"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious."A character, despite long odds does something awesomely cool. Either a Heroic Second Wind that gets the bad guy to leave or give up without a fight, or maybe he jumps into the fray and beats The Dragon down with his bare hands. But, after he's sure the bad guys have left or been taken down, he promptly collapses, whether from the stress of dealing with someone who completely terrified him, or the guy he just talked down could have broken him in half without a sweat, or because he overtaxed his power too much, or just because he got hurt too badly in the fight. If it was really bad, they may even die, making this a Heroic Sacrifice (albeit an awesome one). Less serious injuries may start the action back up with an After-Action Healing Drama. This one is frequently used with the Doomed Moral Victor, Heroic Safe Mode or with I Can Still Fight. See also similar tropes Heroic R.R.O.D. and Power Strain Blackout. Compare Fainting Seer. Commonly used so the author doesn't have to write about all the boring clean-up after the battle climax. The hero may last just long enough for The Cavalry Arrives Late, so they can do the clean-up. For more minor injuries, After-Action Patch-Up may suffice to let him out of the work. May result when the Bottled Heroic Resolve or Deadly Upgrade wears off. Often produces Deep Sleep. Truth in Television, to an extent: Adrenaline and other stress hormones can enable people to go for a long time, despite injuries, only to collapse once the danger is passed and the stress hormones wears off.
— Vince Lombardi
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Anime and Manga
- Happens to Maya in Azumanga Daioh after he rescues Sakaki and Chiyo from Kamineko's violent cat gang.
- In Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Chun-Li collapses after suffering critical injuries in an epic fight with Vega that takes up 4 minutes of screen time. Despite her devasting wounds, Chun-Li ultimately prevails, kicking Vega out a window to his death.
- Naruto collapses after hitting Kabuto in the stomach with a Rasengan. Unfortunately for him, Kabuto is not actually unconscious even though he was smashed into a boulder, which shattered. He has, however, taken too much damage for even his prodigious healing - as he finds out after trying to walk and then collapsing.
- After defeating Zabuza, Kakashi attempts to continue his journey with his students and the bridgebuilder... but he collapses after taking only one step.
- Dragon Ball:
- After killing King Piccolo Goku falls asleep in Yajirobe's car, completely exhausted from his epic match.
- Goku was unable to move after overusing the Kaioken technique during his first bout with Vegeta. Being Goku, he didn't collapse or anything, but a congratulatory pat on the back made him scream in pain.
- Happened to Gohan at the end of the Cell Saga and in one of the Dragon Ball Z movies.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has Setsuna pass out shortly after enduring (and ignoring) an intense force field to save Konoka. It's implied that Setsuna would have died were it not for Konoka's swift actions.
- Kenshin has this happen to him several times in Rurouni Kenshin, especially after fighting Shishio and being barely able to stand up and even collapsing once before. Needless to say, after that Kenshin's out of action for quite some time and apparently never fully recovers.
- Cowboy Bebop's Spike Spiegel ended a few fights like this, including his last one against Vicious and The Syndicate.
- Uber-Determinator Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann takes a fatal shot from Thymilph, and was actually dead for a couple minutes, then gets up anyway to help Simon finish him off. Then promptly returns to being dead.
- One Piece does this a lot, not surprising as their opponents give no quarter in fights and it takes everything the crew got to beat them.
- At the end of the Alabasta Arc, following several epic battles strung together, the entire Straw Hat crew suffers this simultaneously after they're sure Vivi is safe.
- Happens again after Luffy beats Rob Lucci in a battle that required every bit of his strength. He's so badly exhausted that even being a Determinator isn't enough to help him get off the floor, and he has to be rescued by his crew.
- Happens for a third time after the fight with Gekko Moriah in Thriller Bark. Luffy was actually unconscious by the time the battle was over, which makes sense given all the damage he took, not to mention downing 100 shadows when the max is usually 2-3.
- It also happens again in the climax of the Fishman Island arc when Luffy defeats a steroid-enhanced Hody Jones, only in this one, he utterly owned Hody, and his exhaustion seems to have more to do with the fact he was occupied wrecking the giant ship, Noah, from destroying Fishman Island, only for the falling ship to be caught by a number of Sea Kings, leaving him to collapse from the blood loss he incurred earlier in the battle. In a way, it's very much this trope, since it was still Hody's plan to destroy Fishman Island, and recreate it, which the Straw Hats prevented.
- Happens in Ranma ˝. After taking the full force of several perfected Shishi Hokodans and defeating Ryoga, Ranma manages to carry Ryoga's body out of the crater and deliver a dramatic quip about the pointlessness of said attack, before comically collapsing in an exhausted heap.
- Happens occasionally to Kazuma in Kaze no Stigma, though he's too Bad Ass to pass out entirely, he tends to spend a while lying flat on the floor. Usually making snarky comments. Or possibly looking up skirts. It's explained that his 'Contractor' state is rather exhausting to use, leaving him severely weakened after it runs out, thus handily explaining why he doesn't use it all the time.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Roy incinerates Lust, despite having just been stabbed twice through the side. He cauterizes his and his dying subordinates' wounds, comes back into the fray with all his badassery intact, and finally defeats Lust. Then, of course, he falls to the floor, asking only some help for Jean Havoc, his wounded subordinate.
- Both Orihime and Chad's first battles against Hollows in Bleach end with them passing out from exhaustion having used their newly awakened powers to defeat them.
- Ichigo also does this a few times. In one instance, after his fight with Byakuya in the Soul Society arc, he shouts out a victorious "I won!" and then collapses.
- In Eyeshield 21, Hiruma holds together impressively throughout the entire Death March, showing barely a trace of fatigue, until they finally reach the hotel and everyone else has dragged themselves to bed, at which point he stumbles into his room and collapses face-first into the mattress without bothering to take his shoes off or let go of his gun.
- And at the end of the Bando Spiders game, Sena makes it all the way off the field and halfway to the locker rooms before collapsing into Suzuna's arms.
- Also after Hiruma's arm is broken, he puts on an impressive front throughout the whole game and even onto the celebrations afterwards with his arm on a sling. But Musashi reveals to Sena that Hiruma has been going to an oxygen capsule to recover from his injuries and he also left the party early to rest.
- In Baccano!!, Luck Gandor manages to keep from passing out until after he's not only torn open Gustavo's throat with his own severed arm, but also delivered an appropriately pithy Bond One-Liner and made sure The Ingenue is okay. Then he falls over.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shinji Ikari gets this almost constantly.
- Rolo from Code Geass applies Explosive Overclocking to his Geass and earns himself an Alas, Poor Scrappy ending.
- Date Masamune pulls one of these in the Sengoku Basara anime so well that his men didn't even realize he was even shot until he fell off his horse miles away from the battlefield. On top of that, it's heavily implied that he was riding the horse unconscious at least half of the ride back home.
- Daisuke in D.N.Angel has a moment where he stops a fight with Krad by using The Power of Friendship to turn him back into Satoshi. After the battle he leans against a rock wall and admits sheepishly that he couldn't stand otherwise, before promptly collapsing.
- In the finale of the first season of Princess Tutu, Fakir drags himself up to his feet after nearly being killed and dramatically takes away the villain's trump card...then faints backwards into a pool of water and apparently drowning. He survives, but barely.
- In the manga version of Chrono Crusade Rosette collapses and dies after she manages to shoot Chrono's horns off Joshua's head. Similar to Fakir, she's revived.
- In Until Death Do Us Part, Mamoru waits until the bad guy's being dragged away screaming to collapse. This is after he's lost his sight, been hounded across the wilderness, and won an apparently-hopeless fight; the man is badass. Also noted by another character.
- In Bokurano, whenever the pilot of Zearth or one of the other robots wins, they collapse and die due to the fact that the robots drain the life force of their pilots.
- This happened to Sailor Moon a few times after she'd unleashed new powers or defeated someone particularly nasty.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Judai goes through this early on in the Seven Stars arc after his duel with Darkness (Asuka's missing brother Fubuki), and stayed that way for a while, until Carmilla tricks Ryo into losing a duel by risking Sho's life.
- Seems to happen several times in A Certain Magical Index...granted in one, Touma just after having his arm cut off, talks his enemy into insanity, and beat him since his enemy's reality warping magic relied on if he truly believed he could make it happen the rest is generally since he took a massive beating before the good 'ol punch in the face.
- In episode 13 of Tiger & Bunny Kotetsu makes a show of using his Hundred Power to accelerate his natural healing before leaving to help Barnaby fight Jake Martinez. As soon as he leaves the room he collapses against the door since only his superficial surface injuries were healed — he still has severe internal injuries.
- Digimon Adventure features a lethal version. After just barely beating Metaletemon, Saberleomon reverts back to Leomon and falls face-first onto the ground. He soon after dies from his injuries.
- Multiple times in Rave Master. The first is after Haru's fight with Lance, before his body has fully adjusted to all the fighting. The most understandable was after Sieg's week long battle with Haja, and there's no telling if he passed out from injuries and energy spent in the fight of the simple fact that he went 168 hours without sleep.
- Kurapika from Hunter x Hunter pulled one at the end of the Yorkshin arc. He slept for two days.
- The page picture is Jonathan Joestar from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, passing out after defeating Dio Brando. As he'd just fought off two vampiric knights simultaneously as well as Dio, he'd completely burned out his energy reserves.
- Alternatively, it could also be thanks to the emotional strain of Jonathan having to fight his stepbrother.
- InuYasha: In the anime filler episode "The Tragic Love Song of Destiny," Inuyasha and Kikyo's first unofficial meeting is depicted as such; while looking for a place to hide during his human night, he comes across a battered and bruised Kikyo after she just fended off a large legion of youkai. Kikyo simply warns him to stay away from her and turns to leave... and promptly passes out from her wounds. Inuyasha sticks around just long enough to see she's still alive, and high-tails it out of there when he hears a search party looking for Kikyo approaching.
- Bell from Dungeon Ni Deai O Motomeru No Wa Machigatteiru No Darou Ka achieves one, after initially being stricken with fear against an enemy leagues above him, he gains a Heroic Second Wind because he does not want to be saved by the same person once again. He sets aside his fear and fights an intense battle. After a hard fought battle he barely manages to win, he then he collapses on his feet, truly a badass moment.
- In Brave10, this is regular feature of post-battle scenes. It once goes horribly wrong for Saizo and the others when after defeating Hanzo and Okatsu, Date Masamune shows up and effortlessly kidnaps Isanami while everyone's too weak to stand.
- In Hellblazer, John Constantine visits the powerful voodoo magician 'Papa Midnite' to ask for help, and mocking him for good measure, he collapses shaking in the elevator on his way out, because he's secretly terrified of the guy.
- An issue of Young Justice had Arrowette defending the continued existence of the group of teenage superheroes to the Justice League, primarily, Batman. Once she was successful in convincing them to allow the group to exist, she breathed very rapidly into a paper bag, because she had just faced down Batman.
- Teen Titans. For a while, Changeling/Beast Boy's particular method of shapeshifting could physically exhaust him very quickly, particularly when growing to massive proportions or rapid-fire shapeshifting.
- Happens to Ultimate Spider-Man quite a few times, at least at the beginning of the series. After he pulls out note cards to insult the Kingpin to his face, he seems to suffer from it far less, however.
- Hellion of the New X-Men, desperate to save a dying X-23 by rushing her to Elixir (a mutant with the power to manipulate biology which lets him heal anything short of actual death), begs Emma Frost to help him. Emma does so by temporarily removing Hellion's subconscious limits. He flew several times the speed of sound, took out a Sentinel with an armored wagon, and managed to get X-23 to Elixir just in time. He immediately passed out afterwards and slept for several days.
- X-23 gets one of these herself in the Chaos Theory arc of her solo book. After the Enigma Force possesses Laura to help her repair the damaged seal preventing the Whirldemons from crossing back into this universe, she falls unconscious when the Uni-Power separates from her again once the battle is over, awakening later in a medical bay at the Fantastic Four's headquarters.
- In ElfQuest: The Rebels one of the titular rebels has a very surprising chat with the (then on leave) officer in charge of hunting them down, and convinces him he's not one of the wanted, but rather his cousin. And has a minor breakdown as soon as the officer's left.
- Doctor Strange falls victim to this occasionally after a major magical feat, with effects ranging from "minor dizzy spell" to "coma."
- In her first mission with X-Statix, Venus Dee Milo rapidly teleports a bomb away from her teammates. When she teleports back, she laughs nervously about some eyeless fishes that have seen better days and then dissipates - it turns out that she's a sentient energy cloud, and the only thing keeping her together is her willpower and her suit.
- Molly Hayes tends to pass out after any given Crowning Moment of Awesome, due to her super-strength draining her stamina.
- During a trip to 1907, Karolina and Xavin had to combine their powers to create a barrier strong enough to withstand a nuclear explosion. The barrier holds, but they collapse on top of each other afterwards.
- In Back To The Future Prequel, Doc passes out after saving Marty from drowning in an icy lake. According to the narration, between the running and the car wreck he was in, he wanted to pass out earlier.
- In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, this happens to Harry in chapter 6, when he and Professor McGonagall have a showdown.
- In Ace Combat The Equestrian War, Fluttershy defeats Night Raven. Despite being very exhausted and feeling immense pain, Fluttershy doesn't collapse, but remains semi-conscious. She passes out after Firefly congratulates her.
- In An Extended Performance,the Great and Powerful Trixie accidentally summons her Super-Powered Alter Ego, the Alicorn Illusion, to defeat the Shadow Coven. When the power departs her, Trixie is left confused and exhausted on stage, with no very clear idea of what just happened. She attempts her smoke-bomb exit, but faints on stage halfway through the trick.
- Jessie in Cori Falls's "Where Angels Dare to Tread"; after running Ayesha through with a sword she collapses in tears in James's arms.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Solvernia, just as in canon above, Kamina also dies after combining one last time with Nia. The difference is that this happens to Viral as well. He was hit by a drill in the back but managed to have enough energy to save Tsuuma from human forces and expires when he's sure that she's safe.
- In Travels of the Trifecta, this happens to Paul after he wins his Mine Badge, due to him challenging the gym while being sick with a severe cold/flu.
- In Hope For The Heartless, this happens to the Horned King after he has killed the entire Mad Pack. It's justified since the battle caused him to lose much of his black substitute for blood. He might have died if his prisoner Avalina had not taken him back to his castle.
- In the Danny Phantom/Beetlejuice crossover story, Say It Thrice, this happens to Betelgeuse. After dealing with Sanduleak and getting the group somewhere safe, he succumbs to exhaustion due to his method of reaching them in time. He does try to resist as long as possible though.
John Henry collapses and dies after beating a machine in a drilling contest using only his hammers.
Films — Animated
- How to Train Your Dragon. In the very beginning of the movie when Hiccup frees Toothless instead of killing him (knowing there's a very high risk of him being killed himself), the very angry dragon pins him to a rock, roars only inches away from his face, and bounds away. Hiccup starts to turn around to head back home and, instead, immediately crumples to the ground and faints out of fear and exhaustion.
Films — Live-Action
- The Lord of the Rings has Sam and Frodo, er, chilling on a big rock after they destroy the One Ring.
- In the Gary Cooper movie Meet John Doe, romantic interest Ann convinces the title character not to commit suicide. Once he is safe, she promptly faints in his arms.
- The Princess Bride: "Why does Westley need helping?" "Because he has no strength." "I knew you were bluffing! I knew he was bluffing!"
- Makes Sense In Context: Westley could barely muster the strength to stand before that, having been mostly dead for the better part of the day. He shouldn't have been able to do anything but collapse, yet he had the determination to strike an Ass Kicking Pose and deliver a To the Pain speech to Prince Humperdinck, and achieved victory with that alone.
- Napoleon. The eponymous Napoleon collapses after rescuing a wild dog pup from a desert flash flood.
- In Gladiator, the hero collapses and dies from his wounds after having defeated the villain Commodus.
- The Bluesmobile from The Blues Brothers pull off all sorts of crazy stunts throughout the film, but after a 120 mile mad-dash to the city tax office with just about every law officer in the state hot on their tail (plus a few other groups they pissed off along the way), the car quite literally falls to pieces after pulling up in front of the building; it's mission complete.
- In Godzilla (2014), after Godzilla flambes the female Muto's innards and rips her head off, he takes a power nap. The military think he's dead until he wakes up a few days later. In a parallel, human protagonist Brody manages to get the remaining nuclear warhead (which has a hardwired countdown) onto a boat and set course for the ocean before he collapses on the deck, and looks back to see Godzilla do the same.
- In Arthur, after Arthur's confrontation with Susan and Burt Johnson is over and he's taken the altar to explain to the guests that there isn't going to be a wedding, he says, "Now that there's a good chance, I should go to the hospital," and promptly collapses.
- The Thing from Another World (1951) - news reporter Scottie, though not as tough as his combat-hardened comrades, fights alongside them against the alien invader - after they finally destroy it, he folds like a cheap deck chair.
- Variant of this in Liar Liar, after Fletcher "roasts" the board room, shattering Miranda's attempts to torpedo his career, Fletcher walks out of the board room laughing triumphantly, and as soon as he's in the hall, he passes out from the stress he's under.
- The Avengers: Iron Man, after helping save New York from an alien invasion and a tactical nuke, was found lying on the street, nearly comatose. After he regained consciousness, he didn't have any particular desire to sit up again right away;
"Alright. Hey. Alright. Good job, guys. Let's just not come in tomorrow. Let's just take a day. Have you ever tried shawarma? There's a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don't know what it is, but I wanna try it."
- Harry Potter, all the time.
- The final face-off at the end of book one culminates with the agony in his scar reaching such high levels that he loses his sight and all rational function before falling into a three-day coma.
- In book three, after a chase, a fight, a series of mind-blowing revelations, another fight, and almost getting his soul sucked out through his mouth, he faints and gets shipped off to the hospital wing before the second mini-climax.
- In book four, he is forced to watch a friend die, witness Voldemort's return, gets tortured, and duels both physically and psychologically, all the while bleeding from a leg injury. He is semi-conscious when he gets back, gets even more danger and revelatory crap dumped on him, and is mercifully put out with sleeping potion afterwards.
- In book five it's notably averted in contrast to book four. He goes on an extended rescue mission, gets into a huge melee chase, which later becomes an all-out brawl, with the Death Eaters, watches a loved one die, and gets possessed. However, this has traumatized him so badly he breaks down and goes into Rage Against the Mentor mode.
- In the final battle, he is temporarily refreshed by dying, plucking him up enough to save the day, after which he stumbles off to bed on his own power for a sandwich and some sleep.
- A more minor example happens during the second book, when he wins a Quiddich game by catching the Snitch, only for a Bludger to hit him on the arm hard enough to break it. He falls off of his broom and says "Ah, we won," before fainting.
- In Hurog Tisala escapes from a torturer - after being tortured - walks miles in the ill-fitting shoes of a killed enemy, and kills a couple of bandits. Only then does she collapse. The farmer whose farm she defended against the bandits is very impressed.
- The Dresden Files. Harry Dresden, most of the time. Especially at the end of Dead Beat, when Murphy gets back from vacation to find him bedridden and on an IV, and as such he does not get chewed out for trashing her house. But then, he wouldn't have been able to move at all from Cassius's torture session on if Lash hadn't taught him how to block the pain.
- Vimes in Discworld novels is exceptionally fond of this.
- In Jingo, Vimes convinces his arch-rival Lord Rust that he's some sort of badass by handling hot coals (emulating a story about Lawrence of Arabia). Then he waits until Rust leaves to clutch his hand in pain. ("Are you quite sure he can't see me?" "Not unless he can see through camels, sir.")
- The Fifth Elephant: In only his underwear, Vimes wins a rigged contest against a pack of werewolves, which entails both outrunning and outfighting them in the snow. Carrot and Angua rescue him just in time for him to pass out.
- Night Watch: "I'll teach him to walk! I'm good at teaching people to walk!" *falls over* Context; Vimes has just gotten back from an involuntary Time Travel adventure to a war zone in time to see his newborn son. And he does teach watchmen how to walk with minimum effort, to make their patrols easier
- Snuff: After a fierce battle aboard a storm-tossed ship which eventually surfs ashore on a tidal wave, Vimes has just enough time to send someone to make him several bacon sandwiches with some good old Ankh-Morpork sauce before he drops where he stands.
- Feetof Clay: Has a decidedly more lighthearted take on this trope, when introduced to prospective watchman Cheery Littlebottom, Vimes make polite conversation with her, correctly guessing the derivation of the name and eventually ushering her out. Only then does he finally breakdown laughing at the poor dwarf's name, repeating it over and over.
- Granny Weatherwax gets a similar event once. She had to catch the villain's sword with her bare palm to make him surrender - and afterwards there wasn't any cut. However, a long time after, when she had finally travelled back through half a continent to her home (and prepared bandages and water), she allows the cut to finally happen.
- There's an example in Everworld #7, during a Hetwan-Olympus battle, and April babbles something incoherent before falling over.
- Kahlan, from Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, always collapses from exhaustion after using her Confessor power.
- In the Worlds of Power book based on Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, the kid from our world accompanying Simon Belmont taunts and beats up Death, believing that the worst thing that could happen would be that he would be sent back home. After the battle, when Simon tells him that, unlike all the other monsters they've encountered, Death really was capable of killing him, he faints.
- Probably in several instances in The Power of Five, but most notably with Matt at the end of Evil Star. Even put him in a Convenient Coma, to show off Pedro's power.
- Tavi in Codex Alera passes out hard at least once from pushing himself way, way too far. When breaking Varg out of jail in the fourth book, by the time he got to a point where he could collapse, his arms and legs were about to stop working.
- Sherlock Holmes, of all people, at the end of the pastiche The Seven Per Cent Solution. Thoroughly justified, for reasons that are too badass to repeat here in their entirety.
- "The Reigate Puzzle", a story from the original Sherlock Holmes canon, begins with Holmes ill in a hotel room after solving an enormous case. This is why food and sleep are good things to have, Mr Holmes.
Even the triumphant issue of his labours could not save him from reaction after so terrible an exertion, and at a time when Europe was ringing with his name and when his room was literally ankle-deep with congratulatory telegrams I found him a prey to the blackest depression.
- In The Glass Inferno (one of the two books that became the movie The Towering Inferno), when everyone is rescued and they're no longer in danger, the junkie resumes having withdrawal symptoms which were suppressed while he and everyone else were trying to avoid burning to death.
- In the novelization of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics", an entire subplot involved Riker taking a team down to the surface of the Dyson Sphere. Needless to say, complications arise and the team has to scramble to get out with their lives. After being beamed up, one of the Red Shirts asks if he's off-duty. When Riker says yes, the ensign promptly passes out on the transporter pad.
- In Robert E. Howard's "Gods of the North", Conan the Barbarian suffers a touch of this after the fight.
The Cimmerian stood upright, trailing his sword, a sudden sick weariness assailing him. The glare of the sun on the snow cut his eyes like a knife and the sky seemed shrunken and strangely apart. He turned away from the trampled expanse where yellow-bearded warriors lay locked with red-haired slayers in the embrace of death. A few steps he took, and the glare of the snow fields was suddenly dimmed. A rushing wave of blindness engulfed him and he sank down into the snow, supporting himself on one mailed arm, seeking to shake the blindness out of his eyes as a lion might shake his mane.
- In The Lord of the Rings:
- Merry and Éowyn collapse, after defeating the Witch-King.
- Sam collapses, after stabbing and driving off Shelob.
- And Frodo and Sam, as in the movies, both collapse after disposing of the Ring in Mt. Doom and then hiking back to the foot of the mountain. They had burned through all their reserves just to get there, and had long since given up on the idea of getting home again after.
- In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Freckles fights Wessner and then argues with McLean about finishing his round, before he collapses.
- In Exile's Honor, Alberich is nearly flattened when his Foresight kicks in unexpectedly, then goes full-berserk defending Princess Selenay from a Tedrel kidnap team, then forces himself to remain functional, alert, and on guard for over an hour while now-Queen Selenay grieves over her father's corpse. His friends are looking for a Mindhealer to knock him unconscious when he finally passes out on his own... right at Selenay's feet.
- In By the Sword, Kerowyn takes a Tap on the Head at the very end of a battle against Hardorn. She's okay, but there doesn't seem to be much point for it except to provide a convenient place to close the scene.
- Inverted in "The Long Walk" by Stephen King (published under the pseudonym Richard Bachmann), when the protagonist wins the Walk by being the only survivor and somehow finds the strength to run after the exhausting ordeal. Played exaggeratedly straight at the same time. It's heavily implied that Garraty, the hero, is dying.
- In John Hemry's The Lost Stars novel Tarnished Knight, Kontos insists on opening the bridge to Iceni alone, but once he does, he and the rest of the forces collapse virtually instantly; the major problem was starvation, because they had been on short rations for days.
- Happens regularly with users of Townsaver in the Book of Swords series. Townsaver will keep its bearer on their feet and fighting so long as there are people to protect, but once the battle is over, the magic that allowed the wielder to ignore their wounds (Which are frequently numerous because Townsaver makes its owner attack those trying to harm the innocent without giving them the ability to defends themselves) goes away, often causing the owner to drop dead of blood loss on the spot.
- In Poul Anderson's Three-Cornered Wheel, the natives arrive as The Calvary to save young David Falkayn and he faints. Meaning his comrades have more time to worry about their youngest crewmate, because the natives can't operate his radio.
- Another has a rather dark example when Kouichi kills Reiko after finding out she's the extra. His collapse was due to his collapsed lung flaring up after he kills her. It becomes the victory part after he wakes up to find most of class 3-3 not remembering Reiko as Matsunaga implied would happen.
- Tales of Dunk and Egg has Baelor Breakspear who collapses and dies after help winning the Trial of Seven when his own brother smashed his head open with a mace.
- In the Firefly episode "Out of Gas," Mal gets shot in the stomach, and then proceeds to run off his attackers, stumble to the infirmary, shoot himself in the heart with a tube of liquid adrenaline, stumble up into the engine room, repair the ship's core, and then stumble all the way to the bridge to activate the recall beacon to bring the rest of the crew back....and collapses, after showing just how hardcore he really is.
- And the fact that he collapses JUST short of reaching the recall button does nothing to diminish his badassery in that episode. However, it may not fit this trope, as he passes out before completing the task, not after. Then again, he wakes up to his crew having returned anyway without the signal, confirms that they are all real and okay, then passes out again. This second pass-out may count.
- A meta-example of this occurs in Red Dwarf. Lister is threatening a particularly arrogant hologram, and for emphasis, he eats his cigarette. Once the hologram has left the area and the take has been completed, Craig Charles spits out the chewed remains of the cigarette and mutters "I don't know why I (beep) did that."
- The presenters on Top Gear occasionally do mild versions of this at the conclusion of their long-distance races. Most recently, Clarkson fell over after the Season 13 London-Edinburgh race after spending eight hours stoking a steam engine and then running a short distance to the finish line.
May: [pulling Clarkson upright and holding a beer to his mouth] Jeremy. Speak to me.
- In The A-Team episode "Harder Than it Looks", B.A. beats a very strong opponent, and collapses when Face and Murdock give him congratulatory pats on the shoulder.
- In the Sherlock season one finale, John very nearly collapses on the spot after being released from his bomb jacket by a frantic Sherlock, in a rare moment of vulnerability on both sides.
- Played for laughs in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun where Dick injures his foot and believes he has become impervious to pain. Too bad the adrenaline wears off immediately after he punctures his skin several times with staples.
- In an early episode, D'Argo ends up getting shot in the back while escaping from an enemy fortress, but manages to keep on running the next few hundred metres to safety. As soon as he stops moving, he promptly keels over, revealing that he is seriously injured.
- In the same episode, Crichton has to rescue Rygel from a gang of kidnappers while wearing a gauntlet weapon that doses him with a powerful stimulant: under the influence of this drug, he runs several miles in the space of a few minutes, fights off two enemy soldiers, and duels their leader to a standstill before the already-overused gauntlet finally runs out of juice. He manages to convince them that Rygel isn't worth keeping, and then carries Rygel back all the way through the jungle to the campsite... then, he finally collapses. For good measure, Crichton is not seen in the epilogue of the episode, being presumably fast asleep.
- At the end of the Stargate Atlantis episode "Sateda", Ronon Dex collapses just as Dr. Beckett offers him a tranquillizer before removing a Wraith tracker. To be fair, Ronon had spent the whole episode getting beaten up by Wraith hunters, and especially by their leader, the "Big Wraith". Any lesser man would be dead.
- During one of her Ring Warriors Title defenses against Su Yung, La Rosa Negra received a concussion and fell under the bottom rope to the floor after pinning her. Then she got up to walk out of the arena and fell again. Then she got back up made it to the curtains before falling through them. She ended up needing a stretcher.
- In Warhammer 40,000, during the Second War for Armageddon, Commissar Yarrick loses an arm in combat with the Ork Warlord Ugulhard, but still manages to cut off the xenos's head. He does not 'allow himself the luxury of passing out' until the Orks are finally driven from Hades Hive. Oh, and he now uses the Ork's Power Klaw as a prosthetic arm. And this was just the first assault on the hive.
- A number of stories about Space Marine Standard bearers like Ancient Helveticus of the Ultramarines, feature them standing in the midst of an enemy assault, holding their banner high despite grievous wounds, and only after the battle has been won allowing themselves the luxury of dying.
- Dungeons & Dragons has a spell that gives temporary extra HP and can cause the lethal version of this when it wears off.
- The barbarian's rage ability gives temporary extra HP, as well, leading to the same possibility.
- GURPS has the same mechanic for the Advantage called Blessed: Heroic Feats.
- In Suikoden IV, every time the main character used the Cutscene Power to the Max of the Rune of Punishment, he'd collapse immediately afterwards due to the rune's soul-draining side-effects. Depending on which ending you get, it ends up killing him after the final battle, or he manages to push the rune into its rarely seen 'Forgiveness' form, where it's got all the ass-kicking with none of the side effects.
- Galuf's Deader Than Dead scene in Final Fantasy V: He keeps on fighting well after his HP hit 0, untill finally collapsing after the bad-guy's been beaten.
- Issac in Golden Sun collapses after winning the final battle in the Colosso. Strange, given that if Issac is a decent level (and is spamming the right move), he wipes the floor with his opponent.
- Happens to Dr. Derek Stiles in Trauma Center: Under the Knife and its Wii remake Second Opinion after he uses his Healing Touch power for the second time.
- He successfully (and accidentally) uses it the first on the car-crash victim. As said victim fibrillates, Derek's concentration and "don't die on me!" determination kicks the Touch in. After he REFINES the touch in Power of Asclepius he complains of headache. After squandering it in the very NEXT surgery, he collapses and spends the next few days asleep in a ward.
- This can happen to your soldiers in Dawn of War after using the "Will of the Emperor" ability. It makes surrounding soldiers immune to death, but not damage, which means that they will die easily once the skill wears off.
- Takeshi in Ever17 actually gets two of these. The first and more minor is instantly collapsing after rescuing Tsugumi despite coughing up lots of blood, flu like symptoms, decompression sickness, swimming through frigid water and some other minor things after not eating for a good day or so. The second comes just a little later when he basically comes back from the dead and does the same thing again only this time after being under pressurized water and not breathing for a good half an hour or so at least, rescuing Coco and a couple other impossible things before 'getting tired' and entering a cryogenic chamber which keeps him alive while his body fights off TB.
- Tsukihime. Immediately after defeat Nero Chaos, Shiki collapses and returns to bleeding to death. By his own earlier admission, his entire body is basically one giant wound by this point, so it's hardly surprising. He only lives because Arcueid knows how to heal him with Chaos' remnants. Or Ciel saves him in her route.
- Link almost collapsed after killing Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. (Even if you were at full hearts at the end of the battle.) Luckily, Tetra was there to catch him, before he hit the ground.
- In Wild ARMs 2, a variant of this is the best explanation for the final boss that otherwise sort of comes out of nowhere. After finally saving the world at a very high cost (specifically, killing the team's commander and his sister after they sacrifice themselves to become a mortal body for a living universe), the heroes silently mope their way out of the final dungeon. On the way, the protagonist's depression eats away at him so much that the Eldritch Abomination sealed inside of him drags him into a final battle inside of his soul.
- In the ending of Persona 3, an extreme version occurs to the protagonist, who lives on for a month after his Heroic Sacrifice, and fades away just as his friends shake off their Laser-Guided Amnesia and rush to meet him.
- Much earlier than this, the protaganist spends a week in a hospital bed after they first summon a Persona and use it to fight off the shadows.
- In Persona 4, Teddie can destroy an otherwise unbeatable boss by himself, because he himself is a powerful Shadow and can tap into his natural abilities for the sake of those who've given him the love he craves. Doing this not only makes him briefly collapse, but also literally flattens him. Depending on how long you took to get to said unbeatable boss, it can take him a couple of weeks or a single night to recover.
- Non-violent example: Chris, your character in Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches, passes out each time one of the elemental orbs is successfully completed. Overexcited by the special effects, perhaps?
- Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty collapses in exhaustion at the end of his battle against the 25 Metal Gear Rays. Understandable, but the bad news is that there are still 3 Rays left.
- In Pokémon, if a Pokemon's HP is low enough this can happen when they use moves with substantial recoil damage (Flare Blitz, Wood Hammer, Head Charge) to finish off their opponent.
- It should be noted that if both you and your opponent were on your last Pokemon, this actually causes you to lose the match when battling another person. Against a computer opponent, you lose, no matter which side initiated the attack. However, Generation VI changed this slightly so that the player whose Pokémon faints last wins, so if you knock out the opposing Pokémon with a recoil move and take yourself out in the process, you win because they fainted first (even if you're in the Battle Maison, which is 'notorious for skewing the hax rates heavily in the AI's favor).
- In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword, Ninian collapses after using her power to knock out two of three fire dragons charging the group. Justified in that this was just after she was revived by Brammimond so she was likely still a bit disoriented from it.
- No one actually collapses at the climax of Mass Effect 3 (except the dead people, obviously), but Shepard's palpable relief at finally ending the Reaper War after shooting the Illusive Man and allowing the Crucible to dock qualifies. If he's present and not one of the aforesaid dead people, Anderson comments that it "feels like years since I just... sat down".
- Kingdom Hearts:
- Played for laughs in Kingdom Hearts I; if you manage to defeat Leon in Traverse Town, Sora will pass out afterward, allowing the story continue in the exact same way as if you had lost.
- Near the end of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Xion, who has absorbed half of Roxas' strength, and Axel clash outside of the old mansion in Twilight Town, and Axel wins. He collapse from exhaustion after bringing her back to The World That Never Was, indicating a very close match.
- After her second fight with Vanitas in Neverland during Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Aqua is left so exhausted that she can't even stand up, and ends up passing out. She comes to just as Peter Pan and the Lost Boys show up, and by then, Vanitas has recovered and gotten away.
- Sora collapses again after defeating Xemnas near the end of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, though it's played for drama this time, and is very tragic. As soon as the latter vanished from sight, Sora collapses and nearly dies while Young Xehanort reveals the truth about the former's quest, and what they plan to do with his body now that his heart has been destroyed. Riku would soon revive him by repairing his broken heart.
- Lufia 2 Rise Of The Sinistrals, Selan drops dead after the team successfully withstands the Sinistrals' final attack. Maxim also goes out in this fashion as he overuses his Spiritual Force to prevent Doom Island from falling on Parcelyte.
- One of Shingo's win poses in the King of Fighters games is him falling on his knees in exhaustion.
- Done a few times in Death Battle
- In Fox McCloud vs Bucky O'Hare, Fox falls on his back in relief after he uses a last second Indy Ploy to get around the loss of his legs and barely take down Bucky.
- In Ryu vs Scorpion, Ryu collapses in exhaustion after using the Power of Nothingness to reduce Scorpion to a skeleton. However, Scorpion was still 'alive' even like this, so Ryu was left defenseless against Scorpion's Hellfire counter.
- Inspired by this Girl Genius comic.
- Agatha experiences this trope a few times, earlier in the story run. She'd start to display Spark behavior by going on a Mad Scientist rant, only for her power-dampening locket to shut her down with powerful headaches that leave her crashed.
- There's one scene in The Last Days of FOXHOUND where Raven has to stare down Big Boss, who has possessed Liquid's body. Big Boss has already been shot with a tranq, but it doesn't seem to be having any effect. Despite this, and despite Raven knowing that he would get his ass handed to him in a fight, Raven calmly stands there, eye to eye in a staredown, and even Trash Talking his enemy until the tranq finally kicks in. Afterward he looks ready to collapse with relief, and says "That took waaaaaaay too damn long".
- Antihero for Hire: Dechs does this after infiltrating TeraCorp and nearly dying several times, and also after having to fight during the daytime.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Doc learns a secret technique that will let him jump off of the Moon to escape Dracula's moon base (it makes sense in context). Safely back on earth, he has just enough time for a brief victory strut before the consequences of making such a leap catch up with him.
- Tales of the Questor:
- He collapses after dealing with the wraith. Squidge binds his wounds and bites his ear to get him moving before he bleeds to death, and so he has a second when they reach help.
- Quentyn delivers a truly epic To the Pain speech to the leader of a gang of street punks in the jail ... and delivers a Vomit Discretion Shot outside fifteen seconds later. He is barely over the age of majority, after all, with all the battle experience that implies.
- In Sluggy Freelance Riff's Mark-1 robot is able to kill the Easter Bunny, rob a bank, and take down the U.S. military. However, once they get it back home, it promptly breaks into a hundred tiny pieces.
- Straha on this page of WTF Comics.
- In this strip of Wapsi Square, Tina breaks down crying after a terrifying encounter with a sphinx.
- In Impure Blood, Roan escapes to collapse and sleep like the dead.
- In Endstone, Cole collapses after her escape.
- In And Shine Heaven Now, Timothy keels over after a particularly dramatic battle.
- Angora collapses after the first time using her nature powers in The Meek. The author based it off of an actual collapse of hers, where she fainted but was only out for a few seconds.
- In Commander Kitty, Nin Wah experiences this right after her fight with a huge army of Tagged goons.
- Schlock Mercenary: Para Ventura, newly restored to the company as coxswain to their gunship (which would only take orders from her), promptly issues out a series of brisk orders like a seasoned officer, stunning most of the assembled crew. Once that's done, she immediately goes to the medlab and has Tailor find her something to stop the shakes she'd developed out of stress. Turns out Bristlecone, the ship itself, had been feeding her the appropriate lines through an earpiece, and her confident commander act was just that.
Tailor: So... Our gunboat will only take orders from the girl who needs our gunboat's help to issue the right orders?Ventura: Hence this case of the shakes. Now fix me up so I can start closing recursions, please.
- In El Goonish Shive, this happens to Nanase after she saves Ellen from Abraham and her Deadly Upgrade wears off bringing her down to normal.
- Happens to Humphrey a couple times in Use Sword on Monster. We don't see it happen with Oz or Hilda, but Hilda's apparently familiar with the problem.
- Cerberus Daily News: During Operation Death To Discord, the asari commando Desta T'Res collapsed after delivering a mortal blow to Discord. She had already been seriously wounded, and was running on pure adrenaline. She made a full recovery.
- PONY.MOV: In SWAG.MOV, Rainbow Dash turns into a giant monster pony and finally kills Discord. After she does, she faints.
- In Worm, Chapter 13.10 opens with a description of Taylor, the protagonist, passing out cold after getting back from rescuing her teammate Grue from Bonesaw.
- Has been happening to Danny Phantom ever since the very first episode Mystery Meat.
Tucker: You were out for three days.Sam: TUCKER!!Tucker: Nah, it was more like three hours.
- Subverted in The Movie: Danny's Ghostly Wail knocks Dan into a building, and as it crumbles on him, Danny turns back to his human form, falling on his knees...only for Dan to emerge from the rubble, leading to Danny whipping out the Fenton Thermos for the win.
- And again with Vlad who didn't even flinch let alone collapse from the Ghostly Wail. Danny's friends and Opposite-Sex Clone were the ones who finished him off.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender. At the beginning, this trope happened to Aang when he came out of the Avatar State, but there's notably less effect with each successive use. By the first season finale he can stay on his feet, and as of the grand finale he seems to have overcome the problem entirely.
- Spider-man does this pretty often. In one episode of the Spider-Man: The Animated Series cartoon, after a grueling battle, he went home, collapsed into his bed, and slept for a day straight.
- An episode of Justice League Unlimited had Superman raiding Cadmus headquarters to rescue a missing comrade, only to find his old friend Professor Hamilton working there. He confronts the good doc about his betrayal, only to get a verbal bitchslapping over his own betrayal of Earth at the hand of Darkseid and subsequent rage at him to save Supergirl's life last year. Big Blue looks like he's about to crush Hamilton's head between his fingers, but backs down, and after he leaves, Hamilton collapses in relief, having just stood up to a living god of a man and survived.
- In "Only a Dream", Batman finally falls asleep in the penultimate scene. The fact that he's in a chair near Hawkgirl's bed rather than in his own bed suggests that he was trying to stay awake long enough to see for himself that his teammates were all right. It Makes Sense in Context: Batman had already been without sleep for three days before having to stay awake long enough to defeat Dr. Destiny.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SpongeBob vs. the Patty Gadget", SpongeBob collapses after facing off against the gadget.
- Mild version in the Teen Titans episode "Haunted"; Robin manages to pull himself off the floor and to his feet for his final confrontation with a hallucinatory Slade, and stays on his feet just long enough to dissolve the illusion with the light switch and tell Starfire that he's okay. He then promptly collapses into her arms.
- A straighter version in "Fear Itself"—Raven admits her fear, regains her powers and sends out a huge blast of dark energy that demolishes all the evil creatures in the Tower, and then falls to the ground exhausted when she's finished.
- Happens to Ben quite often in Ben 10: Alien Force; his record is 3 times in one episode.
- The worst case was when he would pass out just before every commercial break...in the middle of the final battle with the Highbreed.
- In the Galaxy Rangers episode "Scarecrow," the titular Eldritch Abomination had injured Niko severely, then crashed into her sickroom. She tried to fight him off, only for a royally-pissed Goose to bust in and start fighting the thing. The thing managed to stun Goose and was about to kill him when Niko recovered enough to distract him and let off a few rounds from her BFG. As soon as the Scarecrow ran off, she passed out cold from the strain.
- The Real Ghostbusters had Winston do this in "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me a Dream." The other Ghostbusters and Janine each got hit by a blast of sand from the Sandman that puts them to sleep. Once Janine turns her dream-self into a Ghostbuster and traps the Sandman, Winston falls asleep on the couch.
- In the premiere episode of Batman Beyond, Bruce and Terry fight off a gang of Jokerz. Terry then has to help Bruce back to Wayne Manor to get his medicine, after which Bruce falls asleep in his chair. This serves as a Establishing Character Moment — Bruce Wayne still has his old skills, but time has left him without the stamina to engage in an extended battle.
- The Rocko's Modern Life episode "Pranksters" ends with Filburt so happy he finally pranked Heffer that his heart gives out.
- Truth in television: When in literal "life or death" situations, adrenaline and other endorphins are more than capable of pushing the human body beyond normal limits. Once the danger is over and the body stops producing these drugs, people will obviously crash.
- It's one of the reasons why, if you're in an accident, the authorities will often want a doctor to look you over even if you think you're fine. Once the adrenaline wears off, you may find that you're not in such good shape after all.
- The "Marathon run" is named after a feat that occurred after the Battle of Marathon, in which Pheidippides ran 225km from Athens to Sparta in two days to ask for aid in the coming battle, participated in the battle, and then ran another 42km in full armor from Marathon back to Athens to head off a Persian counterattack. Popular legend has it that Pheidippides collapsed and died on arrival.
- After the Battle of Shiloh, one of the largest and most important ever fought in the American Civil War, General Ulyssess Grant chose not to pursue the defeated rebels after they had been driven off the battlefield. He explained that his inexperienced troops had begun doing this en masse after two days of fighting and suffering in the rain and so he couldn't press them any further.
- This trope came into play once again after the Battle of Gettysburg. After three days of hard fighting which ended in over 50,000 dead or wounded and heavy depletion of the officer corps on both sides, Meade's exhausted army was in no condition to launch a counter-assault on Lee's army. This also was a major factor in Meade's delayed and half-hearted pursuit of Lee during the latter's retreat back into Virginia.
- Kayla Montgomery, a runner with multiple sclerosis, collapses after every race because her legs literally stop working; her coach has to stand at the finish line to catch her and carry her off the track. She wins often, in part due to the fact that her legs go numb long before they stop working, so she doesn't feel the fatigue that affects other runners and is able to continue at full speed when others' bodies are screaming for them to stop.
- This is usually the result (to a lesser extent) when the average sprinter tries to run distances measured in miles/km, as they're not trained for the endurance required for such a task.
- There is, of course, the tale of Ragnarok, from Norse Mythology, where Thor, the son of Odin, slays the Midguard Sormr (a giant serpent), takes nine steps, then falls dead as a doornail (due to the fatal venom of Jörmungandr).