Amaya: So without your suit, you're useless.The world of superheroes has all types. Some gain their powers through Training from Hell and gain Charles Atlas Superpowers, while others get them from some form of Applied Phlebotinum. Trouble is, most heroes with the latter form have an Achilles' Heel of some kind; it could be a Weaksauce Weakness, some Kryptonite Factor, or a Power Nullifier, that can rob them of their powers. When this happens, these heroes are left utterly useless, as their entire hero status rested on those powers. But sometimes, we will run across a hero who can still dish it out when their powers are gone. Basically, he's been Brought Down to Normal, but he/she isn't useless or helpless. These heroes (or villains) may be Crazy-Prepared and trained in non-powered fighting in case of such an occasion. Or, they may have gotten their powers after learning five forms of martial arts. Or, maybe they just plain didn't use their powers to kick ass anyway. Or, they're just that badass that they don't need powers to kick you into next week. To qualify for this trope, a character must have had powers at one point, had them taken away, and still kick butt. You'll find sometimes that because of their powers the character had to act rather conservatively or hold the Idiot Ball to balance it out, but when normal and forced to improvise they find themselves not holding back and subsequently smarter for it. The opposite of Empowered Badass Normal, though as mentioned above this can be a result of such a thing being reversed. See Badass Normal for those who never had powers to begin with. Compare with Got the Call on Speed Dial or Power Loss Makes You Strong.
Ray: And without your amulet, you're—
Amaya: A fifth-degree black belt.
Ray: And without your amulet, you're—
Amaya: A fifth-degree black belt.
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Anime & Manga
- Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’: Gohan mentions that he's neglected training for so long that he can only use the base Super Saiyan form, and wasn't even sure if he could do that much. Even so, he easily takes down most of Frieza's army by himself.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
- Protagonists Jotaro and Polnareff are in one chapter attacked by a villain named Alessi who can de-age his victims into children with his Stand. Polnareff keeps his Stand upon becoming a child since he was born with it. However, Jotaro loses his Stand, since he didn't develop it until he was a teenager. Alessi thinks he's got the fight in the bag once Jotaro de-ages down to 7 years old, but Jotaro still has his nasty temper and manages to pummel Alessi with nothing but his fists.
- In a video game scenario, Alessi blunders into this problem again when he tries using his Stand on Joseph Joestar. He successfully ages Joseph down to his early 20's, when he had no Stand and knew nothing about Stands. Unfortunately for Alessi, in his early twenties Joseph was in his prime as a very strong young man and an expert in both martial arts and the usage of Hamon energy. Cue beatdown.
- In One Piece, Blackbeard attacks Whitebeard with his darkness power, gloating about how it will nullify his earthquake ability... quite forgetting that he is facing the World's Strongest Man, standing at 18 feet, armed with an even longer bisento. He still ends up getting the upper hand, though, and together with a bunch of underlings, ends up causing Whitebeard's death.
- Uryū sacrifices his Quincy powers to defeat Mayuri Kurotsuchi, and is left as a normal human at the end of the Soul Society arc. He wasn't happy about it but felt compelled by honor to do whatever it took to win. Uryū's strangely capable of fighting hollows even without his powers, but particularly potent hollows, such as the Espada, would have killed him if not for his father's intervention. His father makes the decision to restore his powers accordingly.
- Since Uryū is Ichigo's Foil, this ends up Foreshadowing what happens to Ichigo at the end of the Deicide arc: he sacrifices his powers in order to defeat Aizen, and spends the Time Skip before the Fullbring Arc Brought Down To Badass, with only physical strength and reflexes to rely on. He can still wipe the floor with pretty much any normal human, and he does get his powers back by the end of the arc.
- Darker Than Black (second season): Even after losing his electricity-based superpowers, Hei still kicks serious ass. Which is hardly surprising, given the fact that he earned his nickname "Black Reaper" due to how good he was at killing contractors before he got his powers.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- Nagi Springfield, a powerful mage, rescues queen Arika from a valley filled to the brim with monsters. Magic doesn't work in there, so he simply jumps in, evades hordes of critters, picks her up and jumps out... using the monsters as a ladder. It should be noted that it was said a single bite from these monsters kills.
- Don't worry, Evangeline is still sealed by the School Curse, she can't be a threat... barring the century of martial arts practice she's had and the ruthless effectiveness of her puppet strings.
- Slayers: When Gourry Gabriev lost his super mega giga artifact magic sword, he initially went through a period of depression and powerlessness. But after this brief period of despair was over, he quite adapted to kicking ass with a regular steel sword.
- Wrath in Fullmetal Alchemist always seemed to rely on his Charles Atlas Superpower more than his Magical Eye, so when he loses that and is badly wounded, he's still a terrifying threat to the protagonists- even the ones who have alchemy-related knowledge and abilities. In The Movie for the 2003 anime (which takes place 2 years after the events of the show), Ed can no longer use Alchemy due to being trapped in our world. He's hardly helpless however, as he's still an expert martial artist and good at thinking on his feet.
- In Umineko: When They Cry, Dlanor gets brought back to normal by a goat whose powers negate her Knox Commandments, and finds herself unable to fight back. Will, on the other hand, gets Brought Down To Badass as he proceeds to HEADBUTT THE GOAT TO DEATH because he insulted the mystery genre. Do not. Insult. The mystery genre. In front of Will.
- A Certain Magical Index
- Acqua of the Back eventually loses his incredible powers, but he's still a walking tower of muscle and an experienced former soldier and mercenary.
- Accelerator is weakened early on so that he can only access his powers for a matter of minutes, leaving him an ordinary person most of the time. He doesn't seem to mind all that much, and even when he uses up his power, he continues to kick ass without it. Though he does get himself some firearms training so that he isn't defenseless without his powers.
- In Tiger & Bunny Kotetsu's powers are fading away, yet he still manages to do incredibly well in fights with superpowered opponents without them and without his powered armor. In the epilogue, he decides that he isn't going to let a lack of powers stop him from being a superhero until the day he dies.
- In the manga version of Sailor Moon the Sailor Senshi are temporarily depowered. During this period, most of them are defenseless until they recover their powers... But Minako still gives a run for their money at the enemy, reminding the reader she was the one that, untransformed, defeated a brainwashed but still super-strong Makoto with a single kick.
- In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, despite losing her powers early on, Yuri's shown to still be a capable fighter, flinging around Snackies like they were nothing and being able to make last-minute saves during certain incidents.
- In Rave Master, an enemy disarms Haru of his magic sword and gloats. Haru punches right through his metal armor and says that all his constant fighting and carrying that heavy sword around have made him strong. It double as a nice Call Back, as Haru notes that his first fight in the manga was against a foe who could turn his skin to metal and he couldn't even harm him without his blade, showing how much Haru has strengthened since then.
- Souichi from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs lost his abilities before he even appears in the series, but not only is he a Pint-Sized Powerhouse who happens to be very skilled with a spear, he's one of the biggest One Man Armies in the series.
- In Naruto, Kakashi Hatake loses his Sharingan to Madara during the final war, though Naruto restores his right eye. This renders him incapable of using the Sharingan techniques, or even using Raikiri properly, though he remains a highly-trained ninja and becomes the Sixth Hokage.
- Marvel Comics:
- Hank Pym and Bruce Banner have on various occasions throughout their careers gone from Ant-Man and Hulk (respectively) to "genius scientist" as their "superpower," making them even more dangerous. (In Pym's case, he was a "genius scientist with a Bag of Holding." Be very afraid.)
- After being temporarily deprived of his ability to transform into the Hulk, Bruce outfitted himself with self-designed "Bannertech"; which included a mentally-controlled mobile operating system that he can hack sophisticated systems within moments with, a gamma and old power fueled force-field, a pocket teleporter and a molecular repulsion field that could be used to simulate levitation. In fact, several characters actually remarked that Banner was infinitely more dangerous without the Hulk and desperately sought to re-power him in order to decrease the threat he poses.
- Cassie Lang lost her size shifting ability after coming back from the dead. She kept the hand to hand training she's been through. Having done sparring drills with Captain America, she's a certified teenage badass.
- Ultimate Fantastic Four: After the Fantastic Four alter history so that their accident never happened, Ben Grimm is naturally no longer a giant rocky monster... but he's still badass enough to beat the crap out of the Skrull leader.
- At one point in Claremont's run, the X-Men wound up on Magneto's island fortress (with a volcano machine) and all depowered. It took Cyclops to point out that they are still very well-trained and athletic people with a wide and varied skillset; he is a skilled pilot and tactician, Storm was a thief and still carries lockpicks, Nightcrawler was an acrobat, Colossus is still very strong, Shadowcat is good with computers, and Wolverine still has his claws. Together they manage to wreck the doomsday device... and are still subdued in moments once Magneto realizes the X-Men are actually there.
- Storm went through a long stretch without her weather powers, but with a Mohawk, a new leather wardrobe, and a take-no-crud attitude that made her just as dangerous as she had been when she was slinging lightning bolts or throwing tornadoes. Though her powers came back, she still possesses remarkable hand-to-hand prowess when she needs to use it.
- While not all being as badass as Storm, most if not all of the X-Men receive hand-to-hand combat training in preparation just in case they are robbed of their gifts/their gifts are rendered ineffective by their enemies, especially the females. Cyclops has beyond military-level training over years of conditioning, Jean Grey has demonstrated kung-fu skills (she aided Beast taking out armed attackers with psi-shielding at a period when her telekinesis was thought either dormant or transferred to Psylocke, who classifies as an ninja action girl with or without her powers). And every girl who becomes a follower of Wolverine becomes able to kick ass by default.
- Cyclops deserves particular mention: given that his powers can be a major liability, he has trained himself to fight blind if he loses his visor/glasses. He's also demonstrated that when depowered, he's just as good a shot with a gun as with his eye beams.
- Prodigy of the Young Avengers (formerly from the New X-Men: Academy X) was one of the few people to stay at the academy after being depowered by the Decimation, and with good reason - he was given the gift of being able to remember everything he ever learned from people using his powers, making him an expert in multiple fields. Having spent lots of time around fighters like Wolverine and Cyclops, this includes martial arts and tactician training. When his powers went away, all the combat skills he'd already learned via those powers didn't.
- Wolverine is an interesting variation - when he lost his adamantium during Fatal Attractions, it also temporarily short-circuited his Healing Factor due to the damage done. While he was still a good fighter, he doubted his usefulness due to the fact he relied heavily on both. It took a 10-Minute Retirement and a Bat Family Crossover to really get him back in the game.
- Captain America: Steve Rogers, most commonly known for his role as Captain America, in his own mini-series got exposed to vita-rays that deactivated his Super serum reducing him to a scrawny 100lb weakling. When half a dozen goons enhanced with the same serum came to execute him, he easily dealt with every one of them. The man fought in WW2 and is one of the best trained soldiers on the planet, muscles only account for so much… Not to mention that he's usually fighting opponents many times stronger than him anyway.
During Ed Brubaker's run, The Falcon was captured and stripped of his wings by a group of right wing extremists. Unfortunately for the terrorists, nobody informed them that the Falcon was an accomplished brawler long before he met Captain America, or that he spent several years fighting alongside Cap before even getting his flight harness. Cue epic ass-whupping...
- Iron Man:
- Tony Stark would like to remind you that even without his armor, he's a Gadgeteer Genius capable of MacGyvering a solution to any pressing issue. And if push comes to shove, well - he's also been trained in hand-to-hand combat by Captain America.
- In Brian Bendis' run, Rhodey is captured by a Japanese villainess named Tomoe, who steals his War Machine armor. He still handles himself quite nicely against Tomoe's ninjas, pointing out that even without his armor, he's an Avenger and an ex-Navy Seal, with all the years of combat experience and training that those two jobs entail.
