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03:17:26 PM Jan 21st 2014
edited by
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Is it just me, or do none of the examples really fit?
  • The Hallows being Hallows doesn't change a thing about the Cloak or the Elder Wand, and it's mentioned long before the Ring is used for its fabled purpose. And as the entry itself admits, there are hints, few and far between or not. I mean, you might as well say that the Sorting Hat was an ass pull. The Hallows were a plot element hinted at, then properly introduced, well before the concept of them became relevant.
  • The Parseltongue example. Harry said "open" in Parseltongue and Ron imitated it later on a whim. I mean, kinda, but it's not really any different from mimicking someone saying "hello" in French for the purpose of saying "hello" to someone in French. If anything, the ass pull was the incident Ron imitated - Harry suddenly going "oh wait I can open the locket now, at a properly dramatic time, instead of earlier".
  • The Ministry of Magic example is more of a plot hole or retcon, and certainly not an ass pull, especially since they don't actually track him, specifically, for anything. Not then, and not in previous books either.
  • The Fiendfyre... okay, yeah, I can grant that one. It was more convenient than necessary, but that really only matters for a Deus Ex Machina, I suppose.
11:15:21 AM Jan 6th 2014
So Ass Pull is listed as YMMV, Deus ex Machina as a subtrope of Ass Pull, but De M is not YMMV. Anyone able to explain that?
11:39:38 AM Jan 6th 2014
Ass Pull is a DEM done poorly, more or less. Which makes it subjective.
02:38:19 PM Dec 2nd 2013
I expected the main page to be a load of complaining with massive justifying edits under each one, but instead it's actually tidy!
10:26:30 AM Mar 15th 2013
  • The show does some egregious ass-pulling in the Grand Finale, when [[spoiler:Aang manages to avoid killing Firelord Ozai by "energybending" to cause him to lose his firebending abilities. Until that point, the existence of energybending had not been even slightly hinted at.

On the subject of Energybending as an asspull. The case was made (sort of) that it was foreshadowed in that pains were taken to establish that Aang wanted a non-lethal solution to beating Ozai. This may foreshadow that he would eventually find such a solution, but it in no way justifies energybending or invalidates it as an asspull.
07:40:33 PM May 16th 2013
edited by
So, I pulled this last summer for the same reason and I don't know who added it without checking this page for discussion in the first place.

First off, your argument seems to...well, it seems to weaken the position of this being an Ass Pull. They'd been building to the need for Aang to find a solution for some time and he found it after a lot of soul searching and communing with the spirit world. So, by this point we'd already established at least three different types of bending that defied normal description - Metalbending, Bloodbending, and...uh....Boombending. We'd already seen hints of the spirit world intervening for Aang to teach him things or get him out of trouble.

I think at this point, you have to prove that it IS

"(A) moment when the writers pull something out of thin air in a less-than-graceful narrative development, violating the Law of Conservation of Detail by dropping a plot-critical detail in the middle, or near the end of their narrative without Foreshadowing or dropping a Chekhov's Gun earlier on."

You yourself established the foreshadowing and we already know the Lion Turtle itself was hinted at earlier - hence the Chekhov's Gun.

Oh, and I pulled the Great Divide entry because it's definitely not describing this kind of moment in fiction.
09:19:12 PM May 21st 2013
edited by
I don't know about last summer, but I only recently readded the example because, after I presented a counter-argument, you failed to respond for three months. And then I kinda forgot about it. [lol] I won't wait nearly as long this time before readding it if you don't respond. Maybe three days. ;)

Metalbending and Bloodbending and what the Combustion Man did are specific sub-types of bending that rely on manipulating the given element in a certain way to achieve an unusual result. This can in no way be used to justify "Hand on face, no more bending lolz"

Foreshadowing that the Lion Turtle would appear does not justify them pulling Energybending out of thin air. It would be like...Idunno. If, in Star Wars, they had Yoda show up and give Luke an Anti-Sith Lord Gun, guaranteed to kill Sith Lords or your money back.

Foreshadowing that Aang is willing to endanger the lives of everyone on the planet rather than kill someone does not justify them pulling Energybending out of thin air. It would be like...if, in Star Wars, they said that Palpatine could only be defeated by a Jedi and then gave Luke magic Jedi powers instantly instead of making him train for them.

Just because A and B were foreshadowed doesn't mean C was.

He, in fact, did not find his answer by soul searching and communing with the Spirit World. He tried that and received 2/4 vote for "Kill the son of a gun." one vote for "Whatever you decide, don't wuss out." and only one for Screw Destiny. His soul searching and his communion with the spirit world turned up answers he wasn't willing to accept, but lo and behold, magic turtle comes with completely new, completely unheard of, technique to stop the bad guy without killing him.

This wasn't achieved through any sort of real process, considering your options, weighing your actions. It's just magic turtle —> Hand on face, no more bending. Regardless of whether the turtle's existence was established, the fact is that he just happened to show up at the last minute, apropos of nothing, and give Aang a solution to his problems without any sort of actual foreshadowing as to whether or even how this solution can possibly exist.

This is the very definition of Ass Pull.

No comment of The Great Divide. I didn't add that.
12:01:47 AM May 29th 2013
Argh, sorry about the delays in replies - I keep getting a bug with my watchlists where it will simply drop discussion pages without telling me.

Anyway, any Ass Pull is already negated from the start if we can establish a pattern of foreshadowing. It can be weak foreshadowing in your opinion, but it's not an Ass Pull if you can establish the setup was there in the text. It has to come completely out of nowhere. Energybending does not, Aang Taking A Third Option does not, even the Lion Turtle does not. And yes, he did commune with the spirit world - how do you think he gained the knowledge from the Lion Turtle in the first place? They flat out told us he did it like that. And it's not even the first time we've seen an Avatar using abilities gained from other spiritual beings (remember the times Aang physically turned into Roku and Kyoshi and had a completely different power set?)

This isn't the definition of an Ass Pull, this is grasping at straws.
12:21:52 AM May 29th 2013
edited by
Key word if. if we can establish a pattern of foreshadowing. We can't, as there WAS no foreshadowing for energybending. It did come out of nowhere.

Okay, so he was set up to look for a third option. The form that third option took was never previously established, not just weakly established, or weakly foreshadowed, not established or foreshadowed at all. There was nothing to suggest it was possible. Nothing to say "Hey, by the way, this is a thing."

The right way to go about this is to have him remember that one time where the wise old man said in a cryptic manner "Look out for them moving islands, eh?" or something like that.

The wrong way to go about this is "I'm gonna go off on my own and meditate with the spirits or whatever —fourteen hours later— well, I didn't get the answers I wanted, but what luck I was actually on a lion turtle and he gave me this technique that didn't exist before now. Que suerte!"

You will note that I did not say he didn't commune with the spirit world, I said that he didn't find his answers from doing so. When the answers he received weren't the ones he wanted to hear, he asked the lion turtle for help. The Lion Turtle gave him energybending which was not, in fact, foreshadowed.

Like I said before, just because A and B were foreshadowed doesn't mean C was. It bears repeating that the solutions he was looking for weren't achieved through any sort of real process, considering his options, weighing his actions. It's just magic turtle > Hand on face, no more bending.

Regardless of whether the turtle's existence was established, the fact is that he just happened to show up at the last minute, apropos of nothing, and give Aang a solution to his problems without any sort of actual foreshadowing as to whether or even how this solution can possibly exist.

This is not grasping at straws, this is firmly holding onto the barefaced, clear as day conspicuously discernible, thesaurus usingly, distinctly distinguishable, glaringly obvious truth. Otherwise known as "a moment when the writers pull something out of thin air in a less-than-graceful narrative development, violating the Law of Conservation of Detail by dropping a plot-critical detail in the middle, or near the end of their narrative without Fore Shadowing or dropping a Chekhov's Gun earlier on."

There was no detail to conserve, no shadow to fore, no Pavel to shoot the gun.
12:53:31 AM May 29th 2013
"Key word if. if we can establish a pattern of foreshadowing. We can't, as there WAS no foreshadowing for energybending. It did come out of nowhere. "

Wait, wait, wait. So we've done tons and tons of foreshadowing that Aang needs a solution to a conflict, he needs time in the spirit world to do that, and hey, there are MULTIPLE types of bending that defy normal description. What do you think the point of teaching about Bloodbending and Boombending and Metalbending was but proof that there are far deeper ways to manipulate power? Oh hey, I guess Toph suddenly learning Metalbending is a big ol' Ass Pull right there.

And the fact that we finally learn that Energybending exists IS the Ass Pull? We don't learn it at the last minute, we've spent all this time building up to it and establishing that bending is a broad enough topic. And for that matter, they don't just pull it out at the last minute - it's done over, officially, four episodes. Not the last episode. The exact mechanism of Energybending isn't itself an Ass Pull, that would be Aang never doing any amount of work to solve his problem and then suddenly solving his problem with Energybending. As usual, Aang was forced to reconsider a problem and find a solution from someone who knew more than he did. The moment we learned about Energybending (i.e. "Hand on face, no more bending") was in a flashback to information Aang had learned before that. You know, it's called solving a mystery?

We were already told that he'd left the earthly plain, so Aang finding a spirit at his exact location that could aid him would make sense given that we can assume he's in the spirit world. Oh, and we already had to know the island was somehow alive since nobody could find it after he left.

And yea, I'm sorry, but...we already knew that the Lion Turtle existed before this episode, references to them actually showed up eight times on the show, as early as Season Two. This was being built up for some time. Hell, the original (non-canon) pilot even had a massive statue of one.

Are you suggesting the only way Energybending can't be an Ass Pull is if we already knew it existed? That we can only accept the Lion Turtle if someone specifically said "Oh, Lion Turtles! They're islands!" Because that suggests that in spite of even you admitting there is tons of foreshadowing leading up to this moment, that it doesn't matter because we weren't explicitly told "Hey, there's non-lethal bending stealing powers out there!"

I'd also point out that the Lion Turtle storyline is in and of itself a really clear reference to the very Asian mythology that most of this show is based on. Specifically, one Avatar of Vishnu is a giant turtle that carries the world...and another is a half-man, half-lion that helps a small boy defeat an evil king. Yea, that's a Viewers Are Geniuses moment right there.

All right, I'm going to pass out because I think my thoughts are growing less coherent as the evening wears on.
03:30:53 AM May 29th 2013
OK, my thoughts is that unless the story-breaker aspect of energybending was foreshadowed, this is a valid example. It's also well written enough.
09:22:26 AM May 29th 2013
*points to YMMV banner at top of page* The example is neither factually incorrect nor is it really misrepresenting anything, so it should stay on the page. Although without the "egregious"; that is overstating things.

That said, in my opinion, I don't think it's quite an Ass Pull because of the amount of foreshadowing that Aang would find some way to Take a Third Option and that that way would be something out of the ordinary.
02:50:11 PM May 29th 2013
edited by
Like I said the last time Metal and Blood bending were brought up, they are in no way related. Bloodbending and Metalbending are specific subtypes that rely on manipulating the given element in a certain way to achieve a specific outcome. HOFNMB is not just a type of bending that defies normal description of bending it is a type of bending that did not exist before it was used. There is no prior evidence that it was possible to remove someone's bending by altering the energy in their body, or even, to my memory, that it was possible to alter that energy in the first place.

We actually do learn about it at the last minute. While the lion turtle gave Aang the knowledge to use it in the episode before, it wasn't until the very end of the very last fight that it actually becomes a thing. We spend no time building up to HOFNMB and this is not a case of bending being a topic broader than previously believed.

Once again. A and B, yes. C, no. They are connected, sorta kinda maybe in the way that Mace Windu was connected to Palpatine, but not the same. What part of this defies you?

The exact mechanism of Energybending is an Ass Pull, just like everything else about it, because it was never previously established that altering the energy in someone else's body to block bending ability is, you know, a thing.

Aang never did do any amount of work to solve his problem. It was all but literally handed to him o a silver platter after he pissed and moaned about how terrible taking a life is and how the other Avatars didn't tell him what he wanted to hear woe is Aang.

Aang was forced to reconsider a problem, but then that reconsideration was tossed aside by magic turtle —> HOFNMB

Even accepting that he was in the spirit world, which is really just splitting hairs as to where he was handed the ultimate solution to his problems, the spirit world is a big place. Why is it that he just happened to end up in a spot where the lion turtle was?

The lion turtle being foreshadowed is not up for debate. I already acknowledged that it was. I also pointed out that it doesn't matter because just because the lion turtle was foreshadowed doesn't justify energybending.

Yes and no. Energybending isn't an asspull just because we didn't already know it existed, it's an asspull because there WAS NOTHING THAT REMOTELY HINTED AT ITS EXISTENCE and because they just randomly threw it in at the last second because they wrote themselves into a corner as to how Aang can stop Ozai without killing him.

Ok, there was a statue. Big whoop. How does a lion turtle being foreshadowed in any way justify the existence of a technique that, for the...what? Tenth time now? Did not exist prior to its introduction, which shows up at the 11th hour, without ANY hint that it was possible.

Ironically, I've been arguing against this moment being a Deus ex Machina, though it defies it only by the most flimsy of technicalities.

Lion turtle is an asian myth. Ringading ding. That that has nothing to do with the fact that energybending is an Ass Pull.
08:16:29 AM May 30th 2013
I personally call Energy Bending an Ass Pull, since while new subtypes of Bending were established, entirely new forms of bending were not. We have this Avatar Cycle that explicitly talks about 4 bending types going back countless generations, but this new one that got rediscovered?

Bloodbending as a means of disabling bending was better foreshadowed, since the use of pressure points to disable bending was established, using Bloodbending to go inside someone was established, so combining the two makes sense.
08:59:50 PM Jun 4th 2013
Right, sorry for vanishing for a week again. Since we got more people in on this to break the stalemate (thanks guys), it seems fair to put this back without quite the loaded language it was using. Takin' a shot.

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has a base-breaking example in the series finale, where Aang, after struggling for some time over whether or not he should kill Fire Lord Ozai, is suddenly able to Take a Third Option and strip his bending from him using a previously unknown and largely unforeshadowed technique known as Energybending. Wordof God from a post-series artbook states that they'd planned on this story development well before the show was even picked up by a kids network. It doesn't really negate that even though there's a lot of hints that Aang could find an option like this, it is a very sudden and last minute development.
10:53:49 AM Jun 5th 2013
Works for me.
11:49:26 AM Jun 5th 2013
07:19:41 AM Jan 19th 2013
Why does this keep getting deleted? (In the section for Bleach)

  • During his fight with Ulquiorra, Ichigo is killed by Ulquiorra's Second Resurrection. Orihime screams his name a few times and Ichigo magically comes back to life by transforming into a completely new, utterly over-powered Hollow form that takes out Ulquiorra and disappears, never to be seen again. No explanation is given for this whatsoever and there was never even the slightest hint that it was possible.

The only justification that's used by the person deleting it was Ichigo's inner hollow telling Ichigo not to die in Bleach chapter 221 - that doesn't exactly indicate that said hollow will literally bring Ichigo back from the dead with super-powers if he does. In fact, given the context, it's more like "if you die, then I die too" or "I'll be back eventually to take your power for myself - don't die before then, 'kay?" than what the other troper is claiming.
06:06:29 PM Nov 28th 2012
How is this YMMV? The criteria are distinct and Tropes Are Not Bad.
05:21:40 PM Feb 21st 2013
Because it's up to the viewer if the methods explaining the "ass pull" are good enough.
10:46:03 AM Jul 5th 2012
Pulled the entry on Avatar since by it's own entry it doesn't qualify.
04:24:31 AM Aug 26th 2010
I just deleted a part about Ed sacrificing the gate as an asspull when it was heavily talked about that Ed has to sacrifice something for Al. Several people pointed out that it wasn't an asspull, and the person who wrote it doesn't really explain why it's an asspull.

If you explain to me why it's an asspull I won't object to putting it back up.
07:57:14 PM Aug 19th 2010
Actually think it might be better to take this bit into discussion:

  • The Hougyoku's involvement in the development of Ichigo, Orihime and Chad's powers despite being dormant and sealed inside Rukia's soul. Arguably its function as a Reality Warper rather than just something to dissolve the barriers between Shinigami and Hollows.
    • This may not be an Ass Pull. Urahara theorized Orihimie's and Chad's power resulted from Ichigo's leaking reiatsu but if that were the case why would Tatsuki, Keigo and Mizuiro and Ichigo's siblings not develop any power except for being able to be sensitive to reiatsu? Chad and Orihime on the other hand both were involved in a fight (Acidwire/Shrieker respectively) against a Hollow where Rukia was present and they were not really in a position to help. One where they might've "cursed their powerlessness"...

The ultimate problem I'd have with this assertation attempting to justify is because even though the others did not gain more direct powers in line with Orihime and Chad, they have in fact been slowly evolving. Tatsuki clearly has an excuse in that regard, being highly protective of Orihime and having been involved in not one but two cases where she was completely unable to do anything, so she too might have been affected for a time by the orb, but the issue is Mizuno and Keigo, both of which also have been developing abilities for no explained reason despite having not been caught up in any of the shenanigans.

when the cause of their developing powers was Ichigo, this made sense, as each of the people developing powers were in some way close to Ichigo, Ishida even outright notes this when he makes note of his folly in going to protect his sisters from hollows when his friends also have unnaturally high spirit pressures at this point. However if the root cause of any kind of development is cursing their powerlessness from the bottom of their hearts, Mizuno and Keigo make no sense as to having any kind of development, having not been in any situation remotely like the others.

The most obvious explanation as to why they didn't have more direct powers, prior to the change of course, would be that they hadn't been put into such a desperate situation as to where they could easily use them when the chips called for it, Tatsuki being seeded or drained in both instances of high danger after her development, and Keigo being protected by Ikkaku more or less. Basically they, unlike Chad and Orihime, didn't have a chance to pull them out in that regard. But now with the change it leaves more questions about stuff that previously made logical sense prior to this.
10:50:35 AM Aug 18th 2010
Some have pointed out the energybending from Avatar: The Last Airbender helps to make sense of Aang's other Avatar powers if we assume that energy == chi == spirit. I still think that it qualifies as an Ass Pull simply because the series doesn't effectively connect the dots on screen, but I believe an argument can be made that this is a case of insufficient exposition that leads to an Ass Pull in practice.
10:47:23 AM Jul 13th 2010
Need a third party to comment on this conversation.
06:21:44 AM Jun 3rd 2010
  • When a creature evolves just at the right time, often in the middle of a battle. Especially noticeable as the game mechanics only allow evolution after a battle has ended. This is not the only game mechanic to be played around with in the anime ("Pikachu! The horn!" in his battle against Blaine's Rhydon, for instance). The horn moment became a Reverse Funny Aneurysm when later games introduced Rhydon's ability to attract lightning with the horn, protecting allies at no cost to itself.
  • Averted during Ash's battle against Boring Invincible Anti-Hero Paul when Ash's Chimchar evolved into a Monferno while battling Paul's Electrabuzz. It then promptly lost quite thoroughly, cementing the contest's status as a Curbstomp Battle.
  • Some episodes before the Gym Battle versus Fantina, Ash fights with their Turtwig in a One-to-One battle against Paul and their Honchkrow. Turtwig was going to be defeated, and in the precise moment, Turtwig evolves to Grotle. It looks like a shine of hope for Ash, but not, he evolved only for being curb-stomped by the quick attacks of Honchkrow. Justified in that Turtwig, when evolved to Grotle, gained a lot of weight, making to Grotle unable to move with ease and quickness.

a) Evolution during the combat or thanks sheer will power was something started being showed really early in the plot. b) This thing is extremely commom in the anime. C) Is impossible note anything remotly weird with this without knew about the games.D) The characters are not playng the video game.
10:46:46 AM Jul 13th 2010
edited by KingZeal
Disregard. Wrong text box.
03:24:18 PM Apr 29th 2010
edited by FastEddie
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