Follow TV Tropes


Surprisingly Realistic Outcome

Go To
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Try to dodge bullets, and you'll end up like me.

"It doesn't seem possible, but I guess TV has betrayed me."

Say you're watching your favorite action movie. Bob is in a car chase and the bad guys are right behind him. He sees a sharp turn up ahead next to a brick wall. Thinking ahead, Bob decides to drift at the last second so he can cause his pursuers to crash and escape. However, Bob is not an experienced drifter, so instead of drifting, the car flips, barrel rolls, and smashes into the wall, letting the bad guys catch up with him.

This is what is probably going through your mind: "Huh? Wait! What? Did that just happen? I mean… that is how it would happen in Real Life, but…" A Surprisingly Realistic Outcome happens when a work subverts narrative conventions by deriving an outcome from realistic principles, temporarily removing otherwise fictional logic. We can often anticipate results based on the story's narrative pattern; this trope subverts those expectations by momentarily employing more realism than its norm.

This trope isn't merely a Plot Twist. To minimize stress on editors, make sure your example is Surprising, Realistic, and an Outcome:

A Surprisingly Realistic Outcome differs from Deconstruction in several ways:

  • Expectations: Once we've identified a work as a deconstruction, we should be able to anticipate how it handles certain tropes, differing from how this trope must be surprising. While a deconstruction will sometimes lead with a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome, the consequences down the line won't surprise us anymore.
  • Timing: Because a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome is a subversion and is often jarring, it's supposed to be a momentary trope. Deconstructions typically weave themselves into the fabric of a story, creating something lasting for at least a significant portion of the work.
  • Realism: A Surprisingly Realistic Outcome subverts expectations by refusing to have things work how one would expect from fiction, meaning it excludes all Applied Phlebotinum. A deconstruction discusses or plays with assumptions underpinning a trope or theme. Deconstructions don't necessarily involve objective realism, as they can include examining a Logical Weakness or a subversion of Required Secondary Powers. While we can deconstruct the workings of Applied Phlebotinum, we can't make it realistic.

Video game examples overlap with Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay. Anti-Climax might run in parallel but doesn't require realism. Fridge Logic is when the realistic outcome exists only in the audience's mind. Extraordinary World, Ordinary Problems is about mundane problems still existing in fictional settings. Puff of Logic is when an unrealistic outcome abruptly becomes realistic after someone mentions the unrealism. An Unbuilt Trope deals with situations where the Expected Unrealistic Outcome didn't exist at the time and veers more towards this trope.

Please do not add any real-life examples, as this trope is about differing expectations between reality and fiction. For cases of fiction-making you expect the wrong things in real life, see Reality Is Unrealistic and Television Is Trying to Kill Us.

Example subpages

    open/close all folders 

  • A British NHS advert from the late 2000s featured a crowd of people watching in awe as a Batman-esque superhero scaled a building scaffold dramatically and acrobatically to retrieve a lost balloon. When the hero reached the top, he slipped off the pole on which he was precariously balanced and fell down the building. The audience then sees an unpleasant shot of the ordinary man twitching blankly on the concrete floor. "Too much alcohol makes you feel invincible when you're most vulnerable," says the narrator. It was an effective advert.
  • One Cartoon Network ad has a police officer chasing a thief into an alley. When he goes into the alley, he finds the thief now dressed in drag and trying to flirt with the officer. The officer isn't fooled and immediately arrests him. A caption then appears saying, "You are not Bugs Bunny.''note 
  • A commercial for Big M (an Australian brand of flavored milk) has a man walking along with a carton in his hand. He sees a piano roll out of a moving van and down the street, heading directly towards an old lady struggling to walk her dog. The man puts down his chocolate Big M and runs after it, jumping onto a passing garbage truck and then a motorbike to get between the woman and the piano. But when he turns and puts his arms out to stop the piano - it doesn't stop, taking him, the woman, and the dog (pulled by its lead) with it. Cue the slogan: "Think Big! But not too big."
  • A Dr. Pepper TV ad had two men moving a pinball machine down the stairs. A snapping noise, and one of the guys is in pain. A doctor with a can of Dr. Pepper comes near the guy, complete with a Dubstep song. The guy seems happy until he resumes being hurt and is about to let go of the machine, which would make the machine crash into the wall.
  • A series of New Zealand safety PSAs presented several people acting like they're in standard commercials by talking to the camera while walking or working. In doing so, they don't see where they're going, so they trip, slip and fall. HARD. They are not comical pratfalls; the impact makes it clear they have broken bones at the very least.
  • Sprite's "Obey Your Thirst" campaign in The '90s was a series of commercials about subverting and mocking advertising tropes.
    • One of the most famous was the "Grant Hill Drinks Sprite" series of ads, which parodied Cereal-Induced Superpowers. In one of them, a kid spots NBA player Grant Hill drinking Sprite, and thinks Sprite will make him a basketball player. He quickly disproves himself by drinking Sprite and then failing a slam dunk, falling on his ass.
      Announcer: If you want to make it to the NBA... practice. If you want a refreshing drink, obey your thirst. Sprite.
    • Similarly, another has a bunch of young guys driving around in a convertible in slow motion, bouncing the car on its wheels to look cool. The car stops, and one guy leaps out of the car and starts dramatically chugging back his Sprite. When he turns the cap, the bottle explodes and covers him in soft drink — because all that bouncing shook it up. He does not look good while shrieking and dripping wet.
    • Yet another commercial delivers a one-two potshot at both Sunny Delight and Kool-Aid as a mother brings some "Sun Fizz" beverage to her son and daughter, but before the children could even get a sip, the mascot emerges from the bottle and tells them how delicious Sun Fizz is. Rather than amazement and wonder, the family scream in terror and flee with the mascot in pursuit. It even made the dog run away. The mother trips over the vacuum and the daughter screams while the mother tells them to run as it cuts to the Sprite motto of "Image Is Nothing, Thirst Is Everything Obey Your Thrist".
      Announcer: Trust your gut, not some cartoon character.
  • In adverts for Hostess Fruit Pies, the products advertised usually successfully serve as a Delicious Distraction long enough for the hero to complete their task. In this one, The Joker throws some of the pies at some police officers who want to arrest him...and immediately gets arrested the moment he tries to sneak out.
  • The an M&M's commercial that introduces a Chocolate bar character that flirts with Tia Carrere, The character melts in a lounge chair while sunbathing when Red and Yellow aren't effected because of their candy shells and even if they were effected the shells would keep their chocolate inside unless they get cracked open.
  • Played for laughs in this Limu Emu and Doug commercial for Liberty Mutual Insurance, which is also a tie-in commercial for the film, Spider-Man: No Way Home. Doug believes if he gets bitten by a spider, he will gain the same powers as Spider-Man, which he believes will make him better at selling insurance. Instead, an ambulance rushes him to the hospital while his skin breaks out from the spider's venom.
    Doug: Did it work?
    • The short version of the ad ends with Doug giving a thumbs-up and saying he's okay as paramedics load him into the ambulance.
  • In both extended edits from Telstra’s "This is Footy Country" ad for the NRL and the AFL, Mick Robinson recruits a series of local townspeople – including a police officer, a pastor and a mechanic – to fill in for the Waubra Emus in the Elimination Final due to the team’s bus breaking down. Despite Mick managing to get the ragtag team there in time for the game, they don’t fare too well against their opposing team, judging by the Smash Cut to the real team watching them "getting smashed" on the tablet device.
  • A Public Service Announcement about healthy eating and staying active (seen on the VHS of Dr. Dolittle) is an ad for a fictional snack cake called "Gofer Cakes." While it starts off as a typical commercial for this kind of product in real life with the kids enjoying the cakes and stuffing their faces full of them, it ends with the kids full and sick and unable to do anything else but lie there from eating nothing but sugary snack cakes.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Blood Blockade Battlefront: Chain easily wins a drinking contest seen with several empty shot glasses after her victory. The Stinger of that episode shows how the drinking contest left her hunched over her toilet at dawn, violently vomiting.
  • The Dangers in My Heart: Yamada gets hit in the face by a basketball during gym. With the series being a lighthearted romcom, she comically hops back up as if nothing is wrong. Then her nose starts bleeding profusely a few seconds later, she has to be escorted to the nurse’s office, and leaves school early. She also had to cancel a modeling shoot and spends the next few days with a nose plaster. The whole incident is treated seriously by every other character.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, a conflict with an intricately shaded and very dramatic Dullahan ends with making a deal. Before leaving, the Dullahan mounts a horse and rears in triumph... but horse and rider are indoors at the time, so it smacks its neck armor on the ceiling when it does, and as it rides out its upper body clangs against the doorway. The interior space is plenty large enough for an armored figure and even large enough for a horse to walk through but it's not built large enough for both at once.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Proud Beauty Lucy Heartfilia gets oggled by Spear Carriers or Mooks from time to time. When this happens, Lucy sends them flying in Pervert Revenge Mode. However, at one point, main protagonist Natsu walks in on Lucy in the shower. Lucy goes into Pervert Revenge Mode again and tries to hit Natsu with a flying kick. Natsu — a powerful fighter many times physically stronger than Lucy — just blocks the kick, causing Lucy to fall flat on her face in the bathroom. Lucy lays on the floor in shock while Natsu says that Lucy's combat technique needs work.
    • When the crew goes off on an S-Ranked mission to save an island from a curse that turns people into demons, they find that there is a demon on the island that was sealed away in ice, and the villains are trying to thaw it out. The villains manage to get the ice melted, only to find to their horror that the demon inside was already dead. Turns out being frozen in ice for several years is fatal, even to demons. The villains end up in a mix of shock and grief that their victory was instantly rendered worthless.
  • In Food Wars!, when Erina learns that Yuki was able to be admitted into Totsuki despite her trying to fail him in his entrance exam, she punches the wall in anger. The following panel shows her kneeling on the ground massaging her now hurting hand. A teenage girl's hand meeting a solid wall is a match-up with a clear winner.
  • In Great Teacher Onizuka, after the title character gets rejected from the teacher position, he gives up and travels to Akita to train as a truck driver. Then he receives a phone call, telling him he's been accepted after all, but must make it to the school in Tokyo within three hours to get the job. A trip from Akia to Tokyo usually would take around eight hours, so Onizuka hijacks the truck and rushes towards the school, ignoring all road rules. You'd expect him to dramatically arrive Just in Time... but he doesn't. By the time Onizuka arrives in Tokyo, he's dismayed that he's already several hours too late. No matter how great Onizuka's resolve is, he can't make a truck travel faster than it's physically able to go. (Lucky for him, he still gets the job.)
  • Interspecies Reviewers: When copy-cat reviewers show up, rather than being antagonists, they are treated as a slight annoyance after initial outrage. The titular reviewers live in a world without the internet, so finding all their competitors to make them stop would be impossible. Furthermore, Zel points out that the concept of posting reviews on businesses is not something that the reviewers could claim as intellectual property — you can't copyright an idea, after all. This leaves the heroes with no legal means to stop anyone else from playing Follow the Leader in-universe.
  • Karate Shoukoushi Kohinata Minoru: The sequel Karate Shoukoushi Monogatari takes a shot at martial arts masters humiliating and expelling unworthy students. The Reinan High Judo Club captain had the club harass a member into quitting, because the captain didn't think the harassed student had potential. Unlike most works where such actions are acceptable, the student immediately filed a complaint to the Student Council, forcing the captain to transfer away.
  • Kengan Ashura:
    • Kiryu has a dramatic reality check in the Kengan Annihilation Tournament. Despite having an unresolved rivalry with Ohma, he loses handily in the second round to the fundamentally superior Gensai Kuroki and not in an epic grudge match in the finals to Ohma.
    • In Omega, Haruo's still overweight despite training under Sekibayashi due to overeating on the meals he's given and occasionally slacking off to play video games. While Haruo has recovered his niceties and warrior spirit, he did spend years indulging in vices, and that will still take time for him to get over them regardless of his desire to improve himself.
    • Koga is The Protagonist, has The Gift for martial arts, and spent half a year intensely training to be ready for the Kengan vs Purgatory tournament. Except a few months of training isn't enough to get on the level of fighters who have years of experience under their belt. On top of this, he gets injured fighting against multiple armed opponents just a month before the tournament, which is not enough time to fully recover from multiple stab wounds and deep lacerations. Even Koga admits that he is both too injured and too inexperienced to participate and bows out of the tournament.
  • KonoSuba: The heroes beat Verdia and saved the town, but in doing so caused so much collateral damage that the reward is basically taken away right as they get it. Sure they saved the place, but essentially flooding a town is going to cause massive amounts of structural damage, and someone has to pay for it.
  • In Let's Make a Mug Too, the main character prepares to enter a ceramic art contest, over the course of several episodes. An entire episode revolves around her finding an original idea for her art piece: a ceramic zabuton seat—a concept she's very proud of, despite the skepticism of those around her. Surely her determination and originality will win her first place! ...except not; in the end, she doesn't win first place, or indeed any place, instead just getting a participation prize. For all her effort, she is a beginner competing against many more experienced artists. As for the ceramic zabuton, turns out it's completely impractical, and it shatters into pieces the moment someone heavier sits on it. That said, this being a feel-good slice-of-life series, the moral is that the participation and having fun with your friends is more important than being stunningly successful.
  • Lupin III: Part II: In one episode, Lupin steals a 200-year-old bottle of wine commissioned by Napoleon. When the gang opens it and has a sip, they immediately spit it out in disgust, because the wine has turned to vinegar. As Lupin and his crew find out the hard way, wine doesn't mature forever; the vast majority of wine should be drunk within five years of being bottled, and all wine should be drunk within fifty years. In short, the only value the wine had was the sentimentality behind it, which the gang has now rendered worthless.
  • Maria no Danzai: Kowase attempts to cut his hand off to get out of the Drowning Pit but is unable to sever the bone.
  • Odd Taxi:
    • After falling for Yano's scheme and burying himself in debt trying to court Shiho, while Kakihana is saved from being a hostage he still winds up having to work two jobs to try and fix his life. He also tries to throw away the ring he'd bought to propose to Shiho by throwing it in a river but immediately retrieves it since he needs the money bad.
    • As Odokawa points out, Imai posting about his lottery win online puts him square in the sights of many dangerous individuals, namely Yano and Dobu.
    • Tanaka does eventually get the opportunity to have the one-of-a-kind Donraku eraser when Odokawa offers to give it to him, but by that point he's lost so much more over the course of his Trauma Conga Line that he hardly cares anymore.
    • Odokawa's plan to save Imai and put Dobu, Yano and Yamamoto in prison is brilliantly orchestrated, but also incredibly precise. It's derailed by a single event outside of his control: the discovery of Yuki Mitsuya's corpse. This takes away his leverage over Yamamoto and breaks Imai's spirit, forcing him to improvise.
    • In the finale Shirakawa dives into the river to save Odokawa using her caporiea skills to break the window on his taxi. She succeeds and is seen swimming Odokawa back to shore seemingly no worse for wear, only to be revealed later she injured her foot in doing the act (likely due to the water resistance and having to put more energy in the kicks to compensate) and had to get it bandaged later.
    • The movie finale reveals what happens after the tense final scene of the anime. Odokawa overpowered and turned Sakura in for attacking him. He's a considerably hefty man in his 40s while she is a dainty high schooler, despite her willingness to kill and voracity, so she was already at a considerable disadvantage when her surprise element fell through.
  • In The Summer You Were There, since Kaori is terminally ill and goes into critical condition at the end of Chapter 30 out of 32, one might imagine that she and her girlfriend will have an emotional goodbye scene before Kaori passes on, since the chapter ends with Shizuku rushing to the hospital, but that doesn't happen. Kaori briefly regains consciousness the following day, long enough for Shizuku to thank her for everything she's done, then passes away that night, while Shizuku is asleep. Not only does her death happen at a rather late hour, but Shizuku doesn't have visitation rights due to not being Kaori's family.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Ryoko and Ayeka's emerging rivalry wrecks an old-fashioned hot springs resort for a silly gag. Five episodes later, the gang returns to the resort to find it's still a complete disaster. The elderly owner forces the others (sans Sasami and Washu) to fix the mess, as only a few months have passed since then.
  • In Toriko, the titular character is a Gourmet Hunter who goes on expeditions to recover foods from exotic locales, while being accompanied by the chef Komatsu who's interested in seeing the foods he works with in the wild. After several such trips, one arc opens with a mention that Komatsu won't be tagging along this time, as the expeditions may be Toriko's job but Komatsu has been using his vacation days and thanks to the previous trips he's run out.
  • Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure:
    • Laura's first day at a human school doesn't go well for her. She might have extensive knowledge on anything related to the ocean (which photosynthesis is applied to), but she has no idea on surface elements such as mountain ranges or human culture. Additionally, since she's not used to her legs, she easily suffers the Seiza Squirm compared to everyone else. This also bites her when she tries to swim as a human, as her skills at swimming as a mermaid doesn't translate too well to human limb movements, and she flunks her Swim Club test flailing in the water.
    • In Episode 25, after Elda fails to gather motivation, Numeri tells her that she'll give a good word for her. The following episode, Butler doesn't buy any of that and tells her to make up for her slack.
    • Episode 30 has Laura running for student council president. However, a Yaraneeda attack inconveniently happens when Laura is telling her speech and it's Laura's turn to be the one to save the day, so Manatsu and the others decide to fight off the Yaraneeda. As Laura is concerned about her friends, she decides to help them, but does so without clarifying about the election rules. Generally running away from a speech like that means conceding, but Laura wasn't too aware of that.
    • In episode 31, during the flashback, Asuka spots competitors from a rival school preparing to sabotage her partner Yuriko's tennis racket. She immediately confronts them and pins both to the lockers in order to stop them. No one else witnessed the attempted tampering, but plenty of people saw Asuka using violence to stop them. Even though she is telling the truth, Asuka lacks proof of the attempted sabotage, and a violent response remains a very negative image. The rival school threatened to go public with it unless Asuka and Yuriko withdraws from the competition, which leaves them in between a rock and a hard place.
  • In World Trigger, Osamu is aware that he is the weakest link on his team, so he spends a week improving his combat skills with some of Border's best agents and banks on the results of his intensive training to help his team win the next match. Instead of being treated to the payoff that usually follows a shonen training arc, his misplaced confidence makes him less cautious to his surroundings, resulting in him and his team being defeated horribly. Osamu learns the hard way that hard work takes years to bear fruit and rival characters also train hard, so catching up to their level in the time frame he is gunning for (roughly a month) is impossible for someone with no talent like him. He is told that focusing on developing strategies and learning support skills instead would be a more reasonable and practical goal to strive for at the moment.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the KC Grand Prix anime filler arc, the Arc Villain Siegfried unleashes a devastating virus on Kaibacorp's servers. Yugi manages to stop the virus, but Siegfried is content that his virus has already destroyed most of Kaibacorp's data. Kaiba promptly reveals how he just restored the destroyed data from a backup server.
    • In Battle City, Jounouchi is set to duel Rishid on the Kaibacorp blimp. Uniquely, this fight is the only time the series realistically shows the weather at such altitudes. Because they're at least several thousand feet in the air and high winds are frequent, Jounouchi can barely keep his balance at first and almost loses his cards.
    • The franchise generally plays The Magic Poker Equation straight as an arrow, which makes it genuinely surprising in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's when redeemed villain Aporia ends up in a situation where he has to draw one specific card with a one in thirty-four chance of doing so or lose the game, announces that he has complete faith in himself and trusts his deck, and... doesn't draw that card.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V:
      • Various characters duel against Z-ARC, with others taking the place of previous fallen members. At the beginning of the duel, Z-ARC activates two cards that increase his Life Points by damage he would otherwise receive. One of Jack's monsters launches an attack on Z-ARC... and that happens. Jack wasn't there when it happened, so there's no way he would have known, unlike other duels in the franchise where characters who arrive late are somehow able to figure out what's going on. Lampshaded by Z-ARC in the English dub.
        Z-ARC: Maybe if you showed up for class on time, you would've known that my Supreme King Gate Zero's Pendulum ability protects me from any damage. In fact, my Supreme King Gate Infinity converts all that damage into Life Points for me. Too bad all your buddies didn't fill you in!
      • In episode 19, Nico stands on his seat on the bus while talking to Yuya. When the bus stops, he is, of course, knocked off before the camera cuts to a sign that asks people to sit properly in their seats.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS: In episode 8, When Akira tries to follow Aoi into the emergency room, a nurse holds him back because he's not allowed.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice:
    • Despite being able to mimic Victor's impressive programs, Yuri is hampered by his tendency to comfort eat. In most sports anime, that would be a cute quirk... but Yuri isn't a rookie teenager, he's a professional athlete and his food preferences count against him, even though it's fairly mundane rather than obviously unhealthy.
    • Yurio is set up as Yuri's big Rival in the first episode. He even has all of the hallmarks of a typical sports anime rival: a Teen Genius, the best skater in the junior division, a connection to the main cast, and even a bit of a temper problem. You think that the story would be about them fighting neck-and-neck against each other... but after Episode 3, they don't meet in competition again until the Rostelecom Cup. Both Yuris have very different paths to follow in their competition season, meaning that they don't see each other often, and Yuri doesn't really see Yurio as a rival at all. Until Episode 8, the most one hears about the other is from the news.

    Fan Works 
  • Boldores And Boomsticks (Pokémon & RWBY):
    • When trying to reach the lab floor in the Aether Foundation's building in the middle of a Grimm attack, Lillie has the idea of using the air vents - but she soon finds herself on her own, because neither Team RWBY nor her brother Gladion are small enough to fit, and the only Pokémon that could follow her quickly gets lost in the maze of vents.
    • After defecting from Aether Foundation, Faba boasts to Salem that his virus will have completely wiped their database and they won't be capable of conducting any more wormhole experiments as he now has the only copy of their experimental data. The scene cuts away to Wicke learning that the database has indeed been wiped beyond recovery, with the IT worker having no idea what program Faba used to do it. However, he's already uploading from their offsite backups and will be finished in a couple hours with only the last few hours of data missing. Wicke ponders how Faba failed to realize they'd have backup databases in case anything happened.
  • Cursed Blood: In the first chapter, Izuku tries to act as a Bullet Proof Human Shield, only for the bullets to go right through him and into the girl he was protecting.
  • Cyberpunk Edgerunners: The Rebel Path (Cyberpunk 2077 & Cyberpunk: Edgerunners): At one point, Adrian is kidnapped, and his car is stolen by Scavengers and is in the process of being gutted for parts by the time he's able to break free and turn the tables on his captors. He decides to have some modifications made to the vehicle while it is in the process of being repaired to make it faster and tougher. This takes a full month and a half — no instant repair-jobs here.
  • Exodus (Big Hero 6 & Worm): Although Taylor surviving two point-blank headshots to the back of her skull is nothing short of a miracle, her brain gets so messed up that she can't recognize basic human interactions, much less words and language. Similarly, spending the majority of her time recovering from the experience leaves her so physically weak she has to go through six months of physical therapy.
  • A Ghost In A Strange Land (Fate/Grand Order and God of War Ragnarök): After being in a small coma and then having her legs be forcibly used by Shayton, Ritsuka's legs are a mess and is told to relax and refrain from heavy use of them. When Ritsuka thinks she's alright, she goes for a jog. The result being she cripples her legs further and resets her recovery time again. A good reminder that just because you feel alright, doesn't mean you are.
  • History's Strongest Shinobi (Naruto & Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple): How Ino and Kiba are ultimately dealt with, is that Shikamaru and Tenten just involve the authorities after their assassination mission fails, at which point it's revealed that both the former were in Japan on a tourist visa, smuggled in illegal weapons and were using false identification. Naturally, they are arrested and set to be deported and the moment they get back to their countries of origin they're going to be prosecuted for their actions regardless of their ages.
  • J-WITCH Series (Jackie Chan Adventures & W.I.T.C.H.): The story features numerous brutal fights between the heroes and villains, with both sides typically recovering in time for their next encounter. Which makes it all the more surprising when Jade's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of her leaves Nerissa in critical condition, the cunning sorceress confined to an animated bed and hooked on life support. Magic powers aside, she is still an old woman who sustained a severe beatdown from a much younger and stronger fighter.
  • My Hero Academia Marvel-verse: Izuku tries to channel his inner Solid Snake and sneak past an Inner Demon using a cardboard box. He is promptly captured and held hostage.
  • The Reaping of Hatsune Miku (Vocaloid & The World Ends with You): Ritsu attempts a Punch Catch against Momo during Day 6 of the last game of Journey. The narration describes a crack coming out of his arm, and he later shows pain when he has to use that hand while defending.
  • Revelation (Hellaverse): The end of chapter 6 has Octavia shot in the leg while escaping the Guard and her injury averts Just a Flesh Wound. Her wound is severe enough that she would've bled out or died of an infection had Moxxie not managed to get her to a hospital for treatment.
  • Shadows Over Hell (Hazbin Hotel & Helluva Boss): While the body armor I.M.P. wear during their attack on the cult does save their lives on multiple occasions, the blunt trauma by feel from the impact of the bullets, leaves their bodies battered and bruised.
  • Takamachi Nanoha of 2814: Upon hearing that Morgana is heading to Fuyuki City in Japan, the Justice League decides to send Flash and Wonder Woman ahead as reinforcements, with Flash noting his top speed can have them there in a few minutes. When we cut to them later, they're in another city entirely asking for directions, since the man has never been to Japan before, and thus has no idea where Fuyuki is and how to get there. Even using the directions proves difficult since all the signs are in Japanese, which he can't read, and the two end up being the last to arrive.
  • In the A Certain Magical Index/Puella Magi Madoka Magica crossover Walpurgisnaught, Touma picks up one of Homura's guns and uses it. Since he had never handled a gun before, the noise hurts his ears, and the recoil hurts his arm.


  • Sporadic Phantoms features a trio trying to do a true crime-style deep dive on the Sharing, which they're warned is a cult. Most of the first season has the Running Gag of the trio not sharing their last names, making them fully anonymous. This is reference to the books, in which the Animorphs repeatedly refuse to share their last names for secrecy, but provide enough detail that if said books had been published in-universe they could have easily been found. So it's a joke, but the one time the Sporadic Phantoms mention withholding their full names to another character, she agrees that it keeps them untraceable and doesn't sound sarcastic. However, they are putting out their podcast and their skepticism about the Sharing on a monthly basis in-universe, and it does turn out that Sharing members listen. Given that they and some of their family members join it, and that they don't change their voices or any other details, going without surnames is a Paper-Thin Disguise at best. The Sharing leadership figure it out fairly early, and when they intervene they mock the Phantoms' idea that they'd been at all anonymous.


Infinite Stratos

  • In The Final Straw, when Rin attacks Ichika after Charlotte reveals her gender, Laura is too late to shield him. Being attacked with an IS's weapon meant to be used on other IS nearly kills Ichika, and he's forced to undergo multiple surgeries to survive, including several organ transplants and the replacement of his limbs with cybernetic replicas. Plus, it's implied that he's suffered a bit of a personality change due to the damage in his brain (although that could also just be his infinite patience running out).
    • Meanwhile, Rin is expelled from the Academy and arrested for attempted murder, while China (the country she represents in the Academy) suffers international backlash on account of them sending someone that was a clear potential danger to another student - particularly when that student is the only man that has been proven to be able to use an IS.

Invader Zim

  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: In the fifth entry of the Mature Edition, Viera tries using the air vent to sneak into the Hi Skool in order to avoid risking being seen entering naked, but she has difficulty squeezing through, complaining that TV and movies make it look so easy.
  • Ruby Pair: In "Heist of Doom", the master thief known as the Grey Panda tries to go swimming in the piles of gold stored in the Duke of Smook's vault, specifically citing Scrooge McDuck as an inspiration. The density of the gold means that he's left severely injured in the attempt, his entry swan-dive breaking multiple bones in the process.
    "The cartoon duck lied to me!"

Jackie Chan Adventures

Kim Possible

  • At the Centerfold of the Storm:
    • When GJ cracks open Henchco.'s mainframe, the dirty secrets aren't all in one digital bundle. It's a sprawling mass of data, and GJ is swamped trying to process it all.
    • The fic reveals the fate of Team Go's parents: They died, aka, what normally happens when one takes a meteor with enough force to blow up a treehouse.

Love Hina

  • Contract Labor: Without Steel Eardrums like most fiction, one of the mercenaries on Seta's dig becomes temporarily deaf from firing his rifle inside a cave.

Miraculous Ladybug

  • Miraculous Alliance: Shortly after they start dating, Adrien and Marinette try making out in a broom closet like in the movies... Only to find it too cramped and cluttered to do more than deliver each other Amusing Injuries.
    Adrien: This was a bad idea. All those movies lied to me. Broom closets are not good for making out.
  • A Small but Stubborn Fire: Even though Marinette is Sabine’s daughter (even still a child), Dr Zhu can’t tell her what happened during the therapy session that caused Marinette to have a panic attack due to doctor-patient confidentiality, much to her chagrin.

My Hero Academia

  • Ignited Spark: Nejire constantly hitting her head in the battle trial results in her getting a concussion.
  • Quirk: Magical Girl Mascot: At I-Island, a group consisting of Tsuyu, Toru, Mina and some Pro Heroes go through the air vents. However, unlike most media, which treat this as a good way to move around sneakily, the noise they make climbing through the vents gives them away.

My Little Pony



  • Later, Traitor: When Pepper finally takes her puppet Sally off her hand in Chapter 31, she isn't able to move it. It turns out that keeping your hand locked in a certain position inside a hunk of wood for a few years isn't exactly healthy for its bone structure.

Star Wars

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  • Like Father Like Son (Rise of the TMNT): In chapter 2, Draxum flings Leo and he collides into a metal billboard. This leaves him noticeably stunned and the next chapter outright confirms he has a concussion from it.

Tolkien's Legendarium

  • The very first Sue in The Game of the Gods prepares to enter Middle Earth, recites a "spell" that will open a portal there, then takes a running leap towards her television. She ends up simply crashing headfirst through the screen and dies of a massive head wound.

Total Drama

  • She's Not So Famous: After triumphantly reclaiming her camera from Chris, Millie tries to escape back out through the vent like Annie did... but she lacks Annie's height and upper body strength, so she can't jump up there by herself and gets accosted by security.
  • Total Drama Voyage: As Team Heather learns the hard way in "Food Disservice," the cooking skills Mike picked up from Manitoba may be good for wilderness survival, but don't translate well to refined restaurant dining.


  • Here Comes The New Boss: In 7.1, an Empire goon tries to turn a glass beer bottle into a weapon by breaking it. While great in theory, the bottle completely shatters and shreds his hand. He's left bleeding out on the floor as a result.


  • Being Dead Ain't Easy: Yami Bakura offers Kaiba a Deal with the Devil: he helps Joey in exchange for control of Kaiba's company. Since he held up his end of the bargain, Yami Bakura successfully becomes CEO of KaibaCorp. However, since his host has no idea what's going on and neither of them knows how to run a company, Yami Bakura doesn't enjoy it as much as he thinks he would, and gives it back.
  • A Mother's Touch:
    • Reiji and Sylvio learn the hard way that being in a shounen anime where everything depends on how you play cards does not save you if you break the law. Yoko brings up how the two broke multiple laws just for Yuya's cards and she and Shuzo prepare lawsuits for all of their crimes.
    • Yuri's plan to kidnap Yuzu hits a snag when Yoko takes her away from him as he realizes he has no idea how to navigate Maiami City. It turns out kidnappings only work if you have a general layout of the location in mind, not to mention that he doesn't have a way to move around the city.


  • The Blood of the Covenant: When Aang takes his new friends to the Southern Air Temple, Kallik faints due to the altitude. Aang is horrified and quickly explains that the monks used to warn him about bringing visitors, as the thinner air can make some people sick.
  • My Arms Are Blue!: During a spice-eating contest, Sonic attempts to cool his mouth with water. He learns the hard way that this just makes the pain worse.
  • Oneesama: In a harrowing subversion, Miss Maria treats Shizuru giving a Skinship Grope to Natsuki as severe sexual harassment, and Shizuru risks expulsion.

    Films — Animation 
  • Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation: When he's fully explaining to Christy about his plan to confront True Heart and Noble Heart, Dark Heart stands up and boasts that then there'll be nobody left to stop him... problem is, he does his grandstanding in the middle of a boat on the camp's lake, and this action proceeds to upset the boat badly enough that Dark Heart stumbles and falls out, hitting his head on the boat's side, and he would have drowned right there if Christy hadn't jumped in to save him.
    • What's more, Dark Heart does this while he's a human boy. Now normally, this wouldn't happen to a smoke of darkness. But a human? He's not so lucky.
  • Eiga Tamagotchi: Himitsu no Otodoke Dai Sakusen!: Kuchipatchi eats a banana and throws the peel onto the road, with Memetchi hoping it will slip up the claw arm vehicle that is chasing after the package Mametchi and his friends are delivering. The claw arm vehicle drives over it with no problems. Banana peels aren't really slippery to a large vehicle like they could be to a person.
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie: Goofy, suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome after Max leaves for college, gets distracted at work and causes an accident. While up to this point, Goofy's clumsy antics are usually Played for Laughs, this time, the antics kick off a set of Disaster Dominoes that end up destroying all the equipment. He ultimately gets fired due to the damage he caused.
  • The Incredibles: Dash and Violet may be supers, but they are also just kids, who are not shown to be notably stronger or better trained in fighting than the average kid their age. When they hit Syndrome's soldiers, who are grown men, not much happens.
  • Ratatouille: In order to get the meal served to critic Anton Ego, the protagonists have to tie up a health inspector and use rats to cook the food. The restaurant gets shut down after the protagonists inevatibly have to release him, alongside the Big Bad who they tied up alongside him.
  • The villain of Recess: School's Out is the former principal of Third Street Elementary, who tried to ban recess back in The '60s. He created a outcry among parents and was fired by the superintendent within days because he had massively overreached his authority.
  • In The Sea Beast, Jacob gets ready to break his spear on his thigh to signify that his days of hunting are over... only for the spear to remain unbroken, while his thigh gets into a much more painful state. It works in the climax, when he has a wooden spear.
  • The Seventh Brother: A lost puppy lives with some rabbits for several months and seems to remain well-fed the whole time. In fact, the story runs almost entirely on "kid movie" logic for the most part, but near the end the rabbits have to find a way to bring the puppy back to human civilization because, as it turns out, dogs can't live on grass and carrots the way a rabbit can, and he's suffering from malnutrition.
  • Sing 2: When Buster and Ash show up to Clay Calloway's house, they decide to climb the fence after he refuses to come over, and are both given an electric shock. While other Illumination films, and most animated films in general, depict electrocution in an exaggerated and comedic manner with no lasting damage, Ash and Buster are instantly sent flying back and knocked unconscious by the shock, and both wear bandages on their scorched hands afterwards.
  • Smallfoot: After spending some time in the yeti village on the mountain, Percy starts suffering from high altitude sickness due to the lack of oxygen on such a high peak.
  • The Son of Bigfoot: In the sequel, unlike the animals he's befriended for years, the animals Dr. Harrison meets in a new location are as hostile to him as any unfamiliar animal would be. There's a threatening wolf and an aggressive, territorial moose that become problems for him at two points.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Miles tries to get kicked out of Visions Academy by purposely bombing a true-false test, intentionally getting every answer wrong. But Miles is surprised when the teacher points out that if Miles was truly guessing blind on a true-false test, the law of averages means that he should have gotten at least some of the answers right.note The only way to get all the answers wrong on a true-false test is to know all the right answers, and deliberately fill in the wrong ones. The teacher promptly gives Miles a perfect score and tells him that she won't let him quit Visions Academy that easily, much to Miles' dismay.
  • Spies in Disguise: After stopping the Big Bad and saving tons of lives, including at their agency, Walter is convinced that he and Lance are going to get their jobs back. A Smash Cut instead shows them on the curb each with a Cardboard Box of Unemployment. Turns out they were still fired for committing a good amount of crimes throughout the film in their pursuit for innocence. However, it's subverted a couple scenes later in that the agency changes their mind and hires them back for a covert branch.
  • Trolls Band Together: In the climax, Veneer has a Heel–Face Turn and publicly exposes his and Velvet's schemes of kidnapping BroZone and stealing their talent for a shortcut to fame. To his surprise, he's still arrested along with his sister, since having a change of heart doesn't change the fact that he still knowingly committed all those crimes. Thankfully, he's willing to acknowledge this point and is still a very good sport about being arrested.
    Veneer: But I was just saying I had a change of heart!
    Crimp: You also engaged in trollnapping, troll torture, fraud...
  • Zootopia: A mild example with former Mayor Lionheart. It's discovered near the end of the film that the main plot was a setup and he's partly been framed by his own assistant, but as he's still guilty of false imprisonment and kidnapping in his efforts to contain the Night Howler problem, he's still in jail and has to serve his sentence. Also, while she solved the Night Howler case, Officer Hopps is also still a Rookie in her first year on the job (now partnered with another rookie), though many of the officers start to respect her more. As such, at the end of the film, Judy and Nick are on patrol duty rather than investigating major cases and their assignment for the day is chasing a traffic offender (a street racer).

  • Typically in Animorphs, head trauma is the usual trope of Tap on the Head, something the Animorphs rely heavily on while fighting humans infested by Yeerks. Unlike with infested aliens who generally have to be killed or heavily wounded, they can just make humans go to sleep to get them out of the way. The fourth Megamorphs, though, starts in the aftermath of a particularly bloody battle. They encounter a dying enemy, who might be dying due to either Unfriendly Fire or because one of the heroes stoved his head in during the fight, or both. The man's skull is deformed enough that the parasite in his brain can't escape to let him die as himself, but he wasn't killed instantly and pleads for help and some kind of warmth as the Animorphs, traumatized by yet another bad fight, try to ignore him and slip away.
  • In Ascendance of a Bookworm the main character transmigrates into what is basically medieval Germany as a sick little peasant girl. She has a lot of miscellaneous knowledge on how to make various things, but unlike the isekai standard of becoming a beloved celebrity overnight for inventing dozens of modern inventions, she finds it nearly impossible to make much of anything for a long time: the tools just don't exist and she doesn't have the resources. It takes a solid year to even create paper and doing so doesn't improve her social position at all. It makes her a bit of money, but that's about it. If anything, she needs to not make it too obvious that she's behind her subsequent Giving Radio to the Romans products until she gets proper protection from the local Supernatural Elite because it might attract the attention of people who see her "inventions" as a threat to their livelihood.
  • The Asterisk War:
    • Kirin's katana, Senbakiri, is a completely mundane metal sword. This means that it has no chance of causing appreciable damage on the robot AR-D, averting Katanas Are Just Better.
    • Ser Veresta is damaged at the climax of the Gryps Final, and Ayato pulls his backup sword lux. His opponent, Team Lancelot leader Ernest Fairclough, promptly drops his own Orga Lux and draws his own backup weapon, hoping for a climactic sword duel with a man he sees as Worthy Opponent. Instead, he snafus his own team's defensive teamwork and all of Ayato's teammates promptly gang up on him, since it's a five-on-five match in which breaking the leader's badge wins it—which Claudia promptly does. Should've just challenged him to a regular duel, Ernie.
  • The Berenstain Bears Big Chapter Books:
    • Multiple cases in The Berenstain Bears' Media Madness.
      • First, when Teacher Bob's class is given the opportunity to run Bear Country School's new TV station, Principal Honeycomb warns them to keep up with their regular schoolwork too. Naturally, everyone — being third-graders — gets too caught up in the excitement of being on TV to worry about balancing the station with schoolwork, resulting in their falling behind in their normal classwork and getting in big trouble as a result.
      • When BTV goes from operating for half an hour to a full-hour and from an in-school station to an over-the-air station, Ferdy Factual volunteers his uncle's over-the-air broadcasting license (available to the professor and his associates, whom Ferdy considers himself one of due to working for his uncle on weekends) to make it legal. Unfortunately, when Principal Honeycomb is subsequently summoned before the Bear County Communications Board, they point out that Ferdy is too young to legally use the license (or to authorize its use), so they have no choice but to make the school pay a large fine.
    • In The Berenstain Bears and Queenie's Crazy Crush, after years of only getting detention or suspended for the trouble he causes, when Too-Tall is caught out for outright criminal theft (having stolen Mr. Smock's new painting and swapped in one of his own), he's facing serious trouble, to the point where he's nearly expelled for it (and would have been had Mr. Smock himself not stepped in after Too-Tall returned the painting, unharmed, and apologized for doing so).
  • Chuck Barris's The Big Question: The titular Deadly Game is cancelled two weeks after its premiere in the wake of massive protest. Because, surprise, televised murder is illegal.
  • Catalyst: Kate is rejected from MIT, and her attempts to push for an appeal do not work to help her overturn that ruling. She's able to at least get a clear explanation as to why they turned her down, but in the end she has to face the fact that she's not getting in though the admissions office wishes her luck.
  • Christine: Buddy pulls a knife on Arnie and Dennis. After a brief fight, the shop teacher comes in and breaks it up, being told afterwards that Buddy has a switchblade on him. Being a punk, Buddy threatens the teacher just like he did Arnie and Dennis. Instead of backing down in the slightest, the teacher counter-threatens to call the police if Buddy doesn't give up his knife.
  • Destroyermen: In the first book, Tamatsu Shinya ends up on the United States Navy boat of the destroyermen after they end up in a new world after the squall, and while most of the men aren't comfortable with him, the Bosun is most uncomfortable and longer than the other men. In the climactic battle at the end of the book, Shinya saves his life. After the battle the Bosun reveals that he can't just accept him for personal reasons, his son having died at Pearl Harbor.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days has Greg claim a bicycle some neighbors threw away so he can get to the pool and carry stuff easier. It falls apart in four days, as a bike someone threw out for anybody to take is almost certainly defective.
  • In most Discworld Tap on the Head is played straight to the point where several characters can choose how long they want someone to remain unconscious. In Men at Arms though, Edward d'Eath wants to get Beano the clown out of the way and accidentally kills him. (Beano even hears a crunch just before he dies, implying that his skull was broken.) Misguided Well-Intentioned Extremist that he is, Edward is quite horrified. Later books often toss off a line to the effect of "an expert can hit people on the head safely but amateurs can really hurt someone".
  • In The Elenium, one character tells another about a war in the past wherein the continent was nearly depopulated fighting the evil god Azash. When the younger boy excitedly asks what happened after the fighting, he is told that there was nearly a century of famine as the war had left insufficient numbers to work the fields. Additionally, the previously celibate Church Knights were forced to change their policy to allow knights to marry in order to attract new members after the orders had been decimated in the fighting.
  • Find Layla: Layla is an aspiring scientist with a poor and neglectful home life. She decides to film the various fungi in her run-down apartment for a biology contest. The video goes viral but forces Child Protective Services to take her and her little brother due to unsafe living conditions.
  • Honor Harrington: Honor is made a countess after the events of The Honor of the Queen but is never seated in the House of Lords, still being on active duty at the time. The first time she does take her seat is at the climax of Field of Dishonor, where rather than take part in the business of government, she uses it as a chance to challenge her enemy Pavel Young, Earl North Hollow, to a Duel to the Death for his part in the murder of her boyfriend (he's been working very hard to avoid her after she killed the actual triggerman in a prior duel). This is also the last time she sits in the House of Lords, as the chamber promptly votes to expel her from Parliament for abusing her seat to settle a personal matter (although Honor doesn't care overmuch). It also leads to her becoming persona non grata in the Navy for the next book. Even when you're the protagonist, actions have consequences.
  • Inheritance Cycle: In Brisngr, Roran defies his orders and leads the Varden forces to a heroic victory over the empire. Despite this, he is still guilty of ignoring his superiors and Nasuada is forced to punish him in order to prevent others from following his example.
  • Little House on the Prairie:
    • Pa illegally settled in Native American territory. He's convinced that as long as they don't argue with the locals, all should be good. That's not what happens; the government in a moment of goodwill forces the settlers off the land to honor the treaties.
    • A similar event happens to Laura’s Uncle Tom. Like the Ingalls, his traveling group also chose to make a permanent settlement in the middle of Indian territory, which the natives did not take kindly to. The US Army arrives on the scene as the settlers are being besieged, but to their great surprise, the Army marches them right out of the fort before setting it on fire. Charles and Caroline are outraged, but Tom quickly reminds them that a group of half-starved and battle-weary pioneers could hardly have made a stand against actual soldiers.
    • Eliza Jane Wilder's last class ends in bedlam when the school board walks in, and she tries to defend herself by throwing Laura under the horse carriage, as it were, scapegoating her for the chaos. It doesn't work; the board fires her or she resigns from the disgrace of all the boys rebelling because they made the choice to undermine Ms Wilder's authority. If you can't manage your students, as Laura notes in the next book, then you're not fit to be a teacher. Even though Ma and Pa tell Laura she needs to respect her teacher, they get her side of the story and admit that it wasn't her fault because Nellie decided to cause trouble.
    • Almanzo as a wedding present to Laura buys her a new house with many fancy fixings and supplies for cooking. She appreciates it. Come the next book, they're in heavy debt from all of the purchases. Laura lampshades it as she's calculating their losses. (This also helps to explain why she gets so upset in The Rose Years at Almanzo buying her a new stove.)
  • The Magicians: Quentin gets his head smacked against the stone floor in a fistfight with Penny. After being superficially treated for the bruises, he tries to go about his day but abruptly vomits up his dinner and passes out. It's not a Tap on the Head, and he's suffered a concussion, earning him a stay in the infirmary and a stern talking-to from the Dean.
  • Misery:
    • Invoked by Paul when Annie demands to know why Misery died. He points out that in the 1800s, there was less medical expertise to save women from childbirth and it was quite common.
    • The police end up pegging Annie as someone who knows about Paul's disappearance when a deputy goes missing after he visits her house. They seem to find nothing wrong, and Paul doesn't dare call for help after what Annie did to the deputy, but they are not stupid. The two get a search warrant for her house and more manpower before returning, just as Paul has killed Annie. In the movie this is the reason why Annie plans to kill Paul after she murders the sheriff: it will only be a matter of time before the police find her.
    • While technically Annie did get away with the murders, she's still effectively a pariah simply by association.
  • The One and Only Ivan is a middle-grade chapter book about Talking Animals taken from the wild by Evil Poachers and put into a Menagerie of Misery. You might expect the ending to have them return to freedom in the wild, perhaps even to surviving family members, and for all the animal characters to live together happily at the end. But Ivan and Ruby have been in among humans and in cages for too long, so they're taken to live in a zoo - and separately, because gorillas and elephants aren't housed together. Bob the dog can visit, but good zoos don't have little dogs going in and out of the exhibits.
    • Ivan specifically is brought to a gorilla exhibit, and having feared he was the Last of His Kind you might expect immediate, unalloyed happiness, but after more than a quarter century of isolation from his own species, he doesn't know how to socialize with them and initially they dislike him. The ending is a bit drawn out to show him learning how to be a gorilla and becoming accepted. Ivan also acknowledges that he still lives in a cage and on display, it's just a much bigger and better one in which he can be largely content. It's altogether a Bittersweet Ending that actually had some parents objecting that the book was too sad, but the author defended her choices.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Oliver's no-spells duel with Tullio Rossi in volume 2 (episode 8 of the anime) demonstrates that it really is important to learn the fundamentals of a topic (swordplay in this case), before you try to innovate, and why trying to turn an armed duel into a fistfight against an opponent you know is well-trained is foolhardy. Because Rossi never learned the basics, he doesn't realize that punching with his offhand gives a prepared opponent the opportunity to grab that arm and immobilize him, as Oliver indeed does with a standing armbar: grappling is more useful at extreme close range than strikes. Even discounting sport fencing where barehanded strikes aren't allowed anyway, this is why real-life swordsmen usually either keep both hands on the weapon, or the undefended arm held back out of the way.
  • Scarlett: Scarlett finally discovers her maternal instincts after having Cat and returns to visit Tara with the full intent of pouring out this newfound love on Wade and Ella and bringing them back to Ireland with her. Only to find that thanks to the crucial bonding time lost in the first book along with her essentially abandoning them at Tara for years while she ventured off, they are now complete strangers to her and she to them. She sadly resigns herself to this and accepts complete responsibility for it.
  • In the young adult book Skinnybones by Barbara Park, Alex Frankovitch is running towards first base in a Little League game, with Jerk Jock T.J. Stoner just about to get him out. Alex, in the spur of the moment, starts jumping up and down, waving his arms, and screaming "BOOGA BOOGA!" at T.J. to distract him. T.J. thus misses the ball, which allows Alex to eventually reach second base, ecstactic about finally having got one over on T.J. in baseball. However, Alex is quite surprised and disheartened when the umpire calls Alex out anyways, since he intentionally interfered with the play at first base by distracting the first baseman. Even the moral victory of embarassing T.J. doesn't last long for Alex, as T.J. is naturally angry at Alex humiliating him. When T.J. looks like he's about to beat Alex up for the embarrassment, it ends up causing a shocked Alex to flee from the Little League game, run to his house, and lock himself in his room.
  • So This is Ever After:
    • The entire beginning of the novel plays this for laughs by showing the triumph of the hero's party over The Vile One to be much less cinematic than he pictured. He thought he would be able to cleanly behead The Vile One, raise his decapitated head as a trophy, and subsequently, declare his love for Matt and maybe even kiss him. He doesn't get to do any of those things, as beheading someone ends up being a messy and tough affair that soils everyone with blood. He also feels no desire to raise the head because it would be hard since he is bald and it would be really gross to touch a decapitated head as he notices. Matt and Arek are also not in any position for a romantic declaration, being bloodied, dirty, tired, and sweaty, which makes the entire scene much less picturesque than he wanted.
    • Further, when Arek finds himself thrust into kingship as the last heir from the former ruling dynasty is dead, he and his friends quickly struggle with going from commoners to ruling a kingdom.
  • In the novel Fear by Ronald Kelly, once of the good guys is lynched, and while does dangle for about a minute, the others manage to rescue him. Happy ending, right? No, that brief dangle was enough to crush his windpipe, and he dies shortly after.
  • Tortall Universe tends to bring this in with well-inclined Royals Who Actually Do Something. Given the Black-and-White Morality of the first quartet you'd expect a good king/queen making good laws would simply dismantle oppression, but because they aren't absolute monarchs (and the writing becomes more complex) there are complications and progress is often slow.
    • Song of the Lioness has Alanna become the first lady knight in living memory one who's absurdly, fantastically heroic and acclaimed. Her friend Prince Jon becomes The Good King, marries the Rebellious Princess she rescued, and together they enact reforms including nulling the law that women can't seek knighthood. Little girls are shown being inspired by Alanna. Having broken the glass ceiling she expects to not be the only lady knight for long and fantasizes about helping the next one. However, Tortall's misogyny is too entrenched to be so easily dismissed. Alanna, being god-touched and a mage, is seen as an exception, not a demonstration that women are as capable as men. When Kel, the next prospective female knight, enrolls over a decade later, she starts under probation and has a difficult road to walk. Alanna is also barred from contact with her for years, to prevent rumors that she's helping an unworthy person to succeed.
    • In Protector of the Small Kel's maid is kidnapped at the behest of a noble in order to hurt Kel. When he's caught and brought to trial she expects justice. The readers have heard nothing about the courts being unfair, the previous quartet went to great pains to depict Tortall as being quite enlightened for a feudal culture, and Kel knows that if he'd kidnapped her, he would be in for dire penalties. However the noble, having "only" harmed a servant, is merely made to pay a fine that he shrugs off, and most of that fine doesn't even go to the maid but to Kel. The feudal society still holds nobles as more important than commoners. An outraged Kel goes to King Jon about this, and he agrees that the law is unfair and agrees to change it, but also explains why it can't be an instantaneous change. He has to build coalitions and get enough people on his side.
    • In Beka Cooper, King Roger is moved by the trials his young son went through after being kidnapped and treated as a slave, and abolishes slavery in Tortall. His son is ecstatic and convinces an uncertain Beka that this is a triumphant moment, a fantastic thing that does away with one of Tortall's great evils and makes it a better place. It does eventually but like his descendant Jon, Roger's not an absolute monarch and his unilateral action made a lot of his subjects angry - slavery was well-entrenched and there hadn't been a broad push for abolition in Tortall. Tortall: A Spy's Guide and The Numair Chronicles mention that a civil war resulted and nobles who'd benefited from slavery fought the crown for decades.
    • Usually media involving a Friend to All Living Things who's regularly perched on by numerous birds, nuzzled by horses etc won't have the animals make messes, unless it's a gross out moment Played for Laughs after which the animals in question are regarded as disgusting. Daine of The Immortals is one such character. Her animal friends try to be clean for her but she's usuallly left with little smears and spots. Horses are always smearing her with grassy saliva. In Emperor Mage she treats some sick birds which absolutely streak her and her things with filth, something regarded quite neutrally in the narrative as gross and degrading to more pampered characters but just part of being around animals by everyone else. Similarly if less markedly, friendly sparrows in Protector of the Small and pigeons in Beka Cooper leave droppings which are simply cleaned up and regarded in a manner of fact way.
  • ‘’Wayside School'':
    • At the end of the second book, the school is flooded with a herd of cows. The opening chapter of the third book showed that despite Wayside School being a World of Weirdness, the cows caused so much damage to the school that the students had to be sent to other schools while Wayside was repaired.
    • The only thing Ms. Gorf ever bothered to teach the class was fear, and Ms. Jewels’s curriculum is incomprehensible to anyone outside of the class. As a result, the kids have significant gaps in their knowledge, and when they get transferred to normal schools, they struggle with learning there.
  • X-Wing: Iron Fist starts with a Bar Brawl and one of the pilots being hit in the head by a bottle. The bottle doesn't break and rather than brushing it off the pilot has to be helped to leave by his friends and ends up on medical leave for a week and a half with a concussion. Later, these pilots stage their own bar brawl and bring a bottle made with stage glass for one to use against another, so it shatters dramatically and the one struck stands up and joins the fight. They didn't want to hurt each other, and they had to make it look convincing for onlookers... who on some level do expect this to be how Grievous Bottley Harm goes.

  • Fefe Dobson's "Stuttering" music video is about her preparing to confront her cheating boyfriend in a seedy motel after the other woman has stepped out. She even puts on the other woman's jacket while she waits for him to come out of the shower. Turns out it's not her boyfriend, and Fefe immediately leaves, embarrassed. The video goes to some weird places from there, but it's an interesting twist on the usual cliche.
  • Johnny Cash's "One Piece At A Time" has this Played for Laughs. Its protagonist resolves to make himself a Cadillac for free from parts that he stole while working at a General Motors assembly plant. The scheme takes several decades to complete, and at the end of thirty years of work, comes out with a machine that's almost impossible to assemble and looks like an ugly mess of a thing, with a title that weighs sixty pounds. The protagonist still loves it, though.
  • The music video for Cher Lloyd's "Want U Back" features the singer and three friends of hers trashing a diner and causing mayhem... so by the end of the video, the police have been called and all four of them are led away in cuffs.
  • The song "Scalp" by Atmosphere features the narrator describing his night. He goes to the bar and meets his friend Sonny, who offers to pay him for retrieving a package from a tattoo parlor. One expects the protagonist to follow through with his task, possibly finding something surprising in the package along the way, but instead, he is killed in a car crash immediately after leaving the bar. This is what happens when you actually drink $50 worth of alcohol and then drive at night.
  • Eminem's songs often run on Amusing Injuries, but occasionally he will portray violence more realistically.
    • "Brain Damage" is a song about an over-the-top encounter between a disaffected kid and his school bully full of Zany Cartoon voices and hinting at Concussions Get You High (Slim's brain damage led to people assuming he was on drugs). But the description of brain damage symptoms (Slim's disturbed vision and foggy behaviour) is authentic, based on Eminem's own real-life experiences of it. Until Slim's mother hits him over the head, causing his entire brain to fall out onto the carpet, so he picks it up and calls her a cunt.
    • "Bad Guy" features Stan's brother Matthew trying to murder Eminem in revenge for what happened to his brother. The attempted killing involves Matthew doing 90 on the freeway the same way Stan once did, but all it does it attract attention to him and get cops on his tail.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In the last case of the first game, when all hope seems lost, Larry shows up and demands to be a witness to the event. Unlike most moments where an immediate, dramatic conclusion happens, the judge calls a recess. Having a witness show up last minute requires the prosecutor team to have time to interview the witness. Also, letting someone talk without context for their evidence is a possible risk.
    • In the final case of Justice for All, Gumshoe calls Phoenix to tell him he's found decisive evidence while driving. He almost immediately gets into a car accident, stopping him from getting to the courthouse.
    • The final case of Investigations takes place in an embassy, so the killer naturally attempts to exploit his extraterritorial rights. This eventually leads to his home country revoking his diplomatic immunity, allowing Edgeworth to take him down.
    • The Great Ace Attorney:
      • While Ryunosuke uses Sholmes' new scientific inventions to uncover evidence several times, Lord van Zieks and the judge refuses to accept it as official evidence since those inventions and techniques are untested in the scientific world.
      • In the end of the first game, Ryunosuke temporarily loses his right to practice law in Great Britain over his actions in Case 1-3 because he unwittingly presented tampered evidence and false testimony to get his client acquitted.
      • It's been noted that Lord van Zieks prosecuted the Professor trial despite being a rookie prosecutor and having a clear conflict of interest, seeing how his brother was one of the murder victims, and failed to remain objective during the trial, missing little details that could have changed the course of the trial. Mael Stronghart did this deliberately so the otherwise logical Lord van Zieks couldn't prosecute fairly and wouldn't catch on that Genshin Asogi was framed and realize that it was his own brother who was the Professor.
  • Cinders initially leads the player to assume that Carmosa hid Cinders' father's will because it would reveal Cinders as the true heir. However, if Cinders chooses to search, she quickly finds it, revealing the will left everything to Carmosa. Hiding and lying about such a document is incredibly idiotic, which Carmosa is not. Carmosa hid it because it's a sensitive legal document. Carmosa and Cinders' father had a good relationship, so it makes sense for him to leave everything to his new wife. His daughter wasn't in consideration, considering she's all but stated to have been a minor when he died.
  • Collar × Malice:
    • In the common Bad Ending, Ichika decides to work alone to solve the X-Day crimes because she doesn't trust the detective agency. She is a rookie cop with little investigative experience and no connections. Naturally, she isn't able to solve anything and X-Day still occurs.
    • Sasazuka deliberately taunts Souda, believing the latter is inexperienced with guns and would not actually use the gun. In one of his Bad Endings, this belief would get Ichika killed because she pushed Sasazuka out of the way when Souda became deranged enough to shoot at Sasazuka.
    • Mochida and Minegishi quickly catch on that Ichika is seeing Yanagi's group and that she is involved with the X-Day crimes to some extent. After all, the police via Okazaki and Yoshinari are monitoring the detective agency closely.
    • Some Bad Endings occur and Ichika can get attacked and killed if the player chooses to take a different path to take home or wander at night alone, despite multiple warnings it was dangerous at night.
  • In Nightshade:
    • Enju's father and her village are quick to abandon Enju when she is accused of killing Hideyoshi. The idea that one of their own shinobi tried to kill the feudal lord, truthfully or falsely, would cause the country to declare war against their small village, something that would surely eradicate everyone in the village.
    • Tying into that, on certain routes, Enju's friends are ordered to kill her. Despite having conflicting feelings, they still go through with the order as their families' lives are on stake if they failed to complete their mission.
    • Even if Enju successfully defeats all the shinobi hunting her down and/or find out Hideyoshi is actually alive in some routes, she is still unable to return home since she is still officially branded the murderer of Hideyoshi.
  • Piofiore: Fated Memories:
    • Dante and Lili both drink a drugged wine Nicola brings them without realizing it but are not knocked out instantly. They continue their dinner and conversations long before Lili starts feeling drowsy.
    • In Gilbert's Bad Ending, Orlok dies after taking a hit to protect Lili. Unlike most instances where the love interest can keep fighting after sustaining multiple injuries, sometimes it only takes one to cause severe internal bleeding.
  • Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair:
    • After one of the guests turns up dead in what may or may not be a suicide, the survivors discuss whether it was suicide or murder and if so, who was responsible, especially after one or two additional people die. Unlike most cases in which an untrained civilian solves a crime, it's made clear that the police are better at this sort of thing, and some characters rightly propose leaving this to the pros. In the bad endings, the police quickly prove that whoever was falsely accused of the crime is actually innocent. In the good ending, the culprit turns out to be already dead, so no one gets arrested at all.
    • A ten-year-old girl(Raiko, the protagonist) manages to save another girl(Kamen) from being falsely accused of shoplifting. She doesn't employ any clever tricks or skills a girl her age shouldn't know, but asks the store manager to review the security footage to prove that someone else put the stolen item in the accused's bag.
  • In case 4 of Tyrion Cuthbert: Attorney of the Arcane, the judge tries to hold Tyrion in contempt of court when he jumps down from the gallery, goes up to the prosecution's bench, and asks permission to cross-examine the witness. Needless to say, a defense attorney watching a trial should not suddenly prosecute it, specially when the two attorneys belong to the same law firm. Luckily for Tyrion, Prosecutor Steelwind already predicted he would do that and allowed him to be her official replacement.

    Web Animation 
  • Battle for Dream Island Again
    • In “Well Rested”, Team No-Name tries to hide away from Evil Leafy, in a fancy room, with motion sensor doors, but Evil Leafy struggles to get inside, as Tennis Ball explains to Gelatin, since she moves instantaneously and not continuously like themselves, the door sensors can’t register her movements as motion. So the team was safe, that was until Gelatin’s headphone’s shot spike balls that activated the sensors.
    • Meanwhile as FreeSmart is driving their Super Van, they pick up some balloons to lift their van up into the sky, but then they spot a pipe, and are about to crash into it, Book tells Pencil to hit the brakes, but since their in the air, they have no ground to use as friction, so they crash into it.
    • In “Intruder Alert”, the W.O.A.H. Bunch needed to use the Yoyle Warehouse to build their loser chamber, but after last episode’s storm, the place flooded. So Coiny brings an idea by drinking the water away with giant bendy straws. But as the team starts drinking, they struggle to finish due to the rainwater being too dirty and bitter.
  • Battle for Dream Island: The Power of Two
    • In “The Worst Day of Black Hole’s Life”, after Remote was recharged, she was amazed to find a whole pile of batteries and dives in. But through the rubble, she finds Naily in there too. Who has a battery stabbed to their point.
      Lightning: (concerned) Naily! How long were you in there?!
      Naily: Hmmm, I’m not sure. Long enough for it to start burning, apparently.
      Remote: What? What does that mean?
      *The batteries have now been leaking a pool acid, and Remote and Naily are burnt to their dooms*
    • Teardrop zapped out one of Death Pact Again’s blocks from their block stack, so it began to collapse, but mid-fall, Marker used his stretched-out paper clip from earlier to hold the gap between the blocks. Of course, this doesn’t work, as the clip wasn’t strong enough to hold the blocks, so it sprung away, as the blocks fell to the ground.
    • And later in the episode, as Death P.A.C.T. Again tries to sabotage Teardrop’s block stack, Teardrop fends them off with her zap ray, killing off each members but as soon as she’s left with Black Hole, when she tries to zap him, Black Hole just sucks up the laser, making her attacks useless against him.
    • The show has a Running Gag with the number 2763, mainly being used for the amount of distance to locations, but in “Dishes and Fishes”, Coiny explains the distance from their point to Yellow Face’s Warehouse to be 2762 miles away.
      Pin: 2,762?
      Coiny: Yeah? Not everything is always the same distance.
  • In Camp Camp, Max and co. manage to successfully hijack the bus and escape from David and Gwen, only to be caught shortly after when they crash the bus because none of them know how to drive.
  • Cyanide and Happiness: In this short, a barbershop quartet attempts to perform surgery, happily singing what they need ("Scallllllpeelllll..."). Their patient suddenly goes into cardiac arrest, and the singers can't do anything—because they're a barbershop quartet. They then lament the fact that they're not doctors, at which point a real surgeon enters the room and stares at the dead body in confusion.
  • Dorkly Originals has a whole compilation of this trope, titled “If Videogames were Realistic”, parodying many popular video games if they had taken realistic effects. Here are a few examples:
    • ”If Videogames were 10% More Realistic” - Samus using the Ball Suit
    Samus : *obtains the ball suit* Awesome, now I can morph into a ball! *ball crashes* All of my bones are broken.
    • “If Videogames were 13% More Realistic” - Link fighting a Monster
    *Link tries shooting an arrow at the monster, but he misses, he then tries to throw a boomerang, but he also fails, then he pulls out a sword, but it was too heavy for him, so he fall to his back*
    Monster : Huh. Maybe a mute child, who has never seen battle of any kind, isn’t the best candidate to go on a giant adventure. Anyway I’m gonna lay eggs in his brain.
    • “If Videogames we’re 35% More Realistic” - Mario dodging the Angry Sun
    Mario : Oh look, the Angry Sun. I’ll just hop past him and… *As he jumps over it, his face melts from the sun’s extreme heat*
  • Dr. Havoc's Diary:
  • Eddsworld: At the end of the episode "Saloonatics," Edd tries to have an inspirational moment by drinking from his wild west ancestor's cola. Despite the rest of the episode portraying such cola as giving you a harmless sugar rush, it then cuts to him vomiting into a toilet. A baffled Tom asks why he'd drink from a 100-year-old bottle of cola.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • The book Where My Hat Is At? ended with Homestar, having found his hat, arriving at the Big Game "just in time to score the winning run." It's left to interpretation whether this means he showed up in time to go up to bat and scored a home run or if he just ran onto the field at home plate and somehow didn't get thrown out for disrupting the game. When the book was remade as a cartoon ten years later, the Brothers Chaps decided to go with the latter, minus the not-getting-thrown-out part:
      Homestar: Safe!
      Umpire: Uhhhhhh, whaddaya doin'?
      Homestar: I found my hat just in time to score the winning run.
      Umpire: Uh, no, actually it's the bottom of the second, your team's down by 94 points, and you just illegally ran onto the field!
      Homestar: Get this, it was between the milk and the Cold Ones!
      Umpire: Yeah, yeah, you need to head back to the dugout before I toss you out of here, buster!
      Homestar: Man, Mr. Umpire, you sure have a funny way of pronouncing... "Homestar Runner's team wins!"
      Umpire: ...Yeah, you're suspended from the league.
    • The Dangeresque: Puppet Squad episode "The Hot-Jones Hijack!" involves the villain attempting to kill the heroes by throwing them in a deathtrap involving a "robotic Santaman"—that is to say, a motorized dancing Santa toy with a pair of knives taped to its hands. Since the Dangeresque films tend to feature (deliberately) awful special effects, you'd expect it to still be treated as a threat... but then a later scene reveals that it met the fate you would expect of such a deadly weapon, which is to say that it lost its balance and fell over to do nothing but spin around uselessly.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School:
    • Rachel carrying her luggage in a trash bag ends badly, as trash bags tend to rip when holding too much weight.
    • Sorry, Brittnay, but being unarmed and having just come out of Force Feeding will not have you Curb-Stomp Battle Team France as you did with The Expendables.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • After a history of the Reds and Blues learning to cope with Caboose's habit of getting team-mates killed while trying to help them, that ends when he's reassigned. He is sentenced to the brig and tied up as soon as his new C.O. realises how Lethally Stupid he is.
    • Washington is an established Made of Iron Determinator, continuously bouncing back from injuries that would leave anyone else a blubbering shell of a person. Indeed, he seems to start recovering from being shot in the throat at the end of Season 15. However, Season 16 reveals severe brain damage due to his brain losing oxygen for one minute, leaving him as a Mood-Swinger with short-term amnesia.
    • It's repeatedly pointed out and shown that Felix is far more skilled than the Reds and Blues and that none of them individually are a match for him in a physical fight. In the Season 13 finale, he chooses to go after them despite being injured and unarmed, assuming he'll easily beat them. Since the Reds and Blues are both heavily armed and outnumber him, he's rather easily beaten and killed in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • RWBY: In Volume 6, Maria and Weiss have stolen an Atlas military airship and the Atlas base radios them to try to figure out why they're not on course. Maria dismisses Weiss's concern and says she can bluff the radio operators at the base because she knows their lingo. The bluff fails, and the operators note that while the lingo was correct, Maria has the voice of an elderly woman and the ship's assigned pilot wasn't an old lady.
  • Spooky Month:
    • In “Tender Treats” when Bob, the serial killer, came into Kevin’s candy store, Kevin tries to stop him, by spilling gumballs for him to trip over. But Bob was still standing, so he just kicks the gumballs aside. Ironically enough, when Kevin tries to run, he ends up slipping over them.


    Web Original 
  • A number of Civvie 11 videos featured hints that Civvie was planning to escape the prison that the series was set in and detonate a bomb, with him doing brief asides of talking to contacts or requisitioning weapons. This culminates in his Unreal video, where he finally puts the plan into action... and his handlers inform him that they figured out the plan and defused it some time ago, since he was discussing the details of how he was going to do it in a publicly-available YouTube review show.
  • Critical Role: In Campaign 2, Beauregard tries to invoke And Show It to You in her "How do you want to do this?" on a giant minotaur demon. Because the heart is roughly the size of a beachball and she has no knowledge of the creature's anatomy, this takes a lot of effort and ends up looking a lot less cool than she envisioned.
  • Dream SMP: Immediately after winning the election, Schlatt — already established as being not the most physically fit and somewhat frail — begins downing alcohol by the truckloads and using steroids to compensate for his lack of physical strength. His unhealthy lifestyle and the impact on his health are largely Played for Laughs and fever factors into the main plot, until the Season 1 finale, where he anticlimactically dies of a heart attack or stroke while being surrounded by Pogtopia after losing the final battle. As it turns out, his heavy substance abuse posed a genuine threat to his life, and he likely would have died regardless of whether or not he won.
  • Weaponized in this Reddit story. Essentially, a Hollywood Atheist who hates religion and any depictions of the supernatural so much he refuses to play anything that includes them exploits the rules of the venue a tabletop-roleplaying group plays at to not only force them to include him, but also to alter the game to cater to his desires. Thus, the Game Master hatches a plan to get rid of him by giving him the 100% realistic game he demanded. The end result? All of his equipment is stolen because he left it out on the streets, the thieves cripple him for life when he confronts them because he invested his entire build into Intelligence and equipment designed solely to disprove the supernatural, the other party members can't help him because he insisted on starting in the US when everyone else was in Japan, and everything else he has on him is stolen thereafter, leading the quest giver to remove him from the team for being physically unfit to continue. In total, his character lasted about five minutes.
  • Shephard's Mind: When Shephard tries to eat a chocolate bar, he immediately realizes how awful it tastes after he swam through sewage in his adventure.
    Shephard: That was maybe not a good thing to put in my mouth.
  • You Tuber Adam Something deconstructs the political / economic theory of anarcho-capitalism (basically the idea that there should be no government or state, merely the free market, and that all societies should run on the basis of people freely entering into contracts with each other based on purely capitalistic grounds) in three videos called "Anarch-Capitalism in Practice" where he creates a world with near-perfect conditions for such a philosophy to flourish and exploring three communities where the individuals present make decisions based on their own rational self-interest, with events logically following on from each other and no deus ex-machina elements or obvious attempts at putting a thumb on the scales. In the first video, a particularly savvy businessman ends up gradually creating a kind of neo-feudal state with him in charge through developing a business empire initially based on cornering the market on the town's water supply. In the second, another savvy operator gradually creates a form of theocracy by preaching anarcho-capitalism in religious terms to the poor and hungry that would inevitably be left behind in a "pure" capitalist world. And in the third, refugees from both of the previous towns try their hardest to create an anarcho-capitalist system that avoids either of the prior two outcomes, only to end up accidentally creating a form of communism instead. In the first video, Adam also acknowledges that any of these outcomes require stacking the decks in favour of ideal anarcho-capitalism in the first place, and that a far more likely outcome is simply that the hypothetical state simply gets invaded or subverted by an outside state simply because it's too chaotic to function or becomes a form of autocracy.


Video Example(s):


Doing the same jump

Kuro tries to take a jump from the bridge after hearing that Sato did it without having any injuries. He broke his bones since Kuro didn't do anything to break his fall.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SickeningCrunch

Media sources: