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It can be hard to show all the aspects of a fictional ability since such a thing does not have any Real Life context to which the audience can relate. So when a creator wants to show that using a special power takes a toll on a character, he will often have the character faint afterward.

This is especially true when the character uses a power for the first time because they might overdo it due to inexperience. Presumably, the strain of using it is too much for them, causing their mind to shut down in self defense.

This is frequently used for powers that aren't flashy in order to make them seem more dramatic, such as telepathy and other Psychic Powers.

If the fainting is a symptom of a more serious health problem, it's also a case of Heroic RRoD. When it happens the first time a power is used, it's related to How Do I Shot Web?. Can be a form of Blessed with Suck.

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If the collapse is after a dramatic win, especially a battle, and is used to skip the boring aftermath, it's Post-Victory Collapse.

Compare to Fainting Seer, which may overlap for Seers. May overlap with Cast from Lifespan. Subtrope of Fainting.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Metal Fight Beyblade, Madoka faints after using her bey to save Kyoya's Leon. It's explained as her "not being used to blading."
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Sakura sometimes collapses after transforming Clow Cards into Star Cards. She knows that doing so will build her power, so she rushes it.
  • In Digimon Adventure, little Kari emits a light so powerful that her Digimon allies digivolve on contact. However, she has trouble walking, and near the end of the episode, she keels over. Fortunately, by that point, her brother, Tai, is there to pick her up.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters has the Duel Armor. After the first battle with it Yami Yugi collapses, and in the subsequent episode Yugi is still feeling the effects. This lessens as the series goes on, but also happens to Jounouchi.
  • Bleach: Jakuho Raikoben severely drains Sui-Feng's reiatsu, enough that it usually takes her three days to recover before she can safely use it again. Forcing herself to use it twice in less than an hour caused her to briefly lose consciousness.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne: Hitomi's ability to see into the future, via Tarot Cards, often has this effect on her afterwards. It's eventually revealed that both the duration and the severity of her fainting spells is determined by her emotional state. Meaning, the greater her anxiety, the greater its toll on her following her vision; not to mention the part about her anxiety making those visions come true!
  • In Soul Eater, Sid collapses after using his power to get the main characters and Stein outside of the trap set for the whole school. In fairness to him, he had just nearly been blown up then rushed all the way back to Death City.
  • Dragon Ball Z: When Gohan first goes SSJ2 he triggers it for only a second and then passes out. This was seen in one of Goku's flashbacks of their training in the time chamber and was the moment that convinced him that Gohan could beat Cell if he could sustain that power, which he did.
  • Sailor Moon usually faints or at least collapses and loses her Super form after using her Rainbow Moon Heartache attack in the S series, although that restriction on her Super form doesn't apply during SuperS, probably because she's using a power source other than the Holy Grail in that series. She also has this problem in the first few episodes of Stars, when she first tries to become Eternal Sailor Moon, and like with SuperS, the problem disappears once that becomes her default form when the Animamates start appearing.
  • In Slayers, the Giga Slave spell has this effect on Lina (as well as turning her hair white for a few days).
  • In Megaman NT Warrior Axess, after repelling the Villain of the Week SavageMan, Lan faints after exiting Cross Fusion with MegaMan.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Kurapika does this if he spends too long with the Scarlet Eyes activated.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy falls into this after some of his fights. Usually it's the result of blood loss or poison, though after Enies Lobby and Thriller Bark he passes out from the strain of his Gear 2 technique, which is basically increasing the speed of his blood flow- if it wasn't his rubbery body, the stress on his heart would kill him.
    • Cavendish, one of the participants of the Corrida Colosseum tournament in Dressrosa, experiences this every time his Split Personality Hakuba takes over. Hakuba is insanely fast, even by One Piece standards, and knocked out almost everyone in the ring in a flash. Too bad for him, he's participating in a tournament, so this trope kicking in causes him to lose the match in favor of Rebecca, the one gladiator who wasn't knocked out by his attack.
  • At the end of penultimate episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Hayate faints after she uses her powers as the Mistress of the Night Sky for the first time to help defeat an Eldritch Abomination.
  • "Blackout Syndrome" appears in the climatic end of Future GPX Cyber Formula. The tremendous g-force generated from driving a formula car over 580km/h around the roller-coaster downhill corner causes a driver to go blind for a few seconds. Hayato, who pushes beyond 600km/h, almost collapses in the final lap.
  • Over using spells in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? will drain the caster's mind until they suffer "Mind Zero" and pass out. This happens to Bell after he learns Fire Bolt and casts it one too many times, and has to be saved by Aiz again. He learns to be more conservative afterwards.
  • In Aruosumente, when as a child Legna uses his powers for something serious for the first time — predicting who has squirreled away weapons and hid them at the water mill — he has repeated blackouts from the strain.
  • In Pokémon, Satoshi/Ash and his Gekkouga/Greninja have access to an unique Super Mode through battle bonding with each other. However, using the form proves to be very exhausting for Ash, and all the damage Greninja takes Ash feels as well. This eventually reaches it's logical conclusion during Ash's rematch with Alain, where Ash passes out in the midst of battle. While he was winning. It is eventually revealed that Ash and Greninja have this problem because they don't fully trust each other yet. After overcoming a shared Heroic BSoD and making amends, they iron this flaw out, although Ash and Greninja still share each other's pain, albeit on a more downplayed level.
  • Natsume of Natsume's Book of Friends will sometimes pass out after releasing the names of powerful youkai due to how much of his spiritual energy he expends doing so.
  • Often happens to characters in Naruto when they expend a ton of chakra performing some powerful jutsu, far too many times to count. A more straight example may be genjutsu however, as genjutsu is purely mental and can take its toll on a ninja's body, especially the more powerful ones like sharingan.
    • In particular, Kakashi very nearly passes out after using his mangekyo sharingan three times in one battle, the last time being when he uses it to absorb an explosion caused by Deidara in order to protect his friends and teammates. Even then, he somehow remains conscious albeit unable to walk without assistance, until Might Guy gets the bright idea to give the guy a piggyback ride.
    • Happens to almost all the characters but Kakashi in particular suffers from this thanks to his sharingan because he is not an Uchiha, and so lacks the Uchiha clan stamina to go with it. Thus, when he does use his sharingan, he burns out very quickly. Also, Kakashi is unable to turn his sharingan off, so to conserve energy he has to keep it covered at all times. For these reasons, he often winds up collapsing after major battles. It was even lampshaded by another character in one of the later episodes, much to Kakashi's chagrin.

    Comic Books 
  • U Go Girl from the short-lived Mike Allred X-Force. Her power would literally drain her energy and she'd more than occasionally pass out after using her whirly teleportation.
  • In early issues of Runaways, Molly would black out from exhaustion after a throwing a single punch. As she got more used to it she wouldn't pass out, but would still need a nap after using her powers.
  • Many telepaths of the various X-Men incarnations do this at least once in almost all of their adaptations.
  • Starfire, in her very first appearance in the Teen Titans, faints after using her powers.
  • X-Men:
    • Rogue faints after some time if she absorbs the powers of a sufficiently strong superpowered person, such as Magneto.
    • Storm passed out in mid-air after powering down a planet-threatening supercell of her own creation (Dr. Doom had trapped her as a statue and creating the supercell was her hysterical claustrophobic reaction to being trapped thus).
    • At the beginning of Ultimate X-Men Storm has a tendency to faint, not from the use of power itself but from the mental effort required to reduce collateral damage — since she has no experience with aiming her lightning.
    • When he was young note , Cyclops often fainted after releasing his Eye Beams. With practice (and several retcons about how his powers worked) he learned to draw energy from sources other than his own body.
  • Happens to Doctor Strange on occasion, since magical exertion takes a toll on the body. Once he muttered, "I never used to black out. Now it seems it's all I do."
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    Fan Works 
  • In the Facing the Future Series, Danny does this whenever he comes out of his out of control Super Mode.
  • In Loved And Lost, Twilight Sparkle uses a shrinking spell Prince Jewelius showed her a few chapters earlier to turn Queen Chrysalis and her entire Changeling army tiny enough to fit a glass jar. She becomes exhausted and faints while Jewelius seizes the power from the princesses. She wakes up to find her friends, brother and the princesses driven away by Jewelius who has made himself Equestria's king. He even manages to poison her mind and fill her with hatred towards her loved ones.
  • Triptych Continuum:
    • Invoked and played for laughs in If Rainbow Dash Can't Sleep... Given that, even when well rested and fed, performing the Sonic Rainboom leaves her seriously drained; Rainbow Dash reasons that doing so in her current exhausted state would be an excellent insomnia cure. While it worked, leaving her out like the proverbial light, doing so at 3 A. M. directly above Ponyville....
    • A far more serious occurrence is seen (and more referenced) in Goosed, when Fluttershy tries to drive off a flock of Crystal Geese with The Stare and collapses. Spike is capable of instantly organizing treatmentnote  because Twilight Sparkle has done this fairly often since fillyhood, forcing him to learn how to stabilize ponies suffering from magical over-exertion or watch his sister die.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Secret of NIMH: Also happens to Mrs. Brisby, immediately after the film's climax, wherein she uses The Stone for the first and only time to move her home. She collapses as its power subsides, then passes out.
  • The Incredibles: Violet suffers this for a few seconds when her force-field is put under extreme pressure.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • At the climax of the first movie, the Magic of Friendship saves the day — but it's still straining for the human girls who wield it. After dispelling Sunset Shimmer's demonic transformation and mind-control magic, the six protagonists are seen lying on the floor, looking drained. Twilight Sparkle even seems unconscious for a few seconds until Spike licks her face.
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree:
      • The first time she uses her telekinesis voluntarily, to move a large boulder, human Twilight manages but faints and is caught by Sunset Shimmer. She recovers swiftly, though.
      • Later, Rarity is creating a gem-like Deflector Shield around the group against Gaea Everfree's assault. She quickly realizes she can't hold the hostile plant life at bay indefinitely, and when her shield finally shatters she briefly collapses in Applejack's arms.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Matrix Reloaded: At the conclusion, in the real world, Neo and the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar escapes a bomb that destroys their ship, only to find themselves about to be ripped apart by Sentinels. However, Neo can now sense and communicate with real-world machinery. He hacks the five Sentinels, causing them to short and deactivate. The process causes Neo to fall unconscious and inadvertently jack himself, without hardware, into a Matrix-connected construct world, temporarily imprisoning himself.
  • Spider-Man 2: Peter manages to stop the runaway elevated train, using only his webbing and brute strength. He passed out from the strain, but was caught by the passengers before he could fall very far.
  • Shin Godzilla: When Godzilla uses its nuclear breath for the first time, it's enough to absolute annihilate most of Tokyo but uses up so much energy it goes into a comatose state for two weeks, allowing the humans to plan a strategy to neutralize Godzilla when it wakes up.

    Literature 
  • In Eragon, Eragon's first attempt at casting combat magic caused him to lose consciousness because it took a large amount of energy out of him at once.
  • Alaric Morgan is apt to do this, since he's a bit of an overachiever and Deryni powers are physically taxing to use. In High Deryni, Morgan tries to contact Derry mentally (sending a Call) during the reconciliation service for himself and Duncan and faints from the effort; Duncan makes the excuse that his cousin isn't used to fasting. He also collapses from overextending himself to Call on campaign in The King's Justice, and Kelson scolds him for pushing himself too hard.
  • Physical exhaustion is the main symptom of overchanneling in The Wheel of Time, even to the point of unconsciousness. In extreme cases it can also cause a permanent loss of one's powers.
  • In The Dresden Files, wizards feel fatigue when they use a lot of magic. Pushed too far, it certainly can cause a blackout. Notably, it's like exercising, in that wizards get better as they practice: in the first novel, Storm Front, Harry gets exhausted from too much magic quickly and has to rely on other method to succeed. By the time of Dead Beat and Proven Guilty, he's tossing around fire constantly without even slowing down, though he still occasionally relies on mundane weapons. By Changes, his magical prowess has expanded to impress The White Council, comprised of wizards with decades, if not centuries more experience.
  • Happens frequently to seers and to the royals in Tales of the Branion Realm — when you've literally just exploded into flames, it takes a lot out of you. Leads to Post-Victory Collapse in some cases.
  • After practising her telekinetic powers by suspending a cigar in mid-air, Matilda is so exhausted she goes straight to sleep.
  • In The Left Hand of Darkness Estraven — the native of the planet Winter — has been trained to enter a state of "dothe" greatly increasing his strength and endurance. But the period of great strength is followed by a longer period of "dark sleep". Once he dragged the Earthling protagonist to safety and let himself relax, he slept 2 days straight, woke to eat, then slept some more.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Misty passes out and sleeps when she's moved a lot of people for long distances. Alex also conks out sometimes.
  • Journey to Chaos: Eric casts three spells without chants in quick succession while simultaneously using his burgeoning Casting a Shadow power under the tropical sun, and in a land that lacks mana. He passes out seconds later and when he wakes up, he needs a Mana Potion just to stand up.
  • During one of the New Jedi Order novels, Luke Skywalker uses the Force to telekinetically manipulate the point singularity a Yuuzhan Vong war creature uses for Deflector Shields. Though he's successful in disabling the enemy, he almost passes out in his starfighter. Later on, Kyp Durron replicates the technique and, as he's better with manipulating lots of Force energy at once, ends up "merely" completely exhausted.
  • In Uprooted, this is a hazard for wizards and witches as their store of power is invariably a reservoir rather than a steady stream to be tapped without consequence. When a magic user is inexperienced, hasty, and/or desperate enough to drain themselves to the dregs attempting the slightest cantrip afterwards without at least some rest lays them out cold.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Willow, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, often collapsed after over-exerting herself during spellcasting. She also sometimes experienced a Psychic Nosebleed
  • Smallville: When Chloe first uses her healing power, she collapses so completely doctors think she's dead. She actually takes on the person's injury, but didn't know that, and Lois had apparently been killed. It looked as she had traded her life for Lois's, but thankfully, she got better. She used her power to that degree once more, and stayed apparently dead for 18 hours.
  • Kamen Rider Blade: The title character passes out after all his early uses of King form. So does anyone standing close enough to actually witness him using his final attack on a Monster of the Week. King Form is one of KR's 'so powerful it may be too much of a good thing' modes, such as were seen back in Kamen Rider Kuuga.
  • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger sometimes has Jasmine overtax her psychometry powers and become a Fainting Seer.
  • In The Peacekeeper Wars, the miniseries sequel to Farscape, Crichton collapses and is rendered catatonic after shutting down the wormhole he created to force peace between the Scarrans and Peacekeepers. The sequence is somewhat unclear whether this is a result of the process of the mechanism itself, (which appears to involve some form of mental interface) or the alien "Einstein" removing wormhole weapon knowledge from his mind at the same time.
  • Castiel of Supernatural experiences this in "The Song Remains the Same" (S05, Ep13), when he takes Winchesters back in time to save their parents from a rogue angel. Without his connection to Heaven, he barely has enough power to get them there, and blacks out quickly after vomiting blood.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions. Normally, Endurance is used to fuel a character's power use. If a character runs out of Endurance, he can use Stun instead. If his Stun runs out, he falls unconscious.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia (1980). If the Norse god Odin uses his powers to heal anyone, he falls asleep for 1 to 10 days.
    • The "Reserve of Strength" feat allows a spellcaster to boost his caster level, and push the level cap on a spell effect, but in exchange for being stunned for 1-3 rounds, depending on the importance of the boost. If the character is immune to stunning, the spell becomes instead Cast from Hit Points.
  • In the Dresden Files RPG, as in the books, spellcasting causes physical strain on the caster in two ways: firstly, calling up any magic at all (well, any evocation, and any ritual magic over a certain threshold of power) damages the character's mental stress by a small amount. Worse, if they call up more power than they can use (either in desperation or because they screwed up a roll), they have to take the excess as either backlash, which is this, or fallout, which is worse.
  • In GURPS, strenuous activities, some power uses, and spell-casting, all cost Fatigue Points (FP); powerful spells and some powers may be defined to cost a lot of them. Running really low on FP can cause a character to suffer penalties to movement and other actions. If necessary, after running out completely, the character can go on to spend Hit Points (HP) in place of FP, and running out of those can eventually cause some kind of total collapse.

    Video Games 
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, all magic powers run off stamina and going into the negative will knock the character out cold until their stamina returns to the positive. The total stamina is derived from both willpower and physical constitution.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time:
    • Fayt faints after activating his genetic Symbology ability Destruction for the first time. He also suffers some temporary memory loss from the event, indicating that it was especially psychologically traumatic.
    • A flashback shows Maria passing out the first time she used her power of Alteration. It's heavily implied she also lost her memory of the event.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Wynne's plot power Vessel of the Spirit leaves her stunned and disoriented after every time she uses it. This effect is only alleviated after completing her personal side-quest.
  • Suikoden IV has Lazlo faint after each use of the Rune of Punishment, due to it draining its host's lifeforce with each use... until it finally kills them. This can be averted by successfully recruiting all 108 Stars of Destiny.
  • In God of War (PS4), Atreus gets so upset about Modi trying to kill Kratos and insulting Faye, Atreus' very recently deceased mother, that after all his other attacks fail, Atreus accidentally triggers Spartan Rage, a god power he neither knew he possessed nor knows how to control. This results in his power flaming for a few brief seconds, similar to Kratos' own Spartan Rage, before Atreus sputters out and collapses.
    Modi: Oops! I think I broke him!
  • Persona 3: the MC falls unconscious for a few days after summoning his Persona for the first time.
    • Also happens to Fuuka when she awakens her Persona for the first time, which resulted in her having to rest in the hospital.
    • Noticeable but less pronounced in Persona 4 and Persona 5 as well: in both games, whenever a new person unlocks a persona for the first time, they get drained and have to leave the TV world or Cognitive world pretty much immediately. Persona 4 also has the nature of the TV world drain the stamina of anyone that doesn't have fog-clearing glasses, making them much more tired than normal just by being there. People that get thrown into the TV world can't fight back without help because they can't summon the energy to do so.
  • Happens a few times to Vincent Valentine in Dirge of Cerberus. When his most powerful demon, Chaos, emerges he passes out afterwards the first time this happens in the game. Later uses of this ability sometimes just cut back to him lying on the floor and resting for a time.
  • Max has one in the second episode of Life Is Strange. It gets much worse in the final episode, where she passes out and "wakes up" in her personal Black Bug Room.
  • In Trauma Center: Under the Knife and its remake Trauma Center: Second Opinion, when Dr. Stiles consciously activates his Healing Touch for the first time in an operation (first time he did it was subconsciously out of desparation to save the patient from imminent death, second time was to practice), he faints afterwards. Dr. Hoffman scolds him and tells him he shouldn't use it anymore lest he rely too heavily upon it, but reluctantly agrees to let Dr. Stiles use it only when he absolutely needs to, leading to the once-per-operation limit on manually using the Healing Touch in subsequent operationsnote  (although the limit is also in the operation in which Dr. Stiles faints).

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Ruby Rose blacks out (or rather, whites out) for days after tapping into the power of silver eyes for the first time.
    • Emerald Sustrai can create hallucinations that only her victims can experience. She complains about a headache after tricking two medics with her power since giving more than one person a hallucination at the same time stresses her power. In the Volume 5 finale, Emerald suffers a Villainous Breakdown when she thinks Cinder Fall might be dead, and triggers one mass hallucination in grief that leaves her unconscious afterward.

    Web Comics 
  • When Raezinus from Deverish Also demonstrates the portal spell and it becomes important to keep it open for a while, he eventually passes out from the strain of keeping the spell going for so long.
  • In The Cyantian Chronicles, the first time Darrik's energy manipulation abilities activate, he tosses a horse. It uses so much of he energy that he is left nearly unconscious.
  • Sidekicks: Having flew all the way from the Committee to the prison Pluton was being kept at, and thus exhausting all of his power, Darkslug suffered one after a brief fight with Pluton.
  • In Spacetrawler, Eebs (or humans like Yuri with Eeb brain implants) will black out if they strain their telekinesis by moving objects that are too massive. Too much of this strain can outright kill them. It's later revealed that this limitation is a result of brain-clamping—we've yet to see an upper limit on how much matter an unclamped Eeb can move telekinetically.
  • In Drowtales, it's possible to blackout from overuse of mana. It actually happened to a weaker student in chapter 2. In later chapters Ariel and Chirinide exert themselves enough to become woozy after battle. Those who are more proficient in the mana arts are capable of killing themselves through exertion.
  • In El Goonish Shive, this happens to Grace after she uses her telekinesis for the first time to disarm a mugger.
  • Thistle of Daughter of the Lilies passes out after using lots of magic
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent, this can happen to mages who overuse their power. When it happened to Lalli, he was in a Deep Sleep until he recovered.

    Western Animation 
  • This happens to Danny all the time in Danny Phantom.
  • In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Fantastic Four Worlds Greatest Heroes Doomsday", Reed experiences this after stretching far enough to close the Negative Zone portal. Unfortunately, he's high in the air when it happens.
  • In the 1990s X-Men animated series, Jean does this after using her powers on Juggernaut to give him Laser-Guided Amnesia. She does so again in a later episode, after showing Candra the truth of the Assassin's betrayal.
  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, Christy faints after using her earth powers to protect herself, her father, Wolverine, and Mystique from an explosion.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The first time Aang enters the Avatar State in the pilot episode and several times in the first season before he gets used to it, he is visibly exhausted afterward. By Season Two, he's typically okay even if emotionally distressed.
  • The Legend of Korra; In the Origins Episode, Wan's first attempt at merging with Raava and using all four elements burns though his energy rather quickly and causes him to pass out. Once he fully fuses with her and becomes the First Avatar, he doesn't have this problem any more.
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Niko of the Galaxy Rangers will occasionally overtax herself, draining her implant and her natural abilities and end up knocked out or barely conscious for a while. The upside is that if it gets to that point, she's probably just saved everyone's ass with it.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: This sometimes happens to Gwen when she overuses her mana.

    Real Life 
  • Tom Jones allegedly fainted upon singing the long and loud final note in the theme song to Thunderball.
  • Dwayne Johnson blacked out after filming the scene in Hercules (2014) where Hercules roars, "I AM HERCULES!!" and breaks free of his chains, since they used real chains and he also strained his lungs to the limit with the scream.
  • Sean Schemmel fainted after the legendary Kiai he performed when his character Goku transformed into a Super Saiyan 3 in Dragon Ball Z.
  • X Japan drummer Yoshiki Hayashi was somewhat infamous for this, until his doctors and managers demanded he take it down a notch.
  • Anyone that has ever served in a military knows the first thing you're taught is never lock your knees while at attention for this very reason.

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