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Heroic Second Wind

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"For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again."

It's the end of the movie, the climactic battle royale between The Hero and the Big Bad… and The Hero is losing. After a long struggle, the Big Bad finally manages to get through the hero's defenses and score what looks like a decisive hit. The hero crumples, looking to be in a dire strait indeed. Usually, at this point the villain takes the opportunity to gloat a bit and humiliate his opponent verbally or physically, believing the hero to be his to dispatch at convenience. Often, the hero's loved ones will be watching them getting the beat-down in a horrified state, which adds to the despair of the situation (and is a pretty bad hit to the hero's confidence). In more violent examples, the hero will have wounds that really ought to be fatal.

Then, just when everything seems to be lost, something happens. With a sudden all-out effort, the hero rises, often presaged or accompanied by a Theme Music Power-Up, ready to rejoin the battle — and, this time, despite the apparently crippling injury just sustained, there's no question at all that the hero's going to end up standing over the villain's smoking corpse — or, more generally, triumph in whatever way is appropriate for the genre.

This trope is heavily relied on in Professional Wrestling. Hulk Hogan in particular carried the WWF for approximately eight years doing this, to the point where the moment a hero starts shrugging off his opponent's offense is still called "Hulking up" (not to be confused with "Hulking out").

There are hundreds of ways to do this same trope, but some of the most popular ones are:

  1. Realize what it is that you are really fighting for if you haven't done so yet.
  2. Think of your friends.
  3. Your belief in yourself is so strong that you refuse to give up.
  4. Your cause is so important, you are simply not allowed to lose.
  5. Resolve an inner conflict that has been holding you back.
  6. Your magical trinket starts glowing and heals your wounds.
  7. Just get really pissed off.
  8. …or do the opposite: Calm your mind and focus.
  9. Ask the spirit of your ancestors, your deity or just the universe, in general, to give you more strength.
  10. A loved one is in danger!
  11. Realize that you are correct and your opponent is not; being the moral one will also make you superior in combat.
  12. Use sheer grit and force of will.
  13. On the brink of death you uncover a yet-unrevealed power.
  14. Did you make a vow to yourself or a promise to someone else (for example, "I will definitely come back!")? You're not going to break your word, are you?
  15. Is your belief in yourself or your weapons so strong that nothing can faze it?
  16. Fight the way a person like you would fight, rather than copying someone else.
  17. Have a friend or a random kid beg you to stand back up. It'd be rude to let them down, right?
  18. A ghost, a Spirit Advisor or some other Deus ex Machina does the same.
  19. A Superpowered Evil Side that was hidden until this point suddenly surfaces.
  20. Remember what the Big Bad has done and all of his atrocities and then use The Power of Hate.
  21. Realize that whatever collateral damage that might come around by unleashing all of your power is nothing compared to what will happen if this villain beats you.
  22. The Big Bad makes the mistake of reminding you about all the people that you loved that he killed or harmed (or will if they win). (Bonus points if he obviously enjoys those memories.)
  23. Earning yourself an 11th-Hour Superpower.
  24. Tossing back some Bottled Heroic Resolve.
  25. May have decided to make a "Not How I'm Dying" Declaration.
…and many, many others.

A Sub-Trope of Heroic Spirit. Frequently a Moment of Awesome.

Compare Determinator (who stays up because he never went down to begin with), You Are Already Dead, And Your Little Dog, Too!, Let's Get Dangerous!, Rage Breaking Point.

