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Anti-Climax Boss

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Priestess: How is this possible?!
Kyran: Lady, your god was a chicken. That's not exactly boss fight material.

The Climax Boss is the boss at a pivotal moment of the story. The Final Boss is the last challenge of the story. And the Superboss is the ultimate challenge the game has to offer.

The Anti-Climax Boss is when that boss gets killed with about as much effort as it took to fight some of the tougher Elite Mooks. Or the first level Warmup Boss. Either way, there was a lot of buildup, and what was expected to be a tense, critical, epic battle ended up being a breeze. This is a subtrope of It's Easy, So It Sucks!, aimed at singular bosses. Compare The Unfought, where the battle is built up, but never happens, causing the players to feel that they have met an Anti-Climax. Compare and contrast That One Boss, which sometimes causes the feeling that, at the end of the game, you have met an Anti-Climax Boss. Also contrast Best Boss Ever, naturally.

This trope can be an acceptable break from reality in Wide-Open Sandbox RPGs that encourage nonviolent solutions to problems; if there must be a Climax Boss or Final Boss to round out the game, it has to be beatable by the weakest character who can survive to reach that point. Alternatively, the climax is in how easy the boss is to defeat, giving the player a chance for a cathartic beat down on someone who absolutely had it coming. It's important to note that this may be by design.

Related Tropes:

  • Breather Boss: Sister trope. When the boss is easy, but not plot critical.
  • Cheese Strategy: An unintentional exploit completely trivializes the Boss's challenge.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: When a boss's next form is weaker than its last one, usually for an actual story reason.
  • Cutscene Boss: When the boss is killed off outside of the gameplay (especially if the boss suffers from Cutscene Incompetence or if the player acquires Cutscene Power to the Max).
  • Goddamned Boss: A boss which is more annoying or frustrating than difficult. If this easy-yet-annoying boss comes at a plot-critical moment, it might feel like an anti-climax.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Related trope. Where the game is full of Anti-Climax and Breather Bosses, especially in relation to the rest of the game.
  • Paper Tiger: Likely to be much less threatening than they look.
  • Post-Final Boss: Where the game does have a suitably challenging boss near the end, but for the very final encounter you fight a boss that, while not necessarily easy per se, is not nearly as challenging.
  • Puzzle Boss: Can be like this trope. If figuring out how to beat the boss is the main challenge rather than actually beating it.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Also likely to be one of these.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: The heroes become stronger, but the enemies stay the same.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: An Anti-Climax Boss will very likely have one of these.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: A boss that's so easy, you have to actively try in order to lose. Sometimes, you can't even do that.


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Non-Video Game Examples:

  • Android Kikaider: The Animation: Gill-Hakaider in the OVA goes down pretty quick once Jiro's submission circuit is activated and he confronts him.
  • Big Windup!: A match between Musashino and Nishiura is foreshadowed early on, but when the two teams finally face each other Tajima hits Haruna's pitch without even trying, and Hanai tops it off with a home run.
  • Captain Tsubasa: Netherlands in World Youth because the entire match was skipped because of Executive Meddling, as Shueshia decided to cut short the series to give space to new ones. It is important to note that the team had most of the build up due to having a manga volume dedicated to their first matches with Japan and later properly had the spotlight in Rising Sun.
  • Digimon Frontier:
    • There are many interesting fights in Frontier, but Mercurymon's duel with Takuya, although quite artsy and interesting in its own right, ends up unfortunately being a little too one-sided. While he does dominate in the first minutes, Shadow Seraphimon gets utterly humiliated at the moment Takuya unlocks Aldamon, first by failing to make him even flinch and then by being taken down with a single, weak-looking attack, and his next round as Mercurymon ends just as quickly, with more power being spent on the battlefield itself than on him. Fortunately, he later gets a more climatic showdown with the protagonists as Sephirotmon/Sakkakumon.
    • The first Koji vs Duskmon has a lot of build up but as soon as Koji evolves into Beowolfmon, the two downright expel each other.
  • Digimon Ghost Game: At the end of his debut episode, Dracumon promises to get revenge against Ruli and Angoramon. Fans expecting him to have a rematch with them will be disappointed by Dracumon's reappearance in episode 25, as he gets quickly killed by Vamdemon for trying to drink Ruli's blood for revenge, not even having a proper fight against her and Angoramon.
  • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai:
    • Hym almost becomes this during his fight against Hyunckel in Vearn's Palace. At first, he's defeated surprisingly quickly by his opponent, unlike Albinass and Sigma, who prove to be formidable enemies to Maam and Popp. However, Hym manages to redeem himself and returns to the palace as a new, stronger chess piece after inheriting Hadlar's will, having a more epic and climatic rematch against Hyunckel.
    • The same cannot be said for the orichalcum king, Maximum. Though hyped as the strongest guardian from Vearn's Palace, true to the actual king chess piece, he turns out to be another Dirty Coward antagonist whose main strategy is sending other orichalcum pieces against weakened opponents, with his abilities mainly centering in analyzing foes to check their status and weaknesses, only gaining advantage against a wounded Hyunckel cause he used Hym as a hostage to force Hyunckel to save him (after he previously destroyed his strongest pieces despite being close to collapsing from his battle with Hym). When a revived and recovered Larhart shows to save Hyunckel and Hym, he makes quick work of Maximum, not even giving him the chance to escape for another battle. It tells something when Zaboera of all people manages to be a more competent antagonist than him.
  • Eyeshield 21: The Pentagon served as the final boss for a lot of the characters in the World cup arc (Sena and Panther having their rematch, Mr. Don being the final test of strength for Gaou, Kurita and Yamato); unfortunately all the receivers pretty much completed their development so Bud was useless, Tatanka only serves to give Takami a final awesome moment with Sakuraba and Clifford's battle of wits with Hiruma was way less intense than with Kid or Marco. And that is not counting that America aside, the World Cup has no team shining even though we have the world's strongest bench presser and Schultz stopping Sena's first run dead on track.
  • Fist of the North Star: Bolge, the final villain of the manga, although cool, is nowhere near as memorable as Raoh or Kaioh.
  • Food Wars!:
    • The four Central recruits during the "Elite Ten Invasion Arc" were built up as a new group of students facing off against Soma and company, but they're cast aside rather quickly by the end of it - while Rentarou Kusunoki got his own on-screen Shokugeki against Ryou Kurokiba, fellow members Mea Yanai and Shigemichi Kumai were defeated by Megumi Tadakoro and Ikumi Mito through a one-chapter Montage; fourth member Rui Kofuru turned into an afterthought for the Manga and it's only through Adaptation Expansion for the Anime that it's revealed she lost to Zenji Marui during the same Montage. For a group who is seen as The Proud Elite, they don't have the skills to back their claims up.
    • Megumi and Takumi Aldini escape the Curb-Stomp Battle the Council of Ten Masters gave to the "Rebels" during the "Hokkaido Promotion Exam Arc" because they were assigned Rindou Kobayashi, who simply asked them to make a delicious dish to pass rather than challenge them to a Shokugeki they would most likely lose. Justified when the latter is seen as a Wild Card among the antagonists.
    • The Le Cuisiner Noir chefs are touted as the cream of the crop and the top candidates at the prestigious BLUE competition such that the "light chefs" are overwhelmed by their respective skills, yet all of them except Asahi are easily trounced by Soma, Takumi and Megumi. The anime expands on this and shows that the entire organization was easily defeated for good by the members of the Council of Ten Masters who weren't participating in the BLUE.
  • Get Backers:
    • Der Kaiser after provoking Ban into a Superpowered Evil Side goes down in one hit after his son manages to hit him, and after a long curb-stomp battle on his part.
    • Ban loves doing this. He tends to have these victories.
    • Also the Voodoo King appears in one volume after all the build-up to him and he's not even the main focus
    • Ginji vs Ban. Their fight was just a dream.
  • Gintama: Unlike most villains, Kintoki Sakata poses almost no challenge to Gintoki alone and their fight lasts for less than ten pages.
  • Kaiketsu Zorro: There are quite a few villains who are hyped up as being really dangerous and skilled but never quite measure up towards the end.
    • In "The Order To Kill Zorro," Kapital hires three of what are supposed to be some of the greatest assassins in the world to go after Zorro. Of the three, only the Master Swordsman lives up to the reputation and nearly kills Zorro twice. The other two are dispatched by Zorro with only low to mid-level difficulty at best.
    • In the episode "My Fair Lady Zorro," Lieutenant Gabriel hires two masked fighters who were deadly in their precision and moved too fast for most of the army to even keep up with. By the end of the episode, they only give Zorro some degree of difficulty because he doesn't have his sword. Once his sword is in his grasp again, Zorro pretty much ends it with a Single-Stroke Battle.
    • Commander Raymond. Full stop. Despite being the main villain of the story whose fencing skills were presumably above that of Gabriel and most of the other one-shot villains, Raymond lasts no longer than any of the other bad guys in his final battle with Zorro and is cut down in a record 25 seconds (give or take considering some brief pauses during the final fight).
  • Kämpfer:
    • For as much as they're made a big deal of the White Kämpfer tend to go down pretty easily.
    • Even worse is after The Reveal that Sakura is actually the Big Bad, the White Kämpferinnen still are easily beaten, with Sakura being hardly a threat in the finale.
  • Katanagatari: Zigzagged with Hakuhei Sabi. He is portrayed during the first three episodes of the series as the strongest swordsman of all Japan and as a very competent fighter. Then, in the preview of the 3rd episode, we see a bit of his battle with Shichika, who looks really awesome. Then, in that very episode, the battle happens off-screen and the entire episode is centered in the fight of the Maniwa Insect Squad against Nanami. The only thing we get from that combat (in words of Shichika and Togame after the battle) is that the fight was indeed really incredible. So, Sabi ends being a great opponent for the main characters... but not for the audience.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: Kirby defeating Nightmare in the final episode. It takes less than a minute after exposing him to the Star Rod to defeat the "Emperor of Darkness" that had terrorized the majority of the universe
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - Northern War has Jayna who gradually gets built up as the Big Bad of the anime and is a manipulative schemer but in the final episode, she unceremoniously gets killed by Talion who just slits her throat from the back. Lavi doesn't even get to fight her with the closest confrontation they got being that Jayna has a few young Northern Jaeger recruits as hostage that she needs to rescue and Jayna fleeing immediately.
  • Little Witch Academia (2017): Many fans consider the fight against Croix and the Noir Rod this. Croix gets beaten and abused pretty quickly by Chariot and Woodward and the Noir Rod's dragon form consumed with negative emotion gets one shot by Akko with the seven words of the Shiny Rod. This is justified as the ending reveals the True Final Boss being an ICBM made out of Croix's Magitek which most certainly isn't this.
  • My Hero Academia: Setsuna in the Joint Training Arc was built up as one of the strongest members of Class 1-B, and Monoma predicted she had the best chance of defeating Bakugo. Her team lost in the shortest match of the arc, without capturing or defeating a single member of Bakugo's team.
  • Naruto: Kaguya Ohtsutsuki. Despite her nature as an alien older than every other character and the originator of the series' Chakra power system, she goes down in ten chapters. By comparison, Uchiha Madara, the person she backstabbed in her introduction, took a hundred chapters to be defeated.
  • Overlord: As Nigun prepares to use his "trump card", Ainz decides to be cautious and warns Albedo to defend him. When Nigun summons a Dominion Authority, however, Ainz responds with a Face Palm: back in YGGDRASIL, Dominion Authority was a mid-level monster, while Ainz is a level 100 player for whom such a thing poses no problem at all.
    Ainz: I'm speechless...
    Nigun: Are you afraid? It can't be helped.
    Ainz: ...This is stupid.
    Nigun: What?!
    Ainz: I was on guard against such child's play?
  • The Sea Prince and the Fire Child: After the entire movie builds up Argon as an extremely dangerous threat who could destroy the entire world if released, he goes down in one hit from Glaucus.
  • Wolf's Rain: In a world with Asskicking nobility like Jaguara and Darcia, Lord Orkham is... just an old man in a mask. He's contending for the position of the Big Bad until Jaguara sends her soldiers to his keep and he's easily taken out.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL: For all that V was hyped, he didn't turn out all that impressive in his duel with Kaito. While part of the problem is how he spent the entire thing acting as Mr. Exposition, his strategy boiled down to tanking behind Dyson Sphere's ability to negate all attacks hurled at it, then direct attacking with its effect to bypass Kaito's Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon. Effective, yes, but not on the level of nail-biting what will happen next sort of suspense that his brothers' duels had. Kaito just so happened to have a perfect combo to summon Neo Galaxy-Eyes and win, and V had no counter for it despite having seen the same card defeat both of his brothers in their Tag Duel against Yuma and Kaito.

    Comic Books 
  • Amulet: The Elf King, in spite of being set up as the Big Bad, ends up being easily killed by Emily. Ultimately, Ikol is much more important than The Elf King.
  • The Boys:
    • After he is revealed as a clone of Homelander even stronger than the original and the one who committed all those horrible actions to frame him, including raping Butcher's wife, starting his whole crusade against super-heroes, Black Noir fights Homelander completely off-screen and is left mortally wounded and unable to react to anything that happens around him. Despite still having the power to theoretically cause mass destruction in his last moments, he merely stands still as Butcher comes to steal the kill from Homelander. This could arguably be justified by the fact that Black Noir had already gotten what he wanted and fulfilled his purpose in life: to finally kill the Homelander as per the purpose of his creation. Therefore, it’s possible that, having accomplished everything he had set out to do in his life, Black Noir let Butcher kill him on purpose because he had nothing left to live for and was satisfied with his life ending right then and there.
    • Homelander himself. Despite having a huge build-up, he is revealed to not be the true villain of the story, is framed by Black Noir and murdered off-screen by him. At least he deals enough damage for Butcher to finish Noir off.
  • The Flash: From the end of Flash War, the villain Paradox is built up as a dangerous villain out to utterly destroy the Flash's legacy, capable of erasing people with ease. In issue #750 he finally appears. He gets erased from existence a few issues later.
  • The Golden Age: While Dynaman puts up an epic fight, his equal partner in evil-Ultra-Humanite, the very first supervillain of the DC pantheon-spends two pages wrestling with Manhunter, gets off a quick wild burst of gunfire from a stolen machine gun, and then falls out a window to his death. He never uses either his trademark albino gorilla body (which is absent from the story despite Humanite having been trying to escape somewhere to switch bodies when Manhunter catches him) or the whip, revolvers, and cape/flying carpet associated with his body-jacking victim Tex Thompson.
  • Hellblazer: In the story "Fear Machine", the Freemasons use Ley Lines to convey fear from all over Britain to summon a powerful entity on the Cthulhu level to destroy the world. The solution by Constantine and company was to summon it's mate to balance it out. How do they do this? A massive spell with an army of wizards? A terrible sacrifice? No, Constantine has a threesome which summons the mate and they fly away doing nothing but blowing a lot of wind around.
  • Les Légendaires: After spending most of the series as a shadowy mastermind who was pretty much behind everything, Kalandre is killed not only incredibly easily, but also by a supporting character, and by accident. Then again, the rest of the book provides a (arguably) very satisfying climax.
  • The Long Halloween:
    • Alberto, a slight man with a .22 caliber pistol... versus Batman. In a kevlar vest. Foregone Conclusion indeed.
    • Done deliberately with Carmine Falcone. After having been an invincible crime lord for ages, he's casually shot dead by Two-Face. It perfectly highlights how the old school criminals and mobs are powerless against the truly insane and nigh-unstoppable supervillains that are taking over Gotham's underworld.
  • Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?:
    • The story seems to be building towards a major confrontation between Superman and Brainiac, but Brainiac is ultimately defeated by Lana, whose Mercy Kill of Lex robbed Brainiac of a viable host. Instead of a great battle, Brainiac simply breaks down at Superman's feet. Superman's true greatest threat is evil!Mxyzptlk.
    • Lex himself, despite being Superman's most persistent and well known foe, is little more than a host for Brainiac's consciousness for the entire story.
    • Evil!Mxyzptlk then ends up being this as well. Once he is revealed, he does not make use of the reality-warping powers Superman is powerless against, but just turns into a hulking monstrosity and taunts Superman, who quickly disposes of him through trickery and making him panic.

    Fan Works 
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged, the Floor 75 boss, the fearsome Skull Reaper, makes a hell of an entrance cutting down two players in a single attack, only to immediately afterward glitch out and die. Unfortunately, this leads to a Game-Breaking Bug where the door to his boss room doesn't unlock, trapping the clearing team indefinitely.
  • Thanos in the Second Chance Series is built up as the ultimate villain whom the Avengers have no hope of defeating if he has even a single Infinity Stone. During the Final Battle, Thanos has both the Power and Reality stones on his side but the instant Tony momentarily gets the Infinity Gauntlet off, the Stones immediately insert themselves in Tony's suit and allow him to easily wipe out Thanos and his forces in moments. It's revealed that the Stones don't want to be used at all, but they really don't want to be used by an Omnicidal Maniac like Thanos.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: Mrs. Turner is quite a sad Final Boss and Arc Villain compared to the likes of (motive-wise) Parker, Sara, Yeardley and Class 5-E and (power-wise) Henry and Walter, The Apex and The Unown and UnChloe, especially since she's the last enemy faced in the story, period. While initially a Mundanger threat, all of that goes straight out the window when she reveals herself to be just as cartoonishly evil as the antagonists of Act 1, with very little nuance or depth to her character. Despite having a gun, her threat level is also vastly inferior to previous antagonists, with the only thing setting her apart being her bluffs. And when someone calls out said bluffs? She gets a big Villainous Breakdown that renders her a mindless maniac, losing the ability to think with logic and reason with the intention of getting ready to shoot lead, even if it doesn't get her what she wants. Couple that with an incredibly shallow motivation (wanting a Shiny Mew and nabbing Goh's tracker) and her arrest being only mentioned, she's a pretty weak send off villain.
  • In The Savior King, the Master Tactician and the Queen of Liberation, it takes far less effort for the main characters to defeat Solon, the architect of the Remire massacre, than it did for them to defeat Kronya. In Three Houses, Solon managed to achieve a brief advantage by killing a defeated Kronya as part of a trap to banish Byleth to Another Dimension (although he had failed to take into account Sothis fusing her soul with Byleth to grant them the strength necessary to break free of Solon's prison), and the party is forced to fight him after going through a second wave of enemy soldiers and Demonic Beasts. In SK, Byleth stabs Kronya to death before Solon shows up, and when he does, he only lasts a few seconds before Yuri stabs him in the back.

  • The Adventures of the American Rabbit: The final duel between Rob and Vultor is ridiculous and uninteresting. It starts with him kidnapping the moose child at the dam and leaving him on a rock in the middle of ankle-deep water close to the heroes and ends with Vultor losing control of his flight in a snowstorm.
  • Bambi II: Despite his expanded role in the story, and the build-up to it, Ronno's fight with Bambi is anything but spectacular. The latter actually manages to get the upper hand over him for most of it, and the fight technically ends in a draw after Ronno flees the scene due to the sudden arrival of Man (though Bambi is clearly the moral victor of it). It makes sense from a story standpoint, showing that Ronno is mostly all bark and no bite.
  • The Black Cauldron: Despite all the build up the character had, the Horned King doesn't put up much of a fight before he is sucked into the cauldron: he lunges unarmed at Taran and grabs him, showing no display of powers or fighting abilities whatsoever, and is killed when Taran pushes him in the general direction of the cauldron.
  • Felix the Cat: The Movie: Felix defeats the Master Cylinder in 14 seconds by throwing the Book of Ultimate Power at it.
  • Hercules: Granted that Hercules' final conflict of the film is with Hades, but his fight with the Titans, which was predicted by the Fates and which led to Hades causing the whole plot of the film just to prevent it happening... doesn't even last two minutes.
  • Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom: Shoggoth gets taken down with a One-Hit Kill thanks to the rune Howard had on him.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: A common complaint about the climax of the movie is that the battle with the raging she-demon form of Sunset Shimmer is over far too quickly.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree: Gloriosa as Gaea Everfree is defeated mere moments after Twilight ponies up without even putting up a fight. More so after her truly terrifying introduction and display of power against the rest of the Humane Seven.
  • The Secret of Kells: Crom Cruach. Despite being an ancient Celtic god who destroyed Aisling's entire family (and possibly species), it gets about a minute of screen time and is promptly defeated by a piece of chalk.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler: After being built up for most of the film as the ultimate threat to the Golden City, One-Eye is swiftly defeated just outside its limits. By a tack.
  • Wizards: The final battle between Avatar and Blackwolf. Avatar just cuts the BS and shoots him with a gun he had up his sleeve, killing Blackwolf on the spot and ending his reign of terror then and there.

  • Don't Worry Darling: Frank is set up as the Big Bad of the film, the enigmatic leader of Victory who has an almost hypnotic control over the men of Victory, and makes it clear to Alice he's aware of her growing suspicions and regards her as a Worthy Opponent. You'd expect them to have some kind of confrontation in the climax, but they never even interact; Frank's sole contribution to the climax is giving orders to his goons over the phone before being rather randomly stabbed by his wife.
  • Dungeons & Dragons (2000): Profion is devoured by a dragon while gloating.
  • The Faculty: The alien queen goes down rather easily with one jab in the eye from the drugs.
  • Flash Gordon (1980): Ming is Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by war rocket Ajax, which could be seen as a bit too quick and easy for anyone looking forward to him having a Duel to the Death with Flash.
  • Let Me In: The police officer, who throughout the film is shown to be a competent detective and is on the verge of catching Abby. Then when he enters her apartment and finds her sleeping in the bathroom he's distracted by Owen and Abby promptly rips his throat out. His body is then hidden by Owen and Abby.
  • Mad Max: The Toecutter, as all it takes for Max to finish him off is to chase him down until he gets run over by a truck.
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior: Lord Humungus, as he and Max are never directly face-to-face at any point until Max smashes into his vehicle with the tanker truck.
  • The Magic Sword: The final showdown between George and Lodac is averted when Sybil pickpockets Lodac's magic ring and uses its power to kill Lodac herself.
  • Mandy (2018): Red takes down the Children of the New Dawn pretty easily. Brother Klopek is the only one who puts up a fight. Justified in that they are a cult of drugged-up hippies who had to summon demonic forces to do the dirty work for them.
  • No Escape (1994): While Outsider leader Marek gets a relatively memorable (although not too long) final battle, the same can't be said for his Badass Army of Always Chaotic Evil marauders, especially after the more intense and drawn-out Christmas raid in the middle of the film. They charge into an empty camp and mill around in confusion for a few seconds before Robbins blows almost all of them up with a grenade launcher without a fight.
  • On Deadly Ground:
    • Jennings. Even though he's the film's big bad, he's smart enough to know he's no challenge to Taft at all and attempts to merely insult him and walk away. Taft still executes him.
    • Also, Mac Gruder who attempts to flee in a helicopter and gets stopped by Taft. He pulls a gun and is quickly disarmed, blubbers for his life, and when Taft makes it clear he's going to kill him, he attempts literally one punch on Taft before getting a face full of the helicopter's rear rotor.
    • Finally, Stone. He lives long enough to gloat over catching Taft off guard whilst holding him at gunpoint with a shotgun, then of course during his gloating monologue he gets close enough for Taft to spin the shotgun in his hands and blow him away.
  • Pan's Labyrinth: Admittedly, Captain Vidal is defeated unsatisfyingly easily. You'd think he'd put up more of a fight instead of going down via Boom, Headshot!. A case could be made that this is an Invoked Trope to indicate that right-wing authoritarians, for all their bluster, don't actually possess the superhuman strength that they project. Captain Vidal might be the most overtly villainous character in the film, but a single headshot wastes him the way it would any other human character.
  • Popeye: Considering all the abuse Bluto puts the main cast through, you'd think it would be building to an epic brawl ending (source material notwithstanding) or at least a well deserved pummeling. Yet, in the final confrontation, Popeye punches him... once. Just once. It's Played for Laughs but you can't help but feel underwhelmed.
  • Red River: Tom Dunson turns out to be this when the fight is suddenly interrupted be Tess, being the pacifist she is.
  • The Running Man: Killian's bodyguard Sven. He just walks away.
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019): Sarah Bellows is built up throughout the movie, being the one who is responsible for the stories coming to life and who created all the supernatural creatures who terrorize people. At the end of the film, her ghost finally makes an appearance and is about to finish to Stella off. Stella defeats her... by giving her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that makes her decide to not be evil anymore. Sarah does at least make a deal that Stella has to tell her story to the world, and has her write it in her own blood.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a movie all about videogame tropes, has this in Nega Scott, the evil counterpart of the main character. Built up as a big threat (even more so in deleted scenes), when the time comes to fight him... the scene cuts to Scott and Nega Scott exiting the place chatting and laughing, having become instant friends.
  • Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.: Reginald Stuart. The monkey did not ride the jaguar, therefore the prophecy is left incomplete and, rather than gaining infinite power, he just explodes after just grappling with Kabukiman. According to Lloyd Kaufman there was supposed to be a big fight scene between Kabukiman and The Evil One, but the costume for the Evil One was so immobile to move in, they could only have him and Kabukiman grapple each other in the fight scene in the climax.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze: As a last resort, the Shredder consumes the remainder of the ooze, turning into the huge and awesome Super Shredder. The Turtles try to talk him down, fail, and then the Shredder kills himself idiotically by toppling the pillars holding up the dock above him, causing it all to collapse on him.
  • The Thing That Couldn't Die: Gordon whips out the holy symbol and - BOOM - Gideon's a skeleton.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes: Deliberately invoked with the Colonel. Both he and Caesar seem itching for a brutal battle to the death between them, but when Caesar finds him in his private quarters, he's become infected with the mute virus and is too pathetic to even stand up, and instead Caesar stands and watches while the Colonel shoots himself.
  • The Warriors: Luther, who is disarmed with a single knife-throw before he can put up a fight.

  • Fighting Fantasy:
    • In the gamebook Space Assassin, the Final Boss has skill 9 stamina 12 — the stats of a typical mid-tier enemy.
    • An even worse offender is the Final Boss of the gamebook Eye of the Dragon, with skill 8, stamina 8 and going down in 2 hits instead of the usual four. Especially considering the obscenely powerful mandatory enemies in the game.
  • Lone Wolf:
    • Darklords Zagarna (Book 2) and Gnaag (Book 12) are destroyed without a fight by the power of the Sommerswerd. In gameplay terms an anticlimax, but the satisfying and incredibly badass descriptions of these literal embodiments of evil being annihilated in a blast of holy sunfire makes up for it.
    • Wytch-King Shasarak and Agarash the Damned from the World of Lone Wolf books starring Grey Star might end up being these. The former can have a fearsome Combat Strength of 30, but that can be reduced to 10 if you take certain options in the pre-fight, making him significantly weaker. Grey Star beats the latter by simply throwing the Moonstone at the gate Agarash is trying to pass through, thus preventing his escape.

  • Maul: Lockdown: Calculating Banking Clan executive Vesto Slipher, Magnificent Bastard mob boss Iram Radique, hard-nosed Warden Sadaki Blirr, her brother and pet savant Dakarai (who has been Playing Both Sides for some time), and resentfully deposed gang leader Vas Nailhead all have powerful arcs and build-ups. Nonetheless, all of them are removed as obstacles to Maul (one way or another) with very little build up, difficulty, or fanfare.
  • The Neverending Story: As soon as Bastian comes to his senses, Xayide is trampled to death by her own monsters that she no longer controls.
  • The Stones Are Hatching: The whole book is a build-up to the slaying of the Stoor Worm, and a large amount of tension is built around how hard it would be the fight it. Phelim kills it by kicking a mouse off a cliff.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: Gadgeteer Genius Professor Carney spends ages managing to successfully dupe Spectrum... only to die by falling over a tripwire. With Mysterons being resilient to all except electricity or major explosions, it's unknown whether he is even killed afterwards, or is maybe taken into custody.
  • The Good Doctor: Salen Morrison ends up becoming this in "Cheat Day" when she is about to face Shaun and Lim, alongside Glassman, Lea, Asher, Jordan, Park and a repented Morgan at the conference of pension investors and proceed with her hostile takeover of the hospital by releasing sensitive information regarding some of their past wrongdoings. However, it basically takes Andrews daring her to tarnish his reputation as well if she's to go through with it, when he brings her documents of his own wrongdoings, to then convincing her to drop the entire ordeal, to which Salen reluctantly agrees and signs off the Ethicure acquisition.
  • Handsome Siblings: In this Wuxia series, all three of the best martial artists among the villains, Jiang Biehe, Wei Wuya, and Yao Yue, are either defeated effortlessly by the heroes or don't even need to be fought due to circumstances. (It could be argued that this is thematically appropriate, since the real tension of the story is the friendship between Jiang Xiayu and Hua Wuque in light of their fated duel, but it wouldn't have killed them to make at least one villain pose a serious threat.)
  • The Haunting Hour: The Mangler from "Near Mint Condition" ends up defeated when Ted decapitates it with a katana blade in a single stroke.
  • Super Sentai: Some Final Bosses live up to the buildup, others not so much.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Tarrasque is hyped to be the biggest, baddest, toughest monster in the game, often rumoured to be the cause of why so many powerful empires are no longer around. Too bad that for its 3rd edition incarnation (and others), it moves slow, can't fly, and has no ranged attacks, meaning anything that does and has a decent damage output can poke it to death without harm. It has a pathetic will save that any wizard that should be encountering him can beat (barring natural 20) and no immunities to the effects that target will (even the ones that people avoid using because every other high level monster beside Big T is immune to them). You can have your very own pet Tarrasque for a day/level (that can easily be renewed before it expires with no effort, just command it to lower its SR and fail the will save) via Dominate Monster. One noticeably laughable design choice is that over half its feats are some of the worst feats in the game (which was something of a recurring theme for monster feat choices- they often tended to be ones that were extremely weak and made no thematic sense). It doesn't help that ever since it was created, gamers have had unofficial "easiest/silliest ways to defeat the Tarrasque" contests. One particularly noticeable one involves a goat with a jar of green slime tied around its neck. The Tarrasque eats the goat and the slime then destroys it from the inside.
    • Technically, due to the open-ended nature of DnD, any campaign final boss can be like this. It all depends on how well the DM designed the encounter, and whether the players pull off some crazy dumb instawin strategy.
    • The Red Hand of Doom adventure features a number of these, largely due to clumsy character building.
      • The Ghostlord is meant to be a Hopeless Boss Fight — he's encountered when the party is around 8th level, and he's CR 13, so on paper, the only way to beat him is to talk to him and convince him not to join the Big Bad. However, the Ghostlord is pretty miserably-built for CR 13; he's a lich ex-druid 6/blighter 5, which translates to his first six class levels being useless and his next five levels being in a fairly weak prestige class designed to compensate for his first six levels being useless. On top of that, he's already used his 5th-level spells when you encounter him, so he's actually down to 4th-level blighter spells, making him effectively a 7-8th-level druid. And just to seal the deal, the room he confronts you in is pretty cramped, making it easy to dogpile him, and one of the items you can pick up is a Staff of Life, which can potentially one-shot him outright.
      • Despite being the Climax Boss of the adventure, Hravek Kharn, leader of the Red Hand horde, is pretty underwhelming, though not as much of a pushover as the Ghostlord. He's a blend of favored soul and talon of Tiamat, with the former being a less effective cleric and the latter a very ineffective prestige class that doesn't do a whole lot for him but make his casting worse and give him a Breath Weapon that deals about 20 damage. He has a lot of buff spells, but several of them are either redundant with his equipment or each other, and even fully buffed-up, he isn't an especially strong fighter due to subpar feats. Unlike the Ghostlord, he at least has the good fortune to not confront the players alone, but the hill giants he shows up to the fight with are significantly bulkier and harder-hitting than he is. At least one guide to the adventure recommended simply rebuilding Kharn entirely rather than work with his existing statline.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: It is possible for Wager Master to defeat himself before the first turn of the game. If Wager Master plays two Wagelings (one damage to each hero) and Losing To The Odds (instant win if the heroes are all on even HP and some damage at that stage of WM's turn), and your party all have even starting HP counts, the Wagelings will deal two damage to each, leaving them still on an even count, and then you will win without having played a card. In the lore, he was once bested by Guise pulling random junk out of his Bag of Holding to technically meet the requirements of his challenge, such as a subway token for a "rune of transportation".
  • If you're facing Bokrug in Arkham Horror and you're using the Epic Battle variant introduced in Kingsport, it's possible to, on the first turn, draw an Epic Battle card that has you draw one of Bokrug's Ancient One Plot cards, and one of his cards has him... walk away. The players don't have to roll anything, don't have to sacrifice anything, they don't even have to have done damage. It's possible, at any time, to draw Bokrug's plot card where he apparently looks at the Investigators, then just waltzes off for whatever reason. Considering how massive of a nightmare Bokrug and the other Ancient Ones can be during the final battle, it can be bewildering to start the fight and have it end so randomly in victory (the only downside is losing 4 points to scoring).

  • 8-Bit Theater: The Light Warriors are faced with Astos and begin taunting him. Black Mage makes a pun so awful that Astos has a stroke and drops dead on the spot.
  • Joe vs. Elan School, which is a Roman à Clef autobiography about the author's time spent at a horrifically abusive "school" in Maine, builds up the school's founder "Jay Cirri" as a Greater-Scope Villain: a petty con man and thug turned mercurial mob boss who makes millions of dollars off of the school's prolonged child abuse. However, when the protagonist finally meets Cirri while doing work on his estate a few weeks before leaving the school for good, he finds that Cirri is a very visibly sick Empty Shell with dementia that doesn't even register his presence.

    Web Original 
  • Fire Sensei in Club Penguin. After winning all of the fire suit in Card Jitsu Fire, which can be very hard, you have to fight the Fire Sensei to get the fire gem. You expect Sensei to be quite hard, but when you fight him he suddenly starts using weak cards and gets beaten very quickly.
  • In the 2012 D20 Live event, Big Mike introduced a menacing, albeit injured, Black Dragon, which was intended to be defeated by the party with the aid of the town magistrate and his personal guard. But through clever actions and some very lucky dice rolls from the players (as well as very unlucky dice rolls from the DM), they managed to defeat him all on their own... with the dragon not even managing to land a single hit on the players.
  • Dream:
  • Economy Watch: In Episode 24, "It's An Economic Snowfall", the final boss and overarching antagonist of Season 2, the Econiangel, is defeated quite easily, as David just fires a gun and kills him.
  • Spoofed in ProZD's King Dragon saga. In his only fight scene, the titular King Dragon goes down in a single slap because Dennis found all 900 pinecones and is overpowered to Game-Breaker levels as a result.
  • Slimecicle: Downplayed in The HARDEST Minecraft Difficulty: while the Ender Dragon does give Charlie and his friends a relatively challenging fight, they have Vanishing Mist and a friggin' glock, so it goes down relatively quickly compared to Fallen Grizzly.
    Western Animation 
  • In American Dragon: Jake Long, the Dark Dragon is built up as an even greater threat than the Huntsman but is easily defeated in all his appearances.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien:
    • Aggregor; after half a season building him into a nearly unstoppable threat, he is defeated swiftly by Ultimate Kevin and is quickly forgotten about.
    • Darkstar became this in the first season finale, having been defeated with just a push of a button.
    • Dagon is built up as this cosmic evil. In the season finale, he certainly lives up to this. He beats Ultimate Way Big, mind-controls everyone in the world, and turns out to be the size of a skyscraper. Then, Vilgax, his new herald, betrays and absorbs him, ascending to incomprehensible levels of power. One would think that one of the most powerful villains in Ben 10 after absorbing an Eldritch Abomination would get a really tough fight. Instead, however, the fight lasts 30 seconds and ends with Vilgax saying, "You Stabbed Me!"
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee: After being depicted as The Dreaded and an all-powerful being, the Chairman is taken out by a single joy-infused tap on the nose by Molly.
  • The Legend of Korra: Just as the conflict between Korra and Tarrlok breaks out into actual conflict to the point where Tarrlok crosses the Moral Event Horizon, proves to be a bloodbender with superior skill to Korra, then attacks and kidnaps her, he is captured and de-bended by Amon. This event turns out to be foreshadowing as Amon appears barely affected by Tarrlok's bloodbending. As it turns out, they've done this before.
  • Mega Man (Ruby-Spears):
    • Quick Man from Mega Man 2 is generally considered one of the more dangerous Robot Masters, as you could probably tell by his namesake. In this series, he is quickly defeated when Roll drops a bust on him at a museum.
    • Elec Man gets stomped during every Action-Hogging Opening, as does Ice Man. Both can kill Mega Man in three hits in-game.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: Dr. Blowhole becomes this in "The Penguin Who Loved Me", especially in comparison to his previous appearances. After he recovers his memory, he tries to kickstart one of his old unfinished plans, only for Kowalski to pull a mind game with him, pointing out potential flaws he didn't consider until he's close enough to knock him out and release the team, after this, the Penguins and Doris easily take care of the situation.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • The Dominator, who was defeated by Ashi without much effort.
    • The Omen is built up throughout the season as the only thing that can instill paralyzing fear in Jack, and it finally leads him to attempt Seppuku at his lowest moment. Ashi's brief fight with him also reveals him to be a Humanoid Abomination and far stronger than most opponents Jack faces. However, once Jack is inspired to finally turn on him, he's taken out in two sword strokes without much resistance. One could argue, though, that the point was Jack's mental recovery enabling him to effortlessly defeat the embodiment of his torment.
    • A justified example occurs in the Grand Finale with Aku, who goes down more easily than he did in previous one-on-one fights with Jack. This is because Ashi allowed Jack to finally return to his own time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, and both Jack and Ashi had just landed back in Aku's lair... about 15 seconds after Jack was originally flung into the future, where Aku was at his weakest due to just barely surviving his first battle with Jack. In any case, the earlier fight with Aku in the future more or less compensated for this.
  • Skeleton Warriors: The last thing Dr. Cyborn, Shriek, Dagger, Aracula and Bad Dog do is confront Guardian, only to turn tail and run when Grimskull, Talyn and Stalker arrive.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • At the end of The Battle for Mewni, after Toffee had been threatening and draining the magic of the multiverse for an entire season, this happens to him. Instead of an epic battle of any sort, Star simply performs the Whispering Spell again, enters the wand, and grabs a remaining piece of untainted magic. This activates her Golden Super Mode, she attacks him with one powerful blast, and Ludo knocks a tower onto what remains of him.
    • Meteora in the Season 3 finale is not one to Star, but once Eclipsa enters the fray, she becomes one as she is easily curb-stomped by her mother.
    • Mina, during the Grand Finale, gets taken care of rather easily without a fight. She finds the Realm of Magic, jumps in, gets drowned by the big corrupted millhorse, and loses all her power once the deed is done. In fact, the Final Boss of the show ends up being the (only vaguely explained) corrupted millhorses, and even they aren't super climatic.
  • Steven Universe: Future: Steven's corrupted/giant monster form is built up throughout "I Am My Monster" as a nigh-unstoppable foe, being the culmination of everything Steven's repressed over the course of the franchise that not even the other Diamonds alone can bring back to a comprehensive state. He's "defeated" when Connie rallies everyone together to give him a big Cooldown Hug, and the following episode takes place months later where Steven is already healthily dealing with his issues and is in a much better state of mind.
  • The Wuzzles: In "Bumblelion and the Terrified Forest", the Gorantula is built up as a horrific monster that could overrun all of Wuz. When we actually get to see it, Transylvia swoops in and shrinks it back down to normal.

Alternative Title(s): Joke Final Boss


Wizards (Blackwolf)

In what would look like a buildup to a climactic Wizard Duel, Avatar decides to defeat Blackwolf simply with a shot of a handgun, killing him almost instantly.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (25 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnticlimaxBoss

Media sources: