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Beyond the Impossible

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"Go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb! That's how Team Gurren rolls!"

"That's impossible!"

No, no it's not. This trope is for actions and events that defy the limits set within a series. In Real Life they just wouldn't work, but the rules of fiction (i.e., whatever the author laid down when constructing it) are somewhat... looser. Someone who, for instance, gains the power to fly when no one else can is not this trope; that is Applied Phlebotinum or Functional Magic or some other trope defining the character's power. Like Reality Unless Otherwise Noted is a good thing to keep in mind when adding examples; aspects of the fictional reality not covered by the author's rules are covered by real life. For the example to count it has to be impossible according to the internal logic of the story.


In short, whenever someone "touches the untouchable" or "breaks the unbreakable", they are going Beyond The Impossible. note 

This could be done by the Idiot Hero, who doesn't know the rules. Thus, going beyond the impossible can be Achievements in Ignorance. Just as easily, it could be a calculated endeavor by Awesome by Analysis trying to break the rules. These are just examples, there could be others. Often times, one will cry out How Is That Even Possible? after seeing such a thing.

Distinct from Up to Eleven in two respects. 1.) There is no 'topping' involved; topping the previous maximum is not necessarily the motivation. 2.) The action is literally impossible instead of being one step higher than the current best. For example: Alice punches Bob and he steps back from the force. Up to Eleven, Alice punches Bob across the room. Beyond The Impossible, Alice punches Bob backwards in time. The former is just a stronger punch while the latter has nothing to do with strength.


If you're looking for the old definition, "a series tops itself over and over," go to Serial Escalation.

This trope is about events, not the characters involved in them. Do not confuse with Rule of Cool (where the Willing Suspension of Disbelief is stretched because the example is cool), nor badass, which has a multitude of meanings.

For someone who fails at something in an extreme way, see Epic Fail. If someone scores a 12 out of ten or a negative score or anything like that then you'll want Broke the Rating Scale or F--.

Compare the various Screw This Index, I Have Tropes!, which are more about breaking social rules than physical ones.

A violation of Internal Consistency and will not exist in stories with Negative Continuity because a story needs strong internal consistency and continuity in order for either to be broken. Wrong Context Magic is a subtrope where characters pull out magic abilities that don't fit into the local rules. Contrast Magic A Is Magic A, when even supernatural elements have rules that cannot be broken.


Named for one translation (of many) of one of Kamina's (many, many) Catch Phrases from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

In-Universe Examples Only:

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  • Garfield ate a pizza before it arrived. He has "friends high up in the delivery business".
  • Foxtrot,
    Jason: I've seen how you drive on the freeway.
    Peter: You're talking nine digit numbers. I've only flirted with four.
  • Beetle Bailey:
    • If the General has a headache and Sergeant Snorkel ORDERS you to fire a cannon quietly, then you fire it quietly.
    • Beetle is slower than everyone else even when parachuting down from a plane.
    • Lt. Fuzz is so reluctant to jump to parachute down that he stays hanging on a cloud.
    • On one occasion, Beetle and Sarge have followed a road that goes nowhere and are in fact standing on air a little beyond a cliff.
    • Among the geographical features that were at one time featured regularly, there's a particular river that's so fickle and constantly changing its course that the soldiers have to make an effort to avoid it when setting up their tent in one strip. They think they're safe when they reach higher ground, but the river follows them anyway because it doesn't know water can't run uphill.
    • Killer peeks through a knothole at some women at a swimming pool. Next, people are wondering how he managed to get his head stuck on the other side of the hole, which is just the size of his neck (his neck being drawn as very thin as usually). When someone says it's impossible, Beetle says that "he's impossible."

  • Some Yo Mama jokes have a punchline where the subject is fat/ugly/stupid enough to violate real life logic. For example:
    Yo momma is so fat, she jumped in the air and got stuck!
    Yo momma is so ugly, when she looks in the mirror, her reflection ducks!
  • The Chuck Norris Facts are built around Chuck doing things that are impossible, like dividing by zero or expecting the Spanish Inquisition or counting to infinity twice in the time it took him to build the log cabin he was born in right after causing the big bang with a roundhouse kick... Oh and God owes him five bucks.