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Disability Immunity
He ain't got no distractions; can't hear those buzzers and bells
Don't see no lights a-flashin'; plays by sense of smell
Always gets a replay, and never tilts at all
That deaf, dumb, and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball
The Who, "Pinball Wizard"

This is a subtrope of Disability Superpower where, rather than a character's disability giving them an actual power, it instead renders them immune to some sort of attack, trap, or ploy that would otherwise be effective against them.

Examples include:

See also: Disability Superpower (for when this grants other abilities to compensate), Too Kinky to Torture, Too Dumb to Fool, Insanity Immunity (which fall under the "frame of mind" variation), and Kryptonite Factor (for the opposite; someone being more vulnerable to something to balance out their power). Similar to No Sell, except that this trope justifies the immunity. See also One Curse Limit, when being affected by one thing grants immunity to being affected by anything else. Compare Curse That Cures, when a sick or injured character is cured as a side effect of being Cursed. The Hard Hat is when a steel plate left in the skull from surgery makes someone immune to Mind Rape. When it's a lack of superpowers which protects them, see Muggle Power. If the disability is being infected with a disease, it's a Beneficial Disease.

Contrast Immunity Disability, the inverse of this trope, where being immune to something gives you a drawback.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • Aizen's shikai only affects those who see it. Being blind, Tosen is immune to it, as well. He is, however, already on Aizen's side. Aizen recruited him specifically because of this; having somebody around with considerable natural talent who's immune to his illusions wasn't something he was willing to risk.
    • Kenpachi was immune to Berenice Gabrielli's ability to fill people with self-doubt and make them question themselves because he was temporarily deaf from enduring a sonic attack.
    • Rose's bankai only affects those who hear it. Mask de Masculine gouges out his eardrums, making him immune.
  • In Dragon Ball, Krillin once faced a horribly stinky opponent in the tournament. He was getting mauled until Goku reminded him that he had no nose.
  • In Saint Seiya, Shiryu has to blind himself to fight Algol's Taken for Granite powers. note  This even enables him later on to avoid being fooled by Gemini's illusion of an empty suit of armor, preventing Seiya from striking the illusion (Hyoga was not so lucky, and Shun managed to save himself with his chains but couldn't help Hyoga), and actually sensing the temple exit where Seiya would only see a suit of armor and a wall behind it. Bonus points for the Big Bad pointing out that he should have known Shiryu would be immune, though it doesn't matter. Cue Evil Laugh.
  • Alluded to a couple times in Fullmetal Alchemist; for example, when the Elric brothers break into the Fifth Laboratory, Ed remarks that his metal hand and Al's armor body allow them to climb over the barbed wire on the fence without injury, and when climbing through a duct, Ed thinks to himself with increasing horror that if he weren't so short, he wouldn't fit through the ducts.
  • One Piece. Usopp is unaffected by Perona's negative hollow because he already has self-esteem issues.
  • On one episode of InuYasha, the main characters encounter an elderly "exorcist" with no actual spiritual powers. When they encounter the Monster of the Week, everyone is paralyzed by the monster's extremely high negative energy level - except for the old woman, who doesn't notice anything.
  • Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail loses an eye to torture as a child. We never get to see the damage thankfully, since it scares her closest friend who just proved that, in spite of this flashback being before he lost it, he was perfectly capable of murder. She gets a fake eye in its place which makes her completely immune to illusion magic and lessens the effects of another spell that requires eye contact.
  • In Basilisk, Koushiro is blinded when Oboro's power-nullifying gaze causes him to lose control of his own ninjutsu. His blindness is what lets him defeat Hyouma Muroga, as Hyouma's powers are dependent on eye contact and useless on someone who cannot see anything.
  • YuYu Hakusho has an example where the arc's Big Bad likes to use a shrinking spell on people. But when he uses it on Yusuke, it shrinks him instead. Genkai explains that the spell enters the body through the ear canal and doesn't work if the opponent can't hear it clearly, making countering it as simple as covering one's ears. Yusuke has water and moss in his ears from being dunked in a pond earlier, so he qualifies.
  • In Umi Monogatari, Kanon's evil aura protects her from Sedna's darkness.

    Comic Books 
  • In a Bronze Age issue of The Avengers, Hawkeye used one of his sonic arrows to fry his own eardrums, rendering him immune to a bad guy's sonic mind control. Ever since, Hawkeye has used a high-tech hearing aid. He can turn it all the way up to give himself super-hearing or off to render himself deaf as a post and immune to sonics.
  • In the graphic novel Fall of Cthulhu, one of Nyarlathotep's minions is a shape shifter who takes the form of its victim's loved one. One of the protagonist has lost his memory, and as such is not fooled when the shape shifter changes into his wife (as he doesn't recognize her).
  • This happens a lot in Daredevil, since he's blind (despite his Disability Superpower).
    • One of his recurring enemies in The Silver Age of Comic Books was the Masked Marauder, who used "opti-blasts" that blinded people.
    • The 600th issue of Amazing Spider-Man begins with Spidey and Daredevil cleaning out a Bad-Guy Bar. One of them has the power to render someone blind by touching them, and grabs Daredevil, much to Spidey's amusement.
    • A Marvel Two-In-One story had Daredevil win a one-page battle with minor villain Mirage, whose only ability was projecting convincing holograms.
    • Spidey and Hornhead's first team up was against the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime. Ringmaster tried to use his Hypno Ray on Daredevil.
  • In Preacher, Starr sends a number of operatives who don't understand English to capture Jesse, as they're unable to understand his Compelling Voice and thus immune to it.
  • In order to make herself immune to being Taken for Granite (apparently, this version of Medusa could compel people to look at her), Wonder Woman once intentionally rendered herself blind using the poison from one of Medusa's snakes.
  • Nextwave. Forbush Man decides to torment the heroes with their worst nightmare. Apparently Boom-Boom simply didn't have enough of a mind to torment. Compared to Aaron Stack's whose mind was programmed in...
  • In Locke & Key, Rufus Whedon's unspecified mental disability makes him immune to the mind-tampering effects of the Head Key.
  • Looking into the true face of JSA enemy Johnny Sorrow results in instant death. Dr. Mid-Nite, however, proves immune due to his blindness. Naturally, he's a big part of the team's eventual defeat of Sorrow.
  • A Batman and Predator crossover had Mr. Freeze survive a Predator attack because his body temperature issues made it nearly impossible for it to see him.
  • Doctor Who Magazine: In "Sticks and Stones" being dyslexic made people immune to Monos' attack (which was transforming people into language).
  • Done for laughs in one Groo The Wanderer story, where an evil wizard is attempting to read Groo's mind... and fails spectacularly, because Groo is so dumb there's nothing to read.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • My Favorite Martian-Brace Channing, a Brainless Beauty, is a borderline case. Uncle Martin uses a sort of mind meld on her while copying her form and while the copying works he's left seriously disorientated by her lack of brains.
    Martin (visibly wobbling): "Boy, her head was dark and empty".
  • In The Avengers 2012 film, Big Bad Loki brainwashes people by tapping them on the chest with his staff. He tries this on Tony Stark to no effect, because Tony has an arc reactor in his chest keeping shrapnel from entering his heart.
  • Serenity - Mal is immune to The Operative's Pressure Point Finishing Move because his back was injured in The War of Earthly Aggression, and the nerve cluster The Operative meant to hit is gone.
  • Signs: Mel Gibson's son has asthma, and an asthma attack prevented him from breathing in the aliens' poisonous fumes.
  • The Big Bad of The World Is Not Enough is highly resistant to pain because of a bullet slowly moving through his brain. The fact he is dying also means he's willing to engage in The Last Dance in order to further the plans of Electra.
  • After falling in lava after a duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader from Star Wars manages to climb to safety because his prosthetic arm remains intact.
  • In World War Z, the zombies won't bite anyone who's carrying a serious illness.

    Folklore 
  • In The Pied Piper of Hamelin, at most three children can get left behind when the Piper plays his alluring music. One is deaf and can't hear the music, one is blind and can't follow the Piper, and one is lame and can't keep up. Different versions use different variations.
  • One piece of Japanese folklore holds that Idiots Cannot Catch Colds.

    Literature 
  • Discworld mentions one prison guard as being "too stupid to fool".
  • Billy Raven from the Children of the Red King series is immune from another character's Hypnotic Eyes because his albinism gives him poor vision.
  • Inverted in the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. The Second Foundationers have near unstoppable psychic powers, but one character discovers that he can disable them by broadcasting a loud psychic static with a special electrical apparatus while leaving normal people unaffected. He compares this to flashing a bright light in somebody's eyes; somebody without sight (i.e. normal people, without the psychic powers) are not even aware of the light, whereas people who can see will be hurt and incapacitated. Once he succeeds, however, it is revealed to the reader that it was The Plan by the Second Foundation itself.
  • In The Andromeda Strain, the titular Strain kills an entire town save a baby and an old man. Turns out that the contagion was actually extremely sensitive to abnormal pH levels. The old man was a nutcase who drank drain cleaner, resulting in the pH of his blood being thrown off, and the baby had colic, and had cried himself into oxygen alkalosis. Previously subverted. If you have normal coagulation, Andromeda will cause your death by increasing it to the point that all of your blood will become solid in the blink of an eye. If you don't have normal coagulation? It migrates to the brain and destroys all of your blood vessels there.
  • In the Felix Gomez series of novels by Mario Acevedo, two people have been immune to vampiric hypnotism, most likely because it needs total eye contact, and these people both had a lazy eye.
  • The Stand has Tom ("M-O-O-N spells [insert important item here]"), who's too stupid for Randall Flag's powers of telepathy to locate: "All I see is...M-O-O-N spells moon."
  • In The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Covenant attributes his ability to resist Mind Rape at the hands of Lord Foul in part to his being a leper: a lot of his nerve endings have died, making him numb against pain, and he's suffered so much scorn, abandonment, and isolation since contracting his disease that it's difficult for Lord Foul to make Covenant any more miserable than he already is. Much later on, his numb hands enable him to use a magic weapon that becomes hot enough to severely burn them.
  • The protagonist of The Day of the Triffids retains his vision because he was temporarily blinded and could not see the beautiful meteor shower that (permanently) blinded humanity.
  • Jim Gardner from The Tommyknockers is immune to the effects of the spacecraft of the titular aliens, as he has a metal plate in his head due to a ski accident. Two other characters experience this to a lesser extent, Ev Hillman (smaller plates in head from a war injury) and Anne Anderson (extremely extensive metal dental work).
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Curse of Chalion, Cazaril refuses substantial bribes from the king of Ibra because he has a stomach tumor he expects will kill him shortly.
  • In "The Frost-Giant's Daughter", an incredibly beautiful and seductive woman named Atali mesmerizes men and lures them to her lair...where her monstrous brothers kill them for food. Conan the Barbarian falls under her spell, but manages to slay the brothers, forcing Atali to flee. Later, Conan tries to tell his comrades about this, but only an old warrior named Grom believes him. Grom explains that he encountered the ageless Atali as a youth, where she mesmerized and lured his unit to their deaths. He wasn't immune to it, but he survived because his injuries prevented him from following her.
  • Subverted in Deathbell by Guy N. Smith, which is about a cursed Tibetan bell whose ringing drives people insane and eventually kills them. "Deaf Donald" is introduced and set up to be potentially immune to the bell's effects, but when he hears, he goes insane and dies like the others, as a way of showing the evil bell's noise can even affect the deaf.
  • Twilight: Bella thinks there's something wrong with her when Edward reveals that he can't read her mind, even though he can read everyone else's thoughts. Edward calls her out on the ridiculousness of that concern, under the circumstances. The guys from RiffTrax have a theory about this: Edward can read her mind, but there's just nothing there.
  • The Tin Woodsman from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. His entire body was reconstructed out of tin after a series of axe injuries, so he's immune to fire and noxious poppy fumes. (The Scarecrow is also immune to the poppy fumes, but he's not disabled, he's...well...a scarecrow. And he's definitely not immune to fire, because straw burns easily.)
  • In Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Voodoo Vultures from Venusnote , the titular vultures use TV signals to brainwash all the citizens of Ricky's town...except Ricky and his Mighty Robot, who had earlier been forbidden from watching TV as a punishment.
  • Animorphs
    • Invoked — the Arn, a species adept at genetic modification, purposefully altered themselves so that they cannot be infested by a Yeerk without rupturing a blood vessel and dying. They assumed this would make the Yeerks leave them alone; instead the Yeerks made the Arn slaves and used them for target practice. By the main events of the series only one is left. They also can't infest a species called the Hawjabrans because their brains are spread in bits throughout their bodies instead of being centralized.
    • A variant: Yeerks are perfectly able to infest disabled humans, but why bother when there are billions of better hosts available? (Taylor was apparently an exception, useful due to her mother's position rather than her own physical ability.) When the Animorphs finally decide to expand their ranks they go after the handicapped, knowing that they can actually be trusted.
  • In one Horus Heresy novel, a Morlock Terminator is rendered totally deaf during a defensive action on the Sisypheum...which proves extremely convenient for him when they come up against the Kakophoni of the Emperor's Children. The resultant clash ends very badly for Marius Vairosean.
  • In World War Z, one survivor is without legs. A crawling zombie attacks him, and only gets his wheelchair, alerting him to its presence and giving him the time to dispatch it.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Azkaban is guarded by joy-eating Dementors that normally drive prisoners insane. Sirius Black was wrongly imprisoned there for alleged mass murder and for the alleged betrayal of his best friends (and Harry's parents), James and Lily Potter. But he still manages to get past the Dementors and escape. This is partly because he switches back and forth between human form and dog form, meaning that in his dog form, he's less intelligent and his simpler emotions are harder for Dementors to detect and consume. Also, Sirius is so unhappy already, over the deaths of Harry's parents and over his own wrongful imprisonment, that there isn't really much joy left for the Dementors to eat. This in turn is aided by the fact that he is consumed by thoughts of revenge, which fuel him enough to stave off despair, but aren't happy thoughts, so the Dementors can't take them away from him. And finally, Sirius is so emaciated from his twelve years in prison that (at least in dog form) he's skinny enough to slip right through the bars of his cell.
    • Also Nearly Headless Nick. Looking a basilisk in the eyes causes instant death, but Nearly Headless Nick stares down a basilisk and is merely Petrified (a condition which, fortunately, is curable) because... um... he's already dead. A few students and a cat also survive seeing the basilisk, and only end up temporarily Petrified, but that's not because of any "disability"/negative condition like being dead, it's because they didn't look directly into the eyes-for example, Hermione only saw its reflection.
