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Sadistic Choice / Fan Fic

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Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • As explained by her character article on the Avatar: The Last Airbender canon and fanon wiki, Azula in Avatar:The Last Airbender Revised was forced by Ozai to make a Sadistic Choice at age eleven, sending her down a path of sadism and cruelty. She had to choose which person (both being her own age) she would burn to death: an innocent noble-blood male suitor of hers, or her very close friend Ty Lee. He attempts to persuade her to kill Ty Lee by saying that she, as a commoner, is of less value than the noble boy. Nevertheless, she kills the boy, laughing while she does it.

The Legend of Korra

  • The fanfic Book Five: Legends features this when the Big Bad of the story, well aware he can't handle the Avatar and her allies so early in the story, sabotages a mag rail line, forcing Korra to decide on saving the train or stopping them from escaping. Naturally, she chooses the former.


  • Two happened so far in Ace Combat: The Equestrian War. In chapter 11, Rainbow Dash was forced to choose between betraying her friends and joining Gilda or try to save Medley's life. She chose the latter. Two chapters later, Lightning Bolt must choose between saving Cloud Kicker from being killed by griffins or stop another griffon from bombing the Eastern Sector of Stalliongrad. She (initially) chooses the latter, but thanks to Garuda team's Big Damn Heroes moment, she goes to help Cloud Kicker.
    • The third one happens in chapter 20: the Mane Cast, together with Princesses Celestia and Luna, are attempting to combine the power of the Elements of Harmony with the Royal Sisters' magic. The result of such spell could either gradually rejuvenate Equestria's flora and fauna to the moment before the war or revive every single victim of the war, despite the fact that doing so may cause the Elements to be unusable and both princesses may fade away from existence. They chose the former.
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  • Professor Moriarty's offer to Sherlock Holmes in Children of Time is very simple: Holmes's soul or Watson's broken body. Before Holmes's eyes. ...yes, that ends the way you think it does.
  • Lulu's Bizarre Rebellion: The Stand "Wake the Snake" becomes the Stand of the most recent person it has injected venom into. The only way to stop the venom is to kill Wake the Snake, but damage to stands is reflected on their user, so killing the Stand also kills the most recent victim.
  • Justice League of Equestria: During the second arc of Mare of Steel, Brainiac — with some aid from Silversmith — sets one up for Rainbow Dash. He captures her and brings her to his ship, placing her on a pressure plate that, depending on how she chooses to act when she gets off it, will either electrocute the captive Scootaloo or detonate a bomb that will destroy Cloudsdale (and the bomb's also on a timer, so she doesn't have the option of sitting still). However, because Brainiac underestimated her sheer determination to prevent either from happening, she finds a third option: she uses her heat vision to destroy the circuitry that would remotely activate the bomb, then breaks Scootaloo free and rushes off to stop the bomb.
  • Equestrylvania: Marble poisons most of the remaining foals in Ponyville and tells Twilight she'll only give her the cure if she hands over Dracula's rib. And then, once she has the rib, she adds the stipulation that Twilight escort her out of the hospital unharmed before she'll hand it over, just to humiliate her.
    • When Rainbow Dash and Shatterstorm are captured by Rose Blade, he gives Dash the choice of either being his sex slave, or watching Shatterstorm die. She chooses to escape instead.
  • The Stars Will Aid Their Escape: Nyarlathotep pulls one on the Princesses when they confront him in Canterlot — they can banish him and thus stop his plans, but he's stolen the Cutie Mark Crusaders' souls, and will take them with him if he goes.
    • He pulls another one shortly after, where he tells Shining Armor to either stay and protect the Bearers (who he probably won't hurt yet) or go and save his troops who are being attacked by the Dark Young (who will kill all of them). Shining reluctantly picks the latter.
    "I enjoy a good hero — they're so predictable. One little nudge and off they run towards the screaming."
  • America faces one in Weight of the World. He can accept Vale's Aura, stopping Cinder from achieving her goals to plunge Remnant into chaos and risking the lives of his American citizens. Or he can refuse, thus allowing Cinder to use Vale's power to retrieve the Relic and give it to Salem, while also bringing Remnant to its knees. In the end, the choice is taken from him.


Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

  • In the final trial of Despair's Last Resort, the mastermind gives one to the surviving students. Complete the final test and leave the resort, but risk the possibility of having their mental trauma return along with their memories and have their classmates be lost forever, fail the test and allow her to make them members of Super High School Level Despair, or sacrifice Shuuya so they can stay forever in the resort. Though it turns out the last one was a complete lie.

Danny Phantom

  • In one story of the Facing the Future Series, Technus gave Danny and Sam the choice between stopping his latest scheme, or saving an out of control bus full of people. Technus, of course, knew which choice they would make, much to Danny's chagrin.


  • In chapter 18 of the Teen Titans fanfic "Maiden Of Stone," the villain Sedaris captures Raven and Terra, then forces Beast Boy to choose which one of them he will spare, an act which, according to one reviewer, brought Sedaris "up to Slade level on the evil scale". He even mentions Sophie's Choice.

Death Note

  • Point of Succession: In which Mello has been kidnapped by Beyond Birthday, Beyond puts a sniper rifle in Mello's hands and suggests he put his Wammy's training to good use and and kill someone. At first Mello objects vehemently until B reveals the target he has picked out for him is a pedophile and points out the child that the man is molesting. B leaves it up to him-he can take the shot and become a murderer or do nothing and leave the kid to be victimized. Mello takes the shot.


Dragon Ball

  • In Volume I of the ongoing fanfic Dragon Ball X this is a character trait of Denkuma. He offers to Mataro for him to kill both Denkuma and Arasha or let them both live; to Blitzo to stop Makurin's Oozaru rampage or to let it continue (thus killing Denkuma); to Korros to kill himself to save Haven or let it be destroyed; and finally, to Arnika to give Denkuma immortality or be killed herself. Most of the time, he plays on the desire of the main characters to defeat him, heavily emphasising the cost of doing so.


  • Hivefled; the Grand Highblood collects the ghosts of captive trolls. The binding has to be signed by the victim, so standard practice is to offer them the choice between binding themselves to him or watching their friends and quadrants be tortured as well.
  • In the short Homestuck fanfiction Prize an evil John casually asks Karkat whether he should kill Jade of Kanaya. Karkat refuses to choose, but evil!John keeps insisting that his friend has to.

Marvel Universe

  • The story Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty has a horrible, horrible variation of this. The Crimson Cowl has kidnapped two women Captain America loves - Bernie Rosenthal and Diamondback. They are trapped in glass tubes, with deadly gas ready to be released when a tube is broken, and only enough time to save one of them. However, this is also a Sadistic Choice for the two women, as both of them has been provided with a hammer to free themselves, at the cost of the other's life. Cap tries to Take a Third Option and smash Bernie's tube, give her an air filter, and then race to free Rachel. But the Cowl didn't allow this - Rachel's tube was not made of glass, but an unbreakable force field. Cap can only watch helplessly as she dies horribly. Talk about sadistic.

Mega Man (Classic)

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

  • Getting Back on Your Hooves: Following a Villainous Breakdown brought about by her continued failures to ruin Trixie's life, Checker Monarch kidnaps her and tells her to either leave town and give up all her happiness, or Checker will ruin all of her friends. Tellingly, even after Trixie reluctantly agrees to get thrown out of town (and dumped in a desert, to boot), Checker decides to ruin the others anyway.
  • Inner Demons: The recently Face Heel Turned Twilight Sparkle crosses the Moral Event Horizon with one of these. She captures Pinkie Pie, and when Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy show up to save her, Twilight incapacitates Fluttershy as well. She then tells Rainbow Dash to either rape Pinkie, or else she'll kill Fluttershy. Applejack shows up to save them... but only after Rainbow decides she has no choice and forces herself on Pinkie.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fancomic A Piece of Pie, one of Pinkie Pie's other personalities, Golden Pie, tells Rarity to get Pinkie's balloon, and if Rarity tries to take Golden Pie by force, the seat she's sitting on will set off creamy explosives that will ruin all of Rarity's dresses, so it's either ruin the shop and dresses or take Pinkie's balloon. No third option is taken, because Rarity takes Golden Pie off the seat and says that she'll just make more fabulous dressses.
  • The Pony POV Series: it's shown that in the Epilogue timeline, that this is Discord's preferred method of "playing" with Traitor Dash. Whenever he needs something dirty done (that doesn't require sending all of the Chaos Six), he'll send her, and get her to do it by threatening to either harm one of her friends or destroying the Sky Ocean.
  • Rainbooms and Royalty: After Rainbow Dash rejects Nightmare Moon's offer, she tries to force Rainbow through one of these by putting the rest of the Mane Cast in a life-threatening situation, and telling her to choose whom to save. Rainbow takes a third option.
  • You Obey shows what happens when a changeling, all of which are telepaths, is ordered to interrogate a prisoner. When nicer methods of interrogation fail to make the prisoner talk, the protagonist has to choose between giving up, which means A Fate Worse Than Death, and going forwards, which entails torturing the prisoner, despite the horribly unpleasant emotional feedback.
  • Rainbow Factory: When workers find out the truth about the rainbow factory, namely that it uses pony resources to make rainbows, they're given a choice: keep their mouths shut and be party to the slaughter of countless foals whose only fault was failing a flight exam, or spare a foal only to take their place. Only twice was a foal's life spared-those of Fluttershy and Derpy Hooves.
  • In the Torture Porn fanfic Cheerilee's Garden, Silver Spoon is given one in the form of a button that she can press to temporarily stop her torture device, but pours acid into Diamond Tiara's trap.
  • "Dear Scootaloo": Feather Duster throws foal Scootaloo off a cloud, forcing Rainbow Dash to choose between letting her fall or allowing him to overload the Cloudsdale weather engines and create a cataclysmic storm. At least that's what he thinks- turns out Dash is just fast enough to catch Scootaloo, leave her safe, and dash back up to kick his flank.
  • Split Second has Discord give one to Sparkle: Kill Fluttershy, and get a book with a spell that might save her life, kill her sister, and get her leg back so that Sparkle doesn't bleed to death, kill all 12 of mares present to get both, or do nothing and die. She takes a fifth option.
  • The Diamond and Dazzle fancomic features an imp forcing Diamond Tiara to choose between her tiara, her cutie mark, her voice, and her pet cat.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: The Nightmare’s plans for Sunset involved this, forcing Princess Celestia to choose between banishing her student away or risk her future student and everyone in Canterlot with a demonic powered Sunset.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide:
    • Kluge forces Maya to choose between betraying secrets of NERV and let everyone die.
    • After the Final Battle, Misato has a plan to save the Children... but her plan would mean abandoning the personnel of NERV to an uncertain fate.
      Misato: I don't want to heal them. I know I can't do that. I just want to protect them. Just talking about it isn't going to make that happen. I had a plan, but now that plan means abandoning other people who depend on me. No matter what I do, someone is going to get hurt.
      Rei: That is always going to happen. The only thing you can do is choose. We all have.
  • Walking in the Shadow of Dreams: In episode 7 of the first version, it gets revealed Ariel is half-angel. It looks like if they will be forced to kill her -something Asuka understandably is NOT in favor of-, when Gendo orders to subdue her and retrieve her without harm.

One Piece

  • In This Bites!, CP9 faces this in Enies Lobby. Either they do their jobs and try to defeat the Straw Hats who, quite apart from their reputation, treated their third strongest member like a punching bag, or they attempt to flee and risk Lucci's blatant death threat for doing so. They unanimously choose the former, and unanimously regret it. Most notably in the conclusion of Nami versus Kalifa, right before the coup de grâce:
    Kalifa: ...I should have tried my luck with Lucci.
    Nami: Considering how you chose to face us instead? Yes. You should have.
    • The Marine fleet sent to suppress the Straw Hats also face this choice, when they see that their own commanders are willing to kill anyone in the way of killing the pirates. Either they stay to do their jobs and possibly get slaughtered in the crossfire, or they try to run and face the wrath of Admiral Akainu.
    • When Kuma knocks Cross and Luffy out and declares his intent to bring them to the World Government for execution, Zoro offers to sacrifice himself for them. But as Kuma points, Zoro is only one man and there are two captives, so which one the swordsman is going to pick? Thankfully, Nami was there to allow Take a Third Option.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

  • In A History of Magic, Homura is forced into this situation: give the last human being left on Earth to Kyubey to clone a new human race for the Incubators to harvest or kill the baby herself. (Simply running was not an option because Homura was dying herself.) She chooses to give up any chance of seeing Madoka again to ensure the baby went to Madoka's heaven instead. They both end up there as a result.


  • From RWBY: Second Generation, Verse is forced into this in the final chapter of Volume 2. Cobalt offers Verse the choice to either kill himself or watch his teammates and friends die in front of him. With everyone else at gunpoint, he only has a few seconds to make a choice. He instead decides to Take a Third Option, and kills the people behind the gun, saving himself and his friends.

Sailor Moon

  • In a fanfic in which magic from the Silver Crystal allows Michiru to become pregnant with Haruka's child has this at the climax — the story eventually reveals that Sailor Senshi are supposed to be sterile to prevent them from being forced to choose between duty and child and having the baby will kill Michiru. In the end, Haruka has to choose between saving her lover or her child. She chooses Michiru, but in a twist, because the baby's life force was linked to Michiru's own, neither dies.


  • The Sanctuary Telepath: Janine is forced to choose between staying with Helen or helping John, in which case she would lose her relationship with her "sister". She believes she took a third option by helping her brother while spending periods of time with Helen, but later realizes that all the necessary lying and roleplaying weakened their relationship to the point that she actually did choose.


  • A fanfic for BBC's Sherlock here the horrific cliffhanger ending of the series was continued upon in such a way that Moriarty offered this sort of choice to Sherlock, only instead of having him choose between two people, he was forced to choose between himself and John (with the threat of the full extent of Moriarty's madness hanging over John's head if he takes the third option). Being Sherlock, he takes the third option.

The Smurfs

  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Polaris' Smurfy New Life," Empath's friend Polaris Psyche comes down with a degenerative disease that could kill him in a matter of hours or days, and Empath learns that the Psyche Master had purposely implanted this disease in the Psyches to be activated about a year from being disconnected from the collective conscience of the Psyches. Empath is faced with the option of either returning Polaris Psyche back to the Psyche Master, though in the process Polaris would no longer remember anything he had learned about Empath or the Smurfs, or letting him live out remaining time he has with the disease. Empath chooses freedom for his friend, but fortunately Papa Smurf lets Polaris live beyond the remaining time by giving him the Long Life Elixir...though this presents itself with the temporary side effect of turning Polaris' skin blue like a Smurf.

Sonic the Hedgehog

  • Episode 75 of Sonic X: Dark Chaos has a truly crowning example. Satan gives Sonic and his friends a choice between giving him the Chaos Emeralds or the metaphysical annihilation of the entire Milky Way Galaxy. Sonic and his friends choose the latter, but D'Arnazhee betrays Maledict and shoots the Galaxy Crusher's firing mechanism right out of his hand.

Touhou Project

  • This trope was analyzed and discussed during the events of story three of Gensokyo 20XX, Chapter 18: Mokou's Question, Morton's Fork, and Sadistic Choice of Gensokyo 20XXII, when Mokou brings up a circumstance not too unlike Sophie's Choice and wonders if Yukari was placed in the same circumstance with Ran's pup and Reimu and what it would be like. From Yuuka's perspective, it would be sheer hell and for good reason. Nevertheless, going hand to hand with Morton's Fork, it is called a "damned of done and damned if don't" circumstance because neither choice would be good.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

  • In From The Ashes Of Temples, Commander Bradford has to make a decision on whether to send a comatose VIP into the alien interrogation chamber to get at crucial information, or let EXALT get away with kidnapping Annette Durand.


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