- Ms. Marvel lost her powers briefly in one of her series, and continued to kick ass thanks to her years of training in the Air Force Special Ops. In fact, she's lost her powers more than once, and always remained an effective combatant afterward.
- Power Pack: at least twice during the original series, the kids lose their powers to the Snarks. It doesn't stop them from still fighting off the giant space lizards though, and actually reclaim their powers in the process.
- Green Lantern:
- Guy Gardner thinks he's this, as was seen in the 1980s Justice League International series. He took off his Green Lantern ring to have a mano-a-mano showdown with Batman over leadership of the League. Batman knocked him out with one punch. (Guy's subsequent change of personalities came when he bumped his head while searching for his ring afterwards.) Batman (): so skilled that his punches cure brain damage. He also once goaded Hal Jordan into a no-rings-allowed fistfight. It didn't go quite as badly for him as the aforementioned encounter with Batman, but Hal was more than holding his own until the cops break them up.
- Kilowog is the combat instructor for the Green Lantern Corps, and one of the most powerful Lanterns ever to wear the ring. But take that ring away, and you're left with... well, a guy with the Super Strength, training, and skills to fight Superman to a standstill.
- Catwoman vs Zatanna: After she found out Zee had brainwashed her into becoming a vigilante (long story), Catwoman duct-taped Zatanna's mouth to prevent her from casting spells, but forgot that all Justice League heroines go to Amazonian fighting training Summer camps. During the ensuing fight, Catwoman also pointed out that as a stage performer, Zee likely followed a pretty intense workout regimen to begin with.
- The main superhero lost his powers and just intimidated criminals by, y'know, being Superman at them. This was in the same arc where he became Electric Blue Superman. By now, Superman has so much experience suddenly losing his powers in the comics that he hardly breaks stride, even when he's the only powerless person on a planet full of Kryptonians.
- In 52, he lost his powers again for just about exactly one year. He did retire from crime fighting, but instead spent the time pulling off Intrepid Reporter tricks that even gave Lois herself gray hairs. For example: wanting to get an interview with Supernova, he jumped out of his office window, betting that Supernova would save him.
- In JLA Foreign Bodies, Superman demonstrated to supervillain Kobra that even without his powers and with his mind inside the villain's body, his fighting skills are more then enough to let him match and defeat him while Kobra is in Batman's body.
- In the bottled city of Kandor, Superman becomes, well, Batman, going by Nightwing (and yes, this is the inspiration for Dick Grayson choosing his new name.)
- All-Star Superman: Lex Luthor steals Superman's powers, and Supes is Brought Down to Normal. The result? Supes beats Luthor. With his brains, no less.
- Immortal Iron Fist: Iron Fist has his link to his chi powers broken at one point, but the fact that he had to train to be a martial arts master and defeat a dragon to get those powers in the first place means he's still pretty damn strong.
- JLA: Act of God, an Elseworlds story, had the premise that every super-powered person on Earth one day lost their powers. Some members of the Justice League retrained, re-equipped, and went back into action watched over by their new mentors: the Badass Normal heroes of Batman, Robin, Huntress, and Nightwing.
- For a while in the 70s, Wonder Woman had to give up her magical powers and learned kung fu to keep on fighting crime.
- At the end of The Death of Superman, when he really comes back, he has no powers, just his good ol' fists, and a bunch of automatic machineguns. He storms the Cyborg Superman's/Mongul's base just with that, keeping up with Steel, a genius creator of some superweapons which had been being used by criminals, and who made himself a suit of Powered Armor capable of keeping up with said superweapons. He does get his powers back at the end of the arc, of course (and more), but he was pretty badass in the meanwhile.
- Thor and Hercules of the Marvel Universe have both had their godhood stripped away at times. With Thor it was back in the late nineties. He proved to be just as capable a fighter as Captain America. Hercules burned out all of his godly powers at the end of Chaos War, leaving him without any Super Strength at all and still fights super-villains and criminals. He has access to some magical weaponry and is highly skilled at using it, but even then can barely keep up. Yet he still kicks butt. Thor first did this in the late 60s-early 70s. Temporarily stripped of his powers by Odin, he still sought to fight for justice. At one point for some reason he had to go up against the Thing, who said "Even without yer powers, you ain't no pantywaist!" He replied that he was still himself, powers or no powers.
- Happens rather interestingly in a Superman Elseworlds story ("Superman: Last Son of Earth"). When Earth faces destruction, scientists Jonathan and Martha Kent send their infant son Clark off in a rocket, which eventually lands on Krypton, where he is found and adopted by Jor-El and Lara. Clark has extreme difficulties surviving with Krypton's greater gravity and red sun that saps his strength, until he encounters a dying alien who entrusts him with a ring, making him the new Green Lantern. He is eventually sent to investigate activities on Earth, which wasn't actually destroyed completely, but has suffered a post-apocalyptic collapse of civilization. When he lands in Metropolis, he is captured by Lex Luthor, who takes his ring and throws him in a cell with Lois Lane. Clark complains that without the ring he is powerless, and lashes out at the wall... smashing a hole. Growing up on Krypton does a body good, apparently.
- Spider-Man lost his powers once or twice, notably in the 70's; when tricked to drink a potion that nullified his spider-powers, he manages to burst out of several lengths of rope tying him up on a chair by flexing his muscles and getting pissed off - looks like playing super-hero daily helps building up upper body strength. On top of that, he remains a skilled chemist and physicist, good enough to show up the likes of Reed Richards, Doom and Tony Stark. He has, more than once, used his intellect to escape baddies while preserving his secret identity.
- In Marvel 100th Anniversary Special, Spidey loses his techno-symbiote suit to the Kingpin, yet still manages to kick its ass and ultimately destroy it.
- Black Canary went for a while without her Canary Cry, instead relying on her hand-to-hand ability. Since the character only gained said power after a couple decades of being a Badass Normal, this was more of a Returned Down To Badass.
- Legion of Super-Heroes: After causing the death of her husband Karate Kid, Nemesis Kid smugly negates Princess Projectra's powers and assumes she's helpless. She snaps his neck with her bare hands.
- Empowered is a self-inflicted on-and-off case of this. She gets her powers from her super-suit, but it tears easily, and she loses power the more Clothing Damage she incurs. However, when her suit is intact, she's usually trying to use its powers, which are flaky at best even when it's in perfect condition. Once it's damaged, however, she's usually forced to get creative... and she can be stunningly clever when she's backed into a corner, which, combined with the fact that nobody takes her seriously, can often leave the perpetually-unlucky superheroine just the opening she needs to pull through in even the worst of situations.
- Doctor Strange is a master of the mystic and martial arts. Anti-Magic only gets rid of one of those.
- In one story arc, Captain Atom lost his powers for a while. Which still leaves him as a former special ops commander with years of combat experience in Vietnam and the hand-to-hand skills to go toe-to-toe with Batman.
- Dracula loses his shape shifting powers and resurrective immortality in the season 8 Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. Mock him about being an ordinary vampire now, and he'll remind you that it's the old man you should be afraid of. Violently.
- Angel: After the Fall: After sending L.A. to Hell, the Senior Partners also turn Angel into a human as a means to deprive him of his vampire powers when he needs them the most. Thanks to a variety of spells and charms, he keeps in the game.
- The Deadpool storyline "Suicide Kings" ended up depriving Deadpool of his trademark Healing Factor, but not his mercenary skills. Taskmaster had to retrain him, though, since most of his tactics boiled down to "run in like a complete maniac and let my healing factor do the work."
- Valhalla: Thor is at one point challenged over his over-reliance on Mjolnir and dared to go on an epic quest without it. It turns out that when Thor is forced by circumstance to exercise his forebrain, he is just as able to think and charm his way out of trouble as he is at smashing his way out. Also, while he was forbidden from carrying the hammer, he was not forbidden his anything-catching gauntlets, his strength-amplifying belt or his coat of mail, all of which he wore. Mjolnir is an important part of his arsenal, but far from all of it.
- Jason Shepard, aka Lightstorm, hailing from Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm. His skill is great enough to fight the toughest of Negaverse drones even without powers, and he considers attacking and killing entire squadrons of heavily-armed humans to be training.
- In Recoil, Taylor loses her insect-control powers after being sent into the past. Her sharp mind and mundane combat skills are still intact, though.
- In The Dark Side Of The Mirror Verse, Mirror Spitfire was The Dragon to Mirror Celestia, and granted pyrokinesis by Celestia. However, after Celestia's Heel–Face Turn, she loses these powers. She's still able to put up a good fight with Mirror Gilda and nearly kill her during her fight.
Film — Animated
- Aladdin: As revealed in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, while being set free did rid him of the restrictions placed on him by the lamp, as a result, Genie also lost quite a bit of magic; in his own words, his "phenomenal cosmic powers" have been reduced to "semi-phenomenal nearly-cosmic powers." Despite this, he still has high magic power, and often proves essential in solving whatever disaster is plaguing Agrabah.
- In The Book of Life, the majority of the climax has Joaquin without his precious medal, having to fight as a mortal again. After a brief moment of surprise due the loss of his powers, he shows he's just as skilled with a blade as before.
Film — Live-Action
- Freddy vs. Jason. Freddy Krueger loses his nigh-invulnerability and reality-warping powers when he's dragged into the Real World, but this doesn't mean he's going down without a fight. He's still Made of Iron and strong enough to inflict lasting damage on Jason Voorhees (with assistance from improvised weaponry and Jason's own Machete).
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Agent Coulson: It's not easy to do what you did. You made my men — some of the most highly trained professionals in the world — look like a bunch of minimum-wage mall cops.
- Iron Man:
Rhodes: No, no, no, don't open—open? OK, here we go...
- Another suitless Iron Man example: he would like to remind you that without the suit, he's still a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. Taken even further in Iron Man 3, when Stark manages to juryrig a taser glove, a tranquilizer nailgun, and Christmas bauble flashbangs.
- After being forced out of the Iron Patriot suit, Rhodey shows himself still effective as a soldier.
(Rhodes jumps out and punches The Dragon in the face)
- The titular character of Thor may have been stripped of his powers and Mjölnir but that doesn't stop him from beating up SHIELD agents to get back Mjolnir. After all, even without his powers, he's still an extremely-skilled combatant whose body is just about 100% muscle.
- Iron Man:
- Calypso in Pirates of the Caribbean is bound in human form without access to her shapeshifting or weather control abilities, but she's still clairvoyant, a powerful necromancer, and has control over endless crabs.
- Resident Evil: Afterlife and Resident Evil: Retribution: In the beginning of the former, Action Girl Alice is injected with a serum by Big Bad Albert Wesker that removes the super powers she had previously gained from the T-virus. Though she subsequently gets her ass handed to her in the ensuing fight, she remains enough of a Badass Normal to fight off zombies and later defeats Wesker in a rematch. By the end of Retribution, Wesker injects her with the T-virus again, restoring her powers. Except he lied.
- X-Men Film Series:
- In The Wolverine, Wolverine's Healing Factor is dialed down to near-human levels. While his adamantium skeleton and multiple lifetimes of traumatic injury have rendered him superhumanly strong, tough, and resistant to pain, he's still left considerably weaker since his injuries accumulate rather than healing automatically.
- In the past timeline of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is before his adamantium infusion, Wolverine loses the considerable advantage it affords him in exchange for a moderately better Healing Factor, which doesn't really balance it out. He ends up playing a supporting role and badly loses the two real fights he gets into.
- BIONICLE: The Toa Nuva lost their elemental powers when the Bohrok-Kal stole the source of their elemental powers. Subverted in that they could still use their mask powers, but they did have to rely on their wits, skills, heavy armor and (of course) huge-ass weapons to do the majority of the work for them.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew Jadis, a witch whose power once killed every living thing in her home dimension, is magically transported to London and finds herself deprived of her magic powers. Except she's still seven feet tall and able to rip lamp posts apart.
- In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Alex reminds the depowered Lux and Lone Star of their Boxing Lessons for Superman; they still have useful skills.
- Dexter has Chutsky, losing an arm and a leg, literally, and still kicking ass at Brian's level. There's less than half of Sergeant Doakes and he still hounds Dexter, albeit not with the same stamina. Dexter unfortunately didn't fair so well when he was Brought Down to Normal in the third book by losing his Passenger, but in the 5th, where he just shunned it, still showed skill, even if only in avoiding death.
- Discworld: In Hogfather, when Susan enters the Tooth Fairy's realm (where death does not exist), she loses the abilities she inherited from her grandfather. Being Susan Sto Helit, this makes her very angry, and she uses a bit of psychoanalysis and a few punches to take down a trained and psychotic assassin.
- Doctrine of Labyrinths: In Corambis, a council of wizards binds Felix Harrowgate's powers. He fights off possession by a phantom, saves a country from being destroyed by its Sealed Evil in a Can, and eventually gets his powers back, mostly through smarts and sheer force of will.
- Harry Dresden once found himself completely magically drained at an inopportune moment during a fight with a loup garou... so he shot it in the knee with his .38 instead. It almost worked.
- The Heroes of Olympus: In The Son of Neptune, Percy loses the invulnerability he had previously gained in The Last Olympian early on in the book…and then spends the rest of the story reminding you why he was badass before he went and bathed in the River Styx.
- In the first novel of Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures, there is a wizard named Aahz who loses the ability to cast magic. Despite this loss, he's still a Pervect, a species that combines huge magical skills with great technological prowess and massive physical abilities. So even without being able to cast spells he's still nearly unstoppable in combat and has plenty of wits and skills to draw from outside of that. And that's without factoring in all the people he knows.
- Has happened several times to Eddie Drood of Secret Histories, whenever his torc's power is suppressed or forfeit in some way. Although he can't manifest his Drood armor under such circumstances, he still has his family's expertise in unarmed combat, his cover-identity Shaman Bond's slate of arcane know-how and dirty tricks, and his own stubbornness and integrity to keep him going.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- Darth Vader is a case of this. The lava bath and loss of his limbs takes a tremendous toll on his abilities, reducing his Force potential by two thirds, barring him from using some Force powers entirely, and forcing him to re-learn lightsaber combat to compensate for his less mobile prostheses. This being Darth Vader, he manages pretty well all the same, thanks in part to The Power of Hate.
- A New Dawn features a self-inflicted case of this: Kanan Jarrus survived Order 66 when he was just a teenager, and has spent the eight years since doing everything in his power to make sure his Force abilities don't come back. But even with him actively suppressing them, he's still a very good fighter who lasts far longer against the cyborg Count Vidian than anyone else.
- Star Wars Legends:
- In Timothy Zahn's The Thrawn Trilogy, there is a creature called a ysalamiri that "pushes back" the Force. A Jedi's powers don't work within 4 meters of an ysalamiri, or anywhere at all in a forest crowded with enough of them. Luke Skywalker finds himself in such a forest, completely cut off from the Force, and yet he's still able to take down a base full of Imperial stormtroopers with nothing but a good blaster at his sidenote and a basic knowledge of structural engineering. Mara, thinking that if anyone has reason to be worried it's him, between being stripped of his powers, on a strange planet whose very name is unknown, and with her, the Imperials, and the vornskyr lining up for the privilege of killing him, is grudgingly impressed: he's quick-witted, observant, and maddeningly serene. This is only one of several examples in Zahn's novels of Luke's ingenuity getting him (and, often, his friends) through a situation, rather than having Luke brute-Force his way through. Mara herself is similarly depowered by the ysalamiri, but it's even less of an issue for her because she'd already lost her Force powers for years and they were just starting to come back. She expects that to give her an advantage over Luke; she was used to it and he wasn't. As mentioned above, she was mistaken.
- Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive): After Kaladin kills Syl (his Bond Creature and the source of his supernatural powers), he still manages to take down a chasmfiend with some help. Armies usually run from chasmfiends rather than fighting them.
- At various times in the Sword of Truth series, Richard is stripped of pretty much everything (his magic on more than one occasion, his friends, his freedom in several different ways, his love, and even his self-confidence), and invariably not only gets it back, but becomes more powerful as a result.
- Vaness of The Witchlands is a very powerful Ironwitch, so to restrain her, the bad guys put an Anti-Magic collar on her while she's unconscious. When she wakes up, she promptly incapacitates a man twice her size with her bare hands and would've ran away if it wasn't for Lev.
Live Action TV
- In The Adventures of Superboy, this happens a few times to Superboy. In "The Haunting of Andy McAlister", he and his friends are trapped in a Wild West town without his powers, but manages to defeat several outlaws in a Bar Brawl.
- Wesley was shot and nearly killed after having taken the first of his multiple levels of badass, temporarily confining him to a wheelchair and making him useless in hand to hand combat, the basis of most of the show's action sequences. When faced with a demon in his weakened state, Wesley grabbed a shotgun and blew it away. He didn't forget about his handiness with guns after he recovered and occasionally used them thereafter.
- Angel robbed Jasmine of her magical influence over people, but she was still able to smack him around like a rag doll.
- Sahjahn actually considered it a favor when he was made corporeal, because although it made it possible to kill him, it also allowed him to deal death and destruction himself, his love of which was the reason he was made incorporeal in the first place.
- The gang stripped Illyria of some of her power, leaving her still Badass enough to be a useful ally (stronger than most other vampires and demons), but not enough to wipe out half the city if the mood struck her.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: It's been stated that Glory was considerably weakened upon being banished to Earth and trapped in human form, and she's still capable of curb-stomping Buffy and the Scoobies any day of the week.
- Chuck gets his powers from a government supercomputer stored in his brain called the Intersect. The Intersect 2.0 allows the user to tap into fighting knowledge. Chuck lost the Intersect and his best friend Morgan got it. Morgan turned in to a Jerkass and made a Face–Heel Turn. Chuck fights him and is easily a match for Morgan. With the corrupted Intersect out of Morgan's head, nobody has any version of it now. It hasn't stopped the team from being quite badass.
- Doctor Who:
- During his third incarnation, the Doctor was stripped of his knowledge of time travel and exiled to Earth by the Time Lords. He still managed to save the Earth and often the Universe every other episode even with those handicaps.
- In "The Eleventh Hour", the Doctor finds himself with neither his sonic screwdriver nor his TARDIS. He still manages to save the world in 20 minutes with some creative Internet usage.
- The companion Rory Williams fits this, too. He spent 2000 years as a Roman Centurion with the memories of a trained warrior, and furthermore, one made of plastic and with a gun in his hand. Even after being normal again, he still manages to kick ass and punch Hitler.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
- In one episode, Hera strips Zeus of his godhood and exiles him to Earth, assuming he will become miserable and quickly killed. While Zeus does get confused by life as a mortal (he had to ask Hercules what this unpleasant sensation he was feeling was: pain), he easily wins a Bar Brawl.
- In another episode, Hercules loses his strength and still beats up the god Strife. Strife only turns the tables when Ares reminds him to use his powers. Zeus then returns Hercules' strength for round two.
- Heroes: He may have gotten the cool Power Walk scene in Volume 2, but Peter Petrelli certainly turned up the heat on his awesomeness during his S3 Brought Down to Normal phase, thinking situations through, teaming up with the Haitian to take down Arthur, basically being a much better, smarter person than his V2 persona. Luckily, he retained these qualities even after he regained powers, mainly because he was no longer a God-Mode Sue.
- In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, despite the previous 34 Super Sentai teams losing their powers, many of them are still quite capable of fighting without them as episodes featuring the Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, Chouriki Sentai Ohranger and Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger easily show.
- The king of this is probably Ryo of the Celestial Fire Star, who can keep up with Gokai Silver and still do all of the insane Dairanger posing and martial arts in his forties.
- The current page quote comes from Legends of Tomorrow. Ray lost his suit to Tokugawa and ended up being forced to help his teammates destroy it, feeling completely useless without it because he relied on it in their fights. Amaya, on the other hand, amplified her impressive normal fighting skills with her animal abilities (usually "gorilla strength"), so losing the amulet isn't too much of a problem for her. Ultimately ended up being Double Subverted because Ray, wearing only samurai armor, could hold his own in a swordfight against Tokugawa wearing his suit (though only using it as a Powered Armor and not to the full extent of its abilities).
- A fairly surreal version occurs in an episode of Lois and Clark, on Lois and Clark's wedding night, H.G. Wells appears from the far future, with a device that lets people experience their prior reincarnations. He informs them that they are soulmates, destined to meet and fall in love in every life, but are also under a curse that will kill them on the first night they have, ahem, relations... he takes them through two of their past incarnations, one in Medieval England and one in the Wild West, in an attempt to remove the curse, and in each, Clark is a vigilante hero with a Secret Identity, apparently also part of his destiny. However, since both these incarnations are human, Clark is a Badass Normal for the majority of the episode, easily capable of beating up multiple opponents without his powers.
- Once Morgana loses her magic, she proceeds to kick multiple ass, with just a sword.
- Merlin gets depowered twice, and both times proves that does nothing to stop him from being his Determinator self.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
- Tommy can still kick ass after losing the Green Ranger powers the second time because he's a fourth-degree black belt.
- Use of this trope in Gosei Sentai Dairanger kept its footage from being used in the second season of MMPR, as the bulk of the series had unmorphed fights complete with unmorphed role calls.
- This happens too many times to list in the later Power Rangers seasons. This was done partially because they became less reliant on dubbing over Super Sentai footage as time went on.
- In the Grand Finale of Power Rangers Ninja Storm; the rangers lose their powers as the Big Bad Lothor gloats about his apparent victory. The rangers then promptly remind him they're still trained ninjas and proceed to kick his ass anyway.
- At the end of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon the Sailor Senshi lost their powers. In the Special Act, set a few years after the end of the series, a group of low-level youma try and kidnap Minako, quickly subdue her bodyguards... And back down in terror after Minako kicked one in a concrete pillar so hard to ''shatter the pillar's surface''. Youma and bodyguards alike understood why Minako complained of her bodyguards' weakness when the youma started defeating them… In the same Special Act we are shown that all the Sailor Soldiers are still badass: Rei attacked the Big Bad of the episode while without her Senshi powers and survived, albeit needing to be hospitalized; Ami resorted to Car Fu to beat up the low-level youma and escape one of the Big Bad Dragons; Makoto simply beat up a horde of Mooks; and Mamoru and Usagi (who was implied to be pregnant) quickly subdued a freakin' fake Shitennou each to cover each other's running away, with Mamoru later temporarily incapacitating all of the fake Shitennou.
- This has happened to Kal-El more than once.
- Another Kryptonian, Jor-El's lab assistant Raya, managed to survive for over 50 years trapped in the Phantom Zone, without her powers. One could argue this definitely qualifies her as one of the biggest badasses in the entire series.
- Although Castiel lost most of his Angel powers over the course of the fifth season of Supernatural, he still managed to kick a fair amount of ass via ingenuity and good old-fashioned nerve.
- Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution: Certain drugs will block espers from using their talents, but their baseline stats are still well above those of a normal human.
- Certain scenarios may result in one of the Exalted being deprived of Essence, making it impossible for them to use their various forms of magic. However, even without their Charms or sorcery, an Exalt is still at the peak of human ability, and can trounce any mortal contenders that try to beat them in their "weakened" state.
- In Warhammer 40,000, a Space Marine without his Powered Armor and BFG is probably more dangerous than before. This shows up most prominently in the Space Marine Battles series.
- Most games that force you through a No Gear Run, Low Level Run, or One-Hit-Point Wonder run of some kind qualify the playable character as this. True your player character may be weaponless or powerless, but he or she is still tearing ass through their enemies with clever thinking or pragmatism instead.
- The whole story arc of StarCraft II through the first two parts of the trilogy involve bringing Kerrigan back from Zerg infestation. Come the beginning of Heart of the Swarm, while she can still control Zerg, she is quite capable of kicking ass without their help, as she was one of the most powerful ghost troops prior to infestation. In the very first level she single-handedly destroys a Humongous Mecha with her psionic abilities alone. Similarly, Raynor is able to go toe-to-toe with Tychus, while the latter was the only one wearing power armor.
- One of the major aspects of the returning character of Psycho in Crysis 3 is his angst over being "skinned" and having his Nanosuit taken away. He sees it as being Brought Down to Normal. Thing is, he still manages to kick nine kinds of ass even without it, despite being in his fifties. He was in the SAS and Delta Force, after all.
- In BlazBlue, this trope applies to all members of The Six Heroes to some extent. Hakumen of The Six Heroes was once one of the world's most powerful beings, so much so that the only being implied to be around his level still said Hakumen was the sole reason as to why they managed to slay the Black Beast. After he was imprisoned in the Boundary for 90 years, the one who salvaged him could only get 20% of his existence out of there; however, 20% of Hakumen's former full power turns out to be several levels above what most characters can handle, as he is able to hand Ragna's ass to him with ease. Jin Kisaragi is also struck with a temporary form of this during Continuum Shift to reinforce his badassery and drive players nuts. Valkenhayn R. Hellsing and Jubei were both badasses extraordinaire in their prime when they fought the Black Beast, but you can't fight age and 90 additional years have left their bodies weakened. They can both tear the more youthful characters of the game a new one with ease, though. Trinity Glassfield hasn't been quite as lucky, though: After being manipulated, betrayed, shanked and thrown into a Cauldron by Terumi, she lost her body and her soul was sealed into the Nox Nyctores Muchourin. Right now her soul resides in the body of Platinum the Trinity, the resident Token Mini-Moe, Konoe "Nine" A. Mercury's fate is a bit more ambiguous. After getting caught up in Terumi's shaking of Trinity she's been presumed dead but she's been turned into Terumi's cohort, Phantom, but she eventually regains control over herself as well as her powers.
- In The King of Fighters XI, Villain Protagonist Ash Crimson gets the jump on Iori Yagami after he succumbs to The Riot of the Blood and becomes Orochi Iori (for those not in the loop, the seal on Orochi had been weakened in this saga), trashing his teammates Kyo Kusanagi and Shingo Yabuki. This leaves Iori without his trademark cursed purple fire. What does he decide to do? Slash the hell out of his foes with his hands. Unfortunately when this same thing happened to Chizuru Kagura in the previous game, she was hit hard by Chickification, being regulated to the sidelines and her confidence shaken. Thanks to a Cosmic Retcon due to a Temporal Paradox-induced Heroic Sacrifice by Ash in KOF XIII, both Iori and Chizuru regain their powers.
- Asura's Wrath:
- According to the developers, Asura has lost most of his godly power being sealed away for 12,000 years. Even without them, he slaughters mooks like they are nothing, can keep up and takes hits from Wyzen after growing over 60 meters tall, and when angry enough, stops Wyzen's Tennessee-sized finger in his planet sized state and punches it and Wyzen into oblivion. God damn.
- There are a few times where Asura loses his arms completely as a result of some battle. Despite that, Asura fights on regardless, taking on Yasha and a Gohma Striker (putting up a decent fight in the former case and winning offscreen in the latter).
- The final battle against Chakravartin involves Asura getting knocked out of his shiny new Destructor form and reduced back to his normal form. Asura still keeps up with and eventually defeats Chakravartin once and for all.
- Gig in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Let's see, he was sealed in a sword for millions of years, lost most of his godly power, lives as a formless spirit sealed in the body of a mortal and only gives the main character a very small share of what's left. They are still able to destroy pretty much anything on their path. Also still considered one of the Nippon-verse big three alongside Zetta and real Zenon.
- The Player Character in Dragon Quest IX. S/he starts out as a Celestrian (basically an angel), but is partly Brought Down to Normal early in the game. By the end of the game, this trope comes into full effect, since by now the character is probably a very powerful character but sacrifices his Celestrian abilities permanently to fight the Big Bad.
- Valvatorez in Disgaea 4 was originally titled the Tyrant due to his netherworld being absolutely terrifed of him. He may have been an equal to Baal. After no longer drinking blood, he was reduced to a Prinny Instructor who Zetta (official title: The Most Badass Frickin' Overlord in All the Cosmos) considers a Worthy Opponent.
- Tales Series:
- Judas in Tales of Destiny 2 willingly decided to stop using Chaltier, thus no longer being considered a Swordian Master (in a world where you need some kind of Green Rocks to cast magic and a Swordian is powered by the purest version of said Green Rocks and was at a much lower level than he should be likely due to being dead for an undetermined period of time. He still taught himself how to dual-wield at least, before Leon's play style was retconned, learns two more magical proficiencies, and remained a hyper-competent Magic Knight.
- Jade Curtiss in Tales of the Abyss gets hit with the temporary version. He joins the party very early at a game-breaking level 45, with access to many high-level fonic artes. And then he's hit with a Power Limiter that brings him back down to level 1, and cuts you off from the majority of his spells. At around the same time, he briefly loses access to the Tartarus. But he's still Jade Curtiss the man so cool he doesn't even take his hand out of his pocket when casting spells, whose arm is magically fused with a spear, and who has to wear glasses just so his eyes don't make everything around him explode. Seriously.
- At the beginning of Tales of Xillia, Milla (the human incarnation of the Lord of Spirits, Maxwell) loses most of her insane summoning power when the four elemental spirits are kidnapped by the bad guys. But she's still a Determinator of unbelievably epic proportions, and after Alvin teaches her a thing or two, she's a fair hand with a sword and a good mage to boot.
- Subverted in [PROTOTYPE]. During one point in the game, the main character temporarily loses his ability to generate Shapeshifter weapons, bringing him only slightly back to normal. But he still gets to keep his superhuman strength and agility, still allowing him to karate kick helicopters out of the sky.
- God of War II: In the first level of the game, Kratos attacks Rhodes as a giant, but Zeus, in the guise of an eagle, blasts him with lightning and shrinks him down to normal size. As the soldiers of Rhodes discover the hard way, just because Kratos is normal-sized now doesn't mean he's any less capable of going One-Man Army on them.
- Over the course of Shantae: Risky's Revenge, Shantae is stripped of her genie powers and spends the rest of the game and the sequel, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, as a powerless human. It doesn't slow her down one bit.
- In Saints Row IV, many story missions strip the Boss of their powers, and later the Zin can do so on command with suppression grenades. But the Boss was a One-Man Army long before they got powers, and losing them just means the enemy lives a little bit longer.
- In Infernal, Lennox (the protagonist) is in this position three times. At the start of the game, he has lost his angelic powers as a result of being fired. Later, Lucius Black revokes Lennox's new demonic powers when Lennox appears to have failed and has been questioning orders, but is persuaded to return them on the basis that they need each other. Finally, Black takes the powers back when he and Lennox fight in the final boss battle. Lennox isn't ever helpless, however.
- Though implemented poorly, the Game Gear game Sonic Labyrinth has Eggman shove Sonic's feet into special shoes that seal away his super speed. Sonic ends up making up for it with his Spin Dash attack.
- In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, this happens to the Tribunal deities after the Nerevarine severs their ties to the Heart of Lorkhan, their divine power source, in order to defeat Dagoth Ur, who shares that same power source. They are, per Vivec, able to exist with a trace of their divinity in-tact thanks to the faith of their followers. Each is still an extremely powerful, extremely old Magic Knight, especially proven by Almalexia when she is fought in the Tribunal expansion.
- Killer Instinct has T.J Combo, a world-champion heavyweight boxer and a jock asshole who used cybernetic implants to boost his strength. When his cheating was caught out and he was subsequently disgraced, he had a huge Break the Haughty/Heel–Face Turn moment and decided to make up for it by coming back to the Ultratech tournament with the intention of winning it without his implants. Just to point out, this means going up against cybernetic killing machines, genetically engineered dinosaurs, skeleton warriors and people with all kinds of crazy superpowers with nothing but his fists. Ballsy as hell.
- In 8-Bit Theater, Lich notes that by removing his soul from the Earth Orb he had hidden it in and returning it to his body, the Light Warriors have successfully made him mortal, but he's still a mage vastly more powerful than they are.
- In El Goonish Shive, Nanase, even without her crazy powerful magic, is still a very experienced martial artist who can bench press 160 poundsnote and (along with Ellen) was able to recapture an escaped gorilla.
- In Looking for Group Richard can lose his powers if he fails to perform the proper actions. When he is depowered and imprisoned Benny laments how he's useless until Richard pulls out one of his recent botanical experiments.
Even without magic, I'm never powerless. Or any less dangerous.
- In The Order of the Stick, the dragon that ambushes Vaarsuvius casts an Anti-Magic field to escape a Forcecage. As she points out, this means the Squishy Wizard elf is now just Squishy, while the dragon is still a dragon.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Azula, even when deprived of her firebending on the Day of Black Sun, still manages to keep Aang, Toph and Sokka busy and away from her father long enough for the eclipse to get over with.
- The DVD Commentary mentions a funny story behind that: she decided Mai and Ty Lee would be her friends exactly because she'd be able to learn some of their abilities, and indeed the aforementioned scene does have her using some very Ty Lee-ish moves. Along with having a concealed bladed throwing weapon literally up her sleeve that could only be something she picked up from Mai.
- Same with Zuko—normally, he's an at-least decent firebender (he beat Zhao in an Agni Kai early on with just the basics, and his skill notably improves over the course of the series), while Ozai is The Greatest Firebender In The World. But during the eclipse, Ozai is at his mercy because Zuko is a master swordsman. Also, when Zuko had to hide his powers while traveling in the Earth Kingdom and as the Blue Spirit, he was still able to take on several bandits, match Jet in a fight and break Aang out of a Fire Nation fortress.
- It runs in the family. His uncle Iroh is considered one of the only Firebenders capable of taking on Ozai. But, like the previous two, loses his powers on the Day of Black Sun. That's when he breaks out of the prison he's in and is still considered a One-Man Army!
- In the Batman Beyond episode "Lost Soul", the Batsuit is taken over by a hostile AI. Terry goes up against it equipped only with one of Bruce's old utility belts and Nightwing's old mask to conceal his identity, and wins.
- Hal Jordan and Kilowog in Green Lantern: The Animated Series are both quite competent fighters even without their power rings. This comes in handy in "Razer's Edge", when they are trapped on an asteroid filled with yellow crystals (which cancel out Green Lantern power rings) and ambushed by a troop of alien guards.
Hal Jordan: I was kicking butt long before I got this ring!
- From Justice League:
- In one episode, Superman ended up in a world with a red sun (Earth), robbing him of his power, and still manages to survive, kill the leader of a pack of wolf-like animals to become their leader, and team up with Vandal Savage to take back a nuclear fusion device from a bunch of giant mutant insects.
- In an episode where the League travels back in time to World War II, Green Lantern John Stewart's power ring runs out of juice in the middle of a battlefield. He quickly recalls his Marine training and goes native with a squad of US infantrymen.
- In Justice League Action, Steppenwolf tries to take out Superman by transporting them both to a planet with a red sun, stripping him of his powers. Superman still manages to beat him, even after breaking his leg. By the time Batman and Big Barda finally make it over to help, the fight is already over.
- Pharaoh Man in the Mega Man cartoon. Usually when Mega Man steals the power of a Robot Master, they don't do much of anything. Not Pharaoh Man. DECISIVELY not Pharaoh Man. HILARIOUSLY not Pharaoh Man.
- In the Phineas and Ferb Crossover event, Mission Marvel, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Hulk all lose their powers, but they still manage to kick some serious butt in the final battle of the episode!