"Even if you get hacked up once or twice, when you're a badass you live through it to fight again."
is battered and bruised; he can't keep up with his enemy. Then the villain picks up a child, girlfriend or similar loved one and draws back his weapon for the killing blow — and suddenly the hero is able to ignore his wounds and charges his enemy, attacking with a flurry of furious blows
that utterly overwhelms his opponent. Bonus points if given in conjunction with a "World of Cardboard" Speech
Heroic Resolve is a variant of Unstoppable Rage
that is specifically in response to a threat against something or someone that the hero cares deeply about
, gaining his new power purely from guts and the desire to protect. It's usually preceded by an Angry Eyebrows
Extremely common in shonen anime
and action movies.
If the character is only
in any way competent in this kind of situation, you're dealing with a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
scenario. It may also come from the last straw in a campaign to Break the Cutie
being reached, thus providing an example to the bad guys of why they should Beware the Nice Ones
Note to well-meaning but Genre Blind
friends and allies: do not try this intentionally
. If The Virus
is involved, then it's likely a case of Heroic Willpower
. Note to anyone with a Villain Ball
: don't force a hero to watch a loved one in pain
if they're known to have Heroic Resolve
of Heroic Spirit
. A Necessary Weasel
in stories involving Japanese Spirit
Bottled Heroic Resolve
is when the will is strong enough, but the body too weak, and so the hero uses drugs of some kind.
Compare with the Determinator
and Heroic Second Wind
. The Fettered
can pull this off when their ideals are threatened. Hope Spot
is the subversion, when that last burst still isn't enough.
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Anime & Manga
- Spider-Man wrote the book on this one; as far back as the sixties, Spidey has shown a marked increase in strength, durability, and badassery (accompanied by a decrease in smartassery) whenever Aunt May, Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, etc. are in trouble. Being Mr. Responsibility, he also responds this way to endangered random innocents as well, going so far as to occasionally hold up buildings to save them. The first instance of this was when he overextended his strength by about five times the (then) official rating to get some Applied Phlebotinum to Aunt May after being trapped under debris weighing as much as some small planetoids.
- Portrayed well in the "Tarnished Angel" arc of Astro City, when a supervillain recently released from jail realizes that his fellow C-List Fodder are going to be wiped out as a publicity stunt and the superheroes he turns to simply don't believe his story. He confronts the arch-villain himself and just keeps getting back up to fight on.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, memories of his loved ones let ProtoMan do this in episode 11, fighting Wily's fear programming and turning on him.
- In this Homestuck fic, Eridan manages to restrain and calm down a blood-crazed Feferi even as she stabs him fatally.
Films — Animated
- Kung Fu Panda:
- Po is given hopeless Training from Hell by Master Shifu and the Furious Five to make him quit trying to become the Dragon Warrior. However, Po notes a "a real warrior never quits" and vows to persevere no matter what. To the shock of his "trainers," Po endures everything they inflict on him and just keeps coming without complaint. Eventually, most of the Five begin to change their minds about the panda; to them, Po may not be the Dragon Warrior, but his courage and tenacity are impressive.
- Po also shows heroic resolve in regards to food, able to carry out great feats in pursuit of a snack. Shifu uses this to train Po, and Po himself uses it in the final battle, envisioning the Dragon Scroll as a cookie to help him climb a wall to reach it.
Films — Live-Action
- A dark version of this is Inigo Montoya's quest for revenge in The Princess Bride. When the six fingered man seems about to kill him, he goads him with the fact that he killed his father, telling him he has failed on his lifelong quest for revenge. Needless to say, My Name Is Inigo Montoya. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die happened.
- In Serenity, River spends most of the final battle completely catatonic and unable to use her government-implanted killing machine abilities. Then her brother gets shot, and from there on the Reavers are as good as dead.
- In the final Matrix movie The Matrix Revolutions, when Neo and Agent Smith face off in their final battle, Smith has Neo beaten down on the floor and says this tirade:
Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting?...You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?
Neo: Because I choose to.
- This is Tony Jaa's shtick in every action movie in which his character is injured. Despite the obscene levels of bone-breakage he's capable of normally, that quotient seems to increase in direct relation to how injured he is, and how pissed off he is.
- In Captain America: The First Avenger, the patriotic and dutiful Steve Rogers tells a heckler to shut up during a WWII news reel before a movie. Even when the comparatively massive, bad-ass heckler drags him out of the theatre and beats him up, Rogers refuses to yield the point. In basic training, he dives on a grenade while the other recruits (who by every objective measure are more bad-ass than him) flee in terror. And when that resolve is combined with his super-powers, he easily weathers a helpless beating at the hands of his arch-rival long enough for his squadmates to raid the base.
- In Good Omens, the demon Crowley is speeding down a cursed highway (trying to stop the End of the World as We Know It) that causes his car to catch on fire. He keeps it going and holds it together through sheer force of will.
- Subverted in Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. The protagonist tries to break his way out of a jail cell with his Talent for breaking things, only to find the bars are resistant to Smedry Talents. Then he summons all his will to escape with his friends and rescue his grandfather ... and still nothing happens. The narrator points out that this never works in Real Life. Fortunately for our heroes, The Guard Must Be Crazy.
- The only reason the humans on Turtledove's World War series survive. Well, not the only reason, we had numerical and tactical advantages as well, but there was still a lot of this.
- Well, that and the Race seem to have been collectively handed the Idiot Ball by the author...
- 50,000 years without a war would tend to dull the skills a little. Oh, and they were only expecting middle-ages technology.
- Richard from The Sword of Truth series, to the point where when he's dying quite quickly from a magically induced version of the black death, he still manages to jab his arm through someone, crush their spine, and heal 2 critically injured women before he succumbs. He does nearly die, but the only thing keeping him going at that point was determination.
- In fact, once he learns to Dance With Death (it's a sword technique involving him drawing the knowledge of prior owners of his sword, and then just being infinitely better at his job than anyone in his immediate vicinity), this becomes one of his stock descriptions.
- This is SOP with Harry Dresden. He's quite possibly the Trope Codifier (him or Spiderman, who he references every now and then, saying "I follow the Tao of Peter Parker"). At one point Harry was facing down a respectable fraction of the senior-most wizards on the planet, each one of them a paragon of destruction, and they're scared of him. He knows that he's gotten by with some combination of this trope, luck, and having good friends, but all they know him as is a zombie-dinosaur-riding-potentially-dark-wizard who doesn't lose. He's fought Demons, Fallen Angels, the Fae, trucked his way through a war consisting of the entirety of Fae on more or less this trope and pluck, and then executed Aurora, Lady Summer. He's carved his way through armies of super-ghouls to rescue his friends, kicked off a war with the Red Court when they took his girlfriend by killing dozens of their lesser leadership. He's led an assault on Arctis Tor, the seat of Mab's (yes, that Mab) power. He's (essentially) won a duel with a Red Court Noble through the medium of Will, in a very Harry Potter-esque literalist take on this trope, fought off an Eldritch Abomination that Lovecraft would be proud of, challenged the entire Senior White Council to a duel, and then showed up. Heroic. Damn. Resolve.
- Immediately before the aforementioned Fae war, Harry explained to the Gatekeeper (the most enigmatic of the Senior Councilors) that the job wasn't finished, so he (Harry) was going to go into the fight. This after he very nearly died multiple times trying to unravel the mystery of the week that led to his actions which caused said war.
- Come Changes, and Harry has dueled and killed a Red Court Noble, who was only marginally below a living demi-god. Shortly afterward he kills said Red Court Noble's father, who, by the way, is the freaking Red King himself. All after his home was burned, his office detonated, his car crushed, and all the while his daughter was in Red Court hands.
- Even being dead doesn't stop Harry from riding to his friends' rescue.
- In The Maze Runner Trilogy, when freaked out and frantic, Thomas tends to will himself to overpower enemies or break out of holds.
Live Action TV
- In the finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a Turok-Han runs Buffy through the chest with a sword. It seems mortal, and Buffy hands over the Scythe to Faith. Then the First starts taunting her. Buffy gets up, catches the Scythe tossed to her by Rona, and the Crowning Music of Awesome kicks into high gear...
- Firefly: In "Objects in Space", Simon tackles Jubal, gets shot, gets up again and tackles him again ("He takes so much looking after"). Do not threaten the good doctor's baby sister. He doesn't like that.
- Stargate SG-1: The whole titular team has had many of these moments, when the chips are down or one of their own is in trouble. This includes returning from actual death (twice!), defeating a galaxy of near-godlike energy beings, and one member managing to keep himself and his father-like mentor alive for days where both had life-threatening injuries. Among other things.
- Mahou Sentai Magiranger is built on this.
- Nobuo of Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger, manages to warp reality and make his fictional powers real.
- The Breaker: despite being a relatively weak character for most the series, Shi Woon will absolutely not give up a fight if his friends are threatened. His Heroic Resolve even intimidates Hyuk So Chun, who is considered a martial arts prodigy by most of the cast.
- Heroic Resolve is a trait carried by many characters of Dino Attack RPG, including Rex and Frozeen, who fly into Unstoppable Rages the moment an enemy dares to threaten someone close to them.
- The Storyteller system of the Old World of Darkness includes an attribute called Willpower for all characters. Willpower can be used, for instance, to ignore all damage taken thus far when performing complex actions (normally, you get a penalty if wounded). It can also be used to add a single automatic success to the character's dice pool for one roll.
- In Exalted, channeling Compassion in battle tends to work out like this. See, characters can enhance their rolls by channeling their Virtues in appropriate situations; Compassion is a measure of the character's capacity for love, friendship, mercy, and generosity, and... yeah.
Trading Card Games
- The Vanguard of Bloodline Champions has the Battle Shout ability, healing itself and allies affected by it in addition to other effects.
- Rune Factory 3: In the last stage of the fight against the Final Boss Aquaticus, the hero is beaten up by an endless stream of water and debris shot by the dragon that deals damage in the hundreds with every blow...though even with 1 HP, his resolve to save his fiancče motivates him so much that not only can he resist everything that's thrown at him, but only needs to land one single blow on Aquaticus to finish him!
- Kingdom Hearts: When Sora learns that his best friend is being possessed by an evil scientist and that his (girl)friend, who he has been searching for, has been trapped in his own heart all this time, he seems to be too shocked (and probably also too confused) to fight against the aforementioned scientist, who plans to steal Kairi's heart from Sora, by kinda killing him... until Kairi's voice calls out to him from inside his mind. As soon as Sora hears her, he jumps up and shouts that "You'll never get Kairi's heart!". We get a similar scene later in the game, before the final boss battle: Sora is falling down into a dark abyss and seems to be lost, until Riku's voice tells him not to be such a wimp. He then pulls himself together and uses the power to fly by happy thoughts, which he obtained in Neverland.
- Kingdom Hearts is one Heroic Resolve after another. If you are defeated in certain boss fights, King Mickey has to jump in and bail you out (depending on your choice and luck). A few Keyblade slaps to the enemy from this guy, and a liberal mashing of Triangle, and Sora rises to his feet with strength renewed.
- In the prequel, Birth by Sleep, Terra has his body stolen by the Big Bad. It looks like it's all over. Xehanort starts a little speech...and then Terra's ARMOR gets up off the ground, animated by pure epic Heroic Resolve, and proceeds to give the Big Bad a much needed ass-kicking. He doesn't kill him, but it's implied that Terra's Lingering Sentiment hit with such powerful light that it started eliminating Terranort's memories.
- Zack Fair, in the Final Fantasy VII prequel Crisis Core, who escapes with Cloud after four years of horrible experimentation by the Mad Scientist Hojo. Zack steadfastly refuses to give up hope on or abandon the comatose Cloud, taking care of him for nearly a year, then has an epic Last Stand in which he battles a massive force from the Shinra army and manages to whittle them down to three troopers, in order to protect Cloud. And then, after being absolutely riddled with bullets, Zack still manages to give Cloud a Take Up My Sword speech before going out with a smile.
- Cloud himself in the original Final Fantasy VII during the real flashback to the showdown with Sephiroth in the backstory. Even after he gets run through the gut by Sephiroth's giant sword and lifted into the air with it, he grabs the blade with both hands and uses it as leverage to hurl Sephiroth off the platform into the lifestream pit below. Not bad for a scrawny kid who couldn't make the cut for the Super Soldier program and had to enlist as a lowly grunt instead.
- In Dissidia: Final Fantasy 012, while some of his comrades set out on a mission to stop the influx of Manikins, the Warrior of Light acts as Cosmos' last line of defense... and faces down the Manikin horde, fully prepared to go down fighting to keep them away from Cosmos and take as many with him as he can. He faces at least as many Manikins as the other six warriors, and he holds out just as long if not more so.
- City of Heroes has Inspirations, which translates as the ability to continue fighting beyond normal means. The healing inspirations (which do Exactly What It Says on the Tin) fall under this trope, with such names as Dramatic Resurgence and so on.
- There's also the new Willpower set, which is a good mix of this and Hot-Blooded.
- Additionally, with the Shield powerset, there is the aptly named "Against All Odds." The more enemies you're surrounded by in melee range, the more damage bonuses you receive.
- Given the actions of the community after the announcement of the game's impending shut down, they all certainly qualify as this.
- If you'll believe it, we've got a villainous version from Tales of Phantasia. After being beaten for the second time, Dhaos regains his strength and goes all One-Winged Angel on the heroes after hearing the prayers of his people and receiving more power from his god.
- Mega Man X. In the fight against Vile in the first stage of Sigma's castle, X loses the fight much like he did in the beginning of the game, left paralyzed and with little health. Zero makes a Heroic Sacrifice and destroys Vile's mobile suit with his remaining energy. Vile still thinks he has won, to which X breaks his bonds and restores his meter to full.
- In the "Day of Sigma" animated-prequel in the PSP remake Maverick Hunter X, Big Bad Sigma stabs X through the gut with his beamsaber. After a brief Flashback of X swearing to Doctor Light that he will always fight for hope and justice, he comes back online and charges Sigma, digging his glowing blue hand into Sigma's face and giving Sigma his trademark eye scars before finally shutting down.
- In Mega Man X5, Zero manages to summon up one final shot to take down Sigma despite having lost half his body.
- Sonic the Hedgehog is full of this.
Sonic: "I just gotta do what I gotta do! That's all!"
- In Chrono Trigger, when Marle, Crono, and Lucca discover why the year 2300 is so awful, they decide that they simply will not let it happen. The moment (as many others throughout the game) is punctuated by a soundtrack that is pure distilled Heroic Resolve.
- Later on, the Guru of Time explains that only through Heroic Resolve can Crono be brought back to life.
- In Lunar: Silver Star Story, when Alex becomes the Dragonmaster. This shy, meek teenage boy, who's been practically a silent protagonist up until that point in the game, orders the Big Bad away from his girl with such fury that the player can't help but be a little intimidated.
- In Mass Effect 3, Commander Shepard catches part of a blast delivered by Harbinger, the oldest, largest and most powerful Reaper of them all, able to destroy most dreadnoughts with a direct hit. Broken, bleeding to death, and with possibly third-degree burns and melted armor, s/he STILL gets up and limps to the teleportation beam, muscling through the pain.
Shepard: [takes a steadying breath] Yes, sir? What do you need me to do?
- Before that, the mission Priority: Horizon. The asari homeworld of Thessia has fallen to the Reapers. The galaxy's Darkest Hour is upon them. What does Shepard do? Give up? Give in? No — s/he's going right back out there to (as James succinctly puts in) kick Cerberus in the balls for a change.
- In the Mass Effect games in general, Shepard seems to have some pretty tremendous resolve mixed with a nice dose of I Did What I Had to Do in his/her mission to stop the Reapers. We're talking about someone who came Back from the Dead to keep fighting them off. Bonus points if the player picked the "Sole Survivor" background.
- In Batman: Arkham City, Batman is poisoned and is stumbling around. At one point, the camera shifts to his POV when he drops to his knees and starts coughing up his own blood and the screen starts to blur. Batman just clenches his fists and the effects wear off, but he still takes a hit to his max health.
- The whole game is essentially Batman displaying just how far his will and resolve is able to carry him. He constantly is getting sicker and sicker, and despite this, he does battle with many of his most dangerous foes, fights off hundreds of thugs out for his blood, and is trying to find a way to take down Hugo Strange, who is protected by his own private army. When his sickness reaches its most extreme point, he is at death's door, and is told by Barbara that unless he finds what he's looking for, he has only minutes left to live. His response? "I'll make it."
- The player can activate this themselves in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. If the player is injured, they can activate a battle cry at the cost of some psyche (essentially willpower). If the player uses a certain battle cry, Big Boss or the MFS Soldier you're controlling will shout "It's not over yet!" and recover their health, allowing them to continue on, despite their wounds.
- You can also instill Heroic Resolve in your comrades as well. Another battle cry makes Big Boss shout "We're still in this fight!", healing you and all of your allies. There's another battle cry that causes Big Boss to yell "Don't die on me!". If any of your teammates are dying, this actually causes them to come back to life.
- Snake pulls this in Metal Gear Solid 4. In the final corridor, filled with microwave emitters burning through him, he crawls on until he's out of stamina, then he crawls on until he's out of health. Then, when he has nothing left, he still keeps going.
- No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has this to an extent as a form of Last Chance Hit Point, if you shake the controller hard enough after Travis takes a fatal blow, he will prevent himself from falling and replenish 4 blocks of health.
- This is also present in the Punch-Out!! game for Wii, where Mac can force himself to continue fighting after a final TKO hit, complete with dramatic stomp and him growling in a Hot-Blooded way.
- In Fate/stay night, Shirou gets one-shotted by Gilgamesh while protecting Saber, who is having a minor Heroic BSOD. This snaps Saber out of it, and she fights Gilgamesh. And loses. Badly. With Saber lying on the ground, Shirou pushes himself up with Heroic Resolve, projects Calliburn, and...gets one-shotted. This turns into a double-subversion when, just as Saber is about to Heroic Sacrifice herself to protect him, Shirou manages to get up one more time and projects Avalon, reflecting Gilgamesh's attack.