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"Once upon a time, I had somebody that I cared about...It was a partner. Somebody I had to look after. And in this world, that sort of shit's good for one thing: Gettin' you killed. So you know what I did? I wisened the fuck up, and realized it's got to be just me out there."

Captain Lonerguy has just been offered by an equal to team up. Perhaps it is an out-of-town Cape looking for help on a case that wandered into the Captain's turf. Or his enemy needs help fighting off a power worse than the both of them. If Captain Lonerguy is lucky, it is an equally matched love interest, regardless what side she's on.


In any of these situations, the answer will always be the same: "I work alone."

Cue in audience eye-rolling as they must now sit through several scenes of Captain Lonerguy getting his ass handed to him, only to be rescued by said offerer, just so that he can learn An Aesop about the Power of Friendship... or at least strength in numbers. (Even, mind you, if it turns out that he's an Informed Loner — he actually doesn't seem to be alone a lot). . Occasionally, (and especially if they've had a partner or sidekick die on them) they will strenuously refuse partnering with a Reckless Sidekick, and/or harass new helpers who are competent.

Even after they have learned their lesson, they may have to hear Remember That You Trust Me to keep it going.


The Hero really doesn't need other's help and is more badass for saying so. These guys are more likely a One-Man Army for their solitude. Cowboy Cops and heroes that actually enjoy their solitude count in this type. A form of Good Is Not Nice. Think Nothing of It and Don't You Dare Pity Me! are common. Of course, saying this line can sometimes be Tempting Fate, and in this particular instance, the usually competent hero might for once find himself in way over his head, and will, often reluctantly, accept the offer of help.


Compare Leave Me Alone! if characters reject others' offer to help them deal with his issues. Contrast with I Just Want to Have Friends, True Companions, or You Are Not Alone.


The hero knows that they are The Only One who can deal with a problem, and wants to protect everyone else. If they do team up, they're likely to make a Sneaky Departure and go fight the Big Bad alone before it gets ugly.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Dragon Ball series, Vegeta always wants to train alone, even though he could potentially become stronger if he trained with a sparring buddy. Perhaps justified given that the only potential sparring partner who'd be able to keep up with him is the guy he desperately wants to surpass; Vegeta wants training that he alone will benefit from.
  • In Ghost In The Shell Standalone Complex, Aoi recites this when he is offered a position in Section 9.
  • In Switch Hal does this and, despite emphasizing teamwork, rookie Hiki also tended to do this.
  • Kouji Minamoto in Digimon Frontier for the first five episodes. And then he gets his ass handed to him by Grumblemon in episode 6 but he doesn't accept being part of a team until episode 7 after many fights with The Hero.
  • Phoenix Ikki from Saint Seiya is a textbook case of this. Years after the manga debuted he's still off doing his own thing away.
  • This is Chang Wufei's attitude throughout Mobile Suit Gundam Wing until an encounter with the ZERO System convinces him that teaming up with the other pilots is the best course of action. He goes right back to being a loner in the post-series manga, culminating in Endless Waltz where he does a Face–Heel Turn because he refuses to change his way of thinking.
  • A common theme in sports manga/anime is having a very talented player say this repeatedly and refuse to team-work, often to see him/herself forced to when things go hard. Examples are: Kaede Rukawa from Slam Dunk; Koujiro Hyuuga, Louis Napoleon and Natourezza from Captain Tsubasa; Ryoma Echizen and Kaoru Kaidoh (at the beginning) from The Prince of Tennis.
    • Played for Laughs in the case of Takeshi Momoshiro and Ryoma, who try to play doubles and simply cannot do so in the Fudomine arc. Momoshiro gets over that later and becomes a decent doubles player, but Ryoma stays a singles player.
  • In PandoraHearts Sharon calls Break "Mr. One-Man-Show" because of his tendency to refuse help and go off on his own. He even says himself that he doesn't know how to fight as a team. He's actually pretty good at taking care of business by himself, but due to his recent blindness and deteriorating overall physical condition, his willingness to rely on others, however slightly, is part of his character development.
  • George Schuyter of Muhyo and Roji, as a result of losing his assistants one after the other, falls into this to the point at which he actively forbids Muhyo and Roji from participating in the fight against Vector and threatens Roji with his sword when he arrives.
  • Blood+: After the Time Skip, Saya, as part of her Heroic BSoD, makes this a priority and goes out of her way to avoid working with her pals in the Red Shield because, after losing Riku, she doesn't want to feel the pain of loss anymore. Eventually, she snaps out of it.
  • This was actually the Fatal Flaw of Heart Catch Pretty Cure's Yuri Tsukikage. She was so confident in her abilities as Cure Moonlight, that she ignored her partner, Cologne, in finding allies. End result? A massive Curb-Stomp Battle leading to Cologne's death and her temporary depowerment.
  • Barnaby holds this stance for the first third or so of Tiger & Bunny, insisting that Kotetsu's only good for getting in the way and being annoying. He changes his tune completely post-defrosting, to the point that he doesn't see any reason to be a Hero unless Kotetsu's there with him.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Seto Kaiba often utters this when someone offers their help. He actually despises the idea of teamwork because he hates relying on others, especially his rivals.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS: Yusaku Fujiki doesn't want to work with or befriend anybody because he considers the villains, the Knights of Hanoi, his problem to deal with alone and he doesn't want anybody else getting involved and potentially getting hurt. He opens up more in Season 2.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a silent version is Homura's typical response to Mami.
  • Cassandra from Claymore always preferred to work alone during her lifetime, secretly self-conscious about the "ugliness" of the Dust Eater technique that propelled her to the top rank of the Organization's warriors. When she let other people get closer to her, it did not end well at all: one of them let the other be brutally murdered, copied Cassandra's technique, and had her executed, as well.
  • In A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun, Misaki Shokuhou refuses to trust anybody whom her mental powers cannot affect, as she is extremely paranoid and tends to assume people she can't mind-read will betray her. She has reluctantly worked with the immune Mikoto Misaka a few times for a common goal, but they can't stand each other. Ironically, since she's madly in love with Touma Kamijou, she'll believe anything he says and follow his path anywhere, even though she can't read or affect his mind.
  • In Seraph of the End, Yuu is constantly talking about how friends and teammates are useless and he only needs to rely on his own skill and strength to defeat vampires. He refuses to bond with anybody because after losing his friends and family, he wants to Never Be Hurt Again. After several incidents where it's beaten into his head that vampires cannot be beaten alone, he finally gets it and Took a Level in Kindness.
  • In the pilot episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Kimblee nearly says this word for word when asked to be a sidekick by the Freezer Alchemist, but uses his title instead.
  • Mirko in My Hero Academia is a high-ranking pro hero who never takes on sidekicks and dislikes teaming up with other pros, only doing so when the government orders her to. This is because she's a Blood Knight, who feels that teaming up would make her fights too easy.
  • Sailor Moon: Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are lovers so they work together, but they refuse to work with the other Sailor Senshi, dismissing them as naive amateurs. They frown on the concept of The Power of Friendship and The Power of Love, believing evil can only be beaten by pragmatic choices and sacrifices only they have the will to make. It has to be constantly beaten into their skulls that their methods are wrong, but they eventually come around.
  • Food Wars!: Akira Hayama is confident in his culinary skills enough to handle himself rather well on his own, and he was the top freshman during the Fall Classic. However, when Azami Nakiri took over the school and blackmailed him using the lifelong research data of his Parental Substitute Jun, he immediately joined up because he didn't want to ask help to Soma and everyone else, even though they were starting to form a Friendly Rivalry with each other. Soma is naturally very annoyed upon learning this, since he had the skills to fight against Azami's regime, and Jun also tells him that Azami wasn't trustworthy enough to keep his end of the bargain.

    Comic Books 
  • This is Batman's favourite phrase, despite him nearly always having at least one sidekick, several other members of the Bat-family, and regularly working with the Justice League.
    • For all the Broken Base over the Hush arc, it did a very good job of pointing out that for a supposed loner Batman has a huge surrogate family (from Alfred to the Robins to the JLA to random people from the Silver Age).
    • And now he's formed Batman Inc., following a moment of self-realisation:
    "The first truth of Batman. It had to be one I don't like to admit. The gunshots left me alone. For years I was alone in the echoing dark of that wait. But something else defined the exact moment Batman was born. The first truth of Batman. The saving grace. I was never alone. I had help."
  • In Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood, Huntress has an extended soliloquy explaining that she feel's honor-bound to work alone because of the code of omerta. It's an interesting look at the duality of the character because the same mafia that she is determined to destroy is also the source of her peculiar code of honor.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer eighth season story "Harmonic Divergence", a rookie Slayer named Soledad insisted on working alone, rejecting Buffy's group, and it was a disaster. She targeted Harmony in the middle of a live broadcast of "Harmony Bites" and was not only killed and drained (possibly Harmony's crowning moment as a villain, even if it was an accident) and exposed the Slayer Organization to the world in the process. This not gave Harmony's show a huge ratings boost but enabled Harmony to level a great deal of Malicious Slander towards them for a while.
  • Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl: Batgirl admits to Supergirl that she's not a good partner because she's used to work alone.
  • In the Green Lantern books, this is a large part of what helps distinguish the various Green Lanterns of Earth from one another: some of them are far more likely to work with fellow Corpsmen than others, and some are far more willing to serve as the Green Lantern Corps' representative on the Justice League than others. Case in point: John Stewart was a decorated Marine veteran before he got his ring, and Guy Gardner (while something of a hothead) is a former college football player, so neither of them is any stranger to teamwork; by contrast, Hal Jordan is a former test pilot and Air Force ace, and Kyle Rayner is an artist, so both of them are far more likely to work on their own.note 
  • Mr Beaver: The titular character does this in his first appearance, rejecting a handshake from Detective Kage and saying "I don't do partners, kid.".
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) introduces Whisper the Wolf, an ally to the Resistance who'd saved a number of their members during Robotnik's take-over, but declined to work with the rebels in any kind of formal capacity. Whisper only works with her Wisps and prefers to stay out of the spotlight per her "lone wolf" persona and because in reality, she's actually very shy.
  • Fleetway's Sonic the Comic has a downplayed example in Shortfuse the Cybernik, who doesn't have any specific issues with working alongside the Freedom Fighters against Robotnik's forces; he even joined them for a time while Sonic was trapped in the Special Zone. However, his Hair-Trigger Temper and his tendency to prioritise attacking the enemy over assisting his allies makes him something of a poor team player, and, for the most part, he prefers taking the fight to Robotnik in his own way.
  • In the former page quote, Spider-Man and Daredevil are open to the occasional team-up but do work pretty exclusively alone, and attempts to change that generally don't work out. But Wolverine was created for a team book, and therefore almost always works in groups. He doesn't seem to have noticed. In fact, he is currently a member of four different teams.
    • Though these days, Spider-Man is a regular with The Avengers, having proved his worth as a member of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
    • Spider-Man may claim to be a loner, but he was the lead team up hero of the Marvel Team Up comics for almost every comic for over a decade, which as the name implies involves two superheroes getting together to fight off some menace. It gets to the point that future volumes and following comics after that are outright named after him.
    • With Spider-Man, his usual basis of working alone comes from the fact that he was an unpopular and friendless kid for most of his life and was pretty much by himself for the beginnings of his hero-work. He likes to help others out, but he still seems to find it odd have a true team (though this along with the tragedies of his past may also be a reason.)

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Pee-Wee Herman in Pee-wee's Big Adventure: "I'm a loner, Dottie. A Rebel."
  • Every single buddy cop movie that starts with them not being buddies.
    • Pretty much every action-adventure cop movie really.
  • Eraser. Kruger refuses to work with other agents in the Witness Protection program to prevent the possibility of a leak. (It turns out his caution is more than justified).
    Kruger: "I work alone. If anyone comes to you and claims that I sent them... (hands witness a revolver)...use this."
  • Black Hawk Down: At the end of the movie, Hoot tells Eversman "I'm faster on my own" before he goes out again to search for the missing pilot.
  • Lisbeth Salander in The The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (movie version of The Millennium Trilogy).
  • James Bond adopts (and even states) this mentality to Q and Pam in Licence to Kill, in his quest to take down Franz Sanchez and his drug empire. Still, it's implied that he's going solo because he doesn't want their deaths on his hands, as the last person - Bond's ally Felix Leiter - who tried to mess with Sanchez, he ended up brutally mauled and his wife killed.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Mystique lampshades this on her preference to Nightcrawler when he asks why he can't go with her.
  • Léon in The Professional refuses to train Matilda for this exact reason.
  • The Bourne Identity. The Treadstone agents, though at that point Bourne is unaware of it, thanks to his amnesia.
    Bourne: Who else is out here? Who else — how many you got out here? I'm not gonna ask you again.
    Professor: I work alone, like you. We always work alone.
  • The Infiltrator (2016). When the protagonist, a married undercover FBI agent, claims he has a fiancee to get out of sleeping with a prostitute provided by the criminals he's infiltrating, the FBI insist on providing a female agent as the 'fiancee'. He gives this trope, but she turns out to be a natural at undercover work.
  • Kung Fury: The title character insists he works alone because on the night he got his powers, his partner was killed.

  • In Prisoner of the Horned Helmet, the main character had his entire tribe destroyed when he was 9 or 10 (he doesn't know which). as a result, he swears to never depend on other people, and will not work with anything that has two legs. He does have a pet wolf, though.
  • In Andre Norton's Catseye, Troy did not make friends easily among the other refugees and is isolated.
  • In Andre Norton's Forerunner Foray, D'Eyree realizes that she is vulnerable because she's always been solitary.
  • Lisbeth Salander in "The Millennium Trilogy". From the beginning of the first book, it is known that she works as a private investigator, and never comes into the office unless to deliver a report. She talks to people only when necessary and cuts off all contact with Blomkvist in the second book because she has fallen in love with him, then loses contact with the few friends she has when she travels around the world in the second book. When she comes home after more than a year she remembers that she had a casual girlfriend, Miriam Wu, who she didn't say goodbye to.
    • When Blomkvist repeatedly offers her help in the second book when Lisbeth becomes the Prime Suspect of a murder investigation Lisbeth denies him, because she looks out for herself, never trusting anyone to help her. This leads to her taking on Zalachenko and Niedermann by herself, and getting shot in the head. The reason she survives is that Blomkvist finds her in time to call an ambulance, and duct tapes the wounds on her body, to which she responds "Kalle Fucking Blomkvist"
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, Nikita has been refusing or getting rid of her assigned partners for the last three years, partly because she's bad at working with others, partly because she has too many secrets to be comfortable with people getting close to her, and partly because she worries that they're her mother's spies. Robin is the seventeenth attempt at having her team up with someone, and the first one that sticks.
  • John Rain would prefer to work alone, but as he gets older and the world changes post-9/11 it's just not practical or even safe. Mossad agent Boaz tells Rain that no one works alone anymore, and Rain is the only operator he knows who still insists on doing so (implying he's Too Dumb to Live). Even Dox wonders if their skills have become meaningless in an increasingly surveillance-heavy world, where the only way to keep working is when Big Brother Is Employing You.
  • Quiller refuses to work with "shields" (bodyguards) or even his fellow shadow executives because he doesn't want to let his guard down by depending on someone else.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied (like everything else) in Angie Tribeca: Angie constantly asserts that she doesn't need help or a partner. Not even when moving a sofa.
  • Batwoman (2019). In "Drink Me", Batwoman is fighting Nocturna who is clearly turned on by the experience and suggests they team up instead. Batwoman replies that she works alone, causing Luke Fox who is listening in on her earpiece to take offense.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Averting this trope is what makes Buffy different from other Slayers, who are only supposed to work with their Watcher. Instead, from the first episode, Buffy gathers a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who are eventually dubbed the Scooby Gang, and it's usually not a good sign whenever Buffy finds herself drifting apart from them. For instance "The Wish" shows an Alternate Universe where Buffy doesn't have her friends; Wishverse!Buffy is an emotionless killing machine who is easily finished off by the Big Bad.
  • Burn Notice: Jesse has this problem. He used to be out in the field but got put behind a desk mainly because he didn't work well with others.
  • Dexter: Dexter tells Miguel this in season three and Lumen in season five, but it didn't really work out either time.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Fourth Doctor would have preferred this, and he says as much to the White Guardian in "The Ribos Operation" at a point when he's finally without one — but he has Romana forced on him anyway. In his final story, "Logopolis", Four grouses that he didn't pick any of his companions; they were all stowaways, had accidentally boarded the TARDIS, or had otherwise pressed themselves on him. (This fit exactly with the attitude of Tom Baker, who famously argued that the companions be eliminated and that he instead carry a talking cabbage around on his shoulder to handle any necessary exposition.)
    • After having lost two companions in tragic ways, the Tenth Doctor insisted on travelling alone, claiming that he didn't want to have his hearts broken again.
      • Deconstructed in "The Waters of Mars", where after having spent too much time traveling without companions, the Doctor goes mad over his inability to change a fixed point in time, and adopts an A God Am I persona, claiming that since he's the last Time Lord, then the laws of time are his to command. He refers to humans as "little people" and is only brought back when a woman whose life he saved committed suicide in order to preserve the timeline.
      • Then subverted with "The End of Time":
        Wilf: Have you got anyone?
        The Doctor: No. Travelling alone. I thought it was better, I thought... but I did some things, they went wrong... I need... [voice breaks]
    • The Eleventh Doctor went into this mode for a while after losing Amy and Rory Pond (who weren't just companions, but actually his in-laws and the only thing close to a family he had left). It takes meeting (and basically falling for) Clara Oswin Oswald in "The Snowmen" to snap him out of it.
    • "The Ghost Monument": Epzo believes that being alone is the natural state of every sentient being, and refuses to rely on anyone. The events of the episode are hinted to have begun to change his viewpoint.
  • The Golden Girls: Sophia says this a few times when someone interjects as she's telling a Sicily story.
  • Hunter. This is why Hunter and DeeDee McCall team up in the first place. Captain Cain demands that Hunter works with a partner to keep his Cowboy Cop tendencies under control, so Hunter makes a deal with DeeDee (whom he already knows, but apparently hasn't been partnered with before) to pretend to be his partner while they work their separate cases. However Cain quickly gets wise to this trick and threatens to call them on the radio and if they both can't answer to show they're working together ("In the car, or in the can"), Hunter will be in trouble. However, our heroes quickly find they like working together anyway.
  • In the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Compromised", Damian Darhk reacts to Eobard Thawne's offer of an alliance with this. Since Darhk is the head of HIVE, a large, international Nebulous Evil Organisation, it rings a little hollow, which Eobard calls him on. One Breaking Speech about his future failure later, Darhk agrees to work with Thawne.
  • Abby of NCIS. Her bosses occasionally forced her to take on lab assistants, but she drove them away. After one of them tried to stab her, management decided to leave well enough alone.
  • Andros from Power Rangers in Space is portrayed this way, especially when he's introduced. He's not thrilled to run into the former Turbo Rangers, and fully intends to send them back to Earth and out of his way. Part of his Character Development is learning the value of working with a team. He does have Freudian Excuse though - his former partner, Zhane (the Silver Ranger), was severely injured in a fight a few years ago and is now in a coma.
    • Merrick does this as well; he shows up to fight, but the rest of the time he stays as far away from the team as possible. Gradually eases over the series, and by the last few episodes Cole and Alyssa are turning up at his work and he agrees to join a party on the Animarium.
    • Robo Knight is another one that needs to warm up to interacting with others.
  • Sailor Mars pulls this after she receives her powers in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, though she kept getting pulled into battles with the other scouts, and Usagi wasn't about to stop trying to be her friend.
    • Sailor V/Venus pulls this too, when she's pretending to be the Moon Princess the others are supposed to protect.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Jake initially does not want the help of the other Special Children, but changes his tune after he runs into his first demon.
  • On The X-Files, Mulder is originally portrayed this way. He hates the fact that he's been partnered with Scully and spends most of the first season alternating between annoying the hell out of her and being nice to her. By season two, though, he doesn't work alone... he just works with Scully. And if he can't work with Scully, he wants to work alone. He doesn't like to be partnered with anyone else even for a short time. Scully does the same thing in season 8 when partnered with John Doggett.
  • Person of Interest. In "Booked Solid", John Reese is captured by government hitman Hersh and claims this trope when Hersh demands to know who his boss is. Hersh doesn't buy it as they're Not So Different; more comfortable with carrying out orders than giving them.
  • In an early episode of The Walking Dead when Rick insists on someone going down the ventilation pipes with Glenn as backup, Glenn explains he'd rather go alone so he won't have anybody behind him blocking a fast escape.
  • On Good Eats, Alton is explaining how, for some people, making pasta sauce is nostalgic, reminding them of a loving mother or Granny Classic stirring sauce on the stove...and for others, it brings to mind witches adding Eye of Newt to cauldrons. While he's talking, the loving grandmother is stirring sauce, and a witch keeps adding her ingredients, getting into an Escalating War with her. Alton informs the women that he cooks alone and goes into his pasta sauce recipe.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Bad News Brown's whole gimmick in WWE was a misanthropic loner who hated everybody. This was less so everywhere else, as he was a 3x NWA Americas (Los Angeles) Tag Team Champion and he teamed regularly in Japan.
  • Gorgeous George was in several tag matches over his career, but he wasn't very successful in them.
  • While Survival Tobita, the star of Saitama Pro Wrestling Company, has been in tag matches in other promotions, he's known primarily as a singles wrestler.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's teams actually tended to be pretty successful, they were just infrequent, as he lived by the mantra "DTA - don't trust anybody".
  • "Mercedes Martinez needs no one!" has practically become her Catchphrase in SHINE. The shuffling of two power stables couldn't make her stop screaming it at anyone who would listen, nor the possible emergence of two more.
  • CM Punk has a well-known reputation as "stable poison" — every faction that he has been a part of in the WWE fizzled out with him being the only one to make it out intact. The New Breed, the Straight Edge Society, the New was probably part of why The Shield were never officially connected to him in any way.
  • Randy Orton is very much the same as Punk, though it's mainly because he's simply too unstable to keep a leash on, and has either complete indifference to or visceral hatred for just about everybody.

  • Destroy the Godmodder uses another variant. In the first game, several different players attempted to assist the godmodder. Each time it resulted in the godmodder stating that he did not want anyone else doing his job, and then pounding them into the ground, or throwing them into the sun.
    • Averted in the second game, where "Pro-Godmodder" was a viable character alignment, and two Pro-Godmodders, fseftr and Serpent, were some of the most influential players in the game. The Godmodder even teamed up with the Anti-Godmodders and Neutrals during the Arrival.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the history of the enmity between Bahamut and Tiamat dates back to one dragon god named Io, the Creator of Dragonkind. Short version: A wise and noble being, yet very arrogant, Io was too proud to accept help when the other gods formed groups for mutual protection in the ancient war against the primordial. So it was that Io challenged a powerful primordial named Erek-Hus, the King of Terror by himself, and lost, split down the middle by the abominations mighty axe. But then, to Erek-Hus' shock, two young gods sprouted from Io's remains, Bahmut from the left and Tiamat from the right. The two new deities leapt at the primordial, tearing him to pieces. But when they looked upon each other, they hated each other at once. Bahamut embodied Io's desire to protect creation and his fairness, while Tiamat embodied his hubris, arrogance, and greed. As the story goes, even after the gods were victorious over the primordials, one thing that both Bahamut and Tiamat kept from their parent was the desire to work alone. Since that day, Tiamat rarely makes alliances with any other evil being as equals, while Bahamut, while revered by good dragons, can be one of the least approachable of good deities.
  • Leviathan: The Tempest: This trope is pretty much the mission statement of the School of the Reef. Leviathans who subscribe to this philosophy believe that allies, followers, resources, and every other asset beyond their own Channels and Adaptations can be taken away, so they focus on honing their own abilities and learning to solve problems with nothing more than their own monstrous bodies and innate Lovecraftian Superpowers.


    Video Games 
  • Noble Six's rep in Halo: Reach. He's even referred to as a "Lone Wolf".
  • In Final Fantasy IX, Amarant works alone. Naturally he is a "survival of the fittest" kinda player... and eventually learns The Power of Friendship from Zidane, after an object lesson or two.
  • Lightning spends the majority of Final Fantasy XIII merely tolerating the rest of the group. She outright ignores Sazh, constantly tries to ditch the others, and tries to abandon Hope when it becomes clear that he can't keep up. She punches Snow twice, slaps Fang, and is hostile to pretty much everyone. She views the rest of the team as obstacles slowing her down, and it's only after a heart to heart with Hope that she slowly begins to realize how precious teamwork is.
  • In Command & Conquer: Renegade, Havoc outright states that he left the Dead-6 commando unit because he works better alone. When he's forced into working with his old team again regardless, he makes sure they're all okay following a botched insertion... then basically orders them to sit on the sidelines for the rest of the game while he does all the work.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Urdnot Wrex points out that he's never been much of one for working in an organized army, as "things get... messy." He works best alone, or "in very small groups." Fortunately, Shepard's team counts as such.
    • Previous to that, the turian Spectre Nihlus declines to accompany Commander Shepard's ground team on the mission in Eden Prime, claiming that he moves faster on his own. This ends up getting him shot in the back of the head by his colleague Saren.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Squall works alone. The game manages to look at his attitude from a couple of different angles; although the early parts of Squall's story mode seem to set it up as a problem he needs to get over, and he eventually ends up working with Bartz and Zidane, the latter half of his story mode reveals that his choice to travel alone isn't because he doesn't trust the other heroes, but because he prefers to help them by taking on the villains by himself and eliminating at least some of them before they can cause the others problems.
    • More complicated than that, even. He fights alone because he doesn't want the burden of directly protecting people (it's too stressful and far too easy to make a mistake and get someone killed), and because he trusts his friends to be able to take care of themselves. He knows they're strong and capable, so he doesn't worry about them unless he has to (such as when he saves Zidane and Bartz). He's not opposed to helping others, and in fact, he does it without hesitation (running to rescue Bartz with Zidane, for example), but he just finds it's easier to push his limits when he's on his own.
      • To elaborate, the Warrior of Light confronts Squall half-way through his story and calls him out on his apparent lone wolf attitude, mistaking it as a sign of distrust. After their battle, the Warrior of Light realizes that Squall's intentions aren't as selfish as they appear to be, with the latter providing the above-mentioned explanation for his actions.
    • Funnily enough, the Warrior of Light also has shades of this. Not in his attitude, but in his actions, not entirely unlike Squall (who irritably observes the comparison in his Inner Monologue when the Warrior of Light confronts him about his choice to go it alone). What ultimately subverts this, however, is the Warrior of Light's absolute faith in his fellow comrades and Cosmos, which is probably something the latter counted on.
  • Thief II: The Metal Age: Garrett says it near the end; there's an Aesop present, and it probably sticks, though he backslides furiously throughout most of the sequel.
  • In both Valkyria Chronicles games, anyone with the "Lone Wolf" trait loses combat effectiveness when in the presence of other allies. Exemplified by Nils Daerden from the first game, who also has no other character to list as a "friend".
  • Herschel Biggs in L.A. Noire before he eventually accepts Cole Phelps.
  • Epicly subverted with a big dose of lecture at the beginning of Wild ARMs 3. After the intro sequence and all four characters were in a bar, Jet announced that he works alone. Virginia would have none of it, replying directly with "What have you achieved while you were alone?" Make no mistake, it takes a significant chunk of the game for Jet to truly have a meaningful character development, but at least the intent is there.
  • Bill from The Last of Us firmly believes that depending on others is stupid and that you should only count on yourself. He is extremely rude and only seems to work with you to get you out of his holdout, not because you need his help.
  • Geralt repeatedly says in The Witcher that he prefers to hunt monsters alone, though (depending on the player's choice) he may make an exception for Sigfried—or refuse his help and play this trope completely straight.
  • The Walking Dead has two characters who play this: Molly from Season 1, and with Jane in Season 2. Molly plays this trope fairly conventionally, but in Jane's case, it's a Deconstructed Trope - she's introduced as a cold, pragmatic badass just like Molly was, but as she stays and works with the group, she thaws out and it becomes apparent that she just holds this trope as her modus operandi because she's scared of losing people close to her, just like her younger sister, Jaime. With that in mind, it explains why she pulls this trope straight-up and leaves the group after Sarah is eaten alive.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the Reason of Musubi is a deliberate attempt to instill this mindset as part of the foundations of the universe.
  • Subverted with the Demon Lords DLC mission of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. Sayo refuses the help of the main character on account of her "pride as a tamer", but Mirei reminds her that there's nothing she can do; to rescue her partner Dianamon she has to face the Bonus Bosses of the DLC which she can't do without her partner, forcing her to accept the player's help.
    • Invoked for Arata who goes on the lam after taking blame for the Tokyo blackout. Nokia calls him out for trying to look cool, but Yuuko correctly identifies it as an attempt to protect his friends. But when the player meets him again, he admits that being on the run really sucks but is still willing to keep up the act.
  • Teba in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. After a previous attempt to neutralize Divine Beast Vah Medoh resulted in him being the only Rito warrior alive and uninjured, he immediately starts prepping his bow and arrows for another attack on his own. He's annoyed when Link, a flightless Hylian invited to help by the Rito elder Kaneli, shows up asking for an aerial lift up to the Divine Beast. Only after he tests Link's archery skills and witnesses the latter's Bullet Time abilities does he relent.

    Visual Novels 
  • Akira from Spirit Hunter: NG believes that his problems are his own and that he doesn't need to get anyone else involved with him, especially after one of his acquaintances is killed by the spirits he's fighting. While his friend Seiji applauds his independence, he also still insists on tagging along, as do the other companion characters.

  • Benjamin Prester of A Miracle of Science. Justified, as it turns out: His Science-Related Memetic Disorder is under sufficient control to enable him to hold down a job in the police taskforce dedicated to handling Mad Scientists, but the emotional trauma he suffers when his new partner is attacked and apparently killed pushes him into a relapse.
    • And in fact, back in his mad scientist days, he not only didn't work alone but was the only main scientist to build a true alliance with other mad scientists, his friends.
  • Jue Viole Grace from Tower of God rejects the option to recruit 7 team members for a team-based test and asks the administrator to fail everybody else. This is because he is working for his boss because his friends are being held hostage and he really doesn't want to bring more people into this. Ultimately, he becomes an ally of Ja Wangnan and the rest because of his good nature. And that's good, otherwise Ja would have been eviscerated and his organs would have been sold off.
  • Lalli from Stand Still, Stay Silent always performs his primary duty, night scouting, alone. In this case, Lalli just doesn't want to have to deal with anyone else breaking his groove when he's trying to sneak in the woods at night. When it comes to his other duties, Lalli is friendly enough, even though his social skills are... lacking.
  • Heartful Punch of Sleepless Domain is known for going on nightly monster patrols alone when teams of three or more are the norm. When asked about it, HP acknowledges that doing so is scary, but "there's just lots of things that scare [her] more." After spending time with Undine, HP changes her mindset some, wondering if going solo was simply her own way of being a coward, and offers to become an unofficial pair with Undine.

    Web Original 
  • In one of Lazy Muffin's flash animations, "James and the Chief," James says, "I work alone, or with my old partner... Which is dead... So this can't be done."
  • Spoofed in Homestar Runner, where Strong Bad's Cowboy Cop alter ego Dangeresque claims "I work alone! 'Cept when I work with Renaldo, which is all the time!"
  • Variant in The Red Panda Adventures: the Red Panda works with a sidekick, but adamantly refuses to work with other superheroes or allow them into his city.
  • In the Third Grade, The Most Popular Girls in School's Brittnay Matthews had this attitude before Mackenzie saves her from trouble (that the latter caused in order to teach the former how valuable it is to have friends).
  • RWBY: Qrow Branwen is a Huntsman who fights without a partner, operating instead as a lone agent for the government of Vale. Given his Semblance is giving everyone in proximity to him bad luck, this suits him just fine.
  • Chuck Steel: Raging Balls of Steel Justice. The cliched claymation Cowboy Cop declares this trope on being stuck with a Robot Buddy. It proves to be such a nuisance that Steel makes this an Enforced Trope.
    Da Chief: Autocop, are you OK? The boys at the lab will fix you up good as new!
    Steel blows robot's head off with his Hand Cannon.
    Da Chief: Dammit, Steel! What the hell?!!
    Steel: (Gun Twirling) I work alone!

    Western Animation 
  • In The Batman, Batman is actually the one to suggest to Superman that he should join the Justice League, but Superman is the one to say "I work alone": An intentional flip of their usual interaction. Cue that annoying gnawing at the back of your head (there's a special shampoo for that). Less than 24 hours ago Batman saved Superman from another kryptonite-laden disaster and Supes is right back to the notion that friends don't help in no time. Guess what the rest of the episode was about.
    • The Batman, Batman: The Animated Series, and Justice League have splurged this line about a million times each. In one memorable Justice League moment, Batman uses the fact that he's not an official Justice League member to conduct his own investigation when the official founding members decide to turn themselves in to defuse a tense situation.
    • And in Batman Beyond, Warhawk (a member of the future Justice League) told Terry that his mentor had "never been more than a part-timer". Terry seemed to reflect that, turning down an offer for full-time membership.
    • Bats has the most extended crime-fighting family in The DCU, save possibly the Teen Titans. Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, Batgirl, Spoiler, Huntress, Alfred, the Outsiders, etc. And yet he's constantly trying to sell himself as a lone-wolf-type. At least sometimes he says, "I work best alone."
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: In the pilot movie, Buzz takes this attitude after his former partner, Warp Darkmatter, was killed on a mission. It's only after Buzz finds out that Warp faked his death to return to Zurg that he manages to get over his guilt and accept his new teammates.
  • Darkwing Duck in the pilot and the "Just Us Justice Ducks" two-parter.
    • In the Darkwing Duck episode "In Like Blunt", Darkwing encounters an agent who acts this way. Derek Blunt first enters opposing J. Gander's plan to send Darkwing in with him, reminding him that he doesn't like partners. When he sees Launchpad for the first time, he criticizes Darkwing for needing someone else to fly the plane and remarks contemptuously that he didn't need a sidekick during his own career.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Parodied by Tommy Gilligan, after he quits the organization.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: Parodied by Buttercup, after she adopts a Spawn-like alter ego (she's also hampered by the "only works at night" thing).
  • In Teen Titans Aqualad and Beast Boy exchange this before Aqualad points out Beast Boy is part of a team and Beast Boy retorts that Aqualad "hangs out with a fish dude".
    • Robin had an "I work alone now" period in the flashback episode "Go!" It lasted approximately four minutes.
  • Transformers Animated: "Me Grimlock go with you... but me Grimlock go with you — alone!"
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
    • Iron Man expresses this attitude at the start when he fights crime out of a personal ambition to keep his weapons out of enemy hands. Soon, four other superheroes help him defeat Graviton. Iron Man subsequently proposes the formation of a full-time superhero team, to combat threats one hero can not overcome alone.
    • Hawkeye became betrayed by his crimefighting partner, Black Widow, and arrested by SHIELD early on into the series. After he breaks out of jail and clears his name, he decides to chase down Black Widow alone, until The Hulk makes him join the Avengers. Even then, he expresses an initial preference for the other Avengers not to join his personal pursuit.
  • The title character of Ultimate Spider-Man doesn't initially warm up to the thought of assisting four rookie superheroes as part of his SHIELD training. Unlike most examples though... he has legitimate reasons not to trust them.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Twilight Sparkle had this attitude in the pilot, with a pretty good justification, but mostly worked through it thanks to Character Development.
    • In "Daring Don't", Daring Do initially refuses Rainbow Dash's aid due to her reclusive nature, but later needs her to help stop Ahuizotl from using the Rings of Scorchero.
    • Princess Luna patrols the realm of dreams by herself; while this is of course necessary since everyone else is asleep, she's been shown to prefer being alone most of the time. She is initially dismissive of her sister Celestia's more social job, which she flippantly calls "smiling and being adored by everypony," but when she has to do it herself she finds she hates it and accidentally causes a major incident by letting her smile slip at the wrong moment.
  • In LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers, the titular character is The Ace who is used to and good enough to work alone on missions, even when offered help. Naturally, he's given a team after a private adventure in the beginning, and quite a few problems occur because they can't coordinate their abilities.
  • In Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, Ezra Bridger says this to Agent Kallus when he accuses him of being a Jedi Padawan training under Kanan Jarrus, as he believes that no one would actually stick their necks out to help others. Not long after, however, Kallus's accusation ends up becoming true.
  • In "ShiverJack" on Jake And The Neverland Pirates, when Captain Hook proposes a team-up with ShiverJack, ShiverJack stops him before he can even finish speaking and then tells him that he works alone.
  • Ready Jet Go!: It isn't said verbatim, but Mitchell usually rejects help from other characters when trying to solve his cases, claiming that he needs to solve his mysteries himself, as shown in episodes like "What Goes Up...", "Kid-Kart Derby", and "Mindy's Mystery". However, this trope averts in "Detective Mindy", where Mitchell actually lets Mindy help him.
    • In the Christmas Episode, Mitchell claims that he "doesn't do friends". He's lying, of course.
    • Even after the Christmas Episode, Mitchell still rejects help from the kids in "Racing on Sunshine" and "You Can Call Me Albedo", but both instances stem from Mitchell's overconfidence in being a detective rather than outright hatred for the clique.
  • Final Space: In episode 5, Quinn adopts this mentality after she sees the Infinity Guard is corrupt, and she still doesn’t trust Gary or Avocato. She seemingly gets over it by the episode's end, but in episode 7 it turns out she still thinks she should save the Earth alone; something Nightfall warns her against. By the end of the episode, she is finally ready to give the others another chance at helping her.

Alternative Title(s): Fly Home Buddy I Work Alone


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