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Achilles' Heel

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"And then there was Achilles. Now there was a guy who had it all; the build, the foot-speed. He could jab! He could take a hit! He could keep on comin'! ...BUT THAT FURSHLUGGINER HEEL OF HIS! He barely gets nicked there once and kaboom! (flicks the statue's heel; it shatters into a pile of rubble) He's history!"
Phil, Hercules

Any seemingly Nigh Invulnerable character (or Kung Fu-Proof Mook) will inevitably have some key weakness that can and will be exploited. This is especially likely if the main character is a Super Hero; otherwise they could walk over powerful criminals and supervillains, which removes any challenges, as they would never be in peril.

Aliens, killer robots and monsters that are Immune to Bullets will usually have a fairly mundane Achilles' Heel that only surfaces/is discovered when things look the bleakest. Dragons may have a missing scale. Monsters, witches or supervillains may be vulnerable to a certain element. Killer robots may have a single unarmored part.

The expression refers to the Greek mythological figure Achilles. When Achilles was a baby, his mom, Thetis, heard a soothsayer say the boy would die young. To keep her son safe, Thetis took Achilles to the magical River Styx and dipped him in the water, holding onto his heel. He was now magically shielded over his entire body...except for that one part of the heel his mom was holding. He became a successful warrior, until one battle when he got a heel wound that killed him.

Even though the original mythological reference was to a physical vulnerability, the expression can also refer to moral or psychological elements that can lead to a character's downfall.

Many magical girls tend to have their Transformation Trinket be their Achilles' Heel due to the fact that they need it to transform and, thus, be useful. Many bad guys don't seem to actively go for these items in battle, but a few times they lead to a Mid-Season Upgrade.

Has nothing to do with a wrestling heel.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan has the Titan's vulnerable points as the base of their necks. Harm a Titan anywhere else and they'll just regenerate within minutes, but slice the base of the neck and they die instantly. Why this is the case is a mystery for a long time, but eventually it's revealed: all Titans are made from humans, and the remains of the human reside at the base of the neck. Kill the human, and the Titan dies with it. Only the Titan Shifters have the ability to revert to a human form.
  • Bleach:
    • Zanpakutou all have some kind of a weak point. Hanatarou's can take the wounds it's healed and turn into an attack powerful enough to kill a Gillian, but afterwards it's a useless three-inch-long scalpel. Considering that most enemies in Bleach have a horrible attack radius far, far greater than three inches, this makes him useless in combat. Komamura's bankai can take down most enemies with just one hit, but any damage inflicted upon it also appears on Komamura, so if the enemy survives that hit and is able to retaliate... ouch. Even Aizen's got one — if you touch his sword before he starts the illusion, you can see through them. Also, while his illusions effect all five senses, you have to see him release his shikai once before you can be caught in them. Thus, the blind are immune.
    • Ukitake contracted a lung disease when he was three years old. It was fatal, but his parents tracked down a mysterious holy being to beg for its intervention. It agreed to keep Ukitake alive on the condition that Ukitake repay that debt at a later date. Like Aizen and Ichigo, Ukitake has phenomenal reiatsu even by the standards of captains, but unlike those two, he cannot freely use it; it's tied up just keeping him alive. Despite this, he has made it to captain rank and is one of the longest-serving of all captains. However, his disease can debilitate him at unexpected moments, including in the middle of battle, making him unreliable on the battlefield — a fact that cost the life of his previous lieutenant, Kaien.
    • Unlike all other beings (including humans), Quincies have no resistance to Hollows. While Shinigami and Humans can undergo Hollowfication, Hollowfication instead kills Quincies and destroys their souls. At best, a Hollow attack can have a permanent impact on the power level of a Quincy and his future descendents. Quincies therefore hunt Hollows as a matter of survival. Urahara uses this weakness against the Quincies who stole captain Bankais to restore the Bankais to their rightful owners. Even a tiny amount of Hollow energy can poison a Quincy's soul.
    • Nine years before the story begins, Yhwach mass murders all the impure Quincies alive with a special power called Auswahlen. Despite being a child at the time, Uryuu is also targeted but mysteriously survives. Uryuu's apparent immunity to Yhwach's power makes Yhwach personally interested in Uryuu, although Uryuu struggles to figure out why. Auswahlen kills Quincies by creating a silver blood clot in their bodies that de-powers them and kills them once it reaches their heart if the victim's flesh hasn't been stripped from their bones. Among the Quincies purged are Uryuu and Ichigo's mothers, Kanae and Masaki. Uryuu's father, Doctor Ryuuken Ishida, knows the secret to both Yhwach's and Uryuu's powers: Uryuu's immunity means that Yhwach cannot see into Uryuu's future while Yhwach will be fully de-powered for a single second if he ever comes into contact with the Auswahlen silver. Ryuuken's decision to autopsy his wife's body to collect the silver enables a special arrow to be forged that Uryuu will be able to fire without Yhwach seeing it coming, but the act forever destroys his desire to be a Quincy. Ryuuken only reveals the secret when Uryuu is strong enough to fire the arrow without Yhwach foreseeing it and Ichigo is fast enough to act within that single second to kill Yhwach.
  • In Campione!, the titular warriors possess magic resistance that renders them immune to most magic attacks, but if the magic enters via their mouth, it bypasses the resistance, as seen with Athena's Kiss of Death.
  • Death Note's Shinigami, being grim reapers, are immortal, with two notable exceptions. First, a Shinigami's lifespan is extended by writing names in a Death Note; if a Shinigami forgets to write names, they will run out of time and die. Second is the fact that a Shinigami who intentionally uses their Death Note to protect a human — extending someone's lifespan rather than cutting it short — will die instantly. There are also a number of rules they have to follow while in the human world if they don't want to get on the bad side of the Shinigami King. On a personal level, Ryuk is addicted to apples, and goes through some awkward withdrawal syndromes if he goes for too long without eating any. That said, Ryuk's withdrawal can't kill him, nor can starvation, as he doesn't really need to eat.
  • The Big Bad of Digimon Adventure 02's only weakness is the Power of Dreams.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku survives a bullet and an axe to the head (relatively) unharmed, but if you grab his tail, he'll pass out. Eventually he trains himself to not be unaffected by it. It even works when he's transformed into a giant ape. He also has a tendency of losing strength if he feels hungry, which results in his defeat in his first battle with Yamcha as well as his fight with Jackie Chun. Both weaknesses go away as he grows up, the former because he gets his tail cut off, and the latter presumably because he gets better at managing his metabolism.
    • Goku and Piccolo themselves exploit this weakness in the battle with Raditz in Dragon Ball Z. After that attempt fails, Goku doesn't bother going for the weakness again, because he remembers that Saiyans can also manually detach the tail from the body. Attempted against Nappa and Vegeta, although Piccolo finds out rather brutally that the Elites aren't stupid enough to not train that weakness.
    • Goku also doesn't have a good history as far as Paralysis-inducing techniques (more specifically, the telekinetic kind) are concerned.
      • In the original Dragon Ball, Goku manages to hold an edge over General Blue, until the latter uses his special power to freeze Goku's body. It's worth noting Blue nearly kills Goku no less than three times this way.
      • When fighting Tien during the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament, Chiaotzu manages to paralyze Goku several times, allowing Tien to score free hits on him.
      • During his battle against Frieza on Namek, Frieza successfully imprisons Goku in a ball of energy, and Goku is helpless to stop it until Frieza intentionally makes the ball explode. This one, however, could simply be chalked up to the fact that Frieza is way out of Goku's league at the time.
      • In Dragon Ball Super, Chiaotzu successfully restrains Goku for a few seconds using his power. Granted, Goku is only in his base form, relaxed, and Chiaotzu takes him by surprise, but the fact that Chiaotzu can affect Goku for any length of time at all despite the massive, massive gap in power makes it clear that it's still a soft spot for Goku.
    • Though debatably non-canon, Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug reveals that Namekians are sensitive to a certain sound frequency. In this case, it's the sound of whistling. Piccolo flips out when Gohan whistles, but when Big Bad Lord Slug has everyone on the ropes, he instructs Gohan to start whistling to stop Slug. Piccolo himself avoids the weakness by way of ripping off his own ears.
  • Played with for the homunculi in Fullmetal Alchemist. Their immortality is fueled by the Philosopher's Stones in their bodies; Mustang tears Lust's out of her body attempting a one-shot kill, only for her to form a new body from the Stone. Turns out that their only weakness is being killed a few dozen times (or the destruction of the Stone itself), with the exact number of "kills" required being dependent on the number of human souls remaining in the Stone.
    • Pride has one in the form of pure darkness: since he uses shadow-manipulation powers, he's powerless in total darkness because you need light to cast a shadow.
    • Alphonse is bound to his armor by his blood seal, and should that be destroyed, he's a goner.
    • Wrath's Ultimate Eye turns him into the equivalent of a Perfect Play A.I.: he can predict his opponents' moves with perfect accuracy and therefore wins almost every fight he's in effortlessly. Even an Ultimate Eye cannot dodge something it cannot see coming.
    • Played straight for the homunculi in the first anime, where they are immortal, but can be killed if one gets anywhere near the remains of the human body they were created from. Wrath averts this because his remains were used as the raw materials in the attempt to resurrect him.
    • Homunculi are also rendered immobile if the red nodes on their bodies are penetrated. This is shown in the manga, where Wrath captures Greed by piercing his katanas into his nodes and Lan Fan throws her kunai into Envy's forehead. We also see this in the 2003 anime when Lust is punished and kept nailed to the wall.
  • All of the characters in Get Backers have fantastical abilities but with very heavy handicaps, more often than not forcing the characters to pull near-fatal trump card moves. The best example is one character of the main duo, Mido Ban, who can subject people to dreams with his Jagan (Evil Eye) for exactly one minute in reality, but indefinitely in the dream itself, making it an ultimate twink move. The catch? He can only use it once on a person and three times total a day. Needless to say, a lot of antagonists find ways to avoid this or force him to use his Jagan needlessly until he's helpless.
  • The Yato of Gintama have immense physical strength, but are sensitive to the sun and carry around umbrellas (which double as guns and shields [bullet-proof?], and are very durable, used somewhat like swords) to protect themselves during the day. On one occasion, a character dies from being exposed to the sun only briefly, after years of being underground.
  • In Great Mazinger, the titular mecha initially has a blind spot caused by its Scramble Dash flight pack, allowing enemies to sneak up and capture it. It's later fixed. It's also used for Mazinkaiser in Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden, with Mazinkaiser's Kaiser Scrander creating a blind spot. The Scrander was removed in Super Robot Wars Alpha 2 to fix this.
  • Gundam:
    • The Gundam Double Zeta, the title mecha of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, is a powerhouse Mobile Suit armed with one of the strongest beam cannons made by that point. However, said beam cannon is such an energy hog that it easily runs itself out of power if continuously used. The Double Zeta's complicated transformation scheme also makes it structurally weak and unstable; this latter weakness was eliminated when the suit was upgraded to the Full Armor Double Zeta, but this in turn added another weakness in that the bulky armor prevents the suit from transforming at all.
    • Power consumption is a big problem in the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED universe thanks to the N-Jammers preventing nuclear energy from being used. Many suits along the way have attempted to devise ways to extend Mobile Suit usage time, such as better versions of the Phase Shift armor and beam weapons that draw from external batteries. The Freedom and Justice are Game Breakers because they have N-Jammer Cancellers that allow them to use nuclear reactors, giving them effectively unlimited operation time. Likewise for Providence, the Big Bad's mobile suit. In Gundam SEED Destiny, N-Jammer Cancellers have been banned by treaty (since they also make it possible for nuclear warheads to be used), so yet another attempt to extend battery life is introduced: a technology that remotely beams energy from the mothership to the mobile suit for a quick recharge without needing to return to the hanger. And inevitably, the treaty banning nuclear power gets violated by all sides in the end. In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray, the Gerbera Straight katana is Lowe's answer to the power question — he can't risk using a beam saber and using a GINN's Heavy Sword uses just as much power. His encounter with the blacksmith Un No leads Lowe to create the sword.
    • This is also the problem concerning the GN Drive Tau in Mobile Suit Gundam 00. As the GN Drive Tau is a mass-produced, but incomplete, version of the Celestial Being's normal GN Drives, it's missing a critical component to allow constant energy creation. Thus, it only has a limited amount when it's powered up, and when it runs out, the suit's dead in the water. When a way is found to replicate the standard GN Drives' Trans-Am mode, it allows for a considerable boost in output but also exacerbates the existing weakness of the GN Drive Tau, usually burning out the Drive in the process.
  • Although Immune to Bullets, the cyborg assassins of Gunslinger Girl are as vulnerable as any little girl when they are not focused. Furthermore, shooting them in the eyes should be enough to kill them.
  • Inuyasha:
    • A human artist gains the power to make his art come to life, and starts creating some of the most horrible creatures imaginable as an army to obliterate his enemies. However, once Inuyasha destroys the artist's inkwell — which turns out to be a magic inkwell — he's down and out.
    • Inuyasha himself: On the night of a new moon, he becomes fully human and loses all of his demon powers.
  • Subverted in Legend of Lemnear. The Big Bad transforms himself into a 50-foot demon cyclops, and the male hero, the Warrior of Bronze, declares, "You may be tough, but I know your weak spot! Your demon eye!" Then through a crazy set of acrobatics, he lands on the demon's face to plunge a sword into its eye. Only to have his sword shatter on contact.
  • Lycoris Recoil: Chisato relies on her impressive sight for every combat encounter which is how she can calculate things like bullet trajectory. So if someone were to blind her, she'd lose her greatest asset. Majima takes advantage of this by spitting blood in her eyes.
  • The Zentraedi and Protodeviln of Macross are both weakened by music — the Zentraedi because they haven't been exposed to "culture" for so long, and the Protodeviln because Basara possesses the Anima Spiritua.
  • Mazinger Z: The titular Humongous Mecha has several weaknesses:
    • Mazinger can't move without its pilot. So the bad guys constantly attack Kouji when he is out of Mazinger.
    • Mazinger's main body must be combined with the Hover Pilder to work. Kouji's enemies often try to prevent him from attaching the Pilder to Mazinger's head.
    • Mazinger's underwater mobility is crap, even after getting upgraded to fight underwater. Of course, this is exploited frequently.
    • Mazinger originally can't fly, forcing Kouji to get imaginative when fighting flying Mechanical Beasts. The Jet Scrander is eventually developed in order to remove this weakness. On the other hand, since the Jet Scrander needs to be independently launched before it can dock with Mazinger, this gives the villains another method of attack: engage Mazinger while Kouji is trying to combine with the Scrander.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Nagi Springfield is described as invincible with no weaknesses. Except for the fact that he's an idiot who needs a cheatsheet to remember spells. He also has trouble pronouncing Latin.
    • Nagi's comrade Eishun is a more serious character whose strong focus on his training means a lack of human contact, and therefore a difficulty with women. This seems a common trait in Shinmeiryuu swordsman if Setsuna is any indication. Tsukuyomi takes this weakness too far in the other direction.
  • Kuromi from Onegai My Melody has basically the same weakness as kid Goku mentioned above— if anyone steps on or pulls her tail, she passes out.
  • One Piece:
    • All Devil Fruit users have the common fatal weakness of becoming completely immobile and useless in deep water. Other Fruits have more specific weaknesses; for example, Luffy's Gum-Gum Fruit makes him immune to blunt force, and he can only be damaged by being slashed or pierced. On the other side of the coin, Buggy the Clown's Fruit makes him immune to being cut, so his weakness is blunt force.
    • The Logia Fruits, easily the most powerful of all the Devil Fruits, all seem to have a single weakness that negates their great power or their perfect defense. For example, Sir Crocodile, eater of the Sand-Sand Fruit, becomes solid when wet. God Enel, eater of the Rumble-Rumble Fruit, which gives him lighting powers strong enough to destroy the entirety of Skypeia, is made completely helpless when pitted against Luffy, who is made of rubber and doesn't conduct electricity (until he finds ways to attack Luffy indirectly). Logia Fruit users can also be somewhat physically harmed when up against someone with a powerful Haki, though if a Logia user has Haki of his own he can counter that attempt to bypass his intangibility (as seen when Whitebeard uses a Haki-imbued attack against Admiral Aokiji). Logia users can also be hurt by someone whose Logia is more powerful than theirs in a similar area, such as Sakazuki's magma being hotter than Ace's fire.
    • Franky is a powerful cyborg with superhuman defenses. Problem is, he did all of his enhancements himself, meaning that since he couldn't reach behind him to do anything in back, he's vulnerable to attacks from behind. Some of his moves therefore involve fighting with his back on the ground so that his weak point is harder to reach. His genitals, especially his balls, are a weak point as well.
    • A few Fruit users have additional weaknesses that keep them from being completely invincible. Bartolomeo has an upper limit to both the number of barriers he can create at once and the total area he can cover with them, and his barriers cannot stop sound. Trafalgar Law's Fruit powers drain his stamina. Blackbeard's Logia powers draw in everything around him, so he can't dodge attacks. Some of Robin's techniques, such as making wings, are unusually tiring, and her generated limbs are considered part of her and thus make her vulnerable to any Touch of Death sort of power. Big Mom's soul-infused constructs (known as Homies) are significantly more vulnerable to damage than she is, especially soul-targeting damage, and are also fairly disloyal and can be turned against her; either way, removing them from the equation can significantly neuter her damage output. On top of that, her soul-ripping abilities will simply not work on anyone that isn't afraid of her.
    • Sasaki of the Animal Kingdom Pirates has the power of the Dragon-Dragon Fruit: Triceratops Model, and his dinosaur form has such a tough hide that it can shrug off cannons and missiles. However, Franky notes that he has a soft underbelly, and wins their duel by targeting it.
    • King, one of the Animal Kingdom Pirates' Lead Performers, has natural Super-Toughness to the point he can No-Sell Zoro's most powerful sword techniques. But Zoro soon discovers that whenever King moves at Super-Speed, his defenses are lower and wins their fight by timing his strikes when King is moving.
  • Averted in One-Punch Man, where Saitama, despite being a traditional costumed superhero with the power of Nigh-Invulnerability inspired by the likes of Superman, never gets a real weakness and is pretty much invincible — the series derives tension instead from readers being worried about characters other than Saitama who are actually vulnerable and can get hurt or die, and caring about Saitama because he is unfairly treated by the ranking system in the Hero Association and public opinion rather than because he's ever in any actual physical danger.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Yellow's Viridian-blessed powers include healing, telepathy, minor telekinesis, and Super-Empowering. All this sounds like it would make her an invincible Pokémon trainer, but while her powers do make up for her sub-par battling skills, using them too much runs the risk of her being forced into a deep sleep that cannot be externally disrupted. At one point she gets taunted into using her powers vainly as to get tired out faster.
  • Pretty Cure have a weakness in the fact that they run on Emotional Powers. It's not uncommon for any of the heroines to suffer some sort of problem that messes with their powers in some way.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion reveals a key weakness in Homura's Time Control magic: there's a delay from its activation to when time actually stops. Sayaka hears the gears starting to whir and is fast enough to jam the mechanism with her sword. Also, if you're in contact with her, as Mami is via ribbon during their fight, you're unaffected.
  • Makoto Shishio from Rurouni Kenshin is a very powerful swordsman, but can't fight for more than 15 minutes straight. If he does, he will overheat to death. And by overheat, we mean burst into flames.
  • Sailor Moon: Usagi gets one brooch destroyed and a second damaged and needs those upgrades to get her powered up again, as well as temporarily losing access to them at times.
  • Many times on Saint Seiya, more than one character suffers from this:
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman:
    • The team's main vehicle, the God Phoenix, has a rather poorly thought-out weakness in that all the team's sub-vehicles have to be docked for the God Phoenix's weapons systems to work. While that kind of weakness would make sense to create the plane's Fiery Phoenix effect, since it's an exotic weapon system, to have it affect the regular weapons seems too much. Even worse, Galactor learns about this weakness and the visual clues for it and wastes no time to take advantage of it.
    • Another Achilles Heel turns out to be the team's uniforms. Each piece of their clothes — shirt, pants, and shoes — turn into their uniforms. Lose any part of it and you can't transform, as Jun finds out.
  • Transformers:
    • Transformers: The★Headmasters:
      • Galvatron's weak point is revealed to be his head. It should be clarified that "weak point" is relative: Galvatron survived being at ground zero of an explosion that destroyed the Transformer homeworld of Cybertron. The Headmasters eventually kill him by burying him alive under tons of ice, where he will remain entombed for at least 20 years in-universe.
      • Dragon Ascendant Scorponok is shown retreating several times throughout the series when he's struck in the chest. It's later revealed that the centre of his chest is his weak point, which is why he'd retreat as soon as he suffered any damage to it. Like with Galvatron, "weak point" is relative: as a skyscraper-sized Transformer, only the similarly gigantic Fortress Maximus has any chance of doing significant damage to it.
    • Transformers Victory:
      • Star Saber is revealed to have weak points in his shoulders (where missiles and ammunition for his shoulder cannons are stored) and the back of his legs (which become thrusters in his spaceship mode). He undergoes a reinforcement procedure later in the series to remove these weak points.
      • Big Bad Deathsaurus and his subordinates the Breastforce are able to deploy their breastplates as attack animals (hence the name of the team). The downside is that this naturally leaves their chests with weaker armour. Deathsaurus actually has two Brestars (named Tiger Breast and Eagle Breast), which leaves him with an even more glaring vulnerability when he sends both of them into combat.
      • According to his toy's bio, Deathsaurus has another, very unusual weak point: he has a soft spot for children. While not utilised on the anime, the Victory manga brings it up a few times as a plot point. In one example, he's on the verge of killing Star Saber when he notices Star Saber's human adopted son in danger and moves to aid him... giving Star Saber just enough time to recover and defeat him.
  • In Voltron, it turns out that the right knee, where Black Lion and Blue Lion connect, is the titular mecha's weak point. The enemy constantly bombards it when they find out about it before they're able to pull away and finish the fight before they lose the leg. However, in the end, they fix that weak point and put in another weak point! What the hell?!
  • Many villains in Yaiba has this. For example, Bat-Man's weakness to sunlight, the Moon Bunnies' ears, and Silver's eye.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers: In New Avengers, The Ivory Kings (aka the Beyonders) are incredibly powerful god-like beings who are able to curbstomp just about anything — even other cosmic entities. Doctor Doom eventually discovers a key weakness: the Beyonders can't Time Travel. He tries to exploit this by going back in time to kill them at the point of their creation.
  • The Black Knight: The only material that isn't vulnerable to the Omnisolve is diamond. This is utilized several times by the Ducks against the Black Knight, such as Donald loading a cannon with a massive diamond (it might have worked if Lusene didn't damage the cannon first) and Scrooge trapping Lusene in an air-sealed room entirely lined with diamond dust.
  • Green Lantern: Traditionally, Green Lantern's have had trouble with the color yellow — except the Golden Age version, whose power came from a different source, and who was instead vulnerable to wood. Parodied by the parallel-universe "Green Guardsman" in an episode of the Justice League TV series, whose ring is powerless against aluminum.
  • Man-Thing: Man-Thing is Nigh Invulnerable so long as he remains moist.
  • Martian Manhunter: Green Martians were, then weren't, deathly afraid of fire, which did, then didn't, and now does again melt them into a puddle.
  • Rising Stars:
    • One character is completely immune to physical damage. However, he still needs to breathe, and is killed by someone sneaking up behind him and throwing a plastic bag over his head.
    • More generally, in the third story arc, it is discovered that the resistance to damage that, by this point, all specials have does not guard against radiation. Thus, a special who has spent the last 10 years stealing and hiding nuclear weapons gets radiation sickness, and any special can be temporarily weakened by an electromagnetic pulse.
  • Robin (1993): The Dark Rider can only fly if he's on his shadow steed, and once he's unhorsed, the thing dissipates and he can't call it up again until the next night.
  • Originally Spawn had his necroplasm suit, which allows him to do anything, but with a countdown of energy which, when it hits 0, drags him to hell (though once they stopped displaying the number the energy was at, this became more of an Informed Flaw). He's also vulnerable to heavenly weapons in general.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The alien symbiotes, which created such creatures as black-suit Spider-Man, Venom, Carnage, and Toxin, are vulnerable to "sonics" — essentially, extremely loud or high-frequency noises. Extreme heat is also a notably unpleasant weakness of theirs. There's one time when Venom is been defeated by a lit zippo.
      • Conversely, Venom is Spider-Man's Achilles Heel. Since the Venom symbiote spent a good bit of time bonded to Spidey as his black costume, not only does it know all about the Spider-Sense (something that routinely saves Spidey's life by giving him a heads-up on an incoming sneak attack), but it's also immune to detection by it, an immunity that extends to any host the symbiote is bonded to.
    • Spider-Man himself has a little-known weakness. If he gets sick with a virus, his powers will stop working, making him just a sick, weak teen.
    • Norman Osborn has one rather serious Achilles Heel: he's a nutcase. As Osborn he's a twisted and brilliant sociopath. As the Goblin he's so batshit crazy that he makes his Osborn side look well-adjusted. As a result, it doesn't take much effort to get a Villainous Breakdown out of him. At one point, due to some "nudging" by imprisoned psychics, just being reminded of Spider-Man leads to Osborn pacing around in his office naked and ranting. And this is still saner than his Goblin persona.
  • Superman:
    • Perhaps the most well-known Achilles Heel in comics is Superman and his family's weakness to kryptonite. Kryptonians are also perfectly susceptible to magical and (sometimes) telepathic attacks. It's also generally accepted that Superman would lose all of his powers while exposed to red solar radiation, since the yellow sun is the source of his power, though writers waffle about whether red sunlight instantly depowers him or if he gets gradually weaker as he uses up his stores of yellow solar energy.
    • Inverted with the supervillain Doomsday. If you kill him, he comes back, immune to what killed him last time (so, if you tossed him into space, he'd come back able to survive sudden changes in pressure; if you did it again, he wouldn't need to breathe the next time; and if you did it a third time, he might — eventuallyfreeze, or burn up, and come back immune to that). He's finally defeated by being sent forward in time to the end of the universe.
    • General Zod's associate Ursa has all the regular Kryptonian powers and weaknesses, but her eyes can't stand bright light. Knocking off her protective goggles will briefly stun her as she clutches her eyes in pain. The Eradicator (or at least when he reappeared after Superman's death) was like that, too — he couldn't take Superman's body and ended up forging a new one with the room around him. It wasn't perfect and he couldn't take in light properly, hence his shades. It's because of this that his battle with Steel turned in Steel's favor — he knocked off his shades fighting back.
  • Thanos: The brilliant and amoral Thanos has a particularly strange weakness: self-defeatism. As Adam Warlock points out in a Breaking Speech in The Infinity Gauntlet crossover, he subconsciously knows that he doesn't deserve victory, and thus arranges his defeat without realizing it. The Vision lampshaded it in a dialogue with She-Hulk, explaining that Thanos himself helped the Avengers defeat him in previous battles.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • In The Ultimates, the ultimate version of Iron Man can't touch anything with his bare skin, even dust, without causing himself excruciating pain — hence the suit. He wore a special body paint that numbed him to a normal level. It also gave him a normal color, since the events of his birth made him blue in addition to neural tissue extending throughout his body, the reason for his pain.
    • In Ultimate X Men, the ultimate version of Professor X has one weakness... Stairs. He's in a wheelchair.
  • X-Men:
    • The unstoppable Juggernaut is highly susceptible to a mental attack. His costume includes a magic helmet that blocks telepathy, meaning that the bulk of most any fight against him is a desperate struggle to remove the helmet and then a telepath effortlessly dispatching him once that's accomplished. He's gotten tired of that and ended up making a skull cap made out of the same material as his costume, so now they have two layers to fight off.
    • Gladiator, one of Marvel's many Superman Substitutes and the leader of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, is exactly as powerful as he thinks he is, so he can be defeated by denting his confidence. The typical method is for a character to use trickery to make Gladiator think they did a No-Sell, then clobber him when his disbelief saps his strength.
    • Wolverine, Sabretooth, and pretty much anyone related to them who has a Healing Factor, are really hard to kill, due to their healing abilities. The one weakness they had was that beheading them would generally kill them (note that this doesn't work on Wolverine, since his skeleton is indestructiblenote ). However, Rick Remender later established a rule to tone things down: The brain requires oxygen, and depriving it of oxygen for long enough will kill these people. That means that all of the Howletts and Creeds can die from something as simple as drowning. So suffocation is now an easier method of offing these guys. This is actually done in an issue of What If?: Wolverine is easily killed when he's hurled out of a space station. The narration even points out that a healing factor and an indestructible skeleton are pretty useless against the vacuum of space.

    Fan Works 
  • In Aeon Entelechy Evangelion, due to mobility reasons, the joints in the armor (normal or subdermal) are less protected, and therefore exploited.
  • Atonement: Madison's power only works on objects she can see, and only nonliving ones. As such, her powers are largely useless in the dark (which Grue exploits during their fight in the mall) and against enemies with Super-Toughness, since the majority of her attacks are dependent on brute force — she has it especially hard against Horde, whose minions are to shrug off her attacks, and can't just be thrown aside.
  • In the Blood Bond, Blood Omen Series, the Unshaper would have been completely invulnerable if it hadn't insisted on using avatars to give destroying the Earth that personal touch.
  • The trope's name is outright mentioned by Hobbes in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series when fighting Socrates's dark side — he's not as in touch with his feline roots as Hobbes is, and ends up taken out by a single, well-timed pounce.
  • In An Extraordinary Journey, most ships have bubble-type Deflector Shields. This means that ships equipped with Furling point-jump drives can bypass them to directly attack the ship inside.
  • In Hail to the King (Thuktun Flishithy), Godzilla retains his canon (one of them, anyway) weakness in the form of a large nerve cluster in his hip, which Zeruel uses against him.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Galactic Golem's only weak point is the radiation-leaking white starbust on his head. He can be defeated by hitting that spot, but the puncher may not survive the resulting chain reaction and subsequent explosion.
  • In Imaginary Seas, Percy possesses the Curse of Achilles, so he has one on his back opposite his navel as per The Last Olympian. But since it was never struck in life, Percy's version of Andreia Amarantos doesn't weaken him when he's struck there besides permanently turning off the Noble Phantasm.
  • The Key to a Successful Interview: While their bodies can handle poison hidden inside food, the mouths of those who practice the La Belle France School of Martial Arts Fine Dining are super sensitive to spicy stuff.
  • Last Child of Krypton:
    • Since Shinji has Kryptonian DNA, he is weak to Kryptonite.
    • While Shinji fights Sachiel, he hears Rei saying that its weak point is the red core. Right away he punches the red orb until he cracks it.
  • According to The Fairly OddParents! fanfiction Never Had a Friend Like Me, a genie's lamp serves the function of a portable prison, Power Limiter (in the sense that they've got to grant wishes of whoever has it), and Soul Jar. Destroying their lamp, while supremely difficult, while they are still bound to it is also an assured way to kill them.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, during the Fuchsia Tag Tournament, Paul figures out the weaknesses of Ash and Red's battling styles: the former's Pokémon could be easily overwhelmed by a much stronger opponent, and the latter gets thrown off by unexpected factors. And he might have succeeded, had he not decided to release his Raichu for losing one too many battles, as this prompts Ash and Red, who at the time are angry at each other over their conflicting views, to leave their differences aside so Paul doesn't win the tournament.
  • In The Rigel Black Chronicles, Blaise Zabini is asked to design a warding system that's nigh-impenetrable from the outside, but can be taken down easily from the inside by attacking any of its anchor points. Naturally, the system is later used against Harry, although Blaise didn't know that would happen.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Being half-Kryptonian, Asuka is weak to Kryptonite, and she can't recharge her powers under light of a red sun.
  • Transcendence: Arcane and fel magic both wind up being this to Ichigo. A clash between spiritual powers is straightforward; a stronger spiritual force will always triumph over a weaker one. Arcane and fel magics don't follow this rule, so Ichigo can't simply brute force his way past magically protected beings or tank spells the same way he can against spiritual and physical entities. Because of this, he has a much harder time dealing with magic users than he does with any other opponents.
  • Transformers Animated: Cybertronian Genesis: During the Siege of Polyhex, Starscream asks Megatron how he plans to defeat Optimus Prime. Megatron thinks of how Optimus draws strength from protecting those he loves, and then simply replies that every 'bot has a weakness. His optics then shift to the oblivious Blackarachnia.
    Starscream: Ah. Hello, weakness.
  • The Weaver Option: Slaanesh draws the majority of its power from the Dark Eldar and their victims. Moreover, it uses the temporal mutability of the Warp to draw power from their likely future actions as well as the present. This proves a massive handicap when Taylor begins razing Commorragh, as the future Slaanesh was feeding on ceases to be possible and retroactively erases entire legions of daemonettes from existence, leaving the god vastly weakened and vulnerable.
  • The Beast Wars fic "Underwater Beast Wars" sees the Predacons create Tripredacus after Tarantulas analyses Sea Clamp; Rhinox had been experimenting with a gestalt combiner using Sea Clamp as a prototype before his pod was reprogrammed, and Tarantulas and Blackarachnia were able to use Sea Clamp as a template to create the other two necessary components in the form of Ram Horn and Cicadon. A key strength of Tripredacus is that it possesses an internal force field that makes the gestalt immune to energon build-up- the individual Predacons only have a part of the generator in them before they combine- but this forcefield is vulnerable to non-energy weapons, allowing Dinobot to disable Tripredacus by stabbing the generator with his sword.
  • In Winter War, Yumichika's shikai power is given the weakness that if he tries to use it against someone with a sufficiently great reiatsu — say, a high-ranking Espada — rather than killing them, he is overwhelmed with their power and effectively self-Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • With Strings Attached:
    • John has to eat all the time; if he doesn't, he fades pretty fast. He's also vulnerable to shrill sounds and is completely put out of action when the Hunter's BFS starts screaming.
    • In The Keys Stand Alone, it turns out that despite his overwhelming psionic power, Ringo is unusually susceptible to psionic attacks.
  • With This Ring:
    • Initially, Orange Lantern (OL) has absolutely no ability to resist magic, meaning that spells that others would shrug off are crippling to him. Chaos magic is even worse, as it can ignore his shields. Paragon!OL rectifies this with a high-grade defensive magical amulet from Atlantis, but that only protects him from direct magical attacks, leaving magic-users one of his worst match-ups. He grows out of it thanks to the Ophidian giving him a soul and lending her assistance with her resistance, though some skilled magicians can get around it. Grayven doesn't have this weakness due to being a New God.
    • OL has a huge weakness to telepathic attacks. In a fight with, Miss Martian she easily takes control of him. Renegade!OL rectifies this by getting training from Manchester Black, but psychics are terrible opponents. As Psimon learns the hard way though, OL is extremely strong against mindscape attacks, because anyone invading his mind on that level also gets to fight Ophidian.
    • He also employs clever tactics, advanced constructs, and sophisticated attacks as standard, but as a result he is easily flustered by direct, intense pressure that doesn't give him time to think or plan. This is in contrast to Green Lanterns, who are typically quite adept at simply reacting without thinking in combat.
  • The World is Filled with Monsters: Blightweaver is covered in impregnable armor that cannot be penetrated by any weapon, except for the fangs of its own progeny.
  • In Young Justice Titans, Trigon can't stay in a realm unless invited, and even then he can't stay if the majicks that brought him there are removed from him.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Return of Jafar: Jafar is a nigh-omnipotent genie, but will die if his lamp is destroyed.
  • Beowulf in Beowulf (2007) kills the dragon by stabbing the small part of its chest to where its heart should be, and he crushes it.
  • In The Frog Princess, the only way to kill Koshchei is to pierce him with a magical needle.
  • Hercules:
    • Phil makes a reference to his old student Achilles and complains about "that furshlugginer heel". He even goes to Achilles's statue and flicks the heel, which causes the entire statue to shatter into a pile of rubble.
    • Hades later contemplates if Hercules has one. He later confirms that Herc's weakness is his feelings for Meg.
      Hades: See, he has to have a weakness, because everyone has a weakness. For Pandora, it was the box thing, for the Trojans, hey, they bet on the wrong horse.
  • In The Hobbit, the dragon Smaug's Achilles Heel is adapted from the book version to a small burrow where a single scale is missing.
  • The Omnidroid in The Incredibles can only be harmed by its own weapons. It also obeys the commands of Syndrome's remote control even if its AI doesn't want to, and the remote has buttons that can do things like make its limbs fall off or force it to activate its rockets at an inconvenient time.
  • Lilo & Stitch: Stitch's Achilles' Heel lies in his very design. He's designed to be "virtually unstoppable", but due to the high density of his molecular structure, he sinks in water. Lilo & Stitch: The Series also reveals that Stitch can lift up to 3,000x his own weight (which is never specified), but not one ounce more.
  • Planes: Ripslinger is revealed to have this as Chug watches footages of his past wins of the Wings Around the Globe while Dusty is being repared; every time Ripslinger is about to cross the line, he slows down for the cameras and leans toward them. Dusty uses this to his advantage to finally overtake Ripslinger and win the race.
  • The Princess and the Goblin: The goblins have very vulnerable feet and can't stand singing.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Debris and smashed building parts are this to Felix, as demonstrated at the anniversary party. Also, ducks, if you count the actual games.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!, the eponymous tomatoes are defeated by playing the fictional artist Ronny Desmond's new hit song "Puberty Love", which causes them to shrink and become vulnerable to crushing.
  • Children of the Corn:
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • A rather clever one in Man of Steel. In his youth, Clark was overwhelmed by his burgeoning Super-Senses and other powers, and and it took some time for him to learn how to control them. He realizes in his first major confrontation that Zod and his crew are using sealed atmosphere Powered Armor that minimizes the reactions they would get from the yellow sun. By breaking those seals, they're overwhelmed just as much as young Clark was. Zod later comments that it is a weakness they will adapt to, and later fights Superman with all those same powers. The film also offers another natural weakness for Superman besides the stand-bys of red sun energy and Kryptonite. Specifically, the atmosphere of Krypton was a lot thinner, and Clark has spent his whole life in a much thicker environment. When Superman gets close to Zod's terraforming machine in order to destroy it, he finds himself in a replica of Krypton's thinner atmosphere, which disorients and nauseates him.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduces the classic kryptonite. It serves as the movie's MacGuffin, as both Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne are trying to get their hands on it to use as a deterrent/weapon against Superman. It's also the only thing capable of killing Doomsday.
    • In Aquaman (2018), only high-born Atlanteans are capable of breathing air, so disrupting a rank-and-file Atlantean soldier's Mobile Fishbowl will suffocate them.
  • In Death Becomes Her, Madeline and Helen's potion grants eternal youth, but does absolutely nothing about physical damage to the body. Any critical injury or mutilation stays that way and cannot be fixed. So the both of them are stuck in rotting and decaying bodies until by the end they fall apart and are nothing but bickering heads.
  • In Edge of Tomorrow, the aliens' greatest ability (to reset time) is also their greatest weakness, as it can be passed on to their enemy.
  • Parodied in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, during a psychedelic dream sequence.
    Officer Palumbo: Bullets! My only weakness! How did you know?
  • In Highlander, the immortal warriors can recover from any kind of injury perfectly, but their necks are uniquely vulnerable. Kurgan is left with a nasty throat scar and a permanently raspy voice as a result of a strike at the neck from Ramirez that still hasn't healed after nearly four centuries.
  • Smaug's Achilles Heel in The Hobbit is again adapted to a gap in his scales (made when Bard's ancestor tried to shoot him down when he first attacked Erebor — he broke off one of the scales, exposing the flesh underneath); and his natural hide is otherwise impenetrable all over.
  • I Am Mother: The Woman who enters the bunker tries shooting Mother to no apparent effect, but Mother later says the bullet barely missed her CPU. Subverted when this Chekhov's Gun is about to be fired in the final act and Mother reveals that destroying her CPU will do no good, as she and all the other droids are just remote drones controlled by a Hive Mind Artificial Intelligence.
  • Independence Day: Not only is the alien mothership compatible with Mac OS, but despite millions of years of technological advancement, they don't have even the most rudimentary form of a firewall. It's possible that in their culture, software hacking was unheard of. The flying saucers are also weak to jets crashing into their giant death rays.
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space: Destroying a Klown's nose kills them instantly.
  • A blink-and-you'll-miss-it "Achilles Heel" appears in Liar Liar when, faced with the prospect of "doing The Claw to [his ex-wife]", main character Fletcher Reed says, "You've found The Claw's only weakness — sub-zero temperatures!"
  • In Mars Attacks!, the Martian attackers are defeated by playing Slim Whitman's "Indian Love Call", which causes their heads to explode. As a second weakness, they cannot survive on Earth without their helmets and will die if they are removed or broken.
  • Lampshaded and overdone ad nauseum in Mindhunters. The plot of the movie rests on a FBI profiler killer killing other FBI profilers by presenting them in situations where they will have to fall for traps he's devised, because said trap is their weakness. In the end, he dies by getting shot in the head, causing Gabe to quip "I guess we found out his weakness — bullets." However, the killer's true Achilles Heel is time — everything has to happen on his schedule.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla is the King of the Monsters, but his neck is shown in all his movie appearances to be a weak spot, because despite his crocodilian armor, the gills on his neck are sensitive to attacks.
    • In Godzilla vs. Kong, Mechagodzilla is a Humongous Mecha designed to kill the King of the Monsters himself, but it's reliant on its satellite uplink to function even after Ghidorah's consciousness possesses it and makes it sentient — disrupting the satellite uplink causes the Mecha to stall for a moment.
  • Freddy Krueger of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies is an all-powerful Reality Warper... but only in dreams. In the real world, he is as vulnerable to damage as any normal person, although he's still pretty resilient. The protagonists in the series use this to their advantage several times. In the original movie, Freddy uses it right back at Nancy, since her return to the real world where she can defeat him turns out to still be a dream.
  • In Ra.One, both hero and villain are deliberately made Nigh Invulnerable — except for one weak point: their HARTs. Neither can actually be killed unless the HART is simultaneously destroyed.
  • Possibly the silliest Achilles Heel in film history is in Signs, where the powerful aliens who have been wreaking havoc turn out to have a fatal weakness to... water. They shouldn't have invaded a planet two-thirds covered in water without protective suits. On the other hand, the movie hints that the "aliens" are actually demons and that that "water" is actually holy water, which would justify the water weakness.
  • Star Wars:
    • One of the best known is the exhaust port on the Death Star in A New Hope, through which an invincible planet-destroying space station can explode into an enormous fireball because a couple of torpedoes from a small one-man fighter spacecraft hit its reactor and caused a chain-reaction explosion. Justified due to the simple fact that the exhaust port is extremely small (only two meters wide) and throws out exhaust, meaning that the shot is considered impossible until Luke (who is a Force sensitive) somehow manages to do it.
      • In the old EU, it's made the clear the Emperor was pissed that there was such a flaw and had the designer repeatedly killed, brought back to life, and then killed again before putting him to work on a perfected design. The second Death Star attempts to avoid this, by instead having lots of much smaller exhaust ports, too small to shoot into. Luckily, the heroes still have an Achilles Heel to exploit, because Death Star II is only about 70% complete when they attack, which includes holes wide enough for them to fly right up inside the main reactor and torpedo it.
      • In the new continuity, Rogue One explains that the flaw was deliberately added and laboriously hidden by a Rebel sympathizer, who was also the one who fed them the information they would need to exploit it. The sympathizer knew that the Empire would eventually build a perfect Death Star even without his engineering prowess (something they would later do in Return of the Jedi), so he accepted their "offer" to join the Death Star's engineering team in order to plant this flaw and sabotage them.
    • AT-ATs in The Empire Strikes Back are massive Walking Tanks with heavy firepower and enough armour to not even notice when they're hit with blaster cannon fire. Aside from being hit by anti-starship weapons (which aren't normally used on a planet precisely because they're too powerful), there're four ways to take them down: the "neck" with the weapons and the cockpit is relatively unarmored, and concentrated fire will severe the vehicle from its guidance system; the armour, while tough, isn't so effective against a large projectile at high speed such as a kamikaze airspeeder; as they move through legs, a tow cable may be used to "trip" them; and finally, their armour can't resist lightsabers (that, to be fair, cut through pretty much everything), and Luke takes one down by opening a hole and throwing a bomb inside.
  • In Transformers (2007), the Decepticon Blackout's armor is mentioned as being weak under the chest. Several minutes later, the same soldier who said that successfully kills him by blasting him through his groin.
  • Zigzagged in Troy. While Achilles is on extremely bad terms with Agamemnon and takes an arrow to his heel, the trope is subverted as he only dies after being shot with arrows repeatedly in the chest, although the heel injury slows him down enough that he was an easy target for Paris. What double subverts this, however, is his love for Briseis, which he developed throughout the course of the film_his love for her lead him to make the journey to Troy to rescue her from Agamemnon's clutches, just as the city fell, which resulted in Paris mistaking him for a rapist and firing the arrows that killed him.
  • In The War of the Worlds (1953), the aliens are vulnerable to Earth bacteria and viruses. While new beings likely wouldn't be vulnerable to earth's viruses, bacteria would be able to wipe out any species without an adapted (or adequate) immune system. This is because of the different ways that bacteria and viruses work. While it's stated to be the common cold in the movie, it could just be a "sinus infection" (bacterial). Any alien species moving to a different planet would be highly vulnerable to any and all new bacteria. This is a case of Science Marches On, since the movie came out three years before the cause of the common cold was discovered.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a substance known only as "dip" is able to kill otherwise invulnerable toons. It turns out that it is also the Achilles' heel of villain Judge Doom, who is revealed to be a toon himself.
  • The Djinn in Wishmaster has one main weakness: he can only use his powers in the service of wishes, which annoys him quite a bit ("Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to have unlimited power, and only be able to use it when some worm asks you for something?"). Without a wish, he's not a threat — he doesn't even use physical force to push past people. Getting everyone to stop wishing is next to impossible, however, considering how loose his interpretation of a wish can be.
  • The Wizard of Oz: The Wicked Witch of the West's vulnerability to water.

  • Adventure Hunters: No matter how powerful the gargoyle, light will turn him to stone.
  • In Animorphs, both the heroes and the villains have one:
    • For the Animorphs, their weakness is the two-hour time limit they can spend in a morph. If they go over that time limit, they're trapped in morph forever.
    • For the Puppeteer Parasite Yeerks, their weakness is the need to leave their host body every three days and swim in a Yeerk Pool to absorb life-giving Kandrona rays. Without doing so, they will die.
  • Fairy folk in the Artemis Fowl series are all susceptible to animal fat. Being exposed to animal fat will suck out all of their magic.
  • In The Belgariad, it appears that the Achilles Heel of the ancient and evil god Torak is to tell him that nobody loves him. As everything he's done through his existence was to force people to love him, this throws him into an Unstoppable Rage... which causes him to drop his guard. Cue impalement.
  • In Blue Core, the mage kings are insanely powerful, even if they only possess one dungeon and are too stupid to fight worth a damn, but take away the dungeon core of their dungeon(s) by targeting the core, and they're as weak as bog-standard humans. Shayma finds this out by sheer luck as she's dealing with Vok Nal. The protagonist Blue is an immensely powerful Dungeon, Artifact, and Power, but he's got a core that only has 1 hp per level, so anybody gets to it and he can be taken down pretty quick.
  • In the Chrestomanci series, the Chrestomanci are powerfully magic characters who are nearly invincible due to their powers and their nine lives. However, every Chrestomanci has one particular weakness.
  • One of The Demon Headmaster books features a super-logical computer which is defeated by all the children in the world yelling pointless anti-logic.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Nicodemus is made invulnerable by wearing Iscariot's Noose, but he's vulnerable to the noose itself, which naturally is conveniently already around his neck.
    • Fairies are consistently vulnerable to iron.
  • The proxy worms in the Fallocaust series can only survive in highly radiated areas. Although they can inhabit a born immortal and use their abilities to irradiate an area, it's also possible for an uninfected born immortal to absorb enough radiation in an area to kill them off.
  • Fate/Apocrypha features the mythical Achilles and Siegfried as Servants in the Grail War. Both are Nigh-Invulnerable warriors save for their physical weak spots — the famed heel in the case of the former, and the leaf-shaped spot in the back of the latter. Siegfried in particular cannot cover this spot at all, whether with clothing (hence his Walking Shirtless Scene) or with magic (a barrier around his body would leave an opening right where the mark is). In Achilles's case, it turns out that hitting the heel only removes his Nigh-Invulnerability; he's still plenty badass even if it is hit. Achilles also has two more: His invulnerability doesn't work on attacks from divine beings or divine weapons and things that don't count as attacks. For example, a vampire bite is an invitation to join the vampires by becoming one of them, not an attack. Though it never happens in the story, supplemental material points out that Siegfried is not protected from anti-dragon attacks, since drinking and bathing in the blood of Fafnir made him part dragon.
  • In Galatea in 2-D, Red comes from a painting of Achilles and has the heel.
  • Leto Atreides II, the eponymous God-Emperor of Dune, who combines his body with a sandworm to extend his life by thousands of years and gain immunity to almost every form of physical damage, also inherits the sandworms' vulnerability to water.
  • Harry Potter:
    • According to Dumbledore, Voldemort's weakness is his inability to love. This comes into play several times:
      • Lily Potter's Heroic Sacrifice for the son she loves so much gives Harry a shield that is able to make a Killing Curse rebound, and that same shield burns Quirrell's skin when he has been possessed by Voldemort, rendering him unable to attack Harry due to pain.
      • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Harry's brotherly love for Ron and, to some extent, Ginny pushes him to go down to the Chamber of Secrets to rescue the girl, and his respect for Dumbledore gives him the things he requires to kill the Basilisk, one of whose fangs he uses to destroy Tom Riddle's Diary.
      • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Harry's parents' ghosts protect him when he has to run away from the cemetery after Voldemort's resurrection.
      • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: When Harry is possessed by Voldemort, just thinking of the recently deceased Sirius is enough to kick Voldemort out. Also, Dumbledore's love for him stops the Headmaster from killing Harry in the hopes of killing Voldemort (which wouldn't have worked due to the horcruxes).
      • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: First, Snape turned spy for Dumbledore when Voldemort targeted Lily Potter, whom he had always loved. Then, Snape protects Harry and helps him to the best of his ability due to his love for his mother (his mistreatment of him comes from his being a look-a-like of James Potter) during all the books. Later, Harry sacrifices himself so that his friends and schoolmates don't die (and thus casts upon them the same shield his mother cast upon him). Much later, Narcissa lies to Voldemort about Harry being alive because she wants to see her son Draco (which is the signal that they are fed up with how Voldemort has treated her). And, in the end, it's Harry's ability to work with all of his friends that allows them to defeat the Death Eaters.
    • Voldemort also has his reliance on and treatment of the horcruxes. They're supposed to prevent him from dying, and they accomplish that perfectly well. The problems are that: a) He's very lax with their protection at times (giving the diary to Lucius Malfoy, for example), because he has so many, and b) he can't tell when they're destroyed and so leaves his guard down.
  • In The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School, trainee superhero Amy and her friends call it the "leaf", after the tale of Siegfried in the Nibelungenlied. A running theme in the book is her spotting what her opponent's "leaf" is, and trying to figure out her own.
  • Then there's Smaug, in The Hobbit. He knows that dragons typically have a weak underbelly, but has rolled around in his hoard for so long that coins and gems have become embedded among his scales, creating a "diamond waistcoat" that makes him Nigh Invulnerable. From this he has taken to calling himself "Smaug the magnificent" or "the golden". It's this protection that's flawed. There's just one spot in his belly that he missed but Bilbo doesn't. And the Bard definitely didn't.
  • In Dan Simmons' Illium and Olympos, the Trojan war is being deliberately recreated. Part of this involves Achilles being given a sort of quantum invulnerability that ensures that he will only ever be hurt by an arrow intentionally fired at his heel by Paris, which probably takes the cake for most specific and most inevitable Achilles Heel.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Due to Jihadain's magic, the Kthonian Knights can survive any injury so long as their heart remains intact.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron is incredibly tough, but if the One Ring he created is thrown into Mount Doom, he will lose all of his power, so that all he becomes is a little formless evil spirit incapable of affecting anything around him forever. Tolkien goes to lengths to justify this. The original point of the One Ring was for Sauron to gain control over the leaders of Men, Elves, and Dwarves, to whom he had (while in disguise) given the other rings of power. He had to put most of his strength into the One Ring in order for it to be powerful enough to control the others, especially the three Elven rings.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy:
    • The Steel Inquisitors are very dangerous customers, with Allomantic powers as well as superhuman strength and speed. However, the steel spikes that pierce their body are their weakness — if you pull out both the spikes in their eyes, or the one in their upper backs, it kills them instantly. Marsh uses this to take out all the Inquisitors in Luthadel near the end of the first book. Of course, when they show up again in the third book, they've learned and armored up their weak spot.
    • All creatures created with Hemalurgy, Steel Inquisitors included, can be controlled by a Mistborn using Emotional Allomancy along with duralumin. Or by several Soothers or Rioters working in concert, or by Ruin.
  • This becomes a plot point in the final book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Anyone who bathes in the River Styx gains the "Curse of Achilles", making them a One-Man Army. However, since humans aren't meant to be invulnerable, the Styx will burn them away if they don't focus on one point on their body to be their mortal point — a literal Achilles Heel, just not at the heel. Percy's Achilles spot is the small of his back; Luke's is his left armpit.
  • Raybearer: Raybearers can eventually attain immunity to all types of death save old age by anointing members of their Council - and these anointed ones subsequently become the only people who could potentially kill them. (A highly unlikely occurrence, given that the Ray will only work on those who have formed a truly loving bond with the Raybearer, but still a weakness which the Lady attempts to exploit.)
  • In the Sime Gen series, Simes frequently kill Gens by sucking out their Life Energy, but any Gen can kill the Sime first if they know where the Sime's conveniently at hand weak spots are.
  • Even though it features the trope namer, Song of Achilles does not include the literal heel as Achilles's one weakness. Metaphorically, it's actually his Pride, and he dies by being shot in the heart by an arrow shot by Paris and guided by Apollo. This is actually consistent with the original version by Homer, since the bit with the heel was added several centuries later.
  • The Staryk of Spinning Silver are a race of terrifying ice elves with inhuman strength and deadly magic, but as their bodies are literally formed from ice, they are extremely vulnerable to heat unless protected by magic.
  • Sword Art Online: Quinella makes herself completely invulnerable to metal, making swords and daggers useless against her. She is killed when Kirito attacks her with a wooden sword and a sword made of ice to bypass her invulnerability.
  • Those That Wake: In What We Become, hired goon Castillo has a weak knee.
  • The werewolves in Uncommon Animals heal faster than normal people, but a blow to the head still stuns them.
  • The War of the Worlds (1898) involves aliens who come to invade the Earth, and the governments of the world are unable to stop them until they get defeated by ordinary bacteria, to which the aliens' immune system, having never been exposed to them, are extremely vulnerable. In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2, the virus was specially tailored by Dr. Moreau. Yes that Dr. Moreau.
  • The Wheel of Time: In A Memory of Light, Padan Fain, a.k.a. Mordeth, a.k.a. Shaisam has become a borderline Eldritch Abomination with a host of unnatural powers and a small army of the undead at his disposal, and is a genuine threat to the forces of both good and evil — not bad for the sniveling Punch-Clock Villain he started out as. However, his original human body, which is at the heart of the shifting cloud of white killer mist that in many ways is really him, remains mortal. When Mat kills said human body, the entire horrible entity is dissipated.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7 Yüz: In "Hayatın Musikisi", the power of the musical trigger is broken if Pınar sees her own reflection, which causes her to fretfully avoid mirrors and other reflective surfaces. She later discovers that the mere presence of her colleague Eray has the same power, albeit for an entirely different reason.
  • Sheriff Lucas Buck's vulnerability in American Gothic (1995) is his Third Eye — if stabbed there, he can be killed. What makes this a particularly egregious example is that not only is there no indication of this vulnerability until the next to the last episode of the show, but what could have been a very cool mythologically resonant plot point is instead wasted twice over: the person who reveals and exploits this weakness is a throwaway character we'd never met until the previous episode, and the stabbing doesn't even take, since Buck is revealed alive in his grave at the end of the episode.
  • In Angel, Angelus figures out the Beast's weakness:
    Angelus: I mean, look at this guy, hm? Pretty much the only thing that could do damage to that thick, stony hide... is himself. Or, maybe, I don't know, a piece of himself.
  • Minbari warships in Babylon 5 depend on a large drive fin in their aft to move, and if it's taken out they are immobilized. This weakness is offset by Minbari warships having a ludicrous firepower and being almost impossible to target, meaning that among the Younger Races only another Minbari ship (whose sensors can break through the Minbari stealth) can take advantage of this weakness.
  • The Boys (2019):
    • Translucent's power isn't actually to go invisible but total invulnerability that allows him to use carbon-based tech to turn himself invisible. Unfortunately, this makes him vulnerable to electricity. Likewise he's only invulnerable from the outside. Not the inside.
    • Black Noir does not have any weakness directly associated with his powers (at least none that have been shown), but he does have a tree nut allergy. Queen Mauve is able to subdue him by force feeding him an Almond Joy.
  • For all their power, Whitelighters and Elders in Charmed can be mortally wounded by arrows tipped with Darklighter poison. Additionally, a wounded Whitelighter/Elder cannot heal themselves in this event (but another, unwounded one can).
  • Danger 5: The otherwise invincible Carbonado-enhanced soldiers are vulnerable to diamond bullets.
  • Each Monster of the Week in the Deadly Games generally can only be stopped in two ways and are otherwise invincible. The first varies from villain to villain but is usually elaborate or silly: shoot him with an arrow through the small target on their chest, drop a house on her (a mobile home works in a pinch), etc. The second is always "foil their evil plan"; they don't get do-overs. Either method makes them vaporize instantly.
  • Doctor Who does this a lot:
    • In "The Moonbase", Cybermen are weak against solvents, or as the Doctor later puts it, "cleaning fluid".
    • Cybermen were also given another Achilles Heel in the story "Revenge of the Cybermen": Gold dust easily asphyxiates them. This is not a tremendously damning weakness, since gold is neither common nor easy to form into an effective weapon. In "Revenge of the Cybermen", the Cybermen are nigh indestructible even on a planet made entirely of gold, because the locals don't have the technology to make an effective delivery system for the gold. As the series progressed, gold was promoted to Kryptonite status: In "Earthshock", the Doctor injures, but does not incapacitate, a Cyberman by grinding a gold badge into its chest, but by "Silver Nemesis", Cybermen can be killed by lobbing gold coins at them, or shooting gold-tipped arrows. Gold-tipped arrows are very effective against Cybermen, but, of course, totally ineffective against anything else. It is sometimes joked that had the original series gone on, it would eventually have been possible to destroy a Cyber-war-fleet just by saying "gold" at them. After the show was revived in 2005, a fake website connected to the revival's second series hinted that the Cybermen seen in "Rise of the Cybermen" and later episodes had the gold weakness worked out in the prototype stage. It's shown on a computer screen in that episode that the weakness has been worked out. Though not present in the Cybermen themselves, the older programming of the Cyber-Planner in "Nightmare in Silver" makes it temporarily shut down when a golden ticket is placed against it. The latter story also reveals this weakness to be a software error, rather than a hardware one.
    • In addition, the Cybermen have been vulnerable to emotions in several appearances.
    • The Sontaran's "probic vent". "Back of the neck!" Of course, bullets work perfectly well too...
    • The Slitheen, being composed largely of calcium, can be killed with acetic acid, most commonly accessible as vinegar.
    • The Daleks were originally vulnerable to turning off the static electricity. They also couldn't climb stairs due to their flat bases and gliding motion, which was made fun of outside the universe and sometimes even in it. However, "Remembrance of the Daleks" managed to bring a whammy subversion by showing Part One ending with an Imperial Dalek ascending a flight of stairs, ready to EX-TER-MIN-ATE the Doctor. From that point on, all Daleks could levitate.
    • The Macra are helpless without their special gas (which makes one wonder how they managed to force humans to start making it in the first place).
    • The Ice Warriors are vulnerable to (what else?) heat.
    • The deadly sea weed of "The Fury from the Deep" is vulnerable to Victoria screaming (luckily, she's good at it).
    • Autons are also vulnerable to solvents and high-frequency noises.
    • The Nestene Consciousness is susceptible to "anti-plastic" and, like its minions, high-frequency noises.
    • The oxygen-destroying seed pods from "The Seeds of Death" are (ironically) vulnerable to water.
    • The evil computer in "The Green Death" is vulnerable to logical dilemmas.
    • The maggots also from "The Green Death" aren't fazed by bullets, bombs, or bug spray, but meet a quick end after eating hybrid mushrooms meant to be a meat substitute.
    • Mandragora energy is vulnerable to being conducted away.
    • The Fendahleen are vulnerable to salt.
    • The giant octopus Kroll is vulnerable to... a small stick. Okay, a special stick.
    • The Mara is (are?) vulnerable to mirrors and happy thoughts.
    • The Sea Devils and Silurians are helpfully vulnerable to a deadly gas which is blatantly introduced at the start of "Warriors of the Deep", then conveniently forgotten about until the climax.
    • The Destroyer in "Battlefield" is vulnerable to silver.
    • Fenric is vulnerable to puzzles.
    • The Master leaves himself vulnerable to happy thoughts in "Last of the Time Lords". In addition, his biggest weakness throughout the series is... the Doctor, the one person he's never fully understood. (One episode of the classic series shows that his worst fear is a room full of the Doctor, laughing at him.)
  • The immortal Adam of Forever reasons that the weapons used to give him and Henry their first deaths (an ancient Roman dagger and a flintlock handgun, respectively) can also cause their last deaths. Subverted, at least as far as Adam's theory goes: Henry resurrects even after being shot with the aforementioned flintlock. Turns out Adam was mistaken.
  • In Game of Thrones, being stabbed with dragonglass or Valyrian steel causes White Walkers to crystallize and shatter. After all, what's the opposite of ice? Volcanic glass and dragon-forged steel.
  • The Blutbad from Grimm have a weak spot at the lower right part of their back. If hit there it will stun them for a few seconds.
  • In Heroes, Claire Bennet has a Wolverine-class healing factor that can repair her body to brand new after taking the unrealistically extreme amount of punishment that always comes her way. However, if an object is stabbed into a certain spot in the back of her head, she's rendered "dead" until it's removed, and the same goes for anyone who copies her powers. It's implied (and confirmed in an alternate future episode) that if this part of her brain was removed or destroyed, she would die permanently.
  • Sesselman from The Librarians 2014 episode "The Librarians and the Infernal Contract" is an all-powerful demon who will grant the wish of whoever signs his contract, in exchange for their soul. He's basically unbeatable in any kind of straight-up fight, but he does have one crippling weakness: He must grant the wish of whoever's name is on the contract, even if that wish would hurt him. Eve Baird exploits this weakness by signing the contract herself and then wishing that Sesselman was a human being. He becomes human, freeing both Eve and the previous signatory from the contract (as Sesselman is no longer a demon, he has no claim on Eve's soul).
  • In Netflix's horror series Marianne, the titular witch can possess anyone, but there is one thing that will always puncture her disguise: she must answer honestly if you ask what her name is. (Unfortunately for the main characters, they've all known each other for years, so the question never comes up naturally.)
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000, it turns out — much to the disgust of the Observers — that keeping your brain in a salad bowl offers a lot of drawbacks. Sure, they have Reality Warper powers, but the exposed brain is extremely vulnerable to everything, and if it's separated from the body they insist they don't need, both halves turn into ineffectual buffoons.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
      • The first Megazord has two big weaknesses. The first is that it's solar-powered. If it ends up deprived of said energy, it loses power and shut down. The other is that it can't fight well underwater, as it isn't designed for traversing the ocean floor. Thankfully, Dragonzord is suited for such a thing.
      • The Warzord Cyclopsis is one of the best things Rita ever deploys, because its computer can adapt to each Zord and Zord formation used (configuring the shields, targeting, weapons, armor-plate angling and such). However, quickly switching formations enough overtaxes this system, causing the computer to lock up due to being asked to do more tasks at once than it's capable of. This allows the Rangers to beat its restored form, obliterating it permanently.
      • Z-putties. In the first fight, the Rangers state that they're invincible, until Jason discovers that they explode when you hit the "Z" on their chest. Later, kids are able to destroy them launching balls at the "Z".
      • Because he's the Sixth Ranger, the Green Ranger is plenty powerful, but because of how he returned to action, he can't stay in battle too long or his powers will run out. Come the second season, most of Zedd's early plots are essentially "take out Tommy."
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy has the Chameliac Warrior, who copies the Rangers' powers... that is, until they swap their attack moves with their friend's moves: Pink uses Blue's moves, Green uses Yellow's moves... you get the idea.
    • The Storm Megazord of Power Rangers Ninja Storm (and its Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger counterpart, Senpuujin) has a Super Mode referred to as "Lightning Mode"/"Senpuujin Hurrier" that purges its armor and makes it extremely agile — but only for sixty seconds. After that, it risks internal damage.
    • In Power Rangers Mystic Force, the otherwise invincible Megahorn's only weak spot is a small area on the back of his neck. This was carried over from Drake in Mahou Sentai Magiranger.
  • In The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, extreme cold can make the bionic heroes' parts stop working until they warm back up.
  • Although not one related to the villain itself, the Goa'uld of Stargate SG-1 have force shields that can be bypassed by slower-moving objects. (Bullets won't work, but a thrown knife will). Later, the Replicators can only be destroyed with projectile weapons. Yes, their only weakness is getting shot. It makes sense in the show. Specifically, energy weapons don't work on Replicators because the machines have energy shield resistance to all forms of harmful energy. However, projectile weapons like modern-era guns do their damage through kinetic energy, which causes the Replicators' relatively fragile bodies to shatter. Even this only slows them down, as the Replicators reassemble themselves from their component parts. Later a weapon is developed that disrupts the energy field animating the blocks, finally giving the heroes an effective way to kill Replicators.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation has Data, an incredibly strong, fast, durable, and intelligent android... with an off switch on his side. Flipping it renders him effectively dead until he's turned back on.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Founders are almost absolutely immune to physical damage, vulnerable to big amounts of radiation or phaser weapons... and can be killed by a specific virus. There is another downplayed weakness: Odo has to go into liquid form for eight hours a day, much like humans need to sleep. In one episode, he's prevented from doing so, and starts physically falling apart as a result. This is not a problem for the others and is only a problem for him because of his lack of experience shapeshifting.
    • The Borg are near unstoppable forces of nature that assimilate and adapt to everything they come across, but Star Trek: Voyager reasoned that if they can't assimilate it then they can't adapt to it, which is why they're so vulnerable to Species 8472. The Voyager crew, on the other hand, uses scientific investigation and creativity, which allows them to design a weapon to use against 8472. They are also unable to adapt to blades: Worf kills them plenty with those and they never adapt.
  • In True Blood, besides the usual vampire weaknesses (sunlight and silver), since vampires are undead, they can be controlled by a necromancer, to the extent that they can be forced awake during the day and made to walk into the sunlight to their demise.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): Wonder Woman has a number of superpowers — including super-strength, super-speed, and super-reflexes. However she loses all of her strength if anyone removes her magic belt. She's also susceptible to chloroform and poison gas, particularly during World War II.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest have a monster with an Achilles Heel: Once there was a giant that ate people. A man decided to kill the giant, so he played dead where the giant walked every day. The giant found him, brought him home, and left to get firewood. The man jumped up and threatened the giant's son with a skinning knife to make him tell where his father's heart was. It's in... the left heel! The giant returns, and the man stabs his heel. The giant screams, "I will eat your people forever!" But the man chops him into pieces and burns him. The ashes become mosquitoes, which form into a cloud and laugh, saying "I told you: I will eat your people forever!" Then the man looks on his arm, which has a mosquito on it...
  • In the Biblical Book of Judges, Samson loses his Super-Strength when Delilah cuts off his long hair. Notice that this is hinted to not be a 100% Achilles Heel. Hot-Blooded as he was, Samson had broken all of the other rules God gave him to keep his Super-Strength, and telling Delilah about his hair (and how he was consecrated to God) was figuratively the last straw. In a nutshell, the big three vows require Nazarites to abstain from alcohol, to not cut their hair, and to avoid corpses. Apparently Samson was known to have had wine in the past, touched (and consumed honey out of) a lion's corpse, and there was that whole "beat hundreds of Philistines to death with the jawbone of an ass" bit, which doubtless left him around a number of dead bodies afterwards.
  • Brazilian Folklore:
    • The Saci is a magical Trickster that plays pranks, but is bound to obey whoever steals his red cap.
    • The Capelobo, a weird cryptid, can only be killed by being shot in the belly-button.
  • In Celtic Mythology, Cu Chulainn's rival and friend Ferdiad had invulnerable skin that no weapon could pierce. Unfortunately for him, he was ultimately killed when Cu proved too pragmatic for clean fighting and shoved his spear up his ass.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • The namer for this trope is the Greek hero Achilles. In Homer, he's not invulnerable (he needs a new set of armor after Hector takes it for himself, and he bleeds from a minor spear wound). Classical Greek art depicts the dead Achilles with two arrows in his body, one in the lower leg or heel and another in his side. Depictions of him with just the one arrow in his leg seem to show it as distracting or crippling him before the second arrow hits. Earlier versions of his origins have his mother the nymph Thetis anointing Achilles with ambrosia and holding him in a fire, or putting him in boiling water, to make him immortal. Her husband Peleus happens to walk in on her and stops her from completing the ritual. Achilles was in fact the only one of their seven children who survived it; such is the reason why the two are living separately by the time Achilles grows up. But Statius, writing in the 1st century AD (900-some years after Homer), made this into the bestowing of full-blown superpowers in The Achilleid. According to Statius's account, Thetis dunked him (her only son) in the River Styx. However, she wasn't able to dunk the foot she held him with, since as a goddess, she could not bear the touch of the Waters of Styx. Quite naturally, he was killed by an arrow to the heel, courtesy of Prince Paris of Troy. For some reason she didn't think to dunk him, pull him out, dry him up, flip him over and dunk the dry foot. Medieval writers went further and reasoned that the single arrow that killed Achilles must have been poisoned.
    • The Gigantes were the children of Gaia and only had their supernatural powers when they were touching the ground. One of these, Antaeus, was defeated by the Olympian demigod hero Heracles, who did such a deed by lifting the giant up with one hand and beating him with the other. Other stories say the true Gigantes could only be killed by the weapons of a mortal being. Hence, the gods invited Heracles (or perhaps that was the entire point about their affairs with mortal women). Some Gigantes were defeated by gods, but not killed — one is still alive, breathing fire under Etna.
    • Another weak-heeled one was Talos, a giant bronze man who guarded Crete from invaders and was defeated by losing the nail in his heel that acted as a plug for the one vein in his body, promptly bleeding out.
  • One British folktale had a Nigh Invulnerable dragon that had only one unarmored spot on its body, which was its anus. It was slain by a hero's well-placed (and spike-booted) kick under the tail.
  • In the German poem the Nibelungenlied, the hero Siegfried bathes in the blood of a dragon after he's slain it, and becomes invincible as a result. However, a leaf had stuck to his shoulder, and thus left a spot there untouched by the blood. When Hagen tricks Kriemhild into revealing this weakness, it is in this spot where he drives his spear in order to murder him.
  • When Baldr of Norse Mythology started dreaming of his own death, his mother went around to every single thing in existence and made them swear an oath to never harm Baldr. Presto, invulnerable god, right? Not quite: she forgot to ask mistletoe, since it seemed too small and shriveled to be a threat. When the rest of the pantheon decided to make "Let's throw things at Baldr" into their favorite party game, Loki (who was jealous of the attention accorded Baldr) tricked the blind Höðr into shooting a mistletoe arrow at Baldr. This killed Baldr, and Loki's refusal to weep for him along with the other gods, which made Baldr unable to return to life, would make him an enemy of the other gods and ultimately lead to Ragnarök.
  • Russian Mythology and Tales feature Koschey the Deathless, an elderly evil warlock who has his death stored separately from him. His death is a needle hidden in an egg, that's inside a duck, that's inside a hare, that's inside a chest, that hangs on a great oak, that grows on a distant island. To kill Koschey, a hero must break the egg and/or the needle.
  • In the Persian epic The Shahnameh, the Persian prince Esfandyar bathed in a pool of invincibility, but kept his eyes closed as he submerged himself. When he picks a fight with the hero Rostam, he gets killed by an arrow through his eyeballs.

    Puppet Shows 

  • In the world of boxing, a large number of knockout artists often have weak chins that make them just as vulnerable to getting knocked out themselves.
  • LeBron James, a seemingly unstoppable force, was exposed as a poor mid-range shooter during the Finals of the 2006-07 season. He's since corrected this problem, however, as the Finals during the 2012-13 season would prove. And both against the same Finals opponent, the San Antonio Spurs.
  • Basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, one of the best players in NBA history, had an infamously poor free throw percentage. The best way to keep Shaq from steamrolling you was to intentionally foul him, forcing him to shoot free throws that he'll probably miss. This tactic became known as "Hack-a-Shaq". Interestingly, Shaq was a consistently decent-to-good free throw shooter in practice throughout his career; something about the pressure of being put on the spot in a game situation always threw him for a loop.
  • Figure skaters' careers are very likely to end with hip injuries, Achilles tendonitis, or a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) that can also be severe enough to give them chronic pain and issues walking their entire life. Falling from a jump can feel like being hit by a bus even when it doesn't injure. A single unlucky fall or crash can disable a skater, given that they move, jump, and spin at high speeds on what are essentially knife shoes.

  • The Burkiss Way: Zeus is interviewing demigods with a view to expanding the pantheon. One hopeful endears himself to Zeus by introducing himself as Testicles the Invincible, whose mother dipped in the River Styx a la Achilles to make him invulnerable. As she held him by his testicles, however, those weren't bathed in the water and remain vulnerable.
    Testicles: When I was a newborn infant, my mother held me in the waters of the Styx, thus rendering me invulnerable!
    Zeus: I see. Just step over here for a second, if you'd be so kind...
    [crunching noise and strangled scream]
    Testicles: [in pain, and differently pitched] Ooh, I wish she'd dangled me in the Styx by my heel!

  • Destroy the Godmodder: Many hostile entities have a specific weak point that can be discovered, allowing the entity to be killed much more quickly. This helps because Hostiles also tend to be significantly more powerful than the standard entity.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anathema: It is literally impossible for a human to kill a shroud. They can fly as fast as a commercial jet, move through walls, become invisible, and have magic powers, but they can be killed by other shrouds and will be utterly destroyed if their will drops to 0.
  • Ars Magica: Characters with the "Death Prophecy" Virtue cannot die unless a specific condition from their prophecy is met at the time. They can still be seriously injured and should be mindful of Prophecy Twists, but the game warns prospective Killer Game Masters that the player should know when their character is vulnerable.
  • Battletech: Achilles' Heels are a feature in several 'Mech designs, who have sections they absolutely do not want to take Subsystem Damage to (in addition to their cockpit/head, which no 'Mech likes taking damage to). Most commonly this is because that's where they store all their explosive ammunition. The two most common pitfalls in ammo storage is to store it in the centre torso (where there are lots of components that can take a Critical Hit, but if the ammunition gets hit it will score a One-Hit Kill on the entire 'Mech), or in an otherwise empty section that has nothing but ammunition (which means a Critical Hit will automatically set off an ammo explosion). The WHM-6R Warhammer is a classic example of the former, carrying up to 400 damage worth of machine gun ammunition in its centre torso, while the MAD-3R Marauder is a classic example of the latter, with its left torso being entirely empty save for 100 damage worth of autocannon/5 ammunition.
  • Champions was the first ever tabletop RPG to feature intentionally taking weaknesses (called "Disadvantages" in the rules) as a part of the character creation process. The disadvantages "Susceptibility" (which causes a character to take damage from something other characters find harmless, such as Superman's reaction to Kryptonite or a vampire's taking damage from holy water) and "Vulnerability" (which multiplies incoming damage from certain types of attacks, such as a werewolf's vulnerability to silver) were specifically created to mimic an Achilles Heel. Most Tabletop RPGs based on Comic Books (Villains & Vigilantes, Mutants & Masterminds, etc.) have followed Champions' lead when it comes to weaknesses as a standard part of their character creation rules.
  • Virtually any named enemy in Deadlands will be Nigh Invulnerable, except for one weakness somehow obscurely related to its past. The list goes on: Stone, Raven, the Bishop, prominent Whateleys, Grimme, Death, War, Pestilence, Famine... In fact, it's so common that one of the most coveted abilities of arcane characters is the rare ability to intuit these weaknesses. (That's part of why the Badass Normal posse keeps the bookworms around.)
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Many monsters have specific weaknesses that either do more damage than normal, or are necessary to even be able to kill them. Unconventional tactics can also exploit certain weaknesses, or at least find other ways to kill them:
    • Trolls in most editions can't be killed with standard weapons thanks to their incredible Healing Factor, but need to be burned with acid or fire to permanently die.
    • Demons and devils are vulnerable to certain metals such as cold iron and silver.
    • Golems are traditionally flat-out immune to just about every magic spell, with listed exceptions for each type of golem that are really effective against them. Iron golems, for example, have a lot to fear from rusting grasp, while stone golems are slowed by transmute rock to mud, and glass golems are wrecked by a shatter spell.
    • The horn of Zargon the Returner is his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. He cannot be killed as long as it's intact — even if he's otherwise slain, his body will regenerate around it — and it grants him his Healing Factor. However, it's also the key to his defeat — if his horn is dropped within the Eye of Zargon, the pit from which he first crawled into the world, it's destroyed and Zargon dies.
  • Yozis in Exalted can be sent through an agonisingly painful and debilitating death-and-rebirth cycle if you take out their fetich soul. It is worth noting, however, that this is often much harder than it sounds.
  • GURPS copied the Vulnerability disadvantage from Champions, as mentioned above.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, each of the five "colors" of mana has (at least in theory) one or two things that it is particularly bad at compared to other colors, encouraging players to build multi-color decks to cover their weaknesses:
    • Blue generally has the weakest and least efficiently costed creatures — Notably, it's the only color not allowed to have "bears" (creatures with 2 power and 2 toughness for 2 mana) without any downside. It also has the worst removal in general of any color, only having access to "bounce" spells, which return cards to their owner's hand rather than destroying them, and "polymorph" spells, which replace a creature with another one.
    • Black is almost entirely unable to remove enchantments and artifacts. Their poor enchantment-removal is particularly punishing as it prevents them from getting rid of their own enchantments, which usually provide some short-term benefit in exchange for harming their owner over time the longer they're on the battlefield.
    • Red shares black's inability to deal with enchantments. Its reliance on aggressive, small creatures and damage-based removal is also a double-edged sword, as they get less useful as the game goes on and the average toughness of its opponent's creatures grows.
    • Green has the worst creature removal of any of the colors, instead having to rely on using its own creatures in combination with spells that force creatures to fight each other. It's also the only color that doesn't regularly have access to flying creatures, although it has creatures which can block as if they had flying (the "reach" ability) and various spells which can kill flying creatures.
    • White has an answer to pretty much any threat, but it is by far the worst color at drawing cards, preventing it from reliably having access to those answers.
  • Pathfinder 2nd Edition does its own thing and gives many creatures who previously had high resistances or immunities more HP and a vulnerability. An attack with the correct trait does more damage to those monsters, rather than being needed to do them any harm whatsoever. Thus, a demon like a marilith takes extra damage from cold iron or holy attacks instead of resisting attacks that lack those traits. However, that marilith has since become much tougher than previous editions. Regeneration works such that a creature cannot die without its Achilles' heel being exploited. That troll from above has weakness to fire, taking bonus damage if hit by an attack with the fire trait, and will regenerate 20 hit points a round and refuse to die unless hit by fire or acid.
  • Shadowrun has the Allergy disadvantage, which comes in three grades, depending on the effect of contact with the substance: mildly annoying, exceptionally discomforting, and physically harmful. Shapeshifters automatically have Severe Allergies, typically to silver, vampires have Severe Allergies to sunlight and Moderate Allergies to garlic, etc. The really silly thing is that the rulebook has some recommendations for allergies, which include seawater and oil.

  • Transformers: The G1 toyline came with short bios which provided the character's stats, motto, abilities, and weaknesses. Some were mental (the combiner Bruticus was prone to standing around doing nothing if not given orders by a direct superior, the Stunticon Breakdown was prone to paranoid breakdowns), some were physical (overuse of his powers would cause Windcharger's engine to overheat, Trailbreaker was extremely fuel-inefficient), and others a combination (Optimus Prime's nobility was a mental weak point, the fact that he'd feel the pain inflicted on his secondary components Roller and the Combat Deck was a physical one).

    Video Games 
  • For video games both Fragile Speedster and Glass Cannon characters are balanced out by having low health, thus making their inability to take hits their Achilles heel.
  • Every RPG ever with a Barrier Change Boss. Figuring out what the new Achilles Heel is in order to even make a dent in the boss (or avoid healing it) is the entire point of the battle.
  • Just about any glowing spot, on any boss, in any video game. Sometimes just does extra damage if hit, but is often (in Platformers especially) the only place where the boss is not Nigh Invulnerable. If there is no glowing spot, heads and eyes are also favored weak points.
  • In many First-Person Shooter games, enemies may have strong body armor, but can be killed faster by shooting them in the head (i.e. headshots).
  • Abomi Nation's battle system is based around Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, but the Neutral type, as the name implies, has no elemental weaknesses. However, they do have one weakness: The move Neutralize deals double damage to Neutral types. This is the only way to deal bonus damage to Neutral types, which are otherwise fairly robust due to their lacking any weaknesses.
  • Bloodborne:
    • The Blood-Starved Beast is accurately named; a thrown pungent blood cocktail will distract it. It's also highly aggressive, and thus highly parryable.
    • In the early stages of his fight, Father Gascoigne can be temporarily paralysed by a music box, which prompts his human side to struggle against his madness. It only works twice, though; the third time will instantly send him into the final phase, no matter how much health he has.
    • Martyr Logarius performs a little ritual when he Turns Red. You can interrupt this, however, making him parryable in the final stage.
    • The Kidnappers also do a power-up ritual when they turn red, leaving them wide open to a backstab.
    • Cramped Caskets are very strong and faster than they look, but if you lure them into a glowing yellow pool, they catch fire.
  • The superhero MMO City of Heroes balances all classes and power sets by giving them strengths and weaknesses, but only the Peacebringers and Warshades have a specific crippling weakness, Quantum Energy damage, which only NPCs with Quantum Weapons can deal. The problem was that the developers overdid it and made the weapons available to every enemy group in the game, essentially distributing kryptonite bullets to all possible enemies that a player could fight, and it many cases it was powerful enough to kill the player in a single hit. As this was a major gripe about the two classes, eventually the developers responded by reducing the effects of the weapons to make it simply a danger rather than an overwhelmingly crippling threat. Furthermore, many defensive sets have Achilles Heels in the form of damage types they offer only minimum protection against. Ice Armor melts under fire damage, Fiery Aura is susceptible to cold, Dark Armor has only minor protection against energy and so on. Only two or three armors in the game offer appreciable protection against psychic attacks.
  • The Dark Souls series:
    • The Everlasting Dragons are completely invincible to any kind of attack... except for lightning. This weakness holds true throughout the series: anything draconic in nature will often have a weakness to electricity, and those who hunt dragons often wield electricity-imbued weapons.
    • Anything related to the Abyss and the Dark will often be weak to Fire, seeing as Flame and Dark are opposites in Dark Souls cosmology.
    • Spellcasting enemies are typically vulnerable to Vow of Silence and Profound Still, spells that have an Anti-Magic effect. This works on some otherwise quite difficult bosses, such as the Darklurker and Aldrich, Saint of the Deep.
    • The Iron Golem from Dark Souls has literal one. Attacking its heels repeatedly will make it lose balance, allowing for more attacks, and eventually fall on its ass, possibly even tumbling over the edge of the boss arena and instantly ending the fight.
    • Dark Souls II:
      • King Vendrick is weak against the power of Giants, considering that they were his archenemies in life. Normally, he has so much defense that even the strongest attacks will barely even register, but every Soul of a Giant you have in your inventory cuts his defense in half. There are five Souls of a Giant in the game, and it's recommended to not even think about fighting Vendrick until you have at least four of them. Even with all five, he can still take quite a lot of punishment.
      • Mythal the Baneful Queen is extremely vulnerable to pyromancy, especially if you read ahead and used the Easy Level Trick to drain her poison pool. If you haven't got your own pyromancy, store-bought is fine; there's a summon sign for Jester Thomas like ten feet from her boss fog.
      • In the Crown of the Sunken King DLC, the Dragon's Sanctum area has a lot of spectral enemies who can do a lot of damage to you while taking little to no punishment. However, if you can locate their bodies, which are immobile and wreathed in blood-red fire, and smash them (which only takes one hit), the spectres will be instantly rendered corporeal again and can be killed the old-fashioned way. This lasts between lives, too, so a viable strategy when you get to the area with equipment-damaging spikes all over the floor is to sprint through it until you find the room where most of their bodies are, dash through that room smashing each one in turn, and then go back and pick up your souls on your next life.
    • Dark Souls III:
      • Yhorm the Giant is fatally weak to a sword called Storm Ruler, which can generate giant magical wind blades that do extreme damage to him. Good thing too: fighting him normally, while possible, will take forever due to his natural toughness and extremely large health pool. With Storm Ruler, he can be taken down in five or six hits.
      • The entire point of the Ancient Wyvern fight is to run the gauntlet of snake-men to get to a point above it, whereupon you can stave in its skull with one diving attack; however, with how it's programmed, you can get such an effect with a carefully timed jump from a raised platform at the start of its boss arena. This works with any melee attack, meaning that you can crush its skull bare-handed.
      • Slave Knight Gael is a nigh-unkillable juggernaut of leaping murder, but he does not have Contractual Boss Immunity to poison, meaning that poisoning your sword, stabbing him a few times, and then running away until the poison wears off, is an entirely viable strategy — particularly since his boss arena is roughly the size of Wisconsin.
      • Darkeater Midir, a DLC superboss who is a dragon with a gigantic health pool, is surprisingly susceptible to the Pestilent Mist spell, which does damage based on a percentage of his health.
  • Dawn of War: The Tau have two: They're famously bad at melee combat (hence their alliance with the faster, tougher Kroot), and their entire army drops to zero morale if their Ethereal gets killed.
  • Dead or Alive uses weight values for individual characters. Lighter characters are prone to being juggled for longer than heavier ones, thus in general lose noticeably more health from juggles than heavier ones who drop faster.
  • Dicey Dungeons:
    • Some enemies are vulnerable to elemental damage, usually in a Logical Weakness way: plant-based enemies like Rose and Wicker Man are flammable, as are ice enemies like Snowman, while enemies who are purely fire-based are susceptible to ice, and Stereohead's systems tend to do badly with electrical damage.
    • Enemies who only roll a few dice are vulnerable to all sorts of status effects: Shock can shut down their offence, Freeze can limit the amount of damage they can do, and so on. Fireman is particularly weak to Freeze, for example, over and above his taking double damage from ice; all his attacks require even numbers, so every die turned into a 1 by Freeze is a die he doesn't have much use for. Enough freeze can even wreck the day of high-level enemies like the Rat King, whose endlessly recycling dice become a lot less deadly when it takes all his dice to even start the chain, leaving him one bad roll away from failing, or the Kraken, who has only one attack that doesn't require an even result.
    • The Thief is very vulnerable to high rolls in the early game, particularly if he has a Dagger and Lockpick as his starting gear: a double-6 that ends up with one split into a 1 and a 5 is going to hurt.
    • Crowbar/Wrecking Ball builds can do a lot of damage very quickly by counting down timers very efficiently, but they're very susceptible to Curse, which can shut down the Crowbar or Wrecking Ball while costing you a die — absolutely destroying that efficiency for a turn and leaving you with some quite large numbers you can no longer swiftly count down.
    • The Jester needs matched cards for their discard and Snap power. If they can't get a match, they can't dig further into the deck for the cards they really need and has to use them one at a time.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the Ka Po' Tun are a race of "tiger folk" native to the continent of Akavir. They are said to be the most powerful empire in Akavir following a war with the Tsaesci, but have an extreme weakness when it comes to sea warfare.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has Ghost People in Dead Money DLC. They're only enemy that can't be killed by just depleting their HP, or else they just get back on their toes a moment later. However, dismembering takes them out for good, which makes Bloody Mess perk remarkably useful against them.
  • The Rebel Flagship from FTL: Faster Than Light is a seemingly invincible warship with four layers of shields, a stealth system that complements its already decent engines, a powerful hacking system that can ruin your day if it latches to your level 1 oxygen system, a medbay to surprise any Boarding Party, as well as four powerful weapons, each running on their own system... each also disconnected from the rest of the ship (or two of them on hard difficulty), so two-people party can beam in there, curb-stomp their operators, trash the weapons, and leave the flagship with less offensive and no crew capable of repairing them.
  • Gift: Little Darks and Dark Guardians can exist only in light, while Little Clears and Light Guardians only in darkness.
  • Hack Net has an unconventional example. EnTech, the corporation being investigated in the last act, has made almost all the machines impervious to hacking. True to the tropes, there's only one chink in the armor: Their Inviolability software can't handle medical services connections properly, and so isn't installed on the workstation of an employee with a networked implant of some sort. That machine is hackable and starts a trail of IP and password breadcrumbs to get further into the network.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: Machines are generally plated all over with armor which makes it very difficult for your bow and arrow to do anything, and even on the unarmored parts they still resist damage well enough. However, all of them have several points along their body which are far more vulnerable to attack, with effects ranging from doing extra damage, to disabling their attacks, to rupturing and setting them on fire. If you scan them with your Focus, you can identify these weak points and their effects, and it will cause them to glow bright orange for a time.
  • House of the Dead, where not only do headshots take down enemies faster, but each boss has a specific weak point, and cannot be damaged (or only take minimal damage) if shot anywhere else. The best one is the one with a huge gaping hole in its chest that opens to reveal its heart every time it beats (how... not easy...). There's an attempt to subvert this with the final bosses of each House of the Dead game, where the weak-point identifier (journal, PDA, etc.) malfunctions or otherwise doesn't tell you where to shoot. While showing a close up of the boss in question. Prominently focusing on their glowing, red weak spots. Sega seemed to give up in Overkill, as it flat out tells you instead in the loading screen before the fight.
  • In Kindergarten 2, Monty has a Super Wheelchair with a built-in laser cannon capable of blowing a person's head off. The wheelchair also has a single screw that, when removed, causes the whole thing to fall apart.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Boss monsters are often vulnerable in the eye.
    • Ganon/Ganondorf usually has a spot on his chest, or his weakness is his tail. The Master Sword, as well, is more or less kryptonite for him because the sacred sword has the power to repel evil.
    • Many enemies and bosses have a crippling weakness that is not immediately apparent, and requires use of an uncommon technique or one of Link's many, many secondary weapons. Knowing the method can easily reduce Demonic Spiders and even final bosses from hellish trials to mere annoyances. Often the boomerang is involved: it can stun most enemies, even those with an otherwise impenetrable defense, and in some games can One-Hit Kill even the strongest of enemies. A common alternative is to Feed It a Bomb.
    • In particular, there is Veran from The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. Her specialty is Demonic Possession, and in such a state she is effectively invincible, because the heroes don't want to harm her host. However, hitting her with a mystery seed briefly breaks her possession spell, allowing her to be attacked directly. She tries to cover this by investigating mystery seeds early in the story (presumably to defend herself against them), though ironically this leads Link straight to the tree that produces them. Probably also doubles as a Weaksauce Weakness, though the seeds are at least somewhat rare.
    • The titular character herself Zelda's particular weakness is prolonged attacks or highly efficient attacks, as this is usually the way she gets into trouble that Link has to bail her out of. This is even reflected loosely in the Smash games, where Zelda is lighter than any of the male characters (including the young boys) and is taken away by weight-dependent items faster than them, and also gets knocked out faster.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its sequel, Fire Wizzrobes and Ice Wizzrobes are weak against attacks of the opposing element (ice attacks for Fire Wizzrobes, and vice versa). Exploiting this weakness will destroy them instantly.
  • In Lost Souls (MUD), great power notoriously often comes with great vulnerability to holy damage.
  • The eponymous creatures in the Metroid series are very strong, but are weak to cold, which is naturally exploited with Samus's Ice Beam. This weakness was initially confined to the larval form - older instars aren't any more vulnerable to the Ice Beam in Metroid II: Return of Samus - but this has since been retconned into a species-wide weakness, though older forms tend to be at least a little more resistant to cold.
    • Samus herself is subject to this weakness when she's injected with Metroid genes in the fourth game in order to survive being infected with a deadly parasite. As a result, she can't even use her Ice Beam anymore and has to rely on Ice Missiles. The SA-X has access to said Ice Beam and it's one of the main reasons it's so dangerous to her before the endgame. She also can't enter cold areas until she gets the Varia Suit (the Gravity Suit in the sequel), which protects her from the environment.
  • The Reactor in Might and Magic VI has a very simple Achilles Heel: It only takes damage from blasters. This is, in fact, blasters' greatest advantage: Their damage ignores any resistances or immunities possessed by enemies, and as the final dungeon not only features the Reactor you need to destroy, but also hordes of enemies with high resistances to every other sort of damage...
  • While almost any of the monsters' body parts in Monster Hunter can be attacked and damaged, going for their weak points is the fastest way to finish them off. Of course, weak points vary from monster to monster, although it's usually the head, stomach, or limbs. This becomes a sort of Guide Dang It! moment if you're unfamiliar with the monster you're fighting and unsure of where to hit them, although visual cues do exist to help players tell whether they've dealt a damaging blow, most frequently in the form of a lengthy Hit Stop and huge splashes of blood.
  • Parodied somewhat in Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon. At one point you receive an item called the Achilles Heel, which is used to defeat a minor boss in a timing minigame.
    Narrator: Ever since the Achilles' heel was thrown at Benkei...
    Narrator: Achilles' heel was meant to be the weak point of someone.
    Ebisumaru: There's something fishy about that story...
  • In Nier, Shades are harmed by direct sunlight, exposure to which gradually weakens — and eventually destroys — them. As such, Shades tend to be more active when the sky is overcast. Later in the game, they start wearing armor to protect them from sunlight.
  • While Attack Its Weak Point is a core component of Octopath Traveler's gameplay, several Barrier Change Bosses have one consistent weakness across all their sets.
    • The Lord of the Forest, H'aanit's Chapter 2 boss, is always weak to Fire.
    • Esmeralda, Tressa's Chapter 4 boss, is always weak to Wind.
    • Redeye, H'aanit's Chapter 4 boss, is always weak to Light.
    • Simeon, the Puppet Master, Primrose's Chapter 4 boss, is always weak to Dark. Downplayed because Simeon seals all but one of his weaknesses (Daggers) when the second phase of his fight begins, and his Achilles' Heel isn't unsealed until you Break him several times.
  • In Odin Sphere, all of the heroes can fit this trope for their respective final boss fights on the player's route towards the Good Ending. For example, King Gallon believes himself to be invincible, as only a person with Titanian royal blood and Odette's power over death can actually kill him. It happens to be Oswald.
  • Pokémon:
    • Shedinja is immune to 13 of the 18 attacking types, thanks to "Wonder Guard". However, it will always get knocked out quickly when hit by an attack of those five that can hit it, because it has just one hit point at any level. Several forms of indirect damage will also defeat it, like switching in when the widely used Stealth Rock is up. Oddly, this leads to Shedinja being used in both the lowest and highest tiers in competitive battling. Those five types and Stealth Rock (especially if overused) are much more common in the middle and low tiers. However, in the lowest tier it actually has stats that don't completely suck compared to other Pokémon.
    • Slaking has ridiculously high stats, so it's nerfed by its "Truant" ability, which only lets it attack every other turn. The nastiest thing a Slaking can face is an opponent with Protect — a move that completely neutralizes any incoming attack, but is only guaranteed to work if you don't use it two turns in a row. (Detect also works, but has less PP.) Slaking can't attack two turns in a row, so an enemy with Protect can simply alternate between that and any other move, chipping away at Slaking or weakening its stats while it sits there helplessly.
    • Regigigas is a Legendary with a very good stat spread and moveset, or at least it would be if not for its Slow Start ability, which halves its attack and speed for five turns, longer than its still-decent defenses can keep it alive in most cases.
    • Due to the franchise's intricate Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, occasionally we have dual type Pokémon who are weak to only a single type, but said type is super effective against both the Pokémon's types, meaning that said Pokémon may be able to tank everything else but instantly die if hit by that one type. Examples are Water/Ground (weak to only Grass but doubly so) and Bug/Steel (Kill It with Fire).
  • The strange protagonist of the Rayman games famously has Floating Limbs, which allows him to really reach out and touch bad guys and gives him increased agility to boot. But he's shown to be helpless if he ever loses his hands somehow, such as the first section of Hoodlum Havoc.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 4 gives two main ways of dealing with Krauser. Shoot him in the knee so he drops his shield, then shoot him in the head, over and over again. With indifferent aim it's easy to run out of ammo before Krauser is killed by gunshots. Or stab with the knife, normally a weak Emergency Weapon, about ten times.
    • In the later editions of the series, bosses began to show certain specific weak points. For example, all of the Uroboros creatures in Resident Evil 5 have glowing weak points which can be shot to expose bulbous body parts that can then be targeted to kill the creature itself.
  • In Robocraft, no matter how good your robot is built, there are two main weak points: the blocs under your driver seat, and the driver seat itself. Lose either, and the bot immediately explodes.
  • Sea of Stars: Dwellers and their minions are weak to Sun and Moon magic. This is more than just a weakness, attacks imbued with those elements deal about 10 times the damage of normal attacks, while they're resistant to almost all other elements. This explains why the Solstice Warriors are trained from birth to destroy them, since they're the only reliable way to do it. It's the only efficient way to deal with Dwellers, since they have massive health pools which can only be damaged significantly by that weakness.
  • Shadow of the Colossus: The whole point of the game is to kill giant monsters via this method, with the creatures often having more than one, them being in really hard-to-reach places, or requiring a lesser weakness to be exploited before the real one opens up. Finding the weak point is fairly straight forward. Staying on the thing long enough to damage it while it bucks about trying to throw you off it? Less so.
  • Sipho: The Venomous Pit boss attacks using Spikes that can be launched a short range and Squirters that spray poison... which means that ranged attacks can easily keep out of the way of its attacks.
  • Starship Titanic: "Please do not prod my Achilles buttocks." The line is delivered by the Maître d'Bot (in a hilarious French accent) when you poke him in the butt with the stick. You have to do this because it's the only way to get to the corpse holding a fuse you need to repair the ship.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken for all female characters (and some males). All females and specific males have low health and lose quickly to high damage compared to the standard value.
  • As powerful as Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Bros. are (they are the Super Mario Bros after all), they seem to have one consistent weakness throughout the series: losing their iconic hats. In Super Mario 64, Mario's defense decreases (he takes more damage) should he happen to lose his hat. He is also unable to use Power Ups, causing a Bob-Omb to appear out of power up boxes. Taken even further in Super Mario Sunshine, where Mario slowly dies unless he gets his hat back. It was finally taken to a logical conclusion in Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World, where the Mario Bros' small forms are hatless. The clothes really do make the Superman in this case.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • In a rare Fighting Game example, Little Mac is Purposely Overpowered... on the ground. If he's thrown or launched into the air even once, he becomes almost completely helpless.
    • The Ice Climbers perform at all times as a duo. Taking out the lead Climber respawns them both as it would any other fighter; taking out the partner Climber severely cripples the lead, as their recovery power no longer works effectively (unless you count "boosts you upwards by mere millimeters" as working) and their attacks lose a lot of utility as they're expected to be performed by both Climbers in tandem.
    • The beetle item can be this for lighter characters, as it takes them faster than heavier ones, thus giving the victim less time to escape. What is notable is that many of the female characters who are damsels in their own games (Zelda, Peach, Palutena) are lighter in weight value than their respective male counterparts (Ganondorf and all version of Link for Zelda; Mario, Luigi, and Bowser for Peach; and both Pits for Palutena) and thus the aforementioned ladies who are kidnapped in their own franchises are fittingly taken away faster than the males of the same franchise.
  • The security systems in The Swindle become a lot less useful when the security stations are hacked: Cameras shut down, doors open, and drones deactivate. The tricky part, it has to be said, is getting there — the Randomly Generated Levels mean they can be anywhere from "one bomb away from the outside" to "nested at the heart of a nigh-impenetrable labyrinth".
  • The Trope Namer appears in Warriors Orochi, but this trope is averted. In no way can you attack Achilles on the heel, and you can beat him by just beating the crap out of him on any body parts.
  • War Thunder:

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Gilgamesh has the two most broken Noble Phantasms in the game. One of them is beamspamming Noble Phantasms, and the other is some spinny drill sword thing Ea, an anti-world Noble Phantasm that absolutely dominates Excalibur. Oh, and he can use them both all he likes. His weakness? He's an Archer, not a swordsman, so all he can do with those swords is beamspamming them instead of using them properly. Much more importantly, he has such a justifiably huge ego (at full power he could literally fight all the other characters in the story at the same time without difficulty) that he never actually tries at anything. All his defeats are caused by his enemies using unexpected tactics while his guard is down. Well, not counting the times he quits the field because he's bored.
    • Since every Heroic Spirit is a hero of legend, they all have at least one, which is why they generally go by their class titles rather than by their names (the fact that Gilgamesh makes no attempt to hide his identity is part of his ego). Saber is notable for going so far as to cloak her weapon with a technique called Invisible Air, since she knows that her weapon is too recognizable. It's Excalibur, making her King Arthur. Among other things, anyone involved in the Grail War would quickly recognize that as Arthur Pendragon, she is technically part dragon, making her weak to the powerful but otherwise limited-use anti-dragon weapons.
    • In Fate/Grand Order, you meet a number of Servants who have these tied to their lore, such as Queen Medb of Connacht who died to a block of cheese (though she's since developed a sixth sense for cheese to avoid a repeat of this fate) or Constantine XI of Eastern Rome for whom an unlocked gate was instrumental in the fall of Constantinople (and thus, this is a weak spot in his Noble Phantasm). Speaking of Achilles, you encounter him in the Fifth Lostbelt, after he's already been shot in his heel. This nerfs him by robbing him of his speed in-story and several levels in gameplay, but he remains a very capable combatant despite this and is the powerhouse of the second Argonauts.
  • Kajiri Kamui Kagura:
    • All members of the Yatsukahagi are Cosmic Entities, capable of affecting the entire multiverse with their broken powers, but if someone finds out their true name, they can completely crush them, as their Law will be rejected from the world itself, as the Throne which governs reality imbued them with a "loser" status due to the Yatsukahagi losing against Hajun.
    • Tenma Sukuna, a member of the Yatsukahagi, can use his Taikyoku Law, Malignant Tumor Apoptosis, to negate supernatural phenomena or directly crush any supernatural being to the level of an ordinary human, completely sealing any supernatural power. His Law has only two weaknesses: It doesn't work on anyone with a higher Taikyku level than him, and if the target is a normal human, he instead gets crushed to the level of a normal human.
  • Arcueid Brunestud, and presumably all the True Ancestors from Tsukihime. Normally Arc in particular is all powerful, but thanks to the protagonist Shiki cutting her to pieces early on in the game, she's usually pretty weak. We finally see her true abilities at the end of the Ciel route, when she goes batshit crazy after Shiki decides that cutting her neck open is a good way to reject her. Shiki only wins when he remembers that True Ancestors get their power from the earth itself, so he kills the earth beneath her to cut her away from her power source.

    Web Animation 
  • Animator vs. Animation: As the series itself is inside a literal computer, it's of course the pointer that the titular Animator has.
  • Dreamscape: Melinda has incredible magical power... but she is extremely weak in a physical sense. If you can find a way to restrain her without magic, you're golden. The lack of physical power is not an issue as Ghost Melinda, since she gains The Possessor Ghost's Sinister Scythe. However, this gives her a different heel: She gains all the weaknesses of a ghost.
  • RWBY:
    • Cinder Fall's greatest physical asset is simultaneously her greatest weakness. Her ability to steal the power of the Maidens comes from the Grimm parasite that Salem implanted into her. As such, Cinder shares the same weakness all Grimm have to the power of the Silver Eyes. It is for this reason that series protagonist Ruby Rose is her most personal adversary; Ruby's first use of this power destroys Cinder's eye and arm, leaving her with a permanently scarred face; she has a replacement Grimm arm that continues to allow her to absorb Maiden powers.
    • Unlike most characters, Adam Taurus has a Semblance that requires him to channel it through a weapon. He needs a bladed weapon to absorb and release kinetic energy. If he's disarmed, his Semblance is effectively disabled.

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Parodied when Black Mage is left to deal with a zombie orc. After an explosion propels him back in front of the team:
      Black Mage: I found out what zombies are weak against.
      Red Mage: Oh?
      Black Mage: Point blank annihilation.
    • There's a similar parody later on: "A spear? Through my brain? My...only...weakness..!"
  • Frans Rayner in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is vulnerable on only one place on his body (his right butt cheek). However, the protagonist (who witnessed his defeat as a boy) strikes the same place 25 years later and fails. Rayner had moved it to his left eyebrow. Then in yet another encounter, it's revealed that following his previous defeat, Rayner moved it again, into his right leg, which he then had amputated.
  • Grrl Power: Maxima has the ability to shift her stats between strength, speed, armor, flight, and blasting power. While this gives her an incredible amount of versatility, it does mean that she has to sacrifice other stats for the one she is increasing. The easiest way to render her helpless is to hit her with so much power that she is forced to dump everything into armor, rendering her Nigh Invulnerable but barely superhuman in every other way. Of course, that's not something that just anyone can do, but this weakness is why her ability to shift her stats around is top-secret. Even her teammates don't know about it (except Dabbler, who figures it out on her own).
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Demiurges are Physical Gods of the setting, mortals who have the powers of a dead god implanted into their heads through a device called a Magus Key. While the powers of a Key makes them practically undefeatable, the fact that a Demiurge is not a god but merely a mortal with a god's power means any situation in which the Demiurge cannot channel the god's power (by being sneak attacked or because they're too exhausted or mentally broken to do so) puts them back on the baseline of everyone else. Unfortunately for the scrappy heroes, The Seven Demiurges who are left are the result of a Divine Conflict that winnowed several million Demiurges down to the single digits through constant warfare: Not only does each member of the Seven have over 100,000 Magus Keys, they got to that point by killing (and avoiding getting killed by) a lot of other Demiurges.
  • MS Paint Masterpieces Enker's Spear, when broken, causes him to explode.
  • In Pacificators, those with powers cannot use their powers infinitely; their bodies will eventually run out of energy, causing them to black out. If they persist, they may even die. note 
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Aylee's crab-like transformation (actually a clone of Aylee) is nearly invincible. Her shell can take just about anything the characters can throw at her, but she can be hurt along her extendable neck.
    • Horribus is also only vulnerable on certain parts of his body. Even when Torg uses a magic, kill-anything sword, he can still only take Horribus down by either decapitating him or stabbing him right through his soul (located roughly in the center of his chest).
  • Similar to the Z-Putty example, Chris-Chan Sonichu of Sonichu has his main weakness be the white markings on his chest. However, it's rarely struck in the entirety of the series, making it a moot point.

    Web Original 
  • In Darwin's Soldiers, Dragonstorm experiments' only weak point is the back of the net, since this is where their neural net connects to the rest of the body. Said weak point is ridiculously hard to hit, however, since they're usually running towards you, and they're naturally armored.
  • Destroy the Godmodder: Almost all Hostile entities note  have a specific weak point that can be discovered, allowing the entity to be killed much more quickly. This helps because Hostiles also tend to have large amounts of health.
  • World War II: In a special Crossover episode, David Willey of The Tank Museum outlines the weaknesses of the Soviet T-26 tank which were exploited by their Finnish opponents in the Winter War of 1940. In particular, one of the air intakes for the engine on the back of the tank was especially vulnerable to the Molotov Cocktail.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog has the episode "Super Robotnik", where (much like the Trope Namer) Robotnik is dipped in a potion that makes him a Superpower Lottery-winning Nigh Invulnerable Flying Brick. However, his "caboose" wasn't dipped, meaning he's vulnerable to a Literal Ass-Kicking.
  • Amphibia:
    • The Cloak-bot in Season 3 is made of metal, and once it steps in front of a display of refrigerator magnets, their fields cause its invisibility to temporarily wear off, which allows Sprig to notice and alert Anne of its presence. If that didn't happen when it did, Anne would've been killed without warning.
    • The prototype drone in "Froggy Little Christmas" becomes this after it genetically modifies a giant inflatable float Santa into a man-eating robot, because it getting impaled with the Boonchuys' float tree at the same time as the Santa-bot is how Anne defeats it. And since the heroes never even saw the drone, it's implied that if the tree missed it, the drone could've taken over another float to try again or attacked Anne dead-on.
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender franchise:
    • Firebenders have no powers during the solar eclipse.
    • Likewise, Waterbenders are powerless without a source of water close by, although sweat has been used, as well as water drawn from the moisture in the air, and with the full moon behind them they can also bend blood. It would be expected that tears and saliva could be used too. Waterbenders also lose their powers under a lunar eclipse.
    • Earthbenders are powerless if separated from earth, sand, or stone, unless you can bend metal, like Toph. King Bumi, on the other hand, can earthbend telekinetically, as in without contact to solid ground. Metalbenders have their own Achilles' Heel in platinum, which is too refined for them to bend. Even a layer of platinum separating them from metal or earth is enough to inhibit them.
    • If the present Avatar is killed while in the Avatar state, the whole lineage dies off forever.
    • A select few Firebenders, namely Combustion Man from the original series and P'Li from The Legend of Korra, can use their minds to shoot explosive blasts out of a Third Eye-like tattoo on their foreheads. Hitting that particular spot causes their chi flow to be disrupted, messing up the technique. At best, it causes them to misfire, but at worst, it can cause their blasts to blow up right in their faces, with lethal results.
    • Toph from the original Avatar: The Last Airbender has it especially bad; as her Disability Superpower requires her to be on solid ground (or metal) in order for it to work, injuring her feet or otherwise getting her off the ground renders her completely helpless (at the very least, any other Earthbender would be able to see their opponents and devise some way to get back in the fight). If standing on wood, she will still need some guidance to even walk. She is also incredibly vulnerable to aerial attacks that aren't made of earth (as her earthbending abilities actually allow her to sense them at will), since her opponents also have to be on the ground for her to "see" them, though she is able to compensate to an extent with her sense of hearing.
    • Ming-hua from The Legend of Korra doesn't have arms but uses her waterbending to make artificial ones. Being physically connected to her element gives her great versatility but also leaves her open to getting electrocuted to death with lightning by Mako.
  • You'd think, with the Omnitrix making him able to transform into an alien of his choice at will, that Ben Tennyson of Ben 10 would be invincible. He isn't for several reasons, including but by no means limited to: the random time limit (possibly based on some measure of energy expenditure, as the Omnitrix generally needs to "recharge" for an equally random amount of time afterward), the Omnitrix's glitches turning him into an alien other than the one he chose, his own lack of knowledge of the forms hidden in the Omnitrix and the full extent of each one's powers, and, perhaps most dangerously, having the mindset of a ten-year-old boy.
  • The Megatanks from Code Lyoko are among XANA's most powerful monsters, yet their imposing size and bulk means that they can have difficulty controlling their momentum, leading them to plunge straight into the Digital Sea. By getting them to get enough speed, it is possible to literally push them to their death, making them the monsters that most frequently take a dive during the show.
  • It's repeatedly stated in Dragon Hunters that each dragon has a vulnerability. Finding it is often what takes most of the fights against them.
  • Futurama:
    • The concept is portrayed hilariously in the movie Fry and Leela watch in the episode "Fear of a Bot Planet". Taking place on a planet where humans are considered monsters, and the citizens are all robots:
      Robot Army Officer: How ironic; the Human was immune to our most powerful magnetic fields, yet, was vulnerable to a harmless sharpened stick.
    • Also lampshaded in "Bender's Big Score", during the battle against the Scammers' fleet of gold-plated Death Stars. One of them is destroyed in classic "fly-in-and-blow-it-up-from-the-inside" style, with access being gained via a hatch labelled the Achilles Port. By Al Gore of all people.
      Al Gore: Finally! I get to save the world with deadly lasers instead of deadly slide shows!
  • In Gargoyles, the Archmage during the "Avalon" three-parter has gone from a formidable but very overconfident mortal sorcerer to a demigod powerful enough to command the allegiance of three of the most powerful Children of Oberon in the series. The catch? He can only control his incredible new powers by using the Eye of Odin, and when Goliath pulls it away from him, he suffers Power Incontinence so bad it kills him.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Weirdmageddon Part 3: Take Back the Falls", the main characters turn the Mystery Shack into a mech in order to fight Bill Cipher, since the Mystery Shack has a spell cast on it that protects it from Bill's influence. While it puts up a good fight, it has two glaring weaknesses: firstly, the spell was cast prior to the Shack being upgraded, and as a result, its protection does not extend to its legs. Secondly, the spell does not protect the Shack from regular physical damage. Once Bill realises this, he's able to exploit both weaknesses in quick succession, ripping off one of the Shack's legs and using it as a club to bypass the spell. He even mentions the trope name while doing so.
  • In Justice League, the forge god Hephaestus says that all of his creations are given one weakness so no one can become all-powerful. When Wonder Woman asked him what Ares's Humongous Mecha is vulnerable to, he doesn't tell her, saying she wouldn't want him going around telling the weakness he'd placed in her items. note  The weakness of Ares's weapon is... pacifism. It makes sense, as Ares is the god of war, and the mecha in question is fueled by violence, either around or against it. Once people around stop fighting each other and the mecha, it runs out of fuel. In a later episode, this flaw is removed by Felix Faust. Unfortunately, this gives it a weakness to Nth metal instead.
  • In The Mask episode "They Came From Within", there is a muscular robotic villain called "Warmachine", who has a small door handle on his back. After opening, anyone can enter the machine through a passageway. Inside is a "Fail Safe Box", which a Mask-wearing Milo pees on, causing the robot to short-circuit.
  • My Goldfish is Evil: Since he's a goldfish, Admiral Bubbles' need for water is a constant problem for him in his schemes.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the ponies, and even high-level ponies like Princess Celestia, are extremely vulnerable to attacks that drain or nullify either their magic or impair their cutie marks, to the point where not even the strongest friendship bond can overcome them:
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom", Lord Tirek can directly steal a pony's magic entirely, in turn stripping them of their cutie mark and strength. He can even do this to Physical Gods like Discord if he's powerful enough. It's a chief part of what makes him The Dreaded.
    • In "The Cutie Map", Starlight Glimmer, an otherwise normal unicorn who isn't as strong or threatening as Tirek, reversed the equation and happened to learn a spell that removes cutie marks, once again stripping the pony of their strength and talent. She's able to use it to defeat the entire Mane 6, including Princess Twilight Sparkle, single-handedly, as well as render the entire group completely helpless (physically, anyway). It's actually the restored townsponies who save the day by going Torches and Pitchforks on her with their restored talents while the Mane 6 are left in the dust unable to even keep up. However, Starlight herself has one of these: her spell requires a container for the Cutie Mark she's taking, otherwise the Cutie Mark will simply fly straight back to its proper owner, which is likely why she never uses it in the aforementioned fight with the townsponies.
    • In "To Where and Back Again", Queen Chrysalis's throne in the Changeling Kingdom invokes a special field that completely nullifies all magic used by non-changelings. When she manages to capture the entire cast (somehow) in her revenge plot for "A Canterlot Wedding", they are completely helpless to escape. Starlight Glimmer (now a good guy) gets a little dosage of her own medicine, as her magic is completely shut off. To illustrate this further, all Queen Chrysalis has to do to beat Starlight is grab her by the tail and toss her to the ground. Fortunately, Starlight has learned well from the Mane Six, and demonstrates some guile of her own to pull through, by exploiting Chrysalis's biggest weakness. The Changelings' Emotion Eater tendencies only make them good at taking love from others, not actually receiving it from someone who is willing to give it to them. Chrysalis receives yet another Heart Beat-Down.
  • In the Quack Pack episode "Return of the T Squad", the alien leader ZOD releases a giant robot. Although this killer robot has no specialized self-destructing button, there are levers and buttons inside his main control room obviously when Dewey enters the robot's head. Dewey pushes all levers, switches, and buttons in the robot head, making it overload and causing its head to explode.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick Sanchez's portal gun. If it gets lost, stolen, or broken, Rick (and usually Morty along with him) will be stranded in that universe until he can construct a replacement. Fortunately, he's always smart enough to do so, even from scratch.
  • Aku from Samurai Jack was spawned from a powerful Eldritch Abomination before time began. This creature was weak to divine magic, and the weakness carried over to Aku. Jack's sword was forged under supervision of the gods that destroyed the monster that Aku spawned from, and said sword is the only human weapon capable of hurting him. In "Jack and the Gangsters", he's shown having extreme difficulty in defeating a water goddess, and the golems spawned by her had successfully kept him away for some time. Even normal magic seems to do more against him than most anything else, as the Scotsman's Celtic magic from his sword and his ghost form are capable of warding him and his attacks off.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Netossa has come up with plans to fight all of her friends and enemies, using her in-depth knowledge of their weaknesses. Her wife Spinerella has a weak ankle from an old injury, Entrapta is easily distracted by tech, Catra flees from water, Mermista can't handle fire, Perfuma also can't handle fire, Frosta also can't handle fire, and Glimmer... has crippling self-doubt mixed with overwhelming hubris.
    Glimmer: Woah, woah, woah, that's like, really personal compared to fire.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied in one episode, in which Homer Simpson is bribed with a cake and he laments that Marge knows his one weakness: that he's weak.
    • In "So It's Come to This; A Simpsons Clip Show", Bart, planning to play an April Fool's Day prank on Homer, decides he needs to learn his father's weakness. We then see Homer get a beer from the fridge, commenting aloud, "Ah, beer. My one weakness. My Achilles Heel, if you will."
    • In the Harry Potter-themed "Treehouse of Horror XII" segment "Wiz Kids", Montymort's (Mr. Burns) only weakness is his enchanted shin.
  • When Alex O'Hirn becomes the superstrong Rhino in The Spectacular Spider-Man, he goes on a destructive rampage and appears completely unstoppable. His Achilles Heel turns out to be the same thing that makes him so tough: Because his suit is completely impenetrable, he can only perspire through his exposed face. Spider-Man is able to defeat him by trapping him in a steam-tunnel in the sewers, which causes the giant thug to overheat and collapse.
  • Sushi Pack: The members of the Pack lose their powers and strength if they're exposed to heat. They also tend to announce this whenever it happens. "Heat! Our only weakness!"
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "No Small Parts", the crew realizes that the way in which the Pakleds steal ship parts and technology from all different kinds of cultures and races is also their biggest weakness. Because they install all technology that they obtain into their own ships, they have absolutely no firewalls to protect their own codebase, allowing a virus to be installed that can cripple them.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: It seems the only thing that can disrupt Toffee healing is the Wand's Magic at full power. It proved instrumental in weakening him enough during the end of Battle For Mewni that Ludo was able to finish him off.
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: El Mal Verde is a Nigh-Invulnerable giant with a taste for human flesh, who has heroes and villains alike terrified of his inevitable rampages. However, his awful dental hygiene ends up being his downfall. Manny finds the artifacts of the superheroes who died fighting him in between his teeth, and uses them to rattle him from inside, while Django later reveals that El Mal Verde's cavities are weak points that cause him immense pain.
  • Played literally in the short "Rent-A-Friend" from the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Rainy Daze". After Buster tricks Montana Max's Acme Bunny Basher robot, it is about to drop Monty out of the top of his mansion. Buster decides to save Monty by pulling a Durasmell battery out of its heel, which is labelled as the Achilles Heel. This powers the robot down. The robot drops Monty anyway, but Buster saves him from a nasty fall with a very expensive call to the Acme Rescue Center, which he charges to Monty's account.
  • Total Drama: Alejandro is a villainous Ace, being ruthlessly clever, charismatic, and having an absurd amount of talents. The only types of challenges he has no chance in are the ones that involve disgusting foods, which he throws right up at the first taste.
  • The Ice Dancers of Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race are easily one of the most capable teams competing since, being Olympians, they're at the peak of physical fitness, and being the show's villains, they're willing to cheat mercilessly as well. They only have one weakness: Josee's extreme claustrophobia, which slows them down several times.
  • Transformers:
    • Justified with the introduction of the combiner super-robot Bruticus on The Transformers over the course of the episode "Starscream's Brigade". While he's first shown thoroughly smacking around fellow massive combiner Devastator, he eventually turns on Starscream and Megatron, to very little surprise. However, Starscream, with unusual foresight in regards to treachery, left three weak spots on Bruticus's back, where a good shot or two will force the big guy to fall apart into the individual robots that comprise him.
    • Lampshaded in the Transformers: Animated season finale "Megatron Rising" when Professor Sumdac attempts to disrupt Megatron's equilibrium sensors (with an electrical strike to Megatron's ankle no less) and calls it Megatron's Achilles Heel. But the blow does little other than momentarily distract Megatron, who derides Sumdac's reliance on attacking Megatron's technology as superficial, then tries to stomp Sumdac to pulp "under this Achilles Heel". Sumdac's failure is possibly justified by Megatron being empowered by the Allspark at the time.

    Real Life 
  • In medical term, Achilles Heel has two meanings:
    • The Achilles Tendon. Sever it, and you won't be walking again for a long, long time. Tendons in general are strong but have very little blood supply and heal very slowly. They also get stronger in response to exercise very slowly compared to the muscles they connect to. As such, a common and serious source injury of people who have taken up a new sport and don't know their limits is to have their muscle strength in the required muscles become sufficient to injure the weaker tendons they connect to.
    • Achilles Heel can also refer to the specific gene which causes cancerous cell division, and some chemicals can potentially target to eliminate the tumor and cancerous cells.
  • Not to mention joints, eyes, pressure points, the throat, the groin, and the spine, especially near the base of the head, are all weak points that martial artists take advantage of to one shot their opponents; it doesn't matter how strong you are if someone hits you in the joy zone.
  • There's a fraction-of-a-second interval of the human heart's contraction cycle during which a sudden impact to the sternum can disrupt the electrical signals of the natural pacemaker. Ventricular fibrillation sets in, and is usually fatal without immediate medical intervention. Called "commotio cordis", it's most commonly seen in athletic accidents with boys or youths whose sternal tissue hasn't entirely finished hardening from cartilage to bone.
  • While most Nintendo productsnote  are literally capable of taking a head-on tactical airstrike and still functioning perfectly, most of the DS line features an Achilles' Heel in the form of the hinges, which are not only destructible, but quite vulnerable and can in fact eventually break from overuse.
  • The cobra is a badass deadly snake from India with only one weakness: It strikes opponents rather slowly. Thus, the agile mongoose is able to defeat the cobra by jumping out of the way when it strikes and leaping up to bite the head when the snake is drawing back from the strike. Believe it or not, the cobra often manages to bite the mongoose once, but since the mongoose has a partial immunity to the snake's venom it takes more than one bite to kill one, and the cobra usually tires out after it manages to bite once. In any given confrontation between an Indian Cobra and an Indian Grey Mongoose, the mongoose tends to prevail three out of five times.
  • Mongooses in turn have an Achilles Heel when it comes to the kinds of snakes they can kill. Cobras are fast-moving snakes, but they have slow and predictable strikes, which is their Achilles Heel. In contrast, vipers are sluggish, slow-moving snakes with wickedly fast and unpredictable strikes. That's why, in a fight against a viper, the mongoose loses 95% of the time. Additionally, mongooses have another Achilles Heel in that they are only resistant to the venom of cobras and their close relatives. This leaves them susceptible to the venom of other poisonous snakes that they share their range with, such as the black mamba. There was once an attempt made to reduce populations of fer de lance vipers on an island by introducing a population of mongooses. It was a disaster. The mongooses were all defeated by the snakes and domestic cats were used instead. They also have issues with large nonvenomous snakes like pythons. Their size means that they can easily shrug off the mongoose's attacks, and like vipers, they have a very fast strike with teeth designed to hook into the flesh of their prey. Since pythons rely on constriction rather than venom, the mongoose is simply squeezed to death once in the snake's grasp.
  • Venomous snakes as a whole share one: being grabbed directly behind the head. Typically when handling snakes, most people will think to grab the tail, as it's the part furthest from the fangs, but the snake can still easily turn around to bite you. However, if you grab behind its head, then it won't be able to bite, and since venomous snakes aren't very strong, all they can do is wriggle helplessly. Though this is only true of elapids and colubrids, as their fangs are short. Viperids have long, hinged fangs and some species have fangs that are long enough that they can pop one out of the side of their mouth and stab someone holding them this way.
  • Crocodiles and alligators have an Achilles Heel in their jaws. While the muscles they use to bite are very strong, the opposing muscles used to open their jaws are much, much weaker. A decent elastic band can turn a crocodile from deadly prehistoric monster to walking handbag. The same is true on a less impressive scale with crabs and lobsters.
  • Sharks have a similar weakness: if you manage to flip one upside down, it will enter a state of "tonic immobility" and become paralyzed. Some orcas managed to figure this out to hunt sharks, as long as the sharks are small enough to be flipped over; it's left helpless as the orca kills it, then the pod feasts on its nutritious flesh, especially the liver. Many sharks also must constantly swim forward to bring more water into their gills. If they're unable to do so for any reason, they'll drown.
  • Orcas, in turn, must breathe air, giving gill-breathing prey time to escape. They do cover it up by having one whale attack while the other goes back for air.
  • For many types of vehicles in combat (aircraft, ships, and ground vehicles included), traditional weak points include the fuel (flammable), ammunition (explosive), and crew (squishy).
    • A major weakness for Japanese warplanes in World War II was their lack of self-sealing fuel tanks or armor for the pilots, meaning it was rather easy for an enemy pilot in a better-protected aircraft to set a plane ablaze or perforate the cockpit. It only made things worse for the Japanese that American and British fighter planes tended to be significantly faster and more heavily armed than theirs were.
    • For warships, the biggest weak point has always been the magazines, where their stockpiles of ammunition are kept. Even sailing ships in the days of Wooden Ships and Iron Men were known to occasionally explode violently. Throughout the 20th century, warship armor design evolved to the point where if any part of the ship is armored at all, it will be the magazine, at the expense of any other part of the ship, due to the sheer destructive force of that much ammunition going off due to a fire or an unlucky hit. Another modern method of protection is to put the ammunition (typically missiles) outside the ship, in armored containers which both make it difficult to damage the munitions and also help to direct any "cook-offs" away from the ship (and the rest of the ammo).
    • Destroying a ship's rudders is also a viable tactic, since the ship loses its means to maneuver. A famous example would be the German battleship Bismarck, which took a torpedo to the rudder, jamming it and locking the ship in port side turn. Unable to repair the damage, the ship was left a sitting duck for the pursing British forces, who quickly pounced on it with everything they had.
    • Japanese surface vessels up to cruiser-class had a weakness that was also their greatest strength: their torpedoes. While the Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo had superior range, speed, and payload to anything the Allies could field, its liquid oxygen fuel was highly explosive and rather touchy. There are several accounts of Japanese cruisers being crippled or sunk by near miss bomb or shell attacks that set off one of the torpedoes while it was still in the launcher, causing a chain reaction that would break the ship in half.
  • Among cars, the 2003-2008 Toyota Corolla range (particularly the '04, '07, and '08) is legendary for its extreme reliability, longevity, and general ease and affordability of maintenance, save for one key caveat: its rocker panels rust out extremely easily, necessitating a substantial sum in body work. This is due to a design flaw that creates a crypt in the front of the rear wheel wells where the rockers meet, which allows slush laden with road salt to accumulate, rot through the metal, and collect in the inside of the panels and rot those out as well. It is because of this that anyone seeking to purchase a used Corolla from this year range should check the rockers to see if they are free of rust or have been replaced, or if someone sanded off surface rust and painted it without treating the rot itself.
  • Prince Rupert's Drops have insane durability, that bullets shatter on impact against them, and it takes more pressure to shatter them than it is for Titanium. Yet these are little more than oddities, as breaking their fragile tail will shatter the entire thing.
  • Tardigrades or water bears are known for their unusual survivability, able to stand long periods of dehydration, freezing temperatures, even the vacuum of space. However, a study in 2020 found that they are vulnerable to high temperatures.


Video Example(s):


Songbird and high pressure

Because Songbird was created for Columbia - a city in the clouds - it cannot stand pressure any lower than the high altitude and thus cannot enter water, something later used to put him out of his misery.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / AchillesHeel

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