he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer."
So you have a character who has achieved some incredibly difficult or elusive victory that they've been working towards for just about forever. Now that it's finally over and all their efforts have paid off, they've got it made, right?
Not if Victory Is Boring. If the character is a villain, now that they actually went ahead and pulled off their plan to Take Over the World, they have to actually run it. And fill out all the required paperwork. In triplicate. Man, those days when the heroes would foil your latest plot every single week only to let you slip away at the last minute were so much more entertaining than this! (Wait, is that why the heroes did it in the first place?!!)
On the other hand, if the character is a hero, then maybe winning and having finally shown up The Rival or won the big tournament or game they've been dreaming of since they were a kid leaves them saying So What Do We Do Now? If the hero is particularly Hot-Blooded, battle addicted, fond of adventure or just plain crazy/sociopathic, he might start going out and trying to find/create new challenges that weren't there before. If only there was some reliably recurring villain that could keep them occupied...
Before we get into any examples, we should note that every Video Game will eventually fall into this trope. No matter what, some players will beat everything, get the Infinity +1 Sword, 100% Completion, etc. and even they will still quit eventually. So please, limit it to in-universe examples. See A Winner Is You for games with unsatisfying endings. Compare It's Easy, So It Sucks!, for when a game is boring even before reaching victory due to its lack of difficulty.
Yet more proof that Status Quo Is God and that Failure Is the Only Option, for everyone. May invoke Wanting Is Better Than Having. Compare with Pyrrhic Victory, Pyrrhic Villainy, Vengeance Feels Empty, Was It Really Worth It?, No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction, and Lonely at the Top for other times when winning turns out not to be all it's cracked up to be. See also And Then What?, and also Rich Boredom, and The Perils of Being the Best, which may overlap.
- In Ah! My Goddess the Queen Sayoko arc has Sayoko enter a demonic contract that grants her mind control powers so she can finally defeat Belldandy. At the climax of the arc, Sayoko has reduced Belldandy to an obedient slave only to abruptly cancel the contract. As she explains to Mara, a victory achieved through somebody else's power meant nothing compared to personally crushing her rival.
- The New Grapper Baki series of Baki the Grappler opens with five of the world's greatest martial arts masters, who also all happen to be death row inmates, escaping prison and coming to Japan in the hopes of experiencing defeat for the first time in their lives.
- In the second season Beyblade Burst, the series is introduced to Free de la Hoya, the #1 Blader in the world. Free is so ridiculously strong, his default expression is an apathetic, bored look. Because of this, he rarely attends any training sessions with his teammates and even feels like having a team is pointless as, quoted from himself, he'll win each and every time. However, what's funny that Free himself stated that although he does get bored of blading sometimes due to his strength, he feels like winning is the only thing that makes him happy. However, character development does kick in when he bonds with Valt whom he sees as someone with potential to give him a good match. Free's first on-screen loss was to fellow Big 5 member Lui Shirosagi where Free, upset at the loss at first, was still happy to have found someone that was on his level.
- At the very beginning of Black Cat, when the mob accountant they have captured asks the duo if they would do him a favor and let him see his family once more, Train immediately says OK, because catching and taking him right to the cops would be too boring.
- Bleach: In his backstory, Baraggan Louisenbairn conquered Hueco Mundo to become its God-King but eventually became so bored that he was about to have his own army fight each other to the death before Aizen, Gin, and Tousen showed up to usurp his rule.
- Light, the villain protagonist from Death Note briefly mentioned that it was too easy and no fun just leading the Kira investigation team around after he offed L. Enter Near and Mello to rectify that. Eventually.
- Dragon Ball:
- In the Bad Future that Future Trunks hails from, it's heavily hinted that this is why Androids 17 and 18 dragged out their fights with Trunks and Future Gohan for so long before ultimately going for the kill. In fact, when Trunks returns to challenge them after the defeat of Cell in the main timeline and Future 18 decides to kill him to blow off steam, Future 17 gives her the okay but nonetheless points out that they'll be throwing away "weeks worth of fun" if she does.
- From Dragon Ball Super is Universe 12's God of Destruction, Geene. He carries out his job ruthlessly and indiscriminately, leaving his universe with the second-highest quality of life in the multiverse (allowing him to skip the universe-ending Tournament of Power)... and leaving him with almost nothing to do, thus he's grown very bored.
- In the anime of Excel Saga, when Il Palazzo finally does conquer F City, his urge to conquer is so shocked at being suppressed that it pulls a Split-Personality Takeover.
- Acnologia of Fairy Tail happily lived a life of carnage and destruction until running into a problem - he became so ungodly powerful that burning the whole world to the ground and destroying everyone was no longer even a challenge. He ended up lying low and doing almost nothing for centuries, only occasionally reappearing to check on unusually strong people (and curbstomp them effortlessly).
- Doctor Akabane from Get Backers. Fast, durable, and lethal, he can kill most opposition so fast that they don't even realize he's moved. As a result, he's bored and completely unchallenged until he meets the titular duo. Cue twenty-odd volumes of mind games and battles to the death. He wins.
- In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, Erika is obviously the only one who misses romping around and being "beautiful 14-year-old superheroes" at the end.
- Alucard from Hellsings main motivation is trying to find a human that can kill him because he's bored of being practically a god to the point of agreeing to reduce his power level to make fighting more of a challenge.
- Cunningham from IGPX. He and Team Velshtein achieved the championship quickly, and at a younger age than any previous team. As it turns out, this got boring quick for Cunningham, who desired a real challenge for the title. Enter Takashi and Team Satomi...
- Lupin III's cop, Zenigata, actually manages to capture Lupin. Inevitably, Zenigata begins to realize that without Lupin to chase around, his life is empty and boring, as Lupin was the only criminal that truly challenged him. In one story, Lupin sits in jail for an entire year awaiting his execution. Zenigata spends the year getting more and more depressed and dreading the execution day even more than Lupin. When Lupin escapes at the last minute, Zenigata is overjoyed, and the chase resumes.
- One Piece:
- Done subtly in regards to the world's greatest swordsman, Dracule Mihawk. While what he was like when he was younger is a mystery, as an adult he seems to have no secondary goals and has become bored with nothing to accomplish, and jaded because so few people can give him a challenge. As a result, he tries to pass the time by doing things such as wiping out Don Krieg's fleet and chasing the survivors halfway across the world (though only because they disturbed his nap). Which seems to do nothing at all to alleviate his boredom. When he meets the main crew's swordsman Zoro, who's aiming for his title, he's impressed by the younger man's determination and encourages him to surpass him.
- This is also why Gold Roger turned himself in to the World Government in the first place. He had seen everything, done everything, and had nothing left to do. Seeing as he was dying from an incurable disease anyway, he figured he would turn himself in and do one final thing: tell everyone, right before they executed him, that he had hidden all his wealth somewhere, and that whoever claimed it would be rich beyond their wildest dreams - so long as they could find it. And so it began...
- Part of the premise of One-Punch Man. The hero, Saitama, has grown so strong that he can take any opponent out in one punch. However, this strength has made him completely apathetic, always disappointed when the next big challenge ends up going down the same way. Throughout the series, he's never had to fight seriously, because he's just too strong, and even during the rare few fights he's had to do more than just provide his version of a love-tap to win, his expression almost never changes even as his foes unleash planet-busting attacks that he counters with semi-serious punches.
- In addition to Volkner, the Pokémon anime also had the Orange Islands champion Drake. He was wondering how long it would be before a challenger would defeat him when Ash made his way there.
- In Saki Shinohayu -dawn of age-, Kanna was undefeated at games, and as a result, got bored with winning all the time. She then got into mahjong, and while she did fairly well at first, she then lost to Hayari Mizuhara. Judging from her reaction when she lost, though, perhaps she was happier when she was undefeated.
- Spoofed hard in Slayers. One episode features a treacherous prince who plots to murder his older brother in order to become first in line to the throne. Lina asks him what he plans to do once he is king. The prince is absolutely dumbfounded by the question and awkwardly says that "Ummm...I was kind of planning to rule and stuff...I guess."
- Done interestingly with both Tenchi Muyo! and Tenchi Universe - in Muyo!, Tenchi's more than happy to go back to a regular life. The five girls he's shacking up with make that quite impossible. In Universe, Tenchi and the girls go their separate ways at the end, but when Ryoko returns, she points out that the others are coming back to him because they missed the fun. Tenchi's melancholy prior to Ryoko returning makes it clear that he missed it too.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: After Simon defeats Lord Genome, the people build a city and the fighters that won the war are now left to run it. Most of them are quite bored with it, as they're just figureheads without the aptitude or desire to govern. This is averted the second time around, where Simon chooses to become a wanderer rather than take a leading position in the government.
- In Transformers Armada Megatron was able to kill Optimus, but afterwards, it had left him empty and bored with his Arch-Nemesis gone, and spent the next few episodes doing nothing. When Optimus is resurrected, he is back to his old self again.
- Thorkell from the manga Vinland Saga, defects from the Danish army to align himself with the English because he thinks it would be more fun. Afterwards, he decides to become the vassal of Prince Canute, the clear underdog in the competition for the Danish throne, as if he did not have enough to fight against to begin with. The man is a huge, Older Than He Looks, man's man of a warrior, so it is almost expected. However, despite being on the strongest side in England with rival factions constantly uprising against them, Thorkell is extremely bored because his worth as an intimidation-based commander means that he has to sit on the sidelines.
- Yusuke Urameshi from Yu Yu Hakusho falls victim to this after he wins the dark tournament, although he is then punished for his complacency as the next arc starts with him getting kidnapped. It then happens AGAIN after beating Sensui, because being an S-rank demon leaves him as the most powerful fighter in the human world by miles.
- The Joker has often said that he doesn't want to kill Batman, because if he did then it would spoil all their lovely fun.
- But in Emperor Joker, it's revealed that he literally cannot imagine a world without Batman... no matter how hard he tries, despite having gained cosmic power and ruler of reality.
- In the Going Sane storyline, Joker actually regains his sanity and settles down to live a normal life when he thinks he's killed Batman; after he's beaten Batman, there's no point in being the Joker anymore.
- There is evidence that Batman himself could succumb to this if he would ever "win" his war on crime. He's somewhat uninterested in actually keeping villains put away, when someone with his intelligence and vast fiscal resources probably could, simply preferring to let others (who really suck at it) do that for him. Them breaking out defines his purpose and justifies putting on the cape and cowl every night (which is why he has been accused of being as insane as the people he fights).
- Other stories posit the opposite. He nearly went into a Heroic BSoD in one story when the Joker broke out of Arkham three hours after Batman captured him, and the Joker left a message taunting Batman about it. Batman's greatest dream is a Gotham that doesn't need a Batman.
- In the Emperor Doom graphic novel, Doctor Doom succeeds in conquering the world by brainwashing everyone. By and large, he's a fairly benevolent monarch and does much to solve many of the world's problems... but in order to maintain this utopia, he has to attend all the meetings and make all the decisions. Unfortunately, he's bored out of his mind, such that when the one unaffected hero manages to break the spell on a few others, he lets the rebellion win. He'd rather be a conqueror than a Desk Jockey.
- Marvel Universe Secret Wars II, issue #3. The Beyonder takes mental control of every living thing on Earth, then gets bored and releases them.
- In the Marvel: The End series, Thanos succeeds in acquiring the Heart of the Universe and defeats the entire Celestial Order (Galactus, Infinity, Eternity, Order, Chaos, etc.) and finally ends all existence in the universe other than himself, but finds his efforts to be utterly pointless. He then discovers that a power other than them may have even been manipulating these events to the point that Thanos himself will realise this, so using the Heart of the Universe, Thanos restores the Universe to the way it was before.
- In CrossGen's Mystic, the villainous Magus succeeds in casting an immensely powerful spell that turns all his citizens into mindlessly obedient undead master soldiers. With no rebellions or riots to quash, he becomes comically bored.
- The 'Crime Syndicate' of DC Comics has become the de facto rulers of their own Earth. It's so boring they start their own rebellions against themselves just for the fun of smashing them down. 'Thankfully', the Qwardians get their mad on and decided to kill everything and everyone.
- Tom Strong is a Downplayed heroic example. He's outlived his nemesis and only intellectual equal Paul Saveen, and without Paul, he's at a bit of a loose end. When he meets Paul's ghost, he admits that he misses his enemy.
- In a DuckTales comic, Flintheart Glomgold once manages to take over Duckburg while Scrooge is away fighting Magica DeSpell. When Scrooge returns, he sends Glomgold through a Paranoia Gambit that eventually results in him giving up his ownership of the city so that he can start anew.
- Another comic (but not DuckTales) has Magica venting over her inability to steal Scrooge's #1 Dime. When her familiar asks if she really needed Scrooge's dime for her Midas Touch amulet, Magica realizes that no, she doesn't. She still has the other dime Scrooge gave her in her first appearance when she was collecting the dimes touched by the world's richest. (She originally wanted Scrooge's Number One for extra power.) Making the amulet, Magica gains the Midas Touch and becomes supremely wealthy - but is still upset because she never did beat Scrooge. Even flaunting her new fortune doesn't work, as Scrooge is just happy to know she won't bother him anymore. When she destroys his money bin by turning it to gold (making it too soft to contain his cash), he logically decides to sell the gold to pay for a new one, and then some. This is the last straw, and Magica destroys her amulet, thereby turning the transformed gold back, before Scrooge could do just that.
- A few Alternate History stories have Avengers villain Kang The Conqueror actually succeed in his quest to take over the Twenty(first) Century. He quickly finds that administration is not his forte.
- In a heart-wrenching issue, Superman competes against someone who has similar powers which his opponent got via a method of rejuvenating himself that would eventually kill him. Because of a technicality (the rejuvenation process is considered cheating), Superman wins. Superman then reveals that he's learned his opponent was not only The Last of His Kind, but also from the same solar system as Superman, and sorrowfully asks "when you're Superman, what's one more victory?"
- A pre-Crisis story had an old pre-WW2 supervillain (despite the fact that this was Earth-1, where Supes himself was supposed to be the first superhuman) give up his life of crime to go star-hopping with his "alien friends". He comes back to Earth to see home again while he can but is a bit peeved that his tales of traveling in space are disbelieved and that he's mostly been forgotten in favour of Superman, so he gets his friends to rejuvenate him temporarily so that he can have one last splash of super-villainy. He fights Superman, who lets him win so that he can die in triumph.
- In DC Comics Presents #56, Superman and an alternate universe Supergirl fight Maaldor, a villain with godlike powers who challenges them because he's conquered his whole universe... and now he's bored.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
- There is a dimension where Knuckles the Echidna went mad with power and, in an attempt to "bring order to chaos" as he phrased it, he began to conquer the entire planet. He vanquished all enemies, hero (Sonic, Shadow, Tails, etc.) and villain (Eggman, Ixis Naugus, Snively) alike, making sure to take their souls to form the core of his army for extra insurance. However, upon ruling it, he became extremely bored and allowed a few Freedom Fighters to exist—despite knowing their location already—so as to keep himself entertained. Eventually, dark Knuckles, better known as Enerjak, decided to look for other worlds to conquer three decades after this all had transpired, and in turn, sealed his fate.
- A similar thing occurred after the first Robotnik was finally defeated. Mobius is free, Mobotropolis is reclaimed, everyone is happy... except Sonic, who's completely overwhelmed by the tense political climate, the overwhelming hatred of the Robians, and of course, the lack of a single enemy to fight. He goes so far as to wish Robotnik was back, so he'd know what he was fighting. Fortunately, Naugus showed up soon after followed by the second Robotnik.
- The reason why Dr. Eggman, then Robo-Robotnik, decided to invade Mobius Prime. He succeeded in conquering his own Mobius, wiping out the Freedom Fighters in a massive nuclear attack in the progress, but without any worthy enemy to fight, he got bored with his victory and so started the Second Robotnik War in Mobius Prime in order to "fill the void".
- Sonic the Comic:
- After Dr. Robotnik's defeat and the fall of his empire in issue 100, Sonic quickly found himself bored to tears with no enemy to fight. He practically jumped at the chance to investigate an issue on the Flickies' island, on Tails' advice.
- Around the same time, during the EMP that caused all of Dr. Robotnik's technology to fail, Shortfuse the Cybernik ended up missing everything due to his flight systems having cut out while he was over a volcano, and, upon being found by the other Freedom Fighters, lamented the fact that he could no longer take revenge on Dr. Robotnik for his Unwilling Roboticisation. He found himself unable to hold down regular jobs, but, when the Insectra Empire requested assistance in their war against the Blurrgh, he took the job with gusto. Such a shame that this war had been going on for thousands of years, with neither side really sure what started it anymore.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
- Noob reveals that Tenshirock, the hacker who wants to drive people away from MMORPG, was hoping for this to happen in the one in which the story is set. One of the three player factions was secretly given an unfair advantage (by someone else than him), so he was hoping that the players of the other significant faction would end up giving up out of frustration and that the third, newer and underpopulated, would be easily beaten, leaving only one faction with very bored players who would end up quitting as well. However, by the time the readers find out about this plan, the unfair advantage has been made public and taken care of, making the faction that used to have it now be the one in a position of weakness.
- One of the alternate universes featured in The Multiversity is a world where the Justice League defeated every villain and created a utopia. As a result, all the Legacy Characters and new heroes have nothing to do, reducing them to vapid celebrities who waste the day away with hedonism and simulations of old battles.
- Night's Favored Child: Nightmare Moon admits that the thrill of having defeated Celestia and of being worshipped as Empress wore off after a few centuries.
- My Hostage Not Yours: In the third story, Gaz starts expressing this attitude after she and Zim succeed in conquering Earth.
- In the Dark World arc of the Pony POV Series, Discord starts exhibiting signs of this after a thousand years of ruling Equestria unchecked. It gets to the point that The Voice gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about it, saying that since he gets bored with everything eventually, he'll soon trap himself in a Fate Worse than Death of his own making. Discord doesn't take this well.
- He actually seems excited when Twilight has a HeelFace Turn and starts a rebellion against him because it gives him something to do.
- As it turns out The Voice is actually Nightmare Eclipse/Paradox, Twilight's potential future Superpowered Evil Side who invoked this trope to turn the Dark World into Discord's Ironic Hell by trapping him in a "Groundhog Day" Loop where his defeats are always undone with each loop, meaning he's been ruling Equestria for several hundred million years. The sheer boredom of this, combined with the fact he's had a Heel Realization she won't let him act on has turned his victory into an And I Must Scream fate.
- Light has this attitude in Seigikan:
Light: This was all fun and games, but even I was growing tired at how easy it was to have the great detective L in the palm of my hand. Seeing him powerless to stop me was a thrill; but like all thrills, it was losing its edge. Even having his name, the name I wanted so badly to know—was all nothing now that I knew it. I felt like it was game over. It was the same thing as beating the final boss in a video game and seeing the end cut scenes. It was not satisfying once the task was actually completed. Was the hunt truly over? I wanted to win, but did it have to be so quickly? I was hoping to play a tad longer.
- In A Friend Named Voldemort, Voldemort bemoans his easy victory over the rewarding world:
Voldemort: This is what I envisioned, but not what I truly wanted. I feel as if I am a child on Christmas morning. All of the presents have been opened and now I feel only disappointment that the excitement is over and done. Don't you see Lucius, for one such as I, it is not the crown or the glory of victory, but the blood and the battle. I am not like you, I cannot find satisfaction in being king.
- Subverted in the Animaniacs/Lion King fanfic The Tiger Prince. Once Pinky and the Brain take over the grasslands, the Brain happily immerses himself in the minutiae and paperwork of government (and does a fine job of it), while Pinky, of course, can amuse himself for hours with a ball of lint.
- The eventual fate of Father in ''Solutions to a Hollow Victory. After his lifelong plan to become God succeeds, he finds he has nothing else to do. After a year of ennui, he snaps and kills his remaining children because they're more entertaining to him dead than alive.
- In The Little Pony Legend, this tends to crop up a few times. While neither Korra nor the ponies ever think life is boring, they do sometimes hit ruts in their lives. Such as when Korra managed to fix the spirit vines in book 3. Or the beginning of Shadow of Ronin. Even after getting her own palace, marrying, having a daughter, and establishing peace, Korra still missed the adventures and drama of saving the world some.
- In Promises of a Wandering Hero, Shirou admits that he gave up archery because he had perfect precision and accuracy. He'd hit exactly where he aimed every time and as a result, there was no more room for improvement. He didn't see the point in continuing when he'd always win.
- Once the title character defeats the hero, he realizes that playing the supervillain whose plans are always foiled was more enjoyable than actually conquering the city, and even winds up trying to create a new hero for him to fight.
- Also applies to the hero himself, Metro Man, who was Faking the Dead as he had gotten tired of defeating Megamind over and over.
- The LEGO Batman Movie: Batman celebrates his latest victory against the Joker and his henchmen by eating lobster thermidor, practicing his guitar, and looking at his family portraits, all by himself.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas has the protagonist Jack Skellington depressed and burnt out from spending Halloween every year at being the best at scaring, his popularity, and his lack of anything relatively close to competition. As a result of this, he ends up discovering Christmas Town. After gaining an interest in the holidays and a disastrous sleigh ride, Jack rediscovers his enthusiasm for scaring.
- In the first Madagascar movie, the Penguins are trying to get to Antarctica, and eventually succeed when they hijack the freighter that the rest of the zoo animals are on. When they reach Antarctica, they find it to be a complete frozen wasteland with nothing to do but stare at an iceberg, so they use the freighter to go to Madagascar, where Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria all wound up.
Private: [Beat] Well, this sucks.
- In Superman II, there's a scene showing the complete boredom of the three Kryptonian supervillains after they conquer the world. (And before Lex Luthor arrives to get things moving again).
(Zod plays with a Newton's Cradle)
Ursa: You're master of all you survey.
Zod: And so I was yesterday and the day before.
- In Maverick, after Bret and his dad have successfully pulled off their scheme and are now living the pampered high life, Bret intentionally leaves a large portion of the money they won in a position to be stolen by Annabelle Bransford "because it's going to be a whole lot of fun getting it back!"
- In the film version of Camelot, the idea that evil people will never be satisfied, even in victory, is spelled out to Mordred by Arthur.
- The Dark Knight Trilogy:
- The Joker expresses this in The Dark Knight:
The Joker: I'm like a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it.
- Also his revelation why he doesn't want to kill Batman.
Batman: Then why do you want to kill me?
The Joker: (laughs) I don't wanna kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no. No. No, you... you complete me.
- While at the beginning of the movie the Joker blackmails Batman to try to get him to unmask, later he changes his mind and calls into a talk show where Coleman Reese is about to expose Batman's identity.
The Joker: I had a vision, of a world without Batman. The mob ground out a little profit and the police tried to shut them down, one block at a time. And it was so... boring. I've had a change of heart. I don't want Mr. Reese spoiling everything, but why should I have all the fun? Let's give someone else a chance. If Coleman Reese isn't dead in sixty minutes then I blow up a hospital.
- This all comes back in The Dark Knight Rises. With the Joker defeated and new laws in place shutting down nearly all organized crime, plus with Gordon running a cleaner, more efficient police force there's simply no reason for Bruce Wayne to don the Batman suit. However, he's unable to readjust to normal society and becomes an antisocial shut-in. This comes back to bite him hard when Bane arrives... while at one point Batman would have been able to fight him off, years of inaction have dulled his senses enough for Bane to physically dominate him.
- The Joker expresses this in The Dark Knight:
- In Mystery Men, Captain Amazing is bored because he has managed to put away every supervillain in Champion City, leaving only thugs. His solution is to use his influence to get his arch-nemesis Casanova Frankenstein out of the mental asylum. It doesn't end well for him. It is left somewhat vague just how much it is this and how much it is a desire to keep his sponsorship money (his agent suggests that Amazing's fights being boring to the public is at least a partial reason for him losing sponsors), but given that the scene that culminates in him coming up with the solution starts off with him ranting about the bad quality of the fight, it is at least partly this.
- Mr. Nick of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has always known this, which is why he usually tends to give the doctor another chance, so that they can resume their perpetual game. Parnassus himself is genuinely surprised to discover this, considering he always believed that Nick simply enjoyed watching him suffer by winning.
- In Rocky Balboa, Dixon agrees to fight the aging Rocky because no current boxer can touch him. The fans also seem to agree with this trope. Dixon dominates his opponents so easily he's become a boring Invincible Hero, and people are quickly losing interest in watching him.
- Inigo Montoya of The Princess Bride, after defeating the Six-Fingered Man: "Is very strange. I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life." Luckily, Westley wants to return to a "normal" life with Buttercup.
- Westley: Have you ever considered piracy? You'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts!
- The final scene from Blazing Saddles:
"My work here is done. I'm needed elsewhere now. I'm needed wherever outlaws rule the West, wherever innocent women and children are afraid to walk the streets, wherever a man cannot live in simple dignity, wherever a people cry out for justice."
"All right, you caught me. To speak the plain truth it's getting pretty darn dull around here."
- In Die Hard, Hans Gruber quotes the line about Alexander after taking over the Nakatomi building, implying that was his favourite part of the plan.
- Conspiracy (2001): After Reinhard Heydrich blackmails the conflicted Wilhelm Kritzinger at the conference to cooperate in the Holocaust, Kritzinger warns him where this genocide will lead by telling Heydrich a story about a man he knew whose life was rendered meaningless when his father, whom he fiercely hated, died. Heydrich later reflects on this and the Nazis wonder what they would do with an ideology built around hate if all the Jews in the world were gone. Heydrich promptly ignores it and heads back to his HQ in Prague.
- In Wall Street, Gordon complains about how difficult it has been to turn around Teldar even after he's fired most of the management. For that reason, he initially rebuffs Bud's suggestion that he buy and turn around the airline his father works for.
- Animorphs: After 54 books (and 4 Megamorphs books)note , the Animorphs FINALLY defeat the Yeerks, and prevent the Andalites from bombing Earth to oblivion to defeat the Yeerk Empire, though at the cost of Rachel and Tom dying in the final battle. Jake (and all of the surviving Animorphs to some extent) suffers from PTSD and guilt, while Marco and Cassie are the only ones who truly manage to recover (and behind all his celebrity status, Marco is still secretly bored to tears, which is probably why he's willing to join Jake and Tobias on a possible suicide mission to rescue Ax from the One).
- This is the impetus for the book The Last Hero: Cohen the Barbarian is bored stiff as the Emperor of the Agatean Empire. He decides that being Emperor is no fun...but more than that, neither is getting old or living past the age of barbarian hero. He and his Silver Horde (of seven other veteran barbarian warriors, all septuagenarians at the youngest) go out to destroy the gods for allowing this to happen.
- There's also references to a Discworld parallel of Alexander, named Carelinus, who apparently conquered the entire world, save for Fourecks and the Counterweight Continent (Fantasy Counterpart Cultures of Australia and China respectively). Cohen observes that it's no wonder, since one's all dried up, and you can't get a decent beer in the other. The minstrel they've captured (long story) tells Cohen the line "and Carelinus wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer." He explains that seeing Cohen looking down at the Disc ("bin there... bin there too... bin there twice, I think... bin everywhere I can see") reminds him of this. Cohen appreciates the comparison: "Yeah, maybe a bit like him. 'cept without the sissy crying, of course..." At another point, it's inverted to reflect the actual quote (see Real Life below)—that some scholar told Carelinus that every star out there might be another world, and he cried because he realized he couldn't conquer them all in one lifetime. That becomes Cohen's real grievance—that there's so much to do no one, no matter how dedicated, could get it all done in one life.
- Duke Felmet (a Macbeth Expy) experienced a variant of this when the people of Lancre didn't rise up and rebel against him after he killed his cousin and seized the throne. (They figured that being assassinated counts as "natural causes" for a King). His frustration about the fact is summed up in this quote:
You couldn't oppress a people like that any more than you could oppress a mattress.
- At the start of Making Money Moist is fueled by complete boredom with running the Post Office —he made it work so well that it wasn't fun anymore. Luckily Vetinari has a new project for him...
- The Worm Ouroboros: The protagonists win, but find nothing else interesting for them to do after their victory. They wish for the conflict to happen all over again, causing the entire thing to start over again. This is the purpose of the title, as the Ouroboros is a symbol of a snake or dragon eating its own tail, symbolizing cyclicality.
- Hero's version: about midway through The Chronicles of Amber, Corwin starts realizing that he doesn't have any real interest in holding the throne, and that superficial ambition and spite towards one of his brothers was the only reason he was trying to claim it in the first place. Even before someone else is picked to be King, he announces his intention to abdicate.
- Ulysses in the Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem has this attitude.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, King Robert suffered badly from this. A conquering king who saw the girl he fought the war for die and was forced into a loveless political marriage afterward, he's grown fat and keeps talking to his old friend Ned of abandoning the throne and becoming a sellsword. The only joy he seems to find is in the occasional tournament... though it's soon pointed out to him that no one in their right mind is going to strike the king in a melee.
- In The Divine Comedy, Dante encounters the ghost of Ulysses (Odysseus). Ulysses explains that he died after leaving Ithaca and sailing out into the Atlantic Ocean after the whole taking-twenty-years-to-make-it-home-from-the-last-adventure thing. Yeah, it was just too boring being king of a great land and having a queen who adores you.
- Ithaca in real life was thought to be a small island kingdom with a few shepherds and a small city (there are about a dozen places claiming to be Ithaca, all pretty similar). You really can see the crafty genius of the Trojan war getting bored from that.
- Time Scout: Skeeter's life post HeelFace Turn is rather disappointing. It comes to a head: You just beat up a knife-wielding thug and handed him to the cops! You just carried the woman he was beating to the hospital, receiving warm congratulations! You just handed a truant kid over to the cops and felt a connection with a formerly antagonistic cop! You just got to stand up to a bigot! You ... just got fired. Now what?
- Taken to the extreme in one of The Lost Books of the Odyssey. Achilles abandons the Trojan War on Odysseus' suggestion and goes to faraway lands, and defeats the strongest warriors here and there until there is no doubt that he is the strongest man in the entire world. Then, desperate to be rid of him, an emperor gives him the key to heaven, where Achilles ascends, killing demigods and demons until he finally kills God himself — and is left, sitting on God's throne, wishing he had never been born.
- Played straight in the Humanx Commonwealth Flinx books, in which the protagonist's last words, having saved the galaxy from inexorable doom after spending years scouring it for a solution, are: "I'm bored".
- At the end of the Codex Alera series, the First Lord Octavian a.k.a. Tavi implies this, as the normal day-to-day task of running Alera seems a bit boring compared to the wars that have just concluded.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog in the Fourth Dimension Sonic manages to go back in time to prevent the accident that transformed the friendly Dr. Kintobor into the evil Dr. Robotnik. All of his animal friends don't treat him like a hero, because he never became a hero, and the only practical use of his abilities is searching for the final Chaos Emerald; neither of which our hero is enjoying.
- In "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" by Roald Dahl, Henry Sugar spends a year in meditation and training to gain X-Ray Vision through Enlightenment Superpowers for the rather non-enlightened goal of winning big at card games. The first night out he does this, he quickly becomes disenchanted due to how easy it was (it's also implied the training itself had changed him and made him less materialistic). He grows so disgusted with his winnings that he throws all of the money out into the street the next day. One cop is not amused by Henry causing a ruckus and wasting money this way. He's especially angry that Henry is being so wasteful when he could be putting that money to better use, such as funding orphanages (the cop was raised in one). Henry ends up thinking that's a really good idea and spends the rest of his life using his new powers to win money from casinos so he can support orphanages.
- In the Village Tales novels, it's an In-Universe Running Gag that a bored Duke of Taunton is a danger to the village ... and that he gets bored after he pulls off yet another Gambit Pileup and Xanatos Speed Chess match. Wherefore he goes looking for another crisis to solve, and, for their own sakes, his neighbors help him find one, to keep him occupied and out of their hair.
- Hemulen of The Moomins (that is to say, the particular Hemulen who lives with the Moomins) is initially obsessed with collecting stamps, but in The Finn Family Moomintroll, he finally has "all of them". As this means there's no collecting left to do, it causes him a life crisis. Subsequently, he finds a new purpose in collecting plants.
- In I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream this is part of the premise. The evil machine intelligence AM already succeeded in its war against humanity over a century ago, and so its only purpose now is to torture the last five human survivors endlessly as a means to cope with the sheer boredom of its eternal hate-filled existence.
- In the Deathstalker series, after the Empress is finally overthrown, many of the main characters react to their new lives with almost uncharacteristic ennui. Jack Random, in particular, crawls into a bottle, and Ruby Journey joins him whenever she's not contracted to take down another foe well below her skillset. This being the Deathstalker universe, though, the peace doesn't really last.
- In Robert A. Heinlein' Glory Road, the protagonist Oscar Gordon was carefully and secretly groomed to be a hero and save The Egg of the Phoenix. As a reward, he marries the Empress of the Twenty Universes (more of "The Advisor of the Twenty Universes Whose Advice is Treated as Absolute") and is offered literally anything he asks for, to the point of skyscrapers being torn down because he wanted a view. In the end, when asked, his wife tearfully tells him that her advice is he must leave to follow his calling, as he can never be happy otherwise.
- Villains Don't Date Heroes!: Night Terror starts the book bored out of her skull because she has the entire city completely cowed. The villains all obey her rules and pay her a percentage, the heroes largely avoid her, and the police only make the most token of attempts to stop her; she's even on a first-name basis with the commissioner. Then Fialux shows up and beats her to hell and back.
- The adversarial relationship between Dr. Cox and his boss Dr. Kelso is established very quickly in season 1. So you'd think that when Cox winds up destroying everyone's fear of Kelso, (which makes even Ted, a combination of Butt-Monkey and The Eeyore willing to stand up to Kelso) and leaves Kelso a broken man, Cox would be rejoicing. Instead, he complains that the game is no fun unless Kelso is playing it too, and quickly irritates and humiliates Kelso into returning to form.
- That's how JD and Elliot's relationships work. As JD himself said, when he got something, he doesn't want it anymore. This changes by Season 8.
- On 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy finds himself working for a Brand X version of Comcast which doesn't do anything but take in money from its affiliates; he is informed it's the "perfect business" since they can essentially just sit back and let the money make itself. A natural innovator, he is aghast and quotes the "Alexander" line at the top of the page, attributing it to Die Hard. He's also depressed in the final season when he successfully completes the goal he's been working towards the entire series and becomes a CEO. The final episode has him quitting NBC and going back to GE, allowing him to work his way back up.
- The Twilight Zone (1959):
- An evil bastard CEO also quotes the Alexander line when he finds himself bored with his success. He ends up making a Deal with the Devil to go back in time to when he was a young man so that he can have the fun of re-conquering the world. (Hilariously, he has to pay the devil in cash because the devil already has his soul.) This being The Twilight Zone, things don't end well for him.
Rod Serling: Some people should quit when they're ahead.
- In another episode of the series a deceased crook having been mistakenly sent to heaven soon becomes bored and restless from getting everything just handed to him, feeling that he is getting everything too easily for him to really appreciate it, so much so he asks to go to "the other place." Of course, he's already there.
- An evil bastard CEO also quotes the Alexander line when he finds himself bored with his success. He ends up making a Deal with the Devil to go back in time to when he was a young man so that he can have the fun of re-conquering the world. (Hilariously, he has to pay the devil in cash because the devil already has his soul.) This being The Twilight Zone, things don't end well for him.
- This happens in the first episode of Leverage as the team makes a multi-million dollar payout and are all mentioning how they could retire. Instead, they continue working together using their skills for good.
- Sherlock ends up having this in the conflict between Jim Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes. In "The Reichenbach Fall", when it looks like he's defeated Sherlock, Moriarty starts whining about how he doesn't have any challenges anymore, and has to go back to "playing with the ordinary people." He solves the problem by eating his gun.
- Although it's not exactly the same as "victory" would really be getting home, Star Trek: Voyager sort of had this trope in the episode "Night". After having four years of endless attacks, death and mayhem you think that travelling through an area where they're more or less safe might be better. But even Janeway says "Strange as it sounds, I almost long for the days when we were under constant attack. No time to stop and think about how we got stranded in the Delta quadrant."
- One episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine quotes a snippet of a Klingon epic poem illustrating this trope:
So honor the valiant who die 'neath your sword /
But pity the warrior who slays all his foes
- The evil law firm Wolfram & Hart from Angel takes the trope to heart. "We're not interested in anything as prosaic as winning". They just want to throw evil spanners in the works.
- This trope is the focus of the Breaking Bad episode "Gliding Over All": Everybody who could pose a threat to Walt is now dead, he has more money than he could possibly hope to launder or even spend in a lifetime and thanks to his new deal with Lydia, his "empire" has basically become an average 9 to 5 job. Walt even decides to quit only for things to get complicated again due to Hank discovering Walt's secret.
- In Once Upon a Time, it's shown in "Welcome to Storybrooke" that when Regina "won" by casting the curse, she took a day to really relish it. But she quickly realizes that the town that the curse created is so unchanging that it's the next best thing to a "Groundhog Day" Loop. It takes her three days to get bored. It's hard to enjoy a victory over people when they don't even know they were fighting, let alone that they lost.
- Case in point,
Dr. Hopper: Beautiful day, isn't it?
Regina: (Grinning) Yes... Yes, it is.
- Day three.
Dr. Hopper: Beautiful day, isn't it?
Regina: Save it.
- Case in point,
- Robert Baratheon of Game of Thrones. He lived for combat and the challenge of conquest. Once he wins and becomes King, he quickly becomes tediously bored with the only things that remain in his life: luxury, drinking, hunting, and sex. The man himself perfectly sums up this trope: "I was never so alive as when I was winning this throne, or so dead as now that I've won it."
- Urquhart spends the second and third seasons of House of Cards (UK) constantly feeling the need to stir up trouble just so he can have something to do.
- Discussed in a No Reservations episode where Anthony and a chef discusses the success of another chef whose signature dish was sauteed Brussels sprouts. The chef in question had to take it off the menu because he lamented "I'd be in the damn Brussels sprouts business."
- In the The Adventures of Superboy episode "The Road to Hell", Superboy ends up in an alternate universe where its adult Superman has turned Earth into a utopia and Lex Luthor reformed and became a doctor. Superman admits that although he is proud of his accomplishments and he is loved by everyone, he is a bit bored that he has no bad guys to fight and nobody needs saving. He ends up finding a new purpose in helping to raise another alternate universe version of himself whose ship landed in the jungle, making him a Wild Child.
- Happens twice to Morgana in Merlin (2008). Twice she ends up conquering Camelot but it's established that she spends so long scheming and planning to get on the throne, she has no idea what to do once she actually has it. Notable is the Season 4 finale where she has to resort to having the knights spar with each other in the great hall, which serves to kill time until the protagonists arrive to save the day.
- The last episode of Band of Brothers examines this trope. With the war effectively over in Europe, the rest of Easy Company have nothing to do. Those that don't have enough points to go home have to wait around in Austria not doing a whole lot - waiting until the war either ends or they're called to Japan to fight. Thankfully the former happens. It seems to be subverted in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue which reveals the post-war fates of the men - as only Ronald Speirs remained in the army.
- After the school bully stops being a bully in an episode of Everybody Hates Chris, Chris spends a long amount of time telling his friend how miserable Superman, Batman, and other superheroes would be without their archenemies.
- In Westworld this is the Man in Black's dark motive: after thirty years of being able to rape, murder, and torture the Hosts of the park, he's become bored and seeks the Maze to find the ultimate rival, a Host that can properly fight back. When the Hosts gain sentience and begin their massacre of the park's guests, his response is to grin gleefully.
- Zoom in Season 2 of The Flash (2014). He spends the first two-thirds of the season scheming to steal Barry's speed so he can cure his own drug-induced speed disease. Eventually, he succeeds...and promptly tries to take over Earth-1 and then destroy the multiverse. Why? No particular reason other than that he's bored ruling his own earth.
- The main characters from David Bowie's "Running Gun Blues" and "Saviour Machine". Both are intended to bring peace (the former a soldier, the latter a machine designed to stop war, hunger, disease, etc.), but once their objectives are met, they eventually become bored and partake in the destruction they were meant to stop.
- "Everything Falls Apart" By Dogs Eye View invokes this trope
"I've got what I wanted, now I don't want anything, I got what I wanted and now my life is just boring"
- "Falling For the First Time" by Barenaked Ladies is about someone who succeeds at everything he does...until the song takes place. After that, he's actually happy at no longer being perfect.
- "It's So Easy" by Guns N' Roses is pretty much this trope in song form.
Ya get nothin' for nothin' if that's what you do
Turn around bitch I got a use for you
Besides, you ain't got nothin' better to do,
And I'm bored!
- Probably the most ancient example: Beowulf as an old king rides out against a dragon, even knowing he can't survive, simply from a desire to die fighting. There's a bit of logic here: according to Norse beliefs, if you died of old age, you'd be denied entrance to Valhalla, in which only heroes who die in battle are welcome.
- A lot of ancient Greek heroes seem to have this. Most of the time, it translates into hubris. Bellerophon, for example, wasn't satisfied with getting everything he wanted, defeating every monster he fought, and being hero-worshipped and having a freakin' flying horse. Nope. He decided he wanted to be a god. That didn't end well for him.
- With others, like Achilles, it's not so much Victory is Boring as Having the Perfect Life is Boring. They could refrain from heroics or fighting and be the happiest man in the world, but it would mean that their name would not go down in history. And Greek heroes would rather die than let that happen. Though he does consider it seriously after Patroclus' death. Before realising that going back now means he wouldn't be able to avenge himself on Hector.
- Then there's Zeus, king of the gods himself. He has to resort to trickery to get his sister Hera to marry him; then after their wedding, he quickly tires of her nagging dislike of him and goes out to trick a gazillion mortal girls into sleeping with him.
- Dilbert: Dogbert once conquered the world in minutes using Mind Control. He didn't actually do much with his power other than force people to hold signs praising him while wearing brassieres. In the end, he told everyone he was retiring to go sit on a soft pillow.
- Dogbert: No matter what I do, it always feels better when I stop doing it.
- Parodied in a Garfield strip:
Jon: (Panicking) Robots have conquered the world!!
(A robot walks in as Garfield leans against the table, nonchalantly. It looks around.)
Robot: Is this all there is?
- The Dalek comes to this realization in the Doctor Who audio drama "Jubilee".
- In the National Football League, the New England Patriots of the 21st century embody this trope. As of 2018, they have won their division in 16 out of the last 18 seasons, reached 13 AFC championship games, advanced to nine Super Bowls and won six of them, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl victories. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have cemented their places as Hall of Famers and contenders for the titles of the greatest coach and greatest quarterback, respectively, in NFL history. While the team has formed a dynasty of historic proportions that will likely never be equaled, it's safe to say that NFL fans have become numb to their perennial excellence, as their most recent appearance, Super Bowl LIII, had the lowest ratings of any Super Bowl in a decade. Not only was it their third straight appearance, but it was also their fourth in five years. It was bad enough that when they finally fell out of playoff contention in 2020 (following the departure of Tom Brady), it was met with celebration.
- This was the case with Michael Jordan during the Chicago Bulls Dynasty. After winning 3 straight NBA titles and 3 Finals MVP awards, Jordan decided to leave basektball and challenge himself by trying to become an elite baseball player. This didn't go well to put it lightly, and he came back to basketball, where he picked up right where he left off, leading his team to 3 more NBA titles and MVP awards. The good news was that these championship victories were harder to earn, so Jordan was no longer bored in earning them.
- On February 14, 1986, the right-handed Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics decided to play primarily using his left-hand against the Portland Trail Blazers just because he was bored and wanted something to motivate him. He still managed to dominate the game by scoring 47 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, a steal, 2 blocks, and going 7 for 7 from the free throw line. The Celtics beat the Trail Blazers 120-119 in overtime.
- Warhammer 40,000:
Khorne cares not from where the blood flows, only that it flows.
- The main reason Chaos will never truly win is that none of the four gods really want to win, as this would mean nothing left to do for all eternity (and if one of them ever appears on the verge of ultimate victory, two will put aside their hatred of each other and distaste for the third and gang up on the current leader). Tzeentch's plans, in particular, are famously prone to backfiring (to his followers' dismay) because it would prevent another plan from working, while Khorne's followers are just as happy to kill their enemies, their allies or themselves if it means more Skulls for the Skull Throne.
- Orks are genetically made for war, to the point where not fighting makes them grow weak and flabby. In their case they could conceivably win against everything else in the galaxy and could keep fighting each other afterwards, it's just that 'umiez are so much more fun to kill and steal from.
- Jaghatai Khan, Primarch of the White Scars, firmly believed in a version of this, believing that peace would cause him and his brothers to grow fat and weak from not having any enemies to fight. It says something that he was totally unbothered by the fact that, after conquering his homeworld and uniting all the tribes of Chogoris, those same tribes went back to fighting each other after he left. It actually hinted that he counted on this happening, so that Chogoris would produce strong candidates for his legion.
- Warhammer Fantasy ended with the Chaos powers taking over the world through their human agents, every other faction destroyed (or in the case of the Lizardmen, lifting off into space). This resulted, not in peace, but a general lack of challenge where warriors grew fat and weak. Khornates were ecstatic when the Age Of Sigmar rolled around, as it finally meant a good fight.
- Averting this trope is why The World Is Always Doomed in so many settings.
- Paizo, the company behind Pathfinder, said something along the lines of, "Gee, it's almost like we want a world that needs a bunch of heroes to step up and save it."
- Final Fight
- Cody in Final Fight saved Metro City, got the mayor's daughter, and is the baddest street fighter in all of Metro City. What does he do? Start picking fights until he gets thrown in jail. He escapes from jail just in time for Street Fighter Alpha. To quote the guy: "I saved the city, saved the girl, but couldn't save myself..."
- In Final Fight Streetwise, it gets worse - he's so addicted to battle that he lets Belger's younger brother Father Bella turn him into a horrid monster just to keep raising the ante. He and Father Bella are the final Dual Boss.
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: Richter Belmont banished Dracula in 1792. Four years later he summoned the castle in an effort to destroy it and become a hero yet again. (Or, more specifically, he was mind controlled with that alibi.)
- In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Shao Kahn's ending reveals him to have finally achieved his goal of conquering all the realms... and going insane with boredom as a result.
- In the Mortal Kombat 11 Arcade Mode ending for Kano, he initially starts off doing the kind of perverted things one would expect of him, but he eventually got bored of godhood. So he rewrote time to create a reality where things could challenge him, accepting some losses in the process, yet he would still win in the end when it mattered. He even snagged Shinnok's amulet for himself.
- The flash game Mastermind World Conqueror, in which you control a Diabolical Mastermind trying to conquer the world, ends like this. He destroys the planet (same as conquering, he looked it up), and escapes in a one-man shuttle with nothing to do but gloat and reflect. "I guess I didn't think this through". Still, he decides that it's totally worth it just to flip off the floating debris that was once Earth and the worst thing to him was the fact that he didn't bring any cheese snacks.
- The sequel to the first Ratchet & Clank game starts out this way; the titular heroes have saved the world and been through the cycle of praise and fame, and now they've got nothing to do. Fortunately, it is the start of a sequel...They get significantly better about their downtime later in their careers.
- The second episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People follows this trope.
- In World of Warcraft, Maiev Shadowsong has spent most of the last 10 000 years either acting as Illidan Stormrage's jailor or chasing him. When she finally defeats him with the aid of the players, Illidan says that "The Huntress is nothing without the hunt." Maiev regretfully agrees.
- The beginning of the Faces of Evil has Link saying "Gee, it sure is boring around here!" to which the King gives us the (in)famous line, "Mah boi, this peace is what all true warriors strive for!"
- The train of logic behind Lord Dominion's actions in Freedom Force. He's already conquered every other dimension, and rather than just steamroll over the Insignificant Little Blue Planet, he decides to give evil humans Energy X and let them tear the planet apart for his own amusement.
- The eighth Gym Leader in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Volkner, has an apathetic attitude to you challenging him because he's won every challenge he's ever had and spends all of his time renovating the Gym out of boredom. You snap him out of it when you beat him and he breaks into laughter.
- Sonic the Hedgehog is prone to this. For instance, in Sonic Adventure, he plans to take another vacation after his quest ends and ends up running off at the end of the game.
- Nearly every game after The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has Link start another journey after or during the credits.
- This is Yoshihiro Shimazu's entire reason for joining the 'losing' side in every Warriors game he's in. He finds being on the side of the stronger guy and having victory be all but assured boring, and would rather go against long odds. Especially prominent in Warriors Orochi 3 where he defects from Orochi's army by basically invoking the trope on the spot.
- Rival Schools' ending for Hyo Imawano, the main boss of the game - he wins and has everyone under mind control but realizes that no one truly loves him.
- In the first Persona game, this is what the Big Bad Kandori feels by the time you reach him. After basically achieving godhood, that there's nothing else to conquer, nothing else to do, and no one else to oppose him, and is so depressed by this revelation that, by the time the heroes show up, he willingly surrenders himself. Then, he is insulted by Nanjo, who taunts and mocks the god-like being for his failures. Naturally, this pisses him off and he fights you.
- Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice gives us a truly twisted take in its Big Bad; Super Hero Aurum, after defeating Mao's father, the Overlord, became depressed that there were no more villains to fight. To fix that, he becomes Geoffry the butler and raises Mao to be the strongest Overlord.
- Midway through Final Fantasy VI, Kefka succeeds in murdering Emperor Gestahl, draining the power of the Warring Triad, and effectively becoming a god, and the source of magic. However, upon obtaining such power, he discovers that there's nothing meaningful to do with it. One year later, this line of thinking has fueled his rapid descent into nihilism.
- Exaggerated to ridiculous extremes in the remake of "Alfredo" from Action 52 Owns. The final boss is actually the character from the original game who hijacked the remake and attempts to prevent it from being made, explaining that the end of a game is a Fate Worse than Death for a video game character. It turns out he's right, too. Once you beat the game you become trapped on a blank screen with no escape and nothing to do.
- In Baldur's Gate you find a book about Jergal, once-god of the end of everything; as the god of strife, death and the dead he was immensely powerful and fell into despondency as he realised that having absolute power and absolute impotency was practically the same. As such he practically jumped at the chance of being ousted by Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul and even prevented them from killing each other over his power.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, we have The Ebony Warrior, an incredibly powerful foe that can only be battled when the Dragonborn has reached level 80 or over. The Ebony Warrior explains that he has done so many legendary deeds and has grown so mighty that nothing is able to pose a worthy challenge to him (the Dragonborn him/herself is liable to feel the same way by level 80). He sees the Dragonborn as his last remaining Worthy Opponent and the only one who can give him the honorable death in battle he needs to enter Sovngarde.
- Dracon in Heroes of Might and Magic III dedicated his life to becoming the greatest Dragonslayer ever. In particular, he dreams of slaying an Azure Dragon, the mightiest of all dragons. In the final mission of his campaign, he does just that. The ending cinematic depicts Dracon sitting on his fallen foe's body, dissatisfied with his victory. He realizes that he had wrongly built up the moment of victory as the key to contentment and validation and he wonders what he will do next.
- The final boss Ouroboros in Bravely Default wants to fill the universe with strife and destruction because peace is boring and conflict is exciting.
- In Dota 2, this is the backstory for Bradwarden the Centaur Warrunner; having bested all worthy opponents in the gladiatorial arena, he grew bored, and set off into the world to find greater challenges.
- After the events of Batman: Arkham City the crime rate in Gotham reaches an all-time low, with Batman spending most of his time building tools and gadgets he rarely uses. Upon seeing the modified Batmobile the Arkham Knight comments on how bored he must have been.
- In Injustice 2, this happens in Bane and Catwoman's arcade mode endings. Bane incites a convict uprising but eventually finds himself without any heroes or law enforcement to fight, and doesn't know what to do with himself at that point. In Catwoman's ending, Selina fully commits to a relationship with Bruce Wayne, but realizes it was only exciting when it was forbidden, and being a billionaire's girlfriend means never having to steal again. She leaves him to return to her old life.
- In the Stormblood arc in Final Fantasy XIV, Zenos is already established as the conqueror of both Ala Mhigo and Doma. Despite his victories, he's extremely bored with no one strong enough to oppose him. Upon hearing about the Warrior of Light's feats in beating The Empire and other adversaries, he grows quite interested in them. Zenos even starts subtly pushing for the rebellions to happen just so that he can have someone worthy to fight. While he does beat the Warrior of Light twice, he's very intrigued by their strength and encourages them to grow even stronger.
- Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: In the world outside the killing game, they've solved most if not all of the big societal problems and there's no longer any war or conflict of any kind. Humans, bloodthirsty savages that they are, have all been left quite bored due to the lack of stimulation in their lives. So they decided to adapt a popular series of murder mystery visual novels into a reality TV show, where teenagers willingly sign up to become brainwashed with the identities of Danganronpa characters and kill each other for real on live TV for the world's entertainment. When the characters discover this, they are horrified, especially when they see the tapes of what their unbrainwashed selves were like.
- In Dragon Wars, it's eventually revealed that Namtar has become bored with his success. When you encounter him for the first time, he briefly rants about the amount of administration work he's had to do in order to run the empire and reveals that he's only sparing your little band of heroes because your efforts to oppose him thus far have been the most entertainment he's had in a long time.
- Star Fox: Falco seems to feel this way. The manual for Star Fox Adventures notes that after Star Fox 64, he struggled with feelings of boredom and purposelessness for years after, and in one of the endings for Star Fox Command everyone is celebrating after beating the Anglar Emperor, but he just says it's only a matter of time until the boredom sets in.
- In the Bad End of LEGO Island, the Brickster celebrates his victory over the ruins of Lego island (where only building was left standing and the populace is all in tears), declaring that the island is now "Mine!" Then he looks around at the wreck he is left to rule, saying in a concerned voice, "Mine?"
- In the Dragon ShortZ episode "Yamcha Strikes Out", Yamcha is released from his baseball team after hitting his 500th consecutive home run. Why? Because the fans have stopped coming to his team's games since all they do is win. But at least he doesn't go away empty-handed: after signing a no-compete agreement with his release, the owner of the team gives Yamcha 20 billion zeni
- Also in Dragon ShortZ: Vegeta is going stir crazy since there are no bad guys to fight, and none of the ones that could give him even a remote challenge will fight him, either because they don't like fighting (Gohan), hate him (Piccolo, Android 18, possibly Tien), or he can't find them (definitlely Tien).
- On multiple occasions, segments of "Ask Axe Cop" end with the complete destruction of all the bad guys. Axe Cop finds this incredibly boring.
- After acquiring Reality Warper powers that allow him to curb stomp just about anyone, Jack Noir from Homestuck feels this way. He also realizes he needs to dial down his Omnicidal Maniac nature or else he'll be left alone in creation with no one to kill.
- Mad Scientist Klaus Wulfenbach of Girl Genius suffers from the inversion of this: he took over most of Europe by sheer necessity, in order to stop what was basically a continent-wide war, and he successfully imposed peace. But he hates it, not because victory is boring, but because it's anything but. Being the dictator of an empire, he's constantly forced to deal with politics, tasks of state, petty rebellions, etc., whereas he would much rather be left alone in his lab to pursue his research.
- This is the reason for the main arc's launch in Kid Radd—the player of the main character's game has beaten it and put it to rest.
- The Transformers fan comic Lil' Formers illustrates this here... which isn't too far from what actually happens in the storyline it's making a parody of.
- The Platypus Comix story "Raiders of the Lost Arc" has a reincarnated Joan of Arc fight Osama bin Laden in the Middle East. After she defeats him, all the terrorists of the world surrender, which in turn leads to the disbandment of the US Army. The comic ends with Joan apparently unable to find anything to do with her free time other than mundane chores.
- Mulberry helps a robot run for President of the United States in one of her comics. After he wins, she cheers, then nonchalantly gets up and walks away, giving one of her friends a turn at the robot's controls.
- xkcd has this happening to Google in this strip, when they realize that they don't have anything evil they can do since they already have everyone's information
- League of Super Redundant Heroes has Mayor Kurgh of Shitropolis. He was originally an alien conqueror who attacked the city, only instead of resisting, the then-mayor happily surrendered. Now Kurgh is stuck with the monotonous, thankless job of making sure a City of Adventure, where two-thirds of the population are either superheroes or villains, actually functions.
- And then there is Josie Perkins, The "Desperate Housewitch". She's essentially the Alpha Bitch who grew up and didn't become a Future Loser; She's married to a handsome and successful lawyer, and when she first appears she's expecting their first child. However, she finds her responsibilities incredibly stifling, and envies her former classmate Eva / Buckeress for still having a "youthful" lifestyle. So she turns to witchcraft for both revenge and to spice up her life.
- Belkar in The Order of the Stick. After beating his nemesis, Miko, unconscious, he realizes that the battle is over, leaving him with nothing to do. So, he wakes her up just to continue the fight.
- This is partially why Gavin Free tends to mess up a lot in Achievement Hunter's Let's Play videos. He feels that if he wins too much, the videos become boring. An egregious example was one episode of the group's Let's Play Grand Theft Auto IV series where he purposefully made Team Lads lose to Team Gents several times in Cops n' Crooks because the Lads were winning too often. Lads' leader Michael Jones was not pleased with this revelation and temporarily threw Gavin off of Team Lads until he was officially reinstated after winning Lava Wall in Let's Play Minecraft.
- In his 100th episode, The Angry Video Game Nerd came to the realization that his purpose as The Nerd is meaningless without bad video games. In the beginning, he was wishing that his game room wouldn't be cluttered with so many bad games. But when ROB the Robot removed them from existence (for its own purpose), that victory felt hollow.
Nerd: (bleeding out, on the verge of death) No more shitty games. ... No more Karate Kid? ... No more Top Gun? ... No more Ghostbusters? ... No more Fester's Quest? ... No more Virtual Boy? ... No more Dick Tracy? ... No more Little Red Hood? ... No more Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? ... I won't fucking HAVE IT! (gets Heroic Second Wind)
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged
- After successfully wiping country music off the face of the globe and terrorizing humanity for 10+ years, Future 17 realizes that running around killing people and blowing up cities for kicks is actually pretty boring and that he's going to quit to become a park ranger ...and then Gohan kicks him through a building and 17 decides he's going to wipe out all of humanity purely out of spite, and then ranger the shit out of some parks.
- Epithet Erased's second Arc Villain won the Superpower Lottery, which leaves her pretty frustrated.
Zora: A single hit from one of these [Rapid Aging bullets] and you're done! And that's just no fun at all, is it? That's why I joined Bliss Ocean in the first place, y'know? Truth is, I hate epithets. I guess that I'm a bit of a romantic at heart, I like the idea of true competition. Duels at dawn! Battles of destiny! just two warriors giving it their all where the only decidin' factor is pure, old-fashioned skill! [...] But these days, skill don't matter anymore. You could train your whole life and be the best you that you can be, just to get beat by some schmoe born with a superpower. That's why I wanna get rid of these things. You shouldn't get to be strong just 'cause you're lucky.
- This meta video about the Demoman from Team Fortress 2 being a character in a fantasy game ends with the character winning and the narration going as such :
CONGRATULATIONS. YOU KILLED ALL THE BAD GUYS. NOW YOU HAVE TO GET A REAL JOB
Cue Demoman crying over having to work as a cook.
- The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles: In the utopia of Greenland City, human advancement has reached its end state. There's nothing left for their scientists to discover or invent, and they've even plumbed all possibilities of human culture (for example, they have Season 65 of The Wire already). It's boring to already know everything, so they've all become sports fans—because athletic competitions are the only remaining unknowns.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mai proclaims victory to be boring after she and Ty Lee easily lay a smackdown on Katara and Sokka in season 2. Their victory is short-lived, as Appa shows up and knocks them into the nearby lake.
- An episode of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon had the turtles dream about what would happen if they had never existed. Shredder is now king of a ruined world and is so bored and fed up with running the place that when the turtles encounter him and mention a world where he doesn't rule, Shredder begs them to take him along.
- Pinky and the Brain:
- The Brain once succeeded in taking over the world by building a full-size replica of the Earth out of papier-mache and luring the population there with free T-shirts. Unfortunately, that left him as the ruler of an empty planet. A comet then destroys the real Earth, leaving Brain and Pinky stranded in the fake Earth, where their plans start anew (much to Brain's relief, one may imagine).
- In another example, as an accidental result of a time-travel scheme, in the present day, all the citizens are replaced with Pinky-like morons. This technically means the Brain has won, since he can easily rule the world with citizens like that. But Brain is horrified, since as he explains to Pinky, while this makes it easy to rule the world, who would want to? He immediately goes back in time to try to change things back.
- In ReBoot, Hexadecimal, an insane virus who describes herself as the "Queen of Chaos", infects Mainframe with the Medusa Bug, turning it to stone. All of its inhabitants are petrified. She won. Nobody could do anything about it, except for Bob, who thanks Hex for making Mainframe so peaceful and predictable. After thinking about this for a few seconds, Hex realizes she doesn't want peace and order, so she returns Mainframe to normal by literally snapping her fingers. Though it was less "Victory Is Boring" and more "That particular victory would be boring" since Hex wants chaos and upheaval above anything else.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- The episode "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted" has Candace actually getting Mom to see the boys' antics, which results in them being sent to a hellish reform school. However, upon seeing what the reform school is doing to the boys, Candace realizes how much she truly loves and misses her brothers, and embarks on a mission to rescue them. (In the end, though, the episode turns out to be a Dream Within a Dream...of Perry!)
- In the Series Finale, after 104 days initiating his not-so-evil plans to take over the Tri-State Area that invariably fail, the show's Big Bad Dr. Doofenshmirtz finally formulates a really brilliant one by creating a political position known as Tri-State Governor and successfully getting himself elected for the office. To do so, Doof sets up 30 traps to keep Perry busy, and after winning the election, he takes the opportunity to sign a law forbidding any agent from thwarting him until his term is over, leaving Perry depressed. However, his daughter Vanessa points out that similar to Doof's Hilariously Abusive Childhood, his victory didn't bring him any happiness at all. Realizing now that it's not worth it, Doof decides to retire from evil.
- Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls actually managed to succeed in taking over the world in the 10th anniversary special "The Powerpuff Girls Rule". Surprising everyone, he proves to be an extremely benevolent ruler who makes the world a much better place to live. However, after fixing all of the world's problems, he has nothing left to do but just sit at a desk all day in total silence. Finding this far too boring, he promptly returns to his usual villainy.
- This is the entire gag in the Huntsman segment of Freakazoid! Crime always seems to be in a lull, so Hunstman finds out that being a superhero is boring when there's nothing around to beat up. Instead, he does mundane things with his time like visit his brother or go to the aquarium. Extra comedic effect when contrasted with the intro to the segment, which is much more action-packed (and longer) than the actual segment itself.
Police Chief: What can I say, Huntsman? Crime is still down. I'm lucky to have a job!
- An episode of The Fairly Oddparents had the Crimson Chin getting distracted by a Romantic Plot Tumor. This left the villains free to do as they wish. This ended up boring the Bronze Kneecap so much that he'd burst into the Chin Cave with stolen money, daring the Chin to try and stop him. When he didn't, he commented on how everything was no fun anymore.
- Justice League Unlimited:
- In the episode "Hereafter", Vandal Savage (an immortal, fast-healing, superintelligent human conquerer and former caveman) is enduring the solitude and loneliness of having destroyed humanity in stoic fashion when Superman is transported forward in time by Toyman. Upon Superman's arrival, he receives his former enemy with friendship and sends Superman back into the past to stop him, having decided that his former plans for domination were meaningless.
- "Kid Stuff" has Mordred succeed in taking over the world by simply exiling anyone older than him to another dimension. Cut to him, sitting on his throne ruling over his kingdom, bored right out of his little skull with nothing to do but fulfill the requests of his child subjects. When the Justice League shows up to fight him, he's utterly overjoyed at not only having something to do but also getting to see them as children.
- In "A Better World", the Justice Lords are rather bored, sitting in the watchtower, since they have conquered the world, and the best crime they have to fight is the occasional college protest. You can even see how eager Martian Manhunter was when he heard of a storm and questioned if they needed assistance in evacuating, only to quickly become depressed when it was stated the area was already evacuated. It is actually because of this that the Justice Lords decided to invade the Justice League Universe to help "fix" it.
- In Recess, after the gang retakes the fort they built from Lawson, they realize that the struggle was much more fun than just hanging around, so they dare him and his friends to try and take it back.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- This happens on one of the episodes of the Show Within a Show The Scary Door, where a man is hit by a car and then wakes up in a casino.
- In another episode, a non-canon segment features Professor Farnsworth having answered the last scientific question ever, and soon grows dreadful of his seemingly eternal victory. Then Fry inspires him to try to find out why the universe exists in the state that it does instead of some other way, and he and the Planet Express crew celebrate.
- Subverted in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: When Discord breaks the friendship between the mane cast and finally demoralizes Twilight Sparkle so much that she gives up, at first it looks like he's not having any fun without opposition. But then he once again displays just how sadistic he is when he reveals his elation at Twilight's misery, and immediately goes back to raining chaos (and chocolate rain) upon Equestria.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Man Who Killed Batman", Joker is clearly unconvinced of his nemesis' demise and goes about robbing a diamond store to force Batman to come thwart him. After a standoff several hours long, he grudgingly admits his greatest foe is gone and that crime is no more fun without him. He orders his gang to take nothing and leaves empty-handed.
- In the Teen Titans Go! episode "Super Robin", Robin gains a bunch of superpowers and solves all the world's problems in three seconds. With no crime to fight, the Teen Titans disband because they no longer have a purpose.
- In Harley Quinn (2019) The Joker manages to take control of Gotham City and turns it into a nightmarish dystopia, but gets bored with it after a week. He doesn't even have fun torturing Batman anymore, and it gets even worse for him after The Scarecrow unmasks him.
- In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Billy begs Grim to give him yogurt-based superpowers after getting excited about the superhero mascot on a yogurt commercial. He flies to a deserted alien planet populated only by a derpy little alien. He becomes so bored and depressed and desperate for action that he declares all of the microbes on the planet an evil microscopic empire and literally drowns the entire planet in yogurt.
- In the Axe Cop episode "No More Bad Guys", Axe Cop is bored because he has killed every bad guy on Earth. In the end, he wishes for every alien in the universe to be evil just so he'll have something to fight again.
- The Simpsons:
- Sideshow Bob spares Bart at the end of the episode "The Great Louse Detective" because he feels he'll end up this way if he kills him, as he explains by singing "The Very Reason That I Live".
- The same thing happens again in the Treehouse of Horror XXVI segment "Wanted: Dead, Then Alive", when Bob finally kills Bart, but then quickly realizes that life is boring without Bart around and that the only thing that brought joy into his life was killing his Arch-Enemy. Bob then creates a Reanimator machine that brings his Arch-Enemy Back from the Dead, then proceeds to start killing him and bringing him back to life over and over again.
- Similar to the Recess example above, Lisa and Bart build a fort out of packages and end up in a huge, Lord of the Rings style war against the delivery men. Upon winning the war, they get bored and wonder what to do now. They choose to use a hose to soak the fort into a pile of mushy cardboard.
- South Park:
- Turns out in the episode "Smug Alert" that without Kyle to rip on, Cartman gets pretty bored.
- Averted in "Cartmanland," however. When Cartman gets what he's always wanted his whole life, a theme park all to himself, Kyle figures Cartman will bore of it before long. Kyle turns out to be wrong, however, as Cartman's ecstatic joy never ever slows down, though in part because he knows he succeeded where Kyle did not, and he derives literally endless joy in feeling that way.
- In the series finale of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, after the gang solves the mystery of Crystal Cove and cause the whole town to reset, turning it into a peaceful community where everyone is happy and the tragedies they suffered never happened, they quickly find themselves bored with no more mysteries to solve. Luckily for them, they are given a chance to travel the country solving more mysteries along the way.
- In the episode of The Annoying Orange where Orange and Pear go to England and (predictably) meet an expy of Sherlock Holmes, the culprit turns out to be Watson all along. He was trying to help Holmes relive the thrill of the chase by pretending to be a criminal. The world of Annoying Orange being what it is, both Holmes and Watson become supervillains by the end of the episode and promptly begin to turn London into a smoldering wasteland using a death ray.
- In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Dee Dee and the Man," Dexter finally gets Dee Dee out of his lab for good by firing her in her role as his sister. However, without Dee Dee sneaking into his lab anymore and causing havoc for him to stop, Dexter quickly finds himself growing from elated and happy to depressed and bored, and by the end of the episode, Dee Dee has her rightful place restored.