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Heroic BSoD

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"Well, lad, the brain be a funny thing. Sometimes, it just stops workin' right when ye've been through a bad scene."

A stunning revelation or horrible event affects a character or someone they care deeply about, leaving them shocked to the point of mentally shutting down for a while, analogous to the Blue Screen of Death. The effect is similar to passing a Despair Event Horizon, but is temporary rather than permanent. Alternatively, if, say, this occurs during a fight, a hero may have a violent outburst, killing Evil Minions and hurling their own companions aside. They may run off and have to be tracked down by their friends for Epiphany Therapy. Alone in a Crowd typically represents a milder, non-disabling form of BSOD; a related trope is Heroic Safe Mode, wherein the hero "defaults" to a fight or flight mindset before rebooting in safety. A Shell-Shocked Veteran may have a BSOD in their back story.

The trope name notwithstanding, the character suffering a Heroic BSOD may not necessarily be a fully-fledged hero. However, if something like this happens to a more ambiguous or mundane character, it is much more likely to be Played for Laughs or just taken less seriously. But a BSOD is never brief or trivial; the effect must involve some kind of total mental shut-down to qualify. Also, an outright villain suffering a similar effect will usually experience a Villainous Breakdown (often involving them going completely crazy instead of shutting down) or a Villainous BSoD (whereby they gain a conscience).

Possible triggers include failing in something crucial such as saving a loved one or being restricted in what you can do to help, being betrayed by a close friend, being forced to make an "impossible" choice (e.g. having to choose between using "evil" methods or laying friends open to attack), or being hit with a Breaking Speech or Armor-Piercing Question. Other tropes such as These Hands Have Killed often overlap. When the trope is Played for Laughs or used for melodramatic effect, the cause can be less substantial; deranged behavior from someone supposedly sane, seeing something completely surreal, or being hit with a Wall of Text, say.

Other people can attempt to reboot the character; Get A Hold Of Yourself Man may work (especially in the stories where violence is always the answer), as may telling them to Quit Your Whining. The best thing that can happen to a hero suffering from a BSOD is meeting a friendly Warrior Therapist; the worst thing is meeting a hostile Warrior Therapist, as such a foe can ensure that the hero crashes completely, driving them over the edge into the Despair Event Horizon.

Even after regaining some function, a BSOD sufferer may evince a Thousand-Yard Stare, or go into 10-Minute Retirement. In the longer term, a hero may become emotionally comatose (entering an Angst Coma), obsessive and guilt-ridden, mute, or in really bad cases, a jaded violent amnesiac. A really long-term BSOD would be catatonia; Go Mad from the Revelation is the worst case. Those who remain functional but don't find a cure for the problem may eventually find Safety in Indifference or Emotion Suppression; other people may fear that they have become a Fallen Hero.

Comedy and melodramatic uses of the trope (such as a film or game reviewer having a Critic Breakdown) are far less likely to lead to long-term problems; the character simply snaps back after a few minutes. A character in a slapstick comedy show may be thrown into several blue screens in one episode, as a Running Gag.

If opponents discover a character's BSOD trigger, they may employ it as a weapon — although if they over-use it, the victim may wise up and seek treatment. Even comedy characters can find that a BSOD leads to Character Development, marking the start of a series of new experiences, or causing them to revise their world-view. Hope Is Scary is a frequent reaction to the beginning of recovery for any character. He's Back! often marks a character's full recovery, perhaps accompanied by a "No More Holding Back" Speech. Conversely, a character who never recovers has fallen over the Despair Event Horizon.

Compare Heroic RRoD (the physical equivalent), Freak Out, and Deer in the Headlights. If the character is a sweetheart, this trope can be the end result of Break the Cutie. One common reaction is I Think You Broke Him. In Real Life psychology, this sort of thing is known as an acute stress reaction, or a mental breakdown, and is related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If a character goes into the BSOD state because of issues or revelations regarding who or what they are, they're having an Identity Breakdown. If a character starts singing about their (or someone else's) Heroic BSOD, then it's also an example of BSoD Song. Can result if the hero finds out their close friend Died in Ignorance to a significant truth.

The trope is named in honor of the infamous Microsoft Windows error that indicates that the system has screwed itself big time (the technical term is "stop error"). A particularly literal version could involve a character (preferably a supercomputer or other Artificial Intelligence) literally displaying a Blue Screen Of Death.

Individuals afflicted with this trope are often seen exhibiting the classic Thousand-Yard Stare, with its blank, emotionless expression and unfocused, empty eyes.

Examples subpages:

Other examples:

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    Fairy Tales 

    Films — Animation 
  • Balto has two in rapid succession; first when he panics upon discovering Steele messed with his markers, and then after he falls off a cliff (with the medicine) while trying to get out of the maze Steele's created.
  • In The Boxtrolls, when Fish — the troll who raised Eggs for ten years; his adoptive father — is finally captured by Snatcher, Eggs seem to shut down for a little while before ultimately deciding to rescue him, thus finally taking action against Snatcher for the first time.
  • Danny in Cats Don't Dance goes though one after he unintentionally gets all of the animal actors fired and almost starts on his way back home.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • After Pinocchio turns out to be a hit at Stromboli's puppet show, Jiminy Cricket temporarily winds up getting in a state where he feels he's failed as a conscience and believes the little wooden boy would be better off without him.
    • The Jungle Book: Mowgli suffers one when Baloo, who promised him that he could stay in the jungle with him, tells him that he has to go to the man-village.
    • The Great Mouse Detective: Basil snaps after falling for Ratigan's Evil Plan, silently and stoically sits through the To the Pain lecture, and just waits for the Death Trap to go off, feeling completely humiliated, outwitted, and defeated. Fortunately, he's not alone.
      Dawson: Dash it all, Basil! The queen's in danger, Olivia's counting on us, we're about to be horribly splatted, and all you can do is lie there feeling sorry for yourself!
    • The Little Mermaid: Ariel briefly undergoes one when "Vanessa" (Ursula in disguise) enchants Eric and the two are set to be married, leaving Ariel unable to fulfill her end of the bargain, meaning she will become Ursula's prisoner and be forever separated from Eric, her father, and her sisters. She can only weep in utter devastation at her loss. However, she snaps out of it upon learning of Ursula's deception and hurries to stop her from marrying Eric.
    • Beauty and the Beast: The Beast has a near-suicidal moment after he lets Belle return to her father. When Gaston arrives to kill him, he doesn't even bother to defend himself until Belle comes back.
    • The Lion King: Simba has one after the stampede because he blames himself for his father's death, which is also made worse when Scar convinces him he is responsible for it, even though it was actually Scar who did the deed.
    • Pocahontas has one after Kocoum's death and John Smith's capture.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo goes into a depression when his attempts to rescue Esmeralda have allowed Frollo to capture her and Phoebus. When Frollo has him chained to the bell tower of Notre Dame, the hunchback can only remark how It's All My Fault as the gargoyle trio try to rouse him:
      Hugo: Come on, Quasi! Snap out of it!
      Victor: But your friends are down there!
      Quasimodo: This is all my fault.
      Laverne: You gotta break these chains!
      Quasimodo: I can't. I tried, what difference would it make?
      Victor: But you can't let Frollo win.
      Quasimodo: He already has.
      Hugo: So y-you're giving up? That's it?!
      Laverne: These chains aren't what's holding you back, Quasimodo!
      Quasimodo: Leave me alone.
    • Hercules has one when Hades reveals that Megara was working for him. Megara also gets one after seeing the betrayal Hercules feels.
    • Mulan has a mild one after her cover is blown and the army leaves her behind, feeling as if she can only fail at everything.
    • The Emperor's New Groove: When they bump into Yzma and Kronk at the restaurant, Pacha tries to warn Kuzco that Yzma's trying to kill him and take the throne for herself. But Kuzco blows him off, thinking they were there to bring him home, and he falls out with Pacha, then rudely orders Pacha to go away. Kuzco makes his way over to Yzma and Kronk, only to overhear them discussing that they are seeking to kill him. Kuzco realizes that Pacha was right and no one likes him because of his terrible personality and accepts the possibility that he will now be a llama for the rest of his life. When the movie gets back to where it began, Kuzco the character even tells Narrator Kuzco (representing his old, self-absorbed self) to shut up.
    • In Brother Bear, this trope happens when Kenai finally listens to Koda's story about his mother and realizes it is about the fight he and his brothers had with a bear. Kenai puts the pieces together and realizes to his horror that he killed Koda's mother. At that, Kenai flees the bear gathering in profound fear and shame.
    • The Princess and the Frog: Tiana suffers this after seeing "Naveen" (actually Lawrence, transformed with blood magic) ready to marry Charlotte.note  She runs into the French graveyard and sits down on a tombstone, completely depressed. When Ray tries to cheer her up, she accidentally breaks his spirit as well. Fortunately, he recovers a lot quicker than she does.
    • In Frozen:
      • When Elsa receives the news of the death of her parents, her Emotional Powers go out of control and she curls up next to her bedroom door.
      • Happens to Elsa a second time, when she believes Hans that she was directly responsible for her sister's death. She collapses in horror and grief, and even her ice powers lock up.
      • After spending most of the movie as a cheerful hyperactive girl, only faltering a bit after getting struck by her sister in the Ice Castle, Anna gets hit with one when she realizes that someone she loves, and whom she thought was the one person to return her love, turns out to be a treacherous prince who only uses her for his own gains and leaves her to die once she's no longer of use to him, to the point that she believed that nobody really loved her due to both Elsa and Hans's actions on the girl.
    • Kristoff goes through a brief one after Anna turns to ice. Sven has to nudge him to make him notice when she starts to change back because he's staring numbly into space.
    • In Frozen II:
      • Elsa has one when she discovers that the reason her parents were on the boat that wrecked, killing them, was that they were trying to find the secret behind her powers.
      • Anna's occurs when Elsa and Olaf both die.
    • In Big Hero 6, Hiro goes into one of these after Tadashi's death that lasts for several weeks, during which he stays in his room with the blinds drawn, not eating, not responding to messages from friends, not registering at the school he worked so hard to get only ends when he drops part of his battle bot on his foot and accidentally activates Baymax.
    • In Zootopia, Judy suffers one when she brings about increased prejudice and division in Zootopia than ever before as a result of her comments during a press conference about the regressed predators, and she ends up resigning from the force out of shame. It only takes her finally realizing that the supposed "Nighthowlers" that's making making predators go savage are actually flowers to snap her out of it.
  • DreamWorks Animation:
    • In Chicken Run, after being rescued from the pie machine, Ginger, the leader of the hens goes to get Rocky "the flying rooster" Rhodes to teach them how to fly and escape the egg farm, and the grisly fate of being turned into a chicken pot pie. When she goes into the coop, she discovers he ran away in the middle of the night. She shows everyone the poster, and when the other hens ask how are they going to escape now, Ginger who has been determined to escape one way or another, responds that the only way out is "wrapped up in pastry". As she sits quietly to contemplate their fate, the other hens, and Fowler the elderly rooster, start a fight as to why Rocky left them for dead. When Fowler's R.A.F. medal lands near her, Ginger tells the other chickens to Shut up and that they will build a "crate" to fly them out.
    • Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon and How to Train Your Dragon 2 has one for each movie. The first one is after his father has disowned him after finding out about Toothless, and is sailing off to certain death at the Dragon's Nest. He comes out of it when Astrid reminds him that he's not only the first Viking to refuse to kill a dragon, he's also the first one to tame and ride one, proving he isn't as weak and stupid as everyone says he is. His BSOD in the second movie is when his father is killed by a brainwashed Toothless and Hiccup drives Toothless away in a rage, leaving him to be taken by Drago. He doesn't recover until after Stoick's funeral and a talk with Valka about how Hiccup was a very small and frail preemie and Stoick was the one who believed he was strong enough to survive.
    • Po throughout most of Kung Fu Panda 2 when he starts having visions about the night his parents were murdered. He eventually comes out of it when he stumbles across the ruins of his Doomed Hometown and comes to terms with the tragedy.
    • Jack Frost in Rise of the Guardians has a minor one in Antarctica after Pitch breaks his staff. Baby Tooth brings him out of it by showing him his human memories, which lead to him learning about his Heroic Sacrifice that turned him into Jack Frost.
    • In Trolls, Branch reveals his to Poppy and Bridget, and reveals to the audience that undergoing one causes Color Failure in a troll. When Branch was a child still living at the Troll Tree, his singing attracted the attention of a Bergen. His grandmother performed a Heroic Sacrifice to make sure he wouldn't get eaten. Realizing that his singing attracted the Bergen that ate his grandmother, Branch turned grey for at least a full decade. This comes into full effect in the Darkest Hour: Poppy admits that she completely failed to save Troll Village, and in fact, she's completely responsible for the entire village being captured and about to be eaten. This causes her to lose all hope and hit this point — and seeing her reach that point makes every other troll hit this point too, losing their color en masse. They're only snapped out of it when Branch starts to sing "True Colors" and they all regain their hope and colors.
  • In Epic (2013) seeing MK Leafman-sized is the breaking point for Professor Bomba, where he realizes he must have hallucinated and how far detached from society he is. He turns off his cameras and packs up or outright throws his equipment off tables in a rage.
  • Soren in Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole has this after he kills Metalbeak.
  • Emmet in The LEGO Movie practically suffers a huge one when, even after everything that has happened to him, he breaks after his plan to infiltrate Lord Business' tower to attach the Piece of Resistance to the Kragle fails and he witnesses (along with plenty of others) Vitruvius' death by LB's hands, who then decides to reveal there was actually no prophecy. It takes the ghost of Vitruvius to snap him out of it to make his sacrifice to save everyone in the Think Tank, besides his moments in the 'real' world to motivate him to save his world.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack undergoes two, once during "Jack's Lament" and again once he realizes that he was accidentally ruining Christmas for the entire human realm.
  • Pixar:
    • Toy Story has the famous moment when Buzz Lightyear finally realizes he's just a toy. Woody also has one later, admitting that he feels inferior to the high-tech, multifeatured Buzz when all he has is a pullstring.
    • A Bug's Life: Flik, after he gets exiled from the colony. He gets better with help from Dot and the circus bugs.
    • Toy Story 2:
      • When Andy leaves Woody at home due to his ripped arm, Woody is devastated.
      • Woody goes through one after having to choose between his gang and Andy's toys.
    • From the action film The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible has a brief one when he thinks his family is dead. He recovers when Mirage tells him they survived.
    • Up: Carl entered one of these after the Big Bad set his house on fire and Ellie's picture broke. It took reading the pages in Ellie's Adventure Book that he never looked at since he believed she never finished it to snap him out of it.
    • Brave: Merida goes through a brief one when Elinor destroys her bow to the point that she pulls a Screw This, I'm Outta Here.
    • In Monsters University, Mike is devastated after learning that humans aren't scared by him at all, meaning he really is incapable of being a proper scarer.
    • In Inside Out, thanks to an ill-conceived plan on Anger's part, 11-year-old Riley is so consumed with the idea of running away from home and back her hometown in Minnesota that the main control panel in Headquarters, despite the frantic but futile efforts of Anger (who by now realizes that his idea was a big mistake), Fear, and Disgust to remove the idea-bulb, begins turning grey and shutting down, rendering Riley apathetic as she boards the bus to Minnesota and the three emotions can only watch in horrified regret. Fortunately, Joy and Sadness return just in time for Sadness to successfully remove the bulb, which brings Riley to her senses and has her leave the bus and return to her relieved parents.
    Fear: [softly] Guys... we can't make Riley feel anything.
    Anger: What have we done?
    • Coco: Miguel goes through a brief one when he realizes that Ernesto's not the idol he seems to be after all. He's snapped out of it when he realizes that Héctor is his great-great-grandfather and not Ernesto.
    • In Turning Red, as after Mei realizes what she has done to Tyler she is shocked into silence and even the blame being placed falsely on her friends by her mother is not enough to get her to speak up. She remains uncharacteristically silent throughout the following scene of her and her mother driving home.
    • Lightyear: Buzz Lightyear walks away after losing the crystal fuel to a Zyclops, before being captured by Zurg.
  • The titular girls suffer a brutal case of this in The Powerpuff Girls Movie after they discover that their friend Jojo (now the villain Mojo Jojo) has tricked them into helping him create a superpowered primate army that will take over Townsville and the world. What's worse is that no one believes they were just trying to make the town better; even their dad doubts their intentions. Crushed, they run away to outer space. Bubbles can't stop sobbing, Buttercup is furious, and Blossom lashes out with blame before going completely silent. They can even still hear all the pain and mayhem going on in town, thanks to Super-Senses, but are too distraught to do anything but try to block the sounds out. It's at this point, back on Earth, that Mojo tries to kill the Professor, who calls out for the girls. Hearing this snaps them out of their BSOD, and they return to save him.
  • The title character of Rango suffers this after Rattlesnake Jake calls him out as a fraud and a liar in front of all his friends in Dirt. He wanders alone into the desert and has to receive guidance before he can pull himself together for the final showdown.
  • Blu gets a case of this in Rio 2 after scoring a goal that costs the blue macaws the air football game and subsequently getting chewed out by Eduardo for it, as the incident officially proves to Eduardo that Blu is a misfit and outcast who does not belong with the Spixes; Blu then decides to leave. It takes the sight of loggers destroying the Amazon rainforest to snap him out of it and convince him to return.
  • Tommy Pickles hits this spectacularly in The Rugrats Movie when Phil and Lil abandon him and his brother Dil in the woods, Chuckie following them, and Dil's greediness leading to his favorite blanket being torn in the middle of a cold and raging storm. Lil suffers one when a tree crashes down and, when all Lil can find is Phil's shoes, she starts to break down thinking he's dead. He's fine, just that he lost his shoes when the tree fell.
  • In Strange Magic, the movie begins with Fairy Princess Marianne as a blissfully happy bride-to-be, joyfully getting ready for her wedding to the handsome Roland...and then she finds him cheating on her with an unnamed girl. On the day of their wedding. The sudden cut from the music and the echoing silence, along with Marianne's heartbreaking expression, really hammers home the devastating power of this moment.
  • DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam had Billy Batson suffer one of these after Black Adam offered him a Sadistic Choice between his own life and the life of a hostage. Adam then attempts to kill both Billy and the hostage and would have succeeded if Superman hadn't interfered. The BSOD only lasted for a few moments though, and after it passed, well, one magic word later it got REALLY ugly for Adam.
  • From the CGI movie TMNT, Raphael confronts Leonardo, breaks his swords, and beats him for once — leaving him vulnerable when the Big Bads gang up on him and capture him. The realization that this was all his fault turns Raphael into a babbling, incoherent emotional mess.
    Raph: But, Master Splinter, I messed up big tonight. [shows Leo's broken swords] They took him...
  • UglyDolls: All of the Uglydolls go through one after finding out they're rejected dolls that weren't supposed to even exist. This reflects on the scenery as well. Moxy is snapped out of it when Mandy sings "Unbreakable", and the rest of the Uglydolls are snapped out of it when Moxy tells them that no matter what they all look like, they will get an owner some day without a doubt.

  • David Byrne & Fatboy Slim's album Here Lies Love has the song "Walk Like a Woman". In it, the newly-married Imelda Marcos has trouble adjusting to life as the wife of a politician. She has a nervous breakdown, undergoes treatment at a psych ward in New York, and returns to the Philippines a changed woman.
  • 2D of Gorillaz has a couple, most notably when he was drugged and kidnapped by Murdoc. In the "Stylo" music video he can be seen slouching helplessly in the car as they speed toward Plastic Beach, chanting, "overload, overload, overload, comin' up to the overload..."
  • "One More Time" by Madeline Harper Guest. Madeline has a Heroic BSoD after someone close to her either abandons her or dies, and she spends the song trying to figure out how to make peace with her loss while still keeping the memories.
  • The Scorpions' Heroes Don't Cry is about a man who goes through this after a disaster of some sort — the song leaves it unclear — but, heartwarmingly, resists being Driven to Suicide and decides to live on, even though he's broken.
  • The title character of The Who's Tommy, the result of him witnessing the murder of, depending on which version of the story you're watching or listening to, his father or mother's lover. In any event, Tommy goes into a catatonic state, staring blankly, at any given point, into space, his reflection in a mirror or a pinball machine. He comes out of it due to a combination of his new found celebrity and the frustration of his folks, leading him to think he's some sort of messiah, but goes back into Heroic BSoD mode at the end when his followers start leaving him in droves.
  • The Megas: Mega Man hits this in "Fly on a Dog", after wavering between functionally and severely depressed ever since "Lamentations on a War Machine" back on the band's first album. Unlike the Robot Master songs, where Mega Man is indicated to be actively fighting, "Fly on a Dog" has him spend his time railing at his father for treating him like a weapon rather than a person, and even though Rush seems to be helping, the song still ends with him lamenting that Rush can't give him a shoulder to cry on. 6-7 songs later, depending on how you interpret "Make Your Choice", he gets over it.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Achilles gets two of these. In The Iliad, he mopes around mourning for his BFF Patroclus until the ghost of Patroclus has to tell him to snap out of it and burn his body on a pyre. Later in the Trojan War, Achilles kills the Amazon Queen Penthesilea and then falls in love with her corpse. He is inconsolable for a while until he finally burns her body as well.
  • Hindu Mythology:
    • The oldest and probably most famous example of this is Arjuna, from the Mahabharata. He stops in the middle of the battlefield, overcome with distress that he is fighting against his own kin, and has to be talked out of it for hours by Krishna, who is his charioteer. This event forms the basis of the Gita, of course. Given that the battle involved approximately four million combatants on either side, that's pretty damn dramatic.
    • By some accounts Krishna STOPPED TIME during this occurrence and this is also considered by Hindus the moment where he reveals his divinity.

  • In 1865 Edwin Stanton temporarily comes down with this after Andrew Johnson successfully grants amnesty to the former Confederate states.
  • The hosts of Bad Anime Sunday have raged many a time at horrible shows but nowhere is the spite more apparent than when the fans voted for the hosts to review the School Days OVA's. Samven was utterly disgusted by how the show blatantly sexualised underage children and, to punctuate his sheer contempt for the OVA in question, the podcast is delivered in a sad, bitter tone with next to none of his usual snark, while all Jake could say was, "They fucking suck."
  • Interstitial: Actual Play:
    • Edith falls into one after Roxanne dies. She's so distraught that not even a talking chipmunk can phase her.
    • She falls into another one when Criss lets it slip that her world was consumed by darkness, though this time it's played for laughs.
  • Jemjammer: Jylliana has one in Episode 9 when she tries to pray at a shrine to Ethla and hears nothing. This is furthered by one of the groundskeepers nearby informing her that most gods can't hear their subjects in wildspace and vice versa, which shakes Jylliana to her core because she's always been able to feel her goddess.
  • Random Assault: Alex has one in the Christmas Special, after his Christmas dinner, plans, and the mansion are ruined.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Hulk Hogan: Has had a number of these, most of them involving friends turning on him. One of the most notable was during the summer of 1990 as the set-up to his feud with Earthquake. To take some time off to heal from legit injuries and tend to movie-making projects, Hogan (who had earlier dropped his WWF World Championship to the Ultimate Warrior) and John Tenta, who was being pushed as an unstoppable monster heel with his Earthquake character, agreed to a storyline where Earthquake would sneak attack Hogan on the set of "The Brother Love Show" and repeatedly use his sit-down splash to break Hogan's ribs. During Hogan's absence, WWF announcers explained that Hogan had entered into a BSOD-like state; his "injuries" from the attack coupled with his WWF title loss took such a toll on his fighting spirit that he wanted to retire. Viewers were asked to write letters to Hogan and send postcards asking for his return (they got a postcard-sized picture in return, autographed by Hogan, as a "thank-you"), and the result was predictable: Hogan and his fighting spirit were "rejuvenated" and, with a well-timed breaking out of his catatonic state, swore revenge on Earthquake and got it.
  • In the 2010 Royal Rumble, one of the biggest stories going in was Shawn Michaels's desire to face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania in order to try and avenge his loss to him the year prior (in a match that was widely considered to be the best of 2009), and since Taker is the current World Heavyweight Champion, the only way for Michaels to have a guaranteed stab at him was to win the Rumble match itself and challenge him at Mania. So in the Rumble match itself, Shawn Michaels survives a long stretch of the match (eliminating Triple H, his own tag team partner, in the process) and makes the final four, where he... goes out first, at the hands of Batista. The BSOD ensues immediately afterward, only broken up briefly by Michaels trying to go back into the ring and taking his frustrations out on the referees before returning to a near-catatonic state.
    • Michaels seems to be particularly prone to these. He had already experienced one at the 2008 Unforgiven pay-per-view, where he challenged Chris Jericho to an Unsanctioned Match after Jericho punched his wife in the face. He whipped his enemy with a belt, injuring him so grievously that Jericho went into shock. The bell was rung, and an announcer declared Michaels the winner of the fight. By this point, however, Michaels was so consumed with rage that his face had gone completely blank and he was continuing to mindlessly whale away on the unconscious Jericho as if he didn't understand what he was doing. He finally snapped out of his stupor after a referee tried to stop him and he kicked the official in the face; he then had a My God, What Have I Done? moment and finally agreed to leave the ring.
    • HBK's biggest BSOD came after the 1996 Survivor Series. Not only did the NYC crowd boo him during his WWF Championship defense against Sycho Sid, but Sid resorted to taking out Jose Lothario with a camera to completely demoralize Shawn. Sid ended up winning the WWF Championship.
    • During the third encounter at WrestleMania between The Undertaker and Triple H in their Hell in a Cell match, where Shawn was the guest referee, at one point during the match, things had gotten to the point of Shawn being told by the Undertaker not to stop the match no matter what happened. This was after 'Taker taken a few chair shots to the back and Triple H had just gotten the same in return. Shawn was sitting in the corner of the ring looking like he was having a nervous breakdown while Undertaker and Triple H was trying to get to their feet after a two count had occurred.
  • At WrestleMania VII, Ultimate Warrior wrestled Randy "Macho Man" Savage in a Retirement Match. During the course of the match, Warrior hits Savage with his Five Moves of Doom, and to his horror only gets a two-count. He looks at his hands, has a BSOD, and then decides to leave the match. He is brought back into the match after Sherri Martel foolishly attacked him, and wins after three shoulderblocks.
  • CM Punk suffered one when, after beating The Miz in a match, Jericho comes on the Titantron and talks about how he's pinpointed a weakness of Punk's: His alcoholic father, whose bad habits were the reason Punk became devoted to the Straight Edge lifestyle. Jericho picked apart Punk's character and Straight Edge morals and promised that after he beat Punk for the WWE title, he'd help Punk "drink" his loss away. After all of this, Punk, for the first time as far as we've known him, didn't say a word. He picked up his championship title, and walked away with a far-away look in his eyes.
  • In a tragic Real Life example, Jerry Lawler's reaction to Owen Hart's soon-to-be fatal fall at WWF Over The Edge 1999.
  • Seth Rollins after Dean Ambrose reveals his reasons for making his Face–Heel Turn the night their third "brother" Roman Reigns was forced to go on hiatus to battle his recurrent leukemia. Ambrose cites Rollins taking him for granted and his gradual disillusionment with The Shield before taking his Shield vest, dousing it with gasoline, and throwing it into a barrel fire. Rollins was driven to near-tears at the sight, not even bothering to rebuff Ambrose's words and instead electing to leave the ring as fast as possible with red-rimmed eyes.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Vivian's superpower briefly gives her the ability to suppress her otherwise highly-strung emotions. When this effect fades, Vivian freaks out and then 'crashes', curling up in the corner of her room while the rest of the characters deal with their current issue.
    • Jenna's superpower turned her into a walking mass of insects. When Crispin first sets eyes on her, he screams long and hard in abject horror. Jenna is so hurt by it that she breaks down and hides herself away in a closet, repeatedly muttering to herself that she's a monster. It takes the arrival of her Childhood Friend to help calm her down.
  • Jimmy had one in Digimon Forum RP when Ichigo made a Heroic Sacrifice just to save him from a Metal Kabuterimon's Electron Cannon.
  • A number of instances in Dino Attack RPG:
    • Andrew hit a minor BSOD upon realizing fully that LEGO Island, his hometown whose salvation was a major factor in him signing up for the team, had vanished into the Torn World.
    • The goal of the Darkitect's illusions. He succeeded in giving Rex, Katerina, Minerva, and Hotwire Heroic BSODs, although the effects did not last as long as he had hoped, especially once the illusions were broken.
    • Pterisa suffered a massive Heroic BSOD once the Darkitect revealed her identity to the Dino Attack Team. One moment, she was confident and stoic. Her Heroic BSOD left her extremely fragile and insecure.
    • As a result of breaking her arm punching out the Maelstrom, combined with the discovery that her own mother had been lying to her, she only exists because of a secret affair in a hospital, and her own uncle had been institutionalized after attempting a self-induced lobotomy Kate had a rather nasty one. She also got a rather bad case of PTSD after the war.
    • Sam Race crashed hard after he failed to save his father, and much like Kate, he'll never fully recover from it.
    • Rex was suffering a massive Heroic BSOD after the deaths of Amanda and Trouble. This Heroic BSOD was so bad that it actually left him in an Angst Coma.
    • Minerva suffered a minor Heroic BSOD after Athena's death. She then entered another one after killing Oswald, only forcing herself out of it after being goaded by the Darkitect into keep fighting and to avenge her fallen family.
  • There was a few instances of this in Star Force RP:
    • Zuhal's depression after he lost Del.
    • Prior to being a character, Nova suffered a brief one when Drake Kaizer pressed Nova's Berserk Button by killing his girlfriend, causing Nova to hunt him down.
    • Nova suffered another one after an incident at the Junkyard on Dream Island involving Jake Rayner and Callisto both of whom were each using a Super Mode due to having Zerker and Saurian's OOPArt causing Nova to view the OOPArts as something that must be destroyed.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! East Academy, Marcus spends several scenes suffering from a Heroic BSoD after he is tortured by Haine.
  • AJCO:
    • While Nights is hardly Heroic, she still suffers one when she's dragged into a Friendship Chamber by A_J, tied down and threatened with the act of the numbers 4 and 2 being rebranded on her face - this being the mark of a State slave, that she has always covered with a mask out of shame. She loses her bravery and acts against her friends and former Crew when A_J asks her to. May be recovering from it, though Breyos nearly killing her didn't help.
    • Egg — who definitely is Heroic — suffers several moments with increasing intensity after Pi dies because of the investigation team's negligence. She's now suffering from outright PTSD and has quit the Castle Crew altogether to lead a more easy-going life in Katton.
  • Equestria Chronicles is about ponies (naturally happy creatures) embroiled in a cold civil war. Heroic BSoD happens regularly. One thread actually caused Heroic BSoD for the writers.
  • This happens on a number of occasions in Survival of the Fittest:
    • After the deaths of his entire group, including the sickening deaths of Madelaine Shirohara and his love interest Amanda Jones at the hands of Cody Jensen Adam Dodd of V1 wanders across the island for some days in the throes of a Heroic BSoD - the whole matter getting worse as he gets attacked and is forced to kill classmates more than once.
    • A more minor example is with Sean O'Cann, who breaks down after his estranged best friend boyfriend and cousin are killed over the course of a couple of days.
    • Madelaine Shirohara goes into one of these as well after she is forced to kill her childhood friend Nanami Nishida following Nishida turning on her and her other friends.
  • We Are Our Avatars:

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu, the Trope Codifier and possibly Ur-Example and Trope Maker for the Sanity Meter, has these in spades. A character can have a Heroic BSoD any time they take too much Sanity damage too quickly, and given that you are facing off against the creations of the Trope Maker for Eldritch Abomination in modern times, you can bet Sanity checks will do characters in quickly. Standing there gibbering because you've gone mad from the revelation does not stop the cultist from gunning you down or the horrible monster from fourteen dimensions from deciding to introduce you to them all at once.
  • The psionic power Brain Lock in Dungeons & Dragons enforces a bluescreen on the victim.
  • Exalted has a defined set of these as part of the Great Curse afflicting all Solar Exalted. Called "Limit Breaks" (unrelated to the trope except by name), they occur whenever Exalts reach a particular threshold of stress related to their Compassion, Conviction, Temperance, or Valor traits. Effects include catatonia, Unstoppable Rage, wallowing in vice, collapsing in a fit of crying, and plenty more; all are highly destructive, incapacitating, or both. The other Exalted types where afflicted with the Great Curse has well, but it usually doesn't take this form. Sidereals, for example, run a bigger risk of everything going to hell if more then a few work together on something. (Unless you're a Lunar, where you get similar issues to the Solars, plus the ability to turn into a 2 ton killing machine at will.)
    • The webcomic Keychain of Creation has a particularly good example. #220 is an example of a Compassion Limit Break, 'Heart of Tears'.
    • The Unconquered Sun went into one shortly before the Usurpation, and has pretty much withdrawn for 2000 years as a result. Let's put it this way: in his stronghold at the heart of the Daystar, there's a courtroom. In that courtroom, there is a list of people found guilty by the judgment of the Unconquered Sun. The last name listed is his own.
  • The table of possible results for a failed "Fright Check" in GURPS include a number of blue screen-style effects, of varying severity and duration. In addition, all sorts of spells, powers, surprise effects, etc., can produce "mental stun", which is essentially a very short-term BSOD.
  • In the free Matrix game "There Is No Spoon," the Sick At Heart optional rules model damage to a character's belief system, and reduces their Matrix stat (the stat that gives them their ability to kick serious ass) on a failed Matrix roll when they choose (or are forced) to act in a way that contravenes or works to destroy their beliefs, personal code or deep abiding reason to live, or are severely tortured or have something else extreme happen to them. A character can actually be worn down to no Matrix stat at all this way, making them little more than another mook under the system's rules, and recovery of Matrix points is difficult, as it involves rebuilding the character's faith in themselves. The notes on this particular optional rule says that it should not be used excessively, as this is meant to be an action game, not a dark tale of the fragility of the mind.
  • An occupational hazard of Astartes and Guard officers in Warhammer 40,000. One of the more typical comes from the Primarch Corax: after resorting to desperate measures to rebuild his devastated Raven Guard during the Horus Heresy, he reluctantly and personally executes the horrific monstrosities his orders created, then locks himself in his room for a year and a day, after which he emerges and takes a ship on course for the Eye of Terror, his only word being "Nevermore..."
    • Hlaine 'Mad' Larkin, the unhinged sniper from the Gaunt's Ghosts series, has one of these during basically every battle.
    • As mentioned above in Dawn of War, The Tau have a chance of getting the blue screen if their Ethereal dies. Or, they could go into Unstoppable Rage... with plasma guns.
    • While were talking about Dawn of War, I would like to take you back to the First game's Single player campaign, after grinding through Orks, Eldar and Chaos troops, Brother Captain discovers his Long Time buddy and Company Librarian turn to Chaos, though the mission's scene doesn't show exactly how long his BSOD lasted, but it was hinted that he got real mad and by the beginning of the next mission his anger was made manifest by a orbiting Battle Barge.
    • In the Dark Heresy expansion: Ascension an event specifically designed to cause a Heroic BSOD is one of the ways a character can be promoted to the rank of Inquisitor.
    • Roboute Guilliman's reaction upon being revived and seeing the theocratic hellhole the Imperium had become in the absence of him and the other Primarchs is to break down and weep, even saying that it would have been better if Horus had won during the Heresy.
    "Why do I still live? What more do you want from me? I gave everything I had to you, to them. Look what they've done to our dream. This bloated, rotting carcass of an empire is not driven by reason and hope, but by fear, hate and ignorance. Better that we all burned in the fires of Horus' ambition than lived to see this."
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Werewolves can go into a state of deep spiritual sadness called Harano. However, overcoming it provides the Werewolf with permanent Willpower.
    • If done correctly a GM can even get a player to do this. It's immensely satisfying when it happens.

  • In Ajax, after having been induced to madness and very publicly slaughtering livestock while under the impression they were his allies, Ajax is fairly subdued once he is in his right mind again and discovers everyone knows what he's done. This is a prelude to suicide.
  • In the 2013 West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket, up to this point a Cheerful Child who makes the most of his meager lot in life, falls into one of these after learning that the fourth of the five Golden Tickets has been found just after his one chance at finding a ticket failed. For the next week he is glum and quiet, not even asking to hear one of Grandpa Joe's stories. Even when his father suggests they could look for shooting stars in the sky to wish upon, Charlie's response is a mere "Don't waste a wish on me". Thankfully, the next day fortune finally smiles upon him when circumstances result in him finding the final ticket.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Viscount de Valvert tries to bully Cyrano telling him his nose is very big. After Cyrano ends his own Hurricane of Puns (a Long List of genially funny Gag Noses), he provokes a mini Heroic BSoD to Viscount De Valvert.
    De Guiche (trying to draw away the dismayed viscount): Come away, Viscount!
  • Hamilton:
    • "Tomorrow There'll Be More Of Us", often called "Laurens' Interlude", in which the titular Hamilton receives news that his friend (and implied lover) John Laurens has been killed in battle. He stays silent for a while, and then finally responds with a choked
    I have so much work to do.
    • "It's Quiet Uptown", in which the company observes him undergoing another one. He paces up and down the streets of New York end to end, all day, every day, Talking to the Dead (specifically his son).
  • Hector has one in The History Boys
    WILL YOU SHUT UP ABOUT THESE EXAMS! Shut up, all of you! [crying] What made me piss my life away in this godforsaken place? There's nothing of me left.
  • In Into the Woods, the Baker, after hearing some terrible news, goes into one of these, in song form. Literally, he sings a song about how he just wants to stop everything.
    "No more feelings... Time to shut the door ... Just no more ..."
  • Les Misérables has "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" as Marius bemoans the senseless death of his friends in their failed attempts at revolution.
  • Little Shop of Horrors: Seymour has this after Audrey is eaten by the plant Audrey II. He snaps out of it to fight Audrey II when he realizes its goal of world domination, but only long enough to get eaten himself.
  • Miss Saigon: John, to Kim, about Chris. "He went crazy when he lost you, spoke to no one for a year. Then he finally said I'm home now, my life has to go on here." Of course, it didn't really go on—earlier in the play we see him waking from a bad dream and his wife's lyrics indicate that this is a nightly occurrence.
  • Next to Normal, several characters have them:
    • Natalie has one during her piano recital.
    • Dan has one when Diana starts to remember Gabe.
    • Diana is having one throughout the entire show.
  • The Play That Goes Wrong: Chris/the Inspector has this when he's unable to find the prop he needs, Max having moved it after accidentally sitting on it. He repeats "a ledger?" over and over as he looks for until he's screaming, then curls up on the couch sobbing. The audience pointing out said ledger is sticking out from under the couch does not help.
  • The SpongeBob Musical: SpongeBob suffers a short one before the first act finale, after his best friend betrays him and another avalanche nearly destroys Bikini Bottom, before Sandy pulls him out of it.
  • Spring Awakening, Melchior suffers from one when he sees Wendla's grave.
  • Titanic: "Mr. Andrews Vision" has Mr. Andrews going over the blueprints of the ship, and realizing that one easy adjustment to the construction of the ship and how simple it could have been to prevent the sinking of the Titanic, eventually cursing his and all of mankind's hubris for wanting to build bigger and better achievements, while also envisioning the horrific fate of the passengers still on board the vessel as it slowly begins to plunge below the surface of the freezing sea.
    Andrews: Here's a thought, take a line, and extend up the walls to the brink,
    It's just a small redesign, but when it's done then I know she can't sink!

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright has one in the final case of Justice For All when he finds out that Maya has been kidnapped by Shelly de Killer in exchange for a Not Guilty verdict for Matt Engarde. He basically spends the entire case desperately trying to obtain said verdict at any cost, even when he knows that his client is guilty as sin. It takes Edgeworth reminding him of his duty as a defense attorney to knock sense into him. He's unable to tell anyone about the circumstances he's in, which results in the court audience angrily shouting that he's a scumbag as his tactics become ever more desperate. When he finds himself backed into a hole, he experiences his only Freak Out in the series, in a creepily similar manner to the Villainous Breakdown his opponents usually suffer from. And no one knows why.
    • In Trials and Tribulations, poor Phoenix undergoes another, this time when Dahlia Hawthorne taunts him with the knowledge that the reason he can't find Maya is because she's almost certainly dead. Cue him crying and shaking at his stand, repeating that Maya can't be dead.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Klavier gets one in Turnabout Succession when it comes out in court that his older brother Kristoph had used him as an Unwitting Pawn for petty revenge against Phoenix Wright, causing Klavier to ruin Phoenix's career for a forgery Kristoph himself commissioned. His animations at this point (covering his ears with his hands and shaking his head) bear an eerie resemblance to Athena's own 'Despair' animation.
    • In Dual Destinies, Athena suffers a few BSODs. A good indication of it is her eyes going wide and her Expressive Accessory Widget shutting off. They occur in the first case, when Gaspen pushes her to a point of helplessness, the third case, when the true culprit deems her unfit to be a lawyer, and in the fifth case, when she's accused of killing her own mother, and later when a revelation occurs that makes it seem like that she really did kill her own mother.
    • In Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix gets this when Maya dies. He was EXTREMELY close to punching Barnham.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, Sebastian suffers from one as the culmination of his Humiliation Conga from the end of the fourth case into the fifth. After Blaise's henchmen kidnap him (by mistake) and leave him in his father's garage, he's left feeling like everything he's done was meaningless, and has no idea what to do with himself. It takes a very long pep talk/Logic Chess segment from Edgeworth to get him back on his feet.
  • In the science fiction visual novel Bionic Heart, the android requesting the main character's help finally discovers why she possesses memories of the 21st century when she was created long after that time. Once she realizes her memories are the product of her having a real human brain, and that that brain was harvested from a serial killer, she snaps.
  • In Danganronpa, several characters go through this in the series:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • Kiyotaka Ishimaru suffers a massive one after finding out that Mondo Owada is outed out as Chihiro Fujisaki's killer and his subsequent execution. It's so bad that it borders on Despair Event Horizon-crossing, until Alter Ego snaps out of his funk by mixing his essence with Owada's soul and he becomes a new personality called Ishida, or at least is sufficiently convinced that this is what's happened to cheer him up a bit.
      • Byakuya Togami has one when he's being told by Junko Enoshima that the rest of his family has kicked it. Averted in the end when he refuses to give in to despair and instead focuses on honoring and restoring the Togami family.
    • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, the five surviving students goes through this when they find out that they are the remnants of SHSL Despair, but especially Hajime Hinata, whose actions as "Izuru Kamukura" caused the deaths of his classmates and the game's entire events in the first place. And if he pulls the plug on the program as Makoto intends to, he will revert to his "Izuru Kamukura" identity.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • The entire remaining cast aside from the Mastermind undergoes one at the start of Chapter 5 upon the revelation that there is no outside world to return to. The rest of humanity is dead, earth is uninhabitable, and they were part of a failed last-ditch attempt to save the human race that got sabotaged and turned into the killing game For the Evulz. Afterwards, Shuichi spends an entire in-game day lying on his bed, unable to bring himself to care about or do anything. It isn't until the students find another flashback light that they snap out of it.
      • This hurts the most when Tsumugi reveals to Shuichi, Maki, Himiko and Keebo that their killing game is a reality show entertainment, their memories are fake, and the audition videos, Tsumugi, Monokuma, and the audience take pleasure in their misery and the burden of having to deal with everyone's deaths for nothing, leaving Shuichi, Maki and Himiko a sobbing mess. Shuichi in particular is hit hard by this, since it's also revealed that Kaede was, in fact, innocent and yet she was unfairly convicted and executed for Tsumugi's crime, with Shuichi himself having been the one to sentence her. The poor boy is just left staring at her portrait.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club! has an almost literal example. When the player walks in on Sayori after she hangs herself, the sight is so shocking that the game actually glitches out and the background turns into a Ren'py error message.
    • The game tops itself at the end of Act Two, when Yuri stabs herself to death in front of the player. The protagonist freaks out so hard he is rendered catatonic for an entire weekend, only capable of staring dumbly at Yuri's decomposing corpse.
  • In Double Homework, the protagonist stays in his room for about three months playing video games after the Barbarossa incident.
  • In the Unlimited Blade Works route of Fate/stay night, during his fight with Archer Shirou synchronizes with his future self and sees a vision of his death, alone and unmourned. Shirou collapses at the realization that his ideal will kill him but recovers to finish the fight.
    • In the Fate route Kotomine attempts to force Shirou to remember his life before the fire. The trauma of reliving the fire and the fragments of memories about his family nearly breaks Shirou's will to resist when Kotomine offers him the Grail.
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • Rin Tezuka slips into this state in her route, when she desperately tries to gain inspiration as the expectatives places on her art get bigger and bigger. At some point Hisao finds her almost naked in her atelier, barely lucid, after attempting to paint for many days straight
    • Hanako Ikezawa suffers a massive one in her own route, when she learns that Lilly and Hisao are planning to give her a birthday party, not knowing that her b-day is actually a trigger for her due to her past. It's so bad that she completely shuts down in class and has to be taken into the infirmary. The next time we see her is in her room: she's a little more coherent, but still bed-ridden and teary.
    • In Shizune's route, when Misha begs Hisao to "comfort" her for one night (which is basically cheating), she's actually in the middle of one of these. The poor girl is unable to handle her feelings about Hisao and Shizune dating anymore — because she's actually in love with Shizune, and the pain of seeing her date Hisao (whom she cares for as well) is way too much for her.
    • Shizune has a terrible case of Heroic BSoD in her beta arc due to Misha's suicide. She stops going outside, stops talking to Hisao, and barely even eats. She ultimately ends up hospitalized due to dehydration and will die in the Bad End when she removes her IV.
  • In Little Busters!, this happens to Komari whenever she encounters death or blood, as this triggers her repressed memories of her sickly brother dying in her arms when she was young. By treating a nearby person as her brother instead she's able to repress them again and go on with her life, but this still leaves the trigger there. Only when Riki forces her to accept reality is she able to stop the cycle.
    • Arguably happens to Rin too because in Refrain she is mentally unstable due to the tests in the previous Rin route and can't even be near Kengo and Masato and doesn't even go to the same school anymore she goes to a centre where all her classmates are younger than her.
  • Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!:
    • Wanko after losing via double KO in the tournament, thus having to give up on her dream.
    • Miyako when Yamato decides to temporarily put their relationship on hold. In both this and the above example Cooldown Hugs are eventually involved.
    • In the anime, Momoyo in episode 8 when during her heated battle against a cyborg opponent, one of the missiles fired by the opponent and deflected by her ends up hitting Yamato and putting him in a coma. She even lets out a Skyward Scream after seeing him in the ICU.
  • In Nekopara Vol. 4, after his father manages to make a cream similar to his mentor's flavor (something he has not been able to do so), Kashou spends a good amount of time trying to find the "core" his father says that he is lacking, which causes him to lose confidence in his skills as a baker. To the point where the cakes he makes gradually become lacking in flavor. Fortunately by the end, thanks to meeting with his mentor, who is revealed to be his paternal grandmother, he manages to recover. Even making a flavor that earns his father's approval.
  • In Silver Crisis, this happens to Lucario and Lucas in Chapter 10. After his fight with Silver leaves him utterly defeated and unconscious, Lucario is trapped in his own mind with his emotions, also being unable to use his True Power by opening his door until he resolves his inner conflict. He then comes to terms that isolating himself is the wrong thing to do, and realizes how important it is to place trust in others and Humankind once more. This allows himself to finally wake up, only to see Lucas being consumed by his own Aura's rage due to his belief that he will always be useless and can never become strong enough to save Ness. Lucario then convinces Lucas that he isn't useless, and how his trust in Lucario was what really saved him, not just his own physical strength. Lucas then starts crying tears of joy at finally hearing that he has been helpful, finally snapping Lucas out of his funk as well.
  • One of the girls of Tokimeki Memorial 2, Kaori Yae, starts the game in the middle of one. Once a Genki Girl, she has been horribly betrayed one year before by her friends of her former school, who ostracized her after she Took The Heat for them, and as a result, she has lost confidence in both herself and the others, has shut herself off from everyone in fear of being hurt again, and is in a depressive state. It'll take the player 2 years of patient care and love to finally give her the courage to confess her past and allow her to recover from her emotional wounds. And if the player fails to have her enough in love with him by that time, she'll resign from school and her fate will be unknown.
  • Shiki in Tsukihime when Arcueid disappears. Throughout the day he's in a state of total shock and numbness, merely going through the motions at school. He's only at school because it was less effort than dealing with Akiha if didn't. He gets better when after sitting alone waiting for a teacher for several hours, Roa and Arcueid show up and start fighting to the death.

    Web Animation 
  • Babushka: the Movie, an animatic adaption of a famous round of Among Us, closes with one. As in the actual game, the impostors win. The video closes with a member of the crew (who had agreed not to inform on the impostors in order to pay back a favor he owed one of them), sitting in the middle of the launch pad surrounded by the bodies of the crew that were slaughtered there, staring straight ahead with a Thousand-Yard Stare. His last words as the video ends are "All my friends are dead."
  • Shandala goes through a serious one in Broken Saints after her adopted brother is killed as result of her own actions. Considering she's also surrounded by mysterious foreigners on a boat half an ocean away from the only home she's ever known, it's even less surprising.
  • In Dreamscape, Dylan goes through a couple of them in his tale of his experience in the Unworld.
  • Both Scrooge and Vegeta, undergo this in Episodes 3 and 7 of Ducktalez, respectively. Scrooge, because he failed his nephews, and Vegeta does this because he let Scrooge down.
  • Happy Tree Friends. Sniffles has one at the end of "Dream Job" after suffering many horrible nightmares.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, the Emperor shuts down after realizing what the Imperium has turned into and that he actually started the Inquisiton. The worried Custodian spends a few hours poking him with a halberd before getting any reaction and the second thingnote  the Emperor does after recovering is ordering the Inquisition to be disbanded.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • the Reds eventually discover the true purpose of their battles: They're basically labrats and are set up in situations to train the Freelancer and see how the Freelancer would act in that situation. They also discover that the Reds and Blues were intentionally chosen to be idiots to make things easier for the Freelancers. After Sarge realizes what this means, he winds up hastily constructing a Red Base out of scrap parts, deciding that if he's trash, he should be a sergeant of trash. He also relinquishes his rank as leader of his trio. This also breaks Simmons.
    • A literal example from Season 13 — Epsilon is starting to fail, and is having trouble running the systems of Carolina's powered armor, even with the assistance of other AI fragments. So during a critical fight, he lets her down when she needs him the most.
      Theta: It's too much! What do we do? (fizzles out)
      Epsilon: ...I don't know. (stares in silence for a few moments, then fizzles out)
  • RWBY:
    • At the end of Volume 3, Yang experiences an emotional collapse that makes her completely give up on life and take to her bed in depression. She spends most of Volume 4 recovering from it. During the Battle of Beacon, she sees Adam stab Blake; by recklessly charging in with her Semblance at full-power, Yang leaves herself wide open to Adam's strike, which is so powerful that he cuts through her Aura and amputates her arm. In the battle, the school is destroyed, some of her friends are killed, and Blake flees Vale without saying anything to her team-mates. Yang spends Volume 4 in a lethargy of depression, betrayal and PTSD. She only begins her road to recovery when she realises that her father can't protect her younger sister, who ran away from home to investigate the villain that attacked Beacon, because he has to stay home to look after Yang. That makes her determined to get back on feet again so that she can go after Ruby to protect her.
    • In Volume 6, the heroes learn that Ozpin's been hiding a secret from them. The emotional toll of having the secret forced from him reduces him to tears. After the group learns Salem is unkillable, Ruby asks him what his plan to defeat her is and he unhappily confesses that he doesn't have one. The news breaks Qrow, who punches him into a tree. When Ozpin realises who hit him, he is stunned; Qrow tells him that his cursed Semblance left him alienated and without a purpose in life until Ozpin gave him one. He finally thought he was doing something good with his life. A tearful Ozpin tries to tell him that he is, but Qrow simply states that meeting Ozpin was the worst luck of his life. A devastated Ozpin agrees that might be true and abruptly disappears, releasing control of Oscar's body and retreating so far inside Oscar's mind that even Oscar can't reach him. Although he momentarily resurfaces in the Volume 6 finale to help Oscar land their crashing ship, he quickly locks himself away again. He finally returns in the Volume 7 finale when Oscar's attempt to turn Ironwood back from the brink of evil results in Ironwood trying to kill him; Ozpin's return allows Oscar to access his memories and powers to save them both from an otherwise fatal fall from Atlas to Mantle's surface. This time, he's back for good, so Oscar enlists his help to save Atlas.
    • When the God of Light needed a servant to guide humanity towards a state of harmony, he gave The Chosen One a warning that, if not heeded, would lead only to a life of pain and despair. When the God of Light reincarnated Ozma, it was with the warning that Salem was no longer the woman he loved and, if he sought her out, he would find only pain. Ozma seeks her out anyway and they end up happily married with four daughters until he eventually discovers her idea of helping him unite humanity is to destroy every human that resists, and that her plans for their daughters put them in danger. His attempt to rescue his children leads to a terrible battle that destroys their marriage and their daughters' lives. Ozma falls into a deep depression that lasts for several lifetimes. However, no matter what happens to him, Ozma always finds a way to pick himself back up and return to his divine mission to save humanity from a fate of destruction come Judgement Day. Ozma was eventually reincarnated into a man who was able to throw off the depression, invent the cane that Ozpin and Oscar would eventually wield, and who was able to both love again and start fighting back against Salem.
    • In Volume 8, a series of events culminate in the heroes arguing about what to do, which is the final straw that snaps Ruby. She ends up huddled on a staircase, clinging to the bannister, while Yang desperately tries to bring her out of it. Ruby snaps after a chain of events that include Salem revealing she killed Ruby's mother, being targeted by an increasingly insane Ironwood, being chewed out by Yang over her leadership skills, everyone arguing over whether to protect Mantle or Atlas, Nora getting badly injured, Penny getting hacked with a virus, discovering that Salem is turning Silver-Eyed Warriors into Grimm, and Ironwood threatening to destroy Mantle unless Penny surrenders. Only when Ozpin chooses this moment to apologise for not trusting them with his secrets, do the heroes suddenly realise they now fully understand just how risky trust is; the epiphany breaks Ruby out of her funk, allowing the heroes to come up with a plan of action.
      • This continues into Volume 9 when she learns Penny died and completely emotionally shuts down.
  • Lori from Snowy the Frostman has one in the series finale when she realizes she was too late to stop her past self and friends from creating Snowy.
  • Super Mario Bros. Z heavily implies that Shadow's current Jerkass nature was the direct result of the immense trauma of having to witness the two only friends he ever had (or at least the two only people he could openly refer to as friends), Rouge and Omega's, deaths at the hands of Mecha Sonic during his decimation of Mobius.
  • In the Team Service Announcement Class Balance, the BLU Medic can only stare in horror upon seeing his worst nightmare come true: his entire team is nothing but Snipers.


    Web Videos 
  • Atop the Fourth Wall:
    • Linkara has one caused by his loss to Lord Vyce. A very legitimate, played straight BSOD as Lewis tries hopelessly to fix his old morpher, mumbling about losing and barely being able to beat Mechakara. It was quite sad.
    • He also had one after being told that he killed a little girl to create the magic gun. That girl was his daughter. However she wasn't and he didn't kill her but Dolorem told him he did.
    • He suffered a more literal BSOD after discovering that Ben Grimm's Character Development in Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four in: Brain Drain was penned by Marvel's former editor-in-chief.
    • In Atop the Fourth Wall: The Movie, Linkara shuts down when he learns that Mechakara is still alive. He completely freezes as Mechakara orders Comicron-1 to be destroyed, forcing MarzGurl to take over. She confronts Linkara about this later on and he admits that after all the trauma he's been through over the years, he was actually ready to die at that moment.
  • Carmilla:
    • Carmilla is pretty much in a perpetual state of this in the first season. She lost the love of her life, was buried in a coffin filled with blood for almost a century, then forced to start assisting her "mother" in kidnapping girls AGAIN! This gets worse as she is forced to choose between Laura dying, or sabotaging Laura's attempts to save the victims. Her choice ends up for naught as Laura finds out.
    • Perry seems to go through this when LaFontaine is kidnapped, especially since before they were they were having a fight about LaFontaine's gender identity. She later appears to take a level in badass, threatening Carmilla with a stake and staking Will in the later battle.
    • Laura after Carmilla's Disney Death.
  • Critical Role:
    • Caleb from Campaign 2 suffers from severe PTSD, stemming from the years of abuse he suffered under Trent Ikithon, culminating with being tricked into killing his own parents by setting their house on fire. This event broke him mentally, and landed him in an asylum for 11 years, during which he was practically catatonic. His PTSD is included as a game mechanic — whenever Caleb kills a humanoid with fire, he needs to make a Wisdom saving throw. If he fails, he is stunned as he becomes consumed by flashbacks.
    • In Episode 17 of Campaign 1, Grog is narrowly defeated in a pit fight by Kern, the reigning champion at the Crucible in Vasselheim. Due to being a half-orc, Kern used a racial ability which allowed him to stay conscious a bit longer to deliver the finishing blow to Grog. Grog... does not take it well, by which he immediately goes to drown his sorrows in ale at the nearest tavern, mistakes a barstool for fried chicken... and eats it anyway, as well as "sloppily disappointing" a prostitute paid for by the tavern patrons, and comments that a mug of water is "pretty smooth" while in the throes of a hangover the next morning. Six episodes later, he returns to the Crucible and gets his revenge.
  • DeceasedCrab':
    • After he finds the secret treasure at the end of his Let's Play of La-Mulana, he gets completely quiet for about three seconds before screaming, sobbing uncontrollably and starting to stutter sentence like structures.
    • He gets another one during the Break the Cutie that is making a LP of Eversion.
  • In Act III of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Dr. Horrible gets a simultaneous dream come true and Villain BSOD, and expresses both in song to carry out the denoument. This inverted Heroic BSOD is appropriate for a show that inverts the very superhero genre by adroitly representing self-proclaimed villain as protagonist, and self-proclaimed hero as antagonist.
  • The FanFiction Critic went on a drinking binge when she couldn't review any more fanfics after having to review her own fics.
  • Luke Mochrie and the Inners attempted to go through a review of Skyline: while Phillip the Inner Pessimist took it all in stride, Ringo the Inner Optimist progressively shut down, up until:
    "The movie's awful, ok? That's right! The optimist can hate! THE OPTIMIST CAN HATE!"
  • While playing the Surfing Minigame from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Chuggaaconroy states that he never obtained the equipment from this minigame, so he decided to obtain the beans instead. He notices his time and notes that it may be good enough for a Hoo Bean, but when he realizes he got the equipment instead (that and the fact he had to redo the recording four different times) his reaction was understandable: a scream, followed by him being speechless for a minute.
    Chugga: Well, I'm not complaining!
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • After realizing what happened to him in Spooning With Spoony II, he goes into open-mouthed, wide-eyed shock and stays like that for the entire episode, only coming out to cry about his prom-night.
    • And much earlier, in "Spooning With Spoony", The Nostalgia Chick had a complete crying breakdown about what happened to her.
    • In The Cat in the Hat, the Critic spends an entire night out on a hill staring into space after a particularly scarring scene.
    • A calmer version happens after he angrily calls the director of My Pet Monster to complain, but then finding himself having to explain he's a 28-year-old guy who watches little kid's movies for a living. This sends him into a depression on how pathetic this makes him until the end of the next episode.
    • In his review of Baby Geniuses, the Critic was so traumatized that all he could do was wander through the convention he was attending with a blank look on his face.
    • NC has a mini one in his review of the other animated Titanic movie, in response to the "talking to animals with magical moonbeams" moment. In a Titanic movie. He starts hyperventilating and stammering before declaring that he has to go stare at himself in the mirror and cry. Gilligan Cut to him doing exactly that for 10 seconds before coming back to continue.
  • Obscurus Lupa, while reviewing the American Ninja movies, noticed they were getting progressively worse, and ended up sobbing near the end of the fourth movie.
  • An outtake from Maximilian's "Boss Rage" series (against Oni in Ultra Street Fighter 4) shows him slamming headlong into one. Playing as Ryu, he finds himself up against Hugo. With the two of them on low health, Max attempts to finish Hugo off with a Metsu Hadoken; normally a decent bet as, with less than 25% health remaining, a direct hit with it would have given Max the win. The AI playing Hugo, however, throws out an EX Monster Lariat. With the aid of "super armour" (a fighting game mechanic where taking damage doesn't interrupt a move being performed), Hugo tanks the entire Super Combo and punches Ryu in the face. All Max can do is scream at Ryu's demise and stare at the screen in disbelief
  • When PatTheNESPunk lent his copy of Nintendo World Championships to The Angry Video Game Nerd, he suffered a heroic BSOD when the Nerd smashed both his cartridge of the game and the Nerd's gold one with a hammer. Pat understandably chokes the Nerd shortly afterwards.
  • Paw Dugan, during a Todd in the Shadows video, curled up into the foetal position upon learning that Sia had appeared in a Flo Rida song.
  • The chef at the end of "Massive Meatloaf Mayhem" episode of Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time, having realised they forgot to buy mayo.
  • SMPLive: When Connor accidentally kills his parrot by feeding it a cookie, he stares in silence for a few moments as the camera begins to zoom out.
  • The Spoony Experiment:
    • Spoony has one of these himself when he reviews Highlander II and takes a moment to read the back of the VHS box and reads that it's the smartest cyberpunk movie since Blade Runner... He actually gets a pop-up error message (in this case a divide by zero error) and crashes.
    • He has yet another one at the end of his review of Night Claws. Upon witnessing Reb Brown get unceremoniously killed via Neck Snap, he can only stare in shock at the screen for about 30 seconds before silently stumbling away.
    • In his review of Ultima IX, he suffers one after hearing the line, "You did it, Avatar! When you restored the final shrine, I was given my life back!" where he just talks quietly about how he became a fan of the series, and then starts throwing things around, yelling, "It's all been a waste of time!"
  • Bowser Junior from SuperMarioLogan has had a few:
    • In "Bowser's Christmas Problem", he keeps demanding Bowser about Santa, until the latter reaches his Rage Breaking Point and yells at him that Santa does not exist. This causes Junior to undergo a Heroic BSoD, eventually crying and ruining Bowser's spare time, kicking off the plot of the episode.
    • Another one in "The Christmas Special!" when Junior realizes he was demanding for a golden Thomas & Friends toy and Santa "forgot to get it for him". Doesn't help that Chef Pee Pee and Bowser didn't remember him demanding them for the golden Thomas toy.
    • Chef Pee Pee himself breaks down at the end of "Bowser Junior's Caprisun" after Bowser comes in saying his lunch break is over, he eats like a child*, and takes the former's meal.
  • Rowdy C of TV Trash went through this after watching Heil Honey I'm Home!. He got better at the beginning of the next season.
  • Derek the Bard suffers several during Warning! Readers Advisory!:
    • At the beginning of the Crooked Little Vein review. Twice.
    • His subconscious suffers one in Episode 20.
      "Did I just break my subconscious!?"
    • Minor one in Episode 22, after the vampire tentacle bukkake scene in Necroscope, combined with I Need a Freaking Drink.
    • During the climax of SF Shinseiki Lensman, again combined with I Need a Freaking Drink.

Alternative Title(s): Heroic Blue Screen Of Death, Heroic Breakdown, Heroic Bluescreen


Your New Home

Pomni fathoms the gravity of her situation.

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Main / ThousandYardStare

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