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"Another insect, CRUSHED!!!"—Dong Zhuo, Dynasty Warriors 4
Bugs are small. Bugs can be annoying. And bugs are easily squishable, given the right tools. So what better way is there to insult an opponent you don't want to be bothered with anymore? By comparing him/her/it to a bug (or worm, or maggot, or something else that crawls along the ground and can easily be stepped on), of course.
This is a favored technique among very powerful and/or arrogant villains to intimidate their opponent or devalue their abilities before their climactic battle. More savvy heroes tend to shrug this off as lame posturing, but a bad guy will still throw this in from time to time, if only to make himself sound cool.
See also the Drill Sergeant Nasty, who uses this as a "motivational" tool ("You call that an insult, maggot?!")
Anime & Manga
- In Hellsing, Zorin Blitz talks about swatting Pip Bernadotte "like a fly", which makes Seras angry enough to take a level in badass.
- Dio Brando does this a lot. For example, when standing on a floating rock about to fight the man in the funny hat.
- In Bleach, The Espada Barragan Luisenbarn is found of this, repeatedly calling his enemies ants and insects even when he's not the one fighting them.
- Children under the influence of the Dark Spore in Digimon 02 get an attitude of superiority to normal humans, and often compare anyone who's not them to "insects".
- Father in Fullmetal Alchemist once said humans are so insect like compared to him that they don't even deserve his contempt as his homunculus give.
Dr. Manhattan: The world's smartest man is no more a threat to me than the world's smartest termite.
- Epic example from 52. Mr. Mind, who appears in most stories as a tiny, telepathic caterpillar who needs the help of other villains to fight his enemies, has become the Hyperfly. Now the size of a planet, he chases down Booster Gold and Rip Hunter...
I have you now. You insects.
- Rotti Largo from Repo! The Genetic Opera:
"Maggots! Vermin! You want the world for nothing!"
- Non-villain example from Goldeneye. Natalya tells off her former partner Boris, who has joined Trevelyan.
Natalya: This is not one of your games, Boris! Real people will die! You pathetic little worm...
- In Disney's Hercules, Pain and Panic, minions of Hades, use this trope on themselves, to demonstrate their unworthiness.
Pain and Panic: We are worms! Worthless worms!
- In The Rocky Horror Picture Show (also in the stage play), the reprise of "Super Heroes" includes the line:
"And crawling / on the planet's face / some insects / called the human race..."
- In Taran Wanderer, Morda attempts to Baleful Polymorph Taran into a worm, considering other animals not lowly enough. (He fails because Taran is unwittingly holding his Soul Jar.)
- Douglas Hill's Master of Fiends has a particularly unpleasant demon call the heroes insects.
- In the Dresden Files, this is fairly stock. So much so, that if the monster of the week doesn't do this, then they're Dangerously Genre Savvy. Like Cowl. Or Kincaid. Notice, they're both probably at least a little bit human.
- On Angel, Illyria, oh so much. An Old One from when demons ruled the earth, used to being worshiped by millions or billions of beings, she was not especially impressed with the twenty-first century. Insects, vermin, and muck were all ways she described humanity.
- Star Trek: Voyager. Large Ham Dr. Chaotica in the Flash Gordon Serial Expy holodeck program "The Adventures of Captain Proton!"
Your pitiful fleet is no match for my spaceforce! We'll crush you like insects!
- Professor Higgins in Pygmalion:
Eliza: Nothing wrong -- with you. I've won your bet for you, haven't I? That's enough for you. I don't matter, I suppose.
Higgins: You won my bet! You! Presumptuous insect! I won it.
- The Emperor from Final Fantasy II (especially as he appears in Dissidia Final Fantasy) loves using this trope.
"An insect defeat an emperor?"
- This comes back to bite him after his second major defeat - when he disbelievingly asks who the heroes are, Firion mockingly replies: "Just a swarm of insects."
- Kefka from Final Fantasy VI - "Such magnificent power! You are like insects to me!"
- SHODAN from System Shock also likes to use "insect" as an insult. Of course, this is one of her nicer threats...
- Albel Nox from Star Ocean 3.
- There's also Luca Blight's rant from Suikoden II:
"You can round up a million maggots to defeat me...but you'll still all just be maggots!"
- Astaroth from Soul Calibur, often calls his opponents "worms" and the like. Apparently, freaky hulking golems are hard to please. Who knew?
- Soul Calibur IV gives us this gem from one of the more evil sounding custom male voices:
Created Villain (Upon Victory): "Did you feel my power, you maggots?!"
- Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, in one of his first lines!
"I'm going to go swat down a couple of bothersome flies."
- The Soldier from Team Fortress 2 often yells about maggots and spineless worms. (See Drill Sergeant Nasty above.)
- One of Adon's win quotes in Super Street Fighter IV.
- Sovereign in Mass Effect.
Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh.
Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident…
- This exchange from Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals:
Idura: "Foolish vermin! Do you dare to defy me? I'LL CRUSH YOU LIKE WORMS!"
Tia (to Maxim and Guy): Hey, are we worms, or are we vermin? Boy, he's really mad now.
- Galactus in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will sometimes start the Final Boss fight by saying "You are not unlike an ant fighting the sun."
- He also says "Now I must squash you like the bug that you are!" when you beat him. Sure, he is.
- Also, Super Skrull says at the beginning of a fight: "I will crush you like the insect you are."
- Wizpig of Diddy Kong Racing enjoys calling the racers "worms."
- Sigma from Mega Man X2: "You are merely a bothersome insect, Mega Man X! It is about time that I crush you beneath my heel!"
- Wild Dog in Time Crisis 4 says the following to the VSSE, whose members he had to deal with in the entire series.
Wild Dog: Annoying bunch of little flies...