Scar Tissue: You would think that after The End of the World as We Know It things can only get better, but they actually got worse for Shinji. In the post-Impact world some people hates him for getting the whole humanity killed and other people hates him for giving them the possibility to return, and all of them beat him when ran into him. Likewise, Asuka became completely unstable and unable to control her temper due to her ordeals during the Angel War and Third Impact -together with Shinji's actions and inactions during those events- that she physically and emotionally abused Shinji for eight months until she nearly got him killed. The fic starts right after that action, when she is so horrified and sickened with herself that she decides to change and earn his forgiveness. Both children start to rebuild their relationship and it looks like if they are finally having a break... but then it turns out that Seele has returned, Unit-02 has reactivated itself and it wants its pilot back, assassins-for-hire are targetting both Shinji and Asuka...
Arendelle goes from powder-keg semi-cold war situation with Weselton to all-out war nobody wanted.
Ferdinand suffers it so hard it's almost Trauma Conga Line. You'd think having to ferry a princess that hates your brother would be problematic enough. You'd think losing your ship - and losing your hand in the process - and getting stranded on enemy island with said princess would be bad. But then he's captured and the only person that visits him in prison hates his guts. And then the stump of his hand gets infected with possibly gangrene.
Both Syllables. Over the course of the series several main characters die, some planets are blown up, a main character is almost dissected, another character nearly burned an island to the ground, a lot of people die, and usually resolving one crisis results in several more popping up. Betrayals happen, horrific backstories get unveiled, and it just keeps getting worse with each update. That's not to say it's a depressing series and it's certainly not bad, but the whole thing pretty much runs on From Bad to Worse.
In the crossover fic, Amenaza this happens to Naruto. It starts off with his death and transformation to a Hollow. After that his afterlife takes the express service to metaphorical and literal Hell. By the time the fic reaches the main Bleach timeline, Naruto has jumped so far off the slippery slope and pass the Moral Event Horizon that nearly every other Hollow is terrified of him.
Fairly English Story: After chapter 79, where Junpei's Persona starts burning him alive as long as he's conscious and has to be put on life support and placed in an induced coma, It couldn't possible get worse, right? Right?
Take control over Gekkoukan High School, secure the surrender of Minato Arisoto through use of hostages. Kill hostages if target fails to comply. Do not engage the target directly, nor attempt to subdue him or take him by force, he is a lethal and ruthless leader of the terrorist organisation known as Strega, going by the handle of 'Jin'.
The real Jin being the current Minister of Defence.
Based on the way things seem to be going in the Gears of War fanfic, Phalanx, it's probably about to get a hell of a lot worse, as if being shot down in enemy territory and having Dizzy Wallin for rescue wasn't bad enough.
The Wretling fic TWE: The Next Generation it gets worse all the time. The two members of heel group Gen Now are eliminated in the Chamber meaning the Faces wins right wrong the new world champion joins them meaning they know have almost all the titles.
The Hetalia fanfic Family Ties. The small act of Scotland and N. Ireland leaving England and Wales escalates to WWIII. Many bad things happen, but then America and Russia start bringing out the nukes...
Just when you think life for the heroes of The Unity Saga can't get any worse, it does.
Son Of Apophis. The cast is trapped in their house. If they leave the army will assume they're guilty of treason and arrest them. If they stay they'll be assassinated. Whilst they're busy worrying over this, one of them is kidnapped. When they do to fix that the house gets burned down. Whether they were still inside or not is not yet known.
The pokemon fic Latias' Journey. The fic's rating goes from being a adventure fic to become a really disturbing dark fic. The rating is changed from K+/T to M around chapter 35
The HookerVerse. Just when you think someone's been broken enough, it gets worse.
Even though some parts of it are less dark than others, and there is even some fluff here and there, Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns is afflicted with this to a moderate extent. The Guile Hero dwarven noble protagonist even lampshades it, multiple times, like when talking to Trian and another time in one of the most recent chapters, after the psychic clash between the prince and the Archdemon made the latter smarter and more-selfaware. On the bright side, nothing seems too hopeless yet, and the fact that six full Origin wardens made it into the main cast should help fix things... probably.
Silent Sorrow, the final story in the Tamers Forever series. As it opens, Takato is already dying thanks to his Superpowered Evil Side overloading his body. Then, Shinjuku is invaded by a Digimon army led by Daemon, who is after the power of said evil side and is so insanely powerful that the only way anyone can even think to foil him is to let Takato escape to the digital world- so he can die before Daemon gets him.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is one work defied this trope, but some fics have this as an important point. See, The Rise and Fall of Captain Starlock makes this the entire point. It's kind of a novelization of how Simon became Captain Starlock, after Kamina's death (he dies in the first chapter, thanks to how Simon didn't know how to operate Lagann) and things just get downhill from there, Simon is nothing but a wreck of a man and still manages to be a competent antihero.
Good guy example in Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm. At the end of Lightning Round, Sailor Jupiter transforms and joins forces with Lightstorm to kick the asses of Zoisite and her drones. Things get worse for Zoisite when the rest of the Scouts appear one by one and make the battle very, very one-sided.
In the soul-crushingHunting the Unicorn, Blaine's entire life is an exercise in this. First, he has an estranged father—depressing, but logical. Then we realize how unbelievably naive he is. And finally, we find out that despite everyone's assumptions from his diabetes-inducing and chaste nature, Blaine's not a virgin.
That's not even getting to the actual plot involving Alex, Blaine's deluded stalker. He's first mentioned out of the blue by David, and we realize that this makes a lot of sense considering Blaine's insane obliviousness to love. It's not until the nineteenth chapter that he actually does something—namely, kidnapping Blaine, Wes, and David and locking them in his basement. Did we mention that Blaine got concussed and it's treated realistically? Which means that he isn't knocked out, but he was rambling incoherently for half an hour and now has no idea what happened or where he is.
When Alex finds them again in an abandoned hotel, Blaine tries to reason with him but it comes out semi-coherent at best. And then Alex tries to strangle Kurt. Luckily, Kurt goes berserk and starts pummeling Alex in turn. Their friends and Kurt's family finally find them, get Alex arrested, and take Blaine to the Blue Sun hospital. Where he tells his doctor Simon Tam about a conversation with Alex that the others haven't mentioned, and it's creepy enough to have him call Derek Morgan on the suspicion that Alex sexually assaulted Blaine and he can't express it properly.
During The Emiya Clan Christmas Special, the entire story is about the somewhat misnamed "Fellowship of the Sane" attempting to escape the madness that Altrouge has unleashed in the name of winning a bet with her sister for candy. Things start with them just trying to escape, but when that fails, they have to survive a Christmas Party that takes some of the craziest characters in anime, mashes them together with the clan, puts them in a house, supplies alcohol and sugar, and sits back to enjoy the chaos.
The author of that particular story even admits he was trying to find the absolute brink of insanity he could push the story to before finally wrapping it up.
The finale of Children of Time is fueled by this. (Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead.) The way Holmes and Watson handle the dynamics of Watson's new marriage results in a horrific rift between the two, and Holmes seems determined to drive away the one friend he has left. Enter Professor Moriarty, Back from the Dead, with Colonel Moran at his side and Holmes and Watson in his hands. (With the new Mrs. Watson and Beth Lestrade running for their lives.) Did we mention that Time has frozen? Or that Moriarty seeks to corrupt Holmes into himself? Or that Holmes lets him? Or a major character death? Mm-hmm.
The Vocaloid fanfic From Concert to Chaos is absolutely packed full of this. The trouble starts towards the end of Chapter 4 and just keeps going downhill from there until the middle of Chapter 8.
Reconciliation takes place after Hanako's bad ending in Katawa Shoujo. It starts out being depressing enough, as Hanako has, out of guilt over her outburst at Hisao and Lilly in the bad ending, isolated herself from Hisao and Lilly for eight years, ending up as a successful but lonely author while they got into a relationship. The first major plot development is her hearing about Hisao's death.
This trope is enforced in The Infinite Loops. The admins in charge of repairing things don't like it when loopers forcibly end loops early, so any attempt to do so is punished by sending them into an even worse loop. Since most attempts to end loops come from the loopers deciding that the loop is bad.... it's a vicious cycle.
It practically defines the Mega Man loops. Right off the bat, the Mega Man universe was one of the worst damaged by the first Crash. The initial attempts to get the universe looping with Rock failed badly. The next attempt, with Roll, also failed badly. Then the admins tried Blues. Then they tried a Fused Loop, which went right through horrifically wrong and out the other side, with all four Anchors (the ones required to keep the universes intact) being dragged into a bizarre ritualised attempt for... something to ascend to god-hood. It ended with the universe they were merged with being outright erased from time and space forever, along with badly damaging the rest of the multiverse in the process. The next attempt is a do-or-die attempt, if it fails the Mega Man universe will be erased from existence as well. They just barely squeak through, thanks to a Fused Loop with Sonic the Hedgehog's universe.
