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"That man won't quit as long as he can still draw a breath. None of my teammates will. Me? I've got a different problem. I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard, always taking constant care not to break something, to break someone. Never allowing myself to lose control even for a moment, or someone could die. But you can take it, can't you, big man? What we have here is a rare opportunity for me to cut loose and show you just how powerful I really am."
A fundamental part of telling a story is conflict: you want the hero to have their problems and, hopefully, overcome them in a satisfactory manner. In many cases that conflict is entirely external; the Big Bad is plotting to Take Over the World and The Hero is out to stop them. But there is also that conflict which is emotional; it exists in their mind and usually forms a mental block that they cannot break through.
A "World of Cardboard" speech is where the hero acknowledges that this mental block has been limiting them. And because of a recent personal revelation about themselves and/or their situation, they have found a way to excel past their previous limits. This trope is heavily dependent on the context of the story and the life of the character. Despite the room for variation, each speech has to follow the same pattern to be a world of cardboard speech: the hero is having trouble from an emotional/psychological viewpoint, the hero has a powerful revelation, and then they give the speech.
In effect, this is a Eureka Moment that leads to a Heroic Resolve. The speech itself can vary depending on the revelation, but the crux of this trope revolves around the epiphany. Universal to all of these speeches is that realization and being subsequently empowered because of it.
Because of how dependent it is on the individual character and story, the speech can overlap with any number of tropes, due to the context, and can come in many different variations:
- The hero says I Am What I Am, realizing that he or she doesn't have to be ashamed.
- A mild contemplation at the end of the story, possibly even after the Big Bad has been defeated, and the hero explains the revelation long after the fact.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech against the villain. In this case, the hero has a renewing of confidence because he realizes how pathetic the villain is. This may overlap with a Kirk Summation.
- A Shut UP, Hannibal, which is short and to the point. The epiphany is still there, but they don't feel the need to illustrate their thoughts with a powerpoint presentation.
- The hero Does Not Know His Own Strength (or, perhaps, is all too aware of it), but realizes that now, in this place and circumstance, shouldn't hold back. This is the context of the Trope Namer speech.
- In a Coming of Age story, the hero accepts The Call, rejecting immaturity, irresponsibility, and in effect, childhood.
- A loner and/or Death Seeker, finding something Worth Living For.
Named for a popular scene from Justice League Unlimited featuring Superman. Fans have long complained about how widely his power level varies throughout The DCU. This speech has him explaining why he occasionally takes a beating.
As for how to interpret the name along with the trope, for most of the examples the world isn't nearly as fragile as Superman sees it, but they still view their own personal world as being far more brittle than it really is. And so the "world of cardboard" revelation is that it isn't as easy to break as they thought it was. Incidentally, because this is supposed to be a big deal for the individual in question, what usually follows is a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
Break Them by Talking is essentially the opposite of this, with a villain outlining the hero's flaws and effectively using it against them.
Not to be confused with a literal World of Cardboard (and other materials). Unless the person giving the speech is a struggling jail warden or something like that, chances are this will have nothing to do with a Cardboard Prison. This is also not the same as the Cardboard World experienced by some LSD users according to Stanislav Grof; that would be more like a feeling that life itself is a Crappy Carnival.
Anime & Manga
- In Tsukihime, Shiki's Crowning Moment of Awesome comes when he manages to scare Roa shitless with one of these: justified in that to him, the world really is as flimsy as cardboard:
Shiki: You don't understand death at all. That's why you can't kill me, and why you're only able to kill a weakened woman. If you could see death, you couldn't maintain your sanity. All you can perceive is the part which keeps things alive. If you could see death, you wouldn't be able to even stand.... It's like the world on the moon, a desolate wasteland. Being able to see the "death" of things means you are forced to see the world's uncertainty and fragility. The ground is like it's not there, and the sky seems about to fall at any moment. You don't know of the illusion that the whole world could perish in an instant. That is what it means to see death. These eyes, this power isn't something you can boast about like you did. Do you see your mistake, now, vampire? Life and death may be back to back, but they will never face each other. I'll show you. This is what it means to kill something.
- For context, Roa has previously believed Shiki and he share the power to see death. He even goes as far as to thank Shiki for teaching him how to use it. Turns out, what Roa sees are actually the lifelines of living things. Shiki, on the other hand, can see the point of end for all things, including inanimate objects and even the universe itself. The speech is him really drilling in the difference.
- Actually, Shiki's concept of death is limited to the one used on Gaia. He's been officially declared as unable to bring down ORT or any of the other Ultimate Ones because their concept of death is not the same as Gaia's.
- For context, Roa has previously believed Shiki and he share the power to see death. He even goes as far as to thank Shiki for teaching him how to use it. Turns out, what Roa sees are actually the lifelines of living things. Shiki, on the other hand, can see the point of end for all things, including inanimate objects and even the universe itself. The speech is him really drilling in the difference.
- In the finale of G Gundam, the hero, Domon, does one of these combined with a love confession in one of the most heartwarming moments in the series, and often considered the most genuine love story in the Gundam franchise.
- Chrono of Chrono Crusade gets a speech like this near the end of the manga. After Rosette's death, Aion takes the chance to mock Chrono, telling him that he doesn't belong among humans and calling him "my bird that can't fly". He then gives Chrono one last chance to come back to his side, offering to give him another contractor to replace Rosette. This is Chrono's response:
Chrono: Aion... you're always looking down from above, aren't you? That's why you don't understand. These people have names. Faces. A warmth that's all their own. They don't need wings. Why don't you try putting your feet on the ground and walking for once?... Once people are gone, they're gone. They can't be replaced. How dare you write off Rosette like that? What gives you the right?! I'm on my way, Aion. And I'm going to settle this once and for all!
- In another work of Daisuke Moriyama, World Embryo, Riku, after realized he's being manipulated by Adult!Nenee finally giving this as proof of his defiance. Being Seinen, it was much more unrestrained than above example, although the vibes are the same.
"SHUT THE HELL UP YOU FUCKING BITCH!!! WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT?! WHAT'S WRONG WITH PEOPLE ENTRUSTING THEIR HOPES!? SHUT UP AMANE-NEE!! I'VE BEEN LISTENING TO YOU TALK ALL HIGH AND MIGHTY!! ACTING LIKE YOU'RE SOME SORT OF LOFTY FINAL BOSS!! THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH BY FOOLING EVERYONE!? WHAT A LOAD OF BULLSHIT!! ESSENTIALLY, WE'RE IN THIS MESS BECAUSE WE'RE BEING MANIPULATED BY THAT THING, RIGHT!? THEN DESTROYING IT WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING, WON'T IT!? I WILL DO IT MYSELF!! I'LL WRECK UP THIS WHOLE FUCKED UP DEVELOPMENT!! I'M GOING TO DESTROY IT ALL!!! AND I'M GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD!!!!"
- Sakura of Penguin Musume Heart gives one to Marie, talking about her strength from the Power of Friendship. The weird thing was, that at this point, Sakura was gigantic and Marie wasn't. There was no real point to start a battle of wills that ultimately evened the scales after Marie gave her own World of Cardboard Speech where she said she didn't need her friends.
- And ironically, it was Marie saying she didn't need her friends that provoked them to give her their love and even the scales.
- In Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke tends to have a series of related revelations with a variety of Big Bad's. In the climax of the Four Saint Beasts arc, Yusuke recalled his training with Genkai, where she berated him for taking the easy route and never sticking with a goal. In the Dark Tournament arc, after Toguro seemingly kills Kuwabara ,Yusuke realized that he never gave something his full effort until the absolute last moment, and his friends would pay the price for that fault. While he had been unable to overpower Toguro's 100% form, he proved to be Toguro's superior with one last confrontation.
- In the Three Kings arc, during his fight with Yomi, Yusuke wondered if he was ever going to completely learn the lesson he had from the previous arcs. His final revelation was that he needed to see something through to the end for himself, as well as be concerned for his own future.
- Naruto initially has difficulty fighting Gaara because he is afraid of how strong he is and he doubts whether someone who, despite being alone for much of his life, found people who could acknowledge him, can defeat someone who was always alone. When Sasuke tells Naruto to take Sakura to safety, saying that he does not want to lose everyone precious to him again, Naruto realizes that the only true strength comes from protecting others, and gains the resolve needed to fight Gaara.
Naruto: It's almost unbearable, isn't it? The feeling of being all alone. I know that feeling; I've been there in that dark and lonely place, but now there are others... other people who mean a lot to me. I care more about them than I do myself, and I won't let anyone hurt them. That's why I won't ever give up. I will stop you even if I have to kill you!
Gaara: But why... why would you do this for anyone but yourself?
Naruto: Because they saved me from myself. They rescued me from my loneliness; they were the first to accept me for who I am. They're my friends.
- When Tayuya insults Shikamaru's decision to let his friends stay behind and fight the rest of the Sound Four, saying that he's essentially sacrificing them, Shikamaru notes that while he should have abandoned the mission when things got dangerous, he didn't.
Shikamaru: It's kinda funny. The world doesn't seem to play very often by the book, does it? Besides, there isn't a single person in my platoon... who would ever stop fighting and abandon a friend who'd been captured by the enemy. Not even if it meant sacrificing all of their lives. That goes for me, too. Frankly, I'm a lazy, cloud-watching oaf who's not really cut out to be a leader or bark out orders at anyone, but there is one thing I do pretty darn well for my teammates and that's believing in them. Listen, I don't look at what I've done as sacrificing my men. In fact, I don't believe that any of them are dead. Don't insult my friends, or you'll pay.
- Black Lagoon: Rock, when trying to explain his motivations to Revy:
Rock: Back in my country, you called yourself a gun. If you're a gun, then I'm the bullet. A bullet's just a lump of lead. But once the hammer hits it, it gains the power to blow anything away; the gunpowder was always waiting to explode. [...] I'm a silver bullet that can strike anywhere, kill any monster. But use it wrong and you just end up the monster's prey. So, it's up to you to decide when to pull the trigger.
- Heero Yuy in Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, gives one as he battles the Face Heel Turned Wu Fei. It's kind of long (since their entire battle is both physical and ideological and lasts about 1/3 of the whole film), but it concludes like this:
Heero: This will only make the history of human beings repeat itself. They'll be the witnesses of such miserable battles! If we don't stop right now, they'll need soldiers like us again! If that happens, the same tragedy with happen all over! Please, Wufei, tell me... How many lives will he have to sacrifice? How... how many times will I have to kill that girl and her dog...?
- Oddly enough, one of the most touching World of Cardboard Speeches came from an antagonist in One Piece. Hannyabal, The Starscream of the Impel Down Arc, explained that he couldn't let Impel Down fall because it would cause fear and chaos that would harm the weak ordinary citizens of the World Government.
Hannyabal: You're nothing but pirates and rebels who became notorious for your wicket deeds! You want to rescue your brother?! A ne'er-do-well like you has no right to say that!! Were you allowed to roam the seas again, law-abiding citizens would live in such fear for their loved ones they couldn't sleep at night!! This prison was constructed as a warehouse for scum like you so that decent people could live in peace!! If you were to get out, you'd terrorize the world!! But I'm not going to allow that to happen!!
- In Episode 23 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, after Subaru's device reminds her of the reason why she fights, Subaru recalls that while she is scared of hurting others, her power is not meant for destruction, but to protect others, and she manages to defeat Ginga soon afterward. In Episode 26, Vice confesses that he's not an ace or an expert, and that ever since he accidentally shot his little sister in the eye, he's felt quite pathetic. He then notes that he's at least good enough to help open a path for Subaru and Teana to enter the cradle to rescue Nanoha, Hayate, and Vivio, and proceeds to shoot down several gadgets with perfect accuracy.
- Bleach. Ichigo tells Uryu about losing his mother, and after seeing his father and sisters suffer as a result, not wanting anyone else to feel the same. He states that he can't save everyone, but wants to protect as many people as he can, which makes Uryu reflect on his grandfather's teachings and accept his offer to fight the hollows together.
- Ichigo again at the end of the Deicide Arc having attained full control of his power after properly communing with his zanpakutou. Able to literally wipe out mountains with a casual sword swing, he calmly tells Aizen that has surpassed him in strength and is tired of Aizen's speeches. Made all the more awesome given at this point, Aizen and Ichigo are the two most powerful characters in the series, even surpassing Yamamoto.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion ended this way. In both the final episode of the series and in the movie. Of course, due to all of the Mind Screw it took to get to that epiphany, neither were very well liked.
- Shinji spends much of Rebuild 2.0 trying to find a reason to fight. The world is too big and his father too distant, but when he finally finds a reason to fight and gives up his fears of failure and death, he surpasses all limits.
Shinji: I don't care what happens to me. I don't even care what happens to the world. But I'm bringing Rei back. I promise I'll save you Rei, even if it's the last thing I do!
Edward: Even after I became a soldier, war still seemed like something that happened in a far off land, where I couldn't see it... or someone else fought and died. It didn't seem real... I thought war had nothing to do with me... But now that... I learned there's someone who's willing to start war, who's going to start war, just for the Stone... I know that as long as there are people who seek the Stone's forbidden power, that bloodshed will keep happening... And I know the desire for that power, lurks somewhere in all of us... The Homunculi may throw fuel on the fire of war... But didn't the desire to bring back people we love, create them?... And if they're nothing more than products of our hearts and minds, no matter how pure our intentions... Then there will never be.. a war, that isn't at least in some part, caused by all of us... ever.
- And in the final scene (doubling as Book Ends, as nearly every episode began with first four sentences of this speech):
Alphonse: Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one and only truth. But the world isn't perfect, and the law is incomplete. Equivalent Exchange doesn't encompass everything that goes on here, but I still choose to believe in its principle, that all things do come at a price, that there's an ebb, and a flow. A cycle, that the pain we went through did have a reward, and that anyone who's determined and perseveres, will get something of value, even if it's not what they expected. I don't think of Equivalent Exchange as a law of the world anymore anymore. I think of it as a promise, between my brother and me. A promise that some day, we'll see each other again.
- In part 3 of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure, Jotaro is on the losing end of his battle against Kakyoin, but keeps getting back up in spite of being heavily wounded. He then gives a speech about his motivations to fight, and the difference between him and his opponent. This promptly turns the fight around, leaving Kakyoin almost dead in the end.
Kakyoin: And so still you rise... like a punching bag in front of a boxer! You like being beaten... is that it?
Jotaro: ...No one ever said Jotaro Kujo was a nice guy. I beat the crap out of people more than I have to. Some are still in the hospital. There's plenty of teachers who got on my bad side and never came back to class. And hey, I make it a policy not to pay the check if I didn't like the meal. But even a guy like me can spot evil when he sees it! Evil means to use the weak for your own gain and then stomp on them when it's over! And that's what you've done! To a woman and a doctor, even! And your Stand gets to hide from the victim... the law... the consequences! But NOT... while I'm here!
- Spike Spiegel of Cowboy Bebop gives one of these to Jet before he leaves for his final confrontation with Vicious. After spending the entire series running from his past, he's finally going to face it.
Spike: There once was a tiger-striped cat. This cat died a million deaths, was revived, and lived a million lives, and he was owned by various people who he really didn't care for. The cat wasn't afraid to die. Then one day the cat became a stray cat which meant he was free. He met a white female cat and the two of them spent their days together happily. Well, years passed and the white cat grew weak and died of old age. The tiger-striped cat cried a million times, and then he died too. Except this time, he didn't come back to life.
Faye: "Is that it? You're just going to throw your life away?"
Spike: "I'm not going there to die. I'm going there to see if I was ever really alive."
- Detective Ikari does this in the last episode of Paranoia Agent. As one of the characters who has gotten some of the worst of it: he lost his job, his wife died, and he was too old to learn any new skills. His World of Cardboard Speech comes when he destroys the 2-D fantasy world with a baseball bat claiming that the real world has no place for an old man like him, but that he would rather face that harsh reality than live in a fantasy world. It is truly epic to watch.
- In the first few Haruhi Suzumiya books and pretty much the entire anime, Kyon is just trying to get by, to do what he needs to do deal with Haruhi and little more, relying on Nagato to handle any really serious issues. Then the whole world changes, so that he could go back to a normal life. In the end he decides (In a World of Cardboard Monologue) that he much prefers the old world, and is willing to go back and enjoy it head on, and no longer rely on Yuki so much, whom had caused the events of the story as part of a nervous breakdown. The Movie version of this is epic.
- In the finale of Digimon Adventure, the Digidestined and their Digimon have been digitized by Apocalymon, their Digimon were reverted to their base forms, and their crests are destroyed. They realize that their crests were powered by their own spirits and thus didn't need the physical items, and they return to face Apocalymon with a World of Cardboard Speech and proceed to battle him.
- During the hunt for their crests, which allow their digimon to evolve into more powerful forms, they found that each crest represented something special and unique about them and it would only work when they were exibiting those attributes. Tai's crest was Courage, but he tried to force Agumon to evolve by putting himself in harm's way, which caused a warped evolution into SkullGreymon, a violent berserker. A very traumatizing mistake, but Tai learned that courage wasn't rushing into a battle, but standing up against evil, allowing Agumon to evolve into his proper form, MetalGreymon. Each digidestined had to go through something similar (although not with warped evolutions) through the remainder of the season.
- The original gives Agumon one about the strength of his bond with his friends in the 50th episode, at the climax of his fight with Mugendramon. The dub, being the dub, turns it into him reminding Machinedramon of exactly what it is his claws do to Digimon of his type.
- Occurs in Soul Taker when the protagonist, suffering from repressed guilt about Maya's death, allows the Soul Anubis to pummel him... until he comes to a realization.
Kyousuke: I wanted to feel the pain Maya suffered, even just for a moment. I felt that I should know that pain. But right now, no matter how many times I'm hit, I'm not able to feel the pain. So now, I'm ending it.
- In Beyblade Kai gives a awesome one before defeating Brooklyn.
Kai: Kai. That's my name. And I'm a Beyblader. And you might think you are, but you're not. You learned from the best but you forgot a very important lesson. Beyblading isn't just about overpowering your opponent with fancy moves. That's only part of the game. There's more to it than that. Much more. That's why I have something you don't. I have learned from every battle I fought. Every friend, enemy, and spectator always had something to offer me. And I'm a student to this game. And I always will be. With the hardships of training, competitions, the wins and the losses, they all taught me something. And I've taken that knowledge and used it to my advantage. That's why I can say, that I'm a true beyblader. That's what keeps me going. And that's my strength. I don't think you ever will (understand). Because you're not a true beyblader. You have the power and the skill, but something is missing from inside you. You don't have the beyblading spirit! That's why I have to win this battle! Because beyblading means more to me than you could ever understand! IT'S NOT JUST A GAME TO ME! FINISH HIM NOW DRANZER!"
- Simon gets an awesome speech in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann when he breaks out of his Heroic BSOD and comes to accept his own strengths and weaknesses instead of measuring himself against Kamina. Then he drills General Guame a new one.
"My bro is dead. He's gone! But he's right there on my back, and here in my heart! He lives on as a part of me! If you're gonna dig, dig to the heavens. No matter what's in my way, I won't stop! Once I've dug through -- it means that I've won! Just who the hell do you think I am? I'm Simon. I'm not my Bro! I'M ME!! Simon the Digger!"
- Tsukasa from .hack//Sign has a revelation about not needing to fear reality anymore, a la this trope, which enables his escape from "The World." In the process, he gives this speech.
- At the end of Tiger and Bunny, Kotetsu gives one when he returns from his Ten-Minute Retirement.
Kotetsu: And you know what? I realized you don't get to set your own limits. Even after I lose my powers and get mocked by everyone or look ridiculous, I'm not going to let that stop me. I'm going to stay a hero to the very end. I'm not going to give up. Besides, it doesn't hurt to have a hero who's uncool, right?
- The Final Trials in Heartcatch Pretty Cure were pretty much this: the four Cures are set against their Mirage selves, embodying their own hang-ups (Tsubomi's insecurity, Erika's jealousy towards her sister, Itsuki's denial of being herself and Yuri's regrets and failures). As each Cure fights, they come to realize that that's what makes them who they are and they'll use it to become stronger. It takes Tsubomi the longest since she isn't sure if she can confront that part of herself, but she does. It helps unlock their Super Mode in the end, so that's a plus.
- In Dragonball Z, during the final battle with Kid Buu, Vegeta has a long internal monologue in which he comes to terms with Goku being better than him. After spending most of the series resenting Goku for this and trying to surpass him by any means, Vegeta finally lets go of his grudge.
- Dream from The Sandman delivers one towards the end of The Kindly Ones.
Dream: Rules and responsibilities: these are the ties that bind us. We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. I will do what I have to do. And I will do what I must.
- Also an inversion, as it's a realization of his tragic flaw. It won't end in Asskickery (even though, or perhaps especially because it could), and he knows it.
- A more straightforward example would be in "Season of Mists", when he battles Azazel for the lives of Nada and Choronzon. Azazel reneges on his bargain to release them if he loses, only for Dream to explain that while they are in his realm, reality conforms to his wishes. He was honour bound to treat Azazel (and his prisoners) as a guest when he entered the Dreaming, but after Azazel renounced Dream's hospitality, he had no such protection. As soon as Azazel reveals his intentions, he finds himself in a bottle in Dream's hands without his powers or prisoners.
- The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck shows Scrooge getting his Number One Dime. When he realises that he's been paid with an American coin (useless in Scotland,) he makes this speech:
"Wait! This is an American Coin! A Dime! That sharpie tricked me! And after that tough job too! This should be a lesson! Life is full of tough jobs and there'll always be sharpies to cheat me! Well, I'll be tougher than the toughies and sharper than the sharpies... and I'll make my money square! I have the feeling this is the start of something big!"
- In Marvel's Incredible Hercules, Ares spends a good few pages beating the tar out of Hercules, pointing out how he's a mess and doesn't deserve people's respect. Herc agrees. Yeah, he is a mess, but that's why people like him more than Ares (that and Ares is a total dick), because he is more like a person than a god. When Ares calls them all idiots, Herc finally decides to punch his big bro into a bunch of incoming missiles.
- Another one for the Trope Namer, doubling as a Shut UP, Hannibal to Manchester Black (a Nineties Anti-Hero pastiche), who's trashed his values and told him he's "living in a bloody dream world":
Superman: I wouldn't have it any other way. Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor, and justice becomes the reality we all share - I'll never stop fighting. Ever.
Superman: I can't take your life, much as I'm tempted. But my code doesn't say a damn thing about not battering you to within an inch of it, murderer! (and proceeds to do just that)
Superman: Ma. Pa. You were wrong. I will always love you... but you were wrong. It took my own daughter, my most despised rival, to teach me: I am no man. I will not be ruled by the laws of men. I am Superman.
- Little over halfway through Transmetropolitan, Spider learns that he's suffering from some sort of brain disease which will leave him unable to even write in less than a year. Upon hearing this, he simply jumps back to work, and when asked why, he responds:
So we've got a deadline. We can do deadlines.
- The Flash had one of these during the classic "Return of Barry Allen" storyline. Up until then, the current Flash, Wally West, had been unable to run past the speed of sound. He assumed it was just a natural limitation of his powers, even though he had run faster in the past, and other super-speedsters easily ran much faster than him. But when faced with an impostor who had impersonated his late mentor Barry Allen and ruined his good name, Flash broke the sound barrier in order to take the villain down. As it turned out, his speed limit had been subconscious; he was so scared of surpassing Barry (and thus replacing him) that he had throttled his own speed. After realizing this, Wally never had problems with speed limitations again.
- Supergirl does this after managing to resist a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and an attempt to erase her from existence from The Dark Angel.
Supergirl: I am messed up. I make mistakes all the time. I feel stupid and ugly and insecure, just like everybody else. But when I blow it, I don't shrivel up and die. I get myself up. I try to do better. I always try again. And no half-baked barbie doll is going to tell me different.
- Hal Jordan gives one at the end of Blackest Night. When faced with a Hannibal Lecture by the Big Bad Nekron, who tells him that he only came Back From the Dead because he allowed it, Jordan declares that it's not Nekron who deserves the credit for bringing them back from death, but him, and all the other superheroes who came back from the dead, for choosing life when given the chance. This speech culminates in Jordan and all the other heroes who came back from the dead becoming White Lanterns.
- Syndablokk from Empowered gets one when he explains that his power causes nothing but collateral damage (he has elemental command of masonry and stonework). Being one of the (very) few decent heroes in this 'verse, he's extremely reluctant to use his ability unless the villain's already wrecked everything around him.
- Not a speech, but when the Sentry finally showed up to face The Hulk in World War Hulk, we get this exchange;
Hulk: You don't want this fight, Sentry.
Sentry: Yes. God help me, I do. Because you're the only one I can hit... LIKE THIS!!!
- An older example. Spider-Man, who was trying to take a break, gets annoyed when Ox of the Enforcers picked up the car he was in and tried to shake him out of it. Spider-Man explained how he usually pulls his punches to not kill people, but just realized Ox could probably take it before he punched him out.
Mikuru (big): So... in a roundabout way, you and I, together, even though I still stumble a little bit, are forging towards a brighter future. One that isn't predetermined to you, that doesn't damage the future I come from. If you understand what I said earlier... you have the power to change me. Not my past self, so directly... but your influence ends up helping me become the person I am. I could tell you everything, try to make it predetermined... I could say things were better or worse then they truly will be, and try to trick you into changing things for me. Once, I did - sort of - tell you about the goals of the people I work for. Instead, though, this time I'll do what Yuki-chan did. I'll tell you nothing, even if you would believe me. But I'm not trying to keep you in the dark because I want to manipulate you... I'm telling you as little as possible because I believe in you. I have absolute confidence that if I don't limit you, you will achieve something wonderful. And maybe, just in small, selfish bits... I might lead you towards something that I think we both would like...
Nanoha Takamachi: "The day before yesterday was the first time I killed. Six of them were valued employees, men and women with loving families and excellent career prospects who I had nothing but the utmost personal and professional respect for. The last two were my own adoptive children. Erio and Caro came from backgrounds that would have broken any lesser individual, and they came out happy, caring, and the finest recruits I have ever had the privilege of training. They battled against monsters and criminals, protected the innocent, and saved the life of the woman I love most in the world. Your animals, your killing machines? They do not deserve it." [...] "Here is what I am going to do, assassin. I am going to make sure the Hellhounds get the help they need, that they are given the chance to become productive members of society. I am going to stand against your gods' forces, no matter what strange powers or arcane technologies they might wield, and I am going to cleanse their masters' taint from their hearts, their minds, and their souls. Then, once all else is done, once the war is over and the universe is at peace once more, I shall go to your gods and I shall forgive them, for they have strayed far from their path and know not what they do. I shall forgive them, and I shall grant them what healing and redemption I can muster. People die in war. I can accept that. I am only one amongst billions. I can accept that. But even if this is impossible, even if I fail, this is the path I shall strive to walk. This is the will of Nanoha Takamachi. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?"
- Faren Brosca sort of gives one in Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns while curbstomping the most powerful form of the demon that trapped them in the fade. Then again, it's not so much him letting loose as saying he's actually not under the influence of any empowering emotion or whatnot.
"You know, I could say I'm doing this because I don't plan on letting those important to me die. I could say it's because I'm in a hurry to get out of this Fade thing and find out what happened to Kallian. I could say it's because I had a sort of revelation that ever so epically opened my eyes to a sort of higher calling. And I could also start a long, pointless monologue about true strength and a heap of other stuff, during which, truth be told, I may not even know what I'd be talking about half the time. I could babble for hours about nonsense, but the truth is that, right now, I am simply kicking your ass because I just don't like you."
- This concept is somewhat referenced in the Naruto/Justice League Crossover Connecting the Dots Superman has to teach all about not blowing stuff up when he's stopping crime.
- From Shadowchasers: Torment Chapter 45:
Ben: "It does seem like I've been gotten pretty full of myself hasn't it?" he finally said. "It's funny, but hearing you talk about how everything in the universe hinges on the balance between Light and Darkness, Chaos and Order, it made me realize something. I've..." He paused before sighing as he started again.
"I've been way too inwardly focused, ever since I woke up in that morgue. At first, all I cared about was getting my memories back… With every clue to my past I chomped at the bit rushing from one lead to another… Everyone I met, friends, foes, they seemed so small...so unimportant. The Dread Emperor, Willy, Kesto, even poor Ravel. I started treating everyone I fought as beneath me, thinking it would all be worth it once I regained my memories, and discovered my true self."
"It seems that whoever I was before I met Ravel the first time… He was an arrogant son of a bitch… Maybe that's how I got into this whole mess…
"But now…" His right hand clenched into a fist.
"Now I know that getting my memories back, that finding my true self… it all doesn't mean shit if I only end up looking back with shame at what I was willing to become to get there! I'm not the only one with a stake in this fight… The people who took me in and treated me like family are risking their lives for something bigger then who's right or wrong, or who's more powerful. We're fighting to protect all of creation… Every human, every Shadow... Every resident of Heaven, Hell, and every realm in-between… If Tharizdun returns nobody will be spared, so I can't keep on acting like some petty little child and act like I'm above it all!" He drew the top card off his deck.
"So I'll use the strength all of my opponents have given me, good or evil, strong or weak, and the lessons taught to me by everyone who's helped me when I needed them the most, and I'll take down you, Tiberius, and everyone else involved in this mad plan!"
- In Time Braid: (after Sakura has finally tapped into her full potential)
Hidan: "You'll run out of chakra soon, but Jashin won't. He's a god, but you're just a fancy medic-nin."
Sakura: My injury healed as instantly as his, and I chuckled. "You know, I've been telling myself that for years. But as long as my Heaven Seal is active I can't fool myself. I see too much, and I can't miss the implications. I'm not just a medic-nin, Hidan. I'm the last native kami of this demon-haunted world, and my domains are insight and mystery. Not to mention that I just took about six levels of badass. Don't make me fight you, or you'll lose."
- My Little Avengers: During the Final Battle, all of the Avengers (except Firebird, who settles for a simple Shut UP, Hannibal) deliver one of these when fighting their Dark Avenger opponents. First, when Captain Equestria is fighting off the effects of the Ghost Flyer's Penance Stare:
Captain Equestria: No! I will not give up! I will not give in! I am not a failure! I am Captain bucking Equestria! And you! ARE UNDER! ARREST!
Ghost Flyer: I-IMPOSSIBLE! NOPONY CAN RESIST THE PENANCE STARE!
Captain Equestria: Call me nopony then. Because I never give up. No matter what. Even if I know I'll just screw up again, I keep trying. Because every once in a while, I get a day like today. A day when I win.
- Then, when the Red Skull is giving Iron Pony a Hannibal Lecture about destiny and greatness:
Iron Pony: Stop. That's not greatness. That's just vanity. I got the two mixed up before. But let me tell you something. I never did anything. All I ever did was sit around lazily, devour food, complain, and treat everypony like dirt. That was my destiny. To be a burden until the day I died, and then forgotten by everypony save those who hated me. And had I clung to that stupid, selfish destiny, I'd be dead now. Pierced through the heart by a piece of masonry, my entire life bereft of meaning. [...] But I cast aside that destiny. I cast aside my idiotic 'superiority'. I got down on my knees and begged a pony I had once thought beneath me, not even worthy of my notice, to help me. And now? I'm here. [...] So I've decided. If destiny means being a selfish bully, blind to the needs of those around me... I want no part of it!
"Ah used t'think like that too. Ah thought me'n Thor were separate. Like he was some alien force that got himself stuck in mah noggin. But it don't work that way, Loki. Ah am Thor. Thor and Big Mac, we're the same pony, now. That thought would'a scared me once. Ah was afraid'a losin' mahself. But now Ah know Ah won't. Cause Thor's just me, not another pony tryin' t'take over. And if Ah ever ferget it... well, that's what mah friends are for."
- Ponies Make War: When Celestia regains her power after weeks of being depowered and tortured, she delivers a speech in a similar vein as the Trope Namer:
"Centuries of boiling water for tea when I knew that I could boil the seas. Of lifting quills when I could lift mountains. Of breaking wax seals when I could break anything I please. My power is too much for this world. But it isn't too much for you, is it, Terra? Now I get to find out what I'm really capable of. No lives to save, no plans to make, nothing to hold me back. I am divinity unleashed."
- In Reconciliation, Hanako, having received an angry "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Lilly, who is grieving over the loss of her husband Hisao and rejecting Hanako's attempts to console her, talks about her past, including the loss of her parents, her isolation, becoming friends with Lilly and Hisao, being upset by being pitied, and finally lashing out at them. Hanako says the loss of her friendship with Hisao and Lilly was worst of all because she knew it was her fault, and as such, asks Lilly to accept the support of those closest to her.
- The Hustler makes it clear from the beginning that although Fast Eddie is a talented pool player, his attitude is holding him back. It's no surprise that he eventually gets his World of Cardboard Speech. Now, how he gets it, on the other hand...
- At the end of Serenity, River admits to Simon as he lies dying from a gunshot to the stomach that she understands that she's always relied on him and the rest of the crew to take care of her through her helpless madness. Then, she adds that now, it is her turn to take care of them. Cue awesome.
- Jules' coffee-shop speech near the end of Pulp Fiction:
- Uncle Charlie's unspeakably evil "this world is a hell" speech in Shadow of a Doubt:
You think you know something, don't you? You think you're the clever little girl who knows something. There's so much you don't know, so much. What do you know, really? You're just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there's nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares. Or did I? Or was it a silly, inexpert little lie? You live in a dream. You're a sleepwalker, blind. How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know, if you rip off the fronts of houses, you'd find swine? The world's a hell. What does it matter what happens in it? Wake up, Charlie. Use your wits. Learn something.
- This speech is actually pretty tragic, because of Uncle Charlie's optimistic youth; it is also a turning point for Little Charlie, as she goes from optimism to seeing the world as a foul, hypocritical place.
- In The Karate Kid Daniel took an injury to his leg and leaving him out of the final match. Everyone said that Daniel did great and shouldn't think that removing himself because of such an injury is a sign of weakness. Daniel makes a plea to Miyagi that even though he almost made it to the tournament finals if he didn't face Johnny in the final match he would never have balance with the Cobra guys or in his relationship with Ally. This was an effective lesson to Miyagi that his student finally understood his training.
- In The Matrix Revolutions, Neo gives a rather brief, but effective, one to Smith, when the latter demands to know why Neo persists in fighting him.
Neo: Because I choose to.
- The Lion in Winter. About halfway through the film Prince Philip has a No Mister Bond I Expect You to Dine moment with King Henry—and three other people who happen to be listening in—revealing he is nowhere near as delicate or naive as he looks, seemingly proving himself a cunning adversary. Just when you think Philip's achieved his Crowning Moment of Awesome, Henry promptly demonstrates why Philip sucks.
Henry: I found out the way your mind works and the kind of man you are. I know your plans and expectations - you've burbled every bit of strategy you've got. I know exactly what you will do, and exactly what you won't, and I've told you exactly nothing. To these aged eyes, boy, that's what WINNING looks like!
- Henry has the upper hand, right? Wrong. Philip launches into his World of Cardboard Speech and plays the people hiding in the room against him.
- Labyrinth. "You have no power over me!"
- Jack Skellington sings one of these near the end of The Nightmare Before Christmas, in the song "Poor Jack." He is having a Heroic BSOD about his failure to bring about Christmas, starts reprising Jack's Lament, starting with the line "I, Jack, the Pumpkin King"... then remembers that, yes, he is the Pumpkin King, and will work hard on making next Halloween even better.
- It also has Jack realizing while what happened didn't go as planned, he gave it his all and there were still good parts too it. Basically, while he screwed up he wouldn't regret what he did because it was still worth the problems.
- Mark "Rent" Renton gets one at the end of the adaptation of Trainspotting. It's the closing monologue to the film that closely mirrors his opening monologue.
- Lord of the Rings;; film series:
- The Two Towers:
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo; the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end... because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was, when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going... because they were holding on to something
Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
- And at the climax of The Return of the King, given by Sam:
Sam: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It'll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they'll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?
Frodo: No, Sam. I can't recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water, nor the touch of grass. I'm naked in the dark, with nothing, no veil between me and the wheel of fire! I can see him... with my waking eyes!
Sam: Then let us be rid of it, once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you!
- Taylor Reese has one in Knockaround Guys:
"500 fights. That's the number I figured when I was a kid. 500 street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy. You need them for experience. To develop leather skin. So I got started. Of course along the way you stop thinking about being tough and all that. It stops being the point. You get past the silliness of it all. But then, after, you realize that's what you are. You learn a lot of things on the way to 500. None more important than this." [headbutt]
- Villainous example in Last Action Hero.
Benedict: Gentlemen. Since you are about to die anyway, I may as well tell you the entire plot. Think of villains Jack. You want Dracula? Dra-cool-la? Hang on, (takes out the ticket) I'll fetch him. Dracula? Huh. I can get King Kong! We'll have a nightmare with Freddy Krueger, have a surprise party for Adolf Hitler; Hannibal Lecter can do the catering, and then we'll have a christening for Rosemary's Baby! All I have to do is snap my fingers and they'll be here. They're lining up to get here, and do you know why Jack? Should I tell you why? Hmm? Because here, in this world, the bad guys can win!
- The final battle in Eight Mile is B. Rabbit making one giant World of Cardboard Speech in free style form.
- Inception has an interesting version of this, in that the emotional conflict and the physical conflict are the same thing, through the character of Mal.
- It is an interesting version of the relationship between the physical/emotional conflict, but the World of Cardboard Speech comes in this dialog:
Cobb: I can't stay with her anymore because she doesn't exist.
Mal: I'm the only thing you do believe in anymore.
Cobb: I wish...I wish more than anything, but I can't imagine you with all your complexity, all your perfection, all your imperfection. Look at you, you're just a shade. You're just a shade of my real wife. You're the best I could do, but...I'm sorry, you're just not good enough.
You never understood... why we did this. The audience knows the truth. The world is simple, miserable, solid all the way through. But if you can fool them, even for a second... then you can make them wonder. And you get to see something very special. ... You really don't know. ... It was the look on their faces.
- Watchmen has Dr. Manhattan recite one to Ozymandias towards the end after Ozymandias attempted to kill him by tricking him into going through the same accident that turned him into Dr. Manhattan in the first place, and thought he succeeded.
"Do you really think you can kill me? Reassembling myself was the first trick I learned. I've walked on the surface of the sun. I've witnessed events so small and having occurred so fast that one could hardly say that they have even occurred at all. The world's smartest man is no more threat to me than the world's smartest termite."
- A Nightmare on Elm Street. "I take back every bit of energy I ever gave you. You're nothing, Freddy. You're shit."
"It's too late, Krueger. I know the secret now. This is just a dream. You're not alive. This whole thing is just a dream...I want my mother and friends again."
- Return of the Jedi: A farmboy grows into a rebel hero to defeat The Empire, and distraught when he discovered that his father was his sworn enemy. He's tempted with The Dark Side in order to defeat them only to realize that he was falling down the same path as his father. Teetering on the edge, Luke Skywalker defied the plans and foresight of the Emperor and said:
Luke: You failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.
- Vader gets his own after saving his son by killing the Emperor, finally returning to the good man Anakin.
- Batman gets one at the end of Batman Forever.
Batman: I'm both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Not because I have to be. Now, because I choose to be.
- At the end of Terminator 2: Judgement Day Sarah Conner gave an epilogue that showed where both her and John Conner had changed over the course of the movie. The entire time they were thinking that Judgement Day was inevitable and that all machines were the enemy, when they were surprised by the compassion shown by the terminator sent to protect them. It ends up overlapping with a Patrick Stewart Speech.
"The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope... because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life... maybe we can too."
- Harry Potter: Neville Longbottom gets a particularly Badass one in the eighth movie when he's invoking As Long as There Is One Man:
Neville Longbottom: It doesn't matter that Harry's gone. People die everyday! Friends, family. Yeah, we lost Harry tonight. He's still with us, in here. So's Fred, Remus. Tonks, all of them. They didn't die in vain. But you will! Because you're wrong! Harry's heart did beat for us! For all of us! It's not over!
- Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern movie has one when he talks to the Guardians just before the climax. He was told that he was given the ring because he embodies the Corp ideal of being fearless, but he constantly doubts himself because he knows full well what he is afraid of and refuses to share them. When confronted with Parallax coming to destroy Earth, Carol told him that he isn't fearless, but courageous. He can overcome fear. This made him realize why the Corp had so much trouble with Parallax, they were "too afraid to admit they were afraid." Talking to the Guardians, he confessed his human weakness and explained that overcoming fear is the key to beat Parallax.
- Sondra Marshak's published Star Trek novel The Prometheus Design is all about Spock doing this. Pick up a copy of—well, any of her published Star Trek novels, or go read anything in the Kraith series starting with Volume Four. Her obsessions border on Author Appeal.
- In Harrison Bergeron, Harrison goes down to the TV station, and before he takes off his handicaps, says "even as I stand here -- crippled, hobbled, sickened -- I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become!" And then it's all heavily subverted when he promptly becomes a corpse, thanks to a dictatorial surgeon general armed with a shotgun.
- In Lords and Ladies, Granny Weatherwax gives the Queen of the Elves one of these when she explains why she's better than her.
- Even closer example: the all-powerful Coin, from Sourcery, describes living in the fragile world of non-sourcerers as "like trying to sleep on a bed of eggs". It's implied that all such sourcerers eventually feel obliged to leave the Discworld's reality to avert living in a World of Cardboard.
- The same applies (though not nearly to the same extent) to wizards in general. The average wizard has so much protection from magical attack that trying to kill them magically would be like trying to kill a fish by holding it under water. Unfortunately for the rest of the non-magical world, in the days when wizards didn't spend their days confined within Universities generally being lazy, they would use magic to battle one another, and it nearly tore the Discworld apart. Especially under Ridcully's administration, people outside the University are frequently reminded that the "rule" that forbids wizards from using magic on non-wizards in anything but self-defense is just a self-imposed guideline.
- Even closer example: the all-powerful Coin, from Sourcery, describes living in the fragile world of non-sourcerers as "like trying to sleep on a bed of eggs". It's implied that all such sourcerers eventually feel obliged to leave the Discworld's reality to avert living in a World of Cardboard.
- Bill Fitzhugh's Pest Control has this when Bob and Klaus are cornered by an armed assassin. Klaus says they need a weapon. Then a lightbulb goes off in Bob's head, and Klaus actually watches his shoulders square with Heroic Resolve as he declares that the entire city of New York is a weapon, and then proves it by killing their pursuer by running through a few restauraunts. Any further detail would spoil the book, so I'll just say it makes Jason Bourne look like a putz.
- While not a Villain per se, Tyburn in Rivers of London was an interfering bitch who was determined to crush the protagonist for her own political ends. When she gives him a Reason You Suck Speech about how useless he is and how easy it was to stop him, Peter Grant's comeback is awesome. Made doubly so because he totally owns her in front of her entire family of river spirits causing matriarch Mama Thames to applaud him for doing so.
- In the Vampire: The Requiem supplement "Danse Macabre," a wonderful story of the Chicago vampires running in bits between the chapters climaxes with an antiheroic version of this. Prince Maxwell Clarke confesses to the diablerie of Norris Spiegel in a scene that's half World of Cardboard Speech and half Reason You Suck Speech adding up to a Crowning Moment of Awesome as he shares a recent revelation: He's truly sick of pushing himself to his limits keeping the city safe for a bunch of ingrates who use that safety to plot against him and abuse and mock him for his efforts to keep the peace. The speech goes on a while and is interrupted a couple of times, but this excerpt sums it up nicely:
"I'm tired of being lobbied, taken for granted and schemed against. I am now, officially, a tyrant. You all knew I'd ignore my own laws, Persephone here proved that, and I'm sick of the pretense. I get to do whatever I want. You don't. You don't Embrace, you don't kill one another, you sure as hell don't commit diablerie, but if I feel like it, I can do any of that. I think you'll put up with it, I really do. Because the alternatives are worse. Because in my tenure, I've run this city better than any Prince anyone can remember. Because with me, Chicago works. If you don't agree? Think you can do better? All right, try to upset the apple cart. Just remember Norris. He had half of us blackmailed, he was old and smart and had a legion of spies behind him. Look where he ended up."
Live Action TV
- In the series finale of Extras, after taking a role on Big Brother, Andy finally realizes the absurdity of the measures he's taken to be famous and that none of it is making him any more happy, culminating in one of the most heartfelt and effective on-camera indictments of celebrity culture.
Andy: You are literally the gutter press. And fuck you, the makers of this show as well. You can't wash your hands of this. You can't keep going 'Oh, it's exploitation but it's what the public wants.' No, the Victorian freakshow never went away. Now it's called Big Brother or X-Factor, where in the preliminary rounds, we wheel out the bewildered to be sniggered at by multimillionaires. And fuck you for watching this at home. Shame on you, and shame on me. I'm the worst of all because I'm one of these people who goes 'I'm an entertainer. It's in my blood.' Yeah, it's in my blood because a real job's too hard...Someone once said that I'll never be happy because I'll never be famous enough, and they were right."
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody episode "Summer of our Discontent" had Zack go to summer school. He can cope with the work, but this brings resentment from the other students who go on to give him a wedgie every time he impresses the teacher, until he learns to keep his mouth shut. He finally gets tired of pretending to be less intelligent than he is and gives a speech that doubles as both this trope and a Reason You Suck Speech
Zack: You know what? That's it. There's nothing wrong with being smart. In fact, and this'll probably shock you, but outside these walls it's considered a good thing. So go ahead, call me a nerd. But next year, when you're all here, I won't be. I'll be taking The Road Less Traveled right to the beach!
- It wasn't followed by a "Crowning Moment", but Angel had one of these in the appropriately titled episode Epiphany. In the previous handful of episodes he had managed to alienate his entire team because he was under the impression that there would be some sort of Grand Finale where the forces of evil are defeated forever. After having a morally devastating realization on the universality of evil, he resolved that all he could do was simply help the innocent. This epiphany wavered as his life kept taking turns for the worse, but he regained it right before the end; he even referenced it in his Rousing Speech three seasons later, just before the series' Grand Finale.
- It's all the more awesome as, in the previous episode, "Reprise", Holland Manners delivers Angel his version of the speech about evil's implacability, which causes Angel's brief Heroic BSOD.
- Season Five's You're Welcome was a world of cardboard episode. Angel had been losing his hero spirit dealing with Wolfram and Hart machinations. Cordelia woke from her coma to restore that resolve and to warn him of a plot against him by Lindsay. In the climactic mano-a-mano, Angel beat the snot out of him saying, "All those tattoos, all those new tricks you've learned... just don't matter. Doesn't matter what you try. Doesn't matter where I am or how badass you think you've become. 'Cause you know what? I'm Angel. I beat the bad guys."
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer also had one when she asked for help from the Watchers Council about learning exactly what Glory was (The Big Bad of the season). The council subjected her to a long series of tests to prove her worth, but she eventually refused, explaining her own epiphany. Glory actually respected Buffy because she was the Slayer, that she had power. The Watchers Council didn't have the power to stop Glory, so their tests on Buffy were pointless and only an exercise to make them believe they had some control. This speech left the Watchers council dumbfounded. Of course Buffy was also dumbfounded when the Watchers relented and revealed that Glory was a hell demon god.
Buffy: So here's the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power, now? In every generation, one Slayer is born, because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman... (Willow) is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power... should be our power.
- And used again in the Season Seven episode, Bring On The Night. Buffy, after spending an episode fleeing, with her friends, from a supposedly unkillable, prehistoric "uber-vampire," finally meets him face-to-face, in front of her friends, and gives a speech:
"Look at them. They're terrified. Meat for the beast. You're going to kill them, and there's no way I can stop you. You can't be killed. But, see, here's the thing: I don't believe that. I always find a way. I'm the thing that nightmares have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are going to show them why."
- Admiral Adama, from the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, gets at least two of these per season.
- There were two in the season 3 finale. One by Lee Adama (which is too long to put here, but is in the quotes page), and a short one by:
My name is Saul Tigh. I am an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that's the man I want to be. And if I die today, that's the man I'll be.
- A particularly dark use, and inversion, of this trope in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The "in"famous episode "In the Pale Moonlight" had Sisko relate his story in a computer log about his efforts to convince the Romulans to participate in the Dominion War. Finding that simple logic wouldn't work, he sought the help of Garak and other criminals to falsify evidence. He struggled with the serious moral and ethical compromises he had to go through to achieve this. By the end he stood up and instead of being morally untouchable he stated with growing conviction that the benefits outweighed the moral standing of one officer, even himself... and then erased the log.
"At oh-eight-hundred hours, station time... the Romulan Empire formally declared war against the Dominion. They've already struck fifteen bases along the Cardassian border. So, this is a huge victory for the good guys! This may even be the turning point of the entire war! There's even a "Welcome to the Fight" party tonight in the wardroom!... So... I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover up the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But most damning of all... I think I can live with it... And if I had to do it all over again... I would. Garak was right about one thing – a guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant. So I will learn to live with it...Because I can live with it...I can live with it. Computer – erase that entire personal log."
- Farscape: Crichton who makes the wormhole weapon and decides to go and tell everyone that they suck for wanting it, and threatening to let them all die. He explains why he shouldn't have made it in the first place. Also a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Firefly: the speech that Simon gives Jayne at the end of Trash, where Jayne suffered an accidental neck injury immediately after Simon learned that Jayne tried and failed to collect on their bounty in a previous episode:
Simon: No matter what you do, or say or plot, no matter how you come down on us... I will never, ever harm you. You're on this table, you're safe. 'Cause I'm your medic, and however little we may like or trust each other, we're on the same crew. Got the same troubles, same enemies, and more than enough of both. Now, we could circle each other and growl, or sleep with one eye open, but that thought wearies me. I don't care what you've done, I don't know what you're planning on doing, but I'm trusting you. I think you should do the same. 'Cause I don't see this working any other way.
- Which is then capped off by:
River: Also? I can kill you with my brain.
- Kamen Rider Decade features a slight twist on this. During the final confrontation in each world, the Big Bad will deliver a Hannibal Lecture to Tsukasa and that world's primary Kamen Rider. Tsukasa will counter with a World of Cardboard Speech, not for himself, but for his current partner, explaining their motivation and how that makes them a real hero - which is typically the main point of the other Rider's original TV series, as Decade is an anniversary show. This is also typically the point where Tsukasa gains access to his partner's powers as per Decade's conceit of Power Copying.
- In Movie Wars, Decade unknowingly delivers a World of Cardboard Speech simultaneously with Kamen Rider Double, seconds before they cross over. What's notable about this is that the subject of their speeches are almost the same, even culminating in the two of them alternately declaring their respective catchphrases.
- Pushing Daisies featured quite a lot of these, many of which were aided by the narrator.
- Inverted in the Doctor Who episode "The Waters of Mars" when the Doctor has the epiphany that he doesn't have to follow the rules anymore because he is the last of the Time Lords and the laws of time belong to him. But when he tries to act on this epiphany and save the remaining crew of Bowie Base One, Captain Brooke shoots herself rather than allow him to play with the future chain of events he himself told her was immutable. He realizes he has a mental block, says the speech, attempts to kick ass fueled by the power of his new outlook, but mostly fails.
- The 2005 episode, "Bad Wolf" holds an exchange between the Doctor and a Dalek and features quite an impressive Badass Boast.
- Much later on, the newly minted Doctor (XI) in Series 5 has just saved the world and so forth, as usual, but is a bit cheesed with the alien police force that failed to do anything. So he calls them back to Earth. At which point he gives a bow-tie choosing, CMoA speech, culminating with the police seeing every villain the Doctor has ever faced - and noticing that Earth, a world even the aliens think is Made of Cardboard, is still here: "But you're not the first lot to have come here. Oh, there have been so many. And what you've got to ask is... what happened to them? - Hello. I'm the Doctor. Basically... run."
- In The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "The Last Voyage of the Jimmy Carter," John Connor gives a truly awesome speech to Jesse about exactly why he is mankind's leader. In one scene, John goes from being a whiny, lovestruck emo kid to being the John Connor who will lead mankind.
- In the Power Rangers Dino Thunder episode "Fighting Spirit," Tommy had spent the last dozen episodes either trapped in amber, trapped in his morphed form or trapped in an invisible form (the reason being that Jason David Frank had other commitments to attend to). But they made his return to normalcy in a suitably epic and Continuity Nod filled method. Tommy tried to use his Ranger Powers to return to normal but he was stuck in a dream-coma. Here, in his mind, he had to fight his past Ranger forms who continually overpower him. Progressing to his time as the Green Ranger, he is beaten down but refuses to give up, which was what his past ranger incarnations wanted to teach him. This in turn lead to him awakening from the coma and unlocking his current Ranger form's Super Mode.
- Linkara in History of Power Rangers goes into great depths trying to describe the meaning of this whole episode, initially dismissing it as an unnecessary lesson cause Tommy has never faltered in his fight against evil. But taken the entire season into account, he figured that after spending so much time fighting evil Tommy came to associate himself as being a set of powers (Mighty Morphin', Zeo, Turbo, Dino) and that without his powers he couldn't do anything. The lesson was that he was Tommy Oliver and he made the powers worthwhile, not the other way around.
- In Rescue Me, Needles delivers one to his crew in season 5. He's been the consummate nice guy and something of a doormat up to this point, but he realizes after breaking up a fight that his crew will never respect him unless he's a hardass.
- In the 2005 Hercules Miniseries, Hercules becomes a bit demoralized when he finds out that his father is the villain Antaeus, not Zeus, but he immediately bounces back with:
Hercules: It doesn't matter who my father is: Zeus, Amphitryon, or the Cretan Bull! (Tackles Antaeus through a pillar.) It doesn't matter! I AM NOT MY FATHER! (Antaeus rubs dirt on himself to replenish his strength.) Yes, Antaeus, seek the Mother's strength. I rely on my own. My birth doesn't matter, only my life! I make it have meaning. No one else. (Antaeus tries to shove Hercules into a bonfire, but burns his own hand and flinches. Hercules looks at his own wounds.) We are not gods, Antaeus, only men. Only very strong men! (Knocks Antaeus far away.)
- Jack McCoy tends to give these at least once a season in Law and Order, generally when the defense lawyer is going for Jury Nullification. Sometimes it works. Other times, not so much.
- Clark Kent gives one in the Season 10 premiere of Smallville when he finds himself in the afterlife after being stabbed by a kryptonite dagger.
Clark: I died to save the world.
Jor-El: Evil never ends. By sacrificing yourself, you have left the humans vulnerable to future threats.
Clark: I left a team of heroes behind to protect them.
Jor-El: You were meant to be Earth's greatest protector. Now, they are about to face the greatest evil without you.
Clark: Then send me back! I know my fate! To step into the light! To be a symbol of hope for them.
Jor-El: I told you to rule with strength. But you chose a righteous path. What makes you think you deserve a second chance?
Clark: I can do it. I CAN BE THEIR HERO!
- Interestingly, considering the Trope Namer, Season 10's Big Bad is Darkseid. Hmmm...maybe, during their final battle, this trope will come into play again?
- During the Final Battle, Darkseid quickly overpowers Clark, at which point Jor-El gives Clark a vision that helps him realize that every battle he's fought over the course of the series, every life he's saved, have all been tests along his journey to fulfilling his destiny. This grants Clark the clarity to fully embrace his powers (namely flight, which he hadn't been able to use at all during the show's run); Clark then proceeds to curbstomp Darkseid.
- Interestingly, considering the Trope Namer, Season 10's Big Bad is Darkseid. Hmmm...maybe, during their final battle, this trope will come into play again?
- The last verse in Eminem's "Lose Yourself":
No more games, I'ma change what you call rage
Tear this motherfucking roof off like two dogs caged
I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed
I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
- "Not Afraid":
And I just can't keep living this way
So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage
I'm standing up, Imma face my demons
I'm manning up, Imma hold my ground
I've had enough, now I'm so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now
- The title song from Kamelot's concept album The Black Halo. Ariel finally defies Mephisto and declares that he no longer fears damnation. This leads him to finally come to the realization that he is the master of his own destiny, and that love is the truth he had been searching for all along.
- Within Temptation- Stand My Ground and Why Not Me?
"I take comfort in the fact that your wife and children won't be watching. Mine won't, either. But someday... someday I'm gonna tell them about all of this. I'm gonna tell them of the day when their father was this close to walking away... and, although it's considered a strength to turn the other cheek, sometimes you've got to look evil right in the face and spit in its eye! All the pain, all the suffering that you have put me through is gonna rain down on you at Unforgiven, and it is gonna rain down on you with absolutely no remorse. I will never apologize for the man that I am or the life that I have lived. And I'm going to have no regrets about what happens to you. Unforgiven... it's an appropriate name, isn't it Chris? Because I will never forgive you for what you've done to me. My only hope is that, someday, God can forgive me for what I do to you!"
- On the 1-Aug-2008 episode of WWE Friday Night Smackdown, Edge managed to give a World of Cardboard Speech in two words... "I understand!" All the more impressive considering he pulled off the entire World Of Cardboard motif as a Heel.
- The Rock's last promo at Wrestlemania XIX.
- From TNA's 12/2/10 episode.
Winter: (to Angelina Love) There's nothing wrong with you Angelina. In fact, you're perfect. But you don't have to worry. Now that we're together, we will never have to lose again. I guarantee that. WE. WILL. NEVER. LOSE.
- On TNA's April 14, 2011 edition, Mickie James confronts her archenemy Madison Rayne, who the previous week hit her with a motorcycle. She gives her own speech, telling Madison that while she has been making her life a living hell, the previous week she went too far and tried to take the coward's way out of their match. She then states that nothing, including her dislocated shoulder, will stop her from beating Madison to within an inch of her life at Lockdown. And she meant every word, completely destroying Madison at Lockdown in 36 seconds. Deserves special mention for Mickie's completely Badass delivery of the speech.
- "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy is the definitive musical theater example. It isn't addressed to any visible character, but with lyrics like these, an on-stage audience isn't necessary:
Well, someone tell me when is it my turn?
Don't I get a dream for myself?
Startin' now it's gonna be my turn!
Gangway, world, get off-a my runway!
Startin' now, I bat a thousand!
This time, boys, I'm taking the bows -- and
Ev'rything's coming up Rose!
Ev'rything's coming up roses!
Ev'rything's coming up roses, this time for me!
- Elphaba's Defying Gravity from Wicked overlaps with I Am What I Am.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has not one but two dark versions of this: the first, "My Friends", when Todd rediscovers his razors and formulates his exact revenge upon the Judge; and the second, "Epiphany", when Todd's mind cracks and he becomes the mass-murdering pie-meat supplier of legend.
- In Anyone Can Whistle, after J. Bowden Hapgood refused to help Nurse Faye Apple tackle the corrupt town administration and reveal that the "miracle" was a fake, she admitted her limitations - and her intention of overcoming them - in "See What It Gets You:"
"And when the hero quits,
Then you're left on your own.
And when you want things done,
You have to do them yourself alone!
And if I'm not ready
I can't stand here dumb.
So, ready or not, here - I hope - I come!"
Takanuva: But I'm not my "kind", not anymore — your shadow leeches saw to that. I'm half Toa of Light, half Toa of Shadow. This was what you wanted, wasn't it? Toa consumed by darkness, Toa not hampered by things like mercy or morality. Well, now you can choke on it.
- Metal Gear Solid has several
per gameper cutscene.
- One of the possible endings for Planescape: Torment has the Nameless One making a World of Cardboard Speech... and beating the Big Bad just with that.
The Nameless One: If there is anything I have learned in my travels across the Planes, it is that many things may change the nature of a man. Whether regret, or love, or revenge or fear -- whatever you believe can change the nature of a man, can. I've seen belief move cities, make men stave off death, and turn an evil hag's heart half-circle. This entire Fortress has been constructed from belief. Belief damned a woman, whose heart clung to the hope that another loved her when he did not. Once, it made a man seek immortality and achieve it. And it has made a posturing spirit think it is something more than a part of me.
- Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones had the Prince discovering his slain father in a deep cavern. Being taunted by his evil side, he had a revelation that gave him the mental fortitude to reject his Super-Powered Evil Side.
Dark Prince: What now then? Gather up enough sand, perform another grand rewind? Or perhaps you can return to the Island and travel back to a time when he might still be saved. Maybe rescue a Damsel in Distress along the way!
Prince: NO! You are right. I have been like a child. Naive and arrogant; always rushing to undo my mistakes. Never facing the consequences of my actions. No more. I accept what I have done, and all that it implies. (transforms back, without water)
Dark Prince: What is this?! You have no water! How did you--?
Prince: You hold no power over me now! Be gone! Retreat to whatever dark hole spawned you, and do not trouble me again.
- Delivered collectively by the heroes at the end of Final Fantasy VI as they're about to fight Nietzsche Wannabe Kefka. See the quote page for the whole thing, including the villain's hilarious reply.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy is full of these, often combined with a Heroic Second Wind moment. In fact, pretty much all of the cutscenes in the ten Destiny Odyssey storylines before the battle with the villain, consists of the hero giving one of these: Cloud refuses to let Sephiroth psyche him out, Terra learns not to let her powers define who she is, Cecil decides to fight for what he really cares about, etc. Here's Firion's for an example:
Emperor: "You should have disposed of your fantasy and accepted me as master."
Firion: "There is no meaning in strength only used to hurt others! I have dreams... dreams worth dying for!"
Emperor: "What will an insect like you do?"
Firion: "Believe in the future! And persist in the present! That's what I'll do!"
- And here's Onion Knight's. Bit of backstory. Trhoughout his Destiny Oddyssey, Onion Knight acted as a bit of a Straw Vulcan, arrogantly trusting only his intelligence, running from every encounter with people that he thought he "can't defeat", and pushing Terra to go to the source of a strange power, to prove that he wasn't "without valor" despite that. So, after that backfires horribly, he's learned a little more about how to be a hero, and faces the Cloud Of Darkness, who multiple people said is too powerful for him:
Onion Knight: "I finally got it. I was a fool to defy my heart, just to bind myself to reason. I will protect Terra with my own strength. That's what's most imporant to me! Don't get me wrong--I still won't fight against anyone I can't beat. But I've decided in my heart to fight. That's why I'm going to beat you!"
- Near the end of the last case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, after discovering that his client is guilty, Phoenix begins to question what it means to be a lawyer. Edgeworth reveals what he learned in his time overseas. It's not about "winning", it's about revealing the truth.
Edgeworth: We prosecutors use anything we can to attack the defendant. But [...] It doesn't matter how many underhanded tricks a person uses... The truth will always find a way to make itself known. The only thing we can do is to fight with the knowledge we hold and everything we have. Erasing the paradoxes one by one... It's never easy... We claw and scratch for every inch. But we will always eventually reach that one single truth. That's the reason why prosecutors and defense lawyers exist.
- Before the Final Boss battle of Mega Man Zero 4 (in a Grand Finale, to boot), Zero delivers this speech as a Shut UP, Hannibal to Dr. Weil's attempt at a Hannibal Lecture. It is
one ofthe best moment in the entire series:
Zero: If I destroy Weil's core, the explosion will take Ragnarok out with it... If Ragnarok is blown apart, it no longer poses a threat!
Weil: Are you even capable of it? The Reploid hero, protecting justice and humanity! I am one of those humans you have sworn to protect! Do you have it in you to defeat me?!
(cue One-Winged Angel)
Zero: I never cared about justice and I don't recall ever calling myself a hero...I have always only fought for the people I believe in. I won't hesitate...If an enemy appears in front of me, I will destroy it!
- The best part about it is, Zero has finally learned what he was really fighting for, a question that has plagued him since Iris' death in the X series, proceeding to kick the Big Bad's ass, save the world again, and finally end the centuries-long Robot War.
- He has another one in a flashback from the Drama Tracks, delivered to Omega. This one more or less speaks for his earlier incarnation and says more or less the same stuff.
Zero: Omega, I finally knew because I fought with myselfâ€¦ What kind of fighting I have done so far? What exactly my hesitation has been so far? Now I can say that my power is not for destruction. It's for my friends; my power is to protect my friends' beliefs! Be gone, my nightmare!
- At the end of X8, Zero delivers one again:
Even if we Reploids are destined to join the scrap heap when that evolutionary step does come about...we still have to fight...Not only against Mavericks, but against our own destiny as well.
- In Fate/stay night, Shirou delivers a World of Cardboard Speech in the Unlimited Blade Works route on how, even if he knows it's only because he's selfish and naive and knowing where he may end up if he keeps it, he'll still try to work towards his ideal of saving everyone to Archer—who can't hear a word of the speech because Shirou is busy fighting him and can't speak loudly enough to be heard. The trope also shows up in Heaven's Feel, where Kotomine lays out his own convictions on letting Angra Manyu loose on the world, which opposes Shirou's equally selfish and Not So Different ideal to destroy it to save Sakura (of course, one of these selfish ideals won't also eradicate humanity, but that's not really the issue here).
- In one of the bonus maps of Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories, Kurtis faces an army of clones of his old Anti-Hero self, seeking to eliminate him for being an "outdated" kind of hero. Seeing them as incarnations of his previous mistakes, he gives a lengthy speech about true heroism and proceeds to kick ass.
- Alicia of Valkyria Chronicles has one when she's standing against an enemy battleship fortress as an activated Valkyria, stating that she knows how to give her life as a Valkyria meaning. Her impending Heroic Sacrifice is stopped by a 1-2-3 punch from Welkin consisting of a confession of love, a marriage proposal, and a Cooldown Kiss.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Marche, after being captured, accidentally gets teleported into the fourth crystal room. While the totema cannot defend the crystal, Babus stands in Marche's way and Cid reminds him that he's alone, asking him if he believes he can do it. Marche notes that he hasn't always been confident in himself, but while he enjoys the world, it isn't real and he must destroy the crystal to go back home.
- In Modern Warfare 2, Captain Price gets two epic such speeches, back to back, in the final two levels.
Price: "The healthy human mind doesn't wake up in the morning thinking this is its last day on earth. But I think that's a luxury, not a curse. To know you're close to the end is a kind of freedom. Good time to take... inventory. Out-gunned. Outnumbered. Out of our minds. On a suicide mission. But the sand and rocks here stained with thousands of years of warfare... they will remember us. For this. Because out of all our vast array of nightmares this is the one we choose for ourselves. We go forward like a breath exhaled from the earth. With vigor in our hearts and one goal in sight: We. Will. Kill him."
Price: "This is for the record... History is written by the victor. History is filled with liars. If he lives, and we die, his truth becomes written, and ours is lost. Shepherd will be a hero, 'cause all you need to change the world is one good lie and a river of blood. He's about to complete the biggest trick a liar ever played on history. His truth will be the truth. But only if he lives, and we die "
- Short and to the point:
"What you see is what you get: just a guy that loves adventure. I'm Sonic the Hedgehog!"
- "You speak of knowledge Judicator? You speak of experience? I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities. Unto my experience, Aldaris, all that you have built here on Aiur is but a fleeting dream, a dream to which you will only wake up to an even greater nightmare." - Zeratul
I'll show you. This is what it means to kill something.
- In the freeware RPG Last Scenario, what was meant to be a Rousing Speech takes the form of one of these. Prince Wilhelm delivers a speech to his disheartened troops, explaining how selfish he's been while people like the protagonists risked their lives to see him rise to the throne. Until then, he was bitter about the new responsibilities thrust on him, and never realized how much his people were sacrificing while he did nothing. He promises that he'll finally become the leader they've idealized him as if they'll just keep fighting a little longer. The speech alone is enough to convince the enemy commander to order a retreat, since his entire plan hinged on getting the soldiers to give up on their weak-willed leader.
- Near the end of God of War 2.
Kratos: If all on Olympus will deny me my vengance, then all on Olympus will die. I have lived in the shadow of the gods for long enough. The time of the gods has come to an end!
- In the final battle of Wild Arms 2, what starts with the protagonist extends to all of humanity delivering a speech about how they should stop relying on heroes to do all their fighting and making Heroic Sacrifices. They promise to fight together to protect the world... while the protagonist is fighting alone in the one place they can never physically reach. Cue Combined Energy Attack and Crowning Music of Awesome. It starts around 2:50 and extends through the entire fight.
- The Force Unleashed 2.
Starkiller: (narrating while slaughtering stormtroopers and droids) Betrayed by Vader for the last time. A new journey begins... With something worth fighting for... Someone worth dying for... And I will not stop... I will not rest. Vader can't stop me now! (quietly) Vader can't stop me now. Nothing can.
- That's just in the trailer. There's one in the actual game too at the very end:
Starkiller: (to Vader who has been captured by the rebels) I let you live. You tell me I'm a clone but I chose to spare you. (*beat*) Maybe Kota's right. Maybe this is all a trick --a way to get me so confused... that I'd forget who I really am and become your slave again. But either way... I. Let. You. Live. I've finally broken your hold over me.
- In the Assassin's Creed II Bonfire of the Vanities DLC, Ezio delivers one of these after Savonarola is killed, coupled with a bit of Shaming the Mob.
Silencio! Silencio! Twenty-two years ago, I stood where I stand now....and watched my loved ones die, betrayed by those I called friends. Vengeance clouded my mind, and it would have consumed me, were it not for the wisdom of a few strangers, who taught me to look past my instincts. They never preached answers, but guided me to learn for myself. We don't need anyone to tell us what to do. Not Savonarola, nor the Medici. We are free to follow our own path. There are those who would take that freedom from us, and too many of you gladly give it up. But it is our ability to choose - whatever you think is true - that makes us human. There is no book or teacher to give you the answers, to show you the path. Choose your own way. Do not follow me, or anyone else.
- Towards the end of the first Kingdom Hearts game, Sora is all about these.
- The PSP remake of Castlevania Rondo of Blood has Richter give one after beating the True Final Boss.
Richter: I'm a Bellmont. That's my job.
Dracula: Humanity will call me back.
Richter: You're right. We never learn. But one day, we'll have to. And if you return, someone like me will be waiting for you.
- In Katawa Shoujo, near the end of Shizune's route, Hisao takes Misha on a tour of a campus, showing her places where they spent time during their days together, and how he started out as depressed and unwilling to do anything, but became more engaged over time. He ultimately concludes by telling her that he had to face the painful truth that he essentially pushed away all his friends during his time in the hospital and he does not want her to do the same to Shizune.
- In Asura's Wrath:
Asura: I understand it all now! The true reason for my wrath! I could not stand it! There is always some fool who wants to rule the world! Always forcing others to do what they cannot do for themselves! That's why... I pray to no one! Nor will I be prayed to! And above all else... I will never forgive you! For making MY DAUGHTER CRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY!
- Gilgamesh Wulfenbach of Girl Genius gets a couple:
- This one's to Wooster, who thinks he can use Gil's one true love as a bargaining chip.
- Torg from Sluggy Freelance gets one of these at the end of the "That Which Redeems" arc (doubling as his Crowning Moment of Awesome).
Torg: Redemption is overrated.
- Roy Greenhilt's response to Xykon after the lich asks him to stand down and come back later, immediately after Xykon suggests that he's still trying to impress Daddy. Roy manages to prove just how far he's come, and that he's no longer the same college kid who swore to kill Xykon just because his dad thought he couldn't.
Roy: I'll be the first to admit that I got into this quest for all the wrong reasons, but none of that matters now. You're a threat to the entire world, not just me and my family. But like it or not, you're still MY responsibility. Because I'm the only one here who's willing to be responsible. You may not be out to destroy the physical planet, but living under the heel of a walking villain cliché like you will destroy its soul. If I don't beat you here and now, then soon this screwed-up nonsensical world won't exist anymore. There won't be any place left for introverted dwarves. Or androgynous elves. Or idiotic bards or greedy rogues... or sexy sylphes. Or hell, even raging narcissistic paladins. Bloodthirsty halflings will probably get along fine, though. So, in summary, it's a dirty job, but some PC has to do it. Enough with the speeches. Let's get down to brass tacks.
- In the prequel Start of Darkness, Xykon gives Dorukon a brutal one as he's killing him, about how much he resents being looked down upon by wizards, something that has happened frequently during the book:
Xykon: Hey you know what really gets under my skin? Proverbially, of course? A century of wizards looking down their damn noses at me. I know people think I'm stupid. Because I'm not a wizard. Because I get bored easily. Because I have no interest in strategy or tactics or contingency planning. But see, I've learned a lot over the years since I died. A lot more than I learned during my life. And now I see planning doesn't matter. Strategy doesn't matter. Only two things matter: Force in as great a concentration as you can manage, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide. In any battle, there's always a level of force against which no tactics can succeed. For example, all I need to do is keep smacking you with Energy Drains, and eventually you won't be able to cast any of your fancy spells at all. Because yes, I am a sorcerer -- and this magic is in my bones, not cribbed-off "Magic for Dummies". And I can keep casting the same friggin' spell at you until you roll over and die. You can have your finely-tuned watch -- give me the sledgehammer to the face any day.
- Liquid Snake in The Last Days of Foxhound makes a combination of the World of Cardboard Speech and Calling the Old Man Out when he echews his earlier Idiot Hero tendencies for a more practical outlook, and pulls a gun on Big Boss during their final fistfight.
Liquid: Oh no. That was the old Liquid. The dumbass Liquid. The Liquid who'd cut his arm off to prove he could get by without it. I realized something while I was dead. My entire life I've been obsessed with proving you wrong. Proving that I'm not garbage, that I can be the best in spite of all my recessive genes. But I've figured you out, old man. I know why you always told me I was worthless. Why you destroyed my self-confidence, made me think I had to do everything the hard way to earn any respect. I'm better than you. And you know it. If you hadn't turned me into such an insecure showoff, history would only remember you as Liquid Snake's father.
- Subverted in that Liquid is wrong; Big Boss manipulated his emotions not to cripple him out of jealousy, but to strengthen him by giving him a relentless drive to overcome his perceived inferiority to Solid Snake, thus allowing him to continue on Big Boss' goals.
- In Anti Bunny, main(ish) charecter Nailbat gives one of these, pointing out that he is a blackbelt, bulets dodge HIM, he can't be killed untill the day he dies in about six months, knows that whatever he does he won't have to face the consiquences of because he'll irevocably die, and has the power to defy fate. He doesn't chose his lifestyle and code of honor because of labels or societies demands, he does it because it's the right thing to do. I mean, when you cannot die untill the clock hits zero and you know if you do somthing with horrible consiquences it won't matter for you in the long run, it takes a very strong sense of right and wrong to not abuse that.
- Smoke from WTF Comics unloads one of these onto Nikisha after she attacks Anna with a poisoned throwing star in order to get to him. Oh, and while giving this Smoke is also beating her to an inch of her life her
Smoke: It's always the same... wherever I go, it's the same. People like you have no problem hurting the innocent to get at others... can't just come after who you really want. NO! You try to kill a kid who's only mistake was being a friend! Just leverage! A tool! Just like before, just like her! Well not again!
Rumisiel: You want to see spirits? You want to look into the eyes of the beings who will watch over the end of days? I have seen the fall of empires and the murder of millions! I have shoved that data into files like so many numbers! I have seen a great many things, but little as ignorant and dangerous as a conceited little girl who has used so called "spiritual devices" to turn her own unbridled ID into a demon capable of killing the one she's too stupid to realize she loves!
- In Captain Gamer, while he's fighting a mind-controlled Mai Shiranui, who tells him that there will always be evil and he'll never change that, Captain Gamer responds that she's right—there will always be evil, but there will also always be good, and that is why he continues to fight.
- In Captain SNES, Lucca gives a truly memorable one to the Eater of Dreams in comic 647.
Lucca: When there is no hope...there's nothing to lose by trying. Maybe I am destined to become a puppet. Maybe there's nothing I can do to stop what's coming. BUT I'LL BE DAMNED IF I GO DOWN QUIETLY. Even if I have to twist the very fabric of reality...I won't lose!
- In the last episode of Season 5 of Arby 'n' the Chief Arbitur gives one to Trent Donnovich in response to a "The Reason You Suck" Speech Trent had delivered earlier in the season.
Arbiter: It doesn’t surprise me that a dose of emotion would have a toxic effect on an emotion-deprived cretin like you. Who’s really the plastic one here? Your bleak outlook on life is poisonous. Maybe the world is a big sinking ship. But we can’t accept that as an inevitability and use it as an excuse to act like shitheads. We have to be the change we seek. We have to build something better for ourselves.
- A big one comes from Erika's Old Big Sister, the sequel to Erikas New Perfume, in which Marie gets the Fountain of Youth effects on her undone and proceeds to become the ultimate Big Sister Bully while trying (and failing) to rebuild her teenage social status. The speech comes in the climax, when Marie tries to undo Sarah's Plot-Relevant Age-Up, causing Erika to snap and lay into Marie that all her problems stem from her own jealousy and self-loathing, that her bratty nature better suits the lifestyle of a three-year-old than a 16-year-old, and that she is now strong enough to handle whatever Marie can dish out. Marie is hit hard by this and, realizing that Erika is right, requests to return to toddlerhood.
- Red vs. Blue has a few, almost invariably with Church. There's a joke one at the end of season 5, which is more a send-up of the first episode than anything else.
Wash: But when the EMP goes off-
Church: When it goes off, I'll be fine. It only effects AI, remember? And I am a mother fucking ghost.
- Reborn Tex has one of these in Avalanche when she's telling Epsilon Church that she's going to find out why she's there. Then she shoots him in the foot. Because Tex.
- Wash has one to accompany his Face Heel Turn.
- Church has a truly memorable and brilliant one of these at the end of season 8, where he accepts the realities of a situation that he's an AI and that he's going to try and find Tex inside the dying Epsilon Capture Unit. It turns a truly crushing Downer Ending into a Bittersweet Ending, because he's hopeful that he'll find Tex and that they will be able to be together, after all. He even makes very touching comments on the nature of love and relationships, and somehow made it not inimical to the absolute silliness of the world. Swiftly and thoroughly deconstructed in the next season, mainly for laughs. Finally resolved with a second World of Cardboard Speech to round out, of all things, the "Memory is the Key" arc, that left anyone with a soul absolutely speechless.
- The Trope Namer, which you can watch here, is Superman's speech in Justice League Unlimited while fighting with Darkseid during the Grand Finale. The specific moment that inspired him was Batman selflessly and fearlessly jumping onto the tyrants' back and even managing to dodge his Omega Blast, something no one has ever been able to do, as well as Darkseid declaring "Can't you see that it's hopeless?" Superman, of course, decided to prove Batman right and Darkseid wrong.
- Of course, it's something of a subversion since while Darkseid was outclassed on a physical level, he had access to extremely advanced technology ( the combination of Apokolips technology and his merging with Brainiac) that allowed him to subdue Superman. The entire sequence can be seen here.
- In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Terry was always being chided by the Joker for not being "the real Batman". At the climax, Terry found himself slightly outmatched but came to realize that the original Batman was unable to fully beat the Joker at his mind games. To counter this, Terry turned the tables through an epic verbal beatdown that actually got the Joker to stop smiling. He got the Joker to finally lose his cool by doing exactly what Joker had wanted Batman to do ever since they started fighting: laugh. Terry makes the Joker flip out by laughing at him. Granted, the immediate result was not what Terry had in mind, but it was to show that Terry had a quality that allowed him to combat the Joker better than the original Batman ever could. It can be viewed here.
- At the climax of the SpongeBob SquarePants movie, Plankton has beaten the heroes, and states in his Breaking Speech that Spongebob was doomed from the beginning because he was a kid. His response?
"I guess you're right Plankton. I am just a kid. And ya know, I've been through a lot in the past six days, five minutes, twenty seven and a half seconds, and if I've learned anything during that time, it's that you are who you are. And no amount of mermaid magic, or managerial promotion, or some other third thing, can make me anything more than what I really am inside, a kid. But that's okay! Cause I did what everyone said a kid couldn't do! I made it to Shell City, and I beat the cyclops, and I rode the Hasselhoff, and I brought the crown back! So yeah I'm a kid, and I'm also a goofball, and a wingnut, and a knucklehead mcspazzetron! But most of all... I'm... I'm... I'm... I'M A GOOFY GOOBER, ROCK!"
- However, one of the episodes of the same series has a rather hilarious subversion of the trope; Mermaid seems to be making such a speech, but it soon spirals into nonsense:
"Hey, little hero, this reminds me of the Episode 912. We were surrounded. The Kelp-Thing was to our right and there was broccoli on the side. But if there was one thing I remember, it was how to forget. The rain in Spain stays mainly on the...space! The final countdown. Stick to the...stick to the...Lou, my darling! Lou! Now go out there and finish this movie, kid."
- In the fan favorite episode "Band Geeks" Squidward needed to put together a marching band in a week to play for a halftime show. He enlisted the help of Bikini Bottom but despite his best efforts no one really gave it a good try and the last day a petty fight broke out among the band members. Squidward chews them out for crushing his dream and leaves depressed. Spongebob then told the crowd about how he was ashamed that they didn't step up to help Squidward when he needed them, and Spongebob rallies the band to actually give Squidward something to be proud of.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender. Zuko confronts his Dad during the Day of Black Sun. He unfolds his life and what he went through to please his father, deconstructing his own life and motivations, topping it off with a rejection of his nation's goals and summation of how they are viewed by others before finally telling Ozai that he's leaving to join the Avatar. See the quotes page for the entire exchange.
- Re Boot: Enzo had spent a lifetime trying to become strong enough to live up to Bob's standard, but in doing so he realized he was becoming more like Megabyte, merciless and violent. In their climactic fight in the final storyline of season 3, he spared Megabyte's life at the last moment, deciding that killing Megabyte would make him Not So Different and that sparing Megabyte would be a far better insult to the smug Magnificent Bastard. He declared that Mainframe deserved a better hero than that.
- He gives a similar speech after a revelation that he was just letting the games control him. While he couldn't control where the games took him, he decided to refuse to play by their rules, and they eventually made it to their destination.
- In Kung Fu Panda, Po had his epiphany regarding the dragon scroll well before he faced the Big Bad Tai Lung. Tai Lung even said that Po seemed to be much stronger than he should be. But it wasn't until Tai Lung learned the secret of the Dragon scroll that Po mastered that he began to outclass him, inverting the Hannibal Lecture. As for an actual speech, Po did have a very condensed but effective one that encapsulated the fact that his weakness had become his strength:
Tai Lung: You cannot defeat me. You... you're just a big... fat... panda!
Po: I'm not a big fat panda. I'm the big fat panda.
- Danny Phantom villain Spectra uses the misery of children to permanently appear young; naturally, she would go out of her way to traumatize her victims to provide enough angst to maintain her appearance. Danny's humiliation and psychological breakdown at her hands gave Spectra and her servant the upper hand during their earlier fights with Danny, until Danny realizes that being hard on himself only makes things worse.
- Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic combines this with Shut UP, Hannibal against Discord after confronting him with her restored friends and the Elements Of Harmony.
Discord: Will you ever learn?
Twilight Sparkle: I'll tell you what we've learned, Discord! We've learned that friendship isn't always easy, but there's no doubt it's worth fighting for!
- Tiana's speech to Facilier in Princess and The Frog when he tries to lure her by material want rather than the love she always had.