  • The Bruce Coville's Book of... series has a short story narrated by a basilisk long ago left to guard a treasure-filled tomb. Some robbers force a blind boy into the tomb to steal stuff for them, and the basilisk strikes up a conversation with him. The story ends with the boy hiding the basilisk in his clothes when he leaves the tomb. Then the robbers attack him and demand to see whatever he found...
    • Another story in another book of that series features a man in a crowded restaurant sharing a table with someone who turns out to be a powerful psychic (or something). The psychic reveals that he and others like him are going to take over the world, then uses his Hypnotic Eyes to try to erase the protagonist's memory of the conversation. Once the bad guy leaves the protagonist notes that he has to warn somebody, and thankfully mankind has some hope—the smug villain wasn't even smart enough to realize that the protagonist is blind.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's story "The Ultimate Melody", a scientist analyzes music to create the ultimate Ear Worm... which renders the scientist permanently catatonic when he hears it. His assistant is unaffected because he's completely tone-deaf.
  • In Dune, one of the two men who kidnapped a Bene Gesserit was deaf, making him immune to her Compelling Voice. But only one of them. Oops.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Gary of Alphas is immune to Nina's "push" power because he's autistic. Similarly, a character with lie-detector powers is unable to read him because of his lack of affect.
  • An episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? has kids being abducted by aliens who use sonic weapons. A deaf girl is immune to the weapons and helps the kids escape.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had the episode "Band Candy" where chocolate bars sold all around Sunnydale cause anyone who eats them to revert to their teenage personalities. None of the young heroes are affected, despite Xander eating a large amount of his own chocolate, because they are already teenagers.
  • A man in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was only mildly injured when he was stabbed in the chest with a fork because the position of his heart was off due to situs inversus -the organs in his body were mirror-swapped.
  • In the Dark Angel episode "Fuhgeddaboudit", Max and Co. meet a transgenic with the ability to control a person's actions. It turns out that a man with narcolepsy is immune, due to his brain "being wired differently."
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the episode "The God Complex", an alien minotaur feeds on the faith of those trapped in its prison by revealing their worst fears. When Rory shows up, all it does is show him the exit because he is neither religious nor superstitious and, unlike Amy, does not have an abiding faith that The Doctor will always save the day. Also, because after the events of "The Pandorica Opens"... there isn't really anything left for him to be afraid of.
    • Likewise, in "The Doctor's Wife", House is only shown attempting to Mind Rape Amy. Word of God says that House did try to do this to Rory, but simply gave up after he proved immune to it.
  • In Farscape John Crichton was resistant to something that was affecting the crew because humans have eyesight which is far too poor to see whatever it was that caused it.
    • Crichton has also been resistant to Brainwashing because given the number of people who've messed around with the contents of his skull, trying to control his mind is rather like trying to drink milk with a butter knife.
  • In the Fringe episode "The Box", the titular box, upon being dug up, emits an ultrasound that kills everyone nearby except for a deaf man.
  • Legend of the Seeker, like The Sword of Truth books it was based on, has the "pristinely ungifted" who can neither use nor be affected by anything magical. This is put to use by forcing a pristinely ungifted person to go past magical protections surrounding magic box that the villains want and retrieving it.
  • A more mundane example crops up in an episode of London's Burning in which Blue Watch are called to a fire in the basement of a public library, which happens to contain the Braille section. The two firefighters who go down to search for anyone trapped find a blind woman, who ends up being a great help in getting back out again; between the smoke and the power going out neither of the firefighters can see more than a couple of feet anyway, but the woman they're ostensibly rescuing has considerably more practice navigating by feel.
  • An episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers involved a deaf girl being immune to magic music.
  • The Outer Limits:
    • One episode called "From Within" starred a disabled guy who was immune to the parasitic mind control worms that took over everybody else in town. When one tries to get him, it shrivels up and dies of starvation. It appears to come out a different ear than it went in. He had a form of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Affect Disorder that resulted in him having reduced neurotransmitters that affect emotions-the same neurotransmitters that the parasites happened to feed on. FAS can result in a smaller brain as well.
    • Another episode called "Stream of Consciousness" posited a future where all brains were networked and had access to the world database, except for the protagonist, whose body rejected the procedure. This made him pretty much useless except as A) a janitor, and b) the Only Sane Man when the network became malevolent.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Is There In Truth No Beauty?", there is a race of aliens said to be so ugly that anyone who sees them goes insane. However, the Girl of the Week is able to look at them through special glasses, because she's blind, and only pretending to be able to see.
  • This little exchange from The Suite Life on Deck episode "Lost at Sea," when the characters are debating whether or not to eat wild fish and risk mercury poisoning.
    Woody: Wait, what are the symptoms of mercury poisoning?
    Bailey: It causes bad skin, profuse sweating, weird behavior and muscle weakness.
    Woody: I won't even notice!
  • Supernatural
    • Everyone in the vicinity of Famine is eventually driven to extremes of overindulgence, except Dean, who is so broken that there's no hunger, literal or metaphorical, left in him.
    • Sam is immune to a demon who forces people to speak the truth because he had no soul.
  • Todd from Todd and the Book of Pure Evil proved to be immune to one antagonist's mind control powers because of his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • The X-Files
    • In one episode, Mulder proved immune to some subliminal brainwashing because of his red/green colorblindness.
    • In another episode, all the living creatures in a given area die horrifically when their inner ears pressurize and explode out of their skulls. Amazingly, they find a single old woman sitting in her home, unaffected as death surrounds her for miles. It turns out the cause of the hemorrhages was a high frequency sound, and the woman was born without eardrums meaning that there was nothing for the pressure to build up against.
  • An episode of Stargate Atlantis has Sheppard as the only character unaffected by a mind-altering perfume because he has a cold and can't smell it.
  • A frame of mind example occurs in Teen Wolf: One of season 3's big bads causes four of the werewolves to hallucinate their worst fears in an attempt to push them over the Despair Event Horizon. This works on Scott, Boyd, and Ethan who each attempt suicide. Not so with Isaac, who has spent years of his life being horribly abused by his father. Upon hallucinating that it's happening again, he simply endures it as he always has.
  • On Battlestar Galactica, the Galactica avoids Cylon computer infiltration and destruction because it's so decrepit and uses such obsolete technology.

    Music 
  • The Who's "Pinball Wizard:"
    He ain't got no distractions; can't hear those buzzers and bells
    Don't see no lights a-flashin'; plays by sense of smell
    Always has a replay, and never tilts at all
    That deaf, dumb, and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball

    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions powers defined/bought as "No Normal Defense" can become this. An example power from several editions of the rulebook is a sonic NND attack that bypasses armor, but won't affect a deaf character.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In module A2 Secret of the Slaver's Stockade, the fort's commander is blind and therefore immune to the petrifying gaze of the medusa he uses to guard his treasure.
    • This is pretty common in the D&D universe: blind characters are immune to gaze attacks, deaf characters are immune to sonic attacks, unliving creatures and creatures without a discernible anatomy are immune to critical hits, etc.
    • There's even a spell that lets you use one sense instead of another for the same effect. The example given was that the caster was "hearing" light to see and immune to the gorgon on the page. It's specifically meant to utilize this trope against monsters.
    • D&D also contains the infamous Explosive Runes, which detonate when read — unless you're a barbarian, who has illiteracy as a class "feature".
    • in 3.5 "Mindless" creatures are immune to mind-influencing effects.
    • Averted in fourth edition, where blind creatures can be hit by gaze attacks, formless puddings can be stabbed in the foot, mindless automatons can be affected with fear spells, and so forth.
  • In Pathfinder, characters with peg legs take massive penalties to their ability to walk and jump, however they're immune to caltrops (partly if they have one leg replaced, completly if they have both legs replaced).
  • Not quite a disability, but there's one Abyssal entity in Mage: The Awakening that manipulates human behaviour by meddling with social cues — but people with autism spectrum conditions are less susceptible to this because they don't feel those cues as strongly.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, the equip spell Flint is an annoying equip spell that weakens the host monster and prevents it from attacking. However, the monster Flint Lock is designed to be immune completely to the negative effects of Flint, and even benefits from extra powers while equipped with Flint, such as being indestructible by battle. Cherry on top, it can even manipulate Flint to contaminate other monsters, or relieve a monster from it to use its protection. This double counts as Crippling the Competition and Disability Superpower.

    Video Games 
  • In one of the Mortal Kombat games Kenshi saves his friend from an ambush when they're attacked with a flash bomb; being blind he's unaffected.
  • Some works featuring undead make them invulnerable, what with being already dead. The Frozen Throne Animate Dead spell works like this (in the original, the units were vulnerable, but lasted longer).
  • Final Fantasy V features a Banshee-like boss who charms her victims into submission by conjuring illusions of their loved ones. It works on everyone except the team's Badass Grandpa who, having suffered from amnesia, doesn't recognize his 'granddaughter'.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Fortune survives being shot by Revolver Ocelot because, thanks to her Dextrocardia, he misses her heart.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Raikov is not affected by the girly mags, Not That There's Anything Wrong with That, but the game is set in the 60's.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: Johnny has no nanomachines to enhance his abilities. So, when there was an attack on the Patriot AI system that affected everyone with nanomachines, Johnny was fine.
  • In the Pokémon games, there's an aversion: Abra can still be afflicted with sleep despite being said to spend most of its day sleeping and its psychic powers allowing it to function while asleep. In fact, it's one of the best ways to catch one so it doesn't teleport away.
    • The ability Insomnia, on the other hand, does protect against sleep in accordance with this trope.
    • In a straighter example, Pokemon that are afflicted by Poison, Burns, Sleep, Paralysis, or Freezing become immune to all of the others for as long as they're affected. Some players use the Toxic Orb or Flame Orb item to invoke this by poisoning or burning their own Pokemon intentionally(statuses that don't hinder the afflict's attempts to attack, unlike the other three), though there typically has to be some other benefit (usually from Abilities like Quick Feet or Guts) for them to resort to it.
    • The Klutz ability, which renders a Pokemon's held item useless, is often mixed with an item that has a harmful effect that can then be swapped to the opponent.
    • There's also a human example in the Pokemon Live musical. At one point, Ash Ketchum is all set to battle a deaf trainer, and Ash sends out his Pikachu, while the deaf trainer sends out his Jigglypuff. Jigglypuff wins the battle by singing Pikachu to sleep...which being deaf, the other trainer can't hear, so the Jigglypuff's trainer is perfectly matched as one of the few people who can't be put to sleep by his own Pokemon's attack.
  • The Heroes of Might and Magic series gives us the troglodyte, a blind creature of the deep. Their inability to see renders them immune to the spell blind, known to stop stronger creatures in their tracks. By removing the right creature from the fight for several turns, a single well placed casting of blind has been known to steer the course of entire battles. The thing is, troglodytes are some of the weakest units in the game—even if they were susceptible to blind, chances are no one would have actually wanted to cast it on them anyway, either due to bigger threats taking priority, or the trogs not even being worth the mana cost it would take to disable them. Whether their incompetence lies from their blindness or simply being primitive hunchbacks with spears in a world full of bigger, more vicious fish is unknown.
  • In Portal 2, after Wheatley turns evil, GLaDOS tells him a paradox in an effort to kill him with a Logic Bomb. Unfortunately, it doesn't work, due to him being Too Dumb to Fool.
  • In Final Fantasy X, being Zombified makes you immune to Death. This means that refraining from curing your Zombification is actually one of the best ways of beating Yunalesca, who uses Death on every party member at the end of each round (as long as you remember she also casts high level heal spells on zombiefied characters).
  • Sergeant Johnson from Halo. After "liberating" a crate of plasma grenades to help save his men, he got radiation poisoning which resulted in Boren's Syndrome. This disease degraded his DNA so much that the Flood wasn't able to synch with his nervous system, giving immunity to infection.
    • Subverted, that was just his cover story; he's actually a Spartan-I. Boren's Syndrome, a real disease in The Verse, kills a person before it could ever be weaponized this way.
  • In NetHack, when you are (temporarily) blinded, you are immune to gaze attacks (such as from a floating eye) and flashes of light (from a yellow or black light). This is incredibly useful when combined with the telepathy ability, which can be acquired by among other things, eating the corpse of one of the aforementioned floating eyes, which allows you to see most enemies while blinded.
  • League of Legends initially declared that Lee Sin, the Blind Monk, would be immune to blind effects. This didn't carry through to release, mostly because out of about a hundred champions, only two of them have abilities that cause blind.
  • Supposedly, the reason J.C. Denton and his brother were chosen for experimental nano-augmentation procedures in Deus Ex is due to the both of them having a crippled immune system, which means their bodies would not be able to "fight" the nanomachines (a problem that killed or hurt the other subjects, who suffered from severe allergic reactions).
  • A very amusing and twisted example from Katawa Shoujo: after having anal sex for the first time, Emi comments that being a wheelchair means she wouldn't have to tell anybody why she's walking funny.
  • Undead enemies in Dwarf Fortress were at one point almost totally immune to piercing damage because their internal organs are defunct, meaning that the normal Critical Hit and bleeding mechanics didn't apply to them.
    • they also don't need to draw breath so they can't be dispatched by drowning traps.
  • In Tactics Ogre; Hobyrim is immune to stone gaze attacks because he's blind; and thus can't see the Medusa or Basilisk.
  • In Psychonauts, Lili is kidnapped by the villains shortly after coming down with a cold. Ironically, this means she's too stuffed up for Loboto's powder to make her sneeze her brain out.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • An early strip has an evil goblin priest casting Unholy Blight on the party, which disables all non-evil beings. Belkar calmly walks up and stabs him.
    • A later strip has Belkar hanged, which he survives since he's a 30-pound halfling, and his weight doesn't even pull the rope taut enough to strangle him.
    • There's also the, ahem, "squid thingy" that refuses to eat Elan's brain because his low Int score makes it seem as nutritious as diet Coke. Roy isn't as fortunate, though...
    • Invoked in comic #860. Roy sets it up so Durkon's Holy Word spell (which deafens any non-good-aligned characters in range) also affects Belkar, so that Nale can't use suggestion to make him attack them, as he did in an earlier strip.
      Roy: It's not a bug, it's a feature.
  • Unintentionally Pretentious often runs on this.
  • In When She Was Bad, Anthony, who's been deaf since birth, is immune to Gail's mind-reading. She can't hear his thoughts because he doesn't associate words with sounds.

