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Heroic RRoD

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This is what you get for being too lazy to do the Training Montage.

Jemma: Another move like that, and you're likely to break every bone in your arms.
Daisy: Yeah... I might've done that already.

The Heroic Red Ring of Death occurs when a hero has pushed themself too hard and abruptly starts to break down physically. That one of these is coming may or may not be clear in advance, but when it starts, it will hit all at once.

Causes vary. It could simply be the hero wearing themself out after a good case of Heroic Resolve. It could be the consequence of using the Dangerous Forbidden Technique, Deadly Upgrade or removing their Power Limiter. Or caused by Phlebotinum Overload. Some works directly support this via Cast from Hit Points. It might be represented with burning Tron Lines, Tainted Veins, Volcanic Veins or turning red. If it's done on purpose, it may be a Heroic Sacrifice, but it is at least as likely to be accidental.

Injuries sustained during Heroic RRODs should range between serious and fatal if left untreated (although rarely crippling), possibly leading to a case of You Are Already Dead, or Secretly Dying. Also a common cause of You Can Barely Stand.

Named after a warning signal on Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles.note  See also Overheating, the underlying idea behind this.

A Sister Trope to Power-Strain Blackout (when the cause is not as serious), Heroic BSoD (the mental and emotional counterpart).

Compare Super-Power Meltdown, Power Degeneration, Post-Victory Collapse, Explosive Overclocking (the Phlebotinum version), Power-Up Full Color Change (often used as visual and literal indicator).

Compare/Contrast Pent-Up Power Peril (when you have a power that builds up in your body and not using it will cause peril).

Actual video games (regardless of console) may have Anti Poopsocking mechanisms in place to (hopefully) prevent this in the people who play them.

Not to be confused with Rings of Death.

Good Counterpart to Villainous RRoD

Since this is an ending (and sometimes a Death Trope) spoilers are unmarked. You've been warned.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Air Gear, the Sonia/Thornier road, while powerful, works while causing immense strain on the user's body. Ringo was left in intense pain after her duel with Ikki.
  • Happens in the World Record segment of The Animatrix. Dan Davis tries to break the sprinting world record and brings his body to the absolute limit. During that sprint, he starts breaking the Matrix cause he is too fast, causing Agents to freeze it so they can stop him]]. He outruns them. The situation gets solved by letting him have the record, but literally destroying his muscles AND brain in exchange. In the end, he is shown as catatonic and paralyzed (albeit with a hint that he can still perceive the Matrix).
  • In Armitage III: Dual-Matrix, Armitage has a Super Mode, complete with a glowing red circle on her back, that would have killed her if she used it too much. Her daughter Yoko managed to stop her.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Eren seems to get this from overuse of his Titan form, getting a nose bleed and looking feverish after blocking a cannonball (which may be connected to him being trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine the next time he tries) and Reiner pretty much telling him that they are physically unable to transform too many times. This is proven when Eren later tries to shift and fails, being too worn down by battle.
    • A much more severe version of this happens later during Hange's tests with Eren to mimic the Female Titan's hardening ability. The third time he transforms, his Titan form is missing about half of its flesh and is causing Eren to fuse with it. By the time they cut him out, he is missing his eyes and parts of his skull are exposed. Thankfully, due to his healing factor, Eren heals up in about a day.
  • Played for comedy in Bakuman。 with Hiramaru constantly. Then played seriously with Mashiro when he draws so much that he gets hospitalized.
  • Black Butler:
    • Ciel, already a pampered, but somewhat frail boy joins Noah's Circus to find out the whereabouts of children that have recently been disappearing. He's only there a day before the mix of the cold weather and the new strain being put on his weak body takes its toll and he ends up vomiting violently. As it turns out he has asthma, inherited from his Missing Mom Rachel, and, although its symptoms haven't turned up in the three years Sebastian has been with him, the sudden stress on his body on top of a cold he caught takes him out with a high fever and he's forced to rest, despite his retaliation. Keep in mind the series takes place in the 1880s and that such a condition would be much more life-threatening than it is today.
    • Sebastian gets one in Chapter 65, nearly collapsing after being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by the Undertaker, getting Ciel off a ship that's been chopped in half, and eradicating the zombie horde, while on a rowboat in the middle of the Atlantic.
  • Asta from Black Clover. Using his Black form allows him to use much more anti-magic and fly through the air. It also wracks his body in great pain afterwards, limiting the amount of times he can use it daily unless he's healed afterwards.
  • Bleach:
    • Ishida and Ichigo get one of these when they voluntarily engage in acts that they know will end up destroying their powers forever (they both eventually get them back).
    • Notably, Ishida and Quincies in general have an ability to avert a Heroic RROD. Ransotengai allows Quincies to keep moving regardless of broken bones, tendons, tissue, or even paralysis by turning their own body into a puppet to move using strings made of their own reiryoku.
    • When Ichigo first uses Bankai, he pushes his body so hard that his bones start disintegrating. His inner Hollow takes over when at his limit and immediately brushes off all injury, as well as calling out Ichigo for using Bankai so recklessly, and proceeds to Curb Stomp Byakuya]]
    • When Kenpachi's Bankai is activated prematurely by Yachiru he gains an absurd amount of strength, but his body is almost incapable of withstanding it. Trying to swing his sword around rips apart his arm.
    • Gremmy Thoumeaux wills himself stronger than his opponent, the aforementioned Kenpachi. His newfound strength literally rips him apart, killing him in the process. It's implied that in his disbelief at Kenpachi continuing to survive things that nothing should be able to survive caused Gremmy to inadvertently make his opponent into an invincible monster by imagining it was so. As such, by imagining himself as stronger thanKenpachi, he was trying to give himself greater than infinite power. No wonder his body couldn't handle it.
  • Campione!: Godou Kusanagi can use his Raptor ability to give himself Super-Speed, but if he uses it for more than short bursts, it causes him a lot of pain and strains his heart.
  • Captain Tsubasa:
    • Jun Misugi has a heart disease, but he insists to play full-time against Nankatsu SC. At the climax the disease acts up, causing him to stand frozen for a moment in the sense that his heart completely stops in the middle of the play. He turns out more or less all right, but he then has to stand by his team's goal post for the rest of the game and, in the original series, is hauled to the hospital immediately after the match is over.
    • A softer version of this happens three years later. Misugi returns to soccer after years of medical treatment, but while his skill is intact his physical stamina is very limited. Naturally, when his team has to play against Hyuuga's, he overexerts himself and has to be taken away again. From then on he becomes The Strategist and only plays very counted times.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Accelerator uses the magical grimoire lambskin to heal a sick Last Order who was slowly dying due to the strain of the summoning of Aiwass. Since he is an esper (in a world where magic and psychic powers are innately incompatible), using magic caused his body to essentially start self-destructing.
    • Tsuchimikado does this as well, though his esper ability (level 0 auto-regenerate) allows him to live through more spells than most.
    • Acqua of the Back can remove his biological limiters, granting him tremendous Super-Strength and Super-Speed at the cost of muscle strain and burnout.
  • In Change 123 the described risks of fighting as Zero are frightening as Zero doesn't seem to have the mental blocks everyone else has holding them back and could easily rip her body apart by fighting all-out. Luckily she usually over-exerts herself and passes out before anything like that can happen.
  • In Chivalry of a Failed Knight, Ikki's Itto Shura technique can boost his strength and speed to superhuman levels, but if he uses it for too long or more than once a day, it severely overstrains his body and causes bleeding.
  • Chrono Crusade: Given that the mostly normal main characters are fighting against high-caliber demons, they battle to exhaustion almost every time. There's a specific example in the manga, where Rosette decides to release Chrono's seal, which eats away at her life force, and fight her brother at the same time. The stress of it is so great that her soul disconnects from her body and she dies. She gets better, though.]]
  • Claymore turns this into a regular plot point. Many of the powerful enemies faced throughout the series are Awakened Beings, former Claymores that overexerted themselves and lost control of their powers. Transformed into a superior form of Youma, they become voracious eaters that must be hunted down by their former comrades and killed. When the top-ranked Claymore of a generation loses control, they become an Abyssal One — the greatest of monsters, three of which maintain control over the northern, southern, and western regions. Rather than become such a beast, many Claymores will request a Mercy Kill from a trusted comrade.
  • The "Codes" (super-powered humans) of Code:Breaker suffer from this if they use their powers too much: Okami loses consciousness; Toki becomes a child; Yuuki and a villainous Little Miss Badass become tiny animals (a cat and a turtle, respectively); Sakura and The President shrink. The Codes can recover, but "Rare Kinds" Sakura and the President require a special liquid made from the President's blood.
  • Rolo Lamperouge in Code Geass R2 overuses his Geass to escape/fight off a veritable army of pursuers, causing so much strain on his heart that he dies soon after. He knew exactly what he was getting into which is all the more impressive considering he previously crossed the Moral Event Horizon by casually murdering his own allies for knowing too much.
  • Happens to ill girl Chizuru in Combattler V. Made worse by how she had hidden her heart illness to her friends... and it kicked in when they were fighting.
  • David in Cyberpunk: Edgerunners becomes addicted to installing implants and cyberware. He installs so much that he begins to exceed his high tolerance for cybernetics and succumbs to cyberpsychosis after the Time Skip. This is exacerbated once he installs the cyberskeleton, as the insane mental loads from his cybernetics, combined with the lingering trauma of his mother's and Maine's deaths and Lucy's abduction]], drive him into episodes of hallucinating, maniacal laughing, and coughing up blood.
  • Souma Oogami in Destiny of the Shrine Maiden repeatedly uses his Orochi-induced power against Orochi and it eventually petrifies him.
  • Digimon:
    • This is the reason why Digimon tend to revert to one of their baby forms after being in a high evolution level. At least in the first two series; it's not so common in later ones.
    • In Digimon Data Squad, when Shine Greymon uses Ruin Mode for the first time, he goes mad. Digimon characters have this happen at least once a season, usually due to bad emotions on the part of the Mons' human partner. He attacks wildly until he finally runs out of power and reconfigures, reverting to an egg.
    • Digimon Adventure:
      • Angemon reverts to an egg form after using up all his power to fight Devimon.
      • A variation with Greymon happened when Tai first gets his Crest. Tai decided that Agumon needed a huge amount of energy, so he forced him to eat a huge amount of food, leaving him overfull and sluggish. When Etemon set a brainwashed Greymon on them, Agumon was the only one able to fight it, at least partially because the other Digimon had to give up their food for Agumon, and Tai kept pushing him to fight in spite of his disadvantage and the other kids pleading with him to call Agumon back. The kicker comes when Tai deliberately puts himself in danger in order to force Greymon to Digivolve, and he does so into Skull Greymon, an undead Digimon.
  • The Dragon Ball series has several powerful techniques that can befall the heroes in one way or another, even overlapping with Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Tien/Tenshinhan's Tri-Beam/Kikoho attack, a ki attack far exceeding the power the Kamehameha, which is supposed to kill the user if used too long; nevertheless, Tien is able to master it so that it can be used repeatedly. In Dragon Ball Z, given the exponential power rise of the opposition, it quickly becomes Tien's first-choice technique, and using it, he's even capable of pinning Semi-Perfect Cell down for a while before getting incapacitated from using repeatedly.
    • Goku's power-multiplying Kaioken technique, which is also supposed to be crippling if the multiplier is set too high. After learning x2, however, Goku takes it up to x3 and even x4 for short bursts in his battle with Vegeta when the x2 doesn't work. The power boost seems to give him an edge, but this trope taking effect means that using them was actually doing more harm to himself than Vegeta to point where Vegeta actually had him on the ropes without knowing it. At the climax of his pre-Super Saiyan power, he is able to practically sustain x2 and has mastered the use of levels up to x20 by activating it only in precisely timed pulses just before landing a blow or dodging an enemy attack without any ill-effects. However, it is rapidly rendered So Last Season by the advent of the Super Saiyan transformation, and it may be that using it in tandem with the transformation would result in severe enough damage to make it impractical — the last time it's seen, and the only time it's used in tandem with Super Saiyan, is in the anime filler Otherworld Tournament mini-arc where Goku no longer has a physical body. Turns out the energy limitations make it so if he tried using both for more than a few seconds, he'd have completely used up his energy reserves and disappeared. Something even the Dragon Balls can't fix. In Dragon Ball Super it's explained that Kaioken requires extreme precision control of one's ki, the very reason it's such a dangerous technique in the first place. As Super Saiyan forms cause chaotic and vast swells in the user's power level, it's impossible to use the two techniques with ordinary Super Saiyan safely or practically.
    • The Super Saiyan 3 transformation. It is only attained by Goku harnessing the unlimited energy supply of the Otherworld, and he can never sustain it for very long in the physical world because of its massive energy consumption. This is a major factor in his fight against Kid Buu, where he can match Buu's power but can't maintain it for long — eventually being rendered unable to power up due to the strain, losing all his remaining energy, and downgrading into a heavily weakened normal state. As of Dragon Ball Super the form has been deemed Awesome, but Impractical, with Goku only using it to show off and Vegeta considering the form not worth his time or effort.
    • In the Buu Saga, Vegeta realizes that Majin Buu can regenerate From a Single Cell and therefore the only way to kill him for good is to atomize him all at once. After saying his goodbyes, he unleashes all his ki energy in an explosion that's visible from space; when the smoke clears his body has seemingly turned to stone. Sadly, some of Buu's body still managed to survive the explosion, rendering this a Senseless Sacrifice.
    • Dragon Ball Super:
      • During Super's adaptation of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F', Gohan pushes himself to this point to serve as a beacon for Goku to Instant Transmission to. Why it's this trope is because Gohan had stopped training and his strength plummeted, combined with his brutal beating at the hands of Frieza. Frieza even points out that Gohan's body is tearing itself apart just to do this.
      • Super revisits the Kaioken, explaining that the real reason Goku never combined the technique with his Super Saiyan forms is that the Kaioken requires a lot of focus to use properly, something that's impossible with the battle-lust inherent to Super Saiyan. However, the Super Saiyan Blue form is all about focus and ki control, which lets Goku work out a way to combine the two; even so, it only has about a 10% chance of working properly and is far more likely to kill him. While it lasts long enough for his purposes, after the tournament Goku discovers that the "Blue Kaioken" caused him to develop Delayed Onset Ki Syndrome, a temporary condition that prevents him from making proper use of his ki abilities like flight, teleportation, and even controlling his strength. King Kai, who explains all this to Goku, warns him to only use the Blue Kaioken in extremely dire situations because if he strains himself that badly again, he might end up with a permanent case of Delayed Onset Ki Syndrome that would end his fighting career for good.
      • Vegeta achieves a more powerful version of Super Saiyan Blue and uses it to duel God of Destruction Candidate Toppo in an epic energy fight with his Final Explosion technique. He survives this time around, but pushing his limits leaves Vegeta with next to no energy left, leading to a losing struggle in his base form against Jiren.
      • The first two times Goku uses Ultra Instinct in the Tournament of Power, it's an incomplete version that leaves him briefly worn out afterwards. The third time, he actually masters it... but the side-effects are even worse. We're shown a (symbolic?) image of blood shooting out of his back, followed by uncontrolled bolts of black and purple lightning.]]
  • Shizuo from Durarara!! is a rather exaggerated example of what the human body is capable of when it overcomes its unconscious limiters (read: Super-Strength). He's also a perfect example of why those limiters are there in the first place, as his childhood was filled with painful trips to the emergency room for everything from dislocations, to torn ligaments and muscle, to a shattered spine and pelvis. It's only by virtue of Hollywood Healing that he didn't completely cripple himself before his body finally grew strong enough to handle the strain.
  • Elfen Lied:
    • In general, whenever a Diclonius loses their horns, they cannot use their vectors. This is due to their horns having an organ that is a part of the pineal gland, which controls their vectors. Also, if they endure constant pain, they will not be able to use their vectors. Varying levels of pain happen throughout the series to almost every character, not just to Diclonii.
    • This happens to Lucy, whose flesh almost literally melts off her bones]] due to overexerting her powers after she finds a way of circumventing the limitation on the length of her vectors.
  • In Eureka Seven, Holland had to consume drugs in order to pilot the LFO typeB303 "Devilfish" seen from Episode 43 onwards. Overdose of the drugs could shorten lifespan or even result in death.
  • Fate/Zero: Kiritsugu Emiya can multiply his speed and reaction time with his Time Alter ability, but overusing it or multiplying too much causes a lot of strain on his body. He can mitigate this when he implants Avalon inside himself to give him a Healing Factor, but it doesn't stop it from hurting a lot.
  • In Get Backers, it is hinted that if Ban Mido uses his "Evil Eye" 4 times within 24 hours of the first usage will result in his death.
  • In Getter Robo Armageddon, the Shin Getter and Shin Dragon combine their Getter Energies to perform the powerful Final Getter Tomahawk attack, obliterating the Getter Sun (formerly Jupiter), Jupiter's moons and Big Bads Cohen and Stinger. When the explosions die down, Shin Dragon is out of power and Shin Getter's missing its arms. Then, when the two machines are tossed into another dimension and the Shin Getter ejects them back out, Shin Dragon's left as a skeleton-like husk.
  • In Ghost in the Shell (1995), Major Kusanagi tries to pry the hatch of a very heavy-duty tank open. She pushes her superhuman cyborg body to the limit... at which point her limbs shatter. In the second movie, Innocence, a sex doll possessed by Kusanagi does the same to its arm when she yanks out a heavy computer device from a wall; as it's not really her body, the scene is played for a small laugh and the Continuity Nod to the original that it is with her simply moving on to the next part of what she's doing. In Stand Alone Complex, the second episode contains a Mythology Gag to this with Kusanagi again jumping onto a huge tank and trying to pull the hatch open, with similar cinematography. This time, however, she simply can't do it, and pulling as hard as she can is just a non-event.
  • Giant Robo, of the Giant Robo OVA, has a link with its controller, Kusama Daisaku. If he is ever in mortal danger, Robo will immediately take off to save him. At 50 times normal output. While this would normally be enough to, say, punch a hole in the moon, Robo can't actually control this output. So when it tries to get to Daisaku through an impenetrable barrier... he has to order Robo to stand down or explode. There's a damn good reason Daisaku wants to avoid this.
  • Gundam:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam MS Igloo, the Zudah is a powerful Zeon Mobile Suit that was originally considered as their mainline mech, however, Zeon ultimately went with the Zaku design instead. The reason being that while the Zudah is more powerful, it had the killer flaw of the suit's engines creating vibrations. If pushed too hard, the suit will literally shake itself apart.
    • In Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, in order to breach the Big Bad's fortified bunker, Heero repeatedly fires his buster rifle at it. However, the Gundam sustained a good deal of damage over the course of an earlier battle, so the recoil of each shot begins breaking chunks off of it until the third and final shot causes catastrophic failure.
    • The Trans AM system in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 gives a huge boost to a Gundam's power output, multiplying its combat prowess several times over. However, it's only designed for limited usage (measurable in minutes), and will leave the Gundam and its pilot defenseless when it runs out, or if it's used up too quickly. Essentially, true GN Drives produce nigh-infinite power. In normal operation, the GN Drive can fill the condensers as fast or faster than their power is used up, making the human pilot the only limiting factor on a Gundam's endurance. Trans-Am simply runs out the GN Condensers (think capacitors), thus making all systems pull directly from the main power source as well as recharging the condensers. In the GN Tau Drives (which can merely use GN particles but cannot generate them), there is a limited amount of fuel and thus once they run out, it's over.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, removing the safety limiters on a Gundam's Alaya-Vijnana System results in this: while it grants the pilot total mental control over the Gundam Frame, allowing them to move and react faster than any human being should be able to, it also causes severe neurological damage that is only reversed while the pilot is connected to the Gundam. The first time Mikazuki does this, his right arm becomes paralyzed and his right eye is blinded. The second time he does, the entire right half of his body is paralyzed. The third time he knew he was going to die anyway, so it really didn't matter.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, this is why Gundams are considered "cursed"; their pilots are subjected to severe data storms, and the higher their Permet score, the worse the data storms get, until they ultimately prove fatal. This is demonstrated in the prologue when Nadim Samaya increases his Permet score to fend off Cathedra's attack, ultimately dying from the strain but buying enough time for his wife and daughter to escape.
  • Yuki from Haruhi Suzumiya is coming dangerously close to RROD in the preview of Book 10 of the light novels.
  • In Heroic Age, the Heroic Tribe members, which are insanely powerful, can fall in a state of "mental chaos", in which they get even more powerful, but may kill themselves if they snap out of it.
  • In High School D×D, Issei's Boosted Gear doubles his strength every ten seconds while it is activated. While this makes him very strong the longer the fight goes, the more his strength is multiplied, the greater the stress on his body and he will eventually run out of energy if the fight goes on too long. His training regimens focus on building up his endurance and toughness so he can handle the power boosts. Although this could happen in theory, it's defied in practice. Ddraig refuses to give his host any destructive feedback and ceases to function instead (normally followed by Issei getting the tar beat out of him conventionally).
  • In Holyland, this occurs following Yuu's Heroic BSoD. Although the cause is more psychological than physical, the result is that Yuu loses his form, and with it, most of his fighting ability. The local thugs, many of whom were afraid of him until that point, take advantage of this.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Kurapika suffered from this once in the first OVA; he passed at least 4 days without sleeping or eating, he overused his Nen by fighting and killing a Ryodan, kidnapping another and using his ultimate weapon in 3 people at the same time, including himself and stayed altered too much time. What happened? He entered a coma, with no possibility of treatment due the circumstances, and when he finally woke up, he entered a BSOD and started having hallucinations. Sometimes, a Level in Badass has too much of a price.
    • Gon had one during the dodgeball match of Greed Island. He also undergoes major setback after essentially using every ounce of his potential growth in nen all at once to demolish Neferpitou, resulting in turning the tables of the Curb-Stomp Battle in exchange for his future inability to use nen. It's not yet known exactly how permanent and thorough the damage is.
  • In THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls, Minami collapses from stress of being Cinderella Project's coordinator right as 346's big concert begins in episode 13. As a result, Ranko takes her place for Love Laika's segment.
  • In Innocent Venus, overuse of the mechas leads to side effects for the pilots... unless they're terrible people. This is due to the fact that they're Powered by a Forsaken Child, and those trapped souls aren't happy.
  • During the Ice Arc in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Shirogane ends up collapsing and taken to the hospital after going five days getting even less sleep than usual on top of the additional stress of Kaguya (Ice)'s constant mixed messages. Fortunately, it just takes a single night of proper rest to get him back to normal.
  • Kill la Kill:
    • A Kamui feeds on its user's blood in order to gain tremendous power. Early in the story, This severely limits how long Ryuko can fight when she fights with her Kamui, Senketsu, because the blood drain weakens her more the longer the fight goes on. As Ryuko and Senketsu become closer, however, their unity drastically reduces the amount of blood Senketsu needs to power up Ryuko, eventually rendering this problem moot.
    • Kamui are also vulnerable to the volatile nature of their wearers. When main character Ryuko lets her fury get the better of her fighting her father's killer, Senketsu can't control his urges to consume her and transforms itself — and her — into a mindless monstrosity. Only timely intervention from her best friend Mako keeps the main antagonist Satsuki from taking her head.
  • In the manhua adaptation of The King of Fighters XII, Kula Diamond is forced to unleash the full extent of her cryokinetic powers to try and put a stop to Magaki's rampage. This results in her freezing over half of the aircraft carrier they're currently on and Magaki being frozen within it, immobilizing him for a good while — and the sheer strain causes her to fall unconscious.
  • In Episode 11 of Love Live! School Idol Project, Honoka, having spent the last several days pushing herself so hard to practice that even Nico, who has high standards for school idols, expresses concern for her well-being. On the day of the culture festival, Honoka wakes up late and shows up late to school, feeling extremely sick. She manages one last burst of stamina to perform in the concert as planned with the rest of the group...and then right at the end of the song, she collapses, to the shock of her fellow idols and the crowd.
  • Happens to Nanoha between the second and third series of Lyrical Nanoha. The teachers in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS spend quite a bit of energy convincing the kids that no, consistently overdoing it is not good for you. This doesn't, however, stop Nanoha from upgrading her Device with the Blaster System, which greatly increases her power at the cost of damage both to her and her Device and is pretty much guaranteed to shorten her life. The other cast members are very, very adamant that under no circumstances must she use it. Of course, as soon as she's out of their line of sight...
  • Macross has this as a plot point in two consecutive series:
    • Macross Frontier: Sheryl suffers these repeatedly in the second half due to dying from her V-type infection. However, Ranka eventually manages to cure her by moving her infection away from her brain to her abdomen.
    • Macross Delta: Freyja begins suffering these as a result of overusing her Rune and burning up what remains of her lifespan. Eventually, in Absolute Live, Freyja suffers one too many of these and it kills her.
  • Mahoro in Mahoromatic has this as the principal reason for her leaving military service and becoming a super-powered maid. However, she is coerced into resuming 'full combat mode' at the end of the series, which — if used — will drain all her remaining power and end her life immediately.
  • In Megalo Box's semifinal episode, Yuri manually removes his own gear to fight Joe fairly, giving him a powerful autoimmune reaction that leaves him unable to sit or bend down, and then goes 14 rounds with his challenger while still recovering. After the match this strain leaves him permanently wheelchair-bound.
  • Mekakucity Actors: This is what killed Marry's mother, Shion. After promising to never use the power she inherited from her mother, Shion kept herself and her daughter Marry in seclusion, fearing attacks from the nearby human villagers. When Marry wandered outside and fell right into the hands of two men looking to capture the monster of the forest, Shion broke her promise and used her power to turn both of them to stone. Blood from the Mouth, You Can Barely Stand and death all followed in rapid succession. And the second man only turned to stone after his club had hit Marry, killing her, too.
  • This happens in Metropolis (2001). Tima goes Ax-Crazy after engaging the weapon of mass destruction in order to prevent the death of Keiichi. But she pretty much is destroyed at the end because the power is too much for her to handle.
  • In Muhyo and Roji, Muhyo typically has to sleep after using major magic laws, which take away from his body's tempering, but if he pushes himself too far and uses up all his tempering he goes into an unconscious state, and his life is endangered unless he gets rest or drinks tempering water (which can be poisonous).
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Many Quirks in have low-level RRODs built into them, running the risk of injury if over- or improperly used. These risks are often a direct result of the particular power. Gravity Master Uraraka experiences symptoms of vertigo. Kaminari short circuits his own brain and temporarily becomes a dullard if he unleashes his full Shock and Awe. Mineta, who can pull sticky balls from his body, will begin bleeding if he does too many at once. Yaoyorozu has The Power of Creation, but since she creates objects from her own body fat she can leave herself dangerously underweight if she uses it too much.
    • This is brought up in chapter 38, when Kirishima remarks that Bakugo and Todoroki seem to have no limits to their Quirks. Bakugo responds that every Quirk has limits since Quirks are just functions of the body. In Bakugo's case, his Quirk uses up his sweat and overuse can damage his arms from the recoil. Todoroki's limitation is that overusing his ice powers can cause frostbite if he doesn't regulate his body temperature with his flame powers. What happens if he overuses his fire isn't elaborated on, but it's implied to be just as bad if he doesn't regulate with his ice powers.
      • One of the reasons Endeavor, Todoroki's father from which he inherited his flame powers, married someone with an ice Quirk was in the hope the resulting child would have Todoroki's exact same Quirks and thus balance their side effects, thus not saddling him with his same weakness. It is also the reason why he stopped training his eldest son, Toya: while Toya's flame powers were prodigeous, he also inherited his mother's vulnerability to heat. This, unfortunately, led to tragedy when Toya nearly died from losing control over his flames, nearly incinerating himself. As the villain "Dabi", he still risks serious injury and death from overusing his flames, not only from his inherited weakness to heat, but from the damage his body incurred during his near-death experience.
    • Midoriya probably has it the worst, as his Quirk is too powerful for his own body to withstand, injuring him if he tries to use it. It is so extreme that he ends up permanently disfiguring his hand as well as coming dangerously close to permanently paralyzing his arms before he learns how to use only a fraction of One For All's power instead of running it only at 100%, and to spread this activation throughout his whole body instead of focusing it through one body part. He's since learned other ways to adapt to his quirk's power, such as adapting a fighting style based on kicking instead of punching (as the legs are stronger than the arms) or using tools made for him that help reduce the burden on his body or focus his attacks into more compact forms.
    • Yuga Aoyama has similar issues with his body's compatibility with his Quirk, and even tries to bond with Midoriya over it once he realizes the similarities. In Aoyama's case, he can fire a laser from his navel, but also suffers from Power Incontinence such that, without a special belt, the laser would constantly leak out of him. Overuse of his Navel Laser, or being too elaborate in its use, causes him to experience stomach problems, up to and including actual incontinence. When revealing their similar natures to Midoriya, he gets showy with the laser and soon after loses control of his bowels. Of course, Aoyama's case is Justified: it's not his quirk; All For One gave it to him, so of course his body isn't equipped to handle it.
  • Yoite in Nabari no Ou lives this trope. Using his Kira technique slowly kills him (by draining his chi/ki/lifeforce), and there are points in the series when he'll use it repeatedly until he is too weak to stand. Eventually it kills him, turning his relationship with Miharu into the ultimate Tragic Bromance.]]
  • Naruto:
    • In general, overusage of chakra has this effect. As chakra is essentially life-force, using too much can dip the user's reserves below the minimum that their body needs to function correctly, causing heavy exhaustion and even internal damage; Tsunade is actually rendered comatose after expending nearly all her chakra to shield the village's populace from Pain's city-flattening gravity attack. Kakashi explicitly states (at least in the English dub) that if you use up absolutely all of your chakra, you drop dead. It's theorized that Kimimaro and Itachi both died not from injuries, but as a result of draining their chakra to absolute zero. This is pretty rare, though, and both of them were already dying to begin with.
    • The Chakra Gates have this trope as the consequence of pushing the body beyond its limits. How much the body can actually take depends on the user, but opening all eight gates will absolutely bring death. Happened otherwise in the animé series fillers. When Might Guy opened all eight to fight Madara, his body began to literally disintegrate alive. Naruto saved him, but the Distant Finale shows that it's confined him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. For bonus points, opening the third gate actually turns the user's skin dark red due to increased blood flow. If a user opens the eighth gate, they're surrounded by a glowing red mist created by their blood boiling in their veins and their body actually cooks itself into charcoal due to the heat.
    • At higher stages of the tailed beast forms, the user's skin is flayed off by the strength of the chakra, but at the same time is healed fast enough that they aren't killed. Those that have befriended their inner demons can become the full beast without issue, though the lesser forms still present the skin problem.
    • Chouji's special food pills convert calories into chakra at an alarming rate. Chouji's girth is the only reason it isn't instantly fatal, and it would have been anyway if not for proper treatment.
    • Naruto developed the Wind Release/Wind Style: Rasenshuriken, an upgrade to the Rasengan that is vastly more powerful, but does cellular damage to his hand. Tsunade forbids him from using it, but eventually he fixes the problem by throwing it after he gained enough control of its form, so that only his enemy is hit.
    • Kakashi is made of this trope. At one point other characters are actually shocked when Kakashi doesn't have to go to the hospital after a fight. While he's Strong and Skilled, he's also got less stamina than most top-level ninja, and his best techniques all take a lot of energy to perform. For example, extended use of his Sharingan drains tremendous amounts of his own energy. Any time he reveals it, he's effectively racing against the clock to finish the fight before his collapse.
    • The Mangekyo Sharingan makes the user go blind eventually, while Susano'o causes severe physical harm to anyone without the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan.
    • The Cursed Seal did this to Sasuke pre-Time Skip, giving him enhanced physical abilities and greater chakra stores, but after only a short time of using it his body would be wracked with deliberating pain and he'd often collapse. Even after he evolved it to the second stage, his body still hadn't fully adapted to it the first time he used it and was why he intentionally ended his fight with Naruto with his strongest move before he could be overcome. He no longer had this issue post-Time Skip.
  • In Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, constant use of spoiler:his power erodes his body by the second.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Chao Linshen's red rings of death are actually magical runes engraved on her body which allow her to use powerful magic, but have a deadly strain on her body.
    • It's also later revealed that after learning magia erebea, Negi will experience similar effects. The problematic effects eventually manifest as a Superpowered Evil Side, and it's implied that the Magia Erebea is getting really unstable. When Negi pulls it out for the first time, he's clearly fatigued immediately afterward, despite not actually taking much damage. He very briefly activates it again later and, despite not actually using it for anything, he faints soon after it's deactivated.
    • Later, it turns out that he's being so weakened by it because it doesn't work well being used by humans. Since he's using it so much, it's literally converting him into a demon, and the conversion process is painful. It's implied that when he finishes transforming, the problem will end.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy's Second Gear and Third Gear, while kicking some serious ass, wreak havoc on his body. Second Gear shortens his lifespan and Third Gear causes a small period of recovery by turning Luffy into an adorable helium-voiced pint-size version of himself. Fourth Gear just straight up exhausts him to the point he'll flop to the ground completely unable to move for about ten minutes and, even if it doesn't do that, it disables his ability to use haki for that period of time. Fifth Gear/"Nika", which in return for making Luffy just shy of a Toon Physics using Physical God, comes with the most severe drawbacks yet. Nika lasts even shorter than Gear 4's (5 minutes compared to 10), and when it wears off it leaves Luffy so fatigued and drained of energy he looks physically shriveled up and like he's aged 50 years. Momonosuke also notes after his first deactivation fails that Luffy's "voice" fails, though how much of this is Gear 5th and how much of it was Luffy just almost dying remains to be seen.
    • Emporio Ivankov's Tension Hormones, which energize and relieve pain for a period of time at the cost of suffering all of it later. Consecutive usages of it are also very dangerous, as Luffy learns when he collapses at the climax of the Marineford arc when he's desperately trying to help Ace against Akainu, leaving him wide-open for Akainu's attack that the already injured Ace has to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to stop.
    • Sanji has a minor version where the strength of his blows can be too much for his body to withstand, at one point breaking his ribs from kicking someone. However, it takes a lot to get to this point.
    • Chopper's Rumble Ball:
      • The Rumble Ball enables Chopper to expand the powers of his Devil Fruit by affording him four additional transformation points. The problem is that its effects only last for three minutes, and he can't have more than one in six hours. If he takes two, he loses control, and if he takes three that's when this trope really takes effect. Three Rumble Balls within six hours causes his Devil Fruit powers to go crazy, changing him into a very big and very powerful monster. He also loses consciousness, resulting in a berserker that is a danger not only to foes, but to friends and himself. The form requires massive amounts of energy to maintain to the point that it threatens to kill him if it's used for too long. After he changes back to normal, he's incapable of moving for a couple of hours.
      • Played straighter after the Time Skip: eating a Rumble Ball enables him to access the aforementioned transformation, christened Monster Point, for three minutes. As soon as those three minutes are up, he changes back to normal and is rendered immobile for a short period.
    • Trafalgar Law's Op-Op Fruit powers are a rarity among Devil Fruits as they automatically drain his stamina just by basic use. He tries to avoid this trope by resting and not using his powers before a major confrontation, but it doesn't always work out. According to Donquixote Doflamingo, it's possible for the user of the Op-Op Fruit to give another person immortality, but doing so costs the user their life.
    • In the Wano arc, Zoro gains the Hungry Weapon Enma, which absorbs so much of the user's Haki that most who use it die, and the first time Zoro wields it, it drains his arm up to the shoulder into a mummified black husk. After mastering the blade and overpowering its willpower with his own, he can in a pinch willingly offer up enough Haki to cause these negatives in return for an attack that hits so hard it pretty much guarantees ending a fight, and even spooks Kaido so badly he chooses to dodge it instead of trying his luck, when he had otherwise just been tanking every attack thrown at him.
  • This is the result of firing the unlucky-numbered caster shells in quick succession in Outlaw Star. While firing two is survivable (though not recommended), a third shot is likely to kill the shooter as much as it is the target. Naturally, Gene fires all of them in the final battle and survives.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • In Fresh Pretty Cure!, Love, Miki and Buki end up pushing themselves so hard between schoolwork, dancing practice and being Cures that they end up passing out and being hospitalized.
    • In Suite Pretty Cure ♪, the Fairy Tones end up nearly killing themselves via this method — they accidentally lost some of the heroines' MacGuffins and, in between being their transformation and weapon summoners, they started searching high and low Kanon Town to find them again to the point where one fight had all seven of them collapsed on the ground. This forces the girls to get their Mid-Season Upgrade.
  • The Prince of Tennis likes this one a lot — the main character never suffers from it, but Tezuka does, and there's at least one minor character with a super special tennis move that will mess him up if he uses it too often. Then there's the character who winds up in the hospital for reasons unrelated to tennis, but even he works himself to the point of collapse on the courts before admitting (or finding out?) that there's anything wrong with him.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Sayaka goes too long without using Grief Seeds to cleanse her Soul Gem, and fights more and more recklessly while angsting over several things: losing Kyousuke to Hitomi, learning how much being a Magical Girl SUCKS and seeing her ideals crash down. Eventually she runs out of steam and turns into a witch.
    • Kyouko defends Madoka while she attempts to get through to Witch!Sayaka, but eventually she decides it's hopeless, stops fighting, and kills herself so that she and Sayaka can be Together in Death.
    • Homura is injured while fighting Walpurgisnacht and decides she can't reset the time-loop again, because that would just make Madoka's fate even worse. She gives up completely, and her Soul Gem starts turning black. Madoka shows up just in time to stop her, and everyone else, from becoming a witch.
    • In another timeline, Mami does this along with a Despair Event Horizon crossing when she learns that magical girls turn into witches... unless they die. She kills Kyouko, intending to Mercy Kill herself and all her friends. She hesitates when it's time to kill Homura and freezes up, allowing Madoka to Mercy Kill her before she gets her resolve back.
    • Madoka actually never does this, barring Super-Power Meltdown. She eventually becomes the symbol of defying this trope.
  • All over the place in Rave Master. Haru nearly kills himself in an early battle from using his explosion technique too many times, and again towards the halfway point when he tries to use the Sacrifar sword. Resha famously died from overusing her magic, and when Elie finally blasts the enemy with Etherion the combined stress of the choice to do so and the strain of her powers wipes her memory.
  • Rebuild World:
  • Chapter 46 of Rosario + Vampire Season 2 reveals a new technique for Ruby — A magical iron maiden themed armor that greatly boosts all her capabilities in exchange for putting massive strain on her body, to the point that it could potentially kill her.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Kyoto Arc Big Bad Social Darwinist Shishio Makoto can only exert himself for so long before the massive burns he suffered threaten to kill him. He over-exerts himself in the battle against Kenshin and spontaneously combusts, sparing Kenshin the difficult decision of whether or not to break his Thou Shalt Not Kill vow.
    • The main cast isn't immune to this. After the villainous example mentioned above, Kenshin himself collapses and his friends have to carry him away. Due to his lack of musclenote , Kenshin's body goes through serious stress when using Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu. The repeated overuse throughout the series inflicts hell upon him, and by the end of the series he is completely incapable of fighting at his old level. In a sense it is a concept of "the straw that broke the camel's back". Kenshin's style mastery was incomplete so he fought mostly with what he had. He usually showed no sign of slowing down before. However, once he learned the ultimate technique, a necessity for him to have any chance against Shishio, it all snowballed since it put a lot more strain on his body than any other technique.
    • Sanosuke's hands get broken whenever he uses Futae no Kiwami after the Kyoto arc.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Happens to Usagi twice in the manga: the first time was at the end of the Dark Kingdom arc when she gathers all the power she had to defeat Metallia, causing her broach to shatter and Usagi herself to fall over stone dead. The second time was in the fight with Chaos in the Galaxy Cauldron: she channels the power of hundreds, if not thousands, of Sailor Crystals within the Cauldron through her body to dissolve Chaos into the Cauldron, hopefully not to be reborn from a long long time. This act causes Usagi's body to totally disintegrate.
    • In the anime, this is a regular threat of using the full power of the Silver Crystal (though the Canadian dub cut any and all references to this). Queen Serenity died using the power of the Crystal to banish the Dark Kingdom and send her dead subjects to Earth to be reborn — at the cost of her own life, as she was not reborn with them. The first series ends with Sailor Moon doing the same thing and dying as well (though she and the others end up reborn anyway with no memories of the events that took place in the preceding year). The end of the Sailor Moon R anime has Chibi-Usa and Usagi using all of their power to save the Earth and nearly expiring together (and at one point, they meet in spiritual form and believe they have actually died from overuse of their powers.) The Sailor Moon R movie's big climax is Sailor Moon using the crystal's power to destroy the Xenian Flowers all over the meteor that would spread them to Earth. Despite her friends telling her she could die and their pooling their own power to try and prevent this consequence, the crystal shatters and Usagi dies to save the Earth. A remorseful Fiore gives up his own life force in the form of a flower to revive her.
    • This only happens until the the S Season. From then on this is no longer a death threat and by the time Usagi fully becomes Neo Queen Serenity, she can use it to heal the world and create Neo Tokyo without kicking it. Usagi still can be heavily drained if she uses an external source of power, like the Holy Grail
  • Slayers:
    • In Slayers Next Lina seems to go into shock after overcasting, getting just enough healing to overcast again, having both arms broken, then flung into a mountain with enough force to leave a crater. Somehow though she gets better with no further healing.
    • Casting the Giga Slave, meanwhile, turns her hair white and exhausts her. Fortunately, the first time was at the end of the novel, so it wasn't as big of a deal.
  • In SoltyRei, Integra Martel had the ability of Super-Speed, but she was limited to three uses before risking neurological damage. Against the Big Bad, she pulls out four before collapsing.
  • In Soul Eater, Black*Star had the Uncanny Blade that could devour his soul and puts a strain on his heart.
  • Played for laughs in Steel Angel Kurumi Encore. Kurumi decides to act like a Yamato Nadeshiko in an attempt to get Nakahito to start being romantic towards her. However, she does this to the point that even her Angel Heart can't take it anymore and she shuts down in the middle of making dinner. She comes to soon after and Nakahito tells her he likes her the way she is and she didn't have to push this sort of thing.
  • In Symphogear GX, the Gears of the newly-formed S.O.N.G are upgraded with a system called the IGNITE Module to power up their abilities and counter the Autoscorers. The trade off is that the IGNITE Module is directly based off of Gungnir's possession of Hibiki from the first two seasons, and one misstep can drive the user berserk.
  • In Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Letter Bees who fire their "Heart Guns", guns that fire bullets from their "hearts", become fatigued over time and need rest and food. If they fire their entire heart, they completely lose their personality and emotions.
  • Near the end of Tekkaman Blade, D-Boy uses the Blaster Mode so often that his mind gets completely screwed up. So much so, that he starts forgetting everything, ultimately ending with him forgetting everything else except his hatred towards Radam. He still won like that, but ended up in a coma.
  • In Tenchi Muyo! in Love, unleashing her powers as a Juaraian at full to help Tenchi fight off Kane ultimately shortens Achika's lifespan a great deal, causing her to die very young.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's Simon has this problem after Kamina dies. He suffers what appears to be a mixture of Heroic BSoD and Hair-Trigger Temper as his personality starkly changes from his usual timid self into a crazed Beastman killer, even going so far as to repeatedly stomp a felled Gunmen into the ground. His RROD moment comes as his anger peaks, causing his uncontrolled Spiral Energy to build up and overflow. Gurren Lagann starts literally puking it up. However, that's not Spiral Energy buildup, that's Spiral Energy being turned on itself... Self-loathing will do that when using a weapon that's powered by fighting spirit.
    • Furthermore, it's hinted that he's been like this for at least a week, fighting nonstop having neglected eating and sleeping. He doesn't look to be in good shape.
  • In Ten Yori Mo, Hoshi Yori Mo, this is what kills Mio and Shou in the end..
  • Happens two times in Tomorrow's Joe, due to the stresses and trauma the sport of boxing places on the body. The first time is with Rikishi, Joe's rival, who undergoes an extreme diet and training regiment in order to make bantamweight, resulting in a cerebral hemorrhage during his last fight with Joe. The second is with Joe, himself, who exhibits symptoms of "punch-drunkenness" (the boxing term for chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and blindness in one eye. At the end of the series, it's suggested that Joe died from sheer exhaustion after his final match.
  • The title character of Toriko unlocks this in the form of 'autophagy' which begins breaking down his body's own tissues for a complete reboot of his calorie reserves. However if he doesn't eat something soon, his body will essentially shut down as the 'creature inside him' eats him in his entirety.
  • At the end of Touch (1981), ace pitcher Tatsuya Uesugi is heavily implied to have a permanently injured shoulder due to overexerting himself during the final tournament.
  • Abel Nightroad of Trinity Blood suffers an abrupt one during his fight with Dietrich's Radu-puppet at the climax of the "Night Lords/Queen of the Night" arc. He tries to step up to 80% power...and completely collapses. Dietrich implies that it's a result of not feeding properly, but...
  • In Uma Musume, Horse Girls risk suffering breakdown during races in the same manner that Real Life horses do. Team Spica discusses the dangers of racing, and how a fall at top speed could be fatal. In Episode 7, Silence Suzuka runs faster than she's ever run before...breaking her leg in the process. While the Real Life incident the episode recreates resulted in the horse's death, the fictional Suzuka survives and is hospitalized.
  • In "Medusa", a chapter in Volume 1 of Uzumaki, Kirie's hair becomes contaminated by the Spiral and saps her energy to power itself. By the end, she can only stand up because it's physically lifting her unconscious body. After her hair is cut, she becomes conscious again, but looks half dead. The effects of this sort of "infection" can be fatal, and Kirie is lucky to survive.
  • It happens to wielders of Witchblades and Cloneblades in Witchblade. Reina tries to fight off Maria and reaches her limit, turning to dust, while Masane uses up all the strength left in her in the final battle, and meets the same fate.
  • Villainous example in Yu-Gi-Oh!, where Marik boasts that Sky Dragon Osiris' effect combined with his Five God Combo makes Osiris' power limitless. note  With some help from Kaiba, however, Yami realizes that Osiris does have a limit, set by the number of cards in the user's deck. He thus figures out how to turn this strategy against Marik, summoning Revival Jam from the Graveyard in an infinite loop, forcing his foe to draw cards again and again. While Osiris eventually climbs to an unheard of Attack Score of 28,000, his puppet loses via deck-out when he has no more to draw.
  • In Yuki Yuna is a Hero, Yuna is left in a comatose state for several weeks, as a result of over-straining herself in defeating the final Vertex in Episode 12.
  • YuYu Hakusho:
    • The signature move of Hiei is the Dragon of the Darkness Flame, which summons demonic energies in the form of a dragon made of black and purple flames. While technically not deadly, the only way to lure the Dragon of the Darkness Flame from whatever hell it is in is to use a piece of one's own soul as bait, although actually letting the Dragon have the soul is not required. Still, it is very dangerous — one false move, and the wielder is devoured by the dragon.
    • Yusuke's fight with Suzaku winds up draining all his spiritual energy, leading him to use his life energy instead. He manages to kill Suzaku, but the act of doing so nearly kills himself as well.
    • Kuwabara likewise implies utilizing this trope when fighting the final Team Masho member. Despite having several broken bones and barely being able to stand up (due to getting badly beaten in the last tournament round), Kuwabara notes that he'd be able to pull off one final attack against his opponent by drawing from his own life energy. This would surely kill him, but would also incapacitate his opponent Risho, giving Kuwabara's team the win. Fortunately, Yukina appears on the scene and Kuwabara (having a huge crush on her) suddenly gets an enormous self-esteem and power boost in an attempt to impress her. This leads to him taking out Risho handily without sacrificing himself, ultimately averting the trope.
    • Kurama:
      • Kurama goes through one notably nasty case during the Dark Tournament when he attempts to take out as many members of Team Masho as possible, due to him and Yusuke being the only available fighters at the time. In the first few fights he gets his powers sealed, is badly wounded and suffers a large amount of blood loss, and is forced to infect his own body with his demonic plants to win his next battle. As a result he winds up losing consciousness at the end while still standing perfectly upright, causing the corrupt tournament committee to rule him as still being eligible to fight. Uh oh.
      • Kurama has the ability to put all his remaining energy into one final attack to summon one of his demonic plants, and does so to try and kill Karasu during the Dark Tournament. Thanks to some recent transformations into Yoko Kurama increasing his strength, it makes him able to survive the act.
  • Played for Laughs in Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead. As Shizuka predicted, the heroes break down long before reaching the finish line of the 246 km Spartathalon Akira roped them all into joining as they didn't do any of the training required to complete it. They only finish because a zombie horde forces them to run for their lives with the exception of Akira, who hallucinates that Pheidippides is encouraging him to keep going.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • In Knightfall, this was Bane's key strategy in handing Batman a rare and devastating defeat: Releasing all the inmates of Arkham Asylum at once and letting him wear himself out trying to recapture all of them, then easily crumpling the exhausted superhero.
    • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Batman tricks the world into thinking this happened while he was battling Superman.
    • In Detective Comics (Rebirth), Batwoman invokes this as part of her training regimen. She pits her trainees against waves of Joker constructs for three hours to stress-test them, so she can analyze when and how they'll break in a full-on battle.
  • Daredevil: During Daredevil's first encounter with the Kingpin, he broke into Kingpin's vault which had the weight of the vault door as its only defense. It's worth noting that a teenage Spider-Man had previously struggled hard to open the very same vault and that this was back in the day when Kingpin was still a house-wrecking, Spider-Man-pummeling monster of a mobster. DD decided to give it a try and pulled beyond his breaking limit (much like the Real Life example below), using sheer willpower to pull until his limbs were literally about to come off. He got it open and when cornered by Kingpin himself, still managed to put up enough of a fight to hurt the big man... before running out of breath and being one-punched into oblivion.
  • The Incredible Hulk: A variation occurred with the Hulk himself at the climax of World War Hulk. The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets. He'd never been that mad before, and he got so strong he actually couldn't control it anymore. He actually asked the heroes to knock him down before he started, well, accidentally ripping the world apart.
    • The madder Red Hulk gets, the hotter he gets, until he overheats.
  • In a classic Iron Man story, back when his armor was also life support, Tony overrides his suit's Power Limiters to put all his power into one punch. A punch that knocks out the Hulk. He then proceeded to pass out from a heart attack.
    • This trope is a regular thing for Tony, especially pre-Extremis.
  • Mega Man (Archie Comics): Blues had a prolonged version of this as a result of his flawed power core. Mega Man itself experiences this after using two Mega Busters to destroy Ra Moon.
  • Spawn: The titular character has a limited amount of necroplasm in his body, which he needs to use his powers. If he uses it all, he gets sent back to Hell. It happened to him at least once. He got better.
  • Spider-Man: This is how Spider-Man first defeated Venom in The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #300. In a case of Hoist by His Own Petard, he realizes Eddie used up a lot of webbing to pin him to a bell. Knowing he was nowhere near rested, Spidey's able to knock Venom out of the belltower they were in and starts cutting the webline until the symbiote can't make anymore and Eddie hits the ground with a thud.
    • In the 2021 Spider-Man: Life Story annual, set in 2001, the now-elderly J Jonah Jameson, having finally realised that he was wrong to blame Spider-Man for his own failures, uses the Spider-Slayer armor left for him by Norman Osborn to put an end to the Scorpion once and for all. He successfully takes Mac Gargan down…and suffers a fatal heart attack soon afterwards.
  • Superman:
    • The Death of Superman:
      • This is what befell Superman, leading to his death. The comic just suggests that Superman was injured so badly he succumbed to his wounds, the novel to the story instead reveals that Superman lost so much solar energy in the fight, he pretty much went into "sleep mode", which could be considered death for the uninformed.
      • In the same storyline, the Justice League is struck with this, especially Booster Gold, who drains his suit dry trying to stop Doomsday, allowing the beast to beat him senseless and destroy his suit.
    • In the Post-Flashpoint universe, Superman and Supergirl discover a new ability named Super Flare. Revealed to be an extension of their heat vision (or more accurately, their heat vision being an extension of super flare), they are able to unleash every last bit of stored solar energy into a massive destructive burst. However, when Superman is rescued by Batman, Bruce tells him that doing so renders him powerless for 24 hours.
    • The Final Days of Superman: Actually doing this far too often (bathing in Apokoliptian firepits to restore his strength, using Kryptonite to destroy damaged cells and direct exposure to Rao's energy) renders permanent damage to Superman, and eventually ends up killing him.
    • Two earlier stories (both called The Last Days of Superman) did the exact same thing, with Superman trying to complete a bucket list while suffering an overexertion-induced RROD. See also All-Star Superman, an Ultimate Universe version of those stories, among other things.
    • In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Supergirl engages the Anti-Monitor and fights so hard that her physical body begins falling apart. Dr. Light guessed that, even if Kara had won, she would have died due to the extraordinary physical strain.
    • At the end of Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl's heart stopped working temporarily during her battle with Worldkiller-1.
  • Wonder Woman: Dead Earth: Diana lost control with her power limiting bracers off and fought Superman to the death after a nuke he redirected destroyed Themyscira. She faints afterwards, forgetting what happened and only waking centuries later.
  • X-Men:
    • A villainous example with The Living Diamond. After Xavier improvises a machine that keeps him from moving, Diamond chooses to try as hard as he can to move, until he shatters.
    • At the very beginning of The Dark Phoenix Saga, Banshee elects to stay in Scotland when the team returns home at the beginning of the story, due to injuries he received several issues prior from overexerting his mutant scream, leaving him powerless.
    • In Fatal Attractions, Wolverine having his adamantium ripped out of his body by an enraged Magneto taxes his healing factor to the limit. He feels useless without both the metal and his healing factor and disappears for awhile to recuperate.
    • All-New Wolverine: In issue 21 Laura, Gabby, Daken, Deadpool, and Logan go out into Roosevelt Island to help cure the people ravaged by The Plague. However, even with their healing factors, the disease can eventually overwhelm them. one by one, Gabby, Daken, Wade, and Logan have to drop out as they push themselves to the point their healing abilities are compromised. Laura pushes herself beyond those limits because of her drive to save as many people as she can. She begins Rapid Aging as her healing factor breaks down, and she eventually collapses into a desiccated husk.
    • In Exiles, Thunderbird (a version of John Proudstar who became Apocalypse's Horseman of War) rips a hole in Galactus's armor and shoves an anti-matter bomb inside, saving the day — as Galactus then runs away. As a consequence of his exertion, Thunderbird suffers a Heroic RRoD that sends him into a coma.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Godzilla fanfiction Abraxas (Hrodvitnon), San and Vivienne Graham — who have become a Two Beings, One Body Artificial Hybrid — suffer this when Vivienne overuses their bio-electricity powers in their Power Incontinent first form, effectively microwaving their partly-human internal organs and causing their chest cavity to explode. Their Healing Factor keeps them alive, but it's still devastating and not pretty.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Izuku's phasing ability comes at the cost of intense nausea and vertigo. He has to fight the urge to blow chunks every time he passes through a wall.
  • Burnin' in Ara Ara overclocks her Quirk during the USJ to the point that concrete is melting under her and Shigaraki's hand suffers fourth degree burns before he can even touch her. Right after the League of Villains retreats, her Quirk fails entirely and her flames go out, leaving her seemingly entering hypothermia.
  • It happens in As Twilight Falls every time Twilight uses Chaos Magic, especially after her fight with Calamity and confrontation with Celestia in chapter IX.
  • Dinah Alcott from Atonement gets headaches if she asks too many big questions. It's a limitation put on her power by the Entities.
  • Avatar of Victory; tapping into the full power of the Avatar State has the side effect of ripping the user's body apart from the strain. Shepard has done this to herself twice; once when beating down Morinth for tampering with her memories, and again when she rips apart a Phoenix task force after they kidnap her sister. Even Javik, who has had more time and practice to master the Avatar State, ends up pretty mangled when saving Shepard from Reapers.
  • Crossover story The Blade of the Void has Zero after the battle of Saxe-Gotha when he overloaded himself with runes of Gandalf.
  • BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant: Ragna unleashes every ounce of strength he has in trying to destroy Salem in Chapter 72, killing her over and over again for almost twelve hours straight. It does nothing to her and he collapses from sheer exhaustion after punching her in the face one last time.
  • Blood That Flows: Towards the end of the Red Arc, Nanoha gets stabbed while actively using her chaos powers. It's also why she survived, even if she was in a coma for months afterward while her body recovered.
  • In the Final Fantasy VII fanfic, Cissnei's Path, Aerith gains the ability to use magic without materia due to taking in the Ghost Memory of her ancestors. However, because she is unaccustomed to using them and the fact that they have a higher toll, she ends up on the verge of having a stroke.
  • The Butcher Bird:
    • Grigori Vinci does this to himself a lot, partially because he can survive it if it doesn't kill him outright, and partially because his opponents are typically winners of the Superpower Lottery. Most notable is Third Gear, which inflicts bodily harm whenever used by design.
    • Yoshimura Kaneki has a similar problem with his [[Kaiju kakuja form.]] While enormously powerful, it taxes his 'reserves' of C-cells to such a degree that using it at full power reduced him to essentially a charred husk for a significant length of time due to overtaxing his metabolism.
  • Marinette frequently works herself to the point of exhaustion in Cheshire (Miraculous Ladybug). She tends to collapse into bed after fights and her Kwamis frequently encourage her to rest more.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • This frequently happens to Harry. Partly because his enemies are usually a great deal stronger than he is and he's forced to push himself to his limits and beyond, partly because his stamina is a work in progress (and he's still adjusting to his changing limits), and partly because he outright ignores said limits for the sake of protecting other people. As a result, he often ends arcs in figurative and sometimes literal tatters, unable to stand.
    • The Death Curse from The Dresden Files is also an option, with Harry Dresden using his to create vast blast of fire that shoots about five hundred feet in the air and blasts Gravemoss into the North Sea. From Paris. Remarkably, thanks to Doctor Strange, he actually survives the experience.
  • Daily Equestria Life with Monster Girl has the Second Breath, in which a centuar uses all four of their lungs at once, hyper-oxygenating the blood and flooding the system with adrenaline. This amplifies a centaur's already-impressive physical capabilities, but even a centaur's body can't sustain that level of exertion for long. Short bursts simply leave the user utterly exhausted when the Second Breath is released, while holding it for longer can lead to unconsciousness or death when the surge runs out.
  • Empathy: During the Final Battle, Riley overpowers her empathic abilities in order to hit the Gorg with a massive psychic attack. This gives her a Psychic Nosebleed and causes her to fall unconscious.
  • Fallout: Equestria: Unicorns who overuse their magic can suffer from burnout, where they cripple themselves and remain unable to use their magic at all for several days. It's normally pretty rare, as it takes a lot of overuse to cause it. More than pulling a muscle, it's like punching so hard you break your whole arm. Of course, it happens to Littlepip multiple times throughout the story. Between a propensity for danger and the fact that her only spell is basic telekinesis (meaning when she runs out of guns her only option is "throw something heavy at the enemy"), she tends to lose access to her magic at the worst of times.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Patchouli experiences this when she loses her temper and throws Reimu at Megas's head in a desperate attempt to keep from traveling with Coop again. Since Patchouli's a chronically ill Squishy Wizard with little in the way of physical strength, the act of doing so effectively wrecks her arms and leaves her unable to speak coherently for several minutes, likely due to sheer pain.
  • Guys Being Dudes: Spark experiences intense pain and passes out after his Big Damn Heroes moment rescuing Arlo from the falling Abandoned Playground, until Shaymin heals him.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl pushes herself so hard during her final battle with her evil counterpart that her bleeding, broken body starts falling apart afterward. She was barely saved thanks to the Legion of Super-Heroes finding her and providing magic healing.
  • In Your Wildest Dreams: After he wakes up from Amber's dying dream, Jaune's given a room to himself so he can grieve in private. Instead of doing that, he proceeds to use his Dream Walker ability to go through dozens of dreams in order to hunt for her killer by appearing as Amber and looking for a reaction. Doing this so many times drains his Aura completely, causing the power to start drawing from the vital foundation of his soul instead, sending him into cardiac arrest. He's quickly found and stabilized, but he's still left in coma for several days afterwards.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Kara almost rips herself apart while battling Faora Hu-Ul.
  • In Karma in Retrograde, Touya's volatile fire Quirk would always burn him if he overused it. His sister Fuyumi used to treat his burns after his training sessions with Endeavor and he later tried doing it to himself while training at U.A. Recovery Girl was the only reason his arms weren't heavily scarred until he dropped out, after which he let his fire heavily scar him, making him nearly unrecognizable as the villain Dabi.
  • Making Rainbows Bloom: Between studying to maintain her scholarship, her training and practice as a school idol, and working to support herself and her younger sister Haruka, Kanata Konoe barely has time to rest even with the naps she tries to squeeze in. In chapter 8, this culminates in her collapsing from exhaustion during a track exercise with her fellow idols, requiring her to be taken to the school's medical center.
  • Moving Forward: The events of "Desperada" are shown here to cause a greater toil on Adrien than shown in canon. Going through 25,913 Second Chances as Aspik meant the equivalent of months without eating, drinking, or sleep. Even after the Miraculous Cure heals his physical strains, the months of sleep deprivation causes him to collapse, requiring him to be brought to a hospital.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, the event (Mass Teleportation) which caused the RRoD marks the beginning of the person's Heel–Face Turn, but also nearly costs them their life.
  • Princess of the Blacks: Instead of using a magical core to fuel her spells like other wizards, Jen channels the ambient energy of Earth itself. While this gives her theoretically infinite power, if she channels more than the tiniest fraction of that energy at once she will vaporize herself. In the final battle against Voldemort, Jen pulls a Taking You with Me by grabbing Voldemort's leg and channeling as much power at once as possible.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: Overchanneling, when a unicorn uses up far too much magic in one go and knocks themselves out. Trixie describes it as being like getting your blood drained after running a marathon. If the subject isn't treated with ether quickly, they might slip into a permanent coma. Lyra goes into one during Longest Night, Longest Day, and Trixie gets her own at the beginning of Crisis on Two Equestrias.
  • In Risk It All, using Flash Step in rapid succession makes Ren's ankles ache. In addition, using his skills in rapid succession wears him out. A 40-second firefight where he uses Flash Step and Soul-Crushing Strike repeatedly leaves him winded and gulping for air.
  • In the Danny Phantom/Beetlejuice crossover, Say It Thrice, it turns out that it isn't wise for Betelgeuse to use the ghost portal in Danny's basement rather than getting out the normal way. In fact, keeping it up too long apparently runs the high risk of him suffering Cessation of Existence.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: Lost in Gotham: On his second day in Gotham, Peter Parker witnesses the Joker remotely destroy part of an elevated monorail track, spelling doom for the train and everyone aboard. Spider-Man stops the monorail (doing the same thing that Sam Raimi's Spider-Man did, minus the weird faces), but doing so leaves him completely exhausted and with a severely strained back. After he passes out, Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin, and the Signal kidnap him and take him to the Bat Cave to treat his injuries.
  • This Bites!:
    • Carue breaks every bone in his legs after breaking the sound barrier and knocking Funkfreed out in one kick.
    • Conis ends up dislocating her shoulder after one use of Wiper's Reject Dial.
    • Overusing her newfound Compelling Voice ends up disabling Vivi herself.
  • In Travels of the Trifecta, after the first battle against Candice in Snowpoint Gym, Paul vomits up blood, faints, and almost dies from the combination of his illness and the physical strain of his trek through the most brutal parts of Route 216-217. This incident finally forces him to acknowledge his own illness and general physical limitations.
  • The Twilight Child: During the wedding arc, Shining Armor knocks himself unconscious rather than attack Cadence while Brainwashed and Crazy. All attempts to wake him fail utterly until the main character points out that with an upcoming wedding, Shining probably hasn't been sleeping well. He's not unconscious, he is in fact sound asleep.
  • Us and Them: In their efforts to stop Jenova from summoning Meteor, Aeris contracts Id's Death, the disease that nearly wiped out the ancient Cetra. While it is treatable, the Planet insists on her being the one to control WEAPON and summon the Lifestream, which taxes her to the point that the disease overwhelms her. Fortunately, she's brought to a hospital where she's able to be revived and eventually recovers.
  • War and Peace in Mind: Warren ends up with this after using his Healing Hands to heal an entire battleground of dying heroes and villains. His body is an emaciated wreck after it, and he is unconscious for two weeks.
  • What You Already Know series: Daniel Jackson hits this on a few occasions as he explores his new psychic abilities due to the resulting strain they put on his brain, ranging from falling into a short coma the first time he blows up an Al'Kesh to nearly passing out after he has to hold up a Stargate, also falling into a coma for a few hours when he tries to hold Anubis back from taking him as a host.
  • Fate/Gamers Only: The strain of Rikku summoning a Servant without support from Chaldea or the Grail near the end of Septem results in her blacking out.
  • In her attempts at maintaining her Stepford Smiler facade, Isabela in El Encanto A Travez de mis Flores ends up overworking herself and developing bruises all along her body in using her Green Thumb powers.
  • Heroes In Forgone Dreams: During the fight with Genesis Elfilis, Zan winds up overexerting herself and passes out.

    Film — Animation 
  • Downplayed in The Incredibles. Violet is shown passing out when her force field is hit by the full weight of the giant Omnidroid. However, she recovers quickly and assures her mother that she's fine. She is able to participate in the remainder of the fight.
  • Cars 3: McQueen's crash counts as this since seconds before his tire blows out, you can hear him breathing heavily while he's struggling to catch up to Storm.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Amadeus, a disguised Salieri contracts Mozart to write the Requiem Mass in D Minor, and then pushes him to work without pause until he collapses and dies, leaving the Mass unfinished. In real life, overwork is believed to be one contributing factor to Mozart's death, though not the only one (the main cause is thought to be rheumatic fever), and Salieri had nothing to do with it.
  • Assassin's Creed (2016): After Aguilar performs a Leap of Faith, Callum goes into a seizure, foaming at the mouth and being paralyzed for days before he can walk again.
  • By the last 30 minutes of Brick, Brendan has been the victim of so many beatdowns and had so little sleep or food that he's barely able to stand and can't go more than a minute without coughing up blood. It's not pretty. Every second or third line of dialogue from the other characters is something along the lines of "Dude, go to the hospital, now."
  • in The Core, the Virgil's builder has to go out in the 9000-degree heat and engage the automatic-separation manual override — in a suit designed to withstand only half that temperature. His body is visibly breaking down by the time he makes it to the switch.
  • Churchill gives himself a heart attack with the amount of work he does in Into the Storm (2009).
  • In Iron Man Tony Stark fights Obadiah Stane on the roof of Stark Industries with 2% power left on the electromagnet that keeps him alive. He orders Pepper to overload the arc reactor directly beneath him, even though he's still within its path. The electricity blows up the Iron Monger and overloads Tony's own arc reactor, leaving him lying on the ground unconscious... only for the residual energy to cycle back up the arc reactor keeping him alive.
    • Tony is also bordering on this all through the second movie as a plot point since the same energy source that keeps him alive is also slowly poisoning him.
    • Finally comes to a head in Avengers: Endgame when Tony secures all six Infinity Stones to his armor then uses their power to eradicate Thanos and his army. Being a mere human, Tony's body can't handle the strain and eventually he succumbs once and for all.
  • The Love Bug: Happens towards the end of the El Dorado race. After a nasty fall, Tennessee hears some creaking, before he realizes that Herbie's beginning to fall apart. He tries welding him together, but it doesn't work out and Herbie starts splitting into two. However, Thorndyke's car is gaining up on them and Herbie doesn't want to lose the lead, so he freezes the brakes to prevent Jim from trying to pull over.
  • In Star Wars: The Last Jedi this is how Luke dies. Having cut himself off from the Force for years he then projects an illusion of himself across the galaxy to where the Resistance is making its Last Stand. He scares Kylo Ren into wasting time trying to kill him first by making him order entire army to waste ungodly amounts of firepower on trying to obliterate him and then by luring him into a lightsaber duel whilst the survivors escape on the Millennium Falcon. Once he's sure they've gotten away he lets Kylo in on the trick and lets go of the illusion. He's put so much strain on himself by this point though that he immediately collapses and his body discorporates, merging with the force.

  • American folk hero John Henry raced a steam-powered hammerer to bore a tunnel, armed with only his own muscles and a sledgehammer (sometimes two sledgehammers, depending on the version.) He beat the machine, only to fall down dead.
  • According to Norse Mythology, upon the coming of Ragnarok, Thor will do battle with Jormungandr, the World Serpent. Thor will emerge victorious, take nine steps, and then collapse from the serpent's venom and die.

  • The Beginning After the End: It is noted that overexertion of one's mana core can cause severe if not outright fatal injuries.
    • At the climax of Volume 7, Arthur is forced to fight a losing battle against not only the Alacryan army but also two Scythes: Cadell - the one responsible for killing his Parental Substitute, the dragon Sylvia - and Nico - his former boyhood friend in both his past life and his current one, having been the true identity of Elijah Knight. In order to buy time for the rest of the Dicathians - including Tessia - to escape, Arthur is forced to overexert his not only his mana core but also his Beast Will, in the process slowly tearing his body apart. It takes a Heroic Sacrifice from his bond Sylvie to not only spirit him away to safety, but to keep his body together. In the aftermath, Arthur not only finds out his mana core has been damaged beyond recovery, but that to restore his body Sylvie had sacrificed her own physical form which has made his body part dragon.
    • At the end of Volume 9, Arthur's fellow Lance Aya Grephin is forced to empty her own mana core in order to create convincing enough illusions to fool the Asura who had been sent to exterminate the Dicathian resistance into thinking he had killed off the remaining Lances. Her gambit succeeds in delaying him long enough for Arthur to return and kill said Asura, but at the cost of her life.
  • In Belgariad, it's possible for sorcerers to strain their powers to the point where they can suffer permanent damage, or even die from depleting their bodies' will to stay alive. This comes very close to happening to both Belgarath and Polgara at different points.
  • Jaenelle Angelline, in the Black Jewels trilogy, when trapped in a village with Lucivar, villagers, and insufficient supplies. Her power begins to consume her body as it is used. Afterward, she can barely walk under her own power.
  • In Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords the sword Townsaver essentially forces its wielder into RROD. You can't succumb to your wounds during the fight, but the sword doesn't help you avoid fatal wounds. Once the fight is done, so are you.
    • Something similar happens with Shieldbreaker when its wielder is faced with unarmed opponents. The user can't put the sword down and, eventually, has their life energy drained. This is something that can even affect a god.
  • In the original Stephen King novel Carrie, Carrie died after her final vengeance upon Chris Hargensen and Billy Nolan caused her heart to give out through overdoing the use of her power (having been stabbed by her mother really didn't help, either). She's not really heroic, though..
    • Andy McGee in Firestarter does this, pushing his Mind Control power further and further until eventually, he gets a brain aneurysm.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, after fighting and getting seriously pounded by a Grey Angel, Karyl decides that he's perfectly capable of moving about on his own and needs no medical attention. A day of his regular level of activity later, when he's asked to kneel, he instead falls flat on his face and faints.
  • Harry Dresden mentions in one of the early books that overdoing magic could essentially burn out your brain and render you unable to use magic again. Harry being Harry, this happens to him more or less Once an Episode, and many books end with him barely able to stand under his own power.
    • It's also possible for mages to do this intentionally by drawing on all of their life force, and all the available energy around them, to fuel one really powerful, final spell, specifically referred to as a death curse.
    • After Small Favor, Harry was given access to Soulfire, a heavenly force of creation that he can use to augment his magic. The catch is that it's powered by his actual soul — not in an irrevocable sense, his soul will naturally recover between uses — but if he uses it too much at once, he'll burn his soul out and die. Without a soul. Even the resident Exposition Expert has no idea what will happen to Harry if he dies without a soul.
    • Harry also comes to conclude that the power of the Winter Knight is to essentially allow someone to ignore the usual consequences for acting at their full physical potential, so the Knight won't feel pain as they push themselves past their body's breaking point. This presumably would allow the Winter Queen to dispose of an unruly Knight while they're weakened after a fight.
  • Dr. Greta Helsing: Downplayed in the third book when the vampire Grisaille suffers debilitating migraines after overusing his Hypnotic Eyes during a heist. It's bad enough that his friends take him to a doctor, but he suffers no long-term harm.
  • Eisenhorn keeps pushing himself far beyond the limits of human endurance to chase down and destroy the enemies of mankind, generally without giving himself nearly enough time to rest in between. Today his facial muscles have been destroyed, his legs have been replaced with crude augmentic units, and he's killed or driven off all of his allies except for Cherubael, all through his utter refusal to compromise or stop fighting.
  • The Emperor's Gift: Hyperion falls unconscious shortly after using all his full psychic might to shatter Angron's sword at Armageddon. Even after he wakes up, Hyperion still suffers from the after effects of using so much power, passing out again while using his abilities to search for his squad amidst the mountains of corpses from the fight, before starting to black out once more after returning to the Karabela where the crew have to lock him in stasis for four months so that he would survive long enough to get proper treatment.
  • One of Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories the villain fights the lightning-quick Mouser to a standstill for a while. When defeated the tremendous overstrain caused the villain's corpse to go into immediate rigor mortis.
  • During the climactic space battle in Larry Niven's Footfall, construction worker-turned-spacecraft-repairman Harry Reddington stays to fix a leaking steam shunt despite the fact that the steam escaping around him is raising his body's internal temperatures up above the point at which the human brain shuts down. He gets the job done, and manages to die shortly thereafter from exhaustion, just before a leak in his pressure suit would have killed him anyway.
  • Happens to the titular character in Gentleman Bastard: The Lies Of Locke Lamora. When he regains consciousness two days later and tries to get right up, the doctor explains it to him in no uncertain terms.
    You simply collapsed, sir. In layman’s terms, your body revoked its permission for you to continue heaping abuse upon it.
  • In Hammerjack, Zoe uses her speedtec to move at superhuman speed, pushing herself so hard that the heat eventually causes her body to literally melt.
  • Robert A. Heinlein:
    • In Have Space Suit – Will Travel, Kip damages himself so badly trying to set up the homing beacon on Pluto that it takes the Vegans (folks from Vega, not folks that eschew animal-based products) months to rebuild his body.
    • In The Long Watch, Ezra Dahlquist, a young nuclear weapons officer, foils a military coup by disassembling the nuclear weapons and smashing the warheads. In doing so he suffers a lethal dose of radiation. He is given a lead casket and a Geiger counter "that never was quiet."
    • In Heinlein's The Green Hills of Earth, the poet Rhysling makes critical repairs to a nuclear core, but sustains fatal radiation poisoning. He composes the eponymous song as he dies.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, Mages and those using Gifts run the risk of overexerting themselves and going into "backlash shock". This can sometimes be done deliberately as a form of Cast from Hit Points; taken to the ultimate conclusion it's known as a Final Strike because it's final for the mage attempting it. One example is in the second book of the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy, where Vanyel has just come back doing the work of five lesser mages in a war zone for a year and is understandable on the verge of collapse. For about half the book, the traditional greeting for people seeing him is "You look like hell".
  • Journey to Chaos: During the events of A Mage's Power, Eric is a novice mage and novice mages should not attempt intermediate or advanced spells. The results are nasty. After maintaining an elemental fusion spell for a prolonged period of time, he starts going nuts and had to be knocked out for his own safety. He was unconscious for a full day and couldn't manage any spells for a week. He didn't return to full strength until Dengel treated the damage he did to himself.
  • In The League of Peoples 'Verse, Myoko burns out her telekinetic powers lifting up a jolly-boat and hurling it onto the shore. She dies minutes later.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Rana pushed her Shock and Awe powers so hard to power Final Shield that she was bleeding from orifices and fell into a coma.
  • The Machineries of Empire story The Battle of Candle Arc starts shortly after Jedao has been wounded in an assassination attempt, but he refuses to sleep or go see a medic. When he meets up with his XO a few hours later, he can't even stand up to welcome her, and his vision is blurred so much, he has to ask people to tell him what's on display screens. His subordinates end up convincing him to go get some help.
  • In Mistborn, a magical ability that sharpens the senses can also sharpen thoughts. The idea is that increased input shocks a faltering mind into full orientation and awareness. This can be combined with other magical abilities in any number of clever ways, all of which hinge on being able to brutalize oneself and stave off passing out from the strain.
    • The final Mistborn novel has a strange inversion, in that a destructive superhuman feat depends on the sudden loss of an ability. A character who's been using the sense-sharpening power the way most people breathe turns it off and runs into a burning building. The narrative goes on about the way "everything is cold, dull, and distant, and blast it, my hands stopped working and I can't work this handle, let's try the elbows..."
  • This happens to Mau in Nation after saving Ataba from drowning and facing down a shark. Daphne has to follow him into the realm of Locaha to bring him back and save his life.
  • In the New Jedi Order book Star By Star, Anakin Solo dies of this.
    • In an earlier book, Luke Skywalker defeats a Yuuzhan Vong war-beast by redirecting the point singularity it uses for defense, essentially causing the creature to suck itself into a black hole. However, he nearly passes out from the strain of using his Force powers in such a bizarre and difficult way — not good, since he's flying an X-wing at the time. Kyp Durron uses the same technique in Rebel Dream to destroy a Corvette and isn't nearly as badly hit, but he is still bone-weary by the time he lands.
    • During the events of the book Darksaber, Jedi trainee Dorsk 81 uses himself as a conduit for the Force powers of all the others and Force pushes seventeen Imperial Star Destroyers out of the Yavin system. The power surge cooks him from the inside.
    • Villainous example: Palpatine in Dark Empire.
  • In Brazilian novel A Droga da Obediência (The Obedience Drug), one of the teen test subjects of the eponymous drug dies after doing much work and exercise (the drug doesn't let him feel exhausted, but the body doesn't think that way...).
  • In the Percy Jackson series, children of the Big Three are more powerful than most so they can use stronger attacks. Percy at one point uses water from his own body to defeat a group of enemies. Afterward, he was very dehydrated and spent a few weeks recovering.
    • There's another time when he taps into Poseidon's earthquake abilities inside Mt. St. Helens and nearly causes it to erupt but he begins to break the seal on Typhon. The drain on him is so strong he slips into a coma.
    • Nico Di Angelo, another child of the Big Three, deals with frequent exhaustion because his powers are inherited from Hades and put a huge strain on his mortal body. If he really pushes it, he starts to flicker like a ghost and runs the risk of permanently fading. We find this out in The Heroes of Olympus when he tries to Shadow Travel across the Atlantic with two passengers and the Athena Parthenos.
    • Apparently, this is a common risk with anyone who bears the Curse of Achilles. You're more powerful and resilient in battle(barring a single weak spot that is a necessity for the curse to work), but it's basically accomplished by cranking your body up; fight too hard for too long, and you're more likely to drop from exhaustion than a normal human or half-blood.
  • In the Rivers of London series, the first sign of overdoing magic is dropping dead with your brain dried out. This is the main reason why magic isn't more common as a hobby.
  • Ida of Shaman of the Undead spends the first half of book two in this state, because she can't sleep and she just has to keep on drawing creepy pictures and cook, mostly because of her connections to dead painter and terrifying lord of demons.
  • In The Spirit Thief:
    • Happens disturbingly often to Josef, despite the fact that his Awakened sword is capable of keeping him together despite wounds and blood loss, as well as dull his pain. While this turns him into a Mighty Glacier in combat, he has to pay the price, after all, is said and done — and, in two cases, in the middle of a fight, as even the Heart of War has its limits.
    • Nico reaches this point in the fourth book during her fight with Den the Warlord. She lets loose with her powers and manages to win, but the Body Horror this forces her body to go through puts her out of commission for the rest of the book.
  • Confessors from The Sword of Truth have the so-called Con Dar (Blood Rage), an Explosive Overclocking mode which can only be invoked only on behalf of another. Their Mind Control powers no longer need time to get recharged, they require no sleep, feel no pain, can throw around lightning... very few survive once they are done.
  • John Buchan's first three Richard Hannay novels, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle, and Mr. Standfast, each have a sequence where Hannay's exertions catch up with him and he is bedbound for several days with a relapse of the malaria he caught in his Africa days. The fourth, The Three Hostages, has a bit where he thinks he's going to have another relapse but it turns out to just be nervous stress, but it gives him the idea to pretend he has had a relapse and sneak around uncovering part of the villain's plan while the villain thinks he's safely tucked up in bed.
  • In the Towers Trilogy, Xhea suffers from one. At the climax of Radiant, she draws so deeply on her dark magic that she feels something inside herself break. Over the course of Defiant, the nature of the damage is revealed: she broke a Power Limiter her mother placed on her to suppress her dark magic and keep it from killing her.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Miles Vorkosigan's seizure disorder. Technically, it's a sort of epilepsy due to neurotransmitters instead of electrical impulses, a relic of his cryofreezing...but really, it's his body's payback for what he did to it for thirteen years. Not that he let up afterward...
  • Wencit of Rum is the only White Wizard left in the WarGod series because setting up The Strifing killed, drove insane, or drew out all the powers of every other remaining wizard. Wencit survived only because he's a once-in-a-thousand-years Wild Wizard who's not dependent on his own magical powers.
  • In The Wheel of Time, every magic-user (or "channeler") has a specific limit to the amount of the One Power they can draw at any time, though there are special artifacts called angreal which can raise that limit, and most include a buffer to prevent the user from taking too much. Going over the limit has unfortunate effects on the user's body depending on the degree of severity: from a one-day coma, to permanent loss of one's power, to death. Although this factor is described in the first book and shown in the prologue, it isn't seen in the main plot until the last: when Egwene engages in an epic Beam-O-War with a dangerous baddie, she eventually draws enough power to kill him and his cohort, at the cost of causing her own body to disintegrate.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 24, Jack Bauer is usually on the verge of a complete physical breakdown by end of the season, as a result of the punishment he's endured and from simply going at least twenty-four hours without sleeping, drinking, eating or using the bathroom. Being the Determinator, it (usually) doesn't stop him from laying the smackdown on terrorists. Notable examples:
    • Day 2, where Jack is having heart attacks in the final hours as a result of being tortured earlier in the day.
    • Day 7, where Jack is exposed to a fast-acting bioweapon and spends the remainder of the day showing more and more symptoms: shakes, memory loss, collapsing in the middle of FBI headquarters...
  • During her time as Quake, having left S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy Johnson of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. refuses to wear the metal gauntlets designed to help her focus her earthquake powers. The gauntlets were also designed to protect her bones, and she's been overusing her powers; this means that throughout early Season 4, she's been gradually breaking her arms. Not even her abuse of Rapid Bone-Healing Pills has helped, and by the fourth episode, even a weak shockwave is excruciating, to say nothing of the move resulting in the page quote. During the fifth episode, she's expressly forbidden from using her powers due to the risk of her shattering her entire skeleton.
  • The combat robot HyperShock in BattleBots is perpetually in this mode during a match. HyperShock is blindingly fast and maneuverable, able to run circles against most other robots. However, its mechanisms are so strained while doing this that HyperShock rapidly destroys itself from the inside and will become inoperable long before the 3 minutes of a match are up. This is a known weakness of it; builder Will Bales always seeks to defeat the opponents before that can happen and is ready to make repairs on HyperShock to get it back to full working order before its next scheduled match.
  • In Chuck, prolonged use of Intersect 2.0 without the Governor to manage it will eventually fry the user's brain. Chuck spends most of the third season finale enduring incredibly painful and eventually debilitating (and potentially fatal) overloads every time he flashes. The sabotaged Intersect Morgan uploads at the end of Season 4 begins to destroy his memory, and Quinn uses the government's own malfunctioning incomplete Intersect Sarah uploads in Season 5 to intentionally destroy her memory. The process is shown to be incredibly painful.
  • When the First Doctor regenerated into the Second on Doctor Who, it was directly stated to be a physical breakdown. In the past few adventures, he'd been: aged by the Time Destructor, vanished by the Celestial Toymaker, had his life energy drained, been in the same time and city as a future incarnation, and suffered in a planetary energy drain.
    • The Ninth Doctor became the Tenth by taking the energy of the Time Vortex out of Rose, which began killing every cell in his body.
    • The Tenth Doctor became the Eleventh the same way the Third had become the Fourth, by absorbing a critical amount of radiation.
    • Donna's exit can also be considered this. Donna absorbed the Doctor's intelligence and saved the multiverse. Afterward, however, the extreme amount of information started to kill her because it was too much for her human brain. In order to save her, he had to erase all of her memories of him so that the information would remain locked away.
    • The Twelfth Doctor reaches this point in "Heaven Sent" (1,460,000,000,00ish times!), first by repeatedly punching a wall four hundred times harder than diamond, presumably pulping his hand, and then being so badly damaged by the Veil that he cannot regenerate, and must stagger and crawl for another day and a half as he's dying, finally attaching himself to the teleport and just barely able to write four letters in the ashes before he finally disintegrates to ashes himself.
  • Why Hiro is dying in Heroes.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Phillip in Kamen Rider Double suffers something of the sort in the last arc, since he's actually a mass of data that, in the previous arc, was infused into Wakana. After being forcefully extracted, he begins an irreversible defragmentation/disappearing process that would hasten to its end the next time he becomes Double. They use this overflow of emotion and data to its advantage to effectively defeat the Utopia dopant. Cue farewell.
    • The single color Medal Combos in Kamen Rider OOO cause Eiji to collapse due to the stress they place on his body. As the series goes on he's slowly getting used to it but a Combo still leaves him exhausted and unable to fight effectively for a period afterward.
    • In the Kamen Rider Fourze movie, "Everybody, It's Space Time!", Gentarou ends up shoving the massive orbiting weapon satellite/giant robot XVII through one of his wormholes in Cosmic States form. However, the strain of doing so ends up blowing out all of his Switches and weakening Gen even further (already having been pummeled by the other Space Ironmen).
    • In Kamen Rider Revice Kadota Hiromi, AKA Kamen Rider Demons, began suffering from bouts of fatigue and coughing fits after prolonged used of his transformation device, the Demons Driver. It's later revealed the device houses an actual demon inside it that drains Hiromi of his life force, causing his body to deteriorate to the level of an 80-year old.
  • In Lois & Clark, Superman stops a space station from falling out of orbit, which he later describes as the heaviest thing he has ever lifted. He returns to Earth with over-strained muscles and is in pain for a short time.
  • In Roswell, Max is forced to make an old man young again, since he's a "healer". Since Valenti's life is on the balance, he does it, but in the process, he ages and destroys his own body. He also faints at a hospital after healing five kids from cancer. After the first one, he seems okay, but by the last one, he can barely stand, has tunnel vision, and is sweating. Hence the fainting.
  • In an episode of Stargate SG-1, an Ancient woman (dubbed Ayiana, Cherokee for "eternal bloom") is recovered in the Antarctic and thawed out. She awakens but is unable to speak (although she seems to understand English just fine despite being frozen for half a million years). As it turns out, she's slowly dying of the same plague that wiped out most of the Ancients hundreds of thousands of years ago, and the people on the research station begin to contract the disease. In order to save them, Ayiana uses her healing powers, but each use drains her and leaves her less capable of fighting the disease in her own body. Eventually, she chooses to save the rest of the humans on the station but then succumbs to the plague and dies.
  • Super Sentai/Power Rangers:
    • In Engine Sentai Go-onger, three Engines in The Movie use the last of their power to defeat the Big Bad who'd been misusing their Engine bodies while they'd been trapped in human form.
    • In Tokumei Sentai Go Busters, Blue Buster Ryuji is gifted with Super-Strength. Unfortunately, exercising this strength causes his body to build up heat quickly. Unless he can cool himself down, he'll go berserk and attack friends and foes alike before collapsing from exhaustion.
    • Invoked in the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers episode "Wild West Rangers". Zordon tells Kimberly that too much pink energy is dangerous. For clarification, he meant that as she already had the Pink Power Coin, they couldn't risk giving her another one.
      • Also used in Power Rangers Zeo; humans can't handle the Gold Ranger powers. Jason survives but he has to return the gold ranger powers to their original, non-human, owner.
      • Also invoked in ''Power Rangers Super Megaforce as Gosei explains that the Super Mega powers are much stronger than the normal Mega powers and that they're also borrowing the powers of past Rangers. After being knocked out of their Power Rangers Mystic Force forms during their first major usage of them, they start performing random power switches to prevent being drained.
  • Top Gear does this to many of the cars they use in stunts and challenges if they aren't destroyed by the stunts themselves. The amount of stress they go through on race tracks just cause the car to slowly break down. Except the Toyota Hilux.
  • If Ultraman (or his many successors) ever completely runs out of power, he will never rise again.
    • While traditionally this is because the Ultras can only fight for a certain amount of time in Earth's atmosphere (that's what the color timers on their chests are for), this was played straight with Ultraseven, the very second Ultra Series. It's revealed in the final two episodes that the numerous beatings and injuries he's suffered throughout the show's run (including being blasted, stomped on, run over by a dinosaur-sized and shaped tank) have left him in terrible shape. The show actually ends on the downer note that it's possible he may die of his injuries on his way back home (and one of the OVA series makes a plot point of mentioning his inert body was found floating in space, meaning he didn't even make it out of the solar system. He got better.)
    • Later material would reveal the color timer limitation only seems to function as an actual timer on Earth itself. In space, the color timers function more as an indicator of how much energy an Ultra has left, making them a visual representation of this trope.
  • During the fourth season of The Walking Dead (2010), Glenn gets hit with a nasty illness and is still recovering when their home is attacked. After waking up alone in the ruins of the prison, he escapes, which involves physically shoving his way through a large crowd of zombies and a lot of running, all while wearing a suit of riot gear. When he has to take out another small group of zombies, however, he reaches his limit and passes out before the last one can be killed. (Luckily for him, Tara takes care of offing the last zombie.)

  • For a different meaning of "overexertion", Billy Ward and his Dominoes have a song called "Sixty Minute Man", whose protagonist, Lovin' Dan, is The Pornomancer, capable of pleasuring a woman for an hour straight. However, it also has a Sequel Song (it's practically the same song, just with different lyrics) called "Can't Do Sixty No More", in which Lovin' Dan has met his match in a girl who was able to take all the loving he could give and then some, forcing him to push himself past his limits and leaving him in a rather sorry state.
    I tried my love with Lucy, I messed around with Mary Jane
    Well, when I got through with Suzy, I was walking with a cane
    Go ahead girls, forget old Dan, now you know the score
    Just be my friend, this is the end, because I can't do sixty no more

    Music Videos 
  • The music video for Cat Hairballs has Stimpy at a conveyor belt, licking and hwarfing up hairballs for Ren. It's not too bad at first, Stimpy has plenty of places to lick and even claims "Don't you fret/I won't run out/I've lots more hair to spare." However, as the video goes on Stimpy starts running out of places to lick and the very act of hwarfing becomes exhausting. Past the halfway point of the song, Stimpy is desperately gasping while slurping and licking completely clean body parts and having to hwarf with every ounce of strength just to make a little bit. By the end, Stimpy is a completely used up husk. With one final long, desperate lick and hwarf Stimpy passes out on the conveyor belt and Ren violently and painfully stamps Stimpy on the ass. Leaving a "Grade A" stamp branded across Stimpy's butt cheeks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech, being the basis for the MechWarrior video games, also has alpha striking as a powerful attack with dangerous drawbacks but features a few other systems and weapons that also fall into the same category. Inferno missiles dish out a consistent 6 levels of heat (20% of the maximum heat scale in the game) for 3 turns with just a single hit on a target 'Mech, and are death to vehicles and infantry. They also come loaded in numbers large enough to afford using them liberally. Unfortunately, any pilot using Inferno rounds has to be extra aware of their heat; Infernos have an unfortunate tendency to explode with even less provocation than normal ammo when heated up, which causes both the napalm and the rocket fuel to cook off, instantly overheating the 'Mech and often blowing off a good chunk of its chassis. Jump jets grant extra movement options and agility, but they also allow a 'Mech to pull off the infamous Death from Above maneuver, dropping anywhere from 20 to 100 tons of bipedal war machine onto another. It's every bit as devastating as it sounds, but the attacker risks incurring a lot of damage to their legs and is almost certainly going to be helpless on the ground afterward, until they can make it back to their feet—and jumping onto an enemy usually means that 'Mech is near the enemy's line. The enemy might be feeling a bit vindictive towards the flying collection of armor and weapons that just landed on one of their own. Finally, triple strength myomers actually gain strength and speed when heated up, ultimately allowing 'Mechs to cause double damage with physical attacks. That same heat causes the 'Mech's targeting computers to suffer, lowering weapon accuracy, and if the 'Mech overheats too much, the speed bonus is lost entirely. If the heat can be kept in a certain range and the 'Mech comes equipped with a dedicated melee weapon, however...
    • There are also the Clans' Enhanced Imaging Neural Implants. Getting the implants (which look like brightly colored facial tattoos) means you don't need to wear a neurohelmet to interface with your 'Mech, Battle Armor, or whatever, but also gain enhanced reaction time with your machine. Of course, the human brain wasn't intended to interface directly with technology, so they burn out your brain in only a few years. Of course, the Clans, especially the Crusaders, are pretty much built on Death or Glory, so they don't really mind.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 brings us Transcend Mortality, an Asian-character-class-only spell that does Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The caster is given tremendous power, nigh-insurmountable defensive abilities, and essentially becomes unstoppable (to varying degrees depending on what level you were when you cast the thing). But after the spell runs its course, the caster crumbles to ash. And while resurrection magic exists in the game, only three very high-level spells can bring back a character who has died in this fashion. Two of them are called Miracle and Wish, to give an idea of the scale.
    • The proliferation of 3.5 sourcebooks brings quite a few of these. There's the Frenzied Berserker, who is capable of ignoring any amount of negative hit points while raging — but the full effects are applied immediately when the rage ends. The Corrupt and Sanctified spells, which are extremely evil and good respectively, take a toll on the caster; the most powerful ones cost the caster's life, in more or less painful ways — generally "more" for the evil ones. Then there are the Epic spells; creating one is a fairly involved process that includes determining the difficulty for the spell. The difficulty can be lowered significantly by including a "backlash" that hurts the caster.
    • This trope can come into effect at less dramatic levels as well. A Barbarian's rage not only exhausts the user, which can turn into a huge disability if the fight doesn't end shortly thereafter, but the temporary constitution bonus also wears off, which can drop a severely injured, but standing, warrior to the brink of death in an instant. The Diehard feat can also be considered this: it allows a character to either stabilize instantly after incapacitation or remain conscious and mobile below 0 HP. True, sometimes all you need is one last round of action to win the day, but trying to fight with only ten or less HP separating you from semipermanent death (with the DM often declaring additional penalties) is pushing it.
  • In Exalted one of the Charms for the Air Aspect Immaculate Monks is Hurricane Combat Method, which gives you a boost to attack power but chews up your health.
    • It's also the problem with using too many Sidereal prayer strip Charms, since the majority of them cost a health level to activate and Sidereals are the squishiest kind of Exalt, with the weakest Ox-Body known to man.
  • In GURPS, strenuous activities and spell-casting cost Fatigue Points (FP), and running really low on those can cause a character to suffer penalties to movement and other actions. If necessary, after running out completely, the character can go on to spend Hit Points (HP) in place of FP, and running out of those will eventually kill you.note 
  • In the backstory of Magic: The Gathering this seems to happen with some regularity, especially with the Planeswalkers. One of the most prominent examples is Barrin, who during the Phyrexian invasion loses the last of his family, his daughter Hanna. Grief-stricken, he draws in enough magical power to completely destroys the Phyrexian-infested island of Tolaria, killing himself in the process. See
    • Now that Planeswalker is a card type, you can witness this yourself. Unlike creatures, which have power and toughness, planeswalkers only have a loyalty stat, which can be increased or decreased by using printed abilities. They can also be attacked, directly, like players. Now, most planeswalkers have an ability that uses up a large amount of loyalty for one big effect but leaves them open to being cherry-tapped by a lowly 1/1 goblin. Here are a few examples.
  • Nobles in Nobilis suffer wounds when they use a Word of Command, basically pushing their power in an Attribute to the absolute limit. Mind you, this is enough to have someone with Domain 1 pull high-level Domain 9 stunts out of a hat, or someone with Treasure 1 speak an Imperial Miracle.
  • The Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide gives us the Monk of the Healing Hand variant class. At max level, such a character can resurrect all nearby dead completely obliterating not only himself, but essentially all memory of his existence. Which seems more than a bit counter-intuitive, if you think about it.
    • The Kineticist class uses a resource called "burn" to fuel their abilities. A kineticist can choose to accept burn in order to use more powerful class abilities, and they even get bonuses depending on how many points of burn they've accumulated. The downside to accepting burn is that each point of burn comes with an amount of nonlethal damage that can't be healed until they've rested and lost all of their accumulated burn. While it's not inherently crippling, it does severely reduce how much damage a kineticist can take before they pass out.
  • 7th Sea has the (nigh-extinct) El Fuego Adentro ("The Fire Within") school of Sorcery. It allows the character to start, control, and feed fires, even when there is no logical fuel present. However, using it, especially the Feed knack, damages the Sorcerer constantly. This is more severe than normal Cast from Hit Points because healing is much trickier in Seventh Sea than in most games, as there is no healing magic and surgery is invasive and time-consuming.
  • Spellcasters in Shadowrun can do themselves serious injury by overusing their powers. Any spell cast requires the mage to roll against Drain. If they fail the roll, they take stun damage equal to the effective level of the spell, which can straight up knock them out if the spell was really powerful. However, if the mage uses a spell with a power level greater than their Magic stat, the Drain roll, if failed, deals physical damage, which can kill. Since the Magic stat only goes up to 6, and spell power can go up to 10...
  • In Talislanta, this is almost guaranteed to happen to a Vajra who unleashes the Dark Fire.
  • Happens more than a few times in the Warhammer / Warhammer 40,000 worlds, but tends to be more villainous than heroic, being as only the evil races tend to be willing to risk body and soul for victory, especially when victory entails simply keeping body and soul. Notable examples are Dark Eldar combat drugs that run the risk of ravaging the user's system, Slaaneshi spells that cause enhanced performance at the cost of bodily shutdown, and a whole swathe of Skaven items and spells that give bonuses in exchange for members of the unit simply dropping dead afterward.
    • Yriel, Grand Admiral of Craftworld Iyanden, defeated the Tyranid horde that was ravaging his Craftworld by grabbing a cursed spear out of stasis and using it to drop the Norn Queen at the heart of the swarm. Unfortunately, the spear is now slowly killing him.
    • The latest Eldar Codex has also introduced the psychic power Death Mission, which gives a Farseer significant bonuses at the expense of killing him a turn or so later.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse has a mechanic built in that allows a werewolf to keep going after suffering injuries that would kill them. But only by burning points of Rage, which are not only in very limited supply but using them prompts berserk rage. Characters rarely survive after reaching this threshold, but the heroic Last Stand usually makes for a great story.

    Video Games 
  • Limiter Release mode from Armored Core 2. When activated, your AC is provided with unlimited energy for about 50 seconds. But once those 50 seconds are up the generator goes into low power mode for about a minute to a minute and a half, which prevents you from being able to dodge effectively or use energy weaponry. Death usually follows if your enemies were not wiped from the field during your assault.
  • In Asura's Wrath, Asura disintegrates his original and added arms while defeating Wyzen. He does this again while fighting Augus. In addition Asura's Wrath form is a dangerous form Asura enters after his Berserker Form which is so dangerous to him that if he is not stopped his own power would tear his body apart. In Episode 19, he goes into Wrath form again while fighting Chakravartin, and is trying to punch through the barrier holding Mithra. She begs him to stop, saying that he will kill himself if he pushes too hard, but his only response is "I. DON'T. CARE!"
  • In Baldur's Gate II, one of the main limits to using the Superpowered Evil Side mode your character eventually gets is that if you keep it on for more than a while, it will start heavily damaging you. Death ensues quickly.
  • Batman comes dangerously close to this by the end of Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the game progresses, his suit slowly becomes more and more tattered (tears on his suit and cape, scratches on his face and cowl, five-o'clock shadow, bloodshot eyes), culminating in Batman intentionally punching out a Titan-infused Joker with a fist covered in explosive gel, mangling his gauntlet. Doesn't stop him from running off to stop Two-Face in the epilogue.
  • Batman undergoes this again in Batman: Arkham City, though not only is he fighting more thugs, more supervillains and having to travel much greater distances, he's also slowly dying of poisoned blood and is minutes from death before he manages to find a temporary cure. The moment he's taken it, it's right back to forcing his way through the dozens of challenges left in the game that would tax a Navy Seals platoon through sheer force of will with no promise of a cure.
  • D-Dive mode in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. Keep this going too long, and your game automatically ends.
    • In the end, Ryu is eventually forced to push the D-Dive mode way beyond its limits and fatal cut-off point. But he gets better.
  • Dawn of War: The Chaos Worker Unit (a heretic with a huge-ass metal wheel embedded in its back) is able to increase the speed at which it summons buildings at the cost of draining its life, and is entirely capable of dying if you leave it unattended. Sisters Repentia (batshit insane devotees who charge into battle wielding chainswords, parchment bikinis and... nope, that's it) can toggle their stance to do more damage but steadily drain their health.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Tellah's Meteo from Final Fantasy IV. Since his body is not strong enough(and his max MP is lower), he has to use his life power to cast it.
    • Ceodore's Awaken in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. Heals him completely and doubles his stats for three rounds, which translates into him temporarily becoming a powerhouse, but drops him to single digit HP afterward.
    • The series' Dark Knight class may be susceptible to this in the hands of a reckless player, as they traditionally have many moves that are Cast from Hit Points.
      • Especially in Final Fantasy Dimensions, where, in addition to the life-draining Darkness and Onyx Wave, they have Last Resort, a move that massively improves their stats, but inflicts them with Doom, which will kill them at the count of 10.
    • The villainous example happens to Genesis in Crisis Core, who proceeds to hijack the plot. Also happens to Angeal's clone and Zack
      • Bonus points go to Zack, though, as pushing himself beyond his physical limits requires that he simultaneously fight and severely damage most of the standing Shinra army. Voluntarily, knowing it would be his end.
    • In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates, Yuri's solo use of his and Chelinka's power in Rela Cyel nearly results in his death since it's Cast from Hit Points when he uses it without her help. In the ending, he's left dying from overusing it, so Chelinka does a Heroic Sacrifice with her powers to save him and vanishes, so he creates a new world where all the bad stuff never happened — yeah, it's a Gainax Ending.
    • Final Fantasy XIV:
      • Some of the tank jobs have skills that can help them stave off death, but will be left at death's door as a trade off. Warriors have the Holmgang skill that binds themselves and the enemy together and the player's HP cannot drop below 1 while in effect. If a healer isn't quick enough to save them, the Warrior can die from even the weakest attack. Likewise, Dark Knights have the Living Dead ability that prevents them from dying the moment their HP hits zero. When their HP does hit zero, the player gains the Walking Dead debuff that will kill them in ten seconds unless they can recover their HP fully (healing done just has to add up to the player's max HP cumulatively). In addition, Gunbreakers have the Superbolide ability which renders them instantly invulnerable for several seconds, but at the cost of reducing their HP to 1, leaving them in a very vulnerable state if they can't be healed before the invulnerability wears off.
      • The G-Warrior's Pyrotic Booster disables its power limiters, greatly increasing its speed and firepower while also putting a constant drain on its HP.
      • An NPC in the Conjurer quests uses her healing spells at the cost of her own life force and she slowly starts to feel slightly exhausted each time she does so. When she tries to cast Raise to revive a fallen soldier, the spell's power is too much for her to handle and she falls unconscious. She is unable to use her healing powers completely, but she does recover them later on and learns how to cast spells without using her own energy.
      • The Warrior of Light themselves is absurdly strong and can go toe to toe with godlike beings and some of the world's best fighters, but in the end, they are still mortal and have a limit. Throughout the story in Shadowbringers, the Warrior of Light absorbs the primordial essence of raw light from the Light Wardens that they slay. At first, they're fine, but after absorbing a few more, their soul starts to crack. By the time the Warrior of Light absorbs the last Warden, they harbor so much light that they're under the threat of becoming the very monster they were slaying. Their body and soul finally gives out when they face off against Emet-Selch, but they are given more time by Arbert, who lets them absorb his soul to stem off the light until they use all of it as a big focused attack that kills Emet-Selch. In the end of the Endwalker story, the Warrior of Light pushes themselves beyond their limits to put down Zenos while Zenos gives his all to kill the Warrior of Light. The two eventually lose their weapons and tiredly slug it out until the Warrior of Light lands the final blow. While Zenos does die, the Warrior of Light collapses and slowly die as well after having put themselves through a lot, but they get saved at the last moment from the same teleporter device they used to save the Scions and they get teleported back to them where they get healed and saved from dying.
  • In the first .hack game series, overuse of Data Drain (without killing enemies normally) can eventually kill you. Instantly. And,of course, risking this is the only way to finish one of the bonus dungeons in the fourth game.
  • In Heavenly Sword the opening scene depicts Nariko's death at the hands of a sword so powerful it kills the user. Throughout the course of the game, it is revealed that the sword slowly drains the life of anybody who uses it for extended periods of time.
  • Arguably, the ARI glasses used by Norman Jayden in Heavy Rain. Basically, they make his life way easier, but at the same time ARI destroys Norman's brain, almost killing him multiple times in the game. It is also implied that if he doesn't stop using them, he WILL die.
  • In Honkai Impact 3rd, Kiana's Valkyrie Ranger Augment "Void Drifter" has this as a character gimmick, where overuse of the Void Flechette attack will build Herrscher Charge, eventually forcing Kiana into a self-induced stun as she fights back possession by Sirin. It is possible to vent Herrscher Charge with normal combos, but the two main methods of cancelling it are swapping characters or casting Ultimate. Curiously, the stun effect isn't necessarily considered a bad thing, as Void Drifter can learn skills that benefit allies when Kiana hits max Herrscher Charge.
    • Also happens in the bonus mode Post-Honkai Odyssee, In mission 2.0, when the team is overpowered by the Void Archives and Mei's Herrscher energy is being absorbed by the "World" boss, the protagonist decides to overclock the power of his special sword (against Mei's wishes), causing him to gain tremendous power, but he seems to be corrupted by Honkai energy afterward. Unusually for the game, the scene is actually playable, first with a phase where you hopelessly strike at the boss only to get knocked back to the ground several times, followed by a sequence of increasingly intense Button Mashing to make him power himself up, before the boss fight continues. He can now deal much more damage and his Skill Points gauge regenerates quicker, allowing him to spam Ultimate Skills more often.
    • The gimmick of Himeko's Blood Rose battlesuit is she can activate a mode which grants her speed and damage buffs, but it continuously drains her HP. If you're not careful, she'll simply collapse from overuse.
  • Ikaruga: After absorbing a minute's worth of projectiles from the Stone-Like, the Ikaruga releases the restraining device on the craft to unleash all the energy back at him, destroying them both in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, using the Power Of Flight for more than five minutes — or multiple times in quick succession — is warned to cause severe damage (read: Angel on Fire). After already pushing the five-minute time limit very close to ignition while chasing the Chaos Kin, Pit demands Viridi reactivate the Power Of Flight to save Dark Pit from Chaos Kin. In the process, his wings burn up, leaving the bones behind.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Riku during his fight with Roxas. Throughout the entire time between Chain of Memories and the final fight in Days Riku had been holding Ansem's Darkness deep within his Heart to prevent another bout of Demonic Possession. After a fairly even match Riku acts defeated before striking Roxas down. Feeling victorious he then drops his weapon (which is actually one of Roxas's Keyblades). Roxas then picks it up and attacks, summoning his second. After getting his ass handed to him Riku decided the only option is to stop suppressing his Darkness. When this happens he takes the physical form of Ansem and can't turn back of his own free will. It isn't until the end of Kingdom Hearts II that he returns to his real form.
    • The anti-form in Kingdom Hearts II probably qualifies. Sora always runs the risk entering this form whenever he goes into a drive form (With the lone exception being Final Form, which causes the chance to encounter Anti-Form to decrease).note  In this form, he doesn't have his keyblade, nor can he use magic or items, and takes double damage from all sources with no way to heal until the transformation wears off. On the other hand, he retains his attack power in the form of brutal clawing attacks, and his speed and agility are increased immensely, making it a very powerful form if you can avoid damage and blurring the line between this trope and a Superpowered Evil Side.
  • In the Backstory of the King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne Fan Remake, this happened to Legenimor, the first King of Daventry. In a great war, he Cast from Hit Points and saved the kingdom at the cost of his life.
  • A flashback in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild shows this happening to Link. Between sustaining mortal injuries and fighting off waves of Guardians, he would not stop fighting in order to protect Zelda's life. He collapses and would have died had it not been for Zelda's intervention.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Ryder, after being separated from SAM, who does the legwork on activating Remnant tech to avoid precisely this, and whom Ryder requires to keep living. The strain does a lot of damage to Ryder, and just before the final fight, Lexi tells them they're on a massive cocktail of drugs and stimulants just so Ryder can finish the fight — coming down from that will hurt worse than anything they're going through at the moment. Just thwarting the Big Bad nearly kills them (again). Once everything's over, and Ryder finally gets a chance to conk out, they're down for days.
  • MechWarrior games have Overheating: you can easily Alpha Strike a single target and take him out in one hit, but you'll shut down and be a sitting duck. Some mechs are also set up specifically to do this, only popping out of cover to fire everything they've got.
    • Generally, this trope applies to every powerful energy weapons: they deal nice damage, has a long range but generate so much heat that excessive use in combat is dangerous, regardless if you eschewed armor for extra heatsinks or not. Not to mention that while flushing coolant can help, you only have access to a very limited supply; once that runs out, you have to go easy on the heat.
    • Equipping a Novacat in MW4 with a quartet of ER PPCs will result in a mech that can oneshot light and some medium mechs without ammunition issues. However, not even spending all other tonnage on heatsinks can save you from overheating after each shot — perfect for snipers, suicide for everyone else (gauss cannons have a similar damage output and longer range, but very limited ammo). On the other hand, shutdown due to overheating will hide you from enemy radar while you are cycling for the next shot.
    • Mechwarrior Living Legends implemented massive penalties ongoing over the heat shutdown red-line, such that staying over the redline for more than a second or two will cripple a mech. In combat, it's not uncommon for players to melt off their own arms while trying to kill their target. A critically damaged mech will blow itself up if it overheats for too long. Laser-heavy mechs like the Awesome and the Novacat are prone to exploding from the inside if the pilot is not careful.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots makes it clear from the start that Solid Snake is running on sheer willpower and nothing else. His health is in a constant state of deterioration, but it doesn't really hit him until the fifth act. After fighting off the last of the Beauty and the Beast Corp. and a squad of Elite Mooks, Snake finally hits his limit all at once and collapses just outside the entrance to the microwave corridor, with enemies moving in for the kill. Thank goodness Raiden catches up with him.
  • A constant risk of the overusing Hypermode in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. If you don't vent the excess Phazon fast enough, you transform into another Dark Samus.
  • The Spirit-Eater curse in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer starts draining the user's soul. If you keep using it to consume spirits, it drains your soul faster. You become slowly more inhumanly powerful as your hunger level grows, though it causes your energy meter to deplete faster as well.
  • In one of the bad endings in Odin Sphere, Oswald overuses his dark power while fighting Onyx and turns into a Revenant. The game indicates that this is the usual fate of wielders of Oswald's sword Belderiver.
  • In the Onechanbara game, both Aya and Saki have "Rampage Mode" where they transform into a more demonesque state. Although these forms are stronger and faster, they constantly drain their health, ultimately killing them if the player does not use a healing item or an item to bring them out of "Rampage Mode".
  • The Berserk status in Parasite Eve 2, which grants Aya more strength in her powers and guns, but every attack she makes is Cast from Hit Points, which can cripple her extremely fast and lead to swift death from enemies if you are reckless in attacking.
  • Aigis of Persona 3 can activate her Orgia mode during a battle, which makes her attacks stronger for a few turns, but you better hope the current battle ends before she has to cool down for a few turns making her totally vulnerable. One cut scene shows what happens if she doesn't cool down.
    • As of Persona 4: Arena, she can switch in and out of Orgia Mode at will. If she overuses it, she no longer powers down until she can't move, but she will take extra damage as long as she's overheated, and won't be able to reactivate the ability until it fully recharges.
  • Persona 5 Strikers has a downplayed example. While not in direct mortal peril, Makoto Niijima has driven the team everywhere, without cease, for several days, including several cross-Japan marathon drives, and thus is severely exhausted by the time they have to drive from Fukuoka to Kyoto. Then Haru takes the wheel, and the team begins to understand why Makoto insisted on driving everyone everywhere.
  • Happens in Pokémon with the moves Selfdestruct and Explosion, though due to the non-lethal nature of the series's battles, your mons merely faint. If a Pokemon runs out of PP for all four of its moves, it'll be forced to use Struggle in order to fight, which also damages them every time and can eventually make them faint.
  • Two-thirds of the way through Red Dead Redemption 2, Arthur Morgan is diagnosed with tuberculosis. Despite being told to go somewhere warmer and drier to rest, Arthur chooses to stay with his gang. Assuming Micah doesn't kill him, he ultimately dies from overexertion in his final mission.
  • In Robot Alchemic Drive, Vavel has access to a Super Mode that subjects it to Explosive Overclocking. Once activated, you have three minutes to finish the mission: otherwise, Vavel will collapse and explode.
  • Rune Factory series, performing any action (except walk and run) when you're running of RP will tear away your health points, and you'll eventually collapse if you keep pushing too hard.
  • In Sa Ga Frontier, The Mind Magic skill Awakening increases the user's power considerably, but drains 1 LP from them after four turns unless the battle ends beforehand. In the same vein, T260's Omega Body has a skill called V-MAX, which gives a much larger power boost than Awakening and unlocks two borderline Game-Breaker skills. After 4 turns, T260 loses 1 LP and takes a massive hit to their stats for the remainder of that battle, unless of course the battle is ended before that.
  • In SaGa Frontier 2, once your characters run out of WeaponPoints (WP) or SpellPoints (SP), they'll lose their Life points (which are different from regular Hit Points) if they try to use a Technique or a Spell, which can result in a permanent death once they run out of Life points. However, the lower WP or SP they get, the stronger their attacks become, hence the RROD.
  • In Shadow Hearts: Covenant, this is the insult to injury of the Mistletoe Curse. The harder Yuri fights against it, the faster it develops and kills his memories. But if he doesn't resist at all, it'll gradually overtake him anyway. And no, there's no cure. There's a happy ending anyway, though. Kinda.
  • Various transformations in the Sonic the Hedgehog series can induce this. Super forms, when used by those inexperienced with Chaos powers or those who are pushed to their absolute limit, will leave the user exhausted to the point of helplessness, often times even blacking out. Given that super forms are often used to fight in otherwise deadly locations, this can spell disaster.
  • Sixth Ranger Arumat from Star Ocean: The Last Hope has, through extensive amounts of gene modification, combat stims, and lord-knows-what-else, has made himself into a One-Man Army. However, it's also caused a breakdown in the structure of the cells that make up his muscle/skeletal systems; and he doesn't have long until his body starts to literally fall apart. Arumat's well aware of this, but refuses to seek treatment for his condition, preferring to live his life out as a fighter. It's his way of atoning for all the men he's lost along the way.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, this is how Starkiller dies in the Light Side Ending. Being shocked by Emperor Palpatine's lightning, Starkiller marches forward and bearhugs him, shocking the Emperor. Seeing his friends about to be shot by stormtroopers, Starkiller opens his body to the Force, creating an enormous Force Repulse that wipes out the stormtroopers and knocks Darth Vader and Palpatine out cold, allowing his friends to escape. The strain ends the Jedi's life.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Sith Inquisitor suffers from this after picking up the Idiot Ball and binding too many Force Ghosts without considering the consequences, forcing them to spend most of the third Chapter trying to find a cure before it kills them.
    • Although it was Thanaton redacting a warning about this from a library that kept the Inquisitor from finding out about the risks ahead of time.
  • In Star Wars Episode I: Racer, staying in boost mode for too long will trigger an overheat warning; continue to boost anyway and your engines will catch fire and explode, forcing you to wait several seconds as your vehicle respawns.
  • Torque's monster form in The Suffering depletes a special "Insanity" bar. However, he will only return to human form when the player explicitly switches back — if the bar empties completely, the monster simply starts to drain his Life Meter instead, and this will kill him if not manually disengaged.
  • The Rune of Punishment from Suikoden IV. It can annihilate entire navies, sure, but the rune will punish its wielder for such an abuse of power. Most of the previous wielders simply died from overuse, causing their own obliteration, and the rune's transference to the nearest valid host. The hero of the game, Lazlo, naturally winds up having to use it, too, saving La Résistance several times, and spending days in a coma as a result. If you don't get the best ending, he winds up killing himself with it at the end.
    • Suikoden V has a few similar concepts... Raging Nostrum, a drug developed by the assassin organization "Nether Gate", sends the user into a powerful and violent rage... and then causes them to collapse dead when it's all over.
    • When Sialeeds unleashes the full power of the Twilight Rune, she ends up dying soon after. It also claims the already mortally-wounded Lyon's life later, as she was mainly only kept alive by the Dawn Rune to begin with. If you collected all 108 Stars of Destiny, she'll be revived. If you didn't, she dies permanently.
  • In the Touhou Project games, some bosses, particularly the Final Boss and Extra stage boss will make use of the "Last Word" type of spellcard, a desperate last-ditch attempt to win the fight. Often, this Last Word is the most powerful/difficult attack they're capable of throwing at you. During the attack, they're completely invulnerable, leaving dodging wave after wave of bullets until they run out of power and lose by default as your only way of winning.
  • In Undertale, the Hero Antagonist Undyne can be non-violently defeated by leading her on a chase through the sweltering Hotlands until she collapses in her black plate armour. If she's not given water, she's subsequently laid up with heatstroke (though if you're merciful enough to give her aid she'll be chagrined enough to back off).
    • In a "No Mercy" playthrough, Undyne plays this trope even straighter. After going down from a One-Hit Kill like all the other enemies, she revives herself as Undyne the Undying through sheer Determination and proceeds to give you hell. Win or lose, she's still doomed, though — monsters aren't meant to channel Determination, and rather than disintegrating into dust like other enemies, she starts to melt.
    • In addition, if you kill her in a Neutral run, she'll still find the strength to fight you with even stronger moves than before in her last moments. However, if you don't finish her off then and there, and just let her keep attacking, her moves will gradually slow down and become weaker, with her entire body dissolving as she dies from overexerting herself with Determination.
  • Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume does this — the titular plume raises a character's stats to ten times normal, makes them immune to status ailments and elemental damage and casts a character-specific Game-Breaker ability The Hero learns after the battle, instantly turning any battle into a Curb-Stomp Battle, but having their potential unlocked in this manner kills them permanently.
  • White Knight Chronicles: Done in a particularly slow and heart-wrenching fashion in the second game. The Hero, Leonard, finds himself gradually weakened by the use of the titular White Knight. Eventually, it gets so bad that he collapses in the middle of a major battle and needs to be carried back to Balandor. The next time he's seen, he's in bed, grunting from the sheer pain caused by his Heroic RROD. After that, he's either shown unconscious, intensely struggling with his condition, or laying around, too weak to move and completely out of it. We're not kidding! He's gone for about a fourth of the game!
  • In World of Warcraft, warlocks have a spell called hellfire that will instantly and continuously do massive amounts of damage in a radius around the caster (literally, red rings of death.) However, doing this also damages the warlock, and will kill him if used for too long.
    • A similar but less extreme example is the Life Tap spell which allows the warlock to directly convert health to mana, but it is impossible to life tap to death.
      • Making this more of an HP -> MP situation
    • In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Mages have the Cauterize talent that saves from instant death. Unless they're tended by a healer immediately afterward, they'll burn to death. Unless, of course, they immediately use Ice Block, which renders them invulnerable to everything.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: The Action Prologue shows Dunban using the Monado to change the tides in the battle against the Mechon, one year before the game's events; he succeeds, but using the sword cost him his right arm and his health. One year later he springs back to action when the Mechon attack again, but this time using the sword almost costs him his life, and effectively cripples his right arm. He takes some time to recover, but later on, he joins the team again, this time with a sword that won't kill him for using it.
  • Gulcasa from Yggdra Union gets a Deadly Upgrade halfway through the game that closely resembles Dragon Quarter's D-Dive mode. He RRODs twice from using it — the first time, his little sister saves him, but the second, the entire intent is for him to die, and he does no matter what the player's actions are.
    • And after the first incident, Gulcasa is out of commission for two entire chapters.
    • In Blaze Union, he is revealed to suffer from similar, albeit less severe, collapses and illnesses due to his constant use of Genocide putting too much stress on his body. One onscreen incident has him become so sick that if he does not kill a human with Genocide immediately, he will die. Further upgrading his demonic powers in Yggdra Union seems to push this beyond what Gulcasa and the Imperial Army can handle, which is even worse because The Caretaker isn't there to nurse him back to health anymore.

    Visual Novels 
  • Whoever uses the power of "Eye of Aeon" in 11eyes will end up causing themselves great pain and physical strain. Protagonist Kakeru at one point has his entire body's nerves severed because of it. Each use means danger to the user as it sucks the soul of its user.
  • Hisao from Katawa Shoujo suffers more than one of these, due to having severe heart arrhytmia. The majority of these are relatively light, but some especially severe ones happen in: the Prologue (setting the plot), in Act 1 (if he has very high points with Emi) and in Lilly's route (one comes up when he's having sex with her and the other when he's trying to catch her and Akira in the airport).
  • In Sunrider, Sola and Asaga have a Super Mode called Awakening that enhances their reflexes and perceptions at the cost of placing great strain on their bodies and minds. In-game, this is represented as Sola’s version costing hit points to activate, and Asaga’s version being an ongoing buff that gets more powerful with every turn but also inflicts increasing amounts of damage to her every turn. In-story, overusing this power also causes Asaga to become paranoid and start developing a split personality.
  • Tsukihime: Any strenuous use of the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception tends to leave Shiki Tohno with horrible headaches and brain damage. The most notable examples are when in Ciel's route he uses his power to kill nature itself around the school he goes to in order to partially depower Arcueid. The other example is where he forces his eyes to not only be able to see the death of the concept of poison in someone's veins but also work as X-ray eyes. The latter sends him blind for a large chunk of time, and both are strongly implied to have shorted his lifespan by a great deal.
    • The end strongly implies that Shiki will die shortly after the events of Tsukihime because he pushed himself too far, as well as having nearly been killed by SHIKI as a young child. However, it's revealed in later chapters that anyone but Akiha killing SHIKI results in Shiki's life force returning to him, thus bringing his lifespan back to a reasonable amount in the first two routes. Shiki sharing his life with SHIKI is only an issue in the Far Side routes. In all endings, Shiki's lifespan is still on the level of 'death uncertain', but he's not likely to die immediately after.
    • In the sequel, Kagetsu Tohya, Shiki performs another case of this by consciously ignoring the biological limiters in his muscles to fight an enemy who outclasses him physically, giving him beyond-normal speed for the fight. He notes beforehand that this will destroy his muscles and would normally leave him crippled for life, but by this point, he's realized he's in a "Groundhog Day" Loop dream, so he'll wake up the next morning none the worse for wear.
    • This happens a lot to Shirou in Fate/stay night as well, due to his affinity for a certain kind of magic and his tendency to push his body beyond the limits of what any normal human body should take, usually causing him to experience Post-Victory Collapse and requiring magical healing to get back up again. It reaches its natural conclusion in the endings of Heaven's Feel, where Shirou's over-dependence on a Dangerous Forbidden Technique for projection magic causes his body to be gradually converted into swords — without Illya to bail him out in the Normal Ending, this kills him. Well, technically, he dies anyway, but...

  • Coga Suro: Steve's Super Suit Mark 3 has a generator that produces more power than his body could handle if it was at maximum output continuously. Releasing a 'limiter' [first time by removing a fuse-like item from his belt and overdramatically crushing it, subsequent times by voice command] allows Steve to use this greater energy output for a limited time, acting as a Power-Up that leaves him physically battered and exhausted after using it.
  • In Commander Kitty, Nin Wah experiences one of these right after her fight with a huge army of Tagged goons.
  • Those who are tainted in Drowtales have already (willingly or unwillingly) merged their souls with a nether demon, which grants them enhanced physical strength and different types of spells, but also runs the risk of the demon taking over their bodies completely if they push themselves too far, something that eventually happens to Sabbror, the mate of Zala'ess after he breaks out of a bout of being magically controlled out of sheer willpower.
  • A mild case happens to Nanase in El Goonish Shive. Her "angel form" powerup uses up so much mana that she's Brought Down to Normal for a while, with a side effect of temporary hair color change.
  • In Godslave, the Blacksmiths seem to attempt to invoke this by picking up daily fights with Edith so that at some point she reaches this and can't win anymore.
  • A comedy version in Ménage à 3; Peggy executes an Operation: Jealousy while suffering sleep deprivation, largely as a way to solve the underlying problem causing the lack of sleep, and ends up dancing to live rock music for an hour continuously at the climax of the scheme. Not surprisingly, she's on the point of total collapse. ("No... no... don't pass out now... I'm so close to getting my sleep back...") She successfully completes her plot, triggering possible Character Development in one of the comic's lead characters, while suffering a Post-Victory Collapse.
  • In MSF High, Forum Continuity, anyone who has the "Mana Body" disadvantage can do this to themselves! (You don't have HP, only MP...So each time you cast spells...) Luckily, you heal up to 100% every day. Unluckily, dying still hurts.
  • MS Paint Adventures:
    • Problem Sleuth: There's a reason Sepulchritude is a Dangerous Forbidden Technique.
    • Homestuck: Both the Captors. Sollux Captor half-kills himself using his psionics to speed the troll meteor away from Jack Noir and to the Green Sun. His ancestor's pre-scratch counterpart Mituna Captor is brain-damaged as the result of overloading his psionics. Unless Kurloz did something.
  • This seemed to happen to Vaarsuvius of The Order of the Stick after the party split up following the battle of Azure City. (S)he's been unable to locate or communicate with the missing members, and has become obsessed with succeeding, such that V began to work literally nonstop on the problem. Though elves have no physical need for "trance" (their equivalent of sleep), weeks of intense effort without any rest have turned V into a pale, veiny, shaky, irritable wreck. It was eventually revealed that V had been forgoing trance because of guilt and nightmares. When fleeing Azure City, (s)he ran into a group of retreating soldiers who pleaded for his/her help. Because V had no power left to help them, the soldiers were horribly slaughtered. Every time V trances, that memory replays. If you were forced to watch something like that every time you dozed off, you might try to avoid sleep too.
  • In the EverQuest based WTF Comics if Straha Ironscale pushes his power too hard it can be fatal. His daughter, Kaitis, has the same powers but lacks the control he has causing concern that she could die using it.

    Web Original 
  • Crossed Lines: Episode 3, From Dusk Till Dawn, focuses on shunting engine Dawn going on a worhaholic streak and deciding to rearrange the rolling stock in her yards, working herself to exhaustion in the process. She becomes unaware of the mess she's making, or how she's knocking rolling stock off the rails. It gets to the point that an old engine of the railway, Ramona, is brought in to help relieve Dawn's workload. Even then, it takes Ramona saving Dawn from having an accident on an incline to get her to finally ask for help.
  • DC Nation's universe has a few. One Original Character is a 9-11 firefighter who used up the last of his oxygen evacuating survivors from the first Tower. Death was impressed enough to recruit him as an agent. Another OC can absorb and use ambient magic, and always runs the risk of burning himself out by absorbing (or using) too much power for his mostly-human body to withstand. A third OC has "freak outs" or "bad trips" if pushed to a Heroic BSoD. It makes her a VERY impressive combatant but burns her out afterward.
  • In the DEATH BATTLE! between Deku and Asta, This is how Deku dies. In order to match Asta's Devil Union form, he pushes One For All to 120% Overdrive and performs a 1,000,000% Plus Ultra Smash, which knocks Asta out of his Devil Union form, but the strain of using so much power outright kills Deku on the spot, his eyes turning a dead white. Asta then makes absolutely sure by impaling Deku with three of his swords. The post-fight analysis even points out this was a deciding factor as Asta's superior physical abilities (which don't have nearly as dangerous drawbacks pushing to their limits) were such that Deku would need to use One For All at full power to close the gap, and thus pile on self-damage on top of everything Asta could inflict.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged had its own (usually humorous) depictions of the RRoD's by Tien (Episodes 8 and 48) and Gohan (Episode 60 Part 3).
    Gohan: If anyone's there, my autonomic nervous system shut down all non-critical bodily functions. I cannot move, hear, or see. On a related note, I really, really need to use the bathroom.
  • In an event in an ORPG called Dragonfable, which is advertising on this site, your mentor/mission control-ish character Warlic is revealed to have one. After a long "war" in which players have to collectively whittle down the huge number of enemies(standard practice), the generals confront his spoiled apprentice, who killed him and stole his power, and a fight occurs with the player controlling the apprentice. Now, normally the fight screen has a list of all your abilities with the mana cost, like "15", on the corner. In this fight, you start out with zero mana, and all the mana costs say things like "-350." When your mana meter fills, you DIE. After the apprentice realizes that Warlic was right in that she can't control his power, she resurrects him and apologizes. He forgives her and uses his power to scare off the generals, who happen to be GODS.
  • The premise of the FailRace series Driven Till Destruction is to drive various vehicles around deliberately punishing circuits until they break down.
  • More literal than most of the versions here, Lollerskates uses this as an attack to keep the Master Chief from helping in the final fight against him in Life in a Game.
  • In Red vs. Blue's thirteenth season, Epsilon is falling apart trying to run all the systems of Agent Carolina's Powered Armor, leading to a figurative and literal Heroic BSoD moment when he fails her during a crucial battle.
  • A downplayed example occurs in RWBY Season 2, when Blake Belladonna begins losing sleep over trying to find out what Torchwick wanted with the White Fang, to the point where she's too tired to retaliate when Yang shoves her out of anger due to her stubbornness. It takes Yang's rather violent refusal to let Blake run herself ragged to finally avert this trope.
  • In Worm, this is what happens to Taylor after she asks Panacea to overclock her power to control insects, becoming Khepri. This gives her the power to control human beings within 16 feet of her, but also burns up her ability to read, speak, and at the end even comprehend anything other than conflict.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers episode "Changeling," Shane was already taxing his Shapeshifting abilities to infiltrate a prison during a riot. A crossfire between inmates leaves him injured, so he ends up taxing it even more. He finally gets control of the prison and its security systems, but the communications systems are fried, and his bio-defenses are literally tearing him apart. Worse, the Laredo was set to open fire and blast the whole prison to atomic dust unless the stand-down order was given. In a last, desperate gamble, Shane uses the last of his charge to send a telepathic shout to Niko. The strain came really close to killing him (Never Say "Die" was an averted trope with the series). The fact he was able to use telepathy, as well as the continuing Ship Tease between the characters has led to some interesting speculation.
  • This is what happens to the protagonist of "World Record" short story in The Animatrix: he almost frees himself from the Matrix on his own but is caught just before he can get out and ends up disabled. Except you can't just forget that. At the very end, he demonstrates he isn't completely disabled...
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang is so freaked out about fighting the Fire Lord, he trains non-stop for several days, neglecting to sleep. As a result of sleep deprivation, he has vivid hallucinations, both visual and auditory — pets start talking and sword-fighting, sheep cheer for the fighting pets, and rocks dance.
    Aang: (when Toph takes a drink) DON'T DRINK THAT!!
    Toph: (Spit Take all over Katara) Why?! Is it poisoned?
    Aang: No, but I had a dream we were in the middle of the invasion, and you had to stop and use the restroom. WE ALL DIED BECAUSE OF YOUR TINY BLADDER!!!
  • In Batman Beyond this led to Bruce's retirement as Batman. He had been poisoned, drugged, and tortured in many, MANY different ways by various enemies that took a toll on his body over time, and he explains in the episode "Disappearing Inque" that an experimental exosuit he had designed, which increases the amount of force one's effort puts out and increases stamina, put a strain on his heart that eventually led him to hang up the cape permanently. This leads to an Oh, Crap! moment for Terry when Bruce arrives to bail him out in a fight with Inque while wearing the aforementioned exosuit.
    • This is also shown in the pilot, where Bruce's heart nearly gives out at the worst possible moment, during an attempt to rescue a hostage — forcing him to grab a gun to threaten the last of the kidnappers. As he hangs up the suit (the same one that Terry puts on decades later), he leaves the Bat Cave with the words "never again".
  • In Beast Wars, the Transformers have a fail-safe mechanism (called "stasis lock") that forces them to power down if overworked or heavily damaged, to prevent this very trope from happening. However, in "Code of Hero", Dinobot, the show's primary antihero, ended up in an uphill battle against Megatron and all of the Predacons. Being at his limits, the only way he could keep fighting was to override this safety feature and just fight himself to death. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened, though he managed to foil the Big Bad before going kaput. This showed when his internal computer—which generally speaks in an emotionless monotone—warned him of the danger and tried to activate his automatic shut-down, and when he overrode it, it sounded worried.
    Computer: Warning. Power reserves 96% depleted. Stasis lock commencing.
    Dinobot: Override.
    Computer: Repeat: power loss critical. Further expenditures will result in loss of spark. Stasis lock must commence.
    Dinobot: OVERRIDE!
    Computer: ...Acknowledged.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force uses this on some occasions as well (mostly with Seasons 1 and 2) and its brethren new series as well; Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. Mostly when Ben wants to transform into a particular alien, the device tends to be non-responsive.
  • Jeremie attempts this in Code Lyoko with a device that enhances his intelligence with every trip to the past. Prolonged use actually puts him in a coma, although naturally he gets better.
  • Numbuh 362 at the end of "Operation I.T" from Codename: Kids Next Door is forced to eat a large amount of broccoli(which is basically poison in this universe) after dealing with a large amount of Father's clones and then having to fight off the effects of the broccoli long enough to defeat Father. Almost immediately after, she collapses and when she wakes up again, Numbuh 1 tells her she was out for a week.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), in the origin of the power of Grayskull, King Grayskull, the original wielder of He-Man's sword, fought with everything he had to save his kingdom from the evil Hordak, at the cost of his own life. What makes it really bittersweet was the fact that he was told by an oracle this would happen. Despite knowing his fate, all that Grayskull cared about was that his kingdom would be free. That just shows how much a guy will lay down for his people.
  • Narrowly averted in Justice League Unlimited with the Flash. During his fight against Luthor/Brainiac, Flash kept pushing himself faster and faster, literally circling the globe to build up enough momentum to damage his Nigh Invulnerable foe, and after the fight ended, Flash appeared to suffer from a Heroic RROD, abruptly fading into the Speed Force, but his teammates literally pulled him back. Flash was convinced that if he ever went that fast again, he couldn't possibly return.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness Features a super tragic example. Tigress is selected to train with a master for a short period of time. She's a fish who is never satisfied with anything accomplished through training. In a Relentless effort to please the master Tigress trains even harder than she usually does until she meets the master's former pupil. He's a goat that can barely move without excruciating pain.He explains that he too was determined to gain the approval of his mentor but he realized far too late that she could never be pleased. He trained his body until it was too damaged to function properly any longer and all for a "mentor" who just got kicks out of telling everyone they weren't good enough and watching them injure themselves as a result. After hearing this, Tigress wises up and quits after which she defeats the Evil Mentor.
  • Played for Laughs in the Looney Tunes short, Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs, when Prince Chawmin's attempts to revive So White with a kiss culminates in his collapsing from exhaustion after turning white-haired and bald. (After which the Dopey Expy revives her with a single kiss.)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Happens to Applejack in the episode "Applebuck Season". She tries to harvest her family's entire apple farm by herself and refuses to rest or accept help. As the episode progresses, she gets more and more exhausted, her vision and hearing become blurred, and she slowly goes insane from sleep deprivation (and this is after a whole week of non-stop work). She finally accepts help when she assumes she was finished but finds that she only harvested about half the orchard.
    • In the Crystal Empire episode arc, Cadence exhausts herself maintaining the force field repelling King Sombra, to the point that she can barely stand.
  • This is how we lost Bunny, the fourth member of The Powerpuff Girls. She was unstable to begin with, then pushed herself too far too fast in defense of her sisters, making it a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In ReBoot, Bob suspected this would happen when he fused with Glitch, which was broken at the time. Overuse of his new powers nearly kills him later, with a transparent and static visual effect when it happens.
  • In ''Son of Stimpy'', Stimpy tries to fart for Ren in order to prove that Stinky is real. After the first two attempts fail, Stimpy puts everything into the third try, which results in Stimpy's butt cheeks overexerting themselves, swelling up, then going limp and deflating, complete with sound effect and Stimpy gasping in defeat.
    • There was also The Cat That Laid the Golden Hairball, which inspired the above-mentioned Cat Hairballs music video. Stimpy is forced to make hairballs for Ren by licking them up various body parts and hwarfing onto a conveyor belt. Eventually, Stimpy starts running out of places to lick, and trying to keep up with Ren's demands is making Stimpy more and more exhausted. Finally, Stimpy can't take anymore and passes out on the conveyor belt and Ren inadvertently stamps Stimpy really hard on the ass, leaving behind a butt brand that reads "Grade A" across Stimpy's butt cheeks.
  • In the Season 5 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Adora attempts to fight Horde bots and soldiers the same as she always did in the previous four seasons. Unfortunately, in the previous season she destroyed the Sword of Protection, meaning that she is no longer able to become She-Ra and thus suffers from the same limitations normal humans do, leading to her overexerting herself and collapsing from exhaustion. Even after that she still tries to keep going and Bow has to force her to get some rest.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: In the episode "Shear Strength", Spider-Man pushes his strength to its limits to lift a massive generator off of himself, then web-sling Gwen, the unconscious Electro, and himself into an escape pod. He passes out the second he sits down, leaving Gwen to pilot the pod. Even hours later, he's shown with a sore back.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Margaritaville", Kyle uses a credit card with no spending limit to pay off the town's debts. This task turned out to be so exhausting that when he collapsed, everyone begins to fear that he had died.
    • In "Safe Space", Butters is brought in to filter the negative comments from the Twitter accounts of Cartman and various celebrities, and all the exposure to the Internet's hateful comments drives him insane, culminating in him running through the school naked and jumping out the second-story window.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In an episode, SpongeBob enters his Pet snail Gary into a race. Preparing for the race, he puts Gary through a brutal training regimen, giving him no break whatsoever. On the day of the race, Gary is already tired. During the race, SpongeBob harshly orders Gary to move on until Gary's eyes blow up and he has a "Blown head gasket." Then he literally crashes like a racecar. And then the crowd goes wild.
    • Also in the episode "SpongeBob v. the Patty Gadget", SpongeBob manages to defeat the titular gadget even after it goes haywire producing patties by the hundreds, but he faints in the midst of his victory. The gang stand near a grave, which you think is SpongeBob's... until SpongeBob shows up to dance on the grave, and we learn it was the gadget buried under there.
  • In Teen Titans (2003), Cyborg sometimes falls prey to this. Fortunately, he's as Strong as He Needs to Be, so he always survives, if only just.
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: The Rivera Super Macho Blitz, a move that requires all members of the Rivera family to overclock their superpowers and charge at the enemy for a Death or Glory Attack. Justice Jaguar perished while pulling the move off, but Manny manages to survive his attempt by summoning the Ancient Tiger Spirit that powers his belt.
  • In Winx Club Season 4 Episode 24, Nabu uses all of his magic to close a dark vortex that the Wizards of the Black Circle created to suck up all the Earth Fairies despite knowing that it might be too much for him to handle. He succeeds in closing the vortex, but dies shortly afterward.

    Real Life 
  • A (surprisingly common) cause of death in Japan is karōshi (過労死), or death by natural organ failure due to overwork.However…  It's a rather sad example of Japanese working habits. The benign form of this is Inemuri (居眠り). Obviously, exhaustion from work is so common in Japan that it has become socially acceptable to fall asleep at the workplace. Some people even fake Inemuri to show how committed they are to their work.
    • This phenomena is so widespread it inspired the darkly humorous Karoshi series of games.
  • Some athletes that use "blood doping" (i.e. removing blood, then putting it back in later) to raise their red blood cell count (and thus provide more oxygen to their muscles) have simply keeled over dead because thickening the blood like that greatly increases the risk of clot-related complications such as heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, and strokes (all of which can be fatal).
  • During the American presidential election of 1800, Aaron Burr nearly worked himself to death due to foregoing sleep to have more time for campaign work. By the end of the election his body had started shutting down from exhaustion and various health complications related to chronic extreme sleep deprivation. He got better, though.
  • James K. Polk worked himself into an early grave due to the fact that he didn't like to delegate work to other people.
  • One of the theories behind Vladimir Lenin's early death. It took an attempted assassination and three strokes to bring him down. Even after his second and third strokes, he would work continually, despite being unable to talk or feed himself properly.
  • Some say that creative overwork was the death of composer and organ virtuoso Max Reger. He was found in full rigor mortis at the writing desk in his hotel room while on tour, performing; he had been up to the wee hours of the morning writing music and his heart failed around 2 AM.
  • According to legend, when the Persians first invaded Greece, the government of Athens sent Pheidippides to Sparta to ask for reinforcements and he ran all the way, 246 km, only to be told the Spartans couldn't move yet due their sacred ceremonies, then ran all the way back to inform the government of the Spartans' refusal, then, due to the Persians invading faster than expected, he immediately donned his heavy armor and joined the army to march to Marathon, fought in the victorious battle, and was sent back to Athens to announce the news — and after this final 42 km race, he dropped dead of exhaustion immediately after saying the single word "victory". This happened in 490BC, making this Older Than Feudalism. The place name of Marathon was later used in modern times to refer to a long-distance running race.
  • During the night of April 14-15, 1912, RMS Titanic foundered in the North Atlantic. Five hours away was the much smaller (700-passenger) Cunard liner RMS Carpathia, maximum speed 15.5 knots — moreover, Carpathia had not had an engine overhaul in years, meaning that her boilers and reciprocating engines had a much lower maximum pressure and therefore speed (14 knots) because of years of stress. By closing off every governor valve and shutting down hot water and electrical service to most of the ship, every ounce of available steam was diverted to the engines, pushing the slow Carpathia to a speed of 17.5 knots (20.1 miles per hour/32.4 kilometers per hour). Though she didn't arrive before Titanic sank, she shaved an hour off her arrival time on the scene and undoubtedly saved lives (a small number survived the sinking and the dunk in freezing water only to perish aboard Carpathia, a Heroic RRoD in itself). The process of so doing severely damaged the boilers (the chief engineer was said to have put his hat over the steam pressure gauge to obscure just how dangerously they were pushing the engines) and the ship never exceeded 12 knots in service again. This may have later contributed to her being chased down and sunk by a German U-boat during World War I.
  • Oddly enough, this is the goal (though not the only goal) for some military branches, especially special forces. Sleep deprivation, inadequate food, extreme physical work... very often, however, the purpose is not to see if you can endure such conditions, but rather to see how you react to them, and whether you give up or keep going despite the exhaustion.
  • It's a common side effect of any physical career, like being a stevedore, or working down t'mill. While, on the one hand, it's true that you gotta use it or lose it, it's also true that the more you use it, the more it breaks down. It's why the age for social security hasn't ever been raised in the US (you still apply at fifty); people are living longer, but they're still breaking down at the same rate.
  • Some dog breeds, such as border collies, have been known to work themselves to death.
  • In some musical circles, it's considered a rite of passage for hand drummers (bongos, congas, and similar) to piss blood at the end of a long night of playing. In fact, they've been playing so long that they've broken down the muscles in their hands from the damage, and they're pissing out proteins that are leaking out of damaged muscle cells. The name for this condition is rhabdomyolysis, and it is common in marathons and other endurance events. Let The Other Wiki explain.
    • Word of advice: don't do this if you like having functional kidneys.
  • Marathons, Iron Man, and other extreme events have this happening so often (and frustratingly close to the finish line) that it's practically a cliche.
    • One particularly extreme example involved a woman who, within feet of the finish line (after a race that had lasted for hours), found herself unable to move properly. Despite being in first place by a significant margin, she fell to her hands and knees and started crawling to the finish line. With less than a dozen feet to go, she collapsed. She related later that, despite her attempts to push herself to finish, she distinctly heard a voice in her head say "STOP", and when it spoke, she had no choice but to comply. She ended up not finishing the race and almost suffering severe permanent damage to her body as a resultnote . She is frequently used as a classic example of a hard impact with hitting the wall, or what happens when the human body hits the absolute limit of endurance.
  • A variation of this is what destroyed the career of, and ultimately killed, Soviet gymnast Elena Mukhina, the 1978 All-Around World Champion. A year before the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Mukhina badly broke her leg and it initially healed poorly, resulting in multiple surgeries and an extended recovery time. Once she was healed, her coaches pushed her to get back into shape and get her skills back as quickly as possible, and she was also made to do additional grueling workouts to lose the weight she had gained while she was recovering, which just chewed up more of her energy. It all came apart two weeks before the Olympics when the exhausted Mukhina was unable to generate enough power into a risky skill that was later banned (one which her coaches had pressured her to do despite her objections) and came up catastrophically short on the landing, breaking her spine and leaving her a quadraplegic. Mukhina never walked again and eventually died of complications from paralysis.
  • Forty-one years after Mukhina's accident, another star gymnast had a (fortunately less catastrophic) version of this trope happen to her. Going into the 2020 Tokyo Olympicsnote , the clear star of the show was American gymnast Simone Biles, the five-time World all-around champion and reigning Olympic all-around champion. Biles had a few uncharacteristic mistakes during the Olympic team trials and the qualification round at the games, but still won both meets handily and was expected to be a major factor in the team and all-around finals, as well as a top contender for medals in three out of four individual event finals. To the shock of pretty much everyone, rather than bouncing back, Biles had a near-disastrous performance on vault to start off her team final competition and then withdrew from the final altogether, and later from the all-around final as well. She would later explain that she was suffering from a dangerous loss of spatial orientation — a condition that gymnasts call "the twisties" — and felt that it would be too risky for her to compete; many believed that the intense pressure put on her (the US National Team Coordinator basically admitted openly that he was making decisions based on the assumption that Biles would carry the team), especially on top of the added mental and physical strain caused by the year delay in the Games, was a factor in why some of these issues started developing when they did.note 
  • In the Cold War-era Eastern Bloc, the term "Udarnik" was coined to describe exemplary, super-productive groups of elite workers who were known and expected to push themselves to the limit in their jobs. They accomplished as much as a work quota of 270 percent of per month and were valued by the state as labor leaders and propaganda tools. Unfortunately, the norm-breaking accomplishment of becoming an Udarnik came at the cost of substandard quality for the goods they produce, lack of work safety regulations and lack of concern for personal health which supports the popular myth that some Udarniks died of deadly exhaustion. Just to show how pointless it was to achieve the title of Udarnik, the western equivalent to that honorary title was "Employee of the Month".
  • An almost literal example happened during the shutdown of the original Xbox Live. Because the servers couldn't be closed until everyone disconnected, a flurry of players continuously stayed home playing their favorite games online one last time until their consoles crashed from overuse, nearly a full month after the servers were planned to be shut down.
  • Not getting enough sleep, along with a busy, tiring schedule, can lead to complications (such as a nosebleed).
  • Race Horses, similar to human athletes, are at risk of suffering serious injuries due to overexertion. Breakdown during a race can be extremely dangerous to both the horse and the jockey, with the possibility of the rider being thrown or crushed under their injured horse. Common injuries include bleeding from the respiratory system (nostrils or lungs), damaged tendons, and even broken bones. In many cases, a Mercy Kill is necessary when a horse receives a severe injury to their leg(s). This has led to criticisms of the sport and accusations of Animal Cruelty by Animal welfare/rights groups.
  • The most famous case of a horse dying this way is Empress Bullet, who tried so hard to win a race, she threw her jockey at the risk of disqualification, kept right on running even after the race was declared for Storm Petrol, and ultimately injured her vital organs in a collision with an aqueduct.
  • Several Allied fighter planes during World War II were equipped with War Emergency Power (WEP) for particularly desperate situations; WEP was engaged, usually, by pushing the throttle lever past a certain point, which was marked off by a wire stretched across the assembly to stop the pilot from accidentally activating it. It would give the pilot a much-needed boost on the battlefield and improve performance, but would also push the engine past the redline and inflict some fairly major damage to the engine's internals. Mechanics checking the planes after they return to base would always check this wire, and if they found it to be broken, they knew that the engine would need to be pulled out and completely rebuilt.
  • There are at least a few documented cases of people who died from playing games for hours and even DAYS without giving themselves sufficient rest, exercise, or nutrition.note  The most noteworthy case was Seungseob Lee, a South Korean man who did a 50-hour marathon of playing Starcraft and then died of heart failure in 2005. In many of these cases, however, its not so much a case of over-stressing the body, but rather failing to take proper care and subjecting it to conditions it wasn't meant to be in for long periods of time; Long periods of immobility in a sitting position are known to cause blood clots in the legs, especially in the main arteries. When the person finally stands up, the sudden movements cause these clots to break loose and flow up into the brain and heart.
  • When Queen was recording Innuendo, Freddie Mercury was dying of AIDS. However, during recording for the final track, "The Show Must Go On", he famously surprised Brian May by downing a full measure of vodka, telling him, "I'll fuckin' do it, darling!", and then nailing his vocal track in one take. His condition only got worse from there, and he reached his limit while recording vocal tracks for the surviving members to turn into Made in Heaven; he found himself too tired to record the last verse of his final song "Mother Love" and never managed to return to the studio to finish the track, forcing May to record that verse while turning it into an actual song.
  • They say human beings have built in safety limiters that withhold the body's true potential because doing so would damage it. Hysterical Strength is a concept that suggests that, in a life or death situation, or other sort of emergency, the body subconsciously disables those limiters, and taps into the body's full power for that brief period.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Heroic Red Ring Of Death, Harmful Heroic Overdrive


150-Piece Kit

Attempting to finish the 150-piece kit drum solo causes Benson's skeleton to start burning up, as he had been warned prior.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroicRROD

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