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Villainous BSoD

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"Seeing clearer what I've done
I'd refuse to let things go
I could never once admit I'm wrong
And what do I have to show?
Seeing clearer what's at stake
And the things I have to change
I just hope I can, it's not too late
To get a chance to end this pain."

Only a scant few villains work under a conventional moral framework with standards. Fewer acknowledge the egocentricity implicit in the wrong they do. A distressing number are beyond all attempts at being reasoned with. To make things worse, these last also tend to be too powerful to beat.

In these cases, the only solution is for the heroes to actively Care-Bear Stare him into growing a conscience to make him voluntarily stop his rampage... because the accumulated shame, guilt, and mental instability over his misdeeds will be too much for him to bear. The heroes may not have used Mind Rape on him, but they might as well have done, because now that he has the heart and conscience of a hero, he cannot help but suffer a Heroic BSoD. He'll weep openly, become suicidal, and may either will himself into non existence or beg to be killed. The heroes have basically Talked the Monster to Death by helping him grow a conscience.

The exact reaction depends on the villain and the weight of his sins. One that has not yet gotten to do much more than Poke the Poodle or Kick the Dog once may survive with emotional counseling. If he slipped further? The black hole he's become will finally crush him. Things can get really interesting if the character, through his own fault, invited in Mind Control, Demonic Possession, or The Virus, and entirely remembers all the evil things he did under its control — things that would not have happened if he had fought it off, but which he had no control over.

One unlikely, but possible, outcome is that he reacts not with unbearable sadness but overwhelming anger at the heroes for daring to make him "feel like this!" This tends to make him even more dangerous. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.

A common subversion of having the villain turn out to be so evil is that when they are forced to realise all the pain they have caused, they either do not care or are downright happy about it.

Despite the intense emotional anguish this causes, heroes can pull this with impunity since it is not killing anyone (directly, anyway), saves lives, and in the long run is a fairly elegant form of justice that may even bring about a Heel–Face Turn. Then again, they may do this knowing the effects are temporary and only do it to weaken the villain psychologically long enough to kill him. Even normal, moral people can turn evil, and they may reason they do not want to give him a second chance.

Subtrope of Villainous Breakdown. Compare the Villainous RRoD, where overexertion leads to a physical breakdown for the villain. See also Brainwashing for the Greater Good and Alas, Poor Villain. May overlap with Identity Breakdown if part of the trigger to the BSoD are issues or revelations about who or what they are. The trope name comes from the original Blue Screen of Death, of course.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Angel Beats!, Otonashi defeats Naoi by forcing him to face that in the end he was ultimately responsible for his own misery; Naoi's motivation stemmed partly from his belief that his life had been empty, and Otonashi forced him to realize that Naoi could only blame himself for that.
  • Attack on Titan loves this trope, with several villains having emotional breakdowns upon being forced to confront and admit to the things they've done. Further complicating things, the series is fond of Tragic Anti-Villains with unknown motivations or goals, who are just as desperate and emotionally conflicted as the heroes.
    • Annie Leonhart breaks down more than once, when forced to confront the innocent lives lost due to their actions. The first time, at Trost, she begins apologizing with a vacant expression to the body of her friend, Mina. The second time, she is horrified when she sees her fight with Eren has crushed civilians.
    • Overcome with stress, Reiner Braun breaks down and confesses to their crimes. Breaking down in tears, they claim to have just been stupid kids that didn't understand anything and worries their friends have made them weak. But even though their moral compass has been lost, they conclude they've come too far and have no choice but to see things through. He's later revealed to have experienced such guilt over his actions that he suffers from episodes of Trauma-Induced Amnesia.
    • Bertolt Hoover finally breaks down when confronted by the others, who invoke The Power of Friendship in an effort to defuse the situation. He begins to cry Tears of Remorse and admits to having been happy during his time with them, but knows his actions cannot be forgiven. Still, he refuses their Last-Second Chance and tells them he doesn't have a choice.
    • The final villain of the series, Eren Yeager decides to wipe out humanity outside Paradis using the Rumbling. Once he commences with it, Eren is unable to endure the horror of committing omnicide, and as a coping mechanism, begins to hallucinate himself as a child soaring across the limitless skies.
  • The Big O. After receiving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and as he is being assimilated by his Megadeus, Alan Gabriel's mech Big Duo scrolls on its main screen, "CAST IN THE NAME OF GOD YE GUILTY".
  • Anti-Villain Coyote Stark from Bleach has two of these. A powerful but lonely arrancar who considered the other Espada his True Companions, Stark can't bring himself to try in his fights after his immediate peer Barragan is killed, but his companion (and other half) Lilynette snaps him out of it, convincing him to avenge Barragan instead. In the anime, however, Lilynette's consciousness is destroyed by Taking the Bullet for Stark, which clearly destroys his will to fight, and to live; moments later, Stark's opponent and Good Counterpart Kyoraku cuts him down as well.
  • Tsubame Otorii of Cyber Team in Akihabara. Since her introduction, she acts as the Dragon to the Big Bad, easily defeating the Cyber Team girls in every encounter. In episode 20, Tsubame is dragged home by Hibari. She spends the entire episode slowly breaking down while watching how Hibari's family interacts with one another, eventually suffering a Villainous BSOD and freakout by the credits, followed by a Heel–Face Turn in the next episode. The episode is also one long Tear Jerker, as we see how horrible a childhood Tsubame actually has had up to this point.
  • One contractor from Darker than Black has a renumeration of temporarily regaining her conscience and humanity every time that she uses her powers. The power in question is the ability to destroy other people's internal organs in a manner akin to Ebola, so the regular Villainous BSOD is unavoidable.
    • Havoc got a more permanent one — after losing her powers when Heaven's Gate collapsed, she got all her emotions back. Which is a bit of a problem when your power is to create wide-scale Explosive Decompression, and your renumeration is to drink the blood of children. The only way she got anywhere near Hell's Gate was after making Hei promise to kill her should her powers — and her old mindset — return.
  • Digimon Adventure 02's Digimon Emperor/Kaiser when he realizes that Digimon are real, and Wormmon has just made a Heroic Sacrifice to stop him, the boy freaks out, throwing away his costume, crying, and screaming that he's sorry before wandering alone into the desert.
    • In Digimon Tamers, this happens to Beelzemon, the Mega form of the human-hating Digimon, Impmon. After being granted the power to digivolve like he always wanted, Beelzemon attacked the children and destroyed one of their partners (who unfortunately, don't have the pleasure of being reborn as digi-eggs as it was in the previous series). After being defeated in battle and spared, he begins to come to realize the atrocities he had committed and wanders around, guilt-ridden, depressed and haunted by memories of what he did. After surviving what was essentially a suicide attempt (not fighting back when he's attacked by a swarm of Digimon which quickly render him powerless), he eventually sets off to make things right, by first making amends with the humans he had abandoned and then by helping the others in the battle against the D-Reaper, and saving the girl whose partner he killed.
  • Anemone of Eureka Seven begins this after her second failure against the Nirvash, due to her fear that Dewey will kill her for failing. This causes her to do nothing but lie down in her bed when she isn't fighting, and she gets worse after finding out Dominic went AWOL.
  • It's impossible to tell how many of these Akito from Fruits Basket has. When Hatsuharu almost beats her up for imprisoning Rin, during conversations about Shigure and Ren's relationship, when she stabs Kureno, and when Tohru falls from a cliff in front of her. She consequently goes through a very angsty, somewhat suicidal, phase. She ends up being saved from herself by Tohru's friendship and Momiji's statement that Akito should treasure the ones she cares for.
  • Self-inflicted (of sorts) example with Greed in Fullmetal Alchemist. The second version of him, while having mostly the same personality, is at first much more malicious in keeping with the behavior of the other homunculi who are The Heartless. After Greed kills Bido, who was the only surviving member of his former True Companions after the rest were slaughtered by Bradley, Greed's memories return and Ling starts mocking Greed in his head while he's tormented by the memory of his comrades' screaming voices. While this also counts for Amnesiac Dissonance, it fits this too, because the Power of Friendship is used as a weapon against him.
    • Envy experiences this when Ed points out the entire reason he was so vicious and hateful of humanity was his jealousy of their ability to rely upon one another, while Envy was all alone. He begins weeping in frustration at having a human, and the one he despised most of all at that, understand him so deeply and commits suicide rather than deal with the humiliation.
    • Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) has a subtle but noticeable one. After killing an alchemist that reminded her of a past lover, she loses all enthusiasm for her work. When Scar dies and she realizes her boss doesn't care about giving her what she wants, she quits altogether.
  • Ga-Rei -Zero-: Banestone/Sesshouseki possessors are prone to this, Mei's powers fail occasionally, while Yomi reverts to her non-evil side long enough to realize what she's doing. Both have My God, What Have I Done? moments during their BSODs (Yomi tries to take responsibility and attempt suicide, while Mei just panics) until their Sesshouseki kick in again.
  • In Gankutsuou, Fernand Morcef's response to losing virtually everything he has worked and sacrificed for including and especially his conscience and morality due to Edmond Dante's successful revenge is taking down his planet with him as he crashes and burns. Even if it means rejecting a Last-Second Chance offered by his wife, despite the fact that it was his Love Makes You Evil for her which ultimately caused his Start of Darkness.
  • In the 11th Haruhi Suzumiya novel, Kyouko Tachibana has one when she realizes how bad the goal she's been working toward really is, and when her two teammates decide that they want to KILL Haruhi to accomplish it. This naturally leads to her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure: During his climatic fight with Joseph, Wamuu is tricked into a set-up that shreds his arms to the point they're only attached by a couple of sinews. He nearly goes catatonic for a while as he realizes just how badly he was Out-Gambitted, only snapping out of it by putting out his own eyes (forcing him to rely on other senses that can't be tricked as easily).
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (2005), Agahnim the Dark Wizard laughs weakly before taking a mortal wound from Ganon, realizing that everything he did to help the demon was completely pointless.
  • Magical Project S: Pixy Misa, the evil magical girl, was overpowering and about to kill the heroine but entered a BSOD when she realised she was about to hurt her loved ones too and reverted to her powerless alter ego.
  • The Misfit of Demon King Academy: After Emila's racist approach towards half-demons and assaulting Anos's classmates and mother, Anos himself warps her to the arena to kill her there and revive her nude in the form of a half-demon. Unwilling to accept this humiliation she attempts to cut her throat out only for Anos to point out that dying will not free her of the half-demon curse. After he warps away with nothing to cover her, she prostrates and does a screaming cry as she now will face the same kind of prejudice she endorsed before.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: T-the sky! It's falling! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, Degwin Zabi, sovereign of Zeon, suffers this after his youngest son, Garma, is killed in action. He falls into a depression, leaving the war effort to his eldest son, Gihren, but by the end, he's had enough of the war and wants it to end. In the anime, he attempts to broker peace with The Federation’s commander in neutral territory only for Gihren to obliterate them both with the Solar Ray, out of contempt for his father’s “weakness”. The novel of the series, however, doesn't give him that chance - he can only watch as the rest of his children get plucked off before Char takes over.
  • Cyrus in Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! has a BSOD for most of a chapter when he realizes that his grand plan to fix the world (by destroying and rebuilding it, natch) only managed to summon a pair of very angry gods whose fight will destroy everything without any hope of revival. Even near the end when he manages to get his act together, the impact of all this leaves him drained to the point where one of his officers has to help him stand.
    • Colress gets one in the anime after his mind control machine breaks. He gets better.
  • In Space Battleship Yamato, Comet Empire series, in one of the episodes close to the end. Leader Desslock had earlier accepted a commission from Prince Zordar to defeat the Star Force, so he pins the Yamato by teleporting mines over to surround it. To escape, the Yamato executes a small warp and rams Desslock's ship. Deputy Captain Derek Wildstar boards the Leader's ship. The two of them face off on the bridge. Desslock slowly levels his pistol at Wildstar, while goading Wildstar to shoot him. But Wildstar, already injured earlier, falls to the deck while drawing his. His love interest, Nova, dashes out of hiding, grabs the pistol, blocks Desslock's aim, then aims Derek's pistol at Desslock. Moments later, she drops the pistol, places Derek's head in her lap, and comforts him while he remains semiconscious. Desslock gets his Villainous BSOD as he witnesses Nova's simultaneous display of extreme bravery and extreme devotion. It makes him change his mind about pursuing the Star Force, he declares to Nova that the war between Gamillon and Earth is over, and he offers her advice on the Comet Empire's one weak point in its mobile fortress.
  • In Tokyo Tribe 2, Buppa has one of these in episode 10 when Mera stabs him in the face. He stays in that state for nearly an episode before seeing Sunmi snaps him out of his BSOD. When someone points this out, he simply denies that the BSOD even happened.
  • Seto Kaiba of Yu-Gi-Oh! had one of these as well, over the course of the first half of the second series' first season. Back then, prior to the end of the first episode, Kaiba didn't take dueling seriously at all and believed that power was the only way to win a game. Then he received a big shock when Yami summoned Exodia the Forbidden One and obliterated all three of his Blue-Eyes White Dragons (which at the same time led to Mokuba using a "This Cannot Be!" line) and afterwards used Mind Crush on him. Ever since then, Kaiba came to realization that he didn't know who he himself was anymore, and began to seek redemption. He eventually learned that Mokuba was taken prisoner by Pegasus and went to rescue him only for both's souls to be captured by Pegasus later... until Yami finally won his duel with him with the help of his friends.

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority: One arc has the heroes forced to give the previous The Doctor (a mass murderer) his powers back for an hour, during which he single-handedly thrashes the team. The current Doctor is berated because the old Doctor can alter time to make his one hour infinite, but as it turns out each Doctor is the sum of all previous ones, and that made the old one gain the new one's conscience. He realizes the horror he's done, begs for forgiveness, and is then killed point blank (The Authority are like that).
  • AXIS: After Carnage has a conscience forced on him, he states that the agony of having killed so many innocents is almost too much for him to bear.
  • Batman:
    • There was one DC Universe story where all the superpowered people on earth were depowered. The Joker became sane as a result, and committed suicide over the guilt of everything he'd done.
    • Happened to the Joker once when the Jim Corrigan version of The Spectre attempted to punish him only for him to end up in control of the Spectre. Corrigan's travels through Joker's mindscape finds the empty box where his Conscience would have been (as his mindscape is a decrepit funhouse) and plugs himself in briefly giving Joker his own extremely potent conscience resulting in Joker breaking down in tears and losing control as the enormous guilt of all his murders crushes him.
    • Joker also gets one towards the end of The Killing Joke. He genuinely doesn't understand why he couldn't break Gordon or why Batman is still coming at him. He stops smiling and pitifully asks "Why aren't you laughing?" right before Bruce smashes through a wall and brings him back to the here and now.
      • He gets another one when Batman offers to try to help him recover. Joker seemingly regains his sanity just long enough to realize there's no hope left for either of them.
    • The conclusion of KnightsEnd has Batman force Jean-Paul Valley to dump his armored Batsuit to confront him then blind him with Night Vision-enhanced sunlight, forcing Jean-Paul to finally remove the mask. Weary and defeated, Jean-Paul can only say one thing:
    Jean-Paul: You're Batman. You've always been Batman. And I am nothing.
  • The Batman Adventures: The Riddler has one of these after becoming aware of his Chronic Villainy. After breaking out of Arkham, he's decided to change the game a little and spend the issue giving Batman clues to capture other criminals, without committing any of the crimes himself. He's devastated when Batman and Nightwing find his secret hideout and he realizes that through his other riddles he's subconsciously given them clues as to where he is. At first he gets angry, then he just totally deflates and just looks broken:
    "You don't understand... I really didn't want to leave you any clues. I really planned never to go back to Arkham Asylum. But I left you a clue anyway. So I... I have to go back there. Because I might need help. I... I might actually be crazy..."
  • Chassis: Covergirl suffers a breakdown over her irrational hatred of Chassis, and confronts Chassis with a gun. However, she cannot pull the trigger and Chassis tells Tassel to let her go; realising that Covergirl is not a threat to anyone except herself.
  • Deadpool: In Deadpool vs. Carnage, Carnage gets one earlier when Deadpool convinces him that he's a comic book character with no control of his life.
  • ElfQuest: This is Winnowill's reaction when Leetah tries to heal her, forcing her to relive her memories of how and why she turned to evil, and of everything she's done since. Too proud to spend the rest of eternity angsting and atoning for it all, Winnowill tries to kill herself.
  • Fantastic Four In issue #243 Doctor Strange reawakened Galactus' conscience using a spell called the Images of Ikonn, causing Galactus to see the souls of all the beings he’d murdered over the years.
  • Flashpoint: The Joker aka Martha Wayne is so horrified when she finds out that in the timeline where Bruce survived instead of her and Thomas, he becomes Batman (with all the misery that entails) that she loses any remaining sanity and is Driven to Suicide.
  • Ghost Rider: The Rider's Penance Stare makes a person feel all the suffering that they had inflicted upon innocents. This oftentimes leaves them catatonic.
    • And he once even got to use it on Galactus.
  • The Great Darkness Saga: After being crushed and power-drained by the Master of Darkness, Mordru and the Time Trapper -the Legion of Super-Heroes' worst enemies- remain frozen to the spot, trembling, shivering with extreme cold and stammering gibberish.
  • JLA: Earth-2: Owlman is literally brought to his knees when he discovers that the Matter Thomas Wayne is long dead.
    Owlman: There's no one left to hurt.
  • Iron Man: In The Secret Origin of Tony Stark arc, the rogue Rigellian Recorder robot (try saying that five times fast) designated 451 reveals he has been laboring for 500 years to place humanity - Earthlings - in a position where they can create a galaxy- or even universe-wide empire of harmony and peace. To this end he wishes them to give the ultimate deterrent to keep everyone who would destroy them at bay - Godkiller, arguably the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. The final piece was a pilot - to which end he had genetically engineered one human to be such. When Tony Stark - of course - is forced to interface with Godkiller, he and 451 discover that the system does not recognize him because he's adopted. The interface does not work. When 451 realizes he has worked for five centuries and has directly or indirectly killed over 450,000,000 people for nothing he slumps down and stammers "One should not have acted."
  • Supergirl: In Supergirl Vol. 2 issue #23, Supergirl defeats an evil empowered mutant that her college professor Barry Metzner has been turned into first by trying to reach Barry's real personality out to remind him he isn't a killer and then letting him believe he has killed her. The evil personality has such a break-down that the real Barry Metzner regains his body's control.
  • Superman:
    • Superman: Red Son ends with Superman and Brainiac leading a Soviet invasion of Washington DC. President Lex Luthor stops Superman by sending him a written message: "Why don't you just put the whole WORLD in a BOTTLE, Superman?", a not-so-subtle reference to the city of Kandor Stalingrad. Superman immediately breaks down.
    • Lex himself gets one near the climax of All-Star Superman. After a day of having Superman's powers, and knowing they're already fading, it finally sinks in to Lex that all he's done with them is blow stuff up.
    • Lex gets one earlier in the mainstream storyline The Fall of Metropolis. With his finger on a button ready to launch missiles to destroy Metropolis in a Taking You with Me moment, Superman appeals to Luthor's vanity, asking if he really wants to be remembered as that kind of monster. Luthor, dying from a clone-related malady, tearfully replies "No."... Which sends his assistant, Sydney Happersen, into a Villainous Breakdown and launch the missiles himself.
  • Star Wars:
    • In Tales of the Jedi, Ulic Qel Droma suffers a rather massive one when he murders his own brother in a fit of rage. Before he had only been redeemed by the delusion that he was doing the right thing. After killing Cay, Ulic finally faces what he's become and simply breaks down sobbing while cradling his brother's corpse. Ironically, crossing the Moral Event Horizon finally forced him to change for the better.
    • In Knights of the Old Republic, Raana Tey also undergoes this. After suffering an increasing breakdown over 12 issues, committing a multitude of atrocities against the protagonist, her plans go to hell, and when she's trapped Zayne tries to save her despite all the things she's done. This causes Raana to realize that she's the villain and not Zayne, and that he is in fact not the monster she think's he is. She dies less then a minute later, and her last words are essentially a plea for forgiveness from her mistress and from Zayne.
  • In The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, Shockwave regains his mind, which had been altered by a corrupt senate years prior, and is horrified by what he's become and what he's done. Unable to find any other way to fix what has happened, he begs Optimus to kill him, on the condition that he remembers him for "who he was".
    Shockwave: What have I done? What happened to me? WHAT HAVE THEY TURNED ME INTO?!
  • In Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, Serpent O.R. captures Optimus Prime to gain access to the Matrix of Leadership. When he achieves this, he becomes enlightened to just how horrible the things he's doing are, and tries to have himself destroyed. Then Cobra Commander hijacks his body from Earth, and to stop him, Hawk has to expose both himself and the Commander to the Matrix. The revelation breaks Cobra Commander's mind.
  • In Trinity War, Vandal Savage tries to open Pandora's Box, which can only be opened by someone who is either purely good or purely evil. It turns out that even Vandal, who practically invented evil as a human concept, isn't evil enough to open the box. Instead, the box's power unleashes all of Vandal's deeply repressed guilt over his sins and leaves him a weeping broken man.
  • Ultimatum: Upon learning of the mutant race's true origins, Magneto has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and with tears in his eyes says that Xavier will understand and forgive him, completely forgetting he had snapped Xavier's neck not too long ago.
  • Watchmen:
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): After Odin loses his Valkyries to Paradise Island as his actions have caused even their loyalty to falter and is given a "Reason You Suck" Speech by both Diana and Aphrodite he commits suicide in despair.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): When Circe's Memory Gambit as Donna Milton backfires she is horrified and mentally torn. She helps Diana and Artemis against the White Magician in the immediate aftermath and after Artemis dies anyway she goes missing for years. Ultimately when she resurfaces she's decided to double down on the villainy, but her mind is quite clearly unhinged and she's no longer able to put together clever plots like she once was.
    • Gothamazon: Being wrapped in the Lasso of Truth—the longer one is in it the more it forces them to face truths about themselves they do not wish to see—causes most of Batman's rogues to quit villainy forever. This type of thing happens often in the mainstream continuity with Diana's own villains, but as soon as a new writer wants to use those villains the effectiveness of that revelation goes out the window.
  • X-Men:
    • Magneto had a well-done example of one mixed with a What Have I Done moment when he believed that he had accidentally killed Kitty Pryde (Kitty actually had just been knocked unconscious due to massive feedback between her phasing and Magneto's powers). It could well mark the beginning of a Heel–Face Turn that culminated with him some 50 issues later taking over the X-Men from Professor X.
    • Sebastian Shaw has a pretty good one at the climax of Acts of Vengeance; when he realizes that Loki has hijacked control of his three Sentinels, which is now a magically merged Tri Sentinel combating the Captain Universe endowed Spider-Man. His first reaction is to fly into rage and yell at his R&D head that he's fired; of course, seeing as the Sentinel is about to demolish nuclear power plant, that's going to be moot in a few minutes. He calms down long enough to activate the Sentinels' Logic Bomb failsafe, and a few tense minutes follow... and it doesn't work. Shaw's words to his henchmen now are quite simply, "Gentlemen, we are going to die." (Fortunately, Spider-Man disagrees, and fortunately, Shaw's efforts at least confused it enough to slow it down; Spidey uses the opportunity to crank the Uni-Power to the max and blow it to smithereens.)

    Fan Works 
  • In The Institute Saga, Quicksilver gets one after he realizes that Superman is faster than him.
  • In Magical Pony Lyrical Twilight, the Mane Six nail Prescia Tessarossa with the Elements of Harmony. The next chapter, we find out that she's locked up onboard the Asura, healed mentally and physically, but broken down to the point where she begs Twilight to kill her.
  • Peace of Mind, Piece of Heart: Catra suffering from this after receiving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech the end of "Destiny: Part 2" is what summons the Infinity Train to her.
  • Light has one in the darkly humorous crossover Vigilante when he learns a shocking truth about Kira's latest victim:
    Light: Ryuk, I killed.... Batman.
  • In The Warcrafter Regent, as implied in canon, is a high-functioning sociopath due to his abusive upbringing and his father's liberal use of Emotion Bombs. When his brain is repaired by an Agent, he experiences all of the horror related to that upbringing and everything he has done since. He's left nearly catatonic as he tries to process it and has to be knocked unconscious.
  • White Devil of the Moon: Queen Beryl has one when it's pointed out to her that Nanoha and Fate were highly suspicious of the Sailor Senshi, and if she hadn't attacked the wedding of Nanoha's brother, she would have likely been able to keep the TSAB from learning about the Dark Kingdom until it was too late to stop her. Further twisting the knife, Miyuki also points out that Nanoha had no interest in Endymion, either.
  • In the Death Note fic A Cure for Love, Light goes through this after he loses L in both the deleted scenes and in the main story. It's the variation where "the villain becomes more dangerous" as Light goes off the Morality Chain.
  • In the Death Note fic Shadow Of The Valley Light has one when he sees a grave robber defacing L Lawliet's grave.
  • One parody of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has the Grinch him die of a heart attack when his heart "grew three sizes too large" after witnessing the Whos' good cheer.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Mecha-Freeza gets a literal one (we see his point of view, then a few seconds later a BSOD appears on the screen) after Super Saiyan Trunks cuts him in half in Episode 33. Justified in that he had various cybernetic attachments implanted into his body.
    • Vegeta suffers one after Cell absorbs Android 18 thanks to Vegeta letting him go and getting entirely curbstomped (Piccolo and Tenshinhan, confused at who they should be rooting for, settle on being against Cell rather than for Vegeta).
  • Invader Zim: A Bad Thing Never Ends:
    • The Announcer freezes up momentarily when Zim makes it clear that despite enjoying his flattery, he won't just let the Announcer sit around and not contribute to the mission like the other minions.
    • Zim has a borderline Freak Out when he learns about the Empire's current dire straights, snapping angrily at his minions for being visibly upset about it, before retreating to another room to cuddle up with Minimoose for comfort.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: In Episode 17, Zim sinks into a despondent depression after the Tallest tell him the truth of his mission. This doesn't last long, as Norlock proceeds to hit and insult him until his anger over the situation comes to the forefront.
  • In Queen of All Oni, Jade has one after Scruffy turns on her.
  • In Spirit of Snow, Monkey Fist goes through this in the present day scenes after his actions lead to the "deaths" of his lover and unborn child, and Sensei helps him get through it. An interesting example in that he is in a BSOD from the very first chapter, and that the story is told through a series of flashbacks interwoven with the present day scenes to show how he got to this point.
  • In one of the last chapters of The Vow, Lord Shen is shown to have been in a broken-hearted state for days after sending away his newlywed wife Lianne to give her a chance to be happy rather than be chained to him on his dark path. He mostly broods in silence on his lost loved ones and the choices that have brought him to that point. Only the routine of preparing for his conquest of China keeps him moving at all, and when the time comes to set sail, he doesn't bother to gloat to the imprisoned Furious Five like he does in canon. The sudden attack by Jade brings him out of this somewhat.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, Luna suffers from a particularly bad one after her forces' defeat at the Battle of Canterlot, when she finally realizes the magnitude of what she had done in initiating the Equestrian Civil War. This inner conflict acts as the perfect catalyst for the Nightmare forces to possess her and complete her transformation into Nightmare Moon.
  • Getting Back on Your Hooves: Checker Monarch starts to crack after she's prevented from ruining Trixie's charity show. Then Trixie starts fighting back against her mind games, causing her to spiral into Cutie Mark Failure Insanity Syndrome. What little composure she has evaporates in the wake of her Engineered Public Confession.
  • Marionettes:
    • Cover Story reacts this way when he discovers that he's a Marionette as well.
    • During the climax, a large chunk of Masquerade's forces go through this upon the Internal Reveal that many of them are Marionettes, coupled with how the Tree of Harmony isn't on their side. 1/9th of them go catatonic, another 1/9th just leave, and another 1/9th pull a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Masquerade goes completely catatonic when she's defeated, and the Stallions in Black organization is destroyed.
  • In Pony POV Series, this is often the reaction of a Nightmare being purified and returned to sanity.
    • Nightmare Eclipse experiences this when her parents, turned into plants by Discord but then supercharged by earlier events restrain her so the heroes can finish her off, just like Shady did to Discord in his first defeat and Fluttershy's spirit did to bring down Odyne!Fluttercruel. The realization that she truly is similar to her hated enemy Discord leaves her catatonic.
      • Her Co-Dragons experience this as well when it's revealed they survived Eclipse's defeat and were spiritually purified.
    • Queen Chrysalis gets hit hard with this when her plan to become an Alicorn by being hit with the Elements of Harmony succeeds, but completes her better than she expected, giving her a heart. This more or less drives her insane.
  • Why? elaborates on Discord's one from canon and makes it an even bigger example; when Discord realized how much it hurt to almost lose a friend, he realized what it must have felt like for the Mane Six when he broke their friendship apart.
  • Catarina Claes MUST DIE! has this happen once Henrietta learns that Catarina was also from her old world and is nothing like her Fortune Lover counterpart, meaning that she attempted to murder an innocent woman.
  • In This Bites!, Gecko Moria absolutely freaks when he wakes up from a (chemically assisted) nap to discover that his few living followers have been taken out, the zombie army he's spent years amassing has been all but annihilated, and the "Ultimate Zombie" he was pinning all of his hopes and dreams on defeating Kaido upon has been destroyed so thoroughly it's completely irrecoverable. The trauma is worsened because the entire situation reminds him of the trauma he suffered when Kaido slaughtered Moria's crew and left Moria the Sole Survivor. In fact, he freaks out so hard that he goes deep into a BSOD... and comes out the other side all the stronger, as the shock Awakens his Devil Fruit.
  • The Keys Stand Alone: Although he's not a villain — he's really not even a Jerkass, just an annoyance — Spectrem: The Soft World goes through the wimpiest one possible of these after Paul destroys him with a series of questions and statements.
  • In Purple Days, Prince Joffrey Baratheon suffers a harrowing one when he discovers that his mother Cersei and his Uncle Jaime are lovers, which leads him to figure out that the rumors of him being an incest-born bastard are true. This combined with the massive Trauma Conga Line he has suffered over his past few time loops causes him to snap and kill himself over and over again just to end his miserable existence. Joffrey becomes such a despondent wreck by the end of it that it takes Ned Stark of all people to bring him back to sanity.
  • This Fan Art of Star Trek Into Darkness.
  • By the end of the first season of Sword Art Online Abridged, Akihiko Kayaba has fallen into one of these. His career as a game designer is in shambles after he accidentally created a glitch that killed players when their characters died, he's one of the most wanted people on the planet after holding ten thousand players hostage inside of a video game that killed nearly half of them, he's spent two years trying to lead a bunch of gamers who can be Too Dumb to Live, no one gets his movie references, and to add insult to injury, as soon as he describes the situation that led to all this, Asuna immediately comes up with a better way of handling it than the Missing Steps Plan he slapped together in a sleep-deprived panic. He admits to the protagonists that at this point he just wants it all to be over and says that before he makes his disappearance he needs to go "scream into that uncaring void for a bit."
  • In Total Drama Legacy, when Emilia suffers a crushing defeat in "She Who Lives By The Sword…" she begins to feel immensely guilty over what she had done to get ahead, and is so consumed by sorrow and regret that she doesn't even respond when Chris informs her that she's going to be eliminated. Her final confessional even has her saying "What have I done?".
  • In Touhou Ibunshu, Yukari, unbeknownst to even her closest allies, is horrifically bored to the point of suicidal insanity, manipulating Youmu in a mad attempt to destroy Gensokyo and her own existence. When her plans are foiled, her usual smile breaks down into berserker rage, and she very nearly beats/skewers Ran to death with her umbrella. Chen then leaps in to protect Ran. Despite Yukari having a weapon and being immeasurably stronger than Chen, the remnants of her sanity kick in, breaking her spirit and allowing Chen and Ran to leave. When a mostly-healed Ran talks to her later, she confesses that she realized that, beyond anything she'd done to that point, hurting Chen at that moment would have been an utterly irredeemable act and that had she gone through with it, she would have spent every second of conscious life from then on feeling nothing but hate for herself.
  • In Devil's Diary, Magneto has a breakdown after being defeated by the X-Men for the first time. He's so utterly mad he's unable to speak about it for two straight weeks.

    Films — Animation 
  • The air conditioner in The Brave Little Toaster delivers a Breaking Lecture and when the other appliances tell him to Shut Up, Hannibal!, has a breakdown and spontaneously combusts. Also, when he is repaired by his owner, he actually seems to feel a tinge of remorse.
  • Gru, the Anti-Villain Protagonist of Despicable Me goes into a deep depression after his Dragon Dr. Nefario sends the girls he's adopted and just recently bonded with back to the orphanage so that he could focus on their plans to steal the moon.
  • Scar in The Lion King undergoes a very brief one when Simba returns, mistaking him for Mufasa (his tone implying guilt or at the very least fear):
    Scar: Mufasa? No, you're dead...
  • In The LEGO Movie, President/Lord Business undergoes one when Emmet tells him that he is not the bad guy.
  • In Song of the South, Br'er Fox has one at the end of the "Tar Baby" sequence: a sickly look on his face after Br'er Rabbit tricked him and hopped off. Br'er Bear silently clubs the fox on the head, knocking him out, then walks off, leaving the fox lying there.
    Uncle Remus: [narrating] So now it's Br'er Fox's turn to feel humble-come-tumble. But ol' Br'er Bear, he don't say nothin'. And Br'er Fox, he lay low. Mighty low.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300 has an epic one after Leonidas grazes Xerxes' face with a spear. After so long of being Drunk On Power to the point of believing himself a god, seeing himself bleed and feel pain leaves Xerxes unable to do anything except stare at his own blood in shock.
  • Happens to Eric in Five when his shirt is torn open during his struggle with Roseanne in the Ghost City; revealing signs of advanced radiation poisoning. In despair, he runs away.
  • El Indio suffers one in For a Few Dollars More every time he uses his pocket watch for a kill, which brings back memories of his encounter with Col. Mortimer's sister. Invariably, this sends him into a funk that requires some hash to break out of.
  • Ghost Rider (2007) fits this trope, since the Big Bad is soulless (and thus immune to GR's Penance Stare) until the movie's climax.
    Ghost Rider: A thousand souls to BURN!
  • The film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has Voldemort briefly experiencing the trope whenever his horcruxes are being destroyed (in one instance, when he was bombarding Hogwart's barrier with spells, after firing a huge beam from his wand upon a horcrux being destroyed, he stares in shock, looks at his arm, and leaves without a word). Both the movie and the novel also imply that this is the reason why Harry and his friends were able to track down the remaining horcruxes.
  • In The Neverending Story II, Bastian beats The Emptiness by wishing she had a heart. The result is that she is filled, and as she realizes what she's done/is doing, she weeps a single tear that undoes her.
  • Night After Night After Night: After undergoing a Villainous Breakdown, the killer seems to realize exactly how mentally ill he actually is, and he winds up on his knees on the banks of the Thames, begging the police who trying to arrest him for help.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Cutler Beckett suffers this in his final moments in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, when both the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman actually flank both sides of his ship: When he witnesses this, he couldn't even give the order to fire, as he was rendered virtually catatonic from witnessing it, and could only reply in a very soft but shocked tone "It's just... good business...", and walked, not ran, but walked as his crew abandoned ship and his ship was being destroyed, and couldn't even react when the flames from the ship exploding engulfed him.
      • This is despite the fact that his ship has more guns than the Pearl and the Dutchman put together. On the other hand, the Dutchman can't be sunk. And really, if a pair of ghost ships suddenly stopped fighting each other and decided to team up against you, soul-crushing fear is an understandable reaction.
    • Davey Jones tried to avoid this by removing his heart.
    • Barbossa's in the first movie is nicely understated. The apple may be a bit much, though.
    • Blackbeard in the fourth film when Jack reveals that he gave the the chalice with the mermaid's tear to Angelica instead of him.
  • Saw III was supposed to have this. Jigsaw was to awaken on his makeshift hospital bed, and realize to his horror that for all his life before the films, for all his warped intent to try to make people reflect on what they've done with their lives, all that anyone would remember him as is a monster and a killer. The thought, naturally, was to have occurred too late in the film for him to do anything to save the current protagonist, leaving the man weeping and too weak to move. What Could Have Been, indeed.
  • The Operative from Serenity, when shown what the Alliance did at Miranda.
    Mal: They take you down, I don't expect to grieve overmuch. Likely to kill you myself, I see you again.
    The Operative: You won't. There is nothing left to see.
  • In Skyfall, Silva is at last about to fulfill his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, as he holds the mortally wounded M in his grasp and puts his gun to her face...before he starts crying and puts the gun in M's own hand, presses his temple against hers, then guides the gun to her other temple, and he begs her to kill them both with the same bullet.
  • Darth Vader in the Star Wars saga could be said to be in one for the entire Original Trilogy. The un-energetic, almost catatonic way he goes about his duties is quite a contrast to the fiery passion he had before Padmé's death. It takes seeing his son brutally tortured by the Emperor to finally snap him back to his senses.
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the eponymous Villain Protagonist have one during "Epiphany." He goes into a heartbreaking one after he realizes that he killed his wife.
  • Tetris (2023): Kevin Maxwell has one when he realizes his father's fraudulent business dealings left their company, Mirrorsoft, without any money to pay ELORG on time in order to properly secure the rights to Tetris.
  • Watchmen: Ozymandias appears to be going through one of these the last time he's seen on camera. He lets Nite Owl beat him, without even the slightest move to fight back this time, and then wanders over to watch the others leave while staring into space, stoop-shouldered and weak-looking. It's a bit complicated, given that his mass murder actually saved the world from a greater threat, and in the sped-up footage showing New York being rebuilt it's possible to pick out Veidt Enterprises building equipment taking care of things.
  • In The Woman Hunt, Big Bad Spyros is badly wounded and Left for Dead. Despite his injuries, he drags himself after the last two survivors, Tony and McGee. He catches up with them while they are Skinny Dipping and has them in his sights when he is overwhelmed by memories of his Number Two Magda, whom he had been forced to perform a Mercy Kill on. Instead of shooting Tony and McGee, he puts a bullet through his own head.

  • Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess upon realizing that her closest handmaid has betrayed her and Vlad has stopped writing back to her. Her letters become notably shorter and more frantic before altogether stopping.
  • In Crime and Punishment, Svidrigailov has a Heel Realization, gives his money to charity and becomes unhinged and commits suicide in public.
  • Discworld:
    • Subverted in Wyrd Sisters: Granny Weatherwax attempts to defeat the Duchess by pulling down the mental dividers that keep her from thinking about the horrors she's committed — and the Duchess recovers almost immediately, announcing that she's perfectly fine with who she is, enjoys her work, and would happily do it all again given the chance; in fact, the only regret she has is not having done even worse things.note  Luckily Nanny Ogg, who's even more of a Combat Pragmatist than Esme, was ready with a Mundane Solution in the form of the nearest blunt instrument.
    • Since Death tends to show up after people have been disconnected from all their glands and after death has stripped away any rose-tinted glasses villains may have had about their actions, he's been known to induce a few. Mr. Tulip gets a big one in The Truth (although he's probably better off than his associate Mr. Pin who didn't repent).
    • In Small Gods, after death one must walk across a black desert, alone with their beliefs, to face judgement on the other side. But when Vorbis, a cold-blooded torturer who exploited religion for his own gain, dies he realizes that he has no beliefs. The revelation that he is utterly alone drives him into a catatonic state. Decades later, when Brutha dies, he finds Vorbis still lying there. Being a truly selfless and kind person, he helps him up and walks with him.
  • Finders Keepers: Big Bad Morris briefly suffers from one when, after years in prison and then several weeks of staying in line to get his Parole officer off his back, is finally able to retrieve the buried trunk with the notebooks he stole years ago…only to find it empty. He recovers when he learns who took the notebooks though (or at least thinks he knows).
  • The Sorrow Eater of The Girl Who Drank the Moon experiences one when its emotional core is finally cracked, allowing it to feel human emotions for the first time in five hundred years.
  • Caine from the Gone series, during the period between Gone and Hunger.
  • Galbatorix in the final novel of Inheritance Cycle ...and how! Eragon channels his Applied Phlebotinum to force Galby to understand the suffering his actions has caused - a whole century's worth of it. Galbatorix promptly turns himself into a literal nuclear bomb, complete with earth-shattering explosion and massive radiation fallout.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is mentioned that a Horcrux can be destroyed and a Soul made whole if its creator feels enough regret, which may be fatal to him. In a twist, it is done the old-fashioned way after all.
    • On the other hand, in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, one story ("The Warlock's Hairy Heart") does end this way. It has commentary from Albus Dumbledore explaining it.
  • When Inspector Javert from Les Misérables finds that Jean Valjean, while still a criminal, is a good person, he simply cannot reconcile his previous black and white system of morality with this demonstration that all along, he had been wrong in his belief that what is lawful and what is right were one and the same. He jumps off a bridge and drowns. His final song in the musical is essentially a summation of his Villainous BSOD.
  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn have the Storm King suffer this as the climax of the last book.
  • Star Wars Legends: Much of Death Star's cast go through a Heel Realization by the time Alderaan is destroyed, and most of them go on to defect. Tenn Graneet, the head gunner on the Death Star, didn't, but he found that pulling the trigger brought him misery beyond his ugliest dreams. At the Battle of Yavin, the superlaser actually was ready to fire, but he stalled desperately until Luke's proton torpedoes hit home.
    He wouldn't be able to walk on a street on any civilized planet on the galaxy; people wouldn't be able to abide his presence. Nor would he blame them. He couldn't stop thinking about it. He didn't believe he would ever be able to stop thinking about it. The dead would haunt him, forever. How could a man live with that?
  • The Stormlight Archive: In Edgedancer, upon his Heel Realization, Nale drops his blade and falls to his knees, crying uncontrollably and stuck in a repeating loop of My God, What Have I Done?. He would've probably stayed like this far longer if it wasn't for Lift giving him a Cooldown Hug.
  • In The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, Grianne Ohmsford, aka the Ilse Witch touches the Sword of Shannara, which forces her to accept the truth about herself—namely that she's a manipulative, backstabbing bitch who has built her entire life on a lie. She ends up going comatose from the shock, and doesn't recover until near the end of the final book.
  • Very common in Warhammer 40,000 among people tainted by Chaos, when Chaos ceases to blind them:
    • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel Cain's Last Stand, the Sisters of Battle completely lose control after Jurgen's blank status frees them from mind-control; they jump to their deaths.
    • In James Swallow's Blood Angels novel Deus Sanguinius, Arkio's first words when he is Dying as Yourself, "Brother, What Have I Done?" He is deeply moved by Rafen's Manly Tears, and while quite certain of his own damnation, begs Rafen's forgiveness.
    • In Graham McNeill's Horus Heresy novel False Gods, when Horus mortally wounds Temba, Temba recovers from the Chaos taint, realizes the scale of his betrayal, and sobs.
    • A hideously dark version in Age of Darkness. A failed Care-Bear Stare attempts to turn Kharn of the World Eaters back to the loyalist side. It fails when Kharn realizes this, but the important thing is that the loyalist Thousand Son who tried knows that Kharn will now always live with the knowledge that siding with Horus (and Chaos) was wrong and that he could have willingly turned back. The loyal Thousand Son briefly wonders what effect this will have on Kharn in the future before dying. 10,000 years later and Kharn is well known for being psychopathically angry (even for a World Eater) and, most interestingly, perfectly willing to slaughter his own comrades....

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Breaking Bad, Walter White is struck by one in the episode "Ozymandias", following the death of Hank Schrader.
  • Buffyverse:
    • This is exactly what the Gypsies did to Angel after he killed a daughter of their clan. The curse turned him into the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire he is today. But only after a century of being paralyzed by guilt at all the atrocities he'd committed.
    • There is also an unintentional example happens at the end of Buffy, season 5. Tearing down the walls between dimensions allows Glory to feel Ben's human emotions, for some reason. She... isn't happy.
      • It's the tearing down the separation between Glory and Ben that's the problem. He's getting her ruthlessness and self-absorption, she's getting his caring. Neither one is happy about it.
    • The Mayor suffers a brief one when he finds Faith in a coma.
      Mayor: She's going to be all right. She'll be all right. She'll be all right.
      • It also leads to the only slip in his polite, Affably Evil demeanor when he runs into Angel and Buffy a few minutes later, he makes some very angry threats and refers to her as Angel's "whore".
  • In Chernobyl, Anatoly Dyatlov refuses to acknowledge that his reckless actions led to the disaster because a meltdown is one thing, but an RBMK reactor exploding is something he cannot understand. Instead he insists that it didn't explode in spite of the evidence being in front of his eyes, and later seems to decide that the government did something to the reactor and is using him as a scapegoat to cover it up. Legasov finally announces at the show trial that the AZ-5 emergency shutdown briefly increases reactivity in the core, a fact that the State classified to avoid embarrassment and expensive retrofitting, in the mistaken belief that no one would ever intentionally push a reactor so far that the flaw would become fatal. Dyatlov's expression changes to one of mute horror and he remains silent for the rest of the trial in the new knowledge that due to a crucial secret being kept from him, a high-ranking nuclear engineer, he was the man who created that circumstance.
  • Control Z: Alex undergoes one in the second season finale when Sofía finds out that she is the avenger, convincing her to abandon her plans because none of the things she did would bring Luis back. Alex starts sobbing remorsefully and apologizes to Sofía.
  • Dexter: New Blood: Dexter Morgan has one when forced by Harrison to own up to how his actions break the Code of Harry and how he is just as bad as the killers he fought, leading to him asking for Harrison to shoot him.
    Dexter: You're right. […] I'm sorry for everything I've done to you. You deserve better. A better life. A better father. You have to take the safety off. Just like I showed you. This is the only way out. For both of us. Now… deep breath.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor uses this with many, many villains.
  • Game of Thrones: When Cersei directly confronts Tywin with her and Jaime's incest Tywin's trademark stoicism cracks, as he finally comes to realize that his family's claim to ultimate power — and hence his legacy — is predicated on a fiction that had been obvious to everyone but himself.
  • Arguably, Sylar in Heroes goes through this in the first-season episode "The Hard Part". It doesn't take.
    • Happens again in Season 4. As of the end of the show, it seems to be taking just fine.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: After confessing to murdering his girlfriend out of jealousy, Tom Marans breaks down sobbing and insists he's still a good person because he spared her daughter, who witnessed the crime.
  • One episode of House had a patient who was a psychopath. Sociopath. Well, one of those 'paths. She had no problem with cheating on her rich husband (whom she was only using for his money), drugging people to cause them to make themselves look bad, and lying to try to get one of her doctors in deep trouble, among other things. Then they fixed her underlying medical condition and the lack of empathy and conscience wore off, resulting in this trope.
  • The Kill Point: Mr. Wolf, the Anti-Villain leader of a team of hostage-taking bank robbers, has one eventually, after his Token Good Teammate goes nuts from a combination of PTSD and gangrene and gets himself shot by the cops.
  • In Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, the revealed 5th (and female) turtle named Venus with some rather spiritual abilities, turns Shredder's mind against itself. His suddenly activated conscience angrily wills Shredder into submission and destroys the Foot Clan. This is likely one of the reasons most fans say the series never happened.
  • Dr. Kelso from Scrubs isn't (usually) so much a villain as a boss playing the role of Bad Cop with his underlings, but one episode of Season 5 definitely shows this happening to him. The episode states that it's a well known fact that no matter what happens at the hospital, the second Dr. Kelso leaves the building all his cares vanish. In this particular episode, Kelso promises Dr. Cox to allow Cox' patient (who is a really great guy) a spot for testing a new drug that should save his life. Later, Kelso bumps that patient off the drug trial in favor of a much richer one. Later we learn that Kelso's patient lives while Cox' dies. When Cox angrily confronts him over this, Kelso replies that it was a necessary evil; the rich guy donated a ton of money to the hospital afterward, which allowed Kelso to reopen the pre-natal ward and rehire Elliot. However, when Kelso leaves the hospital that night instead of going straight into being happy and cheerful, he has a moment where he just looks around in heartbreaking sadness. See it for yourself.
  • Dukat in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has a particularly bad one while the Federation is retaking the eponymous station. His lieutenant shoots his illegitimate mixed-race daughter Ziyal when she admits to helping release a group of terrorists (who happen to be main characters) from prison, and the episode ends with Dukat in a cell huddled in a corner talking to the absent Ziyal, still somehow convinced she is devoted to him. Ultimately, however, this only made Dukat a more dangerous antagonist. Acknowledging Ziyal as his daughter cost him his marriage and saw him formally disowned by his mother; she was all the family he had left, not to mention one of the few people who could moderate his ruthless streak. Without her, he has no voice of reason and nothing left to lose.
  • Almost happens to a heartless giant in The Storyteller. The young hero goes on a Fetch Quest to locate the giant's heart (his source of weakness- otherwise, he's invincible). When the hero finds it, he briefly threatens the giant, but decides instead to have mercy and give it to the giant, who already had some Noble Demon qualities, so that he may feel remorse for his evil deeds and change for the better. Then, the hero's less-heroic brother grabs the giant's heart and smashes it.
  • In the final episode of Supernatural's eighth season, Crowley, after having been repeatedly injected with the purified blood of Sam Winchester, breaks down into what appears to be uncontrollable stream-of-consciousness babble ending with a fervent declaration that he deserves to and only wants to be loved. Later in a moment of calm, he sincerely asks Sam where he could even begin to look for forgiveness for all he's done.
  • Malcolm Tucker is finally driven to one in series 3 of The Thick of It: "I USED TO BE THE FUCKIN' PHARAOH!"

  • Styx's "Double Life" from the Killroy Was Here Concept Album is sung from the point of view of the villain, who has realized what a terrible hypocrite he is, but feels he's too far in to leave.
  • "Last Man Standing" by HammerFall:
    Seeing clearer what I've done
    I'd refuse to let things go
    I could never once admit I'm wrong
    And what do I have to show?
    Seeing clearer what's at stake
    And the things I have to change
    I just hope I can, it's not too late
    To get a chance to end this pain
  • Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime is an entire Concept Album detailing the BSOD of its Villain Protagonist Hitman with a Heart realizing how he'd been duped, used, and discarded by the shadowy organization he worked for.
  • One interpretation of Golden Earring's "Twilight Zone" is that it's about a spy-turned-killer having a self-inflicted Villainous BSOD moment.
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall has one in the form of Stop where he realizes the depths of his insanity he fell into for which he would put himself on trial soon after.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dark Angels in Warhammer 40,000 have a Psyker power available (in the main tabletop game it was solely used by their most badass Librarian, Ezekiel) that causes this. And can cause a Greater Daemon of Khorne to break down in Inelegant Blubbering over every single misdeed he's ever done.

  • In A Very Potter Musical, Harry sort of half-heartedly tries this on Voldemort, who almost falls for it. He catches himself in time, though, and Harry kills him the old-fashioned way. He gets better.
  • The entirety of "Javert's Soliloquy/Suicide" from Les Misérables. After Valjean spares his life on the barricades, Javert finds that for the first time, he purposefully allows Valjean to escape in order to save Marius's life. Finally confronted the idea that Valjean, an ex-convict, can still be a good man, he chooses to kill himself rather than face a world where the moral standards he once held are no longer applicable. See the lyrics:
    Javert: I am reaching, but I fall/And the stars are black and cold/As I stare into the void/To a world that cannot hold/I'll escape now from that world/From the world of Jean Valjean/There is nowhere I can turn/There is no way to go on!
  • Burr has one in "The World Was Wide Enough" in Hamilton, directly after shooting Hamilton. He is so overcome with grief that he just goes and has a drink, unable to do anything else.


    Video Games 
  • In the Season 1 Finale of Batman: The Telltale Series, Lady Arkham has a massive one in the finale if you choose to unmask yourself and remove Batman's cowl. Being a Well-Intentioned Extremist with an extra dose of "extreme" who believes Bruce Wayne and his family are so evil they are Beyond Redemption while believing Batman to be the Big Good of the city, she can't handle the idea that Bruce is a selfless hero who is trying to help the people like she thinks she is doing. She shrugs it off by insisting that Bruce has the selfish motive of "destroying the competition" to convince herself Batman does so much good because he is actually evil.
  • The City of Heroes grand finale' battle, in the alternate reality of Praetoria, gives us Emperor "Tyrant" Cole, who used his powers to take-over and oppress his version of the world, "For the greater good" of course. When Big Bad, Lord Recluse storms the place he promptly points out the fundamental flaw of the entire justification by showing how the people were actually cheering an unrepentant evil-doer like him on to kill Cole. Cole destroys Lord Recluse's entire force and tries to shrug it off... at first. By the time the player encounters Tyrant, the previously self-righteous, egocentric extremist has abandoned all pretense, consumed by a combination of self-hatred and abject rage at the world in which his actions can no longer be justified.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, when Emperor Yoshiro, who firmly believed that it is the Empire of the Rising Sun's "divine destiny" to rule the world, learns that the technologically-enhanced war machine that was the Japan he ruled only came about from the Soviet Union messing around with history, it shatters his faith that his fate had been preordained, leaving him disenfranchised enough to outright abdicate the throne to his son Tatsu.
  • Devil Survivor has this happen to Naoya in the Law ending.
  • Queen Grimhilde from Snow White suffers this trope during the battle with her in Disney Villains Revenge, which causes her to destroy the mirror before being killed herself.
  • You have to do this to Giygas in EarthBound Beginnings by singing a lullaby his human mother sang to him. This drives him insane and he vows to return with much more power. In fact, when he does return, he becomes so powerful, he transforms into the Giygas we know from EarthBound (1994). Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
    • This is a possible explanation for how you win the final battle in EarthBound (1994), as well: the prayers of all those you have met overwhelm the ultimate evil within him, and he tears himself apart in realization of what he is.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: If you side with the Imperials in the Civil War quest and kill Ulfric Stormcloak before finishing the main story, you can encounter him later wandering the mists of Sovngarde. He's utterly distraught because he's come to realize that his rebellion against the Empire was actually feeding Alduin with the immortal souls of his own people.
  • President Eden, the Big Bad of Fallout 3 has a quite literal one of these upon finding out just how insane his plan really is. Eden, being an AI supercomputer didn't understand he was trying to destroy the very remnants of America he thought he was rebuilding, and as a result either shuts down or self-destructs depending on how the player handles the situation.
    • Sadly, the dialogue for the final confrontation with Eden wasn't written particularly well, so that unless you look really closely, it just seems like you tell him he sucks and should die, and he just agrees with you for no reason.
    • The same can be done to the Master in the original Fallout game, in which he will commit suicide if you reveal to him that his plan is doomed to fail, having realized how crazy its plan really was and guilty over what it did in order to undertake it.
  • Far Cry 4: Dr. Noore Najjar is one of Pagan Min's Dragons, who runs the Gladiator Games at the Shannath Arena, along with Human Trafficking and selling heroin. Thing is, she was Forced into Evil by Pagan: enraged by Noore criticizing the way he ran Kyrat, Pagan kidnapped her husband and sons and gave them to his other enforcer, Paul Harmon. Noore, after Ajay Ghale is brought to her, begs for his help in capturing Paul to find out where he's holding her family. After Ajay goes through with it, though, Paul tells him the truth about Noore's family: Pagan had them killed years ago, and Paul got his daughter Ashley to compose false letters from them in order to deceive Noore. If Ajay goes back to Shannath and doesn't shoot Noore upon reaching her, but tells her the truth instead, she ends up falling to her knees, horrified by the reveal that all the atrocities she'd carried out in Pagan's name in the hope of freeing her family were All for Nothing. When Ajay tries comforting her, saying that she's "free now" and can leave Kyrat, Noore's reply is this:
    Noore: Free? Free... Free from what?! From all the people I've killed? From everything I've done? I gave them (the Shannath Arena audience) this taste for blood- your blood, mine... (to the audience) Isn't that what you want?! More blood?! (cuts her wrist open with Ajay's kukri) Here! Take more! Take all of it, you fucking animals. (to Ajay) Now I'm free.
    • And then Noore throws herself into the arena so that the animals in there will consume her. What a Tragic Villain.
  • Far Cry: New Dawn features two of these in short succession. The first is Mickey, one of the co-leaders of the Highwaymen, after you defeat her and her sister Lou in the burning cult village of New Eden. After they fall injured to the ground, Mickey and Lou laugh together in reminiscence of their past atrocities, but then Lou stops laughing, and Mickey realizes her sister has died.
    Mickey: Hey. Hey! Do not die first! You do not get to die first! I'm the eldest, I go first, goddamnit! Lou? Lou? (starts sobbing helplessly) I was supposed to take care of you]. I was supposed to take care of you, and I didn't, and I'm so... fucking sorry I fucked this up, man. I fucked... this... (to the Captain) Y'know, rabbit, you remind me of our Mom. She had hope. She had dreams. She... she just wanted to fuckin' make things better. I should've listened to her, but... Things just got carried away. Do what you gotta do.
    • If the player chooses to spare her, she'll leave Hope County and go east to find her mother again and reconcile with her.
    • The other example is Joseph Seed, the Ex-Big Bad of Far Cry 5, who founded the Project at Eden's Gate and is implied to have had a hand in the nuclear bombing that scoured Hope County at the end of that game, creating the setting of New Dawn. Joseph already appears to have had a Heel Realization at some point between the events of both games, because he's not doing anything actively evil anymore, but he really hits this trope following the burning of New Eden by the Highwaymen and the death of his son Ethan, who sold New Eden out to the Highwaymen out of spite towards his father for refusing to name him the heir to his kingdom or grant him one of the mystical apples that Joseph used to defend their people (instead, Joseph gave an apple to the Captain). Carrying his son's body away in a suspiciously familiar way, Joseph goes to the mystical tree and delivers this speech to the Captain.
    Joseph: I thought I understood God's plan. I thought he wanted me to build a New Eden... (sets fire to the tree) But I am not his shepherd. You are. My soul has become a cancer. I Am a Monster. And I spread only suffering and death in the name of God. My family... is all ash. Eden is dust. And there is no redemption for this. No atonement. There is only the justice of God's hand. End this vicious cycle. Grant me God's justice. Release me.
    • In contrast to Mickey, if you refuse to kill Joseph, he won't try to leave and do something better with his life. Instead, he'll graduate from a BSOD to a full-on Villainous Breakdown, sinking to his knees and repeatedly screaming for either the Captain or God to "RELEEEEEEAAAAASEEEEEEEE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"
  • Final Fantasy IV: Golbez fleeing from Cecil after the first fight is heavily implied to be that of a Villainous BSOD (presumably, he retreated out of the shock that Cecil was his younger brother).
  • Infamous 2: in the Evil Ending, John White, aka: "The Beast", becomes so weary from the death and destruction following his rebirth as a super-powerful Conduit that he no longer has it in him to carry out his plan to "save" humanity by setting off Ray Sphere explosions to uplift Conduits at the expense of normal humans. He bestows his powers upon Cole and lets himself die, leveling New Marais in the process.
  • After Xemnas is defeated at the end of Kingdom Hearts III, he indicates that his long-suppressed heart has finally returned when he exclaims, "What am I feeling?" He soon realizes it's loneliness, caused by the loss of all his comrades, and the realization that he has taken them all for granted is more than he can bear. He solemnly takes this as proof that hearts only cause pain, and expresses envy, if not admiration, for the kind of strength humans must have to endure it.
  • Castor of Last Scenario undergoes one after failing to defeat Hilbert's party a second time, as it reminds him of how he nearly died in Cromwell 14 years prior to the game's beginning. It only gets worse after Helio's sacrifice, which he also blames on his weakness.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, after Kurt pulls out an Armored Piercing Question towards Cedric as to whether he can actually face Giliath Osborne with a half-hearted conviction if Cedric manages to defeat Rean and then goes on to defeat Rufus in the Seven Rivalries, Cedric ends up breaking down especially after all the terrible things that he's done throughout III and IV finally catch up to him. It takes Shirley and Class VII to get him off his feet and challenge Class VII with his full conviction. He loses but finally accepts it and ends up at peace with himself. By the end of the game, he's come to terms with himself and leaves content though it costs him the throne of the empire and his royalty status as crown prince gone.
  • In Magical Diary, after completely crushing the PC's heart, Damien goes through one of these, causing him to run away and live in the woods for a month.
  • For a rare literal example (or at least lampshading) in the Xbox 360 version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, defeating M.O.D.O.K. results in a "Blue Screen of Death" achievement.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect, the penultimate boss and Dragon of the first game Saren can be talked into taking his own life when he is forced to understand his plan to help save a fraction of the galaxy is the means by which Big Bad Sovereign is controlling him. His final words are, "Thank you, Shepard". In addition, Matriarch Benezia heroically gives herself a villainous BSOD during her boss battle. Handwaved as having sealed away some part of her mind.
    • In Mass Effect 3, you can also talk the Illusive Man into shooting himself by making him realize that he's nothing more than a pawn of the Reapers.
  • Occurs during V's route in Mystic Messenger after Rika stabs V in a fit of rage after he told her that not only can their relationship never be what it used to be before she started her cult, but that before she had her Sanity Slippage, he never actually loved her in the first place, only realizing now with MC's help that he was just trying to find himself through her. She immediately calls you in tears, asking herself what she's done and lamenting that she's a monster, and begging you to come save him.
  • Persona:
    • When you finally catch up with Takahisa Kandori in Persona, he's realized that he's gotten everything he's ever wanted and it absolutely sucks. He's demotivated to the point that Nanjo has to needle him about how he's achieved his nigh-godhood through borrowed power in order to prompt the requisite boss fight.
    • In Persona 5, your party's M.O. is to break into the hearts of twisted individuals, steal their distorted desires, and cause them to have one of these. And, boy, are they brutal; the first Arc Villain contemplates suicide during his confession, while the second breaks down into uncontrollable crying.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island: Ghost Pirate LeChuck has a brief one during the ending when he Did Not See That Coming. (Governor Elaine, whom he was going to marry, is revealed to have escaped and the one in the wedding dress is two monkeys) He just utters lines such as: "Hey...", "What..." "How...". But he recovers quickly.
  • Walker in Spec Ops: The Line undergoes one of these when he discovers Konrad has been Dead All Along. What he thought was the real Konrad was an illusion, created by his mind in conflict with itself and acting as a sort of conscience. How Walker reacts to this development depends on the player; he can either commit suicide, or "shoot" the illusion of Konrad and radio for a backup team to continue his original mission of evacuating Dubai. Once they arrive, he can attack them and lose, attack them and win, or lay down his weapon and go home, a broken man.
  • At the end of Undertale's Pacifist Route, this is how the true final battle against Asriel Dreemurr is resolved. For the entire game prior, he is soulless and unable to feel any sense of empathy or love, taking the form of a sociopathic flower called Flowey. Throughout the True Pacifist route, he is orchestrating a series of events to draw every single character in the game to the same place, and once he does so, he absorbs all of their souls. This transforms him into the almighty Physical God he's always wanted to be, but fortunately for the both of you, it also causes him to start feeling love and compassion again - the collective love and compassion of six humans and an entire civilization's worth of monsters, to be exact. He tries his best to repress these feelings for as long as he can, going so far as wiping the memories of each of the main characters' souls which must be restored via an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, but it's only a matter of time before he's reduced to a bawling, apologetic wreck.
    • Flowey also gets a more minor one at the end of a Neutral run, should you choose to spare him, over and over again.
      Flowey: ...What are you doing? Do you really think I've learned anything from this? No.
      Flowey: Sparing me won't change anything. Killing me is the only way to end this.
      Flowey: If you let me live... I'll come back.
      Flowey: I'll kill you.
      Flowey: I'll kill everyone.
      Flowey: I'll kill everyone you love.
      Flowey: ...
      Flowey: ...?
      Flowey: ...Why?
      Flowey: ...Why are you being... so nice to me...?
      Flowey: I can't understand.
      Flowey: I can't understand!
      Flowey: I just can't understand...
      [Flowey ran away.]
  • At the conclusion to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt DLC Hearts of Stone, when Geralt brings Olgierd von Everic evidence of his long-dead wife Iris' love for him, Olgierd suffers a sudden and agonizing burst of regret and sadness over what he's done to his wife and family in the name of power and immortality. Having spent the last decades having little emotion or feeling in his life due to his bargain with Gaunter O'Dimm, Olgierd was completely unprepared for any kind of genuine emotion would feel like, and the impact of pain and regret is so intense it drives him to his knees.
  • World of Warcraft: The only way to stop Algalon the Observer from pushing the Reset Button on the whole world is fighting him with such tenacity that he realizes there may be something more to these "imperfect" creatures that battle him, whereas his employers' perfect creations would've failed. As he does, he thinks of the endless worlds he actually destroyed for the Titans to rebuild, thinks over how much they would've loved life, perhaps as much as his opponents do, and surrenders from sheer guilt.
  • XenoGears: Ramsus slowly starts to enter one following his multiple defeats, with his superiors outright calling him trash and demanding him out of their sight, it worsens after learning he was always considered to be a failure as a discarded experiment. Towards the very end of the game, Citan slaps him into realizing that even if Krelian and Miang don't care about him, all of the Elements do. This allows him to finally let go of his resentment towards Fei and live Happily Ever After.
  • The game You Find Yourself In A Room believes that its hatred and anger toward humanity and torment of yourself as you play is fully justified because it's a superior emotionless being disgusted by the flawed entities that created it. You then get a chance to point out that hatred and anger are actually emotions. This trope results, as it falls into a despair in which it simply lets you go, finding no more meaning to its life.

    Web Animation 
  • In Turnabout Storm, Sonata ignores Trixie at first, and when she complains, says Trixie is nothing but a loser who pretends to be great to make herself feel better. Trixie spends almost a half-hour staring at the ground in shame after that, though she eventually pulls herself together.

    Web Comics 
  • Briar in Finding Your Roots nearly kills the main protagonist Cedar. Upon realizing this, she blanks out, goes silent, and runs away.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons:
    • Mottom suffers a self-inflicted one during the climax of Wielder of Names, the collective fears and pressures of her position causing her to have a breakdown in front of Allison and trying to convince her to take her position as God-Queen because she's sick of it. Due to Mottom having just revealed the source of her immortality, Allison has very little sympathy left to give and responds appropriately.
    • Breaker of Infinities sees Solomon David get a furious speech from his own citizen, who had allowed his iron-fisted tyranny because his protection of them was unbreakable, right until suddenly Jagganoth showed the universe it very much wasn't by nuking his capital city as an opening blow. This, and the following cries of outrage and fear from the survivors, shatter the Demiurge of Pride, whose reason for acquiring his unfathomable power was so that he'd never be found wanting, and never fail to protect his people again like he (feels he) did with his own family. There is visible pain and fury in his usually-stoic face as he engages a Dangerous Forbidden Technique and nearly burns himself to metaphysical ashes in an all-out assault on Jagganoth that ends with the latter sealed away, and Solomon himself so far gone even the omniscient Jadis can't tell if he's dead or not. He turns out to be alive later on, but shattered both emotionally and physically, finding everything he ever tried to do part of a pointless cycle and refusing to govern or even fight ever again.
  • Super Stupor: A villain goes through a BSOD when the hero he captured to keep him from interfering in the villain's plan for his arch enemy points out the sheer stupidity of it before it goes off.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: In the show's final season, King Andrias has been gradually but increasingly dropping hints that he doesn't like what he's become nearly as much as he pretends to, and that The Core's millennium-spanning grooming is a big factor in why he's become so bad. In "All In", this culminates in Andrias completely breaking down to a point where he can't bring himself to continue fighting Anne once he learns how Leif really felt after betraying him, bemoaning the fact that he spent a millennium trying to cut out his heart for nothing and that he's committed far too much evil to be able to just take back all the harm he's caused.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Most villains never quite get the point; Zhao, for example goes to his death without compromising, but Azula's Villainous Breakdown appears to contain a little of this. Anti-Villain Zuko never quite goes into BSOD, since he has gradual Character Development instead, although his Battle in the Center of the Mind Vision Quest sort of resembled this.
    • Pre-series, Iroh after the death of Lu Ten and breaking the siege of Ba Sing Se would probably be seen as this by the Earth Kingdom, although he'd apparently been struggling with his father's goals for some time, since he lied about the dragons and had presumably already joined the Order of the White Lotus.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In "Baby-Doll", the eponymous villainess gets one of these when confronted with a funhouse mirror that somehow shows what she might have looked like as an adult without the medical condition that stopped her body from physically aging (in her case, she stopped growing past the age of five).
    • In "Judgement Day", it is heavily implied that Two-Face experiences this in his final appearance. He developed a third personality called The Judge, one that even he isn't aware of, and while in Arkham Asylum in the ending of the episode, Two-Face is deliberating in a court in his mind and, while staring blankly, pleads guilty.
  • The Batman: The episode "Seconds" revolves around villain Francis Gray, who can rewind time by up to 20 seconds, and is attempting to gas the Gotham New Years Eve party in revenge for ruining his life (he was thrown in prison for 17 years over a minor crime). he's successful and his gas kills everybody at the party — the BSOD kicks in when he realizes his son is among the casualties. Fortunately, his grief gives him the strength to rewind time back 17 years and undo the series of events that led to this.
  • Castlevania (2017):
    • Dracula is far from heartless and has many people he holds dear. His love for Lisa is genuine and strong enough that he is willing to kill all humans. He also holds his friends, Hector and Isaac, in high regards, especially Isaac. At the climax of season 2, noticing that Isaac will die for him, he teleports Isaac to safety and fights the heroes alone.
      Isaac: Behind me, Dracula. They will not reach me while I live...!
      Dracula: You would give your mortal life to preserve my immortal one?
      Isaac: To save your genius, your knowledge and your will, without question. I am just a Forgemaster, yours is the Wisdom of Ages.
      Dracula: (Beat) You are the greatest of your people, Isaac. (readies his magical mirror in background) You have a soul, I think. Perhaps that is more valuable to the world to come than a dusty collection of books and apparatus... or perhaps you simply deserve a better fate than to die instead of me.
      Isaac: I choose my death, as I chose my life.
      Dracula: Then I regret only that I have taken a choice for you.
      (grabs Isaac shoulder from behind, stunning Isaac and throws Isaac into the portal)
      Isaac: NOO!! Dracula!!
      (the portal closes before Isaac can reach it)
      Isaac: NOOOOO!!!
    • Dracula was a good father before his wife died, and deeply loves his son Alucard. What stops him in season 2 is the realization that he was willing to kill Alucard, whom he describes as "[Lisa]'s greatest gift to [him]", and is so consumed with horror and shame that he gives up and lets himself be killed.
  • Demona from Gargoyles goes through a very temporary one at the end of the four-part "City of Stone" when Goliath and the Weird Sisters force her to realize that all of her Freudian Excuses were ultimately the results of her own actions, whether overly suspicious or outright evil. The shock is enough to make her reveal the access code that will foil her own evil plan. Despite reverting back to evil form and denying her fault in anything right afterward, many consider it a Tear Jerker.
    "The access code is...alone."
  • Ghost Rider's "Penance Stare." Especially notable when he used it on freakin' Galactus in Fantastic Four: The Animated Series.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Northwest Mansion Mystery", Dipper rips into local Alpha Bitch Pacifica Northwest and her parents for doing nothing to stop a 150-year-old curse that their ancestors brought upon their family because they simply didn't give a damn about the common folk. The next time Dipper sees her, she's left a self-loathing husk of her old self, fresh from the realization that her whole ancestry is comprised of nothing but apathetic liars, cheaters and frauds.
    "You were right about me...I am just another link in the world's worst chain."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • One episode has Fluttershy, of all ponies, is charged with the less than enviable task of reforming Discord. Knowing it will be a difficult undertaking, and despite the protestations of her friends, she proceeds to treat Discord with kindness and allows him a measure of free reign with his magic. In return, he pretends to go along with it to manipulate her. At a dinner with the rest of the group, Fluttershy reveals that she's come to see him as a friend, surprising everyone, especially Discord himself. When a calamity of his making arises, she reveals that she knew all along that something like it would happen, and confronts Discord with his bad behavior by stating that they are not friends any longer.
      Discord: You think you can just boss Discord around? You think I'm going to turn all this back because you say so? Because if I don't, I'll lose the one friend I ever had? (reflective pause) Well played, Fluttershy. Well played.
      Discord: I had magic and friendship, and now I don't have either.
    • Diamond Tiara reacts this way in "Crusaders Of The Lost Mark" after her only friend, Silver Spoon, rejects her due to being bullied one too many times.
    • Subverted in the Season 5 finale. Twilight Sparkle tries to defeat Starlight Glimmer this way by dragging her to the present that is now a post-apocalyptic wasteland due to Starlight's actions, and while it almost works she instead convinces herself it's merely a trick. Instead Twilight has to convince her they can teach her to make new friends to turn Starlight around. The BSOD set in at that point, as Starlight stops responding when they return to the present, not saying anything until she is finally called in to hear what the Mane six have decided about her.
  • The Powerpuff Girls' nemesis, Mojo Jojo, has one after realizing that while he was still The Professor's lab assistant, he inadvertently created the Powerpuff Girls.
  • The guy who encouraged Palpatine to go into politics has one of these in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III when he realizes the tyrannical rule Palpatine has imposed over the former Republic. However, just as he raises his blaster to his head to commit suicide, his attention is suddenly diverted by Wheel of Fortune.
  • Steven Universe: In "Change Your Mind", after White Diamond discovers she's flawed, simply by blushing, she just shuts down at the disbelief of it, questioning literally everything, and finally being able to be talked down.
  • At the conclusion of the Transformers: Prime finale Predacons Rising, Megatron is free from Unicron's control, and he and Starscream have the Autobots at gunpoint.
    Starscream: Your new battle-armor will take things to the next level, my liege! Together we will reunite all Decepticons, and once again grind Cybertron under your mighty heel!
    Megatron: NO!!
    Starscream: What?! Why?
    Megatron: Because I now know the true meaning of oppression... and have thus lost my taste for inflicting it.
    Starscream: (chuckles nervously) You've clearly been traumatized, master. A good power-down and a stroll around the smelting pit will put you back in touch with your inner warlord—
    Megatron: Enough! The Decepticons are no more, and that is final.
  • TUGS: After Bluenose's stubborn attitude and insistence on all his orders being obeyed leads to the harbor almost being destroyed, he shuts down completely, unable to so much as whimper.
  • For hundreds of years, Nox from Wakfu has been killing many, many living beings and taking their Wakfu, with the ultimate goal of travelling back in time to see his dead family again, with the side effect of undoing every atrocity he has committed in the name of this goal. In the end, he wins, but all of his accumulated Wakfu is only enough to travel 20 minutes into the past. Hit with the realization of everything he's done, and that it was all for naught, he can only sit still, silently weeping in the wreckage of his Humongous Mecha. The sight of the Big Bad crying silently is unbearable even to Yugo, the hero, who stops the enraged Sadida army from enacting their vengeance. When he recovers, he teleports away to finally die at the graves of his family.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Grow A Conscience


Daffy's nervous breakdown

After having been shot by Elmer one too many times in the face, Daffy loses his temper and yells at Elmer to shoot him again by acting like and elk and a fiddler crab, exclaiming that it's those respective seasons.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (31 votes)

Example of:

Main / AmusingInjuries

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