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Apocalypse How: Class Z
"Somewhere in the multiverse, there is a world I call Earth Prime. Every Earth is a variation of this one, the original — and once I destroy
it, all reality will follow."
Omniversal-scale Annihilation, where not just the universe, and not just other universes, but all places and things that can be said to physically exist get wiped out somehow. This can take on three forms, and though every form is pretty permanent, for largely theoretical reasons they actually range in "severity" a bit, thus:
: The Physical Destruction of everything, including all universes and anything that exists in the same manner as part of a universe. Examples of this might be the entire universe getting crushed into a singularity, and for whatever reason
this destabilises the larger neighbourhood of universes or parallel realities, causing them to similarly end up crushed out of existence. Alternately, something might simply travel from universe to universe and devastate them one-at-a-time until all are destroyed with no remaining loose ends. Maybe some inevitable physical process simply leads all physically real things towards a final end state of chaos or void.
The least "severe" form: if some truly godlike thing was around (maybe a supernatural being, or just a Sufficiently Advanced Physical Godnote
), it could possibly Deus ex Machina
everything back - perhaps by reversing entropy, or reformatting the structure of the multiverse to at least allow some manner of interesting story to take place once again. Alternatively, if absolute entropy is the fate of everything, then perhaps one day in a googolplex years, simple physical processes might eventually lead to something interesting happening purely at random.
: The Metaphysical Annihilation of everything. It is not merely "the end of all things", because if this happens
, nothing's there to start with. All cosmic data is irretrievably lost, and no viable backup or recoverable state exists for anything in the setting. The omniverse hasn't just been rendered into some unrecognisable state - there simply isn't
a state of the physical omniverse now, and something that simply isn't there can't have a history. Examples might include the laws of physics themselves changing or being tweaked such that they do not allow the existence of things as we understand it, or perhaps it's already possible given the metaphysics of the setting for things to get so metaphysically deranged that that they cease to be real in any cognisable sense. In any case, the point is that the multiverse and everything associated with it haven't merely been destroyed - they don't exist in any meaningful state and never did.
This is less fixable, and would require, essentially, the intervention of an actual god
or some other thing with control over the setting's metaphysics - a physics-based cosmic backup system
built into the laws of the universe wouldn't cut it, as that might be affected as well. There would be nothing to recover at any rate, but perhaps a new reality could still be created from scratch: Omniverse v.n+1
, if you like.
: The Ontological Annihilation of everything. There's no coming back from this one. Even the Powers That Be
or the One True God
of the setting, the Omnipredicated note Ein Sof
that has absolute control over everything and anything in the setting - even these things don't survive. Bluntly, all universes, every physical thing, the laws of physics themselves, whatever metaphysical realities there might be, and whoever or whatever is ultimately behind it all - all of it simply doesn't exist once this happens. Not only is it categorically impossible for anything in the setting to perdure this, but it's also modally impossible that anything about the setting could ever exist "again".
This form of the trope is necessarily metafictional
, as it deconstructs
nature of the setting. Basically, if the story itself pronounces that everything related to its setting or described in its content is absolutely null and utterly void, ipso facto this draws your attention to the story as a story
because there's nothing left to suspend disbelief in
. The creator may be declaring his or her intention to never revisit the setting
, or they may be taking Refuge In Extreme Audacity
in order to attack the reader's trust in narrative reliability
. Any of these issues can be justified
as needed. For example, David Foster Wallace
's first novel, The Broom of the System
, in which the main character suffers from existential dread that she may be a character in a work of fiction
, plays this by cutting off in mid-sentence on the last page.
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Anime and Manga
- In Soul Eater Death The Kid goes mad and decides at one point that the only way to create ultimate symmetry is to destroy all of existence. Luckily for everyone, Black*Star manages to pretty much (literally) beat some sense into him. He's back to normal now. Which is good because if Kid's choice is the 'logical' extent of the Madness of Order, then presumably his ascension at the end of the series means he could now initiate this at will without outside interference. There's a reason he took the A God I Am Not option.
- In Dragon Ball Z, despite being filler, Majin Buu once flew into such a rage and his power began to tear the fabric of reality. Vegeto stopped him by slugging him. Make of that what you will.
- Well, you have to consider the fact that Majin Buu is capable of ripping holes through dimensions by just screaming, so it certainly wouldn't be out of his league to destroy reality itself if he put some effort into it and absorbed very powerful opponents.
- Near the end of Futari wa Pretty Cure, the Dark King is purportedly destroying multiple planets in his spare time. His goal, as stated throughout the series, is the total destruction of all existence.
- Haruhi Suzumiya The Omnipotent has the power to do this, and that's why the SOS Brigade is so desperate to keep her own powers secret from herself.
- El Hazard 2: This is the reason Kalia exists. According Yuba Yurias, once she assembles the Trigger of Destruction, she begins to wipe out all life, in all words until nothing remains. She then crosses over into the next nearest dimension and begins this process anew, and was to repeat this until all that remained was a void. Upon which, her final act would be to turn the "Trigger" on it/herself and perish.
- In The Noozles, this is threatened by the accelerated separation of the real world and Koalawallaland.
- In Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, this is what will happen if the Decreator, let free by the Cult of the Unwritten Book, is able to proceed with unmaking the universe. "Nothing. Forever and ever."
- In Lucifer, the spin-off from The Sandman, all of Creation was nearly unmade when God left creation. Since His name is on everything in Heaven, Earth and everywhere else, and it holds it all together, everything started to slowly break down. It was averted when God left His job as supreme deity to his half-angel granddaughter. Chances are her universe — the third at the time — would have survived anyway, not being entangled with God's crappy handiwork.
- In Dogma, if the Word of God is ever proven wrong, all of creation will cease to exist.
- This is the goal of the Warlock, and he comes damned close.
- City At The End Of Time, by Greg Bear, has the end of ALL universes come about (semi?-)naturally, around about the year 100 trillion, at the hands of the strange, physics-warping Typhon. Even better, the destruction travels backwards in time and screws around with modern-day Seattle. The main cast still manage to escape the collapse of all worlds using Green Rocks! Better yet, putting all the rocks together reboots everything from the start, which it is implied they did. Eventually.
- All of Spider Robinson's time-travel stories are fueled by the premise that a genuine temporal paradox will result in the complete annihilation of space-time from beginning to end, not only destroying everything, but causing it never to have existed at all.
- In The Keys To The Kingdom series by Garth Nix, if the House is destroyed by Nothing, reality will cease to exist (including all the Secondary Realms). This does end up happening, but it gets better, since Arthur is able to recreate the Realms from the Atlas.
- The Dark Tower — this is what happens if the Tower falls - the utter chaotic destruction of every single universe, dimension, plane, time, space etc etc. The Big Bad want to this because he claims he will be able to rule the chaos that will exist forever afterwards. (Could be a Class X5 depending whether said chaos counts as a universe.) The worrying part is that this is starting to happen already at the beginning of the series. Even more scary is that protagonist has to succeed every single time. The antagonist just has to win once.
- However it seems that each time it resets, the Gunslinger gets something that might make this cycle the last one where he has to win.
- In the Belgariad series by David Eddings features a the End of All things scenario: If the Child of Dark were to win the battle with the Child of Light, the universe would cease to exist. However, in the Mallorean, it changed to the Cosmic Do-Over.
- This is what Moridin wants in The Wheel of Time- he's a Death Seeker and nihilist who projects his suicidal tendencies on the universe and large and things it would be best to just end Eternal Recurrance by ending everything. Though the last book shows that his master, the Dark One has the power to do this but would probably never go through with it- torturing the universe for eternity is just so much more fun.
- Essentially, the Biblical Apocalypse in Archangel Protocol. Once Main/Satan is defeated, the universe will cease to exist.
- Unsurprisingly, Doctor Who has a few examples of this extreme. It should be noted that Doctor Who has an example in every category for this trope. If there's one thing these people know, it is how to kill a lot of people/planets/etc.
- In "Journey's End", Davros comes within a hair's breadth of using a device that cancels out all matter in the entire multiverse, save for himself and his group of Daleks.
- The TARDIS explosion from series 5 is listed under Class X-5, but comes damn close. It comes within a single planet and a few minutes of being Class Z.
- In "The Big Bang" it reaches Class Z-3 — all realities never existed. Creation never existed. Nothing ever existed. The above statements ignore Earth and the Moon and Sun. The Sun was destroyed too, since the big ball of fire that rises and sets every day was the TARDIS exploding. Note it's easy to miss that it's a Z-3 and not a Z-2, since its status is only confirmed in a single, blink and you miss it line of dialogue from a Cyberman in the previous episode. "All universes will be deleted."
- It should be noted that only Doctor Who ever produced examples which can even remotely qualify for above vanilla Class Z.
- The denial of a fixed point in history at the end of Series 6 creates a temporal explosion threatening to collapse and kill all of reality, spreading outward from the point that was broken.
- Glory's portal on Buffy the Vampire Slayer would have merged our dimension and all others. Considering the differences in physical laws between dimensions, this probably would have killed almost all beings in almost all of them.
- Kamen Rider Decade: Tsukasa, AKA the eponymous Decade, is supposedly fated to destroy all the other Kamen Riders, which in turn will destroy all the Rider worlds. Much of the tension in the series is the question of whether Tsukasa is actually evil, or just kind of a dick.
- Actually happens in Food for the Gods. Satan leads an army of the damned into Heaven, and starts utterly laying waste to everything in sight. God responds by going completely insane with rage and obliterating all of creation.
- Pro Pinball: Timeshock! has the player attempt to avert an anti-time shockwave that's capable of destroying all of reality.
- In Alterans Of Gateworld, they have, on multiple occasions, wiped out the entire multiverse causing an unknown system or entity to reset everything, except the characters, multiple times.
- This is the fate of Creation if the Nobilis lose their Valde Bellum. Retroactively, no less.
- The Abyssal Exalted were created by the Neverborn with the express intent of throwing Creation into Oblivion, freeing the Neverborn from their fetters to existence by getting rid of existence.
- This is the presumed goal of the Wyrm in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, although some speculate that Its goal is actually to make things as horrible as possible and keep it that way forever.
- The first Kingdom Hearts game has this, although it's not discussed often (likely due to the younger target audience). When the story starts, a seemingly endless horde of planet-devouring hellspawn is already well underway at tearing the multiverse apart at the seams. Traverse Town, a sort of base-camp for your character, is literally an interdimensional refugee camp for people who managed to survive their world's utter annihilation.
- In Bayonetta, Balder wants to instigate this in order to reunite the Trinity of Realities, which in turn, would destroy the current universe to do so.
- Featured in the Bad Ending of Demon Path (when you win the final battle, that is) in Soul Nomad. Devourlord Revya consumes Gig, kills all other gods and destroys all reality. Just because it was fun.
- The Qualia in Chaos Rings does this if the heroes fail in the final battle.
- The fourth or fifth endings of Drakengard if not for the intervention of the heroes.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) comes dangerously close to Solaris (the joining of Mephiles and Iblis) devouring all of time, past, present, and future and all of existence if Sonic, Shadow and Silver hadn't stopped him.
- In Sonic Generations, the Time Eater (controlled by current and past versions of Dr. Eggman/Robotnik) has the ability to erase time and space. The game starts during this process of time erasure, but because of the two Sonics, it never gets very far.
- Live A Live. You are the one who can end everything by simply choosing the Armageddon option. It disintegrates everything, in every place, in every time period, all at once (even though just destroying the Prehisoric chapter should have been enough), so you know it's horrible.
- In Final Fantasy VI, Kefka manages to succeed in a severe Class 1 destruction of the world, and when he learns to his disgust about people's hopes, love, and dreams, he decides that he'll "Destroy everything and create a monument to Non-existence."
- In Final Fantasy IX, Kuja comes within a hairs breadth of pulling one of these off. He almost manages to destroy the crystal that holds the fabric of reality together. Luckily after he manages to beat the party to death, forcing them to fight and defeat a big blue thing who got trapped in that crystal all along and decided that since Kuja wanted to destroy everything, it was time to end the universe, he has a last minute Heel-Face Turn, resurrects the party, and dies offscreen after Zidane has found him inside the now death-throeing Iifa Tree.
- In Dissidia the Cloud of Darkness and Exdeath had a talk about the differences in their plans to destroy existence. Exdeath himself may have rather ruled over everything but the Void has other plans.
- In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Big Bad Caius Ballad seeks to destroy all of time to free his charge, Yeul, from her curse of reincarnation. Unusually for this trope, he succeeds, and the third game is about fixing everything.
- In Super Paper Mario, this is Count Bleck's true plan. He's later backstabbed and replaced by Dimentio, who settles for a Class X-5 with the intent of reconstructing it in his own image. However, after Dimentio is defeated by the heroes, he resets it back to Class Z, since if he can't remake the world with his death, he might as well destroy all of existence with him.
- In Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time, this is implied to happen if someone tries to use The Great Clock for time travel. Nearly happens, too, thanks to Azimuth.
- Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. True Demon Path. All universes in the entire omniverse are obliterated with no chance of recreation by the death of God's avatar at the hands of the demonically-powered Hito-Shura. Demons and fiends are all that's left. The Final Battle between Lucifer and God is now unavoidable...
- In Chrono Cross, the Time Devourer intends to consume every timeline, destroying everything in existence. It can only be stopped by the titular Chrono Cross, which temporarily merges the timelines and allows Serge to Ret Gone Lavos.
- In I Miss the Sunrise, according to the Black One, the Big Bad's plan (compressing the universe into a single point of energy — essentially an artificial big crunch) will cause "the end of all things". It's not entirely clear how or why, though.
- In the game Ge Ne Sis, it's revealed that after too many dimensions are born, they are all destroyed at once, melting together into one. Gelyan plans to delay this by destroying all other dimensions.
- This is the ultimate 'goal' of the Old One in Demons Souls. The Old One is literally nothingness, and it slowly annihilates entire lands and eventually the world if not stopped.
- In Homestuck, messing around with the fourth wall is supposed to be even worse than Class Z, according to Karkat:
CG: BUT SUFFICE TO SAY THERE ARE JUST SOME THINGS YOU DON'T WANT TO SCREW WITH.
CG: THERE ARE OUTCOMES THAT ARE EVEN WORSE THAN THE COMPLETE ANNIHILATION OF EXISTENCE ITSELF
CG: FORCES MORE DAMAGING TO THE INTEGRITY OF REALITY THAN THOSE CAPABLE OF TURNING IMAGINATION INTO PURE VOID
GC: THEY ARE FORCES WHICH IF HANDLED RECKLESSLY WILL NULLIFY THE BASIC ABILITY OF INTELLIGENT BEINGS IN ALL REAL AND HYPOTHETICAL PLANES OF EXISTENCE TO GIVE A SHIT.
- The threat of such an event is a major plot point in The Order of the Stick, in that breaking all of the Gates would presumably bring about the unraveling of the world, eventually.
- According to Solipsism, your mind is the only sure thing to exist. In Metaphysical solipsism, everything else is just a part of your reality. When you die, all of reality is destroyed with you.
- If the Eternal inflation theory is correct -and thus an infinite set of universes exists-, the calculation of probabilities becomes a Mind Screw, since everything will happen an infinite number of times. A way to get rid of this problem is to assume time will end someday (note this could be just a Class X-5, since the authors state not all universes would meet this fate).