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"The difficult we do at once. The impossible takes a little longer."
— Unofficial US Army Corps of Engineers motto

This character hasn't just beaten the odds once. He's survived several Suicide Missions. The Uriah Gambit failed. He won the Last Stand. In short, the hero has repeatedly accomplished so-called Impossible Tasks. And his superiors or the world at large have taken notice... and unfortunately for the poor hero, he or she is now the go-to person for missions that are thought impossible for anyone else.

Characters like this can get this reputation a number of ways.

  • Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder: The hero or heroes survive their superiors trying to kill them so many times deliberately in less important missions that when a crucial task that seems impossible actually does come up, they are the go-to group.
  • Had to Be Sharp: They've overcome so many situations that others would have died in that they have accidentally built up a reputation for surviving anything. Nothing deliberate on the superior's part, but the odds came up and they beat them.
  • Training from Hell: The characters might not have actually beaten anything yet, but they were put through training that by all rights shouldn't be too much easier than the supposed impossible mission.
  • Fake Ultimate Heroism: Their reputation is entirely undeserved or grossly blown out of proportion. Rumor and exaggeration may turn a simple feat into an epic accomplishment, or make them up wholecloth. This may or may not be because The Powers That Be enjoy seeing the character win and/or suffer.

One possible deconstruction of this trope is that the Big Good, Big Bad, or some other powerful or manipulative figure has been arranging things such that the characters always succeed, or at least have even odds. Once this aid is exposed, they have to face real impossible missions.

Subtrope is Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder. One of the reasons It's Up To the Player Character, One-Man Army, and One Riot, One Ranger. In Video Games, Save Scumming probably helps. Compare Impossible Thief, who does (usually even more blatantly) impossible things in a different context.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann gives us Kamina and his motto: "Go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb!" That's not a metaphor. He advocates doing things that are flat out impossible. The trick: in a universe that runs on Hot-Blooded-ness, it works. It is contagious, as Simon and the whole team Dai-Gurren demonstrate, thus getting categorized as this kind of badass.
  • This is essentially the overall main plot of Irresponsible Captain Tylor, both the titular character and the crew of the Soyokaze are either Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder or just that badass, or some combination of both (the series doesn't make it clear which).
  • At the end of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 3, Jotaro give us this gem.
    Jotaro: You could call everything we've done on this journey impossible. I'm tired of hearing words like impossible or futile. They all mean nothing to us.
  • From Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Yang Wen-Li: nicknamed "The Magician" for his ability to emerge victorious against ridiculous odds: the first time he captured Iselhorn fortress, it was in fact a Suicide Mission given by superiors who wanted to get rid of him: he emerged successful from said suicide mission with insulting ease. Eventually he gets so good at winning against impossible odds or getting draws out of otherwise unsalvagable situations that his entire national government ends up nearly begging him in one particular situation to solve yet another crisis for the Republic.
  • Code Geass has two versions of this:
    • First is Zero, who takes a ragtag group of terrorists and reforms them into a military organization to fight The Britannian Empire, which rules over 1/3 of world.
    • Second is Colonel Kyoshiro Tohdoh (known as Tohdoh The Miracle Worker). He fought for Japan when Britannia invaded, and was the only person to win a battle against Britannia's Knightmare Frames, which became known as the Miracle of Itsukushima. People revere him for this, despite the fact that he's not as good as people say. He even admits this. When he's put in charge of a battle in season one, he gets everyone captured.
  • Shirou Emiya in Fate/stay night survives battles against Servants where other Servants have failed. This is due to his training from hell since it's revealed that his magical self-training is physically demanding to the point of life-threatening, and has conditioned him to be more powerful and durable than Rin's more traditional study.
    • His father, Kiritsugu Emiya, in Fate/Zero is hired for his reputation as an effective assassin against even the most powerful mages, mostly for fighting dirty.
    • Fate/Stay Night's Berserker manages to break Gilgamesh's chains of Enkidu. These chains strengthen based on how godly the Servant is. This Berserker is Heracles, so his god rank is A.
  • Mu La Flaga in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED uses "I am a man who can make the impossible possible," as his Catchphrase. He lives up to it with a combination of Ace Pilot skill, ingenuity, a healthy dose of common sense born of previous experience, and a bit of pure luck, to the point that in the penultimate episode he blocks an antimatter cannon with his Humongous Mecha and succeeds in shielding the ship behind him even though by all rights the positron beam should have gone right through his mobile suit and taken the ship out anyhow. And then the sequel reveals that he lived through it.
  • State Alchemists in Fullmetal Alchemist are the best of the best when it comes to alchemy. They're almost all practitioners of highly specific types of alchemy and have to pass a yearly test to make sure that they are still skilled enough to stay. Edward Elric and Shou Tucker were explicitly instated because they have done something that no one else has ever seen with alchemy.
  • Issei Hyodou, the protagonist of High School D×D, can be considered as this. Seriously, who can pull off crashing an engagement party and declare that Rias' virginity belongs to him, take his rival's power and infuse it with him even though said rival's power is the total opposite of his, and summon the freaking god of breasts that makes even gods from other mythologies go "wtf".
  • The Three Aces in the Lyrical Nanoha series have firmly established their reputation for achieving the impossible by the second season. In the supplementary manga set after it, their (future) superiors are completely baffled by what kind of miracle must have occurred to resolve a case, which, by all estimates, should have destroyed the entire planet, with a single fatality. Eventually, they conclude that this "miracle" had a name—or rather, three names: Nanoha Takamachi, Fate Testarossa, and Hayate Yagami.
  • The primary reason why Goku is seen as The Ace and the Hope Bringer in Dragon Ball. He is known for doing the impossible from single-handedly destroying an entire army, defeating the Demon King and all his children, doing it again three years later, thwarting an alien invasion from members of his own race, taking down the most elite fighting force in the universe, regularly defeats those called the strongest in the universe, and escaped an exploding planet, twice. At times his friends truly believe that he is invincible.
  • By the latter half of One Piece, the Straw Hat Pirates have gotten a reputation that very little can stop them, as Luffy has spearheaded attacks on the World Government's most highly protected complexes, the Judicial Island Enies Lobby, the prison Impel Down, and the Navy headquarters Marinford, and punched a World Noble in the face and lived to tell about it, circumstances surrounding those incidents notwithstanding. During Dressrosa, Trafalgar Law has no problem being Defiant to the End to Don Quixote Doflamingo as he knows that even if he gets killed, nothing will stop the Straw Hats from destroying the villain's operations for good.

    Comic Books 
  • Damage Control does this for construction.
    The City of New York tried to fix the George Washington bridge for 7 months. Then they called us.
    We fixed it in one day. Before lunch.
  • The Transformers mythos have The Wreckers, who tend to get called in when the job is incredibly dangerous and the chance of death is high. As described in "Stormbringer" #2:
    Springer: Lost cause? Of course it's a lost cause! That's why we're here.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • Invoked by Reed Richards in "True Story":
      Mister Fantastic: In order to deal with this phenomenon I will have to literally create an entirely new field of scientific study. Give me forty-eight hours.
    • Doing the impossible is pretty much the Fantastic Four's mission statement. A subtle example, when they shrunk themselves to microscopic size to inject themselves into the bloodstream of their old friend Willie Lumpkin to remove an inoperable brain tumor. Lumpkin's doctor had previously said that only a miracle could save him. Ben Grimm's reply:
      The Thing: A miracle... does that guy have any idea who he's talking to?
  • Resurrection of Magneto: When Storm goes to Dr. Adam Brashear (the Blue Marvel) for a machine to get her into the afterlife, he tells her that if she were to ask Tony Stark or Reed Richards they'd say this was impossible. But he's built a career on doing the impossible, so he immediately shows her to the big portal machine for getting into the afterlife.

    Fan Works 
  • It's implied in Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, that Samantha Shepard's suicide mission actually counted as a deconstruction since the "loyalty" missions in which she gained her crewmates' trust were at least partially set up by Cerberus in order to make Shepard and her team bond more tightly. This feeling of unearned success contributes to her Heroic BSoD. She is, however, still regarded as one who does the impossible—it's the reason why despite her crimes against civilians the powers-that-be opt to give her another chance. That Shepard & Co. can't just shoot, bludgeon, or talk their way through the threat facing her galaxy only shows how how dangerous said threat is. The Citadel Council and others begin to regard the Trans-Galactic Republic as doing the impossible since their technology defies known physics, their ships are so strong, and they send Reapers packing. Such adoration seems misplaced after the events of Fractured (SovereignGFC), but it's all they have left or so they think.
  • The four quite rightly get this reputation in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World when they achieve some highly improbable successes. To the point where the following dialogue with the Circle takes place:
    Suddenly the Scheme-Maker thumped her fist on the table and grinned. "So! Seems impossible to touch Cloud Horn. Recalcitrant owners. Deadly consequences if caught stealing. Can't give much in way of resources, since seems like a waste. Have to use own gear. Still, only Key mission now. Welcome to try. Want?"
    The four looked at one another, knowing they were all of the same mind. "I reckon we'll have a bash," said Paul. "We're a bit good at the impossible."
    "Especially the impossible at a luxury resort," murmured John.
  • Child of the Storm has Harry developing a reputation for being more or less unstoppable. No matter how hard you knock him down, even if you kill him, he'll bounce back, and more importantly, hit back - hard. Of course, there are a lot of caveats behind this, and it doesn't account for the Trauma Conga Line, or for the fact that Harry understandably does not appreciate being a Doom Magnet (most of the time. He's more of a Blood Knight than he generally likes to admit).
    • Peter Wisdom a.k.a. Regulus Black, Director of MI13 once flippantly remarks, "We're MI13, we break the Laws of Nature for a living."
  • know what i've made by the marks on my hands: Izuku, having gained a reputation from interfering at Kamino Ward, is now the go-to person whenever someone loses their quirk.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Superman points out to his cousin that they don't have the luxury of a normal life because no one can do what they can, and most of time saving the day comes to them, therefore people will keep turning to them for help. Right like he predicted, shortly afterwards the Legion of Super-Heroes turns to Supergirl because they need extra Kryptonian firepower to fight Darkseid.
    Superman: What I'm trying to remind her of is that our powers place us in a certain position. And it's one of obligation. No one on Earth can do what we can, and very often, to protect it and other planets, we are required to do everything we're capable of.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Fifth Element: Korben Dallas is an overworked and unappreciated cabbie who ends up having to save the universe. Helps that he's Bruce Willis, which crops up in many of his roles. In-universe, Major Korben Dallas, of the The Federated Army's Special Forces, had an extensive record of successful missions and achievements.
  • Die Hard's John McClane. Nevermind anything else this overworked NYPD cop does, he takes out a helicopter with a police car. He's just a mook that always ends up in the wrong place at the right time, or as they say in Live Free or Die Hard: "That's what makes you That Guy." Weirdly, John is usually this on accident. He's never the first guy anyone goes to in an out-of-control terrorist crisis in the films, doesn't get any accolades, and it is in fact suggested in the 4th film that his police department and many other law enforcement agencies consider his actions to be a fluke or an embarrassment. Somehow however, he always ends up being right in the middle of the terrorist plots he thwarts.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: As does Riddick. For instance, outrunning the lethal sunrise on an alien planet, or resisting having his soul ripped out by a half-dead warlord through sheer force of will.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Quatermain (Sean Connery) apparently actually hired a guy to screen visitors because of his reputation for skill.
  • The name of the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) in the Mission: Impossible film series is self-explanatory. They'll accomplish missions the CIA (or any other American agency) can't pull off, either because of jurisdiction or because it's too damn risky/chances of success are small.
  • The A-Team: As defined by the officer pursuing the Alpha Team:
    Capt. Charisa Sosa: ... they are the best at what they do, and they specialize in the ridiculous.
    Hannibal Smith: Give me a minute, I'm good. If I've got an hour, I'm great. You give me six months, I'm unbeatable.
  • Peter lampshades this in Ghostbusters II:
    Venkman: Kitten, what I'm saying is that, sometimes, shit happens, someone's gotta deal with it, and who're you gonna call?
  • A Time to Kill: Brigance attempts to defend the African American worker Carl Lee Hailey - who killed two white men and stands by it - by pulling an Insanity Defence in a Deep South judicial system (with death row awaiting Hailey), pitted against a ruthless white prosecutor with a socially and politically influential background, a highly suggestible (as well as very opportunistic) judge, an all-white well-to-do jury who just wants to go home, a corrupted black activist group that holds out for a martyr (Hailey), KKK members spreading terror and intimidating Brigance's co-workers into quitting one by one, and (to add insult to injury) weak and powerless local authorities who fail to hinder any of this. Oh, and there's also the rioting that breaks out halfway through the trial. And then the National Guard has to be called in. Well yeah, it really couldn't get any worse. But hey, guess who wins in the end?
  • Apparently this is John Wick's reputation as a nigh-unstoppable, nigh-unkillable international assassin. Even when he's faced with a small army of skilled and motivated killers while holding nothing but a single handgun (or a pencil), he still can be counted on to come out on top.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a subversion. He's got a rep for being the great and powerful wizard who can solve any problem, but he's really a fake. (Starting with Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, he Becomes the Mask and becomes a real hero.)
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Rogue Squadron of the X-Wing Series, and its commander Wedge Antilles in particular. One of the Rogues' mottoes is "Impossible is our stock in trade, and success is what we deliver." No matter how many Rogues die in combat, Wedge always survives, and the squadron always rebuilds.
    • In a book of the New Jedi Order, Wedge isn't one of the Rogues anymore, instead commanding a good-sized portion of the New Republic's fleet in the days after Coruscant falls to the Yuuzhan Vong. What's left of the New Republic's ruling council tells him to hold Borleias as long as possible. Wedge is highly savvy and sees through them, aware that they want him and his entire command to get gloriously killed so that they can surrender later. He bullies them into giving him more resources by threatening to quit, along with most of his command staff, if they don't. Ultimately he sets up a new Rebel Alliance to work quietly under the radar, and while he ultimately retreats away from Borleias, he gives the Vong one hell of a bloody nose on the way out.
    • In the same duology of books, after setting up their base on Borleais, an enemy fleet attempts to take back a temporary base they're fabricating on the moon. Wedge and Tycho very specifically plan this operation so as to make it look like they lose the moon and run back to the planet in retreat. Due to coincidental timing by the cavalry and their Big Damn Gunship, they end up destroying the entire fleet instead.
      Tycho: We'll put that in your biography. Wedge Antilles was so great he couldn't lose when he tried.
    • In the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, it's explicitly stated that Anakin stands out in this regard, even for a Jedi. Obi-Wan even reflects on this at one point: "But for Anakin Skywalker, the completely impossible had an eerie way of being merely difficult."
  • Ciaphas Cain's is the HERO OF THE IMPERIUM because this trope is his stock and trade. His heroism is a mixture of "undeserved reputation" and genuine ability, odd as that sounds. He typically gets sent in to do something "merely" difficult, tries to take the easy way out, finds out things are much worse than they seem, and ends up doing the impossible anyway, only further enhancing his reputation.
    • Just one example: In Death or Glory, he's shot down onto a strange planet in the middle of a continent controlled by Orkish invaders. His plan: get the frak out of there as soon as possible. The result: becoming a rallying point for a growing army of survivors, destroying thousands of Orks, and personally dueling the Ork Warboss to (the Ork's) death, effecting the liberation of the planet almost personally.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: The Vorkosigan Family. As Cordelia remarks; "The difficult we do at once. The impossible takes a little longer."
  • Some Discworld characters;
    • Granny Weatherwax has gone up against and beaten the unspeakable hordes of elves, vampires, Eldritch Abominations from a different dimension, and DEATH himself, and yet some idiot always think they stand a chance against this crotchety old lady.
    • The entire city of Ankh-Morpork has gained this reputation by The Last Hero; according to Lord Vetinari, the reason the people of the Counterweight Continent ask him, and by extension the city's people, to stop Cohen the Barbarian from blowing up the Disc is because, in his words, "They believe us to have zip, zing, get-up-and-go, and can-do." Notably, the crew selected to go after Cohen consists of; Rincewind, Inept Mage, Cosmic Plaything and Action Survivor, Captain Carrot, The Ace and The Unchosen One who may be the last son of the city's royal family, and Leonard Da Quirm, a brilliant inventor who designs weapons of mass destruction as a hobby. The Librarian, who is an orangutan and the only member of Unseen University's staff who really knows what to do, ended up part of the crew by accident.
    • Samuel Vimes has certainly gained a reputation for being an incorruptible hound of justice who will not stop until he apprehends the bad guys in the name of the Law. Rulers around the Disc have recognized that this seemingly-normal man has gone toe-to-toe with vampires, golems, werewolves, dwarves, trolls, and supernatural things of vengeance, and he is still not dead, while his opponents are seldom mentioned in polite company ever again.
  • Mat Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Lan, Thom Merril, even Jain Farstrider from The Wheel of Time have this quality and Lan, Mat and Perrin have all unwittingly received followers for it. Granted, Mat IS that lucky and Perrin can talk with wolves, but hey...
  • The Princess Bride:
    • Near the end of The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya and Fezzik face a seemingly impossible task and feel lost without Vizzini, who was the brain of the outfit. They decide that the one they need to help them is the Man in Black — because he already climbed the Cliffs of Insanity without a rope, and beat the world's greatest fencer Inigo in a swordfight, the world's strongest giant Fezzik in wrestling and the, uh, kind of smart Vizzini in a game of wits.
    • At one point the Man in Black deems a task impossible, until he hears they have a wheelbarrow and Holocaust cloak, and then suddenly he has a plan that works perfectly with only these two items. In his defense, he had asked what their assets were and taken them at their word.
  • The Brave Little Tailor, in The Brothers Grimm story, is a fake ultimate hero. Having killed seven flies, he embroiders a belt with the Badass Boast "Seven In One Blow" and then has to use his wits to fulfill challenges from people who think it was seven men.
  • David Gunn, Death's Head: Sven goes from living with barbarian aliens that wiped out his command to killing armies across the galaxy.
  • Star Trek: The Starfleet Corps of Engineers have rebooted ancient computers, solved planetary plagues, explored starships that can crash-dive into suns, made planets disappear, installed and booted up a warp core while being crushed inside a gas giant, and built devices that can alter the laws of probability. In fact their motto is practically "If we can't do it, it can't be done." To top it off, the motto that appears on their actual 'corps patch' is "We got it", and they've got a reputation for being able "to turn rocks into replicators" that doesn't seem to be exaggerated in the least.
  • Subverted in the backstory of Penric's Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold. Penric is so good at sorcerous healing that his local hospital assigns him all the hopeless cases, including the patients even sorcery can't cure. After an emotionally draining period of seeing most of his patients die and never being given any easy successes, he burns out and seeks a different career.
  • In Cold Days, Harry Dresden paraphrases (and one-ups) the US Army Corps of Engineers motto by stating to his apprentice Molly: "The impossible we do at once. The unimaginable takes a little longer". Truly, Harry may be the Earth's strongest wizard of his generation and, in the span of twenty years, gotten out of countless impossible situations (though not unscathed), unwillingly building himself one hell of a reputation.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Jack Bauer of 24. Throughout the series he persevered through gunshot wounds, beatings, torture, explosions, plane crashes, drug addiction, biological weaponry and even clinical death. He very quickly becomes the guy anyone in the government goes to if they want to get shit done in as short a time as possible.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor. He flies in a time machine that can go anywhere and anywhen in the universe, has saved the Earth more times than he can count, saved the universe and all of reality itself repeatedly. He defeats intergalactic races of pure evil on a daily basis, thinks crippling dictatorships is a rather average outing, and can do all of this with a kettle, a piece of string, and a screwdriver.
      The Doctor: It's impossible!
      River: How impossible?
      The Doctor: Two minutes.
    • That being said, he's so used to being impossible and amazing that he's devastated when he can't pull out an impossible miracle. In "Voyage of the Damned", when he can neither save all of his friends nor pull a falling Astrid out of an emergency teleport, he bellows, "I CAN DO ANYTHING!" as he all but rips the teleport mechanism to shreds.
  • Firefly: Used by Mal Reynolds during the Battle of Serenity Valley to describe his unit:
    "We have done the impossible. And that makes us mighty."
  • In Kamen Rider Wizard, when people with latent magical power are driven beyond the Despair Event Horizon, their Inner Demon bursts forth into the real world; coming back from the brink is said to be practically impossible. Haruto Souma, the title character, does this twice: once in the backstory (which gave him the ability to use magic in the first place), and again in The Movie. The latter gets a lampshade when the Big Bad outright says "That's impossible!" and Haruto responds "Isn't doing the impossible what wizards are all about?"
  • The Impossible Mission Force in Mission: Impossible.
  • Rome: After Vorenus and Pullo report that they'd encountered Pompey, but didn't kill him, Caesar's advisor recommends they be executed. Caesar responds, "Any other man, certainly. But those two, they found my stolen standard, now they survive a wreck that drowned an army and find Pompey Magnus on a beach. They have powerful gods on their side and I will not kill any man with friends of that sort."
  • Stargate:
  • Star Trek: Starfleet engineers have an In-Universe reputation for this, the motto that appears on their actual 'corps patch' is "We got it", and claims that they are able "to turn rocks into replicators" that don't seem to be exaggerated in the least.
  • James West and Artemus Gordon of The Wild Wild West are apparently the government's go-to team whenever the impossible needs to be done.
  • Wonder Woman: A short list of the eponymous heroine's feats includes: wrestling a gorilla ("Wonder Woman vs Gargantua"); stopping a tank with her bare hands ("Anschluss 77"); running 47 miles in four minutes ("Death in Disguise"); saving the world from several alien invasions ("Mind Stealers from Outer Space", "Judgement from Outer Space", "The Boy Who Knew Her Secret"); and preventing World War III from starting by destroying Hitler's clone ("Anschluss 77"). She's called Wonder Woman for a reason.
  • In an old Polish series Zmiennicy, one of the workers at a theatre says: "I do the impossible offhand, for miracles you have to wait a bit."

  • Savoyard march song Gironfla, where the King of Savoy musters himself an army of 80 halberd-armed peasants, 4 cast iron guns and baggage train of 20 donkeys, puts a twenty-year old Ensign Newbie Cristopho de Carignan to lead it - and wins the French army sent against it. The song is based on Real Life historical events.

  • Dead Ringers: Gareth Southgate, manager of the England football team, gets bored in the run-up to the 2021 UEFA World Cup final, since he only does the impossible, and at that point the idea of England winning the cup actually seems entirely plausible. So he decides to instead go scale Mt. Everest carrying a fridge in nothing but a mankini.

    Video Games 
  • Master Chief of Halo is a combination of both Training from Hell and Native Skill and Cunning. He's already considered to be one of the best Spartan-II Super Soldiers by the beginning of the first game, but his exploits after most of the other IIs have died are what really turn him into a legend. Really, Spartans as a whole are considered to be this by the rest of the UNSC, the IIs especially.
  • Similarly, in the earlier Bungie game Marathon, the character is implied to be a cyborg super-soldier, the hero of a thousand faces, and the personification of Destiny itself. As the series progresses, he goes from surgical strikes to being the turning point of a war to single-handedly routing entire armies.
  • Max Payne has been blow up, shot at, fallen heights that would've crippled others, and has actually been shot in the head by a Desert freaking Eagle, and somehow he still has a bad guy body count well into the triple digits by the second game, and has personally ended the life of anyone who's ever pointed a gun at him. And yet somehow the villains of the third game somehow think it's a good idea to make this completely unkillable man their fall guy.
  • The Prince in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines wants to kill off the PC, but since he can't order an execution sends us on increasingly dangerous suicide missions. Canonically, the only way the PC can die is if they do something that is also impossible - impossibly stupid: willfully submitting to the authority of the backstabbing Prince - where both dumbasses are then hit with a surprise-bomb-in-the-macguffin.
  • Deconstructed in BioShock, where the protagonist was genetically designed to cut through Rapture like a hot knife through butter. The Vita Chambers help.
    • Bioshock Infinite: Booker's mission was near-impossible because the antagonist can see the future. Prior to the start of the game, 122 alternate universe Bookers got killed. He does it anyway.
  • The arcade mode in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War applies this to Mobius 1, the player character of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. The mission commander explains that Mobius 1 was chosen to put down an Erusian rebellion by himself because his kill count exceeds that of entire squadrons. Oh, and the Erusians know him as "the Grim Reaper."
  • Played with in Mass Effect. Shepard, on his/her own, is a clear total badass, and was selected as the first human Spectre specifically on account of being a Badass — what he/she did, the player chooses at the character creation screen. In fact, Shepard gets huge amounts of credit and respect for being such a Badass, unlike many such characters. Shepard's squad, on the other hand, tends to be closer to elite cannon fodder; most of them aren't as obviously Badass as Shepard when they first join, but by the time the games are over, they've done enough Level Grinding that impossible tasks are just another day's work.
    • Played with by giving you a whole squad of badasses in Mass Effect 2. Every squadmate is either the best in their profession or just ridiculously tough - Zaeed in particular is described as just like Shepard except for the fact he takes cheques (and is incapable of leading.) According to the squad, they're also sent into suicidal odds about twice a day.
      • Lampshaded by Tali at game's end:
        Tali: I can't believe you destroyed the Collector base. They said it couldn't be done. Then again, they say that about a lot of the things you do.
      • Better yet, it's entirely possible for Shepard to do a suicide mission with no one dying, including their entire crew, not just squadmates.
      • Also lampshaded when recruiting Thane.
        Shepard: They told me it was impossible to get to Ilos, too.
        Thane: A fair point. You've made a career on performing the impossible.
      • Garrus also has this winner:
        Garrus: The Collectors killed you once and all it did was piss you off.
  • Air Force Delta Strike: Need a team to fly into the eye of a tornado to destroy its generator, destroy rail-gun artillery by flying down the barrel, or clear an absurdly spacious subway of enemy weapons? Call in the Delta Squadron.
  • Lightning almost invokes this trope word for word in Final Fantasy XIII, declaring she, the other party members, and humanity as a whole to be just that badass. By this point the gang has taken down multiple god-like beings, some of them had to be defeated several times, and the party is still going.
    "We live to make the impossible possible!"
  • This level of badassery is almost exactly how Samus is characterized in the manual for the original Metroid, having completed countless missions that others would have deemed impossible. In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, you can come across a log from a Galactic Federation Space Marine, otherwise known as the badasses of the Federation, calling bullshit on the idea that one person managed to destroy an entire Space Pirate base by herself. Except that Samus did exactly that, and by the timeline of the game, did it twice.
  • Ace Attorney: In a less physical version of this trope, Phoenix Wright makes a living of turning an impossible trial on its head. If the only choices he has are the impossible and the even more impossibler, he'll do both simultaneously.
    • We are not kidding in the slightest. In the first game, after all his evidence has been thrown out, his witnesses made unreliable, and his conclusions debunked, he wins an impossible case by calling a parrot as a witness. In a later game, he calls an orca.
  • Squad 7 from Valkyria Chronicles fits this trope rather well (despite technically being mere militia) thanks to Welkin Gunther's leadership, and they end up being assigned numerous suicide missions deemed too unglamorously dangerous for the regular Gallian army. Though the brass treats them as mere Cannon Fodder, Squad 7 always manages to pull off an astonishing victory against near-impossible odds, or at the very least, delay the enemy hordes long enough to allow allied units to successfully retreat (before making their own escape).
  • This trope is used as a lampshade-hanging Hand Wave in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor for how a certain NPC is able to sell you a new copy of the expansion's epic/legendary ring, ie. the ring equivalent of an Infinity +1 Sword.
    Player Character: Where can I replace a lost ring or acquire another?
    Khadgar: Impossible! Your ring is a handcrafted masterpiece of exquisite arcane craftsmanship, invaluable and irreplaceable! ...On the other hand, Zooti Fizzlefury outside of my tower here is an expert in procuring the impossible. Maybe you could cross his palms with some gold.
  • Deep Rock Galactic: The titular company prides itself in exploiting planets that every other competitor finds to be too risky to be worth it, and sometimes considered impossible to mine. This is half the reason why their newest mining operation, the one you're participating in, is in Hoxxes IV, literally the most dangerous planet in the known galaxy, and equally the most profitable due to its mineral and biological riches.
    [Hoxxes IV] is to the best of our knowledge the single most dangerous planet in the galaxy, and it just so happens to contain the richest concentrations of minable material ever discovered. Many before us have tried taming Hoxxes. All have failed. Except for us. And it is where we will be sending you.


    Web Original 
  • The Fellowship of The Questport Chronicles. Especially after Year Four, when they accomplish a task that is explicitly stated to be impossible.
  • The super villain group known as The Undersiders in Worm starts out being perceived as a fairly unremarkable group, but has a firm reputation for escaping seemingly impossible situations. As the story progresses, they proceed to destroy or subjugate all local villains, while humiliating the government and Hero efforts to stop them. They effectively take over their home city and become its mostly-benevolent warlords. Needless to say, in the sequel series, the term Undersider has some serious infamy and renown.
    • Protagonist Taylor Hebert in particular is known for this. To name a few instances, she kills the top-ranked hero Alexandria, partially leads the attack and (unprecedented) actual victory against the Endbringer Behemoth, and then mind-controls multiple dimensions-worth of parahumans in order to save the world. By the sequel series, she’s become a semi-mythical figure. All of this is accomplished by a thin teenaged girl whose superpower is the ability to control bugs.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device:
    • The Emperor, highly annoyed at the Ultramarines, sends them on an impossible mission to capture Magnus the Red, one of the most dangerous enemy leaders. He even tells them to go without Warp protection as a handicap. They succeed anyway, so he tells them to go handle another impossible thing he needs done. Then he just gives them an impossible mission that doesn't actually need doing. The Ultramarines themselves are shown discussing how the heck they have been able to achieve nearly impossible things, and suggest that some powerful entity is twisting reality to make sure they remain the best.
    • The Emperor himself retrieves Magnus's soul from the God of Evil holding it. After doing this, he agrees it was absolutely impossible, but "I am the motherfucking Emperor."

    Western Animation 
  • Mickey Mouse in "Brave Little Tailor" whose boast that he "killed seven [flies] in one blow!" was taken out of context and he was tasked with taking out a nearby problem giant.
  • DuckTales (1987): A third-person variation occurs at the end of "Launchpad's First Crash"; Scrooge tells Launchpad he is the only pilot he knows capable of pulling off the impossible things necessary on his missions.
  • Kim Possible. "I can do anything" is her tagline. She's even got a song about it.
    • Lampshaded in a flashback from The Movie "A Sitch In Time"
      Kim: Okay, type in ""
      Ron: Loading... Loading... "Kim Possible. She can do anything." Yeah, you know, it sounds a little braggy.
      Kim: It's like a commercial, Ron. It's supposed to be braggy.
    • Heck, her name alludes to this ability, which comes up as a semi-regular Phrase Catcher; Sometimes she'll do something remarkable or say she's planning to do so, and another character will say "It's impossible!". Ron's responds "Check the name." (About the only time the punny names are noticed in-universe.) Even more so, her family's mantra is "Anything is possible for a Possible".
  • Phineas and Ferb, to the point that they just sort of assume it.
  • In one episode of Rocket Power, Sam's skateboard simulation computer program stumbles upon a move that it has deemed physically impossible. Otto doesn't believe it, so he tries to pull it off and at one point does...with a little assistance from a tennis ball shot out of the Stimpletons' lawn mower.
  • Futurama: The Professor regularly sends the Planet Express crew on missions that he doesn't expect them to survive—not because he wants to kill them, but because he views them as completely expendable.
    The Professor: Good news, everyone. Tomorrow, you'll all be making a delivery to Ebola 9, the virus planet.
    Hermes: Why can't they go today?
    The Professor: Because tonight's a special night, and I want you all to be alive.
  • This trope has been an exact quote for The Impossibles.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Weirdmageddon Part 1", Bill Cipher has raised Hell on Earth, and having been separated from his immediate family and lost his Journal, Dipper has hit the Despair Event Horizon. However, Wendy voices her belief that, having done incredible feats throughout the summer, taking Bill down is something Dipper can do.
    Wendy: I've seen a lot of crazy stuff this summer, but nothing as amazing as you and your sister.
  • Invoked in the Teen Titans episode "How Long is Forever?" when Starfire thinks defeating Warp and changing the Bad Future is impossible.
    Nightwing: Good. If memory serves, we've done the impossible before.

Alternative Title(s): Doing The Impossible