A fundamental part of telling a story is conflict: you want the hero to have their problems and, hopefully, overcome them in a satisfactory manner. In many cases that conflict is entirely external; the Big Bad is plotting to Take Over the World and The Hero is out to stop them. But there is also that conflict which is emotional; it exists in their mind and usually forms a mental block that they cannot break through.
A "World of Cardboard" speech is where the hero acknowledges that this mental block has been limiting them. And because of a recent personal revelation about themselves and/or their situation, they have found a way to excel past their previous limits. This trope is heavily dependent on the context of the story and the life of the character. Despite the room for variation, each speech has to follow the same pattern to be a world of cardboard speech: the hero is having trouble from an emotional/psychological viewpoint, the hero has a powerful revelation, and then they give the speech.
In effect, this is a Eureka Moment that leads to a Heroic Resolve. The speech itself can vary depending on the revelation, but the crux of this trope revolves around the epiphany. Universal to all of these speeches is that realization and being subsequently empowered because of it.
Because of how dependent it is on the individual character and story, the speech can overlap with any number of tropes, due to the context, and can come in many different variations:
The hero says I Am What I Am, realizing that he or she doesn't have to be ashamed.
A mild contemplation at the end of the story, possibly even after the Big Bad has been defeated, and the hero explains the revelation long after the fact.
Shiki: You don't understand death at all. That's why you can't kill me, and why you're only able to kill a weakened woman. If you could see death, you couldn't maintain your sanity. All you can perceive is the part which keeps things alive. If you could see death, you wouldn't be able to even stand.... It's like the world on the moon, a desolate wasteland. Being able to see the "death" of things means you are forced to see the world's uncertainty and fragility. The ground is like it's not there, and the sky seems about to fall at any moment. You don't know of the illusion that the whole world could perish in an instant. That is what it means to see death. These eyes, this power isn't something you can boast about like you did. Do you see your mistake, now, vampire? Life and death may be back to back, but they will never face each other. I'll show you. This is what it means to kill something.
For context, Roa has previously believed Shiki and he share the power to see death. He even goes as far as to thank Shiki for teaching him how to use it. Turns out, what Roa sees are actually the lifelines of living things. Shiki, on the other hand, can see the point of end for all things, including inanimate objects and even the universe itself. The speech is him really drilling in the difference.
In the finale of Mobile Fighter G Gundam, the hero, Domon, does one of these combined with a love confession in one of the most heartwarming moments in the series, and often considered the most genuine love story in the Gundam franchise.
Chrono of Chrono Crusade gets a speech like this near the end of the manga. After Rosette's death, Aion takes the chance to mock Chrono, telling him that he doesn't belong among humans and calling him "my bird that can't fly". He then gives Chrono one last chance to come back to his side, offering to give him another contractor to replace Rosette. This is Chrono's response:
Chrono: Aion... you're always looking down from above, aren't you? That's why you don't understand. These people have names. Faces. A warmth that's all their own. They don't need wings. Why don't you try putting your feet on the ground and walking for once?... Once people are gone, they're gone. They can't be replaced. How dare you write off Rosette like that? What gives you the right?! I'm on my way, Aion. And I'm going to settle this once and for all!
In another work of Daisuke Moriyama, World Embryo, Riku, after realized he's being manipulated by Adult!Nenee finally giving this as proof of his defiance. Being Seinen, it was much more unrestrained than above example, although the vibes are the same.
"SHUT THE HELL UP YOU FUCKING BITCH!!! WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT?! WHAT'S WRONG WITH PEOPLE ENTRUSTING THEIR HOPES!? SHUT UP AMANE-NEE!! I'VE BEEN LISTENING TO YOU TALK ALL HIGH AND MIGHTY!! ACTING LIKE YOU'RE SOME SORT OF LOFTY FINAL BOSS!! THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH BY FOOLING EVERYONE!? WHAT A LOAD OF BULLSHIT!! ESSENTIALLY, WE'RE IN THIS MESS BECAUSE WE'RE BEING MANIPULATED BY THAT THING, RIGHT!? THEN DESTROYING IT WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING, WON'T IT!? I WILL DO IT MYSELF!! I'LL WRECK UP THIS WHOLE FUCKED UP DEVELOPMENT!! I'M GOING TO DESTROY IT ALL!!! AND I'M GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD!!!!"
Sakura of Penguin Musume Heart gives one to Marie, talking about her strength from the Power of Friendship. The weird thing was, that at this point, Sakura was gigantic and Marie wasn't. There was no real point to start a battle of wills that ultimately evened the scales after Marie gave her own World of Cardboard Speech where she said she didn't need her friends.
And ironically, it was Marie saying she didn't need her friends that provoked them to give her their love and even the scales.
In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke tends to have a series of related revelations with a variety of Big Bad's. In the climax of the Four Saint Beasts arc, Yusuke recalled his training with Genkai, where she berated him for taking the easy route and never sticking with a goal. In the Dark Tournament arc, after Toguro seemingly kills Kuwabara ,Yusuke realized that he never gave something his full effort until the absolute last moment, and his friends would pay the price for that fault. While he had been unable to overpower Toguro's 100% form, he proved to be Toguro's superior with one last confrontation.
In the Three Kings arc, during his fight with Yomi, Yusuke wondered if he was ever going to completely learn the lesson he had from the previous arcs. His final revelation was that he needed to see something through to the end for himself, as well as be concerned for his own future. In the end, he lost just barely to Yomi. The big thing for Yusuke was the fact he really gave his all in the effort, just as his friends had in earlier bouts. He could look forward knowing he could put an honest effort into it.
Naruto initially has difficulty fighting Gaara because he is afraid of how strong he is and he doubts whether someone who, despite being alone for much of his life, found people who could acknowledge him, can defeat someone who was always alone. When Sasuke tells Naruto to take Sakura to safety, saying that he does not want to lose everyone precious to him again, Naruto realizes that the only true strength comes from protecting others, and gains the resolve needed to fight Gaara.
Naruto: It's almost unbearable, isn't it? The feeling of being all alone. I know that feeling; I've been there in that dark and lonely place, but now there are others... other people who mean a lot to me. I care more about them than I do myself, and I won't let anyone hurt them. That's why I won't ever give up. I will stop you even if I have to kill you! Gaara: But why... why would you do this for anyone but yourself? Naruto: Because they saved me from myself. They rescued me from my loneliness; they were the first to accept me for who I am. They're my friends.
When Tayuya insults Shikamaru's decision to let his friends stay behind and fight the rest of the Sound Four, saying that he's essentially sacrificing them, Shikamaru notes that while he should have abandoned the mission when things got dangerous, he didn't.
Shikamaru: It's kinda funny. The world doesn't seem to play very often by the book, does it? Besides, there isn't a single person in my platoon... who would ever stop fighting and abandon a friend who'd been captured by the enemy. Not even if it meant sacrificing all of their lives. That goes for me, too. Frankly, I'm a lazy, cloud-watching oaf who's not really cut out to be a leader or bark out orders at anyone, but there is one thing I do pretty darn well for my teammates and that's believing in them. Listen, I don't look at what I've done as sacrificing my men. In fact, I don't believe that any of them are dead. Don't insult my friends, or you'll pay.
Black Lagoon: Rock, when trying to explain his motivations to Revy:
Rock: Back in my country, you called yourself a gun. If you're a gun, then I'm the bullet. A bullet's just a lump of lead. But once the hammer hits it, it gains the power to blow anything away; the gunpowder was always waiting to explode. [...] I'm a silver bullet that can strike anywhere, kill any monster. But use it wrong and you just end up the monster's prey. So, it's up to you to decide when to pull the trigger.
Oddly enough, one of the most touching World of Cardboard Speeches came from an antagonist in One Piece. Hannyabal, The Starscream of the Impel Down Arc, explained that he couldn't let Impel Down fall because it would cause fear and chaos that would harm the weak ordinary citizens of the World Government.
In Episode 23 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, after Subaru's device reminds her of the reason why she fights, Subaru recalls that while she is scared of hurting others, her power is not meant for destruction, but to protect others, and she manages to defeat Ginga soon afterward. In Episode 26, Vice confesses that he's not an ace or an expert, and that ever since he accidentally shot his little sister in the eye, he's felt quite pathetic. He then notes that he's at least good enough to help open a path for Subaru and Teana to enter the cradle to rescue Nanoha, Hayate, and Vivio, and proceeds to shoot down several gadgets with perfect accuracy.
Bleach. Ichigo tells Uryu about losing his mother, and after seeing his father and sisters suffer as a result, not wanting anyone else to feel the same. He states that he can't save everyone, but wants to protect as many people as he can, which makes Uryu reflect on his grandfather's teachings and accept his offer to fight the hollows together.
Neon Genesis Evangelion ended this way. In both the final episode of the series and in the movie. Of course, due to all of the Mind Screw it took to get to that epiphany, neither were very well liked.
Shinji spends much of Rebuild 2.0 trying to find a reason to fight. The world is too big and his father too distant, but when he finally finds a reason to fight and gives up his fears of failure and death, he surpasses all limits.
Shinji: I don't care what happens to me. I don't even care what happens to the world. But I'm bringing Rei back. I promise I'll save you Rei, even if it's the last thing I do!
Edward: Even after I became a soldier, war still seemed like something that happened in a far off land, where I couldn't see it... or someone else fought and died. It didn't seem real... I thought war had nothing to do with me... But now that... I learned there's someone who's willing to start war, who's going to start war, just for the Stone... I know that as long as there are people who seek the Stone's forbidden power, that bloodshed will keep happening... And I know the desire for that power, lurks somewhere in all of us... The Homunculi may throw fuel on the fire of war... But didn't the desire to bring back people we love, create them?... And if they're nothing more than products of our hearts and minds, no matter how pure our intentions... Then there will never be.. a war, that isn't at least in some part, caused by all of us... ever.
And in the final scene (doubling as Book Ends, as nearly every episode began with first the four sentences of this speech):
Alphonse: Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one and only truth. But the world isn't perfect, and the law is incomplete. Equivalent Exchange doesn't encompass everything that goes on here, but I still choose to believe in its principle, that all things do come at a price, that there's an ebb, and a flow. A cycle, that the pain we went through did have a reward, and that anyone who's determined and perseveres, will get something of value, even if it's not what they expected. I don't think of Equivalent Exchange as a law of the world anymore anymore. I think of it as a promise, between my brother and me. A promise that some day, we'll see each other again.
In part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Jotaro is on the losing end of his battle against Kakyoin, but keeps getting back up in spite of being heavily wounded. He then gives a speech about his motivations to fight, and the difference between him and his opponent. This promptly turns the fight around, leaving Kakyoin almost dead in the end.
Kakyoin: And so still you rise... like a punching bag in front of a boxer! You like being beaten... is that it? Jotaro: ...No one ever said Jotaro Kujo was a nice guy. I beat the crap out of people more than I have to. Some are still in the hospital. There's plenty of teachers who got on my bad side and never came back to class. And hey, I make it a policy not to pay the check if I didn't like the meal. But even a guy like me can spot evil when he sees it! Evil means to use the weak for your own gain and then stomp on them when it's over! And that's what you've done! To a woman and a doctor, even! And your Stand gets to hide from the victim... the law... the consequences! But NOT... while I'm here!
Spike Spiegel of Cowboy Bebop gives one of these to Jet before he leaves for his final confrontation with Vicious. After spending the entire series running from his past, he's finally going to face it.
Spike:There once was a tiger-striped cat. This cat died a million deaths, was revived, and lived a million lives, and he was owned by various people who he really didn't care for. The cat wasn't afraid to die. Then one day the cat became a stray cat which meant he was free. He met a white female cat and the two of them spent their days together happily. Well, years passed and the white cat grew weak and died of old age. The tiger-striped cat cried a million times, and then he died too. Except this time, he didn't come back to life. —
Faye:"Is that it? You're just going to throw your life away?" Spike:"I'm not going there to die. I'm going there to see if I was ever really alive."
Detective Ikari does this in the last episode of Paranoia Agent. As one of the characters who has gotten some of the worst of it: he lost his job, his wife died, and he was too old to learn any new skills. His "World of Cardboard" Speech comes when he destroys the 2-D fantasy world with a baseball bat claiming that the real world has no place for an old man like him, but that he would rather face that harsh reality than live in a fantasy world. It is truly epic to watch.
In the first few Haruhi Suzumiya books and pretty much the entire anime, Kyon is just trying to get by, to do what he needs to do deal with Haruhi and little more, relying on Nagato to handle any really serious issues. Then the whole world changes, so that he could go back to a normal life. In the end he decides (In a World of Cardboard Monologue) that he much prefers the old world, and is willing to go back and enjoy it head on, and no longer rely on Yuki so much, whom had caused the events of the story as part of a nervous breakdown.The Movie version of this is epic.
In the finale of Digimon Adventure, the Digidestined and their Digimon have been digitized by Apocalymon, their Digimon were reverted to their base forms, and their crests are destroyed. They realize that their crests were powered by their own spirits and thus didn't need the physical items, and they return to face Apocalymon with a "World of Cardboard" Speech and proceed to battle him.
During the hunt for their crests, which allow their digimon to evolve into more powerful forms, they found that each crest represented something special and unique about them and it would only work when they were exibiting those attributes. Tai's crest was Courage, but he tried to force Agumon to evolve by putting himself in harm's way, which caused a warped evolution into SkullGreymon, a violent berserker. A very traumatizing mistake, but Tai learned that courage wasn't rushing into a battle, but standing up against evil, allowing Agumon to evolve into his proper form, MetalGreymon. Each digidestined had to go through something similar (although not with warped evolutions) through the remainder of the season.
The original gives Agumon one about the strength of his bond with his friends in the 50th episode, at the climax of his fight with Mugendramon. The dub, being the dub, turns it into him reminding Machinedramon of exactly what it is his claws do to Digimon of his type.
Occurs in Soul Taker when the protagonist, suffering from repressed guilt about Maya's death, allows the Soul Anubis to pummel him... until he comes to a realization.
Kyousuke: I wanted to feel the pain Maya suffered, even just for a moment. I felt that I should know that pain. But right now, no matter how many times I'm hit, I'm not able to feel the pain. So now, I'm ending it.
In Beyblade Kai gives a awesome one before defeating Brooklyn.
Kai:Kai. That's my name. And I'm a Beyblader. And you might think you are, but you're not. You learned from the best but you forgot a very important lesson. Beyblading isn't just about overpowering your opponent with fancy moves. That's only part of the game. There's more to it than that. Much more. That's why I have something you don't. I have learned from every battle I fought. Every friend, enemy, and spectator always had something to offer me. And I'm a student to this game. And I always will be. With the hardships of training, competitions, the wins and the losses, they all taught me something. And I've taken that knowledge and used it to my advantage. That's why I can say, that I'm a true beyblader. That's what keeps me going. And that's my strength. I don't think you ever will (understand). Because you're not a true beyblader. You have the power and the skill, but something is missing from inside you. You don't have the beyblading spirit! That's why I have to win this battle! Because beyblading means more to me than you could ever understand! IT'S NOT JUST A GAME TO ME! FINISH HIM NOW DRANZER!"
"My bro is dead. He's gone! But he's right there on my back, and here in my heart! He lives on as a part of me! If you're gonna dig, dig to the heavens. No matter what's in my way, I won't stop! Once I've dug through — it means that I've won! Just who the hell do you think I am? I'm Simon. I'm not my Bro! I'M ME!! Simon the Digger!"
Tsukasa from .hack//SIGN has a revelation about not needing to fear reality anymore, a la this trope, which enables his escape from "The World." In the process, he gives this speech.
Kotetsu: And you know what? I realized you don't get to set your own limits. Even after I lose my powers and get mocked by everyone or look ridiculous, I'm not going to let that stop me. I'm going to stay a hero to the very end. I'm not going to give up. Besides, it doesn't hurt to have a hero who's uncool, right?
The Final Trials in HeartCatch Pretty Cure! were pretty much this: the four Cures are set against their Mirage selves, embodying their own hang-ups (Tsubomi's insecurity, Erika's jealousy towards her sister, Itsuki's denial of being herself and Yuri's regrets and failures). As each Cure fights, they come to realize that that's what makes them who they are and they'll use it to become stronger. It takes Tsubomi the longest since she isn't sure if she can confront that part of herself, but she does. It helps unlock their Super Mode in the end, so that's a plus.
In Dragon Ball Z, during the final battle with Kid Buu, Vegeta has a long internal monologue in which he comes to terms with Goku being better than him. After spending most of the series resenting Goku for this and trying to surpass him by any means, Vegeta finally lets go of his grudge.
In the manga version of Bokurano, Takami "Komo" Komoda, who was lonely and detached from the world for much of her childhood, plays the piano as part of a plan to lure out the enemy pilot, who has fled from his robot. She gives an internal monologue about everything she has noticed about the world, and how she considers it beautiful and something that could only come about as a result of a miracle.
Komo: "Thank you everyone. If only I had noticed what exactly surrounds me sooner. But it's okay, now that I have noticed. Noticed the world."
Rolo of Code Geass overcomes his training as a tool due to his feelings of brotherly love for Lelouch, enabling him to utilize his Geass so effectively he wipes out entire squadrons of Knightmares. Even as the strain is killing him, he's happily explaining how Lelouch has finally made it possible for him to feel like a human.
Dream from The Sandman delivers one towards the end of The Kindly Ones, but it's an inversion: Dream does realize and vocalize his Fatal Flaw, but he's unable to do anything about it. It doesn't lead to Character Development, nor does it lead to Asskickery (even though, or perhaps especially because itcould), and he knows it. Shortly after delivering the speech, Dream is dead because he can't break free of his own responsibility.
Dream: Rules and responsibilities: these are the ties that bind us. We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. I will do what I have to do. And I will do what I must.
A more straightforward example would be in "Season of Mists", when he battles Azazel for the lives of Nada and Choronzon. Azazel reneges on his bargain to release them if he loses, only for Dream to explain that while they are in his realm, reality conforms to his wishes. He was honor-bound to treat Azazel (and his prisoners) as a guest when he entered the Dreaming, but after Azazel renounced Dream's hospitality, he had no such protection. As soon as Azazel reveals his intentions, he finds himself in a bottle in Dream's hands without his powers or prisoners.
"Wait! This is an American Coin! A Dime! That sharpie tricked me! And after that tough job too! This should be a lesson! Life is full of tough jobs and there'll always be sharpies to cheat me! Well, I'll be tougher than the toughies and sharper than the sharpies... and I'll make my money square! I have the feeling this is the start of something big!"
In Marvel'sIncredible Hercules, Ares spends a good few pages beating the tar out of Hercules, pointing out how he's a mess and doesn't deserve people's respect. Herc agrees. Yeah, he is a mess, but that's why people like him more than Ares (that and Ares is a total dick), because he is more like a person than a god. When Ares calls them all idiots, Herc finally decides to punch his big bro into a bunch of incoming missiles.
Superman: I wouldn't have it any other way. Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor, and justice becomes the reality we all share - I'll never stop fighting. Ever.
Superman could be considered the king of this trope easily. His speeches at the end of the White Martian Invasion arc and the arc wherein Preus is introduced are damn near Tear Jerkers due to awesomeness alone.
Superman: Ma. Pa. You were wrong. I will always love you... but you were wrong. It took my own daughter, my most despised rival, to teach me: I am no man. I will not be ruled by the laws of men. I am Superman.
Little over halfway through Transmetropolitan, Spider learns that he's suffering from some sort of brain disease which will leave him unable to even write in less than a year. Upon hearing this, he simply jumps back to work, and when asked why, he responds:
So we've got a deadline. We can do deadlines.
The Flash had one of these during the classic "Return of Barry Allen" storyline. Up until then, the current Flash, Wally West, had been unable to run past the speed of sound. He assumed it was just a natural limitation of his powers, even though he had run faster in the past, and other super-speedsters easily ran much faster than him. But when faced with an impostor who had impersonated his late mentor Barry Allen and ruined his good name, Flash broke the sound barrier in order to take the villain down. As it turned out, his speed limit had been subconscious; he was so scared of surpassing Barry (and thus replacing him) that he had throttled his own speed. After realizing this, Wally never had problems with speed limitations again.
Supergirl: I am messed up. I make mistakes all the time. I feel stupid and ugly and insecure, just like everybody else. But when I blow it, I don't shrivel up and die. I get myself up. I try to do better. I always try again. And no half-baked barbie doll is going to tell me different.
Syndablokk from Empowered gets one when he explains that his power causes nothing but collateral damage (he has elemental command of masonry and stonework). Being one of the (very) few decent heroes in this 'verse, he's extremely reluctant to use his ability unless the villain's already wrecked everything around him.
Empowered herself gives an epic one to dWARF/Fleshmaster after he tried to kill her friends and the Superhomies during the Caped Justice Awards, all while handing him his ass in a no-holds-barred beatdown, showing just what she can do when properly motivated, and just how powerful she really is.
Emp: Yes, our peers are assholes! No, they don't deserve to die because they didn't kiss your ass enough! I've taken a hundred times as much *** as you ever did, crybaby! But you don't see me murdering people 'cause they didn't make me "Queen of Capes"! 'Cause unlike you, I'm not an unhinged little attention whore! I don't do this stupid job because I want to be liked or accepted or whatever— though that would be ***ing NICE! I do this stupid job because I'm ***ing driven to do it! Unlike you, ***, I do this stupid, STUPID job because— Because. This. Is. What. I. AM! (cue dWARF/Fleshmaster getting Punched Across the Room and down for the count.)
Sentry: Yes. God help me, I do. Because you're the only one I can hit... LIKE THIS!!!
An older example. Spider-Man, who was trying to take a break, gets annoyed when Ox of the Enforcers picked up the car he was in and tried to shake him out of it. Spider-Man explained how he usually pulls his punches to not kill people, but just realized Ox could probably take it before he punched him out.
In [New Mutants New X-Men] —- Surge facing Nimrod a mechanical juggernaut said this speech to rally the troops: Surge: "No. This has to end. We have to end it. Forty-seven of us are dead. Jay is dead. Max is dead. Laurie is dead. Brian is dead. John went insane, and who knows where Kevin is. The X-Men can't save us. The O* N* E and their Sentinels are a sick joke. They'll probably be coming after us next. And the Avengers don't care. It's up to us. The X-Men are half a world away. We can't wait for them. Forge could still be alive, and if he's not, then Nimrod is coming for us next. This thing was involved with Stryker. It helped him kill our friends. So we'll save Forge. And we'll take this thing down." And they did it.
Mikuru (big): So... in a roundabout way, you and I, together, even though I still stumble a little bit, are forging towards a brighter future. One that isn't predetermined to you, that doesn't damage the future I come from. If you understand what I said earlier... you have the power to change me. Not my past self, so directly... but your influence ends up helping me become the person I am. I could tell you everything, try to make it predetermined... I could say things were better or worse then they truly will be, and try to trick you into changing things for me. Once, I did - sort of - tell you about the goals of the people I work for. Instead, though, this time I'll do what Yuki-chan did. I'll tell you nothing, even if you would believe me. But I'm not trying to keep you in the dark because I want to manipulate you... I'm telling you as little as possible because I believe in you. I have absolute confidence that if I don't limit you, you will achieve something wonderful. And maybe, just in small, selfish bits... I might lead you towards something that I think we both would like...
Nanoha Takamachi: "The day before yesterday was the first time I killed. Six of them were valued employees, men and women with loving families and excellent career prospects who I had nothing but the utmost personal and professional respect for. The last two were my own adoptive children. Erio and Caro came from backgrounds that would have broken any lesser individual, and they came out happy, caring, and the finest recruits I have ever had the privilege of training. They battled against monsters and criminals, protected the innocent, and saved the life of the woman I love most in the world. Your animals, your killing machines? They do not deserve it." [...] "Here is what I am going to do, assassin. I am going to make sure the Hellhounds get the help they need, that they are given the chance to become productive members of society. I am going to stand against your gods' forces, no matter what strange powers or arcane technologies they might wield, and I am going to cleanse their masters' taint from their hearts, their minds, and their souls. Then, once all else is done, once the war is over and the universe is at peace once more, I shall go to your gods and I shall forgive them, for they have strayed far from their path and know not what they do. I shall forgive them, and I shall grant them what healing and redemption I can muster. People die in war. I can accept that. I am only one amongst billions. I can accept that. But even if this is impossible, even if I fail, this is the path I shall strive to walk. This is the will of Nanoha Takamachi. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?"
Faren Brosca sort of gives one in Dragon Age The Crown Of Thorns whilecurbstomping the most powerful form of the demon that trapped them in the fade. Then again, it's not so much him letting loose as saying he's actually not under the influence of any empowering emotion or whatnot.
"You know, I could say I'm doing this because I don't plan on letting those important to me die. I could say it's because I'm in a hurry to get out of this Fade thing and find out what happened to Kallian. I could say it's because I had a sort of revelation that ever so epically opened my eyes to a sort of higher calling. And I could also start a long, pointless monologue about true strength and a heap of other stuff, during which, truth be told, I may not even know what I'd be talking about half the time. I could babble for hours about nonsense, but the truth is that, right now, I am simply kicking your ass because I just don't like you."
Ben: "It does seem like I've been gotten pretty full of myself hasn't it?" he finally said. "It's funny, but hearing you talk about how everything in the universe hinges on the balance between Light and Darkness, Chaos and Order, it made me realize something. I've..." He paused before sighing as he started again.
"I've been way too inwardly focused, ever since I woke up in that morgue. At first, all I cared about was getting my memories back… With every clue to my past I chomped at the bit rushing from one lead to another… Everyone I met, friends, foes, they seemed so small...so unimportant. The Dread Emperor, Willy, Kesto, even poor Ravel. I started treating everyone I fought as beneath me, thinking it would all be worth it once I regained my memories, and discovered my true self."
"It seems that whoever I was before I met Ravel the first time… He was an arrogant son of a bitch… Maybe that's how I got into this whole mess…
"But now…" His right hand clenched into a fist.
"Now I know that getting my memories back, that finding my true self… it all doesn't mean shit if I only end up looking back with shame at what I was willing to become to get there! I'm not the only one with a stake in this fight… The people who took me in and treated me like family are risking their lives for something bigger then who's right or wrong, or who's more powerful. We're fighting to protect all of creation… Every human, every Shadow... Every resident of Heaven, Hell, and every realm in-between… If Tharizdun returns nobody will be spared, so I can't keep on acting like some petty little child and act like I'm above it all!" He drew the top card off his deck.
"So I'll use the strength all of my opponents have given me, good or evil, strong or weak, and the lessons taught to me by everyone who's helped me when I needed them the most, and I'll take down you, Tiberius, and everyone else involved in this mad plan!"
In Time Braid: (after Sakura has finally tapped into her full potential)
Hidan: "You'll run out of chakra soon, but Jashin won't. He's a god, but you're just a fancy medic-nin."
Sakura: My injury healed as instantly as his, and I chuckled. "You know, I've been telling myself that for years. But as long as my Heaven Seal is active I can't fool myself. I see too much, and I can't miss the implications. I'm not just a medic-nin, Hidan. I'm the last native kami of this demon-haunted world, and my domains are insight and mystery. Not to mention that I just took about six levels of badass. Don't make me fight you, or you'll lose."
Captain Equestria: Call me nopony then. Because I never give up. No matter what. Even if I know I'll just screw up again, I keep trying. Because every once in a while, I get a day like today. A day when I win.
Then, when the Red Skull is giving Iron Pony a Breaking Speech about destiny and greatness:
Iron Pony: Stop. That's not greatness. That's just vanity. I got the two mixed up before. But let me tell you something. I never did anything. All I ever did was sit around lazily, devour food, complain, and treat everypony like dirt. That was my destiny. To be a burden until the day I died, and then forgotten by everypony save those who hated me. And had I clung to that stupid, selfish destiny, I'd be dead now. Pierced through the heart by a piece of masonry, my entire life bereft of meaning. [...] But I cast aside that destiny. I cast aside my idiotic 'superiority'. I got down on my knees and begged a pony I had once thought beneath me, not even worthy of my notice, to help me. And now? I'm here. [...] So I've decided. If destiny means being a selfish bully, blind to the needs of those around me... I want no part of it!
And finally, after Big Macintosh has regained Thor's power, and Loki is refusing to accept that Thor isn't his Worthy Opponent brother, but rather a "mere" earth pony tapping into his powers and memories:
"Ah used t'think like that too. Ah thought me'n Thor were separate. Like he was some alien force that got himself stuck in mah noggin. But it don't work that way, Loki. Ah am Thor. Thor and Big Mac, we're the same pony, now. That thought would'a scared me once. Ah was afraid'a losin' mahself. But now Ah know Ah won't. Cause Thor's just me, not another pony tryin' t'take over. And if Ah ever ferget it... well, that's what mah friends are for."
The Immortal Game: When Celestia regains her power after weeks of being depowered and tortured, she delivers a speech in a similar vein as the Trope Namer:
"Centuries of boiling water for tea when I knew that I could boil the seas. Of lifting quills when I could lift mountains. Of breaking wax seals when I could break anything I please. My power is too much for this world. But it isn't too much for you, is it, Terra? Now I get to find out what I'm really capable of. No lives to save, no plans to make, nothing to hold me back. I am divinity unleashed."
In Reconciliation, Hanako, having received an angry "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Lilly, who is grieving over the loss of her husband Hisao and rejecting Hanako's attempts to console her, talks about her past, including the loss of her parents, her isolation, becoming friends with Lilly and Hisao, being upset by being pitied, and finally lashing out at them. Hanako says the loss of her friendship with Hisao and Lilly was worst of all because she knew it was her fault, and as such, asks Lilly to accept the support of those closest to her.
In chapter 20 of Ace Combat The Equestrian War, Rainbow Dash delivers a speech to Gilda during their second confrontation after the war has already ended.
Rainbow Dash: I hate to break it to you, G, but you’ve lost this battle the moment you attacked Firefly. No... actually, even back when you hurt Medley. But I’ve got to thank you for one thing. For challenging me! Thanks to you, I still have one more reason to fight and live! We may not be so different after all, but I can clearly see who is who. And you’re not yourself! But since there is nopony else in the sky besides us, now you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see just how fast I really am!
In Reharmonized Ponies Twilight has one after Fluttercruel makes her realize Fluttershy's motivation for becoming Princess Gaia/Nightmare Whisper, breaking her out of her mental block that'd plagued her the entire battle.
Twilight Sparkle:You... you're doing this… not because you want to force yourself on others, you're not really doing this because you're scared of truth. You're doing this, you want to make the world fair, BECAUSE YOU'RE OUR FRIEND! And we're doing this BECAUSE WE'RE YOUR FRIENDS! We can't escape it! OUR FRIENDS CHANGE WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT! I HATE IT! Discord showed me what I didn't want to see! That we could all grow into ponies different from the ones we made friends with! Ponies that may well drift away from each other! . . . THAT'S THE PRICE OF HAVING FRIENDS AND- It's-worth-it! It will ALWAYS be worth it! Because if that pony was ever really your friend, then before or after doesn't matter, friendship is now! It doesn't have a future or past! No matter how distant, a friend is a friend! And my heart is more free BECAUSE I accept that!
This also activates the Element of Magic without the crown she normally needs. The others follow suit, activiating their own Elements with their own World Of Cardboard Speechs and finishing with Fluttercruel earning her Cutie Mark and realizing what it, and Fluttershy's, really mean, giving a speech of her own and summoning the Element Of Kindness.
In the Epilogue/Dark World timeline, Twilight and the rest of the the Element bearers have spent the last thousand years as Discord's brainwashed enforcers, stuck between being his playthings and carrying out his will. When Twilight suffers a Villainous BSOD following a meeting with Apple Pie (whose ability to find joy even in this world completely baffles her), she withdraws into her mind and, after much debate with other aspects of her personality and Cadence's spirit, decides not to give up hope, which finally frees her from Discord's taint. Upon awakening, she states the following:
"I leave behind Tragedy, Master's tool, I leave behind Sparkle, Discord's toy, I am simply Twilight The Unicorn. I am me. I have magic to do and tragedies to face. I'm done hiding in the cage I've made for myself and those around me...I'm finally free. And I have some friends to make."
Similarly, when Liarjack is restored to Applejack after a Vision Quest and talking to Applebloom's spirit and the Father Of Alicorns, she gives a speech of her own:
"Ah made a PROMISE TO APPLEBLOOM to look after her family an' it's 'bout time Ah kept it the right way! Ah'm done hidin' in lies. They work fer me, not the other way 'round. The Apple family. The Pie family.... little Apple Pie, who'd laughed. Ah'm there fer ya all."
And again when Twilight and Applejack manage to restore Rarigreed to Rarity. We should probably just accept that this is going to be a staple of Dark World.
"I am ugly. Inside and out. I'm a horrid creature. I won't hide from that any more! Desire has its own beauty, desire fuels progress. Without it, nothing can move forwards because nothing wants to move forwards. My desire for Tom to be real created something beautiful because I nurtured that desire for so very long! But I have been ugly. Divorced from reality for a thousand years. I've grown so strong, in some respects... but so much else about who I am has... stagnated. No longer. Desire is supposed to be honest. Desire is supposed to be straightforward, desire in its pure form doesn't hide its intent. I'm done hiding from truth. I'm still... desirous. I still want it all. And SINCE I want it all, then I'll ACCEPT it all, beauty and ugliness, in equal measure."
Justified, as awakening one's Element without the physical Elements seems to require a personal epiphany in order to happen.
We get another one when Spike awakes as the new Element of Generosity. His gets bonus points for also being a "The Reason You Suck" Speech aimed at Discord (who isn't even there).
"What do I decide? What should I do? It's like I can think clearly again, all I could see for a zillion years was bullies were my friends were supposed to be. …I could try to make them up give the Elements…save my foals…but they've suffered enough…I can see that now…I was wrong…Twilight was right…I made them killers…I can only hope whoever's out there had mercy on them…And if they are in Pony Heaven, anything I give them in Equestria could never hold a candle to whatever Paradise provides them. But what if they're in Pony Hell like Twilight said? But how could I save them, if I brought them back by going back into the fog? I could just…quit…curl up and cry, let guilt crush me…but that'd hurt my friends. After all they did to save me, it'd be wasting this second chance I've been given…It's like they told Dashie…laying down and dying doesn't fix what I did… My friends…my…my niece…they're all here…they cared for me…they suffered to save me…they protected me…They cared for me…And I tried to throw them away…I can't make up for much…but I can make up for that… I'm sorry for what I've done…But I don't have time to let it crush me…I love my foals…but I can only pray their souls are in Pony Heaven…I love my friends…and they're right here…I'm free.
Rainbow Dash's is a bit delayed, but she does eventually give one that shows she's done tearing herself up over the choices she's made.
"Yeah, I'm glad you didn't kill me, I'm glad until I got my head on straight you had me tied to a bed and set that mare to keep an eye on me so I couldn't try to rip my own Element to pull the plug. But I'm tired of 'what ifs', what if I'd chosen to turn right around and Sonic Rainboomed Discord into the ground a thousand years ago? Maybe it'd have killed him, maybe I'd have shattered every bone in my body and not left a scratch on him. It doesn't MATTER. I've spent the last THOUSAND YEARS obsessing myself with 'what if'. What if I'd made the other choice? What if I'd not turned down Grogar's offer to take out Discord? What if, what if, what if. Buck 'what if'! I didn't rip my heart out and show it to you so you'd be thinking about what ifs."
Rarity had been greatly traumatized by her time under Discord's control, and ashamed and terrified of both her Cutie Mark and her Element of Generosity, because Discord had corrupted them to corrupt her. She has an epiphany after helping Diamond Tiara make a dress for her mother and breaks out of her funk. She gives this internal monologue:
I managed a smile. Maybe I was being foolish. But I knew this wasn't pointless... or at least, I didn't believe it was. And I think I finally understand. Making things beautiful and making beautiful things is simply what I am good at. A pony is not a slave to their cutie mark no matter what they teach you in school. It's your guide, not your master. My Element and my Cutie Mark are not the same thing, have never been the same thing, and I was a foal for believing they were. If making beautiful things and making things beautiful are what I'm good at, and my Element is to be generous towards others, of course I'll share my talent with them. But that isn't the only thing I can share. Letting my sister help, spending time with others: those are generosities too, not just giving away THINGS. And I should have remembered that when Twilight's spell made me relive those moments I had been true to that inner spirit. But I was too scared of what I had done. I'll never know how much of what I did was Discord's taint or my own choices, but I'm not ashamed anymore. Not as long as I remember that no matter what riches cross my path, my greatest treasure is at home, and she is waiting for me. And whether I find someone to live my life with is up to me. For the first time in weeks, I finally feel free.
Another great MLP example is Nyx's after-the-fact speech toward the end of Past Sins about why she threw herself between the ponies of Ponyville and a horde of monsters from the Everfree forest.
Nyx: As an alicorn, I can bear the burdens no other pony can. I threw myself in the way of a Lupus Major to protect Twilight because, while the beast wounded me, it could have easily killed Twilight. The pain I endured saved not just one life but lives all over Ponyville. It's far better for me to be wounded if it means somepony, anypony, can continue to live and be happy. I can be bruised, battered and beaten but, as long as there is still breath in my lungs, I will continue to protect ponies. I will protect them, because what can kill them I can survive, because what hurts them is but a scratch for me, because it's the one thing I've been able to do right.
Bon Bon: You’re a man of iron and blood, stone and fire. Touched by darkness, but not overcome by it. Beaten and damaged, but unbowed. Unrelenting in word and deed, in thought and creed. You would lay siege to Tartarus itself if that’s where Twilight had been taken. And all because she’s your friend. Because you would do anything to keep her safe. Because you care.
Twilight Sparkle: For ten years I've felt restless, like I'm stuck in a tiny box that's pushing in on me from all sides. I feel a constant pressure on my font at all times, like a wild animal pulling on it's chains just begging for release. It's only gotten worse since this magical growth spurt started, and now I feel a constant tingling in my horn, like my magic is trying to spill out. I've desperately wanted to let go, to just start firing off as much magic as I can, but I haven't because of what happened the last time I did that. When I had that Flare ten years ago, I experienced a sensation like nothing I've ever had before, nor since. Not only was I completely immersed in my own magic, but all the magic around me, as well. I could see the safety wards in the room and all around the castle, the magic being cast by students in the school, and even all the magic out in Canterlot itself. For the briefest of moments I was connected to all the unicorns around me, and when I saw all of that, it was a simple matter to unravel the spell surrounding one little dragon egg. It felt good—no, it felt amazing. In that instant I had access to more magic than I'd ever dreamed, and I wanted it all. I wanted to learn every single spell I saw, and then I wanted to learn every other spell there is, as well. Since then I've dedicated my life to understanding as much about magic as I can, but it’s never enough because there’s just so much. Equestria is huge, the world is huger still, and the universe is of a size and scale that’s beyond comprehension. We haven’t even scratched the surface of how magic works, and all I want is to learn and see as much of it as I can. I know my work will never be finished, but that’s comforting in a way, because the saddest day of my life would be the day there’s nothing left to learn.
Blair: So why have you been holding back? Your Absorption power will help you achieve more than you could ever dream.
Twilight Sparkle: Because I won't able to stop. Back then, I just wanted to keep having that feeling of immersion and connection with all the magic around me, and I tried to take all of the magic around me into myself. I didn't know what I was doing, and instead of absorbing the magic, I redirected it to the ponies around me. It's a small miracle nopony was hurt, and didn't want to take that chance again. And you want me to return to that. I stood at the edge of a terrible precipice that I was only barely able to turn away from, and you'd have me take a running leap off the edge?! You'd force me to release something I know I won't be able to control because I couldn't even handle it's shadow?! I only have one thing to say to that! Be careful what you wish for!
'Yukino: "All of us were once powerless. We've had to struggle against everyday difficulties, as well as those unique to our own lives, and change and grow stronger to continue on in life, even before we became Himes. With these new powers, we've had to question ourselves, do things we never even thought possible and face odds that were against us even with our powers! But when have things ever been difficult for you or the SU Es before now? Have any of your problems been significant enough that success was not guaranteed? Because you haven't faced adversity, you don't have what it takes to win!"
Midori:"Getting this far was impossible for us at the beginning, even once we'd awakened our powers. It might sound like I'm ripping off an anime, but we've had to become better fighters, grow as people and survive multiple battles in order to be able to face you, without being handed any of that on a silver platter like you were! If your SUEs had become stronger, they might have been able to defeat us, but they couldn't grow, and so were defeated because we surpassed them! Our victory will be one we have earned ourselves!"
Nao:(when the Usurper asks if they wish to keep the world the way it is in spite of its flaws) "Nothing is perfect! Bad things happen to us in life, some of which happen without reason and some of which are our own faults! This world is, to some degree, the one we deserve! But people can change, and they can improve themselves! They might not ever achieve 'perfection,' but whatever world they make would damn well be better than whatever you come up with if your SU Es are any indication of what you consider perfect!"
Shiho: "Life doesn't always give you what you want. Sometimes the object of your dreams or the person you desire is beyond your reach no matter how hard you try. Sometimes your goal is impossible before you even begin. But life goes on, and you can find new reasons for living, new goals, new people to cherish, and sometimes you may even find that your old goal was not what you truly wanted! You could never realize any of this if you simply got what you wanted all the time!"
Shizuru: "Imagination and reality are two separate things. Often, things you'd hoped for don't quite measure up in reality. But sometimes, something or someone defies your expectations and yet is wonderful in its own unique way. An endless fulfillment of all your fantasies would deny you this satisfaction, and render all the times your wishes were granted meaningless!"
Natsuki: "I was offered such a world once. But I realized that it was just that, a reflection of my deepest desires that could not ever become true, and chose to continue to stay in this one! If I rejected a world based on my own personal desires, what makes you think I would accept one based on yours? I would never sacrifice the joys and sorrows of my own life to become a mindless slave for your pleasure!"
Mai: "Each one of us has a person that is special in their own way. We've spent time with them, bonded with them, allowed them to become important to us, and become a part of each other's lives. We can name a few ways in which those people fall short of perfection, but many others in which they've touched our hearts, influenced us, and made us happy. They will never be perfect and I'm not sure how close they are to being as good as they can be, but they're precious to us and they've become irreplaceable parts of our lives. If we were to accept your world, we'd give up all of who we are and who they are, and that's why you must be stopped!"
The Hustler makes it clear from the beginning that although Fast Eddie is a talented pool player, his attitude is holding him back. It's no surprise that he eventually gets his World of Cardboard Speech. Now, how he gets it, on the other hand...
You think you know something, don't you? You think you're the clever little girl who knows something. There's so much you don't know, so much. What do you know, really? You're just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there's nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares. Or did I? Or was it a silly, inexpert little lie? You live in a dream. You're a sleepwalker, blind. How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know, if you rip off the fronts of houses, you'd find swine? The world's a hell. What does it matter what happens in it? Wake up, Charlie. Use your wits. Learn something.
This speech is actually pretty tragic, because of Uncle Charlie's optimistic youth; it is also a turning point for Little Charlie, as she goes from optimism to seeing the world as a foul, hypocritical place.
In The Karate Kid Daniel took an injury to his leg and leaving him out of the final match. Everyone said that Daniel did great and shouldn't think that removing himself because of such an injury is a sign of weakness. Daniel makes a plea to Miyagi that even though he almost made it to the tournament finals if he didn't face Johnny in the final match he would never have balance with the Cobra guys or in his relationship with Ally. This was an effective lesson to Miyagi that his student finally understood his training.
In The Matrix Revolutions, Neo gives a rather brief, but effective, one to Smith, when the latter demands to know why Neo persists in fighting him.
Neo: Because I choose to.
Labyrinth. "For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great — You have no power over me!"
Jack Skellington sings one of these near the end of The Nightmare Before Christmas, in the song "Poor Jack." He is having a Heroic BSOD about his failure to bring about Christmas, starts reprising Jack's Lament, starting with the line "I, Jack, the Pumpkin King"... then remembers that, yes, he is the Pumpkin King, and will work hard on making next Halloween even better.
It also has Jack realizing while what happened didn't go as planned, he gave it his all and there were still good parts to it. Basically, while he screwed up he wouldn't regret what he did because it was still worth the problems.
Mark "Rent" Renton gets one at the end of the adaptation of Trainspotting. It's the closing monologue to the film that closely mirrors his opening monologue.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo; the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end... because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was, when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going... because they were holding on to something Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam? Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
And at the climax of The Return of the King, given by Sam:
Sam: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It'll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they'll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries? Frodo: No, Sam. I can't recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water, nor the touch of grass. I'm naked in the dark, with nothing, no veil between me and the wheel of fire! I can see him... with my waking eyes! Sam: Then let us be rid of it, once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you!
"500 fights. That's the number I figured when I was a kid. 500 street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy. You need them for experience. To develop leather skin. So I got started. Of course along the way you stop thinking about being tough and all that. It stops being the point. You get past the silliness of it all. But then, after, you realize that's what you are. You learn a lot of things on the way to 500. None more important than this." [headbutt]
Benedict: Gentlemen. Since you are about to die anyway, I may as well tell you the entire plot. Think of villains Jack. You want Dracula? Dra-cool-la? Hang on, (takes out the ticket) I'll fetch him. Dracula? Huh. I can get King Kong! We'll have a nightmare with Freddy Krueger, have a surprise party for Adolf Hitler; Hannibal Lecter can do the catering, and then we'll have a christening for Rosemary's Baby! All I have to do is snap my fingers and they'll be here. They're lining up to get here, and do you know why Jack? Should I tell you why? Hmm? Because here, in this world, the bad guys can win!
Inception has an interesting version of this, in that the emotional conflict and the physical conflict are the same thing, through the character of Mal.
It is an interesting version of the relationship between the physical/emotional conflict, but the "World of Cardboard" Speech comes in this dialog:
Cobb: I can't stay with her anymore because she doesn't exist. Mal: I'm the only thing you do believe in anymore. Cobb: I wish...I wish more than anything, but I can't imagine you with all your complexity, all your perfection, all your imperfection. Look at you, you're just a shade. You're just a shade of my real wife. You're the best I could do, but...I'm sorry, you're just not good enough.
You never understood... why we did this. The audience knows the truth. The world is simple, miserable, solid all the way through. But if you can fool them, even for a second... then you can make them wonder. And you get to see something very special. ... You really don't know. ... It was the look on their faces.
Watchmen has Dr. Manhattan recite one to Ozymandias towards the end after Ozymandias attempted to kill him by tricking him into going through the same accident that turned him into Dr. Manhattan in the first place, and thought he succeeded.
"I'm disappointed in you, Adrian. Do you really think you can kill me? Reassembling myself was the first trick I learned. It didn't kill Osterman... did you really think it would kill me? I have walked across the surface of the Sun. I have witnessed events so tiny and so fast they can hardly be said to have occurred at all. But you, Adrian, you're just a man. The world's smartest man poses no more threat to me than does its smartest termite."
Batman: I'm both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Not because I have to be. Now, because I choose to be.
At the end of Terminator 2: Judgement Day Sarah Conner gave an epilogue that showed where both her and John Conner had changed over the course of the movie. The entire time they were thinking that Judgement Day was inevitable and that all machines were the enemy, when they were surprised by the compassion shown by the terminator sent to protect them. It ends up overlapping with a Patrick Stewart Speech.
"The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope... because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life... maybe we can too."
Neville Longbottom: It doesn't matter that Harry's gone. People die everyday! Friends, family. Yeah, we lost Harry tonight. He's still with us, in here. So's Fred, Remus. Tonks, all of them. They didn't die in vain. But you will! Because you're wrong! Harry's heart did beat for us! For all of us! It's not over!
Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern movie has one when he talks to the Guardians just before the climax. He was told that he was given the ring because he embodies the Corp ideal of being fearless, but he constantly doubts himself because he knows full well what he is afraid of and refuses to share them. When confronted with Parallax coming to destroy Earth, Carol told him that he isn't fearless, but courageous. He can overcome fear. This made him realize why the Corp had so much trouble with Parallax, they were "too afraid to admit they were afraid." Talking to the Guardians, he confessed his human weakness and explained that overcoming fear is the key to beat Parallax.
Billy: Bernard, I want you to know... that I try. When Jean and the kids at the school tell me that I'm supposed to control my violent temper, and be passive and nonviolent like they are, I try. I really try. Though when I see this girl... of such a beautiful spirit... so degraded... and this boy... that I love... sprawled out by this big ape here... and this little girl, who is so special to us we call her "God's little gift of sunshine"... and I think of the number of years that she's going to have to carry in her memory... the savagery of this idiotic moment of yours... I just go BERSERK!(cue Curb-Stomp Battle)
In Harrison Bergeron, Harrison goes down to the TV station, and before he takes off his handicaps, says "even as I stand here — crippled, hobbled, sickened — I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become!" And then it's all heavily subverted when he promptly becomes a corpse, thanks to a dictatorial surgeon general armed with a shotgun.
In Lords and Ladies, Granny Weatherwax gives the Queen of the Elves one of these when she explains why she's better than her.
Even closer example: the all-powerful Coin, from Sourcery, describes living in the fragile world of non-sourcerers as "like trying to sleep on a bed of eggs". It's implied that all such sourcerers eventually feel obliged to leave the Discworld's reality to avert living in a World of Cardboard.
The same applies (though not nearly to the same extent) to wizards in general. The average wizard has so much protection from magical attack that trying to kill them magically would be like trying to kill a fish by holding it under water. Unfortunately for the rest of the non-magical world, in the days when wizards didn't spend their days confined within Universities generally being lazy, they would use magic to battle one another, and it nearly tore the Discworld apart. Especially under Ridcully's administration, people outside the University are frequently reminded that the "rule" that forbids wizards from using magic on non-wizards in anything but self-defense is just a self-imposed guideline.
Bill Fitzhugh's Pest Control has this when Bob and Klaus are cornered by an armed assassin. Klaus says they need a weapon. Then a lightbulb goes off in Bob's head, and Klaus actually watches his shoulders square with Heroic Resolve as he declares that the entire city of New York is a weapon, and then proves it by killing their pursuer by running through a few restauraunts. Any further detail would spoil the book, so I'll just say it makes Jason Bourne look like a putz.
While not a Villain per se, Tyburn in Rivers Of London was an interfering bitch who was determined to crush the protagonist for her own political ends. When she gives him a Reason You Suck Speech about how useless he is and how easy it was to stop him, Peter Grant's comeback is awesome. Made doubly so because he totally owns her in front of her entire family of river spirits causing matriarch Mama Thames to applaud him for doing so.
In the Vampire: The Requiem supplement "Danse Macabre," a wonderful story of the Chicago vampires running in bits between the chapters climaxes with an antiheroic version of this. Prince Maxwell Clarke confesses to the diablerie of Norris Spiegel in a scene that's half "World of Cardboard" Speech and half Reason You Suck Speech adding up to a Crowning Moment of Awesome as he shares a recent revelation: He's truly sick of pushing himself to his limits keeping the city safe for a bunch of ingrates who use that safety to plot against him and abuse and mock him for his efforts to keep the peace. The speech goes on a while and is interrupted a couple of times, but this excerpt sums it up nicely:
"I'm tired of being lobbied, taken for granted and schemed against. I am now, officially, a tyrant. You all knew I'd ignore my own laws, Persephone here proved that, and I'm sick of the pretense. I get to do whatever I want. You don't. You don't Embrace, you don't kill one another, you sure as hell don't commit diablerie, but if I feel like it, I can do any of that. I think you'll put up with it, I really do. Because the alternatives are worse. Because in my tenure, I've run this city better than any Prince anyone can remember. Because with me, Chicago works. If you don't agree? Think you can do better? All right, try to upset the apple cart. Just remember Norris. He had half of us blackmailed, he was old and smart and had a legion of spies behind him. Look where he ended up."
In Perelandra, although he doesn't actually make a speech, Ransom gets physical on the Un-Man, once a fellow professor before he was posessed by a Demon. The realization that he can actively hate this enemy (being ultimately a thoroughly evil superhuman being) without the usual guilt or conflicted feeling unexpectedly makes him capable of terrible things
Live Action TV
In the series finale of Extras, after taking a role on Big Brother, Andy finally realizes the absurdity of the measures he's taken to be famous and that none of it is making him any more happy, culminating in one of the most heartfelt and effective on-camera indictments of celebrity culture.
Andy: You are literally the gutter press. And fuck you, the makers of this show as well. You can't wash your hands of this. You can't keep going 'Oh, it's exploitation but it's what the public wants.' No, the Victorian freakshow never went away. Now it's called Big Brother or X-Factor, where in the preliminary rounds, we wheel out the bewildered to be sniggered at by multimillionaires. And fuck you for watching this at home. Shame on you, and shame on me. I'm the worst of all because I'm one of these people who goes 'I'm an entertainer. It's in my blood.' Yeah, it's in my blood because a real job's too hard...Someone once said that I'll never be happy because I'll never be famous enough, and they were right."
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody episode "Summer of our Discontent" had Zack go to summer school. He can cope with the work, but this brings resentment from the other students who go on to give him a wedgie every time he impresses the teacher, until he learns to keep his mouth shut. He finally gets tired of pretending to be less intelligent than he is and gives a speech that doubles as both this trope and a Reason You Suck Speech
Zack: You know what? That's it. There's nothing wrong with being smart. In fact, and this'll probably shock you, but outside these walls it's considered a good thing. So go ahead, call me a nerd. But next year, when you're all here, I won't be. I'll be taking The Road Less Traveled right to the beach!
It wasn't followed by a "Crowning Moment", but Angel had one of these in the appropriately titled episode Epiphany. In the previous handful of episodes he had managed to alienate his entire team because he was under the impression that there would be some sort of Grand Finale where the forces of evil are defeated forever. After having a morally devastating realization on the universality of evil, he resolved that all he could do was simply help the innocent. This epiphany wavered as his life kept taking turns for the worse, but he regained it right before the end; he even referenced it in his Rousing Speech three seasons later, just before the series' Grand Finale.
It's all the more awesome as, in the previous episode, "Reprise", Holland Manners delivers Angel his version of the speech about evil's implacability, which causes Angel's brief Heroic BSOD.
Season Five's You're Welcome was a world of cardboard episode. Angel had been losing his hero spirit dealing with Wolfram and Hart machinations. Cordelia woke from her coma to restore that resolve and to warn him of a plot against him by Lindsay. In the climactic mano-a-mano, Angel beat the snot out of him saying, "All those tattoos, all those new tricks you've learned... just don't matter. Doesn't matter what you try. Doesn't matter where I am or how badass you think you've become. 'Cause you know what? I'm Angel. I beat the bad guys."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer also had one when she asked for help from the Watchers Council about learning exactly what Glory was (The Big Bad of the season). The council subjected her to a long series of tests to prove her worth, but she eventually refused, explaining her own epiphany. Glory actually respected Buffy because she was the Slayer, that she had power. The Watchers Council didn't have the power to stop Glory, so their tests on Buffy were pointless and only an exercise to make them believe they had some control. This speech left the Watchers council dumbfounded. Of course Buffy was also dumbfounded when the Watchers relented and revealed that Glory was a hell demon god.
Used again in the Grand Finale. The speech was instigated by the First Evil mocking her for being the lone Slayer. Buffy then had an epiphany regarding the Slayer legend given from the beginning of the series, and she decided to ignore that limitation.
Buffy: So here's the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power, now? In every generation, one Slayer is born, because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman... (Willow) is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power... should be our power.
And used again in the Season Seven episode, Bring On The Night. Buffy, after spending an episode fleeing, with her friends, from a supposedly unkillable, prehistoric "uber-vampire," finally meets him face-to-face, in front of her friends, and gives a speech:
"Look at them. They're terrified. Meat for the beast. You're going to kill them, and there's no way I can stop you. You can't be killed. But, see, here's the thing: I don't believe that. I always find a way. I'm the thing that nightmares have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are going to show them why."
There were two in the season 3 finale. One by Lee Adama (which is too long to put here, but is in the quotes page), and a short one by:
My name is Saul Tigh. I am an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that's the man I want to be. And if I die today, that's the man I'll be.
A particularly dark use, and inversion, of this trope in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The "in"famous episode "In the Pale Moonlight" had Sisko relate his story in a computer log about his efforts to convince the Romulans to participate in the Dominion War. Finding that simple logic wouldn't work, he sought the help of Garak and other criminals to falsify evidence. He struggled with the serious moral and ethical compromises he had to go through to achieve this. By the end he stood up and instead of being morally untouchable he stated with growing conviction that the benefits outweighed the moral standing of one officer, even himself... and then erased the log.
"At oh-eight-hundred hours, station time... the Romulan Empire formally declared war against the Dominion. They've already struck fifteen bases along the Cardassian border. So, this is a huge victory for the good guys! This may even be the turning point of the entire war! There's even a "Welcome to the Fight" party tonight in the wardroom!... So... I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover up the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But most damning of all... I think I can live with it... And if I had to do it all over again... I would. Garak was right about one thing – a guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant. So I will learn to live with it...Because I can live with it...I can live with it. Computer – erase that entire personal log."
Farscape: Crichton who makes the wormhole weapon and decides to go and tell everyone that they suck for wanting it, and threatening to let them all die. He explains why he shouldn't have made it in the first place. Also a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
Firefly: the speech that Simon gives Jayne at the end of Trash, where Jayne suffered an accidental neck injury immediately after Simon learned that Jayne tried and failed to collect on their bounty in a previous episode:
Simon: No matter what you do, or say or plot, no matter how you come down on us... I will never, ever harm you. You're on this table, you're safe. 'Cause I'm your medic, and however little we may like or trust each other, we're on the same crew. Got the same troubles, same enemies, and more than enough of both. Now, we could circle each other and growl, or sleep with one eye open, but that thought wearies me. I don't care what you've done, I don't know what you're planning on doing, but I'm trusting you. I think you should do the same. 'Cause I don't see this working any other way.
Which is then capped off by:
River: Also? I can kill you with my brain.
Kamen Rider Decade features a slight twist on this. During the final confrontation in each world, the Big Bad will deliver a Breaking Speech to Tsukasa and that world's primary Kamen Rider. Tsukasa will counter with a World of Cardboard Speech, not for himself, but for his current partner, explaining their motivation and how that makes them a real hero - which is typically the main point of the other Rider's original TV series, as Decade is an anniversary show. This is also typically the point where Tsukasa gains access to his partner's powers as per Decade's conceit of Power Copying.
In Movie Wars, Decade unknowingly delivers a "World of Cardboard" Speechsimultaneously with Kamen Rider Double, seconds before they cross over. What's notable about this is that the subject of their speeches are almost the same, even culminating in the two of them alternately declaring their respective catchphrases.
Inverted in the Doctor Who episode "The Waters of Mars" when the Doctor has the epiphany that he doesn't have to follow the rules anymore because he is the last of the Time Lords and the laws of time belong to him. But when he tries to act on this epiphany and save the remaining crew of Bowie Base One, Captain Brooke shoots herself rather than allow him to play with the future chain of events he himself told her was immutable. He realizes he has a mental block, says the speech, attempts to kick ass fueled by the power of his new outlook, but mostly fails.
The 2005 episode, "Bad Wolf" holds an exchange between the Doctor and a Dalek and features quite an impressive Badass Boast.
Much later on, the newly minted Doctor (XI) in Series 5 has just saved the world and so forth, as usual, but is a bit cheesed with the alien police force that failed to do anything. So he calls them back to Earth. At which point he gives a bow-tie choosing,CMoA speech, culminating with the police seeing every villain the Doctor has ever faced - and noticing that Earth, a world even the aliens think is Made of Cardboard, is still here: "But you're not the first lot to have come here. Oh, there have been so many. And what you've got to ask is... what happened to them? - Hello. I'm the Doctor. Basically... run."
In The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "The Last Voyage of the Jimmy Carter," John Connor gives a truly awesome speech to Jesse about exactly why he is mankind's leader. In one scene, John goes from being a whiny, lovestruck emo kid to being the John Connor who will lead mankind.
Green Ranger: You passed the test. Tommy: Test? What are you talking about? Red Zeo Ranger: You haven't been fighting us... you've been fighting for your life. White Ranger: And you've proven the will to live is stronger than any Ranger power.
In Rescue Me, Needles delivers one to his crew in season 5. He's been the consummate nice guy and something of a doormat up to this point, but he realizes after breaking up a fight that his crew will never respect him unless he's a hardass.
In the 2005 HerculesMini Series, Hercules becomes a bit demoralized when he finds out that his father is the villain Antaeus, not Zeus, but he immediately bounces back with:
Hercules: It doesn't matter who my father is: Zeus, Amphitryon, or the Cretan Bull! (Tackles Antaeus through a pillar.) It doesn't matter! I AM NOT MY FATHER! (Antaeus rubs dirt on himself to replenish his strength.) Yes, Antaeus, seek the Mother's strength. I rely on my own. My birth doesn't matter, only my life! I make it have meaning. No one else. (Antaeus tries to shove Hercules into a bonfire, but burns his own hand and flinches. Hercules looks at his own wounds.) We are not gods, Antaeus, only men. Only very strong men! (Knocks Antaeus far away.)
Jack McCoy tends to give these at least once a season in Law & Order, generally when the defense lawyer is going for Jury Nullification. Sometimes it works. Other times, not so much.
Clark Kent gives one in the Season 10 premiere of Smallville when he finds himself in the afterlife after being stabbed by a kryptonite dagger.
Appropriately, considering the trope namer, during the Final Battle in the Grand Finale, Darkseid quickly overpowers Clark, at which point Jor-El gives Clark a vision that helps him realize that every battle he's fought over the course of the series, every life he's saved, have all been tests along his journey to fulfilling his destiny. This grants Clark the clarity to fully embrace his powers (namely flight, which he hadn't been able to use at all during the show's run); Clark then proceeds to curbstomp Darkseid.
Martian Manhunter, aka John Jones, also gets one in the episode "Absolute Justice" during Season 9. He had spent the majority of the eighth season and the first half of the ninth as a normal human after sacrificing his powers to save Clark's life. While hunting for a villain named Icicle with Doctor Fate, they are ambushed. Fate sacrifices himself, using all of his energy to restore John's powers. Icicle takes Doctor Fate's helmet and uses all of its (impressive) powers to attack Clark, Hawkman, Chloe, Green Arrow, and Star-Spangled Kid. Just as he is about to finish off the latter, the John Jones flies through the window and hits him with a burst of energy, throwing him across the room. Icicle stands up and incredulously declares, "I killed you!" At this point, Jones gives his speech (followed by an epic beat-down):
Martian Manhunter: I am Mars' sole survivor. There's a reason for that.
Star Trek: The Next Generation plays with the concept in the Grand Finale. Q outright TELLS Picard what the purpose of the test was and the reasons why he put Humanity on Trial. Picard, tired of Q's games, just wants it to be over and doesn't fully understand what he is told, but he does listen.
Picard:I sincerely hope this is the last time I find myself here. Q:You just don't get it, Jean Luc. The trial never ends. We wanted to see if you could expand your mind and your horizons and for a brief moment, you did. Picard:When I realized the paradox. Q:Exactly. For that brief fraction of a second, you were open to options you'd never considered. THAT is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars or studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence. Picard:Q, what is it you are trying to tell me? Q: (leans in to whisper something, but pulls away) You'll find out. In any case I'll be watching. And if you're really lucky I'll drop in to say hi, from time to time.
In the episode Something Old, of How I Met Your Mother, Ted decides he's had enough of relying on the Universe giving him signs and decides to take matters into his own hands.
Ted: Maybe it’s dumb to look for signs from the Universe. Maybe the Universe has better things to do—dear God, I hope it does. Do you know how many signs I’ve gotten that I should or shouldn’t be with somebody, and where has it gotten me? Maybe there aren’t any signs. Maybe a locket is just a locket, a chair is just a chair. Maybe we don’t have to give meaning to every little thing. Maybe we don’t need the Universe to tell us what we really want. Maybe we already know that deep down.
No more games, I'ma change what you call rage Tear this motherfucking roof off like two dogs caged I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
And I just can't keep living this way So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage I'm standing up, Imma face my demons I'm manning up, Imma hold my ground I've had enough, now I'm so fed up Time to put my life back together right now
The title song from Kamelot's concept album The Black Halo. Ariel finally defies Mephisto and declares that he no longer fears damnation. This leads him to finally come to the realization that he is the master of his own destiny, and that love is the truth he had been searching for all along.
"I take comfort in the fact that your wife and children won't be watching. Mine won't, either. But someday... someday I'm gonna tell them about all of this. I'm gonna tell them of the day when their father was this close to walking away... and, although it's considered a strength to turn the other cheek, sometimes you've got to look evil right in the face and spit in its eye! All the pain, all the suffering that you have put me through is gonna rain down on you at Unforgiven, and it is gonna rain down on you with absolutely no remorse. I will never apologize for the man that I am or the life that I have lived. And I'm going to have no regrets about what happens to you. Unforgiven... it's an appropriate name, isn't it Chris? Because I willneverforgive you for what you've done to me. My only hope is that, someday, God can forgive me for what I do to you!"
On the 1-Aug-2008 episode of WWE SmackDown!, Edge managed to give a World of Cardboard Speech in two words... "I understand!" All the more impressive considering he pulled off the entire World Of Cardboard motif as a Heel.
Winter: (to Angelina Love) There's nothing wrong with you Angelina. In fact, you're perfect. But you don't have to worry. Now that we're together, we will never have to lose again. I guarantee that. WE. WILL. NEVER. LOSE.
On TNA's April 14, 2011 edition, Mickie James confronts her archenemy Madison Rayne, who the previous week hit her with a motorcycle. She gives her own speech, telling Madison that while she has been making her life a living hell, the previous week she went too far and tried to take the coward's way out of their match. She then states that nothing, including her dislocated shoulder, will stop her from beating Madison to within an inch of her life at Lockdown. And she meant every word, completely destroying Madison at Lockdown in 36 seconds. Deserves special mention for Mickie's completely Badass delivery of the speech.
Kelly Kelly of all people delivered one to Natalya at the commentary table. Natalya and Beth Phoenix had vowed to destroy her because they felt she and the rest of the model Divas weren't worthy of being in WWE. Kelly responded by asking Natalya what was she saving the WWE Universe from and that she had already proved herself by beating Beth at SummerSlam and would do so again if Beth became the #1 contender (Beth did and Kelly did).
In Anyone Can Whistle, after J. Bowden Hapgood refused to help Nurse Faye Apple tackle the corrupt town administration and reveal that the "miracle" was a fake, she admitted her limitations - and her intention of overcoming them - in "See What It Gets You:"
"And when the hero quits, Then you're left on your own. And when you want things done, You have to do them yourself alone! And if I'm not ready And lightheaded, I can't stand here dumb. So, ready or not, here - I hope - I come!"
"Rose's Turn" from Gypsy is the definitive musical theater example. It isn't addressed to any visible character, but with lyrics like these, an on-stage audience isn't necessary:
Well, someone tell me when is it my turn? Don't I get a dream for myself? Startin' now it's gonna be my turn! Gangway, world, get off-a my runway! Startin' now, I bat a thousand! This time, boys, I'm taking the bows — and Ev'rything's coming up Rose! Ev'rything's coming up roses! Ev'rything's coming up roses, this time for me!
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has not one but two dark versions of this: the first, "My Friends", when Todd rediscovers his razors and formulates his exact revenge upon the Judge; and the second, "Epiphany", when Todd's mind cracks and he becomes the mass-murdering pie-meat supplier of legend.
Henry: I found out the way your mind works and the kind of man you are. I know your plans and expectations - you've burbled every bit of strategy you've got. I know exactly what you will do, and exactly what you won't, and I've told you exactly nothing. To these aged eyes, boy, that's what WINNING looks like!
Henry has the upper hand, right? Wrong. Philip launches into his "World of Cardboard" Speech and plays the people hiding in the room against him.
Takanuva: But I'm not my "kind", not anymore — your shadow leeches saw to that. I'm half Toa of Light, half Toa of Shadow. This was what you wanted, wasn't it? Toa consumed by darkness, Toa not hampered by things like mercy or morality. Well, now you can choke on it.
One of the possible endings for Planescape: Torment has the Nameless One making a World of Cardboard Speech... and beating the Big Bad just with that.
The Nameless One:If there is anything I have learned in my travels across the Planes, it is that many things may change the nature of a man. Whether regret, or love, or revenge or fear — whatever you believe can change the nature of a man, can. I've seen belief move cities, make men stave off death, and turn an evil hag's heart half-circle. This entire Fortress has been constructed from belief. Belief damned a woman, whose heart clung to the hope that another loved her when he did not. Once, it made a man seek immortality and achieve it. And it has made a posturing spirit think it is something more than a part of me.
Dark Prince: What now then? Gather up enough sand, perform another grand rewind? Or perhaps you can return to the Island and travel back to a time when he might still be saved. Maybe rescue a Damsel in Distress along the way! Prince: NO! You are right. I have been like a child. Naive and arrogant; always rushing to undo my mistakes. Never facing the consequences of my actions. No more. I accept what I have done, and all that it implies. (transforms back, without water) Dark Prince: What is this?! You have no water! How did you—? Prince: You hold no power over me now! Be gone! Retreat to whatever dark hole spawned you, and do not trouble me again.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy is full of these, often combined with a Heroic Second Wind moment. In fact, pretty much all of the cutscenes in the ten Destiny Odyssey storylines before the battle with the villain, consists of the hero giving one of these: Cloud refuses to let Sephiroth psyche him out, Terra learns not to let her powers define who she is, Cecil decides to fight for what he really cares about, etc. Here's Firion's for an example:
Emperor: "You should have disposed of your fantasy and accepted me as master." Firion: "There is no meaning in strength only used to hurt others! I have dreams... dreams worth dying for!" Emperor: "What will an insect like you do?" Firion: "Believe in the future! And persist in the present! That's what I'll do!"
And here's Onion Knight's. Bit of backstory. Throughout his Destiny Oddyssey, Onion Knight acted as a bit of a Straw Vulcan, arrogantly trusting only his intelligence, running from every encounter with people that he thought he "can't defeat", and pushing Terra to go to the source of a strange power, to prove that he wasn't "without valor" despite that. So, after that backfires horribly, he's learned a little more about how to be a hero, and faces the Cloud Of Darkness, who multiple people said is too powerful for him:
Onion Knight: "I finally got it. I was a fool to defy my heart, just to bind myself to reason. I will protect Terra with my own strength. That's what's most imporant to me! Don't get me wrong—I still won't fight against anyone I can't beat. But I've decided in my heart to fight. That's why I'm going to beat you!"
Near the end of the last case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, after discovering that his client is guilty, Phoenix begins to question what it means to be a lawyer. Edgeworth reveals what he learned in his time overseas. It's not about "winning", it's about revealing the truth.
Edgeworth: We prosecutors use anything we can to attack the defendant. But [...] It doesn't matter how many underhanded tricks a person uses... The truth will always find a way to make itself known. The only thing we can do is to fight with the knowledge we hold and everything we have. Erasing the paradoxes one by one... It's never easy... We claw and scratch for every inch. But we will always eventually reach that one single truth. That's the reason why prosecutors and defense lawyers exist.
Zero: If I destroy Weil's core, the explosion will take Ragnarok out with it... If Ragnarok is blown apart, it no longer poses a threat! Weil: Are you even capable of it? The Reploid hero, protecting justice and humanity! I am one of those humans you have sworn to protect! Do you have it in you to defeat me?! (cue One-Winged Angel) Zero: I never cared about justice and I don't recall ever calling myself a hero...I have always only fought for the people I believe in. I won't hesitate...If an enemy appears in front of me, I will destroy it!
The best part about it is, Zero has finally learned what he was really fighting for, a question that has plagued him since Iris' death in the X series, proceeding to kick the Big Bad's ass, save the world again, and finally end the centuries-long Robot War.
He has another one in a flashback from the Drama Tracks, delivered to Omega. This one more or less speaks for his earlier incarnation and says more or less the same stuff.
Zero: Omega, I finally knew because I fought with myselfâ€¦ What kind of fighting I have done so far? What exactly my hesitation has been so far? Now I can say that my power is not for destruction. It's for my friends; my power is to protect my friends' beliefs! Be gone, my nightmare!
At the end of X8, Zero delivers one again:
Even if we Reploids are destined to join the scrap heap when that evolutionary step does come about...we still have to fight...Not only against Mavericks, but against our own destiny as well.
In Fate/stay night, Shirou delivers a World of Cardboard Speech in the Unlimited Blade Works route on how, even if he knows it's only because he's selfish and naive and knowing where he may end up if he keeps it, he'll still try to work towards his ideal of saving everyone to Archer — who can't hear a word of the speech because Shirou is busy fighting him and can't speak loudly enough to be heard. The trope also shows up in Heaven's Feel, where Kotomine lays out his own convictions on letting Angra Manyu loose on the world, which opposes Shirou's equally selfish and Not So Different ideal to destroy it to save Sakura (of course, one of these selfish ideals won't also eradicate humanity, but that's not really the issue here).
I have created over a thousand blades/ Unaware of loss, Nor aware of gain/ Withstood pain to create weapons, waiting for one's arrival/ I have no regrets. This is the only path/ My whole life was Unlimited Blade Works.
In one of the bonus maps of Disgaea 2, Kurtis faces an army of clones of his old Anti-Hero self, seeking to eliminate him for being an "outdated" kind of hero. Seeing them as incarnations of his previous mistakes, he gives a lengthy speech about true heroism and proceeds to kick ass.
Alicia of Valkyria Chronicles has one when she's standing against an enemy battleship fortress as an activated Valkyria, stating that she knows how to give her life as a Valkyria meaning. Her impending Heroic Sacrifice is stopped by a 1-2-3 punch from Welkin consisting of a confession of love, a marriage proposal, and a Cooldown Kiss.
In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Marche, after being captured, accidentally gets teleported into the fourth crystal room. While the totema cannot defend the crystal, Babus stands in Marche's way and Cid reminds him that he's alone, asking him if he believes he can do it. Marche notes that he hasn't always been confident in himself, but while he enjoys the world, it isn't real and he must destroy the crystal to go back home.
In Modern Warfare 2, Captain Price gets two epic such speeches, back to back, in the final two levels.
Price: "The healthy human mind doesn't wake up in the morning thinking this is its last day on earth. But I think that's a luxury, not a curse. To know you're close to the end is a kind of freedom. Good time to take... inventory. Out-gunned. Outnumbered. Out of our minds. On a suicide mission. But the sand and rocks here stained with thousands of years of warfare... they will remember us. For this. Because out of all our vast array of nightmares this is the one we choose for ourselves. We go forward like a breath exhaled from the earth. With vigor in our hearts and one goal in sight: We. Will. Kill him."
Price: "This is for the record... History is written by the victor. History is filled with liars. If he lives, and we die, his truth becomes written, and ours is lost. Shepherd will be a hero, 'cause all you need to change the world is one good lie and a river of blood. He's about to complete the biggest trick a liar ever played on history. His truth will be the truth. But only if he lives, and we die "
"You speak of knowledge Judicator? You speak of experience? I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities. Unto my experience, Aldaris, all that you have built here on Aiur is but a fleeting dream, a dream to which you will only wake up to an even greater nightmare." - Zeratul
I'll show you. This is what it means to kill something.
The full speech is much longer. That's just the culmination of it before Shiki kills a hallway, causing it to collapse.
All you're seeing is life. You don't understand death at all. That's why you can't kill me, and you're only able to kill a weakened woman. If you could see death, you couldn't maintain your sanity. All you can perceive is the part which keeps things alive. If you could see death——you couldn't even manage to stand. To give an example, it is the world on the moon. Everything is like a desolate wasteland. The seam of death on everything I see. Events of the world which disappear when I touch them. ...... Being able to see the 'death' of things means you are forced to see the world's uncertainty and fragility. The ground is like it's not there, and the sky seems about to fall at any moment. ......You don't know of the illusion that the world could perish in an instant. ——That is what it means to see death. These eyes, this powerisn't something you can boast about like you did. That's your mistake, vampire. Life and death may be back to back, but they will never face each other. ——I'll show you. This is what it means to kill something.
In the freeware RPG Last Scenario, what was meant to be a Rousing Speech takes the form of one of these. Prince Wilhelm delivers a speech to his disheartened troops, explaining how selfish he's been while people like the protagonists risked their lives to see him rise to the throne. Until then, he was bitter about the new responsibilities thrust on him, and never realized how much his people were sacrificing while he did nothing. He promises that he'll finally become the leader they've idealized him as if they'll just keep fighting a little longer. The speech alone is enough to convince the enemy commander to order a retreat, since his entire plan hinged on getting the soldiers to give up on their weak-willed leader.
Starkiller: (narrating while slaughtering stormtroopers and droids) Betrayed by Vader for the last time. A new journey begins... With something worth fighting for... Someone worth dying for... And I will not stop... I will not rest. Vader can't stop me now! (quietly) Vader can't stop me now. Nothing can.
That's just in the trailer. There's one in the actual game too at the very end:
Starkiller: (to Vader who has been captured by the rebels) I let you live. You tell me I'm a clone but I chose to spare you. (*beat*) Maybe Kota's right. Maybe this is all a trick —a way to get me so confused... that I'd forget who I really am and become your slave again. But either way... I.Let. You. Live. I've finally broken your hold over me.
Silencio! Silencio! Twenty-two years ago, I stood where I stand now....and watched my loved ones die, betrayed by those I called friends. Vengeance clouded my mind, and it would have consumed me, were it not for the wisdom of a few strangers, who taught me to look past my instincts. They never preached answers, but guided me to learn for myself. We don't need anyone to tell us what to do. Not Savonarola, nor the Medici. We are free to follow our own path. There are those who would take that freedom from us, and too many of you gladly give it up. But it is our ability to choose - whatever you think is true - that makes us human. There is no book or teacher to give you the answers, to show you the path. Choose your own way. Do not follow me, or anyone else.
Towards the end of the first Kingdom Hearts game, Sora is all about these.
Richter: You're right. We never learn. But one day, we'll have to. And if you return, someone like me will be waiting for you.
In Katawa Shoujo, near the end of Shizune's route, Hisao takes Misha on a tour of a campus, showing her places where they spent time during their days together, and how he started out as depressed and unwilling to do anything, but became more engaged over time. He ultimately concludes by telling her that he had to face the painful truth that he essentially pushed away all his friends during his time in the hospital and he does not want her to do the same to Shizune.
Miss Usher and Mr Montag want me on the bench for this game, and I know it's to keep their star player from being injured mid-season, but it feels more like being put in the penalty box. I want to step up to bat... I mean, I want to help out! I can use my powers- the really freaky ones. (Beat) You know they warded this school from the inside because of me? (Beat) I'm tired of being scared of it, being made sick by it; maybe that's how my powers want to be used- for me to just say the words and tear it all down!
Freddy Beaumont delivers a rare villainous example during the confrontation in the Illuminati Archives.
I've been in exile for a very long time. I was forced by false prophets to flee my homeland in disguise, degrade myself by pretending to be something I'm not, to be much less than I truly am. I spent a long time cursing my kind, planning my revenge and victorious return. Eventually, I got on with my life, and now, they're all dead and forgotten by those who once worshipped them! There's a lesson in there somewhere, I'm sure. Thing is, I'm ready to be myself once again; no more disguises. Their false prophecies perished with the White God. I'm free... and I don't plan on anything... or anyone changing that.
Halo 4 has Cortana give a very simple speech to Master Chief as she explains how she sacrificed herself to ensure that he survived the destruction of the Didact's ship. Much of the game shows how Chief is so involved with being the hero that he has lost much of what it means to be a regular person.
Roy Greenhilt's response to Xykon after the lich asks him to stand down and come back later, immediately after Xykon suggests that he's still trying to impress Daddy. Roy manages to prove just how far he's come, and that he's no longer the same college kid who swore to kill Xykon just because his dad thought he couldn't.
Roy: I'll be the first to admit that I got into this quest for all the wrong reasons, but none of that matters now. You're a threat to the entire world, not just me and my family. But like it or not, you're still MY responsibility. Because I'm the only one here who's willing to be responsible. You may not be out to destroy the physical planet, but living under the heel of a walking villain cliché like you will destroy its soul. If I don't beat you here and now, then soon this screwed-up nonsensical world won't exist anymore. There won't be any place left for introverted dwarves. Or androgynous elves. Or idiotic bards or greedy rogues... or sexy sylphes. Or hell, even raging narcissistic paladins. Bloodthirsty halflings will probably get along fine, though. So, in summary, it's a dirty job, but some PC has to do it. Enough with the speeches. Let's get down to brass tacks.
In the prequel Start of Darkness, Xykon gives Dorukon a brutal one as he's killing him, about how much he resents being looked down upon by wizards, something that has happened frequently during the book:
Xykon: Hey you know what really gets under my skin? Proverbially, of course? A century of wizards looking down their damn noses at me. I know people think I'm stupid. Because I'm not a wizard. Because I get bored easily. Because I have no interest in strategy or tactics or contingency planning. But see, I've learned a lot over the years since I died. A lot more than I learned during my life. And now I see planning doesn't matter. Strategy doesn't matter. Only two things matter: Force in as great a concentration as you can manage, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide. In any battle, there's always a level of force against which no tactics can succeed. For example, all I need to do is keep smacking you with Energy Drains, and eventually you won't be able to cast any of your fancy spells at all. Because yes, I am a sorcerer — and this magic is in my bones, not cribbed-off "Magic for Dummies". And I can keep casting the same friggin' spell at you until you roll over and die. You can have your finely-tuned watch -- give me the sledgehammer to the face any day.
Liquid: Oh no. That was the old Liquid. The dumbass Liquid. The Liquid who'd cut his arm off to prove he could get by without it. I realized something while I was dead. My entire life I've been obsessed with proving you wrong. Proving that I'm not garbage, that I can be the best in spite of all my recessive genes. But I've figured you out, old man. I know why you always told me I was worthless. Why you destroyed my self-confidence, made me think I had to do everything the hard way to earn any respect. I'm better than you. And you know it. If you hadn't turned me into such an insecure showoff, history would only remember you as Liquid Snake's father.
Subverted in that Liquid is wrong; Big Boss manipulated his emotions not to cripple him out of jealousy, but to strengthen him by giving him a relentless drive to overcome his perceived inferiority to Solid Snake, thus allowing him to continue on Big Boss' goals.
In Anti Bunny, main(ish) charecter Nailbat gives one of these, pointing out that he is a blackbelt, bulets dodge HIM, he can't be killed untill the day he dies in about six months, knows that whatever he does he won't have to face the consiquences of because he'll irevocably die, and has the power to defy fate. He doesn't chose his lifestyle and code of honor because of labels or societies demands, he does it because it's the right thing to do. I mean, when you cannot die untill the clock hits zero and you know if you do somthing with horrible consiquences it won't matter for you in the long run, it takes a very strong sense of right and wrong to not abuse that.
Smoke from WTF Comics unloads one of these onto Nikisha after she attacks Anna with a poisoned throwing star in order to get to him. Oh, and while giving this Smoke is also beating her to an inch of her life her
Smoke: It's always the same… wherever I go, it's the same. People like you have no problem hurting the innocent to get at others… can't just come after who you really want. NO! You try to kill a kid who's only mistake was being a friend! Just leverage! A tool! Just like before, just like her! Well not again!
Rumisiel: You want to see spirits? You want to look into the eyes of the beings who will watch over the end of days? I have seen the fall of empires and the murder of millions! I have shoved that data into files like so many numbers! I have seen a great many things, but little as ignorant and dangerous as a conceited little girl who has used so called "spiritual devices" to turn her own unbridled ID into a demon capable of killing the one she's too stupid to realize she loves!
Lucca: When there is no hope… there's nothing to lose by trying. Maybe I am destined to become a puppet. Maybe there's nothing I can do to stop what's coming. BUT I'LL BE DAMNED IF I GO DOWN QUIETLY. Even if I have to twist the very fabric of reality…I won't lose!
Melna Durnaxe of Dominic Deegan gets a very special moment of closure during the 'March Across Maltak' Arc.
Arbiter: It doesn’t surprise me that a dose of emotion would have a toxic effect on an emotion-deprived cretin like you. Who’s really the plastic one here? Your bleak outlook on life is poisonous. Maybe the world is a big sinking ship. But we can’t accept that as an inevitability and use it as an excuse to act like shitheads. We have to be the change we seek. We have to build something better for ourselves.
Red vs. Blue has a few, almost invariably with Church. There's a joke one at the end of season 5, which is more a send-up of the first episode than anything else.
There's the one in the last episode of season 6, which pull triple-duty as a Crowning Moment of Awesome and a Tear Jerker. YMMV, depending on whether you believe he come to accept the revelation for which the season is named.
Wash: But when the EMP goes off- Church: When it goes off, I'll be fine. It only effects AI, remember? And I am a mother fucking ghost.
Reborn Tex has one of these in Avalanche when she's telling Epsilon Church that she's going to find out why she's there. Then she shoots him in the foot. Because Tex.
Church has a truly memorable and brilliant one of these at the end of season 8, where he accepts the realities of a situation that he's an AI and that he's going to try and find Tex inside the dying Epsilon Capture Unit. It turns a truly crushing Downer Ending into a Bittersweet Ending, because he's hopeful that he'll find Tex and that they will be able to be together, after all. He even makes very touching comments on the nature of love and relationships, and somehow made it not inimical to the absolute silliness of the world. Swiftly and thoroughly deconstructed in the next season, mainly for laughs. Finally resolved with a second"World of Cardboard" Speech to round out, of all things, the "Memory is the Key" arc, that left anyone with a soul absolutely speechless.
This is what the moment of revelation looks like for Dr. Horrible, who proceeds to enlighten us with Brand New Day, a World of Cardboard Song.
With Doug Walker of That Guy with the Glasses there had been multiple videos that touch upon the fact that he is portraying a lot of characters and sometimes there is a conflict between his desire to move on to new projects and sticking with the founding The Nostalgia Critic. Doug eventually retired the Critic within fiction in To Boldly Flee and gives something of a Grand Finale in the last review so he could move on to new projects. A few months later he realized that his discomfort with the Critic was a matter of being burnt out on all the different projects and not a matter of not having anything more to say. "The Review Must Go On" depicts Doug conversing with the Critic over the terms of his return.
Doug Walker:"One last condition... (holds up copy of The Odd Life Of Timothy Green) this must be the first review." Nostalgia Critic:"Why?" Doug:"Because this is the movie that brought you back, that made me realize I can do this again. I feel like I owe it." NC:"But nobody saw it, I don't know how many people remember it." Doug:"Maybe it's to show that something that's regarded as terrible or forgettable can still inspire something creative."
In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Terry was always being chided by the Joker for not being "the real Batman". At the climax, Terry found himself slightly outmatched but came to realize that the original Batman was unable to fully beat the Joker at his mind games. To counter this, Terry turned the tables through an epic verbal beatdown that actually got the Joker to stop smiling. He got the Joker to finally lose his cool by doing exactly what Joker had wanted Batman to do ever since they started fighting: laugh. Terry makes the Joker flip out by laughing at him. Granted, the immediate result was not what Terry had in mind, but it was to show that Terry had a quality that allowed him to combat the Joker better than the original Batman ever could. It can be viewed here.
"Man, I'm so tired of you dumping on me, and I'm so tired of dumping on myself. Jazz never did that, even when I was mad at her, and I won't let her DOWN!"
The Trope Namer, which you can watch here, is Superman's speech in Justice League Unlimited while fighting with Darkseid during the Grand Finale. The specific moment that inspired him was Batman selflessly and fearlessly jumping onto the tyrants' back and even managing to dodge his Omega Blast, something no one has ever been able to do, as well as Darkseid declaring "Can't you see that it's hopeless?" Superman, of course, decided to prove Batman right and Darkseid wrong.
It's something of a subversion since while Darkseid might have been outclassed on a physical level, he had access to extremely advanced technology ( the combination of Apokolips technology and his merging with Brainiac) that allowed him to subdue Superman... before Superman even finished the original speech. The entire sequence can be seen here.
In Kung Fu Panda, Po had his epiphany regarding the dragon scroll well before he faced the Big Bad Tai Lung. Tai Lung even said that Po seemed to be much stronger than he should be. But it wasn't until Tai Lung learned the secret of the Dragon scroll that Po mastered that he began to outclass him, inverting the Breaking Speech. As for an actual speech, Po did have a very condensed but effective one that encapsulated the fact that his weakness had become his strength:
Tai Lung: You cannot defeat me. You... you're just a big... fat... panda!
Po: I'm not a big fat panda. I'm the big fat panda.
Twilight Sparkle: I'll tell you what we've learned, Discord! We've learned that friendship isn't always easy, but there's no doubt it's worth fighting for!
Tiana's speech to Facilier in Princess And The Frog when he tries to lure her by material want rather than the love she always had.
ReBoot: Enzo had spent a lifetime trying to become strong enough to live up to Bob's standard, but in doing so he realized he was becoming more like Megabyte, merciless and violent. In their climactic fight in the final storyline of season 3, he spared Megabyte's life at the last moment, deciding that killing Megabyte would make him Not So Different and that sparing Megabyte would be a far better insult to the smug Magnificent Bastard. He declared that Mainframe deserved a better hero than that.
He gives a similar speech after a revelation that he was just letting the games control him. While he couldn't control where the games took him, he decided to refuse to play by their rules, and they eventually made it to their destination.
At the climax of the Spongebob Squarepants movie, Plankton has beaten the heroes, and states in his Breaking Speech that Spongebob was doomed from the beginning because he was a kid. His response?
"I guess you're right Plankton. I am just a kid. And ya know, I've been through a lot in the past six days, five minutes, twenty seven and a half seconds, and if I've learned anything during that time, it's that you are who you are. And no amount of mermaid magic, or managerial promotion, or some other third thing, can make me anything more than what I really am inside, a kid. But that's okay! Cause I did what everyone said a kid couldn't do! I made it to Shell City, and I beat the cyclops, and I rode the Hasselhoff, and I brought the crown back! So yeah I'm a kid, and I'm also a goofball, and a wingnut, and a knucklehead mcspazzetron! But most of all... I'm... I'm... I'm... I'M A GOOFY GOOBER, ROCK!"
However, one of the episodes of the same series has a rather hilarious subversion of the trope; Mermaid seems to be making such a speech, but it soon spirals into nonsense:
"Hey, little hero, this reminds me of the Episode 912. We were surrounded. The Kelp-Thing was to our right and there was broccoli on the side. But if there was one thing I remember, it was how to forget. The rain in Spain stays mainly on the...space! The final countdown. Stick to the...stick to the...Lou, my darling! Lou! Now go out there and finish this movie, kid."
In the fan favorite episode "Band Geeks" Squidward needed to put together a marching band in a week to play for a halftime show. He enlisted the help of Bikini Bottom but despite his best efforts no one really gave it a good try and the last day a petty fight broke out among the band members. Squidward chews them out for crushing his dream and leaves depressed. Spongebob then told the crowd about how he was ashamed that they didn't step up to help Squidward when he needed them, and Spongebob rallies the band to actually give Squidward something to be proud of.
In episode 2 of The Legend of Prince Valiant, Valiant has been trying to find Camelot, but everybody thinks it's a mere myth or has never heard of it. A witch, in an effort to break Valiant's spirit, shows him a horrifying vision of Camelot being destroyed and of King Arthur and his knights being slaughtered. While the vision does shake him up, it gives Valiant the epiphany that Camelot is real and he's not just chasing a dream, because "for something to be destroyed, it has to exist in the first place". His determination to find the legendary kingdom is renewed, and he vows to prevent it from being destroyed when he gets there.
Blue Beetle gives one in the series finale of Young Justice. After spending the entire series fighting with the Scarab (and it fighting with him) being stuck inside Jaime's body with each other for a few months turned them into equals and partners, united against any outside threat.