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This Is Unforgivable!

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"There is no curse in Elvish, Entish or the tongues of Men for this treachery!"
Treebeard, The Two Towers, on seeing the destruction wrought by Saruman and Isengard

Someone might be the kindest, most laid-back person in the world, but sometimes even they get pushed too far. Then they say "This is unforgivable!" note  and the audience knows that an asskicking of epic proportions is about to begin.


To the western ear, it seems quite anti-climactic and quaint, but to the Japanese, this is Serious Business. It is the Challenge, and it is rarely defeated. Specifically, it has to do with a notion in the Japanese culture of narrowing possibilities; if the subject can't be forgiven for a transgression, then the only other possibility is that he's about to get his head ripped off or be otherwise punished in an equally severe fashion.note  In Japanese culture, being able to both ask for forgiveness and accept it are considered virtues; therefore, refusing to accept or offer forgiveness holds a lot more weight. The person who can't forgive won't give this up. This has to do with Japan's brutal code of honor dating back to the feudal era. Back in the era of the samurai, this had even more teeth, since the person who made this challenge very likely would chase you to the ends of the earth for revenge, even if doing so was severely detrimental to them. It's only said to someone who (in the speaker's opinion) has crossed the Moral Event Horizon because it entails a burden: the speaker is so offended that Unstoppable Rage is the only option. Obviously, it can overlap with Pre-Asskicking One-Liner, so expect serious butt-kicking in the following Right Makes Might fight.


"I will make you pay!", "I have had enough of you!", "This Means War!", "You have gone too far!", "You Monster!", "I'll Kill You!", "I cannot allow this to continue.", “You Make Me Sick!", "Your life is forfeit!", "You don't deserve to live.", "I'll get you for this!", "Prepare to Die!", etc., are similar expressions, but lack the severity that "This Is Unforgivable" has in Japanese culture.

It is also used as a way of pointing out to the audience how evil a character is — that they are completely Beyond Redemption. Usually the character being issued the challenge has crossed the Moral Event Horizon, or is a Complete Monster, so the main character can freely kill them now. Though on occasion the audience still wonders if it was really unforgivable.

Similarly, it can be used to point out how stupid a character is, their transgression being proof that they are just plain Too Dumb to Live.


Typically, anyone confronted with this trope will feel guilt and remorse. Or not.

Much like Giving Someone the Pointer Finger, this is becoming something of a devalued expression through overuse. It's prone to being bandied about for comedy, and sometimes the hero will change phasers from "kill" to "hug" mid-fight so they can beat and befriend the Easily Forgiven villain anyway. This tends to break the emotional impact of "This Is Unforgivable" in series that do so.

Villains are also quite fond of using this trope whenever everything is going wrong thanks to those puny heroes, thrown out between "This Cannot Be!" and "I will have my revenge!". "This Is Unforgivable" can also be a sign of either a Heroic BSoD or a Villainous Breakdown.

See also The Coats Are Off for when the unforgivable escalates a fight's intensity, You're Insane! when a character is shocked and enraged at the same time by another character's craziness to the point of calling them insane, and Forgiveness Requires Death which offers the chance at forgiveness... via death. Also see Beyond Redemption, where a good guy has tried to redeem the bad guy, but gives up after an unforgivable act, and Rejected Apology, where a character is shown being unforgiving towards another who publicly apologizes, severity of the wrongdoing notwithstanding.

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Other Examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 8 Episode 18, Happy S. says "Unforgivable!" to Huo Haha after he accidentally bumps into him, making him drop what they both think is an elemental staff from a cliff. Near the end of the same episode, he says the same thing to all of Big M.'s group when they make him drop what he thinks is one of the staffs down a cliff... again.

    Comic Books 
  • An unpublished story of The Powerpuff Girls, "Mojo's Day Off," had Mojo Jojo trying to relax but he is persistently interrupted by the girls who think he's responsible for some random evil in the city. In one segment, he's in an easy chair reading a murder mystery novel and comes to the part where the murderer is revealed when the girls crash through. Blossom, having read the novel herself, proceeds to spoil the denouement.
    Mojo: OOOH! You gave away the ending! That is unforgivable!!
  • The Ultimates: Pym slapped Jan, and then immediately repented of it and tried to atone. She's not in the mood for that.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Peanuts, Snoopy will never forgive "Poochie", a girl he knew when he was a puppy, saying you don't forgive someone who does what she did. She threw a stick, then went off with another dog while he was fetching it.

    Films — Animated 
  • Coco:
    • Because of Imelda's resentment towards Héctor for leaving his family in pursuit of music, her family initially sees her descendant Miguel's musical vocation as a deadly sin. However, when the truth comes out about Miguel and his great-great-grandfather, the family embraces music once more.
    • The entire audience of the Sunrise Spectacular are aghast upon seeing Ernesto's engineered public confession and subsequent tossing of Miguel, immediately booing him the moment he comes on stage. Even in the Land of the Living, everybody quickly forgets about Ernesto and praises the true songwriter.
  • The Lion King (1994): Simba says a line that comes close enough to this to Scar: "You don't deserve to live."
    • The hyenas make it clear they do not appreciate Scar attempting to throw the blame for his actions onto them. After the latter's final clash with Simba, the hyenas quickly make Scar pay for his betrayal.
      Scar: Ahh, my friends...
      Shenzi: Friends? I thought he said we were the enemy!
      Banzai: Yeah, that's what I heard.
      Scar (Oh, Crap!): ...
      Shenzi and Banzai: Ed?
      Ed: Hehe! Hehe! Hehehe!
  • Some of the lyrics to The Lion King II: Simba's Pride song "One of Us" contain a variation of this.
    Born in grief
    Raised in hate
    Helpless to defy his fate
    Let him run
    Let him live
    But do not forget what we cannot forgive
  • Mulan II, Mushu, pressured by Cri-Kee, admits to Mulan what he had done. Mulan is enlightened by Mushu's admittance, but also gets mad at him. She even says that what he did was unforgivable, and when he tries to ask to help some more, she replies with "You've helped enough."
  • In Peter Pan, after seeming to have blown up Peter Pan with a bomb, Captain Hook has Wendy walk the plank. However, they don't hear a splash expected, because, unbeknownst to the pirates, Peter, who had escaped the bomb blast, thanks to Tinker Bell, had saved Wendy, after which he makes his presence known to the pirates. He is definitely pissed off now after Hook's deliberate attempts on his and Wendy's lives.
    Hook: (having thrown one of his own crew overboard just to hear a splash) Who's next?
    Peter Pan: You're next, Hook! This time you've gone too far!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aliens: After Burke is outed for having locked Ripley and Newt in a room with two Facehuggers, Hicks tries to hear out and cross-examine both sides. When Ripley deduces Burke was planning to use her and Newt as a kind of drug mules to get Chestburster embryos for his own benefit and he would've likely also killed everyone else on the mission, and Burke's feeble response all but confirms his guilt, Hicks decides to execute Burke effective immediately.
  • In Conan the Barbarian (1982), after Conan raids one of Thulsa Doom's towers and steals his treasures, he is most upset because Conan kills a giant snake guardian.
    Thulsa Doom: You broke into my house, stole my property, murdered my servants, and my PETS! And that is what grieves me the most! You killed my snake. Thorgrim is beside himself with grief! He raised that snake from the time it was born.
  • In the 2009 film Cracks the Diving Team reacts like this when the find out the teacher they trusted and admired molested a pupil and allowed her to die. The school seems to turn a blind eye until the whole team symbolically turns in their sashes.
  • At the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar finds himself unable to forgive nor forget Koba's genocidal rampage against the humans that started the ape-human war and made it impossible for the apes to ever live in peace as well as violating the Ape Shall Not Kill Ape rule by trying to kill him and murdering Ash and at least one other ape. Ultimately, Caesar drops Koba to his death, telling him "You are not ape!"
  • In the Chinese action film Flash Point, the main character and detective Mah Jun, played by Donnie Yen, chases after a criminal on foot in the streets of Hong Kong. The criminal runs into a restaurant, grabs a young girl as hostage. and holds her upside down by the legs. When Mah Jun catches up to him and holds him at gun point, the crook threatens to drop the girl on her head if Mah Jun doesn't drop his gun. Mah Jun complies, but the criminal throws the girl forcefully aside anyway right outside the restaurant unto concrete ground, injuring the girl. Mah Jun has a very brief Heroic BSoD and his face clearly shows a This Is Unforgivable! expression followed by giving the attacking criminal a suplex from hell and then pummeling the man to to death.
  • GoldenEye: Before dumping him deliberately to his death, James Bond makes it clear that he disapproves of his Big Bad Friend's decision to make a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Alluded to in the film Gung Ho, when a shouting match between an American and his Japanese boss gets physical after the American says, "Oh yeah? Well, if you guys are so great, how come you lost the Big One?"
  • In Home Alone 2, when Kevin finds out that his old nemeses, Harry and Marv, plan to rob Duncan's Toy Chest, whose proceeds are intended for a children's hospital on Christmas Day, Kevin decides that enough is enough, which sets off an even bigger Death Course battle than the one in the first film.
    Kevin: You can mess with a lot of things...but you can't mess with kids on Christmas!
  • Little Shop of Horrors:
    Orin: What I ever do to you?
    Seymour: Nothing. It's what you did to [Audrey].
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: When Treebeard sees first-hand the devastation Saruman has wrought to the trees he'd been friends with on the lands surrounding Isengard, he furiously declares that a wizard should've known better, and he promptly resolves to exact vengeance upon the rogue wizard.
  • A New York Christmas Wedding: Jenni broke off contact with Gabby when the latter had blown off their tree decorating to spend time with her boyfriend. It seems petty, but Jenni had planned to tell Gabby she loved her, with the boyfriend coming between them. She regrets it deeply later when Gabby kills herself due to losing her baby, which might have gone differently if Jenni had been there supporting her.
  • Not Okay: Danni coming clean as having faked surviving a terrorist attack naturally causes her to be fired, Rowan venting her rage on her and becoming a huge target of criticism everywhere. This part of the film is even titled "I Don't Get A Redemption Arc". Rowan says that while maybe she'll forgive Danni, the two will never be okay. Danni appears to realize this will never be undone too.
  • Similarly to how he acts in the cartoons (see "Western Animation" below), in the live-action movie of Popeye, the titular sailor is trying to just have some breakfast at Roughouse's when the local toughs decide to insult him. At first, Popeye stays calm and insists they apologize, but when they "apologize" by roughing up the patrons instead, he declares, "Sorry I have to do this, but enough is enough." and proceeds to clean house with all of them.
  • The Proposition.
    "Arthur Burns is a monster. An abomination. You were right to break company with him; what happened at the Hopkins place was unforgivable.
  • In Spider-Man 3, Peter says this to Eddie right before he exposes him for forging a picture of Spider-Man robbing the bank.
    Peter: You want forgiveness? Get religion.
  • Star Trek:
    • A western equivalent appears in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock where Kirk repeatedly kicks Klingon General Kruge, screaming "I! HAVE HAD! ENOUGH! OF YOU!" and then kicks Kruge down a cliff.
    • Picard's rant about the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact. "[We have fallen back] This far, and no further! The line must be drawn here!" This turns into a subversion, though, when Lily scolds him into sensibility and he decides to destroy the ship rather than fight it out.
  • In Star Trek Into Darkness, Harrison delivers a variant of this Stock Phrase to Kirk in one of the trailers.
    Harrison: Your commanders have committed a crime I cannot forgive.
  • At the end of Unfriended, Laura's ghost says this to Blaire after revealing that she was the one who filmed the video that caused the former to commit suicide.
    Laura: I wish I could forgive you, Blaire.
  • In War of the Worlds (2005), Ray Ferrier makes it clear to Ogilvy that he has crossed a line by endangering Rachel's life. It ends fatally.
    Ray: Do you understand what I'm going to have to do? I can't let my daughter die because of you.
  • In The Woman in Black, this seemed to be the Madness Mantra of the titular woman after her child went missing, as she believed he was being deliberately kept from her. Unfortunately, she died before anyone learned the truth, and her vengeful ghost got stuck in an infinite loop.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In The Four Gospels, Jesus, of everyone, the one who preaches Forgiveness stated that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit note  is an unforgivable sin, even when blasphemy against God and Himself is somewhat pardonable.
    Jesus: And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Undertaker's 2003 entrance theme "You're Gonna Pay"note  is about retribution for some unspecified offense and the chorus includes the line "There's no forgiveness this time."

    Tabletop Games 

  • In Consolers, Tecmo refuses to forgive Namco for making fun of his DoA games and swears to get his revenge some day.
    Tecmo: Namco... I will NEVER forgive you for this unforgivable insult.
  • In Sequential Art, the Quinten story arc begins with Kat and Scarlet going clothes shopping, and Kat being subsequently kidnapped by Quinten employees who mistook her for Scarlet, an escaped WetwareCPU component. The next comic shows Art and Pip coming back from a movie to find Scarlet on the porch, bawling her eyes out from guilt. After she explains how she escaped from Quinten when the AI she was analyzing tried to kill her in the garbage incinerator, she cries some more, saying that its her fault that Kat was taken, and that she's scared and doesn't know what to do. In what is probably the only display of genuine affection he has shown to Scarlet thus far, Pip says that Quinten must pay for making Scarlet cry.

    Web Original 
  • At the beginning of The Nostalgia Critic's pre-recorded review of Kazaam:
  • In the visual novel Six Rules, after the Tairas burn down the Minamoto home and take Ryouji prisoner, Ryouji speaks to the one who betrayed him, who he can now feel nothing but burning hatred for; and they have an exchange very similar to the page image:
    Ryouji gritted his teeth and spoke, lowly.
    Ryouji: I'll never forgive you.
    She looked amused, a smile playing on her lips.
    Yukiri: Oh dear. What am I going to do if you don't forgive me?
  • In the first video (and most popular) of the Unforgivable series, this trope is averted really, really hard. The narrator essentially meets a woman while he is plotting to buy pants with stolen money, gets her number, and takes her out on a date. This date consists of her buying him food, him treating her rudely, and eventually him forcing her to satisfy his libido in the bathroom of the arcade to make up for the fact that she had two siblings. He then shouts, "UNFORGIVABLE!" at the end. However, after watching the rest of the video, this only proves that he is an extremely angry person who gets upset about minor things.

    Real Life 
  • In pre-WWII Japan, seeing a fellow Japanese person do something un-Japanese, like speak English, was often enough to trigger a bout of head-chopping. Now, not so much...


Video Example(s):


Italians ASSEMBLE!

After seeing Spaghetti getting dyed blue for a TikTok Video, Mario and Luigi summons every Italian to burn down TikTok HQ.

How well does it match the trope?

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