Gnarl: Yeah, but don't forget: I can transform into the Gnarlborg!The villain (perhaps after already going into another One-Winged Angel form and still losing to the heroes) shape shifts into an ultimate Super Mode. So awe-inspiring is this new form the very skies weep blood, so terrifying that it combines the power of every monster, and the hero and his love kiss each other goodbye. Problem is, the new super form is made more unstable by any of a number of things, be it an unstable Power Source, built-up side effects, incompatible Power Upgrading Deformities, or a "plain old" Super-Power Meltdown once the heroes poke him. The results ain't pretty. Much like a Fake Ultimate Mook, this boss goes down in three hits and goes into a Shapeshifter Swan Song and promptly keels over in an explosion of energy or guts. Hopefully not both. Hell, hopefully neither! Usually, this is a subversion of One-Winged Angel by making the enemy an Anti-Climax Boss, or it may have just been that the writers designed a monster form without a corresponding battle. Can be played for either pathos or comedy. This is an Ending Trope. Spoilers Ahoy.
Gnarl: Well, I can...
Radd: Does it ever help?
Gnarl: Well, I can...
Radd: Does it ever help?
— Kid Radd
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Anime & Manga
- During the endgame of AKIRA, Tetsuo's powers become exceedingly unstable and his body mutates and expands. It attempts to crush everyone near it, but at that point Tetsuo doesn't really have any control over his massively-expanding Body Horror. The psychics then teleport main character Kaneda away from the mass of flesh and proceed to blow it up.
- This trope occurs several times in Bleach:
- Kaname Tousen, after revealing he has been made a Visored, says that he has a Resurreccion to go along with it. He turns into an insectoid monster, with new, gigantic eyes. As he's about to finish off Komamura, Hisagi sneaks up on him and stabs him through the head. Hisagi claims that if Tousen hadn't been distracted by his new form, he would have easily sensed the attack and dodged it. Yes, a blind man gained sight, only to be defeated by an attack he would have seen coming otherwise.
- Yammy, despite his Resurreccion transforming him into the "Cero Espada"; databooks explain Yammy's only power is he gets bigger and increases his reiatsu as his rage builds; the first and second Espada are considerably more powerful than the average captain, but Yammy's special ability only makes him a gigantic target that Kenpachi and Byakuya easily defeat offscreen.
- Aizen falls prey to this, as well. While his final series of transformations certainly increase his already-impressive abilities dramatically, his zanpakutou's ability to control opponent's perceptions was what let him curbstomp his opponents so effortlessly. He loses that ability as he transforms (or rather, he still had it, he just grew so arrogant that he decided he didn't need to use it anymore), forced to fight without strategy or deception, ultimately making him a surmountable obstacle.
- Digimon Adventure:
- Vamdemon/Myotismon goes through this every time he tries to go One-Winged Angel. The first time he does it, he goes from "invincible and needing an All Your Powers Combined to make me flinch" to "rant about my hunger and break stuff, then die to one soccer ball/clump of rubble to the crotch". When he tries it again, in Digimon Adventure 02, he dies to kids shouting out what they want to be when they grow up (though this makes sense, considering that he constructed his new body out of those kids' fear and despair), followed up by a BFG blast to whatever's left.
- Etemon in the same series qualifies as well, he goes from "invincible, and needing to be Hoist by His Own Petard and directly attacked" to "throw a hammer at me and a sucker punch and I'll disintegrate".
- The Mega level also count as this, Devimon and the Ultimate forms of Etemon and Myotismon took forever to defeat, while all 7 Mega-Level forms they faced got curb-stomped.
- Slightly justified in that the kids were much stronger at the end of the series (most of the time, anyway), and the stronger Digimon came right out to fight instead of sending in their minions, and as a result were killed much quicker.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Good guy version: Future Trunks thought he had surpassed his father by going past Super Saiyan — until he tries to use it in a fight. Sure, he's big and strong, but the bulky muscles make him significantly slower and he immediately loses. Vegeta had realized that and focused on improving speed, rather than breaking through to the next level.
- Ironically, Cell later makes the exact same mistake against Gohan, out of rage at being completely overpowered.
- Happens to Frieza as well. After Goku transforms into a Super Saiyan, Frieza can barely even hurt Goku with only 50% of his power, let alone kill him. Goku gives Frieza enough time to reach his full power, at which point he is Goku's equal for a short time (though Goku was holding back to test Frieza and avoid causing too much damage while the others were still on the planet). However, staying in that form burns up his energy at an accelerated rate. Because Frieza's already burnt so much energy from the arc-long fighting (as well as losing emotional stability at that level of power), Goku's greater stamina wins out.
- In Movie 12, Broly's clone is turned into something akin to an Eldritch Abomination due to a culture fluid, and despite this, he remains as much of a killing machine as before. However, he melts in the culture fluid and it seems he's dead. That is, until Goten, Trunks, and Krillin watch in horror as he arises as a gargantuan monster larger than a mountain and looks as if he could destroy the world many times over by simply breathing. Instead of an epic clash, he gets wet and is killed by the water. The heroes have no problem taking him out from there.
- At the end of the Buu Saga, Goku and Vegeta remove Buu's absorbed victims and he reverts back to his original form, Kid Buu. He's weaker than Fusion Super Buu (Buu after he absorbed Gohan, Gotenks, and Piccolo). Regardless, he is still a major threat because Gohan and Gotenks were knocked out when Kid Buu blew up the Earth, leaving only Goku and Vegeta alive to fight him.
- While how much Kid Buu is a Clipped-Wing Angel is still debated within the Dragon Ball fandom, since the manga leaves it vague how strong Kid Buu is to the other Buu forms, the general consensus is that even if Kid Buu may not be the strongest form of Buu, it's agreed by everyone that he is the most dangerous. Fat Buu was like a naughty child and Super Buu was like a hotheaded warrior, but they could be reasoned with to various degrees. Kid Buu, though, is absolutely insane, living only for cosmic destruction, to the point that the very first thing he did was blow up the planet for no reason.
- In Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ Frieza's new transformation, Golden Frieza, is this. In this form, he overpowers post Battle of Gods Goku, but he has the same stamina issues as his original 100% form. Meaning, after only a short time, Goku regains his advantage and beats Frieza senseless. In Super, he manages to completely master it, however.
- In Dragon Ball Super, Future Zamasu decides to stop playing around and fuses with Goku Black using the Potara Earrings to become the all-mighty Merged Zamasu, with Goku and Vegeta one-upping that to bring back Vegetto. As they fight, while they're mostly evenly-matched at first, Merged Zamasu's body starts falling apart because the mortal form of Goku Black compromised the Complete Immortality of Future Zamasu, resulting in Body Horror and leaving Merged Zamasu in a position in which he could actually be killed, which was the main problem the heroes faced earlier on against Zamasu. That said, this only applied to his physical form. Once he lost that, his spirit turned into an Eldritch Abomination that only Zen'O himself could kill.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Envy's full transformation is like this against Roy Mustang. The possible increase in brute strength was significantly offset by the fact that Mustang's opponent was now so large, Roy barely needed to aim. At the end of the same fight, after Mustang has repeatedly burned Envy to the point their body turns to ash and fades away, this trope is played straight again with the killer's true form. Envy is nothing more than a green slug-like creature that's no bigger than the palm of Roy's hand.
- In the first episode, Mistress Centipede gets a big power boost after swallowing the Shikon Jewel... only for Inu-Yasha to destroy her with one attack.
- The first battle between Inu-Yasha and his full yokai half-brother Sesshomaru when he transforms into his true form (a giant demonic dog). Rather than rely on his tact, sword-fighting prowess, and Dissonant Serenity in human form, the transformed Sesshomaru is much more blunt; he growls, stomps, and bites like a dumb beast, including leaping headfirst into Inu-Yasha's transformed blade, which destroys his left arm. Sesshomaru learns his lesson not to go One-Winged Angel on his opponents unless absolutely necessary, as his true form is seldom seen after that. This is later confirmed to be exactly why he seldom takes that form. He gains a massive increase to his raw physical power, but in turn looses access to the majority of the techniques and powers he had in his human form and unless he's REALLY focused, his mind regresses to the point that he becomes nothing more than a giant dog incapable of strategy or higher thought.
- Inuyasha, being his brother, faces the same problem, only with greater drawbacks, since he's only a half-demon. He gets stronger, but can't control himself at all and can't turn back by himself.
- In Episode 52, Gatenmaru assumes his true form (a giant demonic moth) to battle a fully demonized Inuyasha. The end result: Inuyasha No Sells all of his attacks, cuts off his wings, and obliterates him with ease.
- The Book of Darkness in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's was all but invincible in its original humanoid form, but doesn't manage to get off a single attack in its monstrous form. Some of this has to do with the fact that Nanoha was forced to fight the Book all on her own, whereas after the transformation, everyone was present to smash it. But a good deal of the reason was because Hayate had removed the Will of the Book of Darkness (whom she named Reinforce), leaving the corrupted (and far less intelligent) Defense Program to fend for itself. The Defense Program reformatted the body into an enormous monster, but that only made it a larger target that everyone could freely attack without getting in each other's way, which was one of the major difficulties in fighting the original humanoid form. With the support mages binding the monster and interrupting its attacks, all of the heavy-hitters had the time to set up their biggest attacks.
- Kakuzu took a final form by letting out all his Combat Tentacles at once, but since he had already made the fatal mistake of assuming Naruto would be where it made sense for him to be, it did little to help him.
- Toward the end of the Three-Tails arc, Nurari fuses with two other members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad — Kiho and Kigiri — to form a gigantic blob-like monster. While, on their own, they had defeated Sai, Kiba, Lee, and Tenten, and given Shino, Yamato, and Kakashi trouble, Yamato manages to immobilize the fusion, which is then killed almost instantly by the Three-tailed Beast.
- One Piece:
- Eneru from the Skypiea Arc, a Psycho Electro with a god complex, transforms into a Raijin-shaped being composed of pure lightning as a last-ditch attempt to defeat Luffy. It makes no difference whatsoever since Luffy is a Rubber Man.
- Gecko Moria from the Thriller Bark Arc suffers from this thanks to his last resort technique, Shadows Asgard, because despite his insane strength and giant size, he had sacrificed speed against the remarkably agile and super-strong Luffy (also, his Villainous Breakdown sure didn't help). Zoro even states that Moria's Shadows Asgard form is just being used to buy time for the few minutes that are left until the sun rises. For those who don't understand…
- Hody Jones from the Fishman Island Arc gets curbstomped the first time he fights one of the Straw Hat Pirates, being taken out with a single slash from Zoro's swords while both of them were underwater, where Hody was significantly stronger and Zoro was much weaker. To compensate, Hody abuses Energy Steroids, which decrease his lifespan at the cost of making him stronger, making his hair turn white and his eyes glow red. It doesn't help him in the slightest; when Hody goes up against Luffy, it's clear that Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hats are still way out of Hody's league.
- Near the end of the Punk Hazard Arc, Mad Scientist Caesar Clown decides to merge with his Shinokuni poison smog to fight Luffy. This backfired on him in two ways; Besides making him a bigger target, the Shinokuni on its own was an Advancing Wall of Doom, but when it became part of his body, it also became vulnerable to Luffy's Haki-powered attacks.
- In the Dressrosa Arc, Dellinger, one of Doflamingo's subordinates, suffers from this. Shortly after he removes his hat and human teeth in order to take full advantage of being a Fighting Fish Fishman (a particularly belligerent and powerful shark) hybrid, he's taken out in a single brutal blow thanks to the convenient appearance of Hakuba, Cavendish's Superpowered Evil Side.
- A rather humorous example of this happens in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: a small ghost Panty and Stocking had spent a long time trying to kill earlier is turned into a huge ghost by Scanty and Kneesocks, but Panty and Stocking kill her seconds later.
- The big bad guy of the Scryed anime, Kyouji Mujo, manages to gain the powers of a very powerful Alter and nearly kills Kazuma with it, only for Kazuma to get another powerup and throw him into the Alter Dimension. He comes back even more powerful and monstrous, but his powers are utterly useless and his giant form is incapable of dodging Kazuma's final attack.
- In a Slayers OAV, Lina and Naga are up against a powerful vampire. Partway through the battle, the vampire reveals that he hasn't been using his true form, and promptly goes into an impressively large transformation sequence... before promptly shrinking down into the form of a small bat. Lina gets annoyed and smacks it with a slipper.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami Marik, after kicking Yugi around for most of their duel, ends up as a disembodied eye after paying almost all of his life points to make his Winged Dragon of Ra have an insanely high attack, only to have it removed by a card Yugi played face-down. Once regular Marik is switched with him, leaving Yami Marik in the eyeball form, Marik surrenders to Yugi, causing Yami Marik to dissipate into the Shadow Realm.
- A majority of the Witches shown in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, while certainly fearsome, seem to be much weaker than their original Magical Girl selves if the fact a relatively inexperienced Magical Girl like Sayaka can destroy them rather easily is taken into account, likely having something to do with their mental states. That said, there are exceptions, like Charlotte (who utterly destroys Mami, albeit that might have been due to the shock factor of her own One-Winged Angel), Elsa Maria (who almost kills Sayaka), Oktavia von Seckendorff (Sayaka's own Witch), or ultimate witches the likes of Walpurgisnacht and Kriemhild Gretchen.
- In One-Punch Man, Garou goes through this, transforming into a monstrous form with vastly increased strength, but Saitama notes that he's actually weaker than he was before due to lacking the skill and agility he had in his earlier forms, and he reverts back to his humanoid form after a few of Saitama's attacks.
- Heaven's Lost Property Chaos is the first second generation angeloid, built just to kill the first generation. She has the ability to consume them and add those cores to her own, changing her own wings accordingly when using the self-upgrading program (consuming a water-type will grant her a pair of aquatic wing-type). The rest of the second generation were meant to be mass produced and disposable, so them having incomplete cores wasn't a problem...until Chaos consumed hundreds of them. The upgrade failed because of the faulty cores and ended up destroying her.
- During the Onslaught crisis, when Professor Xavier went insane, combined his own powers with those of Nate Gray and Franklin Richards, and nearly killed the heroes of the Marvel Universe, the monstrous Onslaught soon became its own entity and separated from Xavier. But after getting his armour cracked by the Hulk, his "ultimate" form is revealed to be a cloud of psychic energy. He is killed within the next three pages, though not without the sacrifice of many of Marvel's non-mutant heroes.
- During the story "Darkness Calls", Hellboy is locked in a running battle against Koscheij the Deathless, who is unable to beat him, but who obviously cannot die. The Baba Yaga places more and more of her power into Koscheij, causing him to grow increasingly monstrous, until she is finally spent, and sacrifices the tiny remaining shard of Rasputin's soul she keeps with her. Koscheij becomes huge and monstrous, but the power quickly gives out, leaving him weak and feeble once again.
- The sad fate of Igor Bromhead in the same storyline may count as well, though he's not actually trying to fight Hellboy this time, but rather begging for a Mercy Kill having mutated into a hideous monster.
- An early defeat of the Absorbing Man (a Thor baddie) happened this way. For several issues, he repeatedly fought Thor to a standstill because he could duplicate Thor's abilities just by touching him. But finally he got impatient with not being able to just Curb Stomp the guy, and overextended his powers trying to absorb the strengths of the entire planet at once. Cue explosion.
- This is par for the course for the Absorbing Man; he can match almost anyone, power-wise (he's repeatedly fought the Hulk and proven a challenge), but due to impulsiveness, carelessness, surprise, or just plain idiocy, has to absorb something that just won't help and gets Hoist by His Own Petard. For instance, fighting the Hulk at a construction site. The building collapses, and he reaches for some rubble so he can become as sturdy as steel or concrete... and grabs a glass shard. You can guess the rest.
- And then there was the first time he became water, and went insane when he blended in with the ocean. He has since learned how to control himself in liquid form, however.
- The Sentry, Marvel's Superman analogue, once overloaded Absorbing Man just by himself.
- In Universe X, we learn that the Absorbing Man managed to massacre the Avengers by absorbing the intellect of the super-intelligent android Ultron. This made him able to remember any form he took and shift around at will. Too bad for the Avengers the Vision didn't think of infecting him with a computer virus sooner...
- He once went up against Spider-Man, who you probably wouldn't think could take him solo. The webhead does, by tricking him into absorbing one chemical, and then burying him in another that reacts with it explosively. The kaboom was quite spectacular, though of course the Absorbing Man is capable of Pulling Himself Together... eventually.
- The Absorbing Man has continued his fine tradition of absorbing the wrong power in the cartoon series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!. The first time he, after fighting the Hulk with limited success as steel, transforms into rock. The Hulk immediately smashes his arms, pointing out that he can smash rock. The Hulk even sarcastically refers to him as "Einstein" for that move. The next time, he absorbs Mjölnir. Which, to be fair, seems like a good idea, but overlooks the fact that Thor can control Mjolnir. And now he's got all its properties.
- In the Deadpool Merc with a Mouth series, Absorbing Man is encountered alongside other zombified villains and heroes in the Zombie Universe. He proves to be the toughest challenge faced, even managing to survive the collapse of a whole building. Deadpool defeated him by tricking him into transforming into toilet paper.
- Essentially, the main distinction Absorbing Man has regarding this trope is that he uses a different Clipped-Wing Angel form each time.
- In Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force run, Apocalypse is rejuvenated into a new body after he last defeat. Unfortunately for him, said new body is a young child with only a fraction of his powers and none of his memories. His followers are having to basically raise their own god back to adulthood and Fantomex kills the body with a single gunshot (something that adult Apocalypse wouldn't have even flinched at).
- In Getting Back on Your Hooves, after the villain has failed to demoralize the Mane Six inside the dreamscape, she tries to intimidate them by assuming the form of an alicorn. It doesn't work, because they fought and defeated Nightmare Moon, and recognize her for the fake fraud that she is. While her initial tactic of predating on their fears and insecurities could have worked, this move just gave them a big stupid target they could beat up without remorse.
- In Something Else, The Evil Guy's true form is a Cheep-Cheep, so Luigi curb-stomps him.
Films — Animation
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Rourke gets stabbed by a shard of magic glass by Milo and turns into crystal. He then lunges at Milo in his new crystal monster form, but Milo dodges, and hoists Rourke up to the blimp propellers, where he explodes and is shattered into a million pieces.
- Jafar runs into this in Aladdin. Aladdin tricks him into becoming a genie, then seals him in a lamp — and Jafar was doing just fine as a giant snake. It would seem that Aladdin is a good judge of character. Averted in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar. After being freed from the lamp by Abis Mal, Jafar's genie form is extremely dangerous due to his Reality Warper powers, even taking into consideration the fact that because he's a genie, he's incapable of killing. Actually, no, ESPECIALLY because of that; as is said no fewer than three times in the film, "You'd be surprised what you can live through." Point of reference: during the final fight, he quickly knocks out Genie, shatters Carpet into a million pieces, and turns the palace grounds into a lava pit that the heroes are almost burned alive in. They win only because of Iago's timely intervention and exploiting Jafar's single Achilles' Heel, destroying his dark lamp.
- In Disney's The Little Mermaid, Ursula gains power over all the oceans in the world and swells to a colossal form, controlling the waters all around her... only to be quickly run through with the splintered bow of a ship.
- In FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Hexxus unveiling his stronger form doesn't help him much. Before he can even unleash his destruction, Crysta and the other fairies infect him with plant growth and seal him in another magical tree.
- At the climax of The Flight of Dragons, Big Bad Ommadon turns himself into a virtually omnipotent, grotesque hydra-like creature. Unfortunately for him, The Hero has just figured out how to use the rules of science and logic to nullify magic and, ultimately, destroy Ommadon himself. Turns out being the world's most powerful wizard doesn't help much when your enemy has just weaponized Doing In the Wizard.
- Played for laughs in The Emperor's New Groove, when Yzma gets hit with one of her transformation potions. There's a puff of smoke and her evil cackling and it's built up like she's turning into a huge monster or something... but it turns out she's now a tiny, harmless cat. Sorta subverted since it does make her very agile, at least.
- Help! I'm a Fish, the Big Bad Joe has an antidote that turns Fish into Humans, and increases intelligence to those who weren't human in the first place. The protagonist tricks him into drinking it in order to answer some science questions, eventually turning him into a super-intelligent humanoid fish-like monstrosity, without gills. He drowns after answering one last question.
Fly: Can a human breathe underwater?
Joe: Of course not!
Films — Live-Action
- Calypso's transformation in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. She's not completely powerless, summoning a whirlpool on command, but she has no physical body any more because it turned into a mass of crabs, which promptly fell into the ocean.
- In Wes Craven's New Nightmare, when the archetype behind Freddy is defeated — in the same humiliating way it had already been once before as the witch in the story of Hansel and Gretel — as it burns away, it briefly turns into its demonic-looking true form, and a fat load of good that does it.
- The Super Mario Bros. movie. After the titular heroes hit Koopa with a de-evolution ray, he transforms into a Tyrannosaurus. They then shoot him again, turning him into primordial ooze.
- In the Sci-Fi movie The Hive, the titular army ants are able to form into all kinds of bizarre formations, such as mile-high tentacles. When denied humanity's technology (and one of the exterminators tries to frag the hive), they flip out and form into... a giant ant. All it does is badly injure the guy who tried to kill them, who proceeds to blow them up.
- In The Movie version of My Favorite Martian, the Big Bad, Elliot Coleye (the head of SETI), tastes some nerplex and undergoes a typical One-Winged Angel transformation sequence, complete with monologue, Evil Laugh, and spinning downwards camera. Not only does the end result look pretty goofy, but he gets Hoist by His Own Petard as SETI officials suddenly appear and mistake him for a genuine Martian.
- The Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze drinks the mutagen and grows into a gigantic mutant form that the Turtles dub the Super Shredder. Unfortunately, the Shredder has become little more than a rampaging beast that brings down the dock above them and himself trying to destroy the Turtles. The Turtles emerge from the wreckage dusty but unharmed, and see Shredder's twitching hand rise from the rubble. Raph exclaims "No One Could Survive That!!", only for Shredder's hand to fall limp, signifying that, yes, this is the end of the Shredder.
- Oddly enough, The Thing (1982). What with all the flamethrowers in the Antarctic base, any piece of the Thing which takes an easily recognizable form on-screen is immolated relatively quickly. The real problem is in finding who it is in the first place.
- Neo-Geildon in the Kyoryugers Vs. Go-Busters movie managed to transform into Neo-Messiah in the end, and it's pretty useless against the comedic ToQgers.
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Gideon's final trick after Scott destroys his body is to manifest as an ominous Doppelgänger of Scott called Nega Scott...who actually turns out to just be a normal dude who wants to get brunch with regular Scott instead of fighting him, anticlimactically crushing Gideon's dying wish for revenge.
