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Clipped-Wing Angel

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Well, that transformation certainly flopped.
Gnarl: Yeah, but don't forget: I can transform into the Gnarlborg!
[beat panel]
Gnarl: Well, I can...
Radd: Does it ever help?

The villain (perhaps after already going into another One-Winged Angel form and still losing to the heroes) shape shifts into an ultimate Super Mode. So awe-inspiring is this new form the very skies weep blood, so terrifying that it combines the power of every monster, and the hero and his love kiss each other goodbye.

Problem is, the new super form is a joke. This can be for a number of reasons, be it an unstable Power Source, some built-up side effects, incompatible Power Upgrading Deformities, or a "plain old" Super-Power Meltdown once the heroes poke him.

The results ain't pretty.

Much like a Fake Ultimate Mook, this boss goes down in three hits and goes into a Shapeshifter Swan Song and promptly keels over in an explosion of energy or guts. Hopefully not both. Hell, hopefully neither!

Usually, this is a subversion of One-Winged Angel by making the enemy an Anti-Climax Boss, or it may have just been that the writers designed a monster form without a corresponding battle. Can be played for either pathos or comedy.

As this is an Ending Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • During the endgame of AKIRA, Tetsuo's powers become exceedingly unstable and his body mutates and expands. It attempts to crush everyone near it, but at that point Tetsuo doesn't really have any control over his massively-expanding Body Horror. The psychics then teleport main character Kaneda away from the mass of flesh and proceed to blow it up.
  • This trope occurs several times in Bleach:
    • Ggio Vega has a "battle form" outside of his normal Resurreccion that apparently massively boosts his strength and durability. The problem? He seemingly sacrifices his Super-Speed in exchange, which is a major problem when facing off against a foe (Sui-Feng) who's not only incredibly fast herself, but also has a Shikai that lets her deal an instant kill with two strikes to the same place regardless of overall durability. Where before he was able to put her on the ropes at several points (admittedly because she held back to gauge his ability), he lets her goading get to him to trigger the transformation. She proceeds to blitz and fatally injure him before he realizes what happened, and can only listen in mounting horror as she explains what she just did before he bites it.
    • Kaname Tousen, after revealing he has been made a Visored, says that he has a Resurreccion to go along with it. He turns into an insectoid monster, with new, gigantic eyes. As he's about to finish off Komamura, Hisagi sneaks up on him and stabs him through the head. Hisagi claims that if Tousen hadn't been distracted by his new form, he would have easily sensed the attack and dodged it. Yes, a blind man gained sight, only to be defeated by an attack he would have seen coming otherwise.
    • As databooks explain, Yammy, despite his Resurreccion transforming him into the "Cero Espada", only gets the power of growing bigger and increasing his reiatsu as his rage builds; the first and second Espada are considerably more powerful than the average captain, but Yammy's special ability only makes him a gigantic target that Kenpachi and Byakuya easily defeat offscreen.
    • Aizen falls prey to this, as well. While his final series of transformations certainly increase his already-impressive abilities dramatically, his zanpakutou's ability to control opponent's perceptions was what let him curbstomp his opponents so effortlessly. He loses that ability as he transforms (or rather, he still had it, he just grew so arrogant that he decided he didn't need to use it anymore), forced to fight without strategy or deception, ultimately making him a surmountable obstacle.
    • Giriko Kutsuzawa used his enhanced version of his Fullbring, Time Tells No Lies, on himself to immensely increase his raw strength and transform into a muscular brute to fight Kenpachi Zaraki. It's like scaring a cat with a sausage! Kenpachi killed bigger giants in his life! So it only served to give Kenpachi a better shot at killing him. It's the shortest Kenpachi's onscreen battle. Giriko was even Killed Mid-Sentence.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: When Muichiro awakens his Demon Slayer Mark and starts gaining the upper hand against Gyokko in their fight, he transforms into his true form, which resembles a massive lamia. However, Muichiro struggles far less against him than he did against his previous form, due to him abandoning his Demon Art in favor of raw strength and speed, as well as his escalating anger making his movements sloppy and predictable. Muichiro effortlessly decapitates Gyokko the second he gets an opening, then slices the head into pieces for good measure.
  • Digimon Adventure:
    • Vamdemon zigzags this when he becomes VenomVamdemon. He's much more powerful, but also much less intelligent, just rampaging around shooting everything. And his true actual form is a tiny furry ball thing located in his... err, crotch (which still has the brains, but is incapable of defending himself. And his voice is comically high).
    • Vamdemon/Myotismon goes through this in Digimon Adventure 02, dying to kids shouting out what they want to be when they grow up (though this makes sense, considering that he constructed his new body out of those kids' fear and despair), followed up by a BFG blast to whatever's left.
    • Etemon in the same series qualifies as well, he goes from "invincible, and needing to be Hoist by His Own Petard and directly attacked" to "throw a hammer at me and a sucker punch and I'll disintegrate".
      • The Mega level also count as this, Devimon and the Ultimate forms of Etemon and Myotismon took forever to defeat, while all 7 Mega-Level forms they faced got curb-stomped. Justified in that the kids were much stronger at the end of the series and the stronger Digimon came right out to fight instead of sending in their minions, and as a result were killed much quicker.
  • Digimon Frontier: Lucemon's true final form, Lucemon Larva, is as the name suggests a tiny tick thing incapable of defending itself, having to hide inside Lucemon Satan Mode.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • During their big fight in the original series, Piccolo assumes his Great Namekian form to fight Goku, only to end up losing. While it does increase his strength and durability quite a bit, according to Goku, the form doesn't actually increase Piccolo's Power Level and essentially just makes him a bigger target.
    • Good guy version: Future Trunks thought he had surpassed his father by going Super Saiyan Third Grade — until he tries to use it in a fight with Cell in the Android Saga of Dragon Ball Z. Sure, he's big and strong, but the bulky muscles make him significantly slower and he immediately loses. Vegeta may or may not have achieved the same form during training, but clearly realized immediately the drawback and in combat limited himself at the less bulky Second Grade form, while Goku, who achieved both, decided that even Second Grade was Awesome, yet Impractical due the greater ki consumption and focused on mastering the basic Super Saiyan form, the end result being stronger than both Grades and less power consuming.
    • Ironically, Cell later makes the exact same mistake against Gohan, out of rage at being completely overpowered.
    • Happens to Frieza as well. After Goku transforms into a Super Saiyan in the Namek Saga of Z, Frieza can barely even hurt Goku with only 50% of his power, let alone kill him. Goku gives Frieza enough time to reach his full power, at which point he is Goku's equal for a short time (though Goku was holding back to test Frieza and avoid causing too much damage while the others were still on the planet). However, staying in that form burns up his energy at an accelerated rate. Because Frieza's already burnt so much energy from the arc-long fighting (as well as losing emotional stability at that level of power), Goku's greater stamina wins out. Even appearance-wise, his 100% power form looks almost comically bulky and veiny compared to his sleek and slight lower-strength states, suggesting Frieza's desperation and lack of training with it. In Super, he goes so far as to mock Frost's use of it.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly, Broly's clone is turned into something akin to a Blob Monster due to a culture fluid, and despite this, he remains as much of a killing machine as before. However, he melts in the culture fluid and it seems he's dead. That is, until Goten, Trunks, and Krillin watch in horror as he arises as a gargantuan monster larger than a mountain and looks as if he could destroy the world many times over by simply breathing. Instead of an epic clash, he gets wet and is killed by the water. The heroes have no problem taking him out from there.
    • At the end of the Buu Saga of Z, Goku and Vegeta remove Super Buu's absorbed victims and he reverts back to his original form, Kid Buu. He's weaker than Fusion Super Buu (Buu after he absorbed Gohan, Gotenks, and Piccolo). Regardless, he is still a major threat because Gohan and Gotenks were knocked out when Kid Buu blew up the Earth, leaving only Goku and Vegeta alive to fight him.
      • While how much Kid Buu is a Clipped-Wing Angel is still debated within the Dragon Ball fandom, since the manga leaves it vague how strong Kid Buu is to the other Buu forms, the general consensus is that even if Kid Buu may not be the strongest form of Buu, it's agreed by everyone that he is the most dangerous. Fat Buu was like a naughty child and Super Buu was like a hotheaded warrior, but they could be reasoned with to various degrees. Kid Buu, though, is absolutely insane, living only for cosmic destruction, to the point that the very first thing he did was blow up the planet for no reason.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' Frieza's new transformation, Golden Frieza, is this. In this form, he overpowers post Battle of Gods Goku, but he has the same stamina issues as his original 100% form. Meaning, after only a short time, Goku regains his advantage and beats Frieza senseless. In Super, he manages to completely master it, however.
    • In Dragon Ball Super, Future Zamasu decides to stop playing around and fuses with Goku Black using the Potara Earrings to become the all-mighty Fused Zamasu, with Goku and Vegeta one-upping that to bring back Vegito. As they fight, while they're mostly evenly-matched at first, Fused Zamasu's body starts falling apart because the mortal form of Goku Black compromised the Complete Immortality of Future Zamasu, resulting in Body Horror and leaving Fused Zamasu in a position in which he could actually be killed, which was the main problem the heroes faced earlier on against Zamasu. That said, this only applied to his physical form. Once he lost that, his spirit turned into an Eldritch Abomination that only Zeno himself could kill.
  • Fairy Tail:
  • In Fist of the North Star, Mad Doctor Amiba claims to have fully mastered the use of Pressure Points to force humans to do just about anything. When he gets desperate, he hits his own pressure points, and bulks up to about twice his original size... and then his own fingers swell up and explode into bloody stumps, and his body shrinks back down to normal, leaving him completely helpless against a very enraged Kenshiro. As it turns out, he isn't as knowledgeable as he thinks.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Envy's full transformation was initially played as a straight One-Winged Angel, with the sheer increase in size and brute strength overpowering Edward. However, against Roy Mustang, the form is a massive detriment, as the size and aversion of Giant Equals Invincible means that Mustang barely needs to aim to inflict serious damage. At the end of the same fight, after Mustang has repeatedly burned Envy to the point their body turns to ash and fades away, this trope is played straight again with the killer's true form. Envy is nothing more than a green slug-like creature that's no bigger than the palm of Roy's hand.
    • Father obtains a "perfect body" by using millions of Amestrian souls to consume Truth, but Hohenheim had placed a trap in advance which cripples him by returning the souls to their bodies. This leaves Father with an immensely powerful but also incredibly unstable body, which only breaks down faster as he is forced to defend against attacks.
  • Inuyasha:
    • In the first episode, Mistress Centipede gets a big power boost after swallowing the Shikon Jewel… only for Inu-Yasha to destroy her with one attack.
    • The first battle between Inu-Yasha and his full yokai half-brother Sesshomaru when he transforms into his true form (a giant demonic dog). Rather than rely on his tact, sword-fighting prowess, and Dissonant Serenity in human form, the transformed Sesshomaru is much more blunt; he growls, stomps, and bites like a dumb beast, including leaping headfirst into Inu-Yasha's transformed blade, which destroys his left arm. Sesshomaru learns his lesson not to go One-Winged Angel on his opponents unless absolutely necessary, as his true form is seldom seen after that. This is later confirmed to be exactly why he seldom takes that form. He gains a massive increase to his raw physical power, but in turn loses access to the majority of the techniques and powers he had in his human form and unless he's really focused, his mind regresses to the point that he becomes nothing more than a giant dog incapable of strategy or higher thought.
    • In Episode 52, Gatenmaru assumes his true form (a giant demonic moth) to battle a fully demonized Inuyasha. The end result: Inuyasha No Sells all of his attacks, cuts off his wings, and obliterates him with ease.
    • Bankotsu, the leader of a group of seven bandits, realizes in his fight with Inuyasha that he is inferior. But at the same time, Inuyasha can not use the power of his sword against him because Bankotsu is a human and not a demon. However, when Bankotsu reinforces his sword, he suddenly creates a Demon Aura so that Inuyasha can defeat him.
      • However, this only occurred in the anime adaptation. Inuyasha simply overpowered Bankotsu with physical sword attacks in the original manga.
    • The black Miko Tsubaki unites with a demon, and in the same way becomes a half-demon as Naraku did. Although she became much more powerful than before, she had a demon aura after that, so Inuyasha could destroy her.
    • In Inuyasha the Movie: Fire on the Mystic Island the four war gods unite into a more powerful form to kill Inuyasha and his friends, but are destroyed by Inuyasha and Kagome with just one attack.
  • The Book of Darkness in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's was all but invincible in its original humanoid form, but doesn't manage to get off a single attack in its monstrous form. Some of this has to do with the fact that Nanoha was forced to fight the Book all on her own, whereas after the transformation, everyone was present to smash it. But a good deal of the reason was because Hayate had removed the Will of the Book of Darkness (whom she named Reinforce), leaving the corrupted (and far less intelligent) Defense Program to fend for itself. The Defense Program reformatted the body into an enormous monster, but that only made it a larger target that everyone could freely attack without getting in each other's way, which was one of the major difficulties in fighting the original humanoid form. With the support mages binding the monster and interrupting its attacks, all of the heavy-hitters had the time to set up their biggest attacks.
  • Naruto
    • Kakuzu took a final form by letting out all his Combat Tentacles at once, but since he had already made the fatal mistake of assuming Naruto would be where it made sense for him to be, it did little to help him.
    • Toward the end of the Three-Tails arc, Nurari fuses with two other members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad — Kiho and Kigiri — to form a gigantic blob-like monster. While, on their own, they had defeated Sai, Kiba, Lee, and Tenten, and given Shino, Yamato, and Kakashi trouble, Yamato manages to immobilize the fusion, which is then killed almost instantly by the Three-tailed Beast.
  • One Piece:
    • Eneru from the Skypiea Arc, a Psycho Electro with a god complex, transforms into a Raijin-shaped being composed of pure lightning as a last-ditch attempt to defeat Luffy. It makes no difference whatsoever, since Luffy is a Rubber Man and Eneru is on the wrong end of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors (think a Ground-type in Pokémon and you have a good idea of how effective electricity would be in that situation).
    • Gecko Moria from the Thriller Bark Arc suffers from this thanks to his last resort technique, Shadows Asgard, because despite his insane strength and giant size, he had sacrificed speed against the remarkably agile and super-strong Luffy (also, his Villainous Breakdown sure didn't help). Zoro even states that Moria's Shadows Asgard form is just being used to buy time for the few minutes that are left until the sun rises. For those who don't understand… 
    • Hody Jones from the Fishman Island Arc gets curbstomped the first time he fights one of the Straw Hat Pirates, being taken out with a single slash from Zoro's swords while both of them were underwater, where Hody was significantly stronger and Zoro was much weaker. To compensate, Hody abuses Energy Steroids, which make him stronger at the cost of decreasing his lifespan, making his hair turn white and his eyes glow red. It doesn't help him in the slightest; when Hody goes up against Luffy, it's clear that Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hats are still way out of Hody's league.
    • Near the end of the Punk Hazard Arc, Mad Scientist Caesar Clown decides to merge with his Shinokuni poison smog to fight Luffy. This backfired on him in two ways; Besides making him a bigger target, the Shinokuni on its own was an Advancing Wall of Doom, but when it became part of his body, it also became vulnerable to Luffy's Haki-powered attacks.
    • In the Dressrosa Arc, Dellinger, one of Doflamingo's subordinates, suffers from this. Shortly after he removes his hat and human teeth in order to take full advantage of being a Fighting Fish Fishman (a particularly belligerent and powerful shark) hybrid, he's taken out in a single brutal blow thanks to the convenient appearance of Hakuba, Cavendish's Superpowered Evil Side.
    • Word of God stated that Baron Tamago's Egg-Egg Fruit possesses this weakness. Normally, inflicting a deadly injury on him causes him to crack open and turn into almost-invulnerable yolk, which then allows him to regenerate into a stronger form - from egg-man, to chick-man, to rooster-man. The catch is that his rooster form reverts back into the weakest egg-man form if "killed".
  • A rather humorous example of this happens in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: a small ghost Panty and Stocking had spent a long time trying to kill earlier is turned into a huge ghost by Scanty and Kneesocks, but Panty and Stocking kill her seconds later. The greatest advantage of the ghostly runt was being small and evasive — turning bigger may have increased its power to some degree, but when compared to the power of the sisters, all it really did was turn the ghost into a massive stationary target.
  • The big bad guy of the Scryed anime, Kyouji Mujo, manages to gain the powers of a very powerful Alter and nearly kills Kazuma with it, only for Kazuma to get another powerup and throw him into the Alter Dimension. He comes back even more powerful and monstrous, but his powers are utterly useless and his giant form is incapable of dodging Kazuma's final attack.
  • In a Slayers OAV, Lina and Naga are up against a powerful vampire. Partway through the battle, the vampire reveals that he hasn't been using his true form, and promptly goes into an impressively large transformation sequence… before promptly shrinking down into the form of a small bat. Lina gets annoyed and smacks it with a slipper.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami Marik, after kicking Yugi around for most of their duel, ends up as a disembodied eye after paying almost all of his life points to make his Winged Dragon of Ra have an insanely high attack, only to have it removed by a card Yugi played face-down. Once regular Marik is switched with him, leaving Yami Marik in the eyeball form, Marik surrenders to Yugi, dissipating Yami Marik and killing him for good.
  • A majority of the Witches shown in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, while certainly fearsome, seem to be much weaker than their original Magical Girl selves if the fact a relatively inexperienced Magical Girl like Sayaka can destroy them rather easily is taken into account, likely having something to do with their mental states. That said, there are exceptions, like Charlotte (who utterly destroys Mami, albeit that might have been due to the shock factor of her own One-Winged Angel), Elsa Maria (who almost kills Sayaka), Oktavia von Seckendorff (Sayaka's own Witch), or ultimate witches like of Walpurgisnacht and Kriemhild Gretchen.
  • Heaven's Lost Property: Chaos is the first second generation angeloid, built just to kill the first generation. She has the ability to consume them and add those cores to her own, changing her own wings accordingly when using the self-upgrading program (consuming a water-type will grant her a pair of aquatic wing-type). The rest of the second generation were meant to be mass produced and disposable, so them having incomplete cores wasn't a problem… until Chaos consumed hundreds of them. The upgrade failed because of the faulty cores and ended up destroying her.
  • In Claymore Ophelia, who was one of the strongest warriors before, turns into an Awakened Being. As such, it is actually much more powerful than before, but is defeated after only one fight.
  • Gotou from Parasyte is the most powerful of the parasites. He was able to defeat a whole special police unit all by himself. But in the fight against Shinichi, his body is destroyed by ordinary toxins found on a scorched rubbish dump.
  • Akame ga Kill! shows us Doctor Stylish. He takes a serum that turns him into a huge, seemingly invincible monster, but after his vulnerability is discovered, he is killed with only a sword stroke.
    • Later, the Emperor, who uses the so-called Ultimate Teigu, Shikoutazer, which is a Humongous Mecha. Although this Imperial weapon is considered invincible, it is destroyed by Tatsumi with Wave's help, at the cost of Tatsumi's humanity (Manga)/life (Anime).
  • To Love Ru: Ghi Bree shapeshifts into a gigantic, monstrous form to try to intimidate Rito. When Rito charges at him in anger, it turns out that Ghi is a weakling and a coward, and no matter what form he takes, he doesn't get any stronger.

    Comic Books 
  • During the Onslaught crisis, when Professor Xavier went insane, combined his own powers with those of Nate Gray and Franklin Richards, and nearly killed the heroes of the Marvel Universe, the monstrous Onslaught soon became its own entity and separated from Xavier. But after getting his armour cracked by the Hulk, his "ultimate" form is revealed to be a cloud of psychic energy. He is killed within the next three pages, though not without the sacrifice of many of Marvel's non-mutant heroes.
  • Hellboy:
    • During the story "Darkness Calls", Hellboy is locked in a running battle against Koscheij the Deathless, who is unable to beat him, but who obviously cannot die. The Baba Yaga places more and more of her power into Koscheij, causing him to grow increasingly monstrous, until she is finally spent, and sacrifices the tiny remaining shard of Rasputin's soul she keeps with her. Koscheij becomes huge and monstrous, but the power quickly gives out, leaving him weak and feeble once again.
    • The sad fate of Igor Bromhead in the same storyline may count as well, though he's not actually trying to fight Hellboy this time, but rather begging for a Mercy Kill after having mutated into a hideous monster.
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • This is par for the course for the Absorbing Man. He can match almost anyone, power-wise (he's repeatedly fought the Hulk and proven a challenge), but due to impulsiveness, carelessness, surprise, or just plain idiocy, has to absorb something that just won't help and gets Hoist by His Own Petard. For instance, fighting the Hulk at a construction site. The building collapses, and he reaches for some rubble so he can become as sturdy as steel or concrete… and grabs a glass shard. You can guess the rest.
    • An early defeat of the Absorbing Man happened this way. For several issues, he repeatedly fought Thor to a standstill because he could duplicate Thor's abilities just by touching him. But finally he got impatient with not being able to just Curb Stomp the guy, and overextended his powers trying to absorb the strengths of the entire planet at once. Cue explosion.
    • And then there was the first time he became water, and went insane when he blended in with the ocean. He has since learned how to control himself in liquid form, however.
    • Daredevil once defeated the Absorbing Man by tricking him into mimicking diamond and then using his enhanced senses to strike the weak point on his enemy's body.
    • He once went up against Spider-Man, who you probably wouldn't think could take him solo. The webhead does, by tricking him into absorbing one chemical, and then burying him in another that reacts with it explosively. The kaboom was quite spectacular, though of course the Absorbing Man is capable of Pulling Himself Together… eventually.
    • The Sentry, Marvel's Superman analogue, once overloaded Absorbing Man just by himself.
    • In Universe X, we learn that the Absorbing Man managed to massacre the Avengers by absorbing the intellect of the super-intelligent android Ultron. This made him able to remember any form he took and shift around at will. Too bad for the Avengers the Vision didn't think of infecting him with a computer virus sooner...
    • In the Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth series, Absorbing Man is encountered alongside other zombified villains and heroes in the Zombie Universe. He proves to be the toughest challenge faced, even managing to survive the collapse of a whole building. Deadpool defeated him by tricking him into transforming into toilet paper.
    • In Marvel Zombies 3, he attempts to grab Machine Man and absorb his Do-Anything Robot prowess and massive weapon arsenal… but misses and touches another zombie instead, resulting in him gaining the properties of a zombie. Including a pivotal weakness to having his head exploded.
  • Robin (1993): Blind Weaponmaster Sir Edmund Dorrance aka: King Snake uses a Lazarus Pit to renew his sight in order "to see [Robin] die" at his hand, but the visual stimuli throws him so far off his game Tim Drake is able to hold his own against him long enough to find a way to escape.
  • In Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force run, Apocalypse is rejuvenated into a new body after his last defeat. Unfortunately for him, said new body is a young child with only a fraction of his powers and none of his memories. His followers are having to basically raise their own god back to adulthood and Fantomex kills the body with a single gunshot (something that adult Apocalypse wouldn't have even flinched at).
  • Superman:
    • In Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Mxyzptlk doesn't last long after he reveals his true form. Superman blasts him with the Phantom Zone projector as he tries to escape back to the Fifth Dimension, causing Mxy's body to be split in half with each going to a different dimension.
    • The Killers of Krypton: During the final battle, Empress Gandelo grows to gigantic proportions to try to destroy Supergirl. But since her augmented strength is still inferior to a Kryptonian's natural power, her transformation merely turns her into a bigger, slower target which Kara takes down in a hit.
  • The Ultimates: After The Liberators are defeated, Loki finally decides to get serious and unleash his might. Curiously, it isn't Loki himself that changes form, but the invocation of his full strength bends reality itself around him, turning the sky blood red and summoning an army of mythical monsters to destroy The Ultimates. Unfortunately for Loki, using his full power allows his father to zero in on his location, resulting in his powers being stripped from him in the middle of battle with Thor.
  • Transformers: Last Bot Standing: Unlike the usual portrayal of combiners as awe-inspiring threats, Unstoppimus - the combined form of many of the Visitors - is about as threatening as the Visitors just standing on each others' shoulders and wearing a very large trenchcoat. All of them were already trying to run on, essentially, the smell of an oily rag, and combining did not magically fix that, so Unstoppimus mostly just gives Rodimus an easy way to send most of them into stasis lock quickly, without needing to hit them all individually.

    Fan Works 
  • In Getting Back on Your Hooves, after the villain has failed to demoralize the Mane Six inside the dreamscape, she tries to intimidate them by assuming the form of an alicorn. It doesn't work, because they fought and defeated Nightmare Moon, and recognize her for the fake fraud that she is. While her initial tactic of predating on their fears and insecurities could have worked, this move just gave them a big stupid target they could beat up without remorse.
  • In Something Else, The Evil Guy's true form is a Cheep-Cheep, so Luigi curb-stomps him.
  • The Bridge: In the 2019 Halloween Special, Destroyah battles the Child Eater monster Giranbo. When Giranbo realizes that she's losing, she transforms from her 100 meter tall form to a kilometer tall form. It turns out that her transformation is only good for intimidation, as she still weighs the same and doesn't get any stronger, so she just becomes a bigger target.
  • God Slaying Blade Works: Mordred turns into a dragon to try to even the odds against Shirou. Although his strength is greatly increased, his contradictory nature makes this form warped and misshapen, plus it renders him extra vulnerable to Shirou's Dragon Slaying Hero Authority.
  • The Night Unfurls: Transforming into a Rom-esque arthropod does not help Shamuhaza one bit during his battle with Kyril, Sanakan, and Hugh. The only reason why the creature manages to incapacitate the latter two with a surge of power is because the former thinks he doesn't need to unleash a tiny bit of his eldritch power to stare him to a Fate Worse than Death. When The Gloves Come Off, Shamuhaza is done for.

    Films — Animation 
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Rourke gets stabbed by a shard of magic glass by Milo and turns into crystal. He then lunges at Milo in his new crystal monster form, but Milo dodges, and hoists Rourke up to the blimp propellers, where he explodes and is shattered into a million pieces.
  • Jafar runs into this in Aladdin. Aladdin tricks him into becoming a genie, then seals him in a lamp — and Jafar was doing just fine as a giant snake. It would seem that Aladdin is a good judge of character. Then subverted in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar. After being freed from the lamp by Abis Mal, Jafar's genie form is extremely dangerous due to his Reality Warper powers, especially taking into consideration the fact that because he's a genie, he's incapable of killing; as is said no fewer than three times in the film, "You'd be surprised what you can live through." Point of reference: during the final fight, he quickly knocks out Genie, shatters Carpet, and turns the palace grounds into a lava pit that the heroes are almost burned alive in. They win only because of Iago's timely intervention and exploiting Jafar's single Achilles' Heel, destroying his dark lamp, though not before Jafar brutally attacks the parrot for betraying him.
  • In Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), Ursula gains power over all the oceans in the world and swells to a colossal form, controlling the waters all around her… only to be quickly run through with the splintered bow of a ship.
  • In FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Hexxus unveiling his stronger form doesn't help him much. Before he can even unleash his destruction, Crysta and the other fairies infect him with plant growth and seal him in another magical tree.
  • At the climax of The Flight of Dragons, Big Bad Ommadon turns himself into a virtually omnipotent, grotesque hydra-like creature. Unfortunately for him, The Hero has just figured out how to use the rules of science and logic to nullify magic and, ultimately, destroy Ommadon himself. Turns out being the world's most powerful wizard doesn't help much when your enemy has just weaponized Doing In the Wizard.
  • Played for laughs in The Emperor's New Groove, when Yzma gets hit with one of her transformation potions. There's a puff of smoke and her evil cackling and it's built up like she's turning into a huge monster or something… but it turns out she's now a tiny, harmless cat. Sorta subverted since it does make her very agile, at least.
  • Help! I'm a Fish, the Big Bad Joe has an antidote that turns Fish into Humans, and increases intelligence to those who weren't human in the first place. The protagonist tricks him into drinking it in order to answer some science questions, eventually turning him into a super-intelligent humanoid fish-like monstrosity, without gills. He drowns after answering one last question.
    Fly: Can a human breathe underwater?
    Joe: Of course not!
  • Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a number of the villains in Arkham Asylum mutated into monsters by the TCRF mutagenic ooze, which makes each of them much more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Save for Poison Ivy, who turns into a massive voracious plant that is also rooted to the ground. After a minute or two of stunned silence while she tries in vain to reach them, they decide to just walk around her while she screams at them to come back and let her eat them. Indeed, it's not Ivy's proudest moment.
  • A rare heroic example in The Super Mario Bros. Movie where the power-ups have the same limitation from the games in that you lose them when you get hit by an enemy. There are a couple of cases of characters going into Super Mode but immediately getting hit and losing it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Unlike his animated counterpart, Jafar in Aladdin uses his final wish to become the most powerful being in the Universe. The Genie turns Jafar into a genie, resulting in Jafar being trapped inside a lamp.
  • In The Fly (1986), Seth Brundle, who completes his Slow Transformation into a grotesque insectoid moments prior, tries to force Romantic Fusion upon Veronica (and her unborn child) via the telepods in an attempt to regain some of his humanity. However, Veronica manages to escape this fate at the last second thanks to her ex-lover shooting out the cable that connects her telepod to the other two. "Brundlefly" has a Villainous Breakdown upon seeing that his plan has failed, smashing the glass door of his telepod and trying to emerge just as the countdown to fusion ends… resulting in Brundle being fused with pieces of the telepod instead. Now composed of both biological and mechanical parts, he crawls out of the third pod in unimaginable pain, unable to do anything more but wordlessly beg Veronica to end his life (which she tearfully complies with).
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), Gozer the Gozerian forces the Ghostbusters to choose the form with which it will destroy them all, and a stray thought from Ray turns it into the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. It's still dangerous due to being incredibly huge, but now Gozer is clumsy, slow, and made of a substance that's both edible and easily destructible. The only thing it can do against the Ghostbusters is climb the building they're on, and it's so slow that the team figures out how to close the interdimensional gate by the time it reaches the roof.
  • In the Sci-Fi movie The Hive, the titular army ants are able to form into all kinds of bizarre formations, such as mile-high tentacles. When denied humanity's technology (and one of the exterminators tries to frag the hive), they flip out and form into… a giant ant. All it does is badly injure the guy who tried to kill them, who proceeds to blow them up.
  • Hulk: Bruce Banner's depraved father David exposes himself to Gamma Rays and gains the power to absorb and transform into any form of matter and energy. In the Climax he confronts his son and goads the Hulk into a fight. He proves almost unstoppable, shifting into various forms as he saps the Hulk's energy in his plan to become all powerful. Than Bruce/Hulk realizes the only way to beat his father is to "forgive" him and lets David absorb his power, becoming a massive gamma giant. Unfortunately for the madman, he also absorbed the Hulk's extreme psychological trauma and uncontrollable nature. The father bloats grotesquely out of control, begging and screaming desperately for his son to take the power back and in seconds is put out of his misery when the Military drops a missile and obliterates him entirely.
  • Neo-Geildon in the Kyoryugers Vs. Go-Busters movie managed to transform into Neo-Messiah in the end, and it's pretty useless against the comedic ToQgers.
  • In The Movie version of My Favorite Martian, the Big Bad, Elliot Coleye (the head of SETI), tastes some nerplex and undergoes a typical One-Winged Angel transformation sequence, complete with monologue, Evil Laugh, and spinning downwards camera. Not only does the end result look pretty goofy, but he gets Hoist by His Own Petard as SETI officials suddenly appear and mistake him for a genuine Martian.
  • Nope: The UFO, Jean Jacket, unfolds into a gigantic, ominous jellyfish shape after being injured from briefly swallowing barbed wire. This allows it to handle its prey before eating it, but it also appears to slow it down and doesn't provide it with any other abilities.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Gideon's final trick after Scott destroys his body is to manifest an ominous Doppelgänger of Scott called Nega Scott… who actually turns out to just be a normal dude who wants to get brunch with regular Scott instead of fighting him, anticlimactically crushing Gideon's dying wish for revenge.
  • In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Octopus is pummeling Spider-Man hard enough already when he rips off a piece of the Iron Spider suit, causing the nanoparticles to bond with his mechanical tentacles. Fortunately for Spider-Man, if the nanotech enhances the tentacles in any way other than providing them stylish red trim, we don't get to see it — Doc Ock only manages to strike a single blow before the Iron Spider suit recognizes its own nanoparticles and grants Spider-Man complete control over the tentacles, rendering Doc Ock no threat whatsoever for the rest of the film.
  • The Super Mario Bros. (1993) movie. After the titular heroes hit Koopa with a de-evolution ray, he transforms into a Tyrannosaurus. They then shoot him again, turning him into primordial ooze.
  • The Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze drinks the mutagen and grows into a gigantic mutant form that the Turtles dub the Super Shredder. Unfortunately, the Shredder has become little more than a rampaging beast that brings down the dock above them and himself trying to destroy the Turtles. The Turtles emerge from the wreckage dusty but unharmed, and see Shredder's twitching hand rise from the rubble. Raph exclaims "No One Could Survive That!!", only for Shredder's hand to fall limp, signifying that, yes, this is the end of the Shredder. The fact that he had previously survived a trash compactor in his original form but was unable to survive a collapsing dock as Super Shredder implies he is much weaker in this form.
  • The Thing (1982): What with all the flamethrowers in the Antarctic base, any piece of the Thing which takes an easily recognizable form on-screen is immolated relatively quickly. The real problem is in finding who it is in the first place.
  • In Wes Craven's New Nightmare, when the archetype behind Freddy is defeated — in the same humiliating way it had already been once before as the witch in the story of Hansel and Gretel — as it burns away, it briefly turns into its demonic-looking true form, and a fat load of good that does it.

  • A few Fighting Fantasy villains will do this after their first defeat, reverting themself to a second, but less powerful form to fight the player.
    • The Snow Witch from Caverns of the Snow Witch. She first appears as a vampire and you must have a double-digit skill stat to pierce her heart, but when you encounter her a second time, she's a completely immobile spirit trapped in a crystal globe, and while she can cast lightning spells from her globe or summon zombies to do battle with you, you can still defeat her by challenging the witch to a game of disks without a fight.
    • The titular monster from Night Dragon is an insanely powerful creature with a massive SKILL Stat of 17, although that can be reduced if you have the appropriate equipment and power-ups. Upon defeat, the Dragon's skull detaches itself, grows legs, and attacks you, and you will have to defeat said skull to kill it off for good, but thankfully the skull only has a SKILL Stat of 11.
    • The true villain of Night of the Necromancer, Chancellor Unthank, will provide a rather difficult boss battle, and after you win, he then re-appears as a ghost to attack you… only to be disintegrated by the rising sun seconds later.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis: At the climax of The Silver Chair, the villainess turns into a massive serpent but is promptly dispatched by the heroes. It doesn't help that one of the heroes, recently freed from said baddie's clutches, Wouldn't Hit a Girl but has no such qualms about killing snakes.
  • From Lewis's buddy J. R. R. Tolkien: When the One Ring is destroyed in The Lord of the Rings, Sauron briefly rises as a gigantic terrifying cloudy figure visible for hundreds of kilometers… and is promptly blown away and dispersed by a wind out of the West. Saruman did the same thing when he died, except the shade was man-sized — part of the repeating motif of Saruman as a far lesser version of Sauron. The wind is part of Manwë's domain, so his power as the mightiest of the Valar might have something to do with it. And both of them are lesser versions of Morgoth, whose shade still exists beyond the door of night and will come back some day to be Killed Off for Real.
    And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell.
  • Something very similar happens with the collective ghostly intelligence (assuming it is real) of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. When the building explodes, a huge, black shape made of a myriad of tiny black motes, "like an obscene manta," seems to pour itself out of the window of the presidential suite and get ripped apart by the winds. Hallorann, the only witness to this event, is reminded of a time when he as a child blew up a wasp's nest with a firecracker and watched as the wasps rose from it in a collapsing, dwindling cloud, the single collective group intelligence of the wasps seeming to wonder furiously as it died what had done this to its home. He might have had exactly the right idea, considering the importance of the image of wasps to Jack Torrance. "This is what it's like to put your whole hand inside the nest."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Inherent in the The Mayor's plan in season three. He gets to be a completely invincible though average human for 100 days, before transforming into a giant snake demon which, though much more powerful, is destructible. Admittedly, had he not enacted this plan, he would presumably have remained a destructible human, so it's still an improvement. The downside is that the form needs a massive number of humans to maintain. To this end, he specifically tells his army of vampires that they have to keep the class near him so he can have a snack within reach.
    • Also occurs in "Fear, Itself" — The main characters are all trapped inside a fraternity house on Halloween where a demon named Gachnar makes them all experience their fears so it can feed on them and manifest itself. At the end of the episode, the demon does appear with much shaking and spooky light… only to turn out to be smaller than your hand. Buffy defeats it by stepping on it.
    • Happens in "Tough Love". After Tara was mindsucked, Willow got amped up on magic, attacked Glory, and succeeded in hurting her… for a few seconds. Then she got her ass beat. Still, it was better than anyone else, even Buffy herself, had done against Glory up to that point.
  • The early Kamen Rider shows loved playing this trope with the Great Leader, the recurring Big Bad of the show.
    • At the end of the original series, Rider 1 encounters the Great Leader and rips his hood off, revealing a bunch of tentacles. Not pretty, but neither a real threat to The Hero. Rider 1 rips these off too, only to reveal a pale head with no features except for a large eyeball. And then? The Great Leader gives a final villain speech before he simply dies and disintegrates, leaving only his robes and eyeball behind, for no apparent reason. And then his base self-destructs. So technically, Great Leader undergoes not one but two Clipped Wing Angel forms without actually fighting the hero at all!
    • In the beginning of the next series, Kamen Rider V3, it is revealed that the Great Leader had faked his own death in the previous series. However, this series ends like the first, with V3 encountering the Great Leader in his lair — or at least, he thought so. What he finds there is only a skeleton with a still beating heart, completely immobile and not even quite alive either. The "final battle" consists of nothing more than V3 smashing it to bits within seconds.
    • The Government of Darkness in Kamen Rider X was led by King Dark, a huge metallic demon. In the finale, it turned out that King Dark was actually a Humongous Mecha, piloted by a rather puny Mad Scientist who was not even close to a match for X.
    • Stronger, on the other hand, gives the Great Leader a proper final battle, with Stronger and his predecessors having to fight him as a giant rock monster.
  • Later Kamen Rider shows aren't exempt either. A few notable examples:
    • Kamen Rider OOO has two separate instances where one of the Greeed absorb a large number of Medals from another one of their kind, causing them to transform into a large rampaging monster that's much less dangerous in a direct fight than their normal Humanoid Abomination forms.
    • Late in Kamen Rider Gaim, Micchy attempts to kill Kouta by using a new form given to him by the local Mad Scientist, Yomotsuheguri Arms. Despite its foreboding appearance, it's in a constant state of Explosive Overclocking that leaves Micchy writhing in agony so much that he can barely even attack. The form proves absolutely worthless in defeating Kouta, except in that he lets Micchy kill him to take it off.
    • Kamen Rider Ghost gives its main character the powerful Grateful form, which has a wide array of powers and is considerably stronger than the lesser forms that combine to make it, but the villains introduced immediately after its introduction have the ability to cripple the source of its power almost at will, causing it to often be less useful than if he'd just stuck with a lesser form. Said villains make the same mistake at the end of the show and combine into a single form that can be Killed Off for Real instead of being able to revive each other like they could as individuals.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid gives out an early Mid-Season Upgrade, Drago Knight Hunter Z, which is a big suit of dragon-themed armor that can be split between multiple Riders or all worn by the same user at once. While the full armor is very impressive and looks like it should grant a Set Bonus, it's actually the opposite: it's based off a Co-Op Multiplayer game, and trying to play solo makes the user weaker. Other characters later fall into the same trap with more impressive powerups: Brave's Taddle Fantasy form gives him a heart attack if tries to actually use any of its magical abilities, Taiga's two brute-force attempts to use Kamen Rider Chronicle both end in him being overwhelmed by the strain before he can actually finish off his opponent, and the Big Bad achieves a gigantic monstrous form that's easily dispatched by the pitifully weak Level 1 Riders.
    • Kamen Rider Build gives the Big Bad a twist on this in the last act: his Fever Flow form makes him so strong that all of the other characters combined don't stand a chance against him, but they didn't stand a chance against him in the form he had before that. The power increase thus doesn't make any real difference, and the form introduces a security exploit that the heroes can use to suck all of his power away, with the actual fight being nothing but a ploy to buy time.
    • Kamen Rider Zero-One: When Isamu loses access to his ability to transform near the end of the show, he uses an illegal key to force it to work anyway. The resulting form, Orthoros Vulcan, lasts barely a minute and only lands one hit on his opponent before the malfunctions caused by using the key make his belt explode, destroying his powers entirely.
  • Done hilariously in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Big Bad Garrett has survived his well-deserved No-Holds-Barred Beatdown at the hands of Deathlok, broken free, killed his guards, and gotten into the machine that's the finalized version of the tech that created Deathlok. High-tech armor is painfully built into and around him, making him the ultimate Deathlok with the appearance of his comics incarnation. Now ready to begin his plans anew, he starts to launch into a rant that would not be out of place in a Silver Age comic… and then Coulson casually disintegrates him with a weapon from earlier in the series, says "so that's where I left that," and walks off without giving Garrett a second thought.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Beast: The Primordial: The Merger endstate for the titular Beasts qualifies as this. The Merger destroys the Beast's Lair, forcing the Horror to completely merge with the Beast and allowing it to manifest its full powers on the Physical. But the process destroys the Beast's human body and mind. It's now permanently stuck in a monstrous form and has the mind of a wild animal with at best a few residual impulses and memories from its human self.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Demiliches come in two flavors, ones that intentionally became one through a special procedure and become stronger...and those who simply lost their phylactery, forgot to feed it souls, or were unable to obtain souls to feed it. As they didn't bind themselves to soul gems, this second type of Demilich is actually weaker than the pure lich, having much less versatility due to losing their mind and being unable to cast spells anymore. They're still dangerous, but they're much more predictable and easy to counter than a true lich and have a lower CR as a result.

    Video Games 
  • As pictured above, the Evil Guy from Something goes to reveal his true form… and it's a Cheep Cheep. And you're not underwater, which by normal Super Mario World rules means he can be defeated by walking into him.
  • In Crossing Souls, General OhRus' transformed form after absorbing major amounts of energy becomes an Almighty Idiot, who sustains much more damage once he starts ramming into energy stalactites.
  • In Super KO Boxing 2, one of the opponents, Grogul, can transform into a hulking ogre. At first, it hits hard and doesn't take damage… until you realize that he's taking damage on his own; after enough avoiding his attacks, he will instantly turn back into his normal self, only weakened this time.
  • The final form of the Naughty Sorceress in Kingdom of Loathing is this. Her second form is a monstrous Eldritch Abomination, but once that form is killed, she transforms into her real ultimate form: a sausage. That form is a Puzzle Boss that automatically kills your character in one hit if you lack the right item, but if you have it, she is automatically defeated.
  • Metroid:
    • Super Metroid: After you beat Crocomire, it falls into some acid and all the flesh melts off its body. Then, after an ominous pause, its skeleton crashes through the wall on the opposite side and the boss music starts up again… before the skeleton just collapses.
    • Metroid Fusion: After finally defeating the SA-X in a Mirror Match, it transforms into a huge, scary-looking monster… that dies in four charged shots and has only one easily avoidable attack: trying to crush Samus by jumping on her. The Core-X it turns into after that is actually harder to kill.
    • Metroid Dread: After Raven Beak is defeated, he gets infected by a X Parasite. The resulting monstrosity is a mishmash of at least both Raven Beak and Kraid (and possibly other bosses)...and is quite slow and it only takes one carefully aimed Hyper Beam from Metroid Samus to destroy him for good. Just don't wait or it will kill you.
  • In Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, after defeating the Perfect Run Final Boss, the Dahaka, you knock him into his Weaksauce Weakness of water. Suddenly, all the water in the chamber turns a shadowy black, and the Dahaka rises again fifty times larger than before. Then he roars in pain and dies again: that was all just death throes.
  • This happens a lot in Resident Evil:
    • In Resident Evil 5, after Chris and Sheva overdose Albert Wesker on his Super Serum, causing his usual powerset of Super-Strength and Flash Stepping to fail, he exposes himself to Uroboros. He grows massive tentacles and can easily One-Hit Kill, but loses his bullet-dodging speed and gets several glowing herniated vital organs.
    • G-Type, Nemesis, Marcus, Morpheus, Saddler… inevitably, the main villain's Lightning Bruiser humanoid form is much more dangerous than the slow, giant blob they inevitably transform into for the final battle.
    • It's also discussed, since Umbrella is aware of the clipped-wing angel issue with their Tyrant line of creatures.
      • The T-103s, the Nemesis, and the Ivans all were fitted with "Power Limiters": a massive overcoat meant to prevent this from happening, as their clipped wing forms, while physically more powerful, were much more unpredictable and difficult to control. "Mr. X" and Nemesis' limiters worked fine until the good guys burned them off, and the Ivans actually subverted the trope altogether as they never actually transform.
      • Zig-Zagged in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica. Alexia's first form is an agile human who can create fire, then her second form is a giant pulsating mass that is relatively easy to destroy, but when you do, her top half breaks off and she becomes a smaller, fast, and agile dragonfly-like boss, which dies to a single shot from a linear rifle, but just being a Fragile Speedster means that her final form is still more One-Winged Angel than other final bosses in Resident Evil.
    • On a meta level, fans like to joke that the moment when a character transforms into a monster is the moment when they lose all Plot Armor and can be Killed Off for Real, as there are numerous cases throughout the series of human characters turning out to have survived seemingly fatal injuries or made impossible escapes but no such cases of monsters doing the same.
  • Count Dracula's final form in I Wanna Be the Guy plays with this — Waddle Doo isn't all that one-winged in the first place, really. In a game with Everything Trying to Kill You, it's the only enemy that can't harm The Kid in any way, and can actually be walked through without anything happening.
  • The Golden Diva in Wario Land 4 doesn't look so tranquil once she's down to two hit points. And when she's down to one hit point, she simply becomes… pathetic. She just becomes a pair of lips that don't deal any damage. Attack them once, and that's the game.
  • The finale of the final boss battle of Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is André the hoodlum: a tiny black fly with hands. He flees from you. To defeat him, all you need to do is make a funny face at him.
  • Tales Series:
    • Dhaos does this in reverse in the later versions of Tales of Phantasia, his second form being monstrous and his third being angelic, the result of him praying to his god for more power. This trope is still played straight in the fight against Dhaos. His monstrous form is difficult to hit and quite strong. The angelic form can be pinned down in a corner and made incapable of fighting back.
    • The final form of Mithos Yggdrassil in Tales of Symphonia is the encapsulation of his broken body inside the physical manifestations of his own sins, weaknesses, and fears — a form that is far weaker than his second, 'normal' appearance. Although it's still stronger than his first form as leader of Cruxis, thanks to its arsenal of attacks — some of which can hurt — he's a large target and doesn't get overlimits, so he can easily be pinned down and combo'd to death. His low defense doesn't help either. Additionally, he loses his 100% resistance to light magic, finally allowing Raine and Colette to do some serious damage (especially if you use Stardust Rain with Genis).
  • Devil May Cry:
    • The first game has the demon emperor Mundus as a final boss. In the opening portion of the boss battle, he flies into space and Dante pursues him; afterwards, he knocks Dante down into a lava-filled arena. Then, after being beaten, he seemingly kicks the bucket; however, as Dante attempts to escape the crumbling castle, Mundus rises again; the statuesque facade he had used to fight you earlier is crumbling, revealing a grotesque blob of flesh and eyeballs. It's actually a lot easier to beat this form than when he was standing waist deep in lava. Additionally, in the first two battles, Dante stood a chance only because the Sparda sword's full power was finally unlocked; it was the only sword you could use against Mundus. In the last battle, Dante's able to hold his own with his weaker melee weapons — in fact, Alastor's Vortex can rip him apart with the greatest of ease.
    • After beating Sanctus Diabolica, the final boss of Devil May Cry 4, he merges with the Savior. Dante's fight with the Savior was epic, and Nero's fight with Sanctus Diabolica was as well, but the merged form goes down with three properly-timed Devil Bringer snatches.
    • Same thing happens in Devil May Cry 2 with Possessed Arius. Before transformation, the boss hits hard, has a couple of attacks which can be troublesome, and can perform sudden bursts of speed. After the transformation, as Arius-Argosax, it is confined to a single space, only really moving vertically, with maybe one attack that may be a threat, and that one doesn't really hit that hard. So it then becomes a simple matter of dodging its occasional attack and throwing stuff at it until it dies.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • After destroying Trinexx's fire and ice heads in A Link to the Past, it turns into a weaker snake-like form.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: After defeating Armogohma, a friggin' huge armored spider in the Temple of Time, it's revealed that the "eye" that was Armogohma's weak point was the actual boss; a small spider with an eye design on its back that runs around the room, trying to stay away from Link, and it's easily beaten with a few arrows, or one pound from an animated statue. This is Played for Laughs: the boss takes this form after Link does his customary victory pose. He gets this hilarious "WTF?" expression on his face when the miniature spider appears.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, despite being fought first, The Imprisoned is revealed to be this for his original form Demise. While the former is a monstrous Kaiju-like beast and the latter is a humanoid Demon King, The Imprisoned is much less powerful and a slow, lumbering brute that can only mindlessly walk towards Zelda. Demise, on the other hand, is smarter and more agile, being a deadly swordsman with powerful magical abilities.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: After Calamity Ganon's cyborg form is defeated, he gives up on reincarnation to gather enough power to become Dark Beast Ganon, a massive boar-like monster that is the purest embodiment of Hatred and Malice. Sadly for Ganon, his Dark Beast form is so slow that Link mounted on his horse can literally run rings around him while firing Light Arrows at his weak points. Dark Beast Ganon's only attack is a Breath Weapon that Link's mount can also avoid rather easily. While it is ordinarily invulnerable, the fact that it absorbed Zelda means she can cut through its defenses to give Link easy targets to attack.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Similar to the aforementioned Malice incarnation he created, once Ganondorf is defeated by Link, he undergoes a Villainous Breakdown and proceeds to swallow his secret stone to turn into Demon Dragon, well aware that he will lose his mind, in a last, desperate attempt to kill Link and plunge Hyrule into darkness. However, it doesn't amount to much as this is the easiest of his three forms, and he has several weak points which are easily destroyed by a few hits from the Master Sword, and his fireballs are easy to dodge as Link descends onto his body from the Light Dragon, so not only is he the only dragon in the game who can die, but quite easily at that. (Although to be fair, he would have killed Link before the battle even began had the Light Dragon not intervened)
  • Pikmin 2:
    • The Titan Dweevil initially has four weapons, each being one of the game's main hazards. Once you remove all of its weapons, it sheds its metal coating and has a more crab-like appearance. It can't do anything to kill your Pikmin.
    • The Waterwraith, a strange humanoid creature that rolls around on stone wheels. It's an invincible monster until its weakness is exposed; purple Pikmin. It goes from it chasing you to you chasing it by the end of its fight. The music that plays during this section even lampshades the complete shift in tone.
  • The final final form of the final boss in Parasite Eve. After three forms of extremely creepy evolution to One-Winged Angel form, it turns into a giant goopy green thing. It can still attack, but is much weaker and will go down with a couple of shots from your special Chekhov's Gun. How does this happen? It evolved into a defense-focused form and you could not damage it at all until you got special gun clips with Aya's cells inside.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The game has Kael'Thas's second encounter. While he definitely looks more intimidating due to the way a demon saved his life, he's a far shot from his former self, who had several servants, animated weapons, and a very impressive event heralding the last stage of the fight. Instead, he only goes through the last two stages again, the second of which was weakened so much that any single class with self-healing capacities can finish him off. He also went from a 25-man raid down to five people, but even for that, he's not particularly impressive compared to the rest of the dungeon he was in. People were more likely to have troubles with the last pack of regular enemies. The reason is because Kael'Thas hasn't gotten any stronger due to the demon's interference, it was just a matter of making it out of his defeat alive. The crystal in his chest is preserving his life. You're fighting a guy on life support.
    • While less dramatic, High Astromancer Solarian's fight. The first phase involves her casting deadly arcane spells and summoning adds galore. Upon hitting 20% health, she seems to go One-Winged Angel by transforming into an immense Void Walker demon… but the encounter actually turns into a Tank-And-Spank fight and can be won with merely a handful of raid members alive.
    • Lei Shen in the Throne of Thunder raid is a long, intense fight requiring perfect positioning, kiting, and splitting up the party in just such a way. After the second transition phase at about 25% health, however, Lei Shen suffers a Villainous BSoD, no longer harnesses the sectors of his platform that were such a threat, and the only new mechanic is wind that can blow players to their death but you'd have to be ignoring entirely to die to, making it more of a victory lap unless your raid is low on surviving members.
    • Xavius in The Emerald Nightmare raid, as opposed to his form in the Darkheart Thicket five-man dungeon. He looks like he's on steroids, but he hits like a wet noodle. The setting is hella creepy with creatures coming at you out of the mist and stuff: but the actual fight is super easy. In the five-man instance he was actually fairly difficult (given the difference in group size): but that was just a magical simulacrum. While The Emerald Nightmare isn't the first time WoW has had a penultimate boss that was way harder than the final one: it has become infamous for just how exaggerated the difference was. This was presumably an unintentional example, probably the devs just didn't realize how quickly players would learn to exploit the sleep mechanics in the game.
  • Downplayed in Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. After you blow up his mecha, the Big Bad's final form is simply himself on foot. While you're still in a 50-foot mecha. Even then, he is able to take so much more bullets than any other human opponent in the game that it looks like he's cyborgized beyond humanity — he doesn't bleed the way humans do. Even when you're in your mecha, you'll have to step on him several times to kill him for good.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII had a full meal of a Sequential Boss battle. Appetizer: a creepy looking giant monster that is a pain in the ass to battle. Main course: the original One-Winged Angel with the Trope Namer music, Safer Sephiroth, which is still a pain in the ass to battle. For dessert, he crosses the Bishounen Line and returns with one HP for a one-on-one facedown against a SOLDIER with a full Limit Gauge and a BFS.
    • In Final Fantasy X, after fighting your way through the guts of Sin, Yu Yevon's giant monster body, and killing his physical incarnation (actually a transformed version of the hero's father), Yu Yevon himself turns out to be a floating spider symbol that can't even kill you, since your team has auto-revive on for the duration of the final battle.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics has a variant on this, where the Demonic, supposedly stronger forms of certain boss characters are actually much, much easier to deal with than the human forms. Elmdore and his Assassins: In human form, they're insanely fast, with hugely damaging skills and unblockable one-hit-kill attacks. In their demon forms, they're much slower, and go down easily.
    • Final Fantasy XIII 's final boss, Orphan, has two forms. The first requires a great deal of luck and strategy to defeat even with the right accessories on the party leader, especially when underleveled; the second can easily be defeated within 2 or 3 Paradigm Shifts. The second form is susceptible to Vanille's Death spell.
  • Grandia:
    • In the first game, Gaia Core is a tank, and will happily trade heavy blows with a well-leveled and equipped party; but get past him to the FINAL final boss, Evil Gaia, and all you've got to worry about are random minor status effects, like poison. Maybe if they came at you in the opposite order... but for all intents and purposes, Gaia Core is the final boss of Grandia 1.
    • In Grandia II, the first fight with Pope Zera is a major contender for hardest boss fight in the game. However, when facing him again after the Boss Rush with the pieces of Valmar, he's a pushover with only 1 attack able to cause serious harm.
  • At the end of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Indy convinces the evil Colonel Kerner to try the ascension machine in lieu of using him as a guinea pig. As it activates, he becomes taller and taller, his eyes glow, and he can feel the power of godhood surging through him when — he suddenly crumples into a misshapen little imp. Horrified by his appearance, he kills himself by jumping into the lava. Par for the course in an Indy climax. A minute later, the evil scientist Dr. Ubermann undergoes the exact same fate when Indy convinces him to step into the ascension machine too. Ubermann does succeed in transforming into an energy being, but the raw power is too much for him and he quickly dissipates into nothingness, taking Atlantis with him.
  • The final Final Boss of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair. After destroying the dragon the Big Bad is riding, which is That One Boss, he morphs into a Nightmare Fueling green ghoul-type monster. This form, however, is more bark than bite.
  • Mega Man
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, when you invade the lower floors of the evil empire's castle, you're spotted by a scientist, who says that he's worked on a new transformation spell that he'll use to kill you. The creepy pre-boss music starts up, and he transforms into a dog. Dog doesn't even try to fight you, it just barks. One of your party members (Shana) even comments on its cuteness.
  • Star Fox:
    • Andross suffers from this in Star Fox 64. To wit: this is a battle fought in All-Range Mode, and Andross's Brain has no ranged attacks. It's just a matter of shoot the weak spot, fire one shot at the main brain to make it teleport away before you crash into it, U-turn to face it again, repeat. Just so long as you don't mess up and get both wings blasted off by his Brain Tentacles, which will do their damndest to never let go. Messing up is not exactly unheard of, however, since Andross's Brain is fast, faster than your Arwing without boosting. Sometimes the battle comes down to who's the better one at maneuvering.
    • The Aparoid Queen of Star Fox: Assault. Both of her first forms require that you blast off her armor and get through her defenses in order to deal damage. Her final one, while having powerful attacks that can pulverize you if hit, is relatively easy to dodge and all of her body is vulnerable.
  • After defeating Belial in Gradius IV, its eyeball morphs into a replica of the Zelos Force from Salamander/Life Force, and fires laser beams everywhere, but then explodes.
  • In Tekken 3, True Ogre is usually regarded as one of if not the weakest characters in the entire game. In fact, he's regarded as possibly the weakest final boss in the entire franchise. This is especially jarring considering his original form is very hard to beat.
  • In Final Fantasy Legend II, abusing MAGI can turn you into a god, complete with a One-Winged Angel form, and the more MAGI you have, the more powerful your new form is. The game's second-to-last boss, Apollo, managed to get his hands on all but one of the MAGI, and ends up being a very difficult fight. However, because he's missing a MAGI, his new form is unstable. Even if your party isn't strong enough to kill him with damage, if you simply manage to survive enough rounds of combat, he'll eventually undergo a Superpower Meltdown and explode.
  • In Haunting Ground, your nemesis seems nigh-invincible, having infused himself with the rejuvenating immortality elixir known as "Azoth." He regenerates from a creepy wheelchair-bound man to a healthy young man capable of zapping you with magic, and throwing him into a pit of molten metal doesn't stop him. This is where he enters his "Clipped Wing Angel" mode, though; he's now ON FIRE and can kill you just by touching you. Since he's on fire, as long as you can (barely) manage to stay ahead of him, he will eventually burn to a crisp.
  • The final boss of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle goes through three forms. He starts out as an annoying but underwhelming Puzzle Boss, and then injects himself with Psycho Serum to become a Batman-esque abomination that can teleport, lock you into a flurry of punches, and just toss you out the window for an instant kill. His final form? An immobile, goofy mascot balloon with a weak, easily blockable laser as its main attack, plus a very inaccurate punch.
  • The Demon Beast from Chibi Knight. It has three stages. First, you need to destroy its shield orbs before you can even hurt it. Then it takes on a different pattern when it loses its shield. The third form is a giant eye that just sits there and does nothing.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • Oogie Boogie in Kingdom Hearts, after you beat him the first time, absorbs his entire house and turns huge with the power of darkness. But he just sits there, barely even scratching you as you take out his power sources one by one. Even the random Heartless Mooks hanging around there do more damage!
    • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories: You first fight Marluxia in a difficult standard Org. fight. He's a lot like Axel, with his fast, varied, hard to predict attacks, and the ability to easily punish you for any mistakes. Then he hops into some kind of flower mecha, loses all his good attacks, and just becomes a tedious, easy to handle boss who always gives you time to heal. Ansem in Riku's mode seems like this when you fight him in the middle, but in the GBA version when you get to the end you'll find he is a worthy final boss… however, the PS2 remake made it much easier to dodge and block his attacks. In the PS2 remake, Marluxia has a 3rd form, which just sits still and takes only a handful of Keyblade slashes to take down each health bar. The trick? He has several powerful gimmicks, such as making you drop all of your attacks, shooting you with a laser attack that will hit about a dozen times if it connects right away, or casting Doom on you. Also, nearly all of his attacks are Sleights, meaning if you don't have the right cards, you'll be left desperately trying to dodge them.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: The first time you fight Xehanort, he's slow, predictable, easy to dodge, and goes down fast. Then you fight him again, he's fast, has loads of incredibly powerful attacks (a long, devastating combo, and METEOR SHOWER (not the Shotlock, but a variation of Meteor instead) which is an auto gameover if you don't have the right abilities, a ridiculous amount of health, and the ability to easily kill you if you screw up. Then in the epilogue, you fight that version again before he changes form, gaining even more health!.... and trading Meteor Shower and a lot of his more annoying moves for a bunch of slow, easy-to-dodge attacks, and going from constantly pressuring you to always giving you enough time to heal. His one attack that is actually somewhat threatening is mitigated by the fact that whenever it's used, it presents the opportunity to pull off a reaction command that will cause a massive amount of damage if you succeed at it.
  • Most of Blood II: The Chosen consists of chasing after a mage named Gideon. When you finally fight him, it is a nightmare. He flies, teleports seemingly at random, casts spells, and fires laser beams from his eyes. If you win, you enter a spirit realm and meet him again, and he transforms into a large spider. This is almost immobile and spits slow moving acid. A bit of bog standard FPS strafing and down it goes.
  • Ōkamiden's final boss has one of these as his third form, as he tries to possess Kurou. It turns out Kurou is a living doll made by Waka for the sole purpose of sealing away the Big Bad, and when Kurou is destroyed, so is he. It's still extremely difficult, though... for a different reason.
  • Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean:
    • The game has the Post-Final Boss, Geldoblame, who is a massive earthen head sprouting from the ground. He has a tremendous amount of HP, but his attacks are laughably puny and a hit from a Spirit Attack is an Instant-Win Condition.
    • Fadroh. After he transforms into a giant demon, he hits on par with the mooks in that area, but then he busts out the Orb of Magical Offense, which jacks his damage to quadruple digits and lets him move twice per turn, which turns him into a proper One-Winged Angel.
  • In the campaign modes of Dawn of War, Dark Crusade and Soulstorm, after gaining all the wargear upgrades for your Chaos Lord, you have the option of gaining one last piece of wargear. It turns him into a Daemon Prince, the ambition of all Chaos worshippers... and it's not worth getting ever. A Daemon Prince is a massive improvement over a Chaos Lord in a normal tabletop game, but by the end of a Dawn of War campaign, the Chaos Lord in either campaign will have gained a massive increase to his damage per second, and it will actually be higher than what he'll have as a Daemon Prince. Becoming a Daemon Prince also causes him to lose any abilities his wargear gives him and stops him from being healed by your buildings. The only thing gained is an HP boost, which is not worth it.
  • Mario Party 5: In the final phase of his Final Boss battle, Bowser consumes a potion that causes him to grow to Giga Bowser-proportions… only to crash through the floor and get stuck.
  • Paper Mario:
    • In the first game, Tubba Blubba falls victim to this. He's totally invincible in battle at first, until you find and defeat his heart, which causes it to flee and reunite with him. Although he says he "feels invincible" after merging, he only has 10 HP at that point. He can be taken down in a single turn without even getting to attack.
    • In Super Paper Mario, Dimentio absorbs Luigi and the Chaos Heart and transforms into Super Dimentio. Initially he's invincible, but once that's taken away, he is easier to defeat than his original form. He loses the ability to teleport, his attacks are slow and easy to dodge, and despite the platforms in the room moving, he is easier than Count Bleck, especially if you are playing as Bowser and using Thudley as your Pixl.
    • Paper Mario: Color Splash: After destroying Ludwig's battleship using the Tail, he enters the Super Ludsub for round two. It does dodge all your normal attacks, but the required Tail ensures even its first missile attack won't hit you and it's extremely susceptible to the Balloons, which puts it aboveground and makes it defenseless. By the time you do so, you've practically already won.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The final forms of bosses in the games tend to be much easier than their first form. Examples include the FinalHazard and Metal Overlord. This can become Fridge Brilliance when you realize that Sonic is usually in his Super Mode for the final battle. One of the most infamous in Sonic lore to date is the final boss in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood where, despite the fact that the previous battles have you nearly drowning, incapable of using POW attacks, and even fighting with only one character, the final battle against Lord Ix can be done in twelve seconds if you can match every combo on the touch screen. What makes it even more ridiculous is that the touch screen commands are arguably easier to follow than most Mook characters' attacks.
    • Sonic and the Secret Rings features a more storyline focused example in Alf Layla Wa Layla and Darkspines Sonic for Erazor Djin and Sonic respectively. Because Erazor botched the ritual to fuse with the World Rings, the form he takes on when he does is a gnarled, unstable mess that Sonic plainly calls an incomplete monster. Darkspines Sonic on the other hand, is formed from only the World Rings of Sadness, Hatred, and Anger tied together with ring genie magic, and while Sonic gains immense power and the ability to fly, he still remains vulnerable and can be killed if he's hit without rings. Thankfully, Sonic is able to keep things together long enough to get the World Rings out of Erazor's hands and undo his transformation.
  • Giygas from EarthBound wasn't nearly so monstrous in EarthBound Beginnings, being an angry little alien creature in a life support capsule who wanted to punish humanity for stealing the power of Psionics/PSI. However, after being reminded of his love for his human foster parents, George and Maria, Giygas' intense hatred and his unstable mental state from that little reminder eventually destroyed him in body and mind. As a result, Giygas was reduced to what could only be described as an Almighty Idiot made of evil and madness itself, taking the form of a swirling, dark-red mass with a distorted face screaming in agony. In this terrifying form, Giygas is incomprehensibly powerful and impossible to defeat through conventional means (it ultimately takes prayer to destroy him, since he's Made of Evil after all), but he has no more capability of sustaining his mental functions, and can no longer perceive the world around him. In fact, all throughout the final battle with him, he rants incoherently while firing off inexplicably powerful attacks, most likely not knowing what's there (though he does acknowledge the main hero, Ness, by name). Giygas needs a special "Devil's Machine" to help him keep his mental state and form coherent, as outside of it, he is mindless and irrational, and capable of destroying the entire cosmos while absolutely oblivious as to what he's doing. Some people even believe that this nigh-unstoppable horror is being manipulated by the cowardly fat kid who created the Devil's Machine for him: Porky Minch.
    • Speaking of said cowardly fat kid, he also subverts this in Mother 3. Porky goes through a One-Winged Angel phase first, appearing first as a normal chubby boy, and second as a feeble yet immortal old man inside a huge mechanical spider. But at some critical point during the final battle, Porky seals himself inside an "Absolutely Safe Capsule". While inside, he can't do any damage to the protagonists — or anyone, for that matter. However, he's invincible in this form — but, in a way, he's "defeated" at that point, because said capsule is inescapable, meaning he's stuck inside forever.
  • The final boss of Dragon Age II, Knight-Commander Meredith, does this. After fighting her in one form, she attempts to draw more power from her Red Lyrium Broadsword. This works a few times, but upon defeat, she tries to use the sword to harness even more power to get back on her feet. Ultimately, the sword shatters from the over-usage, and she is turned into a statue of Red Lyrium from the backlash.
  • Loewenzahn in P.N.03, after its initial two forms are defeated the second time, transforms into a mecha-phoenix as a last ditch effort. Its attacks can easily be dodged, and it goes down quickly.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, after a normal battle, then a difficult and rather tedious airship battle against a giant silver… thing, Ramirez attacks you on the deck of your airship for one final battle, semi-transformed into a monster. However, it's easier than the previous two battles, and combined with the Awesome Music, it makes a for a fun beatdown. In addition, Ramirez has a rather amusing attack, Silver Nightmare, that forces one of your characters to use a technique against your party. More fun than it sounds, as it usually doesn't hurt them that much.
  • A couple of units in Gundam Extreme Vs will change into a "heavily-damaged" extra form upon being destroyed. This form only has 100 health and generally very few methods of attack, but it allows the player to try for a last-ditch attempt at defeating their enemy. This is a derivative of the Recover Awakening featured in Gundam Vs Zeta Gundam: if your Awakening meter is full when you or any of your allies take a hit that would be fatal, the subject is instantly restored to 25% health at the cost of one of its extremities and any weapons attached to the lost limb/head/binder. However, enemies never use the Awakening system, so that's another trope.
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, after losing its cloak and drones, the Rebel Flagship redirects power to its shields, teleporter, and 'some kind of superweapon'. The shield turns out to be a super-heavy Zoltan Shield, the teleporter is a two-man unit that only sends humans, and the superweapon is a barrage of eight or nine heavy lasers. Without the Halberd Beam, the Boarding Drone, or Drone Swarm, however, most players breeze right by it.
  • The final form of the final boss in Dynamite Dux is very tiny and can't attack — he just runs around real fast. Though he can take off a third of your health through Collision Damage, this is nothing compared to his previous forms.
  • Morgath of Avencast: Rise of the Mage has a second form that gets full-on boss battle treatment, but it's literally his beating heart with almost no defenses whatsoever. Any player who can survive the previous fight will find it a cakewalk.
  • The True Final Boss of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U is the Master Core, who doesn't appear on lower intensities, replaces Master Hand and Crazy Hand mid-battle, and has several forms, each more dangerous than the last. Except for the very last form: a motionless orb that does nothing except wait for you to blast it offscreen. If you take too long to kill it, it'll unleash a series of One-Hit Kill energy waves, but if you dodge those it just self-destructs.
  • While his second form is definitely worthy, the Final Boss of Bayonetta 2's third form is this. Literally. After the previous Nintendo Hard phases of the battle, the source of his power is removed by Loki and he becomes unsteady, wobbling drunkenly, barely attacking, and even the angular "wings" on his back are shattered.
  • Bosses rarely actually transform in The Binding of Isaac, but some actually become easier after they Turn Red, such as Pestilence spawning normal flies instead of chargers, or Mom's Heart/It Lives launching exploding projectiles all over the room, but no longer hiding in the rafters after spawning enemies so it can be killed faster.
  • In the realistic version of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Ivo Shandor declares himself a god and chooses a Destructor form. That form is… a giant stereotypical devil. The sorely underwhelmed Ghostbusters proceed to thoroughly wipe the floor with him. This is entirely in keeping with the rules of Ghostbusters: Gozer needed someone else to "choose and perish," knowing that someone would eventually hit upon something sufficiently horrifying. When Shandor chose his own form… well, let's just say that he probably chose too quickly.
  • This can happen to the player in Nuclear Throne. If Melting is caught in a Necromancer's resurrection circle, he'll be resurrected too, after which you get the dubious honor of playing as Skeleton.
  • In Warframe, Vay Hek will call down a Humongous Mecha from orbit when losing the battle, which he plugs his body into. While he's capable of dealing more damage while in the Terra Frame via a BFG and orbital strike drones, he loses his Mana Burn attack and inexplicably has a dramatic reduction in armor. His normal form — well, as normal as it can be — can only be damaged by shooting his face while he has his mask open to taunt the Tenno, but the Terra Frame can be damaged anywhere and has far less damage mitigation.
  • In Heart of Ice, The Watcher refuses to go down after his proper One-Winged Angel form, resulting in a final sword battle. While not a Zero-Effort Boss, it's a much easier than any of the other boss battles.
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, the Optional Boss "Soul of TORment" first appears as some kind of immense, Dance Battling skeleton/angel monstrosity, but when you finally exhaust its massive HP pool, it shrieks that it’s going to unleash its true form… and turns into an onion. An onion with a smiley face that goes down in a single hit. It makes (slightly) more sense in context.
  • In Undertale, Mettaton's heavy armor plating makes him completely invulnerable to your attacks. His humanoid Mettaton EX form is easily damaged on top of having awful battery life. Justified in that while his original form was designed for killing humans (he even gloats that he retains those abilities), his EX form was purely meant to be the perfect entertainer, and that he's fully aware of this and chooses not to transform: you have to trick him into turning around so you can hit the switch and forcibly transform him into EX. The Genocide path takes this even further with Mettaton NEO, who despite looking quite impressive and boasting of his human-killing capabilities, not only goes down in a single hit like nearly every other enemy at this point, but is in fact incapable of harming you period.
  • In Undertale's sister game, Deltarune, the superboss of Chapter 2 is an upgraded version of Spamton, an earlier boss and fittingly, it takes a lot of inspiration from Mettaton's forms. This new form is significantly stronger than his normal body, but it's severely limited by the wires suspending it from the ceiling. Said wires can't be removed without deactivating the body. And when he tries to transform into an even stronger form after being defeated violently in the normal route, he straight-up explodes instead.
  • inFAMOUS: Second Son does this during the Final Boss fight. However, it happens not to Big Bad Augustine, but to the player — Augustine is smart enough to let Delsin absorb her powers so that if the ensuing We Can Rule Together fails, he is stuck with a completely unfamiliar and weak ability instead of the 11th-Hour Superpower he was hoping for. If Eugene hadn't shown up with some Blast Cores, Delsin would have been screwed.
  • BlazBlue: Central Fiction has Susanoo, who is the Big Bad inside an incredibly powerful, world-destroying suit, which is an example of Gameplay and Story Segregation. Despite all his power in the story (as in he's literally the single strongest being in the series), he's considered the single worst character in terms of gameplay, due to a lack of defensive options preventing him from doing anything once he loses momentum, and needing to use certain attacks to unlock seals, which gives him more moves. But by the time he gets enough seals unlocked to pose a significant threat, any other character (including fellow bottom-tier characters) will have already won the match. What makes it worse is that, since Central Fiction doesn't use the Unlimited Mode from the previous games that could've made him a proper Final Boss like it made Hazama so tough to fight in Continuum Shift, that's all you get for the final battle.
  • Demon's Souls has King Allant. After the King Allant in the Boletarian Palace is revealed to be a a demonic clone, the player ventures under The Shrine and discovers the 'true' King Allant… whose abuse of the Demon's Souls and creation of the Soul Arts has left him as corrupted blob of pudding about to be on the losing end of a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • In Sundered, the Resist path’s final boss is a two-stage fight against Nyarlathotep, who merges with the Shining Trapezohedron in phase two. The first phase is a suitably difficult fight, as the boss has many powerful attacks that hit hard and make it difficult for the player to reach his three weak points in various ways. The second phase has significantly less health than the previous form and a single large weak point that’s very easy to hit. And even though the boss takes away your ability to use melee attacks in this phase, this actually works in your favor: you no longer need to get in his face and can just hang back, shooting him with the Valkyrie Cannon until he dies.
  • Just Shapes & Beats: After the Big Bad goes into his One-Winged Angel form and pulverizes you in a Heads I Win, Tails You Lose "battle", your friends use two of the three MacGuffins to restore you while making you invincible and capable of firing lasers. You then proceed to shoot him up while he can't put a dent in your health. The first phase has him being part of a Living Structure Monster that gets broken apart, the second phase has an Orbiting Particle Shield that gets taken down, and the final phase... he's so badly damaged and broken that he can't even fire projectiles, and can only smash the floor with his head to create a shockwave. It's one of the easiest attacks to avoid in the game thanks to the very obvious startup time.
  • The battle against the Ork Space Hulk in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. As soon as you nearly destroy it, the Warboss yells he's now gonna use his hidden superweapon... an ancient Exterminatus grade cyclonic torpedo. His vessel is the only one destroyed.
  • In Gunple: Gunman's Proof (a The Legend of Zelda clone with a wild west motif), the second to final boss Baron Alps starts with a revolver but continually keeps bringing out bigger, more powerful, and more advanced weaponry as the fight drags on and you keep damaging him. Out of desperation, he finally goes for broke, brings out a massive laser cannon aircraft, and it promptly explodes and finishes him off when he tries to fire it.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • The finale of the quest "The Break of Dawn" sees the Dragonborn go up against the necromancer Malkoran who uses powerful ice magic, including the spell Ice Storm, a That One Attack used in potent hands. However, once he is defeated, he transforms into a Shade (the monsters who he created in his dungeon). In this form, he forsakes the ice magic for lighting spells and a fiery aura. Since he isn’t using ice magic, he’s much easier to defeat in this form.
    • A high-level Player Character can end up doing this by going into Werewolf or Vampire Lord form. While both of these are Disc One Nukes, they cannot use equipment or use weapons and scale poorly with level. For this reason, they can lose a lot of steam at high levels when items created by the Dragonborn using the crafting professions start outshining their capabilities by a long stretch.
  • Dark Souls III:
    • The Player Character can get in on this with the Dragon Head and Dragon Torso stones, which allow the Unkindled One to transform into a Draconic Humanoid. Unfortunately, the laundry list of drawbacks — inability to wear any clothes, low damage output, alarmingly long charge times on attacks, and so on — mean that actually doing so will typically be followed swiftly by death.
    • Among the bosses, the very first one, Iudex Gundyr, turns into a horrible Abyssal goo dinosaur monster known as a Pus of Man in his second phase. While it is certainly large and scary, and is going to stay difficult for new players who are still figuring out the controls, the Pus form also has slower and more telegraphed attacks, and is very vulnerable to fire (and you can find firebombs just outside his boss arena).
  • Goetia, the Disc-One Final Boss of Fate/Grand Order, is initially a Hopeless Boss Fight, until his old master pulls a Heroic Sacrifice that begins depleting his power. This brings him down to the status of That One Boss, as he starts the battle with a massive self-buff that, for the first few turns, makes him pretty much invincible and allows him to wipe out your entire starting lineup in one shot. After you defeat him, he comes back once more, now on the Bishōnen Line as the King of Men. In this form, he's decayed much further: his amazing self-buff is gone completely, he's lost a third of his HP, and his overall attacks aren't nearly as terrifying. Even he basically admits that he knows he's going to die, and he just wants to go out on his own terms.
  • Castlevania:
    • It's generally agreed that Dracula's second form in the first game is a lot easier than his first form. The first form has some very problematic attack patterns, a tricky-to-hit weak point, and Teleport Spam that plays poorly with the game's awkward controls, but the second form is basically just a giant target that jumps around the room and can get stunlocked fairly easily. This pattern holds true for almost all of the battles with Dracula in the entire series. Arguably the hardest final boss in the entire series is Dracula in Order of Ecclesia, because he doesn't transform. He has no giant demon form, he just uses incredibly nasty versions of the typical attacks we've come to know and love from his humanoid form.
    • In every appearance of Death where he has two forms, the first form is the harder of the two. This is because the first form uses Death's classic tactic of floating around out of your reach throwing out tons of scythe projectiles, but the second tends to stay close to the ground and fight in melee, which is much easier to deal with.
  • Can be invoked against the player in Super Mario Maker, where it's fairly common to see an obstacle where taking a powerup puts you at a disadvantage or even leads to an instant defeat. Especially applicable to the Super Star which makes Mario both invincible and capable of destroying anything with a touch… but also incapable of something like bouncing off of Parakoopas over a pit, meaning it's instant-death to collect one while in the middle of such an activity.
  • Luigi's Mansion 3: Some of the bosses you fight become weaker once you are on their very last phase.
    • King MacFrights spends most of the battle jousting at you while wearing strong armor. Once you destroy it, he can only hurt you with a weak Spin Attack.
    • Downplayed in the boss fight of the Unnatural History Museum. Ug spends several phases of the fight using a powerful t-rex skeleton to attack. Once you've destroyed the skeleton, he has a simpler attack pattern, and a simpler weakness to boot. His attacks can catch one off-guard, and they still hurt, however.
    • Johnny Deepend is invincible in his pool, requiring Gooigi to drain the water. After that, his tail gets stuck in the drain and he can only slam the ground to hurt you. To top it off, he has less HP than a Goob!note 
  • Ys:
  • Phoenix Cantus serves as this for the Soul Pulvis of NEO: The World Ends with You, after they are all fused into one entity. While it looks impressive and imposing and is certainly no slouch as a boss, it proves much easier for the Wicked Twisters to take down than the infinite stream of Noise that was Soul Pulvis.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land has the Big Bad, Fecto Forgo. After Leongar is defeated, it breaks out of its sealed prison and absorbs him, along with several other members of the Beast Pack. This results in it becoming a giant deformed Blob Monster that moves slowly and can only attack by dashing and throwing slime. Only after it absorbs its other half, Elfilin, does it becomes a true One-Winged Angel and an Ultimate Life Form.
  • OMORI: Humphrey the whale is a Marathon Boss with three whole phases, of which the first is widely considered the hardest due to being fond of hard-hitting, unpredictable multi-target attacks that defy attempts to Draw Aggro and can easily end up killing vulnerable teammates. The second is a straight-forward tank-and-spank, and the third is harder than the second, but far more predictable than the first and very manageable with enough party-wide healing. Once the player drains the health of his third form, they will transition to his final phase: A fight with his uvula. It only takes one hit to defeat it, finally ending the fight.

    Web Comics 
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • Dr. Birding shares the ability his son has, to transform into a giant purple monster. However, Dr. Birding is paralyzed and remains so when he transforms, but no longer fits in his wheelchair. So he can no longer move even with artificial aid.
    • At the climax of The End Pt. 2, Dr. McNinja finally manages to defeat King Radical by turning him into a vampire, via using Dracula as a bat. King Radical, as an inhabitant of the Radical Lands, is something McNinja has no experience with; in contrast, he spent grad school killing vampires in his off time, knows exactly how to take care of them, and there happens to be a pope lying nearby.
  • Awful Hospital: Slob #843. It's incredibly powerful, for sure, but it's so unstable that even moving, much less fighting, causes it to literally start tearing itself apart.
  • In Kid Radd, Gnarl can transform into what would be a very impressive cyborg if it weren't for the total lack of legs. Later, the Seer merges with Crystal and several other powerful sprites, and as he's defeated, mocks the heroes for thinking that beating him in a video game fight would defeat him. However, because the Seer forgot to fuse with an NPC, which would have given it invulnerability, it is able to be beaten. But because each sprite has a different idea of what subroutine should be activated when they're defeated, the Seer freezes, effectively being Killed Off for Real.
  • One-Punch Man: Garou goes through this, transforming into a monstrous form with vastly increased strength, but Saitama notes that he's actually weaker than he was before due to lacking the skill and agility he had in his earlier forms, and he reverts back to his humanoid form after a few of Saitama's attacks.

    Web Original 
  • In the final episodes of RWBY Volume 9, the Curious Cat pulls of a Grand Theft Me to hijack Neo's body after Ruby's lost to the Tree. When Weiss, Blake, Yang and Jaune confront the cat at the tree, it proves to be a formidable foe as they can use Neo's Semblance, but it lashes out like the beast they are instead of using Neo's infamous Confusion Fu to deflect and weaken them. When Jaune forces the Cat out of Neo's body, they lose that and is now a large brute of a beast.

    Web Videos 
  • This occurs in Cr1TiKaL's video "GTA Vacation Ruined". After going through his two first forms — a chimpanzee able to drive cars and operate firearms and a giant whale able to leap dozens of meters into the air, crushing cars and smacking into helicopters, the protagonist "transmogrifies into his true final form": a cormorant. A completely normal, relatively small bird lacking any superpowers who immediately and anticlimactically gets shredded by a helicopter's blades.
    " If only I was more powerful... I'm sorry."
  • Life in a Game: The final form of Lollerskates is... himself, with a mask, an incredibly obvious weak point, and the moves of Dan.
  • In Lythero's Dark Shenanigoonz vs. Team Sonic, when Goku Black-That-Is-Black fuses with Zamasu to get Infinite, Lythero and the other streamers break down into laughter when Zyzx_ asks how they can fuse to make mid.

    Western Animation 
  • Avengers Assemble: Dracula drinks the Hulk's blood, which allows him to Hulk Out as well. Things look dire for the heroes, until it turns out that the Hulk's radioactive blood doesn't agree with Dracula's curse, reverting the Hulk to normal and causing Dracula extreme pain.
  • The Absorbing Man has continued his fine tradition of absorbing the wrong power in the cartoon series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes The first time he, after fighting the Hulk with limited success as steel, transforms into rock. The Hulk immediately smashes his arms, pointing out that he can smash rock. The Hulk even sarcastically refers to him as "Einstein" for that move. The next time, he absorbs Mjölnir. Which, to be fair, seems like a good idea, but overlooks the fact that Thor can control Mjölnir. And now he's got all its properties.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • The series invokes this while fighting Freakshow. After mocking him and rubbing the superiority of being half-ghost in his face, Danny, using the same trick Aladdin used on Jafar, succeeded in getting Freakshow to turn himself into a monstrous full ghost. His One-Winged Angel form could have been devastating, but Freakshow's greatest advantage was being human; turning himself into a ghost just helped Danny suck him into the Fenton Thermos without breaking a sweat.
    • In Penelope Spectra's second appearance, she creates a new physical form for herself that requires Danny's DNA in order to be perfect. Danny substitutes his DNA with Jack's DNA from the snot rag he gave him earlier, so when it kicks in, she obtains Jack's massive frame and turns into a mass of mucus. Zig-zagged when one of Danny's punches goes inside her head instead.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Wishology: Destructinator's first One-Winged Angel form proves to be too much, even for the now Turbo Timmy. After being defeated, Timmy tricks him into consuming the bombs that Destructinator's minions had stuffed into Earth, causing Destructinator to grow even bigger and spikier than before. Timmy then reveals he'd stolen the detonator while they were fighting in space. Destructinator doesn't last long after that.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Nano of the North", the girls are shrunk down to fight an army of nanobots too small for a normal-sized person to harm. When the girls start winning, all of the nanobots merge into one monobot that manages to completely overpower the girls, but is also now large enough (i.e. about six inches tall) for the normal-sized Professor watching the fight to destroy simply by stepping on it.
  • In the final episode of W.I.T.C.H., Cedric eats Phobos, allowing him to absorb both Phobos's own magic and the stolen powers Phobos (and before him, Nerissa) had been collecting across the season. This allows Cedric to transform into a nearly all-powerful version of his Scaled Up One-Winged Angel form — but he still goes down quickly, because the heroines have better One-Winged Angel forms, and Cedric didn't quite know how to utilize his newfound powers properly.
  • Downplayed in Avatar: The Last Airbender. While the Avatar State unites the Avatar with every prior incarnation of the Avatar, granting all their knowledge, training, skills, and experience, it also puts the Avatar as a whole at risk, as dying in that form ends the Avatar's cycle of reincarnation, so the Avatar will never be reborn (at least, not for 10,000 years, given what we learn in the sequel series). It is ultimately something of a Glass Cannon: god-like bending ability aside, the Avatar is still no less mortal than any bender.
  • In the season 3 finale of The Legend of Korra, armless waterbender Ming-hua lures Mako down to an underground pool because she has no way to fight him without water. She makes multiple Combat Tentacles from the pool and leaves him out of (what she thinks) his element and into hers; shockingly for her, he's able to use his lightning to take advantage of her logical Achilles' Heel. He gets clear of the water, shoots it with lightning, and kills her almost instantly.
  • In an episode of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, the villain gets frustrated as Scooby uses the MacGuffin to counter all of his spells. Having enough of this, he makes himself really huge, where he inadvertently turns Scooby into a fly to evade him. Malidoor turns himself into a toad to catch Scooby, but in this form the tag-along just walks up behind him and puts him back in the Demon Chest, the can that was sealing his evil.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man (2012), when Spider-Man confronts Nightmare in the dream world, at first he sees him as a muscular demon with flaming hair, but after Spidey gets the upper hand on Nightmare, he is reduced to a skinny, bald whelp.
  • In the third season of Ninjago, the Overlord's plan to escape confinement within a hard drive is to siphon Lloyd's golden power. The other ninja defeat him within the digital realm before the process is complete, so while he is able to return to the material realm, he's now a cloud of sentient purple smoke.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In the season 1 finale, in a last ditch effort to defeat the Crystal Gems, Jasper convinces Lapis Lazuli to fuse with her to form the monstrous Gem Fusion Malachite... but before she can attack the Gems, the much abused Lapis seizes control of the fusion from Jasper and uses her powers to drag the both of them to the bottom of the ocean. Once they actually start working together, however, they can fight the four-Gem fusion Alexandrite on equal terms and even get the upper hand, though they're broken apart thanks to some outside interference before Jasper can really get on a rampage. Then in "Earthlings", Jasper tries this again with a Corrupted Gem in order to defeat Smoky Quartz, Steven and Amethyst's fusion. Not only is the resulting fusion still no match for Smoky, it actually made Jasper weaker than she is on her own, and it ends up turning her into a Corrupted Gem as well.
    • Fusions comprised entirely of Rubies don't tend to fare well. The Fusion of the three Ruby guards assigned to protect Sapphire got cut down in mere seconds by Rose Quartz. The Fusion of the five modern day Homeworld Rubies is big.....and that's about it. Plus, like its component Gems, it's not very bright. In its first appearance, Steven gets it to back down with an obvious lie. In its second appearance, the Crystal Gems quickly break it apart within moments of it being formed.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • Typically a person only wears one Miraculous at a time. If you wear more than two at once, you risk severely weakening yourself. In "Kwami Buster", Marinette dons almost all of them to fight the titular villain, but to make sure she doesn't wind up too weak to fight, she first utilizes the Mouse miraculous to make several copies of herself that can evenly bear the burden at no more than two Miraculous a clone.
    • In the Season 5 premiere, "Evolution," after successfully stealing most of the Miracuolous in the Season 4 finale, Hawkmoth, now calling himself Monarch, learns this the hard way and contributes to his defeat and his loss of the Rabbit Miraculous to be recovered by Ladybug in that episode. He's much more careful about it after that.
  • One-off villain Omnifarious of Static Shock uses a bubble-wrap-like belt, with each bubble containing a single dose of Quantum Vapor, which enables him to change abilities on the fly by popping one. It ultimately backfires when he's exposed to too many doses at once and mutates into an immobile stone-like material.
  • Downplayed in the season 2 finale of The Owl House. Luz brands Philip with a sigil right when the Draining Spell activates, meaning what little magic he has keeping his body together is drained as well. He immediately turns into a massive hulking beast, which leaves him unable to cast any more spells, and even when he tries to manipulate his way out of the situation, it fails. However, his beast form makes up for all of this in raw physical strength. Luz, Amity, Gus, Willow and Hunter working together can't hold him down for more than a few minutes at a time, and by the time King frees the Collector, they're backed into a corner as Philip prepares to cut them down with a scythe-arm.

    Real Life 
  • In most insects' life cycles, the final imago is the most impressive stage, going from a usually squishy and defenseless larva to an adult equipped with a tough exoskeleton, wings, and sometimes powerful offensive or defensive weapons like stingers. However, most Neuroptera (antlions and lacewings) flip the script. Their larvae are voracious predators that will kill and devour anything they can get their lethal venomous jaws on. The adults are pathetic, frail creatures that can barely fly straight, are outright incapable of eating, and only live long enough to procreate and die. The same could be said of those few butterfly and moth species that boast powerful venomous defenses, such as the puss caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis), which is meaningfully known as the "asp caterpillar" as a result of its venomous spines capable of causing intense agony, but metamorphoses into a completely harmless moth.


Video Example(s):


Timmy vs The Destructinator

Timmy is able to trick the Destructinator into eating the bombs he stuffed into Earth after discretely swiping the detonator.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / WhyAmITicking

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