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This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself

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"I can save [Blow]'s life. However, at the same time that is a deed that will stain the hoodlum's pride. It's up to each person which one to choose, but I choose to take pride. Even if the hoodlum dies as a result."

Everything comes down to a one-on-one fight between the hero and whoever has been his worst antagonist in the current plot. The hero's friends and reinforcements show up in time to intervene and give the hero a decisive victory with their overwhelming numbers and/or firepower, but they don't — or the hero won't let them — because "This is something he's got to do himself."

This is the logical extension of It's Personal, the cousin of Leave Him to Me!. It often stems from Honor Before Reason, and may be invoked by The Atoner who feels responsible for cleaning up his own mess without dragging anybody else into it. Also see I Work Alone for refusing help from the beginning, Hero Harasses Helpers for actively pushing away would-be helpers, and The Only One for cases where nobody else can really help. There's also Locked Out of the Fight, where the hero does want help but circumstances contrive to prevent the helpers from helping. Compare Shoo Out the Clowns. Contrast In the End, You Are on Your Own, where the helpers can't be of any help even if they wanted to. See also What You Are in the Dark. Also contrast Figure It Out Yourself, where the bystanders could help, but don't, even if you ask, as well as I Can't Do This by Myself.

Contrast Helping Would Be Killstealing, for when it's a matter of experience and personal growth rather than honor or revenge. In video games, this tends to lead to a Duel Boss.

Sometimes the other heroes disagree with the hero who wants to go at it alone, so the Solo Mission Becomes Group Mission.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bakuman。, after learning that two of his friends and rival mangakas are threatened with cancellation, Nizuma gets uncharacteristically serious, saying that there's nothing he can do to help them and that only those who have what it takes can succeed. They ultimately do get cancelled, and Nizuma is shown to be fairly unhappy about that result.
    Nizuma: I... can't do anything for them. Only those who have what it takes can stay in this business.
  • In Berserk Casca as a child was being sexually assaulted by a nobleman, when Griffith rode up to save the day. However, instead of saving her himself, he threw her a weapon and told her to defend herself, then just watched to see what the outcome would be.
  • Happens a few times in Bleach with Ichigo; he sets out repeatedly to fight alone, and most of the final battles are just him and the Big Bad. But his friends and mentor Urahara refuse to actually let him set off for battle alone.
    • However, Ukitake does give Rukia a speech that amounts to this concept when Kaien is fighting his wife's killer. That doesn't go as planned because said killer was a parasitic Hollow that ended up possessing him, which ultimately forced Rukia to kill one of her closest friends/maybe-crush.
    • Subverted near the end of the Arrancar arc where Ichigo was fighting Aizen and was joined by every single Shinigami or Visored who could still raise a sword.
    • Rukia says it during Ichigo's fight with Grand Fisher (the Hollow who killed his mother), having a flashback to the aforementioned speech by Ukitake.
    • Averted in the Lost Agent arc where Ichigo and Ishida team up to fight Ginjo. Unfortunately, Ishida can't do anything to him, but Ichigo didn't seem to have a problem with accepting his help.
    • Justified in the Bount arc. Byakuya and Yoruichi are present at Ichigo's last fight with Jin Kariya, but they hang back so they can block his attempts to detonate the Jokai Crests, which would destroy Soul Society.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Syaoran wants to help Sakura during The Final Judgement against Yue, but Kero stops him by saying that if anyone helps her she'll automatically lose.
  • In an earlier episode of Case Closed, the murder happens at a reunion of Kogoro's old high school judo club, meaning both the victim and the murderer are friends of his. Conan pulls Kogoro aside and is about to tranquilize him as usual when he sees Kogoro's anger about the situation and his resolve to crack the case for his slain friend. Hearing this, Conan puts away his tranq gun and decides that Kogoro needs to solve this one himself, though he does still provide little hints.
  • In Digimon Tamers, Ruki wanted Renamon to assist Impmon in a fight with Indramon. She refused because Impmon wanted to do the fight alone. However, Impmon was severely outmatched and on the verge of dying, so the others intervened anyway because they couldn't just stand by and watch him get kiled.
  • This occurs in almost every major battle (in the end anyway) in the Dragon Ball franchise.
  • In Endride, Demetrio stops Eljuia from interfering with his fight with Louise, presumably because he thinks he'll be more effective bringing them back around to their side if it's just one-on-one, and also because he was the one who let them stay even though he knew they were The Mole.
  • In Fate/stay night, towards the end of Unlimited Blade Works, Shirou is in a position to have Saber easily defeat Archer. But, having recently learned the truth about Archer's identity, Shirou asks her to stand aside and allow the two of them to fight alone.
  • The final confrontation of Fullmetal Alchemist is a one-on-one showdown. Father has lost all of his power, leaving Edward Elric to beat the tar out of Father with his bare hands. The rest of the army, including all of Ed's friends, stay back and let Ed wail on Father. They already know they've won, they're just letting Ed have a little catharsis.
  • In Girls und Panzer, toward the end of the Little Army prequel manga, Miho is struggling to decide on a reason to pilot tanks, around the same time her friend Emi is set to return to Germany. Emi tells her and Miho's mutual friends Chihiro and Hitomi that even though Miho is burdened with doubt because of her family's philosophy it would be bad if Miho forgot that they became friends over tanks. Emi tells them not to tell her what they talked about, because Miho is "an idiot" who is unable to understand her sister Maho's advice to find her own reason for doing tanks.
    Emi: It wonít be good for her if she canít be liberated from the Nishizumi style. For her to continue with Panzer would be meaningless if she cannot change herself.
  • In the second season of the live-action Gokusen drama, Takeda takes on a college-level boxing champ on a rocky beach. When Yankumi shows up, she tells the rest of the True Companions not to intervene, even though it's more of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown than a proper fight and those rocks look they really hurt to land on.
  • GTO: The Early Years: In Chapter 107, Makoto gets in over his head and has to face a terrifying thug, Samehara, alone. He tries getting his friends Eikichi and Ryuji (who Samehara had demanded to see in the first place) to help, and when he can't reach them, Kamata and Saejima. They also refuse, telling him it's his fight (and they also call Katsuyuki and warn him not to help either). Makoto eventually beats Samehara, though it wasn't technically "alone": He used two Right Hand Attack Dogs named after Eikichi and Ryuji.
  • High School D◊D: In the first arc, Rias manipulates the situation so Issei will fight against Raynare — the Fallen Angel that faked interest in him as a human girl only to nearly kill him later, and that has just killed Issei's Protectorate Asia — one on one, because Rias knows he needs to prove to himself that he can be powerful and that he can get past the pain Raynare caused him.
  • Honey and Clover: When Takemoto goes on his bike and leaves home to see how far he can go without looking back, the others refuse to help him because they believe he is trying to "find himself." They thought this because apparently Professor Hanamoto tried to do the same thing. Seven times.
  • Hunter ◊ Hunter: Kite tests Gon and Killua, children he's only just met, by having them fight their first chimera ants without help. He reasons that if they can't beat the cannon fodder on their own, it would be too dangerous to let them join him in exterminating the queen.
  • Very poignantly done in an episode of Inuyasha, Jinenji, Kind Yet Sad.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple:
    • An interesting example is the dynamics of helping and refusing help between Kenichi and Miu: Kenichi is very chivalrous and wants to become strong enough to protect Miu, and sometimes even tries to interfere when she is about to start fighting, but Miu is more skillful fighter than Kenichi (always beating him in sparring matches), and she is very willing to protect him when she thinks he is in danger. Kenichi, of course, often refuses such help from Miu, because "this is something a man must do himself".
    • The Masters will often hang out on the sidelines and watch, even when Kenichi is in serious danger, because they believe that a good Master stays out of his Disciple's fights. They will only intervene if Kenichi has zero chance of escaping the situation on his own.
  • The Legend of Zelda: In Ataru Cagiva's The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past adaptation, Rasuka and Leader walk in on Link's fight against Agahnim, but stand aside to let Link fight Agahnim himself.
  • Monster Rancher: A Running Theme with Tiger of the Wind, who is a strong believer that In the End, You Are on Your Own.
    • Deconstructed in Tiger's relationship with Gray Wolf; his efforts to toughen up his sibling by being an Aloof Big Brother only made him resentful, something Moo exploited to turn him into one of his followers.
    • When a Black Worm reveals to the Searchers that Gray Wolf is one of the Big Bad Four, Tiger immediately invokes this and attempts to leave the group so he can handle his brother alone. His distraction gives the Black Worm a chance to snipe at his unguarded back; Holly shoves him out of the way, forcing the Searchers to scramble to save her life.
    • Gray Wolf later uses this to lure his brother into an Obvious Trap; Tiger is less than pleased when the others follow and try to interfere, with Genki ultimately pulling a Go Through Me to protect him when the fight goes sour.
    • In "Tiger Meets His Match", Genki specifically invokes this by demanding that he gets to fight Jagd Hound on his own, wanting to prove that he's capable of holding his own against the monster who supposedly killed Tiger.
  • Naruto:
    • Sasuke turns down Team Taka's offer to assist him in fighting Itachi.
      Sasuke: Don't even think about it, Karin. This is my revenge.
    • During the Immortals arc, Naruto insists that he should take on Kakuzu by himself, as he considers it a "dangerous bridge" that he needs to cross alone or else he would be Just a Kid forever.
    • Naruto acts the same way on his fight with Pain.
  • Inverted in Negima! Magister Negi Magi, where Negi initially tried to do everything himself, only to get bailed out by his stronger allies. Although his Training from Hell is getting him the point where this won't be the case anymore.
    • Negi's whole motivation for training like that is so that he can do everything himself. Although in this case, it's not so much for personal validation as that he doesn't want his True Companions to be in danger because they had to bail him out.
    • Played straight during Wilhelm's attack and Chao's invasion, where Evangeline stopped Kaede and Konoemon respectively from interfering because she considered both events "training" for Negi.
  • Perhaps one of the only rules of engagement One Piece's Luffy actually pays attention to. Best highlighted early when Zoro fights with Mihawk. Zoro is losing handily, but Luffy refuses to intervene on Zoro's behalf or let anyone else do so. However, it's clear Luffy wants to jump in, but holds back from attacking Mihawk until the fight is actually over.
  • Tuxedo Mask invokes this in Sailor Moon S when Haruka and Michiru challenge Usagi over her actions with Hotaru. The other girls aren't happy over the two against one fight and are ready to jump in before he stops them.
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo makes frequent use of this trope, to the point where the Shiseiten, a group of fighters, has a rule where no member may intervene in another member's fights. (Almost no one else in the series helps another in a one-on-one fight, but, yeah.) This leads to a scene where Akira, the youngest member, has to stand by and watch as the man who raised him in the group, Bontenmaru, is toyed with by Tokito.
  • Sgt. Frog: In the third movie, Tamama attempts to invoke this while fighting Shivava, but Momoka talks him out of it. They then proceed to curpstomp him together.
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What? Shiraori understands that her and Ariel's actions have greatly damaged Blow's pride and that his duel with the Hero is both an attempt to restore it and ultimately doomed to failure. She chooses not to interfere as it would ruin his pride even further and she feels it's more important to have your pride than live without.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Sonic initially insists that he has to defeat Metal Sonic alone. Though Sonic's apparently smart enough to know when he needs help—when Tails intervenes at a later point, Sonic thanks him.
  • In Soul Eater, Sid sees the fight between Black Star and Mifune as this when Nygus wants to intervene. Possibly justified in that Sid recognised the fight could determine whether Black Star risks ending up like his father or could find his own 'path' (it does, and he does).
  • Hilariously subverted and even inverted in Strike the Blood, as whenever the normally-mellow Kojou is finally angry enough to finally go all-out in the final showdown with the villain-of-the-week, his sidekick/watcher/leading lady Yukina always manages without fail to interrupt his solo attack (usually a punch) by destroying its momentum as she suddenly stops his forward movement dead in its tracks just as he's about to advance at last: first by blocking his path through the thrusting and twirling of her spear and then by jumping right in front of him and between the villains each and every single time. It's already become the series' own infamous catchphrase and original meme in the fandom:
    Kojou: From NOW ON, this is MY fight!
    Yukina: NO! Sempai! This is OUR fight!
    • This is even lampshaded and played with in the series itself when a fed-up Kojou finally wises up in later chapters (on occasion) as he slyly says "OUR fight" instead of "MY fight", preempting a gung-ho Yukina, who always finds herself shocked at being caught off-guard and thus momentarily leaving her at a loss for words. Kojou is naturally most amused at this.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: When the massive monster Charybdis is coming for Rimiru's town, the demon lord Milim offers to help. Rimiru's underlings politely decline, as it's their problem, and they can't just go running to their friends for every little thing. Rimiru is annoyed, as this is hardly a little thing, but can't countermand them without looking foolish. Rimiru and his army fight Charybdis in a long and exhausting battle, and while they are winning, he begins to get worried that they might run out of steam before Charybdis does. Then they realize that Charybdis was after Milim the whole time, and they let her finish it off.
  • Appropriately, as Trigun is a Stranded-On-A-Desert-Planet-For-Three-Generations Western, Vash the Stampede has been known to invoke this trope. For himself, he keeps trying to do things alone and keep everyone else out of the line of fire. More darkly, in the manga, Vash is standing there watching for the horrible, gory, agonizing marathon battle that ends in Wolfwood dying of overusing his regeneration formula. He does nothing. At all. Despite the incredibly high stakes and the fact that that's his best friend and the fight is clearly completely unfair as well as heartbreaking on several levels. This is apparently his rationale, although it's hard to be sure why Vash does anything.
    • This also serves as a strong distinction between the anime and manga iterations of our hero. The anime is Lighter and Fluffier enough that its Vash could never do that. Ever. (His neglect in the corresponding incident consists of being too busy beating himself up for not being able to stop a random enemy with no lines from Eating His Gun to notice the blood trail. Not that noticing would have helped. Probably.)
      • Caine the Longshot is, interestingly, apparently the replacement for Livio and Razlo, whose character development is what took those two dozen or so bloody chapters. They gave him a sniper rifle and a mask, and he kills himself when Vash breaks the former. That is it. His whole character. Either really dutiful or really in love with his weapon.
    • A lesser example from the anime instead is the guys who take the card-playing rich girl hostage in the saloon in episode 3(?), when beard guy eventually gets his shot at his nemesis, Shinigami Bostalk, who murdered his parents and stole their life's work, and who his hostage knows only as Daddy. Vash respects the avenger's right to the showdown, although he cries with relief when he doesn't shoot to kill.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the Duelist Kingdom arc, Mai insists that Jounouchi duel Dinosaur Ryuuzaki without any advice. Jounouchi is willing to do this in order to prove that he can win on his own, but Honda opposes it.
    • In the manga, Jonouchi himself tells Yugi this on his own without Mai ever even bringing it up.
    • In the Battle City arc, Yugi refuses to let Jonouchi tell him what strategy the Rare Hunter is using preferring to duel him on his own. (This is partially because he considers himself more honorable than the Hunter is, partially because accepting help in the tournament is cheating, and partially because the Rare Hunter threatened to tear up Jonouchi's Red-Eyes Black Dragon card if he tells Yugi. Fortunately, Yugi figures out the guy's strategy on his own.)
    • Later in the same arc (original version only), Mai tells Jonouchi to shut up when he tries to give her advice when she duels Jean-Claude, reminding him he isn't allowed to help her.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Yami Yugi tries to take on La Jinn alone because he's unwilling to put his friends in danger.
  • This is standard procedure in YuYu Hakusho. Even when it would be smarter to attack the enemy all at once, the heroes make sure to take turns. Kuwabara once risked falling into a pit of lava rather than let one of his friends tag in, just because 'a man fights his own battles'.

    Card Games 
  • This appears in the Munchkin card game by Steve Jackson Games in the form of the "Gazebo" card — which bears the text, "None can help you fight the gazebo. You must fight the gazebo alone." A reference, naturally, to Eric and the Dread Gazebo.

    Comic Books 
  • A variant occurs in the climax of The Avengers story arc The Kang Dynasty: Captain America enters into a one-on-one fight with Kang to conclude the war, and Thor prevents their teammates from interfering, insisting that they instead focus on saving survivors from the destruction caused by Kang's crashed ship. The heroes protest vehemently, claiming that a monster like Kang deserves a group beatdown and not an honorable fight. Thor replies solemnly that it is one-on-one not out of respect, but because Cap alone will be sufficient.
  • Catwoman in Batman: Hush. Poison Ivy has used her bewitching powers to enslave both her and Superman, turning Catwoman bisexual for a time and nearly getting her killed by Killer Croc in the course of one of Ivy's schemes for which Catwoman had to do the dirty work — and then, trying to kill Catwoman herself when she broke free of the mental enslavement with Batman's help and attacked her. Catwoman is obviously very angry about all these humiliations; and when she and Batman confront Ivy again, Catwoman punches her out, even though Ivy was inevitably going to be captured anyway. The police are annoyed, and one of them asks Catwoman if she really had to do that. Catwoman and Batman look at each other for a second, and then in unison answer, "Yes."
  • Crazy Jane's emotional arc in Doom Patrol has her first grow to trust and eventually love Robotman as someone she can rely on. As a result, a new personality named Liza Radley emerges as the first of Jane's alters to manifest thanks to positive emotions. While Robotman was able to help Jane face the personification of her sexually abusive father the first time, the Liza Radley alter eventually forces Jane and the rest of their alters to confront their childhood trauma on their own. Jane is able to finally kill off the part of herself that was her father and gains self peace, only to cruelly get traumatized all over again when the Candlemaker shunts her into the real world and she gets put through electroshock.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • The Coming of Galactus: The first time Galactus appears he builds a really big machine designed to convert the planet into energy smack dab in New York, the Marvel Universe's Superhero capital of the world, yet apparently every other superhero decided to take a vacation except the Fantastic Four because they are the only superheroes that even seem to notice and try to do anything.
    • A Fantastic Four cover depicts the Thing in a losing battle with an enormous monster. The Human Torch yells that they have to help, and Mister Fantastic sternly declares that "LIVE or DIE - the Thing FIGHTS ALONE!".
  • Green Lantern:
    • Carried to a ludicrous extreme in Green Lantern: Rebirth. Five Green Lanterns have to battle Parallax, the incredibly powerful, world-destroying embodiment of Fear. The entire Justice League shows up and is involved in the story, but Alan Scott shows up and tells them let the Green Lanterns fight because they must do this alone.
    • Subverted in Blackest Night, wherein Guy Gardner is forced to face his personal demons, or else he dies. Kyle Rayner tries to help him, but Mogo outright tells him this trope. Kyle's response?
      Kyle: "We're the Green Lantern Corps, Mogo! We face everything together - even our own damn demons!"
  • In the second story-arc of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) Princess Luna insists that she alone go rescue Rarity, being intimately familiar with the Nightmare Dreamscape. Twilight and Celestia quickly convince her that the other Spirits of Harmony (and Spike) can help, as well.
  • During the Silver Age while battling an energy creature that could possess and animated matter the entire Justice League of America sits back in their cave lair while Superman watches and reports back to everyone what's going on, but otherwise they do nothing because 'well he hasn't used his signal device to call us in yet so we'll just sit and watch'.
  • Inverted in the Laff-A-Lympics story "The Meet at Mount Ono" (Marvel #1, Mar. 1978). Doggie Daddy tries to prove to his son Augie Doggie that he's not too chicken to climb Mount Ono in the last event (especially since the Yogis' participant, Grape Ape, was incapacitated). Babu of the Scooby Doobies offers to help, but Doggie Daddy refuses, saying it's something he has to do himself. And he succeeds.
  • The New Teen Titans: In issue 16 Donna goes to stop Starfire when her extraterrestrial best pal goes off to wreak murderous vengeance. Cyborg wants to help Donna out but Donna tells him that it's something she needs to do herself.
  • "Smarter and Smarter", the DC finale for The Powerpuff Girls, climaxes in a mano-a-mano between Blossom and Mojo Jojo. Blossom didn't take Mojo's insult to her kindly, so she tells her sisters (who have equally taken umbrage to Blossom's insufferableness after being admitted to a special school) to stay back. Buttercup and Bubbles not only agree, but they root for Mojo to win.
  • In Scion, Ethan and Bron have a big showdown on the Sanctuary island. The Heron royals and Ashleigh are about to help Ethan, but Skink insists Ethan must face Bron alone.
  • Examples from Superman comics:
    • The Coming of Atlas involved a battle with the magical powerhouse Atlas. When Superman is on the verge of defeat, Supergirl offers to help. Superman insists he must do battle alone, and asks Supergirl to avenge him if he fails. However, Superman has no problem when Krypto the Superdog shows up and saves the day just a few moments later.
    • In H'el on Earth, Supergirl makes a heroic sacrifice by exposing herself to Kryptonite in order to stop H'el. Superman wants to talk her out of risking her life, but Wonder Woman interjects Kara has made her choice to take H'el down personally.
    • Subverted in Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen (2019) #11. A galactic conqueror who claims Jimmy's sort-of-wife, the intersteller jewel thief Jix, as his own, during a fight between all Jimmy's friends from the previous ten issues and the conqueror's laughably inept robot army, challenges Jimmy to single combat to the death for Jix's hand. Jimmy's response:
      Jimmy No, you dummy. Death is for suckers, and Jix can make her own decisions. Get him, everybody.
  • The Trial of the Flash: When he learns that the Reverse-Flash is free, Barry Allen asks the Guardians of the Universe to make sure that no one else will interfere because it's personal. Wally West is specifically warned off by the Guardians.
  • When Michonne in The Walking Dead leaves the party to confront The Governor she almost uses these exact words.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Memorably subverted. The Gods decree that Diana must complete the titular Challenge by herself (though she is at least allowed to be armed to the teeth), and it does contain several revelations meant specifically for her. But Hippolyta's resolve to follow and ultimately fight alongside her, though heavily opposed by her fellow Amazons, is also ultimately portrayed as key to finally completing the Challenge.
  • The X-Men cover at the top of the page. Partly justified in that case, because it's established that Havok's powers don't harm his brother Cyclops. So, "this is something it's safer to do himself"?

    Fan Works 
  • In chapter 20 of Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, Spitfire tells Medley to let Rainbow "do her job" and face her rival in the second and final duel between them.
  • In The Aura Chronicles, Hunter faces Deoxys alone, knocking out Taren to keep him from helping.
  • In A Boy, a Girl and a Dog: The Leithian Script, Finrod is attempting to talk his fiancée into forgiving his earlier stupidity... and making a great job of putting his foot in his mouth. His friends wonder whether Finrod should have appointed someone to apologize to Amarie for him, but Edrahil points out you can't delegate this kind of conversation.
  • In Christian Humber Reloaded, Vash stands aside as his Toa allies fight the Visoraks until they start losing, at which point he steps in and helps them by adding his energy to their combined attack, helping to finish off the enemy.
  • In Crowns of the Kingdom, Mickey insists this about the final showdown with Maleficent.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged has a memorable subversion. When Tien's best friend/dojo mate is killed by Nappa, Tien attacks furiously to try to avenge him... and promptly starts getting his butt kicked by Nappa. Gohan, watching from the sidelines, asks his mentor Piccolo if they should help, but Piccolo replies that this is something Tien has to do himself. We then cut back to Tien, who is getting a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Nappa and is frantically screaming for help.
    Gohan: Sh-shouldn't we help him?
    Piccolo: Can't you see he has to fight this battle on his own? He's fighting for the honor of his fallen comrade...
    Tenshinhan: Help me, for the love of God, HELP ME!
    Piccolo: a hero.
  • Played straight in The Final Clash where Akuma demands a one-on-one fight with Ryu to the death. Snake and the others understand, but Alien Hominid goes after Akuma anyways. Yoda then Force Pulls him back to the party of heroes and says "This is something that he must do himself.".
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Asuka often says Shinji that he can't fix her issues: the only person who can solve it is her. What he can do, though, is standing by her side and supporting her while she tries to fix herself.
  • Hellsister Trilogy: The Spectre gets Supergirl out of Hell after she has managed to destroy Mordru for good. When Kara asks why he didn't intervene earlier, The Spectre answers he wasn't allowed to interfere unless she was defeated because it was deemed she had to achieve victory by her own means.
  • Inner Demons has Lezard say this to Applejack about Apple Bloom when the latter fights her former friends during the Battle of Fillydelphia.
  • After Seraph tries to become King of Equestria in Act I of Legends of Equestria by killing her, her sister, her friends, and about half the population of Equestria, Celestia's final fight with him is deeply personal.
  • Averted in Miraculous! Rewrite; when Nino/Carapace gets into a fight with his now-akumatized deadbeat dad, Chat Noir initially prevents Bellflower from helping him, citing this trope...only for a struggling Carapace to state that no, he could really use an assist right now.
  • In Not Quite Heroes, Kim Possible learns that Dr. Drakken is missing and offers to help Shego find him. She refuses, unwilling to have Kim do her job for her. (That said, she does get help from Kim less directly by kidnapping Ron in order to see how Kim solves the same problem.)
  • In OSMU: Fanfiction Friction, Orla decides to venture out to the forest of Hy-Brasil to prove herself and her bravery to readers, eventually trying to beat a dragon and failing to. The only reason she doesn't bring Opal, Omar and Oswald with her is because they would be put in danger and they would try to stop her before she even got started.
  • In Perfection Is Overrated, the Advisor points out that he only provides help to the Himes when doing so is necessary to ensure a fair contest against the SUEs, since it is ultimately up to them to prove themselves superior. He's also the one responsible for the creation of the SUEs, and gives them the same treatment.
  • This happens in Pooh and Ash's Adventures of Scooby-Doo and the Headless Horseman of Halloween in which Pooh decides to take on Jafar himself. Most of the time, Pooh plays the Pinball Protagonist, so he usually doesn't fight. Soon, Aladdin pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment and gives Ash the lamp used to seal Jafar, who then gives it to Pooh to use on Jafar.
  • In Puncing in a Dream, Haru and Ryuji are at a reception (with Ryuji pretending to be Haru's date) where they run into Haru's ex-fiance Sugimura, who attempts to push Haru into marrying him. When he tries to hurt Haru by taunting Ryuji, the latter realizes that the Smug Snake is no different from the bullies in his childhood: tormenting others just to feel stronger. Ryuji knows that when it come to bullies, ''their targets had to face them down on their own, and he encourages Haru to use her own real strength to beat him, which Haru does by proudly stating that no matter what Sugimaru does to her, she is more than her company and she won't let him push her around anymore, effectively humiliating him in front of everyone.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act III: In chapter 24, during Yukari's Designated Girl Fight with Apoch and Astreal over Ahakon, Tsukune, in accordance with Yukari's wishes, opts to just let Yukari finish the fight herself, partly because his Holy Lock might crack even more if he does, and partly because if they don't settle things on their own, then it'll just happen again. This decision has near-fatal consequences when Ahakon disrupts a Beam-O-War between the three and is seemingly killed in the blast, after which Tsukune confesses that he never thought that Apoch and Astreal would go that far; fortunately, it transpires that Luna intervened and saved Ahakon just in time.
  • Subverted in The Sealed Kunai: Jiraiya decides that Naruto needs to fight Kakuzu alone in order to prove to himself that he's capable of defeating the Akatsuki. But Naruto had already dealt with Hidan, having helped seal away the immortal's still-screaming head. While he manages to win, Naruto collapses from exhaustion afterwards, spurring Jiraiya to scold him for "ruining his cool mentor" speech. Unimpressed by his Skewed Priorities, Naruto mentally notes that he should kill Jiraiya at some point in the future
  • The Second Try: Before fighting Arael for the second time, Asuka asks Shinji not interfering, stating that is her fight and no one elseís.
  • Soul Chess: This is the main reason why Marianne allows Lelouch to face Aizen by himself in the Final Battle — she knows that the moment Lelouch chose to stand against Aizen as his personal rival and greatest enemy that he sealed his fate and that even though she is his mother, she cannot shield him from it any longer. Whether she likes it or not, everything began with Lelouch and Aizen, and that it is how it will end.
  • Starfall (Star vs. the Forces of Evil): There comes a time when every queen of Mewni tells her king about his secret duty: A monster is coming, and he must defeat it. He can't get help from the royal guards or anyone else, he can't kill it, and no one but his wife will ever thank him for it. The monster is in fact the queen herself—when queens become pregnant, their Mating Season Mayhem instincts go wild, and they periodically mutate into a butterfly monster that will go on a rampage if it's not calmed down. Of course, dealing with an amorous six-armed monster isn't quite as terrible as the queens imply.
    Marco: Should it even be called the king's duty if I'm enjoying it? Why not call it the king's privilege? Or the king's sexy surprise treat?
  • This is Deconstructed in Type-2 Hero. All Might realizes that while a noble attempt to stop others from dying, each of his predecessors fighting All for One alone was a major reason they died. Until it went to All Might, One for All was not strong enough to deal with the strongest villain in the world, and even then he suffered crippling injuries. By fighting together Uraraka and Izuku defeat All for One definitively.
  • Invoked by Aizen in Uninvited Guests.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the climax of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Cloud chases Kadaj after Kadaj has gained the McGuffin, and they start to fight. Cloud's True Companions show up in an airship, but some of them tell the others that they're not going to help him. Kadaj is the (major) remnant of Sephiroth - and fighting Sephiroth was the last big battle most of them fought before the events of the movie. Gaia has been largely peaceful since then, and most of the others have let themselves relish in the peace - but Cloud was infected with Geostigma, and has spent most of the Time Skip doing his damnedest to keep fighting in spite of that - so when Aerith's Backup from Otherworld cures him before the fight starts, He's Back! with a vengeance. Dialogue indicates that the others are ready to jump in if Cloud needs the help. When Kadaj uses said McGuffin to become Sephiroth, the Hero Killer summons a storm of corrupted Lifestream that blocks out the skies and forms a twister around the battlefield, implicitly taking things from "he doesn't need help" to "where the hell did he go" (and possibly "we'd only get in the way").
    Tifa: Two years ago... Think of the strength we all had when we fought that last battle. It's only been a couple years, but already that feeling is gone. But Cloud... I think he's found it again.
    Barret: ...Hmph. He's got ten minutes.
  • Subverted in The Incredibles. Mr. Incredible insists on facing the Omnidroid alone, despite having three family members with superpowers ready and willing to assist. Elastigirl (his wife) is upset, thinking that he just wants to show off, or prove that he's still a powerful superhero. But the truth is that he wants to go alone because he can't bear to risk his family's lives, having recently thought he'd lost them when their plane was shot down.
  • In Sleeping Beauty, the good fairies either don't or can't use their magic directly against Maleficent. Even at the climax, where Prince Phillip is facing off against the sorceress-turned-dragon, they help him enough to even the odds, but it's ultimately his fight to win or lose.
  • The Transformers: The Movie played on this, with Hot Rod and Kup arriving in time to help Optimus Prime against Megatron, but Hot Rod's attempt to help actually made the situation worse. A comic book released decades later pulled this trope as part of a For Want of a Nail idea. Optimus handily kills Megatron.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Child's Play (2019): Falyn and Pugg want to get Andy out of Zed Mart, but he shuts Pugg, Falyn, and Omar out to save Karen and get him alone for a final confrontation with Chucky.
  • Daredevil (2003). When Wesley informs him that Bullseye has failed to kill Daredevil, Kingpin knows that Daredevil will be coming for him next.
    Kingpin: Send the guards home.
    Wesley: (confused) But, sir...
    Kingpin: I was raised in the Bronx, Wesley. This is something you wouldn't understand.
  • In the movie Dungeons & Dragons (2000), where Ridley enters a cave to search for the MacGuffin and the female Elf character prevents others from going too, because "he must do this himself". An explanation is attempted with a magical force field that keeps the others from entering.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Harry faces Voldemort alone after Ron gives a "Not me, not Hermione, you!" speech essentially to this effect.
  • Highlander has an explicit rule that battles between Immortals must be one-on-one. This is more due to tradition than something they absolutely have to do. Kell in Highlander: Endgame has become so powerful partly by assembling a team of immortals, which he uses to kill others. Then he kills most of them at dinner. Hey, "There can be only one." To take down Kell in a one-on-one duel, both MacLeods decide it would be a good idea to Duel to the Death so the victor will receive an immortal stat boost.
  • Played sort-of straight and simultaneously spoofed in Hot Fuzz. The hero is in a gas station, struggling with the decision of whether or not to return to try and save the village. After some inspiration thanks to seeing Point Break and Bad Boys 2 on DVD, he stops at the counter to purchase some badass sunglasses. The extremely wired-looking attendant asks "Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?" The response, of course, in a deep, gravelly, action-hero voice is, "No... This is something I have to do myself."
  • Subverted in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, where Indy explains everybody he was told by the skull to return it to its kingdom, a task he's got to do alone. On the next scene, however, we get to see all four sidekicks following him into the cave.
  • James Bond: In From Russia with Love, Kerim Bey insists to Bond that he has to shoot Krilencu himself, injured hand or no.
  • In Labyrinth, Sarah reaches the goblin castle and with the help of her friends reaches Jareth's inner chamber but tells her companions that she has to face Jareth herself, because "that's the way it's done". When they hear this explanation, they agree and let her venture into the final confrontation.
  • The climactic final fight in My Bodyguard in which the title character, having faced an adult professional goon brought in by the bully, coaches the nerdy little rich kid who hired him into fighting and defeating the bully for himself.
  • Revenge for Jolly!: Cecil spends a day helping Harry track down the man who murdered his dog, but in the end, Harry tells Cecil to wait in the car while Harry kills him. Cecil feels betrayed, but doesn't follow him into the house.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World:
    • Scott vs. the true final boss, Nega-Scott. Who turns out to be a pretty cool guy, so the drama wasn't necessary. Technically, Scott had to defeat all of the exes himself.
      Roxy: Give it up, Ramona, this is a League Game!
      Ramona: Meaning?
      Roxy: Meaning that your precious Scott must defeat me with his own fists! ... Or possibly his feet!
    • As the Exes grow more powerful, Scott needs a lot of help to deal with them- The Vegan Police strip Todd of his powers, Ramona tells him Roxy's secret weakness, and the rest of Sex Bob-Omb help him take out the Katayanagi Twins. Scott actually dies when he tries to take on Gideon himself the first time, and it's only with Knives' help he defeats Gideon the last time.
    • It seems that Scott needs help for every fight. Wallace assists in the first two by heckling/demoralizing Patel and setting up Lee's undoing (he even hands him the fatal skateboard).
    • Said word for word at the end when Scott faces his evil self and his two female companions try to charge into battle with him.
  • This is the reason Picard gives when he goes alone to the Scimitar in Star Trek: Nemesis instead of, you know, sending the security chief or someone else more expendable and adept at combat. Moreso, since Shinzon is a clone of Picard, Picard feels that it must be he that eliminates this side of him. Too bad, since we end up losing Data because of this.
  • In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Obi-Wan tells Luke that if he faces Darth Vader in combat on Bespin, he couldn't get involved as he had previously. Before Disney acquired Star Wars, this was a slight reference to when Luke and Leia dueled Vader on Mimban in the 1978 novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, where Kenobi briefly possessed Luke during the duel.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction: Fighting the Dinobots is something Optimus Prime has to do alone, and later, flying into space and confronting the creators.
  • Quoted word for word by Frederick (Froederick?) in Young Frankenstein. The monster disagrees.
  • This is Glinda's justification for not telling Dorothy about the powers of the ruby slippers immediately in The Wizard of Oz
  • In Wonder Woman (2017), Steve is never quite certain about Diana's claim that Ares is the Big Bad... but when the sparks really begin to fly in the Final Battle, he guesses it for sure enough to tell his mortal companions there's not much they could do in that fight.

  • Justified amusingly in the Alcatraz Series. Leavenworth Smedry gets into a Wizards Duel with the Big Bad, and Alcatraz suggests they help.
    Bastille: We can't interfere!
    Alcatraz: Why? Some stupid code of honor?
    Bastille: No! If we get too close to them, the power will vaporize us!
  • In The Belgariad the duel between Belgarath and Ctuchik is a one on one fight - not because Belgarath's companions don't want to help but any additional sorcerous power added to the situation would obliterate them both.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (book and movie both), Aslan will not allow the Narnian army to interfere with Peter's fight against one of the White Witch's wolves, saying "Let the prince win his spurs." (book)/"This is Peter's battle." (movie) After Peter emerges victorious all on his own, Aslan dubs him "Sir Peter Wolf's-Bane, Knight of Narnia."
    • In The Magician's Nephew, Jadis tempts Digory with the Apple of Life by telling him he could use it to cure his ailing mother. Because his treachery would be known otherwise, Jadis tells him he should leave Polly and use his ring to return home. Digory refuses, because while he knows Polly has a ring and could get back on her own, he knows the witch doesn't know that, so he suspects she's got an ulterior motive. Polly has been watching the whole time, and could've intervened, but refused. Because it wasn't her mother that needed that apple.
  • Ciaphas Cain ends up having to fight a giant ork warboss alone due to this trope. As orks function on Klingon Promotion and Asskicking Leads to Leadership, none of the Korbul's bodyguards join in the fight (as it's basically implying the boss is too much of a pansy to fight his battles himself). This also means Jurgen (who has a melta, a weapon used to melt tanks) can't join in, leaving Cain to fight Korbul with only a chainsword and a laspistol.
  • Referenced/parodied in Discworld, specifically Moving Pictures:
    Victor: There are some things a man must do by himself.
    Ginger: What, like... go to the toilet?
  • In Dune Paul Atreides is dueling Feyd-Rautha and realizes that he could use a code word that was placed into Feyd-Rautha's subconscious to stun him for a second, thus saving his life. Paul refuses to do so because This Is Something He's Got To Do Himself. Interestingly, when he says, "I will not say it!" (meaning use the code word), that is enough to distract Feyd-Rautha so Paul can win.
  • In the Forgotten Realms novel Azure Bonds Alias tells her party "Back away. He's mine!". Elminster not only refrained from intervention but prevented Nameless Bard from shooting heavily enchanted bolt into Phalse's eye, and arguing that "She must finish this battle alone"... "So she can prove to herself, and to thee, that she is her own master."
    • It's worth noting that in the hands of Grubb and Novak, Elminster is more often used to prevent a Deus ex Machina. Less the case in Ed Greenwood's...
  • This is an ongoing theme in Harry Potter, applying to Harry himself, and his enemy Voldemort. Harry regularly refuses help, because he cannot bear anybody to die on his behalf. Voldemort refuses to let anyone else kill Harry because he is determined to prove that what happened when Harry was a baby was a fluke and he is the superior wizard.
  • Subverted in the Swedish science fiction novel Iskriget (The Ice War) in which protagonist Johnny realizes that it's up to him to be the hero, after which decision he immediately enlists the help of a team of skilled Jewish mechanics to build the equipment he needs to execute his plan.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen: Penny has to make her hero debut without Ray and Claire since it would be too obvious that they were the villainous team the Inscrutable Machine if they all appeared together.
  • In Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories, Ragnar the Younger has one of these against his old enemy Kjartan. This trope name is actually invoked by one of the characters when the main character wants to intervene, saying basically, "It's his fight, and he will never forgive you if you interfere."
  • Jonas cites this trope in Son as the reason he can't aid Gabe in fighting Trademaster.
  • Lampshaded in End Game by Peter David (the finale of the pilot of the Star Trek: New Frontier novel series), in which The Captain fights a desperate one-on-one battle on a planet which is blasting itself apart under him. He wins, only to find himself stranded amidst lava flows. His second in command then arrives in anti-gravity boots and rescues him, explaining that she knew he would insist on fighting alone, but now it was time to do things the easy way.
  • In the final installment of the Star Wars Legacy of the Force series, when Jacen has fully turned to the Dark Side and everyone finally realizes that cannot be redeemed, he has to be killed by his twin sister, Jaina, because she is the only one who knows him well enough to outmatch him.
    • In fact Luke is capable of killing Jacen but recognizes he would be doing it out of revenge over Jacen killing Mara not justice and it would inevitably drive him to the dark side making things worse in the long run.
  • During Unholy Allies, one of the tie-in novels for Vampire: The Masquerade, a renegade vampiric assassin challenges one of the protagonist's allies to a duel. When another ally suggests getting involved, Madeline (another vampire assassin) promptly invokes this trope... but does say that she'll step in immediately should their ally die.
  • In Warrior Cats: The Last Hope, Firestar and Tigerstar are ready for their Final Battle. This trope happens twice. When Graystripe was about to step in, Whitestorm holds him back, saying it was Firestar's battle. The second time happens when Sorreltail holds Sandstorm back when it looks like Tigerstar is overpowering Firestar.
    • Brambleclaw is also held back from helping Ivypool against Hawkfrost and told that it's Ivypool's fight. He doesn't listen.
  • In Young Wizards, an Ordeal is something the new Wizard(s) must do themselves.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although supposedly being the one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to fight the vampires, Buffy averts this trope from the beginning with her Scooby Gang. However, there are times it's evoked, sometimes as a matter of duty, but also when Buffy is feeling isolated from her friends.
    • In "Becoming, Part One" Angelus uses this to his advantage. Knowing Buffy takes personally all the evil he's done, he invites her to Come Alone to fight him, so as to lure the Slayer away from her friends so they can be attacked by other vampires.
    • An Invoked Trope in the musical episode "Once More with Feeling", when Giles insists that Buffy save Dawn on her own as she is becoming too dependent on his support. The gang eventually does show up to help her out, but Buffy feels she's been abandoned and nearly loses the subsequent battle due to poor morale.
    • Played for laughs in "Passion" when Giles (briefly) has Angelus on the ropes. Drusilla wants to help, but Spike stops her. He's clearly enjoying watching Angelus get his ass kicked.
      Spike: No fair going into the ring unless he tags you first.
    • In "Touched", Buffy leaves Spike's bedside to fight Caleb alone. This had a lot to do with regaining her self-confidence; her first confrontation with Caleb alongside the Scoobies and Potentials was a disaster, and she was ousted as their leader.
  • Abed from Community gets dangerously genre-savvy about it (as though Abed is ever any other way):
    Abed: So, how does this play out? Is there going to be a moment in this fight when I finally step up and learn to stand up for myself?
    Jeff: ...maybe you should just hang back.
    Abed: Yeah, okay, I will. (beat) IN HIS FACE!!!
  • Firefly hilariously defies this in the episode "War Stories", where Mal was being held by Niska. At the end, a badly injured Mal and The Dragon (well, Niska's current Dragon) are wrestling on and around the railing over a precipitous drop into a shaft filled with machinery. Zoe, Jayne, and Wash show up, but Zoe prevents their intervention:
    Zoe: This is something the captain's got to do for himself.
    Mal: No! No, it's not!
    Zoe: Oh. (they open fire)
  • Kamen Rider Kabuto has a variation in an early episode, where a Worm imitates Kagami's dead brother. Though Kagami can't actually fight the Worm himself (he doesn't have a Transformation Trinket), Tendou/Kabuto refuses to fight seriously until Kagami accepts that his real brother lives on in his memories, and not as a monster copying his form.
  • Reese from Person of Interest gets a bad case of this when the number of the week coincides with a cold case Detective Carter was unable to solve before her death. Due to his insistence on investigating the case alone and not so much as telling the rest of his team where he's going, he very nearly gets himself killed. Carter herself calls him out on it via hallucination.
  • Power Rangers S.P.D.: In "Reflection", the Rangers face Mirloc, who had murdered Sky's father. When they find out, Jack allows Sky to take him on by himself to avenge his father, even loaning him his Morpher so he can fight as the Red Ranger like his father was. Sky defeats Mirloc and arrests him.
  • Deconstructed in Spartacus: Vengeance, in which Naevia insists on personally duelling Ashur, whose rape of her began her Trauma Conga Line. He nearly kills her given his superior strength and skill, and she only survives because he lapses into Evil Gloating rather than striking the fatal blow, allowing her to surprise him with a Groin Attack.
  • Subverted on the Stargate Atlantis episode "Sateda" when Ronon tells the rest of the gang that if they kill the Wraith "General", he will kill them. Ronon specifically says he wants to do this himself, as the Wraith leader has destroyed his civilization and then hunted him like an animal for seven years. He gets his ass handed to him and only survives because Beckett blows away said Wraith with a drone weapon. Ronon is actually relieved, hugging Beckett in gratitude. This is a notable piece of character development, as everyone else expected him to be very angry.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Played straight with Teal'c's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Notably, though, the rest of SG-1 was trying to stop him on at least one occasion.
    • In another episode, Teal'c feels weak after an injury (which would leave a human permanently crippled), especially since he now has a normal immune system (provided by the tretonin drug) instead of a larval Goa'uld symbiote with a Healing Factor. At the end of the episode, he manages to rescue his son and teacher (also father figure) from a Goa'uld penal colony and is fighting the abusive Jaffa in charge. When Teal'c's son Rya'c attempts to interfere, Master Bra'tac stops him with this trope. Sure enough, Teal'c manages to overpower the guard and finish him off with a Neck Snap, looking extremely pleased with himself.
    • This trope is mentioned by name in "The Fifth Race" when O'Neill dials the Stargate to travel to another galaxy while under the influence of the Ancient database. Teal'c wants to go with him, but Daniel says O'Neill has to go alone.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the finale, the Emissaries of the Prophets (Sisko) and Pah-Wraiths (Dukat) have to do battle for the sake of the universe in the sci-fi equivalent of the battle between God's representative and the Anti-Christ. As a result, Sisko explicitly states this is something he has to do himself before departing for the battle.

  • Subverted in Interstitial: Actual Play. Criss tries to save David Blaine on his own in episode 14, but soon realizes he should ask his friends for help—and they gladly join him, since they've been waiting for him to ask for help since the adventure started.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • With the Deck of Many Things, characters draw cards from it and receive various effects, two of which fall under this:
      • The Comet card will cause the character who draws it to gain a level... if he or she defeats the next monster(s) encountered single-handedly.
      • The Skull card makes a dread wraith (or, in earlier editions, a "minor death") appear and attack the character, who must then defeat it alone (anyone who helps gets a dread wraith to fight as well)... and if the character loses, he or she is slain forever.
    • Some prestige classes, especially those based on gladiator or duelist styles of combat have this as one of their prerequisites.
    • The Aleax is a divine construct, sent to punish any character who has offended a deity. It has the appearance of its designated victim, and can only be battled by him or her — other characters are unable to harm an Aleax in any way or form. They may try to hinder it in other ways, though, such as casting Status Buff spells on the target. Nothing stops the Aleax for attacking other characters if they prove too much a nuisance, however.
  • Warhammer has a rule for this: once two heroic characters declare a duel, only the one character and their mount may attack the other character, and vice versa.
  • And as of the sixth edition rules Warhammer 40,000 has introduced a similar rule. In both cases, this covers proper characters and squad leaders.

    Video Games 
  • In Breath of Fire II, it is possible to choose to solo the fight against Barubary, a demon who is the cause of much trauma in Ryu's childhood. The fight is pretty difficult even with a full party, but your reward for beating him with Ryu alone is an obscure hint as to the location of treasure in his dungeon.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • If you choose to fight the second battle with Magus and Frog is in your party, Frog insists upon battling Magus in on a one-on-one due. Doubly epic if you use the Masumune (and quite difficult too).
    • There is also Robo's fight against Atropos in Geno Dome.
  • Used to Narmful levels in Dead or Alive 4, in Kasumi's ending. Right before the boss fight with Alpha-152, Ryu is standing there and comments that this is something she has to do herself. And presumably he's still standing there after the jiggly jello totally wipes the floor with you, multiple times. Thanks, Ryu.
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, as the Player Character and Goku battle Frieza on the exploding Namek, Goku thanks the player for their help, but asks them to let him finish the fight. There's obvious hesitation, but you agree.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3, this is forced on the player at the end, when you're asked to make a moral choice to either save the world and get exposed to lethal radiation or chicken out and have a heroic woman do it for you. At this point, it's possible to have a Super Mutant follower who is completely immune to radiation. If you ask him to do it, he just says that the conundrum is something you have to work out for yourself.
    • Thankfully averted with the aid of DLC.
      • Yet you still get called a coward for getting someone else to do it. Luckily, you still survive if you do it.
    • Fallout 4 gives you a huge approval bonus with Nick Valentine if you stay out of his fight with Eddie Winter.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Just before the Duel Boss with Cecil's dark side in Final Fantasy IV, Cecil tells the Twins and Tellah to "Stay back. This is a fight for me, and me alone."
    • Final Fantasy VII: When Barret's former friend Dyne attacks the party, Barret tells his friends to back off because this is a fight he has to deal with by himself.
      Barret: Cloud, you stay the hell out of it! This is MY problem!!
    • All over the place in Dissidia Final Fantasy; the heroes always battle their villain alone. If they're accompanied by allies, like Terra and Bartz are, they will directly tell their allies "I'll handle this" and fight alone.
    • In one attempted subversion, Squall is attacked by both Ultimecia and Garland, and resolves to fight both of them alone, only for Zidane to charge in and tell Squall to stop showing off and take care of Ultimecia.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Ike decides to fight the Black Knight by himself but Mist will run in anyway if she hasn't fallen in battle. Then in the sequel Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, both Ike and the Black Knight agree It's Personal, so the Black Knight puts up a big wall in the middle of the battlefield, separating the two from everyone else. Ike's weapon is the only weapon that can damage the Black Knight anyways, so it's really a Justified Trope. Also, the main characters of other Fire Emblem games attempt to go alone, but other characters insist on helping out.
  • CJ invokes this trope on Sweet in the final mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. CJ insists he takes on the Big Bad alone in order to make up for running out on his gang when they needed him most.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, during the first visit to the Pride Lands, Sora tells Donald and Goofy to hang back from Simba's fight with Scar, asserting that it's something Simba has to do himself. But when Scar comes back from defeat as a Heartless, they're happy to join in.
    • Mickey uses this on Donald and Goofy in Dream Drop Distance before he heads off to find and save Sora and Riku since he needs them to stay behind and protect their world.
  • The Extended Cut of Mass Effect 3 has Shepard order away his/her squadmates to safety, while they make the run to the portal leading to the Citadel by themselves.
  • Deconstructed in Phantasy Star II. Nei has to defeat her evil sister Neifirst herself. And, because Neifirst is in fact far stronger than her, she gets herself killed, at which point the rest of the party have to fight Neifirst.
  • Towards the end of Resident Evil Ė Code: Veronica, Wesker briefly captures Claire, prompting Chris to chase after them. When he catches up, he convinces Wesker to let Claire go. Chris then orders Claire to get out while he deals with Wesker alone.
    Chris: You get out of here.
    Claire: But what about—
    Chris: As a surviving member of S.T.A.R.S., I have to finish my mission.
    Claire: Ok...remember your promise!
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona:
    • Several Persona 2 choices can be made like this. Allowing the interested parties to settle their own accounts at the right moments will net them their evolved Personae, having transcended their issues and unlocking their true potential. There is one subversion in Eternal Punishment, though - you do have to interfere to stop Baofu from attacking a vision of Reverse Odysseus in order to avoid Lisa having her memories awoken.
    • Discussed in Persona 5 Royal. During a talk with Akechi and the protagonist on the 11th of July in a cafe, when asked by Akechi, Kasumi responds to him that she disagrees with the Phantom Thieves because people should be relying on themselves to solve their own problems and not by other people. This takes a very ironic twist in the game's final stretch, as "Kasumi" is actually Sumire who felt guilty for her sister, the real Kasumi preventing her from committing suicide because she felt inferior to her in every way. As a result, she asked Takuto to solve her very own problems by turning her into Kasumi via his cognitive manipulation powers, effectively being the exact reverse of what she told Akechi in the cafe.
  • Played with in Siren. Shiro nearly quotes the trope verbatim as he goes to finish off the Onda sisters. However, by this point, he has murdered his twin brother and assumed his identity, making the whole 'Things you have to do for yourself' bit a little ironic...
  • In the Star Fox series:
    • In Star Fox 64, near the end of Venom, the final mission, Fox will leave behind his teammates to "go it alone" against the final boss.
    • This gets a repeat in Star Fox Zero, but with drastically different setpieces — after repelling a second assault on Corneria, Andross uses a wormhole to abduct General Pepper and deploy his Gigarilla. After shutting the machine down, Andross appears via hologram to taunt Star Fox, and as Slippy notes the wormhole closing, Fox declares he's going in alone and speeds off into it.
      Peppy: Fox! Don't!
  • Buki of Sudeki takes on a giant spider boss monster by herself because "Like me, he is a Shadani Warrior" (this was actually a game design decision — bosses simply worked better against lone characters).
    • Only one boss is fought with your full party, and he acts more like a King Mook than the rest of the bosses. He also brings in swarms of Mooks to back him up.
  • In the Tales Series:
    • The Duel Boss in Tales of Symphonia between Lloyd and Kratos is one of these, and is set up as one in advance. While either side could easily bring multiple parties into it, neither side wants to because of the personal catharsis involved. Sheena's duel with Kuchinawa is another example.
    • Tales of Berseria:
      • Hilariously subverted by Eizen and Zaveid. The first time they square off, they both yell at Velvet and her party to stay out of it. Velvet just says no and beats them both up to get everyone back on task.
      • Played with in regards to Shigure. In the final battle, after Shigure reveals he'd been holding back in the past, Velvet informs Rokurou in no uncertain terms the rest of the party will be fighting with him. Neither brother objects, but once they've slowed Shigure down enough for it to be a fair clash, the rest back off so Rokurou and Shigure can duel to the final strike.
    • Tales of Vesperia:
      • Yuri pulls this card; he leaves the rest of the party at Halure to head to Zaphias, where Alexei is holding a Brainwashed and Crazy Estelle. Presumably, the logic is that, since he's proven himself to be a Vigilante Man who won't hesitate to kill when necessary, he's the only one who will have the guts to put Estelle out of her misery. He only makes it halfway when the rest of the party catches up and beats the crap out of him for doing something so stupid. And then he figures out what the right thing to do in this situation is.
      • Arguably deconstructed with Judith. Since her father created the deadly Hermes Blastia, she believes that she's the only one who should worry about dealing with them and tried not to get the party involved. This belief is treated as a very bad thing, and in fact causes serious problems for the party at one point.

    Web Animation 
  • In RWBY, right before Jaune's fight with the Ursa Major begins, Pyrrha arrives with help but tells everyone to stand back instead and let him deal with the Grimm on his own. Subverted in that she ends up stealthily using her Semblence to move Jaune's shield just enough to block a slash from the beast. In the second season's finale Jaune (who's now had months of training) again confronts an Ursa Major, as Pyrrha watches from the background. This time she doesn't help him and while Jaune is nervous, he defeats it with no trouble as she smiles at his growth.

  • Parodied in this Adventurers! strip.
  • In Buttlord GT, the secondary characters mock their tendency to never assist in main-character fights:
    "We must get to a nearby cliff to grunt and sweat but offer no help!"
  • Errant Story: Sarine invokes this with Jon, although she has an ulterior motive.
    Meji: Um... he did know that I could just as easily have blown up their entire camp for him instead, right?
    Sarine: Quiet... he needs this, I think. If nothing else, at least it'll probably make him stop whining for a little while.
  • Girl Genius sometimes has Sparks personally dealing with challenges and sometimes parodies this:
    • Klaus was reminded about the basics:
      Doctor Sun: So you're going to handle it all personally?! The idea of having an empire is that occasionally, other people do things for you!
    • Parodied in this strip, where Tarvek offers Gil the chance to go hand-to-hand with a big Jäger (after knocking off his hat) alone:
      Tarvek: So, Wulfenbach — just checking — is this going to be some kind of macho exercise where you insist on battling a potentially superior opponent alone — in some kind of attempt to "prove" your intrinsic worth?
      Gil: No! No! I'm only that stupid in front of Agatha!
      Tarvek: Drat.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court uses the phrase in its tribute to Metal Gear Solid 4.
  • In Misfile Rumisiel is explicitly forbidden to interfere in one of Ash's races for this reason.
  • Subverted in The Order of the Stick: The Paladin Lord Hinjo insists on facing his newly-Fallen comrade Miko personally, first in an attempt at reason and then in single combat. When the fight turns against him, Roy unceremoniously knocks Miko out.
    Roy: Oh, I'm sorry... is NOW a good time for battering things into submission?
  • In Sonichu issue 9, the titular hero is facing down Big Bad Slaweel the Witch and handily defeats her, leaving her hanging off the platform they were fighting on. However, he ends up saving her and lets her get away because only Chris can defeat her. Which he promptly does in the next issue.
  • In Weak Hero, when Timothy laments that his leader Jake wouldn't be able to fight against both Ben and his friends, Gray calls him out for assuming that Ben would use numbers to his advantage; he's too honorable for that. Indeed, when the fight goes down, Jake and Ben both insist that it be one-on-one.

    Web Original 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: Jamie decides to go alone to his former home, without telling Graham and Frank where he is heading to and insisting that he has to go alone. It almost gets him killed.
  • In the novel Exams of the Whateley Universe, massively over-powered characters Tennyo and Fey insist on Jade fighting two (mediocre) supervillains herself, to prove something important about Jade to Jade: she's not really cut out to be a pacifist.

    Web Videos 
  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the titular Villain Protagonist refuses an offer of assistance from his henchman because, "The League is watching. This is something I have to do alone."
  • Defied for comic effect in Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    Gohan: Shouldn't we help him?
    Piccolo: Can't you see he's got to fight this battle on his own? He's doing it to avenge his fallen comrade!
    Tien: (getting brutally beaten by Nappa) HELP ME! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HELP ME PLEASE!
    Piccolo: (smirking) ... like a hero.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Grand Finale has Avatar Aang fight the Big Bad Ozai one-on-one while his allies attack his armies on other fronts. Justified by Iroh, the only other person powerful enough to stand a chance against Ozai — for the Avatar to defeat him is essentially a Divine Intervention to restore balance to the world, whereas if Iroh were to do it, it would just look like "a brother killing a brother to grab power".
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes "Panther's Quest", Black Panther insists Wakandan tradition says he must defeat Man-Ape by himself. Captain America respects this, but when Man-Ape orders the Dora Milaje to take out the Panther, Cap intervenes.
    Cap: You can face Man-Ape alone. Anyone else is fair game.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "I Am the Night", Batman withdraws into the Batcave after he arrives too late to keep Jim Gordon from being shot. Dick tries to snap him out of it and then suits up to go and protect Gordon from the assailant (who broke out of prison and is likely to come back to finish the job). That brings Batman back to himself:
    Batman: No, Dick — this is my hunt.
  • In one episode of Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot, Grizzle manages to steal Funshine's belly badge and uses it to try and take over Care-a-lot. Funshine tricks Grizzle and gets his badge back to prove the episode's aesop, but the fact remains that there were myriads of still-badged Care Bears who didn't lift a finger to help him.
  • Justice League:
    • When a few members of the team end up in the Old West, Jonah Hex prevents them from getting between the local town's hero and the main bad guy, because, in Hex's words: "A man's gotta settle his own accounts".
    • At the conclusion of the "War World" two-parter, Draaga insists on fighting Mongul himself. (And he has good reason to, as Mongul is a despot whose rule depends on Bread and Circuses, who was blackmailing Draaga into compliance for years). The heroes step aside and let him do so, simply telling him to watch Mongul's left hook.
  • The Season 3 premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic had this for Twilight, who must retrieve the Crystal Heart to save the empire. Subverted in the end, as Twilight got trapped and had to get Spike to finish the quest instead. She falls into this situation a few more times, such as retrieving her Element of Magic in an alternate universe or taking on all the powers of the Princesses to take down Tirek. Ironically, the pony who told her to do this alone is the same pony who told her to learn the magic of Friendship.
  • Recess: In the episode, "The New Kid", Gus has his name taken away from him by King Bob and is only allowed to be referred to as "the new kid." Wanting to cheer him up, TJ and the gang get the whole school to celebrate Gus' arrival at his school and his name, but immediately stop when King Bob's entourage come by. At this point, TJ tells Gus that if he wants to be acknowledged as a human being and not just as "the new kid", he'd have to stand up to King Bob himself.
  • Star Wars Rebels explores this, where Jedi Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger have private matters pertaining to the Force, such as their trip to the cryptic Malachor or their confrontation with Force-sensitive Inquisitors away from their crew. This trope is implicitly acknowledged by Hera, a non-Force Sensitive, who sometimes wishes Kanan would allow her more involvement in Force matters.
  • Subverted on Steven Universe—when Amethyst realizes that she's a "defective" Quartz, she's convinced that she has to defeat Jasper, the "Ultimate Quartz Warrior," alone in order to prove her worth. However, Jasper really IS far stronger than Amethyst. Eventually, Steven snaps her out of this, and they fight her with The Power of Friendship by fusing.
    Steven: Stop trying to be like Jasper! You're nothing like Jasper! You're like ME, because we're both not like anybody! And yeah, it sucks. But I least I've got you, and you've got me. So stop leaving me out of this.
  • At the climax of the Teen Titans episode "Betrothed", Starfire challenges her sister Blackfire to a battle for the crown which Blackfire eagerly accepts. Robin is about to help her, but Galifore holds him back.
    Galifore: Stop! If anyone helps, the challenge is void. The princess will lose!
    Cyborg: Besides, our girl can handle this.
  • In one episode of ThunderCats (1985), Lion-O accepts a caveman's challenge to arm wrestle over the time capsule that they had been searching for. The others arrive midway through, but Lion-O tells Snarf that as the one who accepted the challenge, he's going to do it without their help. Panthro stops Tygra from intervening moments later for the same reason.
  • At the tail end of Transformers: Cybertron, where even with Prime insisting that the war was over (which it was), Galvatron insists on a final showdown with him, and Prime agrees to face him one-on-one. (He still winds up cheating a bit with some help from the late Vector Prime.)
  • Mocked in the Transformers: Animated script reading "Bee in the City":
    Shockwave: The secondary heroes stand around and watch, calling on their burning spirit and heart of justice to empower the main hero from afar.
    Optimus Prime: Mmmm... no, we won't be doing that.

    Real Life 
  • The origin of this trope is, perhaps, more historical than legendary. During the Battle of Crécy, King Edward III of England left his son, the Black Prince, and his retainers without reinforcements so that he could "win his spurs, for I want him, please God, to have all the glory." The Prince survived and was gifted with the crest of the defeated King of Bohemia.
  • This is how some people deal with trauma or other rough patches in life. Rather than seeking out the help they shun it instead out of a need to be self-sufficient.
  • Unfortunately, this is one of the several bits of common, but generally impractical bits of "advice" people will give to depressed people online, especially bad when the problem is something that actually requires multiple people as opposed to just them, and made even worse by the habit of it often being paired with other impractical advices.
  • The Solo Flight requirement to obtain a pilotís license. Unlike regular driving school where an instructor has to be in the car with you to supervise your driving until you pass the test (with the tester in the car with you), flight training requires that you accumulate x number of hours flying an aircraft by your lonesome. This means that the instructor cannot be there to help you during any portion, be it taking off, flying according to the flight plan and most importantly, landing the aircraft.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): This Is Something Shes Got To Do Herself, This Is His Fight, This Is Her Fight


Mal vs. torturer

Zoe stops Jayne from interfering in the fight at first, believing that Mal needs to handle it himself. Mal, it turns out, has zero interest in that.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThisIsSomethingHesGotToDoHimself

Media sources: