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Graceful Loser
An Old Master loses to a fourteen-year-old and takes it this well? Now that's a man with dignity.

The heroes have struggled long and hard, but they have finally foiled the Evil Plan and beaten everything else that the Big Bad can throw at them. They have clearly defeated him. The villain, rather than trying to escape, freaking out or try and take the heroes with him, graciously acknowledges their victory and yields, surrendering himself to their justice.

This is not a trick to catch the heroes off guard: the villain really chooses to lay down his sword. He might one day return to fight the heroes, but that is definitely another day. Might occur in the case of an Affably Evil or Harmless Villain, or a Magnificent Bastard. Most likely seen if there is limited (or even no) hatred between the villain and the heroes, and especially if there is a sort of camaraderie between them, or both were trying to do the right thing; in this case the villain was simply misguided. Needless to say, the Worthy Opponent is almost guaranteed to do this. It might even cause them to join your side.

Can happen more often in series where there is a Cardboard Prison involved. A villain who happens to Know When to Fold 'Em just may do this. Can also happen when he chooses to Face Death with Dignity.

Compare Touché.

Contrast Sore Loser, Unsportsmanlike Gloating, I Surrender, Suckers.

Super Trope to Villain's Dying Grace and Touché, which the villain is likely to say.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • When Raoh of Fist of the North Star, broken-and-defeated by Kenshiro, holds the younger warrior's face for the first and final time like a big brother:
    Raoh: Come, let me see the face of the man who has defeated Raoh... You are magnificent, my little brother.
    Kenshiro: Big brother...
  • Not a series-ending example, but during Shannon and Chris' confrontation in episode 4 of Scrapped Princess, Chris gracefully surrenders after Shannon Flash Steps behind him and holds a sword to his throat. He agrees to return Winia to the heroes, and to no longer attack them directly. This also marks the beginning of Winia and Chris' Odd Friendship.
  • Chao of Mahou Sensei Negima! arranged for her Masquerade-breaking spell to be changed if she lost to Negi. This proved a good thing, as Negi was too exhausted to take out her accomplices.
    • Earlier in the story, once Kaede beat Kotaro, he just stood around promising he wouldn't run or pull a cheap trick.
  • Trieze does this at the end of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, letting Wufei run him through when they had previously been almost evenly matched. Whether or not it was part of a larger plan, his Famous Last Words include telling Wu Fei that It Has Been an Honor fighting him and the other Gundam Pilots.
  • Many character in Hajime No Ippo are not mad that they lost to Ippo, but instead gain new hope. The best example of a Graceful Loser is Takeshi Sendoh. He is also the one that said how Ippo has a "blade of life", made to bring the best out of people, contrasted with his "killer blade", made to take someone down so he'll never get up again. Another example is Arnie Gregory, who, after losing against Miyata, talks friendly with him, gives him his cowboy hat and leaves with the words "Goodbye, Champ."
    • The big exception of this trope is Sociopathic Hero Ryo Mashiba, who complains and yells after losing against Ippo.
  • Special Operative Okonogi becomes this in the Festival Music chapter of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
  • Charlotte and Edorad in Bleach. Their last words are either a compliment to the rival's strength (Charlotte, towards Yumichika) or being glad to know who defeated them (Edorad, to Ikkaku.)
  • Subverted in Trinidad's past, in Gunnm. The bad guy leaves a recording of something that matches this trope. While the REAL him is busy pleading for his life, and begging, in utter terror. The recording of the villain, while leaving Trinidad instructions for a My Death Is Just the Beginning plan, admits that he wouldn't have the courage to go through with the plan in the clutch.
  • Kagato in Tenchi Muyo! becomes this after Tenchi delivers the final blow. The Mad Scientist villain calmly, dispassionately and respectfully delivers the page quote as he disintegrates.
    • Kagato in the TV series, while more of a overlord type than a mad scientist, calls back to the OAV somewhat. After his defeat, he simply looks back at Tenchi, seeing his old rival in the younger prince, and says "Yosho... looks like I've lost again... doesn't it?" His delivery in the dub was more resigned and borderline amused than anything.
  • In One Piece after Zoro defeated Kaku, he hands him the key to Robin's cuffs and even shares a joke with Zoro before passing out.
    • It's especially telling that he simply shuts his eyes and slips unconscious with a serene smile on his face. A jarring contrast to all the others of CP9 which tend to flip out, or try a cheap shot, or just be a poor loser all around and end up lying in a heap with a look of painful shock beaten into their faces.
  • In Pokémon Best Wishes Trip/Shooti takes a loss against a crowd of people in the Don Tournament very well in contrast to Ash's previous rival Paul who Rage Quit when he was losing in the double battle match. However, he states that he is annoyed with losing, but decides that he'll get better to prevent losing again. Then again, this is toward Cilan. He seems disturbed having a draw with Ash though.
  • Rigardo in Claymore becomes this to Clare, admiring her sheer willpower and resolve before being torn apart by her half-awakened form during her Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Early in Captain Harlock, when an enemy commander loses a ship duel to the eponymous captain, he detonates his ship next to Harlock's, charging it magnetically to make enemy lasers miss it.
  • A subversion occurs in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Silcardo Junazard, having been fatally impaled by Akira Hongo, openly acknowledges his opponent's status as The Determinator of martial arts and asks to see the man's face up close. However, Hongo bounds backwards instead, being Genre Savvy enough to know that Junazard would take the opportunity to deliver a fatal blow to him despite being on the verge of death himself.
    • Played straight with Thor of Ragnarok. After being defeated fairly by Kenichi according to the rules of sumo, he acknowledges his defeat, prevents his subordinates from attacking the weakened Kenichi, and upholds his end of the bargain. He soon pulls a Heel-Face Turn on top of all that.
    • The Elder stresses that a real martial artist is graceful in defeat: "A true martial artist will thank any opponent who is able to defeat him, for it means he has learned something new."
    • Also that is pretty much the only rule Yami has is to follow any order given to them if they are defeated.
  • Both Big Bads of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Lordgenome gives a cryptic warning for the future, and the Anti-Spiral asks Simon to protect the Universe.
  • In the second Space Battleship Yamato movie, Dessler is this trope after he is seriously injured in combat and faces down Worthy Opponent Kodai. He tells Kodai the secret to defeating Comet's and commits suicide.
  • The Big Bad of Macross Frontier, Grace O'Connor, did rant and rave about her plan coming apart only because it took her many years to work out, but realizing that she was going to die, accepted her defeat with a sigh and a grin, knowing that her adversaries earned a hard-fought victory.
  • In Girls und Panzer, there are a few cases of this.
    • Kay gracefully accepts her loss, since she sees tankery as a game and sportsmanship as of paramount importance.
    • Darjeeling, taken out of the tournament by Black Forest in the semifinals, doesn't seem to mind, since she can watch Miho and Oarai's progress in the tournament.
    • Katyusha of Pravda accepts her defeat and gets off Nonna's shoulders to shake hands with Miho.
    • Maho and, surprisingly enough, Erika of all people from Black Forest. The former seems to welcome her defeat, since it means her younger sister Miho has found a style of tankery different from the Nishizumi School but valid on its own merits. The latter comes off as fairly surprising, especially since she had grown upset over Oarai's pulling unpredictable moves on them and getting out of seemingly hopeless situations, but she promises with a smile that Black Forest won't lose the next tournament.
    • Miho herself, at two separate points. After losing to St. Gloriana in a practice battle in the anime, and after losing to her sister and a few of their mother's students in Little Army
  • Surprisingly enough, Tommyrod in Toriko, despite being an utterly monstrous villain who went into a Villainous Breakdown the first time he was badly injured and beaten, goes out this way when he is Killed Off for Real. In his last thoughts before Sunny obliterates him, Tommyrod admits that he enjoyed their fight.
  • In Transformers Armada, Galvatron sacrifices himself after losing his final battle against Optimus to ensure that Unicron can't feed on their age old conflict anymore. Galvatron declares Optimus victorious in their long war and urges him to return to his men.
  • Heroic example: Son Goku in Dragon Ball. On the rare occasions he meets an enemy he truly can't beat, he admits it without any ego (bowing out of the Cell Games, surrendering in the 2013 movie). His enemies, by contrast, tend to be insanely bad losers who'll blow up the planet they're standing on rather than admit defeat.
  • Zero no Tsukaima builds a load of Supporting Harem for Saito, most of which are Clingy Jealous Girls. Surprisingly enough, when Saito eventually marries the heroine Louise at the end of the series, not only they attend the wedding, but they also look very happy.

     Comic Books  
  • Would often happen to Batman, especially with The Penguin.
    • At the end of Alan Moore's The Killing Joke, Batman starts to empathize and reach out to The Joker to get him to give up crime. The Joker, defeated and oddly calm, finishes a joke started earlier in the story... and Batman laughs with him.
    • And then there's Humpty Dumpty, who doesn't even resist arrest. In fact, he even helps Batgirl with her dislocated arms.
  • Dream of the Endless.
    • Some minor characters in the comics also go down this way:
      • Dr. Destiny after he botches it up all by himself.
      • Lucifer (though he wasn't entirely happy about it, he let Dream walk out)
      • Brute and Glob (ultimately they knew their efforts were futile anyways)
      • A surprising number of the people Death picks up.
  • Caesar is a graceful loser in most Astérix stories, often admitting his defeat the acknowledging the Gauls' worth. In "Asterix the Gladiator", and "Asterix the Legionary" he provides Asterix and his friends passage back to Gaul and in "Asterix and Son" he even rebuilds the burned down Gaulish village as thanks for the Gauls rescuing Caesar's son.
    • In one of the movies, he admits defeat, surrenders his empire and retires in the countryside with Cleopatra.
      • "You are gods, and one cannot fight gods."
  • In PS238, USA Patriot Act and American Eagle are so dedicated to democracy that they gracefully accept Tyler beating them in the class election.

     Comic Strips 
  • Non-villain version: In a Peanuts comic strip, Lucy challenges Charlie Brown to a board game session, thinking that Charlie's going to get upset about losing to her. Instead, Charlie doesn't get upset when he loses, which makes Lucy so mad that she kicks the board game and its pieces, saying that she can't stand a good loser.

     Fan Works 
  • In Ace Combat The Equestrian War, Night Raven, a battle-obsessed griffin soldier uses his last breath to congratulate Fluttershy on defeating him. Since Night Raven had come across as borderline Ax-Crazy for most of the fic, (even boasting to Fluttershy that he fights and kills not out of hatred for his enemies, but for fun,) this is a surprising display of honor.
  • In The Kirita Chronicles, Delano gracefully accepts his defeat during his duel with Kazuta during the Beta Test.
  • Turnabout Storm zig-zags it a bit. Trixie is angered by the resolution of the trial, something she makes clear in the post-climax; but the way Phoenix manages to uncover the actual truth behind the events that transpired leaves her humbled.
    Judge: Do... you have any retort to this possibility Ms. Trixie?
    Trixie: No... I don't... I can't beat that. The prosecution rests...
  • At the end of Yu Gi Oh The Thousand Year Door, Redux, what the Shadow Queen says to the heroes when she finally falls is pretty much a lesson in why being a sore loser never helps (even though she's dying as a result):
    Shadow Queen: What? You expected some angry threat? Some vow of vengeance that we all know I could never back up? I’d rather not embarrass myself…
    • She does say one memorable thing after that to say she did get what she had once wanted this way. (See the entry under Dying Alone.)

     Film  
  • In the climax of Enemy at the Gates, Zaytsev ends up ambushing Major Konig and aiming at him from about 40 feet away. Konig turns around and calmly holds his hat to his chest while Zaytsev shoots him.
  • The Big Bad of Kill Bill warmly tells his murderer, who has proven to be the Greater Warrior, that she is still the love of his life. Then, he walks with gentlemanly dignity to his death.
    • Also O-Ren Ishii, who first apologizes to her killer for not taking her seriously, and when given the last blow she muses with admiration about how the weapon that scalps her is truly a Hattori Hanzou katana.
  • The Baroness of The Sound of Music warmheartedly wishes Maria, her rival for the hand of Captain Von Trapp, happiness with the Captain when it becomes clear where his affection lies.
  • Similarly, the unfaithful wife in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? does the same when "handing" Gilbert to Juliette Lewis' character.
  • The big wrestler in Fearless.
    • Well, after refusing to admit defeat and trying to fight on for a while. But after he was saved from the spikes he composed himself and acted more graciously.
    • Also, (and potentially a better example) Japanese swordsman and Karate expert Nakamura. He recognizes that Huo could have killed him with Huo's final blow but deliberately held back rather than do so. Between that and Nakamura's suspicions that foul play had occurred, he stops the referee from proclaiming him the victor over Huo, forfeits, and leads the audience in cheering on Huo.
  • Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray, but not her mother, alas.
    Amber von Tussle: I lost, Mom. Let's just deal with it!
    Velma Von Tussle: You did not lose! You can not have lost because I switched the damn tallies!
    • Amber then proceeds to walk away from her mother, then strike a conversation and dance with a black dancer, which is pretty ironic considering her mother was racist.
      • In the stage show, both Von Tussles actually become this. After some sulking, they have a verse in that song where they finally just accept it and basically just go with the flow
  • Tony Wendice in Dial M for Murder. After a brief moment of shock when his Batman Gambit is undone, he calmly congratulates everyone and pours them some wine.
  • Teddy KGB at the end of Rounders. Mike Mc Dermott just won a huge poker hand against him. After a brief angry rant, he calls his goons off and grudgingly admits that he was defeated fair and square.
  • When the Operative in Serenity realizes he's been beat, he calmly orders the Alliance troops to stand down. He even makes arrangements for the surviving protagonists to receive medical attention, and for their ship to be repaired.
    • He does say that his superiors are less than pleased with this outcome and that he may just be their next target. Mal just shrugs and says he doesn't care. After all, the Operative has killed many of his friends (including children) just to smoke him out.
  • Wadsworth, in Clue, congratulates his killer on their shooting skills.
  • Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid shows some previously unseen class after losing to Daniel at the end of the film, personally handing the trophy to LaRusso and telling him, "You're all right."
    • The Remake takes this up a notch. Not only does the rival bring the hero the trophy, but he, and his entire class bow to him, much to the chagrin of their jerkass teacher.
  • In A Beautiful Mind, Martin Hansen has been acting as a Jerk Ass rival to John Nash for most of the film's first act; however, when Nash is selected for the position at Wheeler labs instead of him, he shows up at the local bar where Nash is celebrating, and- though his ego has obviously taken a bruising- he gracefully toasts Nash's success. For the remainder of the scene, the two of them are chatting amiably.
  • The Joker in The Dark Knight oddly enough, though it depends on who he loses to. He becomes visibly angry when his passengers prove his beliefs about human nature wrong and tries to blow them up, but after Batman stops him, he's seems glad to finally meet someone who he considers his equal. In typical Joker fashion he laughs himself silly.
  • As in the book, Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers very calmly accepts that he's been beaten (even if it is only a minor inconvenience rather than a disaster for him,) and invites the musketeers to work for him instead.
  • Loki in The Avengers. Conclusively defeated, surrounded by all of the Avengers, and Hawkeye's got an arrow aimed point-blank at him. His response?
  • Subverted in Diggstown, where the hero and the villain are both con-men who have done everything in their power to rig a series of boxing matches in their favor. When the hero's fighter finally wins under blatantly shady circumstances, the villain stands up and says, "You beat me fair and square!" However, soon afterwards he begins ranting and threatening while his son tries to get him to admit defeat.
  • In the final segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, when the gremlin realizes that John Lithgow's character has managed to thwart its attempted destruction of the passenger jet, it just grins, wags its finger at him and flies away.
  • Subverted in The World's End. The Network initially seems to be willing to leave, if not in good grace at least with a minimum of fuss. Then it spitefully knocks out human technology on the way out.
  • Prince Edward in Enchanted. When his kiss fails to wake Giselle he is perfectly okay letting Robert give it a try, and seems genuinely happy for the two of them.

     Literature  
  • In The King of Attolia, the king has just outmaneuvered a scheming noble:
    Sejanus looked up at last. Then, with a little effort, he shrugged, like a man who has lost a bet on a footrace or dice roll. Accepting a shattering defeat with some dignity intact he was more likable than he ever had been in the past. [...] He saluted the king. "Basileus" he said, using the archaic term for the fabled princes of the ancient world.
  • In the Warrior trilogy set in the BattleTech universe, Duke Frederick Steiner certainly qualifies. Confronted with the evidence of his involvement in a plot to topple his cousin Katrina and establish himself as Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth (involving an assassination attempt that he did not know about and would not have condoned), he acknowledges his defeat, accepts a suicide mission on the condition that the troops he takes along not be thrown away merely for their association with him, and indeed does not return. He does survive, but effectively vanishes for over twenty years before appearing again in a somewhat more heroic role...in the Blood of Kerensky trilogy, and under a different name.
    • Also, the Clans will, at the point of a defeat, withdraw, even if they have the strength to stay.
  • The vampire Faethor Ferenczy of the Necroscope series had two such moments: first, when suffering amidst the ruins of his burning house, he decided to accept a quick death at the hands of a rescuer- even paying him with a gold medallion- rather than fighting desperately to escape. The second moment was after his death, when he was excluded from the other souls of the dead for being a vampire, and this time, he got to explain himself:
    Believe me if you like, or disbelieve, but I am at peace- with myself, anyway. I have had my day, and I am satisfied... if you had lived for thirteen-hundred years, perhaps you would understand...
    • ... up until Sequelitis made him an enemy again in Necroscope: Deadspawn when he manages to vampirise hero Harry Keogh and tries a Grand Theft Me on him before being cast into oblivion.
  • Supreme Commander Pellaeon, the head of the tiny Imperial Remnant, came to the conclusion that the Empire would only survive to rise again if he made peace with the New Republic, so he sends a trusted underling as an envoy to meet with the general he respects most. A Moff's consternation at this and someone finding a corrupt version of the Caamaas Document kick off the events of the Hand of Thrawn duology.
  • The Three Musketeers: After D'Artagnan and friends have defeated his scheme, Cardinal Richelieu acts in the only manner he can, being who he is... he offers D'Artagnan a job. Talent like that shouldn't be wasted. (It is earlier mentioned in the book that the Cardinal is incapable of being vengeful, because the pursuit of vengeance really gets in the way of the pursuit of power.)
    • While his scheme is defeated, at best it is a minor inconvenience to the Cardinal who is far too powerful for anything that the Musketeers do to actually harm or seriously affect him and his position. That he offers D'Artagnan a job still counts as this trope, however, as if he wished he could crush the young Musketeer without effort.
  • In Animorphs Visser One (the former Visser Three) responds in this fashion after their defeat in book 53. Which is kind of odd considering his psychopathic behavior during his lesser defeats.
  • Martel, in The Elenium, takes being beaten (and killed) by Sparhawk with dignity. Sparhawk acknowledges this by bringing Sephrenia over so Martel can die in the presence of those he loved most.
  • Not a villain, but in The Homestar Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest, The Homestar Runner was okay with losing because cheating Strong Bad didn't either. And Pom-Pom was nice enough to share the trophy.
  • Both Gale Hawthorne and Peeta Mellark in Mockingjay, mainly during a conversation Katniss overhears between them. Peeta has more or less always believed Gale is the one Katniss loves and if anything seems apologetic that he got between them. Gale in turn seems to have gotten over his previous jealousy and realized where her heart truly lies and seems to be fairly okay with it. He doesn't seem to have any hard feelings towards Peeta, whom Katniss loves despite him trying to kill her twice (It Makes Sense in Context). Towards the end of the book Gale doesn't seem to be all that upset when he knows for sure that Katniss will choose to be alone if she can't be with Peeta.

     Live Action TV  
  • When revealed for the scheming, murdering snakes they are, a very significant number of Lieutenant Columbo's enemies smile graciously, congratulate the lovable old buffoon, and cheerfully walk to the police station with him.
    • Columbo's often really nice to them as well. When the fairly sympathetic man who'd murdered his stepbrother because he was going to sell his beloved vineyard was caught, Columbo listened as the guy explained that the vineyard was the only place he ever felt truly happy and shared a glass of wine with him before taking him away.
    • One of them even gave Columbo a portrait of himself after being caught (although he was working on it before he was arrested).
  • Averted in Alias. In the middle of season 2, after the Alliance was destroyed, Arvin Sloane was revealed to have helped in the whole thing, and apparently retired to a life of luxury and anonymity with his wife. Then it turned out it was just the next step of his plan.
  • A world-class example of this is seen in the Grand Finale of Power Rangers Time Force. Ransik (probably the single toughest Big Bad ever seen in the franchise) tells the Rangers 'I don't need anyone to fight for me! I'll destroy you myself!' - and then, goes ahead and darn well nearly does it. He only relents when he nearly kills his daughter accidentally, who then uses The Power of Love to get him to lay down his arms and surrender.
    • He even comes back during the next season's Crossover episode to help the Rangers take out some Orgs that he had business dealings with in the "past".
      • And he was pretty awesome as a good guy too.
    • Power Rangers Dino Thunder: When the Evil White Ranger Clone suffers a fatal blow at the hands of the true White Ranger, he calmly declares "I guess you wanted it more." before bidding him goodbye.
  • After his first loss in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Master Vile takes it in stride. "So I failed once. Big deal. Rita and Zedd have tried to conquer the earth over a hundred times and they've never come close!"
  • Cyclops of Mahou Sentai Magiranger. He flies into a rage when Tsubasa outwits him and forces him to go giant-size, but when the Rangers land the actual killing blow he congratulates them with his last words.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Amy's Choice", after our heroes have worked their way through his dream trap, the Dream Lord gracefully admits defeat and accepts his end of the bargain, saving their lives and fading away. It's a subversion; when he leaves them, they're still trapped in his dream trap, and this is just his way of trying to fool them.
  • In the 1980s The Twilight Zone, a group of neighborhood men play poker against the devil, who keeps winning with triple 6's. So for a final hand, double or nothing to get back the souls lost, they play lowball, where the devil's typical hands, of course, lose. The Devil smiles and gives them back everything they've lost. Further, charmed by their pluck, he fills the fridge with beer and snacks they were too poor to afford for their game.
  • The Smallville episode "Combat" has Clark being forced to fight against an escaped prisoner from the Phantom Zone named Titan (played by Kane). The fight is brutal, forcing Clark to actually use his full strength. After being tossed rather forcefully to the ground, Titan rises and turns to reveal that he has been fatally impaled by his own arm-spike. Evidently aware of his mortal wound, he simply smiles, says "Good fight!", and drops dead.
  • In the Fantasy Island remake, one episode involved a man who wants to become the best business man by any means. Roarke slowly turns him into a remorseless demon. At the final moments when he is alone, paranoid, and cowering in the corner, his dog returns to him and he shed a single tear, which Roarke takes and hands to his assistant, happy to lose the bet once more.
  • On The Amazing Race it's actually rare for a losing team not to be graceful in defeat, and many teams in the Final 3 are just happy having gotten to run the whole race. Though notably averted with the teams that originally appeared on another CBS Reality Show.
  • This is the main thing that seperates the grifters from their marks on Hustle. Mickey especially doesn't seem to mind that much whenever he is conned himself. A notable example is when the two future halves of the team con each other thanks to manipulations by Albert at the beginning of season 5 and none of them seem to mind. They have the same reaction against Richard Chamberlain's character when he beats them as they are happy to have seen a true master at the game. By contrast, whenever a mark loses, they tend to scream, yell and throw tantrums. Mickey often says his motivation for taking down a mark is to see if they can dish it out as well as take it, and he apparently holds himself to that.

     Tabletop Games  
  • In Exalted, Ligier, the fetich soul of the Yozi Malfeas sort of invokes this concept. He refuses to fight anyone not worthy of fighting him (either tens of thousands of Dragonblooded or a full circle of experienced Solars) and if a party can best him enough to deal 25 health levels of damage or so to him - the book mentions this is merely a scratch to him, by the way - he will flourish, then withdraw from the fight and refuse to fight the group for 25 hours. He can be pressed into combat if his opponents keep attacking him. A word of advice: DON'T.
  • In the sample adventure for Spirit Of The Century the book suggests that should the characters convince the council running the scientific awards that Dr. Methusala is a threat, or is otherwise a liability, he will leave at their behest. Of course, he'll also be rather miffed, and when Dr. Methusala gets miffed, people cease to ever have been.
  • Zulkir Szass Tam is said to be genuinely respectful and even admiring of any heroic adventurers who thwart his plans, in no small part because they'd probably have to be Worthy Opponents to beat someone with his level of power and cunning.
  • In the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the demon lord Pazuzu is said to genuinely not hold any grudge against any mortal heroes who ruin his plans, particularly if they showed great cunning in doing so, and is in fact quite Affably Evil overall.

     Video Games  
  • Jade Empire. Sir Roderick Ponce Von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard accepts defeat quite gracefully, and honors your demands, even giving up his prized blunderbuss Mirabelle if the player wants it.
  • The hero and villain of the first Shadow Hearts both admit at the end that they understand each other's motives, and that they will decide the fate of the world with a Might Makes Right smackdown with no ill feelings towards the victor. The villain lives up to his promise, returning in the second game as a Spirit Advisor.
    • A similar case happens in the second game, furthered by the case that the hero and the villain there have pretty much zero animosity towards each other the whole game. The villain even provides the hero with both the means to say goodbye to his dead girlfriend and the key to figuring out exactly what he's planning. They also part amicably at the end.
  • Admiral Gregorio, the Worthy Opponent of Skies of Arcadia. He takes his loss to the heroes (which only cripples his ship and makes him unable to chase you) by giving Enrique, the party's Defector from Decadence and basically his nephew, his well-wishes for the future. Enrique responds in kind, expressing regret at having had to fight him. Handsome Lech Vigoro also bows out gracefully after getting his backside kicked by Vyse for the third time, admitting that Vyse is the bigger man and giving up his obsessive chase after Aika in the process since, in his own words, "the strongest man has the right to be with the prettiest woman".
  • A particularly odd example occurs in BioShock: Once you finally confront Andrew Ryan, he exploits your sleeper agent code words to take control of you, then makes you kill him anyway, just because he'd rather die on his own terms. It is also possible that he did so because he realized that you are actually his own mind-controlled son.
  • King Bulblin from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess offers his only line to the hero after being defeated for the last time: "I follow the strongest side." He then gracefully bows out, implying that he believes Link to be stronger than his former master.
  • Most of the ranked assassins in No More Heroes accept their deaths quite calmly. Especially Speed Buster, but totally inverted with Bad Girl.
    • The same goes for No More Heroes 2, where the assassins' dying reactions usually consist of quiet acceptance or, in the case of Nathan Copeland, outright jubilation.
  • Rubicante, fitting with his status as a Worthy Opponent and a Noble Demon, praises you after defeating the Elemental Lords when they team up in Final Fantasy IV.
  • The Turks from Final Fantasy VII ignore their orders to confront the party again if you refuse to fight them during the Midgar raid. Rude concludes, "We've completed our job" and they go back to awaiting the end of the world.
    • ...But only if you completed the Wutai sidequest. If you didn't, you don't get the choice to fight them.
  • Harry McDowell of Gungrave, once his final creation is destroyed, admits defeat and allows Beyond The Grave to avenge his own murder (by killing Harry). For bonus points, the player gets to pull the trigger.
    Harry: ...Is it over? Go for it, Brandon. It's your turn now.
    (A single shot of Grave's Cerberus is heard.)
    • The final boss of the second game accepts his defeat calmly, even giving the heroes an antidote for Mika's seed infection before he dies.
  • Izanami complements Persona 4's Investigation Team after they unmask and defeat her.
    • Also, Tohru Adachi accepts his fate of imprisonment and agrees to play by society's rules.
  • Subverted somewhat in Persona2: Eternal Punishment, where during the final battle against Nyarlathotep, when beating his first form and moving onto his second and final one, compliments that no one has ever seen his second form, then tells them to die with "his highest praise" before bring defeated. Then it's entirely averted mid and post-battle as he throws a tantrum.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has Teyrn Loghain, after being defeated in single combat with the player or a party member, submitting to the player's justice - whether that justice is cutting off his head, letting Alistair take his revenge, or turning him into a Grey Warden and having him sacrifice himself to kill the Archdemon.
  • In The King of Fighters 2003, if you reach Adelheid (Rugal Bernstein's son) and beat him. He actually praises you for winning. His sister, Rose, on the other hand is quite the Sore Loser just like their dad. So much so that Adelheid has to force her to let the winners go as they won fair and square.
  • Mass Effect 3: The Catalyst, the Bigger Bad of the series, admits its own defeat when Shepard interacts with him. Seeing that Shepard and their allies finally completed the Crucible, the Catalyst admits that the Reapers have failed in their purpose, which the Catalyst admits to be disgusting. Then, the Catalyst leaves the new solution on Shepard's hands, even if it had a clear favourite option it would prefer you take. It only really becomes upset if Shepard refuses to use the Crucible.
    • In the Omega DLC, General Oleg Petrovsky, when it's clear he's been beaten, surrenders and orders his men to do the same. Whether or not he survives this depends on whether or not you can talk down Aria, or if you think his experimentation and creation of the Adjutants warrants putting a bullet in his head yourself.
    • It's part of yahg culture to bow down and accept that you've been beaten when someone turns out to be tougher than you. Might be the reason the yahg Shadow Broker has left all of his computer systems without even password protection, so that once you and Liara kill him, she can seize control of his entire organization and use it to help defeat the Reapers.
  • In Dishonored, Daud accepts defeat with admirable grace and composure, and tells Corvo that his fate is now Corvo's to decide. The player can choose whether to slit his throat or grant him mercy.
  • The aliens in The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants prove to be this, honoring their Worthy Opponent Bart Simpson through a bit of Rushmore Refacement.
  • In Breath of Fire I, the Dark Dragon Zog congratulates Ryu after he is defeated, and his last request is that Ryu create a future for Dragons.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Luxord says upon his defeat, "You play the game quite well." This contrasts with most other bosses who either curse your name or scream in pain.
    • At the end of 3D, though it's not a battle, Sora does not get promoted to Keyblade Master while Riku does. True to his cheery nature, however, Sora doesn't mope about it and is genuinely happy for his friend.
  • In Mulan Animated Storybook, there is a mahjong mini-game which you can play against Yao, Ling, or Chien-Po. If you choose to play against Chien-Po, he is so polite when you win that it seems like he loses on purpose.
  • After the revolution, which is really more of a coup, in Fable III, the Hero and Walter burst into Logan's war room. Though he does start to draw his sword, he thinks better of it and sheathes it, calmly surrendering to his sibling.
  • A few characters that can be conquered in the Video Game/Civilization series are this, but most notable is Genghis Khan, who after being defeated gives you his blessing.
  • At the end of Tex Murphy: Overseer, after Tex foils J. Saint Gideon's plans to mind-control the world leaders in order to bring about global peace, Gideon graciously shares scotch and cigars with Tex, even giving him his lighter as a keepsake, before committing suicide.

    Visual Novels 
  • The only thing that James Moriarty says to his killer Sherlock Holmes in Shikkoku No Sharnoth is "aren't you supposed to do this at a waterfall?" He is, in fact, completely satisfied with what he managed to accomplish.
  • Assassin in Fate/stay night. After losing a fight to Saber only because his sword is slightly bent despite having no superhuman abilities, he just tells her to go, sits down and talks to himself for a few minutes before vanishing. It helps that he didn't really care if he won or even lived, he just wanted one good fight against another master swordsman. He was even rather graceful about True Assassin eating him from the inside. He's just that kind of guy.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In case 1-3 (Turnabout Samurai) of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, the murderer Dee Vasquez, upon being discovered in full in court by Phoenix, chooses not to go into a grand Freak Out like so many other murderers do, (though she does snap her pipe in half in anger first), but to simply thank Phoenix and quietly admit their guilt. Lampshaded by Phoenix. Partially-Justified: The victim, Jack Hammer, was planning to kill Dee Vasquez and blame the murder on the guy you're defending, due to blackmailing Hammer over the death of a close friend on set five years ago. She killed him in accidental self-defense - the same way her friend was accidentally killed five years ago.
    • Damon Gant counts as well. When he's finally taken down for the shit he's pulled, he bursts into almost childish laughter and extremely fast clapping out of madness. Afterward though he calms down, apologizes to the Judge for being unable to make their later appointment and even admits that the justice system is in good hands with Wright, Udgey and Edgeworth at the helm.
    • Manfred von Karma could also be considered one. When found out as the ultimate perpetrator for the current case and the DL-6 incident that led to the death of Edgeworth's father Gregory, he doesn't take it so lightly, screaming Edgeworth's name out and smashing his head on the crowd bench behind him. However, afterwards when he calms down, he snaps at the judge for not delivering the verdict fast enough.
    • Acro would qualify. When you finally present irrefutable evidence that he was the (accidental) murderer of ringmaster Russel Berry, he simply congratulates you for seeing through him, figuring it out and calmly explains why he did what he did. He even congratulates Franziska for her part in exposing him. The last bit, though, sells it:
      Acro: No. I'm not a victim. (tears start flowing down his face, all while he keeps genuinely smiling) I'm nothing but a murderer.
    • Godot, aka Diego Armando. When he finally gets nailed by Phoenix at the end of the last case of Trials and Tribulations, he freely admits his guilt in the death of Elise Deauxnim, aka Misty Fey, and even shares his last cup of coffee with Phoenix, the guy he'd been constantly disparaging since case 3-2. It's hinted, though, that on some level he wanted to be caught: he drops little hints throughout that eventually help Phoenix reach the correct conclusion. It's also hinted that he's not going to live very long anyway.

     Web Comics  
  • The mad scientists in A Miracle of Science surrender in this fashion, once the memetic track for Science-Related Memetic Disorder runs out. At least one sentient robot displays this behavior as well. Pinder number one has the means to defeat his enemy, but doing so will certainly destroy himself and a great number of the robots with him. Rather than taking the fight to its conclusion, he acknowledges defeat and surrenders.
  • Tsutsumu from Angel Moxie, to the point of leaving his vast economic empire to the girls when they kill him.
    • Played with, really. He fights right up to the end, fully intending to kill the girls if he can... but he's left a pleasant surprise for the heroes if they do manage to beat him.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Principal Verrückt pushes in all the wrong directions, but doesn't mind when he's repelled. At least if it's not about murals.
  • Subverted in The Order of the Stick with Tarquin. While he comes across as this initially, it turns out he just has a warped obsession with telling a good story that causes him to dismiss apparent losses as unimportant or even beneficial to his narrative. When he actually believes things aren't going his way his good temper rapidly evaporates.

     Web Original 
  • Akinator is this when he failed to guess your character. ("Bravo! You have defeated me." And he applauds you too, even if it feels somewhat half-hearted.)
  • SCP-076-2, better known as "Able", regards his fight with 682 as "the best fight he had in ages", despite losing quite quickly, and is quite proud to have encountered a creature "whose capacity for violence surpassed his own."
    • SCP-049, given his nature, is surprisingly compliant when being detained following a containment breach.

     Western Animation  
  • In The Simpsons episode "C.E.D'oh", Homer hatches an ingenious plan to get put in charge of the nuclear power plant as a "patsy", then immediately fires Mr. Burns once he's given power. Burns compliments his cleverness and acknowledges his defeat like a man.
  • Caesar in the Twelve Tasks of Astérix, who gets to 'retire' to a lovely Italian villa with Cleopatra.
  • In Gargoyles, David Xanatos may be a Big Bad for some time, but he's a preeminent good loser who also thinks revenge is beneath him. When the gargoyles start becoming a genuine nuisance in his plans, he doesn't go into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, vowing We Will Meet Again, but simply states their interference has become "irritating."
    • Also, Oberon.
  • In the last episode of The Transformers season 3 (The Return of Optimus Prime, Part 2), Galvatron's madness is cured and he becomes this. Of course, in the next (truncated) season, he comes back crazier than ever.
    "There will be no war today, Prime. You have earned Galvatron's respect."
  • In Hot Wheels Battle Force 5, Kalus takes the Vandal's final defeat fairly well. They may have lost all their Sentient technology, but he's reunited his planet under his rule, defeated the Red Sentients attacking his world, and finally gets his hands on Grimian and seems content with that.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "May the Best Pet Win", in which Rainbow Dash has a contest to see what animal becomes her pet, the falcon is a remarkably good sport about losing to a tortoise on a technicality, even going so far as to shake, er, forelimbs.
    • When Fluttershy tells motivational worker Iron Will that she refuses to pay up for his seminar due to him saying that he guarantees 100% satisfaction or else "You don't pay", he keeps his word (though not before asking if she's even mildly satisfied) and continues on his way, even considering his experience with her worth using in his next seminar.
    • Subverted with Discord in the season 2 premiere. He gives the ponies a free shot at him twice, but only because he believed the Elements of Harmony would have no effect after he used a Hate Plague on the heroes. He's only right the first time.
      • One season later, it's played straight. When Discord realizes that Fluttershy's friendship is too valuable for him to risk losing - meaning that he cannot go on his planned rampage of chaos - his reaction is remarkably subdued and dignified.
  • In an episode of American Dad!, Francine goes to her 20th anniversary high school reunion, where they get the ballot box from Homecoming out of a time capsule. Inside they discover two uncounted votes which show Francine's rival should have been Homecoming queen. Francine handles it admirably, simply saying "How about that?" and giving her tiara to the other girl. Stan however has a Freak Out, since he wanted to date the Homecoming queen to make up for his being a total loser in high school.
    • The same cannot be said about Francine's opponent, whose life apparently went down the tube all because she didn't win Homecoming Queen. Now that she actually won the crown things might start looking up for her.
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "Tour de Pond", Rex Smythe-Higgins III takes his defeat much better than his grandfather.
  • Master Offay from Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! accepts being defeated by Chiro with dignity.
  • Total Drama World Tour: Noah's graceful acceptance of being voted off is rewarded by being the only person to parachute out in safety and dignity.
    • An earlier example comes in Island where Harold gracefully accepts being voted off, as he then refects that how he won, lost and saw boobies, also making him one of the few contestants to not leave depressed.
  • Beware the Batman: Despite being a Psychopathic Manchild, Humpty Dumpty handles defeat remarkably well. He releases his hostages after being beaten without a fuss, even though he didn't have to and he had a personal vendetta against them.


A God I Am NotHumility TropesHeroic Self-Deprecation
Everybody Did ItTwist EndingGainax Ending
Game Over ManVictory and DefeatHeads I Win, Tails You Lose
The GroupVillainsGrand Vizier Jafar
Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!ImageSource/Western AnimationRapid Aging

alternative title(s): Defeat With Grace
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