"You become Ganondorf and conquer the land, you become Link again and you conquer it straight back. Hyrule is so easily conquered it hardly seems worth the bother of repainting the road signs."Welcome to Troperia, a kingdom of high magic, higher science, and infinite wonder, splendor, and power. Our legion of Magic Knights patrol the countryside, our fleet of Science Police guard the sky, and the wise Child Queen rules with justice and compassion. Pity, we just got taken over by a couple of dozen Mooks and their talking dinosaur overlord. This is the Easily Conquered World. A place where the good guys' military (if they even have one) never manages to hinder the bad guys, palace security is so lax that somebody could casually sneak into the queen's bedroom and trot off with her over their shoulder, and a glorified Laser Blade is considered powerful enough to ensure World Domination to whoever holds it. One has to ask "Why did this happen? How did this happen?" If it isn't for the sake of humor, then it's likely part of an Idiot Plot: the princess has to be kidnapped, and the army must fail to stop the Big Bad. Otherwise, why would they need The Hero's help? To reformulate their tax codes? Enabling this is the fragile set-up of the Skeleton Government, where Militaries Are Useless and The Guards Must Be Crazy. Often related to The Law of Conservation of Detail: the more we know about the Kingdom's struggles against the invaders, the less likely they are to just consist of a series of quick defeats, because it would negate all the tension of narrating it. On the other hand, when the battles are just evoked, stating that the villains won them all makes a bigger threat of them and thus creates more tension when fighting them again. Compare and contrast Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion. Justified Trope when the invasion is performed by an Outside-Context Problem, or just a very, very powerful one.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The Sanc Kingdom in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Justified in that it's an Actual Pacifist nation that only has a small defense force tacitly allowed by the Princess, and when they're invaded, she willingly surrenders rather than cause her people and supporters to suffer any further.
- Dragon Ball:
- Piccolo Daimao takes over the world in about a day. The world wasn't prepared for someone that powerful, and admittedly his rule also lasted about a day before Goku caught up with him. His coup was also made easier by the world having a single centralized government that was focused on promoting peace.
- Dragon Ball Z reveals that Goku was sent to Earth as a toddler with the full expectation that he would conquer and depopulate that entire planet by himself (too bad about that bump on the head). This is what the Saiyans apparently do for all their children (or according to Vegeta, only the weaker ones), and given how many there were before Freeza killed most of them, they were very successful.
- Planet Namek is taken without much effort by Frieza's forces. While its elite fighters far outpace the Earth's strongest warriors at the start of the series (and, indeed, manage to hold off Frieza's basic mooks), all it takes is Dodoria to take them all down easily. The only Namekian who could really put up a fight against Frieza's forces is Nail, who is forced to spend his time guarding the Grand Elder (far away from the rest of the action), and who has the misfortune of facing Frieza himself (who swiftly takes Nail down).
- The androids in Trunks' timeline effortless took over and turned the Earth into a Death World after they killed most of the Earth's powerful defenders.
- After Babidi released Majin Buu, he effortless wipes cities, and that is before he transforms into the more powerful and ruthless Super Buu, who eradicated all of humanity with one attack.
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who episode "The Resurrection of Mars", the Monk (an Affably Evil Time Lord and recurrent thorn in the Doctor's side) takes the Doctor's companion Tamsin to Halcyon, a carbon copy of Troperia. He then takes her a year into the future to find it utterly destroyed and desolate, having been "terraformed" by a small group of Ice Warriors seeking a new home.
- The DCU and Marvel Universe. Earth would be screwed if they didn't have thousands of superheroes running around.
- Averted in the Superman books after New Krypton: The United States finally got the hint after being invaded multiple times by hostile aliens (including a recent Kryptonian invasion from the Phantom Zone), and now they have a military project designated to combat Kryptonians. Specifically, the 100,000 Kryptonians on New Krypton who were released from the bottle city of Kandor. In the end of the 'Codename: Patriot' storyline: A rogue Kryptonian tried to kill the president of the United States (it's a long story) and was gunned down by a Squadron of Anti-Kryptonian elite soldiers and the Human Defense Corps.
- Played depressingly straight in the Dark Reign crossover for Marvel. Norman Osborn was having a sickeningly easy time getting the entire US government to hand him control over the military and a private army of handpicked supervillains.
- Happened immediately after the events of the Trinity War in DC's New 52 reboot, despite Beware the Superman being in full effect. The Villain World Half Empty that followed encompasses seven months of what is known as Forever Evil.
- In an Alan Moore "Future Shock" story, evil overlords near the end of their training are assigned one of these to brutalize.
- Preacher: Jesse, wielding naught but the WORD OF GOD, infiltrates the most powerful military base in the world to save his friend. To make it worse, they knew that he was coming and knew about his powers.
- The country of San Theodoros in the Tintin comics.
- In Invincible, the planet of bug people that Omni-man settled on after leaving Earth. Omni-man didn't have to do anything to conquer it — the bug people defer leadership to the eldest being on the planet, and since they have lifespans measured in months and Omni-man is practically immortal...
- Khaal: The Chronicles of a Galactic Emperor had the main protagonist leaving a string of destroyed alien planets that had decent level of technology to fight back, though to be fair he was using an army of eldritch abominations which was hardly fair to his enemies. The comic ends with him successfully conquering planet Earth and being worshiped as a God-Emperor.
- Olympus Has Fallen: While not as heavily fortified as NORAD and somewhat limited by its front lawn being visible from the street of a large city, the White House is otherwise the most heavily guarded facility on the face of the globe. In the film, the guard posts along the fenceline offer no resistance, the surface-to-air missile and flak systems are powerless against an attacking gunship, and casualties on the part of the Secret Service are near total versus negligible casualties from the invaders. In reality, even after softening them up with a gunship — which is usually more psychological than effective — a half-battalion of North Korean militants with small arms wouldn't stand a chance against the snipers and automatic riflemen of the Secret Service, no matter their paramilitary training; sometimes quality cannot beat quantity, and there is plenty of both quality and quantity on the lawn.
- The Mouse That Roared features a tiny nation which invades the U.S. so that they can lose and receive Marshall Plan aid. But their invasion force of 20 men are not noticed, and accidentally capture a bomb of world-destroying capability and the U.S. is forced to surrender.
- Naboo from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The Star Wars Expanded Universe shows that Sidious deliberately picked Naboo precisely because of this trope, as they only had small security forces and would be quickly overwhelmed by waves of droids.
- Superman II:
- Earth. Zod and his two henchmen break into the White House, the President surrenders, and that's it. Sure, they were superpowered Kryptonians, but really, does anybody think that a world of billions would roll over and give up just because they busted up some real estate — and only attacked one country?
- Zod himself is suspicious — and somewhat frustrated — about how easily Earth falls. After breaking into the Oval Office, he orders the President to kneel before him. When this happens too readily, he realizes this is not the real president, but once the real president reveals himself, he kneels almost as readily. Zod spends the rest of his reign bored in the White House until Superman returns.
- Battlefield Earth has the Psychlo army wipe out all of Earth's military in eight minutes, apparently by teleporting millions of nerve gas drones all across the world. And then, to show the trope goes both ways, they're taken out by an army of cavemen in five thousand-year-old Harriers.
- The Chronicles of Riddick: The Necromongers take Helion Prime in a single night.
- In Spaceballs, Dark Helmet is able to convince King Roland to turn over the codes to Druidia’s air lock simply by threatening to reverse Princess Vespa's nose job.
- Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok. It takes Hela, alone, a scene lasting only a few minutes to slaughter Asgard's entire army. Justified, given that Hela is a ridiculous powerhouse who breaks Mjolnir with one hand.
- At times, it's easy to forget the Wizarding World in Harry Potter has anything resembling security, what with the "safest school" constantly under siege from within and without, the "most secure bank" successfully broken into twice (the second time by three kids, no less), and the Ministry of Magic is apparently guarded by ONE PERSON at night before Voldemort takes it over. Even after that, all you have to do is look like someone who works there to have free access to the entire building. In hindsight, one wonders how Voldemort didn't just waltz into the Ministry in the first war and win without a single casualty. During Book Six, the Ministry fails to capture or kill a SINGLE Death Eater, despite being in a war with them for 9 months.
- Every wizard is apparently honor-bound to uphold The Masquerade above all else, even all-out warfare. They don't even have a formal military. (The Aurors are somewhere between a local police force and the National Guard.) You certainly can't have Muggles wondering where all the screaming and flashing lights are coming from, of course.
- The land of Bandakar in Sword of Truth, where the strawman pacifists live. Their land had been safeguarded by a magical barrier, allowing them to live peacefully for millennia, but problems started to occur when The Empire became able to just walk straight in and take whatever they wanted.
- The second Oz book had the Emerald City conquered by a force of young women armed with knitting needles. (Turns out the soldier with the green whiskers who briefly appears in the first book was the entire Royal Army of Oz.) All of the surrounding kingdoms were friendly by that point and they had been relying largely on diplomacy. It's also explicitly only the Emerald City that is so vulnerable; their southern neighbor sent an all-female army (avoids the problem with men refusing to fight women) to liberate it.
- Septimus Heap is this. DomDaniel had just to kill the Queen of the Castle to take it over, and there was no defense worth mentioning.
- Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain. Mollusk lands his Flying Saucer in Wisconsin, USA and informs the populace that he's just taken over the Earth via Mind Control. Everyone cheers.
- Happens twice in the The Stainless Steel Rat books. The first time it occurs is in the second book to be published (but not the second book by chronology), when the protagonist specifically mentions that interstellar invasions almost never succeed due to the logistical difficulties. He's then dumbfounded when a militant planet successfully does it several times. However, he finds out that the planetary government has been secretly subverted by the Grey Men, resulting in the colony not putting up a fight. The second is by another militant planet in his second adventure (chronologically), which is justified by the fact that the target planet is home to Actual Pacifists.
Live Action TV
- Basically the entire universe in Power Rangers. Name the most embarrassingly pathetic villain you can think of. Chances are pretty damn good that at some point, he or she has conquered a planet, or even a galaxy. The Alternate Universe of Power Rangers RPM is especially notable, as the villain of the year actually manages to conquer Earth in that one and hold it for three years before being defeated.
- Star Trek:
- Subverted in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Errand of Mercy". The Organians are such Actual Pacifists that they let the Klingons invade their planet without protest, ignoring Kirk and Spock's attempts to get them to fight back. However, at the end of the episode the Organians reveal that they are actually very powerful, it's just that they're vehemently opposed to interference. They could have put a stop to the Klingons at any point, but don't until both the Klingons and the Federation basically force their hand.
- According to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Bajor started out as one of these — a relatively isolated planet of Actual Pacifists. However, the Cardassians soon found out that they wouldn't stay that way for long.
- During the Dominion War, Betazed, home of Counselor Troi, was conquered by the Dominion in less than ten hours thanks to outdated defense systems and the fleet assigned to protect it being off on a training exercise.
- Doctor Who
- The planet Dulkis is effectively conquered in about 5 minutes by a single Dominator and his Killer Robot in "The Dominators". But then, their hat is Actual Pacifism and ineffective democracy.
- "The God Complex" has someone from the planet Tivoli, which he describes, with a touch of pride, as the most conquered planet in the galaxy. Their global anthem is "Glory to Insert Name Here". He works as a city planner and is currently planting trees along a main street so that the invaders can march along it in the shade.
- Subverted in the "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday" two-parter. When the ghosts are revealed to have been Cybermen from a parallel world all along, there are already five million of them in all major cities. The Doctor claims that this is already a victory. However, several scenes clearly show that the humans are actively resisting. Of course, it's mostly futile, as small arms have no effect and not everybody has rocket launchers lying around.
- Earth at the end of Series 4 was militarily conquered in about 15 minutes. Then again, they were up against the full might of the Dalek Empire, and the Daleks really are that powerful.
- Earth again when The Silence invaded. Their abilities to plant suggestions, and make everyone forget them as soon as they're not looking directly at them, meant that not only did they not need to even bring weapons, but no one realized it had happened.
- The 100: If you can get a few operatives with the right skills into Mount Weather, it's relatively easy to start flooding the place with radiation, killing everyone inside. The problem is finding a way to conquer them that doesn't result in a full-on genocide.
- The Magicians: Fillory is ridiculously easy to conquer, at least for humans from Earth. Only people from Earth can be the kings and queens of Fillory, so if the thrones are unoccupied, all you have to do is pass a basic test proving you're from Earth, and you're in charge. This edges towards deconstruction, as this tradition makes it rare for Fillory to have any half-way decent rulers. While it used to be that the magical nature of the land meant that everything just took care of itself, due to the Beast, magic is dying, and now they actually need kings and queens who know what they're doing. The main characters are better than nothing.
Dean: Of course a group of my students conquered a world.
Eliot: It's more like they gave it to us...
- In Season 4 of Blake's 7, the Terran Federation is suddenly able to reconquer several planets they lost during the upheavals of the past year. Turns out they've developed a drug called Pylene-50 that blocks the production of adrenaline. It's hard to resist a tyranny when you can't get angry or aggressive about it.
- Phase Four, point 11, of How to Invade an Alien Planet gives you the reasons this shouldn't work.
- In the HERO game Champions, a supplement describing various one-off Alternate Universe concepts included one called "Wimp World", where everyone is born a coward. Buildings are only one or two stories because people are afraid of heights. Dangerous jobs are done with robots or not done at all. Wars are rare (when someone gets up the courage to declare one), and won by the side that has fewer soldiers die of fright. People marry the person that scares them the least. The description states that if a Super Villain were to arrive in this world, even a lame or stupid one, he could easily conquer this world by just muscling his way into United Nations and giving orders.
- Most planets in BattleTech are this; they almost universally (except for capital worlds and some other similar cases) have pitifully small defense forces and tend to change hands once any invaders have successfully smashed their way through those, usually with forces that were in turn not all that much bigger even before taking casualties into account. (This is to some extent an acceptable break from reality since it helps players feel that their small-scale tabletop skirmishes with frequently only a few units on each side can still be significant.)
- Zig-zagged in Warhammer 40,000. Sometimes conquering a planet even with a huge invasion force takes months or years, and costs many lives, while other times a planet capitulates to a hundred Space Marines. Then there's the Macharian Crusade, in which a thousand planets were conquered in a mere seven years. This is usually justified with the setting's fetish for the Keystone Army trope... usually. The most spectacular example has to be one minor race with a fervent belief in single combat, who lasted less than one night when the Tyranids came.
- Pokémon, oh dear God, Pokémon. Nobody uses weaponry aside from Pokémon, there seems to be no centralized government, no region has been depicted with more than a half-dozen police officers (several have been shown with none at all), and almost no one who will do anything takes notice of the gangs of uniformed thugs roaming everywhere. Mind you, this was improved a bit with the introduction of Pokemon Rangers (a combination of Pokémon Trainers, Police Force, Sentai, Park Rangers, and Superheroes) to the series, but not by much.
- There's implied to be an International Police Force in Platinum. However, you only meet one of their agents, Looker as he calls himself, in the entire game. He's not exactly competent. Either this explains perfectly why the world is like this, or Looker is lying through his teeth, and he's some crazy man who is actually trying to do something about his easily conquered world.
- Speaking of Platinum, it's explained that no one took Team Galactic seriously because everyone just thought they were a bunch of weirdly dressed idiots with bad haircuts that never committed anything but petty crimes up until they set off a freaking bomb inside the Great Marsh.
- With Team Galactic, you can expect them to be taken like jokes with their ridiculous getup. In Orre, we run into Officer Johnson and Deputy Sherles of Pyrite... and even with the two of them in the same town, Miror B. is moonwalking around like he owns the place. Whether the other officers were eighty-sixed or bought off or whatever doesn't change the fact that Cipher is running the damn region, and even five years later the mention of their name anywhere in Orre brings back memories people have been trying to rid themselves of.
- In Pokémon Black and White, Ghetsis is fully aware of this and counting on it.
- The Legend of Zelda is probably like this in game world structure. Definitely the part about the army and palace security being useless.
- The intro of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker kinda explains why this (and relying on the One-Man Army hero) is a bad idea. No version of Link came, and it ended with the gods flooding Hyrule.
- Note that they have tried to execute Ganon before. Sadly, it was doomed from the start, as in addition to being an incredibly powerful warrior/sorcerer, he holds a piece of a Cosmic Keystone that makes him an immortal Physical God.
- All of the non Spin-Off Super Mario Bros. games have this. You think Princess Peach would upgrade her castle's security or travel with bodyguards after the umpteenth time she got kidnapped.
- Super Princess Peach reveals that Peach is competent enough to take on Bowser's forces by herself, if need be. One wonders if the forces on both sides are woefully incompetent, and Bowser's armies just happen to be more aggressive. It seems entirely possible that the whole kingdom has just four people who can fight worth a damn. But every time Earth is brought into play, Bowser's troops can conquer the entire planet in a matter of minutes.
- This is also true of most RPG settings in the series. Rogueport and the surrounding areas do nothing to hold back either the Koopa Troop or the X-Naut forces, Beanbean Kingdom's government literally falls to Cackletta's forces about two minutes after she arrives back in the kingdom and then mostly collapses when Bowser's Castle is brought in, the Shroobs manage to conquer the entire world in minutes in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, and Fawful completely manages to disable/take over both the Mushroom Kingdom government and Bowser's Castle/forces with practically no help whatsoever in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Same with the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario RPG, as shown in the page image (conquered in minutes/hours at most by the Smithy Gang and their army).
- As per the norm, this happens the minute Antasma is revived and Bowser arrives on Pi'illo Island in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, with the Koopa Troop forces quite quickly taking over from the native wildife by about the halfway point and all hell breaking loose when Neo Bowser Castle blows up a bunch of surrounding islands. Everyone who's not running away is apparently completely oblivious to the increasing numbers of monsters and evil taking over.
- The Shake Dimension in Wario Land: Shake It!. You just know the general world security is just awful when a group of pirates manage to capture every single inhabitant and take over the world in what's likely just a few hours. Okay, the main villain is a tough villain for Wario to defeat in a boss battle, but no one could stand up against Mooks that literally CAN'T FIGHT BACK?
- Hexen 2's manual states that the game world's various nations were conquered with shocking celerity by the Big Bad.
- In the Escape Velocity series, all it takes to conquer a world is beating up their defense fleets. Likely they're just paying you "please don't bomb us from orbit" protection money and still governing themselves.
- Half-Life 2 makes reference to the 7-hour war in which Earth forces surrendered to the Combine. It's implied that the Combine were so advanced they steamrolled over everyone, along with Breen manipulating an early surrender to put himself in charge. Word of God, meanwhile, states that Xen wildlife teleporting everywhere made it so that to survive, everyone moved into the cities, so that they could defend each-other better, with the result that invading is easy shmeasy.
- The Combine being more advanced than humanity and possessing the numbers and technology to simply teleport thousands of Synths into every city in the world at once also helped.
- Averted in Half-Life, where a single regiment of soldiers manages to hold off the alien invasion for quite a long time, and even manage a counter-invasion into Xen (it fails). Eventually they get sick of fighting and just drop a nuke on the enemy army after they realized just how outnumbered they were.
- In Warcraft III, the Burning Legion conquers about four-fifths of the world without meeting any significant resistance before they are stopped at the very last moment. However, since they're all Omnicidal Maniacs, are extremely powerful as single units in-game, and have apparently near-unlimited numbers, it's possibly just their enemies trying to avoid fighting them till they get a strong enough force together.
- Can happen to you while playing any of the Civilization games. If you spend all your wealth in arts, science, and industry, and neglect your military, then expect a rival civilization to suddenly declare war on you and easily walk over all your territory before you even have a chance to counterattack. (Or, while playing on a hard difficulty setting where the computers cheat.)
- Day of the Tentacle. Just because one Purple Tentacle sprouted tiny arms and feels "smarter" and "more aggressive", he believes that he can Take Over the World and enslave humanity. He succeeds.
- The Europa Universalis series tries its best to consciously avert this, what with all the penalties countries get for unbridled warmongering and conquest. However, some players have managed to not merely conquer the world, but do so with severely handicapped countries such as Xhosa, Trebizond, and Iroquois.
- Even if you manage to pull it off, it still takes several in-game centuries (at best!) and many many real-life hours to achieve total world domination.
- Mass Effect 3 has Earth fall to the Reapers in the opening minutes, and multiple other worlds are conquered during the game. Justified, as the Reapers have a lot of practice doing this to countless civilizations. Though some planets do make a good fight.
Codex: Much of the turian fleet is still operable, and the citizenry is heavily armed. The turians refuse to be intimidated.
- Iji has the majority of humanity wiped out in one attack, by a single fleet fleeing extermination, in the opening cutscene.
- The legendary Earthworm Jim cartoon had the Planet of Easily-Frightened People, home of the Orb of Quite Remarkable Power! Psy-Crow commented that he loved that planet while walking straight past the terrified guards to steal the treasure.
"Aaaagh! Something green!" "Aaaagh! Something not green!"
"Aaaagh! A bug!" "Aaaagh! Air!"
- The Universe itself.
Professor Monkey-For-A-Head: We always say we're going to conquer the universe when we get the Suit, but now that we have it, how do you conquer a big thing like that?
Psy-Crow: Simple! Go to where the leaders of the universe hang out, then start blasting!
- The Universe itself.
- Earth in Invader Zim. Zim still manages to find a way to fail to conquer it every episode.
- In one of the The Simpsons Halloween shorts, there's a magical monkey's paw that grants wishes albeit at great cost. Lisa wishes for world peace. Humanity stops fighting as a result, completely disarms, and gets conquered by a pair of aliens with slingshots. They are in turn driven off when Ned wishes that the aliens go away, and Moe attacks them with a board with a nail in it.