    Web Original 
  • Jericho from Whateley Universe is immune to the effects of seeing the Voodoo wolves despite a lack of psychic protection because he's blind. Note this is a partial immunity because he can still be clawed by them.
  • A number of SCPs are harmless to the blind or the deaf. (In fact, including "blind guards" as a part of the containment procedure is considered an annoying cliche.)
  • A romantic variation with a Gorgeous Gorgon and a blind man.
  • Siren's blindness in Phaeton protects her from gorgons.
  • Déborah Levinsky from Flander's Company is very much The Ditz... to the point it's her actual superpower, as she's immune to Psychic Powers (trying to read her mind invokes the image of an empty grotto). In this 'verse this means even VERY powerful telepaths (who can usually makes Your Head Asplode) are powerless against her. She's even used as a human shield against such an antagonist in season 3.

    Western Animation 
  • Mort from The Penguins of Madagascar is too stupid to comprehend pain. This led to an odd sort of inverted Flowers for Algernon Syndrome episode, which involved the penguins lowering their intelligences down to Mort's level so they wouldn't feel the stings when they took on a hive of wasps.
  • In the Earthworm Jim episode "Lounge Day's Journey Into Night," Jim, despite being without his Powered Armor, is resistant to evil lounge singers because, as an earthworm, he has no ears.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle:
    • Bullwinkle was immune to Boris & Natasha's Goof Gas Attack.
      "Goof Gas affects the brain and — no brain, no effect!"
    • Similarly in the movie, he was impervious to their mind numbing television programs.
  • An example happens in the "Blind Alley" episode of X-Men: Evolution: Scott's ruby visor is stolen by Mystique, and he can't open his eyes without destroying whatever's in front of him, effectively blinding him. But he manages to even the odds by blowing up the lights.
  • The Powerpuff Girls once fought a brain-sucking villain. They defeated him by tricking him into attacking the Mayor, who didn't have enough brains to be affected.
  • Futurama:
    • Fry's limited intelligence occasionally comes in handy. Brain Slugs die of starvation when they attach to him. He's also immune to the Brain Spawn's intelligence-sucking powers because his previous time-travel incident gave him a "special brain."
    • Also, the radioactive slime that turns normal people into mutants doesn't affect mutants at all.
  • Family Guy
    • An entire subset of jokes in involve Joe getting his legs smashed, mangled, or otherwise horribly injured, only for him to laugh it off (or at the very worst, become mildly annoyed), because they're already useless.
    • Also, the episode where Peter goes temporarily blind, he walks into the Drunken Clam bar during a fire and rescues the trapped bartender. When asked, his reply is priceless.
  • In Gargoyles, Demona goes on TV and casts a spell to make "all who see this, all who hear this" turn to stone during the night. One of the few people unaffected was Jeffrey Robbins, a Blind Black Guy, who could hear the spell but obviously not see it.
  • One episode of the Mega Man animated series featured a deaf little girl who was immune to Dr. Wily's sonic form of mind control.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
    • One episode had a brain eating alien come to Endsville. The first person he runs into: Billy, who's got no brain for him to eat.
    • In another episode Mandy attempts to invoke this when attacked by zombies by sending Billy to fend them off, only to realize they aren't after brains.
    • And in The Movie, Grim is the only one who can claim the MacGuffin that makes people face their greatest fears, because his greatest fear is having to spend time with Billy and Mandy, which he already has to do anyway.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Treehouse of Horror III" a bunch of zombies leave Homer completely unharmed. They were looking for brains to eat, and after a brief inspection decided that Homer just wouldn't do.
    • Ultimately Subverted in "The Joy of Sect"—Homer was immune to a cult's brainwashing because his attention span was so short that he didn't pay attention to it for long enough to work. After struggling with this for a while, they then manage to brainwash him by singing the theme to the old '60s Batman TV show with the word "Leader" in place of the word "Batman".
  • In one episode of The Venture Bros., the Monarch tries to kill Dr. Venture by going inside his mind and unleashing waves of sanity-breaking mental trauma upon him. But, as Dr. Venture explains, he's already so miserable that nothing the Monarch does can even faze him.
  • In Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Duke Igthorn's ogres are as dumb as bricks, but this can actually be a benefit for them sometimes. In one episode, Igthorn's plan involves using magical bagpipes that hypnotize people, which only work on intelligent creatures. (That leaves his men out, so they don't have to do anything while he uses them, the only precaution he has to take being stuffing cotton in his own ears.) In another episode, it's implied that a slumber sprite's spell might put Gruffi to sleep forever, but it only works on the ogres for about a minute, because as the sprite says, "they're so dumb!"
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog:
    • In the episode Tower of Dr. Zalost, the eponymous villain fires cannon balls which make the people of Nowhere depressed, but it doesn't affect Eustace as he's already cranky and bitter.
    • Another episode had a small bitter man use a machine that lets out a "Curtain of Cruelty" to blanket the entire area of Nowhere and turn all inhabitants cruel so he can be elected mayor. Eustace, already a cruel man to begin with, is completely unfazed by the curtain (in fact he's so cruel that not even Courage's tampering of the machine to create the "Curtain of Kindness" affected him either).
  • An episode of Skunk Fu! had Baboon use a potion on the monkey ninjas to make them invisible. The only one who could see them was the token dumbass Ox; after the others realize this, they stop thinking, and they can also see them.
  • Subverted in the Justice League episode "Wild Cards". The Joker has Ace use her powers to drive everyone mad with a look. He claims he is immune himself because he is already insane. Actually, it's because he's wearing a Power Nullifier.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated:
    • In "Where Walks Aphrodite", Angel Dynamite is immune to Aphrodite's pheremone attack because she suffers from anosmia (i.e. she has no sense of smell).
    • In a later episode, Shaggy and Scooby are immune to music that forces people to dance to exhaustion because Shaggy's tone deaf and to dogs, music is little more than noise).
  • Gobbles the deformed turkey from South Park is sent to a slaughterhouse where turkeys are killed by a blade that whirs across the room at the level of their necks, decapitating them. But since Gobbles is deformed and his head and neck drag along the ground, the blade goes right above him and doesn't hurt him at all.
  • In The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Do the Koopa", Bowser has a cold which impairs his hearing. When one of his Koopalings tries to use the Doom Dancer Music Box's Magic Music on him, he can't hear it and is thus not affected.
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Sheen is so bad at singing that he's the only kid in Retroville who doesn't end up angering the Twonkies, aliens who hate good music but love bad music.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, even Iron Fist and Dr. Strange can't fight their worst fear, but Spidey's worst fear is reliving the day Uncle Ben died. Since he lives with this fear constantly, it doesn't even slow him down, and he actually gets to have a little chat with Uncle Ben.
  • After having guns, grenades and bombs go off next to him for years, Sterling Archer's hearing is so bad that he can put people out of commission by firing guns in enclosed spaces and not be affected himself.
    Archer: To me, it sounds like bubble wrap.

    Real Life 
  • People with cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) are immune to polygraphs (lie-detector tests) that measure stress-induced changes in heart rate, since they're having them all the time anyway.
  • The Thalassemia trait thatappears in some people because of a genetic mutation may provide some protection against malaria.
  • This is also true of another genetic disorder, sickle-cell disease (AKA sickle-cell anemia). Though the heterozygous "carrier" version is even better as you have no symptoms and immunity to malaria, just a chance your kids will have sickle-cells.
    • Similarly, heterozygous carriers of the Cystic Fibrosis gene are much less likely to die from cholera.
  • It's not much, but being bald pretty much assures you will be head lice free.
  • Most kinds of mental and physical disabilities will mean that you don't get drafted into war, although this depends on the war's intensity.
  • Some fighter pilots were aided by the fact that they lost their legs. While their counterparts with legs could lose consciousness when the blood in their body ended up in their legs due to intense G-forces, these legless fighter pilots could pull off more intense maneuvers without succumbing to those same effects. The most famous example, Douglas Bader, took this one step further; his leg got caught somehow or other when he tried to bail out of his aircraft, and where a fully able-bodied pilot would have been killed, Bader merely had to ask his German captors to retrieve it from the wreckage.
  • People with weaker immune systems are less likely to suffer from allergies, since they're the result of an overactive immune response to something harmless, or catch colds, since the pathogens which cause them are sufficiently harmless that the reaction is similar to an allergy.
  • Laron syndrome causes short stature but grants resistance to cancer and diabetes.
  • In one Story Corps piece, a man tells the story of his father's wooden leg and different potentially-dangerous scenarios where he avoided pain because of his leg.
  • According to Cracked's article on "4 Modern Countries With Surprisingly Backward Technology," the US military keeps using obsolete technology partly to make infiltration harder:
    Then there's what I like to call the "Galactica" factor. In Battlestar Galactica, the decrepit Galactica is the only starship able to escape computer infiltration and destruction by the enemy Cylon race, purely because it's an old, crappy ship that relies on obsolete technology. Similarly, if anyone wants to bring down America's store of nuclear missiles from the inside, they'll have to somehow figure out computer technology that no normal person has used in decades. This means that America's potential missile-silo enemies are now limited to really, really old people and extreme hipsters.


Disability as an Excuse for JerkasseryDisability TropesDisabled Character, Disabled Actor
Dirty Mind-ReadingPower at a PriceDisability Super Power
Deaf ComposerDisability SuperpowerFeel No Pain
Disappears into LightExample as a ThesisDisguised Hostage Gambit

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