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- All the main villains from Dragon Ball Z, except Vegeta, fall into this.
- Frieza was so powerful that it took a legendary Super Saiyan to bring him down. Even scarier, he was that powerful naturally. When he finally buckled down and trained he got close to Beerus' level.
- Cell was the Ultimate Life Form, capable of destroying a solar system, regenerating From a Single Cell and becoming stronger from it. Had Gohan not annihilated every one of his cells in their final Beam-O-War, Cell would have just revived too powerful to be killed off by anyone on Earth.
- Broly. Despite his tendency to avoid death with little explanation, he is too powerful and insane to be allowed to live. His power rapidly rises and he is prone reckless rampages. The only way to put a stop to him is to put him down. And it takes the surface of the sun to kill him.
- Majin Buu would have literally destroyed the universe if he wasn't killed. He also got more powerful by absorbing people and had regeneration powers that put Cell to shame. He was never killed either, Buu was reincarniated into a good, human version of himself named Uub. Thus it is impossible for the pure evil, and nigh-omnipotent Kid/Super Buu to ever exist again.
- Shabranigdo from The Slayers.
- Naomi Misora from Death Note died quickly because the Oba realized had they lived, Light wouldn't have been such a threat; she would have discovered him too quickly.
- Shakugan no Shana: Sabrac zigzags this trope. He shows up for a single epic battle in the second season before disappearing again. He has no interest in the final battle after accomplishing his task. In Season 3 he fully participates in the final war, but by that time almost everyone is aware of how exactly to defeat him, thanks to Yuji Sakai. Then he chooses a battleground that prevents the protagonists from using their previous method of defeating him. Additionally, Sabrac serves Yuji in Season 3, who had become a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Ultimately, Sabrac holds his own against three of the most skilled and powerful Flame Haze in the series, only being defeated due to a moment of distraction. Even then, he could have saved himself had he not chosen to die.
- Max Kaien from The Five Star Stories, while not actually a villain, is definitely too overpowered to let him roam freely. So after being allowed a run as a Game-Breaker in his home world, he was rather quickly Put on a Bus and shipped into the Alternate Universe, where he came out as somewhat more balanced.
- Mariko in Elfen Lied is by far the strongest character in the story when she's introduced; that's why she has bombs implanted everywhere in her body, that will detonate if a code is not transmitted every thirty minutes. And that's why she dies when facing Lucy after a Heel–Face Turn. She'd have simply won, and that would have ended the story.
- Lucy herself in the manga's finale, when her vectors become large enough to cover entire continents. Naturally, using so much power essentially rots her body and kills her within a few minutes.
- Nanami Yasuri from Katanagatari is literally this. She dies in episode 7 during her battle with Shichika when her frail body can no longer withstand her full power.
- Reinforce/The Darkness of the Book of Darkness from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, an Eldritch Abomination Omnicidal Maniac capable of destroying worlds and in the form of Reinforce, easily the most powerful mage that ever appeared in the franchise. Naturally, once it appeared, it quickly became the only main villain in the series who is made Deader Than Dead with no chance of survival, which sadly includes poor Reinforce, despite her Heel–Face Turn. In universe, this is because the Defense Program of the Book of Darkness couldn't be stopped permanently unless she died, but from a meta perspective it's because she had massive Story-Breaker Power and she would have curb stomped all the other villains, had she ever started being on the good side.
- And Precia. She's one of only two SS rank mages in the entire series, capable of casting spells powerful enough to disable a spaceship from another dimension. So, naturally, she falls into an extra-dimensional void of her own making. Although she was already dying by that point anyway.
- The Huckebein from Force are also this, what with their absurd Anti-Magic and utterly ludicrous Healing Factor, but they haven't been killed off, and they're taking over the plot because of it.
- Sara from Samurai Champloo. She's easily the second strongest character in the series, giving both Mugen and Jin a run for their money. Letting Mugen kill her in their second fight was the first time he regretted killing someone.
- The Chimera Ant King Meryem from Hunter × Hunter, along with his Royal Guard. They were easily the most powerful beings in the world, in the human-inhabited part anyway, and none of the human Hunters sent against them could beat them in a fair fight. So they don't fight fair. Gon kills Neferpitou with a Deus ex Machina Deadly Upgrade (and still loses an arm to her), and Netero kills the rest with a suicidal (and poisonous!) bomb.
- Cars from the second arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure obtains Complete Immortality and Adaptive Ability combined with Voluntary Shapeshifting cranked Up to Eleven at the climax, achieving the status of Ultimate Lifeform. He also obtained the hero's power of The Ripple, only hundreds of times more powerful, making him both immune to it and capable of using it on a much greater scale. He's only defeated when Joseph uses the mother of all Indy Ploys to blast him into space shortly afterwards, as well as making it look like he planned the whole thing (He didn't but he would say anything to troll Cars.). Unable to change his course, Cars now floats inert through the cosmos. Begging for death but unable to die, his higher brain functions shut down.
- Pretty much any major villain from One-Punch Man is strong enough to pose a major threat to the world at large. While the Sea King possibly could have been defeated by one of the stronger S-rank heroes (as they've shown themselves capable of killing Demon-level threats like him daily), Boros is strong enough to destroy the entire planet (and by extension, almost every hero who isn't Zombieman), and Garou outright defeats almost every single hero and monster he goes up against. The only reason any of them are beaten is because they had the misfortune to go up against Saitama, who can take nearly anyone down with a single punch, and the latter two were able to force him to fight "semi-seriously", which is essentially the ultimate proof of how utterly powerful they are.
- Doomsday was pretty much the original example: his entire purpose was pretty much to kill Superman, so the writers could spend several plot arcs dealing with a post-Superman world.
- The Authority encounters this type of villain fairly frequently. Their usual response is to kill said villain after a huge epic battle, since if they were allowed to live they'd endanger millions.
- Composite Superman/Batman had the combined powers of the Legion of Superheroes, over 20 powers in addition to those similar to Superman, including invisibility, telepathy, matter transmutation, and others. If not for his powers losing their charge, he would be ruling the universe.
- This is why the Big Bads of most comic Crisis Crossovers die by the end of the story. If they do reappear as dead characters are wont to do in comics, they usually show up years later and rarely at that. The villains of DCU "Crisis" crossovers are especially notorious examples and suffer pretty spectacular deaths:
- The Anti Monitor, the Big Bad of Crisis on Infinite Earths. A cosmic superbeing who used his powers over antimatter to destroy the Multiverse. In the end he was blasted with positive matter, Darkseid's Omega Beams, and was punched into a sun by Superman. He didn't return until decades later in real time, when the Multiverse was reconstructed. And at the end of that crossover, an entire planet blew up in his face and he got punched by Superboy Prime halfway across the galaxy.
- Alexander Luthor Jr., the Big Bad of Infinite Crisis. He was essentially a superpowered Lex Luthor (okay he was technically the son of an alternate universe Lex Luthor). After a year of flawlessly manipulating the heroes and villains of the DCU (getting rather close to Villain Sue status at times), he nearly destroyed the current universe to create his own "perfect" Earth. In the end he was completely defeated and was brutally murdered in a filthy alley by the Joker.
- After years of sitting on his throne and slowly decaying, Darkseid finally crossed this threshold in Final Crisis. The Anti-Life Equation granted Darkseid absolute control over all. And his very existence destabilized the fabric of space/time; essentially dragging all reality with him to his inevitable death. In the end he got shot with a radion bullet (the Kryptonite to the New Gods) and by Batman no less, one of the staunchest defenders of the One Rule), had his soul taken away by the New Gods' psychopomp, the Black Racer, and had his consciousness shattered by Superman's singing.
- The other big villain of Final Crisis, Mandrakk the Dark Monitor, didn't survive the end of the story either.
- Yuga Khan, Darkseid's father, is even more evil and powerful than his son. He has tried to breach the secrets of the Source Wall, got merged with it, then managed to break free, returned to take his planet back - very easily... and right after, attempted to access the Source Wall again.
- The Sun-Eater in Final Night. It's not a villain so much as a force of nature.
- Phoenix from X-Men, especially once they decided it was not a separate entity from Jean Grey.
- Vulcan aka Gabriel Summers, the Big Bad of Deadly Genesis and War of Kings. He's an Omega-level energy manipulator, which basically means he's a Physical God. In one story, he was powerful enough to destroy seven galaxies.
- One-shot villains in Doctor Strange stories tend to be beings so absurdly powerful that Strange can't even fight them, let alone defeat them. The best he can do is bluff them into leaving this world alone, convince them Earth isn't worth the bother, strike some sort of bargain, or distract them somehow. Try not to think about how frighteningly impermanent that solution is, nor what would happen if two or three of them decided to try again...
Films — Animated
- Unicron from Transformers: The Movie. He appears without any explanation, shakes up the status quo with a great deal of damage and destruction, and is finally polite enough to go boom at the end of the movie. One of the film's highlights comes when he asserts his authority over an already-dying Megatron:
Megatron: Nobody summons Megatron...Unicron: Then it pleases me to be the first.
- However, his floating head was apparently still alive as a new moon for Cybertron, and it tried to get Starscream's ghost to resurrect its body.
- Jafar in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar as an evil genie. After Genie explains that the only way to get rid of a genie for good is to destroy their lamp, Aladdin decides that they have to destroy Jafar once and for all. Jasmine even mentions beforehand that "He's so powerful!".
- Kai in Kung Fu Panda 3, who becomes so absurdly powerful by the end of the movie that Po not only kills him, but renders him Deader Than Dead to ensure that he's not coming back.
- The Storm King in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), who enslaves Canterlot, steals the magic of all four princesses, and would have taken over the rest of the show if he wasn't killed.
Films — Live-Action
- Possibly the reason why most of the villains of the 1989 Batman film franchise like the Joker and Penguin were killed off; having them live might have undermined Batman's effectiveness in defeating them.
- In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Gandalf invokes this when asked to explain his support of the dwarven expedition. While Smaug is content to sleep on a mountain of gold, Gandalf is worried that Sauron may be returning, and an alliance between the two is too big a threat for him to ignore.
- Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand disintegrates an entire army before Wolverine kills her.
- The Future Sentinels from X-Men: Days of Future Past also qualify. Changing the past to prevent their creation was the only way to get rid of them.
- This happens sometimes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Both Guardians of the Galaxy films had villains ( a warlord with an infinity stone and a literal celestial God) that were too powerful to let live by the time they were killed.
- The second Avengers movie had the titular Ultron, who had to go because could make copies of himself and could realistically destroy the whole planet.
- And again with Hela, from Thor: Ragnarok, who was so powerful that even Thor and Loki together could barely deal any lasting damage.
- Professor Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes is a good example of this. It's implied that Holmes has been fighting him for years, but he and Holmes kill each other at the end of the story that introduces him. Were it not for the fan outcry that would have been the last Sherlock Holmes story. Moriarty is only referred to in two later stories.
- Sourcery: Coin the sourcerer goes through a Heel–Face Turn, and realizes he is literally too powerful to exist in the universe without breaking it. So he makes his own, and goes to live there. It's implied that this is the eventual fate of every sourcerer.
- The Chairman from Walker, Texas Ranger may qualify. He is the head villain - played by Michael Ironside, no less - for a full four-episode Story Arc, puts Walker and his loved ones through the ordeal of their lives, then dies.
- Species 8472 does this in Star Trek: Voyager, starting things off with a spectacular use of The Worf Effect on the Borg (see below) and forcing the Collective into an Enemy Mine with the heroes.
- The Borg in their original appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation, up to the end of "The Best of Both Worlds." After that, the inevitable Villain Decay got them.
- Plenty of examples appear over the course of Doctor Who's extremely long run; the list of virtually unstoppable Physical Gods the Doctor has defeated and then never mentioned again including Sutekh, Fenric and The Beast.
- Arthur Petrelli on Heroes. After gaining godlike powers, he's killed by Sylar, but not before convincing Nathan to go along with his plan
- Surprisingly averted by Sylar himself, despite his Villain Sue status as the most powerful living superhuman, as the writers have wisely avoided giving him any outright Game-Breaker powers like Matt's mind-control or Hiro's space-time manipulation. He mostly relies on telekinesis, regeneration, lightning blasts, and shapeshifting (with flight later thrown in) which makes him tough, but not quite a walking automatic I Win button. Indeed while he's proven to be a very skilled fighter many of his powers are geared more towards Super Dickery rather than straight up combat, in keeping with his Wild Card status.
- There is also a character in one episode who could produce black holes, and while he wasn't ridiculously overpowered, it's made clear that he could kill Sylar in an instant. Bennett tries to get him to do this, but he just sucks himself into a hole instead.
- Averted with Peter Petrelli. By the third season, Peter (who could mimic and retain powers just by being near others) was the most powerful cast member, with a bunch of Game-Breaker powers even Sylar didn't have. Then Arthur Petrelli showed up and took all those powers away, leaving Peter depowered for the remainder of Volume 3 and most of Volume 4. At the end of Volume 4, he took some of the Super Serum, and gained a much weaker version of his old ability - he could copy any one power through contact, but only one at a time.
- Babylon 5:
- In the one-off Made-for-TV Movie Thirdspace, the Thirdspace Aliens. Much of their shtick involved influencing the minds of anyone who spent too much time near their Artifact of Doom. Destroying it reversed the effects.
- And invoked in-universe by Sheridan during the season itself, concerning the war with the Shadows and the Vorlons; he knew even if they won (by picking a side, which is what both elder races wanted), it'd start up all over again a thousand years later unless they found a way to get rid of both Precursors permanently this time around.
- The Judge in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. An unkillable demon who could fry alive anyone with a trace of humanity in them? Yep, by the end of the episode he's been dismembered by rocket launcher.
- In the season 6 finale of Supernatural, Castiel rose a few power levels too many by absorbing all the souls in Purgatory. He quickly declares himself a god in his supermode, and blows up an Archangel with a finger snap. He loses his powers barely an episode later to be replaced by another set of less powerful baddies, and the Winchesters actually have to involve the cosmic Grim Reaper to offer any meaningful opposition to the villain.
- Kilgrave of Jessica Jones (2015). He starts out with a Story-Breaker Power, because even though he is only one man, an entire assembly of both Badass Normal and "Gifted" people have trouble stopping him and his Compelling Voice abilities. And this only gets worse by the end, where his powers are greatly upgraded and their range expanded. If Kilgrave had lived beyond the first season, even if he were Put on a Bus, it would cast a huge shadow of doubt across the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, as anyone could be a Kilgrave agent. While the greater franchise as a whole likely has characters immune or resistant to his powers (Thor and Hulk alone, for example, have immunity to viruses like the one that powers Kilgrave), there's still way too much room for doubt.
- Hades of Once Upon a Time is hands-down the series' most powerful villain, but didn't appear until season 5's latter half. He soon forges a weapon known as the Olympian Crystal, likely the strongest weapon in the series, bar none, meaning he'd be able to kill literally anyone and banish their soul. If Zelena hadn't used it on him and sent his soul to an unknown fate, he would have soon taken over Storybrooke, and likely the whole planet afterwards.
- Gabriel Ashlocke from Mutant X. He is the first New Mutant, a total psychopath with numerous powers from multiple categories. He is introduced as the new Big Bad at the end of the first season... then the second season starts with him attempting to prevent his own Superpower Meltdown. Five episodes in, he fails.
- A less lethal example: in Association Football, and especially the World Cup, a common method of dealing with any player considered "the world's best" is to kick the crap out of them and hope something breaks. The most infamous example was the treatment of Pelé during the 1962 and 1966 World Cups. In '62 he was injured in the group stages, but Brazil went on to defend their title anyway; in '66 the same thing happened, but this time Brazil crashed out in the group stages and Pelé was so upset about being constantly roughed up that he refused to play in a World Cup ever again (he later reversed his decision and won a record third title with Brazil in 1970).
- In 2014, Neymar was considered The Ace of the host Brazilian team, and one of the world's best players. In the quarter-final against Colombia, he endured several tough tackles before finally succumbing to injury and having to be stretchered off. Not only that, captain and defensive leader Thiago Silva picked up a ban for the semi-final, leaving David Luiz to lead the defensive line. Luiz has been critisized for lacking discipline in the defense. In the semi-final, without their star player as well as their captain, Brazil promptly suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in World Cup history.
- This is pretty much the reason those Primarchs who survived the Horus Heresy are all gone missing in Warhammer 40,000. The universe isn't quite so crapsacky if there are several fifteen-feet-tall Nigh Invulnerable gods of war running around destroying entire armies by themselves. Chaos has a similar issue: Of their surviving Primarchs, only one averts Orcus on His Throne, and he serves a god who rewards losing your own troops as much as killing the enemy's (and other Chaos troops are fair game), so Status Quo Is God remains firmly in place.
- The God-Emperor of Mankind, as his name indicates, is the most powerful human psyker in humanity's existence. Even reduced to a corpse, his spirit continues to act as a psychic lighthouse that allows FTL travel, bind psykers so that their heads don't always explode when they use their powers, and generally keep the human race from completely falling apart. When he was alive and well, humanity was the dominating force in the galaxy.
- The Statesman Task Force in City of Heroes is about his nemesis Lord Recluse doing this to himself. When you finally get to confront him, he uses a machine that taps into most of the superheroes in the world (except for your team, conveniently) and becomes way, way stronger than normal. The tricky part is surviving his assault while taking out the machines so he can be brought back down to normal and defeated.
- Lancer in Fate/stay night. Gae Bolg gives him a low-cost, instant-kill, guaranteed-hit ultimate attack, and also inflicts wounds that don't heal as long as his lance still exists. He's also extremely fast, extremely skilled, and Irish. You don't mess with the Irish, especially when they're wearing blue spandex. After he shows up, he's immediately put on a bus until 90% of the first two routes, and then Heaven's Feel drops a bridge on him. The two times he did get to use the attack, his targets pulled out hax of their own to just narrowly avoid a fatality anyway. He was under explicit orders to not fight any battles to the death, and it's generally held that, if he had his original master, they would have easily won the war.
- There are many examples in Fate, but rather than use Too Powerful to Live, the author prefers "Too Powerful To Ever Use Their Full Potential (Until It's Too Late)." Word of God states that Gilgamesh is easily the strongest Servant, but he never pulls out his full strength until it's too late. If he fought seriously from the start, even Lancer and Bazett would have been helpless before him.
- In the spinoff Light Novel Fate/Apocrypha there's Saber of Black, Siegfried. He's got ridiculous defense with only one weak point, a leaf-shaped mark on his back. On top of that, he's got amazing strength, speed, swordsmanship, and a powerful Sword Beam. He willingly sacrifices himself not even a fourth of the way through the story, and if he hadn't he would have likely defeat all the other Servants not named Vlad III, Achilles, or Karna in a straight fight.
- A heroic example occurs with Metroplex in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. Being a robot that transforms into a city, it's natural that incredibly few things could ever hope to bring him down in a straight fight. However, his very presence strains both sides, as the Autobots are forced to use a lot of energon to keep him running. He eventually gives his own energy up to help fuel the Ark so that the Autobots could fly off-planet and hopefully lure Megatron with them to give Cybertron time to recover.
- Azrael (aka The Genocider, The Mad Dog, and The King of Atrocity) from BlazBlue Chronophantasma is easily one of the strongest members of the cast, if not the single strongest. By his own admission, he's barely using an eighth of his true power; even then, he easily either decimates strong characters like Valkenhayn or forces incredibly powerful characters like Hakumen to flee. Were it not for the fact he doesn't even care about the main villains, just wanting a good fight, and Kokonoe trapping him into the space between dimensions, there wouldn't be much of a plot to salvage after he's had his "fill". And it's revealed in BlazBlue: Central Fiction that he broke out of said prison with his bare hands, and the only thing keeping him from going on an utter rampage is the possibility that he might finally get someone decent to fight.
- Metal Gear Solid 3's The Boss was feared by the CIA for having too much charisma and powerful connections across all superpowers, so they spent billions of dollars and concocted a scheme that killed thousands of America and Russia's elite just to assassinate The Boss and make it look like an international mess-up. The official story is that The Boss defected and had to be killed by the one person who could take The Boss down clean and efficiently: Snake. The real story is that she was supposed to recover Volgin's super-inheritance, a 100 billion dollar cache of untraceable, non-controllable funds that could easily resurrect the Philosophers from the grave, but Volgin went insane and nuked a science facility, which instantly pointed fingers at The Boss, who had just recently defected to Volgin, making her necessary to take out to clean the nuclear incident. The simple truth is that The Boss was planning on forcing the United States and Russia to form a permanent alliance and create one world order. The CIA and KGB freaked out and had The Boss executed in the most degrading, lasting punishment they could imagine.
- Tabuu from The Subspace Emissary. He wipes out the entire roster in one second before Sonic The Hedgehog destroys his wings to weaken him.
- If you happen to be a Resident Evil villain and contract Lovecraftian Superpowers by whatever virus or parasite you injected into yourself, your chances of death are guaranteed to rise drastically. The sole exception was Albert Wesker, a generic Mole ascended into Overarching Villain via staging his death, and survived multiple times throughout the franchise. The T-Virus he injected into himself acts as a Story-Breaker Power for him rather than infecting him. But eventually, his fame overshadowing everyone else, and his excessive use of the Uroboros virus, finally got him to be Killed Off for Real in Resident Evil 5. But it still doesn't stop Wesker and his offsprings from reappearing in Mercenaries mode throughout the franchise.
- The villain of Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon can mind control Pokémon, and bestow its unwilling minions with its own power to turn Pokémon into stone, making them enemies that none of the numerous Legendary Pokémon can stand up to, or even run away from. By the climax, Dark Matter gained enough power to turn everyone in the world sans the two protagonists into stone while at a hair's-length away from throwing the world into the sun only to be Killed Off for Real by the story's end, one of the few times this happens to the franchise's antagonists.
- In the Fake Crossover between Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa, the Crystal Gems decide that UG is too dangerous to exist with his Reality Warping powers and outright try to kill him.
- Murko fills this role on Birdman, invoking The Worf Effect on Pentagon security, F.E.A.R., and finally Falcon Seven before facing Birdman in battle. Suffice to say, he lives up to the hype, coming as close as the series ever got to Nightmare Fuel.
- The various The Virus plus Reality Warper combos from Codename: Kids Next Door, like Madam Margaret and Grandfather.
- Mumm-Ra in ThunderCats once discovered an Artifact of Doom that quadrupled his powers. He was laying the smackdown on the Thundercats with it, but when he needed to return to his pyramid to rest the Ancient Spirits Of Evil denied him entrance. They were jealous and fearful that with the orb, Mumm-Ra would forsake them, so they forced him to ditch it. And they still complain that he loses to Lion-O.
- Ben 10's Arch-Enemy Vilgax was the Big Bad of the show's first season, and an Implacable Man who could mop the floor with most of Ben's aliens, not to mention he had an entire fleet of droids and ships capable of destroying planets at his beck and call. To stop him from dominating the remaining three seasons, he was conveniently Sent To Another Dimension at the end of each of his subsequent appearances (usually 1 per season) so the characters won't have to worry about him. In the two sequels where he was brought back and allowed to stick around as a regular antagonist, Villain Decay was very fast to kick in.
- There is also the Giant Space Tick From Nowhere in the episode that introduced Cannonbolt. Within a few hours, it came close to causing The End of the World as We Know It, with nothing Ben had being unable to even scratch its exoskeleton. He crashes into it with Cannonbolt, status quo returns, and it is never heard from again. Oddly, it's never really addressed that this is the only time Ben has killed one of his enemies, though whether the Giant Space Tick was actually sentient is unclear.
- Diagon from Ben 10: Ultimate Alien was a Dimension Lord and Cthulhu Expy with Reality Warping powers who easily curb-stomped an evolved version of Ben's Game-Breaker alien Way Big, delivered a One-Hit Kill to an immortal character and whose sole presence turned most people on Earth into his minions. By the end of his season, he was killed by Vilgax betraying him and absorbing his power, which was then sealed inside a sword and presumably destroyed.
- Pariah Dark does this in the first Danny Phantom movie, "Reign Storm," stomping Vlad Plasmius and darn near conquering Earth before he is put back in his box. The same applies to Evil Counterpart Dark Danny.
- The Nameless One (no, not that one), Dungeons & Dragons- apparently The Man Behind the Man to Venger, but this does not stop him giving everyone's favorite one-horned force of evil a good working-over. Unusually, he does not die at the end after his episode of terror. Instead, he winds up leaving the characters (and the audience) in suspense over his probable return, and proceeds to never appear again.
- Gigabyte in ReBoot was only around for one episode. He was a fusion of Megabyte and Hexadecimal (or the original form if you count the Retcon). He had Megabyte's strength, would have had Hexadecimal's powers if she hadn't been drained of energy at the time of fusion, and could Absorb Energy, which gradually unlocked Hexadecimal's powers. The only way to stop him for good was to re-separate him back into Megabyte and Hexadecimal, which is why he never appeared again outside of flashbacks.
- Trigon the Terrible on Teen Titans invades earth and turns it into a literal hell before he's banished (and possibly killed) and his magic undone by his daughter, Raven. The series would have concluded with his defeat — but they got extended for another season.
- Tigerhawk of Beast Wars. His first appearance had him destroy the Predacon base and blow away the Preds themselves effortlessly. The next episode he was killed taking on a powerful warship buying time for the Maximals.
- Unicron's little brother, Tornedron in The Transformers cartoon is also a good example. He drains both Cybertron and the Earth of their energy, plows through a small army of powerful Decepticons and Autobots with little effort, and finally rebels against his creator before Grimlock randomly presses a button, ending the threat and the episode.
- Amazo in Justice League. His initial motivation is killed when he acquires telepathy from Martian Manhunter and realizes he's being manipulated by Lex Luthor. He realizes all this is beneath him and goes out into the universe in search of meaning. He returns in the Unlimited series showing himself to be even more this trope plowing through battalions of superheroes but leaves again searching for meaning. It turns out that there's only so much you can do with a character who's evolved to the point of omnipotence.
- Less thought is Dr. Destiny. He attacks people in their dreams, during which they can't wake, and the nightmares he puts them through will cause their heart-rate to accelerate until it works too hard gives out. He can do this from anywhere. So at the end of his first appearance, his fight with Batman leaves him catatonic, because if he's still around he do the same trick all over again from prison.
- My Little Pony: The franchise's history of using extremely evil villains while focusing on otherwise light-hearted settings means that, by necessity, these villains can't stick around very long.
- My Little Pony 'n Friends:
- Tirek is an extremely powerful demon who can corrupted transform people into monstrous servants with the Rainbow of Darkness, and sought to plunge the world in The Night That Never Ends; Lavan transformed into a powerful crystal form that unbalanced Pony Land. They are the only two villains of G1 to die in the end of their episodes, making My Little Pony one of the few TV cartoons in the 1980s to kill characters off.
- Grogar, a ram sorcerer who rules the dark city of Tambelon, sought to take over Pony Land after he returned from the Realm of Darkness where he and the city had been banished. He's extremely powerful, and managed to easily defeat and overwhelm the heroes who went against him, in addition to kidnapping the unicorns of Pony Land. At the end of his special, he's sealed back in the Realm of Darkness and banished from the world.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic usually has the main characters face a very powerful, very evil villain in the big climactic double episodes at the beginnings and endings of seasons. These are invariably defeated by weaponized friendship or love and eliminated at the end of the two-parter they appear in. If they come back, it tends to either be in a way that lowers or eliminates their threat, as brief flashbacks or cameos, or in roles that see them briefly return and be eliminated again by the end of the episode.
- Nightmare Moon sought to plunge the world in The Night That Never Ends and imprisoned Princess Celestia with ease; she was returned to her good persona.
- Discord is The Omnipotent and could only be defeated because he chose to break his enemies and hand them back the only thing that could defeat him assuming they could not use it; he's petrified at the end of his debut episode, and only return when his Heel–Face Turn removes his status as someone whom the main characters would have to constantly oppose.
- Queen Chrysalis, alongside her army, mounted a full invasion and takeover of Equestria's capital and temporarily gained more power than Celestia; she was banished by being literally hurled out of the country. After her return a few seasons later, she remains at large, but with her threat level severely diminished by the loss of her army and kingdom after their Heel–Face Turn.
- King Sombra was a powerful sorcerer who dominated the city-state of the Crystal Empire by himself and sought to take over the world; he was Killed Off for Real.
- Tirek's power depended on how much magic he could absorb from others, but is just so happened that he got the chance to absorb basically everyone's power, so that he could smack around Physical Gods; he was stripped of all that and sent back to imprisonment in Tartarus.
- The Pony of Shadows is a shadowy equine Animalistic Abomination whose powers are never fully explored but who plans on taking over the whole world. At the end of his episode, he's eventually convinced to abandon his dark powers and goes back to being a normal pony.
- My Little Pony 'n Friends:
- One episode of Mega Man has Vile and Spark Mandrill from Mega Man X join forces with Wily. Luckily X himself shows up to even the odds but they are still outnumbered. They and X himself are from the future and are immune to everything Mega Man can throw at them. Eventually X pushes Vile and Spark Mandrill back into the future, establishing status quo and hinting at a Mega Man X series in the works.
- Apocalypse in the 90's X-Men animated series. A fearsome adversary in the comics, he was even more formidable in this series. He, in one timeline killed the entire X-Men team in one shot - defeating him usually "just" meant foiling his plans and hoping he wasn't too pissed to repeat that incident. He appeared once per season, and at one point he got kicked off-planet swearing he'll return (he did), and even his body destroyed, but his last appearance had him return just before the series was cancelled.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) featured Snake Face among the Snake Men who served as the primary villains of the final season. Snake Face can turn people to stone by looking at them. The writers noted in the DVD commentary that there was no way to keep Snake Face without his threat overshadowing that of Big Bad King Hiss, so he was killed off in his second appearance.
- Makeshift from Transformers Prime. His power to transform into any Cybertronian was deemed too powerful, so they got rid of him in his debut episode. The writers openly admitted that introducing someone with Makeshift's powers so early was a mistake, and he would have limited the variety of stories that could be told if he'd survived.
- Much like his G1 counterpart, Unicron would have killed off the cast and ended the show by simply waking up if Optimus had not used the Matrix to kill/subdue him after just three episodes.
- As it turns out, only his physical body was defeated. His dark essence remained and possessed Megatron's corpse for the series finale. He comes within inches of destroying Cybertron before being defeated once again.
- Implied to be the reason Predaking is currently frozen somewhere in the Arctic. Then he broke free.
- Much like his G1 counterpart, Unicron would have killed off the cast and ended the show by simply waking up if Optimus had not used the Matrix to kill/subdue him after just three episodes.
- In Xiaolin Showdown, the one time Wuya is at full power she takes over reality within minutes. Every appearance after that has her brought down dramatically.
- Very few Darkwing Duck villains were ever killed off during the run of the show, but after Major Synapse pumped himself so full of psychic energy that he became a being of pure thought, there was no way left to defeat him except to pump even more energy into him and trick him into thinking about inane questions, causing him to quite literally explode from the mental strain.
- Shendu and his siblings, the Demon Sorcerers, from Jackie Chan Adventures. They were several orders of magnitude more powerful than most villains Jackie and his family usually face, so whenever they escape imprisonment, it never lasts more than two episodes before Uncle seals them again.