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Braggart Boss

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"FOOLS! You face the mightiest swordsman in all Ivalice! You face ME! GILGAMESH! Long have I sought the blade of legend, scoured have I the furthest marches, east and west! And now my search brings me HERE! To YOU! Your weapons are forfeit to me!!!"
Gilgamesh, Final Fantasy XII

Appearing in Video Games more frequently than in other media, this character combines traits of the Harmless Villain, Affably Evil, Large Ham and Fake Ultimate Hero into what is essentially a villainous version of the Boisterous Bruiser; a blustering, over-the-top buffoon who confronts the heroic party, often completely out of nowhere, pompously and dramatically introduces himself, and challenges the heroes to battle.

The Braggart is usually either competent but not particularly deadly, or a complete joke, but either way his comically over-the-top blow and bluster is Played for Laughs. He'll insist on making a dramatic entrance (sometimes backfiring spectacularly), pause to deliver long, bungling villainous speeches punctuated by megalomaniacal laughter that come off as more snickerworthy or just plain confusing than ominous, and when defeated will either promise an epic rematch and run like a chicken, or be foisted embarrassingly out of the scene by some humorous Deus ex Machina. Rest assured, this will be a Recurring Boss, of the most annoying kind. Even in the instance that you only fight him once, he'll probably have led you on some kind of bizarre Side Quest to reach that point.

Just how annoying this is depends on the way this character is used. He's similar to the Goldfish Poop Gang except that rather than diminishing in importance in subsequent encounters, he's likely to continuously power himself up trying to match you. He's also usually a solitary character; if he's part of a Gang or a Quirky Miniboss Squad, he's the one who's champing at the bit to engage the heroes and takes any slur against the team as "fighting words". However, he's more likely to appear as an Affably Evil Dragon to the more obvious Big Bad, or as a colourful Psycho for Hire who is set up as a dangerous opponent but winds being more bark than bite. This character type is never the Big Bad himself.

He's usually big, with an oversized weapon and bright, flashy clothes or excessively ornate armour. He'll usually announce himself as "The Magnificent _______" or "the Legendary _______". He'll almost always claim to be the greatest warrior, wizard, or whatever alive, and to be attacking the heroes simply out of the search for a challenge. He'll try to downplay any defeat he suffers, claiming he wasn't at his best or he let the heroes win, and when he does come back he'll usually be toting some kind of gimmicky new weapon or spell that is sure to beat them this time. He may have an irritating tendency to hijack himself into unexpected places (such as the end of a dungeon, a secret treasure room, or as the final opponent of a Tournament Arc), sometimes with upgraded power to compensate for how badly you thrashed him last time.

However, even if this character really is a challenging opponent, he'll never live up to his own hype, largely because he's so boastful that nobody possibly could. He's similar to the Fake Ultimate Hero, except that this character isn't seen as heroic, and instead of everyone believing him to be great and awesome, it's the Braggart himself trumpeting his glories. In fact, nobody in the story might believe him at all. Being an entertainingly Large Ham and most often a Harmless Villain, this character is likely to escape death (at least by the heroes' hands) and is a frequent candidate for Heel–Face Turn. He'll probably claim at least once that the heroes have earned his respect, or even start addressing them as friends, but if the heroes react at all to this character it's probably with annoyance or simply bewilderment. In this respect, the Braggart Boss crosses over with the Unknown Rival.

Compare: Fake Ultimate Hero, Unknown Rival, Affably Evil, Boisterous Bruiser, Miles Gloriosus. This character could also be considered the video game equivalent of Small Name, Big Ego.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Fan Works 
  • Repeatedly subverted in The Mountain and the Wolf: Every time the Wolf shows up in the first few chapters, he makes a Big Entrance in his flying longship, announces his intent to kill his target, copiously insults them before and during their battle... and then easily curbstomps their asses without breaking a sweat. It helps that he's the High Executioner of Chaos approximately the size of a bear, while his opponents (even Gregor Clegane) are just humans (and one of them was anything but a fighter by trade).

    Films — Animated 
  • Shrek 2: I am Puss... in Boots! Fear me if you dare! Slightly confident, but Shrek gets him before too long. On the other hand, when he's helping Shrek he can take on mooks by the half-dozen.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Visser Three, despite being the series Big Bad, has a tendency to be this way in some of the Animorphs books, especially when he lands suddenly in a Bug fighter or something like that. While his morphs (and even his Andalite host body) are unquestionably dangerous, he's simply too stupid and narcissistic to try anytihng apart from Attack! Attack! Attack!.

    Video Games 
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: Every general in the Generals Challenge mode is this, and often delves into Large Ham territory. Leang, in particular, strongly thinks that her multiple super weapons give her a complete gloat-free territory to tread upon, until she sorely underestimates the opposing general against her and only when she loses a great deal of her non-defensive buildings does she go from self-gloating to actively denying her severe mounting losses against the opponent she constantly berated and it's only after fulfilling the requirements of defeating her that she finally admits that the opposing general is better than her.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Siegfried from Final Fantasy VI, to the extent that one fan theory was that Siegfried WAS Gilgamesh in disguise, though this was Jossed when Gilgamesh was retconned into the GBA version of the game as a secret boss.
    • Ultros, a goofy purple octopus who shows up several times in the game, apropos of nothing, for a boss fight and spouts seafood puns at you. Much like Gilgamesh, he too became a recurring cameo fight.
    • Kefka exemplifies the colorful Psycho for Hire type in the beginning of the game. It turns out though that he is much worse.
  • To an extent, Seymour from Final Fantasy X. Sure, the first time around he was (to some people) That One Boss. The second time, the player is probably screaming Shut Up, Hannibal!. The third time was (one of) his Moral Event Horizon moments. The fourth time, if you weren't shouting "WHY WON'T YOU STAY DEAD?!" you either have infinite patience or you are massively stoned.
    • Jecht is made into one of these in Dissidia Final Fantasy. His taunt in a Mirror Match says it all:
      "I get to fight the best fighter in the world!"
      • And if that isn't enough for you, his moves are called Jecht Rush, Jecht Stream, Jecht Block, Jecht Blade, Ultimate Jecht Shot and Triumphant Grasp. The last one is named Jecht Finger in Japan.
    • Final Fantasy X-2: Leblanc.
  • Vyers the Dark Adonis Mid-Boss. The ending shows the very real possibility that he's a Not-So-Harmless Villain as he's ex-Overlord Krichevskoy in disguise, but in-game, he never lives up to his amazing, amusing bluster. Then there's all the other enormous hams you fight, like Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth!, but they don't usually come back for more.
  • Euram Barows from Suikoden V is a juvenile, immature version of this trope (who nevertheless embodies most of its characteristics, including an optional Heel–Face Turn.)
  • Dalton from Chrono Trigger is more villainous than the usual, but every bit as hammy and irritating as this trope implies.
  • This pops up from time to time in the Shadow Hearts series, although the heroes themselves generally seem just as aware as the audience that the villains sound moronic. They stand around awkwardly, make casual conversation and generally wait for the bad guy to get on with it.
    • "Where can I get one of those cushions?"
  • In X-Men Legends II, Deadpool serves this role, making no sense, yet conveying that he wishes to kill everything. He then goes on a rampage of firing minimum damage range attacks and teleporting around the map. Given who he is, it's justified. It becomes even better in replay when you unlock Deadpool as a playable character. The unusualness of these two guys occupying the the same space is not wasted on Deadpool the boss and Deadpool the PC and they discuss the many comic book ways this could happen before deciding that it would be easier for one to kill the other and stop the logical fallacies.
    Deadpool: Time for a little boss battle, suckers!
    Battle the Boss, Suckers
  • Skies of Arcadia:
    • Vigoro, the boisterous, Handsome Lech enemy Admiral. His constant defeats by the party never seem to take the wind of his sails. Winds up subverted in the Game Cube remake where he legitimately becomes a deadly threat as a Optional Boss.
    • Alphonso is an even better example, being an extremely blustery character, convinced of his own superiority, while being so utterly useless that he can't even fight you himself (he uses a Giant Mook stand-in).
  • Tales of the Abyss: Dist the Rose.
  • Mother 3: The Mole Cricket and the Squeekz.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Fire Emblem 7: "I am Glass! The gods fear my name! My swordplay is peerless!" So says the level 3 Mercenary.
  • Ōkami: "Waka, the gods' gift to man, is here! Bonjour!" While not villainous, per se, he still acts as a recurring antagonist to Amaterasu. Subverted in that he eventually turns out to be as competent as he brags. It was his prophecy that led to the original defeat of Orochi, after all. He also carries more emotional baggage than the average Braggart Boss.
  • Breath of Fire: Kahn, in the fourth game. Performs a Heel–Face Turn of sorts, when he allows you to apprentice under him, potentially letting you make much better use of his skills than he ever did.
  • Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny: Gogandantess seemed like he was going to be this. Instead, he showed why he claimed to be "The Greatest Swordsman of all the Demons." The final battle with him is a load of fun and easily one of the coolest parts of the game. Jubei's last words to him are "Your name is Gogandantess... the greatest swordsman of all the demons".
  • Viewtiful Joe: Hulk Davidson, one of the earlier bosses. As you approach his room, from a couple rooms away you can hear him (badly) singing "Hulk Davidson in the house, Hulk Davidson is born to be wiiiiild!"
  • Iji: Assassin Asha. While he is fairly good at dodging (if not for his pride that somehow forbids him from dodging shotgun blasts, he would be truly invulnerable), he once teleported into a wall, losing his arm. And did I mention his pride? He's got more of it than Iosa the Invincible, THE MOST BADASS KOMATO IN THE UNIVERSE!, who quite lives up to her name, despite being defeated by a boot to the head.
  • I. M. Meen: I. M. Meen is a rare final boss example. Just take a look at any of his cutscenes. Notably, he proclaims himself the most powerful magician in the world. Judging by the fact he is defeated, rather easily, by a child armed with good grammar for only advantage and his own Minion with an F in Evil for only aid, he is probably lying. Either that, or he is also the ONLY magician in the world. The magical skill he seems to have mastered best is a thousand flashy ways of teleporting. When finally defeated, he overdramatically swears revenge, however while the game had a sequel, it barely even featured Meen himself.
    "Aaaaaugh! You may have outsmarted me this time, bookworm, but I'll be back! I.M. Meen NEVER QUITS! You'll see!" *spins out of the room*
  • Star Fox 64: Several bosses. For example, the (rather easy) Meteo Crusher: [in an extremely condescending voice]: "I cannot allow you to go any further. Let's see what you've got." [loses outer shield] "You're more cunning than I thought. I've underestimated you. How about this?" [loses electricity weapon] "I'm no match for you. I admit defeat." [Turns ship around to fire main weapons] "Ha ha! You're not as stupid as you look!" [Gets beaten] "I can't believe I lost to this scum!!"
  • Mass Effect 3 delivers a horrifyingly competent and serious version of the Braggart Boss in The Illusive Man's top assassin, Kai Leng. With Kai Leng, there is no ham. There is, however, a xenophobic Hero Killer who is directly responsible for Shepard's failure to prevent the fall of Thessia. He even gets a Hopeless Boss Fight just to drive home the point (which has already been made in spades) that he is dangerous. And in everyone of his appearances, he never, ever stops taunting and insulting Shepard and company. Of course, said Hopeless Boss Fight is only because he calls in a gunship as back-up and in his previous encounter he proves to be barely better than a Drell assassin dying of a terminal disease. In their final encounter, Shepard even shoots back that for all his bragging and taunting, Kai Leng never "loses" because he's always running, which causes him to shoot back with a nervous "Sh-shut up!".
  • No More Heroes: Destroyman. As a regular person, he's not too remarkable, but as soon as he puts on the "superhero" clothes, he prepares a triumphant presentation of himself for the battle. He calls his attacks by name, and overall pretends to be more than he actually is (note that he's only ranked 7th in the UAA).
  • Toby Fox loves this trope:
    • Undertale: Papyrus, the goofy skeleton with an inflated ego and lovable personality. He is notably the only monster of the game that can't kill you: if he depletes your HP low enough, he'll call off the fight and put you in a jail... that can be very easily escaped.
    • Deltarune has two of these, with both Lancer and Rouxls Kaard, the former is really just a silly child entertaining himself by pretending to be a bad guy (and following the order of his much more evil father) and the later being The Dragon of said father, but so utterly incompetent that the only challenge he'll ever bring to the table is by sending a previously defeated boss to fight in his stead.

  • A borderline example as he seemed to be considered a genuine hero by the populace at large (even though some of his stories might be exaggerated), Othar Tryggvassen OTHAR TRYGGVASSEN, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER from Girl Genius otherwise nicely fit the mold, especially the Large Ham part.
  • Both Carissa and Toby, from Our Little Adventure. Toby, moreso than Carissa.

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible: Senor Senior Junior, when he's actually being a bad guy, is pretty much this.