Misunderstandings: Peter Collins is transported to Equestria. Throughout the fic, in the short term, things go okay for him, but in the long term, things degenerate for him. Over the course of the story he's attacked by timberwolves, kidnapped to be abused and humiliated in a sideshow, escapes only to be hunted by ponies, nearly kills a pegasus soldier becomes the target of a frightened Blueblood who throws furniture at him with force to kill, faces an angry mob, badly injures himself on the stairs is nearly framed for eating a filly, attacked by rogue griffin soldiers, is teleported to the Astral Plane when one of Twilight's experiments is sabotaged, and the result of that is any pathway home as been blocked off, and the magic he has been absorbing will now build up inside him, until he explodes.
Sonic X: Dark Chaos starts like the original Sonic X, except Tsali attacks Sonic's world rather than Dark Oak. Then Satan himself steps into the fray, which rapidly escalates the conflict until the galaxy is torn apart in a war between demons and angels. And then an Eldritch Abomination appears, obliterates both sides, and nearly causes the end of the entire universe. Finally, the story ends with an entire race of Eldritch Abominations appearing and actually destroying (most of) the entire universe.
What could possibly be worse than the grim dark future of the 41st Millennium, where there is only war? Give the 51st Millennium a try, as depicted in The Shape of the Nightmare to Come. Let's go over it. The Astronomican has finally failed so the Imperium is broken up into a number of warring fiefdoms, and the God-Emperor has died and become an entity called the Star Father, a Chaos Godof Order. Most of the Space Marines have either fallen to Chaos or become bitter psychotic mercenaries hiring themselves out to any fiefdom willing to pay for their services. Cato Sicarius has seized control of Ultramar, renamed it to "Grand Sicarum" and begun purging dissenters Stalin-style. The Tau have been under constant assault in much the same way the Imperium once was and consequently have changed policy from "negotiate and subdue when necessary" to just "subdue". Most of the Eldar are dead (save a few survivors who have become Corsairs, joined Biel-tan or infiltrated top positions in Imperial society) and Ynnead has been born... only to be trapped in the Infinity Circuits, rendering all of the Eldar's sacrifices pointless. The forces of Chaos under Warmaster Horus have swept out of the Eye of Terror and formed a new Chaos empire over huge chunks of Imperial space - including Cadia and Terra. The Necrons have reawakened the Void Dragon and are now marching across the stars in a war of galactic genocide. On the plus side, the Orks and Tyranids have finally been eradicated... Well, that is only after merging into a new species that has swept across the galaxy and consumed a third of it. Oh, and there's this... thing, called the Ophilim Kiasoz, which floats around unmaking entire star systems just by passing through them.
In Rites of Ascension, Equestria's sociopolitical standing, and Twilight Sparkle in particular, can't seem to catch a break. One of the first things Twilight learns after her ascension is that the country is slowly breaking apart due to outlying subjects being maltreated by their nobles and believing Princess Celestia cannot secure them from threats such as those seen in canon. Then there's a coup attempt during which the Elements of Harmony are stolen, and then- after Twilight begins to take a more active hand in dealing with international matters- two successive routine reconnaissance missions pull Equestria into a war with Zebrica and retroactively invalidate the entire government of the griffon lands (to which the above malcontents were defecting).
In Spots Off, what starts as a mundane (for the setting) bad day - waking up late, hairdryer breaking after a shower, missing breakfast after burning her toast, being antagonised by the class Alpha Bitch upon arrival at school with none of her friends available to talk to and then having to skip lunch due to an Akuma attack - turns into an absolute nightmare when Marinette is publicly unmasked.
This Bites!: The Straw Hats' assault on Enies Lobby, for the Marines and the World Government. Sengoku is so enraged that he plans on attacking the island with all available government forces. Unfortunately, fate is working against him.
The Straw Hats are currently running rampant at one of the three major government strongholds trying to rescue Nico Robin, having turned Oimo and Kashi against the men stationed there. Not only that, but it's being broadcasted live on the SBS, for the entire world to hear, indelibly humiliating the Marines by making them look every bit as incompetent as Cross makes them out to be. And then Robin finally tells the truth about Ohara, with the entire world as her audience.
Not only that, but the Straw Hats' assault has the incited the other Super Rookies to commit dangerous acts, and it even causes some of the Emperors to act out, either to one-up the Straw Hats and/or to draw Marine attention away from them. In brief:
Shanks goes on a rampage in the New World, tying up every Marine on that side of the Grand Line.
Cavendish decided he's getting overshadowed, so he raids a supply ship headed for Totland... just as Big Mom starts craving for the specific thing he stole, sending her on a rampage and forcing the World Government to send Jinbe, Doflamingo, and Kuma against her in hopes of calming her down. Not only that, but Cavendish is deliberately leading her towards Kaido's territory, escalating the conflict.
Bartolomeo attacks a Celestial Dragon's yacht, and then insults one of the Five Elder Stars, who send Akainu and five battleships after him.
Capone Bege raids Fort Lumose, stealing a fourth of the Marines' liquid assets.
X. Drake and Basil Hawkins somehow managed to piss off Moriah, sending the last available Warlord on a wild goose chase all around the Florian Triangle after them.
Eustass Kid and Killer attack Blackarm Island (implied to be the island where Z trains his recruits), drawing out a conflict that needs to be resolved soon if the Marines want high-quality recruits to replace all their incoming losses.
Scratchmen Apoo and Captain Dugong attack Task Force Cerberus, capsizing all their ships in the process.
Jewelry Bonney and Trafalgar Law team up and attack Marine Base G-76, taking it over and allowing the surrounding public to run roughshod over the place, with the former even procuring a direct line to Marineford just to rub it in Sengoku's face.
And finally, Urouge did something at Kyuka Island that left several high-ranking Marine officers shivering in horror.
If that weren't enough, Robin's tell-all on Ohara causes Water 7 to finally cut off the World Government. Several Marines (mainly giants) mutiny after hearing of how Saul (who was popular among other giants) died and that they had been hunting his ward for over twenty years. This forces Aokiji to be left behind so he can quell the mutiny non-lethally.
The final straw is the crew outright disintegrating the World Government's flag during the SBS. Sengoku is so overwhelmed and enraged that he can't even go into his Buddha form any more and instead suffers a heart attack. It is, as he puts it, by far and away the most humiliating incident for the Marines and the World Government since Roger's execution. And it's only going to get worse from there.
And boy, does it get worse in Chapter 40. Spandam, being the idiot that he is, had an operational black book. For CP9, a covert black ops unit whose missions are so ethically and morally wrong that the World Government doesn't even acknowledge their existence for plausible deniability. A black book that Cross happens to find, and summarily reads for the SBS. Sengoku is so fed up that he's not even surprised anymore, just angry.
By the time the Straw Hats finally escape, the butcher's bill in the immediate area alone is as follows:
Sengoku: Let me see if I have this straight. We have lost Enies Lobby. We have lost CP9. We have lost a dozen battleships. We have lost thousands of soldiers. We are still trying to locate where Kizaru landed. And we have months' worth of repair work to perform on the Gates of Justice. And meanwhile, the Straw Hat Pirates and their sixty allies all left the island alive?
And it all comes to a head in Chapter 42. 8% of the countries that comprise the World Government have either seceded or were overthrown, another 12% are staving off revolutions and uprisings, Marine HQ has lost contact with dozens of bases and vessels all around the world, and pirate activity is at an all-time high. To summarize, the entire day is labeled "The Darkest Day in the Entire History of the World Government."
By the beginning of the movie, her equanimity was already coming apart from ridicule and disdain of the student body. The pressure and abuse she faced during the Friendship Games, plus Cinch's blackmail, drove her to the point of seeking revenge, enough to seek power and become Midnight Sparkle.
In Reluctant Hero, Zuko starts by learning he's the new Avatar, which means his birth nation will do anything to kill or lock him away. Then the Northern Water Tribe kidnaps him to train him, forcing him into a role of saviour he never wanted to begin with. Then they talk about wiping his memory clean to make him a better student, which finally pushes the youth to unleash the Avatar State and flee the Pole... meaning he's on the run while everyone is chasing him, because triggering the Avatar State let the world know the Avatar had been reborn.
Sokka got it bad too. He has to leave the South Pole because his sister dragged him along in her quest to become a master bender, then they end on a mountain full of jiangshi, and the teen has to work with the resident Fire garrison to appease the spirit responsible for it. Katara manages to escape safe and sound, but Sokka is left behind with some spiritual sickness while the soldiers are planning to ship him to the Fire Sages for further endoctrination and training in fighting against The Fair Folk.