FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic
"What can I do to this guy that life hasn't already?"
The Monarch, The Venture Brothers

This is a subtrope of Disability Superpower where, rather than a character's disability giving them an actual power, it instead renders them immune to some sort of attack, trap, or ploy that would otherwise be effective against them.

Examples include:

See also: Disability Superpower (for when this grants other abilities to compensate), Too Kinky to Torture, Too Dumb to Fool, Insanity Immunity (which fall under the "frame of mind" variation), and Kryptonite Factor (for the opposite; someone being more vulnerable to something to balance out their power). See also One Curse Limit, when being affected by one thing prevents immunity to being affected by anything else. The Hard Hat is when a steel plate left in the skull from surgery makes someone immune to Mind Rape.


Examples of Disability Immunity include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Bleach, Aizen's shikai only affects those who see it. Being blind, Tosen is immune to it, as well. He is, however, already on Aizen's side.
  • In Dragon Ball, Krillin once faced a horribly stinky opponent in the tournament. He was getting mauled until Goku reminded him that he had no nose.
  • In Saint Seiya, Shiryu blinds himself to fight Algol's Taken for Granite powers. This even enables him later on to avoid being fooled by Gemini's illusion of an empty suit of armor, preventing Seiya from striking the illusion (Hyoga was not so lucky), and actually sensing the temple exit where Seiya would only see a suit of armor and a wall behind it. Bonus points for the Big Bad pointing out that he should have known Shiryu would be immune, though it doesn't matter. Cue Evil Laugh.
  • Alluded to a couple times in Fullmetal Alchemist; for example, when the Elric brothers break into the Fifth Laboratory, Ed remarks that his metal hand and Al's armor body allow them to climb over the barbed wire on the fence without injury, and when climbing through a duct, Ed thinks to himself with increasing horror that if he weren't so short, he wouldn't fit through the ducts.
  • One Piece. Usopp is unaffected by Perona's negative hollow because he already has self-esteem issues.
  • On one episode of Inuyasha, they travel along with a miko that doesn't have real powers, later when they encounter a monster with a high Spiritual Energy Level, they all are affected by its pressure, everyone except the powerless miko.
  • Erza (from Fairy Tail) loses an eye to torture as a child. We never get to see the damage thankfully, since it scares her closest friend who just proved that, in spite of this flashback being before he lost it, he was perfectly capable of murder. She gets a fake eye in its place which makes her completely immune to illusion magic and lessens the effects of another spell that requires eye contact.
  • In Basilisk, Koushiro is left blind at some point...and that is what lets him defeat Hyouma Muroga, due to how Hyouma's powers, which come from his eyes, are useless on someone who cannot see anything.

Comic Books

  • In a Bronze Age issue of The Avengers, Hawkeye used one of his sonic arrows to fry his own eardrums, rendering him immune to a bad guy's sonic mind control. Ever since, Hawkeye has used a high-tech hearing aid. He can turn it all the way up to give himself super-hearing or off to render himself deaf as a post and immune to sonics.
  • In the graphic novel Fall of Cthulhu, one of Nyarlathotep's minions is a shape shifter who takes the form of its victim's loved one. One of the protagonist has lost his memory, and as such is not fooled when the shape shifter changes into his wife (as he doesn't recognize her).
  • This happens a lot in Daredevil, since he's blind (despite his Disability Superpower).
    • One of his recurring enemies in The Silver Age of Comic Books was the Masked Marauder, who used "opti-blasts" that blinded people.
    • The 600th issue of Amazing Spider-Man begins with Spidey and Daredevil cleaning out a Bad Guy Bar. One of them has the power to render someone blind by touching them, and grabs Daredevil, much to Spidey's amusement.
    • A Marvel Two-In-One story had Daredevil win a one-page battle with minor villain Mirage, whose only ability was projecting convincing holograms.
    • Spidey and Hornhead's first team up was against the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime. Ringmaster tried to use his Hypno Ray on Daredevil.
  • In Preacher (Comic Book), Starr sends a number of operatives who don't understand English to capture Jesse, as they're unable to understand his Compelling Voice and thus immune to it.
  • In order to make herself immune to being Taken for Granite (apparently, this version of Medusa could compel people to look at her), Wonder Woman once intentionally rendered herself blind using the poison from one of Medusa's snakes.
  • Nextwave. Forbush Man decides to torment the heroes with their worst nightmare. Apparently Boom-Boom simply didn't have enough of a mind to torment. Compared to Aaron Stack's whose mind was programmed in...
  • In Locke and Key, Rufus Whedon's unspecified mental disability makes him immune to the mind-tampering effects of the Head Key.

Film

 Martin (visibly wobbling): "Boy, her head was dark and empty".

Folklore

  • In The Pied Piper of Hamelin, at most three children can get left behind when the Piper plays his alluring music. One is deaf so they can't hear the music, one is blind and can't follow the Piper, and one is lame and can't keep up. Different versions use different variations.

Literature

  • Discworld mentions one prison guard as being "too stupid to fool".
  • Billy Raven, an albino character from the Children of the Red King series is immune from another character's hypnotism because of his poor eyesight.
  • Inverted in the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. The Second Foundationers have near unstoppable psychic powers, but one character discovers that he can disable them by broadcasting a loud psychic static with a special electrical apparatus while leaving normal people unaffected. He compares this to flashing a bright light in somebody's eyes; somebody without sight (i.e. normal people, without the psychic powers) are not even aware of the light, whereas people who can see will be hurt and incapacitated. Once he succeeds, however, it is revealed to the reader that it was all part of a Xanatos Gambit by the Second Foundation itself.
  • In The Andromeda Strain, the titular Strain kills an entire town save a baby and an old man. Turns out that the contagion was actually extremely sensitive to abnormal pH levels. The old man was a nutcase who drank drain cleaner, resulting in somewhat acidic blood, and the baby had colic, and had cried himself into oxygen alkalosis.
  • In the Felix Gomez series of novels by Mario Acevedo, two people have been immune to vampiric hypnotism, most likely because it needs total eye contact, and these people both had a lazy eye.
  • The Stand has Tom ("M-O-O-N spells [insert important item here]"), who's too stupid for Randall Flag's powers of telepathy to locate: "All I see is...M-O-O-N spells moon."
  • In the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Covenant attributes his ability to resist Mind Rape at the hands of Lord Foul in part to his being a leper: a lot of his nerve endings have died, making him numb against pain, and he's suffered so much scorn, abandonment, and isolation since contracting his disease that it's difficult for Lord Foul to make Covenant any more miserable than he already is.
    • Much later on, his numb hands enable him to use a magic weapon that becomes hot enough to severely burn them.
  • The protagonist of The Day of the Triffids retains his vision because he was temporarily blinded and could not see the beautiful meteor shower that (permanently) blinded humanity.
  • Jim Gardner from The Tommyknockers is immune to the effects of the spacecraft of the titular aliens, as he has a metal plate in his head due to a ski accident. Two other characters experience this to a lesser extent, Ev Hillman (smaller plates in head from a war injury) and Anne Anderson (extremely extensive metal dental work).
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Curse of Chalion, Cazaril refuses substantial bribes from the king of Ibra because he has a stomach tumor he expects will kill him shortly.
  • In "The Frost Giants Daughter", an incredibly beautiful and seductive woman named Atali mesmerizes men and lures them to her lair...where her monstrous brothers kill them for food. Conan the Barbarian falls under her spell, but manages to slay the brothers, forcing Atali to flee. Later, Conan tries to tell his comrades about this, but only an old warrior named Grom believes him. Grom explains that he encountered the ageless Atali as a youth, where she mesmerized and lured his unit to their deaths. He wasn't immune to it, but he survived because his injuries prevented him from following her.
  • Subverted in Deathbell by Guy N. Smith, which is about a cursed Tibetan bell whose ringing drives people insane and eventually kills them. "Deaf Donald" is introduced and set up to be potentially immune to the bell's effects, but when he hears, he goes insane and dies like the others, as a way of showing the evil bell's noise can even affect the deaf.

Live Action TV

  • In Farscape John Crichton was resistant to something that was affecting the crew because humans have eyesight which is far too poor to see whatever it was that caused it.
  • In an episode of The X-Files, Mulder proved immune to some subliminal brainwashing because of his colorblindness.
    • In another episode, all the living creatures in a given area die horrifically when their inner ears pressurize and explode out of their skulls. Amazingly, they find a single old woman sitting in her home, unaffected as death surrounds her for miles. It turns out the cause of the hemorrhages was a high frequency sound, and the woman was born without eardrums meaning that there was nothing for the pressure to build up against.
  • One episode of The Outer Limits called "From Within" starred a retarded guy who was immune to the parasitic mind control worms that took over everybody else in town. When one tries to get him, it shrivels up & dies of starvation. Amusingly, it appears to come out a different ear than it went in...
    • Actually, he was not just "retarded" in the intellectual sense. He had a form of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Affect Disorder that resulted in him having reduced neurotransmitters that affect emotions--the same neurotransmitters that the parasites happened to feed on.
    • Another Outer Limits episode called "Stream of Consciousness" posited a future where all brains were networked and had access to the world database, except for the protagonist, whose body rejected the procedure. This made him pretty much useless except as A) a janitor, and b) the Only Sane Man when the network became malevolent.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had the episode "Band Candy" where chocolate bars sold all around Sunnydale cause anyone who eats them to revert to their teenage personalities. None of the young heroes are affected, despite Xander eating a large amount of his own chocolate, because they are already teenagers.
  • In the Fringe episode "The Box", the titular box, upon being dug up, emits an ultrasound that kills everyone nearby except for a deaf man.
  • Todd from Todd and the Book of Pure Evil proved to be immune to one antagonist's mind control powers because of his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • An episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers involved a deaf girl being immune to magic music.
  • In the Dark Angel episode "Fuhgeddaboudit", Max and Co. meet a transgenic with the ability to control a person's actions. It turns out that a man with narcolepsy is immune, due to his mind "being wired differently."
  • In the Star Trek the Original Series episode "Is There In Truth No Beauty?", there is a race of aliens said to be so ugly that anyone who sees them goes insane. However, the Girl of the Week is able to look at them through special glasses, because she's blind, and only pretending to be able to see.
  • Gary of Alphas is immune to Nina's "push" power because he's autistic.
  • A more mundane example crops up in an episode of Londons Burning in which Blue Watch are called to a fire in the basement of a public library, which happens to contain the Braille section. The two firefighters who go down to search for anyone trapped find a blind woman, who ends up being a great help in getting back out again; between the smoke and the power going out neither of the firefighters can see more than a couple of feet anyway, but the woman they're ostensibly rescuing has considerably more practice navigating by feel.
  • Legend of the Seeker has the "supremely ungifted" who can neither use, nor be affected by anything magical.
  • An episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? has kids being abducted by aliens who use sonic weapons. A deaf girl is immune to the weapons and helps the kids escape.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons and Dragons module A2 Secret of the Slaver's Stockade: the fort's commander is blind and therefore immune to the petrifying gaze of the medusa he uses to guard his treasure.
    • This is pretty common in the D&D universe: blind characters are immune to gaze attacks, deaf characters are immune to sonic attacks, unliving creatures and creatures without a discernible anatomy are immune to critical hits, etc.
    • There's even a spell that lets you use one sense instead of another for the same effect. The example given was that the caster was "hearing" light to see and immune to the gorgon on the page. It's specifically meant to utilize this trope against monsters.
    • D&D also contains the infamous Explosive Runes, which detonate when read- unless you're a barbarian, who has illiteracy as a class "feature".
  • Not quite a disability, but there's one Abyssal entity in Mage: The Awakening that manipulates human behaviour by meddling with social cues - but people with autism spectrum conditions are less susceptible to this because they don't feel those cues as strongly.
  • In Pathfinder, characters with peg legs take massive penalties to their ability to walk and jump, however they're immune to Caltrops (partly if they have one leg replaced, completly if they have both legs replaced).
  • Champions powers defined/bought as "No Normal Defense" can become this. An example power from several editions of the rulebook is a sonic NND attack that bypasses armor, but won't affect a deaf character.

Video Games

  • In one of the Mortal Kombat games Kenshi saves his friend from an ambush when they're attacked with a flash bomb; being blind he's unaffected.
  • Some works featuring undead make them invulnerable, what with being already dead. The Frozen Throne Animate Dead spell works like this (in the original, the units were vulnerable, but lasted longer).
  • Final Fantasy V features a Banshee-like boss who charms her victims into submission by conjuring illusions of their loved ones. It works on everyone except the team's Badass Grandpa who, having suffered from amnesia, doesn't recognise his 'granddaughter'.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater: Raikov is not affected by the girly mags...NotThatTheresAnythingWrongWithThat, but the game is set in the 60's.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots: Johnny has no nanomachines to enhanced his abilities. So, when there was an attack on the Patriot AI system that affected everyone with nanomachines, Johnny was fine.
  • In the Pokémon games, if you're already asleep, poisoned, paralyzed, frozen, or burned, you can't be affected by any other one of those effects. There are a subset of status effects that do overlap with these though.
    • And in a cold aversion, Abra can still be afflicted with sleep despite being said to spend most of its day sleeping, and it's Psychic powers allowing it to function while asleep. In fact, it's one of the best ways to catch one so it doesn't teleport away.
  • The Heroes of Might and Magic series gives us the troglodyte, a blind creature of the deep. Their inability to see renders them immune to the spell blind, known to stop stronger creatures in their tracks. By removing the right creature from the fight for several turns, a single well placed casting of blind has been known to steer the course of entire battles. The thing is, troglodytes are some of the weakest units in the game--even if they were susceptible to blind, chances are no one would have actually wanted to cast it on them anyway, either due to bigger threats taking priority, or the trogs not even being worth the mana cost it would take to disable them. Whether their incompetence lies from their blindness or simply being primitive hunchbacks with spears in a world full of bigger, more vicious fish is unknown.
  • In Portal 2, after Wheatley turns evil, GLaDOS tells him a Paradox in an effort to kill him with a Logic Bomb. Unfortunately, it doesn't work, due to him being Too Dumb to Fool.
  • In Final Fantasy X, being Zombified makes you immune to Death. This means that refraining from curing your Zombification is actually one of the best ways of beating Yunalesca, who uses Death on every party member at the end of each round (as long as you remember she also casts high level heal spells on zombiefied characters).
  • Sergeant Johnson from Halo. After "liberating" a crate of plasma grenades to help save his men, he got radiation poisoning which resulted in Boren's Syndrome. This disease degraded his DNA so much that the Flood wasn't able to synch with his nervous system, giving immunity to infection.
  • In Nethack, when you are (temporarily) blinded, you are immune to gaze attacks (such as from a floating eye) and flashes of light (from a yellow or black light).
  • League of Legends initially declared that Lee Sin, the Blind Monk, would be immune to blind effects. This didn't carry through to release, mostly because out of getting on for a hundred champions, only two of them have abilities that cause blind.

Web Comics

  • An early strip in Order of the Stick has a priest of evil casting Unholy Blight on the party which disables all good beings. Belkar calmly walks up and stabs him.
    • A later strip has Belkar hanged, which he survives since he's a 30-pound halfling, and his weight doesn't even pull the rope taut enough to strangle him.
    • Also in OOtS, there's the, ahem, 'squid thingy' that refuses to eat Elan's brain because his low Int score makes it seem as nutritious as diet Coke. Roy isn't as fortunate, though...
  • Unintentionally Pretentious often runs on this.

Web Original

  • Jericho from Whateley Universe is immune to the effects of seeing the Voodoo wolves despite a lack of psychic protection because he's blind. Note this is a partial immunity because he can still be clawed by them.
  • A number of SCPs are harmless to the blind or the deaf. (In fact, including "blind guards" as a part of the containment procedure is considered an annoying cliche.)

Western Animation

  • Mort from The Penguins of Madagascar is too stupid to feel pain. This led to an odd sort of inverted Flowers for Algernon Syndrome episode, which involved the penguins lowering their intelligences down to Mort's level.
  • In the Earthworm Jim episode "Lounge Day's Journey Into Night," Jim, despite being without his Powered Armor, is resistant to evil lounge singers because, as an earthworm, he has no ears.
  • Bullwinkle was immune to Boris & Natasha's Goof Gas Attack.

 Goof Gas affects the brain and - no brain, no effect!

    • Similarly in The Movie, he was impervious to their mind numbing television programs.
  • An example happens in the "Blind Alley" episode of X-Men: Evolution: Scott's ruby visor is stolen by Mystique, and he can't open his eyes without destroying whatever's in front of him, effectively blinding him. But he manages to even the odds by blowing up the lights.
  • The Powerpuff Girls once fought a brain-sucking villain. They defeated him by tricking him into attacking the Mayor, who didn't have enough brains to be affected.
  • In Futurama, Fry's limited intelligence occasionally comes in handy. Brain Slugs die of starvation when they attach to him. He's also immune to the Brain Spawn's intelligence-sucking powers because his previous time-travel incident gave him a "special mind."
  • An entire subset of jokes in Family Guy involve Joe getting his legs smashed, mangled, or otherwise horribly injured, only for him to laugh it off (or at the very worst, become mildly annoyed), because they're already useless.
    • Also, the episode where Peter goes temporarily blind, he walks into the Drunken Clam bar during a fire and rescues the trapped bartender. When asked, his reply is priceless.
  • In Gargoyles, Demona's spell to turn everyone in Manhattan to stone only affected people who both saw and heard her cast it. Jeffrey Robbins, a Blind Black Guy, heard her spell on TV but was immune.
  • One episode of the Mega Man animated series featured a deaf little girl who was immune to Dr. Wily's sonic form of mind control.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy had a brain eating alien come to Endsville. The first person he runs into: Billy, who's got no brain for him to eat.
    • And in The Movie, Grim is the only one who can claim the MacGuffin that makes people face their greatest fears, because his greatest fear is having to spend time with Billy and Mandy, which he already has to do anyway.
  • A Halloween episode of The Simpsons had a bunch of zombies leave Homer completely unharmed. They were looking for brains to eat, and after a brief inspection decided that Homer just wouldn't do.
    • Similarly, Homer was immune to a cult's brainwashing because his attention span was so short that he didn't pay attention to it for long enough to work. (After struggling with this for a while, they then manage to brainwash him by singing the theme to the old '60s Batman TV show with the word "Leader" in place of the word "Batman".)
  • In one episode of The Venture Brothers, the Monarch tries to kill Dr. Venture by going inside his mind and unleashing waves of sanity-breaking mental trauma upon him. But, as Dr. Venture explains, he's already so miserable that nothing the Monarch does can even phase him.
  • The Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Tower of Dr Zalost"'s eponymous villain fires cannon balls which make the people of Nowhere depressed, but it doesn't affect Eustace as he's already a cranky old man
    • Another episode had a small bitter man use a machine that lets out a "Curtain of Cruelty" to blanket the entire area of Nowhere and turn all inhabitants cruel so he can be elected mayor. Eustace, already a cruel man to begin with, is completely unfazed by the curtain (in fact he's so cruel that not even Courage's tampering of the machine to create the "Curtain of Kindness" affected him either).
  • An episode of Skunk Fu! had Baboon use a potion on the monkey ninjas to make them invisible the only one who could see them was the token dumbass Ox, after the others realize this they stop thinking and they can also see them.
  • Subverted in the Justice League episode "Wild Cards". The Joker has Ace use her powers to drive everyone mad with a look. He claims he is immune himself because he is already insane. It turns out that isn't true.

Real Life

  • People with cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) are immune to polygraphs (lie-detector tests) that measure stress-induced changes in heart rate, since they're having them all the time anyway.
  • The Thalassemia trait appears in some people because of a genetic mutation may provide some protection against malaria
  • This is also true of another genetic disorder, sickle-cell disease (AKA sickle-cell anemia). Though the heterozygous "carrier" version is even better as you have no symptoms and immunity to malaria, just a chance your kids will have sickle-cells.
  • It's not much, but being bald pretty much assures you will be head lice free.
  • According to some stage hypnotists, drunks and people with very low IQ levels are much harder to hypnotise than sober, intelligent people due to problems focusing.
  • There is a rare genetic defect that leaves people with no helper T-cells. While this isn't exactly much a disability, it does leave those with the defect immune to HIV.
  • Most kind of physical and mental disabilities will mean you don't get drafted into war, although this depends on the war's intensity.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.