->''"If an advisor says to me 'My liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?', I will reply 'This,' and kill the advisor."''
-->-- #46 on the EvilOverlordList

In fiction ConservationOfNinjutsu is powerful beyond compare. One ninja, or frankly any humanoid, will have no problem taking out an entire army. Unfortunately for the army's leader, they're GenreBlind. Of course the only thing they can think, and thus shout, when seeing the carnage laid out is, "It's just one man!" or, "What can one man do?"

All in all this tends to be a StockPhrase used whenever a OneManArmy appears, or when the battle becomes OneRiotOneRanger. However this applies to any time a character asks what one person can do, whether it be against his army of Mooks or just his own superior strength. See also UnderestimatingBadassery and WeDoTheImpossible. Or perhaps ''TemptingFate''.

Not to be confused with TheOneGuy. However he may well be TheOnlyOne.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Very common in ''Manga/OnePiece'', especially during Enies Lobby. The most notable instance is when [[spoiler:Luffy knocks out ''50,000 fishmen'' with a '''glare'''. A DeathGlare powered by {{awesomeness|IsAForce}}, but still-a ''glare''.]]
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** At the conclusion of the Wave Mission arc, Zabuza's arms are rendered useless and he ends up attacking an army of mercenaries with just a kunai held between his teeth. A mercenary in the front line mockingly asks what one badly-injured shinobi can do against their numbers... right before Zabuza ventilates his chest and [[FoeTossingCharge starts carving a path to Gato]].
** Near the end of the Invasion of Konoha arc in the anime, around 20 Sand Ninjas surround Hiashi Hyuga and remark that he's just one man. Hiashi then defeats them all with a very large Rotation jutsu.
** Repeated with the [[spoiler: Tobi/Obito arc after Kakashi kills Rin]]. Dead chunin and jonin are soon SMEARED on the battlefield.
* In Anime/CodeGeass, the Lancelot knightmare frame and its pilot Suzaku goes under this trope multiple times.
* In episode 13 of Anime/CrossAnge, Julio is heard yelling this as the Vilkiss tears through his fleet of ships, and right before cutting through the hull of the one he's in.
* Turns up in ''Manga/DragonBall'', particularly during the Red Ribbon saga, when General Blue is hesitant to attack Goku and company.
-->'''Soldier:''' B-b-but it's just three kids!\\
'''Blue:''' Just '''one''' of those kids wiped out both Silver Corps and White Corps! Now I've learned that Squad B was pulverized by the old man and the woman! [[ItMakesSenseInContext And they didn't even have to unleash the turtle!]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Creator/GrantMorrison's ''[[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA]]'':
** The White Martians have captured the entire League... [[Awesome/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica almost]].
--->'''Protex:''' ''Batman! '''Batman!''' He's only a '''man!'''''\\
''[close-up of the captive Superman, smiling; you can just imagine the thought balloon above Clark's head going, "[[InUniverseCatharsis I'm going to enjoy watching Bruce screw with you far, far more than I really should.]]"]''
** Later:
--->'''Protex:''' Tronix! Fluxus! What's ''happening'' there? Zenturian! He's ''only one man!''\\
'''Superman:''' The most... uh... dangerous man on Earth.
* ComicBook/CaptainAmerica. No single other hero has caused more cries of "kill him, you fools, he's just one man!" from terrified commanders.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheMaskOfZorro'' (1998)
-->'''Captain Harrison Love:''' After all, it's only one man...\\
'''Don Rafael:''' It isn't just one man, damn it. It's Zorro!
* Batman (who should have learned from all the people who underestimated him) gives this line in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'':
-->'''Batman:''' [[ComicBook/TheJoker One man]] or the entire mob? [[TemptingFate He can wait.]]
* An InvokedTrope in the comedy ''Film/{{Water|1985}}''. Sir Malcolm Leveridge is having to explain to the Right Honourable UsefulNotes/MargaretThatcher how he let an American company get the sole rights to Cascara's mineral water. The IronLady decides that the solution is to secretly back a revolution that will nationalise the industry in exchange for granting the Brits the bottling rights.
-->'''PM:''' I have learnt that there is a subversive element on the island, one Delgado Fitzhugh.\\
'''Sir Malcolm:''' Oh, just one person...\\
'''PM:''' There was only one Gandhi once. One anorexic little looney in a loincloth and we lost a whole subcontinent!
* In ''Film/TheMatrix'':
-->'''Lieutenant:''' I think we can handle one little girl. I sent two units, they're bringing her down now.\\
'''Agent Smith:''' No, lieutenant, your men are already dead.