- When the One Ring is destroyed in The Lord of the Rings, Sauron briefly rises as a gigantic terrifying cloudy figure visible for hundreds of kilometers... and is promptly blown away and dispersed by a wind out of the West. Saruman did the same thing when he died, except the shade was man-sized — part of the repeating motif of Saruman as a far lesser version of Sauron. The wind is part of Manwë's domain, so his power as the mightiest of the Valar might have something to do with it. And both of them are lesser versions of Morgoth, whose shade still exists beyond the door of night and will come back some day to be Killed Off for Real.
And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell.
- Something very similar happens with the collective ghostly intelligence (assuming it is real) of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. When the building explodes, a huge, black shape made of a myriad of tiny black motes, "like an obscene manta," seems to pour itself out of the window of the presidential suite and get ripped apart by the winds. Hallorann, the only witness to this event, is reminded of a time when he as a child blew up a wasp's nest with a firecracker and watched as the wasps rose from it in a collapsing, dwindling cloud, the single collective group intelligence of the wasps seeming to wonder furiously as it died what had done this to its home. He might have had exactly the right idea, considering the importance of the image of wasps to Jack Torrance. "This is what it's like to put your whole hand inside the nest."
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Inherent in the The Mayor's plan in season three. He gets to be a completely invincible though average human for 100 days, before transforming into a giant snake demon which, though much more powerful, is destructible. Admittedly, had he not enacted this plan, he would presumably have remained a destructible human, so it's still an improvement. The downside is that the form needs a massive number of humans to maintain. To this end, he specifically tells his army of vampires that they have to keep the class near him so he can have a snack within reach.
- Also occurs in episode "Fear, Itself" — The main characters are all trapped inside a fraternity house on Halloween where a demon named Gachnar makes them all experience their fears so it can feed on them and manifest itself. At the end of the episode, the demon does appear with much shaking and spooky light... only to turn out to be smaller than your hand. Buffy defeats it by stepping on it.
- Happens with Willow Rosenberg. After Tara was mindsucked, Willow got amped up on magic, attacked Glory, and succeeded in hurting her... for a few seconds. Then she got her ass beat. Still, it was better than anyone else, even Buffy herself, had done against Glory up to that point.
- The early Kamen Rider shows loved playing this trope with the Great Leader, the recurring Big Bad of the show.
- At the end of the original series, Rider 1 encounters the Great Leader and rips his hood off, revealing a bunch of tentacles. Not pretty, but neither a real threat to The Hero. Rider 1 rips these off too, only to reveal a pale head with no features except for a large eyeball. And then? The Great Leader gives a final villain speech before he simply dies and disintegrates, leaving only his robes and eyeball behind, for no apparent reason. And then his base self-destructs. So technically, Great Leader undergoes not one but TWO Clipped Wing Angel forms without actually fighting the hero at all!
- In the beginning of the next series, Kamen Rider V3, it is revealed that the Great Leader had faked his own death in the previous series. However, this series ends like the first, with V3 encountering the Great Leader in his lair — or at least, he thought so. What he finds there is only a skeleton with a still beating heart, completely immobile and not even quite alive either. The "final battle" consists of nothing more than V3 smashing it to bits within seconds.
- The Government of Darkness in Kamen Rider X was led by King Dark, a huge metallic demon. In the finale, it turned out that King Dark was actually a Humongous Mecha, piloted by a rather puny Mad Scientist who was not even close to a match for X.
- Stronger, on the other hand, gives the Great Leader a proper final battle, with Stronger and his predecessors having to fight him as a giant rock monster.
- Later Kamen Rider shows aren't exempt either. A few notable examples:
- Kamen Rider OOO has two separate instances where one of the Greeed absorb a large number of Medals from another one of their kind, causing them to transform into a large rampaging monster that's much less dangerous in a direct fight than their normal Humanoid Abomination forms.
- Late in Kamen Rider Gaim, Micchy attempts to kill Kouta by using a new form given to him by the local Mad Scientist, Yomotsuheguri Arms. Despite its foreboding appearance, it's in a constant state of Explosive Overclocking that leaves Micchy writhing in agony so much that he can barely even attack. The form proves absolutely worthless in defeating Kouta, except in that he lets Micchy kill him to take it off.
- Kamen Rider Ghost gives its main character the powerful Grateful form, which has a wide array of powers and is considerably stronger than the lesser forms that combine to make it, but the villains introduced immediately after its introduction have the ability to cripple the source of its power almost at will, causing it to often be less useful than if he'd just stuck with a lesser form. Said villains make the same mistake at the end of the show and combine into a single form that can be Killed Off for Real instead of being able to revive each other like they could as individuals.
- Kamen Rider Ex-Aid gives out an early Mid-Season Upgrade, Drago Knight Hunter Z, which is a big suit of dragon-themed armor that can be split between multiple Riders or all worn by the same user at once. While the full armor is very impressive and looks like it should grant a Set Bonus, it's actually the opposite: it's based off a Co-Op Multiplayer game, and trying to play solo makes the user weaker.
- This is what Taiga's attempt at becoming Cronus ultimately ends up as. While he gets a power boost, he still can't match Gamedeus Cronus and being infected with all strains of Bugster Virus at once considerably slows him down.
- Done hilariously in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Big Bad Garrett has survived his well-deserved No-Holds-Barred Beatdown at the hands of Deathlok, broken free, killed his guards, and gotten into the machine that's the finalized version of the tech that created Deathlok. High-tech armor is painfully built into and around him, making him the ultimate Deathlok with the appearance of his comics incarnation. Now ready to begin his plans anew, he starts to launch into this rant that would not be out of place in a Silver Age comic... and then Coulson casually disintegrates him with a weapon from earlier in the series, says "so that's where I left that," and walks off without giving Garrett a second thought.
- In Super KO Boxing 2, one of the opponents, Grogul, can transform into a hulking ogre. At first it hits hard and doesn't take damage until you realize that he's taking damage on his own, after enough avoiding his attacks he will instantly turn back into his normal self, only weakened this time.
- The final form of the Naughty Sorceress in Kingdom of Loathing is this. Her second form is a monstrous Eldritch Abomination, but once that form is killed, she transforms into her real ultimate form: a sausage. That form is a Puzzle Boss that automatically kills your character in one hit if you lack the right item, but if you have it she is automatically defeated.
- The final transformation of Zophar at the end of Lunar: Eternal Blue and its remake.
- After you beat Crocomire in Super Metroid it falls into some acid and all the flesh melts off its body. Then, after an ominous pause, its skeleton crashes through the wall on the opposite side and the boss music starts up again... before the skeleton just collapses.
- Metroid: Fusion: After finally defeating the SA-X in a Mirror Match, it transforms into a huge, scary-looking monster... that dies in four charged shots and has only one easily avoidable attack: trying to crush Samus by jumping on her. The Core-X it turns into after that is actually harder to kill.
- In Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, after defeating the Perfect Run Final Boss, the Dahaka, you knock him into his Weaksauce Weakness of water. Suddenly, all the water in the chamber turns a shadowy black, and the Dahaka rises again fifty times larger than before. Then he roars in pain and dies again: that was all just death throes.
- This happens a lot in Resident Evil:
- In Resident Evil 5, after Chris and Sheva overdose Albert Wesker on his Super Serum, causing his usual powerset of super strength and flash stepping to fail, he exposes himself to Uroboros. He grows massive tentacles and can easily One-Hit Kill, but loses his bullet-dodging speed and gets several glowing herniated vital organs.
- G-Type, Nemesis, Marcus, Morpheus, Saddler... inevitably, the main villain's Lightning Bruiser humanoid form is much more dangerous than the slow, giant blob they inevitably transform into for the final battle.
- It's also discussed, since Umbrella is aware of the clipped-wing angel issue with their Tyrant line of creatures.
- The T-103s, the Nemesis, and the Ivans all were fitted with "Power Limiters": a massive overcoat meant to prevent this from happening as their clipped wing forms, while physically more powerful, were much more unpredictable and difficult to control. "Mr. X" and Nemesis' limiters worked fine until the good guys burned them off, and the Ivans actually subverted the trope altogether as they never actually transform.
- Zig-Zagged in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica. Alexia's first form is an agile human who can create fire, then her second form is a giant pulsating mass that is relatively easy to destroy, but when you do, her top half breaks off and she becomes a smaller, fast, and agile dragonfly-like boss, which dies to a single shot from a linear rifle, but her final form is still more One-Winged Angel than other final bosses in Resident Evil.
- It's averted in certain cases; oftentimes the final boss cannot be beaten without some type of ungodly powerful weapon (for instance, Nemesis's final form requires a conveniently-placed railgun the size of a car to defeat).
- Averted in Resident Evil 6. Simmons and Carla become both monstrous and impossible to defeat through conventional means. In fact, the former is killed because he intermittently reverts to something closely resembling his human form, allowing Leon, Helena, and Ada to exploit his weaknesses. Even so, it takes a train, hundreds of bullets, a helicopter, a rocket launcher, and three highly trained agents to take Simmons down, and freezing and destroying her body at least three times to take Carla down.
- Count Dracula's final form in I Wanna Be the Guy plays with this - Waddle Doo isn't all that one-winged in the first place, really.
- The Golden Diva in Wario Land 4 doesn't look so tranquil once she's down to two hit points. And when she's down to one hit point, she simply becomes... pathetic. She just becomes a pair of lips that doesn't deal any damage.
- The finale of the final boss battle of Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is André the hoodlum: a tiny black fly with hands. He flees from you. To defeat him, all you need to do is make a funny face at him.
- Tales Series:
- Dhaos does this in reverse in the later versions of Tales of Phantasia, his second form being monstrous and his third being angelic, the result of him praying to his god for more power. This trope is still played straight in the fight against Dhaos. His monstrous form is difficult to hit and quite strong. The angelic form can be pinned down in a corner and made incapable of fighting back.
- The final form of Mithos Yggdrassil in Tales of Symphonia is the encapsulation of his broken body inside the physical manifestations of his own sins, weaknesses, and fears — a form that is far weaker than his second, 'normal' appearance. Although it's still stronger than his first form as leader of Cruxis, thanks to its arsenal of attacks — some of which can hurt — he's a large target and doesn't get overlimits, so he can easily be pinned down and combo'd to death. His low defense doesn't help either. Additionally, he loses his 100% resistance to light magic, finally allowing Raine and Colette to do some serious damage (especially if you use Stardust Rain with Genis).
- Devil May Cry:
- The first game has the demon emperor Mundus as a final boss. In the opening portion of the boss battle, he flies into space and Dante pursues him; afterwards, he knocks Dante down into a lava-filled arena. Then, after being beaten, he seemingly kicks the bucket; however, as Dante attempts to escape the crumbling castle, Mundus rises again; the statuesque facade he had used to fight you earlier is crumbling, revealing a grotesque blob of flesh and eyeballs. It's actually a lot easier to beat this form than when he was standing waist deep in lava. Additionally, in the first two battles, Dante stood a chance only because the Sparda sword's full power was finally unlocked; it was the only sword you could use against Mundus. In the last battle, Dante's able to hold his own with his weaker melee weapons — in fact, Alastor's Vortex can rip him apart with the greatest of ease.
- After beating Sanctus Diabolica, the final boss of Devil May Cry 4, he merges with the Savior. Dante's fight with the Savior was epic, and Nero's fight with Sanctus Diabolica was as well, but the merged form goes down with three properly-timed Devil Bringer snatches.
- Same thing happens in Devil May Cry 2 with Possessed Arius. Before transformation, the boss hits strong, has a couple of attacks which can be troublesome, and can perform sudden bursts of speed. After the transformation, as Arius-Argosax, it is confined to a single space, only really moving vertically, with maybe one attack that may be a threat, and that one doesn't really hit that hard. So it then becomes a simple matter of dodging its ocassional attack and throwing stuff at it until it dies.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: After defeating a friggin' huge armored spider in the Temple of Time, the eye that was its weak point mutates into a small spider that runs around the room trying to stay away from Link, and it's easily beaten with a few arrows, or one pound from an animated statue.
- After destroying Trinexx's fire and ice heads in A Link to the Past, it turns into a weaker snake-like form.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: After Calamity Ganon's cyborg form is defeated, he gives up on reincarnation to gather enough power to become Dark Beast Ganon, a massive boar-like monster that is the purest embodiment of Hatred and Malice. Sadly for Ganon, his Dark Beast form is so slow that Link mounted on his horse can literally run rings around him while firing Light Arrows at his weak points. Dark Beast Ganon's only attack is a Breath Weapon that Link's mount can also avoid rather easily. While it is ordinarily invulnerable, the fact that it absorbed Zelda means she can cut through its defenses to give Link easy targets to attack.
- Pikmin 2:
- The Titan Dweevil initially has four weapons, each being one of the game's main hazards. Once you remove all of its weapons, it sheds its metal coating and has a more crab-like appearance. It can't do anything to kill your Pikmin.
- The Waterwraith, a strange humanoid creature that rolls around on stone wheels. It's an invincible monster until its weakness is exposed; purple Pikmin. It goes from it chasing you to you chasing it by the end of its fight. The music that plays during this section even lampshades the complete shift in tone.
- The final final form of the final boss in Parasite Eve. After three forms of extremely creepy evolution to One-Winged Angel form, it turns into a giant goopy green thing. It can still attack, but is much weaker and will go down with a couple of shots from your special Chekhov's Gun. How does this happen? It evolved into a defense-focused form and you could not damage it at all until you got special gun clips with Aya's cells inside.
- World of Warcraft:
- The game has Kael'Thas's second encounter. While he definitely looks more intimidating due to the way a demon saved his life, he's a far shot from his former self, who had several servants, animated weapons, and a very impressive event heralding the last stage of the fight. Instead, he only goes through the last two stages again, the second of which was weakened so much that any single class with self-healing capacities can finish him off. He also went from a 25-man raid down to five people, but even for that, he's not particularly impressive compared to the rest of the dungeon he was in. People were more likely to have troubles with the last pack of regular enemies. The reason is because Kael'Thas hasn't gotten any stronger due to the demon's interference, it was just a matter of making it out of his defeat alive. The crystal in his chest is preserving his life. You're fighting a guy on life support.
- While less dramatic, High Astromancer Solarian's fight. The first phase involves her casting deadly arcane spells and summoning adds galore. Upon hitting 20% health, she seems to go One-Winged Angel by transforming into an immense Void Walker demon... but the encounter actually turns into a Tank-And-Spank fight and can be won with merely a handful of raid members alive.
- Lei Shen in the Throne of Thunder raid is a long, intense fight requiring perfect positioning, kiting, and splitting up the party in just such a way. After the second transition phase at about 25% health however, Lei Shen suffers a Villainous B.S.O.D., no longer harnesses the sectors of his platform that were such a threat, and the only new mechanic is wind that can blow players to their death but you'd have to be ignoring entirely to die to, making it more of a victory lap unless your raid is low on surviving members.
- Downplayed in Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. After you blow up his mecha, the Big Bad's final form is simply himself on foot. While you're still in a 50-foot mecha. Even then, he is able to take so much more bullets than any other human opponent in the game that is looks like he's cyborgized beyond humanity — he doesn't bleed the way humans do. Even when you're on your mecha, you'll have to step on him several times to kill him for good.
- Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII had a full meal of a Sequential Boss battle. Appetizer: a creepy looking giant monster that is a pain in the ass to battle. Main course: the original One-Winged Angel with the Trope Namer music, Safer Sephiroth (who is not actually safer; it was a mistranslation of Seipher, referring to a Kabballistic concept), which is still a pain in the ass to battle. For dessert, he crosses the Bishounen Line and returns with one HP for a one-on-one facedown against a SOLDIER with a full Limit Gauge and a BFS.
- In Final Fantasy X, after fighting your way through the guts of Sin, Yu Yevon's giant monster body, and killing his physical incarnation (actually a transformed version of the hero's father), Yu Yevon himself turns out to be a floating spider symbol that can't even kill you, since your team has auto-revive on for the duration of the final battle.
- Final Fantasy Tactics has a variant on this, where the Demonic, supposedly stronger forms of certain boss characters are actually much, much easier to deal with than the human forms. Elmdore and his Assassins: In human form, they're insanely fast, with hugely damaging skills and unblockable one-hit-kill attacks. In their demon forms, they're much slower, and go down easily.
- Final Fantasy XIII 's final boss, Orphan, has two forms. The first requires a great deal of luck and strategy to defeat even with the right accessories on the party leader, especially when underleveled; the second can easily be defeated within 2 or 3 Paradigm Shifts. The second form is susceptible to Vanille's Death spell.
- In Grandia II, the first fight with Pope Zera is a major contender for hardest boss fight in the game. However, when facing him again after the Boss Rush with the pieces of Valmar, he's a pushover with only 1 attack able to cause serious harm.
- In Grandia I, Gaia Core is a tank, and will happily trade heavy blows with a well-leveled and equipped party; but get past him to the FINAL final boss, Evil Gaia, and all you've got to worry about are random minor status effects, like poison. Maybe if they came at you in the opposite order... but for all intents and purposes, Gaia Core is the final boss of Grandia 1.
- At the end of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Indy convinces the evil Colonel Kerner to try the ascension machine in lieu of using him as a guinea pig. As it activates, he becomes taller and taller, his eyes glow, and he can feel the power of godhood surging through him when — he suddenly crumples into a misshapen little imp. Horrified by his appearance, he kills himself by jumping into the lava. Par for the course in an Indy climax. A minute later, the evil scientist Dr. Ubermann undergoes the exact same fate when Indy convinces him to step into the ascension machine too. Ubermann does succeed in transforming into an energy being, but the raw power is too much for him and he quickly dissipates into nothingness, taking Atlantis with him.
- The final Final Boss of Wonder Boy III Monster Lair. After destroying the dragon the Big Bad is riding, which is a That One Boss, he morphs into a Nightmare Fueling green ghoul-type monster. This form, however, is more bark than bite.
- Mega Man
- Copy X from Mega Man Zero really went One-Winged Angel at the end of the first episode. In Zero 3, he tries to transform again, but Dr. Weil set him up to self-destruct when he tries.
- Elpizo's second form in 2 is a very easy target with easily-avoidable attacks. This one is justified by the fact that Elpizo's body wasn't capable of bringing out the Dark Elf's true power, and forcibly doing so robbed him of any sanity he had left and unable to use his new power effectively.
- Ys: In II Eternal, Darm regresses to a winged sphere form for the second half of the battle. In Dawn of Ys, Arem turns into a large immobile purple Blob Monster for his final form, which is a cinch compared to his previous Marathon Boss forms.
- In The Legend of Dragoon, when you invade the lower floors of the evil empire's castle, you're spotted by a scientist, who says that he's worked on a new transformation spell that he'll use to kill you. The creepy pre-boss music starts up, and he transforms into a dog. Dog doesn't even try to fight you, it just barks. One of your party members (Shana) even comments on its cuteness.
- Andross sort of suffers from this in Star Fox 64. To wit: this is a battle fought in All-Range Mode, and Andross's Brain has no ranged attacks. It's just a matter of shoot the weak spot, fire one shot at the main brain to make it teleport away before you crash into it, U-turn to face it again, repeat. Just so long as you don't mess up and get both wings blasted off by his Brain Tentacles, which will do their damndest to never let go. Messing up is not exactly unheard of, however, since Andross's Brain is fast, faster than your Arwing without boosting. Sometimes the battle comes down to who's the better one at maneuvering.
- After defeating Belial in Gradius IV, its eyeball morphs into a replica of the Zelos Force from Salamander/Life Force, and fires laser beams everywhere, but then explodes.
- In Tekken 3, True Ogre is usually regarded as one of if not the weakest character in the entire game. This is especially jarring considering the original form is very hard to beat.
- In SaGa 2, abusing MAGI can turn you into a god, complete with a One-Winged Angel form, and the more MAGI you have, the more powerful your new form is. The game's second-to-last boss, Apollo, managed to get his hands on all but one of the MAGI, and ends up being a very difficult fight. However, because he's missing a MAGI, his new form is unstable. Even if your party isn't strong enough to kill him with damage, if you simply manage to survive enough rounds of combat, he'll eventually undergo a Superpower Meltdown and explode.
- In Haunting Ground, your nemesis seems nigh-invincible, having infused himself with the rejuvenating immortality elixir known as "Azoth." He regenerates from a creepy wheelchair-bound man to a healthy young man capable of zapping you with magic, and throwing him into a pit of molten metal doesn't stop him. This is where he enters his "Clipped Wing Angel" mode, though; he's now ON FIRE and can kill you just by touching you. Since he's on fire, as long as you can (barely) manage to stay ahead of him, he will eventually burn to a crisp.
- The final boss of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle goes through three forms. He starts out as an annoying but underwhelming Puzzle Boss, and then injects himself with Psycho Serum to become a Batman-esque abomination that can teleport, lock you into a flurry of punches, and just toss you out the window for an instant kill. His final form? An immobile, goofy mascot balloon with a weak, easily blockable laser as its main attack, plus a very inaccurate punch.
- The Demon Beast from Chibi Knight. It has three stages. First, you need to destroy its shield orbs before you can even hurt it. Then it takes on a different pattern when it loses its shield. The third form is a giant eye that just sits there and does nothing.
- Kingdom Hearts
- Oogie Boogie in Kingdom Hearts, after you beat him the first time, absorbs his entire house and turns huge with the power of darkness. But he just sits there, barely even scratching you as you take out his power sources one by one. Even the random Heartless Mooks hanging around there do more damage!
- Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories: You first fight Marluxia in a difficult standard Org. fight. He's a lot like Axel, with his fast, varied, hard to predict attacks, and the ability to easily punish you for any mistakes. Then he hops into some kind of flower mecha, loses all his good attacks, and just becomes a tedious, easy to handle boss who always gives you time to heal. Ansem in Riku's mode seems like this when you fight him in the middle, but in the GBA version when you get to the end you'll find he is a worthy final boss.... however, the PS2 remake made it much easier to dodge and block his attacks. In the PS2 remake, Marluxia has a 3rd form, which just sits still and takes only a handful of Keyblade slashes to take down each health bar. The trick? He has several powerful gimmicks, such as making you drop all of your attacks, shooting you with a laser attack that will hit about a dozen times if it connects right away, or casting Doom on you. Also, nearly all of his attacks are Sleights, meaning if you don't have the right cards, you'll be left desperately trying to dodge them.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: The first time you fight Xehanort, he's slow, predictable, easy to dodge, and goes down fast. Then you fight him again, he's fast, has loads of incredibly powerful attacks (a long, devastating combo, and METEOR SHOWER (not the Shotlock, but a variation of Meteor instead) which is an auto gameover if you don't have the right abilities, a ridiculous amount of health, and the ability to easily kill you if you screw up. Then in the epilogue, you fight that version again before he changes form, gaining even more health!.... and trading Meteor Shower and a lot of his more annoying moves for a bunch of slow, easy-to-dodge attacks, and going from constantly pressuring you to always giving you enough time to heal. His one attack that is actually somewhat threatening is mitigated by the fact that whenever it's used, it presents the opportunity to pull off a reaction command that will cause a massive amount of damage if you succeed at it.
- Most of the game Blood II: The Chosen consists of chasing after a mage named Gideon. When you finally fight him, it is a nightmare. He flies, teleports seemingly at random, casts spells, and fires laser beams from his eyes. If you win, you enter a spirit realm and meet him again, and he transforms into a large spider. This is almost immobile and spits slow moving acid. A bit of bog standard FPS strafing and down it goes.
- Ōkamiden's final boss has one of these as his third form, as he tries to possess Kurou. It turns out Kurou is a living doll made by Waka for the sole purpose of sealing away the Big Bad, and when Kurou is destroyed, so is he. It's still extremely difficult, though... for a different reason.
- Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean:
- The game has the Post-Final Boss, Geldoblame, who is a massive earthen head sprouting from the ground. He has a tremendous amount of HP, but his attacks are laughably puny and a hit from a Spirit Attack is an Instant-Win Condition.
- Fadroh. After he transforms into a giant demon, he hits on par with the mooks in that area, but then he busts out the Orb of Magical Offense, which jacks his damage to quadruple digits and lets him move twice per turn, which turns him into a proper One-Winged Angel.
- In the campaign modes of Dawn of War, Dark Crusade and Soul Storm. After gaining all the wargear upgrades for your Chaos Lord, you have the option of gaining one last piece of wargear that turns him into a Daemon Prince, the ambition of all chaos worshipers. It's not worth getting; while a Daemon Prince is an improvement over a Chaos Lord in a normal game, by the end of the campaign, the Chaos Lord in either campaign will have gained a massive increase to his damage per second, and will actually be higher than what he'll have as a Daemon Prince, and becoming a Daemon Prince causes him to lose any abilities his wargear gives him. The only thing gained is an HP boost, which is not worth it.
- In the final Bowser minigame of Mario Party 5, Bowser consumes a potion that causes him to grow to Giga Bowser-proportions...only to crash through the floor and get stuck.
- The final forms of bosses in Sonic the Hedgehog games tend to be much easier than their first form. Examples include the FinalHazard and Metal Overlord. This can become Fridge Brilliance when you realize that Sonic is usually in his Super Mode for the final battle. One of the most infamous in Sonic lore to date is the final boss in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood where, despite the fact that the previous battles have you nearly drowning, incapable of using POW attacks, and even fighting with only one character, the final battle against Lord Ix can be done in twelve seconds if you can match every combo on the touch screen. What makes it even more ridiculous is that the touch screen commands are arguably easier to follow than most Mook characters' attacks.
- Subverted in MOTHER 3. Porky goes through a One-Winged Angel phase first, appearing first as a normal chubby boy, and second as a feeble yet immortal old man inside a huge mechanical spider. But at some critical point during the final battle, Porky seals himself inside an "Absolutely Safe Capsule". While inside, he can't do any damage to the protagonists — or anyone, for that matter. However, he's invincible in this form — but, in a way, he's "defeated" at that point, because said capsule is inescapable, meaning he's stuck inside forever.
- The final boss of Dragon Age II, Knight-Commander Meredith, does this. After fighting her in one form, she attempts to draw more power from her lyrium broadsword. She turns into stone.
- Loewenzahn in P.N.03, after its initial two forms are defeated the second time, transforms into a mecha-phoenix as a last ditch effort. Its attacks can easily be dodged, and it goes down quickly.
- In Skies of Arcadia, after a normal battle, then a difficult and rather tedious airship battle against a giant silver...thing, Ramirez attacks you on the deck of your airship for one final battle, semi-transformed into a monster. However, it's easier than the previous two battles, and combined with the Crowning Music of Awesome, it makes a for a fun beatdown. In addition, Ramirez has a rather amusing attack, Silver Nightmare, that forces one of your characters to use a technique against your party. More fun than it sounds, as it usually doesn't hurt them that much.
- A couple of units in Gundam Extreme Vs will change into a "heavily-damaged" extra form upon being destroyed. This form only has 100 health and generally very few methods of attack, but it allows the player to try for a last-ditch attempt at defeating their enemy. This is a derivative of the Recover Awakening featured in Gundam Vs Zeta Gundam: if your Awakening meter is full when you or any of your allies take a hit that would be fatal, the subject is instantly restored to 25% health at the cost of one of its extremities and any weapons attached to the lost limb/head/binder. However, enemies never use the Awakening system, so that's another trope.
- In FTL: Faster Than Light, after losing its cloak and drones, the Rebel Flagship redirects power to its shields, teleporter, and 'some kind of superweapon'. The shield turns out to be a super-heavy Zoltan Shield, the teleporter is a two-man unit that only sends humans, and the superweapon is a barrage of eight or nine heavy lasers. Without the Halberd Beam, the Boarding Drone, or Drone Swarm, however, most players breeze right by it.
- The final form of the final boss in Dynamite Dux is very tiny and can't attack — he just runs around real fast. Though he can take off a third of your health through Collision Damage, this is nothing compared to his previous forms.
- Morgath of Avencast: Rise of the Mage has a second form that gets full-on boss battle treatment, but it's literally his beating heart with almost no defenses whatsoever. Any player who can survive the previous fight will find it a cakewalk.
- The True Final Boss of Super Smash Bros. 4 is the Master Core, who doesn't appear on lower intensities, replaces Master Hand and Crazy Hand mid-battle, and has several forms, each more dangerous than the last. Except for the very last form: a motionless orb that does nothing except wait for you to blast it offscreen. If you take too long to kill it, it'll unleash a series of One-Hit Kill energy waves, but if you dodge those it just self-destructs.
- While his second form is definitely worthy, the Final Boss of Bayonetta 2's third form is this. Literally. After the previous Nintendo Hard phases of the battle, the source of his power is removed by Loki and he becomes unsteady, wobbling drunkenly, barely attacking, and even the angular "wings" on his back are shattered.
- Bosses rarely actually transform in The Binding of Isaac, but some actually become easier after they Turn Red, such as Pestilence spawning normal flies instead of chargers, or Mom's Heart/It Lives launching exploding projectiles all over the room, but no longer hiding in the rafters after spawning enemies so it can be killed faster.
- In the realistic version of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Ivo Shandor declares himself a god and chooses a Destructor form. That form is...a giant stereotype devil. The sorely underwhelmed Ghostbusters proceed to thoroughly wipe the floor with him. This is entirely in keeping with the rules of Ghostbusters: Gozer needed someone else to "choose and perish," knowing that someone would eventually hit upon something sufficiently horrifying. When Shandor chose his own form...well, let's just say that he probably chose too quickly.
- This can happen to the player in Nuclear Throne. Melting can be "resurrected" by a Necromancer, but doing it turns him into a mere skeleton.
- In Warframe, Vay Hek will call down a Humongous Mecha from orbit when losing the battle, which he plugs his body into. While he's capable of dealing more damage while in the Terra Frame via a BFG and orbital strike drones, he loses his Mana Burn attack and inexplicably has a dramatic reduction in armor. His normal form - well, as normal as it can be - can only be damaged by shooting his face while he has his mask open to taunt the Tenno, but the Terra Frame can be damaged anywhere and has far less damage mitigation.
- In Heart of Ice, The Watcher refuses to go down after his proper One-Winged Angel form, resulting in a final sword battle. While not a Zero-Effort Boss, it's a much easier than any of the other boss battles.
- In Undertale, Mettaton's heavy armor plating makes him completely invulnerable to your attacks. His humanoid Mettaton EX form is easily damaged on top of having awful battery life. The Genocide path takes this even further with Mettaton NEO, who despite looking quite impressive and boasting of his human-killing capabilities not only goes down in a single hit like nearly every other enemy at this point, but is in fact incapable of harming you period.
- inFAMOUS: Second Son does this during the Final Boss fight. However, it happens not to Big Bad Augustine, but to the player - Augustine is smart enough to let Delsin absorb her powers so that if the ensuing We Can Rule Together fails, he is stuck with a completely unfamiliar and weak ability instead of the 11th-Hour Superpower he was hoping for. If Eugene hadn't shown up with some Blast Cores, Delsin would have been screwed.
- Want a really crazy and infamous example of this trope, look no further than Giygas from EarthBound. Giygas wasn't nearly so monstrous before, as an angry little alien creature in a life support capsule who wanted to punish humanity for stealing the power of PSI. However a protracted period stuck inside a Devil's Machine with his own immense psychic power eventually warps him into what could only be described as an "an idiotic god" made of evil and madness itself, taking the form of a distorted face screaming in agony, spending the entire boss fight babbling and ranting incoherently and is capable of destroying the entire cosmos with absolutely no self-awareness of what he's doing. And to think this unstoppable horror is being manipulated by a cowardly fat kid.
- BlazBlue Central Fiction has Susanoo, who is the Big Bad inside an incredibly powerful, world-destroying suit. Despite all his power in the story (as in he's literally the single strongest being in the series), he's considered the single worst character in terms of gameplay, due to a lack of defensive options preventing him from doing anything once he loses momentum, and needing to use certain attacks to unlock seals, which gives him more moves. But by the time he gets enough seals unlocked to pose a significant threat, any other character (including fellow bottom-tier characters) will have already won the match. What makes it worse is that, since Central Fiction doesn't use the Unlimited Mode from the previous games that could've made him a proper Final Boss like it made Hazama so tough to fight in Continuum Shift, that's all you get for the final battle.
- Demon's Souls has King Allant. After the King Allant in the Boletarian Palace is revealed to be a a demonic clone, the player ventures under The Shrine and discovers the 'true' King Allant ... whose abuse of the Demon's Souls and creation of the Soul Arts has left him as corrupted blob of pudding about to be on the losing end of a Curb-Stomp Battle.
- In Sundered, the Resist path’s final boss is a two-stage fight against Nyarlathotep, who merges with the Shining Trapezohedron in phase two. The first phase is a suitably difficult fight, as the boss has many powerful attacks that hit hard and make it difficult for the player to reach his three weak points in various ways. The second phase has significantly less health than the previous form and a single large weak point that’s very easy to hit. And even though the boss takes away your ability to use melee attacks in this phase, this actually works in your favor: you no longer need to get in his face and can just hang back, shooting him with the Valkyrie Cannon until he dies.
- In Kid Radd, Gnarl can transform into what would be a very impressive cyborg if it weren't for the total lack of legs. Later, the Seer merges with Crystal and several other powerful sprites, and as he's defeated, mocks the heroes for thinking that beating him in a video game fight would defeat him. However, because the Seer forgot to fuse with an NPC, which would have given it invulnerability, it is able to be beaten. But because each sprite has a different idea of what subroutine should be activated when they're defeated, the Seer freezes, effectively being Killed Off for Real.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Dr. Birding shares the ability his son has, to transform into a giant purple monster. However, Dr. Birding is paralyzed and remains so when he transforms, but no longer fits in his wheelchair. So he can no longer move even with artificial aid.
- Awful Hospital: Slob #843. It's incredibly powerful, for sure, but it's so unstable that even moving, much less fighting, causes it to literally start tearing itself apart.
- Danny Phantom:
- The series invokes this while fighting Freakshow. After mocking him and rubbing the superiority of being half-ghost in his face, Danny succeeded in getting Freakshow to turn himself into a monstrous full ghost. His One-Winged Angel form could have been devastating, but Freakshow's greatest advantage was being human; turning himself into a ghost just helped Danny suck him into the Fenton Thermos without breaking a sweat.
- In Penelope Spectra's second appearance, she creates a new physical form for herself that requires Danny's DNA in order to be perfect. Danny substitutes his DNA with Jack's DNA from the snot rag he gave him earlier, so when it kicks in, she obtains Jack's massive frame and turns into a mass of mucus. Kinda averted when one of Danny's punches go inside her head instead.
- In an episode of The Powerpuff Girls, the girls are shrunk down to fight an army of nanobots too small for a normal-sized person to harm. When the girls start winning, all of the nanobots merge into one monobot that manages to completely overpower the girls, but is also now large enough for the normal-sized Professor watching the fight to destroy simply by stepping on it.
- In the final episode of W.I.T.C.H., Cedric eats Phobos, allowing him to absorb both Phobos's own magic and the stolen powers Phobos (and before him, Nerissa) had been collecting across the season. This allows Cedric to transform into a nearly all-powerful version of his Scaled Up One-Winged Angel form — but he still goes down quickly, because the heroines have better One-Winged Angel forms, and Cedric didn't quite know how to utilize his newfound powers properly.
- Downplayed in Avatar: The Last Airbender. While the Avatar State unites the Avatar with every prior incarnation of the Avatar, granting all their knowledge, training, skills, and experience, it also put the Avatar as whole at risk; dying in that form ends the Avatar's cycle of reincarnation, so the Avatar will never be reborn. It is ultimately something of a glass cannon: God-like bending ability aside, the Avatar is still no less mortal than any bender.
- In an episode of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, the villain gets frustrated as Scooby uses the MacGuffin to counter all of his spells. Having enough of this, he makes himself really huge, where he inadvertently turns Scooby into a fly to evade him. Malidoor turns himself into a toad to catch Scooby, but in this form the tag-along just walks up behind him and puts him back in the Demon Chest, the can that was sealing his evil.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, when Spider-Man confronts Nightmare in the dream world, at first he sees him as a muscular demon with flaming hair, but after Spidey gets the upper hand on Nightmare, he is reduced to a skinny, bald whelp.
- In the third season of Ninjago, the Overlord's plan to escape confinement within a hard drive is to siphon Lloyd's golden power. The other ninja defeat him within the digital realm before the process is complete, so while he is able to return to the material realm, he's now a cloud of sentient purple smoke.
- Steven Universe:
- In the season 1 finale, in a last ditch effort to defeat the Crystal Gems, Jasper convinces Lapis Lazuli to fuse with her to form the monstrous Gem Fusion Malachite...but before she can attack the Gems, the much abused Lapis seizes control of the fusion from Jasper and uses her powers to drag the both of them to the bottom of the ocean. Once they actually start working together, however, they can fight the four-Gem fusion Alexandrite on equal terms and even get the upper hand, though they're broken apart thanks to some outside interference before Jasper can really get on a rampage. Then in "Earthlings", Jasper tries this again with a Corrupted Gem Monster in order to defeat Smoky Quartz, Steven and Amethyst's fusion. Not only is the resulting fusion still no match for Smoky, but it ends up turning Jasper into a Gem Monster as well.
- Fusions comprised entirely of Rubies don't tend to fare well. The Fusion of the three Ruby guards assigned to protect Sapphire got cut down in mere seconds by Rose Quartz. The Fusion of the five modern day Homeworld Rubies is big.....and that's about it. Plus, like it's component Gems, it's not very bright. In its first appearance, Steven gets it to back down with an obvious lie. In it's second appearance, the Crystal Gems quickly break it apart within moments of it being formed.
- Stars, especially the massive ones. Depending of their masses, their final forms go from taking the One-Winged Angel form of Sun-like stars with more or less steroids to what basically are bare stellar cores, and in the end while the least massive ones simply sort of fuss out their largest kind go boom.