Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org

"Impossible" is just a word people use to feel good about themselves when they quit.
Vyse, Skies of Arcadia

A character — good or evil, male or female, young or old — who never gives up. Ever. No matter what.

There is no stopping the Determinator. They do not understand tact. They do not Know When to Fold 'Em, and it's a waste of time to tell them the odds. No one can reason with them. They'll do whatever they have to without question. No price is too great to pay for success, up to and including their own life (and others'). Do not expect them to realize they might be better off letting it go, even if they can barely stand. If you're ever kidnapped or lost with no hope of rescue, they'll be the one who will find you. Their adversaries will shout, in exasperated rage, "Why Won't You Die?!". For them, there is no line between "perseverance" and "insanity."

The nobility of their goal is not necessarily proportionate to their persistence. This is just as often an obsessive rival with a grudge as it is a hero on a chivalrous quest, and where their willpower ultimately leads them will depend both on their role and on where the work stands on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Heroes- especially Badass Normals with a Screw Destiny attitude - will defeat villains by virtue of being too stubborn to stay down. Anti Heroes will Jump Off The Slippery Slope, forsake The Powers of Love and Friendship, become like that which they fight, and walk the thin line between victory and tragedy. Villains will refuse to admit defeat, resist seemingly fatal punishment, hunt their prey tirelessly and relentlessly, and let the heroes know that We Will Meet Again.

Shōnen anime and manga love this trope, such that it is quite rare to find a protagonist of these works who isn't a Determinator and is guaranteed where super-heated blood is involved.

Compare and contrast with Implacable Man — while a Determinator pursues his goal through sheer willpower, the Implacable Man is driven by artificial, unnatural, or magical means, and often suffers no apparent damage at all.

Compare Suicidal Overconfidence, a common feature of many Video Game genres where enemies will always, blindly, and relentlessly be at your throat with no regard for how horribly you are massacring them (though this is more due to genre requirements than characterization). Compare Tragic Dream, where becoming a Determinator can only end in tears. Can be identified by their trademark Determined Expression.

See also Heroic Resolve, Heroic Spirit, Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid, Plucky Girl, Principles Zealot, Non-Giving-Up School Guy, The Unfettered, The Fettered, Unconscious Objector, and Stiff Upper Lip.


Advancing Wall of DoomThis Index Is UnstoppableFlying Brick
Danger DeadpanBravery TropesFace Death with Dignity
Complexity AddictionObsession TropesDevoted to You
Diagnosis From Dr. BadassBadassPlucky Girl
The Anti-NihilistHeroic SpiritPlucky Girl
Denied Food as PunishmentOlder Than FeudalismDifferent for Girls
Dashed Plot LineJustForFun/TropemanteauDissimile
Department of Redundancy DepartmentJustForFun/Tropes of LegendDeus ex Machina
Awesome MusicOverdosed TropesIt Makes Sense in Context
Despair Event HorizonJust for PunDetonation Moon
The BruteGender Dynamics IndexImplacable Man
Designated HeroHeroesDeuteragonist
Defeat Means FriendshipIdealism TropesDetermined Defeatist
Bystander SyndromeStock AesopsKnow When to Fold 'Em
Depraved DentistStock CharactersDetermined Widow

alternative title(s): The Determinator
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy