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Apologetic Attacker

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Talk to your opponent before they have to Talk to the Fist.

Inigo Montoya: You seem a decent fellow; I hate to kill you.
The Man in Black: You seem a decent fellow; I hate to die.

Heroes are, at least for the most part, good people, with clear morals. However, they also have to dish out some punishment now and again, usually directed at people who are decidedly less good, and whose morals are rather lacking, so it's all good.

However, some heroes may feel bad about inflicting any kind of injury on another person, no matter how deserving that person might be. Under these circumstances, the least the hero can do is to let the villain know that, while they may be punching them in the face, they are at least sorry. Very sincerely sorry indeed.

This is even more likely to occur when the character the hero is attacking is not really evil, but needs to be incapacitated for some reason. The hero will say something like "I'm really, really sorry about this," before whacking them over the head or knocking them out in some other way. (In extreme cases, it could even come to a Mercy Kill.)

However, some people will apologize for attacking even the most deranged Psycho for Hire, even if the psycho's actions left that person with no choice but to attack. Perhaps they're simply someone who Apologises a Lot.

Alternately, the attacker might not be a good guy, but is still not exactly evil, and does not want to hurt whoever they're attacking. They might be controlled somehow but are still able to speak, they might have transformed into something with a Horror Hunger that they can't redirect, or they might just be unhappy about attacking someone.

Compare Thank Your Prey, which can easily overlap; Sorry I Fell on Your Fist, where the victim apologizes; Why Did You Make Me Hit You?, where the manipulative attacker merely pretends to feel guilty; and My Fist Forgives You, where the attacker is quickly settling a score. If the attacker apologizes beforehand without explaining why, it's a Preemptive Apology. People Puppets are usually this, if the puppetmaster still allows them to speak while controlling their body.


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    Audio Plays 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who drama "Harvest of the Sycorax", the Sycorax use blood control to turn the Seventh Doctor into their champion, fighting the companion-substitute Zanzibar Hashtag as Earth's champion. The Doctor maintains a constant stream of apologies during the battle.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In AKIRA, Takashi hates using his Psychic Powers and specially to hurt others, but against someone who just won't give him the chance to explain himself and keeps attacking him (Mozu), he decides to do so... and after the apology, he unleashes a fatal psychic attack. Not to mention he again apologizes to the person he just killed.
    Takashi: "I apologize, but you don't leave me any other option... (kills young Mozu) I'm so sorry."
  • Blade of the Immortal: In her first appearance, Hyakurin steals a kimono from a woman as part of an assassination plot, leaving the woman and her husband bound and gagged in a closet. She actually thanks them for the outfit and apologizes for inconveniencing them before she leaves.
  • In Bleach, Primera Espada Coyote Starrk apologies to Kyōraku while shooting him in the back with a Cero while the latter tries to attack Wonderweiss, stating the arrival of Wonderweiss means Aizen has lost patience.
  • In Buso Renkin, when Kazuki is about to kill Chouno, he says that he's sorry. Chouno promptly sticks his tongue out and says, "Don't apologize, you hypocrite." Kazuki then kills him, proving that you don't need to apologize if the person you're attacking is going to be a dick about it afterwards.
  • Syaoran does this to Yukito in the Cardcaptor Sakura manga, apologizing right before punching him in the gut to knock him out so Sakura can use her magic to capture the Firey card.
  • In the So Bad, It's Good anime Chargeman Ken!, this is hilariously done in episode 35, with Ken's infamous "Dr. Volga, forgive me!" line as he launches him at the enemy as a human bomb.
  • In City Hunter: Shinjuku Private Eyes, searching for revenge after the Cat's Eye café gets wrecked, the Kisugi sisters help Kaori Makimura get into the Big Bad's building in the climax, by dispatching the roof guards with kicks. Rui apologizes to the guard she kicks the face of.
    Rui: Sorry to get rough. I'm still mad about my café getting wrecked.
  • In Dirty Pair episode 20, Yuri apologizes to a train stewardess after taping up and gagging the woman and stealing her uniform.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In the early part of the story, while the young Goku loves the act of fighting, he doesn't like to hurt opponents unnecessarily, even if a villain has kidnapped one of his friends (more due to him being naive enough to not realize they're villains in the first place).
    • Goku's gentle son Gohan is also this in Dragon Ball Z, particularly when training with Piccolo in the rare moment he actually lands an attack. He's also extremely hesitant to fight Cell, despite all the monstrous acts Cell has committed by the time that happens. This goes away once Gohan achieves Super Saiyan 2.
    • Also in Z, Trunks apologizes to Goku before charging at him with his sword to see if he's the real Goku.
  • Aries of Fairy Tail does this pretty much every fight she's involved in.
  • In Fruits Basket, Tohru hits Kyou with her bag because she thought he was a pervert. Tohru is a Sorry I Fell on Your Fist character and awkwardly apologizes to Kyou afterwards.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
    • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) episode 36, Edward says sorry to Kain Fuery after punching him out.
    • In the original manga:
      • Maria Ross apologized in advance before and after slapping Ed across the face for going into Laboratory 5 on his own. Justified since Ed's higher in rank than Maria and could give her and Denny Brosh their walking orders if he wanted to (of course, he doesn't).
      • Hohenheim apologises before he stabs Izumi Curtis with his hand, although given his relationship with it, it's possible that he was apologising to his philosopher's stone.
  • Quatre Raberba Winner of Gundam Wing. He always asks his enemies to surrender before he has to kill them, then he apologizes for having to kill them. In fact, most Gundam pacifist pilots such as Kira, Uso, and Loran say this and ask their enemies to get out of the mechs.
  • Used for a Creepy Child moment for the brainwashed killers of Gunslinger Girl. Rico flees an assassination only to run into Emilio, a bellhop she'd befriended earlier. As Emilio starts asking awkward questions, Rico wonders what she's supposed to say in this situation. Then she realises the answer. Taking out her silenced pistol, Rico cheerfully says, "I am sorry", then kills him.
  • In episode 9 of Happy Sugar Life, Satou gently apologizes to Shouko before murdering her out of fear that she'd go to the authorities about her inquiry.
  • In Hekikai no AiON, Yuzuki apologized at Seine while throwing her to the deep zone of a pool knowing she can't swim, but Shizuki ordered her to do it.
  • When Yukime goes Murder the Hypotenuse on Ritsuko in Hell Teacher Nube, she's not exactly happy since she's doing it in a desperate gambit coming after a Breaking Lecture, and repeatedly tells her victim things like "I'm so sorry", "it's not your fault", and "I wish there was another way to do things!"
  • Higurashi: When They Cry Keiichi hugs Mion and apologizes for killing her in an alternate reality.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Lucoa does this during the dodge ball match in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. While the manga just had it in a small panel, the anime ramped it up with a looming shadow, gratuitous bouncing, and an echoey laugh for maximum hilarity.
  • In Monster, Tenma profusely apologizes as he puts the gun to the head of one of Wulf's men.
  • In Naruto:
    • In the Naruto: Clash of Ninja games, Hinata actually apologizes for using a counterattack.
    • The First and Second Hokage apologise to the Third Hokage for putting him through trouble, who in turn apologises to the former two for fighting them. It's a long story how they got into that situation.
    • Though it doesn't strictly count as an apology, the fifth Mizukage expresses regret before attacking Sasuke. He notes that it's Nothing Personal, but enough other people want Sasuke dead for it to be worth it.
    • Pain apologises to Jiraiya before making the killing blow.
    • The undead Second Mizukage and Third Raikage are very apologetic about fighting against the Joint-Shinobi force and even give warnings about what attacks they are about to use. Same goes for former villains Itachi and Nagato, who shout advice to Killer Bee and Naruto while being forced to attack them. Before Itachi accidentally brainwashes himself into switching sides, that is.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • "Colonel Sanders" in the Tournament Arc apologizes for using overpowered tactics and cheap tricks (that would be downright cheating if there were any rules) in battle. He's sorry for beating you up, but he just has to reach the final match.
    • Sayo also does this; she starts off her attack by warning her enemies of the imminent danger.
    • Earlier than that is when Negi and Asuna attempt to take out Chachamaru when she's alone, Negi really doesn't want to, to the point where he can't bring himself to do it and blows himself up instead.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • During Shinji's battle with the possessed Unit 02, he apologizes before stabbing it - to Asuka, who he's well aware isn't even inside it at the time. This is because pilots do tend to get emotionally attached to their machines, particularly someone like Asuka, where piloting it is pretty much all she has to live for. He knew she'd be upset if he damaged Unit 02, so he apologized.
    • Toji does this when he beats Shinji up out of anger over his little sister getting injured during Unit-01's first fight.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: In the final episode, the host club is stopped from chasing after Tamaki by the private police force belonging to Kyoya's family. They apologize for standing in the way of the host club, stating that they must obey the wishes of Kyoya's father before his own.
  • In the Whole Cake Island arc of One Piece, Carrot leaps at the pursuing Randolph and slugs his bird-like mount, causing it to throw Randolph. She quickly apologies to the mount. (But not to Randolph.)
  • In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Stocking apologizes for attacking Panty, and cutting her up into 666 pieces, and provides a rather forced explanation.
  • A variant occurs in Perfect Blue. Mima's coworker isn't really attacking her, and she knows it; they're actors filming a TV show, and his character sexually assaults hers. Even though there's no real danger, it's emotionally taxing and a highly unpleasant experience for Mima, and during a pause in filming, the other actor whispers, "I'm so sorry," implying it's upsetting him as well.
  • In Ranma ˝, forced to stop a rampaging Ryouga, Akane rips off a mooring post from the docks and bashes him over the head with it, yelling, "I'm sorry!" When this fails to even faze him (indeed, the post bent in the shape of his head) she bashes him some more, punctuating each strike with "I'm sorry!"
  • In R.O.D the TV, Yomiko apologizes as she rifles the pockets of a mook that she and Anita knocked out.
  • Ai Kaga from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei actually attacks by apologizing in at least one instance, using her head and bowing a lot.
  • Erytron of the Red Snappers fleet in Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko tearfully cries "I'm sorry!" every time she fires at her opponent.
  • Cammy in Street Fighter II V; unlike her regular canon version, she is not only a Technical Pacifist, but also a very devout Catholic, and as such she apologizes each time she lands a punch on her opponents.
  • Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: When the main characters regain their power for a short time, Henrietta apologize while attacking Arsène's minions with her Super-Strength.
  • In The Voynich Hotel, Mamiya's partner and sister attacks Snark when she finds out that the two and Mamiya were hired to kill Kuzuki. Snark counters by slicing the little girl into pieces with her Femme Fatalons, but isn't exactly happy and says she really didn't like the idea of attacking a kid who's around her little sister Alice's age.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Toguro invokes this after ripping a monster in half on the order of his client Tarukane.
    Toguro: "Not even the best of contracts justifies killing as cruelly as I have just done. I apologize to this creature."

    Comic Books 
  • The Batman Adventures: Mr. Nice, a minor villain, is not only apologetic but outright helpful to his victims, even going so far as to give money and his doctor's card to security guards he's tied up and beaten.
  • In Air #1 (not the same as Air), the protagonist apologizes to a Well-Intentioned Extremist before kicking him in the crotch. As with many instances of this trope, the victim thinks she's apologizing for something she already did.
  • Subverted in Nodwick when Artix and Yeager apologize to a villain (after they'd had fun fighting their way through his dungeon, unlike the one they'd just been in that they'd found boring) because Piffany was about to attack him.
  • In Patoruzú, Patoruzú hits Gaston the Frenchman hard enough to knock him unconscious. Isidoro points out that he may have killed him with his sheer strength. The moralistic Patoruzú is horrified by this and promptly apologizes to the unconscious Gaspar for hitting him so hard. It turns out that Gaspar was faking unconsciousness in order to make Patoruzú feel guilty so he could catch him off-guard.
  • Ragdoll does this a couple of times in Secret Six.
  • Tintin: In "The Red Sea Sharks", Tintin does this to get a panicky passenger out of the pilot's hair so he can concentrate on his emergency landing.
  • Superman:
    • In Superman Family #173, Jimmy Olsen realizes that Superman is infected with the virus that is wreaking havoc through Kandor. He mentally says "Sorry for what I'm about to do, pal" before knocking him out.
    • In The Supergirl from Krypton (2004), Superman apologizes to her brainwashed cousin when he is forced to fight her.
      Superman: This breaks my heart, Kara Zor-El.
    • In the Red Daughter of Krypton storyline, Supergirl's temper overwhelms her every so often and she has to apologize after hurting someone or destroying something accidentally.
    • In the Bizarrogirl story arc, Supergirl apologizes to Jimmy Olsen after blowing him away, and to Dr. Light before knocking her out and making off with her Bizarro clone.
      Supergirl: Dr. Light, I think you're going to be really mad at me later. And I'm really sorry.
      Dr. Light: "Sorry"? What for —
      Supergirl knocks her out with one uppercut.
    • In War World, Mongul forces Superman and Martian Manhunter to fight each other: Kal-El pleads with J'onn not to force him to fight back. At the same time, J'onn regrets fighting him.
      J'onn: Your approach was monitored long before you ever reached this planet — and certain precautions were taken! But I regret with all my heart that you've forced me to use them!
    • After winning, Kal keeps saying he's sorry:
      Superman: I'm sorry about this, J'onn — you'll never really know how sorry! Now please -for both our sakes — just lie there till I'm gone!
    • In Let My People Grow!, Superman manages to enlarge the Kandorians shrunk by Brainiac, but their city crumbles down. When Superman says he wants to stay and help rebuild Kandor, Van-Zee thanks him. Then, apologizing for rejecting his selfless gesture, Van punches Superman out and asks Supergirl to take him away, since they need to succeed on their own.
    • In The Planet Eater Trilogy, Superman apologizes before grabbing Brainiac and tossing him into his own planet-sized super-weapon.
  • In the Dark Sun comic Ianto's Tomb, a thrax apologizes to the main character Grunvik as it tries to drain the water from his body. It continues apologizing even as Grunvik cuts the creature down.
  • In Fight Comics #56, Senorita Rio is forced to rob some people after being framed for murder and becoming a fugitive. A montage is shown of victims left with apologetic IOU signs, such as a Bound and Gagged carriage driver and a half-naked woman.
  • The opening flashback of the Elseworlds tale Nightwing: The New Order shows that after removing all of his friends' powers, Nightwing sincerely apologized to Superman for harming them all and assured him that ambulances were on the way to help the wounded.
  • Robin (1993): When Tim is helping round up Arkham escapees in issue 167 he utters a not entirely sincere apology (he's really only sorry about damaging the truck) to Riot Act as he smashes in the windshield of the truck the man stole and knocks a couple teeth out with his staff;
    Tim Drake: "Sorry about this, but I'm in a really bad mood, and you did just try to shoot me in the face!"
  • Ultimate X-Men: Cyclops, a Boxed Crook of Weapon X, is forced to take part in a military operation against a stronghold in India. He told the soldiers that he was sorry and then took them down with an optic blast.
  • Batgirl (2011) issue #6 opens with Batgirl fighting Bruce Wayne and unsure of how exactly she should treat the situation. Each time she manages to hit him she apologizes and explains that she did not mean to.
  • In the Legion of Super-Heroes storyline The Great Darkness Saga, the Legion is fighting the Servants of Darkness in the Sorcerers' World. When Dawnstar feels four Servants heading towards her and her partner, Wildfire apologizes before grabbing her and hurling her far away to keep her safe.
  • Wonder Woman: Dead Earth: Diana apologizes to the Haedras, Amazons who have been mutated into attacking monsters, before killing them in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    Diana: I'm so sorry, my sisters.
  • A villainous example in Uncanny X-Men #217, when Dazzler picks a fight with the Juggernaut. It turns out Cain is a huge fan of her music, and when she confronts him he apologises and tries to leave without violence. When she eventually collapses from exhaustion he has a breakdown, thinking he's killed a woman he worshipped.

    Fan Works 
  • Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past: Since the Sorting Hat was turned into an extra Horcrux, Harry had to destroy it in the first timeline, but he did apologize first. The Hat was quite understanding about the whole thing and complimented him on the ruse that let him get that far. In the second timeline, with more time to work, he hopes to find another solution.
  • Ilia in Ruby and Nora.
  • Blaine in Solar Winds has a tendency to apologize—or at least feel sorry for— any Mooks he has to attack, at the beginning of the story.
  • The protagonist of You Obey apologizes to the detainee he is interrogating for pushing her on a delicate subject.
  • Ghost!Fluttershy in Sweetie's Mansion is this when Sweetie Belle tries to hunt her in this Luigi's Mansion crossover. Ghost!Fluttershy is sorry for trying to turn Sweetie into a ghost but she's Just Following Orders from Specter. Princess Luna has more of the horror version of this trope as she can't stop her ghost self from trying to kill Sweetie Belle, all Luna can do is warn her of her ghost's next move when it tries to attack her.
  • Wrong (a Brainwashed and Crazy Rainbow Dash) in The Immortal Game.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen of All Oni, Jackie and the rest of Jade's family after she goes bad.
  • As Jaime Lannister in The North Remembers tries to escape out of the White Sword Tower after being put under arrest, he kills Qyburn by jamming his sword up through his spine. As he lies dying, he apologizes and tells him that it was Nothing Personal.
  • The Naruto fanfic Gender Confusion involves a fight between Hinata and Juugo, wherein both parties are less-than-enthused about fighting at all.
  • Besides the Heroine's legendary predilection for this, Tsukuyomi, Susanoo, and Amaterasu from Infinity all dip into this at times. It's made clear from the get-go that they have absolutely nothing against the heroes, and in some cases outright respect and like them, but circumstances force them to fight.
  • In Worm fanfic Khepri: Golden Dawn, Taylor doesn't want to hurt Armmaster but she doesn't want to be arrested, either. So she apologizes before attacking him.
    Armsmaster's reaction was almost instant, his gear must have read and analyzed what I had said, or his instincts were fine-honed enough, even with his absolute lack of social grace, that he knew that I was apologizing for attacking him.
  • During the battle for Karakura in The Defeated, Toshiro asks Orihime to surrender and when she refuses, admits that he doesn't blame her for siding against Soul Society after what they did but nonetheless, he has a duty to stop any threats to Soul Society and the Living World. Likewise, Orihime doesn't want to fight Toshiro as he's one of the few captains who didn't participate in her and Ichigo's torture.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl fanfic The Vampire of Steel, Buffy apologizes to a vampire before feeding him to an Eldritch Abomination.
    With a cry of fury, Buffy ran back, slammed a great kick into the neck of one of the cantors, grabbed his book of spells, and sent it sailing over the edge of the roof. Then she grabbed the cantor, lifted him over her head, and ran with him protesting back inside the pentagram itself. She made sure of where she was going.
    “Sorry,” she said, and pitched him towards M’nagaleh.
  • In Forum of Thrones, this is how Clayton typically starts an assassination. He politely apologizes to his victim, before brutally attempting to murder them regardless. Usually, he at least tries to give them a somewhat dignified death though.
  • In the Cuphead fan comic from DeviantArt, "Cagney Is a Carnation" by fuyuflowga, during the battle for the Soul Contract Cagney Carnation becomes apologetic, telling the sibling protagonists Cuphead and Mugman to get out of the way of his thorns while apologizing to them inwardly. He then sees that Mugman is so important to Cuphead since Mugman is his brother. Cagney, being Necessarily Evil, reluctantly decides to kill Mugman in his effort to spur Cuphead to avenge him and destroy Cagney for the contract. As the flower ensnares Mugman and starts strangling him with his thorny vines in order to quickly end his life, it is played with when the flower outwardly yells out "DIE!!", but inwardly he apologizes and asks the dying boy to forgive him. The next panel leads to some disturbing Nightmare Fuel, as a wall of "I'm sorry!" text appears on a red background while, in silhouette, you can see Monster-Cagney cry Ocular Gushers as he breaks Mugman's body into bits in a gory manner (he eventually gets better). Cue Cuphead's Big "NO!" before he gets to his Rage Breaking Point...
  • In A Brief History of Equestria, Hurricane apologizes to Platinum and Puddinghead after knocking them out for trying to interfere in his duel with Pansy.
  • Kaleidoscope: Victor apologizes to Yuuri in his mind before killing Eros.
  • Inverted in Kara of Rokyn. After saving her friend Lena from several villains, Supergirl observes they have no issue with using super-strength on a normal woman and her little child, so... she isn't at all sorry about the beatdown she's about to deliver unto them.
    "So you feel like using super-strength on a normal woman and her child," said Supergirl. "I don't have the slightest regret about what I'm about to do."
  • In Infinity Crisis, Beast and Sasquatch make it clear that they really don’t want to fight each other, considering they consider themselves of a similar breed, but they fight regardless.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening fanfiction Golden Threads Tie Us, Morgan apologizes to her sister Severa after putting her to sleep with a spell.
    Morgan reached out and touched her fingers to Severa's, and her face looked oddly pinched, and her mouth moved but Severa couldn't hear the words she chanted. Severa tried to grab for Morgan's hand, she could put her into some type of hold, but Morgan suddenly blurred, or, wait that was—
    Severa swayed from side to side. She felt like she had been struck with a hammer. Her head swam in and out, and her vision spotted.
    "Morgan," she said helplessly.
    "I'm sorry," Morgan said. Severa was distantly aware of Morgan dropping a staff to the ground.
  • Heart of Fire: Though they don't exactly assault Kathryn, most of the Company of Thorin's dwarves (except Thorin and Dwalin) at least have the sense to be shamefaced about imprisoning her when they tie her up.
  • In the first chapter of DC Universe fanfic Daughter of Fire and Steel, Jor-El and Lara are putting Kal-El into the rocket when Kara -who is under Zod's command at this point- barges into the place. Jor-El quickly knocks her out and then he apologizes for hitting her.
    The words also had the intended effect as Jor used the opportunity to rush forward and slam his forearm into Kara's face. Stunned, Jor ripped the rifle from Kara's hands and knocked her to the ground. Jor brought the butt of the rifle down on Kara's head and everything started losing consciousness. "I'm sorry about this Kara," was the last thing she heard before everything blacked out.
  • Lost Reflections: The mysterious pony in Dinky's room at the end of Chapter 13 offers apparently sincere apologies to the sleeping pony they're about to harm.
  • Invader Zim: A Bad Thing Never Ends: During their first fight, Skoodge apologizes to Dib for it, saying he'd prefer not to but has no choice due to being allied with Zim.
  • Vow of the King: During the Soul Society arc, Shunsui makes it clear to the heroes that he'd rather not fight them if at all possible, but he absolutely will if they make him. Before the fight starts, he tells them he's sorry it came to that.

    Film — Animated 
  • A very creepy version occurs in Coraline, where the badly-mutilated Other Father is strapped into the mechanical mantis and forced to attack Coraline, mournfully mumbling apologies as the mantis stalks her.
    Other Father: Sooo sorry . . . Mother's maaaaaking meeeeee! Don't waaaant to hurrrt youuuu. . .
  • In Frozen, after Oaken tosses Kristoff out of his trading post for making the mistake of calling him a crook, he Anna, for having to witness an act of violence in his store.
    Oaken: [cheerfully] I'm sorry about this violence! I vill add a quart of lutefisk so we have good feelings. [He places a jar of pickled lutefisk on the desk next to Anna's possessions] Just the outfit and the boots, ja?
    Princess Anna: Uh...
    • One scene later, when Anna is tossing the satchels containing Kristoff's goods at his head to wake him up, she tosses the one containing his carrots a bit harder than intended, earning a pained reaction from Kristoff.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
    • Much like the example from The Matrix Reloaded below, Phoebus does one of these to Esmeralda.
    • Victor drops a brick on a guard's head and immediately apologizes.
  • Justified in Ice Age: The Meltdown, when Sid bites Diego on his tail to snap him out of his Aquaphobia when a prehistoric animal is about to eat them.
  • Mr. Smee from Peter Pan every time he attacks or kidnaps someone he apologizes for it:
    Mr. Smee: (stuffing Jane into a sack) My apologies miss.
  • In Turning Red, Mei sarcastically apologizes to her mother as Mei dodges her as well as right before Mei lands her final blow.
  • From Wreck-It Ralph; a bizarre life-or-death situation in which Sergeant Calhoun is reluctant to continue beating Fix-It Felix to bait the vines of Laffy Taffy so they can escape from the NesquikSand pit in Sugar Rush:
    Calhoun: Look, you're a nice guy, I can't just-
    Felix: NO MA'AM!! The arcade is depending on us!! Now do your duty, that's an or-*punch*-OWWW!
  • A humorous semi-example in Kung Fu Panda 3: Monkey tries to snap the jombie Mantis out of it, but he ends up latching onto his zombified friend, who starts attacking the remaining Furious Five members at the Jade Palace, with Monkey apologizing to them after each blow.
  • During the climax of Sanrio's second Unico film Unico in the Island of Magic, when the titular character confronts Lord Kuruku, he tries his hardest not to physically attack him and chooses to fly away from him. He begs Kuruku not to force him to use his horn to actually hurt him until he starts casting a spell to kill him. Unico swiftly rams into Kuruku's chest but thinks it didn't do that much damage. Once Kuruku tells Unico that his attack wasn't just a scratch, Unico actually apologizes to him for using that attack. Especially since Unico has already learned about Kuruku's past midway through the film.
    Unico: I should have know, I've never had a chance against him.
    Kuruku: What are you talking about? This is more than a scratch.
    Unico: But I had no idea I hardly touched you. I'm sorry.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In '71, Gary tries to comfort Paul after fatally stabbing him.
  • A violent and disturbing example occurs in the Extended Cut of Alienł with the prisoner Golic. Already driven mad by the sight of the Xenomorph, he insists that he must see it again after the other in-mates have successfully trapped it in a nuclear storage room, where it can't escape. Another prisoner is guarding the only door and warns Golic that it will kill him. Golic looks away, mutters an apology... then cuts Arthur's throat with a single slash from another prisoner's shaving razor, babbling panicked apologies as the inmate quickly bleeds out. It's potentially creepier when you consider that Golic appears to exhibit some religious reverence for the creature, and he asks it what to do, making one wonder if perhaps it's controlling or speaking to him somehow, making his apology seem all the more sincere.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man: Shortly after being bitten, Peter gets into a completely accidental fight with a subway car full of people. It starts when he rips a woman's shirt off because his hand sticks to the fabric. A couple of guys take a swing at him, but they trigger Peter's spider-sense and he reflexively knocks them to the ground, apologizing each time. A few more people try the same thing and get the same result, apologies and all.
  • Played for laughs in Attack of the Clones when C-3PO's head gets knocked off and is fused to a battle droid's body, forcing him to open fire on the Jedi Knights, him frantically apologizing for every shot fired. (He never lands a single shot)
  • Blazing Saddles: Reverend Johnson prays for forgiveness after attacking one of the bandits with his Bible.
  • The Cabin in the Woods. Dana is told that (as the Final Girl) she must kill Marty, the only other survivor of their Targeted Human Sacrifice, to prevent the Ancient Ones from rising and bringing on The End of the World as We Know It. Dana says, "I'm sorry" as she wills herself to shoot her friend. Mary, seeing a werewolf sneaking up behind her, says "So am I." Cue Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind.
  • In Cellular, Jessica apologizes to one of the bad guys after she kills him by cutting his brachial artery.
    Jessica: Tenth grade biology. Brachial artery... pumps 30 liters of blood a minute. There's only five in the human body. I'm sorry.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), Lord Vaako mutters, "Forgive me," before attempting to kill his boss, Lord Marshall, to take his place. His hesitation allows Marshall to dodge his attack.
  • Done traumatically in District 9 when Wikus is forced to shoot a chained-up alien. His hysterical, traumatized reaction is one of our first indications that he's not an outright Villain Protagonist, and that despite his employer's xenophobic propaganda he still views the aliens as people.
  • Subverted initially by the monk in Dragonheart as he's quoting humorous scripture while (non-fatally) shooting mooks with arrows, then plays it straight when he sees the Big Bad, grunts out "Thou shalt not kill" while trying to fatally shoot him.
  • In For Your Eyes Only, Melina fires a bolt into a mook's shoulder as she and Columbo's men infiltrate St. Cyril's. She tends to his wound while Columbo checks to see if the coast is clear. Columbo lags behind when everyone leaves the basket room and gives Kristatos' henchman a quick "Sorry" as he knocks him out by hitting him with the barrel of his gun.
  • In Force 10 from Navarone, Maritza demands that Barnsby hit her to make it appear that he and Mallory attacked her and got away. Barnsby apologizes and hits her weakly. She berates him and orders him to hit her harder. Mallory suddenly punches her hard and knocks her out.
  • An example where both parties were equally neither bad nor good, in the film Highlander, in the battle scene where Connor receives his mortal wound a priest slits the throat of a member of the opposing clan and then quickly offers last rites.
  • Interstellar: Dr. Mann, while not exactly remorseful about murdering his colleagues, nevertheless tries to lionize his actions and misguidedly comfort the dying Cooper.
  • In The Karate Kid, after Bobby (the most conscience-laden of Johnny's gang) deliberately injures Daniel's leg at the tournament under Kreese's order, he quickly apologizes to him. It's left ambiguous whether he's being sincere, or pretending it was an accident to save face.
  • Layer Cake: A distressed Sidney apologises after he guns down the protagonist.
  • In 1940's The Mark of Zorro, Badass Preacher Fray Felipe apologizes as he knocks out the alcalde's soldiers with a club during the climactic melee.
    Felipe: (WHACK!) God forgive me. (WHACK!) God forgive me.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man 2, Rhodey, when his War Machine armor gets hacked and is used to attack his friends.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron:
      • Ultron apologizes after accidentally severing Ulysses Klaue's arm (though he'd done it in a fit of rage after Klaue assumed he was one of Iron Man's robots).
      • Tony throughout his confrontation with a mind-controlled Hulk.
    • Ant-Man: Scott repeatedly apologising to the Falcon during their fight at the Avenger's HQ.
    • Captain America: Civil War: The battle at the airport is a very reluctant and apologetic one (except with T'Challa), especially between Clint and Natasha.
      Black Widow: We're still friends, right?
      Hawkeye: Depends on how hard you hit me.
    • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: Black Bolt of Earth-838 is forced to kill his universe's Doctor Strange, and does so by saying, "I'm sorry."
  • An example where the person being attacked isn't a villain occurs in The Matrix Reloaded when Seraph apologizes to Neo before attacking.
  • In Men in Black, the Arquilian battlecruiser that parks over Earth sends a simple message:
    Deliver the Galaxy or Earth will be destroyed.
    • This is because, while the Arquilians are generally friendly, they're not willing to risk letting one of the Bugs steal the Galaxy and take it back to his planet.
  • In Minority Report, John goes out of his way to ensure the safety of his former colleagues when they're trying to apprehend him for a future murder. At one point, he disconnects one of them from his jetpack, and John makes sure that he has a firm grip on a ledge before continuing his escape.
  • In Monster, serial killer Aileen Wuornos apologizes before killing a bystander who witnesses her crimes, because she doesn’t see him as deserving of this fate and recognizes she’s only doing it to protect herself.
  • There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it example in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Barbossa, pursuing Jack, misses his footing and slams face-first into a cavern wall. Jack looks back over his shoulder and shouts "Sorry!" It just makes Barbossa angrier, which may have been Jack's intention.
  • The Princess Bride: "You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you." "You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die."
    • And later, after his fights with Inigo ("Please understand I hold you in the highest respect.") and Fezzik ("I do not envy you the headache you will have when you awake. But for now, rest well and dream of large women.").
  • The Operative in Serenity. River is also very apologetic after she beats Simon up in order to get to the bridge.
  • Shaun of the Dead:
    • Shaun apologizes to his zombified mother when he prepares a mercy kill: "Sorry, mum..."
    • Played for laughs when Shaun and Ed are planning how to rescue their friends and families. Philip, Shaun's stepdad, dies in all three iterations of the plan, with the apology getting less and less sincere with each iteration.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022), to save Sonic from a dangerous situation, Thomas Wachowski needs a ring that can be used for teleportation. Unfortunately, he is at a wedding when it happens, and finds out the ring got confused with the wedding ring. Because he has no time to explain this, he apologizes in advance and punches the bridegroom to get him to drop the ring.
  • A variation in Soylent Green. The assassin sent to kill William Simonson at the start of the movie relays an apologetic message from the men who hired him (implied to be fellow board members of the Soylent Corporation). The assassin himself has no idea what the message means and is just doing what he's been told.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: After nerve-pinching Dr. McCoy, Spock tells him "Sorry, Doctor, but I have no time to discuss this logically.", before mind-melding with him, passing on his katra, while he saves the Enterprise.
    • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Chekhov apologizes to the authorities on the USS Enterprise (the Navy's "nuclear wessel," not the starship) before attempting to stun them with his phaser in order to escape. The phaser doesn't work because of the radiation on board, so he tosses the phaser at them and high-tails it.
    • Star Trek Into Darkness, Scotty apologizes to a security guard while on the USS Vengeance before he opens the airlock to allow Kirk and Khan to enter the ship and let the guard exit the same way.
  • Carlisle in the film version of Twilight.
    Carlisle: "I don't relish the thought of killing another creature, even a sadistic one like James."
  • Thoroughbreds: After a falling out with her friend Amanda, Lily invites her over a few days later and fixes her a drink. However, she suddenly tells Amanda to stop drinking, and confesses to having spiked it with Rohypnol. Amanda is stunned, and Lily admits that she planned to wait until Amanda passed out, then go upstairs and kill Mark, leaving the weapon in Amanda's hand. Lily clearly regrets the plan, admitting she doesn't know what she was thinking, and apologizes to Amanda, promising she'll find another way... and then Amanda grabs the drink and chugs the rest of it, telling Lily to go ahead and carry out the original plan.
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7: When pacifist Dave Dillinger finally snaps and punches a marshal while being dragged away, he apologizes profusely.
  • Wesley in Wanted was a bit of a nebbish who apologized for everything. After he meets Fox, and balks, asking what his target did to deserve being killed, the next target is apologized to, as Wesley still isn't morally committed even though he's otherwise committed.
  • Columbus from Zombieland. He apologizes when he fights his zombified neighbor 406 and after he accidentally shoots Bill Murray for mistaking him for a zombie. In the sequel, he becomes this to Madison when he tries to Mercy Kill her in the woods, though he never actually goes through with it.

  • In the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Beneath Nightmare Castle, the Spiked Maiden is the Baron's daughter who's clad in possessed armour and is forced to lash out at anyone who approached her while she is fully aware of it. She will apologize repeatedly and beg you to get out while slashing at you.

  • In Point Blanc, book two of the Alex Rider series, the Gentleman, an assassin, gets his nickname because he always sends flowers to the families of his victims.
  • In the David Trilogy of K. A. Applegate's Animorphs series, titular Sixth Ranger David expresses a modicum of regret towards Rachel as he prepares to kill her.
  • In Audrey, Wait!, Audrey's mom had to quit Taekwondo because "she was always apologising to the attack dummies".
  • Lampshaded in The Belgariad, as Durnik the smith apologizes before removing an enemy's helmet and clonking him on the noggin. Belgarath is apparently torn between laughter and confusion. "Excuse me? EXCUSE ME?"
  • Chloe from Darkest Powers is this whenever she accidentally raises the dead.
  • Discworld:
    • In The Fifth Elephant, Sybil Vimes automatically says, "I'm terribly sorry!" just as she whacks a guard over the head with an iron bar. This is an interesting counterpoint to her original character, in Guards! Guards!, as an overpowering personality who takes no guff from anyone. In the rest of the series, she's far more polite and apologetic, despite taking just as little guff.
    • In Interesting Times, Rincewind is puzzling out the apologetic note before he gets hit over the head.
    • Simony in Small Gods kills a guard who, while just doing his job, is also trying to shoot Didactylos. He makes a sincere apology to the dying man.
  • The Dresden Files: In Changes, Harry Dresden whispers "God forgive me" when he kills Susan, the mother of his child. She had just turned into a full vampire and if he killed her on the altar, the powerful bloodline curse would run through the vampires and end them forever. Susan allows Harry to kill her to save her child from these monsters.
  • In The Empress Game, there's a degree of this from Janeen after she betrays Malkor's team, as she keeps saying that it "wasn't supposed to be like this" and that nobody was supposed to get hurt. However, it's a pretty poor apology, since it's peppered with self-justification and blame-shifting along the lines of "if you'd only accepted it peacefully, it wouldn't have come to this".
  • Harry Potter:
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy, the two cops who let loose fusillades upon fusillades of Kill-O-Zap guns on our protagonists try to make it absolutely clear that they're really quite sensitive and intelligent guys and "firmly opposed to needless violence," and they most definitely don't enjoy gratuitously shooting up people.
    • From the rules of Brockian Ultra-Cricket, as briefly summarized in Life, the Universe and Everything:
      Whenever a player scores a "hit" on another player, he should immediately run away as fast as he can and apologize from a safe distance.
      Apologies should be concise, sincere and, for maximum clarity and points, delivered through a megaphone.
  • Honor Harrington: In the short story "Fanatic", the Marines ordered to beat up Yuri and Sharon are apologetic, and go as easy on the two of them as they dare.
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones Ward is hit over the head a couple of times, and the attackers apologize for the inconvenience when he wakes up with a headache.
  • James Bond: Live and Let Die - one of Mr. Big's mooks is told to take Felix Leiter out and "hurt him considerably", but the two of them get on well thanks to their mutual love of jazz. The mook, not willing to cross his boss, apologetically hurts Leiter just a little.
  • In the Mistborn series book Hero of Ages, Marsh tells Sazed, "I wish I understood why I have to kill you. I'm sorry." Then he attacks him.
  • Jane Bennet, as represented in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, has been reported to cradle zombies in her arms, apologizing for dismembering them, even as what remains keeps trying to bite her.
  • In The Reader (2016), Sefia does this after she kills the mercenary Palo Kanta, as she had never taken a life before.
  • Redwall: Blaggut's last words to Slipp: "You're bad all through, you'll never change, that's why I gotta do this. Sorry, Cap'n!"
  • In George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, there is a successful assassin's guild called The Sorrowful Men, who always apologize to the victim for killing them just before the victim dies.
    • Varys apologizes profusely to Kevan Lannister after he mortally wounds him with a crossbow, explaining that he had no choice but to kill him to keep the realm unstable and ready for the Targaryens to return.
    • There was also the fight that Ned Stark had with Ser Arthur Dayne of the Kingsguard years prior to the main events of the story. Ned remembers Dayne as having had a sad smile on his face before they began their fight. Given the events that preceded their fight, in which Ned's father and older brother were murdered by the king Dayne was pledged to, which in turn led to a terrible war in which Dayne lost several of his closest comrades (including his best friend) as well as utterly failing in his mission as a Kingsguard, it's no wonder Arthur wasn't particularly eager to do battle against Ned.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • X-Wing Series: Iella Wesseri's husband, thought to be dead for two years, was found in a prison when the New Republic captured Coruscant. Iella was delighted to have him back, and although he seemed quieter and weaker than he had been before this he was also glad to see her again. Later Iella, being a New Republic Intelligence officer, was assigned to escort an Imperial informant to safety only for her husband to shoot the informant and try to kill her. She shoots her husband, and as he's dying she finds that during his long absence Isard turned him into a Manchurian Agent. Surprisingly, he doesn't say the word "sorry" at all during that, but regret is pretty heavy throughout what he says to her.
    • Jedi Apprentice has a friend betray Obi-Wan for selfish reasons, though he'd still considered the young Jedi to be a friend. Obi-Wan responds to his apologies with "Save your sorrow. I don't need it."
  • The Stormlight Archive: Szeth in The Way of Kings doesn't want to kill people, but by the rules of his culture he has no will of his own; he has to follow every command of whoever holds his Oathstone, with the exceptions that he can't give up his Shardblade or kill himself. And if you have complete control over the world's only regenerating expert fighter Gravity Master with a sword that can cut through anything... what else are going to do with him? Over time he stops apologizing and comes to hate the people he fights for not being able to kill him.
  • Sword of Truth: It turns out that this is the real way to use the eponymous Sword of Truth. Holding onto pure anger will get some mileage out of it, but holding onto pure forgiveness will cut through magical defenses. Naturally, true forgiveness is pretty hard to not express to some extent. YMMV on this one, as the first example overlaps with Stockholm Syndrome. It makes sense in context.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Good King's Men will likely end up in a position where they have to arrest the Tourists. They will do so reluctantly and will tell their targets how much they regret doing this, but are far too competent and professional to let them escape.
  • Warhammer 40,000: In The First Heretic, part of the Horus Heresy series, the main protagonist whisper "Forgive me" over the vox channel to a loyal captain during the famous Drop Site Massacre, right after he gave the order to open fire, causing thousands of the loyalists to die within seconds.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • Jack Bauer. For the "You're not evil, but you're in my way - therefore I'm going to incapacitate you rather than torture or kill you" version, anyway.
    • Tony apologizes right before he smothers Larry Moss.
  • In the first episode of Andromeda, Captain Hunt's Nietzchean crewmate (who practices the species-wide belief of self-interest) sees that Hunt is at a disadvantage. He stands up, apologizes for his impending treachery, and then attacks the captain.
  • Played for Laughs in the Angel episode "Sense & Sensitivity". Angel is affected by a spell that makes him extremely emotionally sensitive and disinclined towards violence. When he realises he needs to resort to violence to rectify the situation, he very apologetically beats up several people.
  • In Bones, Agent Kenton apologizes to Brennan before preparing to murder her and frame it on a serial killer Booth is after in "Two Bodies in the Lab", saying he'll kill her before inflicting the serial killers signature mutilations. Brennan is understandably non-appeased by this and plus up a fight before Booth arrives shortly after he regains the upper hand.
  • The Boys. In "You Found Me", Hughie Campbell (who unlike the rest of the Boys has no experience in military or intelligence work) has to provide covering fire during their escape, screaming "I'M SORRY! I'M SORRY!" as he blazes away with an automatic weapon at the Gas Mask Mooks shooting back at him.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • During an early episode, Walt breaks down crying and apologizing after more-or-less being forced to kill a captive drug dealer. In season 5, Walt apologizes to Mike after fatally shooting him when he realizes the information Mike refused to give him could have been easily gotten from Lydia. Mike just tells him to Shut the fuck up and let me die in peace".
    • While it's not verbalized, Jesse's Tears of Remorse when he shoots Gale clearly convey this.
    • After Hank Schrader's murder at the hands of Jack Welker, Jack's nephew Todd Alquist has this to say to the man they spared: "Sorry for your loss".
  • In the episode of La caméra explore le temps dealing with General Malet's conspiracy, the law student who was roped into the conspiracy apologises profusely as he and another accomplice of Malet's break into Prefect Pasquier's house and arrest him.
  • Orwell in The Cape does this in one of her few action-ish moments (she prefers to work behind the scenes): "Sorry! Sorry." as she tazes a guy in the neck.
  • On Criminal Minds, a father and daughter are abducted and he's forced to fight other captives or both of them will be murdered. When the killer ups the stakes and orders him to beat a defeated opponent to death, he has no choice but to comply, moaning "sorry" with every reluctant blow.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Invasion of the Dinosaurs": Sergeant Benton attacks his superior (who's on the wrong side):
      General Finch: [with his hand in Benton's face] You'll be court-martialled for this, Sergeant!
      Sergeant Benton: [while repeatedly slamming the General against a desk] Yes, sir! Very sorry, sir!
    • The Doctor would many times apologize on the rare occasions when he punched someone, such as the Fifth Doctor in "Warriors of the Deep".
    • The Tenth Doctor apologizes all the damn time, and on several occasions "I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry" meant "I have run out of ideas for how to save you and your victims, so I'm going to kill you now." Obviously does not apply to beings such as Daleks.
    • "The Age of Steel": After shutting down the Cybermen's emotional inhibitors en masse, the Doctor sadly says "I'm sorry" to a Cyberman who's reacting in horror to its reflection.
    • "Gridlock": Milo and Cheen, the couple who kidnap Martha, apologize to both her and the Doctor as they drag her away.
    • "Last of the Time Lords": One of the Tenth Doctor's biggest awesome moments involved playing this straight and inverting it when he Out-Gambitted The Master and temporarily made himself canonically a God-Mode Sue via the amplified thoughts of the human race.
      The Doctor: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Because you know what I'm going to say to you.
      [The Master backs away, almost whimpering, and the Doctor leans in close to his ear]
      The Doctor: I forgive you.
    • "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone":
      • River Song apologizes to a guard for breaking out when it's his first day on the job, using her psychic lipstick on him.
      • Angel Bob speaks with Sacred Bob's nervous and shy personality, but is a Weeping Angel, so he/it doesn't mean any of the apologies that Bob's character demands.
    • "The Pandorica Opens": Auton!Rory apologizes desperately to Amy as he's forced to kill her.
  • Extraordinary Attorney Woo: In the episode "The Pied Piper," the defendant commandeered a school bus full of children as part of a political protest against abusive schools and teachers, and did so by drugging the bus driver's tea. When he meets the bus driver in court later, he very politely apologizes and admits he put him in a very bad spot, and he hopes he can understand why he did it. Hilariously, the bus driver does a Double Take at this and can only stammer out, "That's alright," clearly not expecting the kidnapper who drugged him to be so cordial.
  • During the showdown with Crichton in the Farscape episode "Self-Inflicted Wounds", Pathfinder Neeyala remarks, "I have never before released my bristles to kill. Your forgiveness."
    • During the "What was Lost" two-parter, Noranti decides that John has to die for the greater good, so she uses some sort of phlebotinum to convince him to jump off a cliff. She intersperses commands to John to walk toward the cliff with "Forgive me" and prayers to her god(s) to "receive his spirit."
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Varys makes no attempt to disguise his distaste for his own actions while pretty much selling out Tyrion in the trial in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
      Tyrion: You once said that without me the city would've faced certain defeat; you said, the histories would never mention me but you would not forget. Have you forgotten, Lord Varys?
      Varys: Sadly my lord, I never forget a thing.
    • Tyrion sobs that he is sorry after strangling his former lover Shae to death, once he finds her in Tywin's bed and she attacks him.
    • Stannis asks forgiveness for what he's about to do in "The Dance of Dragons."
    • Qyburn makes sure to tell Pycelle that it's Nothing Personal before having a group of creepy children stab him to death, saying that he regrets it but feels it necessary.
  • In the 2020 miniseries The Head, Maggie's boyfriend Aki comes across her sabotaging a Snowcat during her Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the people who covered up her mother's murder. He's entirely innocent of this crime, but she stabs him to death during a Deadly Hug while sobbing, "I'm sorry!" At the end, a hallucination of Aki asks Maggie if she really is sorry. She doesn't answer.
  • In Heroes, Hiro briefly bows and apologizes to Tracy before punching her in the face.
  • In From the Cold: Anya sobs and apologizes as she strangles Faina's father and then Faina herself.
  • Encouraged in the Rahmens parody educational series The Japanese Tradition episode about dating. If you are forced to fight, you should say "I'm sorry I have to do this" before dealing out justice.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Jessica Jones is this in spades, primarily since the majority of the time, the people she's fighting are acting on Kilgrave's orders.
  • Killing Eve: A downplayed example when Villanelle kills Bill, Eve's best friend. She doesn't apologize to him, but afterwards, she sends Eve a bunch of expensive new clothes, and a note that says, "Sorry, baby."
  • In an episode of LazyTown, aptly named, "Defeeted," Sportacus is outfitted in a pair of remote-controlled boots which control his feet while worn. When the footwear are activated, under the control of Robbie Rotten, the hero is forced into kicking the Mayor. This leads to him immediately apologizing whilst trying to gain back control.
  • In a second season episode of Lost, Michael apologizes to Ana-Lucia right before fatally shooting her.
  • The husband on Man Woman Wild always apologizes to the animals he catches before killing them to feed himself and his wife. And thanks them after they're dead, too.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "Dear Sis" centered around Father Mulcahy feeling guilty for punching out an uncooperative and combative patient. Mulcahy's actions would be reasonably justified by the regular morals of planet Earth, especially since the other guy punched him first and Mulcahy decked him in self-defence. And the guy might have died if Mulcahy did nothing. Did the guy, perhaps, feel grateful for this afterward? Of course not.
  • The Mick: Played for comedy when Jimmy starts getting bullied by a high school girls' soccer team. They fling a bottle at his head and then pepper him with kicks and punches. He begs them to stop fighting but eventually starts instinctively defending himself with full-strength haymakers and wrestling moves while apologizing profusely.
  • Ms. Marvel (2022): In Episode 6, "No Normal", after Kamala "embiggens" and smashes the Department of Damage Control sonic cannon, she makes a point of asking the DODC agents in the truck that was hauling the cannon if they were okay.
  • The Myth: A soldier tries to kill Xiao Chuan, who throws him against a wall then apologises.
  • On Neighbours, Dylan made a point of doing this when he was coerced into an armed robbery. This more than anything convinced Stuart (if not his sergeant) that he was telling the truth, leading him to go undercover to get him exonerated.
  • In Prison Break, Scofield does this quite frequently whenever forced to harm good people (often bystanders) to stick to his plans. Justified in that he only starts doing this after witnessing an inmate hang himself, supposedly because Scofield didn't save him from T-Bag.
  • Psych: In one episode, Lassiter visits his girlfriend in prison for insider information on one of her fellow inmates. To get in with that crowd, she apologetically punches him in the face and gets hauled off by guards.
  • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: the sentient Humongous Mecha apologize when they attack a monster whose power redirects attack on hostage Rangers and Ninjaman.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Pilot, Pt. 2'', Jerry imagines such a person in a standup routine.
    Ever notice a lot of butlers are named Jeeves? You know, I think when you name a baby "Jeeves"... you've pretty much mapped out his future, wouldn't you say? Not much chance he's gonna be a hitman, I think, after that. "Terribly sorry, sir, but I'm going to have to whack you."
  • Smallville:
    • Chloe always apologizes when she is forced to subdue Clark with kryptonite, as shown in "Splinter", "Hypnosis" and "Progeny", even under Mind Control with the last case.
    • In "Freak", Clark shouts that he is sorry as he painfully burns a hole in Chloe's chest. He is trying to get a dangerous device planted into her out, and it is under her request.
    • In "Upgrade", Chloe apologizes when she is forced to chloroform Lois.
  • In the first episode of Son of a Critch, Mark gives Fox his Walkman in order to apologize for making fun of how poor her family is. Fox is genuinely grateful for the gesture, but later when they're both in public, she tackles him and pretends to steal the Walkman. She leans in close and apologizes for the beating, but says she can't have anyone, especially not her idiot brothers, finding out that she accepted a gift from the boy she's supposedly bullying.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • In the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Kirk pauses to apologize to Gary Mitchell before smashing him with a rock. Mitchell just happens to get back his superpowers in that instant.
    • And in "Operation — Annihilate!" a whole colony does this: they've been infected by Puppeteer Parasites, and they apologize and beg their victims to run away even as they're attacking.
    • In "The Man Trap", McCoy says "Lord forgive me," as he kills the Monster of the Week, which had shapeshifted into his ex-girlfriend.
  • In "Time's Arrow, Part 2" of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Riker says "I just want you to know that I have the utmost respect for the law" to a policeman, then punches him out.
  • In season 2 of Stranger Things, Will ends up becoming something like this. As the Mind Flayer takes over his mind, it starts forcing him to undermine the rest of the party, culminating in having him direct the soldiers at Hawkins Lab straight into the Demogorgons. Will physically can't stop himself from doing it and tearfully apologizes as the lab is being swarmed. The rest of the party is eventually forced to tranquilize him to stop the Mind Flayer from forcing Will to reveal their location.
  • Supernatural:
  • The Walking Dead: Shane does this before shooting Otis so he can escape a pack of walkers chasing both of them.
  • Leonard Betts, a particularly memorable monster of the week on The X-Files, apologizes every time he kills someone. "I'm sorry, but you have something that I need." That something is always a tumour.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Resident Advisor and the Word 'Sketchy'", Dale apologizes to Dennis before punching him out and making a run for it.

  • Occurs in the backstory to the Cool Kids Table game Small Magic. After being forced to wipe out most of the Oni and send the rest into a deep slumber, the Tenshi wept over their former friends and allies.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Recorded Comedy 
  • On Monty Python's Matching Tie & Handkerchief, the Cheese Shop sketch differs from the TV edition in that it ends thus:
    Mousebender: Have you got any cheese here at all?
    Wensleydale: Yes sir.
    Mousebender: Really?
    Wensleydale: No sir, not really, sir.
    Mousebender: You haven't.
    Wensleydale: No sir, not a scrap. I was deliberately wasting your time, sir.
    Mousebender: Well, I'm sorry but I'm going to have to shoot you.
    Wensleydale: Righto, sir. (Gunfire; we hear Wensleydale collapse to the floor)
    Mousebender: What a senseless waste of human life.

  • Destroy the Godmodder: When Minor got turned evil, he tried to stop attacking the AGs. Key word there is tried.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Tau always claim to be apologetic attackers... as they commence orbital bombardment, then use a mix of sterilization, concentration camps, and possibly mind control on their new subjects.
  • There's a spell in Exalted that forces its victim to bow and scrape and generally treat the caster like royalty. This doesn't prevent the victim from attacking the caster, but they apologize the whole time as they do so: "Forgive this unworthy one for daring to deliver this vile blow unto your radiant brow, oh great one."


    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed enacts this trope through Casi. She is likely to say sorry with her spinning Stun Club attack. The game mentions that nobody suffers real damage in the virtual world, but she's just really nice. It also might be worth noting how virtual reality is just reality to her since she's a digital being.
  • Fiona Mayfield of Arcana Heart, whose down-forward strong attack is accompanied by a heartfelt "I'm sorry!" as she smacks her opponent up into the air with her BFS.
  • Artix Entertainment games have rare occurrences where the heroes fight against someone only to find out after beating them up that they weren't really as bad as the non-player characters who sicced them on them made them think and they apologize to them before deciding to show those non-player characters who's boss for setting them up and using them. A good example is during the cutscene after the hero defeats Lord Ovthedance where they apologize to him for not realizing that the Great Godfather of Soul set him up and conned them into doing his dirty work.
    Hero: The Great Godfather of Soul's conned me into doing his dirty work! That weasel!
    Lord Ovthedance: Me glad you realize that. Would have been better if you realize it before you beat Lord Ovthedance down.
    Hero: Yeah, sorry about that. We've got to get you down to that Dance-off so you can beat that liar for both of us!
    Lord Ovthedance: Am you kidding? Me am not in the best shape, thanks to some random hero who decided to...
    Hero: ...I said "I'm sorry".
  • BioShock:
    • Most of the Splicers in the series are pretty out of it, but the Pigskin from BioShock occasionally realizes that you're not, in fact, his hated father. He's reluctant, but keeps hunting you because he thinks Ryan would do horrible things to him if he let you go:
      "He's an intruder... and—and they make us kill intruders."
    • At the end of BioShock 2, Sinclair is turned into an Alpha Series Big Daddy and forced to fight you, apologizing the whole time and asking to be put out of his misery.
    • The Handymen from BioShock Infinite will occasionally warn you to run away, and will scream "get off that thing!" before electrocuting the rail you're on. Normally, this would be a simple boast, but it's later revealed that many Handymen were political prisoners charged with crimes including pacifism, and turned into war machines.
  • BlazBlue:
    • Even though she threatens to kill Noel if she doesn't return to her post at first in Continuum Shift, Tsubaki surprisingly ends up holding back and even begs for forgiveness whether she wins or loses. She also forgives her for the trouble she got her into since Noel is her friend, and therefore, she knows that she didn't want to fight against her.
    • Also, surprisingly enough, Tsubaki knew that she could never defeat her even though she didn't hold back. Then again, in fact, she herself didn't even know that Hazama was only using her to hurt her deeply enough to awaken the true successor to the Azure from within her... which, of course, causes Noel to fly into a rage and refuse to forgive him when she realizes it during her encounter with him.
    • Litchi also has this line in her winquote against Bang because she thought he was a pervert but didn't know that he was really trying to impress her.
      Litchi: I-I'm so sorry! You came out of nowhere, so I thought you were a pervert and smacked you! Are you alright? (He's completely out... but he looks really happy. Odd...)
    • In general, Litchi also counts. As she is a doctor and a very benevolent one, she really wouldn't like to fight unless the situation is really severe. A lot of her win quotes had her apologizing to her enemies, and in the Arcade Mode, she was clearly sorry for having to force her way through by beating her colleague Tager. She also goes so far as practically apologizing to Platinum if she beats her, or was beaten in Platinum's story. And she also did this to Rachel in Rachel's story if she beat Rachel, apologizing about how she just beat her and still had to stick with NOL against Rachel's suggestion.
    • By Chronophantasma, she does this even more often. Justified that as much as she's sticking with NOL, she's not very pleased with the prospect of beating those she deemed decent and friends with, but is Forced into Evil. In fact, she's mostly borderline crying in win quotes to some close friends, like Bang.
  • In Blue Planet, the UEF pilots will often comment that they hope their opponent finds peace in death after shooting them down. The fact that they're not the aggressors in the conflict is a major reason for this.
  • Bug! has a Mook that turns around and farts at Bug's face! While apologizing with a rather crude "Sorry" or "Sorry, just ate".
  • Many of the robots in Cosmic Break apologize when making a kill (even when 'killing' trees and lifeless barrels). Mostly the more human ones. Some however like Baltheon invert the trope by laughing.
  • In Creepy Castle Stickbug apologizes to Moth, as his new job as a boss requires him to fight him.
  • Cuphead: Losing to Grim Matchstick in his first phase has him saying he's misunderstood, and losing to him in the second phase has him apologizing for being forced to put the players in a hot seat. Even his third phase has him suggesting the player run away.
  • In the original Dead or Alive, one of Kasumi's win quotes has her kneel down and apologize to her fallen foe, asking if they're alright.
  • In Deadly Premonition, one of the lines sometimes spoken by the shadows when they attack is "I'm sorry!"
  • Downplayed in Deep Rock Galactic when it comes to the Lootbugs, a bloated and non hostile alien bug that's full of minerals. Whenever a dwarf kills a Lootbug, they'll sometimes apologize for killing it or feel bad for doing so since they find it kind of cute, but they'll blame the bug for being full of materials that the dwarves need.
    Dwarf: Sorry, little one, but it's your fault that you're full of goodies!
  • Disgaea:
    • Some of the healer classes shout "Forgive me!" as a battle cry when you have them attack physically. At first glance, demonic healers appearing to feel guilty at attacking enemies is kind of... odd, until Disgaea DS points out they are actually fallen angels from Celestia, making them not so different from Flonne ("Whoops, pardon me!"). Old habits die hard, it seems.
    • Seraph Lamington prefaces his ultimate attack, Armageddon, with a prayer for forgiveness.
  • Doodle World: In the Arid Mines vault, Zavier apologizes to TJ, whom he is trying to erase, claiming that the ends justify the means.
    Zavier: I'm sorry... but the ends justify the means. This is all to stop the same mistakes from occurring. Chronos, erase him.
  • Dragon Quest VII has a great beginning world that partakes to this. The first dungeon has three bosses. A miniboss to enter, a second-in-command, and a world-sector boss. There is no break to heal or save in between the last two. Why does this fit? The World-sector boss is Matilda, who only asks you to kill them and free the world-sector. They only defend and the battle just turns into a Tear Jerker with bonus exp.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Subjugated Ghosts in Rannveig's Fast are this, with lines such as "I'm sorry! This isn't what I want!" and "I don't have any choice! I'm sorry!" as they attempt to smash you into a pulp. Justified in that they're being controlled by a warlock who has been trapping people in a cage. Also, the draugr sometimes croak apologies at you in Ancient Nordic.
  • Eternal Evil combines this with Mercy Kill with Marcus muttering "sorry" after executing his zombified best friend, Hank, in a cutscene. Followed by, "For honor".
  • Polka in Eternal Sonata will apologize to enemies after hitting them, and one of her opening-battle quotes is something to the effect of "I'm sorry, but I'm in a hurry!"
  • Fallout 3:
    • The RoboBrain enemy sometimes acts like this.
    • There's also Pvt. Jones, a Mister Gutsy robot in Rivet City.
      Jones: Sir, you are not authorized to enter the armory. Sir! Please don't make me shoot you, sir!
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Serah tends to apologize to the monsters she just killed. Her partner... not so much.
      Noel: I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not!
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, after utterly destroying his opponent with Omnislash ver. 5, Cloud Strife cares enough to apologize with a dry "No hard feelings."
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Near the end of Blazing Sword, the recently revived Ninian uses the remains of her ice powers to kill two Fire Dragons and severely wound a third. The poor woman is in tears as she does so, apologizing to them and telling them is not their fault while freezing them to death, as she knows that they only want to see their former home of Elibe but their mere presence can potentially destroy the whole continent.
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, one of Olivia's quotes has her screaming "I didn't want to do this!" at the enemy whenever she crit-hits them. Or if she's re-classed into an Assassin/Swordmaster and Lethality/Astra activates.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, several characters apologize to their foes when they activate their critical hits or skills. Among them is the mercenary Laslow, who is actually Inigo, Olivia's son, who is now travelling through this world for very complicated reasons. A few other examples include Sakura and Subaki, who can say they're sorry during critical hits and skills; and Corrin, Kana, Ryoma, and Hisame, who can all apologize after defeating an opponent.
    • Bernadetta, Ignatz, and Marianne in Fire Emblem: Three Houses can all apologize during critical hits. Marianne also says "I'm really sorry" as one of her post-battle quotes.
  • PROXY from The Force Unleashed has the "primary programming" directive of killing his master, Starkiller. However, being a very naive droid who literally doesn't understand the concept of death, he treats it like an ordinary task and is otherwise quite friendly toward him. In fact, every time he randomly attacks Starkiller and fails to strike him down, he apologizes for it.
  • Guilty Gear:
    • Dizzy has two wings that do most of the attacking for her, and she apologizes for them (and tells them to stop) during battle.
    • Bridget's intro has her pull a Dynamic Entry and trip her opponent before the fight starts. She then turns, goes all "oops" and apologizes.
  • In the text game GunMute, the friendly robot barwoman in the saloon, Juanita, explains that she's been programmed to shoot you on sight. She's such a bad shot that there's no danger of her shooting you, but she still apologises.
  • In Hyperdimension Neptunia, Compa will occasionally apologize after dealing the final blow to an enemy. In the Enhanced Remake Re;Birth1, DLC character Plutia will sometimes do the same.
  • Iji: In the prologue before the game starts, an alien invasion kills Iji's father and little sister and almost the whole human population, but even after she is transformed into a nanomachine-powered cyborg, she has no desire to kill her attackers and says a grief-stricken "I'm sorry..." when killing an enemy. This gets reversed if you shoot everything you see, however, which makes her yell "Why don't you just DIE!" or similar when shooting them.
  • Some of the mercenaries in the Jagged Alliance series are Apologetic Attackers, and others begin as such but grow hardened (or develop a murder fetish) with experience.
  • During the first battle with Jafar in Kingdom Hearts, he orders the Genie to attack you. Before every attack, the Genie yells "I'm really sorry about this!" or the equivalent ("Oh please, oh please let me miss!") as well as "Quick, get out of the way!", and if he does hit you, health orbs fly out of his fist to make up for it.
  • The Last of Us: When Tess, Joel, and Ellie are caught by a couple of military soldiers, they begin scanning them to see if they're infected. Ellie knows that when they find out she's infected, they'll kill her, so she stabs the guy scanning her in the leg while shouting a brief, "Sorry!"
  • Samara in Mass Effect 2 often says "Find peace in the embrace of the Goddess" to her enemies before she dispatches them. It's most poignant when she says it to Morinth, her daughter.
  • In League of Legends, Lillia, the Bashful Bloom is a nature spirit in the shape of a fawn-centaur who is shy to the point of neurosis. She has to psyche herself up to make herself fight and is prone to apologising to opponents for hitting them with her censer-flail, sometimes even when she's just talking to herself!
    "You can do this, Lillia! You are a strong, capable dream-fawn a—and you have a big stick and you hit with people with it but don't really mean it! Sorry..."
  • In Mighty No. 9, while none of the Mighty Numbers want to fight you, almost all of them have succumbed to the virus by the time you reach them and crazily attack Beck. The sole exception is Brandish, who's only just starting to get affected when you reach his level. As a result, he spends most of said level begging for you to turn back because he doesn't want to hurt you when he loses control. When you fight him at the end, he apologizes, encourages you to stop him, and even occasionally yells out advice to you, such as warning you when he's going to perform an aerial attack.
  • In Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, the only way to calm down a Mudokan who has been exposed to laughing gas is to give them a good hard slap. Slap them again and they get "angry" and have to be apologized to, or else they will refuse to listen to any instructions and even slap you (or any other nearby Mudokan) back. If you slap a "sad" Mudokan, you better apologize fast, or they will let out a pitiful little "no..." and start beating themselves to death with their own hands.
  • Some of the One Piece fighting games turn Sanji into this when fighting against a female opponent as a way to both reference and get around his extreme Wouldn't Hit a Girl tendencies.
  • In Octopath Traveler, Tressa is a Merchant and she prefers to barter and pay for the goods she receives. If she is given Thief as a secondary job, she apologizes when she uses Steal.
  • In Persona 3 Portable, Optional Boss Theodore is extremely apologetic when he fights the player character. His sister Elizabeth also apologizes occasionally when she hits you, but not nearly as often.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, Grovyle is notably apologetic to the Lake Guardians about stealing the Time Gears, which makes sense considering he's only stealing them to save the world in the first place.
  • At the end of of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, you'll end up having to battle against, depending on the version, Professor Sada or Turo, or rather, their Ridiculously Human Robot double, who is programmed to stop anyone who attempts to shut down the original Professor's time machine. The robot themself is actually a Benevolent A.I. who wishes to stop the summoning of Pokémon from the distant past or future due to the danger they are to present day Pokémon, and as such warn you preemptively that starting the time machine's shutdown protocol will forcibly override their programming to make them fight you.
  • The automated turrets from Portal fit this trope. After being deactivated, they say things like "No hard feelings" and "I don't hate you". They may also apologize to each other if one turret collides with another.
  • Alouette in La Pucelle occasionally apologizes after physically attacking a monster. She's a nun whose special attacks often involve beating enemies over the head with the game's Bible equivalent.
  • The Pandora Artillery in Rise of the Reds, which fires neutron shells, has the line "May our children forgive us" as he is about to fire. When selected, he may also voice ethical concerns about using these weapons.
  • Rise of the Third Power: Sparrow has a habit of apologizing to the people they're about to kill and even says a prayer for them to find peace with Empyrea. Later encounters reveal that they're genuinely sorry about their misdeeds, but they feel trapped in serving Arkadya as a spy.
  • Rival Schools: When initiating a team-up attack as Unmasked!Akira, she shouts "Gomen nasai!" ("I'm sorry!") while she performs the initial hit.
  • Freudia Neuwahl and Liebea Palesch in RosenkreuzStilette. One can only predict the results when they go up against each other in the sequel.
    Freudia: I'm sorry, Tia...
    Liebea: Forgive me, Miss Tia...
  • Shizumaru Hisame from Samurai Shodown bows and apologizes to his fallen rival in one of his winning animations. If he performs his Zetsumei Ougi and kills his opponent, he actually breaks down crying. Similarly, Mina Majikina throws her weapons to the ground and turns away in remorse after her own Zetsumei Ougi.
  • Scarlet Nexus: The Squad gets split into different sides of a Civil War (with both protagonists being Another Side, Another Story). Since members on opposing sides are still friends, there is a lot of apologizing when the two forces clash, especially from the Shrinking Violet Tsugumi.
  • SD Gundam G Generation's system that lets you put any non-action girl into a mobile suit usually results in this. Tifa, Shekti, and other girls of their kind will apologize their opponent before blasting them up to bits.
  • The Secret World:
    • Players receive a personal apology from the mysterious CEO of Faust Capital right before his boss battle; as much as he likes his newest guests, he's bound by contract to obey Samael's orders without question, and his master wants the players stopped at all costs. For good measure, said CEO is none other than Mephistopheles himself.
    • During one of the Halloween 2013 missions, it's discovered that Ellis Hill actually left an apology note on the corpse of the real Ellis Hill, claiming that "you put a man in the ground, you owe him an explanation for why."
  • Superboss Stephen in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is generally considered one of the hardest bosses in his entire home series. He seems fully aware of this, given that his pre-battle quote is a genuine, sincere apology for pitting himself against you.
    "I might not be able to hold back. Apologies in advance..."
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Adventure 2:
      • One of the alternate playable characters in multiplayer is Tikal. Every time she uses a special attack, she might say "I'm sorry."
      • Also from the same game, Knuckles apologizes to Rouge for going rough on her following their fight (after she returns the Master Emeralds shards to him).
    • Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity has Blaze, sort of. She sometimes says "Sorry" a bit timidly when she passes other racers. Funny how she doesn't when she hits others with an attack item.
  • Soul Series:
    • Sophitia exclaims "I'm sorry!" after using the widow maker attack on a male opponent.
    • Talim is another example of this trope, apologizing during even basic attacks.
    • Soulcalibur IV has voices for custom characters which say stuff like that also.
    • Siegfried as well, moreso during his stint as The Atoner in III and IV. Considering that he once served time as the Big Bad (thanks to Soul Edge), this is understandable.
    • Patrokolos from Soulcalibur V says "I'm sorry" quite often when fighting against his sister Pyrrha, who herself does this a lot due to being manipulated by Tira into becoming a killing machine (and a suitable vessel for Soul Edge).
  • In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, the characters break up into two superhero teams after an argument, with maybe best friends/maybe boyfriends Tweek and Craig ending up on different sides. In the battle that later follows, Tweek will apologize when attacking Craig.
  • Splinter Cell:
  • Street Fighter:
    • Rose will frequently ask her opponent, "Are you hurt?" or "Are you all right?" This trope is much more prominent in her Fighting Your Friend situations.
    • Not as straight of an example, but Chun-Li's "gomen ne" taunt translates to "I'm sorry!"
    • Abel from Street Fighter IV straight up says "I'm sorry..." in one of his not-personalized victory quotes.
    • In the pre-fight cut scene for Asuka and Lili's rival match with Cammy and Chun-Li in Street Fighter X Tekken, Asuka apologizes in advance for having to knock the two women out in order to keep them quiet.
  • In Super Mario Party, many NPCs that penalize the player will be significantly less jerkish and more apologetic if that player happens to be Bowser or Bowser Jr.. Kamek in particular will shake like a leaf and beg for forgiveness if either of them lands on a Bad Luck Space.
  • Despinis from Super Robot Wars Reversal is not just chronically shy, she always says "I'm sorry" before blasting you to smithereens or beating you to a pulp. True to that, when she joins your party in OG Gaiden, she seems to be more proficient at support skills rather than direct combat.
  • System Shock 2: Some of the "hybrid" enemies will tell you to run or say "sorry" while shooting you.
  • If Mint delivers the final blow in a battle in Tales of Phantasia: "Forgive me, please..."
  • One of Estelle's opening-battle quotes in Tales of Vesperia is "I'm sorry if I hurt you!"
  • Kohak takes this role in Tales of Hearts when you fight friendly but Zerom-possessed characters Rage Camellia (Sergeant Morga) and Lonely Veronica (Marin) as bosses.
  • Emil from Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World eventually becomes this after he seals his Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Team Fortress 2:
  • In Telepath Tactics, Ebon Raban does it rather sarcastically (it's more of a Badass Boast), while Leon Hart is more sincere, as he's being coerced by a slave bracelet
  • Hampton from Tiny Toons: Defenders of the Universe apologizes when he throws something at an enemy.
  • Toontown: Corporate Clash: The Toons go after Rainmaker because of her causing weather instability in Barnacle Boatyard, which she wasn't even aware was a problem. She actually wants to make friends with you, and only fights back because you provoked first. Her last words before the fight starts are "Sigh, I really don't want to do this."
  • Shannon in Umineko: Golden Fantasia is literally an example, as one of her moves is an apologetic bow.
  • Undertale has a few examples:
    • The early Random Encounter Whimsun doesn't want to fight but feels they have to. Their battle dialogue consists of a lot of apologies, they can be spared right off the bat and their attacks don't even try to hit you.
    • The optional boss "So Sorry", as per his name, apologizes for everything. He's not even trying to attack you at all, he's just incredibly clumsy.
    • Asgore manages to be a downplayed version in his normal boss fight; he's less direct about it, but he still makes it clear that he really does not want to fight the protagonist.
    • Asgore's Lost Soul in the True Final Boss fight has lines like "Forgive me for this" and "This is my duty".
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
    • Susie Evans, being a staunch pacifist, will sometimes freeze up and stop moving if you order her to attack someone (regardless of how much AP she has left). She can, however, use Ragnaid on an ally and still move around fine. If ordered to attack someone, she will actually apologize. Depending on your sense of humour, this is either tragic or darkly hilarious.
      Susie: [before shooting someone in the head] Sorry if this hurts!
      Susie: [before throwing a grenade] I'm a pacifist!
    • Also, one of the enemy lieutenants remarks how the protagonists seem like good people, and he's sorry he has to fight them.
  • Avril Vent Fleur from Wild ARMs 5 apologizes for the pain she's about to inflict with her attacks.
  • World of Warcraft has a few like this.
    • Vaelastarsz — a Red Dragon enslaved by Black Dragon Nefarian.
      Vaelstrasz the Corrupt: Forgive me, [player]! Your death only adds to my failure!
    • Sir Zeliek — a great Paladin turned into a marionette of the Lich King, trapped inside his own body as the Lich King uses his own holy powers to commit atrocities.
      Sir Zeliek: Forgive me! I-I have no choice but to obey!
    • In Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, any time Alexstrasza makes an attack, she states: "I will mourn your death."
  • Xenosaga:
    • In Episode I, one of MOMO's battle end sayings is "I'm sorry, are you okay?" If they collapsed in a shower of blood, they are pretty far from "okay."
    • Chaos is a more extreme case of this. In certain cases during battle in the second episode, he'll quickly say sorry before attacking. In Episode I, however, he has a pre-battle and battle-end quote in which he prays for the enemy's soul.
      "Poor lost souls... may you be reborn again anew!"
      "May all your souls rest in peace..."
  • Despite fighting otherworldly monsters or people corrupted by the Hollows beyond the point of sanity and hope, both known as Ethereals, Corin Wickes of Zenless Zone Zero is constantly apologizing to them while she tears them to bits with her circular saw. To really emphasize the point, her switch-attack and ultimate are called "Sorry..." and "Very, Very Sorry!", respectively.
    Corin Wickes: Aaaah, I'm sorry!

    Visual Novels 
  • a2 ~a due~: The flute player of the orchestra gets at least one moment of this.
    Flute player: I- I'm really sorry about hitting you, b- but- but I can't let you hurt my friends!
  • Galaxy Angel: In Chapter 3 of Eternal Lovers, Tact is forced to shoot down his girlfriend when her Emblem Frame is sabotaged and goes out of control, so she won't fall into the enemy's hands. After asking for the firing controls to be transferred to his terminal, he tells his girlfriend "Please forgive me!" before pulling the trigger.
  • If you find the Easter Egg ending to the Q-Team Mexican Standoff in Zero Time Dilemma Sean apologizes before killing Zero.
    Sean: I'm really sorry...
  • In Slay the Princess, the Narrator pulls a Grand Theft Me and forces you to attack the Princess if you free her. If you keep trying to help/warn her despite the Narrator's insistence, the Princess will realize what's going on and her subtitles turn back to pink as she apologizes for being forced to kill you. The second demo turns this up to eleven, with the Princess openly sobbing as she stabs you (if you didn't take the pristine blade) or the Princess coldly making your death quick with a Slashed Throat (if you did).

  • 180 Angel: Mazie apologises while holding a knife to Sam's throat.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • Dr. McNinja has been shown, in a throwaway gag to when he was younger and still working out the kinks in balancing his ninja and doctor roles, apologizing over and over and over to the body of an enemy ninja he'd just murdered.
    • He does the same thing here when he realizes that the only way to beat Conservation of Ninjutsu is to team up with the single bad guy against all of the good mooks.
  • In Awful Hospital, Dr. Man apologizes for playing Gate Guardian and attacking Fern, explaining that he can't tell whether Hospital's directive to detain her is either absolutely necessary or completely wrong, so he feels obligated to side with his existing loyalties.
  • Critical Miss: snipers.
  • In Darths & Droids, the clone troopers apologise when they shoot all the Jedi. Heck, with his different characterisation here, Palpatine is even kind of apologetic about giving the order.
  • In Everyday Heroes, Mr. Mighty has to knock out Iron Jane after she attacks him... later, he has to knock her out again to prevent her from killing her former boss in revenge.
  • Explorers of Souls: Renée when attacking Mel, uttering "No hard feelings, right?" and "I'm just doing my job!". She doesn't actually seem very sorry, though.
  • Goblins has a villainous example in the form of Psionic Minmax, who apologises to the Kin from his universe that his plans necessitated him to kill her 817 times. That doesn't stop him from killing her for the 818th time though.
  • The 'Fallen' Grace versus Damien battle in El Goonish Shive definitely qualifies. Damien threatens to kill all her friends, she goes Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass on him, rips him to shreds, then reverts to her ordinary personality and apologizes for beating him up, before asking him to surrender. Of course, he DOESN'T, but that's another trope...
  • An unusual version in Kill Six Billion Demons, where rather than apologize to their opponent angels have a prayer apologizing to YISUN for the violence they perform.
  • Cale in Looking for Group is convinced he has to kill an innocent child to save a kingdom. Up until this point, Cale has been bordering on Stupid Good and hates the thought of even harming a single innocent - but eventually goes through with it anyway.
    Cale: "I'm sorry... I'm sorry."
  • The Order of the Stick. Roy and Belkar are in a gladiator arena in the Empire of Blood (complicated story), and when he sees a peg-legged man threatening Elan with a shiv, he punches him. Before this, however, he apologizes, saying "I just wanted to let you know that this in no way reflects my views on the differently-abled."
  • Pixie and Brutus:
    • Played for Laughs. Pixie is absolutely distraught at the notion that she might have hurt Brutus after she playfully throws a tiny toy batarang at him that doesn't even make him flinch.
    • In another comic, she makes sure to ask Randal the raccoon if he's okay after she "tackled" him while playing cops-and-robbers (i.e. she leapt harmlessly onto Randal's back, Brutus growled menacingly at him, and the raccoon hastily played along and pretended Pixie "got" him).
  • Errol of Seekers profusely apologizes to the female Lizaar as he delivers a sound beating to her in a tournament.
  • Tower of God: Rachel's last words to Bam: "Sorry. You have to die here."
  • TwoKinds has Laura, a shy introvert who apologizes while attacking a Brainwashed and Crazy general.
    Laura: "I-i'm sorry I'm hurting you!."
  • Unsounded: Duane really didn't want to kill the Mamalen Entek and apologises to the ancient being when he destroys it to protect Sette, who wouldn't stop antagonizing the thing since she thought there were treasures hidden inside. She's upset and unsettled to realize it was actually full of corpses.

    Web Original 
  • In one of the videos made by Autistic Communist, Natsuki briefly apologizes to MC before stabbing him to death and cannibalizing him after being made to go without food for three days.
  • The Doctor Who game Eye of the TARDIS from the BBC's website involves the Doctor's consciousness being trapped in the TARDIS computer, and the player is charged with the task of defeating virtual avatars of the Doctor's enemies (by jumping on them to destroy them), and gathering energy crystals so that he can escape. The game features David Tennant's voice, as the Doctor says "Sorry, I'm so sorry" to each enemy avatar as it is destroyed. By the time you get to the fourth level, he is saying this as he destroys Daleks.
  • In the "Fight Day" episode of Idiotsitter, Billie gets back at Gene for punching her at the beginning of the episode by socking her in the face. She is instantly and sincerely apologetic.
  • Charlie freaks out and apologizes repeatedly to a villain she has just stabbed in KateModern: The Last Work.
  • In LG15: the resistance Chapter 5, Maggie apologizes to a LifesBlood Labs security guard, who thinks she is saying sorry for running away, before kicking him to the floor.
  • Nightmare Time: In the episode "Yellow Jacket" Hannah is in a fight with Spitfire in an underground fighting ring. For most of the fight, she plays defensively, until she realizes how much she needs the prize money, and apologizes before making her first attack.
    Hannah: Sorry, I need to hit you now.
  • The Nostalgia Critic wanted a war with The Angry Video Game Nerd, but only when the Nerd had the time.
  • The circumstances of RWBY's White trailer haven't been revealed, but Weiss' expression while fighting the Knight- and her initial reluctance to go on the offensive- strongly implies that she didn't want to do it.
  • Bobby Jacks in Survival of the Fittest apologizes to Ivan Roeghmills before cutting his throat.
  • In Worm, Skitter apologizes to the superhero Triumph, after she nearly kills him.
    • Later, Dinah Alcott, the third most powerful precog on the planet, leaves Skitter several notes. One of them reads "I'm Sorry." Dinah later organizes an attack on Skitter that exposes her civilian identity.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode "I Remember You", Ice King apologizes to Marceline twice after he pushes her.
    • The song in that episode has a retroactive and heartbreaking example:
      "Please forgive me for whatever I do... when I don't remember you..."
    • And Jake's mother.
      Margaret: Don't think you can trick me into thinking you're some kind of... baby... oh. Are you a baby?
      Never Doubt The Blob: ...Uh-huh.
      Margaret: OH, oh baby, I'm SO sorry *beat* FOR THIS!
      * punches Jake's biological mother to steal venom*
      Margaret: I'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorry...
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • "The Earth King": Katara apologizes to all the guards she has to water-whip out of the way when the Gaang's trying to get into the Earth King's palace.
    • "The Puppetmaster": Aang and Sokka attacking Katara while under Hama's control. Katara herself apologizes immediately after freezing Aang in place.
    • "The Aftermath:" When Asami discovers her father Hiroshi is working for the Equalists.
      Asami: I love you, Daddy. *attacks*
    • "A Breath of Fresh Air:" When one of the new airbenders discovers his new ability, he freaks out and airbends the people who try to help him, apologizing every time.
  • Galen Cox apologizes to Victor Steiner Davion just before he punches him in the jaw in the BattleTech cartoon. Not only is Galen, a Hauptmann, punching his superior officer, a Kommandant, he's just knocked out the Crown Prince he swore loyalty to, albeit on the (very understandable) orders of a general who wants to evacuate Victor from the world before he can be captured or killed when a battle turns against them very badly and Victor refuses to leave the unit behind.
  • Silverbolt did this to Cheetor several times in a row once in Beast Wars. Cheetor commented on wanting to return the favor when the argument was made that Silverbolt was "acting in his best interests".
  • In the Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Something Zombozo Comes That Way", Ben is Upgrade fighting a Zombie Clown Rook. He fuses with Rook's Proto-Tool and knocks him out with an electrical shock as he says "Sorry that I have to do this to you, but it's for your own good".
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: In "The Unbearable Blightness of Being", Dr. Blight's scheme of the week involves swapping bodies with Gaia. After dealing with a crisis at a nuclear power plant, Captain Planet starts chasing Dr. Blight's aircraft, correctly assuming that Blight is to blame for the whole thing but having no idea of the "Freaky Friday" Flip. Thus, Gaia-as-Blight tells MAL that while they must defend themselves, the Captain is to be treated gently.
    Gaia (softly): This is gonna hurt me more than it does you.
  • In the climax of the Codename: Kids Next Door movie "Operation: Z.E.R.O.", Numbuh One is able to jury rig the Birthday Suits so they partially cure his teammates of the zombified condition. (He was in a rush.) As they use the manual controls to launch an attack on Granfather, Numbuh Two kicks Numbah One in the ribs, and then says, "Uh, sorry! The lower half of my body is still evil."
  • Joe Jitsu uses this when giving the villains the once-over on The Dick Tracy Show ("So solly. Excuse, prease").
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In the episode "Busted", the gang is trying to fix Madame Foster's bust that Bloo accidentally broke before Mr Herriman finds out. Unfortunately, Frankie catches them in Mr Herriman's office and when they confess she angrily threatens to tell Mr Herriman about Bloo. To stop Frankie, Eduardo immediately knocks her out with a headbutt and locks her in a closet while screaming "I'M SORRY!!!! I'M SORRY!!!! I'M SORRY!!!"
  • In Frisky Dingo, when Xander Crews and Killface were forced to fight to the death. They had originally agreed to fake it and figured they'd think of something eventually, but when the audience wasn't buying it, Killface apologized to Xander before biting his ear off, escalating the fight into actual to-the-death territory.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), a curse cast by King Hsss turns all of the heroes except He-Man and Roboto into Snake-Men, rendering them Brainwashed and Crazy. (Roboto, being a robot, is immune, and Hsss apparently wanted He-Man to suffer more.) When a fight breaks out, Roboto slugs Mekaneck, saying, "My apologies, Mekaneck."
  • Invincible (2021): When The Mauler Twins escape prison, they apologize to Pete for having to attack him to do so, given he's been nice to them. They also spare his life.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 105, Stumpy apologizes to the rest of the main four before very nearly wiping them out of existence.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Lampshaded and subverted in one episode.
      Member of Team Impossible: I wish there was another way.
      Ron: Really?
      Member of Team Impossible: Not really, but that's what our lawyer told me to say.
    • In another episode Ron tries to make himself a better hero by using a cybernetic suit, only for it — and thus his body — to fall under villainous control. Besides apologizing as they attack each other, he and Kim also have a discussion about their relationship and the insecurities that made Ron think this was necessary in the first place while dodging each other's blows.
  • Looney Tunes: In "A Hare Grows in Manhattan", Bugs Bunny shoves an apple pie in a bulldog's face. He apologies profusely, cleans the dog's face off, then shoves a cherry pie in it.
  • In My Life as a Teenage Robot in the episode "Robot Wars" Jenny was forced to fight other robots in an arena in which she apologized for each attack!
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "The Ghost of Paradise Estate, Part 2", Pluma — a normally heroic person who has been forced to attack the main characters by a villain holding her grandfather hostage — apologizes profusely for her actions, even as she traps the heroes and destroys their house, as she regrets what she's doing but sees no way to avoid it.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: In "The Return of Harmony, Part 2", Fluttershy is ordered to restrain a brainwashed Rainbow Dash, and proceeds to fly up to the sleeping Rainbow and... gently awaken her, then ask "I'm just wondering if it's okay if I hold you down against your will for a little bit." Twilight Sparkle's reaction is predictable.
  • In the French cartoon Once Upon a Time... Space, the Humanoids beg the Cassiopeians to surrender during most of their battle, as they don't wish to obliterate them.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar episode "It's About Time" has Private apologizing to Skipper as he attempts to steal a vial of "Macguffium," a chemical that is supposed to power Kowalski's time travel device, the Chronotron, in order to destroy it under another Kowalski's orders. Private succeeds, but the real Kowalski just so happens to have a spare vial of Macguffium to foil Private's goal.
  • After Him turned everyone evil in one episode of The Powerpuff Girls, they apologized after beating the snot out of everybody.
  • In the TV version of Redwall, the abbot smacks an invader on the head, apologizes, smacks another on the head, and asks for forgiveness after the second hit.
  • Samurai Jack apologized to a guy for knocking him out and stealing his clothes after Jack's own clothes were stolen.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Bye Bye Nerdie": Nelson apologizes as he is forced to attack Drederick Tatum who has been swabbed with "Poindextrose".
    • "Dogtown": Marge calls "I'm sorry!" to the alpha dog, the Van Houtens' chihuahua, when she literally kicks it out of the park to assert her dominance to the dog pack.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Veritas", Tendi does this when she's mistaken for some badass secret agent and taken along on a classified mission. The rest of the team thinks that she's playing mind games with their enemies.
    Ransom: Apologizing to the enemy? That's cold, Cleaner.
    Black Ops Human Officer: You're playin' some real (bleep)ed mind games.
  • Teen Titans (2003): Starfire often acts regretful when attacking people, such as wondering if she blasted Plasmus too hard. In "Mother Mae Eye" Starfire does this when she is about to hit the Titans with a giant rolling pin so they regain their senses.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): Donatello got one of these while attempting to save a power plant worker from a cooling tower that he'd just rigged to blow up. It Makes Sense in Context...
    Don: We don't have time for this! Please accept my apology!
    Worker: For what?
    Don: For this. (Cue the use of his staff)
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) episode "Pizza Face" Mikey does this when he fights against his pizza-zombified brothers except Raph
    Michelangelo: (to Donatello) Ooops...Sorry D
    Michelangelo:(to Leonardo) Oh man! Sorry, Leo!
    Michelangelo:(to Raphael) Not sorry Raph!
  • Total Drama: Despite competing in dodgeball to escape elimination, DJ apologizes to Gwen when he successfully gets her out.

    Real Life 
  • Many people who are members of religions that respect animal rights, but who are forced to eat meat due to economic or health conditions, thank and/or apologize to the animal before eating it.
    • One argument as to why you shouldn't waste meat is because it takes significantly more time for something raised to be turned into meat and eaten to grow as desired; it is respectful to the animal to consume the meat in its entirety, or at least eat as much of it on your plate if you can, should you be someone who enjoys eating it.
    • Some more tribal-style minority religions that symbolically respected animals had separate rituals for this, in the lines of "Thanks for letting us eat you, no hard feelings. We're sending you back now (just kind of, um, thinner), come again."
      • Choi Min-sik, star of Korean film Oldboy is a Buddhist vegetarian - he said a prayer for every live octopus he had to eat during one particularly gross scene.
  • Douglas MacArthur was once out driving at night after returning to the US from World War I when a man tried to rob his car at gunpoint. MacArthur proceeded to get out of the car and tell the man that Douglas MacArthur wouldn't be robbed at gunpoint, he'd only give up his money if he lost a round of Good Old Fisticuffs. The attacker immediately apologized, saying that he'd served in MacArthur's unit during the war and let him proceed on his way.
  • Attila Ambrus, a failed Hungarian hockey player, robbed post offices and banks at gunpoint. He would usually thank the teller, even though slightly drunk.
  • In Norah Vincent's Self-Made Man, she recounts second-hand an anecdote of this sort. The full paragraph is on the quotes page.
  • Albert DeSalvo committed several (dozen) rapes in which he would apologize to his victims and show concern for their physical safety. Aside from, y'know, the raping bit. This is one reason why some modern profilers feel DeSalvo and the Boston Strangler were two different people, as the Strangler's victims were savaged by the killer.
  • MMA fighter Bas Rutten went down to apologize after winning by KO in his first fight, as his opponent was a Japanese guy who he knew from the dojo. In fact, he hit him so hard that he thought he had killed him.
  • In some places, the local customs dictated that executioners should apologize to their soon-to-be victims. i.e., the martyrdom of Blessed Maria Dolorosa van Brabant note  (a young woman who was executed by being Buried Alive and then Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, for supposed theft and witchcraft) had the guy about to execute her apologize for it and then ask her to pray for him in Heaven, which she promised to do.
  • In this 2020 viral video we see a guy standing up against a white supremacist who becomes increasingly more agitated until despite the former's attempts to de-escalate, the white supremacist becomes violent and the guy is forced to defend himself which ends badly for the racist guy, after which you can hear the guy apologizing to his aggressor and even tries to move him away from the street.
  • In Monster's Ball, this occurred between actors Halle Berry and Coronji Calhoun during filming. Berry's character Leticia would physically and emotionally abuse her young son Tyrell—Calhoun's character—for being obese, but Berry felt awful shooting those scenes because Calhoun really was overweight and she was worried what kind of effect this would have on him. She always hugged and kissed him after filming and assured him that he was beautiful.



Sure you are, Chun-Li.

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Main / ApologeticAttacker

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