Contrast Hope Spot (when this is subverted). Compare and contrast I Am Not Left-Handed, for when the hero does this before being beaten too severely or is faking the severity of the beating they have taken. If you are looking for the original (but unrelated) name of this trope, see My Name Is Inigo Montoya. In works where there is a Tragic Villain or Anti-Villain, it is possible for this trope to flip, albeit said villain will likely still fail for any number of reasons and the hero will still be justified in fighting them (with said villain likely taking themself out). If it's the villain who pulls one of these off when the heroes have them on the ropes, it's a Last-Second Villain Recovery.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens all the time in Super Robot Genre series. Often the pilot will get their butt handed to them until the last five minutes, then pull out an amazing comeback because they were playing possum, waiting for their chance, or just needed to get some sense knocked into them. Usually, it's just to prove that determination and GUTS! will always win in the end.
    • Mazinger Z: Kouji Kabuto did this as soon as the second episode. He barely knew how to pilot his mecha and was being soundly beaten by two mechas. Finally, he got knocked out and Mechanical Beast Doublas M2 proceeded to torch Mazinger with him inside. However, as he was unconscious, he saw or believed seeing his grandfather's spirit reminding him because he was fighting and what were the consequences of being defeated. Kouji came around, got up and started to trash both Mechanical Beasts using Mazinger's weapons.
    • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji performs several comebacks, but they are all due to his EVA going berserk in ways that are more terrifying than awesome. And when Asuka tries the same thing in End of Evangelion, it's cruelly, viciously, subverted.
    • King of Braves GaoGaiGar FINAL gives us a chain of these during the final battle with the Sol Masters. The heroes are on the knife-edge of defeat, with the entire Brave Robo Corps down for the count and Guy seemingly beaten by Palparepa. The only one still fighting is Mamoru, locked in a Beam-O-War with Pei la Cain and losing... until Mamoru's courage and sheer refusal to give up power up his G-Stone necklace. Moments later, the series reveals a crucial fact: all G-Stones resonate with each other, and Mamoru's courage powers up not only his G-Stone but also the G-Stones used to power GaoGaiGar and the Brave Robo Corps. Cue seven My Name Is Inigo Montoya moments from the good guys right in a row.
    • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, meanwhile, justifies their playing this trope for all it's got — their robots run on the Rule of Cool, and Heroic Second Wind moments are very very cool indeed. Also lampshaded by the villain at the very end: "Impossible! Where are you getting all this power from?"
      • Who can forget Kamina during Episode 8? Thymilph deals him a blow that pretty much killed him. Kamina came back from the dead out of pure manliness to kill Thymilph and avenge his own death, before promptly dying after his final words, causing tears all 'round (even from the giant robot).
      • Played for all its worth in Lagann-hen. The fight with the Anti-Spiral in the Grand Zamboa goes worse than it did in the series, with the Zamboa tearing apart the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann into pieces, revealing only the minuscule(comparatively, anyway) Tengen Toppa Lagann. It's looking bad for Simon until Nia herself comes out in her own Tengen Toppa mech - the Solvernia. She defends the Lagann and rouses Simon, before the Anti-Spiral attacks her, only to be blocked by Viral in a Tengen Toppa Enkidu. From there it's a massive showcase of all the character's Tengen Toppa mechs, including a Tengen Toppa version of the Dai-Gurren piloted by Dayakka and Leeron. And a galaxy-sized volcano gets thrown into the mix, because it looks cool.
      • The final battle in both the anime and the movie have the Anti-Spiral fire a Big Bang to completely eviscerate Team Dai-Gurren, only for the anime OP to come on and for Lordgenome to absorb it with his Lazengann, causing them to get power from it, allowing Simon and Team Dai-Gurren to save the universe.
        Rossiu: It's bad, but it'll take a lot more then this to finish them!
  • Angelic Layer: "I don't want to lose! I don't want to lose!" Misaki does this in just about every fight.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo often experiences this. He often needs to focus on protecting someone to focus his resolve.
      • During his final fight against Grimmjow, as the Espada brings Ichigo to the brink of exhaustion and prepares to kill him, Orihime cheers on Ichigo and begs him not to die. This allows Ichigo to summon enough strength to block Grimmjow's attack by catching his hand, before countering with a powerful slash across his chest. While this isn't enough to make Grimmjow stay down, it's more than enough for Ichigo to charge through Grimmjow's Desgarrón and finish him off.
      • One of the most dramatic examples occurs against Ulquiorra, who manages to blast a hole through Ichigo's chest, almost killing him. When the almost-unconscious Ichigo realizes that all that's standing between Ulquiorra and Orihime's death is absolutely nothing, his resolve to protect pushes his body so far beyond the hollow state that it seems to mimic a full Resurrección. He proceeds to fight Ulquiorra in what can only be described as a Curb-Stomp Battle. Prior to this, the person doing the curb-stomping had been Ulquiorra.
      • Lampshaded on one occasion by Ginjou who admits that he brought Orihime into their training fights because he knew if Orihime's life was in danger, he'd find his true strength much faster, precisely because Ichigo is someone who needs to protect others.
    • Charlotte versus Yumichika. Charlotte's physical strength overpowers Yumichika's physical strength. Then Yumichika realizes Charlotte's Finishing Move has cut him off from being detected by any of his friends and allies which means he can stop fighting 11th division style and starting fighting with his own style. That realization transforms him from being a semi-conscious rag that's dangling in Charlotte's grip to freeing himself with a single slice of his sword and activating his Coverblowing Super Power accompanied by a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner, Glowing Eyes of Doom and a Dramatic Pause.
    • In the Attack of the Clones — I mean Gotei Invading Army Arc — Kenpachi gets one of these against himself. Then again, he did have one thing his clone didn't: Yachiru.
  • Brave Exkaiser: In episode 35, Kotomi playing the show's ending theme on the piano causes the battered Kaisers to lift themselves up again and win the battle.
  • Touma from A Certain Magical Index, being the Determinator that he is, does this a few times, namely in his first fight against Accelerator, where he was already electrocuted before the fight, then tossed around in collateral damage attacks and explosions. He then gets back up and delivers a solid punch to Accelerators face, one-liner and all.
  • In Cutey Honey Universe, seeing every single one of her friends rushing to her help, causes the battered, broken, defeated Honey to spring back to action.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, that's pretty much what Zenitsu’s sleep trance mode amounts to, Zenitsu at first will seem completely harmless as a demon slayer, cowering and screaming his lungs out about how he cannot perform his duties properly; the demon will buy into Zenitsu’s apparent incompetence, underestimating Zenitsu’s capabilities and going for the seemly easy kill, Zenitsu may suffer some initial damage but then falls asleep, his trance mode kicks in and the battle pretty much turns on Zenitsu’s favor with the demon in complete disbelief on how the apparent weakling suddenly became so strong; as the series progresses Zenitsu starts talking while in his sleep trance mode, showing his personality also gains a huge confidence boost, it tops off with Zenitsu not needing his trance mode anymore, he becomes confident enough to fight his battles with his eyes open.
  • In Digimon Tamers, after fighting fairly evenly with Beezlemon, Gallantmon starts walking towards him calmly, with his enemy's strongest attacks bouncing off him. He declares "You cannot hurt me anymore." and fires his Wave-Motion Gun Finishing Move.
    • Happens again in the season finale — Gallantmon Crimson Mode is fighting the D-Reaper's main Agent, which gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech aimed at humanity and Digimon alike, saying they don't deserve to exist, all while drowning him in the D-Reaper's chaos mass. However, Gallantmon finds the strength to continue fighting and prove the D-Reaper wrong, starting with flying up and ramming his fist through the Agent's chest to kill it.
  • Pretty much every major fight in the Dragon Ball series features this one eventually. Probably the biggest example though is when Frieza is in the middle of drowning Goku, who has sudden visions of what will happen to his friends and family if he loses. Cue ass-whooping. Lampshaded by Frieza himself who calls Goku a "zombie" after one last second wind.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)'s series finale: Roy Mustang is pinned to the wall with a sword through his shoulder, but rips it out to save the kid and finish off Bradley.
  • A staple of every major fight in Fairy Tail is for Natsu to either get a special magic power boost or invoke friendship power after being trashed by the villain he's been working up to all arc. This is subverted in the tournament arc where he and Gajeel wipe the floor with Sting and Rogue, two former fans of theirs who have dreamed of surpassing them all their lives. The chapter ends with Sting and Rogue unsteadily getting back up, Sting declaring he needs to win for the sake of one of his companions, and both of them revealing they can enter Fairy Tail's equivalent of Super Saiyan mode.
  • Kim Kapwhan in Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture gets his rear handed to him until he hears the voice of his son cheering him on, upon which he curb stomps his opponent, taekwondo style.
  • Gals!: "Fall down seven times, get up eight times." One of the "Iron-clad rules" for Gals.
  • In Ginga Densetsu Weed, Weed is badly beaten by Hougen at their fight and nearly dies, yet manages to stand up again after being encouraged by the spirits of past Ohu soldiers.
  • Most of Ippo's matches involve him using this. He usually faces a strong opponent who seems to be winning the match until Ippo KO's him.
  • Hellsing: Nail of Helena-empowered Anderson is finally kicking Alucard's ass for real and Alucard seems unable to do anything to save himself when Seras shows up and tries ineffectually to fend Anderson off. This succeeds in making Alucard snap out of his funk and pull off the win.
  • High School D×D: Issei wins many of his fights under these sorts of moments, and he deeply resents that fact. What good is strength that doesn't come until after the people he cares for have already been hurt?
  • Inazuma Eleven anime uses this a lot, especially the second season where they're fighting aliens. Basically, the heroes are overwhelmed by everything the bad guys have. But with a bit of Power of Friendship, they suddenly gain new techniques, dribble across a field full of overpowered opponents within a minute, and score a tieing or winning goal.
  • The Legend of Zelda (Akira Himekawa): In the adaptation of Oracle of Seasons, after seeing his friend Piyoko, a Cucco chick who has been his constant companion since the very first page, killed by the Big Bad, Link goes into a berserk rage, complete with a visible aura of blazing flames of wrath.
  • My Hero Academia: During the fight with All For One, All Might has exhausted his powers to the point of revealing his true emaciated form to the general public and has just entered a Heroic BSoD because of The Reveal that All For One's protege, Shigaraki, is actually the grandson of All Might's beloved mentor... until he hears a nearby civilian, trapped in rubble, calling for help. This snaps him out of it, and he powers up his arm for an attack, preparing to kick some major supervillain ass while delivering a short but awesome Shut Up, Hannibal! speech.
  • In Naruto this comes often, especially with the title character and is accompanied with a Theme Music Power-Up.
    • One particularly notable example was Lee's battle against Gaara. An arm and leg crushed, tendons snapped, bones cracked, Lee is down for the count until he slowly rises and assumes a ready stance despite the battle having ended... only for it to be discovered his body was so heavily trained that by sheer instinct it had assumed the stance while he was unconscious.
    • At the end of Naruto's battle with Kyubi, Naruto receives his Mother's love and blessing, which enables him to overpower Kyubi's hatred and attack with such renewed vigor that Kyubi even remarks on how strong Naruto has become!
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • After Fate puts a stone spear through his chest and threatens his students, Negi gets back up and smacks him in the face out of sheer determination.
    • After being beaten to a pulp during his fight with Jack Rakan at the end of the tournament, he does it again because he wants to win that badly.
    • Happened to Negi's legendary father as well. After having his entire party whopped by one attack from The Mage of the Beginning, Nagi reaffirms that he is indeed "The Invincible Thousand Master" and has the healer of his party provide what magic he had left to give him a temp healing before going on to a Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? moment.
    • And, of course, the ultimate example outshining all others:
      Nodoka: I am Miyazaki Nodoka, treasure hunter and member of Ala Alba. My counterattack starts here.
  • One Piece:
    • This happens to Zoro a lot; Most of the early fights have him being put at a disadvantage by either circumstance or his opponent, get creamed, and then he'll get back up.
    • Happens to Luffy close to the end of the Enies Lobby arc when Rob Lucci has beaten Luffy to the point that he almost gives up. His body begging for rest, and his will almost broken, it takes Ussop, (who he just had an argument with) revealing himself and challenging the strongest CP9 agent in history in front of Luffy, for him to snap out of his Heroic RRoD and stand back up, before declaring that he's not going down until Lucci is defeated.
    • Can't forget Sanji either:
    • Speaking of Thriller Bark the whole crew (minus Luffy and Nami) have a moment where they've all just been struck down by Oars the giant, however, the Straw Hats soon rise from the rubble ready for round 2.
    • The anime adds a truly epic example, as during Marineford Akainu using his Magma Man powers is able to bring Yonko Whitebeard down to his knee, Akainu smirks in satisfaction. Then Whitebeard has flashbacks of Ace whom Akainu has killed, causing Whitebeard to suddenly reach out and grab Akainu (who has an excellent Oh, Crap! look on his face) and lifts him (while still burning) before subjecting him to a Curb-Stomp Battle so brutal it breaks Marineford around them.
    • In Dressrosa, after Luffy exhausts himself using Gear Fourth before he can finish off Doflamingo, his allies desperately keep him out of Doflamingo's reach for the next ten minutes while he recovers. Once he gathers enough strength to get back on his feet, Luffy ends the fight in one blow.
    • In the Land of Wano Arc, Luffy is seemingly defeated in his rematch against Kaido, but manages to get back on his feet after figuring out that Kaido can infuse his attacks with Haoshoku Haki, before immediately using the same skill against him.
      • Later, Kaido once again beats Luffy until he can't move, before knocking him off Onigashima. Kaido regrets doing that, lamenting that now he can't prove to all the samurai attacking his castle that he has already won. Sure enough, although Luffy lands in the water surrounding Wano, he's rescued by the Heart Pirates, who proceed to resuscitate him and feed him so that he can get back in the fight.
      • Later still, Kaido seemingly kills Luffy due to the interference of a CP0 agent. Kaido declares himself the victor to the oppossing forces, but not only Luffy recovers, Luffy's Devil Fruit awakens, giving him the upper hand.
  • This happens a lot in the Pokémon: The Series anime, especially during gym battles.
    • While all Starter Pokémon have abilities that work like this, no one does this quite like Ash's Infernape, who's gotten two different insert songs to go with it.
    • Pokémon Adventures: It's almost guaranteed that before a Pokédex Holder team ultimately wins a fight against the Big Bad, they will get the crap beat out of them.
    • Topping all of the above is the one Pikachu gets in JN132: after collapsing and falling unconscious, Pikachu sees a vision of every Pokémon Ash has ever owned mentally cheering him on (alongside Ash himself), and proceeds to get up, raring to go. It's at this point that "Mezase Pokémon Master" (Original)/"The Pokémon Theme" (Dub), the very first anime opening begins playing as Pikachu as it clashes with Leon's Charizard one final time... and emerges victorious, making Ash the World Champion. It is THE Crowning Moment of Awesome for Pikachu to end them all.
  • In Pretty Cure All Stars DX 2, the collective Cures are in a tight spot: the Big Bad Bottom's swallowed the Rainbow Jewel and has become pretty much all-powerful. The hopelessness of the situation is shown off as the colors on the Cures' costumes fade out. However, despite the bleariness, Cure Blossom just flat out refuses to surrender, mostly because she realizes that it was time for her to pay back for all the help the other girls had done getting her and Marine to where they were. It's their refusal to stand down that grants the other girls their second wind.
    • Speaking of HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, this happens at the end of the series when Big Bad Dune makes the mistake of killing Yuri's long-lost father. At first, Yuri's lost in rage, but Tsubomi's quick to grab her and tearfully begs her not to get lost in that rage. Yuri finally comes to, regains her full Precure Seed and transforms alongside Tsubomi, bringing the fight to Dune.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, Kirihara Akaya, although generally more a Blood Knight type than a hero, does this at the Nationals' semi-final match: having already lost singles 3 and doubles 2 against Nagoya Seitoku, Kirihara is getting his ass handed to him in singles 2 against Liliadent Krauser (he is, in fact, bleeding and heavily injured). Krauser takes time out to gloat about it in English, and Kirihara's teammate helpfully translates and exaggerates what is said, leading to an angry Kirihara getting back up and destroying his opponent.
    • Something similar happened beforehand when Kamio was losing to Sengoku in singles. He hears one of the guys in the bench say it was all lost, but that triggers memories of his loss to Kaidoh (who had also said something similar in the courts) and then manages to recover and wins.
  • How Haru wins every battle in Rave Master. Lampshaded by Griff when Lucia seems to get an extra long opportunity to beat on Haru before said second wind arrives.
  • In The Red Ranger Becomes an Adventurer in Another World, Tougo is knocked out of the fight while battling a monster created from a Seed of Magic due to using up too much energy from his failed uses of the Kizuna Kaiser and Victory Kizuna Buster. Thanks to the bickering adventurers putting aside their differences and Idola's healing magic, Tougo is recharged enough to transform again and finish the fight with a successful Victory Kizuna Buster shot.
  • Similarly, Rurouni Kenshin is full of these kinds of moments by Kenshin, Sanosuke, and even Saitou. A subversion occurs, however, when Shishio Makoto follows Kenshin's heroic powerup and recovery from death's door by doing the same thing. Almost a Take That! to heroic power-ups in general, or at least the fact heroes seem to get most of them, marred only by the fact Shishio pushes himself too far and dies.
  • The heroes of Saint Seiya manage to win fights against much more powerful opponents because they just refuse to stay down. Seiya is by far the worst offender: his usual strategy is to repeatedly get his butt kicked and then stand up again until he has figured out his opponent's techniques and gathered enough power to win.
  • This comes up during Bakunetsumaru's duel with Ashuramaru in SD Gundam Force. Baku takes Ashuramaru's ultimate attack head-on and is knocked down after being covered in hundreds of cuts. Rather than finish him off Ashuramaru demands Bakunetsumaru stand up, as Baku's physical wounds can't compare with the wounded pride Ashuramaru had. Zapper Zaku doesn't understand why Ashurmaru isn't taking the chance he has and is suitably upset when Bakunetsumaru does get up.
    Zapper: There, you satisfied? You waited long enough and he's got a second wind, ya jerk.
  • Shakugan no Shana: Here, catch! Shana, tied up and powerless, unarmed, injured and almost naked breaks free, steals a magic sword and uses it to cut a creepy twin who has her sword to bits without touching him, takes hers back and chucks the magic sword right into the gut of the second twin over a period of roughly four seconds. The thrown sword is about seven feet long, very wide-bladed and just as heavy as you'd expect it to be. She got mad.
  • This happens a lot in Spider Riders too. Lot's of times Hunter will be on his last leg, but he always, always pulls it together when it counts. "Never Give Up!"... Indeed.
  • Star Driver: Big time for Takuto during his fight with Head in Episode 16, complete with Tauburn upgrading to Tauburn Ordinary.
  • Sword Art Online
    • Double subverted during the climactic duel at the end of the first season. One of Kirito's swords shatters, and when his opponent tries to take advantage of it, Asuna leaps in the way to take the fatal hit. Afterward, Kirito tries to rally and keep fighting, but is so broken that he can only shamble forward, listlessly waggling his swords at his enemy, and is easily dispatched. But even after his foe officially kills him, Kirito is able to gather enough willpower to stave off death just long enough to ensure a Mutual Kill.
    • In the second season, the Big Bad abuses his Game Master status, pins Kirito on the ground with gravity-based magic impales him with his own sword and proceeds to threaten his girlfriend. former Big Bad Kayaba returns to grant Kirito his powers as a Sysadmin: Kirito's second wind is so absolute and powerful that, without breaking a sweat, he turns the tide of his duel to a Curbstomp Battle and a Humiliation Conga.
  • Just try to list everyone this has happened to in Yu-Gi-Oh! and GX. It seems a hero can't win with more than 500 Life Points. The most outrageous example of this is when Yami Yugi defeats Dartz: Yami Yugi had zero Life Points left.
    • Taken to nearly as absurd levels in 5Ds where some of the characters have defeated their opponents on one life point (Yusei/Jack/Crow) or dropped to zero and died but came back from the dead and gaining new powers (Rua).
  • In the Dark Tournament arc of YuYu Hakusho. During the final climactic fight, Yusuke's opponent criticizes him for not fighting at his full capacity, and kills a teammate to incite Yusuke's full force. This has its intended effect, and after the fight, one of Yusuke's teammates rebukes him for needing the impetus and not fighting full-out in the first place. Although this is somewhat parodied when it is revealed that the dead teammate isn't actually dead, but rather pretending to be, just to invoke this trope.
    • An earlier moment in the Dark Tournament takes this to a comical extreme when a severely injured Kuwabara goes from getting his ass kicked up and down the ring, to literally sending his opponent flying into the stands with one blow when he sees his love-interest Yukina cheering him on.
    • When Yusuke fights Yomi at the end of the Demon World arc, Yomi is pummeling Yusuke, until Yusuke snaps out of his Heroic BSoD that came when he realizes he doesn't know what he's fighting for. He still loses the fight, as Yomi gets one of his own after hearing his son call out to him.

    Comic Books 
  • Anderson: Psi-Division: When Anderson goes inside the mind of a living demon statue, it overpowers her and looks like it's about to kill her. Anderson eventually regains her resolve and states that she's faced far worse evils.
  • Detective Comics (Rebirth): Suffering from stab wounds/blood loss, or having been cut apart, or having been dosed with paralytic gas, the Belfry team gets one of these after Orphan rescues them in #955.
  • The Incredible Hulk: This happens with the Hulk a lot, due to the fact that both his strength and his rate of recovery speed up the more he's angered. When he's down and seemingly out for the count he'll usually get mad enough to get his second wind. In the 2008 movie, he has a few just from seeing Betty Ross in danger (or apparent danger).
  • Marvel Two-in-One: Played so straight it became the ultimate example in Annual #7. A Cosmically-powered warrior called simply "The Champion" beams the strongest heroes of Earth up to his ship to Box with him. The fate of the Earth is at stake naturally. The Thing is the last hero into the ring (the others being mopped up in short order by a bored champion or not really understanding Boxing, and thus being "disqualified" and punted back to wherever they were yanked from — there's an absolutely classic moment where Thor pops up, thoroughly confused, wearing boxing gloves and trunks... and his winged helmet and cape. Of course, since Norse gods don't box much, he proceeds to wing Mjolnir at the Champion and gets kicked out). The Thing gives a good account of himself before being savagely beaten down. He gets back up and attacks again, managing to injure the Champion before being beaten to an utter pulp. He gets up and manages to land a few more blows before being beaten through the floor. As the Champion goes into his spiel about the fate of the Earth, the Thing drags himself up and grabs him by the ankles (weakly). At which point the Champion declares "I could break your body, but I could never destroy your spirit" and leaves for other planets and other challenges. The story is based on a story in which Daredevil takes on the Hulk, which is itself based on a much earlier story involving Daredevil against the Sub-mariner.
    • Used in an episode of Dexter's Laboratory, with their Avengers expies (and Monkey taking Thing's role). The Champion expy Rasslor was voiced by Randy Savage (if those two clues weren't enough, the contest in question was wrestling rather than boxing).
  • The Punisher: Punisher does this a lot. The most common reason for getting back up is having a flashback to the death of his family, especially when children are involved.
  • The Flash: This happens twice during the climactic final fight in The Return of Barry Allen storyline: Eobard Thawne the Reverse-Flash keeps getting the upper hand on current Flash Wally West, until the latter finally decides to go over his own limits and exceed the Reverse-Flash's speed. Wally says "[Eobard] is not prepared for a fair fight". Then, when Wally is down again after a cheap shot, before Thawne could finish him off, a lightning bolt strikes the ground between them, allowing Wally to get back to his feet and defeat Thawne once and for all.
    The Flash (to Linda) That thought you said you had...that I might not be able to stop [Thawne] on my own? Put it out of your head.
  • Sin City: John Hartigan did this twice in his story. His second wind was usually brought on by his old age and heart failure, rather than actual attacks. At one point, after being shot, he tells the attacker "Just getting my second wind".
  • Spider-Man:
    • Depending on the author, Spider-Man's greatest power is not wall-crawling, web-slinging, or even fighting like a cow. It's taking a Class A butt-kicking for 10 pages (complete with a torn and shattered mask) before coming back to defeat the villain. The movies followed this pretty accurately.
    • Perhaps the most famous example is in issue #33 of the original The Amazing Spider-Man run, where Spider-Man lifts a massive piece of steel he'd been trapped under, in a room filling up with water, when he reminds himself about the final ingredient of the medicine Aunt May needs before it's too late.
    • The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows: Regent threatening Annie gives a beaten Spidey the extra motivation he needs to break out of Regent's power-absorbing chamber. No other superhero was able to break out of them until he did.
  • In Superman stories:
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl is dying after trying unsuccessfully to defeat the Worldkiller. Then he -unwisely- decides to dispose of the body by dropping her into the Sun. Kara recovers and beats him down.
    • In Who is Superwoman?, Reactron and Superwoman gang up on Kara after nullifying her powers. Kara is hurt and exhausted but she manages to stall them long enough to get her powers back, the point at which she power-dives Superwoman and beats her up.
    • The Death of Superman: When Hal Jordan is fighting Mongul, Mongul has him on the ropes because his skin is yellow and Hal couldn't use pieces of Engine City lest its Kryptonite fuel kill Superman again. Hal finds Steel's discarded hammer and attempts to lift it despite his injuries and donning Ring-powered exoskeleton. As he tries, Mongul makes the mistake of assuming he broke Hal's spirit. This pisses off Hal so much that he creates a set of Powered Armor that allows him to lift the hammer and proceeds to smash the weapon across Mongul's face, knocking him out.
    • Superman: Brainiac: Superman has been thoroughly beaten by Brainiac and imprisoned in a metallic cocoon which he's too injured and weakened to break out of... until Brainiac starts dissing Earth and threatening Kara and Lois. Enraged, Superman shatters his metal shell and pummels Brainiac.
  • Parody example: An official ability of The Tick is Drama Power. This means that his strength actually increases the longer he is attacked because a comeback victory is more dramatic. Clearly seen in The Tick vs. The Tick.
  • The Transformers: Dark Cybertron: Metroplex lays the smacketh down once he gets his thumb back. It makes sense in context.
  • The Ultimates: Captain America is losing his fight with Herr Kleiser. He's on top of him, and asks him to say "I surrender, Herr Kleiser. Make it quick". This enraged him: he gave a head attack to Kleiser, freed his hand to smash his head a second time, tossed him aside, and cutted him in half with his shield. "Surrender? SURRENDER??!! You think this letter on my head stands for "France"?"
  • X-Men: In The Dark Phoenix Saga, the X-Men are defeated. The Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club stands victorious. Wait! A single hand raises out of the sewers water, soon followed by a very pissed Wolverine: "OK, suckers. You've taken yer best shot. Now It's My Turn!"

    Fan Works 
  • In chapter 17 of Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, Fluttershy fights against Night Raven and puts up a fair fight, before the griffon calls for Axe to immobilize Fluttershy. After a brutal beatdown, Night Raven reveals to Fluttershy that he killed her friend, Blueberry earlier and how much he loves fighting. Before he gets a chance to finish Fluttershy off, she is able to free herself and flies into Unstoppable Rage, ultimately defeating Night Raven.
  • A non-combat version of this features in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fic "Big Doors" when the crew encounter Doctor Soong. While he is prepared to remain on the planet and die of the injuries inflicted by Lore, when Lal (who was saved by Q in this version of events) reveals that she wants to get to know her grandfather, Soong is moved to tears to learn her identity, and agrees to be taken for treatment. He only lives another couple of months due to his sheer age, but he is nevertheless grateful for the chance to meet his son's family, ranging from friends such as Geordi La Forge to Data's lover Tasha Yar.
  • Boldores and Boomsticks:
    • Lux is stunned and drowning after a Sea Feilong tries to kill him by holding him underwater in its mouth, but his rage that it might have killed Yang lets him evolve. His stronger fire moves boil the water and force the Feilong to surface.
    • Mal refuses to loose his first battle to Guzma's Scizor, who has a pincer clamped tight around his waist. It lets him evolve into Torracat and defeat Scizor before Guzma's next Pokémon takes him out.
  • In Power Girl story A Force of Four, Kara fights a Kryptonian criminal called U-Ban. She's being strangled after being battered and pummelled. Then she hears her cousin's voice encouraging her, stands up, fights harder and manages to win.
    Power Girl: I don't know. I can't say for sure. I was too near death myself. But... something was definitely there. Something, or someone, who gave me just what I needed when I needed it. I probably would have died if I hadn't gotten that bit of inspiration, just when I needed it.
  • In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, Kara is nearly beaten to death by Satan Girl. Then she plays possum, and as her duplicate thinks of a way to get rid of her, Kara recovers and hurls Satan Girl into a star.
    Supergirl grabbed Satan Girl by the legs, added her own momentum to the force of Satan Girl's super-throw, whirled them around several times like two partners on a trapeze bar, and flung her enemy down towards the thrusting fingers of the solar prominence.
    The worst part of it was seeing the grin of determination on Kara's bloodied face as she threw her.
  • This pops up during the Battle of Canterlot in The Immortal Game. Twilight is dueling General Esteem when Titan suddenly sneak attacks her and guts her. As she lays dying, Esteem mocks her, only to cut short as Twilight uses the link between the Elements of Harmony to tap into Applejack's Healing Factor and gets back up. Cue asskicking.
    • During their final duel, Twilight, despite having absorbed Harmony's power and become an alicorn, starts losing to Titan, who verbally dismantles all her reasons for fighting while physically overpowering her. However, before he can kill her, she realizes his one vital flaw — that for all his talk of a natural order, he has no place in it — which she forces him to recognize, which breaks him completely, allowing her to gain the upper hand, strip his powers, and finally kill him.
  • Invader Zim: A Bad Thing Never Ends: In Chapter 14, Gaz has a Heroic BSoD due to her Trauma Button getting hit, which only worsens when Iggins destroys her Attack Drone in the four-way dogfight due to her skills being impeded by said BSOD. Fortunately, Dib is able to give her a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech that snaps her out of it; she proceeds to fly Tak's ship back into the fight, which she quickly wins.
  • MLP Next Generation: Know Fear!: During Starburst's battle with Nox/Shadow Wing at the climax, he overpowers her and takes her power ring, intending to harness its power for himself in the war with Equestria. However, this just makes Star think about all the suffering he'll cause to her home, family and friends; tapping into that fear, she's able to remotely recall her ring from Nox (blowing off his arm in the process), recharging it completely, before managing to end the fight by killing Nox.
  • In The Norse Hero: Fenrir, just as All For One overwhelms Izuku in their fight with each other, All Might steps in to save Izuku. When All For One sucker punches All Might, Izuku has recovered enough to rejoin the fight and ultimately defeat him.
  • During the Final Battle of the Pony POV Series Chaos Verse, the Big Bad Nightmare Phobia has managed to overwhelm Discord and Fluttercruel, and is on the verge of victory. Fluttercruel is about to hit the Despair Event Horizon when she finds the letter Discord wrote for the Princesses and entrusted to her... and which he knew she'd read. The message gives Fluttercruel the hope to keep fighting.
    • At the climax of the first sequel, Annie is easily defeated by Orange Lantern Nidra and tossed into a Sensory Deprivation dimension, with nothing but Nidra's Breaking Lectures playing in her head. But then her ring finds her, and a construct of Starburst (which turns out to be the real one somehow talking to her remotely) helps reminds her what she's fighting for, and she breaks free to fight Nidra again and free her from the Orange Ring's influence.
  • In This Bites!'s Chapter 42, Luffy is fighting Lucci and collapses, extenuated. His crew begs him to stand and finish the fight, but he can barely hear them. Then Gol D. Roger makes a Phone Call from the Dead and encourages Luffy to go beyond his limits and finish Lucci by reminding him that the CP9 agent will kill his friends if he doesn't stop him. Luffy stands up and destroys Lucci in the final fight, even using Armament Haki for the first time.
  • During Taking Out The Trash, Callista has just gotten demolished by Marc's Hulkbuster-esque Powered Armor via a sneak attack. While unconscious, she has a meeting with a long-missing sibling that ends with her feeling blissful, triggering her Next Tier Powerup upon awakening. Marc's armor is reduced to so much dust on the wind a short time later when he tries to attack again.
  • At the end of Until the End of Time, Goku is badly battered and nearly defeated by Adolf Hitler (who had become a Super Saiyan), but then, due to The Power of Love, suddenly becomes a "Super Ultra Power Saiyan" and destroys Hitler in the blink of an eye.

    Films — Animation 
  • Balto: Balto finally accepts his wolf half after meeting the white wolf, and uses the physical strength his wolf genes give him to pull the crate of medicine up the cliffside and back to the sled.
  • BoBoiBoy movies:
    • BoBoiBoy: The Movie: It seems that the cast is about to be defeated, as Bora Ra aims his giant hammer at BoBoiBoy while he mourns for Ochobot and his other allies also face impending peril. Then Ochobot grants the heroes some last-minute power upgrades to fight back against the Tengkotak.
    • BoBoiBoy Movie 2: It seems that BoBoiBoy's fate is sealed when Retak'ka is about to crush him with a makeshift hammer, but then Hang Kasa takes the hit instead. Before collapsing, he apologises and tells him that he doesn't need all his elemental powers to stop Retak'ka. This advice and Hang Kasa's presumed death drives BoBoiBoy to combine his two remaining elemental powers and finally defeat Retak'ka.
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Captain Underpants is dropped into the radioactive cafeteria leftovers within the Turbo Toilet 2000, which leaves him down for the count for a while. But upon hearing George and Harold's cries for help, it wakes him up enough to swallow some of the leftovers, which gives him the superpower boost he needs.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children:
    • Played very straight at the climax. Sephiroth leads Cloud around in a fantastically overpowered fight sequence for several minutes without even running out of breath, and finally beats him down and impales him through the shoulder with his BFS. "Tell me what you cherish most... Give me the pleasure of taking it away." Cloud has a flashback of miscellaneous things he cherishes, pulls the sword out and sticks it to the wall next to him, and gets back to his feet. "I pity you... you just don't get it at all. There's not a thing I don't cherish!" Cue Omnislash, the only thing that can beat Sephiroth.
    • Elaborated further in the extended version. Sephiroth impales Cloud through the chest in mid-air, grows a wing, throws him high into the air, flies after him and pokes holes in him and finally throws him to the ground, bleeding and barely able to get back on his feet. Sephiroth remains aloft and speaks the above line while making a godlike dramatic pose in the air before swooping down for the kill. Cloud has the flashback, but it ends up with his zoning out to get a prep speech from his dead friend Zack. When he comes back, Sephiroth is still just about to descend onto him. Cue even bigger Omnislash. To clarify, Complete has Cloud use Omnislash only for Sephiroth to block the attack and turn it against him, so he has to come up with a completely new "Version 6" to beat him. The 6 just signifies that it was the 6th version designed for potential use in the movie, but it's still impressive.
  • A staple for the final battles in the Kung Fu Panda films. After being slapped around and nearly defeated by the foe, Po will attain some sort of enlightenment on his current mental anguish, which gives him calmness and focus to use his skills to the fullest or to come up with an imaginative way of using the skills he already has.
    Po: Ska-doosh.
  • The Lion King: During the climax, Scar nearly backs Simba off of Pride Rock while he's trying to guilt-trip him. But just as he's about to push him off to his death, he whispers to Simba what he intends to be Just Between You and Me: "I killed Mufasa." Within seconds, Simba springs up, pins Scar to the ground, and chokes him until he admits the truth to everyone in hearing range.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: Susan's Pre-Asskicking One-Liner, "My name is Ginormica!"
  • Rise of the Guardians: Jack Frost snaps out of his Heroic BSoD after seeing his memories and realizing why the Man in the Moon chose him to be a Guardian.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: Mario gets a second wind during the fight with Bowser; he's bruised after he's sent flying through the window of Punch-Out Pizza by Bowser and almost gives up when he sees a broken television in the pizzaria playing the Mario Bros. Plumbing commercial. It keeps saying the phrase "Save Brooklyn", which gives Mario the strength he needs to keep going. Subverted when all he gets for his troubles is almost being burned by Bowser's fire breath, but double subverted when Luigi saves him, allowing the brothers to grab the Super Star and defeat Bowser.
  • In the 1986 animated The Transformers: The Movie, when Optimus Prime is lying like a crumpled wreck at Megatron's feet, and Megatron gloats "It's over, Prime." Prime's response? "NEVER!", co-delivered with a two-handed haymaker that sends Megatron falling off a building. (He was still badly injured afterward, though.)
    • In the climax of the film, Hot Rod is on the verge of defeat as the newly rebuilt Megatron, renamed Galvatron, is about to crush his neck to scrap. Grabbing the Matrix of Leadership that Galvatron stole, Hot Rod manages to open it and he is christened Rodimus Prime, giving him the newfound strength (and the larger, grown-up form) to finish Galvatron off.
  • WALL•E has two instances during the climax. Beset by a grapple by Captain McCrea who's trying to announce to all aboard the Axiom about the Plant, AUTO, the ship's autopilot robot, has thrown Captain McCrea off (and everyone else on board) by deliberately miscalibrating the ship's gravity. WALL•E, damaged and losing power, finds the strength to jam and hoist back open the Holo-Detector that they need to insert the Plant into... until AUTO jams his taser weapon into the retraction button, crushing WALL•E in the detector to the horror of everyone watching. Captain McCrea then finds the strength to become the first human aboard to walk on his own two legs in generations to get back into the fight with AUTO (to the tune of Also sprach Zarathustra), and he eventually deactivates the errant autopilot robot.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Aliens, Ripley desperately searches the xenomorph lair for Newt, using the tracker she gave her. But her homing device only points to the slime-covered tracker itself, and Ripley breaks down and cries over her apparent failure. However, she soon hears Newt screaming nearby, and immediately hurries over to gun down a facehugger before it gets out of its egg to latch onto her.
  • Black Lightning (2009): When Black Lightning gets beaten by Kuptsov the first time an sinks under ice, Dima gets a phone call from Nastya and recalls the car having an emergency power supply.
  • In Bloodsport's climactic battle, Frank Dux has the upper hand, so the deceitful Chong Li throws powder in his eyes and blinds him. Though initially incapacitated and completely unable to hit Chong Li, a flashback involving his friends and old master reminds him why he is fighting, and after calming his mind, he recalls his blind fighting training. He then receives a Theme Music Power-Up and defeats Chong Li soundly.
  • This is basically what Vers excels at in Captain Marvel (2019). She's not the strongest, the fastest, the most skilled or the most deadly ( at first), but no matter how many times she goes down, she gets right back up. When the AI that controls the Kree has her captured and points out that she's completely beaten, Carol Danvers flashes back to the moments in her life where she was beaten, broken and down, and finally remembers the most important thing: she always gets back up. So she does this time too. And it is glorious.
  • Chariots of Fire: Don't you believe it-his heads not back yet.
  • The fist fight at the end of Commando.
  • The Dark Tower (2017): When Walter manages to bring Roland down during the Final Battle, all seems lost until Jake psychically whispers the Gunslinger's creed to Roland, making him remember the Gunslinger he truly is to get himself back up and beat Walter for good.
  • Noticeably averted in Equilibrium and Ultraviolet (2006), where the hero kills the Big Bad without breaking a sweat, and the only concession to show that the Big Bad is a credible threat is that he doesn't die instantly, unlike everyone else that came before. In the commentary for Equilibrium. the director even mentions this trope and states he thinks it's stupid and unnecessary for the hero to lose to the Big Bad in round 1 because the audience already knows the hero is going to win anyway.
  • In The Fall: although the final fight is a genuinely beautiful and tear-jerking moment, Odious is knocked out with a single blow as soon as the Masked Bandit finds the strength to fight back. And subsequently randomly falls onto a spike, because these kinds of occasions call for blood. And proceeds to drown, messily, because... well, why not?
  • An interesting variation occurs in A Few Good Men, during Kaffee's examination of Col. Jessup. It looks to the viewer as if Jessup has defeated Kaffee, having been able to give a smooth rebuttal to Kaffee's intimations that Pvt. Santiago was not in fact scheduled to be transferred away from Gitmo. But then Kaffee poses a question Jessup can't answer — "If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, then why would Santiago be in any danger? Why would it be necessary to transfer him off the base?" — and the seemingly unflappable Jessup goes into his Villainous Breakdown, confesses to ordering the Code Red, and loses the "battle."
  • Hardcore Henry has this during the climactic Rooftop Confrontation. Henry has had his ass kicked and been left for dead by Akan, while he and Estelle are preparing to escape. Then Henry remembers a Rousing Speech his father gave him as a kid, gets up and proceeds to kill the pair of them.
  • In Hidalgo, Frank Hopkins and his horse are completely spent near the end of the race: dying of thirst, totally exhausted, etc. The horse falls down and just lies there, and Frank can barely crawl off of him. They lie there for a moment, but Frank has a vision, so he and his horse revive enough to gallop at top speed for miles to the finish line, winning the race.
  • Subverted in the ending of Hot Fuzz, when Skinner, fist-fighting Nicholas, pulls the lead out on his strength and takes the advantage with "Get... out... of my... village!" only to have Nicholas counter with one of his own: "It's not your village anymore!"
  • In Ip Man 2, Ip has been knocked down by the Twister once more and is barely holding on when he remembers Master Hung's words, which gives him the determination to get back up and win.
  • Played with in John Wick. Rather than taking place during a fight against the Big Bad, it's used for a Bait-and-Switch. John is apparently dying in the opening scene before the movie flashes back to How We Got Here, falling out of his vehicle severely wounded and playing a video recording of his deceased wife on his smartphone. When we get to that scene, however, the recording enables John to rally himself enough to treat his injuries.
  • Rexy the Tyrannosaurus rex from Jurassic World gets slammed down by the Indominus rex and is about to be killed. But when Blue the Velociraptor comes to help, the old Rexy finally gets back on her feet, and the two double-team the dino hybrid.
  • At the end of The Karate Kid Part II when the battered Daniel finally realizes the answer to the riddle of that little "secret of karate" knick-knack, rises slowly into a new stance with cold determination now in his eyes, and removes any doubt as to Chozen having any remote semblance of a chance from that point on. A similar moment happens at the end of Part III, in a weird way.
  • In Kill Bill Vol. 1 the Bride manages to kill wave after wave of goons, only to be bested in her final duel with O-Ren Ishii. The hero seemingly fallen, O-Ren makes a few victory quips... but not so fast! The triumphant music swells, the Bride rises to her feet and defeats O-Ren.
  • In the final showdown scene of The Last Dragon Leroy realizes that he is the master and lets Shonuff know this fact the proceeds to kick his asymptote. It happens again when Eddie Arcadian shoots Leroy, who appears to be dead but in reality had caught the bullet with his teeth.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, when the Witch Queen is on the verge of total victory and Kaulder lays on the ground, powerless, he has a vision of his deceased wife and daughter urging him to fight on, prompting him to figure out a way to gain the upper hand again.
  • Subverted in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Boromir takes an arrow, goes down... gets back up and keeps fighting. Four times before he can no longer get up again, taking out at least two orcs each time.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: The War Rig loses an engine, Max is left dangling from its side, Furiosa takes a crippling stab wound, Joe's forces surround the Rig, Toast has been captured, Slit moves in for the kill driving in Max's Pursuit Special... And then Nux gets the second engine repaired, Furiosa guns the engine and ass-kicking ensues.
  • Done for decidedly unheroic reasons in Man of Tai Chi. After being soundly thrashed by a pair of fighters, hero Shen gets an Armor-Piercing Question from Big Bad Donaka who asks if Shen's only losing because he's afraid of what he can do. Shen then manages to get up and soundly beat the pair that beat him so easily.
  • The Matrix franchise:
    • The climactic battle between Neo and Agent Smith at the end of The Matrix, in which Neo rises to conquer despite having had an entire magazine of ammo emptied into his chest, though depending on your perspective it may qualify as a different trope. To a lesser extent, "My name is Neo!" in the subway is another example.
    • The Matrix Revolutions: Zigzagged multiple times. After Smith delivers a truly exemplary Nietzsche Wannabe speech, he asks the beaten Neo why the hell he even bothers to keep fighting; Neo stands and says, "Because I choose to." Cue asskicking, followed by Smith rejuvenating and beating Neo to a pulp again, only for Neo to get up again. THEN Smith manages to infect Neo, and finally Neo uses his defeat to provide a link between Smith and the computer that created him, allowing it to simply delete him.
  • MonsterVerse: Godzilla has a couple.
    • Godzilla (2014): Godzilla manages to gather enough strength to get back up on his feet after suffering many severe injuries from a terribly long battle and being crushed by a skyscraper.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): During the Final Battle in Boston, Godzilla all but collapses after being worn down by King Ghidorah and dropped from the upper-atmosphere, and Ghidorah begins sucking the energy out of him while he's prone. However, Ghidorah being distracted by the ORCA long enough enables Godzilla to unlock his Super Mode with Mothra's Bequeathed Power, getting back up and proceeding to vaporize Ghidorah piece-by-piece.
  • In Nacho Libre, during Nacho's fight with Ramses, the latter has Nacho pinned down with a foot on his neck, and everything slows down to show Nacho seeing Sister Encarnacion enter the stands, followed by Chancho and another orphan, both of whom are wearing luchador masks. Reminded of just why he's in the ring, he pushes Ramses off him and proceeds to kick some ass.
  • In Pixels, Sam is close to giving up during the Donkey Kong sequence, as there's no pattern in Kong's actions, he has no idea how to win and the last time he played the game, he lost miserably. Matty's revelation that Eddie (Sam's opponent during that last game) was cheating during the Championship and Sam is the world master of Donkey Kong gets him back on his feet.
  • Preservation: As Wit is being strangled to death by the leader of the hunters, she begins to have visions of Mike, giving her enough strength to grab the broken bottle nearby and stab the hunter in the neck with it, killing him.
  • The Princess Bride:
    • Inigo finally catches up with the six-fingered man who killed his father. After being stabbed several times by his nemesis, he rallies, accompanied with repetition of "Hello! My Name Is Inigo Montoya. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die." Was the former Trope Namer before the name moved somewhere else.
    • Westley pulls a minor version of the same trick in the scene more famous for To the Pain. As Humperdinck loudly proclaims he's won because Westley can't even stand up, Wesley does just that. This, plus a "Drop. Your. Sword." command, is all it takes to win the final battle. It's made even better by the fact that the instant Humperdinck was safely tied up, Westley promptly collapsed, having been bluffing the entire time.
  • The climactic duel in Rob Roy ends with one of these. Worth noting that an opponent grabbing your sword really is a major risk in rapier fighting.
  • In The Row, Riley Cole is being held at knifepoint by the serial killer who has been tormenting and killing members of her new sorority because he blames the sorority for his older sister's suicide, as she literally burnt herself to death after a hazing ritual. When Riley's father tries to talk the man down by explaining how Riley's mother killed herself because she regretted that incident too, the killer reveals that actually he was the one who killed Riley's mother, giving Riley the strength to grab his knife in her hand and force it away long enough for her to get away so that her father can shoot the killer.
  • The first and sixth Rocky films had this as the central theme in the big fight. It's also very much used in the way Rocky beat Clubber Lang in Rocky III.
  • In Rush, Niki Lauda starts the Italian Grand Prix poorly with several Impairment Shots because of still-healing facial burns from the Nürburgring crash. He even goes off the track at one point and the commentators wonder out loud if he's a danger to himself. Then there's a crash right in front of him, he somehow evades the wreckage, and his blurred vision clears up. He finishes the race in 4th to an outpouring of admiration from the crowd.
  • In the film "Semi-Tough", the Miami team is getting beaten badly going into the 4th quarter of the American football Super-Bowl, and the players are shown to be giving up on the game. Through an accidental call, they complete a 60-yard field goal, which prompts Billy Clyde Puckett (a Miami running back, played by Burt Reynolds) to declare "We are going to win this game!". And, of course, they go on to do so.
  • Malcolm Reynolds battling the Operative in Serenity. The Operative thoroughly whoops Mal, and would've taken him out entirely if not for that conveniently moved nerve cluster. The Operative begins but doesn't get to finish his speech, which Mal actually calls him on: "Expect you'd want to say your famous last words right now. Just one trouble. I ain't gonna kill you."
  • Though he never actually goes down, Sin City sees Hartigan dispose of an entire unit of elite guards but take some serious damage himself in the bargain, to the extent that when he appears at the barn the Yellow Bastard is holed up in, he can barely stand or lift his gun. The Yellow Bastard gleefully points this out, and gets shot for it, although that's the least Hartigan does to him.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), in the final confrontation with Dr. Robotnik, Sonic is struck by an explosion that knocks him out and it appears he's either dead or unconscious. As Robotnik mocks Sonic, Tom jumps in to fight him, but is knocked off. Robotnik then mocks Tom for trying to risk his life for "this... thing" and Tom angrily corrects him, stating that thing is named Sonic, and he was his friend. Sonic, who had spent the entire movie believing he would live alone without any friends, suddenly opens his eyes as blue sparks erupt about his body, and immediately challenges Robotnik to round 2 using his innate power.
  • Although Spider-Man is famous for doing this in general (see above), the climax of his first movie provides a particularly good example of this. The Green Goblin, having kicked the tar out of Spidey and shrugged off all his tricks, vows to kill Mary-Jane slowly and painfully once he's done. Peter gets back up and beats the Goblin until he's begging for mercy.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming has a direct homage of the classic Lee/Ditko of Spidey being defeated and buried in rubble, but managing to summon the strength to free himself out of sheer willpower.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is this trope stretched out across an entire movie, where Kirk and the Enterprise have to overcome a mid-life crisis and a total drubbing by Khan and the Reliant in order to stop him from using the Genesis Device to cause unknowable amounts of damage.
  • Star Wars:
    • Return of the Jedi: Luke Skywalker's big counter-offensive during his fight against Darth Vader. In turn, Anakin Skywalker gets his own when he musters just enough energy left in him to hoist Palpatine and toss him to his death, at the cost of his life.
    • In The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan gets one of these moments in his fight against Darth Maul, coupled with Heroic Resolve, after his Unstoppable Rage doesn't work too well.
    • In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren has Rey dead to rights, backed up against a cliff edge, and chooses that moment to offer her training in the Force. This reminds Rey that she is Force-sensitive, and she taps into it to defeat him.
    • In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey had most of her strength drained by Palpatine and is knocked down. As she watches the fleet above collapse, she reaches out to the voices of Jedi past, who all egg her on to rise.
  • This goes back and forth in Street Fighter. First Guile kicks Bison around in hand-to-hand with only moderate resistance from Bison, then Bison powers up and starts shooting lightning and flying around, knocking Guile around like a rag doll, and finally Guile rallies and jump kicks Bison into a TV.
  • Stroker Ace: When Stroker has fallen behind after an accident on the track, he is reinvigorated to win by news that Torkle has finally fired him, leaving him free to win the championship race without having to put up with Torkle anymore.
  • Sunshine:
    • Physicist Capa is wounded and terrified, but has no choice but to suit up (a process which usually cannot be completed without assistance), make his way to the physics package of his ship, and set it off. Worse, he knows the madman who wounded him is probably already there and must be defeated first. An example of #4 above, since failure to do so will eventually result in the extinction of the human race.
    • Engineer Mace is faced with a similar problem when he tries to get the ship's overheated computer back into its cryogenic coolant bath. He is forced to resort to actually jumping into the coolant to attempt the repair, which he knows will almost certainly kill him regardless of success or failure. It's Mace's admission of failure which brings home to Capa just what's required of him.
  • Parodied in Superlópez: when Superlópez gets downed, Luisa and Jaime attempt to cheer on him, but it doesn't get through. It takes insulting him to pull him through.
  • Justified in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. After the T-800 is incapacitated by a metal bar through its power source, he uses a secondary power source to gain a second wind. However, he is noticeably still weak and only uses his energy to reach the T-1000 to blast it.
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor has just lost his right eye whilst fighting Hela and is being pinned down by her whilst she gloats, saying that she's the goddess of war and death, and mockingly asking him what he's the god of. Thor starts to black out until he sees Odin in a vision. Thor says he can't beat Hela without his hammer, and Odin asks him if Thor is the god of hammers. Flashback to reality, and Thor realizes what his godly portfolio is supposed to be, blasts Hela away, and heads to the Bifrost to join the battle, while "Immigrant Song" plays.
  • Yuri Boyka in the culminating fights in both Undisputed III and Undisputed IV. In III, Dolor beats him nearly senseless, destroys his already-injured knee, and throws him out of the ring, but the sight of some cleaning rags reminds him of a low point in his life and inspires him to get back up. In IV, it's the sight of the woman he's fighting to rescue that brings him back from the brink of unconsciousness to beat down Koshmar.
  • In Violent Night, Santa has become the only hope for the Lightstone family after a team of mercenaries take them hostage, but by the halfway point, not only has Santa's sack been burnt and he's suffered various injuries, but the Lightstone security team that turned up has been revealed to be working with the mercenaries, meaning Santa is up against more enemies by himself when he's already suffered serious wounds. Trudy, the youngest Lightstone, inspires Santa to keep fighting by reminding him of what he did for her in the past, inspiring Santa to retrieves a workman's hammer as a new weapon (a Call-Back to his past as a Viking warrior) and delivers new kinds of pain to his enemies.
  • The Chinese film The Warlords has a particularly powerful example (albiet, slightly subverted). Wu Yang is attempting to take revenge his adopted brother Qing Yun for killing his other brother Er Hu. Even while Qing Yun beats his ass down with repeated blows and breaking his arm and leg, Wu Yang continues the fight, declaring that "The brother who kills the other brother must be killed by me!". However, at the most dramatic moment, when Wu Yang makes his final attack, Qing Yun is shot in the back by an assassin hired by his corrupt superiors. This allows Wu Yang to get past Qing Yun's defenses and make the final killing blow.
  • Subverted (sort of) in Wild Hogs. Ray Liotta and his bikers beat the heroes to a pulp, do it again when they get up and are shocked when the Hogs try and get up for a third time. In the end, they are shamed off.

  • Bazil Broketail: Inverted. During first part of Nesessitas' duel with Puxdool the troll, she is actually at an advantage, mainly because she is stronger. However, when her opponent cripples her knee via a lucky shot, things quickly go downhill from there.
  • Happens several times throughout The Count of Monte Cristo.
  • When in The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King, Eddie Dean realizes with gradually mounting grim satisfaction what he has to do to beat Blaine in the riddle contest and destroy it, saving all their lives, and the despondent others, having lost their hope, look over at him (he has been apparently nigh catatonic and useless for hours) and see that he's trying as hard as he can not burst into laughter as he says, "Blaine?...* I* have a couple of riddles..."
  • Happens repeatedly in The Dresden Files. This could be due to Harry being ridiculously stubborn and very powerful. Though they tend to be more drawing on hidden reserves than anything else.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: In Furyborn, Eliana gets one during the fight with the Empire's crawlers. Exhausted, hungry, and distraught, she starts a raging storm without even realizing that that's what she's doing. The storm takes down most of Empire's fleet and it confirms to Simon that she's the Sun Queen that he's been searching for.
  • Subverted in The Half-Blood Prince, where Harry, facing Snape, gets up once, twice, but the third time he's too late for stopping their escape.
  • In Return of the King, Frodo is literally half-dead and dragging his body up Mount Doom when he almost hears someone calling "Now, now, or it will be too late!". He drags himself to his feet and walks up the rest of the way.
  • In The Pilgrim's Progress, Christian has one in his battle with Apollyon, suddenly recovering his weapon and the upper hand when the demon lord is about to deal him a killing blow.
    "Rejoice not against me, O mine Enemy! When I fall I shall arise."note 
  • Subverted rather cruelly by the ending of the original book, The Princess Bride: all of the instances listed above still happen, sure, but moments after that "perfect kiss", Westley relapses into a "mostly dead" coma, Íñigo passes out from blood loss, and Fezzik spots a platoon of Humperdinck's men pursuing them from the castle. Everybody scatters, and their actual fate is left up in the air. The movie didn't change the ending, really, the Grandfather just didn't read that far.
  • Saint George and the Dragon: Twice the knight is gravely wounded. Both times he's looked after and prayed for by Una, recovering to fight again.
  • The Stormlight Archive: This happens every time Kaladin speaks a new Oath. In the first book he is in shock from overusing Stormlight, but manages to run across a bridge, jump a chasm, land in the middle of an enemy army, and take their Stormlight. In the second book, he has a bum leg, multiple internal injuries, and a stab in the side. He is facing two men wearing Shardplate and bearing Shardblades. Speaking the Words draws in enough Stormlight to heal his wounds, and Sylphrena is revived as a Shardblade.
  • At the climax of Tea with the Black Dragon, Mayland Long is bound hand and foot, tired, hungry, and has a bullet wound in his shoulder and possibly a concussion. But after Martha tells him she loves him, he easily breaks free from his bonds and defeats the villains single-handed.
  • Happens several times in the Urban Dragon series.
  • Occurs during the climax of the Warrior Cats first series of books, when Firestar fought Scourge. Scourge actually kills him once, and assumes he's gone forever, but since Firestar has nine lives, he comes back later. Firestar's triumphant return is somewhat of a shock to Scourge, and he comes back apparently fighting with the power of StarClan. However, Firestar's I Surrender, Suckers is the actual deciding factor in the battle.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel does this a lot. It's really just a matter of him getting mad enough to vamp out, at which point, you're kinda screwed.
    • Most notably in "Not Fade Away":
      Marcus Hamilton: Let me say this as clearly as I can. You cannot beat me. I am a part of them. The Wolf, Ram, and Hart. Their strength flows through my veins. My blood is filled with their ancient power.
      Angel: Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?
    • The word, of course, being blood — a really bad thing to say to a vampire, as Angel proves by promptly getting his Game Face on and vamping out on him.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The climactic battle in "Becoming, Part 2". Angelus has Buffy cornered and disarmed and takes his moment to gloat (Spike even comments that Angelus is going to kill her), at which point Buffy kicks his ass.
      Angelus: Now that's everything, huh? No weapons... No friends... No hope. Take all that away... and what's left? (thrusts)
      Buffy: (catches his sword) Me.
    • Buffy has another one in "Chosen". She's stabbed by a random ubervamp, but after some taunting from the Big Bad, dramatically rises to her feet and carries on kicking ass.
      First Evil (in the form of Buffy): That was a nice trick. You came pretty close to smacking me down. What more do you want?
      Buffy: I want get out of my face!
    • Those are the biggest examples, but this happens with a lot of the single-episode villains as well.
    • Buffy also does this during her fights with The Master and Glory.
  • In the most recent season finale, Chuck is getting beat down by a now-Intersected Shaw until he remembers his childhood and how he had already downloaded a prototype Intersect and possibly because of the horrible things Shaw will do to Sarah, if Chuck loses, at which point Chuck does a fancy Kung-Fu pick-me-up move to get back to his feet and starts kicking ass.
    Chuck: Sorry, just had to reboot.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Christmas Invasion", during his duel with the Sycorax leader, the Doctor gets his hand cut off. Fortunately, because he's still within the first fifteen hours after regenerating, he's able to regrow it and proceeds to win.
  • The Exorcist: In the first season finale, Father Tomas confronts the demon, now possessing Angela, but due to his Crisis of Faith, he lacks the power to exorcize it. He gets knocked aside, and then trapped in an illusion that torments him with his many failures. However, just before he can be goaded into suicide, he realizes that despite his flaws, he's never truly strayed from his faith. This gives him the strength to break out of the illusion and starts kicking ass exorcist style.
  • Firefly: In "Out of Gas", Mal Reynolds announces his second wind with a classic dramatic gun cock as he gets the drop on the ship thieves who've just gut-shot him.
  • House of the Dragon: Despite having two dragons, the combined efforts of Daemon Targaryen and the Velaryons isn't enough to gain ground against the Crabfeeder's forces in the War of the Stepstones, due to the latter practicing attrition and retreating to their caves whenever Dragon Riders step in. Being upset upon receiving news that his brother King Viserys will send reinforcements, Daemon freaks out (ventilating his anger on the messenger) and decides to pull a I Surrender, Suckers maneuver as a last chance of luring the Crabfeeder's forces outside and defeating them. Despite the desperate maneuver being suicidal, Daemon pulls it off and the Velaryon forces eventually win the war.
  • Kamen Rider: By far the most common way for a hero to receive his next major powerup is to be put in a desperate situation, only to acquire a new power that turns things around. Notable instances or aversions:
    • Kamen Rider Gaim plays one of its second wind moments with a disturbing bent, as the title character repairs his broken weapon with a thought when he gets angry enough to trigger a second wind, highlighting that his powers have started turning him into something inhuman.
    • Kamen Rider Build justifies a number of second winds by having the concept of each Rider having a Hazard Level, which can be raised by strong emotional spikes and comes with an increase in strength and durability. This often lets a Rider get a second wind akin to what they might get from a new powerup without actually needing to have a new toy to sell. The Big Bad eventually figures out how to exploit the same mechanic and starts getting Villainous Second Winds.
    • Kamen Rider Gotchard: After suffering a brutal beating at Dread's hands, Gotchard is gifted a new and powerful sword which looks like it'll turn the tide...but with how extensive his injuries are by that time, he runs out of steam after swinging it twice, and this time he doesn't get back up.
  • The season 5 finale of Cobra Kai. Johnny is heavily injured and outnumbered against Cobra Kai’s senseis, only to get back up when he sees the photo of Carmen’s ultrasound fall from his pocket. He already screwed up with Robby, no way was he missing being apart of his new child’s life.
  • invoked Common in Retro Game Master, sometimes Arino has to take a break after struggling with a Difficulty Spike and let assistants to carry him to the last death point. He will usually wear an anti-fever cooling pad on his forehead for the rest of the episode, after which he plays much better.
  • Stargate SG-1: In his second episode, Colonel Mitchell pulls a sword out of a stone and has to fight a holographic knight in armor. When his teammates realize he's getting his ass beat and no one else can wield the sword, Daniel suggests they all retreat. Mitchell then remembers being injured rescuing SG-1 two years prior and the sheer Heroic Willpower that helped him regain the ability to walk. He then proceeds to kick the knight's ass.
  • Worf made a fine showing of this trope on an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Detained in a Dominion prison camp, the Klingon was forced to fight a near continual series of one-on-one fights with progressively more skilled Jem'hadar. Finally, he reaches the lead Jem'hadar, who beats the unholy hell out of him. However, Worf refuses to admit defeat and rises to go another round. In a subversion, it's clear that the Jem'hadar could easily finish and kill him at this point, but instead...
    Ikat'ika: I yield. I cannot defeat this Klingon. All I can do is kill him. And that no longer holds my interest.
    • The Jem'hadar's superiors disintegrate him on the spot for his noble sentiment. Worf and friends? Are teleported out that very second.
  • In the Season 2 finale of Supernatural, Dean Winchester engages in a fight with Azazel, the Yellow-Eyed Demon while the gates to Hell are open and spirits and demons are escaping. Azazel telekinetically tosses Dean into the air and he hits his head on a headstone (and his bloody forehead indicates that he has sustained a concussion at the very least). His dad's spirit breaks out of Hell, wrestles with Azazel, and then Dean aims the Colt (the magical Kill Anything Gun) at the Yellow-Eyed-Demon and shoots. It hits YED in the chest and he dies. When the rest of the battle is over, Dean walks over to the corpse of the Azazel's host.
    Dean: That was for our mom, you son of a bitch.
  • Happens once in every series in the Ultra Series, starting with Return of Ultraman. It has escalated to the point where roadshows literally have the audience participate when the performing Ultras are down in battle against their villain of the show.
  • Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman typically has a significant advantage against most of the villains that she encounters. But there were a few situations in which she came back from the brink of defeat.
    • In "The Feminum Mystique", Paradise Island is conquered by the Nazis, and Diana is enslaved along with the rest of the Amazons. She and her sister manage to rally and defeat the invaders.
    • In "The Boy Who Knew Her Secret", Diana has been brainwashed into forgetting that she is Wonder Woman. After she's told of her true identity, she struggles to overcome her disbelief in order to transform before the final battle.

  • Gottlieb's Rocky pinball machine has "On the Ropes", a kickback chute in the middle of the table that can take a ball that's about to drain and immediately shoot it back into the game.
  • Likewise, The Champion Pub has a kickback chute labeled "Second Wind".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Hulk Hogan, who would always call upon the power of all the Hulkamaniacs watching when it looked like he was going to lose a match. You could tell when he was drawing on their power because he would start shaking and the opponent's strikes wouldn't hurt him anymore. Because Hulking Up almost always led straight into Hulk Hogan's Five Moves of Doom, he might as well have been invincible. Others who used a similar gimmick include...
    • Carlos Colon's comeback sequence would usually be preceded by a cartwheel, which his son Eddie and daughter Stacy also took up, but not Carly, who rarely cartwheeled and was a heel when he did.
    • The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan after he Hulked Up by Hulking Up himself and drawing on the power of all his fans in the audience. The Ultimate Warrior's cue would be slowly using the ropes to stand back up while ignoring any offense the opponent threw at him then violently shaking the ropes before cutting into his five moves of doom.
    • Sebastion Rose on the American Indy circuit emulates the Ultimate Warrior's sequences.
    • Dragon Gate's BXB Hulk has his own Hulking sequences, naturally but his usually wears off long before the match is over.
    • Alundra Blayze/Madusa would seemingly be exhausted and crushed, the opponent would lackadaisically do a lateral press only for Madusa to impressively kip out of it and roar into a flurry of offense. It was understandable the first time but wrestlers really should have hooked her leg after seeing it twice.
    • Most times The Undertaker simply no sells or sells the bare minimum because he's a zombie and mortal attacks shouldn't be hurting very much. When he was with Paul Bearer though, Undertaker wouldn't really start no selling until Paul demanded him to with his urn. At one point, Undertaker substituted the urn for the energy of the audience, blatantly copying Hulk Hogan.
    • Eugene was mostly a good sport and timid by professional wrestling standards but sometimes he would go into an unstoppable rage and seemingly become immune to pain. This was most commonly triggered by bashing his head into a turnbuckle, which he seemed to hate and would signal it by repeatedly bashing himself in the head while staring angrily at the offender.
    • The Eugene example is based on the Missing Link. Someone would drive the Link's head into a turnbuckle, Link would No-Sell and just to prove how hard his head is he'd grab the back of his own hair and ram himself into the turnbuckle a few times. (Eugene was a Wrestling Savant who took random portions of gimmicks from older wrestlers - a kind of one-man Call-Back.)
    • Parodied by Santino Marella, who has a shoulder raising, heavy breathing, super-powered comeback born of rage...that almost always wears off before he can hit the cobra.
    • Also parodied on Sunday Night Heat by Charlie Haas, who would turn invincible after he put on a mask but the mask couldn't cure his fear of heights so he still lost after he climbed to the top rope.
    • MagnumTA occasionally had an unstoppable rage variant, best seen in his United States Championship defense against Kamala, after he got sick of the Ugandan hitting him in the head the strikes stopped staggering him, even as he bled.
    • Kamala himself had a variant, he wasn't as big as many other giants or as monstrous as other monsters but try to hurt his friends and he would become one of the most dangerous men on the roster, as a face anyway.
    • Father Time, the oldest rookie in the history of professional wrestling, has a Hogan like comeback but it isn't explicitly drawing from the audience.
    • You can't powerbomb Billy Kidman. Every time somebody tries he reverses it and almost always goes into a sitout facebuster and/or Shooting Star Press for the win.
    • A strange example is Curryman, who usually started off his comebacks by force-feeding his opponents curry.
    • Tatanka would sometimes do a second wind routine by starting to do a Native war dance in the ring, (mostly) ignoring his opponent's offense. The word is mostly; at least once Bam Bam Bigelow was able to stop the 'wind dance' cold by enzigiri-kicking Tatanka in the back of the head.
    • Inverted in Fighting Opera Hustle, where Himalayan could get a villainous second wind by being dosed in ice cubes. Not completely inverted though as Big Foot was more of a misguided pawn than "evil".
    • Daffney Unger discovered she could trigger a second wind in Solo Darling by having her sip some punch.
  • John Cena, after he became a Face on Smackdown would usually get kicked around the ring in a manner reminiscent of child abuse for the majority of the match, then start to No-Sell and hit his opponent with his finisher and win the match. Unlike those listed above, there is no kayfabe explanation or audience cue to show when it will happen.
  • Roman Reigns manages to turn seemingly unwinnable matches into decisive victories. For example, after being thrashed around by Samoa Joe at Backlash 2018 for the whole match, Roman goes full Hogan and nails Joe with a spear to win. Like with Cena, nothing indicates when he starts a comeback.
  • Sting would be battered pillar to post before suddenly no-selling his opponent's offense, followed by a "most muscular" pose and beating his chest, signaling his comeback. Like Cena and Roman, there is no explanation for it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Games that reward players for accepting setbacks with plot points/tokens/whatever which can then in turn be cashed in for (usually temporary) action bonuses or other benefits when needed lend themselves to this trope — the player character(s) may well endure a beatdown, but in the process harvest enough points to then turn the tables and stage a dramatic comeback. Examples include anything Fate-powered like Spirit of the Century or The Dresden Files, but also Mutants & Masterminds and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, and the Divine Blood RPG .
  • The "Second Wind" action in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition uses a healing surge to give yourself 1/4 of your HP back and a temporary boost in defenses once per encounter.
    • Also in 4th Edition D&D is the Epic Trickster class, with Epic Trick. Any class can take this as their final class change, assuming they have appropriate Dexterity and Charisma. Using Epic Trick completely restores HP, or restores all daily powers (except Epic Trick), or all magic item uses, or all action points. Whichever you pick, you get a huge power boost. Give it to a Wizard, and the phrase "Nothing up my sleeve" because infinitely more terrifying/badass.
    • In fact, most Epic Destinies grant you this trope. They usually activate once you are reduced to 0 or less HP. The effect? Instead of helplessly bleeding to death on the floor, you stand up and fight. With healing and usually some bonuses to attack or defense.
    • And parodied via exaggeration with the availability of a "Third Wind" feat.
      • 5th edition changes second wind to only regain health, but also add 'action surge, which allows you to take another action on your turn, potentially adding an extra four attacks.
  • Exalted, of course, has this in Final Ray of Light, a high-level Integrity charm for Solars. If you know this charm, and you get wounded to the point of incapacitating injury/death while defending or championing those weaker than yourself, then those who need him, whether they want to or not, give rise to him rising again after a few minutes, restored to half health, essence, and willpower, and ready to fight again. You can't do it often, and it costs a permanent essence dot, but nothing can stop them from standing back up.
  • The "Heroic Comeback" Signature Move from the Hong Kong Action Theatre! supplement To Live and Die in HK is made for those characters who make miraculous comebacks to turn the tables on the bad guy and come out on top just when it looks like they're down for the count. In order to use it, the character must have been either beaten to shit in an earlier scene by the guy he's using it on or been reduced to half his Form and Focus by damage. When the character uses this signature (often during the movie's climax), he gains a complete replenishment of his Chi pool or a + 5 bonus to hit the guy who kicked his ass for the rest of the movie.
  • Marvel Heroic Roleplaying also features an explicit "Second Wind" special effect that a character may have as part of a power set. This basically allows the character to simply clear out all stress of some type (usually physical) that he or she may have suffered so far and boost a power from that set for the next action to boot...with the price being that the stress die, rather than just disappearing in a puff of heroic grit and determination, goes straight to the doom pool, i.e. the Watcher's special "trouble" dice pool from which it can be used back against the player(s) in some fashion. (Example characters from the basic rulebook who have this exact trick in their repertoire include Captain America and Spider-Man.)
  • Princess: The Hopeful: In situations of stress or dire need, a Princess can call on her inner strength and willpower to replenish her supply of Wisps. She even gets a bonus on the roll to recover Wisps if she delivers a speech asserting herself and her Beliefs in the process.
  • The Star Wars: Roleplaying Game has Second Winds as well. Once per day, you get a certain amount of HP back based on your Constitution. You have to be a heroic class, though (or have Extra Second Wind - heroics get an extra use, non-heroics just get to use it).
  • In Resident Evil The Board Game, both Advanced Leon and Jill are capable of automatically reviving themselves the first time they go unconcious during a scenario.

  • Hamlet, Act V, Scene II: "Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane!" spoken while a) stabbed (twice!), b) dying of poison, c) emotionally distraught at the deaths of ... well, everyone.

    Video Games 
  • Any Desperation Attack, and most Limit Breaks.
  • This is the entire idea of Ace Attorney. In almost every case, Phoenix is up against impossible odds from the beginning and may simply be unable to pull out contradictions in witness testimony. Typically, this is when somebody interrupts the trial to make a trial-changing statement, or for Mia to be channeled by Maya or Pearl and encourage Phoenix to think about the evidence in a new way. There's a reason the series is called "Turnabout Trial" in Japanese.
  • The Borderlands franchise has this as a game mechanic. If you hit 0 HP, you can keep fighting for a short period of time as your vision fades to black. If you manage a kill while in this mode, or another player helps you up, the game actually says "SECOND WIND" in big letters as you get back up with 30% HP. This leads to situations where it can actually be convenient to leave a few wimps alive in a boss fight to use as reanimation fuel. While it doesn't fully heal you, it does fully recharge your shields, at least.
    • In online games, this doubles as a teammate revival mechanic — if you were knocked out due to hitting 0 HP, a friend can save you from death by pressing E on you.
    • Some skills for some of the characters rely on the second wind mechanic to work, such as all weapons doing more damage when you get a second wind.
    • The second wind mechanic can't be abused, however. If you go down immediately after getting a second wind, you bleed out a lot faster than you did before. If this process is repeated too much, the speed of bleeding out will be extremely too fast for your character to be saved and you'll be forced to respawn.
  • Most Breath of Fire games feature this as a game mechanic. Sometimes when the main character's HP drops to zero, he will say something along the lines of "Not yet!" and get back onto his feet with a small HP recovery (Ryu, Silent Protagonist that he is, instead gets the understated badass line "Ryu stands back up"). The rate at which this occurs is dependent on the character's Guts ability, and Ryu, being the hero, has far more Guts than any other character, making him The Determinator in every game in the series as well, in a moment of Gameplay and Story Integration.
  • Cyber Chaser: If the protagonist loses all life and goes to the box-opening screen, there's a chance that a box will revive him with some (or even all) health.
  • Darkest Dungeon: A character with 100 Stress may become Virtuous instead of Afflicted, and rather than snapping under the horrors of the current dungeon will power on through with renewed fervor and a huge stat boost, among other conditions depending on the virtue involved.
    • Powerful: The Unstoppable Rage kind, where the hero has had enough and goes on a rampage, tearing through enemies with increased power and rallying the team into striking harder as well.
    • Courageous: The hero takes charge, not only powering through their own stress through sheer will but encouraging others to do so as well, reducing stress for everyone.
    • Stalwart: The hero in question steels himself, and shrugs off the most stressful and maddening of events through the power of will, entering a Determinator trance.
    • Vigorous: The hero shrugs off injuries both physical and mental, constantly recovering with one last burst of energy to put down the villains once and for all.
    • Focused: The hero puts aside anything that isn't his objective and the foes in the way, their blows finding their mark with increased lethality and accuracy.
  • Darkest Dungeon II has the same concept as it's predecessor, but instead of Virtuous, it has a Hero potentially becoming Resolute, giving them a large self-heal and improving their relationship with everybody in the party.
  • The SoulsBorne (now SoulsBorneKiro, depending on who you ask) games are fond of inverting this trope with more than several bosses, which marks their transition into the next phase of the fight and can potentially turn any hope for victory in the already Nintendo Hard games into one hell of a Hope Spot.
    • In the Expansion Pack for Bloodborne, you'll come across a boss fight against Ludwig the Accursed, a noble Hunter of the Healing Church now transformed into a feral, grotesque, horse-like Animalistic Abomination. After his health depletes, he is seemingly defeated... only for the sight of his trusty weapon of choice — now glowing — to spur him back into action with renewed sanity.
  • In Divekick, a player who loses 4 rounds without a single win will be slapped with a "FRAUD DETECTION WARNING". Should they win that round, "DETECTION AVERTED" is announced. If that player then goes on to tie the round, a "CHOKE DETECTION WARNING" is announced, and "CHOKE DETECTED" if the former potential "fraud" wins that deciding round.
  • In El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, you can prevent yourself from dying if you mash on the buttons and D-Pad after you get knocked out, but before Enoch's eyes close completely.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In a flashback of Final Fantasy VII, this happens three times between both the hero and villain within a single BFS-happy cutscene. First, Sephiroth fatally wounds Zack and confidently returns to Jenova, only to be impaled width-wise by Cloud's BFS. Then Sephiroth, who clearly should be dead, stumbles back into the room and impales Cloud through the chest with his own BFS. This leads to the third moment, where Cloud uses the power of leverage on the katana impaled through his chest to toss Sephiroth into the reactor. The best part is that this was all before Cloud received SOLDIER enhancements, meaning he did all that with nothing but his own strength.
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy has this done by Firion, and then he gives his "No More Holding Back" Speech.
    • The Final Boss and the Post-Final Boss of Final Fantasy XIV's Endwalker expansion has this. During the Final Boss, the Endsinger has just tossed a planet at you and your party, which is barely blocked by a Tank Limit Break 3, and she decides to rewind things and try again. As the planet strikes, everything goes black... before you hear the Scions shout out "Light the way!", their prayers being so strong that they create a barrier to protect you and strengthen you to defeat her. In the Post-Final Boss, those same prayers are essentially extra lives in case you completely flub fighting Zenos along with using two of them for scripted moments.
  • This is a game mechanic in the Freedom Force series. Particularly heroic characters get to do it more often. In the sequel, they also shout catchphrases, like "The spirit of freedom fills me!"
  • In Game of Thrones (Telltale) Episode 3, you have the choice to literally get a second wind and stand up. You are encountered by Gryff Whitehill who at one point continuously throws your crippled self into the dirt, you have the choice to stand up every time he does it and at the end, if you stand up he basically shits his pants and runs off like a toddler throwing a tantrum.
  • Kingdom Hearts shows this by giving your allies an ability called Second Wind, which revives your allies sooner than usual.
    • A straight example would be the ability Berserk, which boosts your strength when your HP is low.
  • Guild Wars 2's downed mechanic functions much like the borderlands example, giving you a few basic skill you can still use after being reduced to 0 health, with a new but rapidly draining health bar. Killing an enemy (or due to the tag-mechanics, any enemy you damaged dying) lets you get back up with about half health, as does using the healing skill which is easily interrupted by enemy attacks. Getting downed multiple times in rapid succession means the downed-health bar starts out progressively more empty. When the downed health bar runs out, you're out.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft: The card Reno Jackson can pull this off, as long as the condition is met: If you do not have double cards in your active deck (not ones that have been used/died), Reno's entrance will make your character's hit points fully recover, no matter how low. Many times, opposing players have cornered the player down to their last slivers of HP... only for Reno to come in and reset the whole life thing all over again, giving a second chance for the player.
  • In Hitman: Contracts when your health is gone, the game goes into slow motion black and white. If you can score four headshots before 47 keels over, you get a minimal amount of health back. If not, it's game over.
  • In the iNiS DS Rhythm Games Elite Beat Agents and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2, the final mission begins with the heroes, who use the power of song and dance, being taken out by a Heroic Sacrifice to save everyone they helped in prior levels from a massive worldwide threat. As they remain helpless, the people they helped refuse to give up hope on them and then decide to chant out a three-syllable word repeatedly to give back the morale energy they gained from the heroes to give them the ultimate second wind and another opportunity to finish the fight to save the world. It becomes even more dramatic when Ouendan 2 starts with your Life Meter at zero and then only begins filling it back up to full to start the stage proper once your player characters are brought back.
  • In The King of Fighters 94, Kyo and his friends would've not likely won against Rugal if he had not been impossibly pissed off after finding out that Rugal had not just defeated his father, but almost beat him to death. Similarly, seeing that Rugal had brainwashed said father into becoming The Dragon to him in 95 played a similar effect on the Hero Team.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has Bowser himself do a minor one against the end boss: Barely resisting being blown away, Bowser is given a You Are Not Alone speech by Starlow, who tells him that Mario & Luigi are cheering him on from inside his body. Of course, he doesn't hear it and regains footing by himself, complimenting Dark Bowser on the use of the Amazing Technicolor Battlefield and declares:
    Bowser: Listen up! You're saying the kingdom will vanish? NOT TODAY! THE MUSHROOM KINGDOM IS MINE!!! SO YOU VANISH!!!
  • In Max Payne 3, when you reach zero health, if you have a bottle of painkillers, you enter Last Man Standing mode: kill the man that just killed you to be the last man standing. If you succeed, Max recovers health as if he had just taken the painkillers normally, and can stand up and continue fighting. This can be weaponized: enemies with armor normally take multiple hits to the armor to kill, but Last Man Standing is guaranteed to kill themnote .
  • In the second fight with Vile in Mega Man X, after both X and Zero lose to him in his invincible war mech, Zero breaks out of his cage, jumps on Vile's back, and self-destructs, destroying the mech. However, Vile survives the explosion unscathed, and comments on how much of a waste Zero's sacrifice was, at which point X suddenly stands back up, breaks free of the forcefield Vile had trapped him in after beating him to an inch of his life and his health refills to full. Also in the remake of this game, Maverick Hunter X, you can see the OVA "The Day of Sigma", which explains the backstory. At the near end, after Sigma managed to slice off X's arm and impale him with his Laser Blade, X gets a sudden boost of energy out of seemingly nowhere and retaliates, giving Sigma his signature face-scar. Justified, as it was this particular power that Sigma was trying to awaken in X, his Adaptive Ability.
  • In Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge, if you out of health during the final boss, Mike will sacrifice himself and half of the Humongous Mecha you both pilot in order to provide a full health meter.
  • Metroid:
    • Super Metroid: Samus gets one during the final battle against Mother Brain after the Metroid hatchling makes its Heroic Sacrifice to save her life. It's possible to turn it into a Heroic Third Wind: if you have sufficient energy, the first time you're hit by the ultimate attack, Samus will be left breathing heavily on the ground. If you have enough energy to survive a second blast, you can tap up several times and Samus will get to her feet and keep fighting (though without any missiles or power bombs, which were drained by the ultimate attack). It's ultimately futile, but does prompt the final boss to use the ultimate attack a second time, for all the horrifying power that that entails. It's possible to tap up to try to make Samus stand, but if you don't have enough energy to survive a second blast, she'll collapse again, and the final boss will instead use weaker attacks to pummel her down to low energy before tthe Metroid swoops in.
    • Metroid Fusion: Just as Samus is about to escape the BSL station, having finally defeated the SA-X and set the station on a collision course with planet SR388 to wipe out the X Parasites, she bursts into the docking bay to find her ship missing. Moments later, an Omega Metroid attacks her and slashes her to one HP with one swipe. While she's struggling to rise, the SA-X reappears and attacks the Omega Metroid; when the Omega slashes it, too, and reduces it to a Core-X, Samus finally rises and absorbs it, gaining the weapon she needs to kill the Omega, giving her ship a safe path to land and spirit her off the doomed BSL station.
    • Metroid Dread: Raven Beak proves that his entire boss fight was merely toying with Samus and grabs her by the throat, choking her as he gloats about using her genes to make an army of Samus clones, all empowered to be the most powerful Metroid in existence. Samus seems to succumb, her Power Suit powering down... but then she channels her latent Metroid abilities to their max, roaring in rage as she slams her hand into Raven Beak's face to drain both him and his ship of life energy, proving that indeed, she is the ultimate of Ultimate Warriors, and the galaxy will never fall to the likes of Raven Beak while Samus Aran draws breath.
  • Used in the ending of Modern Warfare 2. Soap, bleeding out with a knife in his chest, finds the strength to pull the knife out of himself, and throw it into General Shepard's face.
    • An in-gameplay example comes from the "Final Stand" Deathstreak, which allows the player to get back up from being neutralized if they aren't finished off by the enemy.
  • Modern Warfare 3 has Yuri. Holy shit, Yuri can pull Second and even Third Winds from who knows where! His response to being shot point-blank with a Deagle in the "No Russian" flashback is to drag himself to a dead guard, grab said guard's weapon, and shoot at the gunmen perpetrating the massacre. He fails to stop them, but his efforts alone are worthy of recognition. He repeats this feat in "Dust to Dust", surviving impalement on a piece of rebar long enough to limp up a flight of stairs and shoot Makarov. It takes another Deagle bullet, this time to the head to keep him from using a Fourth Wind.
  • This is also a mechanic in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. When Travis' health is depleted, there's a small window to shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuk enough to come back with a small amount of health. The number of times you can do this per level/boss fight before going down for good depends on the difficulty level.
  • In the climax of Ōkami, after the Hope Spot against Yami and the combined energy attack that restores Amaterasu to her full, ultimate divine glory, casting "Sunrise" (Ammy's own Celestial Brush skill, but rarely used in the game) destroys Yami's so-called "eternal darkness" and makes it vulnerable to attack. But by that point, powered by the faith of all the people of Nippon, Ammy is so incredibly and awesomely ass-kicking badass that Yami isn't so much beaten as thoroughly trounced. Even the soundtrack agrees as the ominous Final Boss music makes way for Ammy's theme.
  • Several Pokémon, including all the main starters except Pikachu, have abilities that power up either a type of attack or one of their stats when their hit points get down to a certain point. There are also some moves, such as Flail, that have their strength increase in inverse proportion to the user's hit points. The anime Played for Drama the fact that Chimchar uses Blaze in this manner, by having Paul purposely get Chimchar beat up just so its Blaze will activate.
  • Can be pulled off in the Wii Punch-Out!! title: When you're being KOed for the third time, quickly mash the 1 and 2 buttons or shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuk like mad; if you're lucky, Little Mac will stop himself from passing out and immediately rejoin the fight with 1/4 of his health
  • Subversion and played straight: In Super Robot Wars, one way to build up Will, which increases stats, activates tide-turning special abilities and unlocks new attacks, is to take damage and watch your allies get blown up. This also happens quite often in plot sequences, but usually, when the good guy gets up and attacks the villain again, the villain uses their rage and adrenaline against them, allowing them to finish the job or escape without harm.
  • The fourth entry of Super Smash Bros. adds in the Rage mechanic, where characters will cause more knockback and launch while they are heavily-damaged, indicated by a subtle red shade with steam issuing from the character in question — the effect is potent enough that it can allow some attacks to KO opponents a bit earlier than usual. The downside is the knockback can prevent some combos for landing.
    • Nowhere is the Rage effect more potent, however, than with Lucario, who inherently possesses a feature similar to Rage called Aura, which he had even before Smash 4. At 0%, Lucario's damage is slightly sub-par compared to the rest of the cast. As it sustains more damage, however, its damage and knockback improve significantly until the damage values are about x1.77 more potent, with Aura capping off at around 170%, making him downright lethal when used correctly, and able to end stocks far earlier than when at 0% (provided Lucario can survive that long). And Aura does not replace the Rage mechanic in Smash 4; both of them take effect and only add to Lucario's lethality at high percentages. The obvious downside, of course, is that he cannot combo nearly as well at those percentages.
  • It's literally an ability used by the Onna Bugeisha in Total War: Shogun 2. Fittingly, they can only be fielded on the defending side of a siege. It allows all the nearby units to recover their stamina. In some battles, this ability can save a player's army from annihilation.
  • Undertale manages to pull a magnificent subversion. Not on the trope, per se, but on the role, because it's one of the bosses, the royal guard's captain Undyne, who pulls it. Other than that it's still played straight to the letter because the only way to trigger this event is when you play your cards to be a true Villain Protagonist.
    • There is also the final fight against Asriel in a True Pacifist route. Whenever the player is killed during the fight, the broken pieces of their heart will fuse back together and continue the fight.
  • Fei-Yen in Virtual-ON has a hyper mode that activates when she is reduced to half her health.
  • The World Ends with You: "Here comes the Beat wagon!"
  • Some of the most amazing moments in World of Warcraft occur when the boss is at 3% health, 8/10 of your party members are dead, and, with a single well-placed cooldown ability, the last man standing manages to score the killing blow on a massive dragon while all his dead friends watch. Usually results in a pithy one-liner on the part of whoever stayed alive.
    • Do not forget the talent "Second wind" in the Arms tree of the warrior class: each time the warrior is stunned or paralyzed, he will recover a portion of his health and rage (the fuel for his abilities). More than one desperate battle against another player turned in favor of the warrior thanks to this.
      • Said talent has been boosted even further in the latest expansion. Now it gives Rage upon being stunned or immobilized, but no longer grants health. However, whenever you fall below 35% HP, you will recover 3% HP per second. When combined with Protection specialization, gear, shields, and abilities (and getting hit literally makes you more powerful if it doesn't kill you due to Vengeance, so you hit back harder and you absorb more damage), this reaches truly absurd levels when doing content from previous expansions where bosses aren't designed to 1shot you below 35% HP (or, even more relevant, to do enough sustained damage to overpower the healing received and ultimately kill you - tank health pools roughly triple compared to the same point in progression in comparison to the preceding expansion).
    • The climax of Wrath of the Lich King had an example in lore. The Lich King starts by encasing Tirion Fordring in a block of ice while the rest of the party fights a losing battle just trying to stay alive. Just as the Lich King appears to have achieved the final victory. Fordring prays to the Light out of sheer desperation, and the light answers, shattering the block of ice and empowering Tirion's sword Ashbringer, which immediately shatters Frostmourne, breaking the Lich King's grasp on all the countless souls he's enslaved over the years. The spirit of Arthas' father resurrects the entire raid, which beats down the helpless Lich King at his moment of triumph.

    Visual Novels 
  • The protagonists in the Nasuverse tend to have trump-card-like abilities, which when combined with the fact that they tend to fight superhuman enemies, makes for many, many moments of this.
    • Tohno Shiki, the protagonist of Tsukihime, has something like a split personality; whenever he is on the verge of death, his Superpowered Blood Knight side ("Nanaya") takes over. And he really likes killing.
      • The best example of this would probably be where he is being eaten alive by Nero Chaos before killing around one hundred animals while lying down, then killing a unicorn, a dragon and three giant crab monsters effortlessly. And then Nero himself.
    • Fate/stay night's protagonist, Emiya Shirou, seems to have it in his contract that he has to have at least one My Name Is Inigo Montoya moment before things will start to go his way; often, he will have several, enticing the reader with learning new and exciting ways for his body and mind to strain itself to new limits before he's allowed to win or get saved by a Deus ex Machina.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors uses method #22 on that list above. During the Safe Ending, Ace begins gloating in the Incinerator about how much he enjoyed killing Clover. Unfortunately for him, Clover's brother, Snake, is around to hear this. It ends up giving Snake enough motivation to get shot once, get back up, and get shot 5 more times, while still managing to kill Ace by keeping him pinned down till the incineration starts.

    Web Animation 
  • Occasionally comes up in DEATH BATTLE!:
  • In the DEATH BATTLE! Spin-Off series DBX, this occurs in the episode Lucario vs. Blaziken. Lucario is pinned by Serena's Nidoking with the title Blaziken and Weavile flanking. Serena throws an Ultra Ball to catch Lucario, but Lucario's Butterfree friend flies in the way, getting caught instead. As she readies another ball to catch Lucario, Lucario pulls out a Fightium Z and uses it to enter a Super Mode. He proceeds to unleash a brutal No Hold Barred Beatdown on Nidoking, Weavile, and Blaziken before freeing Butterfree from the Ultra Ball.
  • In RWBY, Yang's Semblance manifests as a variant of this: she gains more power in proportion to the damage she takes. As long as she can stay conscious in a fight, her strength will continue to accrue. Exemplified in Volume 6 Chapter 12, when Yang uses her Semblance when low on Aura, catching Adam's finishing blow in her prosthetic arm. She then rips Adam's sword out of his hand and uses the entirety of her remaining energy from both her Aura and Semblance to punch Adam across the bridge, breaking his Aura as well.

  • Used straight in the fan webcomic The Last Days of FOXHOUND where Liquid is impaled through his chest with a katana. As he bleeds to death, he is taunted in his mind by the voices of his teammates, the ninja that impaled him, and his dead father about how much he sucks. He then proceeds to stop the bullet-evading ninja singlehandedly. Of course, Liquid's ability as a FOXHOUND member is that of the Determinator. Much like in the game, he just simply refuses to die.
  • Happens here in the Endgames world of Megatokyo; true to the trope, Largo is severely wounded and "T3h 3vil" gloats before the final blow, but Largo manages one last strike that takes him down. But soon after, it becomes a subversion; Piroko heals both of them, and the bad guy kills Largo before he can get up.
  • Used in a particular psychological variant at the end of A Miracle of Science, when the hero, with a decidedly unpleasant hole through his liver, faces down the Mad Scientist. All he actually manages to do is stand on his own, but that's also all he NEEDS to do...
  • One-Punch Man:
    • Subverted when Mumen Rider tries to fight the Sea King, who lays him out with a single attack. Mumen Rider gets back on his feet and delivers a dramatic speech, complete with cheers from the audience, only for the Sea King to sigh and punch him again, this time knocking him out. Sort of signaled beforehand, because Mumen Rider's "dramatic speech" is more of an explanation that he knows he hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell of doing anything of note, but as a superhero, he has to do something. Even Saitama (who only arrives on time because Mumen Rider distracted the Sea King) is impressed by his resolve.
    • Played straight with the S-class hero Metal Bat, who gets stronger and faster the more damage he suffers. When fighting Garou, Metal Bat is being curbstomped at first and Garou considers him no threat at all... until suddenly Metal Bat is fast enough to hit him. When asked how he can do this, Metal Bat says it's just "fightin' spirit."
  • Weak Hero: Wolf triggers Gray's Berserk Button after beating him down, but beats him down again in the ensuing fight. The onlooking Eugene and Rowan are convinced that not even Gray can recover from it. Then Gray leaps out of the dust with a container he uses to hit the pressure point in Wolf's foot. From that point on, the fight is his.

    Web Original 
  • In one of Dream's Minecraft Manhunts with George and Sapnap, Dream had to fight both of them while fighting the Ender Dragon. Eventually, they kick him off the edge and put out his water. George and Sapnap are happy and triumphant when all of a sudden, George celebrates by killing Sapnap, dropping his inventory... which Dream uses to his advantage by finding some falling Ender Pearls and going slightly to the right to pick them up at the last second, then making a precise throw to the edge of the island to escape unscathed, killing George soon after. Keep in mind that Dream had no Ender Pearls before this.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • Bugs Bunny: "Of course you realize this means war."
  • Danny Phantom: The Ultimate Enemy, where the hero overwhelms his evil future self by unleashing the Ghostly Wail with the lives of his family and friends as his ultimate gumption.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory any time Monkey seems to be down for count his adoring fans will begin chanting "monkey, monkey" at which point he will begin to regain power and jump back in the fight.
    • The "Justice Friends" short "Dial M for Monkey" from Dexter's Laboratory did a complete remake of Marvel Two in One Annual #7 (see above). With "The Champion" renamed "Rasslor" (and voiced by pro wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Oooooh, Yeeeeah!), The Justice Friends filling in for the rest of Marvel's line-up, and Monkey filling the shoes of Mama Grimm's blue-eyed boy. Played completely straight (Rasslor's final speech — "I could break your body, but I could never destroy your spirit" — is lifted verbatim from the comic, as the original writer gets a writing credit), which just makes it funnier.
  • Droopy: "You know what? That makes me mad."
  • Gravity Falls: In "Gideon Rises", Gideon attacks the Pines twins with a giant Mo Cap Mecha, thinking they have the first journal. He tosses Dipper aside onto a cliff, taunting him that he's a nobody without the Journal's knowledge, and walks off with Mabel held hostage. Dipper looks like he's running away in despair... but it turns out he was building up speed to jump off the cliff and crash through the Gideon-bot's eye into the cockpit.
  • In Green Lantern: The Animated Series Hal uses this to stop Atrocitus in the Season 1 finale. Justified as the Green Lantern Ring runs on Willpower, so as long as he does not WANT to give up, he can still fight. Doesn't make it any less awesome.
  • I ♡ Arlo: In the climatic battle of "The Uncondemning", when Arlo hears Bertie and Alia call out to him and swing into the Heart of the Swamp, this not only snaps him out of the Bog Lady's hypnosis, it also causes him to bite free of her grasp and fight against her, before jumping up to Edmée's cage and breaking it apart, freeing her.
  • In Justice League Unlimited, the core members of the League are all down. Flash gets up, but he's obviously pretty worn out. Then Lex Luthor/Brainiac taunts him, about to kill him, which is the first step to the end of the world. After a Little "No", Flash vibrates his way free...and taps into a heretofore unseen level of power to become hundreds or thousands of times faster than he's ever been, and channels this into vibrating Brainiac into oblivion.
  • The Legend of Korra; Korra goes through this three times in the Season 2 finale; First, after Unalaq and Vaatu merge, Korra is beaten badly and almost crushed in an ice fissure, but Raava speaks to her and Korra shifts into the Avatar State to break out. Then, after Raava is destroyed and Unalaq goes One-Winged Angel, Korra receives a pep talk from Tenzin, encouraging her to base her perceptions on who she is, not what she is, and she unleashes a new Super Mode in Spirit!Korra and goes after Unalaq. Then, after she starts losing again, Jinora contacts her through the spirit world and shows Korra where Raava is hidden inside Vaatu, allowing Korra to break free and banish the Dark Spirit.
  • Two Words: Popeye. Spinach. Always presaging that long, drawn out note that lets you know the hero's theme music is about to start. If it then segues from that into "The Stars and Stripes Forever" (or "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean", or "Yankee Doodle"), somebody's going to get a better than average beat-down.
  • Sofia the First: In the Grand Finale "Forever Royal", Sofia is engaging in a Final Battle with Vor the sorceress inside the Amulet of Avalor; when Sofia begins to run out of options and it seems Vor has won, she sees spirits of all the Disney Princesses who have been summoned to help her throughout the series appear behind Vor, nodding in determination to encourage her to not give up. This allows Sofia to think of everyone she loves and those who love her in return, channeling a bright light which engulfs Vor and destroys her for good.
  • Transformers:


Video Example(s):


Miguel Vs Kyler

Whilst getting pounded by Kyler, Miguel starts remembering the lessons Johnny taught him, specifically to never give up. This spurs him to turn the tide against his opponent, in addition to getting back control of his legs in combat, using them to quickly defeat Kyler.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroicSecondWind

Media sources: