Comically Invincible Hero
When you have an invulnerable hero in a dramatic show, or one that tries to get you to take the fights seriously, it's an Invincible Hero. When the focus is on the Rule of Cool, it's a Showy Invincible Hero. Some shows, though, play the hero's absurdly overpowered abilities and near-invulnerability for laughs. Since the fights themselves are a foregone conclusion, they frequently get skipped or handled in one panel (this trope is particularly common in comics.) The characters frequently lampshade this trope, and in the rare case where a fight actually does have any build-up, it will often end in a deliberate anticlimax. Sight gags are often used to lampshade it further, such as supporting characters playing cards or otherwise ignoring the latest Big Bad (or even the fight itself.) Works with this trope tend to bring in enemies capable of threatening the hero eventually, especially as time goes on and the initial joke wears thin; this can turn the hero a plain old Invincible Hero if the comedy is discarded entirely. Sometimes this also involves Cerebus Syndrome as the comedy fades into the background at the same time. Up until then, though, the vast majority of fights are deliberate, comical Curb Stomp Battles. Might feature The Ace, or instead Inspector Oblivious. Compare the Iron Buttmonkey.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Seiichirou Kitano from Angel Densetsu is Mistaken for Badass by nearly everyone in the entire series. Either some stupid thugs are dumb enough to challenge him, only to be horrified just by looking at him, or other people think he's a demon at try to attack him. The results are either that Kitano just pushes them unconscious or they knock themselves out accidentally. And everyone believes Kitano has defeated them, even when he himself doesn't realize that he's in a middle of a fight.
- Ansatsu Kyoushitsu: Koro-sensei - the whole series is about his class trying to kill him, after all.
- Oga from Beelzebub. He is the strongest delinquent in his school. The running gag is that other people spend whole episodes trying to find him and challenge him only to get beaten in a few seconds without him paying much attention.
- Or without even noticing them, in some cases, such as Himekawa's attempt at revenge.
- This invincibility is removed against specific opponents, though (Tojo before Oga was ready, the Pillar Squad before he trained, etc) or for comic effect (Beel's shocks, his sister kicking his ass...)
- Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Bobobo and his pals take this trope Up to Eleven. In its run, practically no one was able to truly have him on the ropes. The fights weren't about seeing if Bobobo and his friends would win, but seeing just how big of a fool he could make out of enemies before they do and just how crazy and nonsensical they make those fights. Such methods include having Bobobo and his friends survive the most ridiculous of assaults, having Bobobo treat his allies (namely Don Patch and Jelly Jiggler) as mere weapons to abuse, and laying the hurt on his enemies with with GIANT NOSEHAIRS!!
- Chounouryokusha Saiki Kusuo No Sainan has a main character with an absurd number of psychic powers... None of which he actually wants, as they don't turn off, and nothing can surprise or challenge him.
- The Devil King Is Bored is the Villain Protagonist version of this trope.
- Dragon Ball was like this early on, with Goku's absurd invulnerability played for laughs most of the time. Not so much with Z, although it is present in Dragon Ball Z Abridged.
- Dragon Half almost completely ran on this trope.
- Even though it's called Hayate the Combat Butler in translation, the battles are few and far between is ironic enough. The battles that don't challenge him aren't even on panel. You see them attacking, then in the next panel Hayate is walking away and the attacker is on the ground with a Cranial Eruption. The ones who do challenge him are the (at worst) minor characters, usually the ones on his side.
- The Irresponsible Captain Tylor has a variation on this: Tylor is comically invincible despite the fact that he has no apparent skills that suggest he should be. As a result, his crew is never less incredulous about how they keep surviving encounters that almost certainly should have resulted in all of them being killed.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!: Jack Rakan and Nagi Springfield, who's completely invincible because... well, because... because he just is!
- The eponymous One Punch Man, who can defeat any enemy with one punch and has an existential crisis as a result.
- Sunred from Tentai Senshi Sunred. The entire series is just one long Go-Karting with Bowser moment between Sunred and his 'Arch-Enemy', the not-so-evil organization Florsheim. When the monsters demand to fight him due to Contractual Genre Blindness, the battles are hilariously one-sided and very rarely shown on-screen.
- Astérix and Obelix frequently play their inhuman strength for laughs.
- And the battles happen off-screen often — one occasion where pain stars and screams drifted into view, while the narration announced something like "It's such a beautiful day today that we'll skip the extreme violence in this scene."
- Fightman, a one-off character Deadpool has to kill, is like this.
- Deadpool's archnemesis Squirrel Girl has beaten Doctor Doom so many times he doesn't even put up a fight when she invades Latveria, by herself, to borrow his time machine. She's also (supposedly) beaten Thanos, The Mandarin, M.O.D.O.X., and Fin Fang Foom. She's a teenage mutant who has all of the powers of a squirrel.
- Lucky Luke stories often devote more time to the comic failings of the episode's bad guys, since their defeat is inevitable (which isn't to say it's easy, Luke always needs to plan something).
- Plastic Man is usually played this way as his powers basically make him a cartoon character on steroids. He was once scattered in small chunks across the ocean floor for 3000 years and it only sobered him up a little, until he got back from vacation.
- Superman sometimes gets used this way, especially in some of the Silver Age comics.
- Gilbert Shelton's Wonder Wart-Hog is successfully fending off an alien bombardment of the world, throwing the bombs into space - then catches a little firecracker-sized bomb, which goes off in his hand. He's completely unharmed, but the whole city's been vaporized, except for sections of a building and street behind him forming sort of a reverse Impact Silhouette.
Film - Animated
- Metro Man of Mega Mind.
- It's also a Deconstruction of this trope. Metro Man is so invincible, the people take him completely for granted, never allowing him to have his own life.
- Played the most explicitly for laughs when an angry Roxanne grabs everything heavy within reach and throws it at him and he just stands still with a blank expression and lets her finish venting and the objects shatter against him.
Film - Live Action
- The Blues Brothers, where among other things Jake and Elwood have a house dropped on them, but they just dust themselves off and walk away.
- The Mask - except in the original comic, where he was an evil wacko willing to kill anyone who opposed him.
- The Pink Panther: Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the Sûreté is a stealth example. On the surface he's a bungling incompetent, but try to hurt or kill him and the would-be assassins will wind up killing each other or themselves...
Live Action TV
- The Tick usually played the eponymous character's nigh-invulnerability for laughs. He even lampshades it in the opening moments of the first episode of the TV series by trying to blow himself up as a demonstration.
- Angel Summoner on That Mitchell and Webb Look, whose power is to "summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will". The joke is that he's one half of a superteam with Not-So-Badass Normal "the BMX Bandit", who struggles to look relevant next to his nigh-omnipotent partner.
- Saxton Hale of Team Fortress 2 fame. Just about every piece of material with him in it has to do with ridiculously dangerous stunts such as skydiving out of exploding planes and murdering massive beasts with his bare hands. There's even a custom game mode called Vs. Saxton Hale which pits an entire team of mercenaries against a one-shotting Hale with an absurd amount of health. The only thing that ever canonically puts a stop to him is Gray Mann forcing him to fight a little girl.
- The eponymous Adventure Dennis takes visible damage sometimes, but it never affects him and always goes away.
- Dan in Bad Guy High, for the most part.
- Girl Genius:
- Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER! is generally treated as so invulnerable that they often don't bother to show or explain how he escapes traps (or only a vague Noodle Incident-style description of the items he used is listed).
- When der Kestle opens a bottomless-pit trapdoor under him, his sister yells at it in anger and grief. Der Kestle is unswayed, saying that he wasn't much of a hero if he could be killed by a little something like that... and sure enough, Othar strolls back into the room in the very next panel, with an offhand comment about the quality of the dungeons.
- Exploited by Gil when he chains Tarvek to "OTHAR TRYGGVASSEN Gentleman Adventurer, vanquisher of eeeevil", dumps them in his prototype flying machine, and drops them out of his airship, knowing full well Othar (and Tarvek by extension) will survive. He even calls out to Tarvek wanting to know how Othar gets out of that one.
Tarvek: How did you—
Othar: HA! A mere chain is nothing for an adventurer such as myself!
Tarvek: What? No! I thought he'd broken your back!
Othar: Oh, that. Special trousers.
Othar: Very heroic.
- Powers Guy in the webcomic Man-Man is a Superpower Lottery winner who can sort out anything, usually off panel.
- The Non-Adventures of Wonderella. There's no question that anyone she fights is going to lose; the problem is convincing her to fight.
- Bun-Bun from Sluggy Freelance, most of the time. While he's faced some serious challengers, the majority of his fights are him utterly dominating someone just off panel.
- Tom the Dancing Bug: GodMan, the superhero with omnipotent powers. He's basically God (from the Bible) fused with Superman. He's the image of the God-Mode Sue page for a reason.
- Looney Tunes
- Speedy Gonzales' Super Speed made him completely untouchable in most of his original appearances, all of which was played in a slapstick tone. In the De Patie Freleng shorts, he was made slightly more fallible but still had shades of this.
- To a lesser extent Bugs Bunny and the rest of the hero ensemble. Bugs lost slightly more often even in his earliest appearances but his obvious superior wit over his foes is often a defining trait and a prominant source of humor.
- Popeye is probably the Ur-Example. Most of the fun comes from the way Popeye casually uses his strength for mundane tasks. Once he gets the spinach in him though, he becomes even more comically invincible.
- Granted, the build up to him using said spinach usually has him beaten down or humiliated by the foe until eating it becomes a neccessity. Though he can create spinach from nothing as he does in Fowl Play (see 6:02) he is always invincible, he just choses to let his enemies think they can win first before laying the smack down.
- Sonic the Hedgehog occasionally leans into this, especially in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic X, every now and then however Dr. Eggman will remind him he is a Not-So-Harmless Villain. More so in Sonic Boom wherein Dr. Eggman is pretty much a Harmless Villain by comparison.
- The animated incarnation of The Mask in spades. He is basically a Nigh Invulnerable Reality Warper who can make things work on Cartoon Physics at will, so you know that, as soon as Stanley puts the mask on, the villains no longer stand a chance. But since he also is a huge Troll who enjoys messing with his opponents with hilarious hijinks, you usually still spend a good time watching him win constantly.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Armed with Charles Atlas Superpower and an incredibly powerful Magic Wand, Ludo and his minions (for now) hardly pose any threat her. But she just so happens to be a Genki Girl and a Magically Inept Fighter so she'll often use the most zany, over-the-top, and outrageous of methods to defeat her enemies in the most hilarious way possible. From narwhal blasts to super syrup waves. As a bonus, she often leaves quite a bit of collateral damage in her wake. Star is also hilariously inept at using her wand for anything other than combat purposes, which leads to her accidentally doing things like sucking Marco's room into a black hole or turning her home-room teacher into a troll.
Star: (In the credits) I'm blasting monsters and I never break a sweat!