Sometimes in Sarcasm Mode
, other times a Badass Boast
. This is when the chances of survival, or the level of opposition, are presented to a character and he is apparently at a disadvantage. He responds that he wouldn't have it any other way or that it is actually in his favor. Often, they'll remark that they've beaten worse odds without breaking a sweat. For an added bonus, he might boast about giving himself a handicap just for fun
Sometimes comedy will use this for somebody who doesn't really care how poor the odds are and will just go ahead with it anyway despite being told how terrible their chances are. Alternatively they may not be listening, or they'd actually prefer the failure.
This often works out for him due to the Law Of Conservation of Ninjutsu
. Sometimes though, odds come through.
Compare Never Tell Me the Odds
, Million-to-One Chance
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Anime and Manga
- As part of the big flashback in Mahou Sensei Negima!, The Red-Headed Hero is saving the princess; meanwhile, the rest of Ala Rubra has to hold off the forces overseeing the execution, leading to this exchange:
Do I have the necessary forces? You Fool!
. The guards for this event are more numerous than those you see here. There are two entire fleets stationed over a surrounding area of tens of kilometers, not to mention elite troops
numbering around 3,000. You may be powerful, but even you cannot... Jack Rakan:
Like I said. Are you seriously telling me you think that's gonna be enough?!
- The very first sequence of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- From One Piece, we have this little gem from the Enies Lobby arc.
Marines: Hey, Straw Hat Luffy... how many dozens of your cohorts did you bring? Ha ha ha. There are 10,000 soldiers on Enies Lobby!
Luffy: Yeah... I'm by myself. Get out of my way!
- Kumagawa of Medaka Box lives and breathes this trope. Born Unlucky, he feels uncomfortable when the odds aren't stacked against him.
Kumagawa: This is perfect. I have always fought with cards like these. I have never been blessed by luck or coincidence; I have fought without relying on miracles or fate. You say I've lost the moment I was dealt? That's just the same as always.
- When Naruto's potential Big Bad, Uchiha Madara, is confronted by all five Kages of the Great Nations? He comments this will be a worthy challenge for him. He lives up to it by toying with them all through the battle, even with their stellar performances all they manage to do is destroy 25 of his Wood Clones using Susanoo when working together. When he goes full power... it crushes all their hope.
- In the Cowboy Bebop episode "Jammin' with Edward," Jet observes the data retrieval mission they have to do and describes it as "like trying to play baseball without a bat." This remark gets Spike pumped up and ready to take off.
- Inverted completely before the Final Battle in the Battle City arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!. Kaiba calculated when he gave Yugi the Fiend's Sanctuary card that it would increase Yugi's chances against Marik from 3% to 20%; and he still doubted Yugi stood much of a chance. Kaiba told Ishizu that he only helped Yugi to prove her wrong about the bond between then when he lost. (At least that's what he claimed. And Yugi did win, the card helping a great deal.)
- The ending dialogue of 300. "The enemy outnumber us a paltry three-to-one: good odds for any Greek!"
- Considering the abuse the Persians took when they outnumbered the Greeks hundreds or even thousands-to-one for the bulk of the movie, without the context of differing tactics, it would be surprising to the viewer that they didn't just kill their commanders and run.
- James T. Kirk comes very close to saying this in Star Trek: Generations, the latest in a long career of "unwinnable" situations he's found a way to win (or cheat his way out of). He doesn't get out of this one... but his Heroic Sacrifice is what allows Picard to win.
Kirk: I take it the odds are against us and the situation is grim.
Picard: You could say that.
Kirk: If Spock were here he would call me an illogical, irrational human being for taking on a mission like that... Sounds like fun.
- The film of Return of the King has Gimli do this when it's announced that Gondor's army will attack the Black Gate to provide a distraction for Frodo and Sam.
Gimli: Certainty of death, small chance of success... what are we waiting for?
- In Batman Begins, Ra's al Ghul motions for two of his henchmen to fight Batman as he makes his getaway. Batman says, "I can't beat two of your pawns?", to which Ra's says, "As you wish", and motions for two more henchmen to join the fight.
- In the Kurt Russell movie Soldier, Russell's superior is having his Soldier in a fight with one more "evolved". The evolved soldier's superior says they're not fair odds and asks the enemy leader to bring two more.
- The Three Musketeers (1993). The Musketeers comment amongst themselves that five soldiers against the three of them is hardly fair. D'Artagnan, missing the point, tries to point out that there's four of them.
Porthos: Five of them and three of us, hardly seems fair.
Aramis: Perhaps we should offer them a chance to surrender.
- Dumb and Dumber. Qualifies as sort of a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
I want to ask you a question... straight out, flat out... and I want you to give me an honest answer. What do you think the chances of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together? Mary:
Well Lloyd... that's difficult to say... you really don't... Lloyd:
Hit me! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances? Mary:
Not good. Lloyd:
You mean 'not good' like...one out of a hundred? Mary:
I'd say more like...one out of a million. Lloyd: (beat)
So you're telling me there's a chance
? (another beat, then beams happily
(nods and smiles
) I hear ya.
- In The Right Stuff, as Alan Shepard is recruited as an astronaut:
Shepard: Sounds dangerous.
Recruiter: It's extremely dangerous.
Shepard: Count me in.
- October Sky
O'Dell: God’s honest truth, Homer. What are the chances a bunch of kids from Coalwood actually winning the National Science Fair?
A million to one, O’Dell." O'Dell: (beat)
That good? Well why didn’t you say so?
- The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie referenced this at the end of the big Conservation of Ninjutsu fight at the end. After the 4 turtles win against dozens (if not hundreds) of Foot soldiers, Raphael quips "Aw, no more?"
- Invoked by name in Young Guns when the cavalry surrounds the "Regulators":
Doc: Billy, we're good, but this is getting ridiculous.
William H. Bonney: I like these odds...
- Interstellar: Dr. Mann, who's been marooned on a distant world for years, mentions 50-50 odds are the best he's had in all that time.
- The entire House of the Dzur in the Dragaera novels. Tazendra gets most of them on the page, but that's just because she's the most prominent Dzur character.
- In The Colour of Magic, Hrun the Barbarian declares he'll fight both dragonlords at once:
Liartes: That's pretty uneven odds, isn't it?
Hrun: Yah. I outnumber you one to two.
- In The Science of Discworld the wizards are informed that the chances of the new thaumic reactor (they're planning on using to heat the building) from going critical and blowing up the entirety of creation is 50-to-1. They think that this is entirely reasonable since "I wouldn't bet on a horse at those odds". Apparently an inch of ice on the inside of your bedroom window gives you a very personal perspective of risk.
- Moist Von Lipwig of Going Postal and Making Money likes to invoke this trope for the purposes of entertaining the crowds that invariably appear around him. For instance, a stable owner who took offense to something Moist said about his horses decided to get back at him by bringing him the most evil-minded, vicious horse he owns. Moist's response? He asks the grooms to take off the horse's saddle, because it'd just slow him down.
- Also, in Interesting Times, Twoflower points out that there's only one possible outcome when seven old men take on the thousands-strong army that's surrounding them: They'll win. Otherwise, the world's just not working properly.
- In The Vicomte De Bragelonne, d'Artagnan proposes to raise his own army of forty men and restore Charles II to the English throne (for profit!). Planchet, who is putting up half the money, protests: "Forty against forty thousand! That is not enough. I know very well that you, M. d'Artagnan, alone, are equal to a thousand men; but where are we to find thirty-nine men equal to you?"
- In Starfighters of Adumar:
Wedge: Tycho, what are we facing?
Tycho: A hundred fifty, more like two hundred, easy. So, fifty to one odds.
Wes: Not too bad.
- In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, when Mike tells the main characters that the chances of having a successful revolution are of 1 in 7, they immediately cheer. This is because (a) it's still much better than they had estimated with their inexact human brains, and (b) a Loonie (a Moon inhabitant) is always willing to take a risk if the odds are better than 1 in 10.
- In The Fall Of Reach: “Four of us,” Blue-Two whispered over the link. “And a thousand of them? Piss-poor odds for the little guys.”
- In Towers of Midnight Birgitte tells Mat that the odds of getting back from the Tower of Ghenjei are one in a thousand. Mat responds by taking out "two dozen" coins and predicting that when he throws them every single one will land heads up (1/16,777,216 chance if there were exactly 24). They do, and Mat remarks that "One in a thousand is good odds, for me."
Live Action TV
- Done twice in Angel, the second time in the finale.
Gunn: I'll take the 20,000 on the left....
- A Running Gag in the 1960s Batman series, as the Dynamic Duo faces hordes of Mooks. In one episode it got inverted: Either the Riddler or the Joker said to Batman, "There's six of us and only two of you. But we're not afraid!"
- Inverted in a Burn Notice episode. Russian Black Ops, when discussing if they should surrender note that "He's Michael Westen, there are only four of us!"
- In Doctor Who this comes up when the Daleks declare war on the Cybermen.
Cyberman: We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?
Cyberman: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
Dalek: WE WOULD DESTROY...THE CYBERMEN...WITH ONE DAL-EK! YOU ARE SUPERIOR IN ONLY ONE RES-PECT.
Cyberman: What is that?
Dalek: YOU ARE BET-TER AT DYING.
- In Friends, in the chapter where the guys buy many lottery tickets as there is a lot of money on the jackpot, Ross says he won't join, because it is "42 times more likely" that they will be struck by lightning. Chandler answers that, as they are six, it would be only 7 times more likely. Joey says the trope verbatim.
- Power Rangers RPM: In episode three, faced with a small army of Mecha Mooks that have just taken down the other three rangers, all Dillon has to say is "Venjix should've sent more."
- Farscape: While John isn't exactly happy about it, he does believe they can beat the bad odds since they have before.
Crichton:This Eidelon education program... What are the odds it'll work?
Aeryn: Not good.
Crichton: "Not good" is the best odds we ever get.
- Merlin: In his eponymous episode, Gwaine helps Merlin and Arthur in a bar fight simply because they were hugely outnumbered and "I kinda like the look of those odds."
- Stargate Atlantis, "Critical Mass":
Colonel Caldwell: I warn you, as a Goa'uld, I now possess the strength of many men.
Ronon Dex: Won't be a fair fight. (wins handily)
- Castle has this exchange in the episode "Still", when Beckett is trapped on a pressure-plate bomb that's set to go off in mere minutes;
Beckett: Castle, please, you have to leave me, there's no reason for both of us to die.
Castle: Oh, I didn't come here to die, I came here to diffuse the bomb. There's still a chance.
Beckett: Yes, a one-in-one-hundred-thousand chance!
Castle: Great, while there's still a chance, I'm not giving up.
- The quote for the Killer archetype in Feng Shui: "Forty of them, one of me. Looks like the odds are about even." Of course, Feng Shui was the first RPG to incorporate rules for Mooks...
- Play a video game. It's one 'you' against a million enemies or so. You take the job and you invariably win.
- In the ship level of Command & Conquer: Renegade, a prisoner Havoc just freed asks him if he intends to take on the ship's crew alone.
Havoc: Don't seem fair, does it? Maybe I'll shoot with my left hand.
- Itself a reference to the famed commando line from the original Command & Conquer:
That was left handed.
- Mass Effect 2, during Grunt's recruitment mission:
- Later, in Mass Effect 3, during Shepard's first confrontation with Kai Leng:
Shepard: Three against one, pal. It's over.
Kai Leng: No. Now it's fun.
- Guild Wars: Nightfall has this in the first mission, when you get a good look at the opposing forces:
There sure are a lot of them. Koss:
No, there are three
of us note
, and only two
corsair ships. We outnumber them!
- In Kingdom Hearts II, Leon and Cloud do this during their Back-to-Back Badasses moment while surrounded and vastly outnumbered by Heartless.
Leon: Think you can handle this many?
Cloud: Well, might be tough if one more shows up.
Leon: Then that'll be the one I take care of.
Cloud: What, you're fighting, too?
- From Halo 3:
Elite: "Brute Ships. Staggered Line. Shipmaster, they outnumber us three to one!"
Rtas 'Vadum: "Then it is an even fight."
- Note that said "even fight" proceeds to end in an overwhelming victory for the Elites.
- In Jagged Alliance 2, every mercenary has a special line when they can see 3 enemies simultaneously, usually suggesting retreat, or something like, "I'm fighting a losing battle here!" Magic takes the opposite stance, exclaiming, "This is when I'm at my best!"
- Shadow the Hedgehog has one from its Missing Trailer Scene:
- Super Robot Wars Compact 2: It doesn't matter how long the odds are... Kyosuke Nanbu doesn't mind betting on them.
- From Sly 2: Band Of Thieves:
Outnumbered...fighting impossible odds...it's perfect!
- In Neverwinter Nights 2, you arrive at an inn just as a fight is about to break out between Khelgar, a lone dwarf, and four thugs. When you point out that four against one isn't fair odds, Khelgar agrees... and asks the thugs if they've got any friends who might like to join in.
- Mighty Max has Norman say "Six against one, hardly fair. I'll fight with my eyes closed."
- In the first episode of Megas XLR, a large number of Glorft surround Megas and Kiva's mech. Coop's response is to agree that the fight isn't fair... and smash Kiva's mech. "Now it's fair."
- The Simpsons:
- In "Lisa's First Word," Krusty the Clown vows (on TV) to "spit in every fiftieth burger" and Homer replies, "I like those odds!"
- Also, Chief Wiggum uttered the exact phrase "I like those odds" when he asked if he had a chance of taking the bait out of a dangerous trap, and his smarter sidekick Lou warned him "It's a million to one, chief." Wiggum's tone also seemed more like naive confidence than devil-may-care boasting, and in that case, one possible interpretation is that Wiggum misunderstood Lou's remark and thought he meant that the odds were a million to one in favor of success.
- In "Bart the General," when Bart's looking for a guy with military experience to help him deal with a bully:
Grampa, I think this guy's a little nuts. Grampa:
Oh, yeah? Well, General George S. Patton was a little nuts. And this guy's completely out of his mind! We can't fail!
- The Penguins of Madagascar
- "Roger Dodger" has:
Private: So, after Rico trounces the rats inside Roger's body, we switch them back?
Skipper: Exactly. It's 100% fool-proof.
Kowalski: More precisely, it's 2.7% foolproof. There's a 97.3% chance that this will backfire and result in a horrific abomination that will be an affront to the most elemental laws of nature and the universe.
Skipper: I like those odds.
- Considering Skipper's idea of a perfect future is a post-apocalyptic wasteland involving zombies, he probably did like the high odds of facing an abomination. Incidentally, Kowalski is pretty much right.
- A similar exchange in "Snakehead":
Kowalski: I have an idea, but I'm not sure how safe it is.
Skipper: I like it already!
- In Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side:
Sir, the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field are 2-1! Han/Peter: Never tell me the o...
well that's not bad.
- Justice League, "Starcrossed, Part 3": Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are heading straight for the Thanagarian mothership (and the dozens of smaller ships around it).
Wonder Woman: Pretty bad odds.
Superman: Yeah, they don't stand a chance.
- Jonny Quest episode "Monster in the Monastery". After Jonny and Hadji tell Dr. Quest and Race that there are nine enemies left in the monastery, Race says to Dr. Quest "That makes the odds about right, sir". Two men, two kids and the Raj Guru (who's basically a non-combatant) against 9 armed men, and the odds are "just about right"?
- Sure, Race takes out eight of the guys while Benton and the boys take the last one. Or they would have if the yeti hadn't beat them to it.
- G.I. Joe Extreme featured this a lot. "The odds are a million to one. Just the way we like it."
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had Leonardo fighting a dozen ninjas.
Donatello (watching through a window): This doesn't seem fair.
Michelangelo: Well yeah there's only 12 of them.
- In the Teen Titans episode "How Long Is Forever?", Starfire tells Nightwing that the time travelling thief they are up against believes in You Already Changed The Past and that history cannot be changed.
Nightwing: So it's impossible? ... Good our records show we've done the impossible before.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Iroh is kidnapped by Earth Kingdom soldiers. Zuko tracks him down and frees him. At that moment, the soldiers say that they have the firebenders outnumbered, and Iroh replies with "Yes, but you are outmatched."
- In addition to the page quote, Futurama's Fry also uses the phrase in a completely straightforward manner in the episode "Overclockwise": He intends to kill himself by barrelling over Niagara Falls, and likes the stated low odds of survival.