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Despair Event Horizon / Western Animation

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  • An Alternate Universe in Superman: The Animated Series showed a demoralized Supes enslaving Metropolis alongside Lex Luthor because he couldn't save Lois Lane from a car bomb.
    • Similarly, in Justice League, Flash's execution by President Luthor led to another alternate universe's Justice League becoming the Justice Lords.
  • In Batman Beyond, after getting a second chance at living a normal life, Mr. Freeze is betrayed by Derek Powers when his body begins to deteriorate back to requiring sub zero temperatures. It's around this point that he's crossed the line and eventually chooses to stay behind when the building is collapsing on top of him. Batman tries to save him but he seals himself in with a wall of ice. His last words in the episode? "Believe me, you're the only one who cares..."
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  • Moral Orel. Nature. Clay shoots Orel in the leg and leaves him bleeding in the woods for a day. It's when the show officially shifts from comedy to a massive character study.
  • Danny Phantom saw his friends and family die right in front of his eyes. What comes as a result? A completely psychotic ghost who goes on a literal roaring rampage (not of revenge). Though admittedly, it didn't help that his ghost-half fused with Vlad Master's evil ghost-half, Vlad Plasmius. He's the only villain on the show to have been seen to commit murder.
  • Hardy Har Har the hyena from Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har was born like this.
  • During the Time Skip in Young Justice, Aqualad went through this when Tula, the girl he loved, died during a mission with the team as Aquagirl and when he discovered Black Manta was his biological father and that Aquaman knew and hid it from him. Feeling betrayed by everyone in his life, he went to the only place he felt he could belong: at his father Black Manta's side. In "Depths", this is revealed to be a cover story for his Fake Defector status.
    • This incident was a big shock for the rest of the team too. Wally Artemis and Garth retired from heroics, causing them to bring in new heroes and change the line up, they brought in Mal to act as a constant mission control, and everyone else became very cautious and serious compared to the first season, their feeling of invincibility seemingly shattered.
  • In Adventure Time, Billy, an aged hero, reaches this after years of fighting evil proved futile, as the bad guys just kept coming back. As a result, he becomes an example of I Will Fight No More Forever, feeling violence didn't help solve any problems.
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    • Finn almost crosses this in "Dad's Dungeon," after he's convinced that Joshua, his adoptive father, doesn't love him. He's about to commit suicide by eating a poisoned apple, but Jake saves him at the last minute.
    • Baby-Snaps crosses this in "Princess Cookie," after Princess Bubblegum giggles at his childhood dream of being a princess. He tries to commit suicide.
    • A more humorous example was used in "Crystals Have Power," when Jake makes a vow of non-violence after accidentally hurting Finn and his brother Jermaine, and becomes a complete wuss.
    • More serious was in "Incendium" when Finn spends the entire episode in the floor, clutching the picture of Princess Bubblegum. He got better when he met Flame Princess.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Korra hits this after Amon takes her bending away. However, this actually is what she needed to unlock her spiritual side which connects her with Aang allowing him to restore her bending and unlock the Avatar state.
    • Tarrlok also reaches this point after he has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and realizes that him and his long-lost brother, Amon (born Noatak), have become the same evil monsters that their abusive father wanted them to be.
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    • Korra hits the event horizon again in season 2 after her uncle, having been transformed into a twisted version of the Avatar himself, rips the light spirit Raava from Korra's body and actually succeeds in bringing the Avatar cycle to an end. Tenzin manages to drag her back, but it's a narrow thing.
    • Tragically, Korra's third experience with this has even more serious, lasting consequences. Being poisoned by Zaheer and lingering in a near-death state for an extended period of time in the finale of Book 3 leaves her crippled, heavily traumatized and struggling with depression. It takes her over two years to recover enough to even walk, and even as Book 4 opens it's clear that she still has not fully recovered.
    • This ends up being the Freudian Excuse for Kuvira in Book 4. It's discovered that her actions were because she was abandoned by her parents and she attached her love for them to the Earth Kingdom as a form of coping. But after the Earth Kingdom was thrown into chaos, she became desperate to save it. It results in her becoming a tyrant.
    • It's thankfully avoided, but heavily hinted by Asami in the second to last scene of the series, that Korra dying would have caused Asami to completely fall apart.
  • In Teen Titans this happens to Terra when she reminds Beast Boy that he said that he'd be her friend no matter what happened. His response? "You don't have any friends." By her next appearance she's given up on good and is committed to killing the Titans and taking over the city for Slade.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, the symbiote attempts to push Peter over the Despair Event Horizon so that he'll let it permanently bond with him, by making him relive how he got his powers and how he caused Uncle Ben's death. Fortunately Uncle Ben himself shows up to snap Pete out of it.
  • Beavis in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America falls into this near the end. After arriving in Washington and not meeting Dallas Grimes (who had promised to have sex with them when he and Butthead made it to Washington - a lie so she could get the toxin she put into his shorts), he delves into this, crying out that they'd grow old and gray, but they were never going to score. The bus driver makes Beavis Get A Hold Of Yourself Man by delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Ahsoka, of all people, crosses it in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars in the finale of the fifth season after the Jedi Council throw her out and almost convict her of attacking the Jedi Temple when the real culprit was Barriss Offee, who did it to show the Jedi that they've lost their way. Since the Council didn't trust her she can no longer trust herself, so she declines Anakin's offer of rejoining them and leaves to find her own path.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Twilight Sparkle in The Return of Harmony, when Discord's successful transformations of her friends into complete jerkasses causes her to lose faith in The Power of Friendship. Fortunately, she is quickly pulled out of this.
    • In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Discord after Tirek double-crosses him. While trapped in their bubbles, the Mane Five are frantic and begging Twilight to not surrender her magic for them. Discord, however, sits still, silent and slumped over, likely reeling with regret and seeming to have just given up. Traitor or not, the poor guy looks broken.
  • The Beast from Over the Garden Wall actively pushes people over the line, making them give in to their despair so that he can consume their souls. Wirt reaches this point in "Lullabies in Dreamland," and is only saved by a Selfless Wish that nearly kills Greg instead.
  • Hercules hits this when he learns after surrendering his powers for a day, that Megara was working for Hades all along. He even attempts to commit suicide by battling the Cyclops without his powers. After a pep talk from Phil, he manages to regain his spirit and defeat the Cyclops using his wits.
  • Samurai Jack: By the time of season 5, Jack appears to have crossed it. Wandering the Bad Future for fifty years without aging or coming any closer to finding a way back to his own time has visibly worn him down. Having lost the one thing that can kill the Big Bad in this or his own time has clearly only made things worse.
    Jack: There's no way home! There's nothing to fight for!
    • Jack almost crossed the Horizon back in the Season 2 episode "Jack and the Monks"; after having his way home destroyed in his face one too many times, Jack declares his mission hopeless and wanders off. It takes some mystical monks reminding him of what he's fighting for to get him back on track.
    • He finally crossed it during the fifth episode when he seemingly fails to save a horde of mind-controlled alien children trying to kill him. Considering himself responsible for their apparent deaths, he gives up on living and follows the demonic phantom that has been tormenting him to commit honorable suicide. It takes for his companion Ashi to reveal the children were alive to snap Jack out of killing himself.
    • Aku has been toeing the line himself by the time of season 5 for similar reasons. Sick of constantly failing to kill Jack, he withdrew to his lair in an attempt to just let time take its toll on Jack, as he had destroyed every way for Jack to return home (which caused Jack's own crossing of the Horizon). It would've been a good idea...if Jack had not become The Ageless. Now Aku, realizing that the threat of Jack is over his head forever and not realizing Jack has lost his sword, has been reduced to moping around his lair, not really caring when his scientists show him a new model of the beetle drones, and having therapy sessions with himself.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: Pidge reaches the event horizon when she finds her brother Matt's grave. Fortunately, she is quickly brought back when she notices that Matt's birthday is wrong and realizes that he has faked his own death and left her coordinates for where to find him, but not before she has a breakdown and cries (from grief) for the first time in the series.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Earth-23's Red Hood. Here the man who would be Joker became a family man whose family died tragically. After that, he became the Red Hood and fought against Owlman only to fall into a vat of acids at his former workplace/current hideout the Ace Chemicals Plant. Disfigured, Red Hood sat in front of a mirror and began to laugh... only to smash it and form Justice Underground to take revenge against Owlman and the Injustice Society of Amerika for everyone. He was left bent but not broken.
  • Sarah Lynn of Bojack Horseman hit hers back in 2007. Clearly struggling with all the pressures of being a former sitcom kid turned popstar, she teeters on the brink of snapping. In comes Bojack, her sitcom dad on a seemingly spontaneous visit...to ask her to make a cameo on his new show. Her spirit is officially broken then and there, devolving into a spiral of drugging and drinking. And eventual death some years later.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick Sanchez hits it in "Wedding Squanchers". He'd managed to give a beautiful speech (Though it didn't seem that way at first) about emotionally opening himself up and enjoying himself and his friend's happiness... Only for it not to work out later. He refers to this as "letting his guard down", and says he'll never do that again.
  • Biker Mice from Mars: All the three mice crossed this in the past, as shown in the flashback episode "Once upon a Time on Mars", after Stoker has been brainwashed, their base conquered, Mace was revealed to be a traitor, most of their comraders were captured and they themself barely escaped from Karbunkle's lab.
  • Phineas crosses the Horizon in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Summer Belongs To You" when he, Ferb, Candace, Isabella, Baljeet, and Buford are stranded on a desert island in the Atlantic with an industrial sized rubber band, two palm trees, a row of airplane seats, an ox, and only a few minutes left before the sun sets and he has to give up inventing forever. He tries desperately to produce a means of escape, but with so few tools none of his plans can work. Eventually he collapses in defeat and resigns himself to watching the sunset, and it takes an impassioned plea from Isabella to snap him out of his funk and produce a plan that can work.
  • The Wakfu special Noximilien the Clockmaker features one of these as a Start of Darkness. Noximilien (the first season's Big Bad) begins as a normal clockmaker and a devoted family man who stumbles upon an alien device called the Eliacube that gradually drives him insane as he fixates on it, isolating Nox from his family. When Nox receives the news that during his long period of isolation, his family was swept up in a disaster and killed, and though he initially denies it, Nox's moment of clarity and subsequent soul-rending scream provides one of the most horrific instances of the DEH being crossed ever seen in an animated property.
  • Played for Laughs in the Rugrats episode "Angelica Breaks a Leg," when Angelica demands that Stu get her some chocolate pudding.
    Didi: (quiet concern) Stu, what are you doing?
    Stu: (tired deadpan) Making chocolate pudding.
    Didi: (quiet concern) It's 4:00 in the morning. Why on earth are you making chocolate pudding?
    Stu: (tired deadpan) Because I've lost control of my life.
  • Throughout Steven Universe: Future, Steven slowly suffers from Sanity Slippage, and in "Everything's Fine", it reaches a breaking point. He finally snaps, at first downplaying his issues, then revealing that he shattered Jasper and thought about smashing White Diamond's head into a pillar in front of Greg, Connie, and the Crystal Gems. This then descends into self-loathing and he collapses to the floor, decrying himself a fraud and a monster before pink spikes burst out of his back.

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