blights.
* Happens in the opening cutscene of ''VideoGame/DragonsDogma'': you manage to stick a sword into the Dragon, and it retaliates by plucking out your still-beating heart.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' has the Lich King Raid as its epic moment, after your party broke their arms trying to punch them. Tirion goes in and helps do him in. Yes Arthas is dead, but there is still a need for another Lich King so Bolvar offers himself to the throne. So much for a victory feast with the Alliance and Horde as Azeroth celebrates the lich king's defeat
** Arthas himself has an origin story involving versions 4 and 5 of this from trying to defeat the Scourge...
** Kael'Thas' defeat at Tempest Keep was "only a setback," which you learn when you fight him again at Magister's Terrace.
** The Old Gods are THE {{Eldritch abomination}}s of warcraft, unfortunately, they're also burrowed into Azeroth's core, killing even one may result in the planet dying.
*** Actually, WordOfGod confirms that it's not possible for us players to ''permanently'' kill any of the Old Gods at all, the best we can do is force their influence out of Azeroth. Temporarily. At best.
*** There appears to be a way to permanently remove the effects of the Old Gods (and probably expel them permanently, or at least force them to start from scratch). However, it would result in the death of every living being on the planet by activating the Reorigination Device (a planet-wide ResetButton). There may be other problems with this, as the Titans chose to not use it between when they noticed the problem and their departure from Azeroth.
*** The Klaxxi, a faction from Mists Of Pandaria, claim that they have existed since before the coming of the Titans, and that they worshiped an Old God that was slain by the Titans (and the Sha is the faintest echoes of this entities power still in the world). If true, then previous lore about the world being the domain the Elementals before the Titans came is wrong. But, both stories are from an UnreliableNarrator.
*** The Sha(the shadow of an Old God's corpse) are the result of killing Old Gods though as Y'Shaarj has shown they can be manually be resurrected as long as part of their body exists(the Heart of Y'Shaarj had to be destroyed for him to be DeaderThanDead) and their past selves can ''reach through time'' as shown by the War of the Ancients trilogy so in order to stop them permanently they must be erased from history itself! Yogg-Saron ''confirms'' his death and the rising of Sha from his corpse.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'':
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'': One of the main characters, Ventus, [[spoiler: loses his heart]] as a result of defeating the [[EldritchAbomination Unversed]] once and for all, while Terra [[spoiler: loses his body to Master Xehanort after their fight and becomes nothing more than the Linger Will]], while the [[RuleOfThree third and final]] main character, Aqua, defeats the BigBad, but [[spoiler: becomes trapped in the Realm of Darkness]].
** This leads into ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI'', at the end of which Sora is able to restore the worlds destroyed by Darkness and seal the Door to Darkness, at the cost of [[spoiler: trapping Riku and King Mickey inside]] and leaving himself, Donald, and Goofy stranded in an unknown place without the Gummi Ship. Both issues are solved in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'', but Sora [[spoiler: loses all of his memories and must be placed in an incubator for a year while Naminé restores them. He and Donald also lose all of their abilities in magic]].
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'' leads Riku to [[spoiler: capture Roxas, Sora's Nobody, so that Sora can be properly restored and [[MessianicArchetype set everything right again]] but to do so, must surrender to his own Darkness and is then forced to live out his days in the form of [[BigBad Ansem, Seeker of Darkness]]]]. By the climax of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', [[spoiler: he gets better and everyone is able to reunite]]. Sora manages to defeat [[BigBad Xehanort]] and ''finally'' set things right, but the end of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded'' reveals that doing so has [[spoiler: allowed the original [[GreaterScopeVillain Master Xehanort]] to revive]].
** And then, there's ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance'', where Sora [[spoiler: becomes trapped in a nightmare version of The World That Never Was, and darkness is slowly seeping into his heart. He does manage to defeat Xemnas in the end... only for his heart to shatter, causing Sora to die]]. But fortunately, [[spoiler: Riku revives him]]. Seems likely that until the series is done and over with, each game will end with a broken arm of some sort.
* ''VideoGame/KingsField II'' sees the character's father, the former hero and saviour from the first game, get possessed by a demon and release waves of Eldrich Horrors upon the world. Your character must pick their way through this bleak hellscape, and hunt down and kill his own father. Best part - if you fail to get a particular magic sword (obtainable only by sacrificing your one and only friend), then the demon then possesses you. The final narration informs you that peace returns to the land, and life returns to normal... only for your character to slowly fall to the demon and eventually re-release the demons, repeating the cycle - only this time, there's no one to stop you.
* In the Japanese version of ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'', TheEmperor Soniel (largely via his head priest [[TheDragon Yohm]]) attempts to kill Fou-lu (who not only happens to be the KingInTheMountain that founded the empire Soniel is head of, but is also a ''literal'' GodEmperor coming to reclaim the throne) in increasingly savage ways (including, at one point, the use of a FantasticNuke with ''Fou-lu's girlfriend as the warhead''; this merely was the major point in the TraumaCongaLine that [[DrivenToVillainy shoved Fou-lu over the edge]] to being a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds). The final attempt involved Soniel [[BackStab back-stabbing]] Fou-lu with a sword made from the decapitated head of a god whose full summoning failed; this pisses off Fou-lu, who proceeds to decapitate Soniel with the very sword he was back-stabbed with.
** Unfortunately, the actual Lost Your Head Trying To Back-Stab The God-Emperor moment was a victim of {{Bowdleris|e}}ation in the international [=PlayStation=] and all Windows ports--leading to a bit of a WhatHappenedToTheMouse moment.
** The [[ComicBookAdaptation manga adaptation by Mag Garden]] not only turned the scene UpToEleven but turned it into a Crowning Moment Of TakeThat (to the censorship)--Fou-lu has BloodFromTheMouth, decapitates Soniel by [[EnergyWeapon a sword of pure energy]], and then pushes out the [[EvilWeapon Dragonslayer]] by hand...after having been run ''completely through''.
* ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireII'' [[spoiler: ends with [[BittersweetEnding a sour note]], even in the [[MultipleEndings Best Ending]]]] however, the [[spoiler: "normal" ending is the most egregious case of this, and the best ending doesn't help a lot either]].
** Bad ending: [[spoiler: [[TheHero Ryu]] and company ask the great dragon to watch over the gate to hell. [[OhCrap Cue all the demons running rampant over the earth]], and TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt]].
** Normal Ending [[spoiler:Ryu [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu Punches Out Evans]], who turns into a Giant Eldritch Abomination, Ryu uses ThePowerOfFriendship to bring his friends back to life, kicks the crap out of evans and runs back home. Cue him taking his mother's place as a sleeping dragon, to seal off Evan until he comes back, but [[AndIMustScream not being able to move or communicate]]]].
** Best Ending: [[spoiler: Same as the above, but [[BreathWeapon Ryu]]'s Father hooks himself up to the flying machine in [[MeaningfulName TownShip]] to seal off the entrance in Ryu's stead. Evans, however, is not destroyed, only sleeping, and eventually it'll [[CameBackWrong come back stronger]]]]. Subverted, in that [[spoiler: Creator/{{Capcom}} [[OrphanedSeries hasn't tied up this]] PlotHole in almost two decades]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Gradius}}'' is BUILT on this trope. Congratulations on killing the [[BigBad final boss]] and blowing it up into a bunch of pieces! Too bad that each of those pieces will regenerate into another Big Bad. Each with their own army.
-->'''Venom''': I am just a small part of what was known as Venom. Pieces of me are scattered throughout the cosmos. Eventually, another will become sentient and exact retribution. You will never escape the shadow of fear! My hatred for your kind is eternal!
* Killing the BonusBoss of ''VideoGame/BaldursGateIIThroneOfBhaal'' [[spoiler:Demogorgon Prince of Demons]] is an understandably daunting and challenging ordeal. [[spoiler:All this does is free him from his prison in Watcher's Keep and sends him back home to the Abyss. Thanks to the rules governing demons and devils, he will be free to invade the material plane in a hundred years if he feels like it.]] Defeating it is still preferable to letting it roam free.
* ''VideoGame/GodOfWarSeries''
** In ''[[VideoGame/GodOfWarGhostOfSparta Ghost of Sparta]]'', Kratos and his brother Deimos kill ''Death''. It comes at a terrible price: Deimos loses his life saving Kratos during the battle, and Kratos loses his brother again. Especially tragic since Kratos' goal throughout the game was to save Deimos.
** ''VideoGame/GodOfWarIII'' takes this trope UpToEleven when Kratos, after an unsuccessful attempt at Zeus' life, enters in a murderous rampage against the Olympian pantheon, killing gods and titans alike. Unfortunately, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Kratos accidently causes all kinds of global disaster when he kills a god]], and by the time that he finally killed Zeus, the world has been plunged into the apocalypse. Understanding the errors of his way, Kratos has no choice but [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice his own life]] and release the personification of hope to fix the world.
* The DownerEnding of ''VideoGame/{{Galerians}}'' invokes this trope in multiple ways. [[spoiler:Yes, the protagonist Rion succeeds in destroying the MasterComputer [[AIIsACrapshoot gone wrong]], but [[DoomedProtagonist the effort of it breaks his brain]]. Plus, the MasterComputer has a backup plan. Queue sequel.]]
* ''Franchise/SilentHill''
** Depending on how you interpret the series, even the good endings mean that whatever malevolent entities surrounding the place just lie dormant until the next schmuck with a DarkAndTroubledPast comes around. Then there are the bad endings, where you defeat the BigBad, but your own sanity has suffered beyond repair.
** In ''VideoGame/SilentHill4'', Henry is implied to have broken his arm in the good ending.
* In ''VideoGame/PeasantsQuest'', Rather Dashing [[spoiler:gets burninated after throwing the trogsword at Trogdor.]]
* In ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'', Asura breaks his arms defeating the first (and ''weakest'') of the Seven Deities, Wyzen. The final DLC chapter involves Asura [[spoiler: defeating Chakravartin, who is essentially {{God}}.]] However, in doing so, [[spoiler: he destroys the source of Mantra, meaning that he soon dies, but at least his daughter survives.]]
* In the backstory of the ''Franchise/DeadSpace'' series, the few natives of Tau Volantis who hadn't succumbed to the Markers' influence sacrificed themselves to force [[spoiler:the Brother Moon]] into hibernation. [[spoiler:In the end of ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3'', Isaac and Carver repeat the sacrifice.]]
** [[spoiler: Isaac survives after all, we can hear him breathe and call for Ellie after the credits.]]
*** The ''Awakened'' DLC reveals that [[spoiler:although Isaac and Carver did manage to kill the Tau Volantis Moon, it had managed to awaken its Brethren before dying. And ''they find out where humanity is and reach Earth before Isaac and Carver can''. ''All'' of humanity's troubles in the prior games were caused by a single Brethren Moon rendered "comatose" by the Tau Volantis natives... now there are multiple, wide-awake Moons]].
* Recurrent in ''VideoGame/{{Ar tonelico|MelodyOfElemia}}'', although the Good End usually involves fixing the side-effects.
** In the first game, [[spoiler: Mir is initially defeated by singing Suspend, shutting down the tower's systems and crippling Song Magic. Even once the tower is reactivated, large chunks of the land surrounding another tower fall due to the power interruption]].
** In the second, [[spoiler: getting into the tower requires dropping half of the already-diminished land area of Metalfass, but upon succeeding with Metalfalica, a new (and much better) FloatingContinent is created]].
* ''Videogame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'': [[VideoGame/KnightsofTheOldRepublic Revan]] himself tried to take on the [[VillainSue Sith Emperor]] with only the droids and [[VideoGame/KnightsofTheOldRepublicII The Exile]] for backup. The Sith Emperor all but laughed at them, had Exile killed, and had Revan strung up in stasis for three centuries, using him as a conduit to spy on the Light side and direct the grand war that's only part of his bigger scheme to [[OmnicidalManiac kill the entire galaxy]]. By the time the Republic rescues him, he's little more than a crazed madman and patsy of the Emperor.
* In ''VisualNovel/MahouTsukaiNoYoru'', [[spoiler:[[BadassNormal Soujuurou]] literally breaks both his arms taking out Lugh, an ancient nature spirit in the form of a werewolf. While he succeeds in destroying Lugh's heart, Lugh has a HealingFactor which quickly fixes it. DoubleSubversion in that while the physical damage is healed, Lugh is left practically catatonic as he comes to the realisation that he can be dealt a fatal blow]].
* Maxim's battle with the [[JerkassGods Sinistrals]] in ''VideoGame/{{Lufia}}'' in the [[VideoGame/LufiaAndTheFortressOfDoom original]] and ''[[VideoGame/LufiaIIRiseOfTheSinistrals Rise of the Sinistrals]]''. He and his party managed to defeat all four of them, but [[spoiler: his {{Love Interest|s}} Selan is fatally injured, and Artea also later lost his eyesight from the battle. Maxim himself wasn't able to escape the Sinistrals' FloatingContinent and died with it when it sank into the ocean, with the most he managed to do was break the crystals controlling it to keep it from crashing where it would harm anybody]]. Worst of all, the Sinistrals weren't gone for good, Erim reincarnated [[spoiler: as Lufia]], and her mere existence revived the other three Sinistrals. While TheHero in the original game and his party were able to defeat them, his refusal to kill Erim for good meant that the Sinistrals would return '''AGAIN''', leading into the events of ''The Legend Returns''. There's a smaller-scale example in ''The Legend Returns'' as well, when Aima's [[OldMaster martial arts master]] fights Gades. Gades is slightly scratched and impressed enough by his strength to spare everyone else, while the master dies of his wounds.
* Not quite Cthulhu, but the Progenitor Dreadnought that ended up in the Hiigarans' hands in ''[[{{VideoGame/Homeworld}} Homeworld 2]]'' almost fell victim to this. The Hiigarans decided to use their recently salvaged, super-powerful LostTechnology starship to [[LookWhatICanDoNow lay the smackdown on a major Vaygr force]]. Thing is, they underestimated how badly the ship deteriorated over the millenia: when they sent it into combat, its [[WaveMotionGun Phased Cannon Array]] fragged a Vaygr battlecruiser in a single shot... and promptly burned out every single power conduit inside the ship, damn near blowing up the Dreadnought as well. It took extreme effort by the Hiigarans to keep the Vaygr from finishing the damaged Dreadnought off, plus [[HigherTechSpecies Bentusi]] assistance to partially repair the cannon until it could operate at even a reduced output - but not before [[DemonicSpiders Progenitor Keepers]] [[FromBadToWorse also homed in on the Dreadnought to retrieve it]], forcing the Bentusi to [[HeroicSacrifice blow themselves up]] to save the Dreadnought.
* The Taken King story arc in ''{{VideoGame/Destiny}}'' occurs in a way because of this. The Guardians may have finally permanently killed the Hive prince Crota on Eris Morn's behalf, but all they've done beyond satisfy Morn's thirst for vengeance is enrage Crota's infinitely more powerful father [[GodEmperor Oryx]], who heads to Earth personally way earlier than hoped for and rains hell on both the Guardians and the Cabal. Oops.
** There's two examples in the backstory:
*** Eris Morn and her team of six Guardians went to the Hellmouth to put down Crota. They managed to seal him in his personal pocket universe (where he's killed by you later) but get utterly slaughtered for their arrogant belief that they could fight a god prince and his army with a measly ''six'' Guardians, with only a mentally-broken Morn surviving. Special mention goes to poor Omar Agah, who had ''his soul flayed into nothing'' by one of Crota's servants.
*** Kabr the Legionless tried to lead a team into the Vault Of Glass and battle the Vex there. In his haste, Atheon discovered his team's presence and used the Vex's time travel capabilities to ''RetGone his entire team from existence at once''. Kabr alone avoided this and while he forged the Aegis that would let later Guardians defeat Atheon, the fact [[RippleEffectProofMemory he simultaneously knew he came with a team and knew he came alone]] utterly destroyed his mind with the resulting time paradox.
* The FinalBoss in ''VideoGame/ShadowrunReturns: Hong Kong'' plays out like this. [[spoiler:Due to her near-godhood level power, you can shoot at Qian Ya as much as you like but it's made clear you are only FightingAShadow and reforms again moments later. Only shutting down the Fortune Engine will prevent her complete manifestation, which normally requires a HeroicSacrifice.]]
* Every game in the ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' series has situations like this, especially in its endings [[spoiler: given that the Cycle of Light and Dark and the Undead Curse that comes with it will only end when the world dies.]] Notable examples include Artorias the Abysswalker's fate, The Ivory King's sacrifice, and the fate of Prince Lorian after he Linked the Fire with his brother Lothric.
* In the final battle of 'VideoGame/SouthParkTheStickOfTruth'', [[spoiler:Nazi Zombie Princess Kenny]] will use extremely powerful techniques that require your party members to perform a special QTE to counter them, after which they'll be neutralized for the rest of the battle and another party member will step in. This goes on until you either defeat the boss or until Cartman (who is standing in the background the entire fight) is the only one left.
* ''VideoGame/{{Sundered}}'': Eshe falls victim to this in two of the endings. In the neutral ending, [[spoiler:Eshe defeats Nyarlathotep and escapes to the outside world through an interdimensional portal, only to learn that Nyarlathotep’s avatar, the Shining Trapezohedron, still has power over her because she didn’t destroy all the Elder Shards]]. In the Resist ending, [[spoiler:she ''does'' destroy all the Elder Shards and defeats both Nyarlathotep and the Shining Trapezohedron for good, only for the portal to blow up in her face and leave her trapped in the caverns]].
* ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'': Congratulations you killed the EldritchAbomination plaguing the Hamlet. [[spoiler: Unfortunately it most likely required you to sacrifice two party members and said Heart of Darkness can never be truly dead, and will inevitably one day fully awaken and shatter the Earth like an egg. Also the Heir and surviving heroes are all mentally broken at the end of this, with the Heir even killing themselves]].
* ''VideoGame/TheSecretWorld'' features this in spades whenever the Filth is involved. To begin with, killing the infectees only results in the killer being sprayed with Filthy blood, guaranteeing a new infectee - which is one of the reasons why [[ItsUpToYou it's always up to you]], as the players are the only ones who are immune to the disease. Killing the infectees doesn't mean much, given that there's usually a huge reservoir of Filth nearby just waiting to start snatching up new victims. And even if you manage to quarantine or cleanse the Filth somehow, there are still dozens of other possible vectors of infection available - and [[EldritchAbomination the true source of the plague]] will always be just out of reach.
** The Viking veterans of the Darkness War suffered a particularly terminal case of this. Sure, they managed to stop the Mayan cultists from unleashing [[SealedEvilInACan the Dreamer contained beneath Solomon Island]], but their attempts at containing the Filth only ended up leading them off-course on the route home and into the Sargasso Sea - where the Dreamers [[ReforgedIntoAMinion remade them into the first of the]] [[FishPeople Draug]].

* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', the [[PrecursorHeroes Order of the Scribble's]] attempts at [[spoiler:sealing the Snarl]] may count as this. They successfully manage to [[spoiler:patch up the holes in the Snarl's prison]] with the gates, but one of them dies and the survivors break up for good, with bad blood between many of them. Said bad blood ends up destroying any united plan they may have had for protecting the gates, allowing Xykon to attack them piecemeal.
** Further arm-breaking occurs when it turns out their solution to containing the Snarl allows for someone to access and control the power of the Snarl without setting it free, which is essentially the main plan of every major villain in the series.
* [[Webcomic/{{Shadowgirls}} Charon McKay's]] first punch against [[TheDragon Deep One Prime]] was a massive {{Shoryuken}} that splintered some of the shadow-armor on her hand.
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'': The Sluggyverse exists in a ViciousCycle of creation and destruction. The god of creation, Prozoatu, creates the spark of life, and the god of destruction, Kozoaku brings about extinction events, killing much of it. Kozoaku is technically supposed to do this, but he always does it prematurely, ending the world before he is meant to. Khronus has opposed him many times, but has only ever stopped him at great cost. But for all the trouble Kozoaku causes, ''killing him'' would make things even worse, since breaking a pillar of reality will cause a RealityBreakingParadox. And since Khronus has become completely indifferent to mankind, [[spoiler:a tangle in the malfunctioning Fate Web is going to cause this to actually happen]].
* ''Webcomic/TalesOfTheQuestor'': Quentyn and his allies manage to kill the dragon they were tracking (a dragon twice the size of the one they ''thought'' they were tracking) but at the cost of a broken arm for Quentyn, various bumps and bruises for Sam and Pelinor and Ember (Quentyn's mountain pony) being mortally wounded and having to be [[MercyKill put down.]] Then they find out that the scent of the dead dragon has sent the ''other'' dragon (The one they were actually after) into a berserker fury and it sets about torching the countryside. Quentyn and the others are in no condition to even try to fight it and fear the people will blame them for the rampage.
* ''Webcomic/DanAndMabsFurryAdventures'': Cyra (Dan's grandmother and a powerful [[HornyDevils cubi]] of her own) attempts to steal the power of M'Chek and conquer Hishaan, the city that he protects. However, unknown to Cyra at the time, M'Chek wasn't just the protector of the city, [[PhysicalGod he was also its]] ''[[PhysicalGod reaper]]'', and killing him has [[NiceJobBreakingItHero devastating consequences]], among them:
## [[PyrrhicVictory The sheer amount of magical energy unleashed upon his death turns the city into crystal]],
## The dragon race becomes pissed at M'Chek's death, starting a thousand world war between Dragons and cubis, and [[FantasticRacism tensions between the races]] is still pretty strong,
## As a result of the above, Cyra's whole clan and family are almost completely killed off, with only Dan, Destania and Cyra herself still alive. Did I mention that since Cyra is the Clan Leader, she is incapable of having other children of her own?
** Oh, and Cubi and dragons alike hate Cyra and her clan. No wonder Cyra [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone regretted it]].
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked in]] ''Webcomic/CodeNameHunter'' as the main reason why the agency doesn't go to war against [[TheFairFolk the Fey]]. [[http://www.codenamehunter.com/archive/comic/2012/02/10 As explained by Hunter]], the Fey are divided in two courts, the Seelie and Unseelie, or Summer and Winter courts. The problem, is that they doesn't just named themselves after the seasons, they ''[[AnthropomorphicPersonification ARE]]'' [[AnthropomorphicPersonification the seasons]], with their Queens being the [[PhysicalGod living incarnations of Summer and Winter]] respectively. So, while it's perfectly true that the agency has resources to hunt down and destroy the Fey, they can't do that fast enough to prevent the courts to retaliate and cause climatic disaster of global proportions.
* Happens [[spoiler: to Jesse]] in ''WebComic/{{Apothecia}}'' when [[spoiler: she tries to blow up the alien. It infects her instead.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' has more than a few examples of this.
** In the Midnight Crew intermission, Spades Slick [[spoiler:uses the [[AntiMagic crowbar]] on the Felt's safe, launching him into a timeline where everyone but himself, Snowman, and Doc Scratch are dead]].
** During [[WhamEpisode Cascade]], [[spoiler:Spades Slick finally kills Snowman, [[ApocalypseHow ending the Troll universe]]]].
** [[AuthorAvatar Andrew Hussie himself]] pulls this off [[spoiler:when he kills Doc Scratch. Turns out this was one of the final steps needed to summon [[BigBad Lord English]] into the Troll universe, and it allowed Lord English to [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou kill off Hussie]]]]. Whoops.
** And in a brilliant [[ArcWords Mobius double-reacharound]], [[spoiler:Lord English did it by killing Hussie, allowing Hussie to harass his younger self as his mentor]].
** Mituna overexerted himself to protect the Alpha Trolls one day during their session, burning out his own psychic powers and reducing his intellect to save them from an unknown threat. [[spoiler:It's hinted that the threat had something to do with Kurloz, the only witness to the event other than Mituna himself.]]

[[folder: Web Original]]
* In ''{{Literature/Touch}}'', there have thus far been two attempts to combat an otherwise unbeatable foe. One person tried riding a nuke down its throat and died in the process. The other survived, but six years later, they're still waiting for his skin to grow back.
* In ''WebAnimation/DrawWithMe'', it becomes [[spoiler:did you just lose your hand trying to punch out Cthulhu (in this case, an instantly regenerating glass wall)]].
* Phase, in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse, fighting a tiny aspect of a demon trying to gain a foothold in this dimension. She stalled it long enough that it could be sealed off again. For now. But she ended up with broken bones, life-threatening injuries, psychological damage and hideous nightmares that required intervention to stop. And, the personal enmity of said demon.
** Halloween at Whateley, since killing Sara was the whole point. Not only did it fail, but the two commanders of the force that attacked are now wanted by the criminals as well as the law, and the one who ordered the attack got into deep shit, and a good portion of the attacking soldiers were killed or taken into MCO custody.
* Jay from ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets'' in Entry #52 [[spoiler: tackles the Operator/Slender Man, but in doing so he loses the last seven months from his memory]].
* Occurs in the [[Franchise/DragonBall Goku]] versus Franchise/{{Superman}} Episode of ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle''. Superman [[spoiler:manages to completely atomize]] Goku [[spoiler:with the Infinite Mass Punch]], but the impact causes the entire earth to be shattered.
* In Literature/{{Worm}} fanfic Fanfic/WeaverNine: after the heroes kill one of the most powerful beings in the setting, the defeated villain uses their last moments to unleash an apocalyptic-level attack that destroys an entire city and wipes out most of the attackers.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''
** The page quote is taken from the ''Unlimited'' episode "[[Recap/JusticeLeagueUnlimitedS2E12DividedWeFall Divided We Fall]]", after the titular league knock themselves out in the process of destroying the DoomsdayDevice of a near PhysicalGod {{Nanomachine}}-controlling Brainac/Lex Luthor fusion. "Brainthor", able to rebuild it a matter of minutes and being utterly undamaged, shrugs it off with the above comment. [[spoiler: It is then subverted, when Flash [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass taps into the Speed Force]] and uses it to demolish the villain atom by atom, faster than his nanomachines can compensate.]]
** The episode "The Terror Beyond" featured a team of [[ComicBook/TheDefenders Defenders-expies]] set up to beat back an incursion of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, which they end up doing by killing [[{{Expy}} Ichthultu]]… but [[spoiler: Solomon Grundy]] dies in the process.
** A much less serious version of this trope happened in "This Little Piggy" when Franchise/{{Batman}} and Comicbook/{{Zatanna}} picked a fight with [[PhysicalGod Circe]]. The two make a fair account of themselves until Circe actually starts fighting ''back'', at which point she reveals that she's just humouring them. Since Circe is a ScrewySquirrel, they manage to talk their way out of further confrontation.
* Anything used to try to stop the Beast Planet of ''WesternAnimation/ShadowRaiders''. Turn your whole planet into [[WaveMotionGun an energy gun]], the firing of which kills everyone on it? Not even a scratch. [[RammingAlwaysWorks Ram it with another planet]]? It's annoyed. ''Turn a planet into a bomb'' and blow it up when The Beast is eating it? Doesn't even get heart burn. The best the heroes do is send it somewhere else, so it just attacks another system.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', has a fairly literal example in "The Power of Shazam!" After Doctor Sivana acquires ComicBook/BlackAdam's powers, Batman punches him only for his fist to hurt from impact. Sivana then proceeds to take Batman out with FingerPokeOfDoom.
* Something similar happened with Alpha Q's planets in ''Anime/TransformersEnergon''. When Unicron came to eat their world Scorponok set off a bomb in the center of the planet in order to destroy him, since their own lives were forfeit anyway. Unfortunately the bomb only sent Unicron into a temporary coma, and when he woke up Alpha Q was trapped inside him, alone and slowly going mad.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' has in '''Stronger Faster''', when Ratchet has use [[PsychoSerum synthetic energon]] to [[TookALevelInBadass take a level in badass]] and seems invincible most of the episode, so he gets confident enough to try fighting [[BigBad Megatron]], who initially laughs him off as Optimus "[[TemptingFate pet medic]]", before Ratchet [[MegatonPunch punches him across the room]], but as Ratchet soon learns the hard way, all this did was make him mad, or more accurately, put him in worse than he was already in, and tear Ratchet open nearly cause him to bleed dry from Energon lose. Ratchet survives, but the Decepticons get away with a sample of the synthetic energon with plans to reverse engineer it.
** Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus' fight with Predaking, with the two compensating for Predaking's greater strength through their teamwork and managing to land a beating on him before dropping a giant stalactite on him. They thought they killed him, but what they find the hard way is that only gave him a weapon which he nearly crushes Wheeljack with it and then nearly killing Ultra Magnus.
** The show's finale ''Predacons Rising''. Optimus Prime manages to permanently stop [[GodOfEvil Unicron]] but tricking him into opening an empty container that he though contained the All-Spark, which instead leads to the container sucking out Unicron's [[OurSoulsAreDifferent spark]] and trapping him. This unfortunately is followed by a reveal that to pull this off Optimus had insert the All-Spark into himself, and to release it back into Cybertron to fully revive the planet, it meant releasing his own spark to join it, costing him his life.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'':
** The heroes (and anti-heroes) find themselves up at one point against [[PhysicalGod Lord Oberon]], ruler of TheFairFolk. They try various weapons against him, which do nothing, until finally hitting him with an iron harpoon that does some serious damage. Unfortunately, even an injured Oberon is still the most powerful character in the series, and now he's ''really mad''.
-->'''Oberon''': [[PunctuatedForEmphasis I am]]… [[WeaksauceWeakness vulnerable]]… [[ColdIron to iron]]. [[OhCrap You have hurt me]]. [[PreAsskickingOneLiner Hurting me was a]] '''[[NiceJobBreakingItHero mistake]]'''!
** Later when he's standing over baby's crib, [[MamaBear Fox]] blasts him with magic. This also actually manages to hurt him. Unfortunately, she has no idea how to do it again, it didn't hurt him that much, and now he's even ''more pissed.'' [[spoiler:She still saves the day, since Goliath used this display of magic to convince Oberon that Alex's magical potential can be nurtured without taking him away from his family.]]
** Earlier than that, while Oberon was still recovering, [[GreatGazoo Puck]] [[BigDamnHeroes comes to their rescue]] and proceeded to use his magic to [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown toss Oberon around]]. However, [[DoNotTauntCthulhu this only makes Oberon more annoyed]], and when he indeed recovered, he promptly [[CurbStompBattle blasted them all away]]. (And according to WordOfGod, [[DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu Puck's way to humiliate Oberon]] [[NiceJobBreakingItHero actually also gave him enough time to recover himself from the Iron Harpoon]].)
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''
** A rare villainous example. Admiral Zhao manages to kill Tui, the Moon Spirit. La, the Ocean Spirit, gets pissed, fuses with Aang into an enormous OneWingedAngel, and lays an absolute smackdown on a massive Fire Nation fleet. After Tui is revived via HeroicSacrifice, La parts with Aang, grabs Zhao, and [[DraggedOffToHell drags him to the show's equivalent of hell]].
** Later in the series, the Gaang is fighting knowledge spirit Wan Shi Tong, who's trying to sink his library and trap them forever so they won't try to use his knowledge to hurt people. Sokka manages to knock Wan Shi Tong unconscious by [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome hitting him over the head with a book]]. The Gaang barely manages to escape the sinking library with knowledge that can help them win the war. But unfortunately, the library still disappears, [[spoiler:Appa gets stolen during the fight]], and worst of all, the Gaang's new friend Professor Zei gets dragged down with Wan Shi Tong and the library. Presumably, Zei stays trapped there forever... though on the bright side, he was the only one of the group to actually ''be'' looking for "knowledge for knowledge's sake"[[note]](whereas the Gaang only said they were so they could get in, and were actually looking for information that could help end the century-long war)[[/note]], and he seemed perfectly fine with staying in the library. In the sequel series "WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra" it was noted that Professor Zei remained in the library for the remainder of his life as we get a glimpse of his skeleton later in the second season.
** ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' has another villainous example in season 3, where [[BigBad Zaheer]] attempts to end the Avatar Cycle by kidnapping Korra, injecting her with a metallic poison to force her into the [[PhysicalGod Avatar]] [[SuperMode State]], and then killing her in that state. Despite his huge precautions to ensure this goes well keeping restrained with chains made from a metal she cannot bend and assembling all his comrads to attack her at the same time), Korra easily frees herself and [[UnstoppableRage goes on a rampage]], almost killing him until the poison finally starts kicking in. By the end of the episode, he has managed to cripple her and was only stopped from killing her by [[BigDamnHeroes the New Air Nation and Suyin]], but the whole operation indirectly caused the death of all his friends, as well as his own capture.
** In ''The Legend Of Korra'''s GrandFinale, Mako [[spoiler:destroys Kuvira's [[HumongousMecha Colossus]] by [[PhlebotinumOverload overloading]] its spirit vine power core with a phenomenal bout of sustained [[ShockAndAwe sustained lightningbending]]]]. Though he's successful, the feedback burns his forearm, and he's later seen wearing a heavy cast and sling.
* At the end of the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' "The End" trilogy, the Titans prepare to face off against Trigon. The only one who doesn't fight is Raven, who has been reduced to a child, lost all her powers, and is convinced the fight is hopeless. The Titans and [[EnemyMine even]] [[ArchEnemy Slade]] fight and manage to actually wound him. Unfortunately, this just pissed him off and he quickly defeats Slade, takes down Cyborg, Starfire, and Beast Boy with one shot, and finally even defeats Robin. Their courage and refusal to give up however, leads to Raven [[TookALevelInBadass taking a level in badass]] and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome properly]] [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu punch him out]].
* ''WesternAnimation/XavierRenegadeAngel'': In "Bloodcorn", a down-on-his-luck farmer attempts to make it rain by pointing a gun to the sky and threatening to shoot God if it doesn't rain. When that doesn't work, he fires a bullet into the air and successfully hits God. This ''does'' get it to rain, but instead of water, it rains God's blood, which causes every part of nature it touches to come alive with a vengeance against mankind.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', the Ghost crew's first encounter with [[ImplacableMan Darth Vader]] plays out like this. They manage to hold him back and even drop a freaking AT-AT onto him, but it only briefly slows him down as he just blocks their attacks with the Force or shrugs them off through sheer physical strength. Sabine nearly gets killed by a blaster shot to the skull, only being saved by the fact that she was wearing her helmet. He than ends up following the crew to their meeting with the Rebel fleet and wrecks havoc on the Rebels. Crossing over into the latter half of this trope, after this encounter Vader is ordered by the Emperor to break off his pursuit of the crew and so has yet to fight them again.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'': In the episode "Speed Demon", [[spoiler:When having a race to home from school, the girls end up flying so fast that they end up ''traveling through time'' into a BadFuture where "the whole world went to [[GoshDangitToHeck heck]]" because the girls weren't around to stop [[SatanicArchetype HIM]]. When the girls find HIM, they beat him up as usual, but he just gets up and tells them that fighting them would be pointless; he has already won because of the damage he has done to the world. THEN he goes OneWingedAngel! The girls realize the only thing they can do is travel back through time to the point before they had the race in the first place.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'': [[spoiler:In the GrandFinale, Jack finally manages to travel back to the past and defeat Aku once and for all! However, as a result of this, his girlfriend Ashi, who was revealed to be Aku's [[LukeIAmYourFather daughter]], can not exist due to the BadFuture Aku created never existing in the first place, and she fades away in Jack's arms on their wedding day. Not to mention all of the friends he made in that future being Retconned out of existence.]]

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Honeybees die whenever they sting a human, or anything else with thick skin. They will try to avert this. If they have to give up their life for one tiny attack, they will make sure to make it count. [[ZergRush Usually by]] [[DeathOfAThousandCuts having the whole hive sting you at once]].
* Eleazar Avaran, one of the leaders of the Maccabean revolt, where the Jews fought for and won their freedom from Seleucid rule. Eleazar killed a war elephant with a spear, but the elephant fell on him and he was crushed to death.
** This is also a crowning moment of awesome. Having no idea how to deal with Elephants he ran under the thing when it reared... and allowed it to fall on him, spear planted firmly in the earth.
* A national-level version occurred in the dying stages of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, with the German [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Offensive Spring Offensive]], which let them break through the British and French lines...but their troops got so far ahead of their own supply lines that they simply couldn't sustain the attack and were thus screwed when the British and French made their counterattack, aided by American forces.