"HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?"
A subversion of Forgot About His Powers
usually used for comic relief
. We know sometimes characters have trouble mastering their powers
, but sometimes, established powers seem to just get forgotten entirely. A character finds themselves in a dire situation where any normal person would be in serious trouble. They start to panic... and then they remember, oh yeah, I have superpowers
/ advanced technology
. Also seen from companions and enemies that forget about frequently-used powers. This is a very common subversion of the Acrophobic Bird
Can be more or less justified if the powers are rarely useful, so that the character has not used them for a long time; if the power's use in this situation is an entirely new one; or if the character has (or has had) a good reason to avoid the use, and so got into the habit of not thinking of it. Also by not having time enough to think.
Compare Remembered Too Late
Compare and contrast How Do I Shot Web?
, Informed Ability
and New Powers as the Plot Demands
Contrast Forgot I Couldn't Swim
: Only include examples of a character not remembering that they have the ability and then remembering it
(or being reminded by someone else). Simply forgetting about it altogether is Forgot About His Powers
(and often Acrophobic Bird
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Anime and Manga
- In the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Tea Gardner is not as skilled as her friends, and seems to forget the special effects of cards.
- Happens to Fukurou in One Piece. Franky was chasing him around firing bullets at him, when he suddenly remembered he could Double Jump and had Super Speed. He said something along the lines of "What am I doing?!" before he started fighting back.
- Chopper did this too in his fight against Baroque Works. Miss Merry Christmas held onto his feet so he couldn't move, while Mr. 4's gun/dog Lasso fired an exploding baseball at him. He screamed as the ball flew towards his head, but then changed back into his (smaller) hybrid form, resulting in the ball flying harmlessly overhead. He even says "Whew, forgot I could do this."
- Sora in Oh! Edo Rocket.
- The manga adaptation of Disgaea 2 has a dramatic Take My Hand scene where Adell refuses to let go of Rozalin even after she's spent their entire acquaintance screwing him over, after which they spend a heartwarming moment Laying On A Hillside...then Fridge Logic catches up with Adell and he realizes that Rozalin had wings the entire time. Hilarity Ensues.
- In the Breath Of Fire 4 game this also happens, but the fallen person (Nina) isn't caught in time and falls. Ryu rushes down rumping into ledges to try and catch her, and after going past her he promptly (face)falls down to the bottom himself.
- The Charas of Shugo Chara! forget about and later remember their ability to fly in one early episode. Used to scare a character and amuse the audience.
- At one point in the manga version of Chrono Crusade, a roof hanging over Joshua begins to collapse. Since Joshua is a human boy with demon's horns, he's more than a little insane, so his first reaction is just to stare at it blankly. But right before The Hero saves him, he mutters "Oh, that's right" and uses his powers to stop time to keep himself from getting crushed, right at the last second.
- A very simple, but amusing example in the Martial Arts Fine Dining arc of Ranma 1/2: throughout the training for the Parlay du Fois Gras, Ranma has been starving herself nearly to death. At the end of the final duel with Picolet Chardin, during which she has been using the technique to force-feed him (and the audience) to get rid of her food (the condition of winning), she has run out of options and is about to lose — she still has food left, she's too weak from hunger to try the Fois Gras anymore, and Picolet is going for the last one — then she says, "Oh, yeah." and just eats the last bits of food herself.
- In Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Ika Musume almost drowns and Goro rescues her. Eiko asks her why she can drown. Ika Musume suddenly remembers that she can breathe underwater. She later demonstrates by staying underwater long enough for everyone else to get bored and do other things.
- The writer of Yami No Matsuei after she inflicted this precise Plot-Induced Stupidity on her hero at the end of the Queen Camelia arc. She had Muraki leaving the scene in a helicopter, which defeats her hero...who had the power to fly established very early. She clearly wishes she hadn't done that, but—here's where 'forgot I could fly' comes in—for some reason rather than pretending she hadn't, she footnoted his frustration with the reminder "why don't you just fly after him?"
- This is especially painful because it comes shortly after Tsuzuki cracked bulletproof glass with his punch of sheer rage at the same guy who's now escaping for no good reason. He seriously takes Idiot Hero to new levels.
- Inverted in an episode of Ah! My Goddess, where in one flashback Troubadour tries to depart by leaping off a small cliff, apparently forgetting that he hasn't yet learned how to fly at this point.
- Bakinman from Anpanman is an alien germ that looks more like a human-esque fly. Because of this, he has two tiny wings on his back that he sometimes buzzes around with. As soon as the weapons on his UFO were fully established, he never used his wings again...until the episode "Baikinman and Baikin Castle", where, stuck on top of his fortress, he starts to panic...until he realizes "Oh yeah, there's that." when he sees his wings, as he flies off...but he comes back down when he's guilt tripped into saving the others.
- A Bloom County strip had Opus beach himself like a whale. Milo and Binkley stood over him, discussing the tragedy of whales beaching themselves, and then walked away, one of them lamenting, "If only they had feet." At which point Opus did a double take, stood up saying, "I do have feet, don't I?" and was next seen reclining in a chair watching TV.
- In a Heroes tie-in comic. Bennet drives someone who can turn into water into a corner by shooting at him, knowing full well that the man in question is Immune to Bullets. Justified in that he's relying on panic and the fact that the guy is new to his powers and won't use them instinctively. By the time the guy realizes this, Bennet's partner gets the drop on him.
- In one issue of Runaways, Cloak is trying to get away from the Avengers, who think he hospitalized his partner Dagger. It apparently does not occur to him that he can just, you know, teleport away from them until after he's thrown himself headfirst through a window.
- Wesley tries to invoke this with a none-too-bright power stealing villain in Wanted. The villain does remember he can fly but forgets that the power is seconds away from running out.
- An early issue of X-Men has telekinetic superheroine Jean Grey trapped on the second floor of a building, until teammate Beast reminds her that she can fly. Yes, she forgot she had super powers. Silly females! (It would be a few years yet before feminism hit the Marvel Universe.)
- Preacher: Something of an subversion, as Jesse Custer only remembers that he has "The Word of God" after he's already beaten the crap out of Les Enfants Du Sang. Throughout the series, he often prefers to just fight mano-a-mano, but this time, it's actually lampshaded.
- Played very seriously in Dungeon Keeper Ami at the outset of the War on Crowned Death. Once, when assaulted by a priest of Crowned Death, Mercury is confronted by the preist's apparent invulnerability. She proceads to throw everything and the kitchen sink at him. Unfortionately, this includes the Mantle of the Avatar, a powerful artifact she recovered in the previous story arc. This artifact was itself the object Crowned Death was looking for- and his priest escapes with it in his custody. Turns out the priest was not useing a powerful intangibility spell, just a simple illusion that Ami could have seen through easily if she had thought to analize it useing her visor.
- In Back to the Future, Marty tries to warn Doc Brown that he will be killed by the Libyans in 1985, but he doesn't want to hear it, fearing that Marty's presence in 1955 has already done enough damage to the time line. Marty is sitting in the time machine lamenting his failure, then he realizes he's in a time machine; he can go back early and save Doc Brown in 1985. Which he STILL manages to screw up by only giving himself ten extra minutes and the car not starting, arriving at the mall just in time to see his friend getting shot.
- In Tangled, Rapunzel and Flynn are trapped in a cave that's filling up with water. He tells her he can't find an exit, it's too dark, and confides in her what his real name is. Wanting to reciporcate, she tells him she had magical hair that glows in the dark when she sings.
It even takes her a few moments after that to make a connection.
- The Animorphs do this frequently, while in borrowed bodies. There are at least two instances of a character taking the shape of a cockroach and forgetting until the last minute that cockroaches can fly.
- Honestly though, do you often see flying roaches? (Why don't they attempt to fly away when somebody's trying to stomp them anyway? Maybe they also forgot they could fly?)
- If that's true, then some Fridge Brilliance comes in: the reason the Animorphs forgot they could fly is that their natural cockroach tendencies made them forget they can fly.
- Some species of cockroaches can fly. The ones in warmer, wetter areas typically fly, while in other places, they're more or less crawling beetles.
- A nice Double Subversion occurs once. Jake remembers just in time that cockroaches can fly, only to then remember that can't fly well.
- Another good example is after Marco rescues Ax from the Blade Ship they escape and plummet 2 miles up from the air, Marco freaks out until Ax reminds him that he could morph into a bird in midair.
- Granted, he was already morphed as a gorilla, and a demorph/remorph while panicking is very difficult...
- There's also a rather infamous incident in The Familiar where Future Cassie is thrown from a tower. Jake has to choose between saving her and saving the world, apparently because she's forgotten she can morph.
- In Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone, Harry and Ron are being strangled by the vines of the Devil's Snare while Hermione is panicking and trying to remember how to combat the plant. She then remembers that the plant shrinks from heat and light. Harry suggests she lights a fire and the brilliant and talented witch, who has been noted as being particularly skilled at creating magic fire, replies that there is no wood. Ron, as quoted above, manages to scream some sense into her. Justified at that point as Hermione, despite her skill, had spent most of her life as a muggle, whereas Ron had grown up surrounded by magic.
- In Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Hermione gets her own back. Ron panics when he has to "freeze" the Whomping Willow so they can reach Voldemort's hideout and Hermione has to remind him that he's a wizard.
- In Lone Wolf, you have powers that can be useful in certain situation, but sometimes, the author forgets that the possibility you have that power may exist, and doesn't give you a choice to use the power.
- More commonly, the series has three levels of powers: Kai, Magnakai, and Grand Master. Most of the powers of one tier have lower powered equivalents amongst the lower tier. Similarly, someone of a higher tier always has all the powers of the lower tier, but only a select few of their given tier. This results in your character often being asked if he has a certain power appropriate for his tier (and bad stuff happening if you do not), but the author forgetting that there is no reason the lower tier equivalent - which everyone should have - could not be every bit as effective.
- Theoretically, at least, if the higher Discipline is required, it's for something that the lesser Discipline can't handle for some reason (you see this all the time in Grand Master, particularly with Kai-screen). Justified, for the most part...simple Mind over Matter should not allow you to grab a big, heavy key on the opposite side of the room while you're behind a locked door. Still, there are numerous instances where you SHOULD be able to use Pathsmanship, or Huntmastery, or (most often) Divination, or at least get some explanation as to why you can't. (You don't need Telegnosis to spirit-walk, it just makes it easier.) And then there's the issue of the myraid Combat Skill and Endurance benefits you get from certain Disciplines, all of which need to be properly balanced...and some of which, unfortunately, don't make a lot of sense (in New Grand Master, you have the same Combat Skill whether or not you're armed). As you might imagine, it's not exactly easy to write these things.
- In Equal Rites, the wizards are standing around unsure of what to do until Esk yells, "You're wizards! Bloody well wizz!" (This was before the "power from not doing magic" thing started, so they weren't doing it deliberately; they just actually were unsure they should wizz.)
Live Action TV
- Played with in the parody Vocaloid song ''Lord of Darkness'' in which the titular vampire starves to death in a cell, never managing to remember that he is able to turn into mist.
- At one point in the BIONICLE storyline, Krekka has to be reminded that he knows how to fly.
- Skyward Sword has an instance towards the beginning of the game: two Mogmas, Ledd and Cobal, sit outside the Earth Temple, brainstorming ways to get inside to loot the place like they're in a cat-burglar movie. The following exchange occurs:
- Amusingly enough, due to the severe case of Altitis the game encourages, this can be a frequent problem in City of Heroes. What with having so many alts with different power sets, it's not easy to remember that your character of the hour can induce fear over a wide area, or shoot an awesome long-range fire beam, or use arrows that encase their targets in ice, or whatever else they learned to do six weeks ago when you last played them.
- It is possible to die from Bottomless Pits-equivalents in Dark Void, a game whose premise is that its hero has a jet-pack.
- In the second special episode of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, Armaldo panics and looks for water to put out some torches before remembering that he can use Water Gun. Also, Igglybuff could have YOOM TAH'd the door behind the torches, just like he did earlier in the special episode. The torches turn out to be a trap that leads into a monster house. Oh, and Armaldo is a criminal on the run from the law.
- Golden Sun: Dark Dawn: Sveta cowers in fear when the Chaos Hound appears near the end of the game.
Tyrell: "Are you an Adept or not?! Use some Psynergy on it!"
- She also forgets that as a beastkin she has super-senses, until after the battle when she realizes the Chaos Hound smells like her "dead" brother...
- Lampshaded in a quest in World of Warcraft:
When I reached the end of the canyon, I remembered that my motorcycle could fly.
That would have been helpful to know earlier.
- Though that quest is presented as a complete fabrication told by one of the NPCs.
- Like the City of Heroes example, players running multiple alts can sometimes forget which ones have a Flight License.
- An inverse example, Stories of players leaping off cliffs planning to shift into flight form or use sometype of movment slowing, thinking they're on their druid, mage, etc... then realizing their not and dying.
- It's not uncommon in League of Legends to forget that your items have active effects only to kick yourself now that you're just out of range to inflict slow with your Hextech Gunblade.
- In Paper Mario, Bombette is first seen stuck in a jail cell. Once she joins the party, she can use her explosion power to break through the wall. She then sheepishly admits that the idea hadn't occurred to her before that point.
- This happens with Nappa in Dragon Ball Abridged. What makes this particular example so hilarious is that this realization came after he forgot about it as he was flying and after he had been flying for the greater part of that fight and while he was in midair.
- Also, Raditz could have avoided being shot through the chest by Piccolo if he had flown, regardless of the lock Goku put him in, as Piccolo helpfully points out.
- In the first episode, Krillin was reminded by the others that he could have flown after Raditz but didn't.
- The show loves this trope. It's frequently mentioned that Krillin seems to frequently forget to use his Kienzan attack that slices through anything whenever it would be useful, only to have others (usually Gohan) point out instances where he could have used it better, in the Revenge of Cooler movie, Piccolo comments that he sometimes forgets about using his stretchy limbs, and when one of Cooler's mooks breaks out some electric powers, The Dragon basically says "Oh yeah, I forgot you could do that."
- This literally happens to the Monarch's henchmen in The Venture Brothers.
(Brock Sampson is trying to coach the Monarch's henchmen troops.)
Brock: One decisive blow, we go for the head, cut if off and watch the body die. We all fly for Phantom Limb's command ship!
Henchman 21: Ummm, we don't have anything to fly in.
Henchman 24: We just have a Monarchmobile and a Nissan Stanza.
Brock: You all have wings.
Henchman 21: Yeah, these are for showin', not for blowin'.
Random Henchman: [flying] Aw no way, they work!
Henchman 21: Wha- what!? Total gyp! Why didn't anybody tell us these things worked?!
Henchman 24: This changes everything!
- There's a Woody Woodpecker cartoon where Woody falls from a great height, starts flying, and admits, "Hey, I forgot I was a bird!"
- The Powerpuff Girls:
- In an episode, Mojo ties up the girls in an unbreakable filament, and they shout, "You forgot one thing!" and blast him with their heat vision, something they've actually quite often forgotten to do.
- In one episode, Buttercup is being chased away by an angry mob in a parody of monster B-movies, and runs away from them... until she exclaims "Wait, what am I doing?", and remembers she can just fly away from them.
- In "Power-Noia," Buttercup—within her nightmare landscape—tells Blossom she can't fly. But this is through her own paralysis over spiders than it is forgetting how to fly.
- One episode has Mojo dropping the girls into a pit with classmate Harry Pit, who they're convinced has Cooties. They run all around the pit and never fly out until after learning their aesop.
- In an episode of Avatar The Last Airbender, the group are stuck in the desert with only a small amount of water in their pouch. Then Momo spills it and Sokka goes crazy... that is until Katara calmly bends the water out of the sand. Sokka sighs and says "Oh, I forgot. Bending." However, Sokka was in the throes of a particularly comical Mushroom Samba at that point, so he may be forgiven.
- That, and the fact that he can't bend.
- In Finding Nemo, Dory does this with her ability to read human writing. (She forgets plenty of other things, too.)
(Marlin and Dory are trying to escape a frenzied shark).
Dory: Hey, look at this! Eskappay! You know, it's funny; it's spelled just like the word Escape...
Marlin: You can read?
Dory: I can read? That's right, I can read!
- Used in Disney's Aladdin cartoon show, pretty much down to the letter. Aladdin asks another character to take a rope to the top of a high tower for him, at which point said character launches into a diatribe about how dangerous this would be for him, and how crazy and inconsiderate a thing it is to ask of him. Aladdin's response is to wait the rant out, as there's no point in trying to reason with him until he's finished, then points out to him that he can fly. At which point, the character — (the parrot, Iago) — says, "Oh, yeah."
- In Legion Of Super Heroes, when Superman and Timberwolf had to deliver Brainiac 5's head to be exposed to a rare metal's radiation in order to prevent Brainy dying from a worsen corruption of his data, Superman had to go had a planet with a red sun (meaning he loses all his powers for the duration). When he and Timberwolf were running from mutant miners, Superman was reminded by Timberwolf that he has a flight-ring that still allows him to fly. Superman's excuse was that never really did use the ring's function seeing as he can fly on his own.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- In the second episode the ponies come across a broken bridge. When Pinkie Pie wonders what to do next, Rainbow Dash shrugs and flies over to fix it.
- In the episode "Dragonshy", Fluttershy is so frightened she has to be reminded that she can fly. This then gets Subverted when she becomes so terrified that her wings lock up entirely, stranding her on the ground.
- A variant occurs in "The Last Roundup" when Applejack thinks she's managed to shake off her pursuing friends behind a long train. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy simply fly over the train instead.
- Another variant in "Read it and Weep" when Rainbow Dash was running from the pursuing hospital security and comes to a river. Since her wing was injured, she couldn't fly and had to swing across on a vine. She runs, thinking she got away with the river separating them, until the pony security simply ran across the bridge nearby.
- In "Wonderbolts Academy", Rainbow Dash's friends (two earth ponies, two unicorns, and Fluttershy, a pegasus) fall out of a hot-air balloon, including Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash saves them with a dense cloud, bouncing them up. The other pegasi in the academy catch them as they fall up. Cloudchaser catches Fluttershy, and she jumps out with a sheepish look on her face as Cloudchaser glares at her.
- In the third episode of Winx Club Bloom is caught in one of Darcy's illusion spells, until she remembers that fairies can fly and flies out of the spell's reach. Justified as this was the first time that Bloom had transformed into her fairy form.
- Princess Flame in one episode of Blazing Dragons. While sneaking out of her tower bedroom, the rope she has made by tying her bed sheets together unravels and she abruptly falls out of frame. She then flits back into frame, hovering in place and smirking, then saying the page quote at the top in a case of Lampshade Hanging
- Played with in the new Winnie The Pooh movie. The gang (minus Piglet) is stuck in a pit, with no way out. Piglet is told to get help, but Piglet is afraid to go through the woods on his own. Owl flies out of the pit to talk to Piglet, and gives a rousing speech, convincing Piglet to go off. Owl hops back into the pit, and all his friends stare at him.
Rabbit: Owl...that was a...beautiful speech! I didn't know you had it in you!
- Just prior to this, Piglet himself does something similar, when he offers to help get them out with a flower, then a book. After Rabbit suggests a rope, Piglet says "Like this rope?" and grabs one that had been there the whole time.
- In Family Guy, Brian keeps forgetting about his superior sense of smell.
- Happens with Squirt the dragon in Disney Junior's Mike the Knight when tumbling down a cliff, though there's another dragon named Sparkie who actually can't fly and has to be rescued.
- In Gargoyles, Oberon's Hair-Trigger Temper sometimes gets in the way of him remembering that he's virtually omnipotent and can use his magic to come up with straightforward solutions to most problems.
- In Young Justice, after Mind Raping a friend by mistake, M'Gann suffers a horrible breakdown and this trope in the result. She can hardly communicate telepathically, her species equivalent to talking, and has to be reminded that she can walk through walls.
M'Gann: Hmm, what? Oh, yes, density shift. I can do that...I can still do that...
- Happens twice to Daffy Duck in the short The Million Hare as Bugs lampshades both instances.
- Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "Sky-Hi I.Q.," Muttley is made the leader of Vulture Squadron. Normally, he uses his tail as a propeller to keep him airborne after the Squadron crashes out their planes, but in this episode, Muttley loses his plane to a botched mission and plummets to the ground. Dastardly catches him in a net and receives a puny medal for his efforts. Dastardly unstrings the net and sends Muttley hurtling to the ground again.
- Crazy Legs Crane frequently forgets he is able to fly. In fact a whole episode was dedicated to his consience trying to teach him how to do it properly.
- In "A Liking to Biking" on Dragon Tales, Ord bicycles off the edge of a cliff and is left dangling from a tire swing, scared out of his mind that he's going to fall, until Cassie reminds him, "Ord! You're a dragon! Use your wings!"