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[[quoteright:206:[[Webcomic/{{Adventurers}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Goldfish_Poop_Gang_606.GIF]]]]

->'''[[Characters/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness Laharl]]:''' What do you want? I’m busy right now.\\
'''[[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Mid-Boss]]:''' Tsk tsk tsk. You weren’t thinking of calling yourself the Overlord without first settling things with moi, were you?\\
'''Laharl:''' I already settled things with you. Twice, as a matter of fact.
-->-- ''Videogame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness''

A comedic version of the RecurringBoss, the Goldfish Poop Gang are characters who keep popping up, requiring you to fight them multiple times through the game. They [[VillainDecay quickly devolve]] from being [[QuirkyMinibossSquad actual threats]] to [[GoddamnedBats pesky nuisances]], something the party may [[LampshadeHanging comment on]].

The party (and developers) may take a shine to them, and [[TheBattleDidntCount you won't actually be allowed to kill them off in the end]].

The trope name comes from the Japanese idiomatic phrase ''kingyo no fun'', which literally means "goldfish crap" but idiomatically means a sycophant or hanger-on. That's because goldfish poop has a tendency to stick to the goldfish. So it's vaguely loathsome stuff that follows the fish around, just like a Goldfish Poop Gang.

May overlap with recurring {{Quirky Miniboss Squad}}s if they're not treated seriously. Frequently overlaps with being an IneffectualSympatheticVillain or HarmlessVillain. May also fill the shoes of the UnknownRival, explaining why they keep coming back to annoy the party. Occasionally made a threat with TeamRocketWins. In Anime they're often a TerribleTrio.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Team Rocket from ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' (Jessie, James and Meowth), who [[EnsembleDarkhorse thrive on popularity]] despite no longer posing a threat to Ash and friends.
** When we say they thrive on popularity, we mean that literally. On one occasion they save Ash's life on the premise that if he dies, [[NoFourthWall the show's over and they're out of a job]].
*** This even applies ''within'' the fourth wall. On several occasions they've helped Ash out or cheered him on in battle, because, as Meowth put it during Ash's battle with Tobias: "This is the guy who beats us all the time! So if he loses, think how bad it'll make US look!"
** Subverted in the ''Best Wishes!'' series as Team Rocket truly TookALevelInBadass, even ignoring Ash and company sometimes. Officially [[ZigZaggingTrope zig zagged]] by ''XY'', where they're back to their usual selves.
* Lina Inverse from ''TheSlayers'' actually gave this nickname to Naga at one point, as she constantly insists on calling Lina her partner (or rival, depending on which season/movie you're watching).
** Martina from ''TheSlayers'' NEXT is a very obvious example. Subverted in that she winds up with some CharacterDevelopment and getting exactly what she wants at the end while Lina's still WalkingTheEarth, but then, she had stopped being a villain by that point.
* Depending on the story, Zenigata can be this in Characters/LupinIII. No matter what the plot/enemy is, he's pretty much guaranteed to be involved in ''some'' capacity, but that can vary from him [[WorthyOpponent being a serious threat to Lupin and his plans]], a [[FriendlyEnemy grudging ally]], a useful patsy, or (this trope) simply a minor annoyance who's only there because the fans would miss him if he didn't make an appearance.
* Rex Raptor, Weevil Underwood, Mako Tsunami, and (to a lesser extent) Mai Valentine from the ''Anime/YuGiOh'' anime are basically this for the main characters or the bad guys. Although presented as credible threats, they pretty much exist for two purposes: another duel(against a [[InformedAbility supposedly strong opponent]]) to be won by Yugi/Joey, or to showcase how skilled a duelist a new character(sometimes the BigBad) via TheWorfEffect.
** Less so in the manga, where Rex Raptor is never seen again after losing to Esper Roba, and Weevil is never seen again after losing to Joey. Mai also does pretty well for herself against BigBad Yami Marik, even managing to acquire [[InfinityPlusOneSword one of the God cards]] from him, [[NewRulesAsThePlotDemands only to find she couldn't use it]]. Marik really only won on a technicality--if Mai ''had'' been able to use the card, she would probably have won.
* Pilaf, Shu and Mai in ''DragonBall''. However, they eventually disappeared as the series underwent CerebusSyndrome. Their final appearance in the manga was shortly after Demon King Piccolo was released, while in the anime they had one more {{filler}} appearance just before the start of ''DragonBallZ''. They were eventually brought back in ''DragonBallGT'' to help kick off the plot by accidentally [[FountainOfYouth turning Goku into a child]].
** And they're back on the newest movie, ''Battle of the Gods''. [[spoiler: As children, after asking Shen Long for youth, on an ironic reversal of what they did on DragonBallGT.]]
* Tom and Tab from ''KimbaTheWhiteLion.''
* The [=MK5=] from ''Manga/{{Beelzebub}}''. It's even stated that losing in one page is their specialty.
* Zonge and his followers in {{Toriko}} are a non-villainous version, though they are technically rivals to Toriko et al simply by virtue of being other Bishokuya, they show up in many arcs and are almost always ineffective (or if so, he is not deliberately effective).
* In ''Anime/RaveMaster'' there was the Jiggle Butt Gang (Big Butt Bandits in the dub) three crooks who were likely the most incompetent thieves in existence. How did they get their name? [[MeaningfulName Guess.]]
** The Jiggle Butt Gang is persistent enough to return even in a different series, specifically Hiro Mashima's second manga series, ''Manga/FairyTail''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Book]]
* The Wrecking Crew from TheMightyThor were once a gang of super strong villains that could even give Comicbook/TheAvengers a run for their money but in the past decade or so, they've become more of a punchline when superheroes need someone to beat up over and over again.
** For example, to illustrate that [[ComicBook/{{X-Men}} the Juggernaut]] had gotten weaker after his HeelFaceTurn...he lost a fight with the Wrecking Crew. Losing to the guys who used to routinely give Thor a tough fight was treated as a pathetic embarrassment for Juggernaut.
* ''SinCity'' has Shlubb and Klump, two idiot do-anything-for-a-job criminals that often show up and get pummeled by Dwight [=McCarthy=].
* Team Turmoil from Creator/MarkWaid's run on TheFlash were this. Defeating was such a routine task that the Flash rarely bothered to interrupt his conversations while doing so - except to make fun of them, of course.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The skinheads in ''[[TheFiftyFirstState The 51st State (known as Formula 51 in America)]]''.
* "Baldy" in ''Film/JohnnyMnemonic''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Korbal Broach and Bauchelain in the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' series are a rare literary example. They're actually brutal serial killers (Korbal is noteworthy for making golems out of the internal organs of orphans), which would lead one to think that the author might take them seriously. He doesn't.
* Played with in ''Literature/HarryPotter''. In perspective, Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle pose less of a threat to Harry as [[spoiler: Voldemort]] rises in power. Though the goldfish poop gang join with [[spoiler:Voldemort]], they come to realize that it's not as fun as it sounds. Ultimately subverted when the gang endangers the PowerTrio's lives in the seventh book.
-->''[Harry] [[LampshadeHanging could not believe that he was this close]], and he was going to be thwarted by Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle.''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The Trio from Season 6 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''.
** Subverted by Warren Mears, who goes from Goldfish to Piranha thanks to a [[spoiler: wine bottle to the head & the luckiest gunshot in the world]]. Appropriately enough, he meets his [[spoiler: supposed demise being flayed like a piece of salmon]].
** [[spoiler: Harmony]]. After being turned into a vampire, she proved the most welcome of thorns in Buffy's side in large part due to her uselessness in a fight, culminating in the most epic push-fight ever.
* ''Series/TheInvisibleMan'' Arnaud [=DeFöhn=] to the world at large, a rather frightening [[PsychoForHire terrorist-for-hire]]. To [[ItsPersonal Darien Fawkes]], a mincing little prick who'd be dead or in jail if not for his infuriating penchant for [[NotSoDifferent smug speeches]] and [[SoLongSuckers improbable escapes]].
** Darien does have a personal grudge against Arnaud, as one of Arnaud's goons killed Darien's brother. Interestingly, Arnaud himself did not want Kevin Fawkes dead, as Kevin was a genius (and a friend) but forgot to tell his {{Mook}}s about it. Technically, though, the Mook was aiming for Darien, but Kevin pushed him out of the way.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The base rulebook for ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' contains an obscure quote, warning {{Game Master}}s not to fall into this trope:
-->Just remember this: Antagonists are probably the most common purveyors of conflict to appear in chronicles, and they can make or break a good plot. One common mistake is overusing antagonists or bringing them out from behind the curtain too soon in your chronicle. If, for example, you're going to have two or three major antagonists, don't let them tip their hands all at once. Keep ''some'' things secret. Likewise, don't make them too predictable. When you're describing the approaching Pentex First Team, the last thing you want is for the players to say, "Look, it's Delta Bob and his goon squad. Don't forget they're all carrying cans of pepper spray! Battery-powered fans at the ready, packmates!" You get the picture.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]

* Solt & Peppor in ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' are a combination of this and HeKnowsAboutTimedHits.
** The last time you fight Solt & Peppor (which is optional), they actually do seem to get serious. Their Cross Slash attack can do enough damage to kill one of your party members, which you might not expect. They still aren't ''hard'', but they're not a free win either.
** Even earlier in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', Ozzie, Flea, and Slash. Made even more apparent in a late-game sidequest during which you fight them again. [[spoiler:For crying out loud, Ozzie gets taken out by [[CatsAreMean a freaking cat]].]] If that doesn't scream "unbelievable incompetence", then what does?
** Do note however that Slash is considered ThatOneBoss for many.
* The [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros Mario RPGs]] love these. It's seemingly mandatory for them to feature at least one in every game:
** Croco the mobster wannabe from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'';
** The four Koopas in ''Paper Mario'';
** "Master" Jr. Troopa from ''VideoGame/PaperMario'';
** Popple the Shadow Thief from ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga]]'';
** Lord Crump from ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor''. At first he appeared as TheDragon to Sir Grodus, but his [[YouHaveFailedMe continuous screw-ups]] cemented his position as the resident Goldfish Poop Gang.
** Bowser and Baby Bowser are [[DemotedToExtra demoted to this]] in ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime Partners in Time]]'', though they are only really fought once.
** O'Chunks, Count Bleck's [[DumbMuscle no-brains-all-brawn]] henchthug from ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario''.
** Midbus of ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story]].''
* [[BraggartBoss Gilgamesh]] in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' is the first one in the series, and one of the most popular ones too. He is once again a GoldfishPoopGang member in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'', going most of the game as Alleyway Jack before revealing his true identity. He also reappears as a BonusBoss in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', makes a cameo in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' if the player has acquired Odin (who is killed by Seifer and replaced by Gilgamesh), and was retroactively added to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' in the Advance series as a hidden esper. He is a BonusBoss again in ''Final Fantasy Advance: Dawn of Souls''. He is the only character in the series that is implied to have been the same person from game to game, in effect becoming goldfish poop for the whole series.
** [[EnsembleDarkhorse Ultros]] and Chupon in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI''.
** The Turks in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''. (They were also ThoseTwoGuys, even though the group technically had four members; Elena and Tseng didn't get nearly as much time in the limelight as Reno and Rude.)
** Biggs and Wedge in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII''.
** also Fujin and Raijin in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' though somewhat less.
** The Leblanc Syndicate in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2'', though they become allies later on.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' has the [[TerribleTrio Chebukki siblings]], who have a tendency to [[ProfessionalButtKisser brown nose]] whoever is currently antagonizing you in the ''Chains of Promathia'' storyline. [[spoiler: Including an [[OmnicidalManiac omnicidal]] deity.]]
** For ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', It could be argued that Ba'Gamnan and his siblings fall under this trope, particularly later on in the narrative, but more or less it is averted almost all together. Likewise, much like other games set in Ivalice, the other villains never take up this role. Some have argued this is an intentional move by those who worked on that subfranchise to keep the tone serious. In ''RevenantWings'', however, Ba'Gamnan and his motley crew play this role perfectly. To the point that Ba'Gamnan's own siblings grow tired of his bumbling leadership and decided to ditch him, prompting the ruthless bangaa bounty hunter to beat some sense into them, literally, affer a kidnapping they staged went wrong.
* The Elements from ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}''. Of the four of them, their leader Dominia is the only credible threat posed to the party. Seraphita is so dumb she sometimes forgets she's a bad guy, Tolone spends much of her time ''reminding'' Seraphita she's a bad guy, and Kelvena just doesn't really seem to care all that much.
* Benny & Clyde in ''RiverCityRansom''.
* Dotty and Petty in MonsterRancherEVO most definitely fit this definition. You battle their weak monsters every so often, and they play this trope as straight as possible, often citing "Evil Villain Rules" that they live by.
* Your rival in any of the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' games, although in the original games he ends up becoming a credible threat again as the FinalBoss. In the third, fourth, and first game of the fifth generations you have ''two'' rivals, the one that's the opposite gender of the player character and another one. (It's back to one in Black2/White2) The gendered rival in the third-generation games doesn't even fully evolve his/her starter and you never battle them again after about two-thirds of the way through the game. In ''[[VideoGame/PokemonXAndY X and Y]]'' you have ''four'' Rivals, but you battle three of them only twice apiece, the main Rival being more persistent. In most cases, the Rivals are often as much allies as they are opponents.
** The anime version of the Team Rocket trio (see below) actually apply to this trope in the video game sense in ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Yellow'', despite being ''somewhat'' more competent in said game (like they were in the show before VillainDecay set in).
* Cruelly deconstructed in the second ''VideoGame/{{Robopon}}'' game, where the "rival" is an impoverished orphanage owner who challenges you to win money "for the children!" and has an absolutely pathetic team that always has at least one [[JokeCharacter Gear or Bulbot]].
* The [[MeaningfulName quite appropriately nicknamed]] Mid-Boss in ''VideoGame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness'', as well as Axel[=/=]Akutare in the [[VideoGame/Disgaea2CursedMemories sequel]] (you fight each one at least four times during the course of their respective games).
** Interestingly enough Mid-Boss and Axel are both voiced by Grant George in the english versions (but sound nothing alike)
** In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 3|AbsenceOfJustice}}'', the Vato brothers fit this trope to a tee, as well as being about as strong as the trope implies.
** The same Axel plays the same role in ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 4| A Promise Unforgotten}}'', taken to [[TheVirus an absurd degree]] in Chapter 6.
* The Hell Hounds in the first [[VideoGame/GalaxyAngel Galaxy Angel game]], ''until''...
* In somewhat of an example for ''GuitarHero II'' (Xbox 360 version), Heart Shaped Box is significantly more difficult than the songs around it on Easy mode. It gets ridiculously easier on Medium and Hard, and stays mostly the same on Expert.
* Liz and Ard from ''VideoGame/WildArms2'', and the members of Cocytus, though to a lesser extent since they're all quite powerful and competent, not to mention that you fight none of them more than twice (Liz and Ard, however, are fought 3 times, almost always follow up a fight with them by throwing one of their robot bosses at you, and also accidentally set a VERY powerful optional boss on you late in the game).
** Not to mention Zed in the original ''VideoGame/WildArms1''. The rest of the demons basically follow the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil, but Zed just shows up to cause havoc independently.
** And let's not forget the Schrodinger family (Maya in particular) in ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 3}}''. They pose a moderate threat (though nothing TOO bad), but they're still gimmicky comic relief and they reappear enough times to be annoying.
* Subverted in ''RomancingSaGa''; The Minions of the BigBad are actually highly competent, and are the ones that are actually causing the Havoc in the world rather than the BigBad since he is also the SealedEvilInACan.
* In ''[[{{Banjo-Kazooie}} Banjo-Tooie]]'', Klungo gets three {{Boss Battle}}s with our heroes. The first time, he's the WarmupBoss, and he doesn't get much more challenging after that, despite (randomly) switching strategies.
-->'''Banjo''': Don't you ever learn?\\
'''Klungo''': Klungo clever, learn lotsss. Hasss learnt new potion.\\
'''Kazooie''': Is it as useless as all the others?
* The Dark Wings from ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' are a fairly unique example. Unlike most examples, you don't actually fight them, and they're actually fairly competent. [[spoiler:Not to mention that you're technically on their side once Asch hires them]]. That doesn't stop them from being comic relief that fill the storyline role to a tee, though.
* [[DefectingForLove Sheena]] from ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' is treated like this, until the inevitable HeelFaceTurn. Showing her [[PetTheDog playing hide-and-seek with kids and helping sick people]] certainly did nothing for her villain cred.
* Dio? and his lackeys in ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters''.
* Balrog in ''VideoGame/CaveStory''.
* ''VideoGame/ShogoMobileArmorDivision'' features Samantha Sternberg, a hot-headed female who constantly appears out of nowhere, screaming that she'll kick the player's ass, only to be quickly dealt with with no trouble at all, yet somehow manages to survive every encounter. [[spoiler: Near the end of the game, however, you have to face her on foot while she's in a HumongousMecha.]]
* The Specter in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne''.
** As well as the Terminal Guardian in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV''.
* Street Urchin Sabu in ''{{Bangai-O}}''. His profile [[AllThereInTheManual in the instruction manual]] even states that he's addicted to the "Goldfish Game" salesman's waffles. [[LampshadeHanging Yeah]].
* CampGay Bandiger in ''ThousandArms''.
* ''AceCombat 04's'' Yellow Squadron devolves into this in the final mission, since it had already been starting to take in rookies (with veteran members being transferred to augment other groups) even before [[spoiler:the player shot down both Yellow Four and then their leader Yellow Thirteen]]; even though they're flying the same planes, for this mission instead of 150 points per Yellow shot down, you only get 90 points each.
** Strigon Team in ''AceCombat 6'' go from being elusive, deadly opponents in the first mission to being completely wiped out multiple times over in later missions.
* In ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsDestiny Super Robot Wars D]]'' you had to fight five generals throughout the game [[spoiler: and all five of their mechs in the final battle]].
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', Pete fills this role perfectly.
** Though if you battle him in the Paradox Cups, he actually becomes a threat thanks to the restrictions set upon you, and that his stats get boosted to extremes.
* Korg and Zet show up several times in ''MagiNation'' for the Gameboy. They tend to run around trying to ambush Tony, then fail miserably due to Korg being only slightly more intelligent than a box of rocks, and the otherwise-intelligent Zet being very meek and letting Korg call the shots. Slightly subverted-when Korg gets out of the way and lets Zet have his own boss fight, it turns out that Zet [[ThatOneBoss is one of the deadliest bosses in the game up to that point who will hand an unprepared player his ass on a silver platter.]]
* The Scorpion Army from ''VideoGame/SecretOfMana''.
* Adecor and Boccos AKA Tweedle-A and Tweedle-B, fulfil this role in ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' with their persistent bumbling attempts at arresting the protagonist. Though they are mostly dealt with in cutscenes, player involvement is only required when the game needs a punching bag for a ForcedTutorial.
** That said, the final Tutorial fight with them, the Burst Arte tutorial, is [[DemonicSpider annoyingly hard]] because it's two on one and they keep interrupting your attacks. Outside the storyline, you can also fight them in the arena (where they suck) and in the BonusDungeon (where they don't).
* Wheeler from ''VideoGame/PokemonRanger: Shadows of Almia''. While most of the members of Team Dim Sun, even the lower-level {{Mooks}}, like to throw down with relatively powerful (stolen and {{brainwashed}}) Pokemon like Rampardos and Magmortar, Wheeler is the [[YesMan sycophantic second-in-command]] to the BigBad, and his Pokemon of choice is...''[[ComMons Bidoof]]''. And that's the only one he uses. '''''Ever.'''''
* Tony and Renee, [[AccidentalMisnaming A.K.A. the "Mook Squad"]] from ''ManaKhemiaAlchemistsOfAlRevis''. Even Tony's (self-proclaimed) {{archenemy}}, Flay, doesn't take them seriously after a while. When they make a BigDamnHeroes moment to pull off an EnemyMine (if they're actually considered ''real'' enemies), the party's reactions to their arrival are, hilariously:
-->"Not now..."
-->"We don't have time to play with you!"
*** Despite this, Renee is the WakeUpCallBoss and the two of them are borderline ThatOneBoss.
** And in the sequel, ''ManaKhemia2FallOfAlchemy'', a set of different colored Punis that come after the party during Puniyo's character quests. They very quickly become annoying, because they have to be dealt with at least once per quest.
* Subverted with the three Garlyle Forces female sergeants Nana, Saki and Mio in ''VideoGame/{{Grandia}}''. You encounter and fight them repeatedly, but if anything they get more dangerous as the encounters go on, using a lot of new moves and fighting more as a team. They must have been leveling up and getting new kit just as busily as your party.
** Then again, they attack you with paper fans, yo-yos, and balloons, so they're probably meant to be comic relief, even if the fight with all three of them together is ThatOneBoss.
* ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarUniverse'' has the Vol Brothers, one of the most grievously irritating examples of this trope. See [[http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/ps2/review/R114444.html this review]] for a more detailed rundown of their effects on some players.
* Big John from ''VideoGame/ViewtifulJoe 2''. He constantly stalks the Joe and Sylvia across several movies with a different disguise each time. Two of the other bosses actually take him out themselves.
* Dr. Eggman from the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' franchise, despite being the primary Big Bad, qualifies for this. Seriously, almost every Act/stage boss is a different version of his flying egg machine. Not to mention that if he hires The Dragon, [[spoiler: Chaos, Metal Sonic, ect...]] It's a HypercompetentSidekick and a DragonWithAnAgenda and even [[spoiler:[[TrueFinalBoss The Very Definitely Final Dungeon Boss.]]]]
** An even better example would be the Babylon Rogues from the SonicRiders games, consisting of [[ArrogantKungFuGuy Jet]], [[WrenchWench Wave]], and [[FatBastard Strom]]. They are never a threat to the heroes. They show up in nearly every race, though.
* The BB Bandits in ''VideoGame/FossilFighters''--or at the very least, the main TerribleTrio, consisting of leader Vivian, obnoxious lackey Snivels, and TeamPet Rex. When they first appear, they might seem tough, but quickly prove to be little more than a recurring nuisance. Even when you invade their base! However, after you beat the game [[spoiler: and after their HeelFaceTurn]], they're upgraded to BonusBoss status--and a ''hard'' BonusBoss they are, too.
* The Tour Official, Sally Dobbs, in ''[[VideoGame/BackyardSports Backyard Skateboarding]]''.
* Sly in ''VideoGame/MysticArk''. He's actually something of a threat when you first meet him in the second world, but then after beating the Beetle King, the guy starts to get a little strange. Then he just doesn't show up until the final world of the game where he expects you to give a flying hoot when he shouts "My plan is too brilliant for a dumbass like y-o-u to understand!" though he's surprising pathetic for a boss that late into the game, but then again, the game decides to subject you to two more moderately hard boss fights after him. He also never really did explain what that brilliant plan was...[[WildMassGuessing perhaps he's supposed to be Darkness' right-hand man?]]
* ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'''s Baltor the Black Bearded is an example of this. He is the first ship battle you have to fight against, and is relatively challenging when you come across him. However, the second time you fight him much later in the game, you have [[CoolAirship the most powerful airship built to date]] that [[ThatOneAttack has a cannon]] that you literally use to [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu kill ancient gods of destruction]], while he [[VillainForgotToLevelGrind still has the same old sailing ship he used last time]]. Too bad Baltor [[WeWillMeetAgain can't let go of things...]]
* ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration Super Robot Taisen OG2]]'' has The Inspectors. They start off as a threat, sure, but by the end of the game, they've cemented their position here. Well, except for their TRUE leader...
* The Dread Lord of Contagion from ''{{Lusternia}}''. Don't let the name fool you, he's about as dread as a paper bag. [[{{Determinator}} Persistent little bugger, though.]]
* In ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIII'' Ziggy is just a jerk you have to help a guy beat up to eventually gain access to a ship. But in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'' a similar Ziggy shows up who constantly challenges the party to fight him, and is not all that much of a threat what with low HP and, at his worst, can poison a member of your party.
* The Bandit Trio from ''VideoGame/HalfMinuteHero''.
* Giacomo in ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos Origins'': Arrogant and headstrong, he goes from being a cruel WakeUpCallBoss to one of these over the course of three fights. The last time he and Sagi fight, it's revealed TheEmpire ''threw him out'' for being one of these, and Sagi even admits to envying his perseverance. However, by the time ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos'' [[ThatOneBoss rolls]] [[FromNobodyToNightmare around]], [[TookALevelInBadass well...]]
--> '''Giacomo:''' Say what you will. [[BadAssBoast But you're my ticket back to the Empire, Sagi.]] [[HamAndCheese And every good ticket has to get punched!]]
* In ''JaysJourney'', Thinbeard and his dragon companion Azareth are constantly referred to as [[LampshadeHanging "Annoying recurring wannabe RPG villains"]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' has Strega, a team of FlawedPrototype Persona users that often hound the heroes. While they are responsible for [[spoiler:killing Shinjiro]], one of the more important moments of the game, aside from that they are for the most part mere inconveniences for the player who generally don't put up much of a fight (though it certainly helps that you always outnumber them).
* ''EatLeadTheReturnOfMattHazard'' has Sting Sniperscope, a [[DumbMuscle meathead]] with a [[ArnoldSchwarzenegger dumb accent]]. He's also Matt's (surprise) would-be replacement as video game protagonist and his intended executioner. With help from a hacker, Matt kills Sniperscope (effectively derailing his game's intended plot) and heads off on a quest to find out why the game developer wants rid of him. Matt has to fight Sniperscope two more times throughout the game, because he has [[OneUp three lives]]. Matt and Sting get more and more annoyed with each other every time they fight.
* ''VideoGame/PennyArcadeAdventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode 4'' introduces the Fish Force, a blatant {{Expy}} of [[Anime/{{Pokemon}} Team Rocket]], who even have their own theme song! They show up several times to menace the heroes, despite having no connection to the greater plot, and while they can be challenging to an underleveled party, represent no real threat. If you fight them enough times, at the end of the game they [[HeelFaceTurn become your allies]].
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'''s Terminal Guardian is a one-man poop gang. Every terminal you find is guarded by one man, wearing a different disguise and throwing different demons at you each time you find a terminal.
* The Beastector in ''VideoGame/MischiefMakers'', a trio of animal-men who have giant robots and goofy voices. They constantly hound Marina and bicker among themselves, and are actually challenging bosses, but in the grand scheme of the plot, they serve little purpose. They ''do'' [[spoiler: end up as the final boss; after the real plot is over of course]].
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'': Ja'rod, son of Torg, captain of the IKS ''Kang'', for the Starfleet player character. He tries to take them out several times during the "Klingon War" arc and ends up with Starfleet PC leaving the ''Kang'' dead in space every time. To add insult to injury, the PC then reveals Ja'rod's mentor Ambassador B'Vat was a nutcase trying to send the Klingons and Federation into a ForeverWar, and poor Ja'rod ends up on [[PunishmentDetail tribble extermination duty]] and the ''Kang'' gets disabled by the PC ''again''.
* Dondera Tank from ''Holy Umbrella'' for the SuperFamicom is an unusual example in that your first encounter with him is a HopelessBossFight. He still returns twice after being defeated, each time with a new tank and the same old bluster.
* ''VideoGame/SpiderMan2'' has Mysterio. Dude's got a million robots that are actually threatening... but he himself is not. Aside from being a walking cliché by pretending to be an alien invader and hiding out in a Funhouse of Doom (hidden within an apartment), [[http://youtu.be/K1MZIU_feIk?t=27s he's probably the easiest "boss fight" in video game history]].
* EXALT from ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'''s expansion Enemy Within. Exalt is a paramilitary organization opposing your team and committing acts of sabotage around the globe. When you first meet them, they are using ballistic weapons and no gene mods, while wearing business suits, while your team probably fields [[FrickinLaserBeam laser]] weapons, if not plasma. A while later, elite EXALT agents appear, fielding one gene mod each, and a pretty low powered one at that, laser weapons, and wearing body armor show up. XCOM soldiers definitely have access to plasma weapons, PowerArmor, and possibly PsychicPowers by then. EXALT doesn't progress further than that.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/KidRadd'' features two examples: Gnarl, Radd's "EvilTwin", and Kobayashi, a {{Ninja}}. Both subvert the trope [[spoiler:by executing dime-perfect [[HeelFaceTurn Heel Face Turns]], and Kobayashi learns [[EleventhHourSuperpower how to fight effectively]]]].
** Plus they gain the ability [[TookALevelInBadass to fuse instantaneously into one being for more powerful attacks.]] And then they can unfuse to avoid attacks.
* The Linear Guild in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', who are well aware of their status.
** Though it turns out that they're really the unwitting (apart from [[DarkActionGirl Sabine]]) agents of [[TheChessmaster the Three Fiends]], recently introduced but ''[[MagnificentBastard highly]]'' competent major villains. The Guild can actually be [[TeamRocketWins pretty dangerous on their own, too]]- it's just that their victories never last long, due to their leader Nale's attempts at being {{Troperiffic}} always giving him a ''giant'' VillainBall.
* Of course, ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}!'' [[http://www.adventurers-comic.com/d/0192.html made fun of this too]].
* The gnomish monks of ''WTFComics'' start out as a bit of a threat and get less effective every time they are encountered.
** Of course, [[http://www.wtfcomics.com/archive.html?421_13 The first time they were encountered]] they were a surprise to even Straha.
* For a while in ''SluggyFreelance'', after Torg escaped from the Dimension of Pain demons, one of them would show up every Halloween to try and kill him and take his soul back to their dimension for eternal torment. The MainCharacters ''never'' took these attempts seriously; they actually started charging people admission each Halloween to watch the demon try and kill Torg. However, during the "That Which Redeems" StoryArc, the demons get a ''major'' dose of {{Not So Harmless Villain}}yness.
* In ''CaptainSNES'', it's implied that the [[FunWithAcronyms Daltonian Hyper-Oceanic Piratical Extortion Squad]] will become this, and given that its members include [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI Ultros, Chopon]], [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV Gilgamesh]], [[{{Lufia}} Berty, Bart]], [[VideoGame/SecretOfMana the Scorpion Army]], and, of course, [[VideoGame/ChronoTrigger Dalton]] himself, it's quite appropriate.
* Professor Lupin Madblood of ''{{Narbonic}}''. Lupin tries to be the BigBad, but ends up being easily defeated no matter what he tries. One time, he lost when a gerbil convinced his army of robots to unionize.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WebOriginal]]
* The ninja team from the Yama Dojo, in the WhateleyUniverse. Team Kimba thrash them before the team is really a team. They come back on Parents' Day (it's a SuperheroSchool) and get pummeled so easily that Chaka has time to steal ninja weapons for some of the little brothers along with the visiting parents.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'', Jack Spicer starts out as an actual threat, but quickly undergoes VillainDecay that turns him into a one-man GoldfishPoopGang, to the point where the Xiaolin Warriors start beating him up for sport and he's left with only a single Shen Gong Wu by the end of the series.
** However, in the GrandFinale, we are introduced to an alternate BadFuture where Omi was not present, and Jack has [[TookALevelInBadass taken the mother of all levels in Badass]] and has successfully [[WorldDomination taken over the world]], and has [[WickedWitch Wuya]], [[MagnificentBastard Chase Young]] and [[SealedEvilInACan Hannibal Roy Bean]] as his prisoners. Also at the beginning of that same season, his good side had been split from him and he was proving himself to be quite formidabble.
* ''TheAdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'', Scratch and Grounder, the Sonic Super Special Search and Smash Squad. They don't even have half a brain between them. More like a quarter.
** Scratch and Grounder themselves have Goldfish Poop in the form of Coconuts. They're all technically on the same side but rarely work together to capture Sonic, the former two being goal-oriented and the latter much more egotistic. Despite actually having half a brain over Scratch and Grounder, Coconuts is usually tasked with degrading housework (although he does tend to fail his solo capture attempts).
* The Mutant leaders on {{Thundercats}} deteriorated into this over the course of the series, near the end unable to muster even a tiny iota of competence. At times, they even made mistakes they were even ''specifically'' warned against. (For instance, in one episode, Vultureman builds a thundrainium-powered cannon - thundrainium being a WeaksauceWeakness to Thundarians - but warns them that it won't work if fired at close range. This is ''exactly'' the miatake Sslith and Jackalman make when using it.) This is in stark contrast to BigBad Mumm-Ra, who remained a major threat.
* The Trix become this in the third season of ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub''. While they were formidable foes in the first two seasons, they are horribly outclassed by the fairies' new Enchantix forms, to the point where any one of the fairies is often enough to take down all three witches.
* Hack and Slash from ReBoot, who consistently fail to execute Megabyte's plans.
* [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Box Ghost]] of ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''. But with a name like that, would you really expect otherwise?
** However we see a possible alternate future in which he's taken [[TookALevelInBadass enough levels of Badass to beconsidered epic]].
* Bebop and Rocksteady from ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|1987}}''. Because regardless of species, common thugs/henchmen are no match for trained ninjas.
** ''All'' the 1987 villains were delegated to this status during the ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'' movie, mainly because they were stupid enough to release Ch'rell from his cosmic prison.
* Sgt Blob, Frizz and Nug start off as this in ''TheDreamstone'', blundering mooks for Zordrak, who constantly fall against the heroes in their attempts to steal their MacGuffin, and even described by the latter as "tiresome". Later seasons toy with this a little, since while still rather ineffectual, the heroes are actually degraded to be almost as bad. It helps they and Urpgor seem to be the only members of the villain army (the BigBad himself [[OrcusOnHisThrone included]]) that actually do anything.
* The Amoeba Boys from ''ThePowerpuffGirls.'' Their attempts at villainy are truly pathetic, although they manage to do something by accident that requires the girls' assistance to rectify.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'': the Circus Trio Freak, could be considered this, though they never really were a threat to begin with; most of the time, the only thing that makes them dangerous in the episode they show up in is the boss they are working for (successively [[MonsterClown Zombozo]], [[EnemyWithout Ghostfreak]] and [[DarthVaderClone Forever King Discroll]]). Most of the time, however, Ben kicks their ass pretty easily, to the point it's borderline humiliation for them.
* Fung and his croc bandits in KungFuPandaLegendsOfAwesomeness. Let's just say there's a good reason his CatchPhrase is "Darn it!"
* The Dirt Dudes from ''WesternAnimation/MrBogus'' fall into this territory DependingOnTheWriter.
* The Shadow Hand in ''JackieChanAdventures''. Doesn't help that their formerly badass boss got canonically [[RetCon retconned]] later on. The Shadowkhan at times as well, though their effectiveness appears to depend on [[spoiler: how close the mask holder is]].
[[/folder]]

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