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Epiphany Comeback

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The Hero fights the Big Bad and gets badly curbstomped. He is already down for the count and all hope seems lost when time slows for him and the hero comes to some very important realization (sometimes it takes a Journey to the Center of the Mind for them do so). He then stands up and easily defeats his opponent.

Congratulations! The Hero just had a Epiphany Comeback! They make him practically invincible for the duration of the fight, but expect them to wear off shortly after.

Expect a "No More Holding Back" Speech as the character in question explains this Epiphany.

Compare Heroic Second Wind.

Not to be confused with Enlightenment Superpowers, but they could overlap if superpowers are involved.


Anime & Manga

  • Dragon Ball Super has a rare villainous example with Goku Black. After Vegeta beats the crap out of him thanks to his six months of training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, he comes to realize what the true source of the Saiyans' power are: Anger. He surmises that Vegeta got so strong so quickly because he was angry at what he did to his son and his world. He then decides to use his own anger at the mortals and losing his sparring match against Goku to increase his power, allowing him to create a scythe that can rip a hole between dimensions and create endless clones of himself.
  • Ichigo has one in Bleach against Kenpachi, when he realized that his sword wasn't just a tool, but was literally an extension of his soul. The sword has to tell him this, specifically to counter Kenpachi, who was strong without knowing the same lesson.
  • Setsuna has one in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 when he's fighting Ali-Al-Saachez after he steals a very powerful mobile suit, although it wasn't his epiphany that brought victory, exactly: due to a poorly timed backstab by Alejandro Cross, the Trans Am system activates in all the active gundams.
  • Saizou in Brave10 comes to realize he no longer thinks like an Iga ninja while being thoroughly beaten by a renegade member of his ninja school. Cue fight reversal.
  • Naruto is almost too terrified of Gaara to fight him, even when the lives of Sakura and Sasuke are on the line. Naruto makes a massive comeback when he realizes he's stronger when fighting on behalf of someone else, rather than just for himself like Gaara.

Comic Books

  • Scott Pilgrim gets his "Power of Understanding" sword this way.
  • Issue #20 of The Powerpuff Girls ("Bow Jest") has Blossom's confidence shot after her hairbow is taken by Buttercup and then stolen by Mojo Jojo, who thinks it wields some sort of power if it can render Blossom helpless without it. Bubbles—of all people—clocks Mojo, slams the bow back on Blossom's noggin and scolds her ("It's a stupid bow! You're still a Powerpuff Girl whether you have it or not!") Blossom has a sudden epiphany and becomes her confident self again.
  • In the Dreamwave Transformers series, Optimus Prime is forced to battle with his predecessor Sentinel Prime. Sentinel is vastly more heavily armed than Optimus, but Optimus realises that the Sentinel he's facing is based on his own memories and thus incapable of doing anything new. By using more unorthodox tactics, he's able to destroy Sentinel Prime.

Fan Works


  • Neo at the end of The Matrix comes back from death thanks to an epiphany. He proceeds to destroy the previously invincible Agent Smith with ease.
  • You have to think in Russian in Firefox (something he clearly does ten minutes earlier and then just forgets).
  • In the climactic fight in The Last Dragon, Leroy Green is getting completely destroyed by Sho Nuff, who repeatedly dunks him in a tub of water and asks, "Who is the master?" Leroy realizes that he has already learned everything he needs to, and that the only thing still holding him back is his refusal to accept this fact. He answers Sho Nuff's question by saying, "I am," masters the power of the glow, and wins effortlessly.
  • Thor spends the majority of Thor: Ragnarok without his lightning powers thanks to Hela destroying his hammer, Mjolnir. During the final battle, when Hela's gouged out one of his eyes and is strangling him to death, Thor has a vision of his father, Odin — who makes him realize that Mjolnir was just a Magic Feather. It only helped him focus his divine powers; it was not the source of them. He then immediately regains his lightning powers, blasts Hela away, and starts beating down her army with his lightning-imbued fists.
    Odin: Even when you had two eyes, you'd see only half the picture.
    Thor: She's too strong. Without my hammer, I can't—
    Odin: Are you Thor, the God of Hammers? Hmm?
  • In Captain Marvel (2019), when she gets captured by the Kree, she's interrogated by the Supreme Intelligence. While inside her mind, she's told that without them, she's nothing but a mere human, and the Supreme intelligence demonstrates this by showing her memories of her falling down and getting hurt. Captain Marvel then says, "you're right I am human" and shows the Supreme Intelligence memories of her getting up to try again.

Video Games

  • In the Delicious spin-off series Heart's Medicine, Dr. Allison Heart typically manages to arrive at the right conclusion for the overarching sickness right as the chips come down. That said, these are massive endgame spoilers.
    • When she drops her personal effects as she's leaving in Time To Heal, having failed to solve what she thinks is an autoimmune disorder, an offhand comment on the resulting bruises highlights a key fact: autoimmune disorders don't cause bruising, but Dregen's Heart Parasites (which her father succumbed to) do.
    • In Hospital Heat, when her maternal stepbrother Ryan has a stress-related catatonic episode (which her estranged mother Mathilda also suffers from, leading to a very disconnected family and at least two near-fatal situations for Heart,) she realizes the sickness plaguing her is hereditary instead of psychological. A shade of horror, then gloom, falls upon the doctors one by one before Ruth spells it out just before Heart; advanced Herkins disorder.
    • In Doctor's Oath, at the collapse of Heart's happy-go lucky psychiatric ward coma dream, she makes a comment on how her efforts to protect herself rejected anything that could help her... just before waking up and bolting for the quarantine room; the medicine is being flagged as harmful by the immune systems of the patient, so encapsulating it in the patient's own DNA should work!

Visual Novels

  • In the Unlimited Blade Works route of Fate/stay night, Shirou attempts to engage Gilgamesh, believing that he can defeat the invincible King of Heroes by using Projection to copy his Hyperspace Arsenal. However, Shirou's attempts to copy Gilgamesh end in failure, and Gilgamesh beats him down while simply playing around. On the ground, Shirou realizes the truth of his abilities, and that he was using them incorrectly all this time. He was attempting to use Projection as a standard spell to create all his weapons from scratch, when it's really an extension of his Mental World, the titular Unlimited Blade Works, where all weapons already exist. Shirou then gets to his feet, deploys Unlimited Blade Works, and proceeds to outspeed and defeat Gilgamesh by summoning weapons faster than Gilgamesh can.
    Shirou: I had the wrong idea. My magic isn't creating swords. First of all, I can't do such a skillful thing. There's only one thing I can do, and that is to put my mind into physical form. [...] That's right. I don't create swords. I create a world that contains infinite swords. This is the only magic allowed to me.
  • The "Thought Synapse" segments in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice: Our Defender thinks they have things all figured out, but then the Prosecutor pokes a huge hole into that argument, rendering the Defender "down". After a good bit of mentally reconstructing the case from scratch, the Defender turns the case completely about and there discovers the truth.

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Toph invents metalbending this way, after she gets captured and locked in a metal cage.
    • Later in the series, Aang has one at the final battle with the Phoenix King Ozai. It's unclear how much of the epiphany was spiritual and how much was physical, since the trigger was smashing into a rock on the injury that had almost killed him. Either way, it allows Aang controlled access to the Avatar State.
  • In The Legend of Korra
    • A less dramatic example, Korra is able to have a comeback in an important pro-bending game when she suddenly grasps the fundamentals of air-bending and applies them to her water-bending.
    • A bad guy version happens with Zaheer, Big Bad of Season 3. He is trapped by the heroes, soon to be captured and his efforts failed. After seeing P'Li being killed, he realizes she was his last truly earthly attachment. With this gone, he attains true flight, a power no airbender (not even Aang) has had in over 4,000 years.
      Zaheer: Let go your earthly tether. Enter the void. Empty and become wind.


Video Example(s):


Bruce Leroy Gets the Glow

After a pretty bad beatdown, Bruce Leroy makes a glowing comeback!

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Main / HeroicSecondWind

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