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  • The Titan Shifters' mission to Paradis Island in Attack on Titan was an absolute failure. While they did succeed in their secondary objective (causing massive chaos), they failed their primary objective ( Obtain the power of the Coordinate Titan or at least prevent it from being used against Marley) and were forced to retreat, having lost half of their number ( Marcel was eaten by Ymir, Bertholt by Armin, and Annie locked herself in a Crystal Prison to prevent interrogation), two of their Titan Powers (and it would have been three if Ymir hadn't voluntarily returned with them), and alerting the people of the Walls to the threat that they posed, when their victims hadn't even known they existed beforehand. The massive failure prompted Marley's enemies to begin a war against them, which has raged throughout the timeskip and allowed the Eldians a chance to get themselves together and counter-attack.
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  • The Big O uses this coupled with the Rule of Funny for maximum impact. In Episode 18, Jason Beck decides to pwn Roger Smith with a robot that's a walking parody of the Power Rangers, Mazin Kaiser, Getter Robo, Voltes V, and Zambot 3, and the pwnage he gets for his trouble is totally and epically hysterical. While going through a lengthy transformation sequence complete with poses and Beck shouting the robot name with background flash effects, Roger completely ignores it in favor of straightening up his outfit. Beck then launches into a lengthy attack power-up sequence, only to be blown apart mid-seqeuence. For bonus points, the player can recreate this scene in Super Robot Wars Z and get new weapons for The Big O as a reward.
  • Franchise/dragonBall:
    • Dragon Ball: During Goku's fight against Piccolo Jr., the Demon King's son hits Goku with a powerful penetrating energy attack. Unfortunately for him, Goku manages to keep standing.
    Goku: "It's a good thing you aim as bad as you fight! You missed my vital organs!"
    Piccolo Jr.: "ALL OF THEM?!"
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    • Dragon Ball Z:
      • At the end of the Saiyan Saga, Bulma tried to use a remote to summon Nappa's left-over space pod and ended up blowing it up.
      • During Vegeta's fight with Pui Pui in the Buu Saga, Babidi transforms the environment into that of Pui Pui's home planet of Zoon, which has gravity 10 times that of Earth, in order to give Pui Pui an advantage. It backfires completely, because not only does Vegeta regularly train in 450 times Earth's gravity, but his own home planet of Vegeta had gravity equal to that of Zoon anyway.
    Vegeta: Maybe... if your planet had five hundred times Earth's gravity, you'd have an advantage, but ten? I don't even feel it!
    • When Super Buu transforms Vegito into candy, it seems all hope is lost... until it turns out that piece of candy is still able to talk, fly, and fight. Being so small and agile made Vegito so hard to fight that Buu had to actually transform him back to normal.
    • Dragon Ball Super:
      • When trying to convince Whis to train him, Vegeta attempts to make an omelette. Bulma asks him if he even knows how to crack an egg, and soon enough the first egg comes out of his hand and onto the table, then he ends up crushing the rest until the last one hatches into a chick.
      • Quitela spent most of the tournament being extremely confident about his 4th Universe's fighters, even after 7 of them were eliminated pretty early. However, when it finally comes time for Damon and Gamisaras to make their move, the best they can manage is to eliminate Katopesla and, during a moment of distraction, Piccolo. In the end, the 4th Universe's overall performance in the Tournament was arguably just as bad as their Foil, Universe 9, the only real difference is that they lasted longer due to Damon and Gamisaras hiding for so long.
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  • In The World God Only Knows, Katsuragi has faced a major setback when it comes to winning the heart of Ayumi, so he plays the Prince Charming card by literally showing up on a white horse. It bucks him off., but he still tries to look cool.
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Osaka kicks her shoe up to predict the weather. It lands in a truck passing by, and Hilarity Ensues.
    • Animated GIFs of Osaka kicking her shoe off and inadvertently causing various epic failures has become a minor internet meme. The most famous edit of this scene has her kick the shoe up, have it fly over the horizon, and make a ship explode.
    • There's also the Jump Rope arch-fail in episode 12... Tomo getting slapped in the face by the rope while jumping? Amusing, but not an epic fail. Osaka somehow managing to trip and Face Plant while she's the one holding the rope? How on Earth did she even do that!?
  • In Nichijou, jumping rope continues to be hazardous.
    • Yukko kicks off her shoe similarly to Osaka and loses it the exact same way. Then she chases the car and trips and loses her other shoe.
    • Nakamura's attempts to use the Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo to capture Nano. Not only does she end up drinking the coffee she herself drugged twice, but the second time was well after the first, which demonstrated that such drugs don't even work on the Robot Girl.
    • Dolph literally kills himself by tripping over his own feet.
    • Chapter 182 features everybody except Yukko falling asleep in class during a test. Yukko nabs this opportunity to start copying answers off everyone else's worksheets. Yukko is just Genre Savvy enough to realize that copying from just one worksheet could expose her due to identical answers, so she copies a different answer from each person in class. Such is Yukko's luck that every individual answer she copies is incorrect, resulting in a score of zero.
    • And, of course, we can't forget the opening scene: Nano chases after a cat that stole a fish she was cooking (in the manga, she's running to school), only to immediately crash into a random guy. For some reason this causes a massive explosion; afterward she finds herself stuck on a roof, without her shoes or right hand. The guy she ran into ends up on top of a smokestack. And Yuuko gets hit with some toys and a chunk of salmon.
  • In Hellsing, when one of the Major's subordinates expresses a desire to not go charging at Alucard's familiar army because it would needlessly sacrifice the lives of the troops, the Major pulls out a gun and shoots at the guy at point-blank range. And misses every shot, causing Doc to wonder how the Major got into the S.S. in the first place.
    • Lampshaded in his death scene, as his having taken out Integra's eye leads him to use several of his final words crowing over finally hitting what he was shooting at, indicating his abysmal marksmanship really had been a lifelong issue.
  • Asuna of Mahou Sensei Negima! once tried to light her crush's cigarette, but accidentally lit his beard instead. She then doused the fire with the first liquid she could get her hands on — piping hot tea.
  • The Digimon Adventure movie Our War Game has a moment of this that is both funny and serious. Taichi, in a frustrated manner, bangs on the side of the monitor he's using to observe the fight between the Digidestined's Digimon and Diablomon. The computer it's connected to crashes. Hell, he didn't hit it very hard at all. Taichi's reaction (AKA, his expression) is priceless. Though, besides being funny, it serves as an Oh, Crap! moment as WarGreymon is now more or less a sitting duck for Diablomon.
  • Fist of the North Star: Behold the results of some guy trying to use Hokuto Shinken on Kenshiro.note 
  • Nagi in Hayate the Combat Butler is so bad at domestic tasks that when trying to make herself a cup of tea, she failed so badly that a flying saucer apparently crashed through the wall.
  • Sheryl Nome in Macross Frontier falls into the cockpit of an advanced prototype fighter in episode 14. She invokes her Catchphrase, gets a Theme Music Power-Up, takes off... and promptly bounces said fighter off an enemy capital ship before being mercilessly shot to pieces and forced to eject. This all happens inside thirty seconds. A subversion of Instant Expert, since she's really an idol singer, and she'd only had a handful of lessons before then.
  • Kurumi's Evil Plan in Kimi ni Todoke to split up Kazehaya and Kuronuma by making Kazehaya think that Kuronuma likes someone else. Not only does the Batman Gambit end with the misunderstanding cleared up, Kazehaya becomes inspired to actually act on his crush and it makes Kuronuma aware of the fact that she likes him too, further deepening their bond. Kurumi, thinking it actually worked, ends up confessing to who she thinks is Kazehaya with her back turned... only to discover that not only has she confessed to the class' idiot gym teacher instead (who rejects her), but Kazehaya accidentally walked in on the confession. Just to rub it in, he kindly informs her that he won't tell anyone else.
  • One Piece: Usopp, on a fight he and a Team Pet had with a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad that occurred off screen and resulted in them covered with bumps and bruises:
    "We lasted two seconds. One second each."
    • Played for Drama during the Eines Lobby arc, where Spandam's incompetence with Den Den Mushis (slug-phones) bites him big time. First, while trying to contact his subordinate CP9 agents with a baby Den Den Mushi, he accidentally activates the Golden Den Den Mushi instead, which results in a Buster CallExplanation  being called against the island he's currently in. Then, when he manages to activate the Baby Den Den Mushi, he accidentally broadcasts his message to the entire island, revealing to everyone what he had just done. And then he gives Nico Robin a speech about how he doesn't care how many innocents die as long as the Straw Hat pirates are destroyed and he gets his promotion... while the Den Den Mushi is still on. Cue mass panic.
  • Fresh Pretty Cure!: Villainous example — the job of a Labyrinth is to use monsters to cause misery so they can gather it as energy. Enter Westar. His plan involves using a living wig to change people's hairdos to cause misery. It totally backfires and instead everyone hit by the monsters attack is intensely amused. Incidentally, this scene is one of the most meticulously animated in the whole series.
    • The last scene in the episode reveals that Westar did manage to cause a small amount of misery to be gathered: his own.
    • Westar gets another one when he devises a plan of broadcasting his fight against the Precures, in hopes that everyone would see him beat the Precures and lose spirit. That backfired AGAIN when the Precures realize that it serves as more reason that they should fight harder. Cue massive asskicking while the crowd are cheering for the Cures instead of succumbing to despair.
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5, Nozomi was revealed to have been kicked out of just about every club in school prior to her becoming a Pretty Cure. One episode revealed that she was kicked out of the Drama Club after only two days. Sadly, they're all Noodle Incidents.
  • Pokémon
    • You have to be a particularly intense kind of stupid to use an explosive as your means of transportation in a major competitive event. In one episode, one person has an Electrode as his mount. One pitfall later, he's out of the race...as are several other contestants.
    • In the episode "Holy Matrimony!", James tried to lie about his status, claiming that he froze in the snow and died after running away from home after faking amnesia. The other characters (even Brock, the wise person of the group) fell for it, despite James being the one telling the story. Misty was the only one who actually realized that his story was false.
    • "The Problem With Paras" has a Paras so weak that even the tiniest attack makes it faint. Especially notable is Squirtle shooting a tiny trickle of water at it, since Paras is half Grass-type and Grass resists Water.
      • It's hard to tell what's worse in the above example, the Paras for being so weak it fell to a deliberately softened attack it was already resistant to, or Ash for deciding, after the above takes place, to send in Charmeleon of all things, believing it'll have better luck in throwing a match against the thing. Ash cannot control Charmeleon. He can tell it to lose a match, but Charmeleon won't listen, and Fire is four times super-effective against Paras.
    • Jessie in her first ever Pokémon contest. She uses Seviper and in the appeals round starts off by telling Seviper to use Sacred Fire (a move only legendary Ho-Oh knows) and then goes through a book listing off moves that Seviper doesn't know including Double Kick. She then does use a move that Seviper knows, Poison Tail, which is then only used on her and sends her flying. The judges give her a score of zero.
    • Sullivan from the episode "Whiscash and Ash" has been trying for years to catch a particular Whiscash, and has failed utterly. He even fails to capture it when using a Master Ball, a Pokéball that never fails and is guaranteed to catch a Pokémon. Failing to catch a Pokémon even with a Master Ball is a whole new level of failure.
    • In two episodes of DP, Ash, Dawn, and Brock (especially Brock) were fooled by Jessie, James, and Meowth's disguises. Normally, it isn't noteworthy, but in this particular case, they were still fooled even when Jessie, James, and Meowth's disguises...just consisted of glasses and green coats. It didn't even cover up the telltale red R on their uniforms properly, and there was a light in the background shining on them. It's not even the worst offender either: an entire populace, and Brock, participated in a contest about which Croagunk was the best looking. They chose Meowth, despite his disguise actually being so bad it would have been impossible to mistake him for a Croagunk.
    • Most of what Cameron does. Such examples include: thinking the Unova League in Unova was going to be in Ecruteak City in Johto; thinking he only needed 7 badges to enter the League; somehow forgetting one of his Pokémon on the sidelines before a gym battle; pitting up Pokémon with a 4x weakness against a Pokémon with the exact 4x type advantage (Twice in one battle, too); and bringing only 5 Pokémon to a 6-on-6 battle.
  • In the Arrancar Saga of Bleach, Dordoni manages one during his introduction. While giving a speech and running, he falls off the platform he was running on when it ends and crashes into the ground. And this guy can walk on air.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is often filled with these moments, especially in fights, whenever some attacks go wrong or just don't work at all.
    • Given the sheer craziness of the show, sometimes these epic fails would become weaponized in and of itself.
    • Don Patch can inject enemies with his "Idiot Serum", which forces them to epically fail in various ways. Beauty finds this absolutely terrifying.
  • In the first episode of Cube×Cursed×Curious, Fear tries her hand at cleaning. Granted, she's never done anything like that before, but that's no excuse for trashing the whole house. Some of the things she did just went against common sense.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto tries to reenter Biju Mode in an attempt to stop Obito prematurely. His chakra flares up, his Badass Longcoat forms... and then everything sputters out. The look on his face, Sasuke's, and Tobirama's says it all.
    Tobirama: Are you trying to make our situation even worse? You're as goofy as your father, so much so that even he'snote  dumbfounded.
    • On the day of his coronation as Hokage, Naruto is knocked out by his toddler daughter and Konohamaru under a henge has to fill in for him.
  • Haruhi-chan: Kyon and Itsuki enter the room in outfits, but during their introduction, they make Mikuru cry.
    • Here is the Epic Fail in English Dub!
    • Another example is episode 3, when Nagato and Achakura first met when Achakura was restored to her normal self... well, not back to her normal self, because Achakura was in chibi form. During one scene, Achakura complains that she did not want to sit in the chair, and so Achakura was placed on a pillow, and then, when Nagato walked out of the room, Achakura was flung into a wall, and when Nagato came back, Achakura was sitting on a chair with a side dose of a Cranial Eruption, and then when Nagato asked that Achakura finally decided to sit in a chair, Achakura said that she did not want to hear about it.
    • Later on, one episode, when Nagato's friends left, Achakura, who was attached to a spring, comes out of a jack in the box, and Nagato puts the lid back on, which makes Achakura 100% mad! Then, when Achakura yells at Nagato, she went so high that Achakura hit her head on the ceiling VERY HARD. Which resulted in a Cranial Eruption (remaining for the last few moments of the episode) for Achakura.
  • The Daily Lives of High School Boys skit High School Boys and the Way We Are is basically one string of failure after failure in the Literature Girl's trying to invoke romantic situations with Hidenori, ending with her breaking down crying (and accidentally knocked out cold by Hidenori).
  • Puyo Puyo Anime: Apparently, using Meteor in a city causes, instead of some sort of massive finishing blow, a tiny star to plop ineffectually to the ground.
  • Slayers: Sylphiel, being a specialist in white magic, lacks the focus and killing intent to cast black magic at first. Her initial attempts to cast Flare Arrow ends up more like a Flare Carrot.
  • In a filler episode of Beelzebub, the students of Ishiyama High had to take an assessment test. The students of Ishiyama are Japanese Delinquents who hate studying 180%, so we are treated to comical and downright sad scenes of the cast trying to study for an assessment test that was on elementary school subjects. The people there are so dumb, one guy cheated on filling in his name. Even Oga was left gobsmacked at that one.
  • In Soul Eater, Soul and Black Star try to fight Death the Kid... and make total fools out of themselves. The funniest point is when Soul turns into his scythe form for Black Star to wield, and Black Star fails to catch him and the blade goes into his head.
    • Then it turns into an epic fail for Kid when he passes out with them... after noticing they cut off part of his hair, making it asymmetrical.
  • While it's not uncommon (or special) for a protagonist in Yu-Gi-Oh! to use a card, only for his opponent to counter it, Judai's card Righteous Justice became something of a Running Gag in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX this way. He used it three times on the series against three different opponents, and each time it was countered. (Fortunately for him, it has another use, which came into play two of those three times.)
  • In an early (the second) episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Uryu uses a Continuous Spell called Retribution of the Ant Lion against Yusei, which causes 800 damage to a player if one of his monsters is destroyed. Clearly he didn't read the card's effect clearly, because he's a little surprised when he intentionally destroys his own Pinch Hopper to use its effect, and then takes damage from it himself. (And ultimately, the card causes him to lose the duel when Yusei destroys three of his monsters at once.)
  • In Highschool of the Dead a Straw Nihilist Knife Nut survivor, surrounded by zombies and nursing an injury, decides in his own words to "go out like a badass". His efforts amount to giggling and ineffectually flailing his knife around. He fails to kill or even scratch any of the attacking zombies before they descend on him and tear him to shreds. Yep, you're a real menace, aren't you, Mr. Badass?
  • In My Bride is a Mermaid, when Kai is Mistaken for Dying, he gives a Last Request to have a final duel with his love rival Nagasumi. Even though Kai is a trained swordsman, his panic over how he's supposedly dying makes him flail his sword around ineffectually, allowing Nagasumi to easily beat him down with his fists.
  • In episode 23 of Happiness Charge Pretty Cure, Megumi and Yuuko arrive in their Cure forms to the scene of a battle, do their introduction phrases and poses... only to find out they were too late - Hime and Iona had already beaten the Monster of the Week by themselves.
  • Is the Order a Rabbit?:
    • Chino attempts to use a badminton move Rize taught her in episode 5. It looks cool and she has a Battle Aura as well, but then she hits the shuttlecock into the net, getting it stuck, and also passes out from using up too much energy.
    • Cocoa attempts to flip a pancake in the air in episode 7. But she flings it a bit too high, and it lands on Chino's face.
  • In Pretty Cure All Stars New Stage 3, Cure Happy takes notice of Cure Dream attacking and decides she will, too. She charges up a Happy Shower... then trips on a rock and promptly headbutts her target. Cure Rouge calls it her "Happy Head Attack".
    • In Singing with Everyone - Miraculous Magic, Cure Peach, Cure Blossom, Cure Melody and Cure Happy introduce themselves to Cure Miracle, but trip over themselves at the very end, leaving a mess of names as, instead of introducing themselves as just "Pretty Cure", they cram in their team names. A few minutes later, they attempt to perform a Combination Attack, only to watch in horror as their attacks just bounce off each other, forcing Miracle to knock them into place.
  • Girl Friends: A Public Bathhouse Scene. A desire to see her girlfriend. Self-consciousness about her own body. Consequently, a desire to not be seen by her girlfriend. Her girlfriend taking a long time to come out into the bath. Spending too long in a bathhouse being detrimental to her consciousness. Akko wakes up to learn that Mari picked her up out of the bath, carried her out of the bathhouse, dried her off by hand, put her underwear and pajamas, on her, and tucked her into bed (and, later, that she got a few good measurements in the process).
    Akko: Just kill me now.
  • Wakamatsu from Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun is so strung out by Seo's roughhousing during basketball games that he decides to tell her off on the school roof... taking cues from shoujo manga. He screws up so badly in expressing his disgust for her that the whole thing looks like a love confession.
  • Doraemon has Nobita Nobi, an utter poor student who gets straight zeros in every exam unless he's aided by Doraemon's gadgets. Apparently he has bundles of the sheets at home.
  • The first time Sailor Chibi-Moon attempted to use her Pink Sugar Heart Attack. After shouting the attack's name nothing happens. After a few seconds her wand starts flashing and shopts out tiny hearts... that travel about a foot in front of her and fall to the ground. The Monster of the Week gets so bored she begins drinking tea. Of course, that distraction allows Chibi-Moon to slowly creep forward so her attack hits, but even then it's more of an annoyance than damaging.
  • Kill la Kill:
    • During the tennis match, Ryuko's racket explodes on contact with the ball, failing to even slow it down.
    • Gamagoori's evasive driving involves a spin. It ends up about as you'd expect.
      Gamagoori: We're out of control!
      Ryuko: NO SHIT WE'RE OUT OF CONTROL! THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CRANK THE WHEEL LIKE THAT YOU ASS!!
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion: Madoka being taken off-guard by Homura at the end. For reference, Madoka is The Omniscient, and even if one thinks that she didn't have her all-seeing abilities because of Kyubey's machinations, she still had quite a while to view, quote, "Everything that ever happened and everything that ever will", unquote before the events of the movie. Whatever the case, this particular blunder costs her her powers and memories, elevates Homura to demonhood and twists all of reality into knots. This also counts as an epic fail for the Incubators—they started this whole mess because they wanted to see the mysterious being behind the Law of Cycles (and eventually control it/her, but that was a long-term goal). They did get to do that, technically, but in the process they created an omnipotent demon who Mind Rapes them all into submission.
  • In Squid Girl,
    • Ika almost drowns because she forgot that, as a squid, she can breathe underwater in the second episode.
    • When the group goes for a nature hike, she gets beaten up by a King Cobra.
    • In the first segment of the second episode of the second season, Ika tries to play soccer, but she can't even do the simple act of kicking the ball! In fact, in order to win the game, her teammates make it look like she kicked the winning goal!

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