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Fight Magnet

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"A lot of people want to kill me... I take great pride in that."
Lassiter, Psych

Everywhere a hero goes, he finds a fight. There's always a horde of Mooks who can't wait to mug the monster and nobody will pass up the chance for a piece of the hero. Complete strangers will pick a fight with the hero for the most trivial of reasons and gang up en masse at the slightest excuse.

This is especially common in action movies and shows, especially martial arts centered ones. It's often used as an excuse to show a fight scene when the plot doesn't call for one.

Related: Busman's Holiday, Mugging the Monster, Bullying a Dragon, One-Man Army, RPGs Equal Combat. Compare Enemies Equals Greatness (when the hero is proud of having a lot of people out to kick his ass).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Naruto:
    • This happens to Sasuke a lot. After he assembles the Hebi, he's attacked out of nowhere by Tobi and Deidara because Deidara has a grudge against Sasuke's older brother.
    • Inverted by Minato / the Fourth Hokage. He was so dangerous during the Third Shinobi World War that enemy troops were ordered to withdraw immediately if there was even a possibility that Minato might be near the battlefield.
  • Kenshiro, Rei and the other heroes of Fist of the North Star have no shortage of guys seeking to take them on. As these heroes are masters of martial arts that do all kinds of nasty things to the bodies of their opponents, one has to question the judgement of many such opponents.
  • It's a plot point in Berserk. The protagonist is cursed with a mark on his neck that draws demons to him like a lightning rod, and while they're no big deal to him, they're decidedly less so to the few well-meaning noncombatants who follow him for too long, as showcased in the second story, "The Brand", which has a priest and his daughter get killed by demon-possessed skeletons after taking him on as a passenger in their wagon.
  • Trigun heavily lampshades the way danger always seems to find Vash. Also played with heavy drama with the Gung-Ho Guns, because they want Vash to fight them and willing to annihilate entire towns to make him willing to go for the kill.
  • At the end of the Cell Saga in Dragon Ball Z, Goku asks not to be resurrected yet again, precisely because villains seem to pop up for the express purpose of endangering all his beloved friends and planet just because he's around to fight, or because they want revenge against him. Ironically, the next threat to appear has nothing to do with him.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: It starts after Kenichi wins his first serious martial arts match. As he was still a novice, his surprising victory attracts the attention of a local gang... and after winning out against them, he ends up going up against the bigger gang they were a part of... and then he ends up attracting the attention of an underworld martial arts organization. Safe to say, Kenichi can't avoid a fight to save his life, as much as he would love to (at least early on).
  • Funny how the bad guys always seem to launch their long-awaited plans just when Van strolls into town in the first half-dozen episodes of GUN×SWORD. (This ceases to be true once the series shifts from its Monster of the Week introductory phase.)
  • Akira Inugami from Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest has this bad, as everyone just wants to pick a fight with him (though they normally get owned). His aunt even justified this by theorizing that humans just have a predisposition to start fights with Inugami because they sense he's not entirely human and want to protect their hierarchy.
  • A slight variation in Yu-Gi-Oh! (first anime series) in that some bully or other wants to beat up Yugi almost Once per Episode, even though (or perhaps because) he's a completely harmless Actual Pacifist who can't really fight back until Dark Yugi takes over.
  • Manabizaki from SWOT gets involved in all kind of fights, thanks to his berserk buttons and his tendency to insult everyone.
  • In Magika Swordsman And Summoner, you'd need a cool mutant hand to count the number of factions that formed an Enemy Mine against Japan and Kazuki. Hell, even the Japanese politicians conspired against Kazuki in the early volumes and even now they only reluctantly side with him.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, stand users are naturally drawn to each other, so the main characters rarely go long without a fight. The series compares this attraction to gravity to illustrate that such encounters are typically unavoidable.

    Comic Books 
  • Hawkeye: In Hawkeye (2012), Clint Barton and Kate Bishop keep tangling with large numbers of the Tracksuit Mafia.
  • Richard Dragon: Richard Dragon usually likes fights but even he gets annoyed with some of the folks who come out of the woodwork looking to fight him, "Another comer looking to kill the Dragon. I'm starting to think maybe it's me."
  • Sin City: It's apparent that most of the fights Marv gets into happen due to his opponents' aggression and not through any fault of his own. It doesn't bother him too much, considering his mental state.
  • Spider-Man: Peter Parker is the king of Let's You and Him Fight.
  • Starfire (2015): During an adventure, Starfire, Stella, and Atlee spend their time traveling to Strata discussing the fact that trouble always manages to find them.
  • Superman:
    • In his youth Valor/Lar Gand is entirely incapable of meeting new heroes or members of law enforcement without there being a huge fight, and this often applies even to heroes he already knows and is theoretically on the same side as. The only exception to this rule is Superman, and he matures out of accidentally and intentionally picking fights with everyone by the time the Legion of Super-Heroes rescues him from the Phantom Zone.
    • This was a big trouble for Supergirl during her beginnings in the Post-Crisis and New 52 eras. Back then everyone she met, hero or villain, picked a fight with her, to the point she wondered why she couldn't go a day without fighting someone.

    Fan Works 
  • The four certainly seem to be a collective one in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. Even though they generally refuse to fight, fate just will not leave them alone. On their first day back on C'hou, they're attacked five times... and things don't improve over the next few days.
  • How To Drill Your Way Through Your Problems: Shards, the things that grant superpowers in Worm, have the purpose of evolving themselves through combat. Lagann is worried that this means that Capes will try their hardest to get to fight him, since his power is the use of Spiral Energyweaponized evolution.
  • Ezra Lost: Pretty much all of our heroes, particularly Kanan. Where he goes, Imperials with lightsabers or blasters are sure to follow.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl wants to retire because she is fed up with fighting super-villains and eldritch abominations on a daily basis. Her cousin warns that fights have a tendency to find her and him, whether they like or not, and later he's of course proven right.
  • Wherever Shirou goes in Delinquency of the Red Dragon, you can almost guarantee that somebody's going to try and beat the hell out of him (with an almost non-existent rate of success).
  • In Switch!, Kirk gets into frequent fights.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, the titular character moves to another planet to lead a normal life, free of conflict and battles. Then she finds out her old enemies have moved to her new home, too, to fight her again.
  • The Doom Slayer in Remnant Inferis: DOOM is practically a black hole of endless rage and fury. Because of the sheer negativity he radiates, he frequently draws in Grimm like moths to a flame.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda: "I see you like to chew. Maybe you should chew... ON MY FIST!"
  • Turbo sees various creatures that keep showing up to challenge the titular character and the F.A.S.T. team, either in Starlight City or elsewhere.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Karate Kid series has several people picking fights for trivial reasons. Really, even the main villains typically had dubious motivations. It's the reason why Mr. Miyagi gets so many fight scenes.
  • In Fight Club. the members all had this as a "homework" assignment. Cue hilarious montage.
  • The Line: The operation is about to go down, south of the border. Well, since we can no longer just drive guns into Mexico, we'll have to get some while we're down there. Fortunately for Ray Liotta's character we got a guy who's got everything we need. All we have to do is go into this bar full of pool playing mooks and ask the bartender if we can talk to him. Of course, our guy does business in the back, but the mooks need to beat up/rob his customers. Luckily for us in addition to wads of cash, we brought a 12-pack of whippass. Do you think our guy (or the bartender) might have stepped up to break up the fight and therefore protect some paying customers? No. He just waits until we bust up the place (and a few heads) then calmly takes us out back and sells us the weapons.
  • The Warriors: Justified in that the Gramercy Riffs (the toughest gang in town) has a bounty out for the titular Warriors, and all the other gangs want to collect (and the only one that doesn't know about the bounty is still pissed about the Warriors disrespecting them in their own territory).
  • Knight and Day: Given that the Zephyr is being hunted by everyone from a covert ops organization to Spanish gun runners, it's not too surprising they draw fights.

  • Jame, the heroine of Chronicles of the Kencyrath, appears to be this. Several other characters think it's because the machismo of her (predominantly male) assailants won't let them admit to being intimidated by a girl.
  • The Camp Half-Blood Series: Demigods attract monsters, and hence camps to train them to survive by kicking ass.
  • Millennium Series: Lisbeth Salander recounts how no matter how distant she was from her classmates while in elementary and middle school, somebody would always try to stir shit up with her. Her tormentors would pay for it later.
  • Chasing Yesterday: At the Juvenile Service Center, J.D. gets into a fight with The Bully girl, at Alexa's home a Bratty Half-Pint picks on her because he's never seen her before, when she runs away from that house temporarily with her friend Daniel, a man comes out of a dark alleyway and tries to knock her out, and then later on she and Daniel are cornered in an old, run-down house where her fake real mother tries to kill her J.D. thinks that's what happened. And that's only from book one. Not to mention that J.D is connected to many crimes of which she doesn't remember.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kung Fu (1972), Twice an Episode.
  • The Incredible Hulk (1977): "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: The title character.
    • Xena: Warrior Princess as well, appropriately lampshaded in one episode where she is attacked while breastfeeding.
  • Mal in Firefly seems to be in a bar fight or a shootout every other episode.
    • Admittedly, it's not just some cosmic coincidence. In one he was caught stealing a guy's wallet, just because the guy was a slaver who made his cash trading human lives; in another, he went into a patriotic Alliance bar on Unification Day wearing a brown coat - i.e. the uniform of people who fought against Unification (he apparently makes a tradition of doing this every Unification Day).
    • And when he's trying to avoid a fight, one tends to find him, either on its own or due to his passengers. River, in particular, is a colossal magnet for trouble, ranging from angry superstitious villagers who think she's a witch, to corrupt police officers and bounty hunters after the giant bounty on her head, to elite government assassins who want to hide any secrets she might know.
  • Ryan of The O.C. seemed to get beat up at least once an episode for much of the first season. This was often lampshaded by Seth.
  • Highlander. Probably justified since anywhere an immortal goes, other immortals feel them coming. And There Can Be Only One.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): There were always plenty of fights in the show. In the first season there was exactly one episode, "The Pluto Files", that didn't have a fight scene. Every other episode some foolish thug or Nazi soldier tried their luck. And failed.

  • Destroy the Godmodder: Even in the first game, when the Godmodder fled to the safety of his castle, NPC Hunter Groups showed up to fight him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Savage Worlds spinoff "Streets of Bedlam", the Bulldog archetype's main feature is being able to be horribly injured and keep going. They also have a Hindrance that says outright they can't solve a case without getting dragged into a fight.
  • In Tabletop Games this is basically Random Encounters. Tabletop game worlds are generally teeming with ludicrously dangerous monsters.

    Video Games 
  • Practically every beat-em-up in existence. The usual reason is to keep the heroes away from the Damsel in Distress or just to rid the streets of crime once and for all.
  • Everyone in every fighting game ever. Sometimes there's a convenient tournament to justify the endless fights or the characters are competing over something, but often there's barely any justification at all.
  • The Touhou Project series seems to have an awful lot of characters who want a piece of Reimu or Marisa, particularly in the early stages of a game.
  • Hammer from Fable II lampshades this trope philosophically. According to her, if two monks were the ones to enter the Wellspring Cave when you two met they would have found nothing out of the ordinary. It was because you, as a hero, accompanied her the Hollow Men showed up. A warrior will always find battle. It serves as a mark of her character development that having gone from begrudgingly accepting pacifism to now being a reluctant warrior, she has come full circle and transcended violence to the point where she can apply deeper thinking to it.
  • Only two of the random encounters when wandering the map in Dragon Age: Origins are remotely plot-relevant, but the most prominent example is the horde of poorly-armed and poorly-trained refugees who swarm you just north of Lothering because they need the money from the bounty on your head.
  • Hawke in Dragon Age II cannot even go out to get a wheel of cheese without ending up fighting twenty-plus faceless mercenaries. Delivering a piece of mail? Mercenary horde! Meeting a contact late at night? Random assassin attack! Taking a talisman to an altar on a mountain? Legions of undead and giant spiders! Going for a stroll on the beach? Tal-Vashoth squads, raider groups, and packs of feral mabari hounds! And Hawke can't go a week without running into one insane mage or another. This is lampshaded extensively, too. Bodahn will comment that he's never had to clean up so many bloody footprints in someone's house before. Sebastian likewise comments that Starkhaven is similar to Kirkwall, but with fewer dead people, which Varric notes is because they don't have Hawke. Finally in the Legacy DLC, Hawke will lament all the constant fights s/he gets into and Varric will reply that if Hawke went to the beach for a vacation, that would be the day an armada of angry demon pirates would show up. Snarky Hawke attributes this to the fact that they've pissed off nearly everyone in Kirkwall with their antics over the years.
  • Everywhere the Dragonborn goes in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, somebody wants a piece of him or her. In particular, he or she seems to be a magnet for every passing dragon within several miles, who will gladly swoop down into a city you're in just to fight you.
  • God of War: Kratos always gets involved in fights between deities, even when he explicitly wants to avoid them. The Wake-Up Call Boss of the PS4 game, for example, is a stranger who simply comes up to Kratos's house and taunts him until he finally loses his temper. Neither of the two know each other nor had any real reason to fight (the Stranger thinks Kratos is a Jotunn, which is untrue), but the guy just refuses to leave without Kratos fighting him.
  • Taken to an extreme in Shodai Nekketsu Koha Kunio-kun, where not just high school students, but business men, middle aged women and even baseball fanatics want to give you trouble.
  • Also endemic in the Pokémon games, where everyone packing a Pokeball and a monster collection wants to do battle with you. Most annoying when you're just emerging from a cave or dungeon with most of your team fainted and just want to get to a Pokemon center and heal already. Somewhat justified as Pokemon Battling is ubiquitous to the world at large and battling Pokemon is seen as a fun way to connect by both people and Pokemon alike. Downplayed as of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, where due to the open ended nature of the world, trainer battles are instead initiated by the player rather than being triggered on-sight
  • Just about every planet that Commander Shepard visits will involve someone wanting to pick a fight with him/her. In the rare cases where there isn't an imminent round of havoc immediately available, Renegade Shepard will find one.
  • Replace physical battles with battles of wits and Professor Layton qualifies.
  • Norman Jayden in Heavy Rain.
  • Dante of Devil May Cry is always getting mixed up in demon-related trouble, both due to his job as a demon hunter and because he is the son of Sparda, a demon knight who rebelled against Mundus to protect humanity (which a lot of demons that served Mundus are rather mad about) and possessed a great deal of power that many villains want for themselves.
  • Basically every playable Assassin in the Assassin's Creed series, but particularly Altair from the original game. Guards are pretty damn jumpy during the third crusade and they have ears like bats. Fighting one of them will attract about a dozen more until Jerusalem, Acre or Damaskus are completely covered in corpses. Not to mention that merely jumping on the spot will set them off if they're suspicious of something.
  • Kazuma Kiryu from the Yakuza games is constantly getting into fights with street punks or yakuza (and so is every other playable character in the series). When chatting with hostesses, he laments how he's uncannily getting assaulted day and night, to which they suggest that he might just have a presence that makes people want to fight him.

    Web Original 
  • Destroy the Godmodder has the godmodder. The few times he manages to escape the conflict, something completely bizarre and random will be summoned by a player and attack him for no reasons. Up to and including a seemingly harmless dummy that was actually his friend.
  • Team Kimba from the Whateley Universe get in fights all the time. Most peculiarly, all three times the group visited Boston, they (school-aged mutants without superheroing licenses) battle The Necromancer and his Children of the Night. Only one member has left Whateley for any length of time and not get involved in a fight or battle.

    Western Animation