Epiphany Comeback

The Hero fights the Big Bad and gets badly curbstomped. He is already down for the count and all hope seems lost when time slows for him and the hero comes to some very important realization (sometimes it takes a Journey to the Center of the Mind for them do so). He then stands up and easily defeats his opponent.

Congratulations! The Hero just had a Epiphany Comeback! They make him practically invincible for the duration of the fight, but expect them to wear off shortly after.

Not to be confused with Enlightenment Superpowers.


Anime and Manga
  • Played with epically by Roger Smith in the "Roger the Wanderer" episode of The Big O.
  • Ichigo has one in Bleach against Kenpachi, when he realized that his sword wasn't just a tool, but was literally an extension of his soul. The sword has to tell him this, specifically to counter Kenpachi, who was strong without knowing the same lesson.
  • Setsuna has one in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 when he's fighting Ali-Al-Saachez after he steals a very powerful mobile suit, although it wasn't his epiphany that brought victory, exactly: due to a poorly timed backstab by Alejandro Cross, the Trans Am system activates in all the active gundams.
  • Saizou in Brave10 comes to realize he no longer thinks like an Iga ninja while being thoroughly beaten by a renegade member of his ninja school. Cue fight reversal.
  • Naruto is almost too terrified of Gaara to fight him, even when the lives of Sakura and Sasuke are on the line. Naruto makes a massive comeback when he realizes he's stronger when fighting on behalf of someone else, rather than just for himself like Gaara.

Comic Books
  • Scott Pilgrim gets his "Power of Understanding" sword this way.
  • Issue #20 of The Powerpuff Girls ("Bow Jest") has Blossom's confidence shot after her hairbow is taken by Buttercup and then stolen by Mojo Jojo, who thinks it wields some sort of power if it can render Blossom helpless without it. Bubbles—of all people—clocks Mojo, slams the bow back on Blossom's noggin and scolds her ("It's a stupid bow! You're still a Powerpuff Girl whether you have it or not!") Blossom has a sudden epiphany and becomes her confident self again.
  • In the Dreamwave Transformers series, Optimus Prime is forced to battle with his predecessor Sentinel Prime. Sentinel is vastly more heavily armed than Optimus, but Optimus realises that the Sentinel he's facing is based on his own memories and thus incapable of doing anything new. By using more unorthodox tactics, he's able to destroy Sentinel Prime.

Fan Works

  • Neo at the end of The Matrix comes back from death thanks to an epiphany. He proceeds to destroy the previously invincible Agent Smith with ease.
  • You have to think in Russian in Firefox (something he clearly does ten minutes earlier and then just forgets).
  • In the climactic fight in The Last Dragon, Leroy Green is getting completely destroyed by Sho Nuff, who repeatedly dunks him in a tub of water and asks, "Who is the master?" Leroy realizes that he has already learned everything he needs to, and that the only thing still holding him back is his refusal to accept this fact. He answers Sho Nuff's question by saying, "I am," masters the power of the glow, and wins effortlessly.

Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Toph invents metalbending this way, after she gets captured and locked in a metal cage.
    • Later in the series, Aang has one at the final battle with the Pheonix King Ozai. It's unclear how much of the epiphany was spiritual and how much was physical, since the trigger was smashing into a rock on the injury that had almost killed him. Either way, it allows Aang controlled access to the Avatar State.
  • In The Legend of Korra
    • A less dramatic example, Korra is able to have a comeback in an important pro-bending game when she suddenly grasps the fundamentals of air-bending and applies them to her water-bending.
    • A bad guy version happens with Zaheer, Big Bad of Season 3. He is trapped by the heroes, soon to be captured and his efforts failed. After seeing P'Li being killed, he realizes she was his last truly earthly attachment. With this gone, he attains true flight, a power no airbender (not even Aang) has had in over 4,000 years.
      Zaheer: Let go your earthly tether. Enter the void. Empty and become wind.