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Always Need What You Gave Up

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"Junk is something you don't use because you don't need it... until just after you get rid of it!"

A character or group of characters does something that limits their abilities (usually temporarily) for what looks to be — and may well actually be — excellent reasons, with the best of intentions. (For example, a team allows a key member to take a vacation, or a character loans his "lucky" tennis racket to a friend who's going out of town.) Almost as soon as this limitation becomes irrevocable, a situation that requires the talent, skill, or item in question immediately appears; without the missing element, the character or characters is seemingly doomed.

The resolution of this crisis depends strongly upon the genre of the story being told, ranging from zany schemes to improvised substitutions to bulling it through on raw guts and determination. The key element, though, is a seemingly-harmless relinquishing of an advantage for good reasons, which is immediately "punished" by a dire need for the lost advantage.

Compare Gift of the Magi Plot, where two characters each give something up in exchange for something else that's only useful in combination with what the other character gave up. Contrast with Brought Down to Normal, where the loss is never voluntary, and sometimes enjoyed — and the lost power is returned just in time to use it. Compare Can't Stay Normal, which is the usual result.

Attempts to escape this trope is how you get Too Awesome to Use.

This is also used sometimes as an explanation for Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Stupid actions. Contrast I Did What I Had to Do, which does the same as in this case, but for Lawful Neutral or Lawful Stupid actions. Can cross with Unwanted Assistance if someone finds they need the very help of the person they told to leave them alone. See also Crossing the Burnt Bridge for when a person severs ties with someone, only to end up needing to reach out to them again, and Removing the Crucial Teammate when The Team discharges a member who turns out to be more essential than they had thought. For situations where a person gives something up because they feel the opportunity they needed it for wouldn't happen, only for it to happen immediately after giving the item up, see Gave Up Too Soon.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bleach, Ichigo gets hit hard with this during the Lost Agent arc. Having finally gotten his wish to be a normal human, he finds himself Locked Out of the Loop when his friends are attacked and turns to the mysterious XCution organization when they promise to help restore his Soul Reaper powers. It turns out to be a trap engineered to let the members of XCution steal Ichigo's powers, but he gets them back in the end and defeats them.
  • Claymore: Exiled badass Claymore in hiding Ilena spends an episode or two teaching Clare her quick sword technique. Ilena is missing her left arm and Clare is missing her right. Sensing that Clare had no hope without her right arm, Ilena slices off her own right arm and gives it to Clare on loan so that she can master the technique. Clare leaves to pursue her goal. In the very next scene, another Claymore shows up to kill the outcast Ilena who is now missing both arms... The only way the Claymore was able to sense her this time is because she used some of her Yoki aura in teaching the quick sword technique to Clare.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Subverted and discussed in the penultimate episode. Edward goes to Truth to bargain for his brother by trading his own gate. However, Truth asks if he could really cope with being an ordinary, powerless human. Ed replies that he's only ever been a normal person, so in the end, he doesn’t need alchemy. This greatly impresses Truth who accepts the deal and returns Al.
    • Downplayed in the next episode when Ed is trying to fix Winry's roof and tries to speed it up with alchemy only for nothing to happen, forcing him to complete the job the old-fashioned way.
  • A painful example in Gantz. Kurono earns 100 points and chooses freedom to be with his girlfriend at the cost of his memory. The end result: he thinks his girlfriend is a stalker, and he and his little brother are both murdered by vampires.
  • This is relatively common in Humongous Mecha series, where as soon as the pilots get a day off to go to the beach, the city they're supposed to defend will get attacked, allowing the use of a Beach Episode without resorting to completely pointless fanservice. Although most of them have it anyway.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, four of the five protagonists voluntarily send their Gundams away on a vessel bound for the Sun, intending to destroy them now that they supposedly are no longer needed. Almost immediately afterwards, Mariemaia Khushrenada starts her rebellion with a massive army of Mobile Suits that only the Gundams can stop, sending the protagonists scrambling to recover them before they fly into the Sun.
  • Naruto: Uchiha Obito gifts his left Sharingan (having the long-range version of a teleportation ability called Kamui) to Kakashi when he is on the verge of certain death. He survives and does a Face–Heel Turn. If he hadn't gifted it, the protagonists wouldn't even be able to understand how the Kamui teleportation works, let alone figure out how to defeat it.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Negi seals his magical talent for three days in order to avoid the temptation to "fix" his class's test results with a spell. He immediately finds himself in a dangerous situation where he must rely upon his students for safety.
    • Done in the long term by Asuna with her memories, which she gave up at least a decade ago in order to live a normal life (she was depressive and on the verge of picking up Takamichi's smoke addiction). Considering she helped out in the last war, her memories would have been really, really helpful now. And giving them up didn't really keep her "normal", either. It's actually lampshaded a few times. You see, by giving up her memory, she also gave up the memory of why she gave up her memories. As a result, she's now running full-throttle down the path to becoming the sort of person she didn't want to be before she lost her memories, but she doesn't remember that she didn't want to do what she's doing!
  • One Piece:
    • After inadvertently cutting down Shandia's sacred treesnote , Montblanc Noland had his crew leave behind the gold they had received as penance. Upon returning to Lvneel and telling the king about what he found, he lead the king and his men back to Jaya, only to find the Shandians were gone, having been blasted into the sky by a Knock-Up Stream. Without the gold to verify his story, the king thought that Noland had tricked and made a fool out of him, resulting in him being executed.
    • Admiral Fujitora blinded himself so he would no longer have to see the darkness of the world. But after meeting Luffy, he realizes that not everything in this world is horrible, and laments his blindness for preventing him from seeing Luffy's kind face.
  • In the Pokémon: The Original Series episode "The Breeding Center Secret", Misty leaves her Psyduck at the titular breeding center. A while later, the heroes stumble upon a restaurant, with the owner letting them have an all-you-can-eat buffet if they show him his favorite Pokémon, only to discover that his favorite Pokémon is Psyduck, prompting Misty and the others to go back to the breeding center and end up discovering the truth that it's a front by Team Rocket.
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What?, the main character becomes accustomed to being able to multi-task spellcasting, physical combat and information gathering and analysis thanks to the Parallel Minds skill, which creates additional mental copies of herself. Their teamwork quickly becomes a staple of her battle ability. Later on, when she gets tired of Mother's attempts to direct her actions with Kin Control, she decides to send her Parallels through the link connecting them formed by Kin Control, beginning a mental counterattack against Mother while the original Kumoko (Information Brain) moves on. Without her Parallels, she is no longer able to perform all of these individual tasks simultaneously, but Kumoko believes she is safe even without them. Naturally, Mother's own retaliation, which prevents the Parallels from returning to the main body, results in Kumoko running into situations where the lack of her Parallels and their previous teamwork almost gets her killed numerous times from battles she would have otherwise handled quite easily.
  • In Trash Skill Gacha, Duke Bahirst, already believing his youngest son Crest got away with murder for surviving his mother's Death by Childbirth, accuses him of lying about a prophetic dream about the god-granted skill he had received because he couldn't use it yet, and exiles him to the [Lower World], which is effectively a death sentence. The day afterwards, the duke is called for an audience with the king, where the pope mentions a prophetic dream in which the kingdom would be invaded by hoards of monsters, but three special skills would be used to defend the of which belongs to Crest Bahirst, which lands the Duke in hot water as he struggles to explain himself.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga, Manjyome buries his "Light and Darkness Dragon" (whose Duel Spirit fills in the role of the Ojamas), because he wants to prove that he's good enough to be in Obelisk Blue on his own (which he confesses was later due to fear of losing with Light and Darkness Dragon). Manjyome immediately recovers the card after Judai uses his Duel Spirit to defeat him, and wins in their rematch in the finals of the academy tournament.

    Comic Books 
  • In Be Prepared, Vera throws away her Russian camp songbook before she gets to camp, unsure of why she needs it or what it's for (as she can't really read Russian well). Cue her first night at the campfire, where she doesn't have her book to sing along and has to mouth the words.
  • During an Iron Man storyline, Tony Stark is ordered to wear an anklet that will temporarily shut down his technology-interfacing Extremis abilities due to concerns about his psychological state; the system has reached a state where his brain is filtering information through his subconscious and making him aware of key details through hallucinations of people whose deaths Tony feels in some way responsible for. However, just as he accepts the anklet, he realises that his old foe, the Mandarin, has returned and is preparing to implement a plan that would kill 97.5% of the world's population, the loss of Extremis severely hindering Tony's attempts to oppose the Mandarin. Eventually Tony is forced to cut off part of his own ankle to remove the anklet and restore his powers to stop the Mandarin's missiles (although he also regains the Healing Factor to recover from that damage).
  • Played for tragedy in Superman & Batman: Generations. Lara Wayne (Superman's great-granddaughter) is in love with an alien Green Lantern, but he's hesitant to start a relationship because her Kryptonian powers slow her aging, making her look underage even though she isn't. Lara decides to use Gold Kryptonite to give up her powers so she can age normally, but her love interest gets mortally wounded in a battle and she has to listen to him die over the radio, knowing full well that her powers would have let her save his life.

    Comic Strips 
  • Pearls Before Swine: In this strip, while cleaning out their garage, Rat questions why Pig is holding onto scuba gear, a raccoon trap, and a spare key to their neighbor's back gate. Realizing that Rat is right that he has unnecessary clutter, Pig throws it all into the dump. Not a moment later, Goat runs past saying that their neighbor is trapped at the bottom of his pool with his locked gate being blocked by an angry raccoon.
    Pig: (rifling through the dump for his stuff) ALWAYS...KEEP...EVERYTHING!!

    Fan Works 
  • Bridges Burned (Mama Always Told Me That I Should Play Nice. But She Never Met You): After Lila convinces all of Marinette's classmates that she's been bullying out out of jealousy over her supposed connections, Alya leads everyone in publicly decrying their friendship with her. Marinette responds by gradually revealing that she has connections with a wide range of famous figures, including Alya's idol Lois Lane. Alya proceeds to have an Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap! moment as she realizes Lois declared she was only interested in meeting Marinette's friends, and she no longer qualified.
  • In Constant Temptation, Light is kidnapped soon after he decides he doesn't really want to be Kira or use the Death Note anymore.
  • A Lady's Scout (and the Salt Within Her Soul): Alya, Nino, and the rest of Marinette's Fair-Weather Friends ditched their "everyday Ladybug" in favor of Lila, who lied about personally knowing several celebrities and famous figures, including Ladybug. Marinette rewards their fickleness by dropping hints that she played a role in Ladybug choosing several students from their class to be temporary heroes, causing the majority to flock back and start trying to curry favor with her again, refusing to recognize how they'd already destroyed their chances with their betrayal.
  • In The Lament Series (ChaoticNeutral), those who make a reality-altering Wish tend to find themselves in this position. Played With in that they frequently don't realize what they're giving up until it's too late, convinced that they've already won and are going to get whatever they Wish for without any serious consequences.
    • Gabriel's Lament: Gabriel's Wish retcons reality so that his wife Emilie never fell into a coma, as the Peafowl Miraculous wasn't damaged. He also never found the Butterfly in this world, which he's perfectly fine with... until somebody else starts terrorizing Paris as Hawk Moth, and his wife starts fighting them as a superheroine, while he's forced to watch from the sidelines.
    • Chloé's Lament: Chloé Wishes to trade places with Marinette, believing this will ensure that she gets to become the new Ladybug and enjoy all the praise and admiration Marinette did while Mari is stuck as the Mayor's daughter that everybody despises. What Chloé fails to recognize is that she was disliked because of how much she abused her status... status she no longer has in the new reality, meaning she's no longer shielded from the consequences of her actions.
    • In the Recursive Fanfiction Lila's Lament, Lila controlled things around her to manipulate people into catering to her whims and escape consequences for her lies. But by wishing to have Adrien’s life as a Teen Idol, she loses any sort of control over anything in her life, from the spreading of her lies to every media platform to Gabriel micromanaging every minute of her day.
  • In Marinette's Week Off, Marinette repays her Fair-Weather Friends for turning upon her so quickly by deliberately scheduling her vacation during the busiest week of the school year. Since her teacher and classmates are used to letting her do all the heavy lifting of planning and coordinating events, along with providing most of the refreshments, costumes and other necessities, everything crashes and burns without her presence and assistance.
    • The sequel twists the knife further when Marinette's acting career takes off. One of the main reasons why Alya ditched her former "bestie" was because she wanted to curry favor with Lila and all the celebrity connections she claimed to have. Once Marinette becomes famous, Alya tries to cozy back up to her, only for Marinette to remind her that she was the one who broke off their friendship in the first place.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: In Costumes, Trixie decides to dress as her grandfather for Nightmare Night, and allows her magic message sending hat to go in for its 10,000 letter tune-up while telling Princess Luna she was sure she could run a little festival without calling for help. This comes back to bite her when Rarity accidentally causes everypony wearing her outfits to become their costumes and Trixie has no way of telling Luna.
  • Raise Yourselves Up (We're Done): Miss Bustier bans Marinette and Chloé from joining them on their class trip. She and the rest of her students then learn the hard way that not only was Marinette the only one who knew anything about organizing and fundraising for said trips, as Bustier always pawned those responsibilities off upon her, but Chloé always had her father donate thirty percent of the money needed.
  • In With Strings Attached, after discovering that his new Super-Strength came with a massive helping of Blessed with Suck (Power Incontinence), Paul manages to shed most of it by pumping a ton of energy into a basic light spell and exploding. He's quite pleased that he's still left with enough strength to be “interesting” (though he's still not very good with it and has to practice just to be able to walk). However, when they're sent to New Zork for the first piece of the Vasyn, he discovers it's 20 feet of solid rock that he's supposed to lift, but it's far heavier than he's capable of lifting now. That's when he regrets shedding the power—and when, out of desperation, he figures out how to restore it.

    Films — Animation 
  • At the beginning of Felix the Cat: The Movie, when the land of Oriana was being invaded by the mechanical army of the Duke of Zil, it was mentioned that the country was defenseless because the Princess had dissolved the Royal army years ago, which made the Duke's conquest easier.
  • In Disney's Hercules, Hercules agrees to surrender his Super-Strength as part of a deal with Hades. As soon as the deal is complete, Hades frees the Titans from imprisonment and launches his invasion of Greece and Mount Olympus.
  • Played for Laughs in The Road to El Dorado, where after getting caught cheating with loaded dice, Tulio and Miguel act out a saber duel in order to get away. Upon reaching the roof of a building in their "fight", they promptly chuck the swords away before jumping over the roof to safety...only to land right in front of a big angry bull. As Miguel put it:
    Miguel: Should've kept our swords, I think.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used tragically in Batman Forever. In the climax of their trapeze act, the Grayson family forgoes the safety of a net. Unfortunately, Two-Face appears at that moment with a bomb suspended in the air, and while the Graysons are trying to stop it, Two-Face shoots down Dick's father, mother, and brother.
  • Used dramatically in the climax of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After Batman and Superman's brutal fight ends, during which Batman almost impales Superman with a kryptonite spear, Lois Lane decided to get rid of the spear so it couldn't be abused. Unfortunately, soon after, Doomsday appeared, with only Kryptonian weapons being able to kill him, thus resulting in a chain of events which lead to the death of Superman.
  • In the backstory of Black Adam (2022), Adam's son Hurut is chosen as Champion by the Council of Wizards, with him using his powers to defy the tyrannical ruler of Khandag, Ahk-Ton. In retaliation, Ahk-Ton had his assassins attack Adam, with Hurut giving his father his powers in order to save his life. Unfortunately, the moment he was depowered, one of the assassins took the opportunity to murder Hurut.
  • Narrowly averted in Ewoks: Caravan of Courage. Before the quest began, the members of the caravan are granted totems by the Ewoks' medicine man. While everyone else receives useful and amazing Plot Coupons, Mace receives... a rock. Feeling it worthless, he throws it away before the caravan begins. It's only towards the climax does he learn the rock did have a use: inside was a mystical arrowhead that would lead to the entrance of the lair of the Gorax. Fortunately, Wicket had picked it up immediately after he had discarded it and had been holding onto it the whole time.
  • Fantastic Four (2005): Ben Grimm's transformation into the Thing is reversed just in time for von Doom to reveal his villainy.
  • In Final Destination 2, Clear Rivers was the last of the survivors of the Flight 180 crash from the previous movie. Death has a list with her name on it. She spent all of the first movie thwarting Death's attempts at claiming her and successfully escaped every seeming "accident". In the second film, she had decided that the only place safe for her from these "accidents" was to lock herself up in a small padded cell, living like a prisoner, with no sharp objects or anything that could conceivably kill her. She is safe... until the next group of people on Death's list seek her out. She is reluctant to help at first but later decides to leave the protection of her cell and start living again. Unsurprisingly, she dies before the end of the film.
  • In the 2005 remake of Fun with Dick and Jane, Dick gets promoted to an executive position at his company, so he suggests to Jane that she should quit her job as a travel agent since his new salary can easily support them. Unfortunately, he finds out that the company's filing for bankruptcy and he was actually Promoted to Scapegoat, so thanks to the fallout, he can't get another job. He also spends a full day doing nothing instead of looking for a new job. And then a few more days (or even longer) only looking for vice president positions because he feels he's owed that. Only after that does he start looking for any job.
  • In Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Johnny Blaze gives up his Ghost Rider powers just as Danny is being kidnapped by the Devil's minions.
  • In John Carter, Carter has settled in nicely on Mars and decided there's nothing for him back on Earth. He expresses this commitment to his new life by hurling his interplanetary-teleportation amulet out over the landscape. Mere minutes later, the not-as-beaten-as-they-seemed enemies surprise him and transmit him back to Earth. This requires him to spend many years searching for another amulet. He fails, forcing him to find the enemy that sent him back, lure them into a trap, kill his foe, and steal his amulet.
  • In The Matrix Revolutions, some of the secondary characters pull a Big Damn Heroes moment by flying their hovercraft into the dock and activating the EMP, shutting down every robot in the place — only to be informed by the general that this has also disabled all of their best defenses against the next wave.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl:
    • After the Pearl's crew is cursed by the treasure of Cortez, "Bootstrap" Bill Turner, who disapproved of Barbossa's mutiny against Jack, thought it was a deserved punishment and sent out one of the gold pieces to his son to ensure the curse couldn't be broken. In response, Barbossa strapped him to a cannon and sent him to the bottom of the ocean. Unfortunately, it was later on that the crew learned that to break the curse, in addition to returning all the gold pieces to Cortez's chest, everyone who took a piece had to repay with their blood...which included Bootstrap's.
    • During the climax, Jack's crew was being pursued by Barbosa's, so they pulled an Emergency Cargo Dump of everything on the Interceptor so they'd go faster. Unfortunately, the Pearl catches up to them anyway, and because some "genius" decided to throw all the cannonballs overboard, the crew was forced to fight using Improvised Weapons.
  • In Serenity, Mal takes exception to Jayne loading up on guns and ammo before the opening bank robbery, and tells him, "No grenades." Later, when Reavers turn up and the crew is racing to get away, Jayne sourly notes to Mal, "Boy, sure would great if we had some grenades, don't you think?"
  • The plot of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home could be seen as a delayed Good Idea. Man had hunted whales to extinction in the 21st century. In Kirk's time, a probe arrives that will destroy Earth unless someone responds to its call... which turns out to be the song of a humpback whale. Time Travel and An Aesop against the dangers of overwhaling are of course involved.
  • In the movie Superman II, Superman gives up his superpowers for Lois Lane — just before he needs them in order to defeat General Zod and his followers. In the original cut of the film, the means by which he recovers his abilities — by consuming the energy that powered the Fortress of Solitude's holographic projections of his parents — is not revealed to the audience, as Marlon Brando had refused to appear in the movie after original director Richard Donner was fired. Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut of the film includes this scene.

  • In Doctor Who New Adventures Human Nature, the Doctor turns himself into a human schoolteacher, with none of the knowledge or abilities of his normal self, to gain experience of what his companions go through. He shortly finds himself being targeted by hostile aliens he could normally have defeated easily. It turns out that the character who gave him the idea of experiencing life as a human was one of the villains, deliberately so that he could be taken advantage of in his reduced state.
  • In "Writing Time", one of Isaac Asimov's George and Azazel stories, a man gets the gift of never having to wait... except it turns out the time he was waiting was needed for him to think.
  • Harry Potter: During the First Wizarding War, James Potter lent Albus Dumbledore his family's heirloom, the Invisibility Cloak, as he figured out that the Fidelius Charm was enough to protect his family from Voldemort. Unfortunately, the Secret Keeper ended up snitching on them, and Dumbledore muses that had James had the cloak with him, he and Lily might have survived the war.
  • Jingo: Vimes orders the smuggling ship he commandeered to go faster, and has the watchmen throw everything heavy overboard to lose weight. Since none of the watchmen are sailors, this leads to the loss of things like grapnels, chains, barometers, lifeboats, anchors...
  • In Laura Leander series, the titular heroine gives up her power as Light Guardian in order to get her mother Rescued from the Underworld. It seems a perfectly valid idea since an ancient agreement forbids Dark Guardians from using their powers to hurt anybody who isn't a Light Guardian directly. Unfortunately, The Big Bad, who desires revenge on her for previous defeats, finds a way to hurt her past self (from times she was a Guardian), and she has to assist her past self with her powers now gone...
  • In the ninth The Pendragon Adventure book, Raven Rise, Mark gives his Traveler ring to a villain because he figures that since Bobby can't communicate with him anymore anyways, it's useless and will save his parents without hurting anybody. It ends up literally causing the apocalypse.
  • This trope is used for Black Comedy in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. The Golgafrinchams trick all of their people with useless jobs like middle managers, telephone washers, and advertising executives into leaving their planet by making up a story about a supposed apocalypse. Shortly afterwards, the Golfafrinchams are wiped out by a plague spread by dirty telephones.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy is nearly given another dose of the demon power that made the first Slayer, but breaks free of her chains and beats up the guys who want to give it to her, on the grounds that it supposedly would make her less human. The strength upgrade would have come in real handy against the uber-vamps and Caleb.
  • In the Doctor Who two-parter "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", the Doctor turns himself into a human schoolteacher, with none of the knowledge or abilities of his normal self, to avoid being tracked by the Monster of the Week. Unfortunately, the monsters manage to track him down anyway, and he has to face them as an ordinary human.
  • In an episode of Farscape, during an argument with Crichton, D'Argo petulantly throws his qualta blade off a catwalk into Moya's depths. Later, the Luxan fighter craft they took in earlier has its self-destruct failsafe activated. The only way to turn it off is to show it an object of definitive Luxan origin... like D'Argo's qualta blade.
  • Invoked in one episode of Hogan's Heroes as part of a plan to get a soldier out of the cooler, where the POWs sabotage Klink's bathroom sink, forcing Klink to release the soldier (who the POWs make him think is a plumber) because Klink's old plumbing specialist was sent to the Russian front.
    Klink: Well, what idiot sent him to the Russian front?!
    (Schultz gives him a knowing look)
    Klink: Don't tell me what idiot!
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Barney wore a silk suit to bed so he'd look his best in case a woman came by his apartment in the middle of the night, but after being told that the chances of that happening were ridiculous, he switched to a nightgown. Turns out that it ended up happening and when the woman saw the nightgown, she immediately left.
  • An episode of I Dream of Jeannie combines this with Unwanted Assistance. Having had enough of Jeannie's attempts to help him, Tony orders her to not get involved in his life anymore, so she takes a mystic vow that prevents her from going against his order without turning to dust...only for Tony to be taken hostage by Chinese spies at gunpoint moments later. Fortunately, Jeannie manages to circumvent it by having Roger temporarily become her master.
  • In the final season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, in order to prevent it from being used for evil, the Rangers split the powerful Zeo Crystal into five pieces and scatter them throughout time and space. However, after Master Vile reverses time and their power coins are destroyed by Rita and Zedd, the only way the Rangers can return time to normal and restore their powers is to go on a quest through time to regain the Zeo Crystal fragments.
  • In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, the original Magna Defender released the Lights of Orion. However, when he becomes possessed by revenge he needs the Lights to face and kill Scorpius.
  • A variation in Sherlock: Irene fakes her death and sends her phone to Sherlock. She soon has to get it back.
  • Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites: Erik wins immunity at the final five. Guaranteed to be in the Final Four, right? Not if the Black Widow Brigade has anything to say about it.
  • Misfits: The ASBO five, wanting to get their normal lives back, sell their powers to Seth. Within a day, Nikki has been shot and Curtis no longer has the power to turn back time and save her.
  • An episode of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger featured this, when the team's ace mechanic Swan was given an award and encouraged by the others to take a break and go to the award ceremony. Naturally, the city is attacked while she's gone, and it's immediately demonstrated that the team's Transforming Mecha start breaking down if they miss even one day of maintenance. Which either proves that Swan is an incredible mechanic or an incredibly lousy mechanic.
    • The Rangers are all going on about how they don't know if they can hold their own without Swan, but they have to support her decision to go away because "we have to do what's best for Swan". Regardless of the fact that the Earth might be destroyed as a result.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Norse Mythology, Frey gives up the sword-that-can-fight-by-itself in order to gain the love of a giantess. Thus, during Ragnarok, Surtr will not be defeated, and will devour the universe with fire leaving only a small handful of gods to repopulate it.

    Puppet Show 


    Video Games 
  • Dark Souls II provides a fairly tragic example. Early in the game, Lucatiel of Mirrah gives the player a Human Effigy - an item Undead use to retain their human form and sanity - as a gift of thanks, while admitting that she doesn't actually know what it is. Her own sanity begins to fade away shortly thereafter.
  • In God of War II, Kratos drains his divine power into the Sword of Olympus so that he can destroy the (animated) Colossus of Rhodes. Of course, given that the whole thing was just a Batman Gambit on the part of Zeus, Kratos shortly learns the drawback of vesting all your power in an artifact, as Zeus betrays him and sends him to Hades.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: A side-quest on Elaaden has Ryder run into a scientist whose shuttle crashed in one of the moon's sinkholes. She explains that while stuck she became delirious from thirst, and bartered with some local outcasts for water. Problem is, once she came back to her senses, she learned she'd traded her shuttle's engine. Ryder has to go track it down for her.
  • NieR has this to some extent. Those somewhat worthwhile goat hides with good value? Welcome to hours of killing goats for a quest. The expensive but otherwise easy money when sold as Shop Fodder? You need those for another quest. That gives better pay.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, Knuckles the Echidna, fighting over possession of his precious Master Emerald with Femme Fatale Rouge the Bat, notices Robotnik stealing the gem away from under their noses. Instead of attacking Robotnik directly to get the gem back, he...shatters the Emerald, explaining that he can always gather up the pieces later. Seems like a good idea at the time...until it's realized the gem is needed to help stop a giant space station powered by Chaos Emeralds from crashing into Earth. Oh, and Rouge is a master jewel thief with technology that can help her find the broken shards just as well as Knuckles' internal Chaos detector can. (Knuckles probably also should have shattered it with less force, as the shards are sent all over the continent.)

  • The Order of the Stick: Multiple:
    • Elan in this strip apparently sent all the party's weapons to fix up, because they won't need them while they are staying in a hotel anyway. They did.
    • In one strip, it's revealed that when Vaarsuvius chose to specialize in Evocation, one of the magic schools they chose to forgo was Conjuration. Unfortunately, this ends up biting the Order in the butt travel-wise due to the rules of the 3.5 edition changing Teleport from Transmutation to Conjuration.
  • In Spacetrawler, Yuri becomes increasingly violent, erratic, and detached from her teammates in the aftermath of getting tortured. Martina sees to it that Yuri gets psychotherapy to deal with this. The therapy-bot, trying to get Yuri back on her feet as quickly as possible, erases her memories of the event, and this appears to fix her. Then, Yuri has another run-in with the alien who tortured her. When it becomes apparent that Yuri's memory loss will allow said alien to take advantage of her, the therapy-bot restores Yuri's memories—causing her to revert to her scary, violent self.

    Western Animation 
  • In the American Dad! 2-parter "Stan of Arabia", Stan renounces his US citizenship by tearing up his and the rest of his family's passports and quits the CIA after finding he prefers life in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately for him, the rest of his family runs afoul of the law and ends up on death row, with himself joining them once he pleads. Without the passports he destroyed, he has no way out of this predicament. It takes Roger getting the man Steve sold him to, to request the execution be called off.
  • In the penultimate episode of American Dragon: Jake Long, Jake deliberately gets his dragon powers removed for a week so he can enjoy some time as a regular teen while preparing to graduate. Unfortunately, at the climax of the episode, Chang comes after him, and he has no dragon powers to defend himself, allowing Chang to capture him. For extra irony, Chang believing Jake still had his dragon powers is the reason she went after him in the first place.
  • In the Challenge Of The Go Bots episode "Scooter Enhanced", Scooter has his holo-projector replaced with a blaster unit. Then the Renegades lure all the Guardians except Smallfoot and Scooter away so that they can steal the Guardian's power-suits, and an outnumbered Scooter is unable to use his blasters because Smallfoot might get hit by a stray shot, and without his holo-projector, he can't fool the Renegades into thinking the other Guardians have returned. Luckily, he can still disguise his voice to sound like someone else and has his holo-projector reinstalled at the end.
  • In one episode of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, when Chip and Dale accidentally get taken on a space mission and end up getting left behind in space, Gadget, Monterey, and Zipper build a makeshift rocket to save them. While loading the rocket with fuel, Monterey finds a parachute and rubber raft inside. Thinking they're just junk, he leaves them behind. It's only after they rescue Chip and Dale does Monty learn they were needed for the splashdown, requiring the rangers to get back home on the space plane.
  • This trope is at the center of the Danny Phantom Grand Finale, Phantom Planet, wherein Danny decides to give up his ghost powers just as a huge asteroid is revealed to be on a collision course for Earth and his old abilities might be the only thing that can save everyone.
  • Happened in an episode of Drawn Together, which was probably a parody of Superman II. Captain Hero feels so guilty about giving Foxxy a tumor through extensive use of his X-ray vision, he gives up his powers. This leaves him paralyzed, confined a wheelchair controlled with a breathing tube. He finds that he has to save her not long after.
  • DuckTales (1987):
    • "Superdoo!": The main premise of this episode involves clumsy Doofus finding an alien crystal at the Junior Woodchucks camp that grants him super powers. Although he does use his powers to save the camp from a flood, he also uses them score easy merit badges and show off to Launchpad and the kids, which in turn causes them to resent Doofus' behavior. Frustrated, Doofus throws the crystal away and gives back his merit badges. Huey, Dewey and Louie commend Doofus for being honest, but question what he'll do if there's another disaster. Doofus exclaims "How often does that happen?", only for two timber wolves to suddenly show up. Fortunately, Doofus is able to use his wits to stop the wolves.
    • "Super Ducktales": Gyro builds a security robot to protect Scrooge's money bin, and since it was fully automatic, he figured the remote control wasn't needed anymore and let the robot blow it up to demonstrate its firepower. Unfortunately, just a moment later, it's discovered that Gyro had invoked Exact Words with Scrooge's instructions for the robot to not let anyone near the bin, resulting in it shooting at Scrooge, and since Gyro had let it destroy the controls, there was no way to turn him off.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the episode "Da Boom", the Griffins found a village After the End. Peter ends up using all the town's pipes to make firearms, even though they've had no violent conflict. The other villages exile the Griffins, and throw the guns into the fire—right before getting attacked by the mutant Stewie's offspring. One guy was even about to lampshade it with the meaning of 'irony' before being Killed Mid-Sentence.
    • In a more tragic example, "Life of Brian" has Stewie destroy his time machine after one too many near-death experiences, only for Brian to be killed by a hit and run driver mere moments later. Fixed mere episodes later when a chance indirect encounter with a Stewie traveling forward from the past gives him a window of opportunity to save his best friend.
  • In The Flintstones episode "The Babysitters", Barney receives two tickets to a fight from his boss, with him and Fred intent on going. Unfortunately, they end up getting guilted by Wilma and Betty to watch Wilma's nephew, so they decide to see the fight on the television. Unfortunately, due to a signal blackout, it can't be seen on Fred's television. Fred then comes up with the idea of going to the fight like they originally planned, and bring Wilma's nephew along with them. Unfortunately, due to thinking they weren't going to use the tickets, Barney had torn them up.
  • A unique situation in one episode of Garfield and Friends. Garfield comes down with Hawaiian Cat Flu, which causes him to do the hula or other native dances whenever he hears a Hawaiian word. Garfield refuses to take the medicine Liz prescribed for him, so Jon decides to take advantage of the situation by signing Garfield up on a show for silly pet tricks in order to win a big cash prize. However, since Garfield was going to be on television, he decides he needs to be in perfect health and finally takes his medicine, curing him of the Hawaiian Cat Flu just before he goes on.
  • In one episode of Goof Troop when Goofy and Pete run a burger truck, Goofy buys the supplies while Pete is busy, but ends up using Pete's credit cards. Enraged by the price on the bill, Pete tears it up. Later on, Pete discovers that Goofy purchased a live cow and chicken. Goofy assures Pete they can return them as long as Pete still has the receipt, which Pete realizes he tore up, so they're stuck with the cow and chicken.
  • In the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) episode "The Problem with Power", He-Man surrenders the sword that gives him the power of Grayskull because Skeletor tricks him into thinking that he's killed someone. This results in the heroes having to attempt to stop Skeletor's plot via a suicide mission because He-Man is no longer around to solve the problem. Once He-Man discovers the truth, he has to retrieve the sword to regain his power in time to save Teela from dying for the cause.
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "Deconstructing Arnold", Arnold's friends are playing pranks on other students (i.e Sid is using a popular kid's cellphone, Rhonda writes a prank secret admirer letter to Curly, and Harold and Stinky tamper with Eugene's bicycle), with Arnold trying to advise them that they're not such good ideas, only for the kids to tell him to mind his own business with Helga eventually telling him to stop being a busybody, which Arnold agrees to do. Sure enough, the kids' pranks backfire: Sid break's the kid's phone, Curly figures out that Rhonda wrote the letter and starts following her, and Eugene ends up having a terrible accident due to his bicycle being sabotaged; and Arnold isn't there to advise them how to get out of their messes.
  • The Incredible Hulk (1982): In the episode "Prisoner of the Monster", Bruce Banner successfully cures himself of his transformations into the Hulk but is forced to restore his powers because the Hulk is the only one who can thwart the Spy Master's plan.
  • In the second season premiere of Jackie Chan Adventures, when the Dark Hand Enforcers are robbing a bank using the talismans divided up amongst them, Finn has the Dog (Immortality) and Horse (Healing) talismans, which he feels is redundant, so he trades the Horse talisman to Ratso for the Pig (Heat-Beam Eyes) talisman. He later finds out that while he's immortal, he can still suffer painful injuries as when he smashes into a cliff above a tunnel.
  • In one episode of The Jetsons, George accidentally gets computerized dog teeth stuck in his mouth and they cause him to act like a dog whenever anything canine-related is in his view. After the teeth get him fired (again), they finally come out and, in a rage, George destroys them. Immediately afterwards, however, he learns from Jane that a director witnessed one of his antics (clinging to a mailman's satchel) and had offered to pay him big money to appear in a dental glue commercial using the teeth.
    George: Our ship finally comes in, and I destroyed the dock!
  • In an episode of LoliRock, this happens to Talia's older sister Izira, who gives her Transformation Trinket Medallion that contains the power to defeat the Big Bad Gramorr to her younger sister. Immediately after Talia leaves with it, Gramorr attacks and without the Medallion, Izira is unable to transform and as a result, is defeated and taken captive.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In The Jet Cage, Sylvester uses ping pong racquet-shaped flaps to go chasing after Tweety. Once he catches up to his prey, he hits on the bright idea of taunting him. Then...
      Tweety: How you gonna get me? You got your hands full.
      Sylvester: Oh, yeah? (tosses away the flaps) Well, now I haven't! (takes a look at the fields below, as the flaps flutter down, before plummeting)
    • This happens in more than one Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon. For example, in "Hairied And Hurried," Wile. E attempts to catch the Roadrunner by jumping off the cliff above him, complete with skydiving equipment. However, upon jumping off, he ends up in a miniature tornado that was passing. Once tossed out of the tornado, a dizzy Wile. E discards the skydiving equipment and marches off in disgust... right over the edge of a cliff. He tries to head back to retrieve his pack, but winds up with nothing but air beneath him... and another date with gravity.
  • In one episode of The Looney Tunes Show, Yosemite Sam goes off the grid so he can be self-sufficient, relying solely on solar energy. Five seconds after he cuts his power line, a massive storm rolls in and blocks out the sun, leaving him without power.
  • Several times in The Mask animated series, including the pilot, Stanley tries to give away or bury the eponymous artifact only to desperately need it again by the halfway point.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the two-part opening of season four, "Princess Twilight", the characters are forced to give up the Elements of Harmony, despite them being Equestria's best defense. Sure enough, in the season four finale, "Twilight's Kingdom", a new enemy called Tirek starts attacking, even bringing former villain Discord to his side. This becomes an example of Discard and Draw as the characters gain a new Super Mode called Rainbow Power to replace the Elements.
    • In the episode "Bloom and Gloom", Apple Bloom has a nightmare where she gains a Cutie Mark that designates her as a "pestpony". After getting mocked for it, she has it removed, rendering her unable to deal with a twittermite infestation.
  • In one episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, the penguins cure Mort of his fetish for Julien's feet. However, when Julien ends up dangling over a grill, Mort needs to pull him up by his feet. Fortunately, he immediately snaps back to his old self and saves Julien. The penguins even lampshade the irony.
  • In an early episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Boris has been ordered by his superiors to kill Bullwinkle. He plans an elaborate scheme to trap Rocky and Bullwinkle in a doomed airplane. But just after he finishes destroying the control mechanisms and throwing out the extra parachutes, he gets word from his superiors that the plan has changed and he needs to not kill Bullwinkle.note  In order to obey his superiors, Boris has to give Bullwinkle the one remaining parachute (that he had intended to use for himself) and remain on the crippled plane. This being a cartoon, he survives, but he's not happy about it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The first segment of "Treehouse Of Horror II" features Lisa wishing for world peace. All countries destroy their weapons, but then Kang and Kodos come and conquer Earth with just a slingshot and a club.
    • Similar to the Family Guy example, a segment in "Treehouse Of Horror XIII" has Lisa, inspired by the death of a man called William Bonney, lead a campaign to rid Springfield of guns and succeeds. However, this was actually a Batman Gambit by William Bonney (aka Billy the Kid), for he and a gang of zombie outlaws to rise up and terrorize the defenseless town.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
  • A rather humorous occurrence in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) episode "The Case of the Killer Pizzas", which, ironically, fits both this trope and the old name for this trope that is now redefined. Shredder and Baxter Stockman used a remote device to command a trio of Xenomorph Xeroxes from Dimension X to attack the title teenage turtles. During the confrontation, Donatello used his bo-staff to knock the remote out of Stockman's hand and into the water. Unfortunately, this caused the creatures to go out of control and attack both heroes and villains.
    Raphael: We could use the remote to subdue them, but Mr. Home-Run-Slugger over here had to go and knock it into the water!
    Donatello: (sheepishly) Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • In Time Squad the unit falls into this a bit. With Tuddrussel and Larry being so bad with history, they need Otto to help them. The kid practically coddles the adults with this effortless task at solving problems that they could never fix. In one particular example of them being without the kid is when Tuddrussel and Larry had seemingly abandoned Otto and tried to first fix the mission themselves, but they quickly gave up and tried to find other orphans with the extreme knowledge of History that Otto possesses. But this proved to be a waste of time, there was no other kid with Otto's talents that could help, it wasn't only until accidentally finding Otto again that the mission could be completed.
  • Total Drama:
    • In "Dodgebrawl", Courtney expresses regret that the Killer Bass have voted off Eva, who while dangerous was their most athletic team member. Her regret proves apt when the challenge of the day is announced to be a game of dodgeball.
    • In "Slap Slap Revolution", it turns out that the electric meat grinder Team Amazon won in New York would've been really handy to have for the current challenge, which contains a part where the teams have to make sausages by grinding meat manually. However, Heather was under the impression it was a joke reward and threw it out of the plane in frustration and in spite of Courtney's protest. Upon hearing what the Germany challenge entails, she lets Heather have it.
    • While the teams head out to save Lindsay from a yeti on Boney Island in "Runaway Model", Scott tries to get hold of Zoey's trust. As his icebreaker, he decries that his team voted off Dawn the other day, as she can communicate with animals and would've been able to save Lindsay assuredly and peacefully.
    • When the Heroic Hamsters get a head start to the leech weaponry stash in "Saving Private Leechball", the Villainous Vultures reflect on their choice to vote off Lightning, their most athletic team member, the previous day. Jo, who had a key role in that, defends the vote initially and the team does succeed in getting to the stash first. However, when she is the last Vulture standing during the leechball challenge, Jo too regrets getting rid of Lightning this early when, in her opinion, the rest of the team are wimps.
    • It seems like the sole reason the campers have to wear heavy backpacks during the obstacle course in "The Obsta-Kill Course" is that Scott couldn't keep his mouth shut. As such, when his pack gets entangled in a bush, Scott chooses to ditch it rather than waste time getting it free. He regrets that decision when the last part of the obstacle course turns out to be a cable across a chasm. The equipment to zipline across is in the backpacks. Trying to climb across doesn't work out for him.


Video Example(s):



To protect Scrooge's Money Bin, Gyro Gearloose converts an ordinary van into a security robot. Unfortunately, because Gyro followed through with Scrooge's instructions for it not to let ANYONE near the bin, it even shoots at him and Scrooge! Even worse, since Gyro let it blow up the remote control, there's no way to shut it off.

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / TransformingMecha

Media sources: