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I leave for FIVE MINUTES... No wonder Bowser always kidnaps the Princess!
"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 most we know about the Kingdom's struggles against the invaders, the less likely they are to just consist in 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 Villain
, or just a very, very powerful one.
No Real Life Examples, Please!
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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.
- Dragon Ball Z reveals that Goku was sent to Earth as a baby 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.
- 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 (its 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 is 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...
- 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.
- Earth in Superman II. 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?
- 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.
- 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's failure to capture or kill a SINGLE Death Eater, despite being in a war with them for 9 months.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, with a touch of pride, describes 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, they 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 make everyone forget them as soon as they're not looking directly at them and plant suggestions meant that not only did they not need to even bring weapons, but no one realized it had happened.
- 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.