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The Day the Music Lied

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The Hero is squaring off with the Big Bad. His theme song picks up and all doubts are cast out of your mind as he moves in to attack. Some ass-kicking is assured once that starts playing. But all of a sudden... No! The hero is soundly defeated! It looked like such a sure thing! It looks like today is The Day the Music Lied.

The name of this trope is a reference to The Day the Music Died, as recounted by Don McLean in the 1971 song "American Pie".

If played for laughs, expect it to be accompanied with a Record Needle Scratch or a fading to bass or even a duck call for extra humiliation. Goes hand-in-hand with Negated Moment of Awesome pretty well, too.

Compare Cat Scare for when dramatic tension is built up with music only for a harmless outcome and No-Sell for an explicitly all-powerful attack that is shrugged off by the target. Related to the Hope Spot. May be combined with a Sudden Soundtrack Stop.

Not to be confused with Musicalis Interruptus, which is where vocal music, rather than background music, is interrupted.

The nature of this trope calls for inherent spoilers.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Black Clover: Although Asta and Yuno are badass once "Haruka Mirai" starts playing when they fight Licht, with Yuno using Mana Zone to attack Licht from behind and Asta launching into the sky for them to attack him together, they're easily defeated anyways.
  • Bleach uses it a few times:
    • The first highly memorable time happens when Ichigo first encounters Aizen — he goes through the windup and rushes in for the attack, swinging his blade at the height of the music — and both are abruptly stopped by Aizen with a single finger.
    • Five years later, after many a Next Tier Power-Up, Ichigo finally turns the tables on him — stopping both his sword in nearly the same fashion and his theme song at the height of its Ominous English Chanting. For the rest of the battle, the music shifts to Ichigo's own.
  • A gag in one Pop Team Epic strip had Popuko waking up, with a caption indicating "Morning Mood" from Peer Gynt playing. Then she opens the curtain and sees it's still night out. Cue Popuko losing her shit and beating the crap out of the caption for lying to her.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Episode 3, to some extent: Viral launches a volley of missiles at the Gurren Lagann and the battle music immediately goes silent, even though the GL is barely damaged (it was a distraction for Viral to get lost).
    • Episode 8 subverted this: Kamina is caught by Thymilph's spear and screams his head off. Cue the sad music and his teammates going Mass "Oh, Crap!"... until he turns out to be alive. For another five minutes.
    • A more comic example is found in the uncensored version of Episode 6, when Simon and Kamina are trying to peek at the girls. Simon ends up launched up far enough to see over the wall, starting up a piece of triumphant music used several times throughout the early part of the series... until he falls about three seconds later, cutting the music off.
    • Late in the series, it happens again when the heroes launch a missile against the Spiral Death Machine. Heroic music swells and builds... and then the missile implodes before getting anywhere near the target. The music abruptly cuts off.
  • Hajime no Ippo does it in Ippo's Title fight against Date.
  • One Piece does this a few times, particularly with Usopp.
  • Digimon plays this trope for laughs whenever the titular characters try to digivolve while hungry.
    • One notable serious example is in episode 26 of the first series, during Vamdemon's (Myotismon) first confrontation of the Digi-Destined. All of the Digi-Destined's Digimon attack Vamdemon as "Brave Heart" plays. This music abruptly stops when Ikkakumon's Harpoon attack hits Vamdemon and creates an explosion, seemingly taking him out, only for Vamdemon to jump out of the cloud of dust and saying "Do you think you've won?", before proceeding to beat up the Digi-Destined's Digimon.
    • The English dub does something similar in episode 34. Tai and Greymon attempt to perform a Big Damn Heroes moment to save Gatomon from getting captured by Myotismon only to get beaten badly by the vampire. In a last-ditch effort, Tai digivolves Greymon to MetalGreymon. "Hey Digimon" then begins playing as Myotismon proceeds to beat MetalGreymon in two moves using Conservation of Ninjutsu.
    • This happens again in episode 40 when Tai and Matt send WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon to take on Piedmon. "Hey Digimon" plays once again as Piedmon effortlessly defeats them both with a single throw of his swords.
    • The second Digimon movie, Our War Game, has another serious example. "Brave Heart" starts playing as Agumon and Gabumon Warp Evolve into WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon. When Infermon evolves into Diablomon and attacks Patamon and Tentomon as it's evolving, the music cuts out. When the two Ultimates/Megas go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, the music picks back up, only to start skipping on "show me your brave heart", signaling the connection's lag and WarGreymon's weakening before it completely cuts out when Taichi crashes the computer.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Pokémon: The Series does this occasionally, for example during Ash's final battle against Brandon when Charizard loses against Dusclops.
    • The most notable example is in the Japanese version, when "Mezase Pokémon Master" plays during Ash and Pikachu's battle against Gary and his Electivire, when this song gets abruptly interrupted when Gary's Electivire suddenly uses Protect to defend against a Volt Tackle from Pikachu, before taking it out with a Thunder Punch.
  • Sailor Moon: Galaxia orders mind-controlled Uranus and Neptune to kill Usagi and the Sailor Starlights, and as they prepare to do just that a piece of ominous music is playing. Which suddenly cuts out and gets replaced by their theme music when they throw their disguise and blast Galaxia. And then *that* music cuts out too when the attack proves to be utterly ineffective.
    • Earlier, during the Super S season, the Sailor Guardians and Amazoness Quartet have learned who each other were and the Sailors transform after the Quartet callously decide to dump a bunch of useless Dream Mirrors in the garbage. "Sailor Team no Theme" is blaring, the girls pull off a In the Name of the Moon speech and Jupiter and Venus launch attacks at them... only for the Quartet to No-Sell them and humiliate the girls. This was the Lighter and Softer season, couldn't go through an episode without slapstick.
