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This Cannot Be!

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I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line 'No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!' (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)
Evil Overlord List, Rule #24

Stock phrase uttered by the villain when everything is going wrong, often soon after they declare that nothing could stop their plan, especially not those puny heroes (and the heroes have shown up to disprove the statement). They scream that it's impossible, despite the evidence staring them in the face. May be a sign of a Villainous Breakdown, or the villain's Last Words before Critical Existence Failure (or, on a more existential level, Puff of Logic). This phrase is often coupled with a Big "NO!". May be accompanied by an Oh, Crap!

This phrase is most commonly said by arrogant characters when the tables turn on them, especially Smug Snakes, Smug Supers and/or Arrogant Kung Fu Guys since they are, as a matter of fact, overconfident. Said types of characters will often shriek in disbelief when their arrogance ends up proving to be their Fatal Flaw by having them end up defeated by their opponents. "Impossible!", "I can't believe it!", "How can this be?!", "You can't do this to me!", "This can't be happening!", "It can't end like this!" and "I cannot be defeated!" are among some examples of the best variations of this trope, and a good fan knows when it hits someone with Smug Snakery or Smug Superiority anyway. Also, in a classic fashion, most often after saying "This Cannot Be", a villain will vow vengeance by saying such phrases as "I'll get you next time!", "We Will Meet Again!", "I will have my revenge!", or even "You'll pay for this!"/"This Is Unforgivable!" before leaving to plot anew. Some villains are also prone to screaming this stock phrase when they're given a certain punishment for all their terrible atrocities as well as their own vileness.

Saying this line isn't completely exclusive to villains. A heroic character can also utter this when something shocking or horrible happens. Such a phrase may even be a sign of a Heroic BSoD. The phrase can also be uttered as an expression of surprise when another character actually succeeds in doing something that no one else has ever been able to do in the past. See also How Is That Even Possible?, often spoken in a tone of comical befuddlement rather than dramatic shock.

The equivalent Japanese phrases are "masaka" (まさか, often translated as "no way!") and "sonna bakana" (そんなバカな, often translated as "incredible!" or "that's impossible!"). Such words are used so much in anime, it's fairly common to hear "this can't be!" in English dubs. Monsters in Toku are prone to yelling this just before they explode.

This absolute flat-footedness and denial of reality is generally not found in villains who are Crazy-Prepared or capable of Xanatos Speed Chess.

A Sub Phrase of Oh, Crap!

This is often used when a villain is destroyed, humiliated, meets an unpleasant fate, or their Evil Plan is foiled. Therefore, beware of spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Akame ga Kill!, Syura lets this out when he realizes that he is about to die by Lubbock's hands and that there is nothing he can do about it.
  • Black Clover:
  • Bleach:
    • Soifon in her fight with Yoruichi. She banked everything on the belief that, having spent a hundred years obsessively training, she would now be able to surpass Yoruichi. When she realises that she still can't defeat Yoruichi even though Yoruichi's skills have stagnated for a century, she screams this before dissolving in tears and revealing the real reason why she's so angry with Yoruichi.
    • In anime episode 197, Espada #7 Zommari Rureaux says "This cannot be happening" while Byakuya Kuchiki is attacking him with his bankai.
    • The usually stoic Ulquiorra practically utters this verbatim when Ichigo comes back from a fatal attack and gains a stronger Hollowfied form. He demands to know just what the hell Ichigo is.
    • In chapter 420, Aizen's Villainous Breakdown during his final battle with Ichigo.
    • After Haschwalth reports to Yhwach that his time outside the Schatten Bereich is running out, Yhwach retorts that he should have plenty of time left. He cuts himself off when he realizes that Aizen used Kyoka Suigetsu to mess up his perception of time during their meeting in Muken.
  • Code Geass:
    • The head intelligence officer trying to kill Lelouch in the first episode of Season 2 outright screams "IT CAN'T BE!" when Lelouch regains his memories and commands them all to die via Geass.
    • Luciano Bradley is full of disbelief when Kallen Kozuki unleashes the attack that has outright sealed his fate, and he is outright shocked and livid that he is about to die to an Eleven.
    • These are among Emperor Charles' last words, quite understandably as he was immortal and dying only because Lelouch managed to request God via Geass into undoing his Assimilation Plot.
    Charles: No, it's not possible! I'm supposed to be immortal! We're being absorbed? Consumed by C's World?!
    • Charles' sole present co-conspirator and one true love, Marianne, even outright cries out, "No, it can't be!" the exact moment that Lelouch destroys the Thought Elevator, and is just as shocked when she also starts to be consumed by C's World alongside Charles.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, with absolute arrogance coursing through his veins Muzan is the quintessential demonic villain who wholeheartedly believes to be untouchable by puny humans, that is to say when anything challenges this belief Muzan is quick to lose his mind over it, he has a few key moments in the series where this happens:
    • When Muzan notices Tanjiro wears the peculiar hanafuda earrings, it immediately triggers his worst fears of the one time a legendary slayer almost killed him; as the story later reveals Muzan and his top demon Kokushibo went on a manhunt to kill all of Yoriichi's Sun Breathing disciples over the centuries, they couldn't believe Sun Breathing was secretly preserved by Tanjiro's family without their knowledge as Hinokami Kagura, when Muzan killed the Kamados he did for the simple whim of testing if new demons useful to him would be born, he had no idea of who they really were.
    • When said legendary fight that almost took him down happened, Muzan was completely confident that no human could possibly be a threat to him but Yoriichi proved himself to be an anomaly among humans, potentially divine, he almost killed him with ridiculous ease, leaving Muzan in complete disbelief where he only managed to escape by the tiniest of chances.
  • Digimon:
    • Uttered by Vajramon in Digimon Tamers when he is destroyed by Renamon in her ultimate form, Taomon. "What's happening? This can't be!" The entire episode Vajramon was infatuated with her but disgusted that she preferred to defend humans and have a human tamer rather than join Zhuqiaomon in his quest to destroy them. Vajramon, as well as Zhuqiaomon and the other Devas, viewed humans as inferior, and was even more put off that her ultimate form resembled a human in appearance.
    • Makuramon also says it when Beelzemon destroys him. May not have been the strongest Deva but he lasted the most episodes out of any, besides Antylamon, who survives up to the final episode and the end of the movie set afterward due to her Heel–Face Turn.
    • Speaking of Beelzemon, he says this when Gallantmon defeats him with his Shield of the Just attack. (He (Gallantmon) would've then killed him afterwards if Jeri hadn't stopped him because it wouldn't bring Leomon back after what he (Beelzemon) had done to him.)
    • Apocalymon back in Digimon Adventure has this reaction when the Digidestined use Heroic Resolve to not only reassemble themselves after he digitized them but allow their Digimon to Digivolve to their strongest forms without their crests.
    • MaloMyotismon in Digimon Adventure 02 says this twice in the final two episodes; once when Davis reminds him that his Mental Illusion failed to work on him because his dreams already came true and that he didn't have any problems, especially because he had friends, family, and a Digimon, and the second time after his armored body parts have fallen apart until only his shadow remains, before he is finished off for good by Imperialdramon.
    • In Digimon Data Squad, Kurata had two of these reactions, once when the DATS members regained their memories of their Digimon partners and managed to destroy another one of his Gizumon, and again when Ikuto got Falcomon to Warp Digivolve to Ravemon and injure Belphemon.
    • SaberLeomon had just been rendered confused by a beam shot by another Gizumon that appeared earlier than that. He delivers this kind of reaction when he is being beaten by Masaru and RizeGreymon, with his last words being "No, NO! I cannot be defeated!" as he is being obliterated by RizeGreymon, letting loose a Written Roar afterwards before achieving a fiery explosion.
  • Dragon Ball Z has this a lot, thanks to many of the villains being too arrogant to admit when somebody is better than them.
    • Vegeta is initially shocked but realistic when Goku turns out to be stronger than he and Nappa anticipated, however he crosses into this trope when Goku, a low-class warrior, can actually deal damage to him and, with the help of his friends, come on the verge of killing him outright.
    • Both Cell and Frieza have this reaction to their deaths/defeats. Frieza keeps his insistence of superiority even as Goku beats the ever loving crap out of him, and keeps it until right before his last attempt at a sucker punch blows him into a million pieces (He Gets Better, but only briefly). Cell, goes on a similar tract after attaining his "Perfect Form," and especially after going a step beyond that. His last words: "Impossible... It can't be... I'm invincible!" In the anime, Cell's last words are "I am perfect!", in full disbelief that a perfect being such as him could lose.
      • Cell milks this trope for all its worth when Vegeta's Final Flash cuts away his side section, even throwing in disgrace at being beaten by a Saiyan like Frieza used to. He then immediately breaks the act and mocks Vegeta for forgetting he has Piccolo's regeneration ability.
      • The Cell from Future Trunks' timeline gets this reaction when he realizes Trunks has become stronger and faster than he is due to training in the past. The Future Androids also have the same reaction, unable to grasp how the one they easily beat before is now Curbstomping them without even trying.
    • Garlic Jr. says "What! No! It can't be!" before Gohan blows up the Makyo Star, causing him to lose all his power and get sucked into the Dead Zone, to remain for all eternity. Never to die because he wished for immortality with the Dragonballs.
    • Cooler shouts "It can't be!" when he notices Goku sending his Supernova attack directly back at him with his Kamehameha Wave, which also pushes him along with it directly into the sun, where he dies...At least until the next movie.
    • Babidi has this reaction when Vegeta allows himself to be possessed and openly defies any command that doesn't have to do with fighting Goku; according to Babidi, this is the first time anyone he's brainwashed has ever managed to resist him:
    Babidi: How can the possessed say "no" to the possessor?!
  • In the finale of F-Zero Falcon Densetsu, Rick Wheeler successfully destroys the Dark Reactors prematurely, therefore ruining Black Shadow's plans to destroy and remake the galaxy. Black Shadow tries to escape the destruction of the exploding reactors, repeatedly shrieking "I do not die! I will not die!" along the way, so he can lick his wounds and plot anew. His escape is prevented by a meme-tastic moment in the form of a Heroic Sacrifice courtesy of Captain Falcon himself, who FALCON PUNCH!!!!!es Black Shadow right back into the radius of the explosion of the exploding reactors themselves (which many may argue that the Falcon Punch caused, if the scene is taken out of context), incinerating them both and at the same time saving the galaxy.
  • Fairy Tail runs on this as much as any long-running anime/manga does. Every antagonist - from the heads of Phantom Lord, Sabertooth, Raven Tail, etc. to Jellal to the King of Edolas, and even Cobra when Natsu stops thinking, and the members of Raijinshuu when they fought the rest of Fairy Tail to determine who would next take over as Guildmaster - has said this after getting stomped by Natsu, Erza, Gray, Lucy, or whoever is the in-focus member at the time. The villain of the arc saying this is inevitable.
  • King Gorge says this in Fighting Foodons when Chase and Palator overwhelm and destroy Devouron, making it his last few seconds of being an Evil Overlord before being redeemed by them.
  • Ryoko Asakura utters "It can't be!" in Haruhi Suzumiya, right after Yuki started terminating her. While she looked desperate while saying it (complete with Puppy-Dog Eyes) she gets a hold of her Stepford Smiler face again, after that.
  • Another heroic example, this one played for laughs, in Higurashi: When They Cry Kira's Musubienishi-hen. After Rika and Satoko spin Keiichi around as part of a game where the one he stops in front of and points to will become his date, he points to the one he stopped in front of, of course, to the surprise of the other girls. And when he takes off his blindfold and realizes that he accidentally picked Oryou, Mion and Shion's grandmother, he has this kind of reaction.
    Female protagonists: No way!!
    Oryou: Oh dear...
    Keiichi: ...Thi-This is fucking absurd!!note 
  • Variations on this happened in most races in Initial D. Takumi's opponents would be smug in their ability to beat a junky 86, they'd be internally monologuing about the superiority of their car and skills, and how after this next turn they'd never see the 86's headlights again. Immediately cue said headlights and eurobeat.
  • Inuyasha: Kikyo says this when her body is decaying while fighting Inuyasha.
  • In Part III of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Jotaro's Stand Star Platinum shatters Dio's Stand The World, shattering Dio in the process. Dio's last thoughts as his head explodes are shocked disbelief over the fact that he, Dio, is dying.
    • A heroic version of Joseph Joestar witnessing The World's power murdering Kakyoin. Dio stops time, but to Joseph's eyes, he's in a huge disbelief as Kakyoin is suddenly punched across the buildings despite all the traps they set on Dio.
  • Kill la Kill: Nui Harime totally flips her shit when Ryuko Matoi not only chops both of her arms off with the recovered halves of the Rending Scissors, but said arms are promptly stomped to pieces and then absorbed by Ryuko's Kamui, Senketsu. After a quick second of horror and denial, Nui lapses into a Villainous Breakdown as she madly rants about how much she hates Ryuko, complete with Slasher Smile as she refuses to believe that she's actually about to lose.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!:
    • Sirica, oddly enough, counts as well. She uses this trope when she hears a familiar roar and sees, to her horror, the legendary Demon Beast/monster Kirisakin, whom King Dedede had bought from Holy Nightmare Co./Nightmare Enterprises out of fear of her, appearing in Kabu Canyon and making his way towards her and Kirby and company.
      Sirica: ...It can't be. It's Kirisakin the great monster!
      Meta Knight: Kirisakin is here to reclaim the Galaxia sword. We must stop it!
    • Escargoon screams this in an earlier episode, "Sweet & Sour Puss", when he, despite not knowing that Togeira took away his ability to get angry, finally realizes that nothing that happens to and around King Dedede can make him angry and he stays calm and nice through it all.
  • The Legend of Zelda (Akira Himekawa):
    • In part 2 of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1999), Ganondorf says these words after being defeated by Link for the first time:
      Ganondorf: I can't... Dark Lord Ganondorf cannot be beaten... by this boy!
      • Ganondorf isn't the only one who mutters such a phrase when beaten — other villains also like using this trope when they get bested by Link. Like the Twinrova sisters, for example.
      Twinrova Sisters: But how? It can't be! Done in by our own power?
    • Also, in the The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past manga, Agahnim gets a big shock when Link absorbs his magic with the Master Sword, just before repelling it right back at him in an unforgiving act towards him for sending Zelda to the Dark World encased in a crystal and making him think he sacrificed (and therefore killed) her.
  • Played for laughs in Makai Senki Disgaea when Vyers flips out and reacts like this when Laharl calls him Mid-Boss for the first time in the second episode. Bonus points for adding some Angrish followed by a This Is Unforgivable!.
    Laharl: I don't care what the hell you call yourself! From now on, your new name... is Mid-Boss!
    Etna & Prinnies: [starts laughing]
    Vyers: M-M-Mid-Boss?! How can this be?! Arrrgggghhh! UNFORGIVABLE! YOU SHALL PAY FOR THIS INSULT!
  • Gundam:
  • In Mon Colle Knights (at least in the Gag Dub), Redda, a very sinister dark angel of a Knight of Cerebus for the comedic show, states the standard "No, how is this possible? My plan was going perfectly, but now it's ruined!" before he disintegrates after being slashed to death by Zaha (in the original, he instead said that his death made no difference whatsoever and voiced his realization that he had underestimated the humans).
  • In Musou Kakyou: A Summer Day's Dream, Reimu freaks out and has her Oh, Crap! moment in a "This cannot be" fashion when she sees that her beloved donation box has gone missing!
    Reimu: Wh-wh-WHAT?! H-How can it...! U... U-u-u... U-u-u... WHERE THE HELL IS MY DONATION BOX?!?!
  • Naruto:
    • Like in many other anime, this is said a lot, but Pain just loves saying it. The same Shinra Tensei that destroyed the entire home village was rendered useless by Naruto twice, leading to that phrase. Naruto, while in his six-tailed fox form, not only blocked it with a massive amount of chakra, but he reflected it, hurling Pain into a cliff 2-3 miles away. He also resisted the attack a second time after coming out of his rage... using a hundred shadow clones. Pain's final resort to containing 6-tailed Naruto didn't work. Naruto broke out, with Pain saying "I can't believe it." upon seeing him in his skinless eight-tailed state.
    • The normally stoic Madara falls under this after he gets stabbed in the back by Black Zetsu. He only has a few moments to react, but those moments are devoted to screaming about how this can't happen to him.
  • A rare heroic example from Negima! Magister Negi Magi — during The Hero Negi's fight with The Ace Rakan, Negi manages in a hit with a homemade spell that condenses a thousand lightning bolts, after a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that would have killed a normal person many times over. Since Rakan is Made of Iron, he gets up with a Slasher Smile and blood pouring from his face.
    Negi: No... it's impossible... he took the Titan-Killing Sword directly... this man defies reason...
  • One Piece: Happens fairly often when the supposedly unbeatable villains realize they're hosed.
    • Kuro of a Thousand Plans prided himself on his plans never failing. But one Luffy managed to keep him from doing his Flash Step attack, his trump card attack, he's left stuck shouting belligerently that his "Plans cannot fail!" before Luffy knocks his lights out with a headbutt.
    • Don Krieg isn't too happy about getting his ass handed to him on a plate by Luffy towards the end of their fight and in response repeatedly shrieks that no one can defeat him.
    • Crocodile gets hit with this in his third and final match with Luffy, in disbelief that his previous fatal attacks didn't kill him and that, even though he managed to nick him with a poison, that he still continues to stand and fight him to the bitter end. As he tries to hit Luffy with a hidden blade. He yells out at Luffy that "He's a two bit punk who came from nowhere!"
    • Bellamy's crew get this when Luffy, whom they thought was a weak nobody because he didn't fight back the first time, takes out their captain in one strike (Without even using his stretching powers to boot) and begging him to get back up.
    • Eneru gets this twice in his fight. First when Luffy manages to actually hurt him since near virtually no one could thanks to his electrical powers (rubber doesn't conduct it though) and again in the final strikes when he finds he can't counter Luffy's attack despite having the power to predict it.
    • Rob Lucci's last expression before Luffy Jet Gatling's him just scream this when he sees Luffy staying on his feet up after taking his ultimate attack for the third time. This likewise goes for the rest of the Marines during the Buster Call when they see that Lucci was defeated.
    • In the same arc as above, Spandam is in utter disbelief that a whole Marine Base couldn't defeat seven measly pirates and their allies as he watches them sail out of range of the Marine's ships.
    • Gecko Moriah exclaims this when his supposedly ultimate zombie, Oars, starts getting tossed around like a ragdoll by an empowered Luffy.
    • Marigold and Sandersonia along with their sister, Hancock, express this when they find out Luffy has Conqueror's Haki and starts turning the tide in the arena fight with the former two.
    • Likewise happens during the Summit War when Luffy displays it again and the Marines realize he has the potential to be the pirate king.
    • At the start of their fight, Hordy Jones gets this when he realizes just how powerful Luffy really is when he drops half his forces with Conqueror's Haki alone.
    • All three villains of Punk Hazard get this: Monet when she realizes Zoro actually Would Hit a Girl when she figured he wouldn't, Vergo when Law takes him out in one slash, and Caesar when his supposedly "killer gas" doesn't affect Luffy in the final struggle.
    • Many of the Doflamingo Family get this in their fights. To wit: The whole family when Sugar is knocked out and undoes her toy transformations on the island, causing the residents to regain their memories of their lost loved ones. Machvise when the giant he tries to crush with his weigh powers sends up flying upward into Doflamingo's cage. Lao G when his final attack fails against his opponent and sends him plummeting into an abyss. Dellinger, high off a victory, getting slashed by an even deadlier opponent. Gladius finding out his opponent wasn't defeated as he thought and turning around just in time to see him coming down on him with a Megaton Punch. Pica severely finding that Zoro is not an opponent you want to ignore when he slashes his giant stone form in half. Diamante when his opponent, a one legged gladiator with more then enough grudge against him, manages to weather his spiked ball attack and not even seem remotely wounded as he keeps coming after him. And finally Trebol when he gets too close to what he thinks is an incapacitated Law only to get hit by his severed hand holding his sword thanks to his Ope-Ope powers and severely wound him.
    • And of course there's their head honcho, Doflamingo himself. While he gets several through the final battles. The biggest one is via expression when, after going on a tirade how Luffy was born to "commoner's blood" and should accept his place, Luffy's King Kong Gun breaks through his ultimate attack to deliver the knockout blow.
    • When a crying Brulee reveals to the rest of the Big Mom Pirates that Katakuri was defeated by Luffy, Oven outright refuses to believe it, screaming that Luffy must've cheated somehow.
  • The original Pokémon series episode "Island Of Giant Pokémon" features Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle separated from Ash and company while shipwrecked on a desert island. The quartet eventually come across Meowth, Ekans, and Koffing, (Also separated from Team Rocket) whom Meowth commands to fight. Ekans and Koffing refuse, leading to this exchange:
    Meowth: Come on, we're all bad guys here! We don't need no masters to tell us to do bad stuff!
    Ekans: There's no such thing as a bad Pokémon.
    Koffing: That's right.
    Meowth: There's no such thing as a bad Pokémon???
    Ekans: Only bad masters who tell Pokémon to do bad things.
    Meowth: IT CAN'T BE!!! My master's not around, and I always act like a rat!
    • In the first movie's dub version, Mewtwo uses a variety of this as he kills the scientists who created him and then later when he breaks free of Giovanni's control. It's a different kind of "This cannot be" though. For example, if you listen to the Japanese dub, he will not say "sonna bakana." Essentially, its worded the same in English but the contextual meanings are different.
    Mewtwo: This cannot be... my destiny!
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion: Countless flabbergasted Incubators shout in unison that they "JUST DON'T GET IT!" as the Magical Girls smash their plans to bits.
  • Kuki's reaction in RahXephon when he realizes that the dying Kunugi is about to create a second Tokyo Jupiter — and he's well inside the blast radius. His expression is simply priceless.
  • Reborn! (2004):
    • Tsuna is clearly beating Xanxus towards the end of their fight. Xanxus is not happy about this and says such things like, "Not possible! This is impossible!"
    • Similarly, Byakuran states a phrase close enough to this when an enraged Tsuna blows him away with his X-Burner attack after hitting him with a This Is Unforgivable! and delivering an awesome Curb-Stomp Battle to him.
    Byakuran: It's so blinding. I've lost to you.
  • Saionji in the first episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena. This seems to be the standard reaction of anybody losing the Rose Bride, which always happens to somebody who has started to take her (or their "right" to her) for granted.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Kuyou has this reaction when he sees that not only has Moka revived Tsukune after he was immolated, but Tsukune has saved both himself and Moka from Kuyou's attack.
    Kuyou: No! He lives?! But that's impossible! I saw what my flame did to him! His body was burned to a crisp!
  • Sailor Moon:
    • When Nephrite gets impaled by magic thorns, Naru tries to pull them out. The youma responsible laugh and say there is no way a normal human would be strong enough to pull them out. When she starts to pull them out anyway, they shocked and then try to kill her.
    • The DiC dub has Queen Beryl yell this right before she was banished back to the Negaverse.
    • Wiseman says a similar line when Serena and Rini destroy him. "WHAT?! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING! NO ONE IS AS STRONG AS THE DOOM PHAN..."
  • Almost every villain in Saint Seiya.
  • SD Gundam Force:
    • As he's being pulled into a limbo between dimensions, Talgeese cries, "This can't be happening!" Before admitting, "...Well, I suppose it could, but it shouldn't be happening!"
    • Also Commader Sazabi's reaction to being defeated and destroyed by Captain; "This..can' happening! I've lost! No! NOOOOOOOOOO!!"
  • Giroro from Sgt. Frog winds up catching this phrase from an enemy who thought he'd killed him. In this case, however, "Sonna bakana!" might be better translated as "This is madness!", since Giroro's response is to scream "THIS IS SPARTA!!" in Gratuitous English and Megaton Punch the bad guy straight through about a dozen walls. Also works as Actor Allusion; Giroro's seiyuu dubbed Gerard Butler in the Japanese edition of 300.
  • Shaman King:
    • In the fourth episode, Tao Len mutters such a phrase after being bested by Yoh.
    Tao Len: It can't be... I've been defeated...!
    • In a much later episode, Len says such a phrase again while he's fighting Mikihisa, Yoh's father, in a match to prove his worth and determine whether he will stop or continue searching for the grains of rice scattered across the desert by him. When Len makes many futile attempts to hit Mikihisa after recreating his copies from his spirits using faster and stronger versions of his Rapid Tempo Assault, he simply says "Impossible...!" before the Mikihisa copies move in to attack him from everywhere around him while saying "Use your Oversoul (Furyoku in the dub) to see."
    • Also, in the finale, Hao doesn't actually say anything when he's defeated, but the shocked expression on his face when he and his Spirit of Fire are cleaved in half by Yoh and Amidamaru, who were both given everyone's power and support, just before the fire spirit explodes and takes out Hao with it, suggests that he can't believe that he lost to those two.
  • Sword Art Online:
    Sugou: An ID that outranks mine?! That's impossible! This is my world! I'm the creator! I'm its ruler! Its king! Its god!
  • Justified in Tenchi Muyo!. After he's won the battle, Kagato fires a deadly blast of energy at Tenchi, only to be stopped by Tenchi's Light Hawk Wings, to which he responds, "Impossible!" It's justified because he had just cut Tenchi off from Tsunami's power, and he quickly realizes that the wings are not Tsunami's doing but in fact Tenchi's, a phenomenon that really should be impossible.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: After Lordgenome undergoes quantum breakdown to absorb the energy of the Infinity Big Bang Storm, the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann gets a massive power up, causing the Anti-Spiral to say the following:
    Anti-Spiral: "How can this be? Where are you drawing all of this power from?"
    Simon: "We evolve beyond the person we were a minute before! Little by little, we advance a bit further with each turn. That's how a drill works!!"
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The dub frequently translated this as...
      Duelist: It can't be!
      Jaden: Oh, it be, all right!
    • The original also had this, though often used a simpler version:
      Duelist: Oh no!
      Yami Yugi: Oh Yes!
    • ... though it was also fond of taking it a bit more straight. And Kaiba preferred this exchange:
      Duelist: No way! You can't [do that!]
      Kaiba: I just did!
    • And speaking of Kaiba, in the first duel of the show...
      Kaiba: Draw your last pathetic card so I can end this, Yugi.
      Yugi: My grandpa's deck has no pathetic cards, Kaiba! But it does contain...the unstoppable Exodia!
      Kaiba: AAH! IMPOSSIBLE!
    • Used by Yami Bakura when Yami Yugi switches him and the regular Bakura around so Yugi can destroy him. (He got better though...)
      • And in Abridged:
        Yami: Melvin, no!
        Melvin: Melvin yes!
    • Yami Yugi's millennium puzzle protects him from Panik's flames, which actually threatened death instead of the Shadow Realm. Seconds later Yami uses Mind Crush, either to destroy him or banish him to the Shadow Realm for eternity.
      Panik: You survived! How can this be? It's impossible!
    • This is Pegasus' response to Yugi and the Pharaoh wiping out all his Toon monsters. Bonus points for Joey and Tea giving each other bewildered looks as he continues to rant.
      "It's impossible! I can't believe you've destroyed all my beloved Toons! Oh! No! No, no, no, no, no! This is a nightmare - a bad dream! This can't truly be happening! OHHHH!"
    • Near the climax of the Orichalcos arc, Dartz's incredibly broken deck has Yami / the Pharaoh backed into a corner, and he's been half-convinced to give up. Just as the Seal moves to take his soul, however, one of his tears lands on the Millennium Puzzle...which glows golden and deflects the Seal. Dartz's smug facade promptly cracks for the first time in the entire duel.
      Dartz: Impossible! [stares in disbelief] NO-ONE can overcome the power of the Orichalcos!
    • Both the Big Bads of 5Ds and Zexal exclaim disbelief at their losses. Bonus points for Don Thousand, whose expression is shown in detail at the moment of astonished realisation.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Vrains, Ai's first Duel in season 3 deals a complete one turn kill onto Queen after he not only demolishes her field but also gets through her cheating defensive Skill. He really gave what she deserves well after Season 2.
      Queen: Sonna! BAKANAAAAAA!
  • Several of the earlier antagonists of YuYu Hakusho (particularly Hiei) say this or something similar when the heroes defeat them, mostly since the heroes are nearly always the underdog anyway. The last time the heroes get enemies that do this is a few times the Dark Tournament, though (after which most of the enemies are either Spirited Competitors or Death Seekers).
  • Zatch Bell! has Clear Note, at least. The last Big Bad of the series, he intended to commit genocide on the Mamodo if he won. Right before he was taken out by Zatch's strongest spell, this trope was utilized. Said spell was the result of a Deus ex Machina, without which it would not have been possible to defeat him. Clear merged with his strongest spell, becoming a colossal monster, about the size of a mountain, that annihilated anything it touched with a bottomless supply of power. Zatch's strongest spell was the result of EVERY SINGLE MAMODO aside from Clear lending him their power. This was the result.

    Comic Books 
  • It's impossible to count how many villains have said this when Captain America stops their plans.
    • When Cap shows up for roughly the fourth time after facing seemingly certain death in a single adventure, Dr. Fastaus openly goes "I don't believe it! I won't believe it!"
    • Machinesmith has kidnapped the President, stolen the codes for the "nuclear football" and ready to launch WWIII. Suddenly, through the flames of a downed helicopter, Cap, who Machinesmith had assumed was framed, exiled and on the other side of the world, strides out in full costume. The artifical computer brain can only offer "Im..Impossible!"
  • Matthew Patel in the first volume of Scott Pilgrim: "This is impossible! How can this be?!" promptly before Scott causes him to explode into coins.
  • The Joker screams exactly this trope name in Batman: The Devil's Advocate after he learns in court that he's just been found guilty of multiple counts of first-degree murder, and now will almost certainly get sent to the electric chair. (He'd assumed that he'd always be thought too insane to ever be convicted by a jury, let alone receive the death penalty.)
  • In All Fall Down, AIQ Squared says something to this effect moments before his downfall.
  • In a Tex Willer issue, an hitman whispered "No! It's impossible!" after Tex shot him. Given Tex was near the limit of the range of the hitman's Sharps rifle and armed with a much shorter ranged Winchester, he should have been right, had Tex not been an extremely good shot and used a little trick used by snipers in Real Life...
  • The climax of Plutona sees Teddy drop this line as he lies dying, watching his hero fly away.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • Ultimate Wolverine: Wolverine did not really expect to see Magda ever again.
    • Ultimate FF: Ben Grimm had killed Dr. Doom back in Ultimatum, as he was the villain that kickstarted it all. Now, he's back. He had been trapped in an alternate universe the whole time (as seen in the ending of an earlier adventure); the villain that was involved with the Ultimatum wave and that Grimm killed was someone posing as him during his absence. Ben Grimm simply does not accept that he unknowingly killed Mary Storm, the mother of his girlfriend.
  • The Adventures of the X-Men: The Dweller in Darkness' reaction to his multiversal annihilation plot ending in a humiliating Pyrrhic Victory is "No... this cannot be..."
  • In the Mega Man comic, Air Man screams this when Mega Man defeats him using Leaf Shield (his weakness in Mega Man 2), which, hilariously enough, is one of a few references to the doujin song Air Man ga Taosenai.
    Air Man: No! Impossible! You can't beat m-- [cue explosion and him collapsing afterwards]
  • One issue of Hellblazer has the Second of the Three exclaim "true this cannot be!" when the First of the Three reveals that unlike the Second and Third, he's not actually a demon, and therefore immune to the sort of magical bindings that they are vulnerable to - which means that even though the Three are technically equally powerful, he can easily destroy them both.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader:
    • Near the end of the run, Cylo reveals he's had a secret kill switch for Vader's cybernetics all along, switching them off just when it seems Vader has him cornered. Vader has a dreamlike Near-Death Experience, mostly revolving around his own self-loathing - and then, to Cylo's horror, stands back up.
      Cylo-V: You're still deactivated. How? Impossible!
      Vader: [impales Cylo with his lightsaber and reactivates his cybernetics] Nothing is impossible for the Force.
    • In the final issue, Vader confronts Cylo's final body aboard his cyborg Space Whale ship, and orders him to fly into the sun.
      Cylo-VI: Please. My mind is protected against such simple Force trickery...
      Vader: I was not speaking to you, Cylo.
      [the ship changes course as Vader returns to his TIE Fighter]
      Cylo-VI: No. He can't. This is a machine, my machine! I am the master here. I... [the ship begins to ignite] Impossible.

    Comic Strips 
  • An especially funny installment of The Far Side showed a group of Old West pioneers who are completely baffled by an Indian attack involving flaming arrows. ("Hey, they're lighting their arrows! Can they do that?!")

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Sam Coleman is at first in denial that everyone in the Ghost City has really vanished, taken by the Many. Later, Keizer Ghidorah's middle head is in frantic denial before it's killed by Monster X.
  • Ace Combat: The Equestrian War: The Big Bad, Red Cyclone, gets this right before he meets his fiery demise.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Izuku spouts this in disbelief as he realizes that he now has the powers of Spider-Man. He repeats it when he runs into Peter Parker.
    Izuku: [bolting out of class] This is impossible... it's impossible!
  • In A Certain Crazy Christmas Special, Bad Santa says, "This can't be happening. What...What Are You?" to Touma right before the hero punches him out.
  • Code Prime:
    • Alicia Lohmeyer has a total breakdown as she sees the Britannian Pacific Fleet get wiped out by the Decepticons in a manner of minutes, with her last words being to scream defiantly about the impossibility of the situation.
    • Megatron and the other Decepticons are caught totally off guard in the first chapter of R2 by the revelation that Lelouch is still alive, as the last time they saw him near the end of R1, he was seemingly dying from Megatron's Dark Geass.
  • These exact words are used in Damnatus when the daemon that the radical cultists were trying to imprison escapes, thanks to the heroes gatecrashing the binding ritual. Perhaps a subversion in that it is uttered not by the villain himself but by one of his mooks.
  • The Equestrian Wind Mage:
    "This is Equestria. And here... anything is possible!"
  • In A Father's Wrath the Leader of the Jashinists and Big Bad does this when his powered crystal is destroyed and all of the chakra he had put in it is unleashed on him destroying him.
  • Friendship Is Showtime
    Phoenix: How? How did that little spark of yours turn into an inferno!? I can’t believe this!
    • Hellhound has a similar reaction once Haru defeats Phoenix.
  • A Future of Friendship, A History of Hate: This is Ruinate's reaction when the Mane Six show up to confront him at the climax of Episode 2. Mostly because he had just destroyed Twilight's soul in order to neutralize the Elements, so it really shouldn't have been possible (he hadn't counted on Amity's Divine Intervention).
  • Getting Back on Your Hooves: Checker Monarch gets this when Trixie manages to counter her Dream Weaver abilities and force her out of Trixie's dream, something that no one had ever manage to do to her before. This ends up being the last straw that triggers Checker's Villainous Breakdown.
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: During the Siege of Canterlot, the Shadowbolts attempt to corrupt the Loyalist Lunar Knights the way the rest of Luna's Legions were corrupted by Nightmare Moon, only for them to fight it off, eliciting this reaction from the Shadowbolts (right before they get killed).
  • During Part 3 of The Greatest Gift, Hazel , Trixie's mother, gets this when Trixie starts to overpower her in the Beam-O-War between the two.
  • In The Green Glade, a one-shot fic of The Black Cauldron, Orddu, the leader of the witches of Morva, cries this when the Black Cauldron starts emitting green mist which materializes into Arawn.
  • In Hope for the Heartless, which is set after the events of The Black Cauldron, various characters have this reaction to finding out that the Horned King, the movie's killed Big Bad, is alive.
  • The Immortal Game: Terra gets this twice. First, when the Elements of Harmony are reignited during the Second Battle of Ponyville, and then when she realizes Twilight's succeeded in defeating Titan.
  • My Immortal:
    • "This cannot be. There must be other factors." Said by Snap(e) after Ha(r)grid says he is a Satanist.
    • "THIS CANNOT BE! THE SCHOOL MUST BE CLOSED! YOU ARE NOT FIT TO BE THE PRINCIPAL ANY LONGER! YOU ARE TOO OLD AND YOUR ALZHEIMERS IS DANGEROUS! YOU MUST RETRY OR VOLDEMORT WILL KILL YOUR STUDENTS!" Said to Dumbledore by Doris Rumbridge (Dolores Umbridge) after the Ministry thinks Dumbledore isn't doing enough against Voldemort.
  • My Little Avengers: This is the Ghost Flyer's reaction when Captain Equestria breaks through his Penance Stare through sheer will.
  • Parodied in Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!. Tenya spouts "Inconceivable!" when things start going wrong while channeling Eobard Thawne for the Heroes vs. Villains exercise. He does it so many times that it loses all of its impact, prompting Ochaco to think that the word doesn't mean what he think it means.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: During Season 1's climax, this is Norlock's reaction when Dib manages to break out of his Lotus-Eater Machine, which he says no one's ever done before. And his last moments before being vaporized are spent in denial about his impending death.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • Original version:
      • Chapter 6: An unnamed Giant Mook is in disbelief after Kyril hacks off his arm.
        Unnamed Giant Mook: You... you weren't supposed to do that.
        Kyril: Aye. [beheads him]
      • Chapter 8: Beasley, during his Villainous Breakdown, exclaims, "No! NO! I WON'T DIE, NOT LIKE THIS!"
      • Chapter 13: Barnum Bailey, after he and his thugs get beat up by Sanakan and Hugh.
        Barnum: You can't do this to me.
        Sanakan: Yeah, you're right. I can't. But they can. [nudges head at a mob of angry townsfolk] Well, see ya I guess.
      • Chapter 19: Berol's reaction when Kyril orders his arrest.
        Berol: Y-You can't do this to me, you upstart foreigner! Sergeant Roland, detain this man!
      • Chapter 20: An unnamed thug, during Chloe's Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
        Chloe: Well? Are you going to keep blabbering on and on about your rights?
        Unnamed thug: You can't do this to me, you damned monster!
      • Chapter 30: Mandeville, after Kyril reveals that his assets are being used to fund the reconstruction of the Western District, his house disassembled.
        Mandeville: Liar! My wealth isn't something to banter with! My line will not end here!
    • Remastered version:
      • Chapter 12: A non-villain example. Alicia sees Kyril's cleaver seemingly about to fall on top of her head. The phrase is not said outright, but her internal narration expresses this sentiment.
        Was this how it ended? She was going to die? How?
  • The Red Dragon's Saber: Raynare and her Fallen Angels say it is impossible when Artoria Pendragon effortlessly kicks their butts.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • After having things go his way for most of Acts III and IV, this is Hokuto's reaction in Act IV chapter 31 when the fully-vampirized Tsukune starts kicking his ass.
    • Similarly, in Act IV chapters 28 and 29, Jovian is completely taken aback when Apoch proves that she and Jacqueline are Not So Invincible After All by successfully penetrating her barrier with her Laser Blade, and then using said blade to deflect her Hand Blasts.
  • Second Wind: At the end of Chapter 4, Buggy has this thought during his last second of consciousness after Zoro cuts him…successfully.
  • Shining in the Darkness, a Golden Sun fanfic by Feonyx:
    "Impossible," breathed Felix.
    "Not impossible," Garet whispered with a grin. "Just very, very unlikely."
  • In This Bites!, Blueno and Fukuro get this reaction: Blueno when Sanji manages to affect the real world while locked in his door dimension (something that can only be done with incredible strength); Fukuro when Boss reveals that within half an hour, he's learned the Six Powers enough to replicate the Six King Gun.
  • As soon as Tom is sent back in time in What Tomorrow Brings, Temrash 114 learns all the Animorphs' secrets from Tom's memories and is confident he'll be able to expose them and infest their leader... only to be blindsided when it turns out the Animorphs were waiting in the house to capture them.
  • Melvin does this in his typically silly fasion in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    A locked door?! IMPOSSIBLE!! Wait, no, that's totally possible, what am I talking about?

    Films — Animation 
  • In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, this is Jafar's reaction when he sees Aladdin and Abu and Abis Mal fighting over his lamp and realizes that Aladdin escaped being executed thanks to Genie:
    Jafar: The street rat? Still aliiiiive?! NO! [launches fireballs at Aladdin]
  • In Frozen, after Elsa manages to finally control her powers and, through the Power of Love, thaws out Anna after being frozen, Hans has this very revelation when he sees them both alive:
    Hans: [to Anna] But she froze your heart!
  • Hades is sure Hercules will perish when retrieving Meg's soul. Cue Herc emerging from the pool of souls, radiating golden light as his Leitmotif plays.
    Hades: This is — this is impossible! You, you, y-you can't be alive! You'd have to be a, a—
    Pain & Panic: A god?
    Hades: [flaming up] NYAAAARGHAAH!!!!! Hercules, stop! You can't do this to me! You can't
    [Herc punches him in the face without turning his head]
  • In Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama, Kim's entrance is to correct a villain saying this.
    Mook: It is impossible.
    Kim: No, but real close. cue Kim kicking ass
  • Also shown in Kung Fu Panda just before Po defeats Tai Lung.
    Tai Lung: You...You can't defeat me. You're just a big... fat... panda!
    Po: I'm not a big, fat panda. I'm THE big, fat, panda.
  • The Lion King (1994)
    • Inverted: when Simba arrives just in time to witness Scar fighting with his mother Sarabi, he steps in to protect her. A terrified Scar replies to that with "Mufasa? No. You're dead."
    • And he's right. Earlier on in the film, Scar killed Mufasa by shoving him back into the wildebeest stampede, therefore resulting in his death. With Simba's return, Scar ends up mistaking him for Mufasa until he reveals to his mother that he's her son, causing Scar to be both relieved to know he's correct and surprised to know that Simba is indeed alive.
      Scar: Simba? Simba! I'm a little surprised to see you... (angrily looks at the hyenas) alive? (the hyenas gulp and back away)
  • In Peter Pan, this is inverted and played straight: after Captain Hook supposedly killed Peter Pan by blowing him up with a bomb, not realizing he had escaped the blast, he has Wendy walk the plank, but when the pirates don't hear a splash expected from hitting the water, they puzzle over it until they discover the answer to the question: Peter, very much alive, had saved Wendy and put here in the crow's nest.
    Hook: It can't be!
    Mr. Smee: It's his blinking ghost what's talking!
    Hook: [drawing his sword to duel with Peter] I assure you this ghost has blood in his veins!
  • Rock and Rule.
    Mok: You can't do this to me! I... AM... MOK!
  • A note-perfect example in Disney's Sleeping Beauty: Maleficent utters the line almost exactly in, when she realizes that Prince Philip has very nearly reached Princess Aurora's castle. She teleports to his location and declares:
    Maleficent: Now shall you deal with me, O Prince... and ALL THE POWERS OF HELL!
  • Grouchy Smurf's reaction to the Bad Future shown to him of his fellow Smurfs all being captured by Gargamel on Christmas Day in The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol .
  • In the finale of the 1986 Transformers: The Movie, Unicron in his death-throes is heard saying "Destiny... You cannot... destroy... my... DESTINYYYYY...!" before exploding.
  • In Turning Red, this is essentially Mei's reaction to finding out the 4*Town concert is the same night as the red moon ritual.
    Mei: The same night? The same night?! What?!
  • WALL•E: This is AUTO's reaction to finding EVE and WALL-E somehow escaped from the Axiom's garbage dump.
    Auto: Not. Possible.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Both Wreck-It Ralph and Fix-It Felix Jr. have this reaction when they see that King Candy is actually Turbo in disguise. The heroes originally thought Turbo was dead after he game-jumped from Turbo Time to another arcade game due to not being the center of attention. It turned out Turbo managed to escape after his game was unplugged and laid low for a while before hijacking another racing game by disguising himself as King Candy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Spanish dub of Bruce Almighty had this as Grace's reaction to feeling "el placer".
  • Christopher Robin's initial reaction to Pooh appearing in his world in the Christopher Robin film is "This can't be happening!"
  • Citizen Kane:
    Kane: Susan. Please don't go. No. Please, Susan. From now on, everything will be exactly the way you want it to be, not the way I think you want it, but — your way. You mustn't go. You can't do this to me!
    Susan: I see. It's you that this is being done to! It's not me at all. Not what it means to me. I can't do this to you? Oh, yes I can.
  • In The Crow, as Eric Draven is about to dispatch T-Bird, T-Bird recognizes him:
    T-Bird: "I know you. I know you. I knew I knew you, I knew I knew you. But you ain't you. You can't be you. We put you through the window. There ain't no coming back. This is the really real world, there ain't no coming back. We killed you dead, there ain't no coming back! There ain't no coming back! There ain't no coming back!"
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy
    • When Bane is notified of Batman's return in The Dark Knight Rises, he says "Impossible!" When the two of them come face-to-face, he can still barely believe it. "I broke you!"
    • Subversion: In The Dark Knight, when Batman shows up to protect Dent from getting hit by an RPG, Joker's response is a simple "Hm!" Downplayed later in the film. When the two boats with passengers aboard do not blow each other up, Joker tosses aside his pipe club in anger, then mutters to himself: "Can't rely on anyone these days, you gotta do everything yourself..."
  • In Dogma, Azrael croaks out "But... I'm a fucking demon..." after Silent Bob collapses his chest with a blessed golf club.
  • Aunt Agatha in Double, Double, Toil and Trouble says this almost word for word when the twins manage to bring her sister out of the mirror world.
  • Ex Machina: As Nathan is stabbed by his two robot slaves, he stops fighting back and just starts walking away in shock, muttering about this whole thing is "fucking unreal..."
  • From Flash Gordon:
    Prince Vultan: GORDON'S ALIVE?!?!?!?!?!?!?
  • Godzilla:
    • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla: The Simian leader has this reaction when Godzilla and King Caesar finally destroy Mechagodzilla.
    • Shin Godzilla:
      • Yasuda initially scoffs at Ogashira's hypothesis of Godzilla running on nuclear fission, only to spook the research team office with a flabbergasted screaming fit when it turns out she's right.
      • The reaction of the American ambassador when told that Godzilla not only has a weapon, but that it can shoot down stealth bombers.
    • See below for MonsterVerse examples.
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: This is President Snow's reaction when Katniss manages to shut down the whole game arena.
    Snow: That's not possible.
  • Used verbatim by Steppenwolf in Justice League (2017) after the heroes disable his Doomsday Device, kick his ass around the block and shatter his axe. At this point, his Parademons realize he's more afraid of the heroes than vice versa, and turn on him.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) when the titular heroes successfully share the power of an Infinity Stone.
      Ronan: You're mortal! How?!
    • Inverted in Thor: Ragnarok: It is The Hero, Thor, who says this when Hela destroys Mjølnir.
      Thor: This is not possible!
      Hela: Darling, you have no idea what is possible.
  • The Matrix:
    • An inversion when the Matrix starts glitching out on Neo after he takes the red pill:
    Neo: This can't be!
    Morpheus: Be what? Be real?
    • A straight example when Tank reappears with the lightning gun trained on Cypher:
    • The Matrix Revolutions: Agent Smith's reaction when Neo gets up once again just before the "It Was Inevitable" scene:
      Smith: What? What did I just say?.. No, no, this isn't right. This can't be right... GET AWAY FROM ME!
      Neo: What are you afraid of?
      Smith: It's a trick!
  • In Men in Black 3, Boris the Animal repeats that several times after Jay manages to dodge his Spike Shooter symbiote three times. Jay counters with Boris's own Catchphrase, "Let's Agree to Disagree." In fact, Jay did this by first running towards Boris and getting hit three times, remembering the trajectory of the spikes, then using Mental Time Travel to repeat the events but without getting hit.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla (2014): Dr. Vivienne Graham says "It can't be. It's impossible!" once she realizes that the long-dormant MUTO spore from the Philippine mine has reawakened due to its grown counterpart communicating with it.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019):
      • Dr. Stanton says it's impossible when Coleman says the storm which Ghidorah disappeared inside has changed direction and is headed towards Rodan at unnaturally fast speed, at which point Chen and Coleman realize that Ghidorah is generating the storm himself.
      • Commander Crane just says, "That can't be" when informed that the underwater vortex has carried the submarine to a place where instruments say it's suddenly several-hundred extra miles from Castle Bravo (because the sub has entered the Hollow Earth).
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    • Sir Galahad the Chaste upon realizing the maidens of castle Anthrax want to have their way with him.
      Galahad: This cannot be! I am sworn to chastity!
    • The Black Knight essentially says it when Arthur bests him easily, "I'm invincible!!"
  • Nicely played with in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, when Jack Sparrow waltzes into the pirates' cave on Isla De Muerta shortly after Barbossa marooned him on an unescapable island for the second time.
    Barbossa: It's not possible!
    Jack: Not probable!
  • Power Rangers (2017): During the climactic showdown with Rita and Goldar, the Rangers and their Zords appear to be destroyed by being pushed into a fiery pit, only to emerge unharmed, having formed the Megazord. Rita, for the first time in the movie, loses her smug composure and can only scream a frustrated "How?!"
  • The Prestige, when Borden shows up after having apparently been hanged. This is pretty rich when you consider what Angier's been up to.
    Angier: Impossible... a brother, a twin?
  • Vizzini from The Princess Bride is fond of the word "inconceivable" to explain things that should not go wrong but inevitably do.
  • The one in the MST-worthy Riding With Death is delivered oddly:
    Dr. Hale: No. This can't BE?! You're DEAD?!
    Mike: No I'm NOT?!
  • In RoboCop (1987), when Robo catches Emil in the act of robbing the gas station and utters the phrase "Dead or alive, you're coming with me", Emil recognizes him as Murphy:
    Emil: I know you. You're dead! We killed you! We killed you!
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: "This is impossible/How can this be..."
  • Shanghai Noon: As the sheriff realizes he's been shot fatally through his badge by notoriously bad shooter Roy, who also had only one bullet to boot and endured a hail of six-shooter gunfire: "...How the hell did that happen?"
  • Speed 2: Cruise Control when the hero is able to keep the runaway ship from crashing into an oil tanker, causing Willem Dafoe to yell "IMPOSSIBLE!"
  • Star Wars
    • A rare heroic version comes from Luke in The Empire Strikes Back:
      Vader: No, I am your father!
      Luke: No. No. That's not true. That's impossible!
      Vader: Search your feelings, you know it to be true!
      Luke: NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Nooooooo!
    • Early in The Phantom Menace, Nute Gunray shouts "This is impossible!" as Qui-Gon melts the blast doors to the bridge of the droid control ship.
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith when he discovers the records from the Jedi Temple where Anakin killed the younglings.
  • Played straight in Van Helsing, when the titular character starts transforming into a Werewolf( the only creature that can kill Dracula ), Dracula says just this. Considering ol' Vlad had just recently sent a werewolf after Van Helsing et al, you'd THINK he might have considered this possibility.
  • A notable version in Willow, since it really was impossible. Willow faked the whole thing and if the Big Bad hadn't made a mistake in response she'd have won as soon as she thought to search the area.
  • In The Wizard of Oz, while the Wicked Witch of the West is suffering from a literal meltdown, part of her last words are "How could a little girl like you destroy all of my beautiful wickedness?"

  • In Dragon Blood, Jakoven says something like that as his last words, when he is killed by Garranon, his former "beloved". Stockholm syndrome didn't work so well for him.
  • In the last book of the Deptford Mice trilogy, Jupiter screams "It cannot be!" as he realises that Audrey is defeating him.
  • In The Dresden Files the necromancer Grevane has a non-verbal variant, where he refuses to believe that he could be defeated even after having his throat cut open with a sword, and keeps trying to finish the spell that would make him a god as he's dying. This is fortunate for the protagonists, as if he'd accepted what was happening he would undoubtedly have used his Death Curse to do as much damage as possible.
  • In Mo Willems's Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct, when Reginald's first plan to convince people that there is no Edwina because dinosaurs are extinct fails, he stands around, waving a sign in red letters reading "This is not happening." It doesn't work either.
  • Senna Wales, late in the Everworld series.
    Senna: It couldn't end here. It couldn't end like this. This was to be my universe. Everworld was mine; it couldn't end like this.
  • Go to Sleep (A Jeff the Killer Rewrite): In the final chapter, Randy is in horrified disbelief when Jeff Woods appears before him, saying "N-no- It can't fucking be." When Ben's ghost shows up too, Randy stares in shock, muttering to himself "This isn't real, this isn't real," before sprinting the other way.
  • Subverted in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by Mr. Crouch when his house-elf, Winky, is discovered underneath the Dark Mark, having disobeyed his orders. He's really reacting to the much bigger problem of his son returning to his evil ways and fighting the Imperius Curse under which he has placed him, however. Still, he's not really the villain and they weren't his final words, although he is killed later in the book by that very son.
  • The Misfit of Demon King Academy: Emilia Lud(o)well freaks out the moment she comes to the realization that Anos reincarnated her into a Human-Demon Hybrid; the very brand she had bigotry towards up to this point; and attempts to end her life as a result only to find that killing herself will only resurrect her into the hybrid she was forcibly turned into, leaving her wrecked and sobbing.
  • In Septimus Heap, this is about the reaction of DomDaniel when he sees Princess Jenna on top of the Dragon Boat's head when the Dragon Boat is attacking him.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In the X-Wing: Rogue Squadron novel The Krytos Trap Wedge Antilles at first cannot believe what his fighter's sensors are telling him, that a Super Star Destroyer had just broken free from its underground confinement under a section of Coruscant's planet-wide city and is slowly lifting up into the sky. Asking for confirmation from the controllers, he is told that he is seeing what they are seeing.note 
    • Used by the local Big Bad in the novel The Approaching Storm. An insight on the Trope is provided by Ogomoor:
    ...Ogomoor was able to divine several things simultaneously from his master's exclamation. First, when someone declares loudly and violently that something is not possible, it is probably an accomplished fact. Second, things that are supposed to not be possible that become reality almost always imply negative consequences. And third, there was no point in hurrying from the room because in all probability he would immediately receive an order to return.
  • Subverted in Soon I Will Be Invincible: Doctor Impossible is a cape-and-mask supervillain who declares his nefarious plot to the world by saying "Greetings, insects!" But in quieter moments he reflects "No matter how good the science is, sooner or later, some Special Forces reject will scale the wall and punch you in the stomach." He only rejoices when there really does appear to be nothing between him and his goal. He's wrong, but doesn't seem amazed by it, or even, after thirteen tries, really surprised. Very disappointed, obviously, but it was always a possibility, and next time he'll win, no doubt about it.
  • In most English translations of the Polish folktale "The Two Babies Cast into the Water", the father of the two babies (who have been put through the Moses in the Bulrushes treatment by their Wicked Stepmother) screams exactly this trope when the stepmother lies to him that his former wife has given birth not to human children, but to a dog and a cat. (The two children survive their ordeal and grow up to become a Brother–Sister Team, with the sister a little more competent than the brother.)
  • Vorkosigan Saga: In Literature/Barrayar, the villain's last words are "You're a Betan! You can't do—"
  • Ishamael says something along these lines each of the three times Rand "kills" him in the first three books of The Wheel of Time. He may have a point, though, since he survives the first two times and is quickly reincarnated the third.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A constant on Batman (1966) when the villains realize Batman and Robin have escaped a seemingly impossible-to-beat Death Trap.
    • "The Clock King Gets Crowned:" The Clock King has smugly outlined his entire grand scheme to his underlings. They're about to get ready when Batman and Robin (last seen in a giant hourglass filling with sand) burst in.
    The Clock King: No...It can't be true! You're dead! You have to be dead!
    Robin: Maybe we're living on...borrowed time.
    • "The Duo Are Slumming": The Puzzler gloats on how Batman and Robin have fallen from a giant balloon to their deaths. Cue them smashing through the window.
    The Puzzler: But you''re dead! How puzzling...
    • "A Riddling Controversy": The Riddler brushes off the chances of the Dynamic Duo escaping a quicksand trap. Guess who shows up...
    Riddler: Impossible! Fifteen feet of lethal quicksand!
    Across: They sure don't look defunct to me, Riddler!
    Down: Or demised, departed and dead!
    Riddler: How... how did they survive?
    Robin: Right was on our side, that's how!
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 4's Big Bad, Adam, was like this all through his final fight with Buffy, unable to comprehend how she is defeating him. His last words are a disbelieving "How can you?"
    • The Master from Season 1 has a similar reaction when Buffy confronts him for second time, perfectly alive. The last time they squared of, he killed her Because Destiny Says So, so he shocked to find that she gave destiny the finger.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Davros declares "I cannot die! I CANNOT DIE!" in "Resurrection of the Daleks". And follows it up with "No! This CANNOT be!" in "Remembrance of the Daleks". He had a point. Talk about not being able to take a hint.
    • In "The Parting of the Ways", the Dalek Emperor declares "I cannot die!" just before Rose destroys him and his army.
    • As a heroic inversion, the Doctor himself has been known to say this, on occasion, like in "The Impossible Planet":
      Rose: That's a black hole.
      The Doctor: That's impossible.
      Zach: I did warn you.
      The Doctor: We're standing under a black hole.
      Ida Scott: In orbit.
      The Doctor: But we can't be.
      Ida: You can see for yourself — we're in orbit.
      The Doctor: But we can't be!
    • "The Witch's Familiar": A dying Davros seems to have tricked the Doctor into giving him and the Daleks some of his regeneration energy and is gloating about it, unaware that the Doctor is counting down to something. As soon as he says "one", a huge tremor goes through the city. Davros has enough time to say "What's happening?!" when the Doctor tells him that he turned the tables on his so-called trick, and poured some energy into the city's sewers, where a bunch of half-dead, decaying and very, very angry Daleks are. As soon as Davros realizes this, he says, "No... This cannot be correct! How can this be?!" as the Doctor leaves him in the collapsing city.
    • "Spyfall": The Doctor's reaction to the Master revealing his identity:
      The Doctor: No... no, you can't be.
      The Master: Oh, but I can be, and very much am.
  • The Flash (2014): In "Flashpoint", the Rival says "That's impossible!" when Barry Allen manages to neutralize the two tornadoes Rival created.
  • Game of Thrones: Roose's eyes go wide when Theon tells him that Reports of Bran and Rickon Stark's Deaths Were Greatly Exaggerated.
  • In the finale of Heroes Reborn, Erica Kravid has this reaction when Tommy reveals that he has the ability to circumvent her Sadistic Choice, and that she made it possible because she'd had him trapped in Evernow where he literally had an eternity to practice how to put himself in two places at once. She screams "No. That's impossible!" before trying to shoot him.
  • In the second Horatio Hornblower episode, Horatio's division is exposed to The Black Death at a supply stop in Oran and their civilian negotiator, Mr. Tapling, informs him that they now have to quarantine in the city until three weeks after the last case. Hornblower, appalled, immediately says "Nonsense! No one would order that." Tapling has to graphically describe his own experience of a plague epidemic to explain why they will.
  • In the finale of Kamen Rider Build, Big Bad Evolto exclaims disbelief that "puny humans" could destroy him as Sento's Rider Kick him to death.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Riding With Death, a bad guy had just found out the main hero had survived what should have been a deadly crash. He exclaims, oddly, "This cannot beeeeeeeee? You're deaaaaaaaaaad?"
    Mike: No, I'm nooooot.
  • Odd Squad:
    • Inverted in "The One That Got Away", where Oprah's response to seeing the mark of Equal Evan for the first time in 30 years is a worried, breathy "It can't be."
    • Another good inversion occurs in "End of the Road".
    Opal: Olizabeth, how can you do this after all I did to protect you?
  • Paper Girls:
    • Clearly Future!Erin's reaction to find her own teenaged self standing in the kitchen with Past!Erin feeling the same way.
    • Mac's brother assumes this teenager claiming to be his long-dead sister is a troubled girl playing a sick joke. He realizes it's her when he sees her name written on the Walkman and has a DNA test done, yet is still unable to believe this at first.
  • Quite a few throughout Power Rangers:
    • One good example is Goldar from the very first series (Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, to be exact), who gets a big shock when his personal war Zord, Cyclopsis, is overloading and when it is finally destroyed for good by the Ultrazord.
      Computerized voice: Overload! Overload! Too many changes! System locked!
      Goldar: NO! I don't believe it!
      [the Ultrazord blasts Lokar and Cyclopsis]
      Goldar: It can't be! ABANDON SHIP! [teleports back to Rita's palace just before Cyclopsis explodes]
    • And, not too much later after that...
      Rita: Ohh, I can't stand it!!
      Baboo: Ohh, I certainly regret your displeasure!
      Squatt: It wasn't my fault! I was asleep!
      Finster: You can't blame me! This time it's all Goldar's fault!
      Goldar: Never mind that! Rita! Get us out of here before Ultrazord blasts us!
      Rita: [laughs; her palace takes off for the moon] Yes! ...Goldar?
      Goldar: Yes, empress?
      Goldar: [growls]
    • In Power Rangers Turbo, General Havoc yells "THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE!" when the Rangers destroy his Metallosaurus with the Rescue Megazord. Subverted in that he actually survives this and returns for the following season.
    • From Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, Disc-One Final Boss Diabolico has decided to take the Rangers out himself, and hits their spiffy new Lightspeed Solarzord with a massive attack... which the Zord absorbs into its solar panels.
      Diabolico: This can't be happening!
      Carter: Oh, sure it can, Diabolico! Fire! [pulls trigger; insanely massive barrage of laser-Dakka ensues]
      Diabolico: [As his body goes critical] You have done the impossible. You have defeated the mighty Diabolico! But be assured, Queen Bansheera will avenge my defeat A THOUSAND FOLD!
      [Diabolico collapses to the ground and explodes]
    • In Power Rangers Jungle Fury, one of the main villains was a creature name Grizzaka, who was so arrogant about his immense power that he claimed no one would ever be stronger than him and that he would never be defeated. Needless to say, he received a big shock when, after a huge battle with the rangers, they delivered the fatal blow to him.
      Grizzaka: [as his body prepares to explode] IMPOSSIBLE! I AM INVINCIBLE! NO ONE IS STRONGER THAN GRIZZZAKKKAAAA!!!
      [he blows up]
    • Power Rangers Samurai: This is Serrator's reaction to Xandred leaving the Netherworld and coming after him. A major plot point was Xandred's inability to leave the Netherworld due to an (incomplete) sealing spell placed on him by the previous generation. Turns out the nature of that spell is that he can't leave the Netherworld for very long. The decay that happens to all Nighloks in Earth conditions just happens to him really fast. At this point, no one - us, or the other characters, except maybe the scholar Octoroo - knew that if he was willing to pay the price, he can come out and play for a minute or three... and he's so insanely powerful that even when severely compromized, that's long enough to thoroughly maul the Rangers and anybody else who pisses him off enough to come out. Cue the previously unthinkable sight of Serrator - a Diabolical Mastermind, and The Heavy since Xandred doesn't usually do much, and someone who proved to be very powerful in combat - running for his life. Of course, the time it will take Xandred to recover from that means Serrator came out of this ahead. Knowing Serrator, maybe he'd planned on that.
    • Power Rangers Megaforce: Imagine Creepox's surprise when he realizes that he lost his Single-Stroke Battle with Troy...
      Creepox: No. NO! It cannot be! Me, the mightiest of all insects, fall to a weak human like you? Argh! (blows up)
    • In the season finale of Power Rangers Ninja Steel, we get this line from Galvanax after being defeated by the Ninja Steel Rangers.
    Galvanax: "NO! You can't hurt me! I'm invincible! I'm the champion of Galaxy Warriors! I'm the greatest of all time!" [Collapses and explodes]
  • Search: Lee Hyeok shouts, "How can this be?" when he discovers Min-guk is Only Mostly Dead.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hells Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, E22), Jake is shocked to see Sam alive.
    Jake: You can't be alive. You can't be.
  • Uchu Sentai Kyuranger: Stinger does not take meeting his brother again for the first time in years well. Last time he saw him, his brother just betrayed whole planet to Jark Matter. Now he came to know that Scorpio also added becoming a monstrous version of himself in the meantime.
    Stinger: It can't be... Brother?


    Pro Wrestling 

  • The Ballad of Edgardo: Khaine the Shadowmancer just stands there spluttering in disbelief after Edgardo No Sells his shadowmancy powers, claiming that the darkness is in everyone's hearts. This is after Edgardo has already killed two higher-level players without using the Infinite Spirit bonus.

    Video Games 
  • The heroic variation happens in Advent Rising, when one of the human protagonists hopelessly utters this phrase in utter shock as her entire homeplanet is blown to bits by the Seekers.
  • AdventureQuest Worlds
    • Chaos Shogun Kitsune, the fourth Chaos Lord, is confident that the hero will have no idea how to deal with illusion, trickery and lies. Naturally, in the final cutscene of the Yokai Island storyline, he receives a big shock when, while he's running around invisible leaving the hero trying to figure out how to defeat what he/she can't even see and rapidly swinging the Hanzamune Dragon Koi Blade around trying to hit him, the hero accidentally tears open a rift leading to the Yokai world in front of him. Unable to stop in time, Kitsune screams, "No! Not like this! It can't end like this! I won't go back to the Yokai world!", lets out a Big "NO!", and gets sucked into the rift, after which the hero closes it back up with the Hanzamune Blade, sealing Kitsune in the rift.
    • Also, during the cutscene after solving the mystery at the Sleuthhound Inn, the hero and Curry, the inn's manager, get a big shock when, after taking off the mask of the randomly-selected culprit they apprehended that was responsible for causing the furniture to come alive, they see that the culprit is none other than, in disguise... a magical armoire called the Harmoire.
      Hero: But... how is this possible... you're an absolute closet case!
      Harmoire: That I am! I had to transform into a human in order to control the furniture with the magically infused weapon! Do you believe how hard it is to hold anything without opposable thumbs?! Now it's time for you to see the durability of an all-oak armoire!
    • Also, Spork-ion's text after defeating him in the Dragon Koi Tourmanent: "...How is this possible? No utensil is more powerful than the Spork! One of these days, I'll be sure to deliver your just desserts!"
    • Maximilian Lionfang is sure that he destroyed the Spirit of Frostval when he kicks the snow globe containing her out of the hero's hands. But, needless to say, he receives a huge shock when he hears her voice and realizes that she survived the breaking of the snow globe.
      Lionfang: WHAT?! IMPOSSIBLE! I destroyed you!
    • Gravelyn, oddly enough, counts as well. She reacts with "Im... im... impossible!" when Noxus and Vordred take control of all of her undead soldiers.
    • And soon enough, it's Noxus' turn. He's quite the Magnificent Bastard who turned all of her undead minions to his side, took her throne, and enslaved her. Almost everything up to that point has gone according to his plans. Then Chuckles attacks him out of nowhere and frees her, which is something he didn't expect. He receives a big shock and states this trope because he controlled all of her undead but couldn't accept that Chuckles, of all undead, couldn't be controlled by him. And that's because Chuckles himself was created by Gravelyn, not Noxus.
    • Imagine Vordred's surprise when he realizes that Artix was right about the Spirit Orbs that were once enslaved and are now free not being able to be re-enslaved as the Spirit Orbs cause his armor of skulls to self-destruct within him and destroy the ShadowReaper of Doom. Better. Guess what word Vordred himself says...
  • Happens during the final battle against Chakravartin in Asura's Wrath after he manages to fully hurt him. After that, it's all one big No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and a "No More Holding Back" Speech.
    Chakravartin: ...How can so powerful...?
  • Batman: Arkham Knight has Hush freak out when Batman unmasks himself as Bruce Wayne, utterly destroying Tommy Elliot's belief that Bruce has never had to work for anything:
    "Bruce?!? That's impossible!"
  • BlazBlue has quite a few "cannot be" moments as well.
    • For example, whenever Bang Shishigami is hit, he sometimes screams "How can this be?!?!?!"
    • Also, in Noel's Gag Reel in Continuum Shift, Carl gets shocked when he sees Hazama eating the Kagutsuchi puffer fish simmered in peppers and spices as cooked by Lethal Chef Noel herself, which wiped out every other member of the Blaz Blue cast and left them puking in a mess so disgusting it had to be censored.
      Carl: Im...possible! How can you possibly eat THAT?!
    • Hakumen counts as well, as he has this reaction when Jubei informs him of Terumi's return.
    • Speaking of Terumi...
      "Honestly, though, I never figured YOU would turn out to be the proverbial squirrel in the ointment. Am I supposed to accept that this is another result of the continuum shift? I can't believe it's affecting the timeline like this..."
    • Surprise, this is Litchi's reaction when Platinum manages to break her spell, and again when Platinum obliterates her with her Star-Boobie Breaker attack. Both reactions come from Platinum's Gag Reel.
  • Dracula does this in every Castlevania game, sometimes mixing it up with an As Long as There Is Evil speech.
  • Champions Online:
    Teleios: This cannot be! I am Teleios! I- I cannot fail! [and then he explodes]
  • Command & Conquer
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Tanya's last words are close.
      Tanya: No! This can't be happening! I...
    • Also, even more spectacularly, Cherdenko gets a different one in each campaign.
  • Uka Uka in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped uses this after you beat him and Cortex for the real ending.
    Uka Uka: No... It cannot be! Not a prisoner of time again! AAAAUUUUUUGGGGGHH!
  • Creepy Castle
  • Devil May Cry:
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition has a heroic version with Morrigan, once it’s revealed the Big Bad has Resurrective Immortality and is very pissed about being killed.
  • DragonFable
    • Villains in other Artix Entertainment games such as this one seem quite fond of using this trope when defeated by the hero. For example:
      Drakath: NO!!!! IMPOSSIBLE!
      Hero: You say that word a lot.
    • Necromantic Anti-Villain Vayle counts as well. When she realizes that Artix recognizes her as the same Vayle he saved during their childhood, she gets a big surprise and reacts with such a phrase as "Impossible! This cannot be that little boy I met during the..."
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom; After you've defeated Deimos he proclaims "No! No! No! This is impossible! I am destined to conquer, to rule! How can I have possibly been beaten by whelps like you?"
  • In Dynamite Headdy, every time you defeat a Keymaster, you can hear someone (the Big Bad?) saying "I cannot believe it!"
  • These are the exact last words of Lu Bu in Dynasty Warriors 4 when you kill him.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, after the Dragonborn pursues Alduin into Sovngarde (fantasy Valhalla, basically) and lands the killer blow, Alduin begins to thrash about in agony as he disintegrates, shouting "Zu'u unslaad! Zu'u nis oblaan!"Translation 
  • Count Waltz in Eternal Sonata in the second battle against him, which only occurs in the PlayStation 3 Updated Re-release. "I can't believe this. How could I lose? Impossible. I will not accept it. I will never accept defeat!"
  • Subverted by The Big Bad in Fable II when the hero ends his rant midword. Complete with laconic sarcasm. Though the player can beat said sociopath to the punch if he likes.
  • In Fallout, the Talking the Monster to Death option results in the trope name word-for-word.
  • Final Fantasy
    • In Final Fantasy V, this is Faris' go-to reaction whenever something very upsetting happens, such as a character's death or being confronted with the fact that she and Lenna are sisters.
    • A more famous use of this from Final Fantasy VI on the Floating Continent.
      Emperor: Very well, Kefka. So be it. You’ve become useless, and I’m afraid it’s time to end this.
      Kefka: [double take]
      Emperor: Don’t think of me too badly. As a final comfort, I’ll put you to sleep with your own magic.
      Kefka: [erupts into laughter]
      Emperor: What's so funny? [pause] No matter. It is only fitting that you die laughing. Firaga! [pause] Flare! [pause]
      Kefka: [jumps around, acting jolly]
      Emperor: Im...impossible... Why doesn’t the magic strike!! Meltdown!
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, almost every villain has at least one variation of this to cry upon their defeat, either when the final blow is dealt or when they collapse afterwards:
      Garland: Impossible! I cannot be defeated!
      Emperor: This...this can't be real...
      Exdeath: No...this is not happening!
      Kefka: Inconceivable!
      Ultimecia: How could this be?
      Kuja: I will not accept this result!
    • In fact this trope is so popular, even a couple heroes employ it.
      Terra: It can't end like this!
      Cloud: How could this happen?
    • It's played with a little in Zidane's standard defeat quote. Despite him saying the trope word-for-word, it isn't delivered with the usual hammy defiance of the line. Instead, Zidane actually sounds very surprised and scared as he says "W-what? ...This can't be—"
    • In Final Fantasy X, Wakka declares "This can't be happening," after the party views Jyscal's Sphere and learns that Seymour murdered him. He says it again after Auron states "We will protect Yuna from anyone, even a maester" and yet again if the player has Wakka use the Talk command to talk to Seymour during the battle. Later, Lulu declares "This...this cannot be!" when Yunalesca tells the party that there is no way to truly defeat Sin.
    • In Final Fantasy X-2, Logos has this as his death quote. The voice acting makes it sound rather silly, to say the least.
  • In Fire Emblem, every chapter has a boss which is stronger than most units. However, not every boss is completely vital to the plot, some are just random people of high rank in opposing armies. Every boss has a death quote, so there's a countless number of random bosses who use some variations of "This cannot be" when defeated.
  • When Rei defeats Juda in Fist of the North Star, Juda cries out "Bakana!" ("Impossible!"). The moment is recreated if you use Rei's Fatal KO on Juda in the Playstation 2 game.
    • Jagi also yells the phrase after realising that none of his attacks are working on Kenshiro during their final battle.
  • In For Honor, most Samurai heroes will sometimes shout "nani?!" when guardbroken or parried by a Knight or Viking, which in Japanese means "what?!" The implication being that due to supposedly being the most skilled faction, the Chosen are utterly incapable of processing that their offense or defense has failed against a "barbarian" like you.
  • God of War (PS4): Magni and Modi are prophecized to survive Ragnarok, so they are incredibly reckless and smug due to their Prophecy Armor making them believe they are invincible. When Kratos, a man known for defying destiny, kills Magni, Modi is both horrified and fumbling in disbelief since he's realised how vulnerable he truly is.
  • Shiro Tagachi, after dying in Guild Wars Factions.
  • Guilty Gear
    • Justice sometimes screams "IMPOSSIBLE!" when defeated.
    • On one of I-No's Guilty Gear XX story routes, after defeating Dizzy, I-No talks about "preparing a special welcome" for her friends, the Jellyfish Pirates. Naturally, Dizzy, not about to allow her to hurt her friends, unleashes a massive attack on I-No much to her surprise, burning her to a cinder as she hopelessly attempts to cover herself from the huge attack.
      I-No: [being obliterated by Dizzy's attack] What is this power?! My body... it's burning! Impossible! I'm I-No! I can't die! Someone! Please...hel...p...
    • I-No also mutters such a phrase after being bested by May.
      I-No: How could I have lost... Lost! To a little kid!
  • In Jade Empire Emperor Sun Hai says this after you defeat him, exclaiming 'I am a god' just to further seal his fate.
  • In the PC version of Killing Time, the final boss Tess Conway does this as she fades into dust from the feet up once she's defeated.
    Tess Conway: Impossible! I'm immortal! ...I'm immortal!
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • Hades, whenever you beat him in the games, does the same as in Hercules. It's immensely satisfying to hear, really.
      Hades: This... isn't... happening!
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Marluxia reacts with "It can't be!" to Riku Replica's appearance just after he's finished mocking Sora, telling him that if he loses his memories his heart will no longer be able to feel or care, just like Vexen's pathetic imitation of his Riku.
      Riku Replica: Take another guess.
    • Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep once he sees that even though he just took over Terra's body, Terra's armor reanimates through sheer force of will and seals the battlefield.
      Xehanort: Your body submits, your heart succumbs— so why does your mind resist?!
    • Ansem (Xehanort's Heartless) after you defeat him in the original game.
      Is this the answer? It can't be!
    • Several members of Organization XIII, most noticeably Xigbar ("I!?), Larxene ("I'm fading!? NO, this isn't the way I...I won't allow-!"), and Demyx ("NO WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!")
    • In Kingdom Hearts III, this is Xemnas' reaction when Roxas comes flying in to save Axel and Xion.
      • Also in III, Terranort is reduced to screaming "HOW?!?" when Terra breaks free and takes over the Guardian.
  • The Kingdom of Loathing's Naughty Sorceress says "This cannot be! This is not possible! It cannot be the case that this is the case!" when you defeat her second form.
  • The King of Fighters
    • In 'The King of Fighters Maximum Impact'', Alba's defeat quote is translated in the dub as "How can this be?!?" Duke, on the other hand, gets a shout of "How can I...!".
    • Earlier in KoF '94, knocking Rugal out nets you a "Ma... masaka...".
    • Iori Yagami's staple cry of defeat is "Konomama de wa owaranzo!" ("This can't be the end!")
  • Kirby Super Star
    • Captain Vul's reaction when he finds out that Main Cannon #2 has been destroyed by Kirby.
      Axe Knight: Ahh! Main Cannon #2 was destroyed!
      Mace Knight: The cannon's a wreck! We can't use it!
      Captain Vul: What?! How could this be?
    • The reaction used in the original game was "Holy cow! What happened?"
    • In Revenge of the King in the same game, Dedede reacts like this as well after Kirby defeats the Grand Wheelie in The Revenge stage.
      King Dedede: Unthinkable! He beat that one too?!
      Bandanna Dee: Kirby is approaching here, your majesty!
      King Dedede: Cursed pink lump! I can't believe it!
      Bandanna Dee: Great King, pull yourself together!
  • Last Rites have the main villain, Father Mordae, uttering this nearly word-for-word ("You.. cannot be!") after you kill him in the last level.
  • Legacy of Kain: The Elder God moans "This cannot be" as one of his lines when Kain gets close enough to slash him in the eye.
  • Uttered in The Legend of Dragoon by Rose when, at the end of Disc 3, "the emperor" reveals himself to be Zieg, another dragoon from the old, old days. This isn't the only "cannot be" moment LOD offers.
  • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon:
    • When Malefor simply resurrects the Destroyer after the heroes' desperate, barely-successful attempt at stopping it, Ignitus is left staring at it dumbfounded whole murmuring "This can't be!"
    • Malefor shouts "You can't defeat me! I am eternal!" as he's defeated at the end.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Downplayed. In the final battle, Ganon is baffled that Link managed to get as far as he did and defeat his alter-ego Agahnim twice. But he confidently proclaims that he will destroy Link and take over the Light World soon after.
      Ganon: "I never imagined a boy like you could give me so much trouble. It's unbelievable that you defeated my alter-ego, Agahnim the Dark Wizard, twice! But I will never give you the Triforce. I will destroy you and make my wish to conquer both Light and Dark Worlds come true without delay."
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: When Ganondorf is defeated by Link until he returns and turns into an Eldritch Abomination, that is.
      Ganondorf: The great evil king Ganondorf... beaten by this kid?!
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Battle of Aces has Material-L, Fate's Chaotic Evil Twin who tends to scream the Japanese equivalent of "Bakanaaa~!" shortly before she ceases to exist.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: We get this gem, courtesy of Doctor Doom:
  • Mega Man X
    • Several villains are quite fond of using this trope when they're defeated, such as Vile in Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X when he is defeated by X in Sigma Stage 1 and he screams "Noooo... I can't lose to X...!" before exploding.
    • He doesn't die, but if X/Zero defeat High Max in the Nightmare levels before his proper fight in Gate's Lab, he expresses utter disbelief that a pair of relics (the latter of which he's an "improvement" on) were capable of defeating him.
      High Max: Wh-what’s the meaning of this!? Speed, power, body...I’m not inferior in any way! I can’t possibly lose to an old robot like you!
    • Some of the Bosses in Mega Man X8 do this for their Death Cry Echo:
      • Dark Mantis says, "I can't believe it!" in the English version.
      • In the Japanese version, Earthrock Trilobyte (Earthrock Torirovich) says "This can't be!"
      • Also, Sigma's last words in Mega Man X8, when Sigma is defeated in his true battle:
      Sigma: [being defeated] Impossible! How... could you... You couldn't... Destroy... the old... world... new age... Hrrgh! NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!! [then he blows up]
  • Metal Gear Solid: Psycho Mantis utters this exact line during your fight with him.
  • In NetHack, if you sufficiently anger your deity, he will smite you with a bolt of lightning. If you survive, he will throw a wide-angle disintegration beam at you. If you still survive, he will simply say "I believe it not!"
  • In Planescape: Torment, defeating the Transcendent One through combat gets you a cutscene where he cries "No! This cannot be happening!" as his body disintegrates.
  • Pokémon
    • In the remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver, Clair screams this after the Master in Dragon's Den reveals that you passed a test that even she didn't. This was actually to teach you a lesson as she won't give the Rising Badge to you even after you beat her, and has to be ordered by the master (her grandfather) to hand it over.
    • In the same game, Giovanni declares that he will not repeat the same mistake 3 years ago by losing to a child. You whip his ass and Giovanni utters that he can't believe he lost to another kid yet again and this can't be happening again. He then walks out of the cave and the player hears a water splash, which implies that Giovanni committed suicide, although his appearance in Black 2 and White 2 is debatable on whether or not he did kill himself.
    • In Red/Blue and the remakes of it, your rival will say this after he loses the final battle.
    • Ghetsis in Pokémon Black and White loses his mind over this very trope. After N is beaten, foiling Ghetsis' plan that took years to plan and impliment, Ghetsis seems in denial over the fact the it happened. After he himself is beaten, he's left ranting about how he is "perfect" and it's impossible that his plan has failed.
  • Carina in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time mutters a variant after being defeated in a spaceship boss battle as her last words, along with a Last Request to her surviving army before being cut off by her ship's destruction.
    Carina: No! This is impossible! Valkyries, do not let him reach the citadel. He cannot interfere with Nefarious' plans to... *ship explodes*
  • The UT Commander in Resident Evil Survivor is about to shoot Ark, whereupon he's impaled from behind on the Hypnos Tyrant's claws. As he dies, he cries out, "This... can't... beeeee!"
  • RosenkreuzStilette:
    • Spiritia Rosenburg, The Heroine, oddly enough, says this when, after coming across Raimund Seyfarth's Devil Scythe Grassense, she realizes that Graf Michael Sepperin brought him Back from the Dead as The Grim Reaper.
      Lilli: You're kidding, right? He's a ghost!?
      Spiritia: I can't believe it...! The Count is even using the forbidden arts!?
      Lilli:This is freaky...!
    • Anytime you defeat Eifer in her stage in Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel, she mutters "Kuso... bakana...!" ("Damn... this can't be...!") before making her exit... for now.
    • Iris Sepperin, The Woman Behind the Man to Michael and a little girl who is so arrogant about her absolute power and unparalelled brains that she claims to have transcended humanity and have become a god, panics when Spiritia destroys her Iris Machine.
      Iris Sepperin: Impossible! Where did all that energy come from!?
    • After defeated in the final battle, Iris Sepperin mutters:
      Iris: "To think I'd lose to a single mage fighting by herself..."
    • When Grolla in her alternate mode confronts them in the final stage, Iris Sepperin becomes shocked, unable to believe that Grolla is standing on such holy grounds.
      Iris: "...Impossible. There's no way a simple commoner can set foot here..."
    • After defeated by Grolla:
      Iris Sepperin: No... this... can't be...!
      Grolla: Die.
      Iris Sepperin: ...I won't let that happen!
  • The last words of the Big Bad Marduk in Sacrifice is "What... Impossible!..."
  • Legend Entertainment's Shannara gives Brona a speech like that when you attack the Ildatch with the Sword of Shannara:
    Brona: What is wrong? My magic! It is gone! I CANNOT DIE AGAIN! I... I... deeeeaaaad…
  • Upon defeating Deko in Sin and Punishment: Star Successor:
    Deko: How can this be? You've defied the will of the creators! Your allegiance to that monster will destroy this entire universe!
  • Skies of Arcadia
    • Vigoro (and Piastol in the Updated Re-release) does this upon his (or her) defeat, complete with slow motion falling down in defeat. (Although the actual line they give is "How can this be?!")
    • So does Ramirez in the localization, when you've beaten him for the THIRD TIME, declaring that "This can't be happening!" right before evaporating in a really shiny fashion. Averted in the original Japanese version's script.
  • Sniper Elite V2 Nazi Zombie Army: Surviving the siege after retrieving the BOOK OF SOULS from the library nets you "No! Impossible! This cannot be!" from whoever or whatever is in control of the Nazi Zombie Army.
  • In Sol Cresta, when Mandler is defeated, it has this to say:
    Mandler: NOOOOOOOOOOOO! You... You wretched TERRAAAAAANS! This cannot be! It WILL NOT BEEEEE! I'll plunge you... and the Sol Cresta... into the SUUUUUUUN! I shall be reborn again! Again, and again, and AGAAAAAAAIN!
  • Sonic The Hedgehog
    • In Sonic Adventure after you defeat the Egg Viper, Dr. Eggman says "No way! I can't believe this!"
      • This same soundclip is also used when fighting the Egg Walker, and Eggman barks his disbelief every time you hit his machine's legs. Since the four legs are all meant to be hit in quick succession, this leads to "NO WAY, I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!"
      • Eggman then shouts "What?! I cannot believe this is happening!" after you beat Hedgehog Hammer with Amy.
    • Sonic Adventure 2: In the G.U.N. boss fights, a G.U.N. soldier will utter this when defeated. Also, the Dark characters will utter this when they are defeated for the final time (only time in Rouge's case).
      Rouge: This can't be true! I never lose!
      Eggman: No! I can't lose to Tails!
      Shadow: Impossible! I am the ultimate life form!
    • And in Shadow the Hedgehog, Black Doom's One-Winged Angel form, Devil Doom, states this when Super Shadow defeats him. Black Doom had it coming anyway.
      Black Doom: I-Impossible! I am the supreme being that rules this universe! I AM THE IMMORTAL LIFE FORM! I AM THE ULTIMATE POWER! AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!
    • Also in Sonic Battle, when fighting Dr. Eggman during Emerl's story. Whenever you beat him, he shouts "IT CAN'T BE!"
  • Star Fox 64
    • Both Leon (first encounter) and Pigma (second encounter) of Star Wolf exclaim "This can't be happening!" when defeated.
    • Wolf himself also gets in on the action, yelling "No way! I don't believe it!" and "I... can't... LOOOOOSE!" when he gets shot down.
  • In Star Trek: Legacy, this is said word for word on occasion by the commander of an exploding Romulan ship.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Many, many variations of this are uttered by Sith NPCs (and many other baddies) in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
    • Also played hilariously straight in the ending sequence of Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. Marka Ragnos' dialogue is to show up, declare his invincibility, get whupped and then scream his hammy, Narmful disbelief at the ceiling before being banished.
      Ragnos: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! This is IMPOSSSSIBLE! I shall return, Jedi! One day I will return, AND ANNIHILATE YOU ALL!!!
      • You think that's Narmy? In the German version, his line rhymes.
  • M. Bison in Street Fighter Alpha 3. Like... all the time.
  • When the audio is set to Japanese and Juri is defeated in Super Street Fighter IV, she yells "sonna bakanaaa!"
  • Super Mario RPG
    • When you defeat Smithy, the Final Boss, he bellows, "It's not... possible...! I don't believe it...! I'm...finished...done for...!" This is followed by a Written Roar, a Big "NO!", and Critical Existence Failure, in that order.
    • The end of an earlier Boss Battle:
      Axem Red: This isn't possible! We are...invincible!
      Axem Pink: Can this be happening to the AXEM RANGERS?
    • In Super Mario Advance, Birdo utters such a phrase in her pink and red forms.
    • Then there's the Shadow Queen of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, who mutters these words after being defeated:
      Shadow Queen: Impossible... Unthinkable... How could I... I cannot be beaten by lesser beings such as these... and I had just been reborn into this world... I cannot... I must not... AAAAAIIIIYYYYEEE!!!
    • In Super Mario Galaxy, Bowser can only watch in utter disbelief as his attempted conquest of the universe falls apart.
      "NOOOO! My galaxy! My empire! This can't be happening..."
  • After you beat her in System Shock 2, SHODAN says a calmer, more elaborate version of such a quote:
    SHODAN: I don't understand... how could you have done this? You weren't meant to be so important... and now you think to destroy me? How dare you, insect? How dare you interrupt my ascendance? You are nothing. A wretched bag of flesh... what are you, compared to my magnificence?
  • Tales Series
    • At the beginning of Tales of Phantasia, Dhaos shouts "Sonna... sonna bakana!" when the Indignation spell is successfully cast at him; he says it again if you cast it on him during the actual game, at least in his first boss fight. And if you cast it at his cameo in Tales of Eternia as Sekundes, Summon of Time and Tales of Vesperia in the coliseum, he says the same thing.
    • Nereid in Tales of Eternia exclaims "What!?"/"Bakana!?" when Reid counters Finality Dead End with divine aurora to Infinity Reviver before the reflected attack comes back at him, finishing him off.
    • Every single Desian in Tales of Symphonia will gasp "I an inferior being?" Every single one.
    • In Tales of Vesperia, Barbos and Clint also utter a "sonna bakana" when defeated. Perhaps most memorably, certain soldier enemies will say "No way!" or "Bakana!" every single time they get hit while knocked down. Also, Alexei states "this cannot be" after the Adephagos appears when releases the power of Zaude.
    • In Tales of Graces, Richard declares this after his defeat at the Ghardia Shaft.
    • Graces seems to love this trope, since it is delivered word-for-word not just by Richard but by Emeraude and the Fodra Queen during the final fight with her as well.
    • In Tales of VS., during Stahn's story mode, Khang screams this when Phillia decides to fight along side with Stahn against him.
  • Parodied for a brief gag in the Team Fortress 2 short "Expiration Date", where Soldier dramatically responds in this way to a bucket, whose purpose hasn't even been explained yet.
    Spy: This... [puts it on the table] is a bucket.
    Soldier: Dear God...
    Spy: There's more.
    Soldier: No...!
  • In Telepath Tactics, Fera says "Impossible..." if you somehow manage to defeat her in the outer wall battle. Though they don't use the usual Stock Phrases, Rebecca's and Tarion's Last Words also feature the sentiment.
    Rebecca: D... defeated? Me? There must be... some mistake...

    Tarion: How could this be? Defeated by... mere animals...
  • The Big Bads of Trials of Mana have this reaction when the final blow is delivered to them.
    Dragon Lord: H-how!? A supreme god cannot die! AAAGH!!!
    Dark Lich: B-but I am immortal! This is impossible!!!
    Dark Majesty: No! Mavolia! My reign! How can this be!?
    • The Crimson Wizard, Goremand, and Mallocchio have similar reactions when they are bested in battle as well.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, General Gregor's final words are about how his armored train is invincible. He forgot to account for the fact that the bridge it was sitting on wasn't.
  • Valkyrie Profile
    • Barbarossa's death speech.
    • Hrist gets one too.
    • A heroic example:
      Lorenta: [after her DME hits 0] No! This cannot be!
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
    • Some units shout things to this effect when routed (also, some characters when their armies are defeated in campaign mode).
    • The Chaos Sorcerer blurts out a hammy "It cannot be!" when his morale breaks. The Imperial Guard Psykers also get a juicily shaky "This is impossible! I-I cannot lose!!" line when it happens.
    • And in the Chaos defeat cinematic of Soulstorm, Lord Carron gives us this hamtastic line:
      Lord Carron: No, no! We cannot lose! We cannot die, how can we?! [...] Oohhh, the horrid blossom of Chaos will wither, will die!! [...] This world... is slipping... from our grasssp.
    • In Retribution, Warboss Smashface really doesn't like being told that the shiny bridges (which he believes bring good luck) have been blown up:
      Warboss Smashface You'd betta be lying to me boy, and you'd betta be dead, before I get dere, because I don'ts like getting lied to!
  • In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Frau Engel has this reaction when B.J. Blazkowicz, whom she thought she had personally executed, but turned out to be Not Quite Dead, suddenly appears in front of her and catches her off-guard while filming a live TV show. It...doesn't end well for her.
    Frau Engel: [desperately scrambling for a gun] You're dead! I severed your head from your shoulders! I KILLED YOU!
  • Konishi Mitsuki from The World Ends with You, being the Manipulative Bastard that she is, says this as if you defeat her in battle.
  • World of Warcraft bosses just love to do this, the hammier the better.
    • One of the classic examples is Nefarian, who upon being killed yells, "This cannot be! I am the Master here! You mortals are nothing to my kind! DO YOU HEAR? NOTHING!"
    • Kael'thas Sunstrider's Last Words is more of a Nothing Can Stop Us Now! though.
      Kael'thas: My demise accomplishes nothing! The Master will have you! You will drown in your own blood! The world shall burn! Aaaghh!
    • Archimonde in the Caverns of Time.
    • "WUT!? UNPOSSIBLE!! You face Mogor now! Mogor destroy!"
    • The Lich King utters a very shocked, "Impossible..." after Tirion uses Ashbringer to shatter Frostmourne.
    • Said verbatim by Instructor Chillheart in the new Scholomance instance, when you destroy her phylactery, killing her.
    • Armsmaster Harlan in the Scarlet Halls is, in his last words, either incredulous and doing this trope, or just indicating he's pissed off:
      Harlan: Bested... by the likes of ...
  • Zero Wing: The Captain, when eloquently informed by CATS about the current status of all their base lets out a bewildered "What you say!!", however correct translation of the original Japanese line is "It can't be!"

    Web Animation 
  • Broken Saints takes some liberty with the phrasing, but...
    Lear: "But this was the design! I have given my life to it! God has brought me to this moment!"
  • DEATH BATTLE!: The loser of "Sauron VS Lich King" shouts "IMPOSSIBLE!" when Sauron shatters his sword Frostmourne and causes the souls trapped in there to encircle him. After that, Sauron's victory is assured.
  • Dreamscape: The Overlord of Evil exclaims "No! I will not be stopped!" right before he is sealed away in the flashback in "Over and Under".
    • Melinda exclaims "What is going on here?! Your world should be destroyed and you all should be dead!" when she is suddenly transported into her own dimension to fight all of the residents of her Mirror Universe in a flashback in "The Mystery of Melinda".
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device has this happen two times in "This is impossible!" variety:
    • The Inquisitors react like this when the Fabulous Custodes tell them that the Emperor is back.
    • In April Fool's episode the Emperor says it upon seeing Horus appear in the throne room.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: In the season 2 finale, Anne unlocks the full power of her Calamity Powers much to Andrias' surprise, who thought her connection to her Gem had been severed, unaware that Anne hadn't fully charged it.
  • The Ant and the Aardvark cartoon "Technology Phooey" has the Aardvark pushing a huge rock off a cliff towards the ant, who deflects it by simply blowing at it.
    Aardvark: I'll say it in two words: Im. Possible!
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • Screamed by Bane, almost word for word, as Batman finally overcame him. "You can't do this to me! I am invincible! I...AM...BAAAAAAAANE!"
    • When Batman escapes his "perfect" trap and won't tell him how he did it (jumping inside the safe to survive the explosion), the Riddler completely breaks down, raving and ranting so loudly all of Arkham can hear him, aggravating even Joker
      The Riddler: It's impossible, I tell you! Impossible! My trap was perfect! How did he do it?! I have to know! Somebody tell me! It's not fair! There was no way, I tell you! No way he could've gotten out! Somebody tell me! Do you hear me?! Somebody tell me how he did it! I have to know! I have to knoooow!!!
    • Hugo Strange gloats that he knows Batman's secret identity, only to burst out "It's not possible!" when he sees Batman and Bruce Wayne standing next to each other. After he's taken away, we learn that "Bruce" is Robin in disguise.
  • Darkseid in Batman: The Brave and the Bold when he notices he and his minions are about to get sucked back away from Earth. "Not. Possible."
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Albedo says this by name when he is changed back into his Ben form in "Double or Nothing".
    Albedo: What? No! It can't be!
  • Birdman (1967) episode "Vulturo, Prince of Darkness". Right after Birdman has his solar powers renewed by the nearby passage of a comet, the title villain says "No! It cannot be!"
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: "But that's un-possible!"
  • Danger Mouse and Penfold are on the trail of the Great Bone Idol (episode of the same name). They trail a mystic stick to a stone pillar in the desert. DM lifts the pillar's lid, then closes it back.
    DM: It was a herd It couldn't be. [looks in again] Good grief, it was!
    Penfold: Ephelants! 'Undreds of 'em!
    DM: Positively packed to the portals with prostrate pachyderms!
  • Danny Phantom
    • Of all the people who could have handed Vlad his head in "The Million Dollar Ghost", it is the Bumbling Dad Jack who does it, something that Vlad finds so vastly impossible due to his simpleminded personality (as opposed to Vlad's brilliance).
      Vlad Plasmius: [post massive beatdown] This isn't possible! You're an idiot! An idiot!
      Jack Fenton: [smugly] Maybe so, but I'm the idiot who beat you.
    • He continues to frustratingly rant about this in the Ghost Zone, but the end results did have Vlad getting what he wanted which sets the stage for a latter episode.
    • In "The Ultimate Enemy," this is Dark Danny's reaction when Danny uses the Ghostly Wail on him, a power that took him ten years to develop. It's hammered home because, immediately before this, he had bragged about how Danny's Face–Heel Turn was an inevitability, reasoning that all major points in the timeline were fixed due to him not undergoing a Cessation of Existence even after frightening Danny with his appearance. The fact that Danny learned the Ghostly Wail ten years before he did completely refutes this argument in an instant, indicating that it is possible for Danny to change his future. The revelation leaves him so stunned that he's unable to properly counter Danny's Wail, and he's then sucked into the Fenton Thermos afterwards.
      Dark Danny: That power! It's not possible! I don't get that power until 10 years from now!
      Danny: I guess the future isn't as set in stone as you think it is.
  • Dexter's Laboratory. This is Dexter's Catchphrase!
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In the episode "Will Work For Ed", Rolf says this verbatim when he discovers that the Eds cut up his potatoes into French fries.
    Rolf: THIS CANNOT BE! The spud has been shamed.
  • From the Family Guy episode "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q".
  • Final Space: In the Downer Beginning of "The Dead Speak", Avocato is shell-shocked to the point of disbelief when the Lord Commander ascends to Titanhood and defeats Bolo in nightmarishly short order.
    Avocato: This... This can't be happening!
    Biskit: Believe it. It's happening!
  • In the Futurama episode "The Problem with Popplers", Lrrr eats the annoying hippie Free Waterfall, Jr. Waterfall's last words are "This is not happening."
  • Gravity Falls: Bill does this twice in the finale, the first time when he goes up against the mecha Mystery Shack and finds he can't hurt it due to the protection shield (until he sees that they didn't coat its feet) and again when, after managing to counter the heroes last ditch gambit, that he was tricked into entering into Stanley's mind and not Stanford like he wanted and is now being erased with Stan's mind with no way to escape or counter it. His tone as he panics is in utter disbelief that he was beaten.
  • The very first episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy features such a speech from Grim, upon realizing he’s been defeated by two kids and must be their best friend/slave forever.
  • On Jonny Quest, in the episode "The Curse of Anubis", the villainous Kareem has the line, "No! It cannot be! The spirit of Anubis, walking, following me!"
  • Kim Possible:
    • Played with numerous times:
      Dr. Drakken: It is impossible!
      Ron Stoppable: Actually, it's possible. Kim Possible. But that's a common mistake.
    • In his very first encounter with Team Possible, Drakken is shocked and incredulous to see Shego defeated. Of course, he'll have plenty of opportunities to get used to it.
      Drakken: Shego has failed! But she never fails! No!
  • The Legend of Zelda (1989): Ganon is totally baffled when he finds out that Zelda loves Link in "The Missing Link." This is Hypocritical Humor because he is an Abhorrent Admirer to Zelda.
    Ganon: But one thing puzzles me. Why would Zelda be able to see him?! Well, she could only do that if- (Beat) No... no, i-impossible.
    Triforce of Power: What is it, evilness?
    Ganon: Zelda could only see Link if... if she was in love with him! Zelda in love with Link?! Oh, how disgusting!
  • Dr. Wily in Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) is prey to this trope quite a lot.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Usually, when Ladybug and Chat Noir defeat his Akumized villain, Hawk Moth reacts with a threat and a pun, but in "The Puppeteer" Ladybug, armed with her Killer Yo-Yo and a Lucky Charm that this time materialized as a power cord, took on three past villains and Chat Noir, all Brainwashed and Crazy thanks to the titular villain, and won, he shouted "No! This can't be happening!"-after being apparently stunned speechless for about a minute.
  • In ¡Mucha Lucha! The Return of El Malefico, El Malefico says this when the Three Mascaritas turned into giants and beat him up.
    El Malefico: No! This cannot be!
    Rikochet: It is and you're going down.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Discord is absolutely stunned when he realizes (far too late) that not only have the Mane Cast broken free of his Mind Rape, but rekindled their friendship to the point they can activate the Elements Of Harmony again...which are presently aimed at his face.
    • Same happens to Nightmare Moon when the Elements' blast hits her.
    • Trixie declares "This can't be!" in "Magic Duel" after Twilight Sparkle seemingly wields greater power than her. In her case, it's completely justified, since Twilight's tricking her.
    • In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Tirek shouts this when he see Twilight and the Mane Six with their new Rainbow Power, unable to understand how they are empowered again after draining their magic.
  • Parodied in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Cranius Maximus", when Baljeet — who has temporarily become a Mad Scientist — realizes he didn't beat Phineas and Ferb like he thought:
    Baljeet: That is not possible! Well, I mean, clearly it is possible, but highly unlikely!
  • In the The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Members Only", the Villain Of The Week Mascumax says this word for word when brought down by the girls' combined attack, Ferocious Flaming Feline.
  • He doesn't actually say anything, but when Matrix dents Megabyte's chest with a punch in ReBoot's season 3 finale, the look on Megabyte's face needs no words.
  • Robot Chicken parodied the Star Wars scene cited in the "Film" section by continuing it to have Vader reveal more and more things to Luke. Luke's reaction goes from "This cannot be!" to "This is unlikely to be" to "Now that's just weird" to "Look, if you're not going to take this seriously, I'm leaving" despite every single revelation being something that actually happened in the franchise.
  • Perhaps one of the best examples of this trope was seen in Samurai Jack episode "Jack and The Ultra-Robots", when Jack defeated the sword-wielding leader of said Elite Mecha-Mooks by enhancing the power of his ancient sword with the aid of the gods. His reaction was somewhat justified as he had been specifically designed so that Jack couldn't cut through him, which is exactly why it was such an awesome moment.
    Lead Assassin: [as he is sliced in half by Jack's enhanced sword] Unbelievable.
    [he explodes]
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: As with the example in the Film folder above, a subdued version of this trope is what Obi-Wan Kenobi falls back on when some horrible realisation shows up to ruin his life again. This time, it's in response to seeing Darth Maul alive and well on Mandalore.
    Obi-Wan: No, it can't be...
  • Tangled: The Series: A written version exists in Rapunzel's journal: She drew a picture of Cassandra with the moonstone's power at one point and wrote "Cassandra... how can this be..." on the page. She flips through that page in the final episode.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Many, or some, villains are quite fond of using this trope when bested by the Turtles. Especially the Big Bad, the Shredder.
    • For example, in the finale of Season 3 of the 2003 cartoon, Ch'rell, the Utrom Shredder, gets a big shock when the Utrom council finds him guilty for all the crimes he had committed across the galaxy in his many aliases, including but not limited to his Oroku Saki and Shredder aliases. He screams, "NO! I am the Shredder! I am invincible!" just before the Utroms give him the punishment of banishing him to his new home on the ice asteroid belt surrounding the frozen planet Mor Tal, where he does very little but let loose a Big "NO!" because he is not too thrilled to be trapped on his new home.
    • Sh'Okanabo, one of the main villains of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward, is another good example; for example he receives a big shock when, in the episode "The Freaks Come Out at Night...", his plan to take over Earth and cover it with his Kanabo drones backfires on him. All thanks to the Sun. And then he goes back to his spaceship and throws a temper tantrum complaining that all of his efforts have been in vain and saying that Earth could sustain his race for centuries if not for the accursed sun.
      Sh'Okanabo: This is impossible! The Kanabo have thrived before on countless planets under countless suns!
    • In the episode "Timing is Everything", the Shredder gets a big shock when he sees for himself how much more skilled the Turtles have gotten since their first battle with him, as well as how powerful Sh'Okanabo is in overwhelming and sending his Foot Soldiers back to the Shredder's original time period.
      Shredder: Impossible! You are not this powerful!
      Raphael: Dude, we put the ka-bosh on ya a long time ago. You're history! [he and Leonardo kick the Shredder back to his original time period]
    • The 1987 show had this when they defeated Krang in his giant robot body:
      Krang: I am Krang, the all powerful! I have never been defeated!
  • The Wacky Races episode "See Saw To Arkansas" (the debut episode) has Dick Dastardly splutter "It can't be!" when Peter Perfect drives through and into the steel wall with the painted scenery Dastardly employed. Dastardly proceeds to get flattened by a bus coming out of the scenery.
  • Nox from Wakfu says this so often that it's practically his Catchphrase. Made worse is that among other times, he always says it after someone breaks his time spell... which everyone he uses it on does.
  • Lord Darkar's last words as, in the finale of Winx Club Season 2, the fairies perform a convergence spell that banishes him to the chaos that spawned him where he will remain forever:
    Lord Darkar: Noooooooo!!! This can't be happening!! Nooooooooooooo!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
  • W.I.T.C.H.:
  • In X-Men: The Animated Series, there's this bit from "Come the Apocalypse":
    Apocalypse: No! My creatures cannot be defeated! *I* cannot be defeated!
    Cyclops: [blasts Apocalypse] We beg to differ.

    Real Life 
  • For a non-villainous example of this, when an Aeromexico DC-9 and a Piper Archer private plane collided over Cerritos, Los Angeles, resulting in the death of all 64 on both planes and 15 on the ground, the last recorded word on the Aeromexico black box was "this can't be".
  • The Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman muttered "eyn chaya kazo" ("there is no such creature" in Hebrew) when he saw atoms in a crystalline structure arranged in a five-fold symmetry, which is pretty much impossible. Despite most of the scientific community telling him he was wrong and couldn't even get basic scientific facts correct, he persevered, and won a Nobel Prize for his discovery of the structure called a quasicrystal (which can have 5-fold symmetry).


Video Example(s):


Ken's Secret

After meeting his opponent in their civilian roles in the real world for the first time, the Digimon Emperor shatters Davis' faith in his idol by revealing he's the same Ken Ichijouji Davis has always looked up to.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheUnmasking

Media sources: