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Heroic Resolve

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"Even if you get hacked up once or twice, when you're a badass you live through it to fight again."
Date Masamune, Sengoku Basara: The Last Party

The Hero is battered and bruised; they can't keep up with the enemy. Then the villain picks up a child, spouse or similar loved one and draws back their weapon for the killing blow — and suddenly the hero is able to ignore their wounds and charges their enemy, attacking with a flurry of furious blows that utterly overwhelms their opponent. Bonus points if given in conjunction with a "No More Holding Back" Speech.

Heroic Resolve is a variant of Heroic Spirit that is specifically in response to a threat against something or someone that the hero cares deeply about, gaining his new power purely from guts and the desire to protect.

If the character is only in any way competent in this kind of situation, you're dealing with either Let's Get Dangerous! or a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass scenario. It may also come from the last straw in a campaign to Break the Cutie being reached, thus providing an example to the bad guys of why they should Beware the Nice Ones.

Note to well-meaning but Genre Blind friends and allies: do not try this intentionally. If The Virus is involved, then it's likely a case of Heroic Willpower. And to anyone holding the Villain Ball: never force a hero to watch a loved one in pain; this is one of the most common triggers of Heroic Resolve and a leading cause of villain death.

A Sub-Trope of Heroic Spirit. This trope is a staple of shonen anime and other stories involving Japanese Spirit. It is also quite prevalent among action movies.

Bottled Heroic Resolve is when the will is strong enough, but the body too weak, and so the hero uses drugs of some kind.

Compare with the Determinator and Heroic Second Wind. The Fettered can pull this off when their ideals are threatened. Hope Spot is the subversion, when that last burst still isn't enough.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A variant happens in Berserk during the Eclipse, where after pummeling and slaughtering countless demons that were sicced on the Band of the Hawk by Griffith's sacrifice to become a Godhand, Guts is the only one left standing, and is surrounded by the apostles that are seemingly taunting him with the half-eaten remains of his comrades and friends. Guts just shouts at the horde in anger, but it might have also have been in defeat... until he sees Casca, his lover and the only other survivor of the massacre, being dangled bloody, naked, and unconscious from a demon's tentacle grip. And that's when Guts got PISSED.
  • Referred to in almost exactly the above words in Bleach, when Ichigo battles Renji. (Or multiple other occasions, mostly involving Ichigo... the whole series is one big resolve-and-protect moment).
    • ...And several villains knowingly do this as well, just to fight him at his strongest.
    • It's been alluded that Ichigo's Heroic Resolve is one of his power-ups.
    • Subverted during Renji's fight with Byakuya during the Soul Society arc. He's been cut to pieces by one of his captain's tougher attacks, then tries to rise defiantly... and promptly gets shredded ''further'' by Byakuya's bankai.
    • Double subversion: he still gets back up a few moments later, despite it being implied that it should have been impossible with all his extensive injuries... only to have his zanpakutou's blade shatter upon striking the too-stunned-to-move Byakuya.
      Byakuya: "Your fang did reach me."
  • The Breaker: despite being a relatively weak character for most the series, Shi Woon will absolutely not give up a fight if his friends are threatened. His Heroic Resolve even intimidates Hyuk So Chun, who is considered a martial arts prodigy by most of the cast.
  • It happens at the end of every arc in A Certain Magical Index. The villain will announce his or her backstory and/or reasons for fighting all while gaining the viewer's sympathy despite having caused MASSIVE amounts of damage and risking the lives of countless civilians. The main character Touma Kamijou responds to the revelation (that would leave most people speechless) with a short valiant speech of his own that is always reasonable, admirable, and envy-inspiring. He then proceeds to punch the villain in the face with the Imagine Breaker.
  • Common in Digimon, as most of the time a new level of digivolution is reached via Heroic Resolve, either by the partner for the sake of their human friend, vice versa, or even for one another at the same time. However, by far the greatest example is in the finale of Digimon Adventure. After Apocalymon digitized the Digidestined and their partners and destroyed their Crests, things seem hopeless. Then, the group manages to perform a "No More Holding Back" Speech and their combined Heroic Resolve manages to reassemble them from scattered data, let's their Digimon reach their strongest forms without their Crests, and take Apocalymon down once and for all. It's as awesome as it sounds.
  • Goku and many of his friends from both the Dragon Ball anime and manga live and breathe this.
  • Like mentioned above, in Eyeshield 21, Sena's legs are pushed beyond exhaustion by repeatedly going up against Jerk Jock Agon in the Shinryuuji game. Agon is also having a grand time smacking Sena around at every opportunity. It's looking bad for Deimon; Shinryuuji is such a strong team and Agon is a big, vicious, unstoppable force. But then Agon mocks the Devil Bats' Christmas Bowl dream (particularly Hiruma, Kurita and Musashi's). It's the first (and only) time we ever see Sena get mad and go after someone with a previously unseen brutal will to fight.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed has shrapnel in his arm, and he is giving Father a full on beat down for having Al give up his soul in exchange for restoring Ed's original arm.
  • Guy Shishioh from GaoGaiGar embodies this trope to its fullest.
    • 3G. The G-Stone is fueled by heroic resolve.
  • During Volume 2 of Goblin Slayer, Goblin Slayer has gotten his ass kicked by the Goblin Champion of Water Town. He's been smashed into a brick wall, bloody, one arm broken and near death. As he lays there, it's looking distinctly like the end of the line for his friends — Lizard Priest and Dwarf Shaman are getting overwhelmed by the goblins, High Elf Archer is getting stripped and is about to be raped, and poor Priestess gets a chunk taken out of her shoulder by the Goblin Champion himself, her agonized screams echoing in his ears. Cue the Red Eye glowing with absolute fury as he proceeds to come back and utterly brutalize the Goblin Champion in order to save Priestess and their friends, turning the goblins' attention to him and enabling the others to turn the tide.
  • In the first episode of Gunbuster 2, Nono gains Heroic Resolve to fight a giant Express by ripping her shirt off. She took the title "Topless" a bit too seriously.
  • Inuyasha:
  • The third movie drops an anvil on it, but proves that Sesshoumaru, despite his denials, is capable of the same.
  • The Mt. Hakurei story arc shows several characters' Heroic Resolve with one single event. Naraku's enemies are mostly youkai or youkai-blooded or the undead. That means by exploiting a powerful priest to create the most powerful sacred barrier ever heard of, Naraku can hold almost all of his enemies at bay at once and by using different lures, he manages to force each of them to enter the barrier hoping the barrier will destroy them by purifying them to death. It results in the following occurrences:
    • Kouga is ambushed by several of the Band of Seven and forced to fight for his life while his enemies use the barrier as a cover to gain a severe advantage over them. He takes the full might of what is essentially a medieval tank to achieve victory, and succeeds.
    • Inuyasha is forced into the barrier to try and rescue Miroku and Sango. He's driven so deep inside the barrier by the Band of Seven that the barrier overcomes him and fully purifies his youkai blood. Being half-human, he doesn't die, but is rendered fully human instead. Despite his vastly weakened state, he keeps fighting, quipping that he actually feels much better now the sacred barrier is no longer objecting to his non-youkai presence.
    • The Band of Seven kidnap Rin and take her inside the barrier fully intent on ensuring Sesshoumaru's destruction from the barrier. Despite having no human blood to protect him, Sesshoumaru doesn't hesitate to go into the barrier, travels so far and fast that he actually overtakes and ambushes them, and proceeds to fight his two opponents as though nothing is wrong. His opponents are utterly amazed that he can even stand up, let alone fight.
    • Kikyou, who separately entered the barrier chasing after Rin's kidnappers, has to ride a horse because she cannot stand under her own strength. She still arrives just in time to help Sesshoumaru save Rin's life, help save Suikotsu's soul and then ride back out of the barrier without dying.
  • Mostly averted (but no less awesome) in the fifth part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. While many of the characters talk about "resolve" multiple times throughout the part, they're not referring to any second wind. Instead they use it to denote the ability to go through with risking their life and mutilating their body to get the job done. Played straight however with Prosciutto, albeit as a villainous example. After getting thrown out of a train and getting caught in the wheels, he says that he'll remain alive and keep his aging ability up to help his partner.
  • All of Macross' major Crowning Moments (of Awesome and/or Heartwarming) come from this, usually accompanied with awesome music. Guaranteed to show up in the Grand Finale.
  • Mazinger Z: Kouji is a Hot-Blooded The Determinator fights for saving innocent people, so he has plenty moments like this. Threatens someone innocents and he will go The Berserker. A good example happens in Shin Mazinger Zero: The Dragon Baron Ashura has managed gets Mazinger-Z and Aphrodite-A trapped, but instead of ordering one of his Mechanical Beasts targeting Kouji he orders it targeting Sayaka because she pissed him off (by wrecking THREE of his Beasts), so he wants to kill her as Kouji witness it helplessly. It was NOT a good idea (You do not know what an Unstoppable Rage is until you see an angry Kouji charging).
  • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, the three protagonists experience this at least once in lifetime in a similar fashion; the ones they love/respect/befriended are killed right in front of them.
  • Naruto:
    • The Invasion of Pain arc in Part II has a perfect example as to why you shouldn't try to invoke Heroic Resolve: Hinata briefly fights Pain to defend a weakened and incapacitated Naruto, only for Pain to smack her down and stab her just to piss off Naruto. Bad idea. Really, REALLY bad idea.
    • Also invoked by Jiraiya. Initially, he loosened the seal on Naruto so that he could use Heroic Resolve to control the Nine Tails Chakra. It didn't work.
    • The series has this trope in fairly large doses, especially early on when the dunce protagonist uses this trope as a substitute for his lack of talent or intelligence that a ninja is normally expected to have.
  • Negi Springfield of Negima! Magister Negi Magi does this often, sometimes resulting in a Normally, I Would Be Dead Now moments, also tending towards Papa Wolf-like moments when his students are threatened. He sometimes gets accused of being a Martyr Without a Cause for this reason.
    • His fight with Jack Rakan. He gets pulverized by one of the most powerful people alive, coughs up roughly half of his blood, and then gets back up anyway.
    • This is also what Jack Rakan attributes his that-should-be-completely-impossible-but-he-just-did-it-anyway moments to. According to him, if you have enough resolve and guts, you can do anything. His most impressive moments include getting impaled by the combined might of an anti-army lightning spell and continuing the fight regardless, and briefly willing himself back into existence from being erased just to Bright Slap an angry young hero.
  • One Piece plays this trope straight most of the time... but starting at the Enies Lobby Arc, it starts getting subverted when Luffy and his crew meet enemies who are simply too strong to be beaten by digging down for the last bit of strength. No amount of willpower is able to let Luffy move his body after the combination of beatdown and overexertion that he goes through fighting Lucci, regardless of the danger to his person or allies. And then it happened again in the Thriller Bark Arc, after fighting Warlord Moriah. Then this trope is deconstructed at the end of Sabaody Archipelago Arc, reconstructed in the Impel Down Arc, then deconstructed again hard at the Marineford Arc final.
  • Ash from Pokémon: The Series, being a Hot-Blooded Determinator with dreams of being the best, goes into this from time to time. Most notably, in Pokémon: The First Movie, where Ash, hopelessly outgunned and overpowered, brushes off Mewtwo's crusade to wipe out all human life tirades. "You can't do this. I won't let you."
    • Pokémon Adventures sees Heroic Resolve used as a drug by many characters, with Gold as its most notorious addict. Gold on Heroic Resolve can survive a lot — including a beating from Neo Team Rocket, multiple encounters with the Mask of Ice, and disappearing into the timestream without adequate protection.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, in the middle of an informal tennis match he was losing against a member of the Shishigaku tennis club, Tezuka finally overcomes his shoulder injury when his opponent aims a shot at Chitose Miyuki.
  • This happens with Rave Master's Haru Glory whenever his True Companions are threatened.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Himura Kenshin relies on resolve often, but during his fight with Shishio, he gets mortally wounded almost half a dozen times, blown up, and knocked unconscious. And that's only halfway into the fight.
  • All the good Saints in Saint Seiya have moments like this, but Seiya himself is the undisputed king of this trope. During the Sanctuary Arc, Saga uses his most powerful move, which renders all your five senses useless. The fact he knows both his friends and Athena herself, Saori will die if he fails gives him the strength to reach a Moment of Awesome. And that's just one of many moments like this.
  • So, I Can't Play H!: In episode 8, Lisara decides to face Gadalbolg on her own, so she leaves Ryosuke behind. Her cousin, Quele, explains that she did it to prevent Gadalbolg from getting his hands on Gram, which lay dormant in Ryosuke's body. It renews his determination to save Lisara and Mina, which gives him the strength to draw Gram once again.
  • Steins;Gate outdoes itself in Episode 23 when Okabe realizes how to save Kurisu from an apparently unavoidable death.
    "I am the Mad Scientist, Hououin Kyouma, and the world is on the palm of my hand!"
  • For all intents and purposes, the Spiral Energy that powers Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is heroic resolve. If the Spiral Energy Meter Maxes out, expect something awesome to happen. This hits the peak in the battle against Lord Genome. Every time Simon picks himself up to fight again, Lord Genome is there to slap him back down. At the point when you think Simon's finally won, Lord Genome gets out of his mech and calmly slugs Lagann in the face with his bare hands.
    • That's just the first half. Heroic Resolve goes a lot farther. By the end of the series, there is a galaxy-sized mecha made of Spiral Energy. Word of God has it being 13 billion light-years tall. That's billion, with a B. That's nearly the distance between Earth and the edge of the visible universe. Spiral Energy is the love child of Heroic Resolve and Rule of Cool. During the final episode, the spiral energy meter maxes out, then that meter forms a second meter drilling through the first meter. Then, that meter breaks, and THE ENERGY METER'S BAR KEEPS GOING INTO OPEN AIR!!! This energy release allows for the creation of the titular Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (lit. Heaven Piercing Crimson Lotus Lagann). Then the movie created an even bigger mecha.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle: Fugil taught Lux that if someone fights for their loved ones, their determination will allow them to surpass their limits. While he does believe in this trope, he's a Knight Templar for his deceased friend's utopian ideals, making him a nigh-unstoppable villain who won't give up on using perception manipulation to make the world peaceful.
  • Oh so frequent in Vandread. This is explained though in that the Peiksis that fuels the power of the protagonist's superweapons responds to the emotions of those it's in contact with, which often results in extreme power boosts when the main characters show their resolve, most of all when it's Hibiki and Dita doing it.
  • Jonouchi from Yu-Gi-Oh! does this a lot. Getting back up from extremely brutal attacks in major duels throughout the series, most notable are his duels with Marik, Varon and the following duel with Mai.
    Jonouchi: I have... told you... I won't run away.
  • This happens in almost every major fight scene in YuYu Hakusho, to the point where Kuwabara fakes his own death during a particularly bleak-looking battle because he knows it will give Yusuke the resolve to turn the tide. Interesting though, the trope is subverted at the end of the series, when Yusuke loses against Yomi, despite undergoing a major resolve power boost.
    • An interesting subversion exists before that. During the Chapter Black Arc after Sensui kills Yusuke just as his friends escape from a dimension they were trapped in Kuwabara, Hiei, and Kurama's power jump and they take on Sensui. However, It still isn't enough and Sensui is handing them their asses.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Portrayed well in the "Tarnished Angel" arc of Astro City, when a supervillain recently released from jail realizes that his fellow C-List Fodder are going to be wiped out as a publicity stunt and the superheroes he turns to simply don't believe his story. He confronts the arch-villain himself and just keeps getting back up to fight on.
  • Batman has written a 12-volume encyclopedia on taking punches from Physical Gods, ignoring your broken body to save the day, and enduring every kind of emotional anguish imaginable to continue fighting for a better world, all while being just a unpowered human being.
  • Spider-Man: As far back as the sixties, Spidey has shown a marked increase in strength, durability, and badassery (accompanied by a decrease in smartassery) whenever Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, etc. are in trouble. Being Mr. Responsibility, he also responds this way to endangered random innocents as well, going so far as to occasionally hold up buildings to save them. The first instance of this was when he overextended his strength by about ten times the (then) official rating to get some Applied Phlebotinum to Aunt May after being trapped under debris weighing as much as some small planetoids.
  • Superman:
    • Superman may be worn out, wounded, beaten or almost dead, but menace his wife, his cousin, his son, his parents or his friends, and you will wish you were dead. Even hurting his dog is suicidal.
    • In Superman: Brainiac, Supes has been beaten, captured and imprisoned by Brainiac. Still, when he sees Brainiac has stolen Metropolis and captured Lois, he shatters his shackles and fights on.
    • Supergirl. Even if she looks hurt or is dying, never, ever, try to harm her cousin under any circumstance.
    • In Crisis on Infinite Earths, she was hurt and beaten. Then the Anti-Monitor (an universe-eating Eldritch Abomination) tried to kill Superman. She pounced on the Anti-Monitor and delivered such a brutal beatdown that she almost killed him.
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton Kara was dying after her battle with a worldkiller. She was sick from Kryptonite-poisoning, worn-out and her heart hardly beat. Then the world-killer proclaimed her cousin would be his next victim. Thirty seconds later she had hurled the biological living weapon into the Sun.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In Chapter 16, San being threatened triggers a fierce case of this in Vivienne.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, memories of his loved ones let ProtoMan do this in episode 11, fighting Wily's fear programming and turning on him.
  • In this Homestuck fic, Eridan manages to restrain and calm down a blood-crazed Feferi even as she stabs him fatally.
  • Though not particularly possessed of this, John displays some in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World when he's being disabled by a sonic stunner until he hears George screaming in agony. John manages to drag himself behind a tree and out of the sonic stunner's beam so he can go rescue George.

    Films — Animation 
  • Brave: During the climax, Elinor in her bear form is helplessly tied down by Fergus' men but once she sees Mor'du attacking Merida, she goes into Mama Bear mode providing her with the extra strength to break herself free to save her daughter, sons, and Fergus from the dreaded bear Mor'du.
  • Frozen (2013): After getting her heart frozen and freezing from the inside out, Anna can barely walk, only able to weakly shuffle towards Kristoff for a True Love's Kiss — at least, when it's her own life that's at stake. But then she sprints to rescue her sister when it's Elsa's that's in danger.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Captain America: The First Avenger, the patriotic and dutiful Steve Rogers tells a heckler to shut up during a WWII news reel before a movie. Even when the comparatively massive, badass heckler drags him out of the theatre and beats him up, Rogers refuses to yield the point. In basic training, he dives on a grenade while the other recruits (who by every objective measure are more badass than him) flee in terror. And when that resolve is combined with his super-powers, he easily weathers a helpless beating at the hands of his arch-rival long enough for his squadmates to raid the base.
      "I can do this all day."
    • A truly heartwrenching scene from Spider-Man: Homecoming has Peter Parker trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building by the Vulture. Completely immobilized, he initially screams for help, clearly panicked and in pain, but after remembering Iron Man's words to him from earlier, he is able to lift the building off himself in a triumphant display of heroism.
    • How Captain Marvel overcomes the Despair Event Horizon when talking to the Supreme Intelligence. They attempt to break her by showing her all the times she failed, but Carol is reminded in each instance that she was able to persevere because she got up again. Cue Carol blasting her way out of captivity and destroying the rest of the Kree fleet and sending the survivors running.
  • In the final Matrix movie The Matrix Revolutions, when Neo and Agent Smith face off in their final battle, Smith has Neo beaten down on the floor and says this tirade:
    Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting?...You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?
    Neo: Because I choose to.
  • This is arguably the defining trait of Mr. Furious in Mystery Men, given that his semi-super power is his "unstoppable rage." The only coherent metaphor he uses in the entire movie is to say that "Someone must have taken the Q section out of my dictionary, because I don't know the meaning of the word quit!" This trait does in fact enable him to defeat the villain.
  • A dark version of this is Inigo Montoya's quest for revenge in The Princess Bride. When the six fingered man seems about to kill him, he goads him with the fact that he killed his father, telling him he has failed on his lifelong quest for revenge. Needless to say, My Name Is Inigo Montoya. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die happened.
  • In Serenity, River spends most of the final battle completely catatonic and unable to use her government-implanted killing machine abilities. Then her brother gets shot, and from there on the Reavers are as good as dead.
  • This is Tony Jaa's shtick in every action movie in which his character is injured. Despite the obscene levels of bone-breakage he's capable of normally, that quotient seems to increase in direct relation to how injured he is, and how pissed off he is.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Professor X finds strength that he didn't know he had when the eponymous villain threatens to suffocate Mystique if Xavier doesn't surrender. Charles had already been cruelly victimized and had nearly died from Apocalypse's Grand Theft Me attempt, yet despite his weakened condition, Xavier is able to enter his enemy's mind and attack him on the astral plane.

  • Subverted in Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. The protagonist tries to break his way out of a jail cell with his Talent for breaking things, only to find the bars are resistant to Smedry Talents. Then he summons all his will to escape with his friends and rescue his grandfather ... and still nothing happens. The narrator points out that this never works in Real Life. Fortunately for our heroes, The Guard Must Be Crazy.
  • This is SOP with The Dresden Files' Harry Dresden. He's quite possibly the Trope Codifier (him or Spiderman, who he references every now and then, saying "I follow the Tao of Peter Parker").
    • At one point, when defending a good man from being falsely accused of betraying the White Council, Harry is facing down a respectable fraction of the senior-most wizards on the planet, each one of them a paragon of destruction, and they're scared of him. He knows that he's gotten by with some combination of this trope, luck, and having good friends, but all they know him as is a zombie-dinosaur-riding-potentially-dark-wizard who doesn't lose.
    • He's fought trucked his way through a war consisting of the entirety of Fae on more or less this trope and pluck, and then executed Aurora, Lady Summer to save the world and the life of one innocent person.
    • He's carved his way through armies of super-ghouls to rescue his friends.
    • He's kicked off a war with the Red Court when they took his girlfriend by killing dozens of their lesser leadership.
    • He's led an assault on Arctis Tor, the seat of Mab's (yes, that Mab) power to rescue the daughter of a close friend.
    • He's (essentially) won a duel with a Red Court Noble through the medium of Will, in a very Harry Potter-esque literalist take on this trope. Harry came near losing this, but when the vampire betrayed his word and told Harry if he won, his friends would still be killed, his resolve burned through.
    • Immediately before the aforementioned Fae war, Harry explained to the Gatekeeper (the most enigmatic of the Senior Councilors) that the job wasn't finished, so he (Harry) was going to go into the fight. This after he very nearly died multiple times trying to unravel the mystery of the week that led to the actions which caused said fae war.note 
    • Come Changes, and Harry has dueled and killed a Red Court Noble, who was only marginally below a living demi-god. Shortly afterward he kills said Red Court Noble's father, who, by the way, is the freaking Red King himself. All after his home was burned, his office detonated, his car crushed, and all the while his daughter was in Red Court hands.
    • Even being dead doesn't stop Harry from riding to his friends' rescue.
    • And this all started when he was a sixteen-year-old. His mentor revealed himself to be evil and sought to brainwash Harry. Harry ran and came to a gas station, where he decided to steal from it. It is there an ancient evil demon named He-Who-Walks-Behind, an Eldritch Abomination if there ever was one, catches up to Harry. This thing casually murders the gas station attendant and Harry realizes that man would have never been involved if Harry hadn't chosen to come here. This pushes him to face down the thing and win.
      No, it wasn't. But the world wasn't a fair place, was it? And I had more reason to know it than most people twice my age. The world wasn't nice, and it wasn't fair. People who didn't deserve it suffered and died every single day.
      So what? So somebody ought to do something about it.
  • The famous short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster" offers two versions, one positive and one negative. The negative comes when, at the beginning, frustrated farmer Jabez Stone angrily blurts out that he'd sell his soul for a little success... that night, a sharp-dressed man with a soft voice shows up at his door. The narrator remarks that any sensible man would naturally take back his word, but Jabez Stone, being both naturally stubborn and from New Hampshire (a state known for its hard-headed resolve), refuses to do so and strikes a deal with the figure, making this a case of Foolish Heroic Resolve. Thankfully, when it's almost time for "Old Scratch" to collect on his bargain, Jabez seeks out the legendary Daniel Webster, a famed lawyer and farmer, to help. Despite the overwhelming odds — including Old Scratch summoning a jury of horrific criminals from history and a judge from the Salem Witch Trials themselves — Webster refuses to give up and wins Jabez's freedom. He then forces Scratch to sign a new contract — one that states that he'll never bother anyone from New Hampshire again. Talk about flipping off Cthulhu...
  • Harry Potter
    • Neville spends a lot of time offscreen, but astounding resolve is implied. In Philosopher's Stone, he forces himself to stop Harry, Ron and Hermione (who are among the few people to treat him with any respect) from violating curfew. He didn't present much of an obstacle, but Dumbledore himself honored the boy's willingness to do what he thought was right. This turned out to foreshadow his entire Hogwarts career. Upon learning in Order of the Phoenix that the woman who had been serving a life sentence for driving his parents insane was on the loose, Neville dedicates himself to training in defensive magic, with such commitment and determination that even Harry finds his progress impressive... in fact, a bit alarming.
  • In The Maze Runner Trilogy, when freaked out and frantic, Thomas tends to will himself to overpower enemies or break out of holds.
  • Pamela Camel stares down an oncoming train to save the crew and passengers from a broken track.
  • Richard from The Sword of Truth series, to the point where when he's dying quite quickly from a magically induced version of the black death, he still manages to jab his arm through someone, crush their spine, and heal two critically injured women before he succumbs. He does nearly die, but the only thing keeping him going at that point was determination. In fact, once he learns to Dance With Death (it's a sword technique involving him drawing the knowledge of prior owners of his sword, and then just being infinitely better at his job than anyone in his immediate vicinity), this becomes one of his stock descriptions.
  • The only reason the humans on Turtledove's World War series survive. Well, not the only reason, we had numerical and tactical advantages as well, but there was still a lot of this. Well, that and the Race seem to have been collectively handed the Idiot Ball by the author... 50,000 years without a war would tend to dull the skills a little. Oh, and they were only expecting middle-ages technology.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a Turok-Han runs Buffy through the chest with a sword. It seems mortal, and Buffy hands over the Scythe to Faith. Then the First starts taunting her. Buffy gets up, catches the Scythe tossed to her by Rona, and the music kicks into high gear...
  • In the season 5 finale of Cobra Kai, Johnny is surrounded by five Cobra Kai senseis who proceed to beat him so savagely he's coughing up blood and on the absolute brink of death. Then the photo of his unborn child's ultrasound falls out of his pocket and, upon looking at it, he musters the strength to drag himself to his feet and proceeds to beat down all five of them including the one who took down him and Chozen two-on-one. While he still would have ultimately been taken down had Mike not come back to save him from the final sensei, it's nevertheless an impressive feat and one he reflects on later when talking to Carmen about it:
    Johnny: The thought of losing you, Miguel, Robby... kicked me into a gear I didn't know I had.
  • Doctor Who: "Rosa" has a downplayed example, as the person inspiring it isn't in direct physical danger in front of the other characters. After the main characters get kicked out of a restaurant, the Doctor tells her companions to go back to the TARDIS while she investigates who's trying to temporally tamper with Rosa Parks' life, since due to the racist attitudes of 1950s Alabama, she cites that it's incredibly dangerous for them, especially the non-white Ryan and Yaz, to be there and that she'll face less threat alone. Ryan responds by pointing out that Rosa has to face those dangers every day, and they're willing to shoulder them to help her, especially since it'll only be temporary for them.
  • Firefly: In "Objects in Space", Simon tackles Jubal, gets shot, gets up again and tackles him again ("He takes so much looking after"). Do not threaten the good doctor's baby sister. He doesn't like that.
  • Law & Order: SVU: In the Season 15 premiere, Surrender Benson, Olivia begs Lewis not to kill her and agrees to do whatever he wants in exchange for her life, but after Lewis pulls a woman and her daughter into the room and threatens to rape them too, Olivia's resolve comes back and she taunts Lewis before managing to escape and subdue him.
  • Stargate SG-1: The whole titular team has had many of these moments, when the chips are down or one of their own is in trouble. This includes returning from actual death (twice!), defeating a galaxy of near-godlike energy beings, and one member managing to keep himself and his father-like mentor alive for days where both had life-threatening injuries. Among other things.
  • Supernatural: While possessed by Lucifer in the Season 5 finale, Sam is able to take back control of his body from Lucifer's possession while he's violently beating Dean to the brink of death.
  • Super Sentai: Nobuo of Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger, manages to warp reality and make his fictional powers real.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, channeling Compassion in battle tends to work out like this. See, characters can enhance their rolls by channeling their Virtues in appropriate situations; Compassion is a measure of the character's capacity for love, friendship, mercy, and generosity, and... yeah.
  • The Storyteller system of the Old World of Darkness includes an attribute called Willpower for all characters. Willpower can be used, for instance, to ignore all damage taken thus far when performing complex actions (normally, you get a penalty if wounded). It can also be used to add a single automatic success to the character's dice pool for one roll.

    Video Games 
  • In Batman: Arkham City, Batman is poisoned and is stumbling around. At one point, the camera shifts to his POV when he drops to his knees and starts coughing up his own blood and the screen starts to blur. Batman just clenches his fists and the effects wear off, but he still takes a hit to his max health.
    • The whole game (heck, the entire series) is essentially Batman displaying just how far his will and resolve is able to carry him. He constantly is getting sicker and sicker, and despite this, he does battle with many of his most dangerous foes, fights off hundreds of thugs out for his blood, and is trying to find a way to take down Hugo Strange, who is protected by his own private army. When his sickness reaches its most extreme point, he is at death's door, and is told by Barbara that unless he finds what he's looking for, he has only minutes left to live. His response? "I'll make it."
  • This is an actual ability in BlazBlue known as the "Power of Order" and it's wielded by two characters, Jin Kisaragi and Hakumen. It is explicitly said to be fueled by their resolve and belief in themselves and it pretty much makes them small-scale Reality Warpers being able to shrug off a lot of time travel shenanigans that go on in the series.
  • The Vanguard of Bloodline Champions has the Battle Shout ability, healing itself and allies affected by it in addition to other effects.
  • In Chrono Trigger, when Marle, Crono, and Lucca discover why the year 2300 is so awful, they decide that they simply will not let it happen. The moment (as many others throughout the game) is punctuated by a soundtrack that is pure distilled Heroic Resolve.
    • Later on, the Guru of Time explains that only through Heroic Resolve can Crono be brought back to life.
  • City of Heroes:
    • The game has "Inspirations," which translates as the ability to continue fighting beyond normal means. The healing inspirations (which do Exactly What It Says on the Tin) fall under this trope, with such names as Dramatic Resurgence and so on.
    • Additionally, with the Shield powerset, there is the aptly named "Against All Odds." The more enemies you're surrounded by in melee range, the more damage bonuses you receive.
  • In Darkest Dungeon, a hero that hits 100 stress has to pass an aptly named "resolve check": if they fail, they break, which gives a bad effect that lasts for the rest of the dungeonnote . But if they succeed, they remove half their current stress, get a buff for the rest of the dungeon, and will not have to complete another resolve check for the rest of the dungeon, no matter how high their stress gets (though they still suffer a heart attack at 200 stress, which can kill them).
  • Dark Souls has this built into its story and mechanics. The protagonists of the first and second games are Undead, people afflicted with the undying curse. The curse makes them immortal, and even if they are killed, they will only resurrect at a Bonfire, but if they lose their will to live, they eventually lose their mind, turning hollow. The player character can only win the game as long as they have the will to do so.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • A ways into Final Fantasy V we have Galuf break free of ExDeath's attack that has the entire party trapped and about to die, and takes the armored killer on one-on-one. ExDeath hits the poor guy with everything, I mean everything he has, and Galuf won't go down. Even when Galuf's HP reaches zero he still keeps fighting and clings to life long enough to drive Ex Death away before finally succumbing to his injuries. It's easily the awesomest and saddest moment in the entire game.
    • Cloud in the original Final Fantasy VII during the real flashback to the showdown with Sephiroth in the backstory. Even after he gets run through the gut by Sephiroth's giant sword and lifted into the air with it, he grabs the blade with both hands and uses it as leverage to hurl Sephiroth off the platform into the lifestream pit below. Not bad for a scrawny kid who couldn't make the cut for the Super Soldier program and had to enlist as a lowly grunt instead.
      • Zack Fair, in the Final Fantasy VII prequel Crisis Core, who escapes with Cloud after four years of horrible experimentation by the Mad Scientist Hojo. Zack steadfastly refuses to give up hope on or abandon the comatose Cloud, taking care of him for nearly a year, then has an epic Last Stand in which he battles a massive force from the Shinra army and manages to whittle them down to three troopers, in order to protect Cloud. And then, after being absolutely riddled with bullets, Zack still manages to give Cloud a Take Up My Sword speech before going out with a smile.
    • In Dissidia: Final Fantasy 012, while some of his comrades set out on a mission to stop the influx of Manikins, the Warrior of Light acts as Cosmos' last line of defense... and faces down the Manikin horde, fully prepared to go down fighting to keep them away from Cosmos and take as many with him as he can. He faces at least as many Manikins as the other six warriors, and he holds out just as long if not more so.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, warriors have traditionally channeled their Inner Beast through their rage and hatred for their foe, risking going berserk and attacking indiscriminately by succumbing to such feelings. The Warrior of Light has no such issues due to channeling their love for their fellow man and desire to protect others instead, giving them all the benefits and none of the downsides. After realizing this, Curious Gorge and Broken Mountain begin training other aspiring warriors with the Warrior of Light's method to great success.
  • Kingdom Hearts: When Sora learns that his best friend is being possessed by an evil scientist and that his other best friend, who he has been searching for, has had her heart inside him for his entire journey, he seems to be too shocked (and probably also too confused) to fight against the aforementioned scientist, who plans to steal Kairi's heart from Sora, by kinda killing him... until Kairi's voice calls out to him from inside his mind. As soon as Sora hears her, he jumps up and shouts that "You'll never get Kairi's heart!". We get a similar scene later in the game, before the final boss battle: Sora is falling down into a dark abyss and seems to be lost, until Riku's voice tells him not to be such a wimp. He then pulls himself together and uses the power to fly by happy thoughts, which he obtained in Neverland.
    • Kingdom Hearts II is one Heroic Resolve after another. If you are defeated in certain boss fights, King Mickey has to jump in and bail you out (depending on your choice and luck). A few Keyblade slaps to the enemy from this guy, and a liberal mashing of Triangle, and Sora rises to his feet with strength renewed.
    • In the prequel, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Terra has his body stolen by the Big Bad. It looks like it's all over. Xehanort starts a little speech...and then Terra's ARMOR gets up off the ground, animated by pure epic Heroic Resolve, and proceeds to give the Big Bad a much needed ass-kicking. He doesn't kill him, but it's implied that Terra's Lingering Sentiment hit with such powerful light that it started eliminating Terra's memories.
  • In Lunar: Silver Star Story, when Alex becomes the Dragonmaster. This shy, meek teenage boy, who's been practically a silent protagonist up until that point in the game, orders the Big Bad away from his girl with such fury that the player can't help but be a little intimidated.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Commander Shepard catches part of a blast delivered by Harbinger, the oldest, largest and most powerful Reaper of them all, able to destroy most dreadnoughts with a direct hit. Broken, bleeding to death, and with possibly third-degree burns and melted armor, s/he STILL gets up and limps to the teleportation beam, muscling through the pain.
    • After finishing off The Illusive Man, and sitting with a dying Anderson, s/he looks at his/her wounds, and seems ready to pass on... then Hackett calls. And s/he gets right back up.
      Shepard: [takes a steadying breath] Yes, sir? What do you need me to do?
    • Before that, the mission Priority: Horizon. The asari homeworld of Thessia has fallen to the Reapers. The galaxy's Darkest Hour is upon them. What does Shepard do? Give up? Give in? No — s/he's going right back out there to (as James succinctly puts in) kick Cerberus in the balls for a change.
    • In the Mass Effect games in general, Shepard seems to have some pretty tremendous resolve mixed with a nice dose of I Did What I Had to Do in his/her mission to stop the Reapers. We're talking about someone who came Back from the Dead to keep fighting them off. Bonus points if the player picked the "Sole Survivor" background.
  • Mega Man X. In the fight against Vile in the first stage of Sigma's castle, X loses the fight much like he did in the beginning of the game, left paralyzed and with little health. Zero makes a Heroic Sacrifice and destroys Vile's mobile suit with his remaining energy. Vile still thinks he has won, to which X breaks his bonds and restores his meter to full.
    • In the "Day of Sigma" animated-prequel in the PSP remake Maverick Hunter X, Big Bad Sigma stabs X through the gut with his beamsaber. After a brief Flashback of X swearing to Doctor Light that he will always fight for hope and justice, he comes back online and charges Sigma, digging his glowing blue hand into Sigma's face and giving Sigma his trademark eye scars before finally shutting down.
    • In Mega Man X5, Zero manages to summon up one final shot to take down Sigma despite having lost half his body.
  • The player can activate this themselves in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. If the player is injured, they can activate a battle cry at the cost of some psyche (essentially willpower). If the player uses a certain battle cry, Big Boss or the MFS Soldier you're controlling will shout "It's not over yet!" and recover their health, allowing them to continue on, despite their wounds.
    • You can also instill Heroic Resolve in your comrades as well. Another battle cry makes Big Boss shout "We're still in this fight!", healing you and all of your allies. There's another battle cry that causes Big Boss to yell "Don't die on me!". If any of your teammates are dying, this actually causes them to come back to life.
  • Snake pulls this in Metal Gear Solid 4. In the final corridor, filled with microwave emitters burning through him, he crawls on until he's out of stamina, then he crawls on until he's out of health. Then, when he has nothing left, he still keeps going.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has this to an extent as a form of Last Chance Hit Point, if you shake the controller hard enough after Travis takes a fatal blow, he will prevent himself from falling and replenish 4 blocks of health.
  • Punch-Out!!: In the Wii game, Mac can force himself to continue fighting after a final TKO hit, complete with dramatic stomp and him growling in a Hot-Blooded way. Bald Bull is capable of pulling this as well, during Title Defense if you manage to TKO him during his Bull Charge move, though with a sinister chuckle rather than the growl.
  • Though "heroic" is a touch generous for Ada Wong, ever wonder how she survived her injuries and the subsequent nuking of Raccoon City in Resident Evil 2? Give Resident Evil The Dark Side Chronicles a play and you'll see she bandaged herself, grabbed a handgun, and limped and staggered her way to an extraction point while it threw every viral infected abomination it had in her way.
  • Rune Factory 3: In the last stage of the fight against the Final Boss Aquaticus, the hero is beaten up by an endless stream of water and debris shot by the dragon that deals damage in the hundreds with every blow...though even with 1 HP, his resolve to save his fiancèe motivates him so much that not only can he resist everything that's thrown at him, but only needs to land one single blow on Aquaticus to finish him!
  • Sonic The Hedgehog is full of this.
    Sonic: "I just gotta do what I gotta do! That's all!"
  • If you'll believe it, we've got a villainous version from Tales of Phantasia. After being beaten for the second time, Dhaos regains his strength and goes all One-Winged Angel on the heroes after hearing the prayers of his people and receiving more power from his god.
  • In Undertale, humans are far stronger than monsters because they have what's called Determination. In a True Pacifist route, this is played straight. The player character (canonically named Frisk) will never give up on giving everyone a happy ending. In a Genocide route, Undyne, the True Hero, proves to be the only monster with Determination in her fight with the protagonist. Even when the player kills her, she simply gets back up again, until the power of her own Determination kills her.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night, Shirou gets one-shotted by Gilgamesh while protecting Saber, who is having a minor Heroic BSoD. This snaps Saber out of it, and she fights Gilgamesh. And loses. Badly. With Saber lying on the ground, Shirou pushes himself up with Heroic Resolve, projects Calliburn, and...gets one-shotted. This turns into a double-subversion when, just as Saber is about to Heroic Sacrifice herself to protect him, Shirou manages to get up one more time and projects Avalon, reflecting Gilgamesh's attack. Take to absurd lengths in the Heavens' Feel route Good Ending where Shirou's determination to protect Sakura compels him to keep moving even as his body and brain are collapsing. His resolve is so strong that even after his body dies his soul forces it to finish the job.

    Web Animation 
  • Played with in chapter twelve of Broken Saints. Lt. Charles and Lt. Bravado plan to have some fun with their prisoner (and our hero) Oran. After mercilessly taunting the poor man for some time, they finally reveal that it was they who raped and murdered his childhood friend Hassan. As soon as they enter the cage to fight, they realize the flaw in the plan, as Oran, in a righteous anger, is able to overcome both their size advantage and their number advantage, and kick their asses.

  • One-Punch Man:
    • This is Mumen Rider's main quality. He has no powers and has a penchant for finding himself horribly outmatched, but he won't back down, even if he knows perfectly well he can't win and will die if he keeps fighting. His willingness to stand against powerful monsters to defend the innocent has impressed Saitama and the fans, many who say that while Mumen Rider has been beaten many times, he has never been defeated.
    • S-class hero Metal Bat has this as his actual superpower. Which causes him to keep getting stronger, faster and more durable the more he gets beat up in a fight. He denies that it's even a power at all, saying it's just his "Fightin' Spirit". Even against Hero Hunter Garou, who initially outclasses Metal Bat on every level (speed, strength and especially skill) and has his own Adaptive Ability that makes him stronger, faster and more skilled to counter whoever he's fighting, is stunned to realize that Metal Bat is not only getting back every time he's beaten but somehow gets faster through sheer determination.
  • Subverted in Weak Hero when Eugene, seeing Gray getting beaten by Wolf, escapes from the boy holding him down and tries to stop Wolf. He's easily grabbed by another mook who mocks him for thinking that his anger would give him newfound strength.

    Web Original 
  • Heroic Resolve is a trait carried by many characters of Dino Attack RPG, including Rex and Frozeen, who fly into Unstoppable Rages the moment an enemy dares to threaten someone close to them.
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Played with when Captain Hammer taunts Doctor Horrible. The resulting music ends Act II and sets up the final showdown.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Justice League episode "The Clash", we get an interesting hero on hero example. Captain Marvel, a relatively new and inexperienced hero, is trying to stop Superman from destroying a device. Superman believes that it's dangerous, Captain Marvel wants to get someone to verify what it is before they do anything. A fight ensues and it becomes clear that, while the two are pretty even in terms of power, Superman has the edge in experience and fights far more aggressively. Yet no matter how badly Superman hammers away at Cap or how often he kicks him while he's down, Captain Marvel just keeps getting back up to place himself between Superman and the device. Eventually, Superman is able to win by holding Cap in place so that he's depowered by his own magic lighting, but it turns out Superman should have listened to Cap in the first place. Though Lex was counting on this to happen.
  • Kid Cosmic: In "Kid Cosmic and the Precognitive Cat", Tuna Sandwich gets tired on the road and collapses from exhaustion. However, the memories of Kid taking care of him as a kitten and the idea of what life would be like if Kid died cause Tuna to get back up and keep going.
  • In Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem the band finds this at the end of the song "The Crossroads" before plunging in to save Toki and Abigail for real.
    • "Let's do what we came here to do."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Fluttershy gets a few instances of this. In "Dragonshy," she successfully overcomes her phobia of dragons — the only creature she fears — when one shows itself willing to seriously injure or kill her friends, and uses her superpowered Death Glare in conjunction with a stern lecture to reduce it to tears. In "The Stare Master," she pulls off a similar feat against a cockatrice when it turns Twilight and one of her chickens to stone and threatens the Cutie Mark Crusaders with the same.
    • Princess freaking Cadance. She's the only thing standing between the Crystal Empire and King Sombra, and pushes herself to the absolute brink of collapse keeping up the barrier preventing him from swooping in and taking over. When she has absolutely nothing left and he gets in, she gets Shining Armor to throw her at Spike and the Crystal Heart because she is too weak to fly under her own power and saves the day.
  • W.I.T.C.H.: Having spent much of the episode "T is for Trauma" suffering from a Heroic BSoD, Hay Lin finally manages to break out of it when she sees that her boyfriend's life is in danger and delivers the following speech to a shocked Nerissa.
    "That's how you survive the trauma. Not by knowing it'll be alright, but by having no other choice. I don't have the luxury of breaking down right now. Not when innocent lives are at stake."


Video Example(s):


"...But I Can Carry You!"

Frodo & Sam are on the final leg of their journey to destroy the One Ring at Mt. Doom. The two hobbits, especially Frodo, are greatly exhausted from their trek. Sam tries to remind Frodo of home, but the Ring has taken its toll on Frodo. Sam opts to ultimately carry Frodo all the way.

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Example of:

Main / HeroicSpirit

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