People Underestimating Badassery in fanfiction.
- A Crown of Stars: Although he was a paranoid, Jinnai never took Shinji and Asuka — the only people who could pilot an Evangelion and the reason he had been capable to overthrow his predecessor — seriously. He thought he would have an alternative would render them obsolete very soon and they were only two broken kids could not threaten him. He was very, very wrong.
- Advice and Trust: Gendo thinks that his pilots are easily manipulable tools with no real power -so that he fires Shinji and Asuka without second thoughts-. Yet those kids were helping Rei to become her own person (without his knowledge), were slowly discovering the secret of the Evas together (again, without his knowledge), and when the dummy plug system failed they returned on their own and defeated the enemy.
- In Power Girl fanfic A Force of Four, the trio of Kryptonian criminals are initially reluctant to take part in Badra's plan... until she tells them Superman is dead and his female cousin is the worlds guardian now. They think they can take on Power Girl easily. Big mistake.Mala's eyes went wide with pain and surprise. He'd expected this job to be a walk. Two of them against a girl? No problem. Three of them had taken down the great Superman.
Now, the pain in his abdomen and his lack of breath were forcing him to reconsider matters.
- Doing It Right This Time: When Rei sorties to fight Sachiel, Misato informs her of the location of the nearest weaponry building. Rei, though, answers she would prefer to solve that situation with her bare hands. Misato thinks that Rei is underestimating her enemy and about to get beaten... until Rei starts destroying Sachiel in spectacular fashion.Misato: Rei, there's a weapon locker a hundred metres to the north of your position.
Rei: Thank you for the thought, Captain, but that will not be necessary. [...] I would prefer to solve this problem in a more... hands-on fashion.
Misato: Rei, I really don't think that's a good idea!
Rei: Excuse me, Captain, I have an Angel to kill.
Misato:"This is not going to end... Holy shit.
Ritsuko: I'm not wild about her methods, [...] but I can't argue with her results. I wonder if they even have reproductive organs there?
- Evangelion 303: Asuka thought that she could deal with a rookie any day of the week. It turned out that rookie Shinji- was just as good as her and won their friendly duel.
- In the Firefly fanfic Forward, this happens multiple times. The bad guys repeatedly underestimate the crew in general and River and Jayne in particular, assuming the former is just a small teenage girl and the latter is just dumb muscle. In the "Last Man" story, the Six Rifles especially underestimate just how resourceful a young Jayne Cobb is when they take a contract to kill the robbery crew he was on.
- In the Wrath arc, the Academy agents who defeated, captured, and interrogated River eventually conclude that she is a psychological wreck who underestimated their capabilities simply because she's a very dangerous psychic assassin. Then River reveals that she planned the whole thing and then cuts the power to the building while still tied to a chair.
- Discussed in Supergirl fanfiction Hellsister Trilogy. Berserker thinks he can just gut Orion, and Darkseid warns him that underestimating their enemies is downright foolish.Berserker: I would like to meet him, in Armagetto or any other place. I would take his Astro-Force and force it into his guts, before I ripped his body asunder.
Darkseid: Underestimating my first sons power would be like unto underestimating my own. All too many battles are lost thru ones own arrogance, and thru underestimation of the enemy. This will not be done. Agreed?
- HERZ: SEELE is utterly convinced that nothing can stop them and the Children are not an obstacle. When the Final Battle started Shinji, Asuka and Rei working together ruined SEELE's plan forever. And they only took five minutes!
- The four, who mostly look normal and wimpy, take advantage of being underestimated whenever possible in With Strings Attached. In fact, they win the day because the skahs (and Jeft, for that matter) cannot conceive of them being competent, especially after George and Ringo are depowered.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, the four are simultaneously recognized as four of the most powerful people in the world and underestimated because of their (apparent) age and pacifism. Part of the problem for observers is that they cannot extrapolate exactly what any of the four can do because A) the four won't show them; B) nobody is used to people with that depth of power, which gives them considerable versatility that no-one can predict; and C) nobody is used to people who primarily use their power to avoid conflict. In particular, Ringo and George are completely underestimated, because George's ring does not radiate much magic at all, and because Ringo spends most of the story magically crippled. Though to be fair, the Guardians figured out how useful he could be if they could teach him to penetrate masks... to the point where they were willing to mind control him (and the others) to keep him when it was obvious the others wanted to leave. On the other hand, they had no idea of the true extent of his telekinesis, since even at his most vulnerable he couldn't bring himself to tell them.
- In Things We Don't Tell Humans, Jolt does this to Bumblebee. In the flashbacks, most of Terratron's other students do this to Prowl when they first meet, and Megatron does this to Optimus Prime when they have their first "argument" as rulers. Starscream severely underestimates Faust, too.
- Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams features Psycho for Hire Bullseye, who brags about being an A-list supervillain and mocks the supposedly C-list 8-Ball when they end up fighting during a Mob War. The ensuing fight ends with 8-Ball using his jet-propelled cue stick to flick Bullseye's detached head into a garbage can.
- After Luso in The Tainted Grimoire failed the mission he gave him, several months later, Baron Popple doesn't think he could win against Suzuka. He was wrong.
- Friendship Is Magic: The Adventures of Spike: According to Spitfire, ponies tend to do this about the Wonderbolts,note often forgetting that despite being most well known for stunt shows, they are part of the military. And they show it during the changeling invasion. Though this admittedly isn't saying much, considering how easy it is to beat a changeling.
- In the Harry Potter Alternate Universe Fic Empire, the Sorting Hat puts Harry in Hufflepuff so that he can have the advantage of everyone underestimating him.
- In The Jaded Eyes Series aspiring Evil Overlord Tristan Winter (a.k.a. Harry Potter) tells Voldemort that he may permit him to rule along side him.. At first Voldemort thought he was joking. Then Tristan proceeds to demonstrate just how very powerful and well-connected he and his minions are.
- A common theme with the newly human Biju in Eroninja is to underestimate everyone else. This includes Nel/Sanbi who was turned into a child, Urd who was born from a fragment of the Hachibi, and human opponents as well. They quickly learn that despite their appearance and origin respectively, Nel and Urd are Biju and that some humans can hold their own against a Biju, even if they can't win.
- The Veela leader in Wizard Runemaster tells Onyxia her people are "far more than [the] mere parlor trick" that is their Allure. In response, Harry tells Onyxia to "undo her parlor trick", transforming back into a massive dragon.
- In the Resident Evil/Doctor Who crossover Dangerous Tenant, Wesker not only repeatedly underestimates his enemies, but in the final confrontation he underestimates the Doctors skill at viral genetics, as Wesker's attempt to re-mutate himself causes his body to collapse due to the Doctors anti-virus clashing with Weskers new virus and destroying him on the cellular level.
- In Pokémon fanfic Symbiosis Poison Lance, a Weedle, tells off the Houndooms chasing after Ash and Mareep, saying that if they turn away he will spare their lives. The Houndooms laugh in his face, which turns out to be a big mistake.
- In the Stardust sequel Mente Materia, recovered documents reveal that Vide doesn't consider the changelings, griffons or minotaurs a threat to their operations, to the point of not even including details on their capabilities or recommended countermeasures.
- In Four Deadly Secrets, People are constantly surprised by just how dangerous Ruby is.
- Weiss exploits this when Venus and India are trying to provoke her into challenging them.
- India, despite being flattened by Ruby in a single attack, is still shocked when Pyrrha points out he's only alive because Ruby had no intention of killing him, and that she herself is a little nervous about facing her.India: You know, suddenly she doesn't seem nearly so adorable.
- Saito in Zero no Tsukaima: Saito the Onmyoji gets extremely underestimated by the students at the academy for a bit as they don't know/realize that he's actually a fully accredited mage. Once he has an exhibition duel with Colbert, this quickly stops, especially after he's made a professor at the academy (teaching "Magical Morals").
- In Zero Interface one of the professors challenges Kirche to use her strongest attack so he can demonstrate why wind is the strongest element. Unfortunately for the man, Kirche recently upgraded from a triangle mage to a square mage and his attempt to use wind magic to rip apart her fireball results in destroying nearly everything in the room and burning him rather badly.
- In the Naruto fanfiction Catch Your Breath where one special moment of Badassery will remain in the memory of readers for a while — mostly because it's when one stops and thinks about what happened that the epicness of the moment hits them in the face: When the poor, poor idiots sealed the Three Tailed Beast into Kei, the story's protagonist, and implanted the Mind Control seal into her, it was with the "foolproof" assumption that she would be helpless to both. However, they were very, very wrong, as absolutely no one counted on Kei having split personalities and successfully holding back the Three Tails, fighting the compulsion seal AND fighting the Kiri ANBU simultaneously.
- Kei tends to be underestimated by her more murderous opponents rather often, due to a combination of having a plain appearance and a generally passive, mild-mannered Deadpan Snarker personality. On top of that, she doesn't gain true notoriety as an out-and-proud jinchuriki until her late teens, after which point the Naruto characters start to take her seriously from the outset if they've heard of the Tidal Blade. At that point, the only people who assume the unassuming stranger is exactly as advertised are the ones who've never heard of her; this happens mainly in the Crossover side-stories with the My Hero Academia, One Piece, and Critical Role casts.
- Sort of Running Gag in the Robotech/Babylon 5 crossover The Battle of Narn:
- Most Centauri, being Centauri, tend to grossly underestimate Earth Alliance military power and just what Robotechnology can do, and don't understand why the emperor and a few others are wary to escalate the dispute over Narn. Then the Centauri House Vintari gives them an excuse to liberate Narn, and an EarthForce fleet outnumbered 3-1 in terms of ships humiliates the Vintari space force while the ground battle sees the Vintari army having their best defenses swiped aside with ease. After that, the few Centauri who still do it qualify for Too Dumb to Live...
- Turns out that even the emperor had underestimated them, as he didn't expect a Super Dimensional Fortress to survive one shot from a matter cannon and is terrified when he sees the EAS Vigilance tank three with little damage.
- In turn, Earth Alliance underestimated the Centauri technology, and could not believe when the above incident happened.
- Many Centauri had started thinking that emperor Kran was weak due his fear of Earth Alliance. Then House Kodiro crosses the line... and by the time he was finished, his manipulations had seen House Kodiro destroyed with contemptuous ease and means that involve a Minbari attack, EarthForce had the excuse to attack Narn and solve the whole shebang, and when the Hyach thought that the Centauri were weak for the defeat over Narn and attacked their fleet found that the Centauri Royal Navy was lying in ambush with overwhelming force, and while everyone knows he's responsible nobody can prove his involvement in what happened except the ambush. He's immediately named Kran the Great.
- As said above, the Hyach had thought the Centauri had grown weak due their humiliating defeat at Narn, and tried to prove it and lead the rest of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds into destroying them by launching an invasion. Curb-Stomp Battle doesn't even begin to describe what the Centauri do to their fleet.
- A codex entry explains that, between the victory in the Centauri-Orieni War and the Collapse of the First Republic, many Centauri nobles wanted to attack the Minbari, believing that, between the newly developed Primus-class battlecruisers and their superior numbers, they would be able to take them with ease. When the Royal Navy leaks a report saying that the Minbari would likely win by sneaking a fleet through the border systems and their defences and executing a swift decapitation strike and then letting the Centauri Houses tear each other apart, riots erupted in the streets of the capital to remove the defeatists in the Ministry General... Until the Minbari flagship appeared in the orbit of Centauri Prime, thus revealing that not only the nightmarish scenario of a Centauri-Minbari War still underestimated the Minbari's ability to take down the Centauri but that they knew of the projection and were keeping an eye on the Centauri Republic.
- The Two Sides of Daring Do: A clone of Daring Do severely underestimates Ahuizotl because her memories are of the Daring Do books, where Ahuizotl is a complete joke of a villain. The real one is much smarter, has Super Strength, and is an Omnicidal Maniac. He ends up giving her and AK Yearling a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- God Slaying Blade Works: Luo Hao has a bad habit of not taking non-divine magic and weapons seriously, as she believes a Campione's natural Anti-Magic will prevent them from harming her. Unfortunately for her, certain things like Shirou's Traced weapons can harm her despite being non-divine.
- In Thousand Shinji:
- Gendo utterly underestimated his son and all remaining pilots, believing neither of them could ruin his plans. He was very, very wrong.
- Kaworu also completely underestimated Shinji, believing he could defeat him easily.
- The Second Try: Gendo thought that Asuka wasn't in a position to make threats after being arrested and handcuffed. He taunted her, and she nearly killed him.
- Quicken: Gang members always underestimate Emma when they run into her because they think shes only a helpless teenager. Then they find out that shes a power-stealing berserker with regenerative skills.
- In Blood Man Luffy, Smoker severely underestimates Luffy due to thinking Luffy ate a paramecia devil fruit when he'd actually eaten a logia. Though to be fair to Smoker, virtually all information on the particular fruit had been erased from existence by the World Government before he became a marine.
- Pony POV Series: One of Queen Chrysalis' biggest flaws is constantly dismissing "background characters" as unimportant and not taking them into consideration when forming her plans.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act III: During the big fight against Kuyou in chapter 41, the gang is smacking him around, leading to Rason stating the fight isn't so hard and Ahakon outright calling him a joke. However, Kurumu and Moka, who have faced Kuyou before, quickly inform them that the only reason they've been doing so well in the fight is because Kuyou hasn't actually been trying, and right on cue, Kuyou goes One-Winged Angel and turns the tables on them in mere seconds.
- Janine in The Sanctuary Telepath is often underestimated besides her more openly badass friends/family (the founder of the Sanctuary Network, the vampire Nikola Tesla, the real-life Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper, respectively), but she had a century to develop and weaponize her telepathic abilities and she's not afraid to use them. Adam Worth learns this the hard way.Janine: I haven't spent a century mentally linked to a teleporter to be defeated by one!
- A group of rebels in To Dethrone a Princess use an artifact to cut off Princess Celestia from the sun and thus most of her magic, reducing her magical power to a bit above a rather powerful unicorn. Then General Iron Hammer learns that not only is Celestia far, far older than a mere thousand years, but that she was an Earth Pony before becoming an alicorn. Lastly, she asks him a simple question:
- Kiba severely underestimates Naruto in Swapping the Cage because he remembers Naruto as the "dead last" and doesn't have the security clearance to know this Naruto is from an Alternate Universe and even in his new weakened body is well above Chuunin level. Once Naruto kicks his ass to prove he's capable of training him, Kiba easily accepts Naruto's much stronger than he thought.
- My Huntsman Academia: Izuku's shortness, crybaby tendencies, and mousy demeanor tends to get people to underestimate just how fearsome and determined he is in a fight. Crooks who write him off as "just a kid" are taken aback when his Super Strength gets them Punched Across the Room. More humorously, the people he tries to help in the sidestory "Charitable Disadvantage" can't believe that he's a Huntsman-in-Training. When he declares this fact to cheer up a young Faunus boy named Noir, the kid doesn't buy it for a second, neatly popping the larger-than-life personality Izuku was trying to project.Izuku: [after Noir was told he couldn't become a Huntsman] Noir, the people who told you that were wrong. I promise.
Noir: How would you know?
Izuku: [straightens up and juts his chin out] Cause Im a Huntsman-in-Training myself, in fact, I was on my way back to Beacon when I saw you, and guess what? Some of my best friends and classmates are Faunus.
Noir: [dubiously] You're a Huntsman?
Izuku: [deflating] Ouch.
- In Origin Story, Captain America notes that Spider-Man's main battle advantage is that, despite all his well-known abilities and feats that make him one of the toughest street-level heroes, he's still consistently underestimated by friend and foe alike. This gives Peter a great edge in most fights, as he proves in a Curb-Stomp Battle against the U.S. Agent.
- People constantly underestimate Alex. Initially it's due to her holding back when being tested on her powers; afterwards, no one generally assumes that since she hasn't killed anyone (besides the Thunderbolts), she must not be holding back. It doesn't help that unlike most supers, Alex is continuously growing stronger due to feeding on solar radiation.
- Alex in turn underestimates the Wrecking Crew since they're hardly A List villains. Because they use magical weapons, the group nearly kills her when she tries to tank their attacks.
- A Running Gag in Anything Goes Game Changer comes from everyone in the Sekirei Game to assume the various members of the Nerima Wrecking Crew are Sekirei, only to be beaten effortlessly when they try to either attack them or worse, wing them. Ranma helps a Sekirei in a four-on-one battle and win handily, while Kodachi not only beats two of Hayato's Sekirei, she also spanks him for his "dishonorable actions".
- One of Naruto's complaints in God of War is that everyone he fights thinks they're "worth the axe". Naruto is a physical clone of Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters and wields his axe Gorefather, making him superhuman even without chakra. Furthermore, unlike his classmates, Naruto spends the entire Time Skip fighting in a war to get a handle on his abilities. When Naruto spars against his classmates upon his return, they're all frustrated by how he doesn't take them seriously, not realizing how much Naruto has to hold back to avoid accidentally killing one of them.
- Due to her refusal to believe Sakura could have gotten stronger than her in Black Flames Dance in the Wind: Rise of Naruto, Ino severely underestimates the other girl. By contrast, because she's used to being inferior to Ino and always comparing herself to Naruto and Sasuke, Sakura massively overestimates Ino and what she thought was Ino taking her lightly was actually Ino fighting all out. Sakura realizes this after she knocks Ino out (along with fracturing several bones) with a single jab.
- The Watcher's Council severely underestimates Buffy in Severing Ties after the latter is turned into Supergirl, believing that since she no longer has her old resistance to magic, Kendra can defeat her with magical weapons. Even though both have superhuman strength, speed, and durability, Kendra is functionally a Super Soldier while Buffy is at worst just below Physical God. Buffy simply flies above Kendra then uses heat vision to turn her magical weapons red hot, badly burning the Slayer in the process. Worse for the Council is they almost completely ignore Xander and Willow.
- Invoked in All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird, when Varric recounts an incident back in Kirkwall. He and Bethany had been cornered by some gang members in Hightown, and their leader brazenly announced that once they had disposed of the crossbow-wielding dwarf who appeared to be shielding her, they'd have some fun with the pretty human. Somehow, they neglected to notice the mage staff she was carrying.Varric: I said, "What makes you think that I'm the one you have to worry about?"
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Supergirl tries to dissuade the Scooby Gang from engaging a Kryptonian vampire on grounds of being powerless to fight someone who can disintegrate them in a split-second. Nonetheless, the Gang proves to be crucial to defeat Zol-Am.
- War of the Biju: Many of the Edo Tensei underestimate the younger, alive shinobi they're forced to fight. Unlike most examples, however, they're nominally happy when they're proven wrong, because the people they're fighting are their comrades, even if they're dead. This attitude is due to lack of foreknowledge and an extension of their summoner, Kabuto's, will, who has made this mistake constantly even though he should know better by now.
- Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!:
- Izuku's scrawny frame combined with his mousy personality tends to make people underestimate him when they first meet. Kendo Rappa brazenly challenges Izuku to an arm wrestle, Itsuka calls him arrogant for declaring that none of the robots at the U.A. Entrance Exam could hurt him, and Shouto wonders why Endeavor warned him to be wary of a kid who didn't look like he would last five seconds against Kite Man. They quickly revise their opinions after seeing him in action with his Kryptonian powerset.
- Due to being overshadowed by Izuku for much of his life, Bakugou tends to be treated as a joke by his peers. But even with his debilitating injuries, he manages to outscore both of the recommended students in 1-A on the Quirk Apprehension Test and scored more Villain Points than anyone else on the entrance exam. Come the Heroes vs. Villains exercise, he defeats Shouto Todoroki, who had previously talked down to him, in single combat, albeit when the former wouldn't use his fire.
- Infinity Crisis:
- In Powers and Marvels, the Rangers fall into this, figuring a normal human ilke the Mandarin can never stand up to them. Between his rings and his martial arts skills, the Mandarin easily takes them down. The Rangers later lampshade how they were holding back and made the mistake of underestimating him.
- Arguably applies in Sins, Sirens and Strife when Batman and the Flash are incapacitated by Mister Mind, although to be fair to them they were unaware of Mind's existence and had no reason to expect a caterpillar to be a threat.
- In Avengers of the Ring sequel Return of the Avengers, Lotho Sackville-Baggins tells Natasha that they should have sent the Hulk to try and interrogate him rather than 'some quim'; Natasha counters that he'll wish Aragorn had sent the Hulk once she's done with him, and Lotho apparently spent the better part of an hour sobbing before he clearly told her anything.
- In Dangerous Tenant, Wesker not only repeatedly underestimates his enemies, but in the final confrontation he underestimates the Doctors skill at viral genetics, as his attempt to re-mutate himself causes his body to collapse due to the Doctors anti-virus clashing with Weskers new virus.
- In the Harry Potter/Supernatural crossover series the Demented Verse, the wizards underestimate the demons and vice-versa, allowing the demons to infiltrate the American Ministry of Magic while the Winchesters drive them out afterwards after Harry brought them in.
- The Supernatural fic "Already Dead" mixes this with Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance; during Gadreel's time using Sam as a vessel, he contacts the angel Damael about the possibility of Damael joining Metatron's forces, but when Damael learns that Gadreel has taken Sam as a vessel and left Dean alive, Damael concludes that Bartholomew at least has a better chance of surviving the next week after Fadreel and Metatron have pissed off Dean Winchester and left him alive.
- In The Slayer Prophecy, the just-resurrected Monk takes advantage of the fact that he has never been seen as a fighter, observing as he fights with Spike that he tends to kill everyone he actually fights so his true skill level has never been revealed.
- The Very Secret Diary: Tom doesn't think much of Ginny's intelligence or bravery, to the extent that all his lies are so transparent, Ginny only had to fact-check one or two things for the whole thing to come apart at the seams. After all, Tom thinks, there's no way this talkative, annoying little girl could stand between him and his massacre on Muggle-borns... right? Yeah, about that...
- In Juxtapose, Shouto spends his Sports Festival match slowly whittling away at Hitoshi with ice when he could have ended the fight in an instant just to spite Endeavor. It proves his undoing when Hitoshi reveals that he's learned to activate his Quirk based on body language, costing Shouto the match.
- In Lessons From The Mountain, Maedhros admits he underestimated Morgoth because an elf-maiden was able to slip past his defenses. It never occurred to him that Luthien achieved her deed through sheer cleverness and resourcefulness.
- A Gem in the Rough has Garnet and Pearl thinking they could fight An Ice Person Admiral Aokiji and have any shot at winning. For those uninformed about One Piece, Aokiji's powers make him an Elemental Shapeshifter to anyone without Armament Haki, so neither of them even had a way to actually hurt him in the first place.
- In Kara of Rokyn, Superman gets shocked when he finds out his cousin has managed to beat Faora Hu-Ul, one of the deadliest and most dangerous criminals of their race.
- Dekiru: The Fusion Hero!
- Shoto underestimates Momo and Izuku during the Heroes vs. Villains exercise, and bites him in the ass when their fusion Moku defeats him and Tenya. Tenya actually warned him about this, but Shoto refused to listen.
- The League of Villains during the USJ incident. Their failure to account for the students and their Quirks backfires on them when Izuku's Human Fusion proves powerful enough to hold off Nomu even without All Might. The rest of the students then begin decimating their forces, because most of them are Mooks even they can handle. The plan ultimately fails so badly that Shigaraki straight up Rage Quits and leaves.
- Justice League The Spider: Despite her skills, Amanda Waller underestimates just how dangerous Doctor Octopus was, resulting in him taking control of Cadmuss cloned heroes and later blowing Wallers head off.
- In Just the Facts, you can forgive the Jerk Jocks for thinking Dave Strider would be an easy target between his Geek Physique, eccentric personality, and penchant for spouting off seeming non sequiturs. They couldn't have known that he was actually a Time Master and Master Swordsman, who'd spent three years in a Sburb session and had been deposited back into his pre-Sburb life. Naturally, they stop picking on him after he handily kicks their asses and shows off his Super Reflexes during a game of dodgeball.
- Heroic Myth: Several characters underestimate the Servants because they are considered Level 1 (the Level system doesn't consider past skills and experience, and everybody who joins a Familia starts at Level 1).
- The Red Dragon's Saber: Raynare and her Fallen Angel comrades completely underestimate Artoria Pendragon both because of their arrogance in assuming they are perfect beings with no equal and because she doesn't use holy nor demonic power. In the ensuing fight, they fail to land a single blow on Artoria, then she beats them into the ground and chops off their wings.