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"HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?"
Ron Weasley, Harry Potter
"Dash it, I forgot I could fly!"
Princess Flame, Blazing Dragons

A subversion of Plot Induced Stupidity usually used for comic relief. We know sometimes characters have trouble mastering their powers, but sometimes, established powers seem to just get forgotten entirely. They find themselves in a dire situation where any normal person would be in serious trouble. They start to panic... and then they remember, oh yeah, I have superpowers/magic/advanced technology. Also seen from companions and enemies that forget about frequently-used powers. This is a very common subversion of the Acrophobic Bird.

Compare Remembered Too Late.

Compare and contrast How Do I Shot Web?, Informed Ability and New Powers as the Plot Demands.

Contrast Forgot I Couldn't Swim.

NOTE: Only include examples of a character not remembering that they have the ability and then remembering it (or being reminded by someone else). Simply forgetting about altogether it is Plot Induced Stupidity (and specifically often Acrophobic Bird).

Examples of Remembered I Could Fly include:


Anime and Manga

  • Tea Gardner, from Yu-Gi-Oh, is not as skilled as her friends, and seems to constantly forget the special effects of cards. One time she remembered on her own was in her duel against Mai in season 1.
  • Happens to Fukurou in One Piece. Franky was chasing him around firing bullets at him, when he suddenly remembered he could Double Jump and had Super Speed. He said something along the lines of "What am I doing?!" before he started fighting back.
    • Chopper did this too in his fight against Baroque Works. Miss Merry Christmas held onto his feet so he couldn't move, while Mr. 4's gun/dog Lasso fired an exploding baseball at him. He screamed as the ball flew towards his head, but then changed back into his (smaller) hybrid form, resulting in the ball flying harmlessly overhead. He even says "Whew, forgot I could do this."
  • Sora in Oh! Edo Rocket.
  • The manga adaptation of Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories has a dramatic Take My Hand scene where Adell refuses to let go of Rozalin even after she's spent their entire acquaintance screwing him over, after which they spend a heartwarming moment Laying On a Hillside...then Fridge Logic catches up with Adell and he realizes that Rozalin had wings the entire time. Hilarity Ensues.
    • In the Breath of Fire 4 game this also happens, but the fallen person (Nina) isn't caught in time and falls. Ryu rushes down rumping into ledges to try and catch her, and after going past her he promptly (face)falls down to the bottom himself.
  • The Charas of Shugo Chara forget about and later remember their ability to fly in one early episode. Used to scare a character and amuse the audience.
  • At one point in the manga version of Chrono Crusade, a roof hanging over Joshua begins to collapse. Since Joshua is a human boy with demon's horns, he's more than a little insane, so his first reaction is just to stare at it blankly. But right before The Hero saves him, he mutters "Oh, that's right" and uses his powers to stop time to keep himself from getting crushed, right at the last second.
  • A very simple, but amusing example in the Martial Arts Fine Dining arc of Ranma ½: throughout the training for the Parlay du Fois Gras, Ranma has been starving herself nearly to death. At the end of the final duel with Picolet Chardin, during which she has been using the technique to force-feed him (and the audience) to get rid of her food (the condition of winning), she has run out of options and is about to lose -- she still has food left, she's too weak from hunger to try the Fois Gras anymore, and Picolet is going for the last one -- then she says, "Oh, yeah." and just eats the last bits of food herself.
  • In Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Ika Musume almost drowns and Goro rescues her. Eiko asks her why she can drown. Ika Musume suddenly remembers that she can breathe underwater. She later demonstrates by staying underwater long enough for everyone else to get bored and do other things.
  • The writer of Yami no Matsuei after she inflicted this precise Plot Induced Stupidity on her hero at the end of the Queen Camelia arc. She had Muraki leaving the scene in a helicopter, which defeats her hero...who had the power to fly established very early. She clearly wishes she hadn't done that, but--here's where 'forgot I could fly' comes in--for some reason rather than pretending she hadn't, she footnoted his frustration with the reminder "why don't you just fly after him?"
    • This is especially painful because it comes shortly after Tsuzuki cracked bulletproof glass with his punch of sheer rage at the same guy who's now escaping for no good reason. He seriously takes Idiot Hero to new levels.


Comic Books

  • In one issue of Runaways, Cloak is trying to get away from the Avengers, who think he hospitalized his partner Dagger. It apparently does not occur to him that he can just, you know, teleport away from them until after he's thrown himself headfirst through a window.
  • Wesley tries to invoke this with a none-too-bright power stealing villain in Wanted. The villain does remember he can fly but forgets that the power is seconds away from running out.
  • In a Heroes tie-in comic. Bennet drives someone who can turn into water into a corner by shooting at him, knowing full well that the man in question is Immune to Bullets. Justified in that he's relying on panic and the fact that the guy is new to his powers and won't use them instinctively. By the time the guy realizes this, Bennet's partner gets the drop on him.
  • A Bloom County strip had Opus beach himself like a whale. Milo and Binkley stood over him, discussing the tragedy of whales beaching themselves, and then walked away, one of them lamenting, "If only they had feet." At which point Opus did a double take, stood up saying, "I do have feet, don't I?" and was next seen reclining in a chair watching TV.
  • An early issue of X-Men has telekinetic superheroine Jean Grey trapped on the second floor of a building, until teammate Beast reminds her that she can fly. Yes, she forgot she had super powers. Silly females! (It would be a few years yet before feminism hit the Marvel Universe.)


Film

  • In Back to The Future, Marty tries to warn Doc Brown that he will be killed by the Libyans in 1985, but he doesn't want to hear it, fearing that Marty's presence in 1955 has already done enough damage to the time line. Marty is sitting in the time machine lamenting his failure, then he realizes he's in a time machine; he can go back early and save Doc Brown in 1985. Which he STILL manages to screw up by only giving himself ten extra minutes and the car not starting, arriving at the mall just in time to see his friend getting shot.


Literature

  • In Harry Potter, Harry and Ron are being strangled by the vines of the Devil's Snare while Hermione is panicking and trying to remember how to combat the plant. She then remembers that the plant shrinks from heat and light. Harry suggests she lights a fire and the brilliant and talented witch, who has been noted as being particularly skilled at creating magic fire, replies that there is no wood. Ron, as quoted above, manages to scream some sense into her. Justified at that point as Hermione, despite her skill, had spent most of her life as a muggle, whereas Ron had grown up surrounded by magic.
    • In Harry Potter, Hermione gets her own back. Ron panics when he has to "freeze" the Whomping Willow so they can reach Voldemort's hideout and Hermione has to remind him that he's a wizard.
  • In Lone Wolf, you have powers that can be useful in certain situation, but sometimes, the author forgets that the possibility you have that power may exist, and doesn't give you a choice to use the power.
    • More commonly, the series has three levels of powers: Kai, Magnakai, and Grand Master. Most of the powers of one tier have lower powered equivalents amongst the lower tier. Similarly, someone of a higher tier always has all the powers of the lower tier, but only a select few of their given tier. This results in your character often being asked if he has a certain power appropriate for his tier (and bad stuff happening if you do not), but the author forgetting that there is no reason the lower tier equivalent - which everyone should have - could not be every bit as effective.
      • Theoretically, at least, if the higher Discipline is required, it's for something that the lesser Discipline can't handle for some reason (you see this all the time in Grand Master, particularly with Kai-screen). Justified, for the most part...simple Mind over Matter should not allow you to grab a big, heavy key on the opposite side of the room while you're behind a locked door. Still, there are numerous instances where you SHOULD be able to use Pathsmanship, or Huntmastery, or (most often) Divination, or at least get some explanation as to why you can't. (You don't need Telegnosis to spirit-walk, it just makes it easier.) And then there's the issue of the myraid Combat Skill and Endurance benefits you get from certain Disciplines, all of which need to be properly balanced...and some of which, unfortunately, don't make a lot of sense (in New Grand Master, you have the same Combat Skill whether or not you're armed). As you might imagine, it's not exactly easy to write these things.
  • The Animorphs do this frequently, while in borrowed bodies. There are at least two instances of a character taking the shape of a cockroach and forgetting until the last minute that cockroaches can fly.
    • Honestly though, do you often see flying roaches? (Why don't they attempt to fly away when somebody's trying to stomp them anyway? Maybe they also forgot they could fly?)
      • If that's true, then some Fridge Brilliance comes in: the reason the Animorphs forgot they could fly is that their natural cockroach tendencies made them forget they can fly.
      • Some species of cockroaches can fly. The ones in warmer, wetter areas typically fly, while in other places, they're more or less crawling beetles.
    • Another good example is after Marco rescues Ax from the Blade Ship they escape and plummet 2 miles up from the air, Marco freaks out until Ax reminds him that he could morph into a bird in midair.
      • Granted, he was already morphed as a gorilla, and a demorph/remorph while panicking is very difficult...
  • In Equal Rites, the wizards are standing around unsure of what to do until Esk yells, "You're wizards! Bloody well wizz!" (This was before the "power from not doing magic" thing started, so they weren't doing it deliberately; they just actually were unsure they should wizz.)


Live Action TV

  • Lampooned in the "The Adventures of Young God" skit on The State, which portrays God as a crime-fighting, Batman-style superhero. He and his sidekick (the Boy Savior) have been captured by the bad guys, and are tied up in an abandoned factory next to a time bomb that's about to explode when...

 Narrator: Suddenly God remembers that he's all-powerful, and changes the bomb into showers of blessings!

  • In the finale of No Ordinary Family they spend a good while panicking, surrounded by men with guns and looking for a way out, until Stephanie remembers she can immediately resolve the situation by using her superspeed to disable them. This is an improvement over a previous, similar situation, where it never occurred to her at all.


Music

  • Played with in the parody Vocaloid song Lord of Darkness in which the titular vampire starves to death in a cell, never managing to remember that he is able to turn into mist.


Toys

  • At one point in the Bionicle storyline, Krekka has to be reminded that he knows how to fly.


Video Games

  • Skyward Sword has an instance towards the beginning of the game: two Mogmas, Ledd and Cobal, sit outside the Earth Temple, brainstorming ways to get inside to loot the place like they're in a cat-burglar movie. The following exchange occurs:

 Cobal: Can't we just dig in?

  • beat*

Cobal: Just sayin'.

Ledd: You're not as dumb as you look.

  • Amusingly enough, due to the severe case of Alt-Itis the game encourages, this can be a frequent problem in City of Heroes. What with having so many alts with different power sets, it's not easy to remember that your character of the hour can induce fear over a wide area, or shoot an awesome long-range fire beam, or use arrows that encase their targets in ice, or whatever else they learned to do six weeks ago when you last played them.
  • It is possible to die from Bottomless Pits-equivalents in Dark Void, a game whose premise is that its hero has a jet-pack.
  • In the second special episode of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, Armaldo panics and looks for water to put out some torches before remembering that he can use Water Gun. Also, Igglybuff could have YOOM TAH'd the door behind the torches, just like he did earlier in the special episode. The torches turn out to be a trap that leads into a monster house. Oh, and Armaldo is a criminal on the run from the law.
  • Golden Sun Dark Dawn: Sveta promptly freaks out when the Chaos Hound appears and pays inordinate attention to her well-being, only to Slap him when Tyrell yells out whether she's an Adept or not. She then tries to help him come to his senses... only for Blados and Chalis to force the team's hand in combat.
  • Lampshaded in a quest in World of Warcraft:

 When I reached the end of the canyon, I remembered that my motorcycle could fly.

That would have been helpful to know earlier.

    • Though that quest is presented as a complete fabrication told by one of the NPCs.
    • Like the City of Heroes example, players running multiple alts can sometimes forget which ones have a Flight License.
    • An inverse example, Stories of players leaping off cliffs planning to shift into flight form or use sometype of movment slowing, thinking they're on their druid, mage, etc... then realizing their not and dying.
  • It's not uncommon in League of Legends to forget that your items have active effects only to kick yourself now that you're just out of range to inflict slow with your Hextech Gunblade.

Web Comics

  • Order of the Stick has Vaarsuvius reminding Elan about his bard-magic abilities. Elan forgetting his class features is actually a Running Gag, since he is The Ditz.
    • In another strip, Durkon swings at an attacking goblin with his hammer and misses twice. However, when others remind him about the bonuses he forgot to add to his attack, he realizes that he hit after all- and sure enough, the goblin is retroactively pummeled into submission. He'd be a great fighter if he had a better head for numbers.
    • Also, other characters used to remind V about the familiar that comes with the wizard class. Although that is also poking fun at players forgetting their familiars.
  • On Bob and George, Mega Man is working his way through a particularly hard level, not making much progress, and complaining about how much the jetpack he's wearing weighs. One Beat Panel later, he starts flying over the level, wondering how he could be so stupid.
    • Not to mention when Megaman and Protoman are having trouble fighting the Yellow Demon in the first year, and the author points out that Megaman has beaten it several times before, so he shouldn't have a problem with it this time either. Megaman and Protoman proceed to rather messily destroy it.
    • And when someone points out to George that he did not have to spend months in Unwilling Suspension with his superpowers -- he blows up the base.
    • In another case it's first invoked but then subverted. Megaman enters Dr. Wiley's base, but in the course of combat gets his limbs blown off. He desperately crawls on his ruined stumps to Wiley's room, where he finds the other heroes already there. They ask why he didn't use his teleporter. He almost completely loses it, but then quickly remembers that the teleporter's broken, that's why.
  • In Dubious Company, Walter forgets that he is a Winged Humanoid and so does everyone else. Possibly justified, as he mainly travels by airship and wouldn’t need to fly manually too often. He mainly seems to remember if Tiren is in danger.
  • From Homestuck:

 "Dreambot!Jade: Realize you can fly."

"There is nothing to realize. Of course you can fly."


Web Original

  • This happens with Nappa in Dragon Ball Abridged. What makes this particular example so hilarious is that this realization came after he forgot about it as he was flying and after he had been flying for the greater part of that fight and while he was in midair.
    • Also, Raditz could have avoided being shot through the chest by Piccolo if he had flown, regardless of the lock Goku put him in, as Piccolo helpfully points out.
    • In the first episode, Krillin was reminded by the others that he could have flown after Raditz but didn't.


Western Animation

  • There's a Woody Woodpecker cartoon where Woody falls from a great height, starts flying, and admits, "Hey, I forgot I was a bird!"
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • In an episode, Mojo ties up the girls in an unbreakable filament, and they shout, "You forgot one thing!" and blast him with their heat vision, something they've actually quite often forgotten to do.
    • In one episode, Buttercup is being chased away by an angry mob in a parody of monster B-movies, and runs away from them... until she exclaims "Wait, what am I doing?", and remembers she can just fly away from them.
  • In an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the group are stuck in the desert with only a small amount of water in their pouch. Then Momo spills it and Sokka goes crazy... that is until Katara calmly bends the water out of the sand. Sokka sighs and says "Oh I forgot. Bending." However, Sokka was in the throes of a particularly comical Mushroom Samba at that point, so he may be forgiven.
    • That, and the fact that he can't bend.
  • In Finding Nemo, Dory does this with her ability to read human writing. (She forgets plenty of other things, too.)

 (Marlin and Dory are trying to escape a frenzied shark).

Dory: Hey, here's something. Eskappay! I wonder what that means. It's funny, it's spelled just like the word Escape...

Marlin: You can read?

Dory: I can read? That's right, I can read!

    • She also claims to speak the language of whales, which just involves speaking English Fish with a deep and drawn out voice. Marlin scoffs at this, but the whale does understand her so he starts doing it too, leading to this:

 Marlin: Thaaaank yooooooouuu!

Dory: Wow. I wish I could speak Whale.

  • Used in Disney's Aladdin cartoon show, pretty much down to the letter. Aladdin asks another character to take a rope to the top of a high tower for him, at which point said character launches into a diatribe about how dangerous this would be for him, and how crazy and inconsiderate a thing it is to ask of him. Aladdin's response is to wait the rant out, as there's no point in trying to reason with him until he's finished, then points out to him that he can fly. At which point, the character -- (the parrot, Iago) -- says, "Oh, yeah."
  • In Legion of Super-Heroes, when Superman and Timberwolf had to deliver Brainiac 5's head to be exposed to a rare metal's radiation in order to prevent Brainy dying from a worsen corruption of his data, Superman had to go had a planet with a red sun (meaning he loses all his powers for the duration). When he and Timberwolf were running from mutant miners, Superman was reminded by Timberwolf that he has a flight-ring that still allows him to fly. Superman's excuse was that never really did use the ring's function seeing as he can fly on his own.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
    • In the second episode the ponies come across a broken bridge. When Pinky Pie wonders what to do next, Rainbow Dash shrugs and flies over to fix it.
    • In the Dragonshy episode, Fluttershy is so frightened she has to be reminded that she can fly. This then gets Subverted when she becomes so terrified that her wings lock up entirely, stranding her on the ground.
  • In the third episode of Winx Club Bloom is caught in one of Darcy's illusion spells, until she remembers that fairies can fly and flies out of the spell's reach. Justified as this was the first time that Bloom had transformed into her fairy form.
  • Princess Flame in one episode of Blazing Dragons. While sneaking out of her tower bedroom, the rope she has made by tying her bed sheets together unravels and she abruptly falls out of frame. She then flits back into frame, hovering in place and smirking, then saying the page quote at the top in a case of Lampshade Hanging
  • Played with in the new Winnie the Pooh movie. The gang (minus Piglet) is stuck in a pit, with no way out. Piglet is told to get help, but Piglet is afraid to go through the woods on his own. Owl flies out of the pit to talk to Piglet, and gives a rousing speech, convincing Piglet to go off. Owl hops back into the pit, and all his friends stare at him.

 Owl: What?

Rabbit: Owl...that was a...beautiful speech! I didn't know you had it in you!

    • Just prior to this, Piglet himself does something similar, when he offers to help get them out with a flower, then a book. After Rabbit suggests a rope, Piglet says "Like this rope?" and grabs one that had been there the whole time.
  • In Family Guy, Brian keeps forgetting about his superior sense of smell.
  • Happens with Squirt the dragon in Disney Junior's Mike the Knight when tumbling down a cliff, though there's another dragon named Sparkie who actually can't fly and has to be rescued.
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