Downplayed: The battle against Lady Rubliss is genuinely unwinnable for your current party, no matter how hard you try.note Level Grinding, Bug Exploitation, Sequence Breaking, etc. That's where ApolloLandstar enters into the picture, taking out Lady Rubliss.
The thrashing by Lady Rubliss is what motivates the party to begin their adventure in the first place.
Lady Rubliss is about to finish off the party, but Emperor Evulz calls her back to the palace before she can do so.
Had it been any other elite commander the party would have been wiped out and the story ended, but Lady Rubliss hasherown reasons for keeping Hiro's group alive. She uses the butt-whupping to send two messages: that they need to become much stronger, and that she is not to be trifled with. It may also possibly hint at a way to defeat her other than through force of arms.
There was a protection that prevent the boss from killing you, but despite that you could still get hit pretty good.
Zig Zagged: Hiro's team sneaks into one of the Emperor's strongholds and run into Lady Rubliss; despite his friends' warnings, Hiro challenges her. Surprisingly, the fight doesn't go too badly... in fact, she goes down rather quickly. It's only after defeating her that they realize their mistake — this isn't Rubliss at all! It's her sister! The real Lady Rubliss arrives and attacks; while the fight looks hopeless, as Lady Rubliss is much more powerful and righteously pissed off over the wholeambushing her sister in their own home thing, she's not invincible. Either way, the plot kicks in afterwards, allowing Hiro and friends to escape while Lady Rubliss vows revenge...
Averted: Lady Rubliss needs to be defeated, just like any other boss.
Enforced: Running into Lady Rubliss at this point allows players to get a taste of her personality and establishes her importance, and hopefully will spur players onward seeking the inevitable rematch.
Lampshaded: "You might as well give up; you can't even touch me."
Discussed: "What are we gonna do? She's invincible!"
Conversed: "I've used every attack and item at my disposal. At this point, I don't think I'm supposed to win."
Deconstructed: While Lady Rubliss chooses to let the heroes live, she also seriously injures Claudia, forcing her to leave the party to focus on recovery, meaning the party have no healing for a while. Hiro and Marcy also have to recover from their injuries, and Marcy is more than a little peeved at Hiro for ignoring her warnings and nearly getting them all killed.
Reconstructed: Hiro points out that while they might not have won, they can't just let evil have its way without at least opposing it. Beyond Honour Before Reason, Hiro also notes that their sacrifice may have weakened Lady Rubliss or slowed her down at a crucial point, preventing more deaths. Hiro also notes that the team now knows what to expect from the enemy; if The Dark Chick was like that, what will the Big Bad be like? And Hiro directs the teams training and recruitment towards the new threat using this intelligence, proving that sometimes being completely thrashed can be the best thing to happen to an arrogant group of heroes.
Played For Laughs: Hiro after slaying countless demons and human minions is defeated by a single elderly trafficcop who turns out to be an extremely feeble old man. Cool, it's an Old Master who can help them on their quest!... no, it really is just a weak old man who got lucky.
Played For Drama: Lady Rubliss finds a nonstandard ending to the battle, separating Hiro from his hometown and thrusting him into the role of hero.