* In ''Literature/TheExecutioner: War Against the Mafia'', Father Sergio has the following to say about his underlings running scared from Bolan's attacks:
-->'''Father Sergio:''' Has [[TheMafia the organization]] grown so soft? So soft that one man, one lone man, can send the entire organization scampering into holes?

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheSixMillionDollarMan'' had this as almost a stock phrase on many episodes. In one episode the same bad guy had a sequence of schemes ruined by Steve Austin, to the point that at the end, he gets a call from some mooks: "What? ONE MAN?... This has a depressingly familiar ring to it."
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'' introduces The Punisher in this method in the second season, with Matt initially thinking a mercenary group is behind a series of mass murders of gang members.
* ''Series/BlakesSeven'', though as the title shows Blake does have five TrueCompanions and a SapientShip helping him.
-->'''Supreme Commander Servalan:''' Gentlemen, I share the President's grave concern. And I am aware of the danger should Blake become a legend. But let us keep this matter in its correct perspective. It is true that Blake has command of a superb space vehicle, but he is just a man, backed by a handful of criminals, and that is all. He is not invulnerable, nor is he superhuman. He is just a man, who has been extremely lucky to evade capture... so far.\\
'''Secretary Rontane:''' [[WithAllDueRespect With respect]], Supreme Commander, we are aware of the facts. They are simply that with all the resources that the Federation can call upon, this [[IronicEcho one vulnerable, lucky man]] is still [[TrrrillingRrrs frrree]] to cause havoc.
* One could make a drinking game out of every time the MonsterOfTheWeek on ''Series/DoctorWho'' said something along the lines of, "He's just one man! WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong? Nobody could stop me now!" As it happens, the universe is ''littered'' with the bodies of people who underestimated the Doctor.
** For context, take a look at one of his {{Badass Boast}}s from the episode ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS36E6Extremis Extremis]]'':
--->'''The Doctor:''' Do me a favor. The Fatality Index. Look up "[[RedBaron The Doctor]]"...\\
'''Executioner:''' You have an entry, like any other sentient being.\\
'''The Doctor:''' ...under cause of death.\\
'''Executioner:''' ''[device pinging]'' You do seem to have an impressive number of fatalities connected to you. ''[device keeps counting]'' [[OhCrap A truly remarkable record.]] ''[device clicks faster, the guards begin leaving]'' Where are you going?! He's unarmed! You are unarmed?\\
'''The Doctor:''' [[DoesNotLikeGuns Always.]]\\
'''Executioner:''' ''[device is now emitting a high pitched whine as it counts higher]'' You stand alone.\\
'''The Doctor:''' [[OneManArmy Often.]]\\
'''Executioner:''' ''[angrily]'' You're the one who should be afraid.\\
'''The Doctor:''' [[NervesOfSteel Never.]]\\
'''Executioner:''' ''[leaving; results are ''still'' coming]'' [[ScrewThisImOutOfHere Have a nice day, then.]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum''
-->'''The Joker''': Come on boys! He's just one man! [[FalseReassurance ...One man dressed like a lunatic and armed to the teeth.]] ''[chuckles]'' GOGET'IM!!
* Breen says this about Gordon Freeman in ''VideoGame/HalfLife2''. Breen is commenting not only on Gordon Freeman being a OneManArmy, but also on him being a BadassBystander, "not some agent provocateur or highly trained assassin". The bullet-proof hazmat suit Gordon's wearing does help, though.
-->'''Breen:''' The man you have consistently failed to slow, let alone capture, is by all standards simply that--an ordinary man. How can you have failed to apprehend him?
* When Desmond claims this about himself in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'', Lucy replies with: "Sometimes that's all you need."
* [[BigBad Nicole Horne]] describes the titular character of ''VideoGame/MaxPayne'' this way in the first game:
-->'''Nicole Horne:''' What do you mean, "he's unstoppable"? You are superior to him in every way that counts. You are better trained, better equipped, and you outnumber him at least twenty-to-one. [[PunctuatedForEmphasis Do. Your. Job.]]
** Earlier on, Vinnie Gognitti has much the same reaction.
--->'''Vinnie:''' Are ya freakin' kidding me?!! He's just one lousy cop! Ya better be freakin' kidding me! Whack 'im! What's the freakin' problem? Hello? Answer me! Hello?
* Commander Lockhart says this about Alcatraz in ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}} 2''.
* Becomes ArcWords in ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 3''. Price and Makarov repeat endlessly it against each other.
* You can pick this as a dialogue option early on in ''VideoGame/TheGodfather 2'' about the Cuban rebels. Predictably enough, shortly afterwards El Presidente announces his abdication.
* Repeatedly shouted in the ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon FEAR]]'' games by assorted human villains as the Point Man and Michael Beckett tear through their troops. Norton Mapes comments on it in the first game while you're blasting through the ATC troops in the Vault ("Come on, he's just one guy? [[SurroundedByIdiots What good are you jackoffs?]]") and Colonel Vanek berates his men repeatedly while fighting through the labs under Wade Elementary, before finally admitting to Beckett's OneManArmy status. The Phase Commanders and other ATC officers in ''FEAR 3'' understand how dangerous the Point Man is, and instead of berating them for being overwhelmed, they just order their men to stay in position [[BadBoss under pain of dismemberment.]]
* In ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'', towards the end of Pit's rampage through a major installation for [[spoiler:Viridi]]'s army, she shouts: "Fight ''harder'', children! He's just ''one little angel!''"
* In ''VideoGame/MarkOfTheNinja'', when his lieutenant expresses concern about the player character killing dozens of his men, BigBad Karajan dismissively replies: "He is just one man."
* In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' ActionAdventure [[GaidenGame spin-off]] game, ''Redguard'', this is requently said by Imperial guards in as [[PlayerCharacter Cyrus]] gleefully fences his way through dozens of them.
* Said almost [[GenderInvertedTrope ad verbum]] in a dialogue of the {{Mooks}} you kill in a skirmish in ''Videogame/TombRaider2013''.
-->''[Lara is [[MookHorrorShow gunning down every mook in the area]]]''\\
'''[[GenreBlind Mook 1]]:''' She's [[JustOneMan just one girl]]!\\
'''Mook 2:''' [[LampshadeHanging That]] ''[[LampshadeHanging one girl]]'' [[LampshadeHanging is]] ''[[LampShadeHanging kicking our asses!]]''
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', mercenary leader Jedore uses something to this effect as [[CurbStompBattle Shepard and his/her squad are slaughtering their way through her men]].
-->'''Jedore:''' There are ''three'' of them. ''THREE!'' Anything can be killed if you'd just do your damn jobs.
* ''VideoGame/StarFoxZero'' has the Salvadora's commander give this reaction when a single ship approaches with weapons ready. Said ship is an Arwing, piloted by Peppy Hare. No points for guessing how this one turns out.
* ''VideoGame/WolfensteinIITheNewColossus'' has Commandant Mannheimer invoke this trope when talking to Frau Engel over the radio about [[OneManArmy "Terror-Billy"]] -- [[TemptingFate right as BJ is lurking behind him]] [[AnAxeToGrind with a hatchet in-hand]].

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Subverted in ''VisualNovel/RoseGunsDays'', in the 1947 climax: when Maurice and his 40 men arrive at the hotel (as reinforcements to Caleb, who's fighting Rose a few storeys above), and find [[YouShallNotPass Leo sitting all alone in the middle of the lobby]], their first reaction is to assume there are snipers hidden somewhere, because no one could be that suicidal. This allows Leo to take down a few of them, before Maurice finally realizes he's alone. The scene after that turns into a bonafide MookHorrorShow.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Number 46 on the EvilOverlordList
-->If an advisor says to me "My liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?", I will reply "This," and kill the advisor.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'': A plot point in [[http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/17p70 One Man Army.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' episode "Jack and the Three Blind Archers". The general is trying to discourage Jack. If he actually ''had'' done the math, he would have realized that the samurai's victory over the archers was assured.
-->'''General:''' There are only three archers, yet they decimated my whole army. You are just one man. Do the math.
* {{Creator/Filmation}}'s 1960's ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'', episode "Target Earth". While Green Lantern is smashing an invading space fleet, the fleet's commander says "Fools! He is just one man! Destroy him!"

[[folder:Real Life]]
* A subversion took place in the lead up to WW-I, when pretty much everyone knew that war was just a matter of time. The commander of the British Staff College, Brigadier General Henry Wilson, was talking to his counterpart in the French Ecole Supérieure de Guerre, General Ferdinand Foch:
-->'''Wilson:''' What is the smallest British military force that would be of any practical use to you?\\
'''Foch:''' A single British soldier -- and we will see to it that he is killed.