  • Subtle example in the original English dub of Dragon Ball Z: As Goku launches the Spirit Bomb at Kid Buu, the track "Ginyu Transformation" that had previously been played during the deaths of Frieza and Cell is played, only for Buu to stop the Spirit Bomb in its tracks due to Goku's low energy level.
  • In Macross Frontier, Sheryl falls into the cockpit of a VF and takes off to join the fight, her theme music starting up as she lifts off. Five seconds later, it comes to an abrupt halt as she's shot down.
  • In the Bakuman。 anime, after Mashiro makes Azuki cry by asking her if they have to wait until their dreams come true to see each other, he tells Takagi he wants to submit something to the Tezuka Awards, and dramatic music plays, as it does when the characters get an idea or renewed determination. After Takagi suggests that he be more patient and make a good submission, the music fades as Mashiro apologizes. Then again, after Takagi learns that their first submission, The Two Earths, was not even chosen as a finalist, he decides to go with Mashiro's plan.
  • In Cromartie High School, "Freddie"'s leitmotif is this song, usually played up to the 3rd or 4th drum roll whenever he suddenly appears. Once, he startled someone, who shut the door on him, cutting off the music before the second bar was finished.
  • In Heart Catch Pretty Cure, Cure Blossom and Cure Marine decide to confuse the Desertian of the Week by running around it in circles really fast. At first, Cobraja, the one who made it, seems concerned... until he looks ahead as the music comes to a droning halt as Blossom and Marine have slowed down, eyes swirling and admitting that was a dumb idea.
  • Episode 55 of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Fuhrer Bradley is MIA after his train blew up, the good guys have taken over the enemy stronghold, and everyone congratulates each other over their victory as uplifting music plays in the background. Then Bradley calls, announcing his return. Cue music cut and collective Oh, Crap! from everyone.
  • The very well known third episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami was fighting quite joyously to the tune of her Leitmotif Credens Justitiam. When the witch, Charlotte appeared, the music changed to the fast-paced battle music Venari strigas as Mami seemingly delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle. The music turns sinister when the witch reveals its One-Winged Angel form. It completely stops when the witch bites her head off and proceeds to devour the rest of her corpse.
    • Also, in the eighth episode when Madoka and Kyubey are sitting on a park bench. The track Sis Puella Magica, which literally means "Become a Magical Girl!", starts playing up as Madoka finally seems ready to make her wish and save the increasingly burdened Sayaka. Just as the music reaches its peak...Homura turns Kyubey to Swiss cheese. Cue Sayaka witching out one scene later.
  • Shaman King has a notable example in the Japanese version of the 2001 anime. All the main characters (bar one) have gathered together to defeat Hao, and we are treated to an almost full rendition of one of the Theme Music Power-Up songs as the characters bind him in place and recalls their friend. Then they finally fire their supposed finishing blow, complete with Hao's only real friend shouting out his name in alarm... Then the theme song abruptly stops as Hao breaks the bind with ease and send the supposed finishing blows off target without trying.
  • Soul Eater: After Kid finally gets to fight the Flying Dutchman after he'd been running from him most of the episode, action music starts playing... then Crona throws Ragnarok at it from offscreen, cutting off the music and the Dutchman's head at the jaw.
  • Played rather humourously in this scene from Grenadier, which pits sweet-as-a-nut Technical Pacifist Rushuna against an entire gang of bounty hunters. Badass killing machine? Uh... No, not exactly.
  • In Space Battleship Yamato 2199, episode 11 starts playing the BGM "White Comet (Disco)" and a launch of missiles to some unseen starships, warning people who remember the original series that the White Comet Empire is having an Early-Bird Cameo, and apparently kicking ass. Then we see the missiles had been fired at them by a Gamilas fleet led by Domel, at which point Domel's fleet, in their first appearance, proceed to annihilate the White Comet to their own theme song.
  • During Kira Yamato's first intervention in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, "Meteor", his song that played when he was doing something heroic in the first series, starts to play as he disables mobile suits and stops the battle without hurting anyone, as per usual, only to suddenly stop when Heine (a sympathetic character) is suddenly killed from behind by another character after Kira disables him, suddenly changing the POV from Kira helping everyone, to Kira making everything worse. Hell, you can tell if Kira's actions are meant to be viewed as heroic by how heroic the music sounds. He has some pretty sinister music playing during his later battles where he goes straight in while acknowledging his previous failure, and especially when he rather cruelly wrecks Athrun when he tells Kira he's not helping. When he goes out of his way to rescue civilians from the Destroy Gundam, he gets his heroic music back.
  • In Haikyuu!! when Karasuno's Takeda-sensei is talking about next month's Tokyo training camp the team's been invited to, the background music is excited and upbeat... then he mentions that finals are going to be next month too, meaning anyone who fails has to retake the exams the same time as the camp. Cue the music stopping and the four Book Dumb characters going Blue with Shock, Blank White Eyes and Color Failure.
    Yamaguchi: Kageyama's not breathing!
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions: In the simulation duel in the very beginning of the movie, when Atem is seemingly ready to stop Kaiba's moves, even announcing his signature "are you sure about that?" line, the music stops as Kaiba also countered Atem's moves and proceed to win the duel.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: As Jury reminiscences about the Love Triangle between her and a former friend, the music suddenly cuts out as she sweeps off the top of her vanity in anger.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • In the final episode of Megalo Box season two, NOMAD, Joe's leitmotif from season one makes a return during the punch-out against Mac Rosario just after Mac's Heroic Second Wind. Just as we're led to believe Joe is going to turn the match around again, Sachio throws in the towel rather than risk Joe's health further and forfeiting the match.

    Fan Works 

    Film - Animated 
  • In Frozen (2013), when Anna asks Hans to kiss her. Hans leans in, both pucker, the romantic music swells... But then the music stops, Hans pulls back, and delivers his Wham Line:
    Hans: Oh, Anna...if only there was someone out there who loved you.
  • Cars 3: When Jackson outruns Lightning, he struggles to catch up to him as the background music swells dramatically...then his back tires explode, causing him to lose control and crash as the music stops, before resuming on an ominous chord as the ambulances surround him.
  • The Rescuers has Orville's takeoff attempt in the Bayou, which starts with a triumphant music, then... SPLASH! (he didn't have enough momentum) Followed with a hilarious sequence of him being sucked into the turbine of Medusa's swampmobile.
  • In Turning Red, when Mei jumps off Mr. Gao's roof toward her family's temple the music swells dramatically... then she slams into the wall.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie begins with the Koopas invading a penguin castle. The penguin king readies his defenses, and "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" plays in the background, perfect for a battle against Bowser... except the penguins' defenses are so pathetic, with nothing more than a Snowball Fight going on and one ice projectile hitting one Koopa, that it doesn't matter.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Ghostbusters II: The guys arrive at the slime-covered museum, Proton Packs at the ready. They charge up and blast away, their "hero motif" going at full volume...and the slime wall doesn't even show as much as a scratch.
  • Jaws: A pair of locals, Charlie and Dernherder, very unwisely try to catch the gigantic killer shark by fishing off the dock with a pot roast. They actually succeed...only for the shark to yank the dock loose and pull part of it out to sea with Charlie on it. When he tries to swim back, the shark goes after him. After a few very tense moments, punctuated by the infamous theme, Charlie manages to get back to safety.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie: As the team morphs for the first time in the film, we are treated to a pumped-up version of the theme song and obligatory posing, after which it is revealed that the bad guys have fled the scene during all the buildup. Even the post-reveal guitar riff sounds disappointed.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    • The theme charge of the Rohirrim cut short the moment the line met the mûmakil. Not pretty.
    • The battle at the Black Gate is about to start. It's not like the prospects for the Armies of the West are much hopeful, but Aragorn turns around and encourages them with a “For Frodo”. All of a sudden, a brilliant rendition of the Fellowship theme for full orchestra (including chorus echoing Aragorn's pledge to Frodo “If by my life or by my death I can protect you, I will”) starts blasting in the background as the army charges forwards. That lasts about 50 seconds until the music turns dark with the Mount Doom theme as Frodo and Sam are stopped in their tracks by a Ring-craving Gollum, while the battle starts getting more and more hopeless.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: During Scott Pilgrim's first encounter with Gideon Graves, he dispatches Gideon's mooks accompanied by an up-tempo version of Sex Bob-omb's signature song, then leaps in for the kill... only to be soundly smashed down by Gideon. Appropriately, the music segues straight into a video-game "you lose"-style 8-bit riff.
  • In Seabiscuit, during the historic match race against War Admiral, Seabiscuit jumps out to an early lead. After a while, though, he begins to slow, accompanied by mournful music, allowing War Admiral to catch up. But Seabiscuit slowing was a Batman Gambit on the part of his jockey, George Woolf, and (injured) regular jockey, Red Pollard, who knew that the horse would push himself harder if the other horse were matching his speed. It worked, and Seabiscuit won. This was, as Laura Hillenbrand's book described, Truth in Television (well, except for the music).
  • As SF Debris noted in a review, Flash Gordon's theme music usually plays when he's losing a fight.
  • In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, drums and horns start playing as the order's given for the Excelsior to go into Transwarp and everyone's preparing for it. However, when the word's given to activate it, the bombastic music cuts to just strings playing as the Excelsior putters to a complete stop.
  • During the torture scene in Sharky's Machine (1981) there's a Hope Spot when Sharky reaches for the backup gun he carries in an ankle holster. Tense music starts playing...only for the music to stop abruptly when the holster is revealed to be empty.
  • A villainous example in Return of the Jedi—when the Emperor is subjecting Luke to a dose of Force Lightning for refusing to fall to The Dark Side, his theme song plays full-force to signal his impending victory over the young Jedi...until Vader pulls his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Another Star Wars example occurs in The Last Jedi: The music gets dramatic as Finn prepares to sacrifice himself by ramming the siege cannon, only for Rose to save him at the last minute.
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, Bruce Banner decides to leap from the spaceship so he can turn into the Hulk and fight off Fenrir. The music swells as the massive wolf charges at Hemdall and the other Asgardians and it seems like the Hulk'll land on the Bifrost... only for Bruce to thud onto the bridge and spend a few seconds dead as the music cuts out.
  • Played for laughs in the short film Deadpool: No Good Deed. After Deadpool takes a long time to change into his costume, and is also interrupted by Stan Lee, he starts hurrying in to save a man being mugged in an alleyway, with John Parr's "St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" playing before he finds that the mugged man's been murdered, already.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider Agito pulls something like this. Sometimes, in the middle of a Theme Music Power-Up, an enemy will counter Agito's finisher. When that happens, the music stops mid-song.
  • Happens all the time in The Amazing Race, most often playing the "elimination" music right before a team is told that it's a non-elimination leg.
  • A gag used in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981), when Arthur and Ford are trapped in the Vogon airlock, about to be blown into space. Ford says "No, wait! What's this switch!" accompanied by a hopeful swell of music... only he's just being a jerk. There's no switch, and they do get blown out of the airlock.
  • Inverted cruelly in a Father Ted episode: when Ted is being humiliated for writing a worse poem than Mrs Doyle, the camera zooms out as the theme music plays, implying the scene is over. However, the scene carries on anyway for Dougal to rub it in just a little bit more.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In "Fear Itself", the Monster of the Week turns out to be a lot smaller than anticipated, so Buffy stomps it like a bug. At the end of the episode, Giles is reading up on the monster in his Tome of Eldritch Lore and suddenly exclaims (to accompanying dramatic music) that he made a terrible mistake... because the picture of the monster is labelled, "Actual size".
    • In "Anne", Buffy has run away to Los Angeles in her Heroic BSoD after Angel's death, working at a diner to pay the bills. In one scene Buffy waits on two trucker types. She instructs Trucker #1 to pay at the counter, and he offers to pay in trade. Trucker #2 slaps Buffy's behind as she walks away. She glares over her shoulder, and from the music, we're meant to think an ass-kicking is imminent, but instead, she keeps walking.
    • In the Musical Episode a demon is making everyone randomly break out into song. Spike hauls in one of the demon's minions and orders him to "sing". There's a grand orchestral swell and the Scoobies wait for the minion to burst into song...then he just speaks normally.
  • Doctor Who. In "Kill the Moon", Clara asks the Doctor what they're to do to solve their latest world-endangering crisis. The music builds at we wait for some awesome Indy Ploy... then stops as the Doctor tells his companion it's not his problem.
  • Arrow. In "Canaries", Oliver Queen finally reveals to his little sister Thea that he's the Arrow, despite him being afraid that they'll become estranged again over the revelation that once again her brother's been lying to her. When Thea sees the glass case containing the Arrow costume, her words and the background music make it seem like she's going to have another outburst, only for the music to surge as she turns to Oliver and praises him for saving peoples lives.
  • Family Feud: In one game of the original Richard Dawson run, the victory theme played prematurely during "Fast Money".
    Richard Dawson: "A state that begins with the letter M". You said: Mississippi. You need 41 points. Survey said...
    ("Mississippi" scores 28 points, though the victory theme plays briefly before stopping)
    Contestant: False alarm, huh?
    Dawson: It was... it was the #1 answer. But, unfortunately, we either have a drunken music machine or someone who can't add. "An expensive magazine". You said: Playboy. 13 points. If you have music, I'd love to hear it now. Survey said...
    ("Playboy" scores 38 points, giving them the win and the proper fanfare)
  • The Sandman, "Imperfect Hosts": Morpheus summons his power to repair his ruined palace, and the background music swells triumphantly as the shattered pieces all rise into the air and begin to fit back into place — then fades as it turns out Morpheus is still too weak and everything comes crashing down again.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "Message in a Bottle", the Doctor successfully retakes the Starfleet vessel Prometheus from Romulan captors with some help from the Prometheus's EMH. However, they still have to deal with the Romulan fleet awaiting them along with a Starfleet fleet that thinks the Prometheus is still in Romulan control. So, the EMH takes the tactical station and fires a photon torpedo at a Romulan warbird, and the music triumphantly plays... until the torpedo hits one of the Starfleet ships, instead.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Is sometimes invoked when a heel is in the ring either mocking an absent babyface or ranting about his/her supposed invincibility. In the middle of the segment, the face's distinctive music will hit and the heel will affect an Oh, Crap! expression...only to start laughing when the supposed entrance of the face is merely 1) a fake-out orchestrated by the heel or 2) one of the heel's minions dressing up as the face for mockery. (See Edge and Lita's wedding for an example of the former and Michelle McCool calling Mickie James a fat "piggie" for the latter.)

  • Hamilton has an interesting example: after We Know, a song in which Jefferson, Madison, and Burr reveal they've noticed Hamilton's payments to James Reynolds and Hamilton has no choice but to tell the truth about his affair rather than let them believe he was doing something worse, like embezzling money from the government, we get Hurricane, a passionate, stirring, powerful song that covers the incredible achievements he's made and how far he's come through his writing, including such lines as "And when my prayers to God were met with indifference / I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance!" to dramatise how he decided to respond to this situation by writing the Reynolds Pamphlet. At this point, if you're not too familiar with American history (and don't pick up on the increasingly loud warning chorus of "Wait for it, wait for it!"), it'd be easy to think that the pamphlet was a great success that turned things around for him. However, the next song The Reynolds Pamphlet makes it very, very clear immediately that this was not at all the case, and that in fact the whole thing pretty much ruined his political career, through practically the whole cast showing up to laugh and mock it and a refrain of "Well you're never gon' be president now!"
    • Then there's Blow Us All Away, a fun, catchy song in which Phillip sings about how great he is, how he's following in his father's footsteps, and how he is totally going to get revenge on this guy for insulting his father! Right up until the literal last second of the song, when he is suddenly shot on count 7 of his duel.
  • Zanshin (SQS): in the end, Shiki appears to be dying, and the tragic music seems to confirm this. The others are agonizing over him unable to believe that they are about to lose their beloved friend and leader, and trying to hear his last words, when he finally stops coughing — as the music stops — and says... "I want some coffee." He's figured out that they're just trapped in a video game, and as such, their injuries can heal automatically.

    Video Games 
  • Super Metroid: After Crocomire falls into an acid bath which dissolves its flesh, its skeleton crashes through the wall and the boss music starts up again... then the skeleton collapses.
  • In Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, after you defeat the first boss, it gets up again and the boss music restarts, but is interrupted when Olha kills it with an Emelas arrow.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Puppet Ganon has one of these. Upon the defeat of the giant puppet, the standard victory fanfare begins and the puppet rises towards the ceiling. Then, the music changes tune slightly, and Puppet Ganon morphs into a giant spider.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Link and Zelda celebrate the Power of Friendship after defeating a boss. The camera slowly pans around them, the background fades to white, happy music flares up...then the band stalls when the background returns to normal and you see the Not Quite Dead boss simply limp out of the room back to his master.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the same thing happens with Armagohma. Link destroys it, the epic victory music plays, Link does that badass sword sheathe and... Armagohma's not dead. The music promptly dies as Link's jaw drops, though what's left of the monster is laughably easy to defeat.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • A lowly villain brings forth a couple of monsters, the characters pull out their weapons, and battle music starts... then the monsters fall into a pit. Cue the music faltering out.
    • The game uses a variation earlier: enemies jump out, and the characters get into their battle stances, but the action bar never shows up. Instead, the music stops and the enemies' boss shows up to challenge you to a race.
  • BlazBlue. The Butt-Monkey ninja has an awesome over-the-top theme that activates when you use Furinkazan which basically makes you super fast and near impossible to hit. Cue epic facepalm.
  • Mario Party: One board has Bowser giving players black stars. At first, it might seem that they count because of the fanfare... then they Let The Air Out Of The Band to let you know you were forced to pay for nothing. And his fake stars cost double (40 coins instead of 20).
  • Persona 4 does this with the True Final Boss fight. The song starts off very slow and ominous sounding, before swelling into an epic reprise of "Reach Out to the Truth," the original battle theme. It seems like a Theme Music Power-Up, but the fight actually ends with the boss killing your entire party. It's the only battle in the entire game that is impossible to win outright.
  • In the Uninvited game, when you meet the Scarlet O'Hara lookalike, the music sounds VERY upbeat. As if you're going to have a pleasant time. Doing anything aside of a select few will cause her to reveal her face as she rips you apart while said music turns into utter horror. This is noteworthy because usually dangers in the game were accompanied by a piece of eerie music, rather than such upbeat music.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: the final boss is defeated and the game's theme music starts up (just as it did in the previous game). It keeps playing as Serah has a vision of the future and dies. It isn't until Mog is overwhelmed by the bad mojo and it becomes apparent that something is extremely wrong does the upbeat pop song stop.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby's Epic Yarn has a moment like this at the end; Kirby and Prince Fluff have defeated Yin-Yarn, and Magic Yarn appears afterwards and they start dancing to cheerful victory dance music. Then, just before they finish their dance, the music stops as his knitting needles come alive, enlarge themselves, and use the Magic Yarn to bring him Back from the Dead, and that's where we cue some Oh, Crap! faces from the two. Talk about your Victory Fakeout...
    • Kirby's Return to Dream Land does it again. You're about to fight the fifth boss, but the Goal Game music is playing. What? No boss at all? ...But when you thought that the final part of the Lor Starcutter is for the taking, it suddenly goes away from you and said fifth boss reveals itself to be Grand Doomer, truly beginning the boss battle.
  • Ōkami has what seems to be a Moment of Awesome after the final boss's first four forms, complete with victory music playing and you starting to do your victory howl, when suddenly the music stops as the boss comes up from behind and proceeds to strip you of your Brush Techniques again!
  • During the Villain Arc of Pokémon Masters EX, the three Team Galactic admins pull an Enemy Mine and team up with the heroes in order to stop Cyrus. When Jupiter complains about having to work with Barry, the battle music flares up, and Barry wheels round to ask if she wants to fight... only for the music to stop as suddenly as it had begun, as Jupiter admits that now really isn't the time.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising has the music stop when Amazon Pandora is "defeated", but it's only a fake-out.
  • At the end of the second phase of the final boss battle in The Wonderful 101 the music changes to Tables Turn, a song that plays when the heroes gain the upper hand in a boss battle. The player is given a simple quick-time event to initiate the final blow... only for the boss to get back up and stop the attack with a single punch. The heroes eventually recover and the game's main theme starts playing (which occasionally plays when a boss is about to be defeated). The heroes charge up an even bigger attack... and once again the boss ends the whole thing with a single punch, this time hitting them hard enough to completely exhaust and depower the heroes.
  • In Space Quest IV, entering a code into a timepod will result in the narrator vividly describing the systems coming online and prepping for time travel while the main musical theme builds to a crescendo in preparation for the time jump. Entering an invalid code results in the same pre-jump narration and fanfare...until nothing happens, and the fanfare peters out.

    Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD often starts playing emotional music during scenes that are set up to be misleading either to the audience or characters. Such as Tomoya starting to tell Tomoyo that Sunohara loves her, or when Kyou pulls Tomoya aside to show him a love letter, the assumption being that it's from her to him. The music starts in both cases only to get cut short by Sunohara butting in to say he wants to fight Tomoyo or an irritated Kyou explaining it was from some boy to Ryou.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: "OBJECTION! ...I was hoping to come up with a question while I was objecting, Your Honor... I didn't."
    • The third game also has a unique case where the presence of music itself is a lie - in every other situation, when you correctly find the fault in your opponent's argument, the background music will go silent. However, to represent the importance of this moment (and, probably, to screw with players who over rely on Save Scumming), the music keeps going even if you present the correct answer, and in fact the opponent's text is identical to the 'fail' text for the first few lines until Phoenix interrupts him and points out that, actually, he did say the right thing, and he's sure of it.
  • During Hanako's route in Katawa Shoujo, Hanako gets drunk on wine and Akira offers to put her to bed. Lilly interrupts the offer and tells Hisao to do it. As they reach Hanako's bedroom, she makes a move on Hisao and the music that typically plays during H-scenes start up...only for Hisao to reject her drunken offer and put her to bed.

  • Homestuck:
    You attempt the rare and highly dangerous 5X CLIFFHANGER COMBO, and fail.
    We are doing it, man.
    We are making this happen.
    • In the 4/2/11 update, where John and Rose square off against their parents' killer, a suitably epic remix of Chorale starts up, a big Round 1 appears at the top of the screen - and then John is stabbed through the chest, at which point the music stops.note 
    • [S]: Wake is another example. After the first half of the flash depicting Aradia's Resurrection, the flash skips ahead about an hour, and tracks the confrontation between Vriska and Tavros. The music rises up... Only for Vriskas expression to change into a sneer, as she slaps Tavros in the face, grabs, him, and impales him on his own lance. The Music promptly stops, only to return a second later as the corpse falls down into the dark, while Vriska waves goodbye to him.

    Web Original 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • "Super Dragon Soul" from the Dragon Ball Z Kai soundtracknote  seems to be a go-to song for Team Four Star to play in seemingly-epic scenarios that are immediately subverted for a laugh, the first time when Krillin jokingly agrees with Gohan's declaration that they need to help out Goku against Freeza and the second time right before Cell's Curb-Stomp Battle against Mr. Satan.
    • When Yamcha arrives to fight the Saiyans, he gives his fellow warriors a roguish grin, heroic music begins to swell in the background, he starts his rousing speech, and "SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" BOOM.
    • In the Abridged version of the Broly, the Legendary Super Saiyan movie, Vegeta begins powering up to fight Broly as the TFS remix of his Super Saiyan theme in the English dub that had previously been used when he fired his Final Flash attack at Cell begins playing, only for it to cut out as Broly slams him into some ruins.
  • In The Nostalgia Critic review of Jurassic Park III, upon the humans' encounter with the T-Rex, the "I'm a Motherfuckin' T-Rex" song from the Critic's review of the first film begins playing as the T-Rex begins fighting the Spinosaurus. It immediately fades to a Record Scratch once the Spinosaurs begins tearing T-Rex apart.
  • Occasionally happens in DEATH BATTLE!, which usually signals the part where the loser, having attempted one final sortie for victory, is about to be on the receiving end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that ends with their death.
  • Red vs. Blue: Near the end of Episode 10 of Season 11, the Blood Gulch Gang is about to deteriorate into a violent melee, when a lone gun shot is heard. The theme of Agent Tex, badass to the extreme, begins to play...until the shooter is revealed to be Donut.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged: During the climactic battle with Heathcliff, the intro music is allowed to play for the duration of the battle... at which point Kirito's sword breaks.

    Western Animation 
  • Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave pulls this in the climax. Gromit dives his monoplane through three walls to get inside Preston's factory, losing his wings in the process. He sees Preston and the music kicks in as he begins unloading porridge on the villain while nose diving him...then the music stops abruptly as Preston catches Gromit's plane by the propeller.
  • In pretty much every Popeye cartoon, Popeye will eat spinach for some instant muscle power, with an accompanying Theme Song. However, the Theme Tune is abruptly interrupted when the can of spinach is taken away somehow (such as by an explosion, or some moving machinery). In one cartoon (How Green Is My Spinach), Popeye ate some other assorted vegetables but failed to get the desired effect (since Bluto invented a formula that wiped out the world's spinach), and in another (A Date To Skate), Popeye just plain forgot it.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender pulls it off in the Season two Finale. Aang is rising into the air in all his Avatar State glory, glowing with holy light, and BAM. Sizzle. Azula shoots him in the back with lightning, and he sort of twitches. Then he falls over.
  • The Legend of Korra: When Korra starts trying to meditate, music starts to play for a second or two before being abruptly cut-off when she gives up on it.
  • Justice League: The New Frontier. Superman, being Superman, rouses and unites a divided group of superheroes, then, with heroic music playing in the background, charges off to scout and engage the enemy...only to be hit with an energy beam so powerful it knocks him several miles back and into the sea, pretty much removing him from the movie (Supes doesn't save the day in this one).
  • In Transformers: The Movie, "The Touch" initially plays when Optimus arrives on Earth to kick Decepticon butt, but at the end of the song, he is mortally wounded in a fight with Megatron.
    • A more comedic example is when Wheelie picks a fight with Grimlock after insulting him. Grimlock swats him to the ground and the BGM picks up as if a serious fight is about to go down...only to suddenly stop as Wheelie comically slingshots a rock at Grimlock's nose instead, killing the seriousness of the situation and more annoying than hurting him.
  • The Boondocks: Stinkmeaner possesses Tom and tries to get his revenge on Robert... but then Huey and Riley jump in and Huey tosses Robert his belt as remix of the show's theme starts. The three of them proceed to get their asses kicked while the music is playing.
  • A nonviolent version on The Simpsons: Abe Simpson is about to perform an act called the "Funky Grampa" - and just as he starts up the singing and dancing, he promptly falls asleep.
  • In the South Park episode "Stanley's Cup," the kids' team is slaughtered by the professional team, only for "We Are the Champion" to start playing. Played With by the implication that the other team might have been the Hero of Another Story, congratulating themselves in the same way you would expect at the end of any sport movie.
  • A variation occurs in Code Lyoko episode "Double Take". When the gang notices "Jeremie" is acting strange and accurately conclude he's a specter, Odd attacks it on the assumption XANA is behind it. When the specter fights him off, XANA's theme swells up as the gang prepare for battle... And then the real Jeremie calls to reveal he created his doppelganger himself.
  • An episode of Danger Mouse has all the music in the world wiped, causing Danger Mouse to ask "But how are we meant to do our missions? We do all our missions to music."
  • In final episode of Steven Universe: Future, Steven is about to leave town for who knows how long. The entire episode, Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl haven't shown any reaction, so just as he's driving off the beach and the ending song starts playing, it cuts off when he suddenly slams on the brakes and goes back to the Temple to question why they aren't sad about it. Only then do they breakdown in tears and admit they were trying to put up a strong front so he wouldn't be compelled to cancel his trip. After that, the end theme starts back up and transitions into the credits.


Video Example(s):


The Mario Penguins

The Penguins attack Bowser with snowballs with the song Battle Without Honor or Humanity playing...but not a single snowball affects Bowser and the only one who DOES get hit is just one Koopa Troopa, yet the Penguin King feels that he has made an impression on Bowser, who darkly chuckles and says he doesn't yield.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheWorfBarrage

Media sources: