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Armor-Piercing Response

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Sure wasn't expecting a blunt answer like that.

Fix-It Felix: You don't know what it's like to be rejected and treated like a criminal!
Wreck-It Ralph: Yes, I do. That's every day of my life.

Someone is frustrated and makes a hard statement, or asks a question that, if not rhetorical, is not meant to have an obvious answer to it. It might even be intended as an Armor-Piercing Question. But somehow, the other person responds with an answer that is poignant and usually succinct. Such an answer will often invoke the sort of Stunned Silence the original question was intended to cause, just in the one who asked the question.

The response causes the questioner to drop their guard, not ready to face the reality of what was said. When there are other characters in the scene, expect them to be surprised as well.

Tends to also be a Wham Line. In some cases, the question and answer are brought up by the same person, as a one-two punch. In other cases, the response may itself be phrased as a question, leading to an overlap with Armor-Piercing Question. May sometimes lead to a "Eureka!" Moment. Can be used alongside Blunt "Yes", Rhetorical Question Blunder, Brutal Honesty, Little "No", Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, and You Are Not Ready.

Sub-Trope of Stopped Dead in Their Tracks as a possible route following said stop. Compare Wisdom from the Gutter for when it's the responder who's shocking (because they aren't considered a wise figure) rather than the response.


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  • An old U.S. anti-drug PSA has a boy who is confronted by his father after his mother finds drug paraphernalia in his closet. His father asks him "Who taught you how to do this stuff?" and the kid replies "You, all right?! I learned it by watching you!" The father is stunned by this knowledge. Watch it here.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: When taking Gabi and Falco to her former village, Kaya tells them about how her mother was eaten by a Titan while she could do nothing but sit down and listen how she was devoured, until she was saved by Sasha. Kaya then asks what her mother did to be deserve that fate, to which Gabi begins spouting about how Eldians enslaved and conquered many countries over a thousand years ago. Kaya replies that her mother was born and raised inside the Walls, so she couldn't have done anything of that. Gabi then moves on to the recent attack on Liberio, to which Kaya replies that her mother was killed four years ago, so she couldn't have been involved on that. Once Gabi runs out of ammo to defend herself, Falco is forced to admit that Kaya's mother did nothing wrong, and just ended up as collateral damage for the recon-in-force operation done by Marley on Paradis.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: After Matsuri is split into a male and female form, the girl claims to be real because only she has the mark of the spell that first turned them female. The boy Matsuri incredulously replies that's proof the girl is a fake, as Matsuri was originally male and insisted he wouldn't be the "the real him" until he was a boy again. Girl Matsuri doesn't have any reply but starting a fight, and moments later is freaking out that she may be a fake.
    Boy Matsuri: Just look in a mirror. Your silvery hair because of Shirogane. Your body. The Gender Swap Mark. All that came from being hit with Gender Swap Awakened.
  • Bleach: Early on in the Thousand Year Blood War arc, when Mayuri explains his reasons for exterminating 28,000 Rukongai residents to correct the balance of souls due to the Quincies' recent actions, Yamamoto attempts to pinpoint the cause of the situation on Mayuri's team, claiming it could have been avoided had they been faster in reporting. Mayuri, however, responds by pointing out that he had foreseen and forewarned Yamamoto of this very situation two years prior, but that Yamamoto had dismissed his Cassandra Truth as paranoia, making him entirely responsible since he failed to kill Quincy leader Yhwach a thousand years prior. Yamamoto's forced to back down.
  • Bloom Into You:
    • In Chapter 28, Yuu does this to Touko, a highly respected student council president and star student who, in reality, has terrible self-esteem and desperately seeks approval by trying to emulate her late sister, Mio. Yuu tells Touko that none of Touko's friends know Mio, and if they like Touko, those feelings are directed at her, not her sister. Touko isn't fully convinced, but after the following exchange, what Yuu's trying to tell her finally starts to sink in.
      Touko: What everyone thinks is me is really just me acting like my sister...
      Yuu: But you are the one who's worked so hard to be like her, senpai!
    • In Chapter 39, Yuu, after an awkward failed love confession with Touko, talks with Maki, whom she believes is like her in that he can't fall in love with anyone. Maki, however, bluntly tells her that they are Not So Similar.
      Yuu: I guess there was a time when I really wanted to understand love. But you seem to be just fine without it, Maki-kun, so I'm sure I can just—
      Maki: No, you can't. You're just running away. You're afraid, and you're trying to hide it. You really haven't figured that out yet? The truth is, you already know how it feels to love someone. But if you admit that, then having that love rejected is going to hurt a lot. So you're just faking, right?
      Yuu: No, that's not...
      Maki: Koito-san. Don't try to pretend we're alike.
      (Yuu is speechless)
  • Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z decides to ally himself with an evil wizard for extra power, feeling that the last time he truly challenged Goku was when he was evil. He fights Goku and claims that there is no good in him, that he is a cold-hearted warrior who only cares about himself and then he blurts out that his family means nothing to him. Goku (who is usually a pretty funny guy, even in Super Saiyan) angrily calls him a liar and then punches him so hard he drops to the ground. Vegeta survives it, and even cheap-shots Goku with a two-handed blow to the back of the neck later on that knocks him out, but the words have a huge impact because he never tries to be a bad guy again, goes off to fight Buu by himself and takes himself out in a Heroic Sacrifice when he realizes he can't beat him, and from then on (after being brought back from that) firmly joins the good guys.
    • Goku delivers a second one much later on in the arc, when Vegeta has been brought back from the dead in a last-ditch effort to defeat Buu. After Goku reveals that fusion is the only way to get strong enough to defeat him, Vegeta automatically refuses. Goku convinces him by telling him that while he was gone, his wife and child had been absorbed by Buu, and fusion is the only way to save the family he cares about.
  • Failed Princesses
    • When Kurokawa tries to defend Fujishiro from her former friend Miki, Miki launches into a vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how Kurokawa can't possibly be Fujishiro's equal. Miki and Fujishiro's mutual friend Izumi intervenes on Kurokawa's behalf, telling Miki that "Taking it out on [Kurokawa] isn't going to make Nanaki come back." Miki, who had previously admired Fujishiro, demands an explanation as Izumi leads Kurokawa away.
    • In Chapter 28, Maho encounters Fujishiro, and asks her to apologize to Miki so that they can be friends again, only for Fujishiro to insist that Miki has to apologize to Kurokawa for bullying her. Maho then says, "What the hell are you so mad about? Miki was just repeating things that you'd already said," leaving Fujishiro at a loss for words as she's reminded of how she was the one who started the bullying.
  • In Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], Archer and Rin have to take on Caster alone because Shirou is injured and Saber was taken by Caster. During the battle, things turn very badly for Rin when Archer betrays her and willingly goes over to Caster's side. It takes a Big Damn Heroes moment from Shirou to save her life. After the battle, Rin berates Shirou for being stupid enough to try to fight with a serious injury, adding that she can tell that he has to be in significant pain. Shirou counters that it's nothing compared to the pain that Rin is in due to Archer's betrayal, shattering Rin's facade.
    Rin: I can't believe it. A boy made me cry.
  • In If I Could Reach You, during Chapter 33, Kaoru asks her husband Reiichi when he fell in love with her. When he struggles to answer the question, she gives him a rather blunt response.
    Kaoru: So you won't give me an answer...
    Reiichi: No, I just told you, I...
    Kaoru: No, you can't give me an answer. Because you never fell in love with me.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Phantom Blood: After Dio Brando becomes a vampire, this famous exchange occurs between him and Will A. Zeppeli.
    Zeppeli: Tell me! To undo your injuries, how many innocent lives did you consume?
    Dio: I don't know. How many loaves of bread have you eaten in your lifetime?
    J. Geil: I-I was wrong! I'll do whatever you say, so p-please forgive me!
    Polnareff: (tenses up) My sister... my younger sister must have said the same thing to you. But you killed her anyway. You killed her for your own sick pleasure!
  • Elma from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid gets one from Kobayashi when she calls her rude.
    Elma: You're being very distracting, Human!
    Kobayashi: That's quite the attitude from someone who just destroyed my home. Please follow our laws before you try protecting order in this world. Even Tohru wouldn't do something like this. Probably.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: What starts off Onizuka's transformation from a pervert who just wants to hook up with schoolgirls into a heroic teacher who wants to genuinely help his students. When Nanako Mizuki sets him up for blackmail by claiming she'd run away from home to get him to take her with him then gets him caught in a compromising position, a frustrated Onizuka asks her Was It All a Lie? Her answer causes an epiphany within him:
  • I Can't Believe I Slept with You: The morning after they first have sex, the Landlady asks Chiyo if she regrets it. Chiyo's response is a very tearful, Blunt "Yes".
  • Mars (1996): Once their relationship is serious enough for Ladykiller in Love Rei to expect more physical intimacy from his Shrinking Violet girlfriend Kira, he realizes that her aversion to men still applies to him, which makes him decide to find out just where Kira's phobia comes from. It doesn't take long for him to piece it together and ask her the Armor-Piercing Question "Who raped you?" to which she responds with " father". The answer also acts as Dropping the Bombshell since there was zero indication before this moment that this would be her response given that her father had died before the story began, Kira seemed to have good memories of her father, and the step-father she is actually talking about had not yet been introduced or even mentioned in the story proper. This response makes Rei have an internal crisis as he realizes Kira's problems are far too big for him to solve in his usual way (with his fists) and they end up breaking up for a while because of his inability to deal with Kira's trauma.
  • In the final battle of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Wufei asks Treize Kushrenada "How many people do you think have died for you?!" Treize's response is a scarily-accurate number, even calling his advisor, Lady Une, to find out how many soldiers have died in the current battle. And then goes on to state that he has memorized the names of every single one of them. This shocks Wufei, who suddenly realizes that his opponent is intentionally carrying a very heavy load on his shoulders.
    Wufei: How many people do you think have died for you?!
    Treize: Do you really want to know? As of yesterday, 99,822 people.
    Wufei: What?!
    Treize: Lady, how many fatalities today?
    Lady Une: We have confirmation of 82 White Fang soldiers and 105 of our own.
    Treize: I see. Give me their names later today.
  • My Hero Academia: After All for One weakens All Might to the point of forcing him to reveal his true form, All Might states that what makes him the Symbol of Peace is his spirit, and All for One still hasn't damaged it at all. The response? Tomura Shigaraki is Nana Shimura's grandson.
  • Naruto: During Naruto's fight with Neji, the latter says that Naruto can't possibly understand what it means to be marked with a seal that keeps you apart from everyone else and cannot be removed. His response essentially amounts to asking if Neji has ever met Naruto before, effectively a "So what? Big deal!" to Neji's previous Motive Rant. Neji has no rebuttal other than continuing to kick Naruto's ass.
    • Kakashi tries to talk Sasuke out of trying to avenge his family, as it's an obsession that will consume his life. Incensed that Kakashi would make light of his loss, Sasuke rants that Kakashi can't possibly understand his pain and (clearly not sincerely) offers to teach Kakashi what it's like by killing everyone he cares for. Kakashi blithely counters that Sasuke can't do that; everyone who qualifies has already been killed. Shocked to hear that from his often goofy and laid-back mentor, Sasuke is left at a loss for words.
  • In No Game No Life, Steph grows frustrated with Sora and Shiro supposedly spending a month doing nothing after ascending to the throne of Elkia, and repeatedly challenges them to games of chance to get them to do actual work, only for her to lose due to them having more information. Sora explains that there's no such thing as luck, and that they'd spent all month looking for information to plan their next move, since they'll end up in a fight they can't win if they don't prepare enough. Steph insists they have to do something, but Sora counters that one mistake will doom them. Steph is left at a loss for words, both because of the gravity of their situation and because Sora is actually taking ruling Imanity seriously.
  • In One Piece during the Fish-Man Island Arc, when Fukaboshi asks why Hody Jones hates humans so much that he is willing to destroy Fish-Man Island and kill thousands of Fishmen, Hody's answer made Fukaboshi realize that the negative environment that he grew up in taught him to hate the humans, who didn't even do anything to him personally.
    Fukaboshi: What have you experienced in your past?! Just what have humans done to you?!
    Hody Jones: Nothing. We have to bestow judgment upon humans. We've been chosen by the heavens... and granted power!!
  • One-Punch Man: During Garou's final battle with Saitama, he lays out all of what he thinks are the sins of heroes, then asks Saitama why he's a hero at all. Saitama simply replies, "It's a hobby." This completely throws Garou, and leaves him open for a rather devastating speech where Saitama strips all of Garou's motivations bare.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: In the climax of the Sisters' War arc, after Ichika gets caught trying to sabotage Miku's confession to Fuutarou, Nino angrily confronts her. Ichika tries to defend her actions by citing how Nino previously told her that she wouldn't let anybody stop her, asking how their actions are any different. Ichika's question briefly shakes Nino, but the latter quickly adds that she values her bond with her and the others just as much, if not more so, and that she would have been happy for Ichika had Fuutarou chosen her.
  • The Summer You Were There
    • A flashback shows Shizuku in class with Ruri, a girl who fell behind in school and sports because of frequent absences. Shizuku tried to help Ruri, but what began as harsh criticism only got more and more abrasive over time, with Shizuku's classmates only taking umbrage with her tone. After Shizuku pushed Ruri from behind, causing her to fall while carrying curry, Ruri's friend Seri, who was in another class, confronted her and slapped her. Shizuku tried to justify her actions as for everyone's sake, only for Seri to say, "Oh yeah...? So that's how you're bullying Ruri." Shizuku was immediately taken aback, and while she briefly tried to defend herself, that reply, as well as the class turning on her, led her to suffer a Heel Realization.
    • In Chapter 16, Shizuku learns that Kaori is terminally ill. Shizuku is shocked by this realization and frantically tries proposing theories that could give Kaori some hope, but Kaori, with grim certainty, decisively refutes each one.
      Shizuku: There are other hospitals you could try....
      Kaori: I've been to a lot of places. It's all the same.
      Shizuku: Maybe they've got the wrong diagnosis...
      Kaori: I don't think so, not this time around. They're the leading doctors on it. Famous even.
      Shizuku: F-Famous? But, that's great! Maybe you have to stay a bit and somehow...
      Kaori: Somehow, I made it up until now. It's a miracle I survived to high school.
      Shizuku: Gh... But...
      Kaori: Shizuku. There are no miracles left for me. This is it for me.
  • World's End Harem: Erica was a beautiful popular girl and the girlfriend of Shota Doi's main bully Takamatsu and would take part in the beating and humiliating of Shota, but her life fell apart during the five-year gap. When Shota's handler Karen Kamiya brings Erica to him, she reveals that Erica has become a drug addict living in the slums, and she is then forced to become the school janitor and Shota's pet. Shota would take his revenge on her by beating and humiliating her like Erica used to do to him. When Shota asks Erica what happened to her boyfriend Takamatsu, and she admits that she doesn't know what happened to him, Shota admits that he does not care if he is alive or dead. Erica angrily protests, him holding a grudge from five years ago; Shota angrily reminds her that while it was five years for her, it was just a day for him.
  • In World Trigger, Miwa hates all Neighbors because they caused the death of his sister, and at the end of the failed Black Trigger Retrieval, when he's spouting off his beliefs about how those who haven't lost loved ones to various Neighbor assaults can't understand how dangerous Neighbors are, he finally gets it thrown right back in his face: the Tamakoma branch, composed of those who believe peaceful relations with Neighbors is possible and all of whom Miwa regards as traitors, has as one of its strongest members Jin, who has lost not only his own mother but the man who mentored him as a Border agent as well, to Neighbor assaults.
  • Yuri is My Job!:
    • Hime is a girl who habitually puts up a cute façade so that everyone will like her. She's shocked to learn that Mitsuki, her coworker at the salon who's always disliked her, is none other than her former friend from elementary school, who told everyone about her façade and ruined Hime's reputation. When Hime tells this to her friend Kanoko, Kanoko gives the following reply.
      Kanoko: Well then, you don't have to worry about her liking you. She already knows about your facade, so you don't have to keep up the act to try to get her to like you, do you?
    • Later on, Mitsuki confronts Hime over why their friendship fell apart. The two had planned on playing in a piano recital together, but Hime, realizing that their classmates were spreading rumors about Mitsuki bullying Hime into taking part, quits the recital to try to prevent Mitsuki from being seen as a bully. Unfortunately, she never told Mitsuki, who, unable to believe anything Hime said because of her lying all the time, exposed her as a liar. Mitsuki remains bitter about what she perceives as Hime's betrayal for years until she confronts Hime about it.
      Mitsuki: You just quit... because you wanted to, right...?
      Hime: I did it for you!
    • In Volume 3, Kanoko, who's Hime's Only Friend and has an unrequited crush on Hime, becomes jealous of Hime's closeness with her former friend Mitsuki, even after Sumika tells her that the bonds between schwestern are not meant to be romantic. As Sumika mentions that Mitsuki and Hime have become close friends, Kanoko insists that she's Hime's only friend. Sumika's response reduces Kanoko to tears.
      "Kanoko-chan. I know what it means to worry about a friend, but if you try to monopolize her like that, Hime-chan's just going to end up hating you."
    • In Volume 8, Hime is about to quit working at Liebe, since she rejected Mitsuki's previous Love Confession and she fears that staying in touch will only hurt Mitsuki. To this end, Hime lies and claims that she doesn't care for Mitsuki, until she's forced to admit that she does care and doesn't want to hurt Mitsuki. Mitsuki then replies, "Then there's no reason for you to lie! It's because I've been hurt that I want to be with you! So just be honest with me about your feelings!", leaving Hime at a loss for words. Mitsuki ultimately convinces Hime to stay.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Black and White: In "Bent Twigs", an emotionally-abusive father, in the middle of a rant about all the things his son does that in his mind justify his behavior, asks rhetorically why his son spends so much time up on the roof of the apartment building in the snow instead of inside where it's warm and dry and he's got homework to do. He's stunned speechless by his son's reply: "It's you, Daddy. I'm hiding from you."
  • In Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood, Huntress, a.k.a. Helena Bertinelli, sneaks into the home of Don Santo Cassamento and confronts him at crossbow-point with a photograph of him in flagrante delicto with her mother. She demands to know what they were doing together. His reply devastates her:
    Huntress: Sit down, Don Cassamento. You raise an alarm, I'll kill you. Look at the photograph, please. Take a good look... and then tell me what you and Maria Bertinelli were doing in that hotel room together.
    Santo Cassamento: F.B.I. took this?
    Huntress: Answer the question.
    Santo Cassamento: Must've been the feds. Franco would've killed me if he'd known about it.
    Huntress: I said, answer—
    Santo Cassamento: Isn't it obvious? Your mother and I were conceiving you, Helena Rosa. Now put that crossbow down before you accidentally murder your father.
  • In the first arc of Gail Simone's Birds of Prey, Savant regards how he once tried to become a costumed vigilante and spent several weeks tracking down a group of arsonists. After finally catching them as they were escaping from one of their targets, he's confronted by Batman, who tells him to drop out of the game. When Savant attempted to take the high and mighty road saying he's the one who caught the criminals and asked Batman what kept him busy from arresting them instead, Batman stuns him by telling him that he was safely evacuating everyone from the burning building the arsonists torched. Unfortunately, this also led to Savant's self-realization about his own Lack of Empathy and subsequent decision he worked better as a criminal.
  • In Eternals (2021), Thanos holds Thena's lover Tolau hostage. When she comes to confront him, he mocks this "weakness". He doesn’t like her response much, though.
    Thena: Your love brought you to nearly destroy the universe, Thanos. You of all people should know that love is power.
  • Invincible: Mark hits his father with one of these when the latter is trying to get him to see his side of things (by way of No-Holds-Barred Beatdown).
    Omni-Man: Think, Mark! Think!! The older we get, the slower we age! We will outlast every fragile being on the planet. You will live to see the end of this civilization! Everything and everyone you know will be gone! WHAT WILL YOU HAVE AFTER FIVE HUNDRED YEARS?!
    Mark: You, dad. I'd still have you.
  • At the climax of Joker, the titular character is engaged in the usual brawl with Batman. During this, he engages in a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and attempts to deconstruct Batman dressing up like a monster and inspiring fear. After going on about that, Joker asks why Batman leaves his chin uncovered, allowing a glimpse at the man beneath the suit and thus showing that despite the appearance, Batman isn't a monster. Batman responds, "To mock you." Joker immediately flips out. The response is made more powerful because this is Batman's only line in the whole story.
  • In Kingdom Come, Superman desperately tries to comprehend what happened to the world and to people's attitudes during his temporary retirement, until Batman breaks it down to him in the most blunt, Batman-like manner: "You quit." Superman is visibly shocked and disoriented by this answer for a while.
  • In Lex Luthor: Man of Steel (by the same writer and artist as Joker), something similar happens with Lex Luthor. After a typically complex scheme to undermine Superman and sow the seeds of distrust in the public towards him, Lex confronts Superman with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how Superman is too far removed from humanity to see the truth about what they're really like, and how for all his powers and abilities, he can't see into Luthor's soul and so will never understand him or what it is to be human. Unfortunately for Lex, he's not prepared for Superman to come back with just seven words that not only completely undermine his whole speech, but his confidence in his whole philosophy (and just like above, this is the only line Superman has in the story):
    Superman: You're wrong. I can see your soul.
  • Marvel: NOW What?!: During Intervention, The Watcher gets help for his crippling addiction to breaking his race's Alien Non-Interference Clause. The other watchers spend the entire story making sure Uatu goes through with the intervention, and by the end, he is considered cured. But then Uatu, with a knowing grin on his face, thanks his brothers for interfering. Here We Go Again!
  • In The Sandman (1989), Death calls her brother Dream out on his treatment of his former lover Nada, simply because she rejected him (after their love affair had already destroyed her kingdom, mind you!). When Dream mutters sullenly that he would have made her a goddess, Death shoots back, "Maybe she didn't want to be a goddess, little brother. Did you ever consider that? Anyway, condemning her to an eternity in Hell, just because she turned you down... that's a really shitty thing to do." Her words wake Dream up to his being in the wrong here, so he decides to go to Hell to free Nada, which in turn sets so much in motion throughout the rest of the story...
  • The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis: When Smithers refuse to let the heroes use the Nimbus (whom he became its captain after pulling a mutiny) so they can save the Earth, Marge asks him "And what about Mr. Burns?" He asks "What about him?" before adding that his boss' keen mind and supple body will get him out of whatever dangers he's facing. Smirking, Leela replies that Burns is dating Mom and they seem quite like an item. This is all it takes to make Smithers change his mind.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW), Shadow heatedly asks Sonic why he'd be willing to give the seemingly amnesiac Eggman a second chance, arguing that he could go back to trying to take over the world at any time and mentions the things he's done during the war. Sonic counters by bringing up all the things Shadow did before his Heel–Face Turn, pointing out that if he could be redeemed, the same can be said for Eggman. This gets Shadow to calm down.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • Back in the previous series, Optimus and Megatron had a debate over what Megatron would've done if he'd won, ending with Megatron telling Optimus that as long as one Autobot lived, he'd hunt them down to kill them for the sheer pleasure of it. In More Than Meets the Eye, he reveals to Ravage he'd actually said that just to upset Optimus, but was surprised to find himself saying it at all.
      Megatron: When the world thinks of you as a monster, what does it matter? The world is wrong. But when you come to think of yourself as a monster...
    • When Megatron freaks out and demands to be sent back in time to stop Brainstorm from erasing him from existence, Perceptor tells him Rodimus' team is already on it. When Megatron starts listing Rodders' many flaws and questioning why he should put his faith in him, Ultra Magnus retaliates with:
      Magnus: You were happy to leave this to Rodimus when you thought it was Prime's life on the line.
      Megatron: What? Don't be clever. It makes you look stupid. God, now I'm starting to sound like him.
  • Watchmen:
    • At the climax of the story, Nite-Owl and Rorschach confront Ozymandias and ask him when he was planning on implementing his deranged plan to kill millions in New York City. Ozymandias calmly tells them that he already did it when he saw them approaching his base.
      Adrian Veidt: Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.
    • Later, Ozymandias gets this from Dr. Manhattan; when he asks the doc if he did the right thing and all worked out in the end, Manhattan's answer leaves him visibly shaken.
      Doctor Manhattan: "In the end"? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.
    • Similar to the Kingdom Come example, when Dan and Rorschach are reminiscing about their time as crime-fighting partners:
      Dan: Those were great times, Rorschach. Great times. Whatever happened to them?
      Rorschach: You quit.
    • Also at the beginning of the book, Edward Blake/the Comedian delivers a rather long-winded one to Dr. Manhattan. For context, The Comedian had callously dismissed a Vietnamese woman he'd gotten pregnant, resulting in her slashing his face with a bottle and him shooting her dead in retaliation. The Comedian then notices how Dr. Manhattan, who did nothing besides weakly protest against the murder, is sliding away from his own humanity:
      Blake: Yeah. Yeah, that's right. Pregnant woman. Gunned her down. Bang. And y'know what? You watched me. You coulda changed the gun into steam or the bullets into mercury or the bottle into snowflakes! You coulda teleported either of us to goddam Australia... but you didn't lift a finger. You really don't give a damn about human beings. I've watched you. You never cared about whatsername, Janey Slater even before you ditched her. Soon you won't be interested in Sally Jupiter's little gal, either. You're driftin' outta touch, Doc. You're turning into a flake. God help us all.
  • In one X-Men story, The Avengers arrive in Australia to arrest Cyclops, whose advocacy for mutant rights is rapidly increasing, for the supposed murder of Charles Xavier. Cyclops delivers a furious speech about the way mutants are treated, saying that he is no longer going to stand by as the police harass them (especially when their powers first emerge) and other heroes fail to help. When the Avengers make excuses and question Cyclops's methods, Eva Bell, a teenager and newly awakened mutant, speaks up:
    Eva Bell: My name is Eva Bell. This is my house. I'm — yeah, I'm a mutant. He's — Cyclops is telling the truth. The minute I got my powers, the police... they tried to arrest me at gunpoint.

    Comic Strips 
  • In The Boondocks, after Huey's efforts at social justice report go nowhere, leaving him depressed, his grandfather gives one to him that says that Huey making himself miserable and angry will solve nothing. Huey's still upset, but has to admit that his grandfather has a point.
    Huey: I got a right to be hostile, man! My people's been persecuted!
    Grandpa: (walking by) And I suppose you'll find justice in making yourself miserable.
    [Beat Panel]
    Huey: (sullenly thinking) I hate wisdom.
  • In Dykes to Watch Out For #452, Conservative lesbian student Cynthia relates her problems with her homophobic parents to her professor, Ginger. Ginger tries to end this conversation by saying "Oh. Jeez. Well, uh ... maybe you should talk to someone." Cynthia's response is, "I thought I was."

    Films — Animation 
  • Cats Don't Dance sees Danny doing this with his naive but earnest attempts to make it big in Hollywood. The other animals have grown quite cynical with the way Hollywood has treated them, so someone like Danny momentarily breaks through the cynical exterior when he shows up.
    • After the fiasco on the set of "Li'l Ark Angel," Sawyer pointedly asks Danny, "Why do you insist on making a fool of yourself?" This is followed by a look expectant of an answer. Danny gives one: "I just want to do the thing I love. Doesn't everyone?" This response takes the wind out of Sawyer's scolding, reminding her of why she herself came to Hollywood.
    • Danny gets another Armor-Piercing Response late in the movie. When the other animals are complaining about how bad it is for them in Hollywood, Danny asks "Then why are you still here?" in response. The others are momentarily shocked into Stunned Silence while Danny says that it's because they never gave up on their dreams of making it big. This speech convinces the other animals to give Danny's idea for the Show Stopper a try, which ultimately leads to the film's climax.
  • In Frozen, Elsa's refusal to bless Anna and Hans' marriage leads to this exchange, in which Anna lets out her frustration over Elsa shutting her out for years without explanation:
    Elsa: Anna, what do you know about true love?
    Anna: More than you! All you know is how to shut people out!
    [Elsa is visibly shocked]
    • The exchange ends when after Anna asks an Armor-Piercing Question, "What are you so afraid of?", Elsa snaps and shoots ice spikes at her, revealing the secret ice powers she had been trying to hide and control.
  • In Hercules, after Hades tricks Hercules into giving up his Super-Strength for 24 hours, Meg and Pegasus track down Phil, who’s still mad at Herc for lashing out at him earlier, to try to talk sense into him. What finally snaps Phil out of his anger is when Meg lets him know just how much danger Herc is in.
    Meg: Look, I know what I did was wrong, but this isn't about me, it's about him. If you don't help him now, Phil, he'll die!
    (Phil freezes in horror)
  • Astrid does this twice in rapid succession when talking to Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon (2010):
    Hiccup: Why is this so important to you all of a sudden?
    Astrid: Because I want to remember what you say, right now.
    Hiccup: Three hundred years, and I'm the first Viking who wouldn't kill a dragon!
    Astrid: First to ride one, though.
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift: While held prisoner by the herd, Shira argues with Diego over the differences between the two of them, and Diego pulls this line on her:
    Shira: Gutt has my back! I'm his first mate.
    Diego: Really? Cause I don't see Gutt sending out any search parties for you.
  • The Incredibles: Bob tries to convince Helen to stay with the kids while he handles the Omnidroid alone. Helen is frustrated, thinking that he's trying to prove himself with some kind of a superhero workout, when he blurts out "I can't lose you again!!!", taking her aback.
    Elastigirl: What is this to you? Playtime?
    Mr. Incredible: No.
    Elastigirl: So you can be Mr. Incredible again?
    Mr. Incredible: NO!
    Elastigirl: Then what? What is it?
    Mr. Incredible: I'm not...
    Elastigirl: Not what?
    Mr. Incredible: I-I'm not strong enough.
    Elastigirl: Strong enough. And this will make you stronger?
    Mr. Incredible: Yes—NO!!
    Elastigirl: That's what this is? Some sort of workout!?
    Mr. Incredible: I CAN'T LOSE YOU AGAIN!!!!! [a Beat; he slumps] I can't. Not again. I'm not...strong enough.
    [A few seconds' pause, then Elastigirl kisses him]
    Elastigirl: If we work together, you won't have to be.
  • The Lion King (1994): During Simba and Nala's argument, this particular line from Nala renders Simba silent for a moment and then he just starts lashing out at her:
    • After Kovu's exile in the second half of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Simba tells Kiara that just as Kovu was chosen to follow in Scar's pawprints, he's following in his own father's, to which Kiara tearfully responds, "You will never be Mufasa!"; Simba is visibly shocked to hear that.
    • The Lion King 1 ½:
      • Max and the colony are angry with Timon for not alerting them to the hyenas’ attack and nearly getting Max killed, and Timon tries to smooth things over.
        Timon: I'm sure we’re all gonna laugh about this someday, trust me!
        Max: I did trust you.
      • After learning from Nala that Simba is on his way back to the Pridelands to take them back from Scar, Timon obstinately refuses to join in the effort due to feeling betrayed that Simba would choose to abandon their idyllic lifestyle to "run off to be "his highness" and unwilling to leave the paradise he spent so long searching for. This leads to Timon getting into an argument with Pumbaa over the prospect of having to leave their home and lifestyle to help their friend, concluding with Pumbaa calling him out on his selfishness.
        Timon: [Simba] needs us? [Angrily] Well then he shouldn't have left us! If he wants to run off to be "his highness" well, I say, don't let the branches hit you on the way out! Leave Hakuna Matata to someone who appreciates it!
        Pumbaa: But, Timon... it's not really Hakuna Matata without Simba.
        Timon: What's gotten into you? Not Hakuna Matata? That's crazy talk. Crazy talk, I tell ya! Nothing's changed here! We had Hakuna Matata before Simba, and we've still got it now!
        Pumbaa: We gotta go help our friend, Timon!
        Timon: Et tu, Pumbaa? You're just gonna walk away, give up on all this? What happened to "friends stick together to the end"? Huh? Huh? Huh?
        Pumbaa: I was about to ask you the same thing.
  • In Recess: School's Out, after TJ and Principal Prickley are captured by Benedict’s men, TJ’s friends go to his older sister, Becky, to get help. However, she's still mad at TJ for blackmailing her into driving him around, and yells at them to give her one good reason why she should help him. That’s when a dead serious Mikey responds with this:
    Mikey: Because he's your little brother, and he needs you.
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: After hitting his Rage Breaking Point regarding Miles Morales escaping back to his home dimension, Miguel O'Hara angrily blames Gwen for causing him to get personally involved to the point where he personally has her returned to her home dimension via the Go-Home Machine. As she's forced away back home, she delivers a statement that draws silence and uncomfortable glances from everyone. Only Miguel is able to make a claim, but it's in a tone implying uncertainty (though he's not deterred from tracking down Miles).
    Gwen: We are supposed to be the good guys.
    Miguel: [darkly] We are. [turns to the others, sounding and looking uncertain] We are.
  • Toy Story: When Woody tries to rescue Buzz from Sid's toys, he's startled to find out that they simply fixed Buzz. Baffled, Woody ponders out loud why they would rescue Buzz when they saw them cannibalizing two other toys the other night—just as the mutant toys step aside to reveal that they fixed the toys in question.
  • Wolfwalkers: When Bill is trying to explain to his daughter that he's only strict with her because he fears for her safety.
    Bill: I won't be here to protect you forever. I'm so afraid that one day, you'll end up in a cage.
    Robyn: But I already am in a cage!
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, the main character, Ralph, comes from a video game where he plays the role of the villain. Despite being actually a pretty decent person, the other inhabitants of the game are scared of Ralph and don't let him go inside the apartment — the only exception is the game's hero, Fix-It Felix, who seems unaware of Ralph's plight. This situation ultimately results in Ralph being so fed up with it all that he goes on a quest to find a medal as proof that he can be a hero too. When Fix-It Felix decides to try to find him, the resulting chain of events ends up getting his affections rejected by a woman he falls in love with and being thrown in jail. When Ralph finally arrives to rescue him, Felix complains to Ralph about what it was like to be treated as a criminal, only for Ralph to state that it was like that for him every day. Then Felix realizes the nature of the game. He's always the hero who saves the day and gets all the praise. It just never occurred to him that Ralph is literally a Punch-Clock Villain. It's his job to be the bad guy. He apologizes for being so inconsiderate, and they grow closer as friends as a result.

    Films — Live Action 
  • (500) Days of Summer: When near the end of the movie Summer and Tom meet in the park and they discuss how after saying to Tom that she didn't believe in love during all their relationship she married another man quite soon after breaking up with Tom she says "I just... I just woke up one day and I knew." "Knew what?" asks Tom and her reply is "What I was never sure of with you." While this was not meant as a put-down and afterward Tom sincerely wishes her to be happy it still feels quite brutal.
  • In Annie (2014), Ms. Hannigan asks Lou why he keeps treating her so well when she treats him so poorly. Lou's response is that under her angry, cynical exterior, she's still a Nice Girl. This causes her to take part in the Heroic BSoD song "Who Am I".
  • Bagdad Cafe: When Brenda comes upon Jasmin playing with her children, she angrily asks why doesn't she find her own children to play with? Jasmin responds sadly, "I do not have any". This is the exact moment Brenda looks at Jasmin with sympathy and their friendship begins.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:
    • Firstly from Lex Luthor to Superman, as part of his Break Them by Talking and revealing that he's holding Martha Kent hostage.
      Lex Luthor: I think you will fight, fight, fight for that special lady in your life.
      Superman: She's safe on the ground. How about you?
      Lex Luthor: Close, but I was not talking about Lois. No. Every boy's special lady... is his mother.
    • There's also one from Lois Lane to Batman, breaking the Dark Knight out of his Unstoppable Rage and finally allowing Bruce to see Clark as more than just a potential alien threat.
      Batman: Martha... Why did you say that name?
      Lois Lane: It's his mother's name.
  • Captain Fantastic: When Ben and Bo argue about his going to college (something that Leslie, Ben's late wife, Bo's mother, and just as much of an isolationist as Ben himself willingly helped Bo become capable of doing) after the former finds out about the latter having applied for several Ivy League universities behind his back, Ben dismissively says to Bo (even after becoming aware of Leslie's involvement in the matter) that he's already well past that level, speaking six languages, knowing physics and classical literature - only to be left completely silenced when Bo angrily makes clear no amount of reading will make up for his having no clue how to operate outside his family's bubble.
    Bo: I know nothing! I KNOW NOTHING!!! I am a freak because of you!... Unless it comes out of a fucking book I don't know anything about anything!
  • In the theatrical cut of Daredevil (2003), Matt is talking to Father Everett at confessional after going Vigilante Man on a mob boss who was accused of rape, and whom Matt feels got Off on a Technicality (he was the lawyer for the prosecution on that case). At one point, Matt asks Everett a theoretically rhetorical question, and the priest's answer is enough to lead Matt to take an entirely different outlook on what he is doing:
    Matt: Is justice a sin?
    Everett: Vengeance is!
  • Deewaar: When Vijay brings up his material wealth to disparage Ravi's choices in life, Ravi simply replies: "I have mother".
  • The film version of Divergent adds in a scene in which Tris lets slip to Four that she's not going to pass the final test after Al's suicide.
    Four: Why do you say that?
    Tris: You know why.
    [Four nods, confirming that he knows she's a Divergent]
    Tris: And as soon as all the others find out, they're gonna kill me.
    Four: I am not going to let that happen.
  • Downhill Racer: Paul is an Olympic-caliber downhill skier, but his father, a taciturn chicken farmer, is not at all impressed with Paul chasing sports glory. Dad points out that Paul isn't getting paid (Olympic amateurism rules) then asks what Paul's doing it for. Paul says that he'll be famous and "I'll be a champion." His father's contemptuous response: "World's full of 'em."
  • Played for Laughs in Galaxy Quest, as Sir Alexander Dane is refusing to debase himself by appearing at another convention.
    Nesmith: You will go out there.
    Dane: I won't and nothing you say will make me.
    Nesmith: The Show Must Go On.
    Dane: ...Damn you.
  • Godzilla:
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956): Serizawa's Armor-Piercing Question to Emiko and Ogata about the Oxygen Destroyer is followed by one of the most famous lines in the entire franchise:
      Ogata: Then you have a responsibility no man has ever faced. You have your fear, which might become reality, and then you have Godzilla, which is reality.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): It's implied in the film and outright confirmed in the novelization that Emma Russell calling her ex-husband Mark out on running away from his problems is an APR for Mark — he knows full well that it was him refusing to face up to his son's death in a healthy manner that broke the surviving Russells apart and left Mark living alone in a cabin with the wolves. After a silent pause, Mark in turn hits Emma with an equally-effective Armor-Piercing Response:
      Mark: This won't bring [our son] back to us.
  • Good Will Hunting: Towards the end, when the title character is wondering what's wrong, his psychologist Sean Maguire tells him "It's not your fault." Repeating it a dozen times rapidly brings the main character to his knees.
    • This is also the answer to the question Sean asked during the class Lambeau interrupted earlier. Why is it important for the patient to trust the therapist? Because otherwise the therapist can't tell the patient what they need to hear and don't want to hear.
  • In My Country: At one point, Anna confronts a particularly brutal Secret Police official and asks how he could think what he did was right. He replies "Ask your brother."
  • Judgment at Nuremberg:
    • The last line of dialogue in the movie, after Haywood visits Janning's cell, and Janning tries to justify himself and practically begs Haywood for a measure of forgiveness.
      Janning: Those people, those millions of people. I never knew it would come to that. You must believe it.
      Haywood: (with sorrow) Herr Janning... it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.
    • Another example came earlier in the film when Haywood was talking to the old German couple who worked at his house. They said they didn't know what Hitler was doing to the Jewish population, then asked "Even if we did know, what could we have done?" To which Haywood responds, "You said you didn't know." The old couple realized that Haywood saw through their protestations, and it was clear that they were lying to themselves about not knowing, and were fully aware of the atrocities.
    • After being shown a film on the Holocaust, Lampe is unable to believe that things like that happened, even if he admits at least hundreds of people were murdered by the Third Reich. So he asks another inmate how could that be possible, clearly looking for reassurance... and the other inmate, who worked with Eichmann, not only tells him that it was possible but explains how they did it. It could be the reason why Lampe seems to feel regret at the end.
  • In Mike Leigh's film Life Is Sweet, Nicola, a young woman with bulimia, spends the entire film bitterly lashing out at her family and calling them "Fascist!", "Capitalist!" etc. After her boyfriend dumps her, she becomes even more isolated and angry until her mother Wendy finally confronts her and asks her why she never gets involved in all the political causes she claims to believe in. After spending the entire film in a tense stand-off, Nicola and Wendy have a massive row in which Wendy confronts Nicola with things like her ingratitude towards her dad for working in a job he hates (industrial chef) to support his family, and the fact that everyone is worried about her. Nicola, who is emotionally imploding, asks her mother why they're so worried about her if they hate her so much. Cue the bombshell:
    Wendy: We don't hate you! We bloody love you, you stupid girl!
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man 2, Fury meets Tony to encourage him to finish Howard's life's work, but Tony thinks his father never loved him.
      Fury: That's not true.
      Tony: Well, clearly you know my dad better than I did.
      Fury: As a matter of fact, I did. He was one of the founding members of SHIELD.
      Tony: What?
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Tony gets one of these when Steve tries to explain why he won't abandon Bucky despite the fact that he killed Iron Man's parents.
      Steve: Tony, he didn't know what he was doing... He's my friend.
      Tony: So was I.
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, after the Big Bad has spent the movie trying to kill the Guardians along with the universe itself, Star-Lord is keeping the Big Bad distracted while Rocket and Groot put a bomb in his brain. Realizing he's bitten off way more than he expected and scared for his life for once, he tries to reason with Peter.
      Ego the Living Planet: If you kill me, you'll be just like everyone else!
      Star-Lord: What's so wrong with that?
    • A silent one in Spider-Man: Homecoming. When Iron Man lectures Peter on the repercussions of what could've happened at the ferry if he hadn't gotten involved, Peter angrily responds that if Tony cared so much, he would be there in person (Tony had previously rescued him via remote-controlled Iron Man armor). Cue the Iron Man armor opening up and a rather pissed-off Tony stepping out.
    • Avengers: Infinity War contains another Peter and Tony example, but with the roles reversed. When Tony finds out Peter stowed away on the spaceship with him, the former is furious and refusing to hear the latter's excuses, until Peter finds the response that catches Tony flat-footed:
      Peter: You can't be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man if there's no neighborhood.
  • In The Matrix Revolutions:
    • As things look grim for the defenders of Zion, they realize that if the Hammer gets inside, it can use its EMP to wipe out the Sentinel army. Commander Lock, who's leading Zion's defense, protests that if that happens, all the APUs will be disabled, and they'll lose the dock. Lock's lieutenant tells him, "Sir, we already lost the dock." While Lock isn't wrong about the drawbacks of using the EMP, he realizes that it's their only hope of survival and orders that the gate be opened.
    • Near the end of the Final Battle, Neo's answer to Smith's "Why do you persist?" rant is simply "Because I choose to." Cue Smith's Villainous Breakdown.
  • In the Short Film Modesta, the title character is reading the League of Liberated Women's list of demands for husbands. At hearing the third one, that men must help care and educate children, the bar owner is dismissive.
    Bar Owner: Even change and wash diapers? (laughing)
    Modesta: And why not? Didn't someone put diapers on you when you were little? (everybody laughs).
  • In the 2017 remake of Murder on The Orient Express, after The Summation, Poirot is by himself when he is approached by Pilar and he asks her about where her conscience lies after the titular murder. The answer: "With Daisy Armstrong." It's heavily implied that this conversation is a big part of Poirot's actions in the final scene.
  • Red Dawn (1984): When the Wolverines start executing captured enemies, along with a traitor in their own group, they begin having second thoughts about it and this exchange happens:
    Matt: What's the difference, Jed? Tell me, what's the difference between us and them?
    Jed: Because... WE LIVE HERE! (shoots soldier)
  • In the film Savage Messiah 2002, which is about the ridiculously sadistic cult leader Roch Theriault, he asks the social worker who's investigating him (and who is, incidentally, immune to his charisma and parlor tricks) what she's doing in this remote part of Canada. As he happens to be on the run from the law, she promptly responds, "Not because I was breaking the conditions of my parole."
  • Solo: When Qi'ra tells Han that "You're the good guy", it clearly shakes him. He doesn't think of himself that way, and wants to join her in her criminal life.
  • Space Jam: A New Legacy: LeBron James spent the film trying to rope his son into basketball against his wishes, not showing interest in his computer skills. He ends up transplanting this into the Looney Tunes, forcing them to play basketball the traditional way even as the final game is essentially a basketball version of Calvin Ball. Needless to say, at halftime, the Tune Squad runs short of about 1,000 points, which leads to an argument between them and James when he starts accusing them of not playing the game seriously. When he questions what they've been doing the whole game since he's trying to save his son and coach them simultaneously, Lola and Bugs then admit to him that the Tunes were only trying to play the game just like him and it's just not working. This makes him undergo a big Jerkass Realization about how he's been treating them (and by extension his own son) and finally let the Tunes "go looney" for the second half.
  • V for Vendetta generally has V being an articulate anti-hero, able to justify his actions in a way that causes Evey to consider her own worldview. But as the climax approaches and she goes through her own personal revelations (with V's help), she gains insight into what compelled him to start his one-man fight against Sutler and his government. Once she realizes this, she manages to hit him back with something that causes him to pause.
    Evey Hammond: You were in the cell next to her. That's what it's all about... you're getting back at them for what they did to her... and to you.
    V: What was done to me created me. It's a basic principle of the Universe that every action will create an equal and opposing reaction.
    Evey Hammond: Is that how you see it? Like an equation?
    V: What was done to me was monstrous.
    Evey Hammond: And they created a monster.
    V: (Silent, looking away almost with shame.)
  • The X-Files: Fight the Future: Mulder's declaration to Scully in his apartment hallway that she saved him and owes her everything.
  • X-Men: First Class has Charles Xavier (Professor X) use the absolute worst justification of a military's actions to Holocaust survivor Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto).
    Charles: Erik, you said yourself we're the better men. This is the time to prove it. There are thousands of men on those ships. They're just following orders.
    Erik: I've been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past has Erik and Raven arguing with each other about whether to join forces. Raven just wants to kill Dr. Trask and stop his experiments on mutants, whereas Erik wants to declare war on the humans.
    Erik: Killing one man isn't enough.
    Raven: It never was for you.
  • I, Robot - Spooner interrogates Sonny the robot, who claims he can feel emotions, and even dream. A vehement robot-hater, Spooner breaks into a seething diatribe, but is silenced with a worthy retort:
    Spooner: People have dreams. Even dogs have dreams, but not you. You're just a machine, an imitation of life. Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?
    Sonny: Can you?
  • First Man After Neil Armstrong injures himself training for the lunar landing, he's asked by superiors if it's worth the cost in lives. Neil, remembering the slew of dead astronauts left in the wake of the moon landing attempt, snaps that it's a little late to be asking that question.

  • Atlas Shrugged: From the very first line, people are asking, "Who is John Galt?" as a memetic shorthand for a question or a problem that no one can answer, so why bother with the effort of trying? The man is Shrouded in Myth with multiple fantastical possible answers to the question proposed, all of which are Metaphorically True. John Galt finally reveals himself to the world by hijacking a radio broadcast from the US President, delivering a speech over several hours detailing the moral failings of the predominant altruist philosophy and announcing that he has been responsible for the collapse of society by convincing the globe's prime movers to go on strike while proposing that if the people listening wished to survive, they would need to realize the philosophic principles necessary to do so, i.e Objectivism.
    "Are you beginning to see who is John Galt? I am the man who has earned the thing you did not fight for, the thing you have renounced, betrayed, corrupted, yet were unable fully to destroy and are now hiding as your guilty secret, spending your life in apologies to every professional cannibal, lest it be discovered that somewhere within you, you still long to say what I am now saying to the hearing of the whole of mankind: I am proud of my own value and of the fact that I wish to live."
  • The Beginning After the End: A version that is both this trope and an Armor-Piercing Question occurs when Arthur is asked by King Glayder if he would be willing to give up his newly acquired bond Sylvie to his personal conjurer Sebastian (who has been coveting Arthur and Sylvie since they arrived in Xyrus and has at this point coerced the Extreme Doormat that is Glayder into playing into his hands). After refusing Glayder's offer twice (first for a sword from the royal armory and then for a world lion cub the King won at the auction they are at) and it becomes clear Glayder is not going to back down out of pride, for the third time around Arthur decides to give a more serious response by asking Glayder if he would be willing to sell his own children (who are also present in the scene) just to get Sylvie. The gall of Arthur's response is so shocking to everyone around him it causes one of the royal guards to attack Arthur for insulting the royal family.
    Arthur: "Then, please allow me to ask your majesty a question as well. How much would you be willing to sell your children for?"
  • In Creature Court, this is what makes Garnet realise that Poet really is turning against him.
    Poet: He stole it from me.
    Garnet, dismissively: Stole? You would have given me the moon and stars.
    Poet: Yes, I fucking would.
  • At the end of The Dagger and the Coin series, the heroes are trying, and failing, to negotiate a peaceful end to the war between Antea and Elassae, believing that, although Antea had committed terrible crimes against the Elassans, letting the Elassans take revenge would just start a Cycle of Revenge. The Elassan commander, however, is having none of it, and understandably wants revenge, and doesn't see why the war should end just because the Anteans are now losing. Finally, however, the young Antean king, Aster, who was innocent of his country's crimes (the regent and the spider priests were the real culprits, and Aster did not have any actual power), speaks up and takes full responsibility, saying that it was his fault because he was not strong enough to stop it. He concludes by saying "If the [Elassans] feel that there has to be more blood, say so. You can kill as many of us as you need to make it right. Give me a number, and I'll bring them to you. I only ask that you start with me....I'm sorry that I wasn't strong enough to stop this sooner." At this, the Elassan commander can only bring himself to say "Well...shit." And that was the end of the war.
  • Edgedancer (a novella of The Stormlight Archive): At the climax, when Lift says the Third Ideal out loud, Nale thinks she's babbling incoherently and asks "What?" She tells him what she just realized — "You were trying to prevent the Desolation! Look behind you! Deny what you are seeing!", and when he does look, he dives headfirst into Villainous Breakdown.
  • The first chapter of The Hearts We Sold ends with the Daemon delivering one to Dee. Dee accuses him of going for "low-hanging fruit" by hanging around outside a hospital, where desperate people can be more easily talked into a Deal with the Devil. The Daemon coolly informs her that she must be one of those desperate people, as the only humans that can recognize daemons for what they are are the ones who are already interested in a deal.
  • Project Tau: Kata does this once to Chatton. Even Dennison is impressed.
    Chatton: "'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain'. Exodus, chapter twenty, verse seven."
    Kata: (looking pointedly at a badly beaten Tau) "'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. Luke, chapter six, verse thirty-one."
  • Rise of the Elgen: While Michael is verbally taking Hatch apart to the electric children, one of them says Hatch is like their father and wouldn't hurt them, to which Michael brings up Tanner, who wound up imprisoned, tortured, and scheduled for execution after he couldn't take what Hatch demanded of him anymore. Tara dismisses Tanner as a screw-up, whereupon Michael retorts that they'd better hope none of them ever falls short by Hatch's standards. They can't respond to this.
  • In "The Surgeon", the first book in the Rizzoli & Isles series, Detective Jane Rizzoli blasts her partner Thomas Moore for beginning a relationship with the main victim/witness in their case. Ostensibly, this is because it's grossly unprofessional, if not outright forbidden for a cop to get involved with a victim/witness, but in truth, Rizzoli hates the other woman for being beautiful when she herself isn't and is herself in love with Moore and hurt and angry that he's never given her a second look. When she offers a crude opinion of their relationship, "You've fallen for the same thing every guy falls for. Tits and ass.", an angry Moore not only blasts her for hating the woman for something she has no control over, he fires back by asking, "What guy is going to like you when even you don't like yourself?" thus indicating that it's her unattractive personality that repels men, not her plain looks.
  • Perhaps the biggest Moment of Awesome in Sarum goes to Captain Wilson's wife Nellie, who upon her return to Salisbury is immediately accused by Holier Than Thou Abigail Mason of being a harlot. Not only does the Captain denounce Abigail by asking the crowd, "And who's this pasty-faced scold?", but Nellie — quickly sizing up the situation, in which Abigail and her brother-in-law have been watching her spouse Peter Mason being executed for heresy — declares the Armor-Piercing Response, before the entire town:
    "Why, 'tis Abigail Mason who's just burned her husband so she can get another."
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: In A Feast for Crows, Arianne is convinced that her father Doran wants to replace her as his heir, and instead name her brother Quentin. She presses Doran on where her brother has gone.
    Her father plucked up a cyvasse piece. "I must know how you learned that Quentyn was abroad. Your brother went with Cletus Yronwood, Maester Kedry, and three of Lord Yronwood's best young knights on a long and perilous voyage, with an uncertain welcome at its end. He has gone to bring us back our heart's desire."
    She narrowed her eyes. "What is our heart's desire?"
    "Vengeance." His voice was soft, as if he were afraid that someone might be listening. "Justice." Prince Doran pressed the onyx dragon into her palm with his swollen, gouty fingers, and whispered, "Fire and blood."
  • The Witchlands:
    • Underplayed in the first book; after Aeduen attacks Leopold, the latter replies with "You aren't the demon your father wants you to be", stopping Aeduen in his tracks for a few moments.
    • In the second book, after Merik and Cam have an argument, he sneers that the only reason she's stressed out is that she's hiding the fact that she's a girl. She replies with "Did you really think this was about that?! (...) You see only what you want to see!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow in the episode "Dead to Rights" Tommy's Father, Malcom gets critically shot by The Hood. Tommy while trying to tend to Malcom is approached by the Green Arrow. He immediately pulls a pistol and threatens to shoot him if he gets any closer. The Green Arrow explains that he can save Malcom but Tommy has to trust him. Tommy asks, "Why should I trust you?!" and the Green Arrow slowly removes his hood and says "Because you always have." revealing him to be Oliver, his long-time friend.
  • Babylon 5:
    • In "Comes the Inquisitor", the inquisitor Sebastian asks Delenn whether she'd ever considered she might be wrong about her role in the great cause she's taken on. With virtually no hesitation, she replies. "yes," which actually shakes him up slightly. Later, she finally ticks him off by responding to his tortures by basically calling him out as The Bully, lashing out at her because he was himself deemed unfit. Sebastian's response was none too pleasant.
    • In "The Shadow of Z'ha'dum", Vir's response to Morden's "What do you want?" attempt to suborn him is both this and a Moment of Awesome: Vir says he wants to live long enough to see Morden executed and his head stuck on a spike for his unscrupulous "bargains". He does.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) has one that comes two seasons after the question. Adama and the Cylon defector Sharon are having a conversation where he asks her why the Cylons hate humanity so much. She brings up the question he asked in the pilot regarding their potentially genocidal war with the robotic Cylons, "Humanity should have asked itself why we deserve to survive," which he asked as a means of examining his and humanity's own sins. Sharon then has this rejoinder of an answer: "You said that humanity never asked itself why it deserved to survive. Maybe you don't."
  • Better Call Saul, when Jimmy asks Chuck why he's sabotaging his lawyer career, Chuck's response is a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him which results in Jimmy abandoning Chuck, saying he no longer wants anything to do with him.
  • The Big Bang Theory: In "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation", the boys attempt to bring Sheldon home from Texas, but Sheldon refuses, declaring he'll spend the rest of his days in Texas trying to teach evolution to creationists, leading to an amusing confrontation with his mother.
    Mary: You watch your mouth, Shelly. Everyone's entitled to their opinion.
    Sheldon: Evolution isn't an opinion, it's fact.
    Mary: And that is your opinion.
    Sheldon: (stares at his mother, then turns to the boys) I forgive you, let's go home.
  • Boy Meets World: In season 7's "Family Trees," shortly after Shawn's father passed away from a heart attack, Shawn receives a letter from his estranged mother, informing him that she was not his biological mother. Knowing how devastated Shawn is by this news, the Matthews family offers to formally adopt him, but the gesture only causes Shawn to flee their Christmas party. Cory chases after Shawn to convince him to come back, but Shawn insists on going to the cemetery instead:
    Cory: Shawn, come here. Look, come back to my house. Okay? My family offered to adopt you tonight. Do you know how great that is? You would actually be my brother!
    Shawn: You are my brother, already.
    Cory: So come back to my house! There’s life at my house, my family wants you there… what’s waiting for you at the cemetery?
    Shawn: My family. Mine.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "As You Were", after Buffy has sacrificed herself to stop Glory, and then was brought back from Heaven, she and Riley are having a conversation and catching up with what had happened since they parted.
    Riley: I bet I had a worse year than you did.
    Buffy: Did you die?
    Riley: (confused and a little shocked) No!
    Buffy: (casually and sad) I'm gonna win.
  • In Burn Notice, after Michael decides to join James' organization:
    Sam: Okay, the CIA may not be perfect, but they gotta answer to somebody, right? Who does James answer to, huh? Nobody, 'cause he makes up his own rules!
    Michael: What's wrong with that?
    Sam: Tell that to Nate.
  • Castle: In the fourth season finale "Always", Castle, unable to convince Beckett to give up her obsession with her mother's murder, announced that he was done with her, and never wanted to see her again. After Beckett's Love Epiphany, she showed up at Castle's door.
    Castle: (coldly) Beckett, what do you want?
    Beckett: You. (Cue The Big Damn Kiss)
  • Charité at War: Anni has hidden her baby daughter so as not to lose her to the Nazis' eugenics programme. Her husband Artur, head doctor of the pediatric ward, was the one who signed the deportation list with his own child's name on it. Doubles as Shut Up, Hannibal!.
    Artur: Anni, where is she? I'll be made responsible if a child disappears!
    Anni: Oh, yes? So many children disappear.
  • Chernobyl:
    • Director Shcherbina is resisting Legasov's request to evacuate Pripyat and points out that the two of them are staying in the area. Legasov bursts out that they themselves will be dead in five years from radiation-induced illness. This floors Shcherbina, who spends most of the episode's remainder in a Heroic BSoD as the gravity of the situation finally hits home for him.
    • Scherbina later gives one of his own mixed with Rousing Speech, when the plant workers are outraged at Legasov's request for 3 volunteers for a Suicide Mission. The workers ask why should they sacrifice themselves for a pittance of payment, and Scherbina points out that if they don't, millions will die.
    Scherbina: You'll do it because it must be done. You'll do it because no one else can. And if you don't, millions will die. If you tell me that's not enough of a reason, I won't believe you.
  • In Desperate Housewives Season 7, Lynette furiously confronts Paul Young when a riot breaks out during his campaign (because he wants to sell houses he bought on the street to rehabilitate former prisoners) and trashes the neighbourhood, resulting in several people getting badly hurt. Paul leaves Lynette in Stunned Silence when he replies:
    Lynette: Paul! This is all on you! I hope you know that!
    Paul: Me? Those are your friends out there, Lynette. The solid citizens of Fairview. Tell me again why you think they're better than a bunch of ex-cons?
    • Earlier than that in Season 1 after confronting the local soccer-mom turned dominatrix about her affair with Rex, Bree is able to effectively shut up Maisy, all the while coming from genuine sympathy.
    Maisy: (smugly) You may hate me, but you'd hate the humiliation a lot more.
    Bree: Oh Maisy, I don't hate you. (sincerely) I pity you.
    (walks out as Maisy is left in stunned silence)
  • Earth: Final Conflict: In one episode, Da'an and Lily's shuttle goes down in the wilderness. Doors sends his soldiers to rescue Lily. Two of the soldiers find Da'an and Lily. While one of them tends to Lily's injuries, the other one questions Da'an on the true purpose of the Taelons on Earth, Da'an tells him it's not in anyone's best interest for him to reveal this. The soldier tells him they will never accept that, and neither will the rest of the world. Da'an counters with, "The rest of the world is not asking the question." The soldier doesn't know what to say to that.
  • ER: Doug Ross blasts his abusive father for his hellish childhood and cites that he now embodies his worst traits, declaring, "I'm you". His father's response?
  • In the Frasier episode "Frasier's Edge", Frasier ends up giving one to himself. Frasier's mentor, Dr. Tewksbury, is trying to help him through a crisis of confidence and advises him to diagnose himself as if he were a caller on his own show. Frasier tries to stall by bringing up numerous exercises, but Tewksbury pushes him to deal with his feelings. Finally, Frasier breaks down:
    Frasier: But I don't know what he wants!
    Dr. Tewksbury: Then why do you keep trying to bury him in psychiatric exercises?
    Frasier: Because that's all I have!
    [long pause, Tewksbury looks at him sadly]
    Frasier (whispering): ...I'm sorry, caller. I can't help you.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: At the end of "Mistaken Identity", Carlton gets into an argument with Will over whether or not the cops that arrested them were targeting them for being black. As Carlton tries to deny Will's thoughts, he asks his father a Trial Balloon Question whose answer begins to shatter his optimism.
    Carlton: If you were a policeman, and you saw a car driving 2 miles an hour, wouldn't you stop him?
    Phil: I asked myself that question the first time I was stopped.
  • Full House: In "Silence is Not Golden", Stephanie befriends a boy named Charles, who begs her not to tell anyone that his father beats him. When Jesse badgers her on what's wrong, she reluctantly tells him and makes him promise to keep it a secret. The next week, however, Jesse tells her that he called the authorities and that Charles has been placed into a foster home, leaving her distraught.
    Stephanie: They took him away from his home?! I never should have told you! Now he's going to hate me! This is all your fault!
    Jesse: Stephanie, knock it off! It's not my fault, and it's not your fault. We weren't the ones hurting Charles.
    Stephanie: Then why did they have to take him out of his house?
    Jesse: They had to! He wasn't safe there!
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Davos delivers a rightfully furious one to Melisandre, who is stunned into a brief silence and ends the rest of her pleading to Jon Snow with much less confidence than before.
      Davos: You burned a little girl alive!
      Melisandre: I only do what my Lord commands.
      Davos: If he commands you to burn children, your Lord is evil!
    • After receiving an Armor-Piercing Question from Jaime questioning how the latter can live with the things he's done to Edmure's family, Jaime shuts Edmure up by reminding him that unpleasant things happen during war.
    • After Tyrion sends Janos Slynt to the Wall for (among other things) carrying out a massacre of Robert's illegitimate children, he asks Bronn whether he'd obey a similar order without question.
      Bronn: Without question? No. I'd ask how much.
    • After Jaime scolds Qyburn for his amoral experiments, the latter retorts that those experiments helped him better understand human physiology and save lives. He, in turn, points out that Jaime has long lost count of people he'd killed, but how many did he save?
      Jaime: "500,000. The population of King's Landing."note 
    • Much earlier, Robert Baratheon was telling old war stories and tried to needle Jaime Lannister about his status as Kingslayer by asking him what Aerys' last words were, if cursing his betrayal or pleading for mercy. Jaime's chilling answer immediately kills the mood, silences everyone, and even freaks Robert himself out a little.
    • When Yara angrily demands to know from Theon why he returned to Pyke if he isn't there to make a bid to be King of the Iron Islands, Theon tells her he wishes her to rule the Iron Islands and he will help her. Yara is left speechless and calms down.
    • Sansa gets furious at Jon when he decides to leave the North to meet Daenerys, saying that he's abandoning his people and home, but Jon ensures her he's leaving the North in good hands. When Sansa asks who, Jon answers it's her, explaining that they're siblings and she's the only Stark in Winterfell. This leaves Sansa speechless and she accepts Jon's decision.
    • Davos makes it clear to Tyrion that the latter's attempt for small talk is pointless since they're not gonna be friends anytime soon when they're sneaking into King's Landing.
    Tyrion: Last time I was here, I killed my father with a crossbow.
    Davos: Last time I was here, you killed my son with wildfire.
    • When Jon tells Dany of his true parentage, Dany responds, "If it were true, it would make you the last male heir of House Targaryen. You'd have a claim to the Iron Throne." Jon is taken aback by the nature of her response.
  • House of the Dragon:
    • When Hand of the King Ser Lyonel Strong asks King Viserys if he wants an opinion on the best match for Rhaenyra, a drunk and rather bitter Viserys assumes that Lyonel is simply going to recommend his own eldest son like nearly every other lord has done so far...and is clearly taken off-guard when Lyonel instead recommends Laenor Velaryon. He doesn't even seem to know how to receive honest, non-self-serving counsel from an advisor, let alone respond to it.
    • During their last argument about marriage, Viserys points out to Rhaenyra that he also had to marry her mother out of duty. When she casually dismisses this as old news, Viserys' response makes her noticeably quiet.
  • Hell's Kitchen: In Season 7, Gordon Ramsay criticizes Salvatore's illegible handwriting on the order slip he hands over, irately asking him "You went to school, right?!" He's stunned when Salvatore simply answers "No, chef." Ramsay asks him what he was doing instead of going to school, and Salvatore tells him he had to come to America to support his family and was working every day just to feed and house them. Ramsay thanks Salvatore for his honesty and tells him to take his time on his orders.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: Pembleton is very good at doling these out.
    • In "A Shot in the Dark", after listening to Felton berate him for hours on end for his poor treatment of his partner Bayliss and his egotism while they search for evidence that could prove a suspect had killed a child, Pembleton shuts him up.
    Pembleton: I don't care about Bayliss. I don't care about you. I care about bringing justice to an eleven-year old girl who was murdered. If you don't, go home.
    • In "Colors", after Bayliss demands to know why Pembleton nearly got his cousin Jim sent to prison for shooting a Turkish exchange student who he had believed was trying to rob him, Pembleton stops his moralizing by pointing out how the murder was the product of systemic racism.
    Pembleton: Bayliss, if the kid had been white, do you think the verdict would have been the same?
    • In a non-Pembleton example, the A-plot of "A Model Citizen" focus on Munch and Howard's efforts to get a teenager to give up his gun after he accidentally (non-fatally) shoots his brother with it. As Munch angrily tries to persuade him to give it up, the teenager asks "Why do you care? There'll just get another one tomorrow!"
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Barney started up a relationship with Nora, who asked him to lay out all the lies he has ever told women to get them in bed, and once Barney agreed to her conditions, he confessed everything. When he was done, she mentioned being disgusted, and when Barney jovially asked for another date, she said, "What makes you think you would have a chance with me after all that?" and Barney replied without hesitation, "'Cause you stuck around." She didn't have to spend what could have been six hours listening to him, but she did anyway because she found him interesting.
    • In "Legendaddy", Barney has been noticeably disappointed in how his father has changed from the Uncle Jerry persona he knew as a kid. When trying to steal a basketball hoop from the home of his father's other family, Barney is asked why he cares so much given how little he seems to like Jerry's lame suburban ways and responds with a gut-wrenching line:
    Barney: You're lame, okay? You're just some lame suburban dad.
    Jerry: Why does that make you so mad?!
    Barney: Because if you were gonna be some lame suburban dad, why couldn't you have been that for me?!
  • The King's Woman: Gongsun Li begins to suspect Ying Zheng of abducting her infant son. Ying Zheng says he wouldn't be so cruel. Gongsun Li retorts that he murdered his half-brothers in front of his mother.
  • Leverage: In "The Second David Job", Sophie attempts to justify her actions in the previous episode, where it was revealed she had stolen the second David, which resulted in, among other things, Parker almost getting caught by Sterling and Hardison blowing up the office. Parker, Eliot, and Hardison all act like she's trying to apologize, which leads to this exchange:
    Sophie: No, I'm not apologizing, I'm just—
    Eliot: Sophie, that's the problem.
  • In the final episode of Malcolm in the Middle, when Malcolm finds out that Lois has planned out his entire future for him, up to becoming president of the United States:
    Malcolm: This is unbelievable! You actually expect me to be president! No, no, I'm sorry; you expect me to be one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States!
    Lois: You look me in the eye and you tell me you can't do it.
  • In the Grand Finale of The Office (US), Dwight fires Kevin due to being a poor and inefficient worker, and revealed (later) to have been cooking the books using a made-up number. When Dwight asks the rest of the office members to give him one good reason to keep Kevin, they all begin protesting to keep him, which Dwight shuts down with this line.
    Dwight: Based on his merit.
  • In One Piece (2023), Nami, clearly panicking over the upcoming duel between Zoro and Mihawk, desperately begs him not to fight by saying because he is her friend. Zoro, feeling insulted over her perceived lack of faith in his strength, fires back she had just earlier told him that she did not have any friends.
  • Oz
    • After Beecher gives Said a "The Reason You Suck" Speech regarding his sanctimoniousness and ego, Said defends himself by saying that he helped Poet get pardoned - only for Beecher to reveal that Poet had broken his parole and was returning to Oz, stunning Said into silence.
    • Played for Laughs when Adebisi tries to get death row inmate Shirley Bellinger to suck his dick, only for her to reject him because he's black - and by using the N-word, to boot.
  • Queer as Folk (UK) defuses Nathan feeling sorry for himself:
    Nathan: Donna, you don’t know her! You don't know anything! Cos you're straight! Right? You're part of the system! Right? You're part of the fascist heterosexual orthodoxy!
    Donna: I'm Black. And I'm a girl. Try that for a week.
  • The Sandman: At the climax of "A Hope in Hell", Lucifer threatens to keep Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, in Hell by force, and asks rhetorically what power dreams have in Hell. Morpheus replies that dreams are the most powerful thing in Hell, which would be nothing if the inhabitants could not dream of Heaven.
  • The anti-drug PSA example in Advertising above is parodied in Scrubs when J.D. has an Imagine Spot regarding his coffee addiction about finding a coffee machine in his son's room.
  • An episode of Sex and the City has Charlotte fretting over how Harry hasn't proposed to her yet, ending in her blowing up at him about it. His response — which is delivered in a cold, flat tone very unlike his usual boisterousness — leaves her, in the words of Carrie's narration, "on mute."
    Charlotte: Do you know how lucky you are to have me? Do you know how we look? Do you know what people out there think when they see us together? Do you?
    Harry: Yeah. I know what people are thinking. I just didn't think you were one of them.
  • In the Sherlock episode "The Reichenbach Fall", Sherlock's response to convince Moriarty that they're not so different and that Sherlock is a Worthy Opponent, willing to do whatever it takes to defeat him:
    Moriarty: Nah. You talk big. Nah. You're ordinary. You're ordinary, you're on the side of the angels.
    Sherlock: Oh, I may be on the side of the angels. But don't think for one second that I am one of them.
  • Six Feet Under: Keith and David are experiencing friction in their relationship because of their different ways of addressing frustration with each other. David thinks Keith is always snapping and shouting, while Keith, whose father was physically abusive, thinks his way of expressing himself is perfectly normal and David is too repressed.
    Keith: You know, I grew up in a family where people expressed their anger on a regular basis, so that's what intimacy feels like to me. You grew up in a family where no one ever expressed anything.
    David: Yeah, we also didn't hit each other.
  • The Sopranos: A Jewish guy is refusing to give in to the Italian Mafia's demand. As an act of defiance, he recounts the tale of Masada to demonstrate how the Jews of old would rather die than give in to the Romans, and how the Jews endure to the modern day while the Romans disappeared. However, Tony casually renders his tale moot with a simple reply.
    Ariel: You ever heard of the Masada? For two years, 900 Jews held their own against 15,000 Roman soldiers. They chose death over enslavement. And the Romans, where are they now?
    Tony: You're looking at them, asshole.
  • In the season finale of Spaced, Tim and Daisy argue about Tim's decision to get back together with his ex-girlfriend Sarah, interspersed with cutaway shots of a game of Tekken:
    Tim: I think I am big enough and ugly enough to make my own mistakes!
    Daisy: Well, Sarah obviously does!
    Tekken: K.O!
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Heart of Stone", the B-plot is about the Ferengi teenager Nog seeking Captain Sisko's help to become the first Ferengi in Starfleet. Sisko can't possibly work out why Nog would want to pursue a career with no potential for profit in it (Ferengi culture revolving around making profit above all else) and after testing Nog's determination while he tries to work out what Nog's scheme is, he eventually confronts the boy and asks him straight up why it's so important for him to get into Starfleet. Nog's angry, almost tearful answer shocks him to the bone: "Because I don't want to end up like my father!", a man who could have been at the top of his field as an engineer but followed cultural expectations and went into business (which he has no skill at) instead.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "Latent Image", the Doctor suffers a breakdown due to previously-deleted memories of a medical incident where he had to choose between saving two patients, Harry Kim and Ahni Jetal, who had equal chances of survival, and decided to save Harry because he was his friend, reasoning that didn't mesh with his programming. Seven rebukes Janeway's decision to have deleted the Doctor's memories, defending the Doctor's right to deal with his memories like any person would.
    Janeway: You're a human being. He's a hologram.
    Janeway: Objection noted. Good night.
    Seven: It is unsettling. You say that I am a human being and yet I am also Borg. Part of me not unlike your replicator. Not unlike the Doctor. Will you one day choose to abandon me as well? I have always looked to you as my example, my guide to humanity. Perhaps I've been mistaken. Good night.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "The Purge": 'No Dean, I won't. Not under the same circumstances.'
    • In "First Blood", Castiel contacts Mary looking for help in finding Sam and Dean. When Cas explains what happened, Mary, frustrated, asked why the boys didn't contact her. The audience, having seen the previous eight episodes, knows that Mary has been pushing the boys away all season, routinely avoiding their calls, constantly telling them she needs time alone to find herself, and reiterating that she never wanted them to be in the hunter lifestyle and that she was not sure she wanted to be back in hunting either.
      Mary: Why— If they needed help why didn't they call me?
      Castiel: You were out.
  • In Switched, Kaga and Ayumi meet with Ukon, who tells them that Koshiro is planning to kill them both and that she got this information from the parakeet, who is really a human in a bird's body. They don't believe her until Kaga says "That's a load of crap," to which comes the response: when the parakeet says "It is not a load of crap," proving that he really is a human in a parakeet body.
  • In Torchwood, Season 1, "Countrycide", after stopping a village of cannibals from eating them and other people, Gwen asked the patriarch why they cannibalized people. The patriarch's response? "'Cause it made me happy." It shocked her, to the point that she started a sexual relationship with Owen in order to find some solace because she was unable to tell her then-boyfriend Rhys the experiences she went through in her job.
  • In The West Wing, a tense meeting between President Bartlet and Vice-President Hoynes prompts one of these when Hoynes erupts and demands to know why Bartlet always treats him poorly. He's not prepared for Bartlet to bluntly reveal the answer:
    Hoynes: What did I ever do to you? Where, in our past, what did I do to make you treat me this way? What did I ever do to you except deliver the South?
    Bartlet: Really?
    Hoynes: Yes.
    Bartlet: You shouldn't have made me beg, John. I was asking you to be Vice President.
    Hoynes: [Slightly taken aback] Due respect Mr. President, you had just kicked my ass in the primary. I'm fifteen years younger than you. I have my career to think of.
    Bartlet: Then don't stand there and ask the question, John. It weakened me right out of the gate. You shouldn't have made me beg.
    • Bartlet himself gets one from his middle daughter Ellie during an argument after Ellie approaches reporters with a statement in support of her godmother, the Surgeon-General, who has made some politically inconvenient statements about the benefits of marijuana that make it likely that the President will have to fire her. Bartlet furiously accuses Ellie of doing it deliberately to spite him, and when she denies it, he shouts, "Well, you certainly didn't do it to make me happy!" This prompts the normally shy and nervous Ellie to bitterly snap back "I don't know how to make you happy, Dad, for that you have to talk to Zoey and Liz [Ellie's sisters]." This clearly touches a nerve with Bartlet.
    • A religious talk show host attempts to quote Leviticus at the president to justify her calling homosexuality an "abomination". Bartlett proceeds to cite several Bible verses that state religious laws that are no longer practiced (selling a daughter into slavery, working on the Sabbath being punishable by death, etc.) before concluding with this:
      Bartlett: While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building when the president stands, nobody sits.
    • Bartlet's on the receiving end of one from Will Bailey during the build-up to a State of the Union address, which is coinciding with an outbreak of ethnic cleansing in a Rwanda-like nation in Africa that his administration is dragging its feet on dealing with. Having stopped by Will's office to discuss the State of the Union with him, Bartlet's thoughts drift to the ethnic cleansing, and he rhetorically asks why it seems like a genocide in Europe (or a similarly 'white' area) seems more important to him and his government than one occurring in Africa. He's not prepared for Bailey to bluntly reply, "I don't know, sir, but it is."
    • In one episode, Dr. Abbey Bartlett is frustrated by the prospect of temporarily losing her medical license for covering up the President's MS by giving him secret injections of drugs. During her birthday party, she slips away with C.J., Donna, and Amy to have a few drinks and share some girl talk. Amy and C.J. point out that license or no license, Abbey's still done incredible work for women, holds a position of power (First Lady) that will allow her to continue to do so, and will eventually be able to practice again, so what's the big deal? Abbey replies that for all of that, she's still a doctor, and losing her license hurts — and that's when Donna remarks, "Oh, Mrs. Bartlett, for crying out loud, you were also a doctor when your husband said 'Give me the drugs and don't tell anybody,' and you said, 'Okay.'" The room goes completely silent, but it does help Abbey realize the scope of what she did, and prompts her to voluntarily give up her license for the remainder of her time in the White House.
  • At the end of the first season of The Wire, D'Angelo Barksdale is convinced by his mother Brianna to be the Fall Guy for his drug kingpin uncle Avon, because Avon's activities support their entire family. The result is D'Angelo getting sentenced to 20 years in prison, and while he's in prison, Stringer decides that D'Angelo is too much of a liability, has him killed, and has the killer make it look like a suicide. In "Moral Midgetry", when Detective McNulty finds out about the death and quickly concludes it was no suicide, he goes to D'Angelo's girlfriend to tell her about his suspicions, and never visits Brianna. When Brianna finally hears about this and comes to McNulty for answers, including why he never approached her with his suspicions, McNulty's response leaves her devastated.
    Brianna: Why go to her first? Why not come to me?
    McNulty: Honestly? I was looking for someone who cared about the kid. I mean, like I said: you were the one who made him take the years, right?
  • The X-Files: In "The Erlenmeyer Flask", Scully becomes fed up with following Mulder around as he tries to follow Deep Throat's leads, claiming that Deep Throat has intentionally been giving Mulder not enough information to go on.
    Scully: You don't know that this isn't just a game with him! He's toying with you, rationing out the facts.
    Mulder: You think he does it because he gets off on it?
    Scully: No. I think he does it because you do.
    • In "Tooms", Assistant Director Skinner gets frustrated when he reads Mulder and Scully's report about an immortal serial killer they've been chasing, and evidentally expects the Cigarette Smoking Man to scoff at it as well.
      Skinner: You read this report? Do you believe them?
      Cigarette Smoking Man: Of course I do.

    Music and Music Videos 
  • In Nandemo Iukoto Wo Kiite Kureru Akane-Chan, Yukari's trust in her Yes-Woman friend Akane is shattered when Akane delivers this in response to Yukari's Sore Loser rant: (translated)
    Yukari: I'll send them all to hell to repent 5 quadrillion times! So, what do you think, Akane-chan?!
    Akane: Sounds stupid.
    Akane: Why don't you quit this game?

  • Played for Laughs in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when the great computer Deep Thought, after 7.5 million years of intense computation, declares that the Answer to the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is "42," making the questioners realize that they never bothered to properly formulate what the Question actually was.

  • The Bible:
    • Jesus is just as adept at this as he is with the Armor-Piercing Question. In one well-known (and oft-misquoted) example, the Pharisees try to trap him by asking "Should we pay taxes to Caesar?" (If he says no, they've got him for insubordination to the Romans; if he says yes, it weakens his standing among his followers by supporting the Roman occupation.) He asks whose image is on the coin, to which they, of course, answer Caesar. He then calls them on their hypocrisy with the famous response: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." The Pharisees, being religious scholars, certainly would have caught the reference to the book of Genesis, in which man was created in God's image.
    • On another occasion, a woman accused of adultery is dragged before him, and her accusers challenge him on whether she should be stoned, hoping to catch him out whether he agreed or disagreed. His response: "Let he who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her," calling out their hypocrisy. All of them leave in shame, and the woman is saved and pardoned by Jesus.
    • In another story, Jesus chats with a Samaritan woman and asks her to share some of the water she has drawn from a well. He tells her to go home to get her husband, and she replies "I have no husband"—and Jesus quickly answers back that she spoke the truth, because she's been married five times, so according to Jewish law (which the Samaritans admittedly didn't follow), the woman doesn't have a husband. The Samaritan woman is stunned that Jesus knew everything about her, then rushes back to her village to tell her friends and neighbors about Him. They all gather to hear Him preach, which has lead some scholars to call the unnamed Samaritan woman the first evangelist and apostle, since she spread the Word of God before anyone else did.
    • In an Old Testament example, King David (who already has many wives and concubines) lusts after the married Bathsheba and sends her husband Uriah into battle knowing he'll be killed so he can take her for his own. God then sends the prophet Nathan to tell David a parable about a rich man who owned many animals and a poor man who owned just one ewe that he loved dearly; when the rich man had company for a feast, he stole and slaughtered that lone sheep rather than choose one of his own livestock. David, not catching the parallel, demands that Nathan reveal the identity of that cruel man, as such selfishness should be punished with death. Nathan then drops the response: "You are the man!" Though David repents, God still kills his and Bathsheba's newborn child as payment for his sin.

  • Bandstand: After being pestered by Donny, Julia says, "I don't need saving," to which Donny replies, "What if I do?"
  • 4.48 Psychosis: The lead/one of the characters/the narrator turns the typical plea to not commit suicide ("You have people who love you!") into a bitter, self-loathing "Do you have people who love you?"
  • 1776: As John Adams is trying to explain the need for a declaration of their separation from Great Britain, one of the other members of Congress asks what its purpose would be. Thomas Jefferson gets up and says, "To place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent." Congress is silent for several seconds after that.
  • Dear Evan Hansen: After Heidi finds out about Evan's occasional visits to the Murphys instead of Jared's, Evan yells to Heidi that he thinks he's nothing more than a burden to her life. She ends up going ballistic, arguing that he is the only and one good thing in her life, and sarcastically apologizes for not doing her best for him. Evan then venomously remarks that it's not his fault that other people can. This leads into "Good for You", as Heidi ends up being in bitter acceptance of Evan choosing the Murphy family over her.
  • In Hooters, Ricky and Ronda are stuck outside on the beach after Ricky's attempts to seduce Ronda's friend Cheryl backfire and she ends up bedding his friend Clint instead. Irritated by the whole thing, Ricky takes out his frustrations on Ronda, and after finding out that she dropped out of college, decides to badger her to learn why, until she finally screams at him that her father had a stroke. That shuts him up for a few minutes.
  • In A Little Night Music, Cool Old Lady and Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire Madame Armfeldt spends pretty much the entire musical decrying the whole idea of love, marriage, and relationships, arguing that it's all a ruse that distracts people from achieving wealth and status. Towards the end of the play, she asks her granddaughter Fredrika a question about why people still bother pursuing love: "Will you tell me what it's all for?" After a moment, Fredrika replies that while love is incredibly messy and painful, "it must be worth it," because "it's all there is, isn't it?" She goes on, remarking that believing in something greater makes life worth living: "I know it's often discouraging, and to hope for something too much is childish...because what you want so rarely happens..." This stuns the usually quick-snarking Madame Armfeldt into silence, and makes her confess that while she's acquired huge sums and a massive house full of expensive things, she still remembers the first boy who ever cared for her and might have missed out on something truly valuable in her denial of love.
  • EPIC: The Musical: The song "My Goodbye" is essentially about Odysseus and Athena exchanging "The Reason You Suck" Speeches, with the argument getting increasingly heated and vicious as it goes on; Odysseus' final line, however, cuts right through Athena's defenses, signified by the music suddenly going quiet, and Athena's last verse being sung in a much more sombre, resigned tone.
    Athena: You're not looking for a mentor, I'm not looking for a friend. I mistook you for a general, What a waste of effort spent!
    Odysseus:At least I know what I'm fighting for, while you're fighting to be known. Since you claim you're so much wiser, why's your life spent all alone?
    You're alone!

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: While resting, Ann asks Ayane on recalling the incident when Ryan lost his eye, Ayane quickly realizing with what she had seen earlier has Ann answering it was because of an "other self" she was aware of being within her since then.
  • In Baldr Sky, when Kou asks Aki what she though he would do if he got mad after she told him the truth of her actions with the Baldr System and what happened to Kurihara as a result, she simply answers that she believed he would "walk away without saying a word and never contact her". Suffice to say, this hit Kou where it hurts.
  • The Caligula Effect: Overdose: During Shonen Doll's Character Episodes, Lucid can say one simple thing to get him out of his despair
    Lucid: You don't need to be accepted by everyone.
  • In Catherine, Vincent can do this to Archie in the nightmares, after Archie has discussed his burnout over his womanizing lifestyle, Death Seeker tendencies and admitted that he just wants a normal life.
    Vincent: See? You want to live.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online, struggling against the usual trend of MMOs, has a quest in Glenumbra surrounding a complicated tragedy involving a forbidden love, an illicit child, an overbearing mother, and finally a wrathful ghost. At one point, a mysterious, superior character offers to help the Vestige summon the ghost, but first demands, speaking as the voice of the devs, that you answer a few questions to prove that you were paying attention, about the names of the characters, the memento at the heart of things, and finally the ghost's motivation, berating the Vestige and sending you on an extra trip if you give an incorrect answer. Unless you say that the ghost was motivated not by revenge, but love for her child, in which case the stranger nearly has a stroke before admitting he hadn't even thought of it.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, as Marche tries to restore the world of Ivalice to normal, one of those opposing him is his younger brother Doned, who suffers from an illness that requires him to use a wheelchair, take medicine every day and go to the hospital regularly, but is fully healthy and mobile in this world. During Marche's final confrontation with Doned, Doned tells Marche about everything he's gained since coming to Ivalice, leading to the following exchange, at which point Marche drives home that Doned receives more of their parents' attention because of his condition, which Marche had to live with, and which Doned ultimately took for granted.
    Doned: What then? What don't you have!? Don't tell me you want more!
    Marche: (angrily) I never said I "wanted" anything! I gave all the "I wants" and the "I don't wants" to you!
  • In Heart of the Woods, long-time best friends Tara and Madison have a falling out when Madison announces her decision to step down as manager for Tara's channel Taranormal after their trip to Eysenfeld. After Madison realizes that this time, the supernatural phenomena they're pursuing is real, but Tara ends up giving her the cold shoulder. As Tara rants to Morgan about her frustration with Madison, and that she's not sure she can trust Madison to stick it out with Taranormal long-term, Morgan cuts Tara off by loudly saying her name, and calls her out on freezing Maddie out, leaving Tara speechless.
    Tara: Holy shit. What the hell was that? She just shot through my bullshit like some kinda forest-dwelling therapist. How am I supposed to respond to that? All I can do is sit back down on the bed and let it wash over me.
  • Injustice 2:
  • God of War Ragnarök: Kratos is trying everything he can to convince Surtr to initiate his part in Ragnarok, which involves merging with his lover Sinmara to become Ragnarok itself. Soon enough, however, Surtr puts it in terms that the God of War will understand: No matter how much Odin needs to die, "I won't sacrifice her any more than you would him" - pointing straight at Atreus. Kratos is silenced on the spot, and simply turns to leave without another word.
  • Katawa Shoujo: Rin answers a question from Hisao, leading him to realise something worrying about himself:
    Hisao: Remember that sketch you made of me? How you said I looked grim and gloomy or something? I'd like to know what you meant by that.
    Rin: Well, you see... We've known each other for two weeks and I've haven't seen you smile even once.
  • The Exile in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords can give one to Master Atris. For their entire encounter Atris berates the Exile for leaving to fight in the Mandalorian wars when the Jedi Council forbid it, and accusing them of falling to the dark side. Regardless of how untrue that might be. The Exile can defend their own actions, while calling the Council and her out, without a single aggressive or threatening line.
    Exile: Our teachings do not mean we should stand by and watch others die.
    Atris: There was no guarantee that marching to war would have saved the Outer Rim. In fact, quite the opposite.
    Exile: We could have waited, but defeating the Mandalorians after they had won would have been difficult.
    Atris: There are victories other than physical ones: the real victory lay in th-
    Exile: The triumph of the Jedi teachings is a cold thing when there is no one left alive to appreciate them.
    Atris: You do not kno-
    Exile: You are correct- I do not know. And neither do you.
    Atris: (Enraged) How dare you? The Mandalorian Wars should have been your grave and Malachor V is where you should have died!
    Exile: Your anger... is it because you secretly wish you'd had the strength to follow me to war?
    Atris: (Flustered) What? What do you mean?
    Exile: I can see it in you — you wanted to fight by my side, but you were too scared to defy the Council.
  • Mortal Kombat X features this exchange, courtesy of Mileena and Johnny Cage.
    Mileena: Repulsive human!
    Johnny Cage: Sleeping with Baraka's repulsive.
    Mileena: WHO TOLD YOU THIS?!
  • Mortal Kombat 11 has Noob Saibot feeding one to Shao Kahn.
    Shao Kahn: Join me and conquer realms!
    Noob Saibot: Name one realm you control.
    Shao Kahn: Sharp tongue, for a dead man.
  • In the Overwatch short "Dragons", Hanzo has just discovered that his brother Genji, who he thought he had killed in a dispute years before, is still alive in the form of a Cyber Ninja. As Genji is leaving, having told Hanzo that he forgives him and that Hanzo needs to take a side in the change approaching their world, Hanzo angrily berates his brother for thinking they can just reconcile so easily (the circumstances echo a story their father told them about two dragon brothers), only to be stunned by Genji's response:
    Hanzo: Real life is not like the stories our father told us! You are a fool for believing it so!
    Genji: Perhaps I am a fool to think there is still hope for you. But I do.
  • Persona 5 Royal has the protagonist deliver two of these to the third semester antagonist, Dr. Maruki, in response to his Motive Rant after defeating him and stealing his treasure:
    Maruki: Why? I gave up everything else... I dedicated all that I had to this... but still I... why?
    Joker: You're denying reality.
    Maruki: ...?! I'm... denying...? ...Hehehe. You nailed it. It's true that I turned my back on the original reality... but where's the harm in that?! When it grows to be too much, too painful... every person deserves to escape that! In all honesty, it's best for a person's growth when they tackle their own hardships... but reality doesn't always make that so feasible! No matter how much you try, or work for so long, the smallest injustice can wipe it all out, leave you with nothing... don't you of all people understand that?!
    Joker: Even then, you keep going.
    Maruki: ...!
  • Persona 5 Strikers:
    • After you defeat the Shadow of the second Monarch, Ango Natsume, he rants about how no one acknowledges him, until Yusuke says "I do," which stops him in his tracks.
    • Late in the game, Zenkichi's daughter Akane's Shadow confronts him over the fact that he knew who was responsible for killing her mother in a drunk driving accident, but didn't pursue the person because the culprit had threatened Akane, resulting in Zenkichi becoming cynical and losing sight of justice. Zenkichi protests that anyone would have done what he'd done in that situation, to which Akane's Shadow replies, "Anyone but a man of justice!"
  • In the Reclamation short for Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void, Artanis is overtaken by doubt in their mission to retake the lost Protoss homeworld of Aiur. His friend and companion, Kaldalis, reassures him, talking a big game about honor and glory, and how the lives lost will be for the sake of the future. Artanis thinks Kaldalis doesn't recognize the true cost of the invasion, until...
    Artanis: An easy sentiment for one WHO IS NOT SENDING THEM TO DIE!
    Kaldalis: From one who is being sent to die!
  • In Tales of Vesperia, Yuri and Flynn get into an argument when Flynn witnessed Yuri kill Cumore. Flynn argues that Yuri should have let the law bring Cumore to justice, only for Yuri to point out that it would have taken too long, and that Cumore was going to cause more suffering until that happened, and Yuri simply couldn’t wait. Flynn tries to give Yuri an Armor-Piercing Question, only for Yuri to fire back with a response that leaves Flynn stunned.
    Flynn: So I’m supposed to just sit by while you intend to dirty your hands?
    Yuri: Intend to? I already have!
    Flynn: ...!
  • World of Warcraft: In the short story "Cut Short", when Gelbin Mekkatorque tells his Evil Former Friend Sicco Thermaplugg that his designs had severe flaws that Gelbin worked out, while allowing Sicco to take the credit, prompting Sicco to ask Gelbin why he would do so. Gelbin's answer gives Sicco pause for a moment before he declares that the gnomes should be using their superior weapons to conquer the world.
    Sicco: What? Lies! If my work was so shoddy, then why let me take credit for the guns?
    Gelbin: Because you were my friend.
    • In Beyond the Dark Portal, Khadgar calls Alleria out on her growing recklessness and obsession with revenge, which endangers her life and causes problems for her relationship with Turalyon. She then asks why he cares what she does with her life, and he says "I care because I don't get to choose!" Alleria falls silent, then Khadgar explains that because romance is out of the question for him, a prematurely old man, he doesn't want her to waste her life or Turalyon's love.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Early in the game, Noah, frustrated at the fact that everything about his world seems purpose-built to force Agnus and Keves to fight an eternal war, angrily asks "Who decided this was how it should be? If I knew who they were or where, I'd...!" Guernica Vandham, standing nearby, replies "I know who they are. You'd what?" Noah's expression makes it clear he had just been venting and didn't expect there was actually someone who had designed things that way.
  • Flash text-adventure You Find Yourself in a Room has you trying to solve puzzles while dealing with an incredibly hostile AI. At the end, while taunting you, the AI asks you to name some "useless human emotions". Answering with "Hate" or "Anger" forces the AI to admit that it too feels those emotions, meaning it's acting like a human — which brings its entire worldview crashing down. It promptly surrenders.

    Visual Novel 
  • Danganronpa:
    • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc's fourth case, Byakuya is visibly shaken by his own being wrong about the culprit, and he demands to know how Makoto was able to solve the case when he couldn't. Kyoko steps in to answer.
    Kyoko: You still haven't realized? We don't all act according to calculations and cost-benefit diagrams. That's what makes us so complicated. That's what you don't understand, and that's why you couldn't solve this case.
    Byakuya: Gh-!
    Kyoko: See? Didn't I tell you? When you dismiss other people's feelings, it'll always come back to bite you in the end.
  • The Great Ace Attorney:
    • In the first case, after the trial reconvenes, Auchi and Kazuma argue on how calling a English person to a trial will eventually hurt the relationship between Japan and Great Britain, with the latter saying how diplomacy is critical at the moment. At one point Ryunosuke interjects and his response has a clear effect on the people present, especially because he's just a simple student that knows next-to-nothing about law.
      Ryunosuke: I won't deny that I'm no expert. I'm just a student. And one who could arguably study harder, too. But standing here now in the Supreme Court, there is one thing that I feel very strongly: A country that fails to uphold the truth in its justice system is a country with no future at all.
    • During the second case, Hosonaga unknowingly does one to Susato. For context, Ryunosuke is under suspicion of his best friend Kazuma's murder, and Susato is convinced Ryunosuke is guilty, but Ryunosuke is determined to find the truth and clear his name. Even if he was talking to Ryunosuke, it still had visible effect on her.
      Hosonaga: I have a second copy of the report. If it might be useful, you're welcome to have it.
      Ryunosuke: Really? Are you sure?
      Hosonaga: Yes, it's fine. I trust you.
      Susato: ...!

    Web Animation 
  • In the season one finale of Camp Camp, David does this in reply to Max's Breaking Speech. When Max demands to know why David doesn't just stop caring about Camp Campbell when literally everyone else couldn't care less, David gives a short speech that culminates in this line.
    David: You're right.
    Max: ...What?
    David: Times have changed, whether I like it or not. The campers don't care, Gwen doesn't care, even the founder of this place has better things to do. That's why I'll never stop trying. Because somebody fucking has to.
  • In episode 3 of HFIL, Freeza sputters that no one would believe Cell if he told them Freeza was killed by Vegeta's son. Cell asks why they wouldn't believe him; after all, Freeza does. Freeza doesn't have a response.
  • In the Season 12 finale of Red vs. Blue, it looks like Felix has Tucker dead for rights and decides to give a long and drawn out speech on how he and his cohorts had been playing them for fools and why he's better than them, culminating in this:
    Felix: If I'm stronger than you and if I'm faster than you, then I can kill you. And that's better than anything money can buy.
    Tucker: (coughs harshly) I dunno man, I think I'd rather be rich than a fucking nut job. What do you think, Church?
    Church: (appears) Yeah, this guy's got no idea what he's talking about.
    Felix: What the— What the fuck is that...!?
    Tucker: Oh, this is Church. He's the AI that helps me run my equipment.
    Felix: What equipment!?
    Tucker: My helmet cam.
    • Later in that same arc, the question "What is Felix afraid of?" comes up several times. In the second to last episode, Locus finally gets his answer, which prompts a Heel–Face Turn.
      Santa: Ignorant creature. Your partner is afraid of you.
  • In the RWBY episode "Cordially Invited", Weiss reunites with her mother Willow, but it is far from a pleasant reunion. Willow realizes her daughter won't be around for long due to her investigating the recent fiasco, and simply tells her to take care of her brother. Weiss tells Willow that Whitley wants nothing to do with her, prompting Willow to say, "Of course not. You left him alone, with us."

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, "I Told You That Story so I Could Tell You This One", Benjamin Franklin meets Beeman (in Purgatory) and, referring to his obvious Batman style, jokingly asks "Who killed your parents?" Beeman answers: "I don't know. They never caught the guy."
  • In Cucumber Quest, Cucumber and Almond get into an argument about an earlier confrontation with the Nightmare Knight that almost ended in disaster.
    Almond: You're blaming me?
    Cucumber: No—
    Almond: You're saying it's my fault he attacked us? Is THAT it?!
    Cucumber: Almond, calm down—
    Almond: Shut up! I guess EVERYTHING is just MY fault, huh?!
    Cucumber: Yeah. I guess so. If you hadn't treated this like a game back when we had the chance to prevent it, we wouldn't even be here at all, so, yeah. I guess it is your fault.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Adrian Raven's mother brushes off most of his angry criticism toward her behavior, but when he responds to her justifying Revenge by Proxy on werewolves over one killing his father by calmly stating "Father would hate what you've become", Pandora immediately falls silent and leaves a moment later, realizing that everything her son criticized her for is right.
  • Full Frontal Nerdity: The main cast's D&D characters are stuck in the past, and are trying to argue that their timeline should be allowed to continue existing...only to be rather hamstrung by their "murder-hobo" playstyle.
    Nelson's Character: But what price is worth losing everyone we knew?
    NPC: Name one person from your own time you care about.
    Shawn: He's got us there.
  • In Girl Genius this little argument between father and son:
    Klaus: Do you know that every single woman I've ever known who had the Spark has tried to kill me? They're dangerous!
    Gil: Father — maybe it's you.
    Klaus: [long beat], I don't think so...
  • In I Will Survive, Judy gets pregnant with Nick's child and wants an abortion, a decision Nick refuses to accept. Among other things, Judy believes that the pregnancy will negatively impact her police career. Judy is taken aback, then slaps Nick so hard that she leaves claw marks on his cheek.
    Judy: You know who I am! You know what's at stake for me since we first met! And you know full well that I did everything for my career!
    Nick: Yes, I do know. It seems like you could even kill our baby for your career.
  • The Order of the Stick: In strip 1210, Redcloak, a Knight Templar goblin out to right the injustices against the goblin race, asks Durkon how many goblin lives he has ended — after just rejecting Durkon's deal that Durkon had framed as saving the goblins as a people, not to mention long after the siege of Azure City, where thousands of them died for his plan. Durkon answers "Na as many as ye." Notably, the only response Redcloak has to this is the most indignant snarl he has ever had, and trying to find meagre joy in killing Durkon painfully.
  • Paranatural: Ed snaps Johnny like a twig.
    Johnny: I haven't [bullied you]? But you're a nerd!
    Ed: Yeah, but the fun outgoing kind with lots of friends. You mostly go after the nerds who're less popular because they're awkward or sensitive or whatever. I assume 'cause they give you big reactions without many repercussions and you crave that attention plus the admiration of your bully friends.
  • Played for Laughs in Peanuts Untold. Lila allows herself to get drafted to Charlie Brown's baseball team to help him, and then Snoopy puts them both (off-screen) through some Training from Hell that leaves them both lying on the ground tired. Lila then asks why Charlie Brown doesn't have a normal dog like everyone else, and he replies that she should be the one telling him that because she owned Snoopy first.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
    • "Decaf":
      Human: Decaf coffee? That's pointless!
      Decaf coffee: Imagine being a human and calling something else pointless.
      Human: (cries)
    • "Joke":
      Human: Sorry, computer, I'm not gonna believe robots can replace artists until you can tell me a joke nobody's heard of.
      Computer: You.
      Human: (cries)
    • "Care 2": Adult complains to teen that she's always staring at her phone and ignoring him. Teen makes a long, impassioned speech about how she must do that because, unlike him, she's at the point in her life when every little social detail could affect her future. Adult:
    "Sorry what were you saying I was looking at my phone this is what it's like!"
  • Mostly Played for Laughs but this happens in this Schlock Mercenary comic:
    The Captain is grilling his ship's AI for disobeying a direct order and taking actions on his own "because it was the right thing to do"
    Captain Tagon: The right thing to do at the time? You're acting like I'm paying you to think!
    Ennesby: Technically, you don't pay me. And technically, most of what I do is "think".
    Tagon: I... rrr... umm.
    Ennesby: And when you get down to it, I'm better at it than you are.
  • In The Sword Interval, during their fight, Alex asks Fall to surrender, stating that she "doesn't want to hurt her anymore." Fall responds with "I don't know how you could hurt me any more than you already have."
  • In Unsounded Chapter 16, Quigley's long, despairing, self-loathing rant about how much he resented his wife and son and how happy he felt when he turned her in for subversive activity is undercut by seven words from Duane, which reveal there's nothing exceptional about the flaws Quigley has defined himself by.
    Quigley: That brief peace was the best thing I've ever felt in this world. I've been searching for it since. Isn't that awful? Isn't that the worst...the worst thing you've ever heard?
    Duane: <I would have done the same thing.>
  • Yellow Brick Ramble: This is a comic-slash-graphic-novel adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz, the second novel of the Oz series. And near the end of comic chapter 10, after trying to help Logan reconcile with Ozma only to have her efforts undermined by the poet Dashemoff's sudden arrival, Juni Jump starts berating Logan for being receptive to Dashemoff's flirting and not focusing on Ozma. Logan retorts that he isn't her pawn and to leave him alone if she doesn't really want to be his friend. Juni Jump is literally struck speechless by that, and tones down her behavior.

    Web Original 
  • According to Bosnian Ape Society, Enzo Ferrari once went on a tirade of insults to Henry Ford for trying to trick him into an one-sided deal but was left baffled when Henry simply replied "ok, but who asked?" To get back at him, Enzo developed a Who Asked Radar for over 20 years and mounted it atop a Lancia Abarth 037, the absolute pinnacle of two-wheel drive design, to end this horrifying enigma of idiotic and unoriginal remarks once and for all (the radar was successful in the original video, but a reupload retconned it into Henry just asserting that no, nobody ever asked).
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Kami delivers one to both Piccolo and himself in Episode 42, while trying to justify his unwillingness to merge with Piccolo. Even he hadn't realized the real reason until he blurted it out, and he seems more shocked than Piccolo afterwards.
    Piccolo: Between your cryptic warnings and jerking me around, I'm pretty sure an entire city is either missing, or DEAD! You're the Guardian! Start acting like it!
    Kami: Yes! I am the Guardian! The Guardian of this planet! And you wish to take that title from me!
    Piccolo: Are you kidding me? This can't be about the job. The first chance you had to drop this gig, you tried to hand it off to Goku! GOKU! He doesn't even look after his own kid! I look after his kid more than he does!
    Kami: But it's still my job! My responsibility!
    Piccolo: And that's really good and all, but if you don't fuse with me, the entire world you're "guarding" might be DESTROYED!
    Kami: Maybe I'd RATHER it be destroyed than ever have to be a part of YOU again!
  • In Jacksepticeye's Pants On Fire video, Felix, administering Jack's lie detector test, asks Jack if he thinks he's a better Youtuber than him. Jack responds 'no', which is flagged as a lie. Before shoving a cream pie in Jack's face as punishment for lying, Felix decides to interrogate him first:
    Felix: Oh wow, what is it? What, you think 'cause you have green hair, you're better than me?
    Jack: (deadpan) I didn't turn off the comments [on my Youtube videos].
    (Felix stares at the camera in stunned disbelief for a couple seconds before wordlessly shoving the pie into Jack's face)
  • In Lovely Little Losers, when Peter tells Costa that he slept with Jaquie, hoping to get himself kicked out of Doctor Faustus, Costa's response disarms him, both figuratively and literally.
    Costa: I forgive you.
  • In Team Four Star's video "My Hero Academia Season 1 in 5 Minutes", Midoriya asks Bakugo why he hates him, and gets an unexpectedly self-aware answer.
    Midoriya: Bakugo, why do you hate me?!
    Bakugo: Because the only concepts of justice and success I have are based on strength! And any challenge to that ideology feels like an attack on me! So when someone I perceive as weak competes with me, my first instinct is to crush the life out of them so I can reassure my own world view!
    Midoriya: H-Holy... wow, I... Do you want to... talk about it?
    Bakugo: STOP BEING A CUCK! (blasts Midoriya)
  • StacheBros: In the Mario Kart episode of "Luigi Time!!!", when Luigi tries to talk Mario out of committing suicide:
    Mario: Life means nothing if I don't have a brother!
    Luigi: You do have a brother! I'm right here!
    Mario: But do you care?! DO YOU CARE?!
    Luigi: Mario, if I didn't care, would I be here?
    Mario: What's that supposed to-
    Luigi: Peach needs you! The kingdom needs you! I need you.
    Mario: Wha...what? Luigi?
    Luigi: Get down, Mario. It's time to go.
    Mario: But I...I... [sigh]
  • In Worm, Interlude 27b consists entirely of four words, spoken by Scion to break Eidolon's will to fight or even to live. The question that had been burning in Eidolon's mind was "What are the Endbringers and why do they exist?" The four-word answer that completely shattered his mind and will is "You needed worthy opponents".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: Played for Laughs when Bandit Keith's Insane Troll Logic gets called out, catching him off guard.
    Keith: All three of you, get the hell out of my country!
    Zombieboy: B-but this is Japan-!
    Keith: Every country in the world belongs to America!
    Sid: Then how the bloody hell are we supposed to get out?
    Keith: ...I don't know.

    Western Animation 
  • In Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix, after he, Tetrax and Gwen discover that the Omnitrix's self-destruct countdown accelerates every time he uses it, Ben has a conversation with Gwen in Tetrax's hoverboard simulation room over the matter.
    Gwen: Aren't you a little bit worried that the self-destruct countdown has sped up?
    Ben: Nah, I work best under pressure.
    Gwen: This doesn’t only affect you, you know! What about Grandpa? I'm sure he doesn't want you to get vaporized, or whatever!
    Ben: Look, Tetrax and I have it covered. We'll find Azmuth, he'll fix the watch, and I'll keep kicking alien butt!
    Gwen: Tetrax said Azmuth would deactivate the Omnitrix, not fix it.
    Ben: (is so taken aback by this that he falls off the hoverboard)
  • Season 2 of Bojack Horseman has this exchange of armor-piercers between Mr. Peanutbutter and Bojack.
    PB: All I ever wanted was to be your friend. And you treat me like a big joke. You think I don't notice? Why don't you like me?
    Bojack: Mr. Peanutbutter-
    PB: No, tell me.
    Bojack: Because...I'm jealous.
    PB: Oh, of what? Diane?
    Bojack: No. Of everything. Everything comes so easy for you.
    PB: (Incredulously) Oh, and it doesn't for you? You're a millionaire movie star with a girlfriend who loves you, acting in your dream movie. What more do you want? What else could the universe possibly owe you?
    Bojack: I...want to feel good about myself. The way you do. And I don't know how. I don't know if I can. I'm sorry, Mr. Peanutbutter. I can't tell you how sorry I am.
  • Centaurworld: In the final episode "The Last Lullaby", "Look around: that is not what love looks like!" This is Horse's response to the General's argument to the woman that his wrong-doings was out of "love". This prompts the Woman to look upon the wounded Rider and at the desolate, war-torn landscape caused by the war that was born of the General's so-called "love".
  • Chowder: In "The Elemelons", Mung's juice-producing elephants go on strike due to Truffles's harsh treatment of them for making so much noise. He locks her in the pen with them, stating that he won't let her out until she "make nice" with them and gets juice for his recipe.
    Truffles: I don't make nice!!!
    Mung: You'd better start learning, woman!
    • His sudden response surprises the both of them and ends with him, Chowder and Schnitzel running away in a panic.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • OPERATION C.A.R.A.M.E.L. tells the origins of what happened between Heinrich Von Marzipan and Numbuh 5 back in Guatemala: When both kids found out how to make a ritual that could produce the Sacred Golden Caramels, Heinrich ended up having to sacrifice his most prized quality, leaving him cursed ever since. When Numbuh 5 tells Heinrich that she kept his last caramel so she could find a way to break the curse, he takes it from her in a blind fury, but Numbuh 5 soon tells Heinrich that he has to willingly give away his last caramel so it'll release his trapped quality, but he refuses due to his greedy, candy-hoarding nature, and demands to know:
      Heinrich Von Marzipan: WHY SHOULD I BELIEVE YOU?!
      Numbuh 5: Because... you're more important to me than candy.
      Heinrich Von Marzipan: (Stunned by Numbuh 5's response) I... I was so beautiful...!
    • In OPERATION F.O.U.N.T.A.I.N., the DCFDTL kidnap a classmate of Sector V’s named Leona, and the team follows them to an ancient underground school, Numbuh 5 being the most determined to rescue her. After encountering several booby traps, Numbuh 4 is frustrated, wondering why they’re risking their lives to rescue someone they barely even know.
    • Also done in OPERATION P.O.O.L. between Numbuh 4 and his counterpart in a Bizarro Universe, who rules the world through an iron-fisted regime of fear. It winds up dissolving his entire empire because nobody is afraid of him anymore once they know the truth:
      Negative Numbuh 4: I must be a genius, because you're an idiot to come here! You're completely surrounded by my troops!
      Numbuh 4: Well, if you're my opposite, then that makes YOU a coward!
  • In the DuckTales (2017) episode "Timephoon!," Della berates Louie for misusing a dangerous invention and doing something extremely dangerous and selfish without thinking of the consequences. Louie's response causes almost everyone in the room to gasp or look away awkwardly (or in the case of Beakley and Della, put their foot down further).
    Louie: [sarcastically] I wonder who I got THAT from.
  • Invincible (2021): The Season 1 finale, "Where I Really Come From", sees Mark deliver one to his father in a scene lifted right out of the comics. See that section for details.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • When Batman confronts Amanda Waller about Project Cadmus, she breaks it down to him just how exactly the world governments feel about an army of metahumans and their downward-pointing Kill Sat. Batman is so staggered by this answer, he even forgets to do his usual Stealth Hi/Bye shtick.
    • Justice League Batman argues with Justice Lord Batman, his alternate universe Knight Templar counterpart, calling him out on being a tyrannical and oppressive dictator. Lord Batman points out that under said dictatorship, no eight-year-old boy ever has to fear seeing his parents gunned down in an alley. League Batman immediately drops his Batarang and sadly declares, "You win."
      • Justice League Batman gets back at Justice Lord Batman later. When a man is arrested for "causing a disturbance" by complaining about his restaurant bill, the former sarcastically points out that Mom and Dad would be so proud of him for what he has helped create.
      • In the director's commentary, Lord Batman's armor-piercing response was this for the writing team as well. To write the scene, they had divided the writing staff into two teams. Both teams were to argue as if they were Batman, one team as if Batman was justifying his questionable own act, while the other team argued as Batman denouncing a villain. The Lord team made the same argument and the entire writing team fell silent realizing the implication: They had wanted Team Denouncing Villain to win... but they had nothing to back it up... the second scene was written specifically to point out the problem once everyone thought about it.
    • General Wade Eiling takes a Super-Soldier serum and mutates into a Hulk expy so he can publicly defeat Superman. To provoke Superman into appearing, Eiling attacks a parade headed by Justice League Badass Normals while ranting about how superheroes are unbalancing the world and superpowered beings are a menace. The parade's audience stand up to defend the heroes and point out to Eiling that he's the only one present with any superpowers. Eiling concedes that he's become everything he hated and leaves.
    • Yet another is brilliantly delivered by Green Arrow, commenting on the aftermath of rescuing Question from Cadmus, as well as subduing/treating a coerced Captain Atom who was asked to give his services to his previous life in the military. And how some agree with Cadmus' reason for secretly creating a force to combat the Justice League if they ever gone down the same road the Justice Lords did in the alternate timeline they clashed with before.
      Green Arrow: Hey, I'm the only guy in the room who doesn't have super powers, and lemme tell you: You guys scare me.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • This exchange that exposes the villain's Evil Plan in "A Canterlot Wedding":
      Impostor!Cadance/Chrysalis: Why does she have to ruin my special day?
      Cadance: Because it's not your day! it's mine!
    • In "Dungeons & Discords", Discord is invited by Spike and Big Mac to their "Guys Night" after the Mane Six leave town. Discord looks down on the two and the night eventually devolves into Discord turning their tabletop game against them, leading to this exchange:
      Spike: Why are you doing this? You're the worst!
      Discord: If I'm the worst, then why did you invite me?
      Spike: Because we felt bad for you!
  • In the Ōban Star-Racers episode "Optimised Like Ondai", Don Wei realizes that one of his pilots, Molly, is really his daughter Eva, who he left at a boarding school several years prior, only to all but forget her existence soon after. When he tries to confront her about her real identity at the end of the episode, Molly frustrated that it took him several months to figure it out, not to mention disillusioned by the man he's become, and so gives him an indirect answer.
    Don: I'll be more direct. Are you my daughter, Eva?
    Molly: ...If I were your daughter, you'd know it immediately. You wouldn't really need to ask me, would you?
  • The Owl House:
    • In the episode "Adventures in the Elements", when Luz complains to her mentor Eda about the fact that she doesn't yet know enough spells to avoid being placed with the toddlers when she starts attending Hexside.
    Eda: And whose fault is that?
    Luz: Yours.
    Eda: Ha! Yep, got me there.
    • In the episode "Thanks to Them", Belos gets exorcised out of Hunter's body after the latter resists his Demonic Possession. Angry that his nephew/clone of deceased brother would resist his control, Belos accuses Hunter (whom he calls Caleb) of stabbing him in the back. Luz coldly replies that Belos was the one who stabbed him first. This causes Belos to grimace as he did in fact stab his brother Caleb to death a long time ago (which he blames on the witches).
  • In the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Hidden City's Most Wanted", Splinter and former Big Bad Baron Draxum are arguing over whether Splinter should be grateful to Draxum for mutating him. Draxum claims that Splinter had lost his purpose before Draxum mutated him and the turtles. Splinter says that he's not lost anymore because he has his sons, whose day was ruined by Draxum. Draxum responds "Without me, you wouldn't even have a son whose day I could ruin!" This causes Splinter to flash back to a time when the turtles brought him comfort shortly after they were mutated. He then admits that Draxum is right and that he wouldn't trade his sons for anything. He then thanks Draxum for transforming him.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power regularly has Catra on the receiving end of these:
    • In "The Ties That Bind", after putting up with the captive Catra's mocking and taunting, Glimmer snaps to Catra that Adora didn't run away from the Horde, she ran away from Catra herself. For once, Catra doesn't have a clever response and can only scowl.
    • In "Princess Scorpia" when, after once again belittling Scorpia and angrily asking why she's so useless, the bubbly henchwoman responds with an uncharacteristically stoic and quiet "You're a bad friend" and walks away. Catra is stunned into silence, and the horrifying realization that this was Scorpia cutting ties with her is the start of her Villainous BSoD.
    • In "Destiny: Part One", when Catra is about to attack Lonnie, Kyle, of all characters, stops her and asks why she's been treating them (her old squad) so badly when they used to be friends. She's briefly taken aback, before yelling at them to leave.
    • She occasionally gets to deliver one as well. Such as when Adora is asking her to Heel–Face Turn and points out that Catra helped Adora escape and avoid being brainwashed into a Horde soldier again just a few episodes earlier. Catra snaps at her, angrily declaring that she didn't do it to help Adora but herself; if Adora comes back to their side, Catra would once again be cast aside in favor of her. The revelation that Catra resents her this way leaves Adora stunned.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Scenes From The Class Struggle In Springfield", Marge tries her best to fit in with the rich socialites of a country club and begins to ostracize her family, snapping at them to just be good (i.e. don't speak your mind, don't talk to anyone, etc). This includes even Maggie. She only realizes what she's become once Homer sadly says:
      Homer: You kids should thank your mother. Now that she's a better person, we can see how awful we really are.
    • During the "Skinner And The Superintendent" segment in "22 Short Films About Springfield", Principal Skinner tries to bluff his way through serving Superintendent Chalmers some Krustyburgers and fries for lunch after previously promising a home-cooked meal, referring to them as "steamed hams", an alleged colloquialism for hamburgers, after explaining away the smoke from the burned roast he was originally preparing as "steamed clams". Everything seems good for Skinner until Chalmers says, "So, you call them 'steamed hams' despite the fact they are obviously grilled." At which point Seymour is reduced to stuttering because he can't think of a new lie on the spot.
  • South Park: Kyle gives one to Heidi Turner in "Splatty Tomato" after she mocks Kyle for rejecting his feelings for her and going back to Cartman. Kyle's response makes her realize she's turned into another Cartman. Doubles as a very short Reason You Suck Speech.
    Heidi: Oh, what's the matter, Kyle? You don't want me around 'cause you had the hots for me and I shot you down?
    Kyle: I would never have the hots for the person you are now. (Heidi is stunned by Kyle's answer)
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "Future Vision", after Garnet explains the eponymous power, Steven becomes terrified of what the future has in store for him. Garnet assures him that while she can't be around to protect him all the time, he's still in control, and that he shouldn't go onto the roof, no matter what. He defies her advice, goes up to the roof (in the middle of a thunderstorm), and resigns himself to whatever comes next. When Garnet tries to convince him to come down, he refuses:
      Steven: Everything I do shoves me finally towards the end! The more I know, the more I know that I don't know! I can't live like this! Why did you tell me about future vision? What's going to happen to me on the roof?
      Garnet: This.
      Steven: Wh...what?
      Garnet: I knew you might do this if I told you about my power. I saw this, and I told you anyway.
      Steven: But...why?!
      Garnet: I took a risk at your expense! There was a chance you'd understand it so we'd be closer! (takes off glasses) Steven, I see so many things that can hurt you! I should never have let one of them been me!
    • In "Message Received", Peridot cements her Heel–Face Turn by giving one to Yellow Diamond.
      Peridot: I won't do it! I can tell you with certainty that there are things on this planet worth protecting!
      Yellow Diamond: What do you know about the Earth?!
      Yellow Diamond: (Face contorts in pure rage)
    • In "Change Your Mind", this is what finally brings down White Diamond. When she suffers a Villainous Breakdown and throws a tantrum, slamming her fists on the ground and spitting accusations at Steven, including accusing him of acting like a child, Steven's response shocks her so badly she stands down:
      Steven: I am a child. What's your excuse?
  • Wakfu: Ultimately, Rubilax is defeated and forced back into his prison when Eva simply points out that he cannot escape what he is:
    Rubilax: "Oh yeah? So what am I?"
    Evangelyne: "You're just a good guy who pretends to be the villain".
  • Another Batman-related example in Young Justice (2010), when Batman reveals that he knew long before the rest of the Justice League that Captain Marvel was really a 10-year-old kid.
    Wonder Woman: I shouldn't be surprised, considering you indoctrinated Robin into crimefighting at the ripe old age of nine.
    Batman: Robin needed to bring the man who murdered his parents to justice.
    Wonder Woman: So he could turn out like you?
    Batman: (somberly) ...So that he wouldn't.

Alternative Title(s): Armour Piercing Response


League Batman vs. Lord Batman

Our Batman ultimately can't think of a response to his tyrannical counterpart, and neither could the writers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ArmorPiercingResponse

Media sources: