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  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Prince Laharl's servants are seen lounging around the castle lazily before and after every mission. However, during one mission, when you are attacked by an overlord so massive that he represents himself as 10 Lvl. 75 monsters, these vassals come to your aid; each at least 50 times your level.
  • Fate/stay night: For the first two routes, Rider comes across as a very mediocre Servant, losing to a half powered Saber in Fate and to a normal human (with Reinforced fists but still) in UBW. But then you get to HF, and it looks like she's dead again to Saber — and did she just curbstomp True Assassin, effortlessly turn Archer (who spent the previous two routes establishing himself as a badass) to stone, and fighting on near even terms with Dark Saber while not having a Master to draw energy from? Holy crap. Part of this was because she had the misfortune of having Shinji as a master in the first two routes. Not only does Shinji have pathetic magic reserves to power her with, she hates his guts and isn't interested in trying her best for him. When her true Master, Sakura, is in play, who has enormous magical reserves and whom she actually cares for, her performance shoots up considerably.
  • The Legend of Dragoon has several examples, mostly boss battles.
    • Both of the Kongol battles feature this. After dealing a certain amount of damage to him, he'll say "Kongol no need weapon" and start fighting barehanded, which is far more effective. The second one, if considered as a continuation of the first one, features this as well, since in this one Kongol wears armor that makes him much more powerful. Of course, said armor still doesn't negate his weakness to wind attacks.
    • Emperor Doel does this too. Once you beat him in his normal form, he'll activate his dragoon form.
    • You can even have your own characters do this with the "Special" combat action, which puts all of your characters into their dragoon forms AND teleports them and the enemies into a pocket dimension where the elemental attacks of the character who initiated the Special are more powerful.
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  • Kaneda spends much of (i.e. the entire 1st chapter and quite a bit of the 2nd) Princess Waltz as a background classmate noted only for comedically fainting at any sign of arousal...then The Glasses Come Off in the middle of a Guardener attack via awesome Transformation Sequence with Ominous Latin Chanting Techno accompaniment and we find out that she is in fact Liesel, the Genius Bruiser princess/WAR MACHINE.
  • Final Fantasy V: Galuf is a wisecracking old coot who makes bad puns and happily uses his amnesia to duck blame. This changes completely when he has to rescue the others, and particularly whenever Exdeath gets involved — he is quite a badass, enough to defeat Exdeath with zero HP.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: Bartz at the end of his story mode. Previously he's been portrayed as a happy-go-lucky mime wanderer who spends most of his time running away from opponents and making dumb jokes with Zidane. Then, when the time comes to show why he was chosen as a Warrior of Cosmos, he tells Exdeath that this is the first time he's serious, while he duel wields Cloud's Buster Sword in one hand, and Squall's Gunblade in the other.
  • Final Fantasy IX: Steiner spends most of the first half of the game as the Butt-Monkey and all-around buffoon, but when he actually gets into a fight, he's shown to be a pretty good swordsman. His general demeanor also starts to change when he helps rescue Dagger halfway through Disk 2, and he shows himself to be a competent leader and fighter alongside Beatrix during the invasion of Alexandria in Disk 3. This also happens every time he reaches Trance, where he goes from a knighty in rusty armor to a full on knight in shining armor. Since he's already one of the three melee monsters, this only makes him more dangerous.
    • Mog, who previously had been characterized as a cowardly moogle running from danger, enters trance and transforms into the Eidolon Madeen when Eiko’s life is threatened by Zorn and Thorn.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Joye is a simple commoner hyur featured in the Machinist job quest chain. Both her hair and overall demeanor change profusely whenever she has to use her gun, which is preceded by Firing in the Air a Lot, a ton of cursing and a status buff indicating the change if you click on her.
  • Doc Louis's Punch-Out!! (exclusive to Club Nintendo Platinum members or those around for its final sale as of this writing): As this video demonstrates, if you knock a chocolate bar out of his hands, he'll get angry and shed his jacket to reveal a leopard-print jacket, and the training essentially becomes a Title Defense fight.
  • Miitopia: Characters with the laid-back personality type will often exhibit traits such as hiding behind teammates to avoid attacks, or giving up in the middle of a task because it's too hard. They also have a randomly activated passive ability called "Get Serious" which causes them to become unusually focused during the turn in which it activates, doubling the effectiveness of whatever skill they use.
  • Ōkami:
    • Susano is presented as a cowardly middle-aged man, and throughout most of his character arc, this is played for laughs. He quakes in his boots at the thought of monsters, makes up a bunch of excuses to get out of doing work, and wages a battle against a sleeping bear. The moment when he stops being lazy, cowardly, and useless is at Orochi's cave, which he's seen cowering outside of at the beginning of the stage. When Orochi is about to devour Kushi, he says proudly and without hesitation: "Hold it right there, vile serpent." Then, with a little help from Amaterasu, he slays Orochi, delivering the final blow all by himself.
    • Amaterasu herself: once the people of Japan reconnect with their faith, she starts to fight seriously, which basically means that the local Eldritch Abomination has just been demoted to a chew toy.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Reimu Hakurei. Perpetually selfish, terminally lazy, only solves incidents when she has no other option or another character convinces her to, only manages to find those causing any particular incident due to supernatural luck, and only wins because of (literal) impervious Plot Armor. Or at least, that's what most of Gensoukyou thinks. Then she unleashes "Fantasy Heaven" (aka "Hax Sign: You Just Plain F***ing LOSE"). Cue Oh, Crap!.
    • A more specific Reimu example: in Urban Legend In Limbo, she's mostly content to let everyone else run around beating each other up when the Occult Balls begin appearing, and let the incident resolve itself. But when she realizes there's a very real chance that the Occult Balls could destroy the Hakurei Barrier, which is equivalent to completely destroying Gensokyo, she goes on the war path and fights with uncharacteristic zeal and urgency. This is among the first times in the series that we've seen Reimu at her actual job (protecting the Hakurei Barrier), and it turns out that when it comes to that, she's anything but lazy.
    • Yukari Yakumo is just a lazy, goofy youkai who's always sleeping and letting her shikigami do the work, right? Wrong. Not only was everything you did part of her plan, but there is a reason she was a Phantasm boss.
    • And, of course, there is Eiki Shiki Yamaxanadu, the annoying yama who lectures anyone and everyone about their faults. Her actual power is still not known because Yukari was convinced her, Reimu, and Yuyuko would be no match for her. Admittedly, there exists a translation ambiguity over whether Yukari means her power or simply the intensity of her lectures, but one thing is certain: when death eventually comes, the fate of your soul is solely in Eiki's hands. Maybe you should've listened to her warnings...
    • Cirno, of all people. She's just a fairy, right? But when she puts her mind to it, she can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Marisa Kirisame, Utsuho Reiuji, the aforementioned Yama, and a full-power Okina Matara, and sometimes even win.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Dante in Devil May Cry both subverts and plays this straight. Dante is always wisecracking and arrogantly joking with his enemies in battle. However, he has every right to because he's a half-demon hybrid and is capable of pulling off spectacular feats even when not trying (such as being ambushed in his office and shrugging off being stabbed about five times simultaneously, nonchalantly eating a slice of pizza as his response). However, there have been occasions when Dante has cast aside his upbeat personality when the situation becomes critical enough. And if you thought he was a problem when he was quipping and smiling, it's going to be worse when the kid gloves come off. One moment from the first game comes to mind: after Trish pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice, Dante deflects an (alluded to be instantly fatal) energy beam from the Big Bad just by looking at it. In the following fight, he awakens Sparda's Devil Trigger form.
  • Grant Danasty in Castlevania: Judgment is regularly a laid-back guy who smiles in the face of danger. Then, when he uses his ultimate attack, that's when he starts to get serious.
    Grant: I'm done playing around. (slashes opponent many times then summons many knives) Accept your fate. GO!! (hurls knives at opponent as he finishes the attack then lands) It's done.
  • Trauare Wrede in RosenkreuzStilette would get serious whenever her friend Zorne is defeated, causing her Berserk Button to be pressed.
    Trauare: It looks like Zorne was no match for you. I'll have to take this seriously, then.
  • Kirby Super Star: "King Dedede wants revenge! Careful, he's serious this time!"
    • And he really means it, as Dedede grabs a deadly mechanical hammer and throws in an electric fence along with the original arena, making it one hell of a cage match.
      • Taken even further in Kirby Fighters Deluxe, Dedede makes clones of varying sizes of himself and once you've gotten past those, the king himself appears, but much bigger, as well as with the power of the Star Rod infused in his hammer.
  • An optional one in Mass Effect 2, we all know Shepard is basically a killing machine, but in Garrus's recruitment mission, one of the renegade lines is "Let's spill a little merc blood". You know things are going to die in large numbers when s/he talks like that. For the players, this isn't much of a surprise since we know Shepard's capabilities, but this trope is played painfully straight for the three private military groups Shepard had disguised his/her way through to get to Garrus, who assumed he/she was just another clueless merc to be used for cannon fodder.
    • Remember the Volus? The cosmic Butt-Monkey of the Mass Effect universe? Turns out in the third game, they have a Dreadnought — a single Dreadnought — that according to a visiting Turian General happens to pack enough firepower to roast the surface of an entire planet three times over. There is a reason the Volus don't need more. The "Retaliation" DLC introduces the Volus as multiplayer characters. While they're incredibly fragile, they make for skilled support characters.
  • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Tyrell's intro scene nearly earns him a Darwin Award. So he's the bumbling comic sidekick, right? Then comes Luna Tower, and Tyrell decides he's had enough, flips out, and freaking jumps Arcanus. It's a little unexpected, and very effectively indicates that there's more to Tyrell than we'd previously seen.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic Battle, Sonic himself pulls this as well as a I Am Not Left-Handed, when he has to fight Emerl. Surprisingly, this is one of the few (if not the only) instances of Sonic not playing around with his opponent or in general. He goes from an adrenaline-pumped and cocky Kid Hero to (disturbingly) a deathly serious and utterly Pragmatic Hero. Then again, when you have 30 seconds on the clock (the previous 30 seconds spent trying to negate the Chaos Emeralds with the Master Emerald and failing) before the Final Boss (who happens to be a Physical God) blows your home planet to nothing with a fucking star system buster and the only way to stop them is to kill them (and it's someone you really care about), why would he play around?
    • From Sonic Unleashed comes Chip. On the last level of the game, he uses the Chaos Emeralds and his own powers to create a giant mecha created from temple ruins to punch out a literal apocalyptic darkness god-creature.
  • Jak and Daxter: Daxter usually avoids violent confrontations like the plague, at least when he's directly in the line of fire. But when push comes to shove, he'll put his life on the line to do what needs to be done (especially in Jak 3), his racing skills and marksmanship rival Jak's (when Jak's riding a Zoomer, Daxter wields the gun), and hell, he's got his own game.
  • Dimitri, from the Sly Cooper games, is an example because his ridiculous mannerisms make it easy to forget that he was a boss in Sly 2: Band of Thieves (okay, the first boss, but still). When he's playable in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, he dives into shark-infested waters without protest, and later takes down one of the Big Bad's many mutant monsters. And if the E3 trailer for the fourth game was any indication, he's been practicing his free-running.
  • Kingdom Hearts II brings us a villainous example with Demyx, at least in terms of gameplay. He's quirky, lazy, and complains constantly about not being the right guy for the job. But once provoked into fighting seriously, he turns out to be That One Boss.
    • Let's not forget our hero, Sora. Cheerful, kind, caring, decent smarts,doesn't want to fight generally, a good best friend character. Except he's the lead. A lead who has saved the worlds multiple times, knows some very advanced magic, and has beaten eldritch horrors to a pulp with a GIANT KEY. And that is NOT touching on his ability to hold people in heart, which may end up saving the universe on it's own.
    • Kairi in Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind can count as well. On the surface, she's a kind, sweet, and caring teenage girl, as well as one of the seven Princesses of Hearts. But she is brutal with the Keyblade, as she can dish out damage comparable to the Ultima Keyblade. Not to mention that the only training she's gotten were sparring sessions with Axel.
  • In Wild ARMs 4, when Gawn is introduced, he is portrayed as a bit of a goofball, albeit with great physical strength. To top it all off, his character design is much more subdued when compared to other characters in the game, especially the standard flamboyant villains. However, when he is forced to fight the protagonists and you learn he is Brionac's greatest fighter, he is so overwhelming, that his opponents are unable to get a single attack off on him, and he constantly one-shots your party members. The fight only ends because he runs out of bullets, and the protagonists somehow convince him that means he's the one who lost. Later, he easily shoots down missiles in mid-air with his dual pistols, and punches one when he exhausts his ammunition.
  • In Half-Life 2, throughout most of the game, the Vortigaunts serve as your alien allies in the fight against the Combine, providing some technical support and adding some interesting variety to the rebel fighters. However, you never actually see them in combat. This changes in Episode 2 in the chapter This Vortal Coil, where the Vortigaunts show you the true power of the Vortessence along with an epic fight song against legions of ant lions.
  • Dark Souls:
    • One of the recurring side characters is Siegmeyer, a bumbling Lord Error-Prone who frequently gets himself into trouble and has to be bailed out by the player. However, if you help him out every time he needs it, then he returns the favor in Lost Izalith, attempting a Heroic Sacrifice by charging a cluster of Chaos Eaters. Note 'attempting': there's a very real chance he'll survive the fight, even if you don't help him out.
    • Solaire of Astora is a Fountain of Memes and is more well-known for his quirkiness and friendliness among the fans. Which often leads to some amazement if those fans get into a situation where they have to fight him and he proves to actually be a very strong fighter. He's the only other Undead in the game that actually manages to fight his way all the way to the Final Boss (if he doesn't get caught in a trap along the way), and if you get his equipment, the descriptions make note that there is absolutely nothing magical about any of it: Solaire is just that good.
  • Johnny Sasaki from Metal Gear spends the first few games being used as Comic Relief and a major Butt-Monkey. However, in Metal Gear Solid 4, when his Love Interest Meryl was put in danger, he reminds the player and Solid Snake that he is, in fact, a 10 year veteran in an elite military unit.
  • A villainous example occurs in Chrono Cross. Quirky Miniboss Squad Solt and Peppor mostly serve as tutorials for the battle and magic system the first times you fight them. However, there's an optional sidequest that leads to the Infinity +1 Sword that starts by finding Solt and Peppor again. When you do, they accuse Karsh of betraying a longtime friend of his. In the ensuing cutscene, Karsh tries to dodge the question, and the two become enraged, attacking your party. This time, they're much stronger, and will definitely catch you off-guard if you're not prepared.
  • Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney. He spends the majority of each case absolutely floundering and desperately looking for flaws in the witness testimonies. Then comes that brilliant moment where all the contradictions fall into place to reveal the truth, and he becomes akin to a force of nature.
    • The same can be said of one of his recurring allies, Dick Gumshoe. He might be a bit of a bumbling, Clueless Detective prone to errors in judgement, but he's got enough Big Damn Heroes moments to go around. He's strong enough to take on an entire gang of mobsters by himself, quite savvy when it comes to engineering and machinery, and can just about always be counted on to bring in decisive evidence when you most need it.
    • This is reflected in his appearance in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, where he spends most of the battle with fairly underpowered attacks, until he collects enough evidence to enter trial mode, when he becomes a force to be reckoned with. He can even take things Up to Eleven by entering the even more powerful Turnabout Mode by landing an objection on his opponent in trial mode.
  • In his introduction trailer for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Mega Man (Classic) starts the battle with his normal power set and gets pummeled. After which he decides to stop screwing around and activates the Variable Weapon System; pre-equipped with some classic Robot Master weapons.
  • In the opening chapters of Mother 3, Wess assumes that the (currently pre-teen) Lucas has been doing nothing but crying in his house after his mother Hinawa's death. When Wess and co. are cornered by the Pigmask Army, Lucas' response is to leisurely waltz into the scene before whistling, calling a Dragowhose mate the Pigmasks turned into a mechanical monstrosity, which was what killed Hinawa in the first place — to lay waste to the entire battalion. Following this, the post-Time Skip Lucas is the main player character.
  • Xian Mei is a Nice Girl, The Stoic, and Token Good Teammate in the game. Then during the Morseby missions, Jin is kidnapped and, it's hinted at to the point of being a Foregone Conclusion, raped by the Raskal gangs. Xian and Purna believe Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil, and when closing in on Jin's location and fighting a wave, she'll yell out, "Stay together, I'll kill you faster." Dead Island: Riptide reveals that the infection causes a Rage Mode, and late in the game and just before the ending, Xian uncharacteristically snaps, making this a Justified Trope.
  • The Wardog squadron of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War are Technical Pacifists at best, but mid way through the game, circumstances (Chopper's death) lead to them reacting as such, to the point the enemy buys into a myth about demons and they had taken over the pilot's bodies in revenge.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link starts almost every game as a harmless youth from some backwater or another. But once his family, village, friends, etc... are threatened, he invariably saves them, and the world, within a few days. In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Link acts pretty goofy at times, and he is also subjected to slapstick humor such as being launched into the air and slamming against a wall. When it comes to his sister's safety or facing down Ganondorf, Link becomes deadly serious and will absolutely wreck anything that stands in his way. Doubly so in the final battle where Link's finishing blow on Ganondorf involves jumping up and plunging the Master Sword directly into his head!
  • Porky/Pokey Minch spends most of EarthBound avoiding confrontation with Ness and just being an annoyance. Come the final battle, and now he's got a spider-mech and he's fighting alongside Gyiyg/Giygas and he's a major threat. The track that plays during the fight is even titled "Porky Means Business."note 
  • Pac-Man: Most of the game, all the hungry little disc can do is run from the ghosts. But when he eats the Power Pill...
  • Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider (2013) reboot is a true Nice Girl who spends the first half of the game going through the stuff that Issac, Shepard, Booker or Xian Mei would shudder at. This forces her to take ten steps in badass to the point where the hunted becomes the hunter.
  • Sans of Undertale is super lazy and doesn't really care about much. But if you take the Kill 'Em All path, he decides he can't afford not to care anymore, and faces you as the Final Boss — and he is the absolute most brutal fight in the game. It's implied that the reason he doesn't get dangerous in any other circumstance is that he knows you have the power to SAVE, and he can't bring himself to do anything knowing you can just erase it on a whim - and in fact, the only reason he fights you in the first place is to try to make you so frustrated that you just give up and leave his world alone.
    Sans: all right. well, here's a better question: do you wanna have a bad time? 'cause if you take another step forward... you are REALLY not gonna like what happens next.
  • The Remake of Resident Evil has a minor, purely visual example with Chris, who normally fires his shotgun from the hip. When you're facing a boss, however, he fires from the shoulder. The implication is that for creatures like zombies he's a good enough shot to take them down with a hip shot, but when facing a giant snake or the Tyrant they're deadly enough that every shot counts so he'd better aim properly and hit that damned weak spot.
  • For most of Zero Time Dilemma, Akane is aiming for an ideal outcome in which everyone peacefully survives the Decision Game. Then her Love Interest is brutally murdered, and you can practically see her priorities change to 'roarsmashkill'. She doesn't even try to mediate the situation after that.
  • In Red Dead Redemption 2, Edgar Ross spends most of the game as Andrew Milton's mostly silent apprentice. After Milton is killed, a newly promoted Ross strikes back with a vengeance and assaults the Van Der Linde gang's hideout at Beaver Hollow with a small army of Pinkertons.


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