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In the End, You Are on Your Own

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There's only room for one in the final battle.

Angelus: That's everything. No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away, and what's left?
Buffy: [Bare-Handed Blade Block] Me.

As a Stock Aesop, believing in The Power of Friendship over isolationist self-reliance is pretty standard and true. There's a lot a group can accomplish that the individual(s) acting on their own can't. In fiction, Friendship even brings tangible benefits like The Team developing an Attack Pattern Alpha which uses All Your Colors Combined. Some shows go the extra length to crush the message into a viewer by having a Sixth Ranger fail miserably and join the team. Once the Season Finale rolls around however, The Hero can't depend on his weaker friends to keep up, and will have to fight the Big Bad Final Boss on their own.

Many shows will switch gears abruptly to have the hero fight the last battle on their own. Be it due to a Climactic Battle Resurrection waylaying all their allies, killing them all, or because the enemy is so strong anyone trying to help the hero would become a meat shield at best and a dangerous distraction at worst. This limits the rest of the cast to cheering from the bleachers (maybe slapping some sense into a hero woozy from a Breaking Speech) or acting as fuel for a Combined Energy Attack or Super Mode.

Some stories work this into a narrative organically. The Big Bad may cleverly isolate the hero from his friends via framing him or capturing them (and force them to watch him kill their leader). Sometimes the villain is not involved and This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself. In these cases, the value of friends isn't in their tangible help fighting but by placing their trust in the hero's success and motivating them to do their best. Trust is a powerful force like that.

Compare Duel Boss (who is not necessarily the Final Boss, as per this trope) and Door Jam. Contrast I Can't Do This by Myself. See also What You Are in the Dark. If just one person manages to remain with the Hero, see Loser Has Your Back. The Rest Shall Pass may invoke this, if the Hero leaves the rest of the bad guys to be fought by his party. Not to be confused with Dying Alone. Sub-Trope of Solo Sequence.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z basically slowly killed the cast (again) throughout the approach to each Big Bad (Frieza, Cell and Buu). By the time Goku fought Frieza and (almost) killed him, they were the only two people on Namek, the rest being dead or on Earth. A larger cast lived until Gohan beat Cell, but they were just on the sidelines by then. For Buu, literally everyone that wasn't a Kai, Goku, Fat Buu, or Mr. Satan (or the puppy) was dead. Including one of the combatants (Vegeta).
    • Dragon Ball GT didn't kill the cast as much, but the Big Bads were so powerful by then that nobody that wasn't Goku or SS4 Gogeta was pretty much helpless (besides for Trunks during the Black Star Dragon Balls part and Pan every once in a while).
  • Sailor Moon: The first season finale. One by one, everyone dies, leaving Usagi the only one left for the final battle, which she resolves by using a MacGuffin whose powers are Cast from Hit Points, dying herself. However, she manages to use said MacGuffin to revive herself and her friends. However, it happens again in Stars where, one by one, everyone dies and in the end, it's just Sailor Moon... Until she revives everyone again.
  • Digimon Frontier: By the end of the series, only the lead and lancer could fight the Big Bad since their ultimate Super Modes required all the other members of the band to give them their spirits (ability to transform). Though this may have later become a subversion considering that the actual final battle was Big Bad v. all five of the (surviving) heroes combined into a single god-like digital entity.
  • Saint Seiya: Frequently Seiya would be the last Saint standing against the season's Big Bad, and (if any of the others were conscious/alive) they'd boost his Cosmo with theirs. A few times though they would gang up on enemies, but by and large one-on-one battles were the norm.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The team often gets their day in the limelight, but they get hurt so often it's a wonder that Yugi lets them come along at all. Given that Duel Monsters is for the vast majority of the time a one on one card game, this is true pretty much every episode.
  • Somewhat justified in Psychic Squad... while Za Children generally work as a team, Kaoru is always their heavy hitter, possessing the most in-your-face offensive power - Telekinesis. When fighting Mooks or generally low-level foes, the other two will join in with creative use of their 'utility' powers (Teleportation and Psychometry, respectively). But when the big hitters show up and it's time for a boss-fight, they know that it's better to stand back and let Kaoru do what she does best - sometimes providing intel or a quick escape to aid. In the later season, it's taken to its natural conclusion, with a special device that basically saps Aoi and Shiho of their Psychic Powers to pool it all in Kaoru, giving her access to her badass, Power Gives You Wings Queen Of Catastrophe form, which makes her basically unstoppable, and able to do several things that are otherwise considered theoretically impossible.
  • At the end of the Soul Eater anime, everyone except Maka gets knocked out by the Kishin. She doesn't even have her weapon, Soul.
    • An ending which departs from what the manga and most of the anime emphasised as necessary, as well as strength, for victory - teamwork and mutual understanding.
      • Their combined efforts did significantly weakened Kishin however. Death the Kid pretty much annihilated his body. Too bad he regenerated a new one.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the FFVII crew decide to let Cloud battle Kadaj on his own. Not that any of them had much choice, with Cloud chasing Kadaj across half the continent trying to stop him from using the Jenova cells no one else really had any hope of keeping up. And of course, by the time anyone else might have been able to finally track them down, Kadaj had already used the Jenova cells and taken on the Memory of Sephiroth.
  • Macross Frontier: The Wings of Goodbye leaves Alto to square off alone against Brera's FAST equipped VF-27, a squadron of V-9 Ghosts, and Vajra-infested Battle Frontier while everyone else just watches (or sings).
  • Subverted in the finale of Inuyashathough Naraku does his best to split up the group and kill each one individually, they all manage to reunite and take him down.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, the battle against Father starts off as a major affair, with everyone getting in their shots. But after Father disables many of the fighters and Al sacrifices himself, it comes down to Ed pounding on a Physical God with his bare fists while everyone else cheers him on. Notably, however, this isn't because the rest of the cast is unable to help, considering there are still numerous armed soldiers and physically capable fighters around. It's just that Ed doesn't need the help. It should also be noted that all the damage the rest of the cast did to Father HAD been effective, even though it looked like it wasn't due to his enormous supply of power. Ed just finished the job.
  • The end of the Sorcerer Hunters anime had Carrot fight the Big Bad all on his own. He manages to revive his friends to win.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans gives us a villainous example in the form of Jasley Domonikols who wanted to destroy Tekkadan and take control over Teiwaz from McMurdo, after letting slip to Gjallarhorn that Naze and the Turbines had supplied Tekkadan with a Dáinsleif for Gundam Flaurosnote  and having Iok Kujan kill Naze while also goading Tekkadan into attacking him after killing Lafter and taunting them about it, expecting for Iok to swoop in and crush them with the Arianrhod Fleet. It was only when Tekkadan cut all ties with Teiwaz and went on their Roaring Rampage of Revenge to kill Jasley and his faction did the mobster learn exactly how outclassed he really was compared to Tekkadan. When begging for McMurdo to call Tekkadan and have them end this did Jasley learn that not only is Tekkadan no longer a part of Teiwaz, but that McMurdo already made a deal with Gjallarhorn to overlook the Turbine incident and that Rustal Elion had placed Iok under house arrest, effectively leaving Jasley high-and-dry.
  • Slayers NEXT ends with Lina's friends knocked out one by one, after each plan fails. Plus, she has to use her Giga Slave to defeat the baddie.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: At the end, Jotaro is the only one left to face Dio, as everyone else was either killed or incapacitated.
    • Stone Ocean: This also happens again, but in a twist it's not the protagonist who faces the Big Bad, but rather one of her sidekicks.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Three timelines worth of discovering the Awful Truth and playing The Cassandra — always ending in the death of all of her friends - leads Homura to utter the line "I won't depend on anyone anymore" during her Adrenaline Makeover, invoking this trope and signalling a drastic change in her personality. True to form, she spends the very next episode fighting the Big Bad alone... and losing, leading to Madoka contracting once again.
  • In Naruto, after a huge war of everyone fighting the Ten Tails, Obito, Madara, and Kaguya, the final battle ends up being a one on one between Naruto and Sasuke. Makes sense as it's a personal fight settling the score between long time rivals.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Rasuka and Leader accompany Link on his entire quest, but in the final fight against Ganon, Link goes in alone.
  • Tekkaman Blade: Ultimately, although the Space Knights do offer him what support they can, the finale of the series is Blade charging for the moon on his own and defeating the Radam Commander in a one-on-one fight to the death.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Triptych Continuum:
    • "Tricks of the Trade Show" has Rarity try to do her first trade show on her own, rather than depend on others for help. She spends most of the trip into Canterlot being annoyed by her father, a hoofball player (and, one year later, coach) who keeps giving her seemingly contradictory advice:
      He would tell her that she had to rely on her friends, her team, and that nopony got through without the entire group backing them. Then he would say that ultimately, you were out there on your own.
    • In the end, Rarity comes to understand his advice: that your friends will plan on doing whatever they can to help you — but plans are what fall apart. She has to know she can count on the ponies she cares about, and she also has to be ready for the moment when she's isolated and has to get through by herself.
  • Hellsister Trilogy: In "The Apokolips Agenda", a massive army of heroes come together to topple Darkseid, but they are deterred by Dark Lord's own forces. Superman and other heavy-hitters manage to reach Darkseid, and he defeats them in a single blow. Supergirl makes it to the place and battles bravely, but she is also crushed. At the end, Orion is the only one left to face Darkseid.
  • In The Night Unfurls, this trope is briefly discussed during Chapter 12 of the remastered version, per the following exchange between Kyril and the Rat.
    The Rat: Are you ready? You will be fighting this war... well, mostly alone.
    Kyril: It hasn't changed from my past. So what was the point of asking?
    The Rat: I did say I was going to support my investment, boy. Your first concern will be the Trial by Combat.
    Kyril: That's not an issue.
    The Rat: I have no doubt about that.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Delgo, Delgo's dying father tells him "You're on your own, kid."
  • Played with in Kubo and the Two Strings. At first, Kubo is alone after the deaths of Monkey and Beetle to find the last piece of armor that he needs. But in the climax, he summons ghosts from his village to stand beside him and the living villagers do so as well.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, near the end of the final battle, Miles Morales sends the other Spider-People home, since they're in danger of disintegrating if they stay in his dimension for too long, and fights the Kingpin alone.
  • At the end of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, just like in the original story, Superman must fight Darkseid on his own after all of his friends and allies have fallen.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Exaggerated and justified in Alien once Parker and Lambert die. Not only is everybody dead (except Ripley) once the aforementioned deaths happen, Ripley herself is also completely alone with the Xenomorph until she vents the Xenomorph out the airlock during the film's Post-Climax Confrontation, at which point the film itself ends.
  • Villainous example. In Daredevil (2003), Kingpin sends his guards home so he can face Daredevil alone.
  • At the climax of Labyrinth, where despite having all her friends with her, Sarah chooses to face Jareth alone, "because that is the way it is done."
  • At the climax of Return of the Jedi Luke deliberately goes without the aid of his comrades to confront Darth Vader and the Emperor. Though as the Emperor disdainfully pointed out, Luke had faith that his friends would succeed.
  • In Serenity, Mal must fight the Operative alone because the crew is buying him time by holding the line against the Reavers. And at the end of that fight, River has to fight against the Reavers by herself.
  • Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek: Nemesis both climax with a one-on-one face-off between Picard and the film's main villain.
  • In Wonder Woman 1984, Diana renounces her wish of bringing Steve Trevor back from the dead to get her powers back and she goes off to face Cheetah and Maxwell Lord alone.

  • In the Deryni works, whatever assistance Kelson and Liam get from their friends, at some point, they each find they must cope with some things by themselves:
    • In one step of his empowerment ritual, Kelson has to pierce his own hand with the clasp of a large Haldane brooch. As they're preparing for this, Morgan and Duncan have this exchange:
      Morgan: What about me? Is there anything I'm supposed to do besides watch?
      Duncan (shakes his head): No. And whatever happens, you mustn't touch him or attempt to aid him in any way until the reaction has run its course. We're dealing with fantastic amounts of power here, and if you interfere, it could kill him.
    • On his coronation day, Kelson tries to have his champion defend his right to rule, but Morgan is wounded and Charissa reissues her challenge. Kelson's mother Jehana tries to intervene, but Charissa easily defeats the untrained queen. Kelson must ultimately defeat Charissa in arcane combat by himself.
    • To satisfy the Servants of Saint Camber, Kelson must undergo their ritual trial alone (and naked) in an underground chamber that prevents Dhugal from maintaining mental contact with him.
    • While Kelson and Mátyás can help stave off Mahael's attack against Liam in the killijálay, Liam has to perform the central ritual (taking control of the power from Furstán's tomb) by himself. Only after that can he join the others to defeat Mahael and his allies. Oh, and no one outside the Wards can help Kelson and Mátyás in their task, either.
  • Harry Potter generally ends up in one-on-one fights with Voldemort. In the first book it's because only one person could make it through to the Philosopher's Stone, but in The Movie Hermione purposely leaves him because This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself. In later books, events continue to conspire to cut him off from any allies who set out with him. In fact, Ron and Hermione don't even see Voldemort in person until the last book. (In the fifth film, they at least get a glimpse of him, but that part wasn't in the book.)
    • In Book one, Ron is incapacitated by a chess piece and Harry sends Hermione to summon Dumbledore, reasoning that the two of them don't stand a chance of winning — the only hope is to hold them off long enough for reinforcements.
    • In book two, Hermione is petrified, while Ron is unarmed (his wand is broken) and on the wrong side of a massive cave-in.
    • In book four, he's whisked out of a maze and his only backup is killed instantly.
    • In book five, Hermione is critically wounded and Ron is loopy (and Harry rushed off in a revenge-maddened attack). Though that one ends up being Subverted: Dumbledore shows up in the nick of time and trounces Voldy.
    • Despite his track record for getting out of these scrapes using pure nerve and instinct (and a dose of luck), Voldemort continues to see Harry as a coward who hides behind stronger guardians. This arrogance results in his getting curb-stomped in their final meeting in the last book.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry, especially in the beginning of the series. As Dresden gains friends and allies, and learns to trust them more, more and more often he has someone fighting alongside him at the climax.
  • In Thursday Next quite often, very much the final battle with Adornis Hades.
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy features Nathanael and Bartimaeus. Considering they end up in one body and Nathanael dismisses his daemon in the last possible moment this is also a Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • This is practically Tiffany Aching's motto, but she chooses to be fiercely self-reliant. As she puts it, "A witch deals with things." It's averted in the last book; every witch in the series teams up for the final battle. As Nanny likes to say, if you break rules then break them good and hard.
  • Averted in A Wolf in the Soul. Though the story seems to be moving in this direction as Greg is forced to leave his friends first at Columbia and then in Israel, the climax of the book has him defeating the wolf with the help of Joey and Holmes, the latter behind the scenes.
  • The Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena ends with Annabeth fighting Arachne, along with other puzzles on her own.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Yuusuke/Red Falcon from Choujuu Sentai Liveman is the only human left unaffected by Bias' Mass Hypnosis, leaving him to defeat Bias alone, in a sense. Though someone comes to give him last-minute help: Kemp, reduced to a Brain in a Jar, who strips Bias of his youth.
  • Came up several times on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Season One: The Scoobies end up retreating to the Library while fighting the horde of vampires converging on the high school, or rather the Hellmouth, which happens to be located directly beneath the library. Buffy fights the Master on the roof.
    • Season Two: The Scoobies are attacked at the library, leaving Kendra dead, Willow in a coma, and Giles captured. After mounting a rescue mission, Xander takes Giles to safety while Buffy is left to fight Angelus alone.
    • Season Six: In the end, it's Xander who saves the day, talking Willow down from destroying the world after Buffy fails to stop her.
    • The First Slayer is a firm believer in this, to the point where, in Season 4 when Buffy does a Fusion Dance with the Scoobies to beat Adam, she's so offended that she returns from the afterlife to try and kill them all.
  • A reoccurring theme with Person of Interest, where many of the characters seem to believe this. However, it also seems to show these characters time and time again that there is always someone to help. A variant of the phrase, 'Everyone Dies Alone', also serves as the Arc Words for the series finale.
    • The series finale completes the phrase, changing the meaning of this seemingly bleak saying.
Officer 1: You know it's true what they say. Everybody dies alone
Officer 2: Sure. Everyone dies alone. But if you mean something to someone. If you help someone, or love someone. If even a single person remembers you...Maybe, you never really die at all.
  • The endgame of Doctor Who Series 9 is all about this for the Doctor after he is captured by his enemies and separated from his companion Clara in "Face the Raven". The revival has long established that the Doctor risks becoming a case of Beware the Superman if he doesn't have travelling companions; Clara admits that he isn't good at being alone, but orders him not to give up his principles before she is Killed Off for Real. Unfortunately, he spends the entirety of "Heaven Sent" being tormented by unseen enemies, with no one in his giant torture chamber but a deadly monster. This fans the flames of anguish and rage, he fights his way out of the chamber, and in the finale "Hell Bent", he becomes The Unfettered Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds — obsessed with a Tragic Dream of bringing Clara back from the grave and almost destroying the universe in the process of trying to achieve it. When a now-Only Mostly Dead Clara causes him to have a Heel Realization, he ends up losing not only her but his most important emotional memories of her but accepts these losses as a way of atoning for his selfishness. He thus ends Series 9 alone, a sadder and wiser man for his experiences.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Tournament of the Dragon Adventure for the 3rd edition of the Champions RPG involved a martial arts Tournament Arc that culminated in a solo battle against an entity known as the Dark Dragon. The mystic nature of the Dark Dragon made him grow stronger with every foe attacking him at once, making him a horror to battle with an army, but when faced by a single opponent, he was at his lowest power levels, thus justifying the creation of an tournament to find a worthy warrior to battle him one-on-one.

  • In Pokémon Live!, since Giovanni told Jessie and James to only capture Ash, none of his friends and family follow him to the final battle.
  • Jean Valjean attempts to invoke this in Les Misérables, only to be joined by Fantine and Eponine's ghosts, as well as Marius and Cosette, ultimately averting it.

    Video Games 
  • The trope namer is The Longest Journey, whose final chapters see April lose or seemingly lose all of her old friends, her mentor, and her few chance allies by the time she faces the Trials to become the next Guardian of the Multiverse. She manages to seemingly subvert it by using old magic to smuggle in her most stalwart ally, Crow, into the Guardian's Realm, but this is double-subverted when Crow is lost, too, almost immediately afterwards. And then, after she completes the Trials, she learns that she has never even been the real Guardian candidate in the first place, so even that duty is taken away from her, leaving her completely and utterly alone in the end.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: After going past the Point of No Return in the final area, Ann's friend, Ayane, realizes The Consortium has tracked her location and arrived to capture her, leaving Ann to traverse through the last segments of the base by herself until the confrontation with C.
  • Destiny sees its player-character Guardians each as a One-Man Army, so this trope is to be expected. It's required in the campaign, but even in Strikes and Raids, a sufficiently leveled and geared Guardian can overcome the near-impossible odds against raid bosses Atheon, Crota, or Oryx, which are designed to require the teamwork of a full squad.
  • Both Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the sequel allow you to have your party fighting alongside yourself for most of the game, then render them unable to join yours for the final boss. The second game is particularly cruel since it abruptly drops you on Malachor V. Your character wakes up and has to spend the entire level on their own, even though it is made perfectly clear that the rest of your crew survived and got out. At least in the first game you could have two party members with you for most of the Star Forge until your fight with Bastilla. This might be due to early plans for the game, in which a few scenes on Malachor V focused on the other characters, depending on the choices made by the player over the course of the game, such as a fight between Atton and Darth Sion which could end either with him surviving and reuniting with the Exile, or losing and dying in her arms, or if the player was a dark side female and fell in love with the Disciple. Atton was supposed to kill him.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, if you're playing with both Sonic and Tails, Tails will be unplayable during the last two levels.
    • Similarly, in Sonic 3, Tails will disappear after the first of the three final bosses is defeated, leaving Sonic to fight the last two on his own. Tails actually falls into water when you take Eggman's vehicle and DIES. He doesn't come back after this, so if you didn't know there was a sequel, it would seem like he was Killed Off for Real. Sorry, Tails, the hovercar only seats one!
      • And finally, in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Tails won't be able to accompany Sonic into the Doomsday Zone, the final level.
    • This trend takes up in the later games as well. In Sonic Adventure Super Sonic has to take on Perfect Chaos on his own.
    • In Emerl's story in Sonic Battle, Sonic is the only character to fight against a very powerful and crazy Emerl.
    • In Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow is forced to fight Devil Doom on his own due to the poison gas the latter released into the atmosphere paralyzing everyone else, Shadow being immune because he was created from the villain's blood.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: Parodied, Henry comes in to help Travis fight the final boss, but then walks out during the final phase, because he finds Jasper's One-Winged Angel form to be just too ridiculous.
  • Subverted in Portal 2: Before you can confront GLaDOS, poor Wheatley gets whisked in the wrong direction by the Pneumatic Diversity vents, but before the actual fight begins, GLaDOS tries to kill you with deadly neurotoxin which she has actually run out of thanks to you, and the only thing that comes out of the tubes is your Wheatley. You then try to have him replace GLaDOS, which seems to work, until the power quickly gets to him and he decides to prevent you from escaping yet again, which culminates in him punching you and GLaDOS down the lift into an older part of Aperture.
  • In the arcade TMNT, teamwork doesn't work on most of the bosses. You're actually better off taking one player, running a pattern on the boss (usually hit, walk back, up, or down), and keeping everyone else back. Done correctly you can beat most bosses without losing even one bar of energy. If more than one player attacks a boss, the boss will just spam attacks that knock everyone out.
  • The final area of Super Paper Mario has each of your companions having to leave one by one to allow you to continue, leaving you alone when you fight the boss. You get them back for the real boss, though.
  • In The World Ends with You, Neku attempts to invoke this by leaving Shiki and Beat behind unconscious and confronting the final boss; however, it getss subverted when they catch up with him and tell him off for running off on his own just before the fight starts.
    • Double subverted: The final form can only be fought with Neku, although he gains power from his partners, whom the final boss has trapped in orbs (or inside him, in the case of Joshua).
  • Mother 3 handles this is a different way for the end Duel Boss battle, in that the Masked Man uses a lightning attack that will always knock out anyone on your team still standing beside Lucas, who's carrying a Deflector Shield. Most notably, he will execute such an attack immediately as soon as Lucas attempts to bring them back to consciousness, and they won't even get the usual grace period until their HP counter reaches zero, ensuring they never get to act.
  • So long as you are nice to your companions in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, they stick with you until the bitter end. Except that during the final Battle in the Center of the Mind you are forced to face the Betrayer alone, or with your Love Interest if you have one on your team.
  • Jade Empire lets you have a teammate with you during most of the game, but forces you to take on Sun Hai and Sun Li on your own. In the latter case, though, the spirits of your party members can help you overcome your Doubt, assuming they're still alive to do so.
  • Age of Pirates 2: The City of Abandoned Ships plays this one extremely jarringly. The game allows the player to have up to three hired blades follow them around, but in scripted quest-related fights, they are often inexplicably absent, leaving the player to face often overwhelming odds on their own, even though that's precisely why he or she hired the thugs in the first place.
  • At the end of Breath of Fire IV, when you get to the Emperor's Fou-Lu Throne room he simply knocks off every party member leaving only Ryu to face him in a Duel Boss. They ultimately recover, eventually, for the real Final Boss, the literal dragon Tyrant and, obviously, Fou-Lu himself as Astral.
  • Subverted in Breath of Fire II for the final boss. You show up, he kills your entire team while giving them a short epitaph, and then fight him solo until you use the Power of Friendship to return your friends to you.
  • Star Fox:
    • In Star Fox, Fox has to fight Andross alone during the final battle. In the secret Out of This Dimension path, Fox shoots down paper aiplanes, destroys a Slot Machine, and corrects THE END for all eternity alone, then do it over again.
    • In Star Fox 64, Fox chooses to fight Andross alone, there was no real need for him to do so.
  • The final battle of Persona 3 is the main character against Nyx. Nobody can come with him because nobody else is able to remain standing under the might of the final boss. In a moderate subversion, however, his weapon against the final opponent is the hopes of everyone he met on the way to the confrontation. It gets repeated in Persona 4, except Izanami-no-Okami personally picks off your party members one by one until only the protagonist is left.
  • In the Turai Ossa mission of the Guild Wars Bonus Mission Pack, you leave your followers to fight Palawa Joko one-on-one.
  • Averted big time in Baldur's Gate II, where The Hero gives each party member a chance to leave the party while they can before the "final" confrontation with the Big Bad. Not even the biggest bastard from hell leaves his (or her) side. To such extent that they even follow you to Hell for the actual final battle after you die.
  • Invoked in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Ezio decides to go after Cesare alone, saying that he built the Brotherhood to last without him. Accordingly, you cannot call on the Recruits' assistance in Sequence Nine.
  • The Final Battle of Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War is fought without a wingman or any allied aircraft support (except AWACS) at all, because your wingman dies Taking the Bullet for you, while other allied planes simply cannot make it to the battle airspace. Ditto the fight against the True Final Boss in the Bonus Level.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect 2 kinda has this with the Arrival, its final DLC mission, which has to be completed by Shepard alone (except a few Escort Mission-esque levels with a Guest-Star Party Member).note  Though, of course, true to its Wide Open Sand Box gameplay, you can complete the assignment at any time, even before the Suicide Mission (which kinda misses its entire point). The Overlord DLC plays this perfectly straight by unexpectedly trapping both your squadmates just before the Final Boss, so Shepard has to take on him/it alone.
    • Likewise, Mass Effect 3 plays this perfectly straight for the first time in the series proper.
  • Subverted in Kingdom Hearts. Ansem starts the first part of his final boss fight by separating Sora from Donald and Goofy. However, as Ansem takes damage, portals start opening up to where Donald and Goofy are being held, giving Sora the opportunity to break them out and have them rejoin the fight. Sora pretty much runs on The Power of Friendship, after all, and the Keyblade isn't just meant for fighting.
  • Spec Ops: The Line slowly built up to this after the second helicopter crash. Lugo was killed by the civilians, and Adams went on a suicidal Last Stand against the 33rd. Leaving Walker to face Konrad alone.
  • Very much averted in Overlord. When the Big Bad emerges and you lose control of your Minions, it's only moments before you start regaining them and lead your horde to victory.
  • At the end of Diablo III, you have to face Diablo on your own because the angels have been depowered and are unable to fight (sans Tyrael, who stays behind to keep the other demons from aiding their master), and your companion gets trapped in a bone cage on your way to Diablo.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • After fighting the final boss in Final Fantasy VII for several stages, Cloud engages in a final one-on-one clash of wills with Sephiroth. He destroys him with a single strike.
    • At the climax of Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker, when finally confronting the Endsinger, she will utterly curbstomp each of the Scions one by one; when the Warrior of Light realizes that they're about to die, they press the emergency teleporter and get all of them except themselves to safety, leaving them to confront the final boss alone. However, this is ultimately subverted, as not only Zenos-as-Shinryu appears to help the Warrior of Light and even acts as their boss platform, but it's the Scions hopes and prayers that help the Warrior finally vanquish the final boss.
      • It is, however, played completely straight in the post-climax duel against Zenos, with the Warrior of Light and Zenos fighting to the death and even devolving to a complete savage fistfight at the edge of the universe.
  • Can happen in any The King of Fighters game or any other fighting game with a Tag Team mechanic if the player is knocked down to their final team member against the Final Boss. As for a canon instance, the end of '94 according to SNK had both Benimaru and Daimon fall during the Final Battle, leaving Kyo to fight Rugal alone.
  • Planescape: Torment zigzags this trope. The final dungeon splits up the party, forcing The Nameless One to go through it alone. Throughout the dungeon, each party member is seen being killed off (except Ignus or Vhailor, who the hero kills himself, and Morte, who plays dead when he realizes that he has no chance of even inconveniencing the Big Bad on his own). At the end, if you wish to fight the Final Boss, you have the option to revive the party members to fight by your side.
  • Wild ARMs 3 has the demon Siegfried removing all of Maya Schrodinger's magic-powered personas (that she gains by reading books) by forcing her to read a book called "The True Self". Her "true self" is a nerd girl happens to know how his technology works and shuts it down.
  • The Super Nintendo game Arcana has this Zig-zagged. In the end, Rooks is all on his own against the final boss. Zig-zagged in that he always has a spirit with him.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity follows this, with not even the hero's partner (Who's been with them for almost the entire game) able to help. Because the Big Bad is an Eldritch Abomination born from the negative emotions of Pokemonkind, no Pokemon can come close to it without suffocating. Being a human in Pokemon form, the hero is a loophole.
  • It is zig-zagged in The Night of the Rabbit. The hero Jerry Hazelnut states this trope verbatim right before entering the portal to Big Bad's place, but some of his friends appear to lend him a hand. After entering the portal they disappear, but they are found some time later. Then they help the Jerry to rescue the people imprisoned by the Big Bad, however Jerry has to fight him alone.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals ends with Maxim on his own, though there's only a short sequence with no actual battles left. The remake averts this.
  • This happens on the Neutral Route of Shin Megami Tensei IV. Demons notwithstanding, Flynn is forced to face the Final Boss Lucifer on his own; of the rest of his fellow Samurai, Jonathan fused with the Archangels to form Merkabah, who you just finished killing, Walter sacrificed himself to restore the guy you're about to kill to his full power, and Isabeau has to evacuate the residents of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado to Tokyo before you destroy the barrier separating Tokyo from the surface.
  • Ōkami: Double subverted. Issun cannot enter the Ark of Yamato, leaving Amaterasu to fight Yami alone. Waka shows up during the final battle to try to help Mata, but Yami immediately incapacitates him.
  • The final missions of Call of Duty: Black Ops II become this, especially in the Golden Ending. For most of the game, David Mason has a reliable squad of SEALs under his command and is commanded by Admiral Briggs from the USS Obama. Then Odysseus happens. The Obama is suddenly stormed by Menendez's mercs and severely damaged, if not outright destroyed. Farid, if he survived "Achilles' Veil", is killed, Crosby is W.I.A., Salazar turns out to be Menendez's mole, and Briggs is critically wounded, if not outright killed. By the final mission, the only one of your supporting team that you can possibly still have with you is Harper - and even then, that's only if Farid didn't kill him to keep his cover in an earlier mission, which is a requirement for the best ending.
  • Happens twice in Live A Live.
    • At the end of the Kung-Fu chapter, two of the Shifu's students are dead and the Shifu himself is mortally wounded, leaving the player to finish off Ou Di Wan Lee in a duel.
    • It's far, far worse in the Medieval chapter. By the time Oersted drags his sorry ass to the final boss, Hasshe is dead from a plague, Uranus has sacrificed himself to help Oersted escape from prison, Streibough is a traitor and the aforementioned final boss, the king of Lucrece is dead by Oersted's own unwitting hand, Alethea has completely lost faith in him and is in love with Streibough, and the villagers he fought so hard to protect have all cast him out and labelled him a demon.
  • LISA: The end of The Painful has Brad take on the entirety of the Rando Army without his companions. Because he killed them himself when they tried to stop him.
  • LISA: The Hopeful: By the end of any normal route, only one member of the group is left to fight Hart and the final members of the Lovelies. Uniquely, your dialogue choices affect whether it's Beltboy, Lanks or Cyclops who emerges the lone survivor.
  • OMORI: Sunny's final Battle in the Center of the Mind against Omori, the Anthropomorphic Personification of his suicidal ideation, is fought without any version of Aubrey, Kel and Hero to back him up. Justified, as their Headspace versions have been reduced to irrelevance, and their real versions obviously cannot go into Sunny's mindscape.
  • After playing through all of BioShock Infinite with Elizabeth at your side, Episode 2 of Burial at Sea has Elizabeth navigating through Rapture on her own after killing the final Comstock and losing her powers and connection to the Luteces. All she has to keep her company are the hallucinations of Booker that come over the radio as she fights to set the events of BioShock in motion.
  • Twice in Daughter for Dessert:
    • The protagonist breaks into Mortelli's office because he realizes that Mortelli has been withholding certain information from him, and wants to find out what exactly his longtime friend knows.
    • All the other girls (minus Veronica) come along for the first attempt to "rescue" Amanda from Cecilia. However, the protagonist later hatches a workable, if foolhardy, plan, and carries it out by himself.
  • Phoenix Wright in the Ace Attorney series usually gets help whenever he's a bind during a trial. Most of the time, he gets help from his perky sidekick Maya. At other times, Maya channels the spirit of her dead sister Mia whenever Phoenix is stuck in a pinch. In the climax of the final case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, Maya is unable to assist Phoenix due to her being forced testify for a murder that Phoenix's client is accused of, leaving Phoenix to do the heavy lifting of the case by himself without any outside help.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon has this. After fighting their way through the Millenium Tower, a grueling Climax Boss fight against Yosuke Tendo, and the Flunky Boss fight against Ryo Aoki, Ichiban's friends are too exhausted to continue onwards. Thus, Ichiban chases Aoki up to a balcony in the Arakawa Family Office, where the final fight between the two takes place. Meanwhile, at the lower level of the office, Ichiban's party members Hold the Line against Aoki's bodyguards.
  • A series-tradition for Ganondorf boss fights in The Legend of Zelda.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf's overwhelming darkness forces away even Navi, forcing Link to fight him truly alone. Against Ganon, he walls off Zelda from Link with fire to keep her from interfering. It doesn't last.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Link and Zelda confront Ganondorf alone at the end, and midway through the fight, Ganondorf knocks Zelda out, leaving them to do battle one-on-one. she comes to in time to end the fight.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Ganondorf outright kills Midna and walls Zelda out of a one-on-one duel with Link. Unlike other examples, no one intervenes.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Link doesn't face Ghirahim or Demise with anyone else there to help, despite having Impa and Groose as allies and must face both alone. That said, Groose does aid with The Imprisoned.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the previous Champions are all dead already, and the extent of their involvement is to hit Calamity Ganon with the full power of their Divine Beast. Past that, Link alone must face Calamity Ganon.
    • Finally, in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Link can assemble the Sages, who will come to his aid against Ganondorf, or he can face Ganondorf alone. If he faces Ganondorf with the sages, he will incapacitate them with shadow to make it a one-on-one affair after a time.
  • In Puyo Puyo~n, Arle can recruit any opponent she defeats on her quest to find Carbuncle, and she can use their skills in place of her own throughout the game's Story Mode. That it until she gets to Satan's palace, who promptly makes a barrier spell to block everyone off from helping Arle during their duel, leaving her with no skills to defend herself with. This is all a ploy by the game's true Big Bad, Doppelganger Arle, who wanted to get Arle alone and defenseless so she can Kill and Replace her with minimal difficulty.


    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang must eventually face the Firelord alone, while the rest of the Gaang works on addressing the rest of the Fire Nation assault on the Earth Kingdom.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic plays with this idea frequently.
    • In Crystal Empire Part Two, Twilight believed she had to recover the Crystal Heart alone to defeat King Sombra as part of a test from Princess Celestia. In the end, Twilight realizes that this is stupid, says Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!, and when she isn't sure she'll be able to save the day in time, has Spike grab the Crystal Heart and bring it to Princess Cadance. Which, naturally, was the point all along; Twilight isn't alone, and it was all ultimately implied to be either a Secret Test of Character, or simply that Princess Celestia agreed with Twilight's reasoning that it was the right thing to do.
    • In Equestria Girls, Twilight could not bring her friends to the human world without disturbing its natural balance... so instead she gains help from her friends' human counterparts.
    • In Twilight's Kingdom Part Two, she had to hide the other three princesses' alicorn magic from not only Tirek but also her friends as well, right up until she solo'd the giant centaur to avenge the destruction of her library. However, in the end, she trades her alicorn magic to save her friends, even Discord, and received her final key that allowed her and her friends to unlock the Rainbow Power. Then, they use the Rainbow Power to defeat Tirek, restore everypony's magic, and even build themselves a new castle to replace Twilight's library.
  • The fifth-season finale Steven Universe has pretty much every single major ally of Steven show up to help him reach White Diamond. Bismuth, Peridot, and Lapis Lazuli are separated from the main party until after that climax, while Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl are taken over by White Diamond's power. Connie makes it to the final confrontation but isn't a great help Talking the Monster to Death when White Diamond entirely refuses to acknowledge her.
  • Wakfu: Yugo against Nox in the season finale with Adamai knocked out and the rest of the Five-Man Band otherwise distracted, mostly because of Razortime.
  • Winx Club: In the final two episodes of Season 6, Bloom has to fight Acheron alone within the Legendarium while the Winx deal with a powerful monster that Acheron released in the real world. And after defeating him, she also has to contend with the Trix whom Acheron banished into the Legendarium earlier and are now determined to keep her from escaping.


Video Example(s):


Cherrymon Breaks Matt

Cherrymon finds Matt when he's at his lowest and convinces him to embrace his dark side if he wants to be stronger.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BreakThemByTalking

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