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Assuming, of course, that Superman also has super not-getting-the-bends.

Screenwriter: Later, Neo’s gonna have a fight with a bunch of Smiths. It’s gonna go on for awhile.
Producer: But can’t Neo jump inside people and make them explode?
Screenwriter: Yeah, but he’s not gonna.
Producer: Why not?
Screenwriter: So there can be a fight scene.
Producer: Oh okay.
Screenwriter: And then at the end of the fight scene, Neo’s gonna fly away.
Producer: Why didn’t he didn’t he just fly away in the first place?
Screenwriter: So there can be a fight scene.
Producer: That makes sense.
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When a character has the Idiot Ball slipped into their pocket while they weren't looking, causing them to forget to properly use their abilities or powers to stop a villain or get out of a situation, even though they may have used the ability in similar situations before (often many times).

As the title indicates this often happens with superheroes. This is used quite a bit when characters have extremely useful or increasingly powerful abilities or equipment, and some unfortunates tend to have this inflicted on them all the time, turning a Genius Bruiser or Badass Bookworm into a garden-variety Bruiser or Badass. Only some lines of technological jargon or displays of useless gadgetry will remind the reader that they have more brains than they normally use. Some might consider this a form of Informed Ability, with the "ability" being genius-level intelligence. It's especially bad when the power being forgotten about is an innate ability that the character was born with, which makes it roughly akin to a Muggle forgetting he can walk.

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Amnesia Danger is a variant of this trope, when it's justified using convenient amnesia. The heroic version of Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?, except while at least villains don't have to answer to their actions, heroes should be obligated to stop evil-doers or disasters as quickly and efficiently as possible.

See Fridge Logic for when it occurs to the viewers a little later what the character could've/should've easily done. See Remembered I Could Fly when it occurs to the character Just in Time what he should've done long before. Plot-Sensitive Snooping Skills is a particular variant/sub-trope. If a device is discovered once, never becomes part of a character's standard bag of tricks, and is forgotten that is Forgotten Phlebotinum. Hollywood Tactics are a usual result. Compare Drama-Preserving Handicap.

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As mentioned, this is a sister trope to Idiot Ball, the distinction being that Idiot Ball is when a character does something stupid to further the Plot, while with Forgot About His Powers the plot depends on a character failing to take an action they would normally take or that would make the most sense to solve the current crisis.

In video games, this is a common way for a character to start out prior to the tutorial levels, with the abilities the player only learns later in the game being things the character knew all along. On the other end, this combined with branching skill trees is the main source of Cutscene Incompetence, as the character written into the cut-scenes doesn't remember the potion of resurrection the player picked up half an hour ago when mourning a slain companion or that he picked up the skill allowing flight when falling off something tall.

Compare Reed Richards Is Useless, where a character with superhuman abilities or ridiculously advanced technology reserves it for equally advanced problems and never applies it to mundane difficulties, and Superman Stays Out of Gotham in which another character in the same universe is conveniently not around to easily solve the problem for the protagonist.

Contrast Took a Level in Badass and Dumbass No More.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the New Vestroia season of Bakugan Battle Brawlers, our BBEG King Zenoheld wielded a Giant Mecha Bakugan called "Farbros" which could merge with more parts and become virtually unstoppable. So what does he do when the good guys arrive to confront him halfway through the series? Blow up his own machine. Without fusing to the special parts. For no adequately explained reason...
  • Bleach: In the Bount arc, Orihime spends the episode panicking about Rukia being under a Bount's control before resolving the issue with her healing power. This is despite having already used the same solution on Tatsuki at an earlier date.
  • Blue Gender is one giant Wallbanger for many viewers because of this. Humanity knows The Blue can't swim or fly very well. (Hello there, aircraft carriers!) Humanity controls at least one giant orbiting space station. (Colony Drop!) Humanity also has literal Blue-detecting radar. And nukes. Does humanity use any of these advantages to fight the Blue? Nope! They'd rather take the Blue on in catastrophically designed, weaponless mechs.
  • This happens pretty frequently with Accelerator in A Certain Magical Index, most notably in his fights with Touma and Kihara Amata. Given his displayed abilities, despite the fact that they can both bypass his Attack Reflector powers, there was absolutely nothing stopping him from standing back and throwing cars at them. Made all the more egregious because in one of the later books he does exactly that when he needs to shut down a Power Nullifier from outside its range. Justified in that his powers are normally so unstoppable that he's never had to think strategically, and using his powers in inventive, intelligent ways is a bit new to him.
  • Kaminashi from Choujin Sensen somehow got stabbed in the leg by Sasamura despite using intangibility to escape from his prison earlier.
  • This happens countless times with Tsuzuki from Descendants of Darkness. Even though he's supposed to be one of the most powerful ancient Gods of Death, he is rendered completely helpless when Muraki is around. He's not even able to throw a decent punch at the guy, and is made into a whining and crying wimp in his presence just for plot's sake. Example: Muraki is flying away on a helicopter, and Tsuzuki forgets that he can always summon or cast a spell that could blow the helicopter down. Stupid or... has a self destructive streak TEN MILES HIGH.
  • In Detective Conan, one episode featured Conan attempting to stop a murder by "Shocking" the murderer into giving up. He shows up Just in Time and shows a plant that holds sentimental value to the murderer, causing her to break down and cry, saving the intended victim. What our diminutive detective seems to forget is that he wears a watch that shoots tranquilizer darts! Why risk the killer ignoring this when he could just tranq her?
  • Doraemon's manga format ensures the title character having countless gadgets that could have been used as weapons if applied during the numerous movies. Only recurring few are usedNote  while the rest only pop in from time to time.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • The entirety of Dragon Ball Z's plot tension results from the heroes forgetting that they have access to a magical wish giving dragon whose limitations are relatively small. There are limits to what Shenron and Porunga can do (reviving someone who has been killed more than once, reviving multiple people at a time, killing powerful people, reviving people who died of 'natural deaths'... and so on), but the heroes never ever seem to use the dragon's abilities in order to nullify threats. Granted, this is partially due to Goku and friends's desire to fight more powerful opponents, but still.
    • Most of the heroes have extra-sensory awareness, in particular the ability to sense energy and therefore detect opponents they can't see. However, whenever a person has been shrouded by clouds of dust after another person's fierce barrage of attacks, they smile triumphantly until the dust clears and the enemy is unharmed, despite how they should have been able to sense this immediately. This also seems to happen when an opponent moves too fast for them to follow, but then stops still out of their line of sight, resulting in a few moments of desperately looking around for where they went, despite, again, being able to sense where they are. It's possible for characters to conceal their energy by lowering it, but this really isn't something you'd do in combat.
    • In Goku's fight against Cell, there's a part where Goku knocks Cell out of the sky and he hits the ground hard. Future Trunks and a few of the other heroes excitedly think Cell is finished. Annoyed, Vegeta asks them if they forgot how to sense energy; if they would apply it, they would be able to tell Cell isn't even hurt.
    • Most movies are guilty of this, during which all Saiyan characters will magically forget to become Super Saiyan (or whatever the current variation is) for large chunks of the movie, if not leaving it to the climax. This is despite the fact that the Super Saiyan transformations can consistently be accessed at will once they've been reached. Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge is probably the most infamous, as Goku's seeming ignorance of this fact is basically the only thing keeping it from fitting into continuity.
    • There's a scene in Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug where Piccolo, who is being held in the grasp of a giant enemy, is desperately reaching out to Goku so that he can give him his energy. Piccolo completely forgets that he can stretch his arms to impossible lengths, not to mention become a giant himself.
    • In one filler scene during the Goku vs. Freeza fight, Freeza opens the ground under Goku, who hangs on the edge as the lava rises from underground. Goku tries to climb, fails and gets his butt burnt by the lava in a comical manner. Except that Goku, like damn near everyone in the show, can fly.
    • Krillin doesn't use his Kienzan/Destructo Disk as often as his should, despite it being one of the most broken abilities in the franchise. It is one of the most powerful attacks that doesn't take too much time to charge, and one good hit from it would've killed Nappa, Vegeta, likely even Freeza.note  The big problem with this attack, that it is slow and can be easily dodged if someone sees it coming, or even destroyed if hit from dead angles as seen later on by Jiren. This could be gotten around if the characters realize that they can use the Solar Flare to blind their enemies before using the Kienzan to cut them to pieces. They do not.
    • In Bojack Unbound, there's a martial arts tournament out in the ocean taking place on platforms. If you fall into the water, you're eliminated. Yamcha winds up falling off a platform, but doesn't fly back up to prevent falling in the ocean.
      • Yamcha forgets he can fly again during the Majin Buu Saga when he does nothing to prevent his plane from crashing. Thankfully, Android 18 remembers her powers and saves the day.
    • In movie 11, Bio-Broly, there's a scene where Goten and Trunks are standing on each others' shoulders to see into a window. Goten complains that he wants a turn to see... both of them forgetting that they can fly.
    • Played for Laughs in Dragon Ball, where Bulma needs a phone, but Kame House doesn't have one. Master Roshi reminds her that she just built a video drone out of scraps and leftovers, and making a phone should be easy for her. She promptly does.
    • Goku's Instant Transmission (a form of teleportation) gets used in some pretty clever ways over the series. It makes it even more obvious when he completely forgets about it. The most obvious is the Android Saga, where he never thinks to use it to bail out 18note , and doesn't use it to rescue Piccolo until the latter was nearly dead.
    • In the final battle of Dragon Ball GT, it's noted that Omega Shenron has the abilities of all the lesser Shadow Dragons. He shows these abilities off frequently... except, for some reason, he doesn't bother to use Haze Shenron's ability to weaken others, which was shown to make Goku barely able to fight beforehand.
    • Happens to Rylibeu in Super's Universe Survival Saga, when an attack shocks her so much that she forgets to fly and is the first ring-out. Made worse by the fact that ki flight was explicitly disabled for the tournament, and Rylibeu was chosen because she has wings, and so could supposedly circumvent the flight restriction.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Sting and Rogue are two of the only Dragon Slayers able to access their Super Mode at will. Yet outside of their fight with Natsu and Gajeel, they never use it, even when they are getting their butts kicked and are in mortal peril.
    • Bloodman, an Etherious who possessed all the Curses of the Nine Demon Gates of Tartaros, should have made quick work of Gajeel using the vast variety of skills he apparently had even when Gajeel manages to figure out how to hurt him. He didn't (presumably because he was just that shocked at the fact Gajeel was now cleaning his clock) and ended up having to resort to a Taking You with Me attack that fails thanks to one of his comrades using a Reality Warper spell at the exact same moment that displaced everyone across the country.
    • August, the strongest mage of the Spriggan 12 has the completely overpowered Copy Magic that gives him an almost unlimited arsenal of magic spells. Having just tanked Gildarts' strongest blow looking no worse for wear, instead of just using any safer spell of equal power, August decides to use a suicide attack to wipe out all the members of Fairy Tail at once to pave the way to Zeref's victory, but ultimately cancels the attack and lets the out-of-control energy destroy himself once he sees his mother Mavis suffering in the devastation he's about to unleash.
      • Although, August's copy magic may be limited to only being able to use his copied powers when in range of the wizard he's currently copying, such as when he tried to used a fire spell of all things against Natsu. He probably has some original spells of his own, but he wouldn't be able to just use any spell he's ever copied whenever he wants despite his reputation making most of his opponents think he can.
    • Wendy is no excempt neither. Her healing spell, Troia can heal motion sickness, but is unable to cast it again once it wears off though. Too bad she only used it while on Nirvana, and she never used it again afterwards, not even when Natsu gets on a vehicle. It's even more jarring in the second Time Skip, where she is granted motion sickness as well, and doesn't even consider on using Troia on Natsu, nor any other Dragon Slayer, not even herself if they even get on a vehicle.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa gives Alphonse a new Signature Move -the ability to transfer part of his soul into a suit of armor to control it. Unlike the transmutation in the original series, this effect is only temporary and doesn't harm Al at all, effectively giving him the ability to create non-living, completely disposable Mooks. At the end of the movie, the characters end up in a situation where one of them has to make a Heroic Sacrifice. Had Al thought to use this ability then, he could have saved himself and Ed from being stranded on the other side of the Gate.
  • In Gintama, everyone seems to often forget that Kagura has Super Strength, particularly in instances when the characters have been captured and she could conceivably free everyone on her own if she tried. This is Played for Laughs when the heroes are locked up during the Ryugujo arc, leading to Kamenashi pulling a fake-out to try and get a guard's keys. Once the keys are within reach, Kagura simply kicks the cell bars down, causing Kamenashi to wonder aloud why he even bothered with the ruse in the first place.
  • InuYasha: In episode 52, when the fully demonized Inuyasha is going on a bloody rampage against a group of bandits, Kagome ineffectually runs after him while desperately shouting at him to stop. It never once occurs to her that she could simply give Inuyasha the "sit" command to get him to stop, especially since doing so successfully restrained his full demon form twice before.
  • Unfortunately common throughout JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, as Araki often gives his characters unique and complex powers and abilities... only to neglect those abilities later on, even in situations where they would work perfectly. Fans often ask questions like "Why did Silver Chariot lose half its abilities when it joined the good guys?" or "Couldn't they have used Hermit Purple to find Kira?" And often the best answers to these questions are either that it would have made the conflict too one-sided, or, according to the fandom's meme, "Araki forgot."
  • Subverted with the eponymous Kotoura-san. She is aware of her always-on Telepathy, but she can still be deceived because it also averts Conveniently Coherent Thoughts. Ergo, she cannot reach into someone's Hidden Depths automatically and is quite susceptible to Psychic Static and Poke in the Third Eye. Probably the most exemplary case is in Episode 11, where the ESP Research Society is trying to catch a criminal who commits random acts of violence to high school girls. As it turns out, the culprit is Tsukino's Enemy Within, in whose house Kotoura has stayed for the better part of an afternoon. Yet in all that time, she doesn't suspect anything until the culprit is almost on top of her because the Enemy Within Tsukino had taken over while the latter was creeping up behind Kotoura.
  • The anime adaptation of Magic Knight Rayearth has a tendency to do this. In one example, Fuu stops Hikaru from using a fire spell on a monster that's abducted Umi, but she gives no thought to the spell that she herself invented a few episodes ago specifically to restrain without injury.
  • Naruto:
    • Virtually the entire cast should be able to transform into anything or make illusionary clones of themselves. The latest times these abilities are brought up are when Temari plans to use a clone to act as a diversion then strike immediately after (which is implied to win her the battle had she been able to carry it out) and Naruto transforming clones into rocks to hide them (which is very successful against even a VERY powerful opponent). It's clear these abilities would still be useful even at Kage level confrontations, but instead all characters stick to their gimmick and their gimmick alone.
    • After Naruto reveals that he has Super Speed bordering on Flash Step, he promptly never uses it again despite how incredibly useful it is to be so fast he can travel roughly fifty feet in the time it takes the second fastest man alive to punch him, or to escape being captured by Tobi during his and Bee's fight with him and the other Jinchuuriki. Luckily, Kakashi and Gai got there just in time to save him. He then re-conveniences his Flash Step to deflect Tailed Beast Bombs.
    • The Big Bad Tobi is guilty of this. The only reason the heroes even stand a chance is because he forgot he could easily teleport in, kidnap all the Jinchuuriki, and teleport out without anyone being any the wiser.
    • Madara Uchiha is very much guilty of this: Ever since his introduction, Madara has revealed to be able to use an incredible amount of techniques, including, but not limited, to creating massive walls of fire, using Susanoo in more than one form (the final form being a hundred-foot-tall one), using Rinnegan and its derivative techniques (Chakra Absorption, and a stronger variation of Shinra Tensei), summoning meteors, using massively powerful Wood Release techniques, and the list goes on. However, many times he only uses a technique once, and it's never even mentioned again. It's even more jarring when he becomes the Ten-Tails Jinchuuriki, as he focuses only on using the Ten-Tails's black substance instead of using any other technique, even if it would help him in the fight (such as Susanoo, which is later shown to be even more powerful with the Tailed Beasts' combined chakra). No wonder Guy handed him his ass in their fight. Partly justified in that Madara was perhaps the most arrogant character in the series, and obsessed with trying out new abilities whenever he could.
  • One Piece:
    • There are numerous situations in which Chopper forgets he has a certain ability, and it's played for comedy, but a lot of times he could defeat his enemies in Heavy Point, but chooses to stay in Brain Point, his physically weaker form.
    • Luffy, Chopper and Brook sometimes forget that their devil fruit powers include Super Drowning Skills. This is purely played for comedy, and their crew mates are always pissed at their idiocy.
    • Luffy (and some other characters) also sometimes forget about their Super Strength when trapped in a certain situations. At one point, Trafalgar Law is being beaten up by Doflamingo and Luffy is inside the hallways of a coliseum watching helplessly out of a window. He reasons that he can't get to them because the window has seastone bars on it (seastone is harder than diamond and drains Devil Fruit users of their powers), but he seems to be forgetting that he could easily smash a hole in the regular stone walls and walk right out.
  • Pokémon:
    • Team Rocket manages to capture Pikachu (and ONLY Pikachu) nearly Once per Episode, and Ash forgets half of the time that he has FIVE OTHER POKEMON that he could use to just blast Team Rocket's balloon halfway to Jupiter.
    • Team Rocket themselves bring out fire proof uniforms or rubber suits or whatever to render one or more of Ash's Pokémon useless, but they only use them for specific plans instead of using them for pretty much every attempt. Worse, they get overconfident and frequently remove their Pokémon proof measures mid plan allowing them to get electrocuted/burned/etc. anyway later.
    • In an earlier episode Ash and his friends were in the middle of a desert while mentioning they don't have any water. Completely forgetting that they have at least 3 water type Pokémon in their group. Pointed out in this meme.
    • It is annoyingly common for Ash to randomly forget type advantages and other basic rules about capturing and battling Pokémon when the writers feel it necessary to add some extra drama or explanation to the show. Ash has been known to come up with some pretty impressive strategies from time to time, but when the plot dictates that Ash must lose a battle, the Idiot Ball is practically tied around his neck.
    • In Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions, Ash forgets that he has arguably the strongest team he's ever had in a movie. Aside from one instance with Infernape in the beginning and Pikachu in general, he never uses any of them. The sheer raw power they packed would have made a huge difference against Kodai.
    • In the third episode of the Best Wishes series, there is a scene with a group of Pokémon stranded on a disintegrating island in the middle of a lake of boiling water. Some of these Pokémon are Flying-types. They're birds that remember they can fly when they are persuaded to cross a bridge the heroes make so that they can get to safety and that then proceed to FLY AWAY.
    • In the same episode, he almost orders Pikachu to use Thunderbolt on a grounded Sandile, who has Iris' Axew in its mouth. The only thing that stops him from going through with this plan is Iris reminding him that the attack would hurt Axew, not the fact that the Ground-type Sandile is outright immune to electricity. Sometimes, when he actually remembers them, the kid forgets how to properly use his powers.
    • In Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life, Ash and co. are thrown into a cell. A simple, no-tech cell. They wait around in it for god knows how long for a Pokémon to retrieve the key when they could've, perhaps, used their Pokémon to bust their way out. And because of this stall, Arceus gets killed. Not permanently, though.
    • Along with the "trapped in the cell with a ton of super-powered animals" situation like in Arceus, Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns has these moments in spades. One moment in particular was when Ash and Brock were trying to take down a machine that was weakening Mewtwo, and none of the main cast realizes that they would have a much easier time disabling it using, you know, their Pokémon.
    • And speaking of Team Rocket, they've recently been rejoined by their Wobbuffet, whose gimmick is that it acts as an Attack Reflector. Unfortunately for them, this skill is rarely used, leading to them repeatedly getting blasted into orbit.
    • There's also Ash's ability to use Aura (basically a renamed Force). In the eighth movie Ash begins to develop these and it's even brought up once or twice in the Sinnoh Arc. Absolute squat comes of it. They might as well have painted a sign that says Fanfic Fuel.
  • In Ranma ½ Japanese version during the Gambling King Arc. Ranma was supposedly so stupid that he can't lie to anyone and got a poker face that any kid can read. This is contradicted by Ranma playing cards with his friends in the past several times and winning based on his expression (and Ranma being perfectly able to lie and play pretend in several other schemes of his whenever it suited him). Ranma went on later after the arc and to win at cards decisively against Nabiki and Akane. The American version changed all those incidents to Ranma losing so that they can remove the inconsistency.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Usagi often used her disguise pen in the first season to get into areas where access was forbidden otherwise. In later seasons, it was completely forgotten... except for one odd season three episode when Minako borrowed Usagi's pen to act as an Identity Impersonator for Sailor Moon. And even in the first season one episode has her entering a swimsuit contest wearing a torn bathing suit that she covers up with bows. (Note that Minako had her own disguise compact in the Codename wa Sailor V manga and in the Sailor Moon manga, although the fact that it was never shown in the anime may mean it simply doesn't exist in this continuity.)
    • In the manga, both Usagi and Minako have devices (a mask and a compact respectively) that can reveal the disguised enemies' true forms; these conveniently get forgotten when it comes to fighting Witches 5 or the Dead Moon Circus, who do disguise themselves as normal people in areas that are known to have connection to the enemies.
    • In the first episode we see that she has super hearing through the gems in her hair and we never get to see her use them again ... ever. In the same episode, her scream/cry is also shown to be some sort of sonic weapon, boosted by her magic, which she also uses one more time in the fourth season, when she and Chibi-Usa both use it while being menaced by an evil dentist.
    • In a season two episode all the girls sans Mercury (who was supposed to be on a plane to leave) get trapped in a freezer with an ice monster. Their game plan is to wait there indefinitely until Mercury conveniently decides not to go and comes to the rescue. One wonders why Sailor Mars didn't think to use her own powers which are...you know...based on fire.
  • Sgt. Frog: Natsumi, taking on Keroro — a clearly amphibious lifeform — in a swimming contest.
    • Ironically, Natsumi still benefitted since nobody but her could see Keroro, and struggling to beat him allowed her to beat everyone else.
    • In the dub at least it was not so plot induced as it was youthful pride and not thinking induced, and to her credit it does hit her pretty fast just how bad an idea it was.
  • Slayers: Lina, Ameria, and Zelgadis all know Ray Wing, spell that lets them fly, faster than they can run. Yet they will frequently run away from enemies (including ones who can't fly), or stand around watching flying opponents as if they could not reach them. Even if they cast Ray Wing, there's a good chance they'd still fly parallel to the ground until Lina realizes this second layer of stupid.
    • Keep in mind Ray Wing requires energy and by the time they desperately need to flee their foes they'd already depleted their magic from using high level spells and some foes don't justify using energy because they can be outran. On top of that many of the places they visit tend to be dungeons and ruines with relatively little space to fly around.
  • Often when the robot characters in Transformers Energon need to get to someplace really quick or escape from danger, they simply run, even if they can transform into a superfast vehicle.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's:
    • In the first season, there is a duel where this is Zigzagged, and a character forgets how to use one right. In Rua's duel with Devack, he equips his copy of Megamorph to his Power Tool Dragon, thinking it will double PTD's Attack Score. He forgets that, because he and Devack currently have equal Life Points, the card won't do anything. (But to be honest, what player in the actual game has not made that mistake when using Megamorph?)
    • In Season 2, Yusei desperately tries to find a way to deal with the Meklord Emperor monsters that can absorb Synchro Monsters. He finds the Accel Synchro, but Yusei already has a card that can deal with them, and he has it since the beginning of the series: Turbo Warrior. A Synchro Monster that cannot be targeted by monsters with Level 6 or lower, and the Meklord Emperors are Level 1note . However, he never uses Turbo Warrior against them and he relies on his Accel Synchro Summon.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V is the first series where (consistently, anyway) the hologram-summoned monsters have real physical mass sufficient to carry someone or destroy an object. The applications for this are pretty much endless—it's bordering on an Imagination-Based Superpower—but outside of Action Duels, characters rarely seem to remember this. There are plenty of episodes where they run around on foot when they could summon something capable of flight or great speed and hitch a ride, or confront an obstacle and ineffectually stand around instead of bringing out a monster and attacking it.

    Comedy 

    Comic Books 
  • Nearly any situation should be easily solvable by The Flash, since he can move hundreds and hundreds of times faster than anything else on earth. Yet he constantly forgets to use the full potential of his superpowers until it's time to end the story. Abilities the Flash consistently forgets he has: running faster than light, speed stealing, infinite mass punch, etc. On one occasion the villains destroyed a bridge. Flash runs to a university, teaches himself civil engineering, rushes back to the site of the collapsing bridge, scavenges for parts and builds an entire new bridge to replace the old one, all in the blink of an eye. This trope is the only reason anyone is able to beat him.
  • Obviously, Superman suffers from the same forgetfulness both in the comics and in Smallville. Specifically, he frequently forgets to use his super speed while attacking. At its most ridiculous in the Silver Age, Superman has nearly godlike powers (name any ability, put the word super in front of it, Supes has it) and will conveniently forget them between issues as the plot demands. However, he is in the habit of standing and taking shots to intimidate his opponents so it's not always a case of forgetting. And how anyone ever manages to sneak up on him when he has super hearing is a complete mystery. Except for Batman, because he has active noise cancellation technology built into his costume for just such an occasion. Similarly, whenever he fights foes that are less powerful but have masterful fighting skills such as Wonder Woman, he (or rather the writers) tends to forget that he's an expert fighter himself, having been trained by many of the greatest fighters in the universe.
    • Due to his strength and invulnerability, Superman often forgets he has an effective ranged attack with his heat vision. He could solve many issues from miles away, if he chose.
    • There's also how he hardly ever uses the fact that he is fast enough to phase through objects, making him even more indestructible than he already is. Even more jarring in that the Flash uses this ability multiple times, and you’d think Superman would takes notes.
  • Martian Manhunter often forgets to use his intangibility so that his enemies can land a punch on him. He also often forgets about his ability to change size and the advanced uses of his telepathy.
  • Marvel's The Vision has occasionally fallen victim to similar attacks (though it's rarer). In one issue of What If?, he was killed by a parasitic alien vine that grew into his bodily systems. A fan wrote in to ask what was up; the editors eagerly latched onto his suggestion that "the plant in question isn't entirely tangible itself, and that's why the villain used it". An Avengers comic had Vision, along with The Mighty Thor and Iron Man, taken out by knockout gas. Hmm, a Physical God who can control winds, an unbreathing android, and a guy in a sealed combat suit? No problem. The criminal masterminds who took them out so easily?... Well, you've got to see this one for yourself.
  • Silver Surfer's Silver Age stories full of this. When he meets a scientist who invents a device that might let him leave Earth but needs money to make it, the Surfer decides to get a job. He can't (because he doesn't have a Social Security number, he's not in the union, and he's funny-looking) so almost robs a bank in desperation, forgetting he can manipulate matter and could just make the scientist's gear for him. He spends about eight comics looking for someone who won't hate him for being "a silver-skinned freak" before he remembers that the Fantastic Four were quite friendly...
  • In Marvel Zombies, the zombies are attacking Doctor Doom's castle and the Scarlet Witch is infected by the Punisher. Gee, Scarlet Witch, did it never occur to you to just teleport him and the other zombies away like you did with Ash earlier? Or teleport Enchantress away earlier so Dazzler wouldn't be infected?
  • The last frame of the Spider-Man comic featuring the defeat of the Sinister Six in their first appearance had Doctor Octopus, the Vulture, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, and Sandman sitting in a police jail cell complaining about being defeated. How could the Sandman, a being who can turn into sand, be trapped in a common jail cell?
    • An example involving a power that the character literally cannot forget but writers seem to, many a comic involving Spidey losing to someone generally involves the Spider-Sense not triggering in instances where it absolutely would. Rather blatant examples include the "Confederacy of Dunces" arc in The Punisher (where Spidey is trapped by Frank using a bunch of trigger explosives that weren't actually armed) and Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, where Dreadpool shoots him point-blank, which the Spider-Sense should have immediately detected and allowed Spider-Man to notice and act before Dreadpool could have even moved the gun into position.
  • Green Lanterns have been variously shown as being able to warp time, move faster than light, contain supernovas, fight toe to toe with Superman, alter their own DNA, read minds, find subatomic aliens... Scratch that, if it's a superpower of any sort any given GL has used it at least twice. Now here's the thing. There are creatures other than Gods that bother them. Funny huh? It's somewhat justified in their case as their power require willpower and concentration to make anything happen. A GL who is having a bad day, is unfocused or demoralized will be less effective and the GL's are essentially human without their rings (or at least the human ones are.) Plus, their rings require a periodic recharge and anything yellow or anyone whose fast enough or crafty enough to remove a ring is a threat. Still, the idiot plot is somewhat less excusable in the case of veterans like Hal Jordan (or really, any of the Earth based GL's these days) as he is both experienced, and extremely strong willed.
  • The drama that drives the character of Adam Strange hinges on a concept that makes little sense in the context of the shared DC Universe. Adam is a human adventurer from Earth who gets transported to the planet Rann (located in the Alpha Centauri solar system, the closest to Earth) by zeta beams. Once the effect of a zeta beam wears off, Adam gets transported back to Earth and has to wait for the next zeta beam to transport him back to Rann once again. This creates drama (Adam can't stay on Rann indefinitely), and even though every once in a while, writers come up with super-powerful zeta beams that have a permanent effect, eventually another writer may find a reason to undo the effect, leaving Adam stranded on Earth once again. However, it makes little sense in the context of the wider DCU, where there are various more conventional means of traveling the (comparably laughable) distance to Rann. A particularly glaring example occurs in JLA #20-21 (written by Mark Waid), where the Justice League gets transported to Rann and has to help Adam fend off an invasion. Ultimately, Adam drives off the invaders by sacrificing the zeta beam radiation stored inside his body, which results in him getting transported back to Earth. There are at least three ways to get him back to Rann immediately: First, in the first part of the story, Adam mentions a previous visit to Rann by JLA member Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), who traveled there simply using the power of his ring. Second, the JLA has White Martian jumpships at their disposal, which are used to travel through space several times over the course of the series. And third, the JLA's ranks at that time include Orion and Big Barda of the New Gods, who have access to Boom Tubes, which can also travel vast distances. All of these methods would allow Adam to return to Rann in a short amount of time, without that pesky temporary effect of the zeta beams. Eventually, this was corrected by placing Rann multiple billions of light-years from Earth, too far for most other methods of travel to reach. But this still doesn't explain why he doesn't ask one of the New Gods for help, since Boom Tubes can explicitly be opened to anywhere in the universe.
    • Additionally, in the Silver/Bronze Era, Rann was shown to be fairly close to Thanagar, homeworld of Hawkman and Hawkwoman. They shared many adventures and apparently never bothered to offer Adam a ride in the spaceship they regularly used to go between Earth and Thanagar.
  • There were multiple examples in Identity Crisis, especially during the fight between the Justice League and Deathstroke. The Flash literally forgets he can do anything aside from "run fast". (Using the Speed Force to speed up his perceptions? Forgotten, unless he wanted to run into a sword. Stealing speed? Gone. Using his healing factor? Gone. Just making a tornado to blow Slade away? Gone.) And Green Lantern somehow forgets he's got the most powerful ranged weapon in the universe on his finger. Its not just that he doesn't create constructs to use against Deathstroke, or capture the man in a force bubble, he doesn't even bother with a simple blast of energy. Instead, he wades in to engage the physically superior Deathstroke in a fist-fight. Any time he's confronted about this mess, Brad Metzler insists that it was Executive Meddling by the editors, who wanted to pump up Deathstroke's "badass" image by basically turning the Justice League into jobbers.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The chronic and widespread amnesia over the Iron Queen's Magitek is one of the main causes of The Iron Dominion Saga; the Freedom Fighters are constantly clueless to the fact that their enemy can control machines with her mind, and wind up being shocked each time one of their cyborg or mechanical allies gets turned against them by her. They also keep forgetting that they have a counteragent to her spell right in their own backyard. And in case you're wondering, there's actually a time in the saga where the Iron Queen herself forgets that she has this power, and has to be reminded that the Freedom Fighters are holed up in a Grey Goo city that she can manipulate... after she successfully infiltrated and messed it up with her powers.
    • Tails had an uncle who was skilled enough in magic to, among other things, teleport and activate his Super Mode. Unless there's an unexplained limitation on that second spell, Dr. Eggman really shouldn't have been a threat for so long.
  • Doctor Strange. Speaking of the Sorcerer Supreme, he is repeatedly in situations where his virtually unlimited mystic abilities could resolve the plot, or at least make it much simpler. Alas, the good Doctor's imagination is often limited to that of those who write him (or limited due to factors like the energy he has to cast certain complex spells).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW):
    • The giant mutant cockatrices who attacks Canterlot in the short in Issue #4 of don't seem to be able to turn anypony to stone, like they do in the show.
    • Lampshaded in Issue #18. The mane 6 are locked up in a dungeon. When Twilight Sparkle is stumped about how they are going to get out, Pinkie Pie gives her a glare and knocks her horn - the prison bars are absolutely no match for the mighty alicorn magic.
  • Justified by Snowbird in Alpha Flight. While in animal form, she is dropped from a great height, so she shapechanges into an owl without changing to human form first — something she rarely does because its very painful. But, as the narrator points out, "In her animal panic, she had forgotten that her human form can also fly."
  • Avengers Arena:
  • Captain Alcohol is supposed to have Super Strength. However, this is only used in the first issue and never used again even when it could help him.
  • Jesse Custer in Preacher forgets about his Word of God more and more as the series goes on, which could have immediately solved many problems much faster by simply telling people "Stop!" or "Tell The Truth!" While early encounters include enemies who are immune to his power for a number of reasons, such as being given immunity by God or not understanding English, writer Garth Ennis apparently got tired of thinking up ways around the power and simply had Jesse stop using it, preferring to use his nigh-superhuman fighting skills instead. The trope is even lampshaded when Tulip asks him why he hadn't used the Word to defeat a group of enemies and Jesse just admits that he forgot about it.
  • X-Men:
    • All the various telepaths could probably stop a hell of a lot of battles and villainous plots by simply mentally knocking out MANY of their enemies that don't have any kind of mind shield, but they often don't for unexplained reasons.
    • As noted elsewhere, Wolverine has super senses like hearing and smell, but they apparently only work when Wolverine needs them to solve a plot point. Otherwise he seems to be suffering from a recurring healing factor-resistant head cold.
    • One of the most infamous examples: In Wolverine #75, Rogue is being sucked out of an airplane and screams at Gambit to help her. Except Rogue can fly. Regularly pointed out as a glaring example of Chickification of Rogue's character.
    • The entire Terrigen Mists plot that ran through the mid-2010s before climaxing in Inhumans vs. X-Men basically relied on the idea that the X-Men didn't have a way to handle or contain what is essentially a large cloud driven by the wind. (Here's a hint: one of their leaders is named Storm.)
  • As The Comics Curmudgeon is fond of pointing out, newspaper comics Spider-Man's spidey sense is notoriously unreliable, as he's been shown to get snuck up behind and knocked out by regular humans, and once a RANDOM FALLING BRICK.
  • During the first 20 years of his existence, Magneto occasionally used his magnetic powers to control the minds of people by controlling the iron in their blood; see this page from the The Vision and Scarlet Witch miniseries for one example. Since then, he seems to have completely forgotten about this power, even though it would've been incredibly useful on many occasions.
  • In Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Superwoman is amongst the heroes trying to break through the forcefield surrounding the Fortress of Solitude. She's capable of teleporting and walking through walls but maybe the forcefield somehow blocks these. Seeing as how it was Mxyzptlk maintaining the forcefield, you could say A Wizard Did It.
  • One Wizard issue had Darkseid battle Thanos ending in Darkseid leading Thanos to a Firepit Energy Processing Plant on Apokolips. There, both opponents unleash all their energy, triggering a massive explosion. When the smoke clears, out walks a staggering Darkseid, dragging a defeated Thanos—who is now a pet for his sadistic lackey Desaad. The authors apparently forgot that Thanos' ability to withstand damage is equal to Darkseid's in the very least. He also can create force shields, not to mention it was out of character for Thanos to attack opponents on their home turfs without at least gaining information or sabotaging the fight in his favor before confronting them. Thanos also has the resources to attack Apokolips from orbit if he wanted to.
  • Often played straight in the various Batman works regarding The Riddler's riddles which various characters attempt to actually solve instead of just looking them up on the Internet. This is clearly a throwback to older times when answers to such things weren't so readily accessible (as opposed to today where it's uncommon for a regular person to not have a cell phone with mobile data, let alone Batman).note  This was actually made fun of in Batman: Assault on Arkham when Amanda Waller "solves" a riddle by just tapping into a search engine:
    The Riddler: When is a door not a door?
    Amanda Waller: When it's ajar.
    The Riddler: —Oh, so you've heard that one before?
    Amanda Waller: No! I have Google!
  • An infamous issue of The Transformers: Lost Light fell into this pretty hard. The treacherous Getaway executes Rook, meaning that the Protectobots can no longer form Combining Mecha Defensor and escape, since Rook formed the leg. Only... the Protectobots have the ability to swap around their limbs, meaning they could have just had Streetwise go from being an arm to being a leg, and have a combat-ready (if one-armed) combiner, which they've even canonically done. And Rook always formed an arm before this, so even if they weren't interchangeable, that still would be possible. For that matter, they're imprisoned with Mirage, who also became a combiner limb, but nobody even suggests having him form a leg. Bafflingly, they resolve this problem through forgetting about their weakness—they use the deceased Ambulon as a surrogate leg, ignoring that Ambulon was sliced in half and had a chunk of his corpse converted into a laser cannon and therefore shouldn't be in a fit state to form anything, and showing no signs of being slowed down by a limb that ought to be completely nonfunctional.
  • Wonder Woman and the Star Riders: Dolphine has the power to magically manipulate water, yet when Purrsia tosses a net over her she is panicked and needs the other Star Riders to swoop in and rescue her, despite being in the ocean.

    Fan Works 
  • In Getting Back on Your Hooves Trixie is feeding animals as part of a job working for Fluttershy, ending up falling down a steep bank and getting the list of animals she needed to feed muddy, resulting in a run in with a skunk. As she's getting cleaned up, this trope is lampshaded:
    Spike: Uh, Trixie, one thing.
    Trixie: Yes, what?
    Spike: Why didn't you just use your magic to float the food down to the animals?
    Trixie: (slams her head into the side of the tub)
  • In Manchester Lost and its sequel, Paradise Thwarted, resident Cloud Cuckoo Lander Uriel tends to forget all sorts of things, including, at times, the fact that he has wings.
  • In Dusk's Dawn Donut abandons most of his armor when invading the castle for no reason.
  • Ojamajo Doremi: Witches at World's End (sequel to Ojamajo Doremi: Rise of the Shadows): The Queen doesn't use her Super Mode when Black Queen attacks the witch World, even though the Queen has mastered it AND it is more than capable of curbstomping Black Queen.
  • A meta example occurs in Princess of the Blacks when Jen is spotted after murdering Tracey's grandfather because the author forgot she could turn invisible. It was later retconned to Jen turning invisible just before she'd have been spotted.
  • In This Bites!, Soundbite, for a brief period in Chapter 24, forgets that he has the option of using his Gastro-Blast technique to destroy his gag. And Cross comes within an inch of dying before he reminds him of it.
  • Played for Laughs in Son of the Sannin: during the Chunin Exams finals, Hinata ends up in the stadium's hospital wing after her fight, and laments that she won't be able to see Naruto's final match. Her mother quickly reminds her that she can use her Byakugannote  to do just that, even remarking that she forgot about it because "being lovesick messes with one's head".
  • In Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, Katherine de Ka'an laments the fact she'll never know what happened to her distant ancestor Kara Zor-El's first husband since there're no records left... which shouldn't be a trouble at all since, as a descendant of the original Supergirl, Katherine's natural powers include time travel.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku worries about what would happen if he let go of All Might's leg while they were traveling in mid-air, even though he knows he's Nigh-Invulnerable (though he does admit that he probably wouldn't die from it). One chapter later, he's leaping over huge swathes of forest with ease. Just before the U.A. Entrance Exam, he gets so nervous that he trips and falls, completely forgetting that he learned how to fly ten months ago.
  • In the Fairy Tail fanfic, Another Chance, which has been deleted, Lisanna pulls a Wounded Gazelle Gambit by pretending that Lucy attacked her, resulting in Natsu, Erza, Gray, Levy, Alzack and Bisca beating Lucy up. Her deception is uncovered when Makarov smells the makeup that was used to fake her wounds, and orders Juvia to wash it off but that doesn't explain why the three Dragon Slayers (including Natsu, who attacked Lucy) weren't able to tell with their enhanced sense of smell.
  • Played for Laughs in Comic Book SNAFU: After being captured by the Riddler, Gajeel asks Akiza why she doesn't just use her teleportation powers to escape. It turns out she forgot she could do that.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 25, when Twilight meets the changeling queens, one of them is Scolopidia, who reacts with hostility. Another Queen, Tegmina, notes that Scolopidia has apparently forgotten that they can read Twilight's intentions to tell that she's genuinely friendly and wanting to help. Somewhat justified, since Scolopidia has only recently become a Queen and is still getting used to the new abilities.

    Films — Animation 
  • Some of The Land Before Time sequels have this problem, neglecting the fact that Petrie can fly.
  • In Frozen, when her ice palace is under attack, Elsa seems to completely forget all the things she has already done with her powers that would allow her to hold off the attackers indefinitely, such as causing the staircase to sprout ice spikes, creating more Snowlems to back up Marshmallow, hammering them with a blizzard or simply sealing the entrances to the palace with solid ice walls.
    • Potentially justified due to Elsa's lack of experience with her powers and her current state of panic, limiting her ability to actually think about how to fight her enemies off.
  • BIONICLE:
    • In the first film, Onua causes a cave-in, so he and Pohatu start running, but get buried under rubble. This, despite that they had masterful control over the elements of earth and stone respectively — Onua even uses his power to levitate some giant rocks in a later scene. Pohatu also wore the Mask of Speed (which Onua had access to, too) that would have let them vibrate their bodies through the rock, or just plain run faster. Both could even have summoned their Mask of Shielding to protect themselves. The climax also involves some running and heavy objects falling, but nobody thinks of using their powers to save themselves or help Takutanuva who gets crushed under a gate.
    • In the third film, Matau is about to fall to his death from atop the Coliseum balcony, but Vakama saves him with a bungee-cord made out of spider webbing. A cool and heartwarming scene, except that Matau got up there by flying in the first place, or technically, grabbing onto an energy-disk that he could fire at any moment.
  • In the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Magical Movie Night short "Movie Magic", Rainbow Dash and human Twilight Sparkle were the only members of the group who remembered to bring the amulets that allow them to use their powers (Super Speed and Mind over Matter respectively). Even then, while Twilight uses her telekinesis for mundane purposes, when the group chases a thief, she chases her on foot and doesn't try to use her telekinesis.
  • Little Angels: The Brightest Christmas: The angels wonder how to get Daniel safely to a distant cabin, seemingly forgetting the fact that they can not only fly, but have already used their ability to carry other characters around earlier in the film. Instead, they create a rainbow trail to the cabin, and Daniel has to walk all the way there.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Sherlock Holmes (2009) - Holmes never even tries a Sherlock Scan note  on the main Giant Mook, leading to multiple Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh... moments for someone who's supposed to be The Great Detective. Especially glaring is that Holmes earlier used the Scan to soundly beat another, almost-as-big Brute in a pit fight.
  • The Mobile Infantry in Starship Troopers have rifles that come with underbarrel shotguns and nuclear rocket launchers, yet they seem to rely almost entirely on their rifles' regular firing mode — even when faced with instances where such weapons would be most effective, such as close combat with the Bugs or when facing a horde of thousands of bunched-together aliens charging their fixed positions. Justified since the movie satirizes Hollywood Tactics.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Gandalf rescues Faramir and his retreating troops by using his staff to shine a bright light at the Nazgûl, which scares them away. One might wonder how come he doesn't do that every other time the Nazgûl are around. This is probably the reason why, in the extended edition, Peter Jackson had the Witch-king destroy Gandalf's staff shortly afterwards, something that could not have happened in the book. The official in-universe explanation, according to Tolkien, is that Gandalf is an Istari, a group of Maiar (basically a lesser divine spirit and servant of the Valar) who are explicitly forbidden from using their powers to shape change in Middle Earth lest the beings of Middle Earth become too dependent on them. Other Maiar like Sauron and the Balrogs had no such limitation.
  • The Neverending Story:
    • In The Next Chapter Bastian has to save Fantasia with the help of the Auryn, which can grant him any wish he wants. He never thinks to wish for weapons, or an army, or even that Fantasia just be saved. Instead he wishes for things like a can of spray paint and individual steps to climb a huge cliff. And he only has a limited number of wishes before running out of memories (each wish removes a memory, though at the time he gets it, he was unaware of this, so he had no reason to limit his wishes).
    • This gets even worse in Escape from Fantasia where again Bastian has the Auryn and this time he has no limitations to using it aside from being told he can't just wish everyone back into Fantasia. There is literally no end to things he could wish for to outright solve his problem or at least help him. It's especially glaring that this time around his opponents are basically just a group of bullies: he could wish he was strong enough to fight them, for them to give up, for them to turn on each other, for the book to stop working for them, for them lose the book, for them to give the book back, for the cops to just arrest them, for wrought-iron cages to appear around them, for their hearts to stop... this list could easily fill the entire page but he never thinks to use this power until the very end of the film. Even the limitation could easily be wished around by an even remotely intelligent person. Not exactly a move you'd expect from a kid explicitly described as "a special young human of great imagination", and it's one of many reasons this film is so despised by fans of the series.
  • Star Wars: The prequels retroactively introduce this trope to the original trilogy by establishing that R2-D2 has the ability to fly and torch his opponents, something he never does in the original trilogy even though it would have been useful to do so. Word of God has it that R2's rocket boosters broke at some point in the intervening years, and Industrial Automaton (the company that makes R2 units) no longer manufactures that part. And it's possible that the torch had simply been swapped out for other equipment that's more useful to R2's primary roles of interfacing with computers and repairing engines.
    • In The Rise of Skywalker, the first shot we see of Rey is her floating 10 feet off the ground. Later, when he has to both get to and then traverse the interior of the ruins of the second Death Star, she completely forgets that she can fly.
  • The Last Airbender:
    • This trope is basically the only excuse for why the Fire Nation imprisonment of the Earthbenders didn't fail in five minutes flat. In the cartoon that the film was based upon, their not doing any bending was completely justified as they were on a metallic platform in the middle of the ocean, with no earth in convenient distance. In the movie, they're at a mine. As in, surrounded by dirt and rocks. And they outnumber their Fire Nation guards by a minimum of a dozen to one. The very weak "their spirits are broken" excuse is washed away by a speech that boils down to "You're Earth-benders. You're completely surrounded by dirt and rocks. DO SOMETHING." They effectively imprisoned a bunch of soldiers, made them use their loaded guns to dig holes, and the soldiers never thought to shoot.
    • The movie also changes things so Firebenders need an external source for their power to work, so they need to keep torches and braziers everywhere for their bending to work. Nobody ever seems to realize that these limited sources of fire can be put out, or even thinks to extinguish nearby sources of fire whenever they see the Fire Nation coming to deny them ammo.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X2: X-Men United: Wolverine realizes that Mystique is disguised as Jean Grey by feeling the scars on her belly rather than by her smell, which he was established to be able to do in the first film when she tried the same trick with Storm which was how Mystique got the scars in the first place.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Quicksilver is able to spot Xavier's mansion in the process of blowing up and use his super-speed to save everyone, yet in the very next scene, he watches a bunch of armed men take aim at the students and fire without reacting (of course, after doing something that big, it's possible Pietro was just a bit tired).
  • I Am Number Four: John is an alien with a wide variety of superhuman powers, including super strength. While he uses it once early on to put down a bully, he conveniently forgets his wide variety of powers for the rest of the movie so that Jerk Jock Mark can push him around. When John finally does remember he has powers, he slaps down Mark's whole gang.
  • Bruce Almighty: After Bruce was caught kissing Susan by his girlfriend Grace, he seemed to forget that he was near-omnipotent, so he could just wipe her memory of the event, or re-write history to make it that it never happened.
    • Potentially justified; God had previously informed Bruce that he couldn't do anything to affect free will, and altering memories would at the very least come close to compromising Grace's free will as she would no longer be able to make a decision based on all available facts.
  • In Dragonball Evolution, Piccolo demonstrates telekinesis powerful enough to crush a house, but never uses it again, even to try to retrieve a Dragonball that was rolling away.
  • In Godzilla (2014), Big G only uses his atomic breath twice, and doesn't think to use it on the flying MUTO (which he can't attack otherwise when it's flying away) or when he was getting pummeled by both MUTOs at the same time.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-1000 confronts Sarah Connor in the Steel Mill and tells her to "call for John" to lure out John Connor, apparently forgetting it has the ability to mimic anyone's voice and could easily do it himself. However, minutes after this, T-1000 in desperation mimics Sarah and calls for John by itself. It's quickly recognized as fake due to liquid nitrogen bath damage, and it leads to its swift destruction. Therefore it might be that it rightly didn't trust itself to sound convincing.
    • The prior example of it trying to make Sarah call out could also be justified as the T-1000 being unable to imitate Sarah at this point; prior to this confrontation it had only heard her grunting or screaming rather than anything it could sample to mimic her normal voice.
  • In Spider-Man 2 Doctor Octopus fights Spider-Man by repeatedly grabbing him with his robot tentacles and slamming him into walls and such. A few moments later it is revealed that at least one of those tentacles contained a long retractable blade which he could've simply stabbed the wall-crawler with. He goes for a single swing with this blade, misses, and never uses it again.
    • May be an example of Octavius's remaining control of himself, as he resists the notion of committing blatant murder.
  • Somewhere between The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, Dr. Lecter forgot how to pick the lock on a set of handcuffs.
    • Could be justified as Lecter not having the necessary tools on hand to pick the cuffs in the time frame available to him, as he now knows that the police are en route to his current location.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), we're shown (repeatedly) that Sonic can move so quickly when he's in danger that time almost stands still around him. Yet when Tom shoots at him with a tranquilizer gun he makes no attempt to run or move out of the way. Even though he's able to move out of the way of incoming missiles, apparently a tranquilizer gun is the only thing that'll take him down. This is never addressed or explained, so the only reason why Sonic doesn't move out of the way seems to be because the plot says so.

    Gamebooks 
  • In Lone Wolf, you have powers that can be useful in certain situation, but sometimes, the author forgets that the possibility you have that power may exist, and doesn't give you a choice to use the power. More commonly, the series has three levels of powers: Kai, Magnakai, and Grand Master. Most of the powers of one tier have lower powered equivalents amongst the lower tier. Similarly, someone of a higher tier always has all the powers of the lower tier, but only a select few of their given tier. This results in your character often being asked if he has a certain power appropriate for his tier (and bad stuff happening if you do not), but the author forgetting that there is no reason the lower tier equivalent — which everyone should have — could not be every bit as effective.

    Theoretically, at least, if the higher Discipline is required, it's for something that the lesser Discipline can't handle for some reason (you see this all the time in Grand Master, particularly with Kai-screen). Justified, for the most part... simple Mind over Matter should not allow you to grab a big, heavy key on the opposite side of the room while you're behind a locked door. Still, there are numerous instances where you SHOULD be able to use Pathsmanship, or Huntmastery, or (most often) Divination, or at least get some explanation as to why you can't. (You don't need Telegnosis to spirit-walk, it just makes it easier.) And then there's the issue of the myriad Combat Skill and Endurance benefits you get from certain Disciplines, all of which need to be properly balanced... and some of which, unfortunately, don't make a lot of sense (in New Grand Master, you have the same Combat Skill whether or not you're armed). As you might imagine, it's not exactly easy to write these things.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter:
    • An example occurs in "The Philosopher's Stone". When Harry, Ron, and Hermione are trapped in the Devil's Snare (a constricting plant which can only be defeated via light) a panicking, Muggleborn Hermione comments that it would be difficult to light a fire in their current position, despite having the power to create fire magically. Justified given that she's only been aware of magic (let alone consciously using it) for less than a year.
      "HAVE YOU GONE MAD?" Ron bellowed. "ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?"
    • Called back to in a reversed situation in the final book, when Ron has a momentary lapse of judgement by proclaiming that Crookshanks isn't there to press the knob on the tree's trunk to let them into the passage. Hermione yells at him, "Are you a wizard or not!?"
    • Also in the first book, the Big Bad suddenly resorts to grabbing the hero with bare hands, even though seconds earlier he entangled him with conjured ropes.
    • In the fourth book, Harry uses Accio to summon his broom to get past the dragon in the first task when he could have used the same spell to summon the dragon's egg he was trying to get or summon his broom to fly over the maze in the third task. While never explicitly stated, it is reasonable to believe that the egg would have been protected against the simplest summoning magic, or the task would have turned into a joke. Similarly, while flying over the maze sounds like a cool, out of the box idea, one assumes the judges would have been less than amused.
    • When we first meet Harry, he has experienced ten years of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of the Dursleys. He has become quite perceptive and adept at reading their behavior, and is able to occasionally get his way by setting up his requests in such a manner that they view the best option for them is to give him what he wants. He is also usually extremely patient with their abuse and vitriol. Essentially, he makes the best of a bad situation by manipulating people who hate him. However, whenever he is at Hogwarts, Harry is completely clueless at social interaction, or understanding the larger picture. He often misses social cues, and repeatedly gets himself into trouble by letting himself be goaded by the likes of Malfoy, Snape, and Umbridge.
  • This happens quite a bit in the Ancient Indian epic poem Ramayana. As an avatar of Vishnu, Rama should be completely over-powered in the human realm. Instead, Rama seems to forget that he is a god until the other gods remind him. In the original version of the poem, Valmiki's version, this happens more than once.
  • Flinx of Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth series gets hit with this a lot in the novels after Flinx in Flux. Having been established as: (a) streetwise, (b) adept at survival, (c) having a ton of money, (d) being able to defeat just about any enemy with a combination of his Emotion Bomb and Superpower Meltdown powers; at least half of the scrapes he gets himself into are caused by a combination of him deliberately walking unprepared into lethal environments or conveniently forgetting about one or more of his Psychic Powers in order to allow a different character to get a Big Damn Heroes moment. There's also at least one scene in Trouble Magnet where he does rely on his Emotion Bomb power to get himself out of a scrape, only to have it not work on him thanks to Power Incontinence... a fact he really ought to have taken into account considering how frequently it happens to him.
  • In The Belgariad the power they use requires the sorcerer being able to steel themselves against the forces involved (otherwise they could literally push themselves into the ground -or worse), and takes a toll on their more-than-mortal but still-limited minds and bodies. Sometimes a lot of power has to be used at once; Belgarath ran head-first into trouble by literally working himself to magic-use exhaustion. But many times they just don't use a simple possibility they have, rather going for an incredibly contrived method that somehow seems like a genius idea. In the Malloreon, Belgarath, Belgarion, and Zakath have to fight a dragon, which is immune to direct sorcery. He makes Garion and Zaketh immune to fire to face the dragon, and has no doubts that this will work, demonstrating that indirect sorcery can be used. Despite this and 7000 years of experience, the idea of translocating large rocks above the dragon's head, or something similar, never occurs to him.
  • In Time Cat, Jason and Gareth are often captured and held somewhere against their will. Despite having the power to travel to any point in space or time, Gareth never uses his magic to allow them to both escape.
  • The Vampire Chronicles:
    • Lestat is a skilled computer hacker in Tale of the Body Thief, but doesn't know how to use email when it becomes a plot point in Blood Canticle.
    • When Louis falls improbably in love with Merrick, it never occurs to David that something supernatural is going on, even though he's an expert in magic and he knows she's a witch.
  • Used in a subtle and clever way in The Dresden Files novel Small Favor. Harry has a small arsenal of magical tools on him (staff, shield bracelet, force rings, blasting rod, and various other odds-and-ends), and he has a wide range of spells he can draw from (bursts of flame, blasts of force, lightning bolts, wind, etc). Therefore, unless the reader is paying very close attention, they'll miss something important: Throughout the novel, Harry uses most of his gear and most of his spells, but he doesn't use either fire magic or his blasting rod beyond the initial brawl in the first chapter. It isn't until later on that the reason becomes apparent: Mab, queen of the Winter Court, took his blasting rod and put a lock in Harry's mind that kept him from using fire magic, so that the fire-based Summer Court couldn't track him down and kill him.
  • Animorphs:
    • "The Familiar", which features Jake flung into a Bad Future ten years later, the climax of the book forces Jake to choose between destroying a Yeerk superweapon that will consolidate their power on Earth or saving his girlfriend who's just been flung from a tower. The conflict becomes a lot less believable when you remember that Cassie could just morph to bird and save herself. Justified since it turns out to have been a dream Jake was having, possibly at the instigation of some alien that was never mentioned again and Jake noticed the many oddities to realize this.
    • In general, an oft-cited Plot Hole in the series involves Tobias, who gets trapped in the form of a hawk at the end of the first book, and afterwards can only take human form for two hours at a time after the Ellimist restores his morphing ability. It's well-established that the Animorphs have the Required Secondary Power of "thought-speak" (telepathic communication) when morphing, which allows them to communicate with each other while in the form of animals that shouldn't be able to speak. Tobias is obviously capable of speaking while he's in human form—but logically, he should also have thought-speak abilities as a human, since his human form is a human morph. While in human form, Tobias often gets into sticky situations where telepathy would presumably come in handy, but he never uses it, and never seems to remember that he should have it.
  • Happens to the wigmonsters in John Dies at the End, who forget they can go through walls. David reminds them.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, inverted. Two depowered superheroes forgot that they had had Boxing Lessons for Superman, and are still Badass Normal because of them.
  • From the BIONICLE books:
    • In Tales of the Masks, after a rockfall has buried his pal Pohatu, Kopaka gives up on trying to locate him and instead heads for Pohatu's village to report some sad news, only for Pohatu to show up alive — which Kopaka would have noticed, had he thought of using the Mask of X-Ray Vision that's almost constantly on his face.
    • This becomes a recurring trend; once all the masks are collected (twice), the Toa Mata all have twelve different extra powers on top of their elemental abilities to call on at willnote . Outside of some of the online animations, they basically never use these abilities other than that of their original mask, and even then, there's a lot of times where, for instance, Tahu seems to forget to turn on his Mask of Shielding and gets smacked in the face in the middle of a fight.
    • Makuta Icarax suffers greatly after being devolved back to his part-organic state, since there's no room in his armor for organs and muscle. Considering Makuta are master shapeshifters, he could have at least tried to fit his armor to his predicament. Makuta in general seem to have a habit of using about three of the forty-two different Rakhshi powers at their disposal.

    Podcasts 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the cosmology, the Demon Lord Kostchtchie, a brute with influence over cold, rage, and frost giants, has many powerful spell-like abilities at his disposal, including Harm, Ice Storm, Unholy Blight, and Greater Dispel Magic. But despite how powerful and useful they are, according to one source, he has such a rotten temper that he often forgets about them completely and just charges into battle with his warhammer. (Of course, with a title like The Prince of Wrath, it isn't surprising.)
    • This happens in general to Dungeons & Dragons players, especially as they attain higher levels and have amassed a big catalog of magical artifacts, spells, and such. Forgetting about fantastic powers and resorting to mundane utility is one of the many jokes surrounding the 10-foot pole.
    • Mechanically enforced by barbarian rage. One of the effects in almost all editions is that while raging, the character forgets how to use spells, spell-like abilities, and skills involving concentration.
    • Can also happen when the Dungeonmaster is playing powerful, high-level NP Cs who have so many spells and spell-like abilities, that it's hard to remember them all.
  • Exalted players, especially in high-Essence games, can have characters with so many Charms that they can't remember all of the ones they have, let alone what all of them do. This can result in players realizing, after the fact, that the mess they just got themselves into could have been completely avoided if only they'd used a Charm they forgot about.
  • An article in Dragon #135 described an incident in a Marvel Super Heroes RPG campaign where a supervillain had captured all the PCs, neutralized their known powers, and was preparing to use them as a power source for a magical ritual. At the very last minute, one of the players remembered their character had a Psychic Link with a hawk that they rarely, if ever, used. The GM ruled that since the player almost forgot about that ability, the villains didn't know about it (and hence didn't neutralize it). The player had the hawk fly into the villain's headquarters and free one of the heroes, who freed the rest of the team, and the newly released heroes defeated the surprised villains.
  • The 4th Edition era Champions supplement Golden Age Heroes includes a superman expy that had, among his other powers, super intelligence that only kicked in if he made an intelligence roll at his normal default. It was explained that he had to remember he had super-intelligence in order to use it.
  • DC Heroes had a game where the player-character, Superman, had to break through a wall and decide whether to spend time repairing it (and losing points) before continuing on his mission. The writers must have forgotten that in the DCH system, super-speed allows you to vibrate through walls, because if Superman does so, he can end the game with a better than perfect score.

    Video Games 
  • A particularly egregious example at the very beginning of Red Faction: Armageddon. The terrorist Adam Hale, who Darius Mason was sent to stop, detonates Mars' terraformer which reduces the surface of Mars to an uninhabitable wasteland. This also indirectly leads to the release of the Plague (and starts the plot). It all happens immediately after the tutorial, where Mason was instructed on how to use his wrist-mounted repair tool. Mason doesn't think to just use it to repair the Terraformer, and his commander doesn't suggest it at all. Neither does the AI living in the repair tool itself. At the very end of the game, your wrist-mounted AI friend tells you that you can go up and repair the terraformer, which would conveniently kill off the Plague as well. No reason is given as to why Mason couldn't have done that at the very beginning.
  • In Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Maya never thinks to try channeling any spirits for assistance during the group's stay in Labyrinthia. Granted, she could very easily be accused of witchcraft and executed if she was spotted channeling by the wrong person, so it's probably for the best in this case, but knowing how exciteable Maya gets about helping, it's a wonder she never brought the idea up.
  • At one point in Chrono Trigger, the characters are disarmed and rendered helpless. Ayla can still fight with her fists, but Robo forgets about his inbuilt lasers, and the rest of the party forgets how to use MAGIC until they're rearmed.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • It's not entirely Lancer's fault considering he's been ordered not to just kill everyone, but he never does net a kill with his Noble Phantasm — the only time he kills someone (Shirou in the intro, himself and Kotomine in UBW) is when he's doing regular stabbing.
    • Gilgamesh is the king of this trope, but it's justified due to his massive pride: He just never considers anyone 'worthy' of going all out on.
  • How many times can Spyro the Dragon forget he can breathe flames at the start of a new game in his series?
  • Silver Surfer in the game of the same name for NES. The guy obviously forgets that he has cosmic powers, and tries to attack the bad guys normally. And is a One-Hit Point Wonder. The result is legendary even among the Nintendo Hard games of the era. It's almost Bullet Hell with none of that genre's saving graces.
  • Daikatana: "You can't attack me, this is the same sword from two different parts of time and will destroy the universe!" "Damn, if only I had some other weapons on me..."
  • During the climax scene of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Sveta briefly forgets she's an Adept and has to be prompted to use her powers by Tyrell.
  • Max Payne:
    • In 2's Chapter 2, Max will single-handedly clear out an abandoned office building full of cleaners. Then he's forced to leap out a window to avoid an explosion, and the rest of the chapter is spent playing as Mona providing cover fire for Max. He'll get pinned down behind barriers several times over the next several levels and will be helpless until Mona can take out the lone man firing on him.
    • In 3 Max finally tracks down Fabiana as wells as Marcello, both held hostage by multiple gangsters, as he knew they would be throughout his entire investigation. He has the element of surprise, is heavily armed, and he's...well, Max Payne, a dynamite gun fighter who makes Time Itself his bitch when he has to. He walks directly into the room, gets disarmed, captured, and his failure gets both of the siblings murdered in front of him. He even acknowledges that he's kind of a screw-up.
    • Also in 3, there's a portion where you have to take a sniper rifle and guard Passos as he runs from paramilitary thugs. Somehow, Passos forgets that he's a perfectly capable gunman and doesn't bother picking up any of the guns the dead goons drop.
  • At the very end of Dead Space 3 Isaac and Carver meet the leader of Unitology who is holding Ellie hostage, threatening to kill her. To dissuade him, Carver gives him the MacGuffin, allowing the maniac to free the Eldritch Abomination, potentially dooming the entire humankind. Now, what about using the damn stasis? You know, that power that allows them to almost freeze the target for an easy kill?.
  • Kirby:
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, this is an actual plot point. Due to being mind-wiped by the Jedi Council, the protagonist aren't aware of how they are able to understand so many languages, are so good with technology, and have to slowly rediscover their force abilities throughout the game.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins sometimes has the Warden forget their own abilities, and the rest of the world forget them too. For example - Wynne and Morrigan can suggest alternative healing options for Brother Genitivi's injured leg, but a Spirit Healer Warden can't. Likewise in the sequel, Hawke often forgets if s/he is a blood mage. Fortunately, Hawke often remembers his/her class in general though.
    • A Dalish Elf Inquisitor in Dragon Age: Inquisition will forget they can read Dalish perfectly well and don't need either Morrigan or Solas to translate Dalish murals for them. Word of God is that this was caused by a scripting error.
  • As a plot point in Kagetsu Tohya, Shiki doesn't remember that he has the ability to cut or destroy almost anything just by taking his glasses off and poking it with an ordinary knife. It turns out this information is being kept from him and remembering them is required to progress the plot along. He then does forget about it in the final battle, even mentioning that he legitimately forgot he can take off his glasses and kill anything.
  • In The Binding of Isaac, it's quite easy for the player to forget that they can fly, or shoot through solid rock, or effortlessly take out an entire roomful of enemies every six rooms, or whatever the items they picked up in this particular run let them do, because they're so used to not having them. This carries over to other action roguelikes with activatable items like Enter the Gungeon.
  • In Xenogears, there are several occasions where gears are shown as being capable of flight. Not just short bursts either, but for prolonged periods. It would have REALLY been helpful if ANYONE in your party remembered that prior to the hair-pulling, rage-inducing vertical platforming in the Tower of Babel. Because they sure as Hell remember it RIGHT AFTERWARDS...
  • Tales of Destiny 2: Karell Berselius gets impaled fighting Miktran and dies of his wounds after a prolonged death speech when TWO healers were standing right in front of him, apparently helpless to act. Harold does have the excuse of being warned her brother had to die to preserve history, but Atwight does not.
  • An odd version in Star Wars: The Old Republic brought on by Going Through the Motions. Player characters often draw their weapons in cutscenes, but typically forget their offhand weapons if they have them (partially because only two out of eight advanced classes dual wield in the first place). In the worst case, a Gunslinger's/Mercenary's second pistol or a Sentinel's/Marauder's second lightsaber is visibly sitting there on their hip as they prepare for battle or execute a downed enemy.
  • A common problem in Crypt of the NecroDancer. Because you need to move with the beat, it's easy to completely forget that you, say, have food or a spell that can save you in the heat of the moment.
  • Played for Laughs in Fire Emblem Awakening, in Nah's Paralogue. She gets freaked out by a statue and then runs from a Risen... only to calm down and tell herself, "Wait a minute, this is silly. I can turn into a dragon."
  • Admit it, you do this if you play modern video games. Think about it. How many times has your character been killed because of an enemy or obstacle you could have gotten past with an item that was in your inventory?
    Yahtzee: [reviewing Mercenaries 2] There's an insidious thought that frequently goes through the minds of gamers [...] that goes, "But I might need it later" — the niggling little doubt that prevents you from using all your most powerful insurance policies in case there's some kind of no-claims bonus at the end of it all. So we have scenarios where you're sitting on a nuclear stockpile to shame North Korea and are throwing peas at a giant robot crab on the off-chance that there might be a bigger giant robot crab just around the corner.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • In the story mode of Injustice 2, after Brainiac is defeated both Superman and Batman argue whether or not to kill Brainiac. Superman wants to kill Brainiac because he is too dangerous and he believes he can restore the captured cities himself with Cyborg's help. Batman wants Brainiac alive because he thinks killing him will risk the destruction of more cities, although he neglects to mention how to contain Brainiac. Neither of them mention the possibility of using Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth to force Brainiac to tell them how to take control of the ship and safely release the cities.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend, main character Hiyoko Tosaka is repeatedly shown to physically outclass almost every single character, being an absurdly strong and physically fit human surrounded by civilised birds. There are multiple occasions where she's shown to be capable of picking up and even throwing her schoolmates simply by advantage of size. But this doesn't help for some reason in Shuu's route, in which a severely physically disabled partridge manages to overpower her and cut her head off without being injured in the process, supposedly because she's paralysed by fear (of a person several times smaller, lighter and weaker than she is). Yes, that's right, Hiyoko manages to forget what species she is. "Just throw him out the fucking window!" is practically a meme amongst Hatoful Boyfriend fans because of how obvious it is as a solution.
  • In Paper Mario, Jr. Troopa follows Mario from Toad Town to Lavalava Island by swimming entire way, while Mario rides on the back of a whale to get there. Jr. Troopa doesn't reach the island until Mario sets out on a return trip to Toad Town, in which case Jr. Troopa then proceeds to swim all the way back to Toad Town. Once Jr. Troopa returns to Toad Town, he forces Mario to battle him. However, having tired himself out from so much swimming, Jr. Troopa starts the battle with only half of his Heart Points. During the battle, Jr. Troopa shows off his newfound ability to conjure up a set of wings for himself. After being defeated, Jr. Troopa will lament as to why he even bothered with swimming after Mario, when he could've just flown after him instead.
  • Clarence's Big Chance: Clarence in the Worst Ending. His Super Not-Drowning Skills put a wrinkle in his suicide plans.
  • The Mass Effect series has a bad habit of having biotic characters forget that they can control gravity with their minds.
    • Commander Shepard is scripted to act like the default Soldier class regardless of what biotic or tech skills they have. This leads to such instances as a Vanguard Shepard trying and failing to catch up to a fleeing enemy by running despite having access to a Foe-Tossing Charge that goes faster than light. It took until the final DLC in the trilogy for Shepard to use their biotics in a cutscene.
    • Kaidan Alenko falls into the same trap as Shepard despite his biotics and the Training from Hell he endured to use them effectively being such a significant part of his character. The most notable instances are on Horizon in the second game, where he attempts to shoot the Seeker swarms instead of keeping them away with a barrier, and when confronting Eva Core in the third game and once again attempting to shoot her instead of using his biotics. Like Shepard, it takes until the final DLC of the whole trilogy for Kaidan to use his biotics in a cutscene. Kaidan's case is at least partially explainable by the fact that he is in a Static Role, Exchangeable Character situation with Ashley Williams from the end of the first game onward; remembering to use his powers would create too much extra work for the developers and cause their stories to deviate too much.
    • Thane Krios zigzags this in the third game when he fights Kai Leng. He does eventually use his biotics in their duel, but long after it would have been the most opportune to do so.
    • Pathfinder Ryder ends up in the same situation as Shepard before them. Even if the player opts to give Ryder biotics before they become Pathfinder, there is no indication of this in dialogue or cutscenes; Shepard's biotics at least got a few mentions in dialogue even if it didn't show in cutscenes. The prologue and Cora's loyalty mission both involve moments where it would make sense for Ryder to help with biotic barriers, but both times Ryder stands back and lets Cora do everything. There is also no option in dialogue to compare notes with Cora, who spent most of her life as an outsider because of her powers, nor is there any option to talk with Ryder's twin about how the incident that gave them their powers was a contributing factor in their mother's death.
    • Peebee's loyalty mission leads to a Friend or Idol Decision where she has to choose between losing an extremely valuable artifact or letting her ex-girlfriend that she still cares for fall into a river of lava. It doesn't occur to Peebee that she could save both by grabbing the artifact with her biotics and then going back to help her ex. Like Ryder, Peebee also doesn't help with the barrier in Cora's loyalty mission if she is present, despite having the ability to do so.
  • Several classes in World of Warcraft have an innate ability to teleport themselves. A naked mage with no items can still transport themselves to any major city at will. However, if the plot calls for them to be imprisoned then they will politely stand there and wait for rescue. Hearthstones cause this problem on an even more general level since they are small stones that transport the bearer to safety from anywhere. These are not a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation since NPCs occasionally make use of them as well, so anyone that is not actively being attacked should have a means of escape.
  • Monster Hunter: World: In the Iceborne expansion, one of the story missions is defending Seliana from Velkhana's attack. As part of the defense, the hunters raise a large barricade to block Velkhana's path and give the player a chance to weaken it. One problem with that: Velkhana can fly. Despite this, the dragon just sits on the ground and attacks the barricade rather than just flapping its wings a few times to fly above it.

    Webcomics 
  • If anyone in Axe Cop remembered to use the Reality Warper powers granted by a unicorn horn (or ask Uni-Man to do it) to solve their problems, instead of for things like "wishing for every weapon," there would be no challenge at all for the good guys. Any random guy holding a unicorn horn to their head can instantly create a whole planet at will. In addition, Axe Cop himself is functionally a Badass Normal because while he sometimes gets New Powers as the Plot Demands, some of which are powerful indeed, he generally never uses them again.
  • Done several times in The Order of the Stick, and usually played for laughs as a parody on the above D&D entry. For example, one early comic had a goblin get more and more damaged as Durkon remembered the various bonuses he was able to add to his attack. Additionally, V had a raven familiar (Blackwing) who would literally appear and disappear as V demanded (and usually only upon reminder from other characters) as a riff on the way that many D&D players would forget about their familiar (or simply not mention them) unless they were getting a concrete bonus.
  • In El Goonish Shive, during the Death Sentence arc, Grace convinced Mr. Raven that she would be able to fly out of the boar's way if it turned violent. When it actually does start charging at her, she panics, tries to run, and trips, forcing Raven to shoot it. She later chides herself for her failing.

    Web Original 
  • In Pooh's Adventures, if Pooh has anyone with superpowers, expect them to forget about those when the time is right.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged lampshades this whenever possible, given how many times the source material did it.
    (Piccolo stretches his arms to attack an enemy)
    Nail: Whoa! I didn't know we could do that!
    Piccolo: Yeah, I forget about it sometimes too.
    • And further lampshaded in Super Android 13 Abridged.
      Gohan: Uh, why did it take so long for them to [go Super Saiyan]?
      Krillin: You know, I stopped asking that question a long time ago.
    • And then there's all the times Krillin keeps forgetting about or forgetting to use his Kienzan (or "Destructo Disk"). First, he forgets to use it to try and escape Dodoria.
    Krillin: Well, good thing I was there to get us out of that one!
    Gohan: Well yeah, but why didn't you use your Kienzan?
    • It happens again after Krillin escaped 2nd Form Freeza:
    Krillin: (explaining)...So I thought fast and used the Solar Flare on him!
    Gohan: And then you used your Kienzan to cut him in half?
    Krillin: Umm...
    (Suddenly, Freeza flies back at the gang, furious).
    Gohan: (Freeza screaming in the background) Krillin, why aren't you using your Kienzan?
    Gohan: ...And?
    Krillin: Well, I kind of used all my energy to mortally wound Vegeta.
    Gohan: Seriously, what did I miss?
    • Double-subverted the one time Krillin DOES manage to remember he has this ability, which is when it is completely useless. When Cell has just achieved perfection, Krillin slings a Kienzan right into Cell's neck, but it does nothing. However, his reaction is priceless.
    • When Tien is about to be finished off by Semi-Perfect Cell:
    Gohan: No! We can't just let him die like this! (to Goku) You gotta save him!
    Goku: But I can't get him in time! There's no way I could move fast enough to grab him, get out, and— (pauses for a moment, then disappears with a pop as he uses Instant Transmission.)
    Gohan: ...Did he just remember he can do that?
    Mr. Popo: Your father's an idiot.
    • Shenron in particular loves to get angry at people whenever they call on him and use his powers as a nearly omnipotent wish-granting dragon inefficiently. For instance, he is rather annoyed when Kochin wishes for Shenron to melt some ice, instead of wishing for, say, the ability to melt the ice (Kochin responds that he doesn't want to have to do it; that's what Shenron is for). He also explicitly points out to the protagonists that while he can't kill the Saiyans directly, they require ships that he could destroy, disable, or redirect en route to Earth with no effort. Naturally, they ignore him.
  • In Enter The Farside it's averted and justified with the main protagonist Shaun Larson. Shaun has never had an opportunity to use his powers in his day to day life, because he simply has never needed to. After some training, Shaun is beginning to understand what else he can be capable of.

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes:
    • When's the last time Daffy Duck flew under his own power? This was lampshaded in the short The Million Hare, as Bugs Bunny witnesses Daffy plunging off a cliff, which was recycled so John Madden could make the same observation in Big Game XXIX.
    Bugs: I wonder if Daffy will remember that he can fly. (crash) Nope, I guess not.
    Madden: That's a good observation by Bugs. Why isn't Daffy using his God-given abilities?
    • Similarly, in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Daffy feels he's helpless and wishes that Duck Dodgers was there to save the day. Then he remembers that he's Duck Dodgers.
    • And the flying thing gets lampshaded again in the Duck Dodgers episode "The Green Loontern". With the power of a Green Lantern ring, Dodgers makes a speech about how he now has the ability to fly, which his ancestors could only dream of ... while a flock of ducks pass behind him.
    • And to prove Tropes Are Not Bad, Daffy's flying and swimming, or lack thereof, provides one of the honestly funniest jokes The Looney Tunes Show has to offer:
      Daffy: What? I can't fly!
      Porky: But you're a duck!
      Daffy: I'm not that kind of duck!
      (Later)
      Porky: We have to jump!
      Daffy: But I can't swim!
      Porky: You can't fly, You can't swim! Are you even a duck at all?!
      Daffy: I'm not sure. This comes off very easily. (takes off his beak)
    • On a related note, Woody Woodpecker would do the same thing. In one cartoon, he actually commented that sometimes he forgets he's a bird.
  • Kim Possible. In the episode "Blush" the "Wade-bot" launches itself off a cliff in the Amazon with Ron and Rufus, however Wade only remembers after the leap that he forgot to install the parachute. Just a few minutes earlier in the same episode the Wade-bot had a hang-glider attachment to save Ron and Rufus from plummeting down a waterfall, and conveniently forgets about this gizmo once its could be useful again.
  • In one episode of Xiaolin Showdown, where Dojo is under the madness that strikes him every 600 years, he swallows the monks, Jack, and Wuya. Eventually, the monks find the two villains in Dojo's cavernous stomach, Jack being close to panic. Jack asks Wuya why she, being a spirit, can't just fly out; Wuya thinks about it, says "Good point," and does so. (Leaving Jack behind, much to his regret.)
  • To move the Idiot Plot of a typical episode of The Fairly OddParents, either Cosmo and Wanda's magical wands are stolen, or more commonly Timmy has to stupidly forget that he is able to alter reality on a whim. Naturally this has been lampshaded quite a few times. For example, in the episode "Where's Wanda" Timmy proceeds to turn the world into Film Noir and become a detective in order to track Wanda down... when he could have easily just wished her back. He notes, "All I had was my trenchcoat, hat, and an unlimited supply of magical wishes. The odds were against me." Also lampshaded in "Nectar of the Odds": Timmy unsuccessfully tries to make his lemonade taste better using cheese, taco sauce, peas, and chocolate laxatives. While Timmy goes to the bathroom (after trying the laxatives), Wanda wonders why he doesn't just wish for sweeter lemonade. "Father Time" is probably the most egregious example. If Timmy had simply wished for his father's trophy to be unmelted by heat vision, the episode's plot could've been resolved in five seconds. Although, to be fair, he WAS going to wish for that, but Cosmo talked him into going back in time to prevent his father from winning the trophy in the first place.
    • Sometimes used as a recurring Brick Joke with Timmy's heat vision. He never wished it away, so he technically still has it. In at least one episode, he remembers that he actually still has the power of heat vision and uses it.
  • Similarly, there are too many times to count in Danny Phantom where Danny seemingly forgets that he has the ability to become invisible or intangible at will. Early on it made sense due to it being clear he was still getting used to his abilities, and sometimes it was played for humor, but he would still sometimes forget even in the later episodes.
  • Justice League:
    • While this was a regular occurrence for characters, the Martian Manhunter is the king of this trope. He has the ability to transform into whatever Super Strong forms he can imagine — an ability he uses three times in the entire series. He'll stare at incoming projectiles with a surprised look on his face instead of turning intangible, or super solid or transforming into a form that cannot be so easily hit. Many is the time he'll forget he's capable of flight, super speed, superhuman strength, telepathy, Voluntary Shapeshifting, phasing through matter, changing his density (allowing him to increase his strength to Superman levels or become a liquid or gas), healing factor, and genius-level intellect and take a hit he could have easily dodged or blocked from a foe who really should have been no match for him. In the season finale, Brainiac is holding everyone in an iron grip with tentacles. They struggle for an unreasonable time before J'onn remembers that he can turn intangible at will. In the Silver Age comics, he had even more powers, with new ones popping up all the time. Somehow, he just never used them with the slightest tactical sense. On the other hand, with powers ranging from Super Strength to making ice cream with your mind, it's hard to create conflict.
    • Superman never, ever remembers he has super speed, period. The many, many instances where Superman would be felled by an electrical field, despite the fact that he is supposed to be invulnerable. This got to be so bad that in the second season the writers actually started to show less of Superman getting taken out by an electrical shock or something along those lines, and more of his invulnerable side. There's also the many times when he and Supergirl could easily solve a problem by just using heat vision. Even when their opponent is non-living they seem to forget that they're capable of this. Also, he almost never flew in combat throughout most of the first season, meaning he would often just get into fistfights with people equally strong or stronger than him who couldn’t fly, when he could easily just float above them dropping stuff on them or swooping down to punch them and rising back up as they shake their fists impotently up at him.
    • In one episode, Flash has most of his body encased in ice by a villain. Too bad he was too distracted trading barbs with the villain to remember he could vibrate his limbs at super speed and would be able to melt the ice.
  • And if you think the above examples are bad, you should watch the old Superfriends some time. "Gee, Jayna, here we are trapped under the foot of a giant space monster, touching each other. If only we had, I don't know, some kind of superpower that would allow you to turn into a small animal and me into something which could flow through the claws, we could escape!" Seanbaby, as you can assume, mocked this liberally.
    "Don't be too quick to judge Superman's alzheimers problems, though. You probably forget about your powers sometimes too. You can't fly, but you have the ability to learn to waterski, bake, watch baseball, and put objects in your ass. If Lex Luthor came at you with a mind deconfribrulator, you'd be so scared you'd totally forget to learn to waterski. Also, you probably wouldn't jam anything into your ass. See? You forgot about at least TWO super powers, smartass."
    • Aquaman, frustratingly, tended to combine this with This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman. Very often in the series, Aquaman would be taking part in the obligatory underwater part of the villain's plan, and then he would be attacked by a sea monster. He would proceed to spend a frustratingly long time either dodging it or getting caught in its grasp, before he finally remembers "Oh, right, I can communicate with sea life" and that he can just tell the monster to go away. Frequently, he wouldn't even do that, and would instead summon more sea creatures to fight it.
    • Aquaman and Wonder Woman constantly forget they have super strength. They often get grabbed by mooks and/or imprisoned and don't even try to break free. Yet in some episodes, Wonder Woman can bust down walls, hold up a building, and in "Will the World Collide", she threw an object into space. In some episodes, Aquaman can lift a bulldozer and even lift a beached ship to throw it back into the water.
  • The Bat Suit in Batman Beyond has rocket propulsors in the boots for flight and optic camouflage for invisibility, but Terry often forgets about them and uses these abilities much less than he ought to. Many is the time in the heat of battle he'll run after a foe when the flight would be much faster, and many is the time he'll attempt to sneak into an area without turning invisible. In his defense he is fairly new at the job, and gets better at using the Bat Suit's functions as the series goes on.
  • In The Zeta Project, the titular Zeta has a lot of abilities he never uses to their full potential. Somewhat justified as Zee has a Really Was Born Yesterday kind of naivete when it comes to anything outside of his intended purpose that he refuses to do, and Ro is a teenager who's somewhat in over her head, but still:
    • He has unlimited money. He can buy as much of anything he wants at any time. By greasing the right palms he could have Agent Bennet called off his case or Reassigned to Antarctica, he could hire people to interfere and screw with Bennet's team, he could just stage a meeting with Dr. Selig, he could hire a team of private investigators to find the man for him, the list goes on. You would assume he'd use this for a lot more than just replacing the vehicle they lost last episode and dry-cleaning Ro's same outfit so it's ready for the next episode but you'd be wrong.
    • Zeta always uses the exact same holographic persona to hide, the same one that's plastered all over wanted posters everywhere, and gets recognized by local police or people all the time. Again, you'd think he'd try new disguises from time to time to render said wanted posters ineffective, but again, you'd be wrong. Even Ro never bothers to change her outfit or general appearance in spite of having unlimited money, as mentioned above.
    • The money thing isn't just Zeta. Hunt In The Hub has a corrupt scientist disable Zeta's unlimited money function in order to blackmail him into stealing parts the scientist can't afford. Say it with TV Tropes, kids: HE COULD JUST ASK ZETA TO BUY THEM FOR HIM. Money is no object for the machine and the man has information on Dr. Selig he could give in exchange; he could have obtained the parts through (on paper) entirely legitimate means and made friends with Zeta but he instead opts to make an enemy of the Killer Robot and trash half The Hub to get them, making an enemy of the duo and getting his butt thrown in prison to boot. With brains like that, it's no wonder nobody's investing in his research...
  • In Teen Titans, Raven is easily the most overpowered of the five, which is made glaringly obvious in season 4. As such, this is the only way to keep the entire team necessary. Raven often conveniently forgets that she can fly and teleport in situations where those powers would be highly useful, and stop time. She also rarely uses her telekinesis to restrain opponents or hurl them away from the scene of a battle, rather than just tossing debris at them. She's done it before, to both allies and enemies, so it's not an issue of being unable to do so. There's only one episode where she concentrates and simply cuts the baddie's armor with her power. One. Several times she's proven to be much more powerful than the entire Green Lantern Corps put together, other times she's almost helpless. It's not helped by one episode explicitly stating that her powers go haywire if her emotions do, and despite her stoic facade her emotions are often tempestuous.
  • No matter how many missions the characters in Code Lyoko go on, they always seem to forget that, first and foremost, while on Lyoko one cannot die from lasers and swords, they can only be devirtualized. They will also forget their most important abilities at the worst times.
    • For example, Aelita could use her Creativity power to create terrain barriers around herself, but even in dangerous situations where she has enough time, she quite often forgets that she can do this. She is the most obvious offender, but the others are often guilty as well. Aelita also forgets that XANA will NOT kill her starting with Season 2, despite this being proven in the first third of the season. The "dying" thing is somewhat justified though. While they do just devirtualize, it's implied they can't go right back into Lyoko. It's also implied that Aelita using her powers too often or to make something really big exhausts her. It's not so much that she forgets her power, it's that using Creativity is Cast from Hit Points and each use costs 50 of her 100 points. Though this is more an Informed Flaw than anything else.
    • Ulrich is a much worst offender. When he was first introduced, his Triplicata allowed him to summon two illusion of himself to trick the enemy. In season 2, it was upgraded so they could fight and hurt enemies of their own, with Ulrich once defeating an entire army of monsters thanks to it. Comes season 4, he forgets the upgrade when fighting William (who easily devirtualizes the real one) before forgetting the power altogether for the whole season. He doesn't uses it again until Code Lyoko: Evolution, and when he does, it's portrayed as just the illusion trick.
  • In one episode of Darkwing Duck, Nega-Duck uses a device to steal the powers from the other four members of the Fearsome Five, and then escapes from the presumed escape-proof super-villain prison by using the Liquidator's control of water to part the waters of the bay and walk to the mainland. As Darkwing and the four villains watch, the Liquidator remarks, "Now why didn't I think of that?"
  • This seems to be a staple of Drawn Together, especially in regards to Captain Hero, who takes this to The Ditz levels. More often than not though, he is just sociopathic. Lampshaded at the start of the second season, when he says that he could have saved the rest of the cast from the crashing helicopter, but he was unable to react, "because (he) smoke(s) mariujana."
  • In The Mighty Hercules cartoon series of the 1960's, Hercules had a magic ring that would endow him "with the strength of ten ordinary men" (according to his theme song). Along with invulnerability and superhuman reflexes. In each episode, Hercules would go to fight the episode's monster and get the snot beaten out of him. And then he would remember he has the ring.
  • Cheetara from The ThunderCats (2011) constantly forgets her Super Speed that can instantly defeat most of their enemies. 1980s Cheetara forgets the same thing. Partially justified in that her Anointment Trial episode shows her having a limited upper endurance. But most of the battles aren't that long.
  • Winx Club:
    • Apparently Bloom forgot about her healing powers in the 24th episode of the fourth season, since she didn't do anything to try to save Nabu.
    • The Winx get backed off a cliff in the Omega Dimension in season three. No explanation is given for why they don't use their wings.
    • There's also an episode in the first season (towards the end) where the girls go to Domino/Sparx. At the end of the first part (it's a two-part episode), Bloom, who's currently powerless, is about to fall into a chasm. Stella was transformed at this time and could've easily flown over and grabbed Bloom, yet she didn't! Or could have used the Telekinesis she only showed once.
    • Darcy has proved herself strong enough to open a fissure in the ground by stomping and capable to create fires that Bloom (who has the explicit power as the most powerful fire user of the series) can't put off (the only other time this happens it's by use of the fire part of the all-powerful Spell of Elements). She never repeated either performance.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars. All too often the Jedi Knights seem to forget that they have the ability to lift anything as heavy as a spaceship without touching it, jump high distances, and possess lightning quick reflexes. Curiously these bouts of stupidity come up when they're fighting a Badass Normal character such as Cad Bane (who seems to have the unofficial power of handing the Idiot Ball to anybody he's fighting at the moment), whom you think a Jedi could reduce to a pile of disembodied limbs within seconds. And of course it is not a coincidence that this always happens when around the series' original characters.
  • Parodied on The Powerpuff Girls when the townspeople chase Buttercup. She starts running from them before reassessing the situation and flying away. Similarly when Mojo drops the Girls in a trap door along with Harry Pit, a boy who is thought to have cooties. The Girls simply run around in circles to avoid him completely forgetting that they can just fly out of the trap, which they only remember after they get over their fear.
    • Played painfully straight in the very first episode of the 2016 series: the earth shatters and the girls fall down into the resulting chasm. Once again, the Powerpuff Girls, who can not only fly, but fly fast enough to rupture space-time, fall into a pit.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
    • In one episode Doctor Octopus kidnaps Felicia Hardy and J. Jonah Jameson and holds them for ransom. Despite Super Strength explicitly being one of his powers, Spider-Man tries to untie the ropes instead of just breaking them, giving Doc Ock time to step in and stop him.
    • The same thing happens in the "Partners" storyline. Smythe has Black Cat bound and gagged in an electrified bubble, with the gag obviously preventing her from warning Spider-Man about the trap. She doesn't think to use her razor sharp claws to remove the ropes and gag until after the trap has already rendered Spidey unconscious.
  • The Fantastic Four (1978) had Magneto unable to use his magnetic powers against a (fake wooden) gun. He suddenly concludes that his powers are gone. This is stupid enough itself, but he fails to use them even after being told it was a trick and the cops are arresting him. Cops with real guns, handcuffs and police cars.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Twilight Sparkle is an extremely gifted and versatile magician but constantly seemingly forgets spells she's used in the past without any trouble that certainly seem applicable. Why she doesn't just just freeze up an enemy's body like she did to her friends in Castle Mane-ia or turn them into a breezie is anyone's guess.
    • In the episode "Feeling Pinkie Keen". Twilight Sparkle is forced to take a leap of faith off a cliff to escape a Hydra when she mysteriously forgets she can teleport, as has been seen in at least two previous episodes, including the pilot. This happens anytime the plot requires her to be threatened by some impending doom. It is occasionally justified by her being under a great deal or stress at the time, such as a later example where she is blocked by a simple locked gate. While she can still teleport while under stress (indeed, she does it a lot in one case), her ability to make sound judgments has a tendency to nosedive under certain circumstances, usually those that involve her losing control or worrying too much.
    • In Putting Your Hoof Down, Fluttershy once again forgets that she can fly, getting stuck behind two ponies blocking the bridge over the river she needs to cross.
    • More a case of Forgot About Her Reputation, but in "It's About Time", it never occurred to Twilight that, as the personal student of the ruler of Equestria, that she would have free access to the royal library. Instead, she tries to sneak in. Of course, Twilight is the only one who forgets this, and when she is recognized by a guard, he amiably greets her and unlocks the door to the restricted section of the library for her. As noted above, this one can be excused by the fact that she hasn't slept for several days and is deep into a nervous breakdown at this point. Paranoid delusions would not be surprising in that state.
    • The changelings from A Canterlot Wedding on their own are basically watered-down alicorns, having both flight and magic-based attacks. They seemingly forget this when they decide to attack the Mane 6 by shapeshifting into them, which disables one or both of these abilities depending on who they have turned into. To make matters worse, their shapeshifting ''works too well'' as the Changelings seem to be unable to tell themselves apart from the real deals, and when you're trying to find just six real ponies among dozens of imposters, it isn't easy. It wasn't until they actually dumped this strategy that they were finally able to overwhelm and defeat the Mane Six. Notably in their second attack they learned from this, instead only using shape shifting to fool or confuse opponents and relying entirely on their true forms for combat.
    • In "The Crystal Empire, part 2" Twilight and Spike need to climb an incredibly long stair-case, and was complaining about it. Just as the viewers are wondering why she doesn't teleport, or at least levitate herself upwards, she decides to instead use a new power; gravity reversal!
    • The entire plot of "Spike At Your Service" only happens because Spike the fire-breathing dragon doesn't breathe fire on the monsters that are made of wood and smell of sulfur.
    • In "Bats!" both Rarity and Twilight should have been able to yank Flutterbat out of the sky with telekinesis rather than chasing her around and finally relying on an elaborate trap. Of course, they never do. What makes it even worse is that they are clearly shown using telekinesis other times in the very same episode.
    • Parodied in "Wonderbolts Academy" when Fluttershy, the one pegasus from the hot air balloon, needs to be rescued from the fall along with her friends. Cue her sheepishly fluttering away from her rescuer who is also annoyed when they notice her wings. This is consistent with past demonstrations that her wings lock when she's sufficiently scared, in a strange inversion of what seems to be a normal Pegasus reaction of raised wings.
    • In "Rarity takes Manehattan" Twilight doesn't even try using her princess authority to help Rarity get a taxi. Or teleport her around. Rainbow doesn't try to fly her, or Applejack pull her in a cart...
    • Even Discord, Equestria's World's Strongest Man, tends to just be a deer-in-headlights whenever caught off guard. Though he does try to subvert this at the end of "Three's a Crowd" (in a Freeze-Frame Bonus, he tries to Badass Fingersnap the Tatzlwurm away; but it sneezes on him before he can).
    • At the beginning of "Stranger Than Fan Fiction", Daring Do seemingly forgets she can fly, reacting fearfully when the rickety Rope Bridge she is crossing starts breaking. Of course, as soon as it collapses, she just flies the rest of the way. This is later lampshaded with Rainbow Dash in the same episode (unfortunately, Quibble Pants can't fly).
    • Possibly the worst offender is the end of "To Where and Back Again" where Queen Chrysalis is defeated and slowly flies away over the horizon as literally every main character just stands by and watches. Twilight Sparkle, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, Princess Cadance, you gonna grab her with your telekinesis or trap her with a spell? Shining Armor, can't you seal her inside a barrier? Is Rainbow Dash or any of the fliers going to give chase? Discord, couldn't you snap a finger and put a cage around her or turn her into a muffin or something? No? Just asking.
    • One also wonders why Twilight Sparkle doesn't ask for more of that "Remember Past Events Potion" from Zecora to help Spike figure out his origins and the identity of his parents, considering there's been two episodes dedicated to the simple fact he's desperate to know where he came from. Never mind that it could probably also be pretty darned helpful to understand the motivations of antagonists in a series where sympathetic backstory = easy redemption or unraveling the mysteries of the past.
    • In the finale of "The Beginning of the End," King Sombra becomes a villainous example. When the aforementioned Discord intervenes, Sombra just fires basic beams at the one guy they're guaranteed to fail against... when he could just unleash his Anti-Magic crystals that have managed to trap Alicorns (semi-Discord on the power scale), incapacitate the Tree of Harmony (even stronger than Discord), etc.
  • This happens to a number of characters in X-Men: Evolution. The worst offender is Kitty, who seems to forget that she can become intangible with some regularity. Xavier also seems to forget that he has telepathy sometimes. Wolverine is constantly surprised by people sneaking up on him even through he can smell people from a distance.
  • Jake the Dog from Adventure Time often forgets that he has the seemingly unlimited ability to grow, shrink, stretch, and otherwise change his shape. Which would solve the central conflict of many episodes very easily. Unlike most examples of this trope, this is justified: he is an idiot. Jake provides an alternative justification in "Box Prince", where he explains to BMO that he doesn't always use stretching when it could solve his problems because then he wouldn't have enough challenges in his life for it to be interesting.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Toph, despite having highly toned senses through Earthbending, can't figure out that the group is walking into a trap at Lake Laogai or that it's actually Azula and not Ozai waiting for them in "The Day of Black Sun", despite both the trap and Azula being in caves made mostly of rock and dirt. Admittedly there are Earthbenders in both traps, who have a similar sense, so they might know of a way to mask themselves.
    • The sequel series, The Legend of Korra, has Mako, who is fully capable of lightning bending but only rarely actually uses that ability.
    • You could be forgiven for forgetting that metal bending is a specialized version of earth bending, because the metal bending police force certainly has. They seem so entirely focused on using their metal tethers that they are completely useless against a threat they cannot physically restrain. Resulting in scenes in the first season where a dozen or so expert earth benders are being defeated by mechs because they forget they have better powers in their arsenal than simply wrapping metal ropes around it and hoping their fleshy human bodies are enough to stop it.
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben starts out with 10 possible alien forms, each one with their own powers, and only got more as the story went on. Sometimes, the trope is justified by the Omnitrix screwing with him by not giving him the right form, but others he just seems to fail to realize one form would be more fitting than another for a specific situation. Ben 10: Omniverse puts it further, where he seemed to have forgotten he can just watch the dial to see what form he is about to use.
    • It used to be that once Ben transformed, he was stuck that way until the Omnitrix timed out. As the series progressed, he gained the ability to change directly from one form to another, or to manually revert back to human and select a different alien (as the cooldown time is typically ignored when it's not necessary to the plot). Yet he will still often change into an alien he doesn't want and just ride it out rather than reselect. While this could be chalked up to the Omnitrix's temperamental nature preventing him from switching, Word of God says there are no such problems with the model he has in Omniverse.
    • Humongousaur stands out as a particular offender. When first introduced, he was a Sizeshifter capable of growing to incredible sizes. This ability apparently was forgotten after Vengeance of Vilgax. This may have been to keep the character from having too much role overlap with Way Big.
    • This trope wasn't limited to Ben, either. Gwen had a serious tendency to forget she could fly and had telekinesis in Alien Force and Omniverse, focusing more on just creating shields and energy blasts. In Omniverse, when she gains the Charm of Bezel granting her telekinesis, she reacts in awe like if this was something completely new, even though at this point she has already shown several times she can easily do that of her own.
    • A particularly ridiculous case in the Galactic Monster story arc of Omniverse. Zs'Skayr gets several occasions where he could easily possess Ben and doesn't bother even trying, even though this was the whole point of his goal in all his previous appearance, and, when his mind-controlled minions seize him, struggles using his scythe to get out of their graps even though he has the ability to turn intangible. Later, the climax ends up being a fight between Ghostfreak's minions and Ben's allies, where two characters involved have Make Me Wanna Shout abilities, one has Shock and Awe and another has a whole body made of Combat Tentacles. They spend the entire fight brawling like regular humans.
  • Thanks to Fanderson's Chris Bentley for this one - let's take a look at "The Legend" from Gerry Anderson's Lavender Castle, about a spaceship whose crew is searching for the titular pink-ish abode. If you are a spaceship captain and know where the castle can be seen at a specific time, do you a) have your ship fly directly to that location and wait, or b) have them set you down and walk miles to it? If you said a), you are not Captain Thrice. No wonder Anderson didn't care much for the series.
  • Dexter's Laboratory. Dexter often winds up feeling some karmic justice when he involves himself directly in things he could probably just invent his way around (for instance trying to find out what Dee Dee was doing up in the tree; rather than building some kind of spybot that could go up into the tree on his behalf he instead dresses up as a bird and gets himself trapped, giving Dee Dee the pretense necessary to screw around in his lab).
  • On Archer, Ray Gilette acquires bionic legs early in the fourth season, and on at least one occasion, forgets that he has them when they might come in handy. At one point, this leads to him screwing up his back while trying to lift something heavy, because he had tried to lift with his back.
  • Fantastic Voyage:
    • The team members have small Comm Links that they sometimes use to communicate with each other when separated. However, in a number of episodes they completely forget about them and don't use them even though it would be beneficial to do so.
    • The Voyager (the Cool Plane the team travels around in) is shown in various episodes as having both missiles and beam weapons. In many episodes the team doesn't even think of using them in dangerous situations even though they would have been very helpful.
    • The team's equipment includes Jet Packs that allow them to fly. However, in quite a few episodes the team forgets they have them and ends up having to walk around or climb high objects while miniaturized, even though the Jet Packs were available.
  • Once lampshaded hilariously in an episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy. Eddy's response to taking the simple solution?
    "What? And ruin the plot?"
  • The Crystal Gems in Steven Universe forget all about their ranged attacks, and even throwing Amethyst, whenever Peridot activates her Pericopter to escape. When asked on Twitter, writer Matt Burnett admitted that the Gems could have caught her, but they have a lot more episodes to fill. The Gems finally learn their lesson in time for "Catch & Release".
  • In the season finale of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Star calls the police when Marco gets kidnapped by her enemies, but the officer who comes doesn't believe her story and thinks she's just a little girl playing pretend, talks down to her, and leaves. A frustrated Star just lets him leave and decides to rescue Marco herself. It never occurs to her to demonstrate her powers to him.
  • In the two-part episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) episode where the Snake Men are freed, the villains retake Snake Mountain in all of five minutes, with Snake-Face using his powers to turn Skeletor's henchmen into stone with his gaze. However, when the Snake Men storm Greyskull later, Snake-Face, for some unfathomable reason, delays using this lethal ability until he goes up against He-Man, choosing to fight Mekanek with Good Old Fisticuffs. Say what? To drive home the point on how absurd this was, the comic book adaptation changed it, and he did use his gaze on Mek; fortunately, in this case, when his gaze was reflected back on him by He-Man and he got a taste of his own medicine, the effect on his victims wore off.
  • Uncle Grandpa: Uncle Grandpa constantly forgets that he can be in two places at the same time. Other characters repeatedly take his being in one place as proof that he isn't also in another place.
  • Beast Wars:
    • Waspinator, the resident Load and Butt-Monkey of the Predacons, tends to only ever use the basic arrow-like missile his gun can fire, despite being equipped with a much more effective machine gun and the same kind of eye-lasers that Dinobot uses. In fact, he never once uses the eye lasers in combat. Justified, though, as Waspinator's missing quite a few screws in his head.
    • The Maximals beat the Predacons to the first Stasis Pod and recruit Tigertron to their team by sending a long-range line-of-sight laser transmission from the base, bouncing it off the moon, and to the pod to give the protoform inside the information it needs to scan for a beast mode and emerge as a Maximal. Despite being incredibly effective they never so much as even mention or consider this tactic again, and while it's possible the tactic wouldn't have been effective all those other times you'd think one of them would at least try it as they have nothing to lose anyways, or suggest it, or really anything.
  • Transformers in general is, after all, about Ridiculously Human Robots transforming into vehicles, so those with aircraft for an alt mode sometimes happen to forget that they can fly:
    • In The Transformers, sometimes the Autobots can fly in robot mode. And sometimes they can't. Some of this can be chalked up to Early Installment Weirdness, as most instances of flying Autobots are in the first season, but even then, the three-part pilot has Autobots casually flying around in the second episode, and Autobots needing external jetpacks in the third episode.
    • Megatron at the finale of Beast Machines. After spending half the episode in an Aerial Canyon Chase with Optimus Primal, Megatron is shackled by some vines and suspended over a pit, only to fall when Primal breaks the vines. However, Optimus possesses intimate knowledge of Megatron's body because he used to have the same one, so he may have used the vines to disable Megatron's thrusters.
    • Starscream in Transformers: Prime is a Dirty Coward who's quick to transform and blast off whenever threatened. In one instance, when he's surrounded (granted, by Puny Humans, but he's just seen their weapons fell an Autobot) and their weapons are charging, he panics and forgets to transform and fly away, which ironically resulted in permanent loss of the ability to transform and take flight.
    • During a Flashback in Transformers: Prime, Arcee and Cliffjumper decide to run into a Space Bridge to escape a collapsing lair, instead of transforming into vehicles and driving towards it. There is an out-of-universe reason for this: the scene takes place on Cybertron when they still turned into their original alien vehicle forms, and the characters were only designed with an Earth-based vehicle mode. But it still makes little sense in-universe.


 
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Alternative Title(s): Forgot About Her Powers

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TFS 48 - Forgetful Goku

Goku suddenly remembers he can teleport during a speech about how can't save Tenshinhan.

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