Victory Is Boring

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Mah boi, this peace is what all true warriors strive for!
"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer."
John Milton (attributed)

So you have a character who has achieved some incredibly difficult or elusive victory that they've been working towards for just about forever. Now that it's finally over and all their efforts have paid off, they've got it made, right?

Not if Victory Is Boring. If the character is a villain, now that they actually went ahead and pulled off their plan to Take Over the World, they have to actually run it. And fill out all the required paperwork. In triplicate. Man, those days when the heroes would foil your latest plot every single week only to let you slip away at the last minute were so much more entertaining than this! (Wait, is that why the heroes did it in the first place?!!)

On the other hand, if the character is a hero, then maybe winning and having finally shown up The Rival or win the big tournament or game they've been dreaming of since they were a kid leaves them saying So What Do We Do Now? If the hero is particularly Hot-Blooded, battle addicted, fond of adventure or just plain crazy/sociopathic, he might start going out and trying to find/create new challenges that weren't there before. If only there was some reliably recurring villain that could keep them occupied...

Before we get into any examples, we should note that every Video Game will eventually fall into this trope. No matter what, some players will beat everything, get the Infinity+1 Sword, One Hundred Percent Completion, etc. and even they will still quit eventually. So please, limit it to in-universe examples. See A Winner Is You for games with unsatisfying endings. Compare It's Easy, So It Sucks, for when a game is boring even before reaching victory due to its lack of difficulty.

Yet more proof that Status Quo Is God and that Failure Is the Only Option, for everyone. May invoke Wanting Is Better Than Having. Compare with Pyrrhic Victory, Pyrrhic Villainy, Was It Really Worth It? and Lonely at the Top for other times when winning turns out not to be all it's cracked up to be. Contrast And Then What?, and also Rich Boredom, which may overlap.

Examples of Victory Is Boring include:

Anime and Manga

  • In the anime of Excel Saga, when Il Palazzo finally does conquer F City, his urge to conquer is so shocked at being suppressed that it pulls a Split Personality Takeover.
  • Thorkell from the manga Vinland Saga, defects from the Danish army to align himself with the English because he thinks it would be more fun. Afterwards, he decides to become the vassal of Prince Canute, the clear underdog in the competition for the Danish throne, as if he did not have enough to fight against to begin with. The man is a huge, Older Than He Looks, man's man of a warrior, so it is almost expected.
  • Light, the villain protagonist from Death Note briefly mentioned that it was too easy and no fun just leading the Kira investigation team around after he offed L. Enter Near and Mello to rectify that. Eventually.
  • Doctor Akabane from GetBackers. Fast, durable, and lethal, he can kill most opposition so fast that they don't even realize he's moved. As a result, he's bored and completely unchallenged until he meets the titular duo. Cue twenty-odd volumes of mind games and battles to the death. he wins
  • Yusuke Urameshi from Yu Yu Hakusho falls victim to this after he wins the dark tournament, although he is then punished for his complacency as the next arc starts with him getting kidnapped. It then happens AGAIN after beating Sensui, because being an S-rank demon leaves him as the most powerful fighter in the human world by miles.
  • After Simon defeats Lord Genome, the people build a city and the fighters that won the war are now left to run it. Boring. This is averted the second time around, where Simon chooses to become a wanderer rather than take a leading position in the government.
  • Done subtly in One Piece, in regards to the world's greatest swordsman, Dracule Mihawk. While what he was like when he was younger is a mystery, as an adult he seems to have no secondary goals, and has become bored with nothing to accomplish, and jaded because so few people can give him a challenge. As a result, he tries to pass the time by doing things such as wiping out Don Krieg's fleet and chasing the survivors halfway across the world(though only because they disturbed his nap). Which seems to do nothing at all to alleviate his boredom. When he meets the main crew's swordsman Zoro, who's aiming for his title, he's impressed by the younger man's determination and encourages him to surpass him.
  • At the very beginning of Black Cat, when the mob accountant they have captured asks the duo if they would do him a favor and let him see his family once more, Train immediately says OK, because catching and taking him right to the cops would be too boring.
  • Spoofed hard in Slayers. One episode features a treacherous prince who plots to murder his older brother in order to become first in line to the throne. Lina asks him what he plans to do once he is king. The prince is absolutely dumbfounded by the question, and awkwardly says that "ummm...I was kind of planning to rule and stuff...I guess."
  • Lupin III did this more than once on those rare occasions when Zenigata actually manages to capture Lupin. Inevitably, Zenigata begins to realize that without Lupin to chase around, his life is empty and boring, as Lupin was the only criminal that truly challenged him. In one story, Lupin sits in jail for an entire year awaiting his execution. Zenigata spends the year getting more and more depressed and dreading the execution day even more than Lupin. When Lupin escapes at the last minute, Zenigata is overjoyed, and the chase resumes.
  • In Pokémon, James and Jesse have often claimed (mostly in movies) that they don't want their rivalry with Ash and his friends to end, as they wouldn't have much of a life without it.

Comic Books

  • The Joker has often said that he doesn't want to kill Batman, because if he did then it would spoil all their lovely fun. Then a guy he mistook as ol' Bats shot him in the face and spoiled the magic.
    • But in Emperor Joker, it's revealed that he literally cannot imagine a world without Batman... no matter how hard he tries, despite having gained cosmic power and ruler of reality.
    • In the Going Sane storyline, Joker actually regains his sanity and settles down to live a normal life when he thinks he's killed Batman; after he's beaten Batman there's no point in being the Joker any more.
    • YMMV, but there is evidence that Batman himself could succumb to this if he would ever "win" his war on crime. He's somewhat uninterested in actually keeping villains put away, when someone with his intelligence and vast fiscal resources probably could, simply preferring to let others (who really suck at it) do that for him. Them breaking out defines his purpose and justifies putting on the cape and cowl every night (which is why he has been accused of being as insane as the people he fights).
      • Definitely YMMV, as Batman cannot 'keep them put away himself' without going down the same road as Lock-Up (indeed, that's Lock-Up's entire shtick) -- and Lock-Up, remember, is a supervillain. The justice system might be flawed, but if Batman stops handing people over do it and 'deals with them himself' (even non-fatally) then he stops being a good guy.
  • In the Emperor Doom Graphic Novel, Dr. Doom succeeds in conquering the world by brainwashing everyone. By and large he's a fairly benevolent monarch and does much to solve many of the world's problems. Unfortunately, he's bored out of his mind, such that when the one unaffected hero manages to break the spell on a few others, he lets the rebellion win. He'd rather be a conqueror than a Desk Jockey.
    • It wasn't just that there was nothing left to conquer, it was that it was such an unsatisfying victory. After experiencing every titanic battle and harrowing escape and Machiavellian twist imaginable, he essentially wishes for global domination and gets it. He learned what all evil overlords eventually do: it's not the havin' that matters, it's the gettin'.
  • Marvel Universe Secret Wars II, issue #3. The Beyonder takes mental control of every living thing on Earth, then gets bored and releases them.
  • In the Marvel: The End series, Thanos succeeds in acquiring the Heart of the Universe and defeats the entire Celestial Order (Galactus, Infinity, Eternity, Order, Choas etc.) and finally ends all existence in the universe other than himself, but finds his efforts to be utterly pointless. He then discovers that a power other than them may have even being manipulating these events to the point that Thanos himself will realise this, so using the Heart of the Universe, Thanos restores the Universe to the way it was before.
  • In Cross Gen's Mystic, the villainous Magus succeeds in casting an immensely powerful spell that turns all his citizens into mindlessly obedient undead master soldiers. With no rebellions or riots to quash, he becomes comically bored.
  • The 'Crime Syndicate' of DC Comics has become the defacto rulers of their own Earth. It's so boring they start their own rebellions against themselves just for the fun of smashing them down. 'Thankfully', the Qwardians get their mad on and decided to kill everything and everyone.
  • In a DuckTales (1987) comic, Flintheart Glomgold once manages to take over Duckburg while Scrooge is away fighting Magica DeSpell. When Scrooge returns, he sends Glomgold through a Paranoia Gambit that eventually results in him giving up his ownership of the city so that he can start anew.
    • Another comic (but not DuckTales (1987)) has Magica venting over her inability to steal Scrooge's Number One Dime. When her familiar asks if she really needed Scrooge's dime for her Midas Touch amulet, Magica realizes that no, she doesn't. She still has the other dime Scrooge gave her in her first appearance, when she was collecting the dimes touched by the world's richest. (She originally wanted Scrooge's Number One for extra power.) Making the amulet, Magica gains the Midas Touch and becomes supremely wealthy - but is still upset because she never did beat Scrooge. Even flaunting her new fortune doesn't work, as Scrooge is just happy to know she won't bother him anymore. When she destroys his money bin by turning it to gold (making it too soft to contain his cash), he logically decides to sell the gold to pay for a new one, and then some. This is the last straw, and Magica destroys her amulet before Scrooge could do just that.
  • A few Alternate History stories have Avengers villain Kang The Conqueror actually succeed in his quest to take over the Twenty(first) Century. He quickly finds that administration is not his forte.
  • The Transformers fan comic Lil'Formers illustrates this here.
    • Which isn't too far from what actually happens in the storyline it's making a parody of.
  • In a Tear Jerker issue, Superman competes against someone who has similar powers and and whose method of rejuvenating himself would eventually kill him. Because of a technicality (the rejuvenation process is considered cheating), Superman wins. Superman then reveals that he's learned his opponent was The Last of His Kind and sorrowfully asks "when you're Superman, what's one more victory?"
    • Don't think this is the same story, but a pre-Crisis story had an old pre-WW 2 supervillain (despite the fact that this was Earth-1, where Supes himself was supposed to be the first superhuman) give up his life of crime to go star-hopping with his "alien friends". He comes back to Earth to see home again while he can, but is a bit peeved that his tales of travelling in space are disbelieved and that he's mostly been forgotten in favour of Superman, so he gets his friends to rejuvenate him temporarily so that he can have one last splash of super-villainy. He fights Superman, who lets him win so that he can die in triumph.
  • In the Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog there is a dimension where Knuckles the Echidna went mad with power and, in an attempt to "bring order to chaos" as he phrased it, he began to conquer the entire planet. He vanquished all enemies, hero (Sonic, Shadow, Tails, etc.) and villain (Eggman, Ixis Naugus, Snively) alike, making sure to take their souls to form the core of his army for extra insurance. However, upon ruling it, he became extremely bored, and allowed a few Freedom Fighters to exist - despite knowing their location already - so as to keep himself entertained. Eventually, derp Knuckles, better known as Enerjak, decided to look for other worlds to conquer three decades after this all had transpired, and in turn sealed his fate.
    • A similar thing occurred after the first Robotnik was finally defeated. Mobius is free, Mobotropolis is reclaimed, everyone is happy...except Sonic, who's completely overwhelmed by the tense political climate, the overwhelming hatred of the Robians, and of course, the lack of a single enemy to fight. He goes so far as to wish Robotnik was back, so he'd know what he was fighting. Fortunately, Naugus showed up soon after, followed by the second Robotnik.
  • "I don't want to stop crime, I just want to fight it!" So declares the Tick, in issue #6.


  • In Superman II there's a scene showing the complete boredom of the three Kryptonian supervillains after they conquer the world. (And before Lex Luthor arrives to get things moving again).

Nod: <plays with a Newton's Cradle>
Ursa: You're master of all you survey.
Zod: And so I was yesterday, and the day before.

  • In Maverick, after Bret and his dad have successfully pulled off their scheme and are now living the pampered high life, Bret intentionally leaves a large portion of the money they won in a position to be stolen by Annabelle Bransford. When asked why, his response is "Because it's going to be a whole lot of fun getting it back!"
  • The idea that evil people will never be satisfied, even in victory, is spelled out to Mordred by Arthur in the film version of Camelot.

I'm like a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it.

    • Also his revelation why he doesn't want to kill Batman.

I don't want to kill you? What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob-leaders? No, no. You... you complete me

  • In Megamind, this is the titular villain's problem; after finally defeating his nemesis Metro Man, he rules the city ... and doesn't know what to do with himself. (His solution, and its consequences, occupy the rest of the movie.)
  • In Mystery Men, Captain Amazing is bored because he has managed to put away every supervillain in Champion City, leaving only thugs. His solution is to use his influence to get his arch-nemesis Casanova Frankenstein out of the mental asylum. It doesn't end well for him.
    • It is left somewhat vague just how much it is this and how much it is a desire to keep his sponsorship money (his agent suggests that Amazing's fights being boring to the public is at least a partial reason for him losing sponsors), but given that the scene that culminates in him coming up with the solution starts off with him ranting about the bad quality of the fight, it is at least partly this.
  • Mr. Nick of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has always known this, which is why he usually tends to give the doctor another chance, so that they can resume their perpetual game. Parnassus himself is genuinely suprised to discover this, considering he always believed that Nick simply enjoyed watching him suffer by winning.
  • In Rocky Balboa, Dixon agrees to fight the aging Rocky because no current boxer can touch him.
    • The fans also seem to agree with this trope. Dixon dominates his opponents so easily he's become the Boring Invincible Hero, and people are quickly losing interest in watching him.
  • Bart and the Waco Kid leave Rock Ridge at the end of Blazing Saddles because after saving the down and defeating Hedy Hedley LaMar, the place got boring. And he told them so.


  • Conan the Barbarian experiences this after becoming King of Aquilonia. He eventually leaves for high adventure on the Western Sea.
    • The movie did a brief variation of this, where his band of thieves' successes had left them worn out and complacent.
  • Similarly, this is the impetus for the Discworld book The Last Hero: Cohen the Barbarian is bored stiff as the Emperor of the Agatean Empire. He decides that being Emperor is no fun...but more than that, neither is getting old, or living past the age of barbarian hero. He and his Silver Horde (of seven other veteran barbarian warriors, all septegenerians at the youngest) go out to destroy the gods for allowing this to happen.
    • There's also references to a Discworld parallel of Alexander, named Carelinus, who apparently conquered the entire world, save for Fourecks and the Counterweight Continent (Fantasy Counterpart Cultures of Australia and China respectively). Cohen observes that it's no wonder, since one's all dried up, and you can't get a decent beer in the other. The minstrel they've captured (long story) tells Cohen the line "and Carelinus wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer." He explains that seeing Cohen looking down at the Disc ("bin there... bin there too... bin there twice, I think... bin everywhere I can see") reminds him of this. Cohen appreciates the comparison: "Yeah, maybe a bit like him. 'cept without the sissy crying, of course..." At another point, it's inverted to reflect the actual quote (see Real Life below)--that some scholar told Carelinus that every star out there might be another world, and he cried because he realized he couldn't conquer them all in one lifetime. That becomes Cohen's real grievance—that there's so much to do no one, no matter how dedicated, could get it all done in one life.
    • Speaking of Discworld, Duke Felmet (a Macbeth Expy) experienced a variant of this when the people of Lancre didn't rise up and rebel against him after he killed his brother and seized the throne. (They figured that being assassinated counts as "natural causes" for a King). His frustration about the fact is summed up in this quote:

You couldn't oppress a people like that any more than you could oppress a mattress.

    • It's more about boredom than bittersweet victory or whatever, but at the start of Making Money Moist is fueled by a complete boredom with running the Post Office - he made it work so well that it wasn't fun any more. Luckily Vetinari has a new project for him.
      • Then, at the start of Raising Steam, Moist had convinced himself that he was needed at the bank - but Vetinari knew better, and had yet another new project for him.
  • The Worm Ouroboros: The protagonists win, but find nothing else interesting for them to do after their victory. They wish for the conflict to happen all over again, causing the entire thing to start over again. This is the purpose of the title, as the Ouroboros is a symbol of a snake or dragon eating its own tail, symbolizing cyclicality.
  • Hero's version: about midway through The Chronicles of Amber, Corwin starts realizing that he doesn't have any real interest in holding the throne, and that superficial ambition and spite towards one of his brothers was the only reason he was trying to claim it in the first place. Even before someone else is picked to be King, he announces his intention to abdicate.
  • Ulysses in the Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem has this attitude.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, King Robert suffered badly from this. A conquering king who saw the girl he fought the war for die and was forced into a loveless political marriage afterward, he's grown fat and keeps talking to his old friend Ned of abandoning the throne and becoming a sellsword. The only joy he seems to find is in the occasional tournament... though it's soon pointed out to him that no one in their right mind is going to strike the king in a melee.
  • Sherlock Holmes complained of this after defeating Moriarty.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, after they manage to destroy the one ring, the epilogue is all nostalgic about adventure and about never being able to do anything greater than the greatest deed ever done...
    • This would have been shown in an unfinished sequel The New Shadow, which as a result a cult forms that worships a dark evil.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Dante encounters the ghost of Ulysses (Odysseus). Ulysses explains that he died after leaving Ithaca and sailing out into the Atlantic Ocean *after* the whole taking-twenty-years-to-make-it-home-from-the-last-adventure thing. Yeah, it was just too boring being king of a great land and having a queen who adores you.
    • Ithaca in real life was (thought to be there are about a dozen places claiming to be Ithaca all pretty similar) a small island kingdom with a few shepards and a small city you really can see the crafty genius of the Trojan war getting bored from that.
  • Time Scout: Skeeter's life post Heel Face Turn is rather disappointing. It comes to a head: You just beat up a knife-wielding thug and handed him to the cops! You just carried the woman he was beating to the hospital, receiving warm congratulations! You just handed a truant kid over to the cops and felt a connection with a formerly antagonistic cop! You just got to stand up to a bigot! You ... just got fired. Now what?
  • Taken to the extreme in one of The Lost Books of the Odyssey. Achilles abandons the Trojan War on Odysseus' suggestion and goes to faraway lands, and defeats the strongest warriors here and there until there is no doubt that he is the strongest man in the entire world. Then, desperate to be rid of him, an emperor gives him the key to heaven, where Achilles ascends, killing demigods and demons until he finally kills God himself—and is left, sitting on God's throne, wishing he had never been born.

Live Action TV

  • The adversarial relationship between Dr. Cox and his boss Dr. Kelso is established very quickly in season 1 of Scrubs. So you'd think that when Cox winds up destroying everyone's fear of Kelso, (which makes even Ted, a combination of Butt Monkey and The Eeyore willing to stand up to Kelso) and leaves Kelso a broken man, Cox would be rejoicing. Instead he complains that the game is no fun unless Kelso is playing it too and quickly irritates and humiliates Kelso into returning to form.
    • That's also how JD and Elliot's relationships work. As JD himself said, when he got something, he doesn't want it anymore.
  • On Thirty Rock, Jack Donaghy finds himself working for a Brand X version of Comcast which doesn't do anything but take in money from its affiliates; he is informed it's the "perfect business" since they can essentially just sit back and let the money make itself. A natural innovator, he is aghast and quotes the "Alexander" line at the top of the page, attributing it to Die Hard.
  • In The Twilight Zone, an evil bastard CEO also quotes the Alexander line when he finds himself bored with his success. He ends up making a Deal with the Devil to go back in time to when he was a young man so that he can have the fun of re-conquering the world. (Hilariously, he has to pay the devil in cash because the devil already has his soul.) This being The Twilight Zone, things don't end well for him.

Rod Serling: Some people should quit when they're ahead.

    • In another episode of the series a deceased crook having mistakenly sent to heaven soon becomes bored and restless from getting everything just handed to him, feeling that he is getting everything easily for him to really appreciate it, so much so he asks to go to "the other place." Of course, he's already there.
  • This happens in the first episode of Leverage as the team makes a multi-million dollar payout and are all mentioning how they could retire. Instead they continue working together using their skills for good.
  • Sherlock ends up having this in the conflict between Jim Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes. In "The Reichenbach Fall", when it looks like he's defeated Sherlock, Moriarty starts whining about how he doesn't have any challenges any more, and has to go back to "playing with the ordinary people." He solves the problem by shooting himself in the head.
  • Although it's not exactly the same as "victory" would really be getting home, "Star Trek: Voyager" sort of had this trope in the episode 'Night'. After having four years of endless attacks, death and mayhem you think that travelling through an area where they're more or less safe might be better. But even Janeway says "Strange as it sounds, I almost long for the days when we were under constant attack. No time to stop and think about how we got stranded in the Delta quadrant."
  • The evil law firm Wolfram & Hart from Angel takes the trope to heart. "We're not interested in anything as prosaic as winning". They just want to throw evil spanners in the works.


  • The main characters from David Bowie's "Running Gun Blues" and "Saviour Machine". Both are intended to bring peace (the former a soldier, the latter a machine designed to stop war, hunger, disease, etc.), but once their objectives are met, they eventually become bored and partake in the destruction they were meant to stop.
  • "The World Is Saved" alternates between this and elation in its portrayal of the minutes and hours after successfully completing a massive video game along the lines of Final Fantasy.


  • Probably the most ancient example: Beowulf as an old king rides out against a dragon, even knowing he can't survive. Forget the motive given to him by the 3D movie - in the original Anglo-Saxon poem it is simply the desire to die fighting.
    • There's a bit of logic here: according to Norse beliefs, if you died of old age, you'd be denied entrance to Valhalla, in which only heroes who die in battle are welcome.
  • A lot of ancient Greek heroes seem to have this. Most of the time, it translates into hubris. Bellerophon, for example, wasn't satisfied with getting everything he wanted, defeating every monster he fought, and being hero-worshipped and having a freakin' flying horse. Nope. He decided he wanted to be a god. That didn't end well for him.
    • With others, like Achilles, it's not so much Victory is Boring as Having the Perfect Life is Boring. They could refrain from heroics or fighting and be the happiest man in the world, but it would mean that their name would not go down in history. And Greek heroes would rather die than let that happen.
    • Then there's Zeus, king of the gods himself. He has to resort to trickery to get his sister Hera to marry him; then after their wedding, he quickly tires of her nagging dislike of him and goes out to trick a gazillion mortal girls into sleeping with him.
  • In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the mighty King Gilgamesh has beaten all his city's enemies, harvested the forest of Lebanon and built invincible walls. He's so bored the gods create a wild man to be a challenge for him.

Newspaper Comics

  • Dogbert once conquered the world in minutes using Mind Control. He didn't actually do much with his power other than force people to hold signs praising him while wearing brassieres. In the end, he told everyone he was retiring to go sit on a soft pillow.

Dogbert: No matter what I do, it always feels better when I stop doing it.


  • The Dalek comes to this realization in the Doctor Who audio drama "Jubilee".

Video Games

  • Video games in general. Once you've won the game and done every quest, the time has come to move on to the next game. Basking in your victory gets boring quickly.
    • Which is why MMO's with their own game universes that never end are so attractive. A well crafted MMO will only get boring when the player's imagination finally runs dry.
      • Well, actually, multiplayer and online parts are not to the point here. Just any game which allows player enough control to do something not intended by creators can qualify. Of course, bringing together social networking and gaming makes for economically more noticable examples.
  • Cody in Final Fight saved Metro City, got the mayor's daughter and is the baddest street fighter in all of Metro City. What does he do? Start picking fights until he gets thrown in jail. He escapes from jail just in time for Street Fighter Alpha. To quote the guy: "I saved the city, saved the girl, but couldn't save myself..."
    • In Final Fight Streetwise, it gets worse - he's so addicted to battle that he lets Belger's younger brother Father Bella turn him into a horrid monster just to keep raising the ante. He and Father Bella are the final Dual Boss.
  • Richter Belmont banished Dracula in 1792. Four years later he summoned the castle in an effort to destroy it and become a hero yet again. (Actually he was mind controlled with that alibi.)
  • In Mortal Kombat Armageddon, Shao Kahn's ending reveals him to have finally achieved his goal of conquering all the realms... and going insane with boredom as a result.
  • The flash game Mastermind World Conqueror, in which you control a Diabolical Mastermind trying to conquer to world, ends like this. He destroys the planet (same as conquering, he looked it up), and escapes in a one-man shuttle with nothing to do but gloat and reflect. "I guess I didn't think this through". Still, he decides that it's totally worth it just to flip off the floating debris that was once Earth and the worst thing to him was the fact that he didn't bring any cheese snacks.
  • The sequel to the first Ratchet and Clank game starts out this way; the titular heroes have saved the world and been through the cycle of praise and fame, and now they've got nothing to do. Fortunately, it is the start of a sequel...They get significantly better about their downtime later in their careers.
  • The second episode of "Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People" follows this trope.
  • In World of Warcraft, Maiev Shadowsong has spent most of the last 10 000 years either acting as Illidan Stormrage's jailor or chasing him. When she finally defeats him with the aid of the players, Illidan says that "The Huntress is nothing without the hunt." Maiev regretfully agrees.
  • The beginning of the Faces of Evil has Link saying "Gee, it sure is boring around here!" to which the King gives us the famous infamous line, "Mah boi, this peace is what all true warriors strive for!"
  • The train of logic behind Lord Dominion's actions in Freedom Force. He's already conquered every other dimension, and rather than just steamroll over the Insignificant Little Blue Planet, he decides to give evil humans Energy X and let them tear the planet apart for his own amusement.
  • The eighth gym leader in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Volkner, has an apathetic attitude to you challenging him because he's won every challenge he's every had. You snap him out of it when you beat him and he breaks into laughter.
    • Red from Pokémon Gold and Silver may be in this state. What was he actually doing at Mt. Silver in the first place? Probably, after he destroyed Team Rocket, defeated Blue, become the Pokémon Champion and caught Mewtwo, he just had nothing to do. Normal life just didn't satisfy him anymore, so he just left the outside world, living secretly at Mt. Silver without anybody (well, except probably the people at local Pokémon Center) knowing... Until Gold/Kris/Lyra came and defeated him. Where did he go then? He's never referenced in any of the other Pokémon games (reasonable since Gen III because he had his own journey back then and he was at Mt. Silver during Gen IV), not even in Gen V. Where did he go after that? Maybe he saw himself as a kid in you... and started his great journey all over again... just like Ash Ketchum, but with a 3-year-break.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog is prone to this. For instance, in Sonic Adventure, he plans to take another vacation after his quest ends and ends up running off at the end of the game.
  • This is adverted in the new inFAMOUS2 game, where they designed it to were the players can make their own levels for others to play. Making the missions never end.
  • Every game in The Legend of Zelda after Ocarina of Time has Link start another journey after or during the credits.
  • Conquer the world in Civilization, decide to continue the game... and realize that with all the enemies defeated, there is actually very little to do anymore.
  • This is Yoshihiro Shimazu's entire reason for joining the 'losing' side in every Warriors game he's in. He finds being on the side of the stronger guy and having victory be all but assured boring, and would rather go against long odds. Especially prominent in Warriors Orochi 3 where he defects from Orochi's army by basically invoking the trope on the spot.
  • Kano's ending in Mortal Kombat 11 shows him gaining control of the Hourglass, giving the notorious outlaw a near limitless ability to rewrite reality as he sees fit. At first he has a pie-in-the-sky attitude, and changes history to gain everything his degenerate and perverted heart desires, the cutscene showing both Sonya and Cassie fighting in bikinis just to please him. But eventually, he finds that always winning so easily just isn't fun as he assumed it would be. So he rewrites reality again, making things pretty much as they were before; he notes that while he doesn't win all the time anymore, when he does - having earned it - it's far more satisfying.

Web Comics

  • On multiple occasions, segments of "Ask Axe Cop" end with the complete destruction of all the bad guys. Axe Cop finds this incredibly boring.
  • After acquiring Reality Warper powers that allows him to curb stomp just about anyone, Jack Noir from Homestuck feels this way. He also realizes he needs to dial down his Omnicidal Maniac nature or else he'll be left alone in creation with no one to kill.
  • Mad Scientist Klaus Wulfenbach of Girl Genius took over part of the world by necessity, as it was falling apart after the disappearance of the previous rulers. While he'd much rather spend his time in the lab, he's resigned to a life of politics and attempting to remain in control as the only way to keep the country functioning.
  • This is the reason for the main arc's launch in Kid Radd—the player of the main character's game has beaten it and put it to rest.
  • The Platypus Comix story "Raiders of the Lost Arc" had a reincarnated Joan of Arc fight Osama Bin Laden in the Middle East. After she defeated him, all the terrorists of the world surrendered, which in turn led to the disbandment of the US Army. The comic ends with Joan apparently unable to find anything to do with her free time other than mundane chores.

Web Originals

  • In his 100th episode, the AVGN came to the realization that his purpose as The Nerd is meaningless without bad video games. At the beginning, he was wishing that his game room wouldn't be cluttered with so many bad games. But when ROB the Robot removed them from existence (for its own purpose), that victory felt hollow.
  • Entirely averted in Interviewing Leather. Eponymous supervillain Leather has spent the entire web series snarking that superheroes aren't really interested in eliminating supercrime, because without supervillains they'd have no purpose to their lives and would look like total clowns wearing superhero costumes and codenames and rolling out to deal with mundane problems. The protagonist reporter finally manages to reach superhero Darkhood to hear his view on the topic, and he completely obliterates Leather's POV in one paragraph.

Darkhood: Let’s say that [Leather] was right, and that I’d feel… what was it? Silly? Silly showing up in costume if there were no costumed villains. So we reduce crime. We protect lives and civilians, and we get metahuman and paranormal criminals out of the equation, and the only price is my embarrassment? You think I wouldn’t take that deal in a second?

Western Animation

  • Although not quite a usual example of this trope, the trope name comes from Avatar: The Last Airbender, when Mai proclaimed victory to be boring after she and Ty Lee easily laid a smackdown on Katara and Sokka in season 2. To be fair, Mai finds pretty much everything boring. Besides Zuko Sometimes even including Zuko.
  • An episode of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon had the turtles dream about what would happen if they had never existed. Shredder is now king of a ruined world and is so bored and fed up with running the place that when the turtles encounter him and mention a world where he doesn't rule, Shredder begs them to take him along.
  • The Brain once succeeded in taking over the world by building a full-size replica of the Earth out of papier-mache and luring the population there with free T-shirts. Unfortunately, that left him as the ruler of an empty planet. A comet then destroys the real Earth, leaving Brain and Pinky stranded in the fake Earth, where their plans start anew (much to Brain's relief, one may imagine).
  • In ReBoot, Hexadecimal infects Mainframe with the Medusa Virus, turning it to stone. All of its inhabitants are petrified, except for Bob, who thanks Hex for making Mainframe so peaceful and predictable. After thinking quickly, Hex realizes she doesn't want peace and order, so she returns Mainframe to normal by literally snapping her fingers.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted" has Candace actually getting Mom to see the boys' antics, which results in them being sent to a hellish reform school. Candace realizes how much she truly loves and misses her brothers, and embarks on a mission to rescue them. (In the end, though, the episode turns out to be All Just a Dream. Or Was It a Dream?)
  • Mojo Jojo from the Powerpuff Girls in the 10th anniversary special Powerpuff Girls Rule actually managed to achieve victory after getting the Key of the World (you read right). But get this, rather than rule with evil intent he makes it a better place much to the surprise of his long-standing nemesis. However as he thought over his achievement he realizes it too boring and promptly goes back to his usual villainy.
  • This is the entire gag in the Huntsman segment of Freakazoid!. Crime always seems to be in a lull, so Hunstman finds out that being a superhero is boring when there's nothing around to beat up. Instead he does mundane things with his time like visit his brother or go to the aquarium. Extra comedic effect when contrasted with the intro to the segment, which is much more action-packed (and longer) than the actual segment itself.
  • An episode of The Fairly OddParents had The Crimson Chin getting distracted by a Romantic Plot Tumor. This left the villains free to do as they wish. This ended up boring The Bronze Kneecap so much that he'd burst in to the Chin Cave with stolen money, daring the Chin to try and stop him. When he didn't, he commented on how everything was no fun anymore.
  • In the episode "Hereafter" in the Justice League Unlimited series, Vandal Savage (an immortal, fast-healing superintelligent human conquerer and former caveman) is enduring the solitude and loneliness of having destroyed humanity in stoic fashion when Superman is transported forward in time by Toyman. Upon Superman's arrival he receives his former enemy with friendship and sends Superman back into the past to stop him, having decided that his former plans for domination were meaningless.
    • In "A Better World", the Justice Lords, they are rather bored, sitting in the watchtower, since they have conquered the world, and the best crime they have to fight is the occasional college protest.
  • In Recess, after the gang retakes the fort they built from Lawson, they realize that the struggle was much more fun than just hanging around, so they dare him and his friends to try and take it back.
  • In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode 'The Last Resort', Robotnik claims to have retired, and Sonic slowly goes crazy from the lack of evil plots to foil.
  • An episode of Futurama featured The Scary Door, and in the short that was shown, a man always won, thinking he was in heaven. He was actually in hell because always winning was boring. Then it went off on a tangent.
  • Subverted in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: when Discord breaks the friendship between the main cast and finally demoralises Twilight Sparkle enough to have her give up, at first it looks like he's not having any fun without opposition, but then he instantly cheers up and goes back to raining chaos on the land.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Man Who Killed Batman", Joker is clearly unconvinced of his nemesis' demise and goes about robbing a diamond store to force Batman to come thwart him. After a standoff several hours long, he grudgingly admits his greatest foe is gone and that crime is no more fun without him. He orders his gang to take nothing and leaves empty handed.
  • In the animated adaptation of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Dr. Gangreen and his vegetable minions actually manage to Take Over the World for a few episodes. Unfortunately for them, they really have no idea what to do next.

Real Life

  • The thesis of this book is that this trope is why large states eventually collapse.
  • Milton's quote at the top of the page is a misquote. The original quote is actually a subversion; Alexander is said to have wept because, as he put it, "So many worlds and I have not conquered one." He was crying because he knew he'd never have enough victories. (A scene in Reign The Conquerer describes this eloquently, when one of his generals is disturbed by how little of the world map they've actually won.)
  • Michael Jordan arguably got bored of winning so much he quit basketball to play baseball (there were many other reasons, of course.) However, the challenge of a comeback to win more titles rejuvenated his drive to play.
  • A rather acidic Take That from Augustus: when informed that Alexander had wept upon having no more worlds to conquer, he remarked "I am surprised that the great general did not realize that keeping an empire is a far harder task than winning one." Augustus went on to live the aversion to the hilt, taking great pleasure in his rule and never tiring of running the Roman Empire.