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Beyond The Impossible / Western Animation

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"To infinity... and BEYOND!"

The medium of Western Animation is such that literally anything is possible. Beyond The Impossible, in this case, refers to those rare actions and events that do not conform to the previously established rules of its universe. Generally, the more realistic a work is, the greater the likelihood that something going Beyond The Impossible can be found. Cartoons like Looney Tunes would be exempt from this trope, because the characters and settings follow no rules except the Rule of Funny (a rule which cannot be broken, only ignored).


  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Earth Benders repeatedly demonstrate that they cannot bend metal. Magic A Is Magic A is so strong with this one that an entire episode was based on earth benders as POWs in a metal prison. This trope comes into play near the season 2 climax when Toph invents metalbending. Not only did this come in handy during the rest of her adventures, but it also made her Legendary in the Sequel, The Legend of Korra. She also passed the art onto her two daughters, Lin and Suyin.
    • Firebenders producing colored flame beyond the typical red, orange, and/or white was also supposed to be impossible... until the royal fire siblings Zuko and Azula produced dragon fire and blue fire, respectively. The same goes for the lightning redirection technique; up until Iroh got creative, there was no block or counter to lightning. Ozai's face when Zuko redirects his own lightning back at him says it all in terms of how impossible it was considered to be until it happened.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • "It's not a full are you doing this!?" Korra when Tarrlok bloodbends her into submission. A panning shot later confirmed that the moon was indeed only a crescent.
      • Amon can resist bloodbending. Tarrlok's bloodbending. It's been shown already that the only ones who are able to resist bloodbending are fully fledged Avatars and waterbenders that are at least as skilled as the bloodbender in question. And even without considering that, it was also shown that Tarrlok was able to take down many of the strongest characters in the show, including Korra, using his bloodbending. Revealed to be a subversion, however, when Amon turns out to be Tarrlok's older brother, and consequently a more skilled waterbender, and bloodbender, himself.
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    • Yakone, father of Amon/Noatok and Tarrlok, also demonstrated the ability to bloodbend on whichever day he pleased. In fact, he deliberately avoided bloodbending during the full moon, so that when he was brought to trial, he claimed he had to be innocent because, as everyone knows, the crime he was accused of was physically impossible. Sokka shot this one down by pointing out that there were many recorded cases of people manifesting odd powers unknown to traditional bending, such as Combustion Man.
    • When Korra gets chained up in platinum cuffs by the Red Lotus at the end of season 3, she rips them out of the wall. Either she physically ripped them out (platinum is very heavy) or she metalbent them. Not even Toph is good enough to bend a metal as pure as platinum.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a cartoon with the occasional Acceptable Breaks from Reality by Rule of Funny... but there are exceptions.
    • Pinkie Pie can do much more cartoonish and impossible things than anyone else.
      • In one episode, she repeatedly appeared in places that were far too small for her to fit, culminating in her appearing in a mirror without being in the room.
      • Besides Offscreen Teleportation, she has appeared briefly in more than one location at the same time.
      • There's her notorious disregard of the fourth wall. Outside of a one-off gag or two, Spike is the only other character to engage in this, and does so far less overtly or consistently.
      • In the episode "A Friend In Deed," Pinkie Pie has Fantasy Sequence done in felt as she runs through her checklist of friend-making activities. After coming out of the spot, she resolves to complete her list, and punctuates it by holding up a green felt checkmark from her Fantasy Sequence.
      • In the same episode, she also sprouts an extra pair of limbs, which disappear just as suddenly. ...Yeah.
      • In "Too Many Pinkie Pies," Rainbow Dash is trying to nap by the lakeside. Pinkie, who still wants to jump and splash around, compromises by doing a huge cannonball - only to slow herself down in midair just as she reaches the water, and gently float the rest of the way down. Rainbow stares and asks, "How did you do that?" Though it gained less attention, she did the same thing while bouncing on a trampoline at the beginning of "The Best Night Ever."
      • "Too Many Pinkie Pies" also has her (or rather, her clones) perform feats like inflating her hoof so that working fingers pop out, or making a "crazy face" by morphing her face to resemble that of a G3 pony... which Twilight Sparkle immediately proceeds to blast to oblivion.
      • The "Pinkie Sense" is an ability of Pinkie's that, according to Twilight Sparkle, breaks the Magic A Is Magic A rules of the world.
      • In "Magic Duel" she played multiple instruments at the same time without using her mouth. note 
      • In "Party Pooped" it turns out Pinkie Pie has a hidden room beneath Sugarcube Corner with information on every pony in town so she knows exactly how to throw the absolute best and perfect parties for them. The only way in or out is a large slide. Pinkie Pie just leaves by sliding up it. The rest of the ponies are left wondering how in the hell they are going to get out.
      • The end of "School Raze" shows all the magic returning to the unicorns and alicorns of the world, and three beams of magic go toward the Mane Six: Two go to Rarity and Twilight Sparkle's horns, and one goes to Pinkie Pie's nose. Somehow, as an earth pony, Pinkie has tangible unicorn-like magic. Honestly, this explains a lot.
      • This carries into Equestria Girls, where it stands out even more because the human world is explicitly non-magical. Among other feats, she pulls one of the balloon patterns off her skirt and inflates it, teleports behind Twilight Sparkle so she can grab her from behind, and later drops down from the top of the frame, upside down. During the attempt to keep Twilight's crown away from Sunset Shimmer near the climax, she also grabs the crown from Snips by materializing behind him. As usual, no one seems to notice any of this.
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    • The Everfree Forest is considered an Eldritch Location because everywhere else in Equestria requires ponies to manage its natural processes, whereas the Everfree Forest takes care of itself.
    • Everypony thought that the Sonic Rainboom was impossible until Rainbow Dash performed it.
      "Most people thought the Sonic Rainboom was just an old mare's tale but on that day, the day I discovered racing, I proved that the legends were true. I made the impossible happen!"
    • Sweetie Belle's status as Lethal Chef is nothing important but there remains her culinary impossibility:
      Rarity: I didn't know you could burn juice.
      • She also managed to liquefy toast.
  • Adventure Time:
    • While the show has a habit of doing this anyway, Billy's backstory had him defeat a Humanoid Abomination and literally PUNCH AN OCEAN TO DEATH. note 
    • Finn popped a bubble he had made into a black hole with a four-dimensional sword despite in-show and real life logic and physics saying otherwise.
  • In Wakfu, Nox, the main villain of the first season, is a powerful Time Mage who has been alive for over 200 years, collecting life energy and feeding it to a powerful magical artifact called the Eliacube, trying to accumulate enough energy to turn back time in order to undo a mistake which caused the death of his family. He has slaughtered countless people and entire civilizations for this purpose alone, despite being warned that doing so is impossible, even for a Time Mage, and could instead result in reality being destroyed. In the end, he manages to achieve his energy goal and actually succeeds in turning back time by 20 minutes.
  • The Transformers: Alternity Megatron's Tesseractal Swords are blades of infinite length. "Physical space is not an obstruction."
  • Played for laughs in Lilo & Stitch: The Series. The duo have failed to reform 627 in the usual way, so they ask Jumba, resident Evil Genius and 627's creator, if they can dehydrate him back into pod form.
    Jumba: No. When something is hydrated there is absolutely no way for it to being dehydrated.
    • They place an order and the device works.
  • 6teen: Jude can get a tan from the mall's florescent lights. His explaination: "The key to a good va-cay is all in the mind ." Nikki shouted how impossible this was but the tan was there so there wasn't much she could do about it.
  • Men in Black have a Freeze Ray that can freeze fire.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Cyborg once got in a Brawler Lock with an insanely strong robot who was working at full power. Cyborg won by going farther than full power. His meter was at around 160% before it exploded. This was in fact the aesop of the episode: Cyborg believed it was impossible for him to get any stronger/faster/better etc. because "I'm a robot; my limits are built in." His human half allowed his mechanical half to perform better than what should have been possible. note 
    • Also discussed in the episode "How Long is Forever" where Starfire laments the Warp's claim about changing the future being impossible and Robin reminds her of their past achievements.
    Robin: So it's impossible? Good, if memory serves we've done the impossible before.
  • Futurama:
    • Many of Professor Farnsworth's inventions involve screwing logic. For example, the Planet Express ship doesn't fly, it stays put and moves the universe around it. Not to mention the boxes in Universe 1 and Universe A, which contain each other's universes - until the Professor and his Universe A counterpart somehow switch them, so that each box contains its own universe.
      Professor: Nothing is impossible. Not if you can imagine it.
    • On multiple occasions, bending robots have bent "unbendable" girders. Bender in particular has bent objects that shouldn't be able to bend, including a wooden door and a brick wall.
    • This is why they've provided the page quote for Voodoo Shark. To elaborate, the episode takes place at the bottom of the ocean. Zoidberg finds an empty shell, which he moves into and turns into his home. Later in the episode, said home has burned down. The impossibility of this is lampshaded, then Hand Waved as where Bender left his cigar.
    • Bender's arms came off in the pilot and he managed to put them both back on by himself. Lampshaded by Fry: "I don't know how you did that".note 
    • Scientists increased the speed of light in 2208.
    • In "Future Stock", Igner is given a controller with only two buttons, "yes" and "no". He somehow manages to press the non-existent "Pat Buchanan" button.
  • Cosgrove, friend of Freakazoid!, has the ability to make any group of characters immediately stop fighting and behave themselves, from common burglars to supervillain mooks. It even works on The Warner Brothers (and Sister). The premise of their own show was their inability to be contained or controlled.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Three examples:
    • Master Yao can do more than Supernatural Martial Arts and perform outright magic such as Time Stands Still and do physical attacks with his mind.
    • There are techniques called the 'Six Impossible Moves' which would be better named 'six moves that are impossible for anyone lacking 'The Gift'. Po and Fenghuang can do them because they have it and this is presumably what fuels the latter's "strong rule the weak" beliefs.
    • "The Three Needles" is a trick that is repeatedly stated to be impossible. Po accomplishes it by cheating with magic shoes. Which is how Shifu and the others knew that he was cheating.
  • Ben's City: "The Debris" contains a lot of supernatural elements, and the ending of "The All Inclusive" feels like a Karmic Twist Ending. Yet, most of the rest of the series happens in a very realistic world.
  • DuckTales (1987):
    • The first plot arc featured a dog(?) who had been looking for the city of gold for centuries. When asked how he stayed alive that long, all he said was "Sheer willpower!"
    • In the episode "Top Duck", the story opens with Launchpad attempting a stunt that Huey claims no pilot has ever survived. Not only does Launchpad survive the botched attempt, but also he goes on to perform the stunt to save Scrooge from falling out of the sky during an aerial battle with the Beagle Boys.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer once caused a nuclear meltdown in a truck containing a simulation of a nuclear power plant. In the same episode, he also, somehow, caused a criticality incident with a classroom model of a proton accelerator.
    • In another episode, Abe Simpson forgets his own name. He reminds himself by checking his underwear... without removing his pants. Even Abe himself wasn't sure how he did that.
  • On American Dad!, it's mentioned that Jeff's Missing Mom somehow ran away before she gave birth to him. Upon being told this, Stan asks how could she even do that.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, one of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's flashbacks to his Hilariously Abusive Childhood shows that neither of his parents were at the hospital for his birth.
    • In "Doof Side Of The Moon", it's stated that the building Phineas and Ferb built could not be moved by any force on Earth. It turns out to be a case of Exact Words, as it's moved by a force from the Moon.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: Murphy's Law allows Milo to do some pretty insane things. These include causing a fire with water and setting vinegar and baking soda on fire despite the mixture being endothermic.
  • Kaeloo: A lot of people Mr. Cat knows are capable of doing insane things, like a guy who somehow swallowed 12 miles of sausage without swallowing and a guy who stuffs chickpeas with gloves.
  • In Winx Club is stated and shown that Bloom's power, the Dragon's Flame, cannot be taken by force, only willingly given or inherited (all bearers have been related, with Bloom receiving it after her older sister's death and said sister inheriting it from their mother). Many have tried, including the Three Ancestral Witches, and all of them have failed. All of them except the Trix, who did just that in season 1, much to the denial of other and most experienced characters (including one who had actually worked for the Ancestral Witches before having a Heel–Face Turn). They weren't completely successful at it, as Bloom still maintained enough she could eventually fight back and take all her power, but it was still far beyond anyone had ever achieved, or even thought possible.
  • In an early episode of Avengers, Assemble!, the only thing standing between Manhattan Island and sliding into a watery grave was the Hulk. When Iron Man told the other Avengers, Hawkeye is gobsmacked, telling him that's impossible. Iron Man responds "No, just... incredible."
  • The Magic School Bus: In "Sees Stars", the Bus manages to manufacture a new star, a process which takes millions of years, in mere minutes. Even the caller at the end, who by now is presumably used to the Bus's ability to manipulate time locally, feels compelled to tell the producer how that one was extreme even for the Bus.
  • In the first episode of Drawn Together, it's stated that a million cameras are watching the cast, yet the same episode has Toot die four times and come back with no explanation (sometimes in the next scene her first death). Think about how unbelievable that is.
  • Uncle Grandpa is somehow everyone in the world's magical uncle and grandpa, which is impossible in every way.


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