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Only I Can Kill Him

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"I admit you're very skilled. But apparently Cloud is the only one who can eliminate me."
Sephiroth, Kingdom Hearts II

The protagonists of any given story are, of course, larger than life. Expecting the various extras and Red Shirts to actually accomplish something noteworthy would probably come off as anticlimactic. But even among the various named characters, there's clearly a hierarchy involved. That hierarchy, among other things, mandates that only the protagonist can achieve certain things. Nowhere is this more clear than when battling the Big Bad, often Because Destiny Says So.

Anyone other than the main character will almost inevitably fail to defeat the Big Bad. It's a rule of drama. Any poor schmuck who tries, be he The Lancer, the hero's closest friend, the hero's Love Interest, or a random soldier, will almost certainly be cut down without the Big Bad breaking much of a sweat. There will be gloating. There may be slow-motion footage of their fall, and dramatic music.

Camera pans to the hero. Cue the Unstoppable Rage.

The reason writers came up with the Hero Secret Service, which gives the rest of the Five-Man Band something important to do without directly taking part in The Hero's mission.

Often overlaps with the Chosen One or The Only One, as well as This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself. Differs from The Only One Allowed to Defeat You in that it's a matter of raw ability, not personal preference.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Happens all the time in Bleach, but most strangely in the Captain Amagai Filler Arc. Ichigo has almost nothing to do with Amagai; he only meets him for the first time shortly before he fights and defeats him. And this is in a city filled with badass captains. The only possible reason he would have for being the one to kill him is because he can overcome Amagai's zanpakuto-suppressing ability. This is despite the fact that Captain-Commander Yamamoto, who actually does have a history with Amagai and is the target of his misguided revenge plot, is more than capable of fighting with only his bare hands.
    • The Bount Filler Arc is almost as bad; the villain Kariya has little interaction with Ichigo and instead establishes himself as a nemesis to The Lancer Uryu. But when Uryu fights him, he inexplicably overlooks a chance to strike a killing blow and the artifact temporarily restoring his powers breaks, leaving it to Ichigo to finish the battle.
    • In terms of actual canon, Aizen can only be beaten by Ichigo because a) Ichigo is one of the only people who hasn't seen Aizen's Shikai, Kyouka Suigetsu, and b) is the only one of those people with enough actual power to even injure Aizen. Seems to be subverted, but is actually played straight once Aizen forsakes Kyouka Suigetsu for the sake of greater power through the Hogyoku's evolutions, as once again, Ichigo is the only one who can transcend far enough to actually harm the transcended Aizen, in large part thanks to his ridiculous heritage.
  • A variation of this occurs in Cowboy Bebop between Spike Spiegel and Vicious, as each declares that only he can kill the other. In the final episode Vicious dies for sure, but whether Spike survives or not is left uncertain.
  • Subverted a couple of times in Dragon Ball. In the first case, General Red, the leader of the Red Ribbon Army, a criminal organization that's made an enemy of Goku, is killed off by his assistant, General Black. In the second instance, Goku sacrifices himself to stop Cell from destroying the Earth, so his son Gohan ultimately has to kill Cell instead.
  • Fairy Tail plays with this trope in different ways:
    • An early arc had a Big Bad in the form of Lyon, who learned under the same teacher as Gray. As a result, it's Gray who ultimately defeats Lyon. Natsu's opponent is revealed to serve the Greater-Scope Villain of that portion of the story, but in this arc acted as a subordinate of Lyon.
    • In the Phantom arc, Natsu did fight two of Phantom's top combatants, but Phantom's master Jose is brought down by Fairy Tail's master and Big Good Makarov.
    • Inverted with Zeref, who bluntly states that the only being who can kill him is the demon E.N.D., which refers to Etherious Natsu Dragneel, the younger brother he revived with the purpose of killing him. It's then subverted when Natsu forgoes killing Zeref using the one power that could potentially do the job because Happy intervened since Zeref admits that Natsu will die with Zeref since as an Etherious, Natsu's life is linked to Zeref's magic. When they fight for the final time, Natsu does win, but lets Mavis strike the final blow in the only way that could kill two immortals (Natsu is saved from dying with Zeref thanks to outside intervention on the part of Lucy and Gray).
  • In Inuyasha, Big Bad Naraku is threatening the whole region, yet there are only three fighters outside of the protagonist's foursome that fight the big bad for more than a single scene of them getting slaughtered. Slightly subverted towards the end, where a Buddhist priest manages to take a pot-shot at one of the greater villains, and a Shinto monk actually defeats another (who ends up taking over his body). A pity because the villain is Naraku's heart, and if the guy had killed him instead of absorbing him, the series Big Bad would have ended.
  • Justified in K — only a King can kill another King (though it seems that a King's second can kill their own King under certain circumstances). So the Kings — focal points of the Ensemble Cast — end up filling this role.
  • Played with in Monster. Dr. Tenma and Nina are both trying to find and kill the eponymous Monster Johan: Tenma because he saved Johan's life, Nina because she was the one who shot him the first time, and both because neither wants the other to have blood on their hands. In the end, it's a vengeful father who shoots Johan... and Tenma is the one who saves Johan's life once again, thus inverting the trope.
  • Subverted in Rave Master with the Arc Villain Hardner. The Hero Haru Glory was able to defeat this foe only because Hardner had already fought and defeated one of Haru's friends in battle immediately before Haru arrived. The two fights back-to-back wore down the regeneration abilities Hardner possessed which rendered him virtually immortal, leaving him vulnerable to take more damage than he could heal.
  • Justified in Shootfighter Tekken by the main hero's father having become a pacifist at this point, but since his son shows an unstoppable drive to face down the Big Bad anyway, he tutors him specifically to do so. Lampshaded by other characters fighting other mooks, or being ambushed by them, but everyone in the entire series knowing and stating only the hero can take on Iron Kiba. In hospital scenes and conversations between trainers, it's acknowledged even further. Only Kiba does not seem to know, as he is completely focused on the hero's father instead because of their battle in the past, and views the kid as being little more than a training exercise. Interestingly, he was nearly proven right, as the hero didn't take the fight seriously at first, and the first 60 seconds was essentially a cock-measuring contest of insults and posturing, each believing the other wasn't a serious challenge.
  • Vocally invoked by Lina Inverse in the Slayers OVA Jeffrey's Knighthood. This is so that Jeffrey's mother will not beat them up when they leave Jeffrey behind. They're not ditching The Load, they're allowing him to prepare while they carve a path to the Big Bad that only he can best.
  • The first season of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds had a field day with this. Supposedly, the prophecy said that the Signers and the Dark Signers (the servants of the Crimson Dragon and Earthbound Gods, respectively) would battle every 5,000 years, and that each participant was unbeatable by anyone but a member of the opposing group. The actual conflict had a few parts that may or may not have contradicted this, depending on how you interpreted it, the biggest one being Crow defeating Bommer. (Crow wasn't a Signer at the time, but he would become one later; on the other hand, Bommer was a replacement Dark Signer, so whether he truly belonged in the conflict or not is debatable.) Of course, seeing as the story was related to the heroes by Rex Godwin, it may be hard to truly take any part of it at face value.
  • Repeatedly Lampshaded in the third season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Whenever Evil Minions like the Masked Knights and other zombies challenge Judai, Johan and the others always step in and remind him that, as The Hero, he needs to wait and save his strength for his inevitable battle with the Big Bad.
    • Almost subverted in the original series: Jounouchi (The Lancer) gets into a position where Marik has no cards at all to protect himself, a single direct attack will win it, and he has a monster strong enough to do it. However, before he can declare his attack and win Jounouchi collapses from exhaustion, and Marik wins on a technicality when Jounouchi is declared unable to continue the duel. That he was seconds way from defeating Marik was a shock to every member of the cast, including Marik himself who began to freak out when he realized he was going to lose and admits Jounouchi put up a lot better of a fight than he expected. (In fact, this was the one time that Kaiba said anything about Jonouchi that even came close to being a compliment.)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V plays with this trope like every other trope. The protagonist Yuya isn't the only one to beat Big Bad Zarc as he is Zarc! The one who beats him is the Big Good Ray who beat him the first time.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man: He didn't know it, but Spider-Man was a literal case towards his enemy Kraven the Hunter for a while; a flaw in the evil ritual that his children used to bring Kraven back to life in Grim Hunt cursed him so that only Spider-Man could kill him. However, this curse was apparently broken when Kaine (as the Scarlet Spider) temporarily killed Kraven by stopping his heart with a blow to the chest and then restarted it with the same move.
    • Unfortunately this was a Subversion, as Kraven was still cursed. He would later try again to get Spider-Man to kill him in Hunted. He did finally get to die in the end, but not by Spider-Man's hand. Instead, he died by his son/clone's hand. Using a Loophole Abuse about how only the Spider can kill the Hunter, or the Hunter kill the Spider.

    Fan Works 
  • A very rare inversion in With Strings Attached. On the Plains of Death, only the secondary character The Hunter can destroy the Heart of Evil by stabbing it with his BFS. Paul merely clears the way for him.
    • Or so the Hunter says. Since Paul doesn't even try to hit the thing, who knows?
    • Justified in that the Hunter is The Hero in this world, and the four (otherwise the protagonists of the book) are just being escorted around.
  • In Shining Armor's side story of the Pony POV Series, Reznov eventually implies that Shining may be the only one who can defeat Makarov, due to Shining being a temporal anomaly, and thus immune to the abilities that would prevent anyone from fighting him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Lampshaded by the Nazi Nobleman Big Bad in Enemy at the Gates.
    Konig: He's not dead. And do you know why? Because I haven't killed him yet.
  • James Bond usually uses this trope, with Bond being the person who kills the Big Bad. However, it's subverted in From Russia with Love (Rosa Klebb is shot by Tatiana), For Your Eyes Only (Kristatos is offed by Colombo and Gogol survives) and partly in Casino Royale (2006) (Le Chiffre is shot by an assassin, although his employer gets shot by Bond at the end. It's even more true in the novel).
  • One example occurred in King Arthur (2004), where Tristan's attempt to slay the Big Bad ended in his inevitable death.
  • In Serenity, Mal is the only person who can take on the Operative and stand a chance. It helps that he had a nerve cluster moved during the war, making the Operative's paralyzing move useless — and Mal is the only one who can piss him off.
  • In Snow White & the Huntsman, Queen Ravenna can only be killed by the Fairest of Them All, which is Snow White. At one point, a peasant whom Ravenna threatens stabs her in the heart, but it heals up and she kills him for it. Snow White later stabs her in the heart and she dies.
  • Subverted once again in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), in which the main protagonists, the four turtles, attempt to defeat the Big Bad Shredder, and one by one they fail utterly. Shredder can only be defeated by the intervention of the previously hermitic mentor of the turtles, Splinter.
  • Subverted in the movie Throne of Blood. Washizu is killed by his own nameless Evil Minions — indeed we do not even see the faces of the archers who let loose the first arrow and the last. In the original Macbeth the Villain Protagonist died in a duel with a major character; in Throne of Blood that character is completely absent.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, the Fallen can only be defeated by a Prime for ill-defined reasons.
  • In The Wolfman (2010), after many days of sleepless research, Gwen discovers only how to kill Lawrence, not how to cure him. In desperation she searches for the Gypsy fortune-teller, but she only confirms it: a werewolf can only be slain with silver, and only by someone who loves him.
  • In Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), Godzilla is stated to be the only thing capable of defeating Ghidorah. This is because Godzilla is the only kaiju strong enough to rival Ghidorah and even humanity's strongest weapon, the Oxygen Destroyer isn't enough to stop Ghidorah.

  • Literary example: The Keep by F. Paul Wilson. A great undead villain reawakens from his sleep, and the only person who can stop him is on the other side of the world — fortunately, he's psychically attuned to the villain and promptly gets moving.
  • Subverted in The Bourne Ultimatum (novel version) where, after David Webb/Jason Bourne spends the entire novel saying that only he'll be able to kill Carlos the Jackal, Carlos ends up drowning in a tunnel flooded by the Soviet agent who's working with Bourne.
  • Played with in Dragon Bones: The only person who can only be killed by the hero is the magically bound slave the hero inherited from his father. A Wizard Did It, in ancient times, and apparently knew that a slave who is magically compelled to do anything he's ordered to do, would try to commit suicide sooner or later. That's why the slave can only be killed by his owner.
  • In Grent's Fall, only the Bladecleaver and King Osbert have enough talent to defeat each other. Or fully distract each other.
  • Subverted in the Left Behind books as The Word of God demands that nobody can even defeat Satan and the Antichrist except for Jesus Christ. The Antichrist does get killed partway through the Tribulation, Because Destiny Says So, but as he is resurrected by the indwelling of Satan for the remainder of the Tribulation, the Christians during that time will have to wait for Jesus to come again in order for the Antichrist to be sent to the Lake of Fire.
  • Legend of the Seeker spends quite a lot of time saying how Richard is destined to kill Darken Rahl with the Sword of Truth. It's the same in the book, except there he's explicitly told that the magic of Orden means he can't use the sword to do it.
  • In Esther Friesner's novel The Sherwood Game, a programmer creates a VR Robin Hood game, and creates a specific rule that his character is the only one who can kill the Sheriff of Nottingham. He comes to regret this when he has to play the game with the safeties off.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Particularly notable in 24, wherein any tac team which does not include Jack Bauer is certain to let the terrorist escape, shoot the wrong guy, be vaporized in a nuclear detonation, etc.
  • Played straight in Angel — Connor is destined to kill Sahjhan, which appears to mean no one else can. When Sahjhan is trapped in a magical urn, his enemy Cyvus Vail insists that Connor be brought back to finish him, knowing that such things never hold the bad guy forever. To be fair, Angel had tried to kill Sahjhan when he was corporeal, and the demon handed Angel his ass.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Averted in the Season 5 finale, "The Gift". Buffy might actually do the beating (with a shit-ton of help), but Giles does the killing.
    • Also averted in the finale of Season 6, "Grave", when Xander — often the Plucky Comic Relief of the Scoobies — talks a grieving, murderous, high-on-magic Willow out of destroying the world. Buffy, meanwhile, is fighting an endless and pointless battle against Evil Minions.
  • Subverted in the Firefly episode "War Stories". Mal is battling The Dragon (well... a Dragon, at any rate) when the Cavalry (Zoe, Jayne, and Wash) shows up. Jayne takes aim to shoot Niska's henchman, and Zoe stops him, saying "This is something the Captain's got to do for himself." Mal yells a panicked "No, it's not!" and the three rescuers take out the henchman all at once.
  • In Gotham, it's eventually revealed that Ra's al Ghul can only be killed by a specific dagger wielded by a specific person, namely Bruce Wayne. To hammer this home, at one point Barbara stabs him, but it has no effect, with him just saying "Ow" in a smug deadpan and pulling the blade out of his chest.
  • Subverted to a degree in Lost. It seems a lot like Ben was the only one who could kill Jacob. Several others tried, and the Man in Black said that some kind of "loophole" was necessary.

  • In the play Macbeth, the title character is informed that "none of woman born/shall harm Macbeth". This makes him believe he was invincible. However, Macduff was born due to a c-section, making him the only one who could kill Macbeth.

    Video Games 
  • Devil Survivor:
    • Beldr on Day 3 is immune to everything except devil's fuge (i.e. mistletoe), and you happen to be the only combatant with it when you fight him, which means no one else — not your human allies, not your demons — can damage him. This gives the boss battle with him the unique defeat condition of "player character dies", unlike in other battles where the battle can continue as long as at least one team leader on your side is still in fighting condition, even if you personally bite it. When you rematch him in the Day 7 Boss Rush, once again you're the only character who can damage him.
    • An example where it's someone else rather than the player character who must inflict the killing blow: When fighting Kudlak, non-controllable ally Mari must be the one to inflict the finishing blow, or else story events will be affected very negatively upon his death. For what it's worth, if Kaido is in the fight, his attacks will never bring Kudlak's HP below 1, leaving Mari free to poke him dead.
  • Justified in Dragon Age: Origins with the Archdemon, who can only be killed by a Grey Warden because his soul will simply possess the nearest darkspawn when killed by anyone else.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, the player must confront the Dark Knight with Cecil and Golbez in the party, otherwise he instantly kills everyone. Once the required cinematic between the three occurs though, any party member can kill the boss.
    • According to Dissidia Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud is the only person capable of killing Sephiroth. When anyone else beats him, he just stands back up and muses over his inability to die at their hands.
      • in Kingdom Hearts II, we also see Tifa trying to fight Sephiroth in Cloud's place. It mostly follows this trope, as he easily dodges her barrage of punches and kicks and knocks her back.
      • This was true in the Final Fantasy VII Compilation as well, where Cloud was the only person in the entire setting that's managed to defeat Sephiroth.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In the series, the Final Boss comes down to "kill them with a special weapon, or else you won't defeat him." Whether this is because of the boss's innate ability to negate damage or a rather downplayed version with lowering damage encouraging players to use the Lord with the weapon to fell them easily.
    • Gharnef's Imhullu spell in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem negates any kind of attack unless the unit in question is wielding Starlight. This means having your mage be ready to take on Gharnef so that you can reclaim Falchion. In addition, Medeus halves the power of all attacks unless it's either Falchion (which can only be used by Marth) or a Divine Dragon (Tiki or Nagi).
    • Duma in Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake, Echoes: Shadow of Valentia becomes immune to all attacks once his HP becomes visible, unless Alm wields the Falchion... or a Cleric of yours is using Nosferatu.
    • The Book of Loptous in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War grants Julius an innate damage reduction against any weapons, unless it is the Book of Naga, which can only be wielded by his sister, Julia. This is rather aggravating as not only is it possible to not save Julia by accidentally killing her, but also Julius has three different defeat quotes depending on who defeats him (Julia, Seliph, or anyone else).
    • Raydrik's Loptr Sword in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 grants him the same property as the Book of Loptous, unless he is attacked with the Sword of Bragi, which can only be wielded by either Leif, Nanna, Diarmud, or Fergus (which claims that only Holy Blood user can wield, but not only does Fergus imply to not have one but also, neither Mareeta nor Galzus, who has Major Od blood, can wield it).
    • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, getting the Golden Ending requires Roy to defeat Idunn with the Binding Blade. Thankfully, Idunn is such a massive pushover and the Binding Blade is so overpowered that it isn't that hard.
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the Black Knight and Ashnard wear goddess-blessed armo that make them immune to anything except Ike's Ragnell, the Dragon laguz, and the Laguz kings. Thankfully, for the former, the Black Knight only cares about attacking Ike over his frail and weak sister, Mist, who is only here to help her brother not die. This is much more downplayed in the sequel, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, as not only is the Black Knight's armor is no longer blessed and although certain bosses have blessed immunity through Mantle, Yune blessed everyone's equipped weapon (or the Laguz themselves) that lets them damage the boss anyway. While Ike and the Black Knight can only kill each other, you weren't given much of a choice on that as the Black Knight put up a barrier that prevents anyone from intervening. Although anyone can damage Ashera, Ike must be the one to finish her or else she'll just revive with all of her HP restored.
    • Another literal example shows up in Fire Emblem: Awakening, albeit with a twist. The only power capable of destroying Grima is his own. As your Avatar is Grima's vessel, this means only the Avatar can kill Grima. Though it is only through choice after you defeat them, though anyone can damage them with Chrom dealing full damage through Exalted Falchion.
    • The Dragonskin skill grants the unit damage reduction as well as immunity to instantkill abilities or debuffs, with only one weapon (usually The Hero's weapon) that bypass this weakness. That said, it's a downplayed example.
  • In Friday the 13th: The Game only Tommy Jarvis can deliver the final blow to Jason after a series of steps are taken.
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Fighting his way through an skirmish between the IAA, FIB and Merryweather, Michael finds himself pinned down by an attack helicopter from the mercenary group. His rescue comes in the form of none other than Trevor, who snipes the pilot, sending him down, followed by this exchange:
    Trevor: Hey! If anyone's gonna kill you, old friend, it's gonna be me!
    Michael: Oh! You here to finish the job, T?
    Trevor: No, no, no, no, I'm just here for the opportunity. Now run!
  • Every boss in Kingdom Hearts II. You can let your AI allies attack as much as you like when the boss is down to 1 HP, but until Sora personally lands a Finishing Move, they won't die.
  • Raziel and Kain in the Legacy of Kain series — Kain doesn't want to kill Raziel and as he learns more about Nosgoth Raziel loses his desire to kill Kain. However, the two are functionally immortal, so they're the only ones that can kill the other by virtue of Kain possessing the material version of the sword Soul Reaver that can imprison Raziel within it, and Raziel possessing the spectral version of the same sword that can bypass Kain's vampiric body and damage his spirit directly.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Being the chosen wielder of the Master Sword, Link is the only one who can kill Ganondorf.
  • A recurring element in Metal Gear. The Patriots have something to do with all the subsequent incidents.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: The Boss would accept nothing less than to die at the hands of the greatest soldiers she knew. Turns out, that includes her best student John. Unfortunately, this trope was forced on her by her enemies in Langley; they goaded a psychopath into firing a nuke and the only way to prevent World War III was to ensure that the person who gave him that nuke would be executed by her own disciple.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Raiden was selected from the list because he was the most appropriate person to take Solidus Snake out; Solidus raised Raiden as a child soldier, commanding a Redshirt Army of children while Raiden was HIS prized warrior. The real reason is that, of all the soldiers Solidus raised from kids, Raiden was the farthest away from Skull Face that a butcher could get.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: And when Ocelot was possessed by Liquid, Snake declares that he's the only one meant to kill him. Or just Ocelot. As it turns out, the new Foxdie patch did that just fine.
  • In Paladog, the titular Paladog is the only character that can even harm Ghost Paladog. All of Paladog's Player Mooks will simply ignore and pass by Ghost Paladog, although they can still be hurt by his attacks.
  • Only Zeratul is able to kill the Cerebrates in StarCraft's penultimate mission, if the kill is done by any other unit the Cerebrate regenerates. Due to a glitch with location triggers it's possible for another unit to kill the Cerebrate for good while Zeratul is directly nearby, but the intent is for him to do it. In the expansion the player repeats the process in some missions using generic Dark Templar in place of Zeratul to the same effect.
  • In StarCraft II, several future prophecies specify that Kerrigan is absolutely vital to opposing the Big Bad. This leads several characters, who in the previous game swore to kill her or die trying, actually saving her life and helping her. It turns out to be because Kerrigan is the only living being with sufficient native power to ascend into a new Xel'Naga, which is the only thing powerful enough to challenge the Big Bad's might (given that he is a Xel'Naga). Plus, having her around means the Big Bad can't just mind-control the entire Zerg Swarm into being his slaves... he still tries and partially succeeds, but now Kerrigan is fighting him for control every step of the way.
  • In Tsukihime, the strange way in which Nrvnqsr's body is made up means it is nearly impossible to kill him: you have to kill all 666 of his familiars at once or he can regenerate them instantly. The protagonist, Shiki Tohno, on the other hand, has the explicit ability to kill things Deader than Dead, making him uniquely suited to killing Nrvnqsr. If Shiki kills something, it stays dead. Period.
  • In Warcraft III, while the trope isn't mentioned by name, it's in effect in the penultimate Night Elf level where Illidan consumes the skull of Gul'dan. This triggers his permanent transformation into a demon, and more importantly gives him Chaos damage, the only type that can damage the demon lord Tichondrius.
  • One boss in the first chapter of Xenosaga can only be killed if the final blow is landed by Shion or Junior. This is because it is connected to various mental issues of theirs stemming from the Miltia Incident.

  • Justified in El Goonish Shive. Grace was granted specific genetic modifications since birth, that grant her immunity to Damien's powers. (Namely, she's fireproof and her warform has claws with poison that slows healing, while Damien is a Pryomancer of insane powers with a massive Healing Factor).
  • Lampshaded by Belkar of the The Order of the Stick, who declines to finish off Crystal because he recognizes her as Haley's nemesis.
  • In the Sluggy Freelance arc "Dangerous Days," it's ultimately Torg, a pretty ordinary guy, who defeats Aylee, not Badass Longcoat Riff, not super-assassin Oasis, not Killer Rabbit Bun-Bun, not even the real Aylee, because Torg was the one with the most emotional involvement.
    • Also done in the "Oceans Unmoving" arc, where the only one who even stands a chance against Blacksoul is Bun-Bun, and the only one who stands a chance against Bun-Bun is Blacksoul. Makes sense when it's later revealed that Blacksoul is actually Bun-Bun from the future.

    Web Original 
  • In the last few episodes of Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, Washington makes it clear that only Church is capable of stopping the Meta. However, this isn't due to Church's fighting ability (which has never really been particularly good), but rather because Church is actually the Alpha A.I., and thus the only being capable of neutralizing the A.I.s that the Meta has merged with.

    Western Animation 
  • It was long hinted in American Dragon: Jake Long that only Jake could defeat the Dark Dragon for good. Had it not been for Executive Meddling, it no doubt would've happened.
  • Justified in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Only the Avatar, The Master of the Four Elements, can stop Fire Lord Ozai and restore balance among the four Elemental Nations. Iroh, who is one of the very few normal benders who could possibly match the Fire Lord in battle, explains why it must be the Avatar's responsibility: if anyone else were to defeat Ozai, it would be seen by history as little more than more violence from victims of war or another power struggle. The Avatar, however, is a spiritual figure that the public believes transcends petty worldly desires like revenge or political power. Them defeating Ozai at his strongest would be seen as an enlightened being enacting near-divine justice on a power-mad tyrant for the sake of the world. The symbolic value of this narrative would be powerful enough to prevent the remaining Ozai supporters from gaining public support to restart the war after their defeat.
  • On Gargoyles, Macbeth and Demona are both immortal until one kills the other, at which point both will die. Macbeth actually wants to slay Demona and put and end to them both, and this has become his lifelong goal; Demona... Not so much. Ironically it seems like most other people aren't aware of this fact, as the Hunters have been trying to kill Demona themselves for nearly a thousand years and the heroes declared No One Could Survive That! on each of them at least once. (Though that Macbeth wasn't even real anyway...)
  • Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: Renegades needs to be the one to kill Snake Eyes in order to avenge the death of his uncle, the Hard Master and save face with his clan. He's also the only member of Cobra with a chance of actually defeating him one-on-one.
  • In Justice League, "For the Man Who Has Everything", Batman tries everything to bring Superman out of the Black Mercy-induced dream because only he is anything like powerful enough to defeat Mongul
  • While not 'kill', it was revealed in a web episode of Mighty Magiswords that only Vambre can hurt Prohyas (it makes sense since they are siblings).
  • Samurai Jack is a literal case. He is the only one who can slay Aku, because his sword is the only known weapon with the power to do so.
    • This also applies to the Guardian of the time portal. According to prophecy, only one person will ever be able to slay him and use the portal successfully. Guess who that person is? However, as the Guardian says at the end, Jack is "not ready" now, but he "will be... someday". Instead, in Season 5, it's revealed that Aku slew the Guardian and destroyed the portal to keep Jack from using, subverting this trope.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Only I Can Kill Her


Demona & MacBeth

Taken to literal extremes. Both Demona & MacBeth are linked by magic doomed to live on forever, until one kills the other, at which point both of them will die.

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Example of:

Main / OnlyICanKillHim

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