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Underestimating Badassery / Anime & Manga

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People Underestimating Badassery in anime and manga.


  • In 3-gatsu no Lion, this is one character's fatal mistake during a shogi tournament semi-final match that results in that character's loss. He initially writes him off as just another opponent (reducing him down to just his rank) in his fervor to go up against another character in the finals, not realizing the accomplishments under his semi-final opponent's belt would indicate the true strength in his abilities.
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  • The Beast Titan in Attack on Titan, despite being warned about Levi by both his subordinates, dismisses him as a mere human unworthy of consideration. This gets his Titan form cut to pieces, his army slaughtered, and forces him to retreat after nearly getting killed himself.
  • Firo Prochainezo from Baccano! is one of the Martillo family's top fighters, second only to Ronnie (who's more or less an Eldritch Abomination). He also a small, baby-faced pretty boy that looks so harmless that children think they can take him on without much trouble. Czeslaw finds this amusing.
  • A lot of people in Berserk tend to underestimate Guts. Many of them just don't buy that somebody can actually swing that ridiculously large sword of his or kill as many men as he has singlehandedly, while the Apostles refuse to acknowledge that a mere human can kill or even defeat them, despite knowing very well that he fought countless other Apostles, killed them and lived to kill others.
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  • When the Noah's Ark Circus launches an attack on Phantomhive Manor in Black Butler, they completely write off the household staff. Turns out Ciel didn't hire his staff for their household abilities - he has Sebastian, after all - but as security. None of the circus crew survive the attack.
  • In Black Clover the Black Bulls get this a lot, specially Asta and Noelle, the former for his lack of magic and commoner origins and the latter for being the Chew Toy of the royal family, pushed away from the Silver Eagles because her family was ashamed of her. The Black Bulls are actually amazingly powerful, but their rowdy, quirky nature gets in the way of people noticing that.
  • In Black Lagoon,
    • At the beginning of the first "Killer Meido" arc, some local yahoos make the mistake of thinking that Roberta is an easy target because she's a milk-drinking Meido. Bad mistake. At the beginning of El Baile De La Muerte, some of them make the same stupid mistake about Roberta's protege Fabiola. You'd think they'd learn...
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    • Anytime any outsiders come to Roanapur, they're either the biggest badasses around or complete morons. A perfect example would be when a Florida mafia enforcer tries to boss around the mercenaries he hired to capture Jane. Shenhua calmly explains to him that they're not a bunch of "gangbangers who get off on graffiti-ing walls"; every one of them is a professional killer.
    • In the Japan arc, Chaka thinks that Rock is perfectly safe to abuse and mistreat, even though he's part of the Hotel Moscow delegation and his bodyguard is right there. To top it off, he thinks that wantonly messing about with the heiress of the Washimine-gumi, toward whom both Rock and a true Samurai on par with Revy herself have a protective streak, is a good idea.
  • Bleach
    • Both Kenpachi and Nnoitra manage to underestimate each other during their battle. Specifically, Nnoitra finds out that Kenpachi doesn't care at all about being hit, won't stop attacking no matter what he throws at him, and is actually strong enough to bypass his resistance; meanwhile, Kenpachi is forced to reconsider his usual tactic after taking so many wounds from Nnoitra's scythes, since dragging the fight long as he usually does will result in him dying from blood loss.
    • Aizen is a tremendous threat, being a very powerful captain-class villain. However, the protagonists are so focused on avoiding Aizen's unique zanpakutou ability to manipulate all the senses of everyone around it that they completely overlook the most important thing: even without his zanpakutou, he's still powerful and exceptionally skilled in all shinigami arts. As a result, Aizen single-handedly takes down multiple captain-class opponents at the same time.
    • Aizen is so focused on defeating Yamamoto's zanpakutou, the most powerful offensive weapon in Soul Society history, that he completely underestimates Yamamoto's undefeatable skills in all shinigami arts. He also forgets about Yamamoto's resolve to win at all costs — even if he has to blow himself up to take out Aizen. Aizen acknowledges to himself that he completely underestimated Yamamoto.
    • Ichibei is fully aware that Yhwach possesses unique abilities and is exceptionally powerful and dangerous. However, he's so confident in his own exceptional and unique abilities that he completely misunderstands the nature of Yhwach's power. As a result, Yhwach is able to overcome and negate Ichibei's abilities.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Mikoto Misaka is the third strongest esper in Academy City, and everyone knows about her, yet for some reason delinquents frequently try to hit on her, generally resulting in them getting electrocuted. In fact, in the first scene of the first episode of the anime the main character is running from delinquents that he got to chase him because they approached her carelessly. In the end, she still zapped them. Made even worse by the fact that she's always wearing the uniform of a highly prestigious school known to only accept espers of Level 3 or higher, and is the only facility in the city to boast two Level 5s among its students, so anyone wearing that uniform is likely not someone to be trifled with.
    • There are only seven Level 5 espers in Academy City. Each is a One-Man Army and the stronger ones like Accelerator, Dark Matter, Railgun and Meltdowner are an outright Person of Mass Destruction. One would think that punks would get their photographs and avoid any of them at all costs but no, if you thought trying to punch out Mikoto was bad, there are idiots who try to attack Accelerator!
    • It only gets worse from there. Later in the series, God (yes that one) is somewhere around the fifth strongest entity in the series, and the ones stronger than he/she/it are severely underestimated. Like that one time Accelerator (not on that exclusive stronger than God list) tried to attack Aiwass (the strongest entity in the series). Aiwass' passive defenses would have killed him in his Super Mode. To give a comparison of their powers, Accelerator is to Aiwass what your average Level 1 is to Accelerator.
    • A lot of villains end up underestimating Touma Kamijou. Of special note is Rensa. Since she had never heard of him, when he shows up to stop her, she dismisses him as some street punk pretending to be a hero to act cool. She doesn't take it well when he easily wards off her attacks and creams her with ease.
  • It happens regularly in Claymore when the titular warriors fight a monster they don't have enough information about or, conversely, when one of the monsters meets a top-ranked claymore. However one example in particular stands out: a human bandit, confident in his sword technique, though aware that claymores are formidable warriors, dares defying Teresa in combat. Little did he know that Teresa is actually the most powerful warrior and likely being to have ever lived.
  • In Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini, Section 3 underestimates Hei after they Depower him, and Genma thinks that he's "just a gloomy gigolo." But remember that this guy was called "Black Reaper" before he became a Contractor. Somewhat justified in that prior to Hei's He’s Back moment solidified in this episode, Genma had pummeled him fairly easily in an earlier fight, although the ability of Hei to survive a beating from a psycho with Instant Armor power is itself impressive.
    • It's not the only time, either. Witness the woefully-overconfident assassin teams sent to kill him during the interquels; you'd think that nickname would be a bit of a tip-off, but this is apparently not the case.
  • Many groups in Demon King Daimao seem to have Akuto in the sights of their manipulations, and casually talk about pushing him aside or disposing of him or some such, which would be incredibly stupid considering his "Demon Lord" status. And this isn't even getting into those dumb thugs that tried to pick a fight with him and instead ended up with broken limbs.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • The Supreme Kai both underestimates and overestimates badassery. He overestimates his enemies and is repeatedly surprised by how freakishly strong the Saiyans are. Had he come to Earth with a rational assessment of their power, rather than a poor assumption, things would have gone a lot better, something that he lampshades after Buu's awakening. Deconstructed as this led to Vegeta and some of the others underestimating the threat of Majin Buu, especially once revealed. The cheerful pink chubby genie is also one of the most dangerous beings ever and succeeded in destroying the Earth and killing many, due to his virtual indestructability (as a being of magic, he can restore himself from molecules) and being able to absorb blows, copy abilities, absorb others and transform others into anything.
    • Special mention should be made of Buu's true and final form Kid Buu, after barely defeating Super Buu, who Goku and Vegeta clearly feared, Buu, at the end of his transformation, shrinks to the size of a little kid, The duo start LAUGHING, clearly it will be easy as pie, right? No.
    • Several bad guys end up underestimating the power of the Z fighters due to being over-reliant on using their scouters to read their Power Level, unaware that they can increase their strength in battle and keep it low when not fighting. Android 17 and 18 can't sense energy, so they cannot tell that Cell is much more powerful than they are, and their future counterparts likewise can't tell that Future Trunks has become powerful enough to beat them. Babidi can't sense energy, so he does not understand the significance of going Super Saiyan and mocks Goku for such a "useless transformation".
    • Probably the most spectacular example in the whole series was Pui Pui. To say that he underestimated Vegeta would be an Understatement. Put this way: when he realizes he's outmatched, Babidi uses magic to transport them to Pui Pui's home planet, which has 10x Earth's normal gravity - Vegeta fails to take the opportunity to point out the coincidence that his own homeworld had that level of gravity, but does point out, to Pui Pui's horror, that he's long been training in conditions which are hundreds of times Earth gravity. Vegeta effortlessly blows the clown away and he doesn't even need to go Super Saiyan for it.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and the adaptation Dragon Ball Super, all the characters underestimate Beerus and Whis, two gods of such unfathomable power that pretty much everyone are ants before them. This is because, as gods, their power is literally unfathomable to mere mortals, so only other gods can tell just how powerful they are. Much like the issue with scouters, this is a case where the characters' power sensing backfires on them.
  • Durarara!!'s Shizuo Heiwajima, Ikebukuro's resident God of Destruction, doesn't particularly look like the sort of person who would (or even could) uproot vending machines and beat people half to death with them when he's not actively doing so. Thus, many people don't realize that it's a bad idea to pick a fight with the skinny guy in a bartender suit until it's far too late.
  • The bad guys in Fairy Tail tend to underestimate the titular guild quite a bit, either because they're just that overconfident or they're convinced their own admitted badassery trumps Natsu and company. More often than not, they find out how badly they screwed up the hard way.
    • Exemplified during the Grand Magic Games when Natsu and Gajeel fight fellow Dragon Slayers Sting and Rogue of Saber Tooth. The entire time before this Saber Tooth has been lording their assumed superiority over Fairy Tail due to being declared the #1 guild in Fiore due to the Fairy Tail elite being trapped on Sirius Island for the seven year Timeskip, and Sting in particular made a point of antagonizing the guild so Natsu would come at him full strength and let him prove his superiority. Turns out, Natsu and Gajeel were more than strong enough to do so without using their full power, to the point Natsu fought both of the Slayers alone at their absolute best and still won without going all-out. Rogue even lampshades it as he collapses, wondering just how badly they overestimated themselves.
    • For an example not related to the titular guild, Brain of Oracion Seis saw the Lamia Scale wizard Jura as a simple lightweight during the Nirvana arc, mostly thanks to how his subordinate Angel managed to so easily trick and defeat him early on. Unfortunately for him, Jura is a Wizard Saint (albeit the weakest of the ten), and when they come to blows he's fully healed and ready for combat, and proceeds to hand Brain his ass without taking a scratch.
    • Sting gets this himself when he fights Larcade of Alvarez's Spriggan 12, who mocks him as nothing but a small fry since he's not a Fairy Tail member and thus beneath notice. Unfortunately for him, Sting's his Achilles' Heel since he can counter most of his magic, and with the aid of fellow Saber Tooth's Rogue and Mermaid Heel's Kagura (also "small fry" in Larcade's opinion), Sting proceeds to wipe the grin off his face and make him one of two members of the 12 who were defeated without the aid of a Fairy Tail member.
  • It's not uncommon in Fist of the North Star for a minor or sometimes major villain to underestimate Kenshiro, a man who can make your body explode. Usually, said villain thinks the villain’s own techniques are better than his, and that villain pays with the villain’s own lives for it.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric is often underestimated due to his height. Bad idea.
  • A recurring problem in Goblin Slayer. Goblins are seen as a low priority, domestic threat by the adventures. Frequently leaving the job of killing them to newbie adventures looking for an easy first quest. Many of these newbies learn that the Goblins are smarter than people give them credit for. Not by much, but clever and devious enough to tear inexperienced adventures to bits.
  • In the early volumes of Gunnm, Alita/Gally was underestimated by many of her enemies and paid the price, starting with the arrogant bounty hunter named Zapan. In the sequel Manga, Last Order, her reputation as one of the strongest warriors in the universe precedes her.
  • A lot of vampires sent to defeat Alucard in the earlier chapters of Hellsing (mainly Luke Valentine and Allambra) have the bad habit, while perfectly aware of his reputation, of thinking of him as merely a very powerful vampire and believing they can take care of him easily. This usually leads them to a gruesome and horrible death when finding out Alucard is actually a Humanoid Abomination at his weakest, and will turn into an Eldritch Abomination if he happens to take the fight seriously.
    • Similarly, Zorin disobeys orders and attacks the Hellsing mansion, assuming it was helpless without Alucard around. She ends up killing and insulting Seras' Love Interest, leading her to evolve into an actual vampire and granting Zorin a death that would have made Alucard proud. The Major even tried to warn her about it beforehand, saying that while he himself isn't certain why, Alucard had to have chosen Seras for a reason, and if Alucard sees something in her, then she's not to be taken lightly.
  • Played for laughs in the crossover anime, Isekai Quartet. Ainz dismisses Aqua at first (for good reason), and when she casts Turn Undead against him, he brushes it off as a low-level spell. Then it hits him, and he's suddenly screaming in pain. She also one-shots Shalltear (who is Ainz's Man of Kryptonite) in that same attack.
  • This trope leads to nearly every fatality featured in Juni Taisen: Zodiac War, because almost every participant is so short sighted that they can't see that their opponent might have something up their sleeve:
    • Boar was so preoccupied thinking about a way to easily dispatch Rabbit that it opened up a blind spot while she was mentally preoccupied, and she dies unceremoniously when Snake's corpse grabs her from behind, giving Rabbit an opening to plant a knife in her chest.
    • Dog thought Rooster wasn't worth much physically or mentally, but he needed a distraction for Rabbit, so he dopes her up on a strength inducing poison. She immediately crushes his skull after getting the dosage.
    • Rooster thought she could fight on par with Ox due to her newly enhanced strength. He quickly stabs her through the eyes before she knew what hit her.
    • Monkey thought she could easily subdue and restrain Rabbit because the latter was not a trained fighter. She did not realize that Rabbit could use Snake's severed head as a camera to see his blind spots, and thus, Rabbit was able to stab her when she tried to get behind him to incapacitate him.
    • Sheep witnessed Tiger sitting on a bench and downing mass amounts of alcohol, causing him to view as nothing more than an incoherent drunk and the weakest of the fighters. He's forced to eat his words after she shreds him apart with her nails.
    • Horse thought that Snake's corpse could not use its abilities and weaponry, and thus decides to ignore a warning from Rat that said corpse might come to the bank he was hiding in. He meets his end when Snake's corpse, looking for Rat, torches the bank with Horse inside, causing him to suffocate from oxygen deprivation.
    • Snake dismissed Rabbit as a threat due to his bizarre behavior, and thus let his guard down around the latter when he detects Monkey planting explosives underneath the floor. When he tries to warn Dragon, it creates an opening for Rabbit to decapitate him.
    • Dragon thought he was untouchable because he could fly beyond the detection of the other fighters, and focused all his attention on Snake's corpse fighting Ox and Tiger. This caused him to forget that Rabbit and Monkey's corpse are probably nearby. As such, when he tries to ambush Ox and Tiger, he left himself open to be distracted by Monkey tossing Snake's head at him, giving Rabbit an opportunity to bisect him at the waist when he also gets thrown to Dragon's altitude by Monkey.
    • Rabbit initially seems to play this straight when he confronts Ox and Tiger on his own despite their superior combat prowess and predictably gets hacked to pieces by them. However, he averts this as he committed suicide just before Ox and Tiger manage to touch him, which enables his power to work on his corpse, just as he had planned.
    • After hacking Rabbit to pieces, Tiger and Ox were so focused on their promised duel that they overlooked the fact Rabbit committed suicide just before confronting them. As such, they did not notice that Rabbit could use his power on his own corpse until he managed to fatally wound Tiger by stabbing her In the Back.
    • Ox was so focused on the reanimated Rabbit's grotesque appearance that he did not realize the corpse's bizarre shape was designed to hide a reanimated Monkey inside itself. He pays for this lapse when Monkey's corpse bursts out of Rabbit and manages to restrain him, necessitating a Mercy Kill from Rat to prevent him from being reanimated himself.
    • Rat completely averts this trope due to his ability giving him foreknowledge of what every other participant is capable of, and as such, knew to stay out of everyone else's way. This ultimately wins him the Zodiac War.
  • Due to his history as a loser, not to mention his overall idiotic and embarrassing behavior, antagonists and even allies are constantly underestimating Kinnikuman. However, there are some exceptions:
    • Before the final match of the 20th Choujin Olympics, Robin Mask stuck to a strict training regime, even though his opponent was the bungling Kinnikuman. When questioned why he was taking the upcoming match seriously, Robin insisted that Kin was actually Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • During the fight against Devil Choujin Black Hole, Black Hole pointed out that he wouldn't be easing up on his attacks, as he knows that Kinnikuman tended to get a Heroic Second Wind at the worse moments. It turns out that he reads the Kinnikuman manga, so he knows how all of Kinnikuman's matches turned out due to this trope.
  • Happens surprisingly often in Lupin III, with people underestimating both Lupin and his gang's ability as thieves and Zenigata as a cop.
    • Zenigata is the most notable, as many mistake him for a bumbling detective due what happens when he deals with Lupin. Then the guy chases Lupin around the world, beats up groups of criminals, single-handedly brings down criminal organizations, rides torpedoes on dry land...
    • Almost as notably as Zenigata, Fujiko is often dismissed as a vain woman who is harmless without Lupin. As of this writing, the last time this happened ended with Fujiko tricking the police into helping her free an arrested Lupin and steal an Awesome Personnel Carrier from Zenigata before driving through multiple roadblocks, the last of which was armed with a cannon (Fujiko drove over it after throwing the APC's roof on it).
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid, new character Einhart vocally questions whether such warm, caring people like Nanoha and Fate could be good at magical combat. For the record, Nanoha is a legendary combat instructor, Fate is an equally legendary enforcer, and they are respectively referred to as the "Ace of Aces" and "Ace of the Navy". Nove almost falls over keeping herself from laughing at this.
    • Happens again in ViVid Strike! this time with Fuka thinking that acting as a sparring partner for Vivio, Corona, Rio, and Mirua would be easy. Cue four Curb-Stomp Battles in a row.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, upon arriving in a Magic world bar, Negi is attacked by a random thug because he resembles a guy who beat him sorry many years ago - actually Negi's infamous father "The Thousand Master". In retrospect that should got him thinking...
    • For the record, that "random thug" is Vargas, one of the baddest guys in town, and pretty much everyone who's not Negi (or Kotaro, or Chachamaru, who were with him) would do well not to underestimate him. More importantly, Vargas, his little brother Tohsaka, and their friend Mama Bear become plot-relevant Mauve Shirts later.
    • Interestingly enough, Nodoka pulls this on the one of Fate's associates.
      "You made the mistake of thinking of me as a mere powerless girl, Mr. Mage."
    • Anyone who ever thought that fighting Jack "Thousand Blades" Rakan is a good idea. Like Fate's minions believing they could take him on a 4 on 1 fight. He's the personification of awesome for a reason, people.
  • Monster: Several characters made the mistake of underestimating a certain blonde haired gentleman by the name of Johan Liebert.
  • In Mother Keeper Zelik is a man in his 50s, he's short and disabled, but underestimating him will be the biggest mistake of your life. Proven by the time Syal made this mistake and narrowly avoided him punching a hole through her.
  • Naruto:
    • Characters underestimating Naruto more often comes because they simply knew him as a struggling ninja academy student. Post time skip it became less common, especially since he started win enough fights that would more liken make other afraid to take him on. Surprisingly averted by [[spoiler:Madara (the real one), of all people. He actually respects Naruto's abilities, and this is a guy who considers everyone but the First Hokage an unworthy challenge.
    • Despite his reputation, Kakashi is underestimated surprisingly often, such as Zabuza thinking he stood a good chance when in reality Kakashi ended up beating Zabuza in a few moves. This is not so surprising given that Kakashi seems to purposefully make himself look weak; he slouches, moves slowly, seems to be half-blind to the uneducated, and goes around reading porn everywhere. If you saw someone like that your first impression wouldn't be that he is a powerful ninja, let alone that he'd be Hokage in a few years' time.
      • Obito underestimated the speed and efficiency with which Kakashi could use Kamui. He quickly learned not to do so again.
    • Kabuto is a repeat offender, even when, by all rights, experience should have taught him better. Then again, he is Smug Super and a colossal Jerkass.
  • Happened all over the place in One Piece. The villains and minor assholes often underestimated Straw Hat Luffy, Zoro or Sanji when they first meet, but sometimes the Straw Hats themselves fall prey to this. Somewhat justified since this series is filled with Cloudcuckoolanders and Crouching Moron Hidden Badasses.
    • The very beginning of the series has a mountain bandit with a bounty of eight million (which to be fair, is nearly triple the average bounty in the East Blue) pick a fight with Shanks and his crew. Luckily for him, Shanks simply ignores the man. Unluckily for him, he later tries to kill Luffy, whom Shanks is rather fond of.
    • Which makes at least one major aversion rather notable. When Luffy learns that his brother is on death row, he resolves to rescue him, despite knowing that said brother is in the pirate crew of Whitebeard, who is absolutely guaranteed to make a move to rescue him already, and is far better equipped to do so. Everyone tells Luffy that he'll be in completely over his head if he tries to butt in, and they're absolutely right. Luffy spends the entire battle getting repeatedly curbstomped by pretty much every antagonistic named character he encounters, needing to get bailed out by either a member of Whitebeard's crew, or one of the allies he made in Impel Down.
    • Donquixote Doflamingo is a stand-out aversion, as he has actually observed other people underestimating Luffy and his crew many times in the past and suffer humiliating losses. His approach against them is to finish them off as quickly as possible.
      • That said, once he gets the upper hand, he starts falling prey to this. Law even pointed this out by asking him if he's going to be one of the countless many that would come to regret underestimating the Straw Hat Pirates. He is.
    • The Donquixote Family is altogether guilty of this towards Law, as several had a hand in training him as a child, so much so that when speaking about him he's referred to as a 'brat' and all are confident in their knowledge of his fighting style to face him in battle. This comes to bite Trebol and Doflamingo in the ass when they continuously fail to take Law's Op-Op Fruit abilities into account, often flying straight into the bubble of his "Room" and warning one another when it's too late to retreat, leaving slim windows of opportunity for him to sneak in a critical blow. As a result, Law successfully knocks Trebol out of the fight and manages to deal Doflamingo a devastating blow that obliterates his internal organs.
    • The arc before this, Punk Hazard, had both his subordinates, Monet and Vergo, thinking they could take the Straw Hats and Law easily. Monet likewise taking care to not to underestimate them. Granted she gives Luffy, Nami, Chopper and Robin a hard time. But when came time to fight Zoro, she instantly fell prey to this as she figured he Wouldn't Hit a Girl. Zoro proved her dead wrong after letting Tashigi have a go at her, revealing he was holding back and could've killed her - a logia user mind you - at any time. As for Vergo, he takes on both Law and Smoker back to the back. He does seem to have the upper hand but only because he had Law's heart at the time and Smoker throwing his fight to get it back. Once Law does get his heart back, he ends the fight in one hit and Vergo was fully Haki covered at the time. What makes it even more satisfying? Doflamingo is listening in on a Den Den Mushi gloating how badly Vergo beat him up the last time and how "traumatized" Law is to face him. Yeah Doffy really doesn't know his enemies well.
    • Sugar lampshades this to the dwarves. After all, she may look like a kid, but that's only because her Devil Fruit had the side-effect of halting her aging. More importantly, she can use her power on anyone with a mere touch, so she's still unspeakably dangerous regardless of how physically powerful she may or may not be.
    • When Sanji is taken into Big Mom's territory, a team consisting of Luffy, Nami, Chopper, Brook, and some friends, goes to save him. Almost instantly they are separated in a Lost Woods, and Chopper realizes that for once, they were the ones who underestimated their opposition.
    • On the flipside Vinsmoke Yonji has this moment when he meets his brother Sanji again after 13 years, Yonji having easily thrashed his non-Super Soldier brother for most of his childhood assumes he'll still be able to push a full grown Sanji around. Boy was he mistaken. After getting his skull reset, Yonji blusters over how a "good for nothing" like Sanji could kick his ass so hard.
    • This trope keeps happening throughout the Totto Land Arc to varying degrees; Vinsmoke Judge figures he can use Big Mom's name to intimidate his enemies easily by giving his estranged son as a bridegroom, never taking into account of just how unreliable and two-faced Big Mom is, when in fact she just wants to kill his family and take his army's technology. Capone "Gang" Bege cooks up a plan to kill Big Mom by pushing her Trauma Button and firing several poisoned missiles at her — one missile could kill a man easily, but why take chances? —only to be shocked when her hysterical screams have enough force to destroy the missiles easily. The Big Mom Pirates are so used to dealing with pesky rookies entering their territory, so while they get a good start against the Straw Hats, they write them off on vague reports despite having Never Found the Body, allowing the heroes to regroup and plan a counterattack. After the Straw Hats ruin the Tea Party assassination, the Charlotte Family abandons this attitude and send all of their forces to where they expect the Straw Hats to be, as, after so many near misses, they can no longer takes chances and give Luffy and co. even the slightest hope of escaping. And even then they keep underestimating the Straw Hats, thinking Luffy couldn't possibly have beaten their strongest brother and paragon fair and square, one on one.
  • One-Punch Man: No one ever gives Saitama the respect he deserves, except a number of assorted people who can be counted on two hands, likely due to his laughably bland appearance and lackluster personality. This is despite the fact that Saitama's level of power is so monumentally out of context of the setting that the most dangerous opponent that he (and the EARTH) have ever faced (an alien warlord) took three semi-serious blows from Saitama before he was dead. About the only villains who realize just how dead Saitama could make them before seeing him in action were a genetically-enhanced beastman (who then proceeded to rethink his assessment, attacked, and got the entirety of his torso ripped off for his trouble), the aforementioned alien warlord (who wanted a fight with an incredibly powerful foe, got it, and died satisfied), and the leader of some of the most powerful monsters on the planet (who like Saitama broke his natural Limiter to achieve god-like power).
  • In Pokémon, Damien, a Jerkass of a trainer, abandoned his Charmander for thinking it was too weak and not up to snuff. Later, witnessing Charmander demonstrate his power to save Ash's Pikachu from Team Rocket, Damien would try to get Charmander back. Fortunately, Charmander, previously a paragon of Undying Loyalty, finally saw Damien for what he truly was, and chases him off with a powerful Flamethrower, and then join Ash's team.
    • Team Rocket often ends up on the receiving end of this trope as well, particularly if they're trying to steal a Gym Leader's or any other powerful Trainer's Pokémon. They'll grossly underestimate their strength, and may even throw in some premature taunts or gloating. Expect an all-out, Ash-assisted beatdown to follow shortly after.
  • War Relief Section III in Pumpkin Scissors has a reputation as a "cheery little unit" which was only put together by the government as a public relations gesture. By far most of the antagonists of the series assume they're a bunch of incompetent, ineffectual idealists, only to discover that the "cheery little unit" is bringing all of their plans crashing down upon their heads. Especially applies to Gentle Giant Randel, a Super Soldier who successfully fights tanks on foot.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, nearly (particularly his fellow Legendary Heroes) looks down on Naofumi Iwatani, the Legendary Hero of the Shield, because his shield makes him weak at fighting. That shield actually turns him into a Stone Wall capable of tanking pretty much any attack, allows him to become an excellent support for his party and gives him the means to support himself, becoming the strongest of the Legendary Heroes soon enough - and that's without taking into account the Cursed Shield...
  • Rurouni Kenshin has two varieties of people underestimating Kenshin. One, they know about his reputation that earned him the nickname Hitokiri Battousai (roughly translates as 'God-like drawn sword' the manslayer) and try to fight him anyways, or they take his refusal to kill as a weakness. Either way, the results for them prove very painful.
  • Samurai Executioner:
    • Asaemon is the shogun's blade-tester and executioner, which involves cutting corpses and decapitating bound and kneeling prisoners respectively. As a result, most of his enemies think that he's helpless in a real battle... and are very quickly proven wrong.
    • A non-lethal variant in one story, where Asaemon is challenged to test three hundred blades in exchange for bringing a criminal to justice. The challengers only knew about testing on corpses, and it didn't occur to them that you could test them on water (and certainly didn't occur to them that the water would win).
  • Shimoneta: It may not be apparent at first, but Oboro has his job for a reason:
    • After his first inspection of Tokioka Academy, in episode 8, Ayame and Tanukichi assume he's no threat to SOX's operations. But the following day, Oboro begins drafting students SOX had taught about lewd material, as part of his Prefect Squad. Under his leadership, they become so efficient that they locate nearly all of SOX's hidden porn caches within a week's time and confiscate them.
    • Oboro's second duty is to protect the Nishikomiya's daughter, Anna. While her father, Matsukage, has absolute faith in Oboro's ability, his wife has no confidence in him at all. So when they learn Anna had become involved in the hostage situation in episode 11, it prompts the following exchange:
      Sophia: Tell me you're joking! Why is Anna there with those terrorists??
      Matsukage: (smirks and steeples fingers) Calm down, dear.
      Sophia: Huh?
      Matsukage: I'm sure she's just gathering intel. Oboro is with her.
      Sophia: (angrily) Do you really think that clueless dummy can protect our little girl?!
      (scene immediately shifts, showing Oboro sprinting down the hall to Anna's rescue)
  • In Shokugeki no Soma, one of every antagonist's mistakes through all the manga is the fact that nobody takes in consideration that a Book Dumb upbeat boy that worked on his dad's simple restaurant or a young, sweet Shrinking Violet who is constantly apologizing are able and experienced in kicking ass on a kitchen. This happened to Ikumi, the Central, Erina, Alice, Hisako, Myoko, random students... basically everybody but the smartest ones.
  • The Thompson sisters in Soul Eater make this mistake regarding the skinny boy in the suit who comes looking for them. It's also noted in canon by Maka that Kid looks so 'low-key' and unimpressive that it's easy to forget he's a death god and so a very formidable opponent when he feels like it. His eccentric behavior only enhances that impression. A similar claim could be made about his father Shinigami, although all who have encountered him so far know what they're dealing with and are appropriately wary.
    • Not to mention Blair. Disregarding the fact that the series began with the protagonists overestimating her badassery, in the Clown arc she takes up about a third of the action fighting the Flying Dutchman, who thinks she's just an annoying cat. She kills him by stealing his hat and tricking him into committing suicide to get it back.
  • This tends to happen to Nanashi in Sword of the Stranger, since most of his enemies don't expect some random guy, armed only with a sword that he can't unsheath, to be able to kill several simultaneously attacking samurai. Which he does. Multiple times.
  • The title character of SWOT, Manabizaki, is a bespectacled nerd who studies too much. He has a Hair-Trigger Temper and a tendency to mouth off to people. Naturally, every delinquent in school was practically lining up to beat the crap out of him and put him in his place. After all, he's just an overly-studious nerd, ain't he? They're always weaklings, right?
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Because Simon is a skinny young kid, no one (except Kamina) ever respects him as much as they respected his muscular older bro, even though Simon is and always has been infinitely more powerful than Kamina. This even sort of applies to the fans, who tend to play up Kamina's badassery and either forget how powerful Simon is, or use his pre-Nia timid self.
  • Vinland Saga has several examples of this as no-one can immediately tell how dangerous someone is just by looking at them (except Thorkell, who is also a Living Legend because of his combat skill). This leads to battles like the boat full of veteran vikings versus an Icelandic farmer (war veteran and former second-in-command of the Jomsvikings), or a battle of three hundred versus one hundred (the former being peasant levies and the latter being Jomsvikings and huscarls), both of them Curb Stomp Battles in the latter party's favour. The crowning example is probably in the second arc where Snake fights Thorfinn and both men underestimate the other, as they see each other as a shabby sellsword (former Varangian Guardsman) and an unarmed thrall (former Child Soldier, war veteran and personal bodyguard to the king of Denmark) respectively.


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