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“Gyaa-ha-ha! What a delightfully inept showing that was!” – Ghaleon over the totally defeated party, “Lunar: Silver Star Story”.

“Didn’t we break enough of your bones, Ghaleon? Or are there a few left for us to snap?” – Jessica over the totally crushed Ghaleon, about half a day later after Ghaleon has become far more powerful and the group has stayed the same, “Lunar: Silver Star Story”.

Story’s almost over; that means it’s time to just let the heroes win.

Thou Shall Not Suck is a variation on the Only the Author Can Save Them Now Deus Ex Machina trope. Like a basic Deus Ex Machina, it occurs when the heroes are in a totally implausible and unwinnable situation where all is lost. Unlike a Deus Ex Machina, however, rather than have something swing in and save the day…the heroes just suddenly succeed, even if the heroes utterly failed moments ago against a vastly superior opponent. Usually this is a result of a Heroic Pep Talk, but always it’s illogical. The only reasoning for why it happened is the author had their earlier defeat be due to building tension, and now that the story needs to end the heroes are suddenly good enough to win. It is as if the god of the universe suddenly pointed a finger at the heroes and declared them not to suck anymore, hence the name of the trope.

Examples:

In Final Fantasy VI, the heroes are utterly helpless before Kefka in the World of Balance, as he shrugs off being stabbed and can instantly immobilize anyone he wants to kill at leisure. Yet in the World of Ruin, after fully absorbing the power of three gods, gaining total dominion over the world, and able to literally play with the heroes like they were toys…he still loses.

As mentioned above in Lunar: Silver Star Story, the heroes confront Magic Emperor Ghaleon only to easily get smacked down. After drawing a sword, Alex rallies the others to come back, and they not only beat Ghaleon, but the dialog indicates they totally crush him to a pulp. This is after Ghaleon has more than doubled his previous power from absorbing it from Althena and reaching god levels himself. Logically, the only person who could possibly be stronger is Alex.

In the Soul Eater anime, after standing up to every ultimate technique, including Kid taking on the power of the Shinigami and Maka giving into the black blood and becoming a weapon herself, Asura gets defeated by Maka staring at him and then punching him in the face normally only once.

In Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth easily defeats first-class SOLDIER Zack and the entire town coming after him, yet Cloud, who is totally average, manages first to stab him in the back then physically overpower him and throw him into a mako pit. And Sephiroth at that point was more than strong enough to literally slice the metropolis of Junon into ribbons. Technically, in Crisis Core, the conventional soldiers are this as well as Zack has defeated Angeal and Genesis, two opponents on the level of Sephiroth, then loses to them.

Spider-Man is frequently this when he goes up against an opponent he shouldn’t be able to defeat, such as Iron Man. It happens in the movies too, such as in the first Sam Raimi one when he’s suddenly able to beat the Green Goblin.

Superman in his third fight against Doomsday. Technically, Doomsday was supposed to now be holding back due to having learned to fear death, but in their previous encounter Doomsday was more powerful than the overcharged Superman and had reached the point of instantaneous evolution, which meant he should have evolved instantly past his fear of Superman and grown stronger than him every time he started to show him up.

In Final Fantasy IX, the group gets utterly squashed by Trance Kuja, who is strong enough to destroy entire planets single handedly. Mokoto mentions the odds of them defeating him are a million to one. Yet he loses to them relatively simply in the rematch.

In Chrono Trigger, the freshly awakened Lavos easily annihilates the group and kills Crono. Yet when he’s cracked open to reveal that he’s already mastered all of the group’s moves and is composed of their cells as well as that of every other powerful being in existence…he somehow loses.

In Final Fantasy IV (noticing a trend?), in every encounter Golbez easily pulls out some Sith Lightning and knocks the whole party down with one hit. Even after being hit by the strongest spell in existence, he’s more mad than anything. Yet then he falls to a couple of the weakest summons there are.

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