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Bounce a graviton particle beam off the main deflector dish
That's the way we do things lad, we're making shit up as we wish
The Klingons and the Romulans pose no threat to us
'Cause if we find we're in a bind, we're totally screwed, but nevermind
We'll pull something out of our behinds; we just make some shit up.
An Ass Pull is a moment when the writers pull something out of thin air in a less-than-graceful narrative development, violating the Law of Conservation of Detail by dropping a Plot-critical detail in the middle, or near the end of their narrative without Foreshadowing or dropping a Chekhov's Gun earlier on.
In cases where a character suddenly gets a new skill without explanation, it's usually explained away as a Chekhov's Classroom or Chekhov's Skill, except the audience never saw the character attending the lecture in question, or any examples of him or her using, or even training that skill.
An Ass Pull used to resolve an unwinnable situation for the protagonists is a Deus Ex Machina. An Ass Pull used in the same way for the villains is a Diabolus Ex Machina. An Ass Pull doesn't necessarily have to resolve or derail a situation, though; many times, an Ass Pull is just used without any greater Plot implication. Please limit examples on this page to ones that don't fit in either of the other two.
The term is also used to describe something that the characters make up on the spot.
When the term is used literally (to pull an object out of someone's rear, or indeed the opposite), that's an Ass Shove.
See also Shocking Swerve and Writing by the Seat of Your Pants. Given certain examples, Wing Pull could fit into this as well. Sometimes called Sulu's Foil, since it's the opposite of Chekhov's Gun. Pulling a useful object out of seemingly nowhere is related to Hammerspace.
(Latin: Tractum Ex Culo)
Anime and Manga Edit
- This happens a in lost of Japanese anime, manga and light novels post 2010 in general, as bad writers aka Otaku seem to believe that subtle throw away lines counts at foreshadowing.
- Lupin the Third tends to use Unspoken Plan Guarantees combined with the characters' established skills instead of Ass Pulls, but Lupin discusses this trope at one point when he and his gang of merry men get surrounded.
Fujiko: "I don't suppose you've got a backup Backup Plan."
Lupin: "Yeah, just turn around while I pull it out of the usual place!"
- In the Pokémon anime, the "Thunder Armour" seen during the Advance Generation makes all the others look puny. Essentially granting the user(s) invincibility out of nowhere, without being used again at all in the rest of the series? What makes you scratch your head, though, is how Ash came up with the idea in the first place. More importantly, how does his Swellow not get harmed at all?
- The show in general is prone to this, especially back in season 1.
- Pokémon Special had Ruby reveal out of the blue at the end of his arc that he's had Celebi on hand the entire time. Careful digging through the dialogue earlier on can find tiny hints that lead to it, but it still largely feels this way.
- Bleach has several, which fans have dubbed "Plotkai."
- Possibly everything Aizen does after being revealed to be the villain, especially in the chapters before his final defeat. Particularly given one interview has Kubo stating he never initially planned for him to be working in the shadows the whole time, and only decided on his being a villain after he'd already been killed.
- Which makes no sense given that there was so much foreshadowing of Aizen being the Big Bad before his reveal that his reveal was an example of The Untwist. If Kubo genuinely hadn't planned it, perhaps he realised how obvious he'd made the set-up and just rolled with it. Or maybe he was lying in the interview to protect his plot, as some authors are known to do.
- Provided it's actually true and not a lie he made up to mess with Ichigo, Aizen's claims toward having been manipulating Ichigo's entire life would qualify.
- Some consider the recent revelation that Chojiro Sasakibe, recently deceased at the hands of the Vandenreich, knew Bankai to be an example.
- Possibly everything Aizen does after being revealed to be the villain, especially in the chapters before his final defeat. Particularly given one interview has Kubo stating he never initially planned for him to be working in the shadows the whole time, and only decided on his being a villain after he'd already been killed.
- The last episode of the Slayers anime's first season has this in the form of the Bless Blade, a weapon that is neither seen or heard of until the exact moment that it is needed and whose power rivals that of the Sword of Light and is the only thing capable of hurting the Clone Rezo.
- Naruto fans have a nickname for this: Plot no Jutsu.
- The Gaara vs. Lee fight; Gaara managed to get away from Lee's Initial Lotus by creating a stupidly perfect sand replica of himself, pulling a Replacement Jutsu with it, and burying himself in the ground A.) while rather high in midair, B.) while he was getting the crap beat out of him, C.) in the time it took the person hitting him to blink.
- The Great Snake Escape. Following Sasuke's fight with Deidara, Deidara used a gigantic self-destruction technique. Sasuke survived the resulting city-sized explosion by summoning and mind-controlling a massive snake to shield him, when he was explicitly described as being nearly out of chakra just a few panels before. Any one of those techniques would have required a vast amount of chakra, never mind both. Sasuke managed to do all this in the time it took for the explosion to reach him. After it had already started. Just a few feet from him.
- Sasuke's teammates developing healing abilities out of nowhere when his life is in direct danger.
- The author is Lampshading this practice when it comes to Sasuke's new moves. In his fight with Danzo, Sasuke summons a giant eagle out of nowhere. Even know-it-all Madara is left wondering when he had time to acquire the summoning contract.
- The Hokage's three guards knowing Flying Thunder God. Minato's guards that were never stated to be his guards before, knowing (poorly) how to use an ability he never taught anyone else. Also, only two of these guards were actually previously named characters.
- Some fans consider Itachi's true reasons for killing the entire Uchiha clan to be an example.
- Gundam SEED:
- A Roaring Rampage of Revenge deathmatch between Cain and Abel childhood friends Kira and Athrun ended when Athrun, his Gundam out of power, grappled Kira's and used his Self-Destruct Mechanism in a last-ditch attempt to kill him. How did he survive? A blast door sealed off the cockpit, meaning Kira was badly hurt but not dead, and he was discovered by Lowe Guele who got him medical attention. And yet when Kira's friends examine the ruined Strike Gundam, the cockpit is a melted ruin thanks to the heat of the blast. So how did he survive?
- Shipping-wise, there's the rushed ending of After War Gundam X, that forced the writing staff to do an Ass Pull ( Pair the Spares). And they did it in a somewhat believable manner, never mind it being somewhat contrived.
- The Cliff Hanger in which Maria is locked up in a train car with a time bomb ticking down. In the next episode, she is saved from the wreckage by Yunyun. It's totally unclear how any of that happened and how Maria managed to survive her gunshot wound afterward, even though Yunyun had been carrying her around for hours.
- Alphard surviving her fall of several meters also has some of this. Sure, the woman is strong, but that is just ridiculous.
- Ral & Grad: The very final battle ends with Ral exploiting a quality of Shadows that was never mentioned before, contradicts almost all of what we were previously told, requires several Wall of Text word balloons to explain, and apparently exists solely to facilitate a Bittersweet Ending.
- In Blassreiter's Final Battle, a fatally wounded Joseph finds himself in a strange pocket dimension with the spirits of Gerd and Hermann, who take over his body to fend off Xargin until he bounces back. May be an unexplained Amalgam ability, as Elea uses this later for the series' Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Yami no Matsuei does this a lot in quite a few of its murder "mysteries." The worst offender is quite possibly the King of Swords arc. Oh no, the evil doctor Muraki has been killed! Who could possibly be the culprit of all the continuing murders then? Why, it's actually Tsubaki, who had actually been taking a never-before-mentioned, fantasy drug that made her develop a split personality. And Muraki isn't actually dead - all along, he actually had the ability to survive deadly poisons from taking poison since an early age, which was also never mentioned before! So in the end, he still was the culprit. Why didn't anyone think of this? It should've been so obvious.
- The first Digimon Adventure 02 movie (the one that was remade to make up the 3rd part of the movie released over at the states). Kokomon has evolved to Cherubimon, a powerful Mega digimon that's essentially invincible, and this is during a time when only one of the characters can have their Digimon reach Ultimate, which is just one stage below. So, what happens? Out of freakin nowhere, Angemon and Angewomon evolve to their never before seen Mega levels, Seraphimon and Magnadramon, despite everything in the series' canon going against this. However, it gets worse. Do the two holy Mega-levels destroy Cherubimon? No. Instead, they use their energies to summon two Armor Digieggs to evolve Terriermon and Veemon, one of which had been used up in the main series, to Armor level. It isn't explained why they can do that, either. Sure, it's a Non-Serial Movie, but absolutely none of this was explained very adequately in the movie itself, which hadn't been half-bad until this happened.
- Speaking of which, the Christmas episode's twist -- Sora and Yamato's sudden dating -- was viewed by some in this light.
- As was the revelation of BelialVamdemon as the final Big Bad, considering he'd died twice the previous season.
- The duel with Dartz, where Dartz has managed to summon a monster with infinite attack power. Yugi's counter? Infinite feedback loop of two monsters powering each other up ad infinitum until THEY have infinite attack power, too.
- And then attacking with a 3rd monster in order to exceed infinity.
- The first time Yugi played Capsule Monsters with Mokuba in the manga. How did Yugi know that the random monster he put off to the side could use that one move that would finish off all of Mokuba's monsters in one turn? How were we supposed to know that it even had that move to begin with?
- Juki Judai, The Hero from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, is a very prominent example. His E-Hero deck revolves around combining the monsters of said archetype via the Polymerization card. As you can imagine, this results in Judai pulling a never before mentioned fusion monster out of nowhere every time he’s in a pinch. The trend continues with the Neo Spacians and E-Hero Neos; to the point he even gets to fuse the latter with other people’s monsters. And that’s without mentioning the loads and loads of situational spell and trap cards, which are normally so specific for a certain situation, that including them in one's deck would normally be foolish. One of the worst offenders is Jun Manjoume's card, "Ojama Ride", which discards "Ojama" monsters to special summon Machine-type "Union" monsters. "Ojama" and "Union" monsters have nothing in common, so this card would probably be useless to anyone except Manjoume, whose Deck happens to use both types of monsters.
- One Piece fell victim to it in the anime's Ice Hunter filler arc. The Big Bad has the ability to generate and control absurd amounts of heat, which allows him to take casual lava baths and by manipulating the heat in that lava, create lava tsunamis. Due to this immense heat Luffy couldn't touch him without getting severely burned, which, given Luffy's fighting style makes him unstoppable. In the final moments of the fight the big bad tries to ram right into Luffy, who grabs him with his bare hands, shouts a few times, and throws him across the battlefield, ultimately suffering a few minor burns from the ordeal.
- Actually, that can be explained as Luffy's Haki going off. It's possible, considering that arc is fairly close to the explanation of Haki.
- In the actual manga we have Pell surviving Crocodile's bomb, and Blackbeard being capable of using two Devil Fruits, not only in and of itself, but because it was stated Blackbeard can only do it because he happens to have a special kind of body. Presumably why Blackbeard can do this will eventually be explained.
- Blackbeard's little trick was foreshadowed a bit, but it doesn't really do anything to lessen the applicability.
Blackbeard(In Impel Down): We'll put on a show that'll shake this world to its core!
- Many find the end of the Soul Eater anime to be this. The Kishin Asura was wounded by Maka because, while unconscious, she attacked Asura with her newly-awakened weapon powers until Asura caught on and forced her back into consciousness. To top it off, one minute later, she uses one punch and kills the Kishin in one hit.
- Only the newly-awakened weapon powers count as this trope. The other one wasn't so much punching him to death, but the fact that he couldn't handle that she wasn't afraid.
- Fairy Tail has a few:
- Natsu's fight against Totomaru. Totomaru can control any flames around him so anytime Natsu tries to use one of his fire attacks, it gets deflected or reversed against him. Completely out of the blue (two pages before, Natsu was still getting his fire deflected), Natsu suddendly learns how to negate Totomaru's control over his flames. There isn't even an explanation on how he managed to do it.
- A better example would be the ex-balls, which grant people the ability to use magic while in Edolas. Not only are they first mentioned when it's absolutely necessary that Natsu and Wendy get them, but Lucy conveniently forgot that she'd been given one already.
- The Tenrou Islan arc introduced us to Zancrow, a Hellfire using dark mage who starts kicking Natsu´s ass. There is no way for Natsu to beat him, as he can´t eat Zancrow´s fire, so he shuts his own magic off, and that makes him able to eat the hellfire with no problem at all, and beat Zancrow in two seconds. And no one told him how to do it. Even the narrator within the anime stated "Somehow, Natsu defeated God Slayer Zancrow".
- In the same arc,Natsu absorbing Laxus's Thunder Dragon power, and before that, Laxus being able to match an opponent that curb-stomped Makarov.
- Ezra defeating Kyouka despite the fact that Ezra lost all five of her senses.
- In the second season of Zero no Tsukaima, we see the atoning professor Jean Colbert die in a fight, and Saito and Louise holding each other while mourning his death - a touching scene for many a fan. Then in the third season, lo and behold, he lives! Turns out one of the witches of the academy cast a fake death spell on him for no apparent valid reason.
- At least part of the spoiler is less absurd than the rest; the spell in question was cast using water magic by a fairly high-level mage adept in its use. Water magic in this series is associated with healing and grants a degree of control over the body, as demonstrated early in the second season with the Ring of Andvari and Zombie Wales. The execution still leaves something to be desired, though.
- Despite their importance later on, Newtypes are this in Mobile Suit Gundam. They aren't mentioned, or even hinted at, until more than halfway through the series.
- Many readers of Bunny Drop cried Ass Pull over the Not Blood Related revelation near the manga's end.
- Heartcatch Pretty Cure's movie had one with the Miracle Lights. While most of the other Pretty Cure movies had these minor MacGuffin show up either in movie or during the movie's introduction, their appearance here is extremely jarring, especially since, by that time, they had the Heartcatch Mirage item, thus no real need to need it. It's also jarring because the series was much more down to Earth than its predecessors or successors.
- Though Rebuild of Evangelion did a good job distracting the viewers from noticing/caring about it, the big scene at the end of Rebuild 2.22, where Shinji defeats Zeruel NOT by going berserk, as what happened in the original tv series, but rather, through a new process that hasn't yet been identified, demonstrates several new abilities in the EVAs never before hinted at.
- Darling in the Franxx is guilty of this on several counts
- Episode 15: Ichigo through Deus Ex Machina being able to see Hiro's memories about 002 and somehow piloting her mech together. Despite no foreshadowing of this.
- Episode 19: Hey we just built a Humongous Mecha. Oh it's kills it pilots unless there is a male and female in the driver's seat. As if some morons behind the scenes were Heteronormative Crusaders. It makes one wonder if stupidity like this is why Japan's birth rate is falling.
- Episode 20: is asspull incarnate:
- The Franxx are somehow Kalaxxlors. Just to blatantly to make another Evangelion homage, again.
- APE are aliens called VIRM . Despite the previous episodes hinting that they were transhumans using Brain Uploading. Most of Fan-dumb who say that they guessed that the APE were aliens are either lying about it ,doesn't know what the definition of what Transhuman means (hint: it doesn't mean they are transgender) or trying to canonize their Fan-Fiction.
- The existence of the Star Entity "super weapon".
- Episode 21: Asspull Electric boogaloo
- The Klaxosaurs are an ancient race that predated humanity
- The Nines are clones of Zero-Two for some stupid reason.
- Doctor Franxx having Klaxoshime's cell in his arm to breach the Star Entity.
- Zero-Two's forgiving Dr Franxx's during final conversation moments before he dies. Despite the fact that he tortured her for years even if indirectly.
- Klaxohime giving Zero-Two and Hiro the rest of her power or something to save the world.
- Episode 22: No mecha combat but still pulling stuff out of our behinds
- Haichi and Nana are given access to a secret chamber that open up after Doctor Franxx's death. Containing all the parasites who were defective.
- Since Kokoro is pregnant she can't be a pilot anymore. Despite that she was able to do so in the last episode.
- Zero-Two somehow uploading her consensus in her Mech in the last episode. So she could fight the VIRM in space by herself and her real body gets wounded when Strezlia is damaged during battle. Despite the fact that this ability was never shown before than.
- Three of the Nines some how surviving the destruction of their own Mechs in the previous episode.
- Episode 23: Not even bothering with foreshadowing anymore.
- Parts to upgrade all Franxx mecha for space combat are conveniently found and stored inside the Klaxosaur ship.
- Hiro somehow being able partner with Alpha Nine. It's still considered an Ass Pull despite the fact he is a clone of Zero Two. Despite the fact that that Franxx need a male female to operate. As one review review put it "Alpha becomes nothing more than a convenient way for Hiro to pilot the FRANXX without “cheating” on Zero Two, since he's technically her clone." Giving us a lame sacrifice of character who was an antagonist until the last episode.
- The upgrade into Strezlia True Apus is one of the dumbest things ever. It is nothing more than a giant half naked Zero Two (over ten times its original height) with a weeding veil. Than it defeats the VRIM, by itself. Even the most outlandish and zany of Super Robot animes are not that bad with the power ups or in making their secondary cast useless.
- After the VRIM in the solar system are defeated. The moons Phobos and Demos are reveled to be reveled to be two pieces of a warpgate created by the Klaxo sapiens. So giant Zero Two can walk down it like a wedding isle.
- Episode 24:
- The Power of Love and Friendship saves the day! Giving Hiro and Zero another Mary Sue power up turning Strezlia gold plus the Klaxosaur bomb that came from nowhere to destroy the VIRM homeworld.
- Naomi suddenly becoming a lesbian so the writers can pair the spares and pretend that the show isn't the clueless Heteronormative propaganda that it is. Including the fat kid with a character we've never seen before.
- The remaining Klaxosaurs somehow restoring the world with energy for some stupid reason.
- Hiro and Zero reincarnating as kids in the future. Just so we get a bittersweet ending that every Super Robot(and some Real Robot) anime has been trying to emulate poorly since Gurran Lagin.
- Douwe Dabbert has a magical knapsack which provides him with everything he needs in cases of emergency.
- Dilbert describes this Trope as the source of his company's documented process:
...and our documented process was pulled out of someone's lower torso.
- A more radaresque version from Dogbert:
Next week, a doctor with a flashlight shows us where sales predictions come from.
- Elf Quest has a famous one in its main Canon: when Blue Mountain collapses, all of the Gliders die, and for... some never explained reason, their spirits can't find the afterlife yet. Rayek, whose powers were previously canonically limited to hypnosis and lifting things, absorbs the spirits into his own body and decides to go on a quest to accompany them to the Palace (where elf spirits generally go when they die). Clearbrook and Treestump decide to accompany him on his quest... although even they don't seem to be quite sure why.
- At least Rayek's spirit-absorbing powers were later used as a Chekhov's Skill in the final battle against Winnowill.
- The Justice League of America once went up against Despero (an alien with vast mental powers, at the time recently powered-up to be almost as strong and invulnerable as Superman) with a mostly C-List team. How to beat him? With an innate Martian power that the Martian Manhunter had never before mentioned that he had, because using it was so stressful that any given Martian can only do it once in their life. Despite that, it was still a fairly well-received story.
- Another weird power of his was the ability to see through the flow of time. This somehow resulted in him being immune to the powers of an opponent who completely rewrote reality.
- Pulling never before seen powers out of his ass is the Martian Manhunter's shtick. And then getting lit on fire the next time said power would have been useful.
- Deathstroke's victory over a Justice League of America team in Identity Crisis can only be described as a complete and total Ass Pull. Sure, the team of heroes he fought didn't include Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman (two of whom would barely notice Deathstroke if he attacked them, and the third, Batman, would be ready for him if he did), but it did include the Flash and Green Lantern, neither of whom was portrayed as actually knowing how their own frigging powers worked during the fight. It was, in fact, embarrassing. For the writer.
- Avengers Disassembled and House of M. The Scarlet Witch spontaneously becomes omnipotent with no explanation. On a scale where she can annihilate the entire omniverse without really trying.
- Unless you accept her actual super power was always warping reality (like Franklin Richards). It's understandable if she always had a limit on her power (or didn't fully understand how to use them) and so she just manifested hex bolts. It took a meeting with Agatha Harkness (or rather her ghost, as it was later revealed that she had secretly died already some time ago and Wanda had unconsciously been keeping her mentor physically corporeal on the Earthly plane) near the start of Vol.3 for her to believe it was actually chaos magic and so she used it at a higher power level (i.e.: resurrecting on-and-off boyfriend Wonder Man). Though it was still always reality warping and her going crazy caused the events of Chaos (Detonating Jack of Hearts, attracting the Kree, possibly Vision's Ultron attack, etc) and then her desperation and convincing from Pietro to cause House of M.
- Appears a lot throughout the Silent Hill comics written by Scott Ciencin. Way too many to list as the situations that called for the sphincter-tugging is due to Voodoo Sharks put in by the author everywhere in the comics, but one fact bears mentioning: Lauren getting the magic book she needed to fight the whole story's Big Bad, which is coincidentally made out of something he is specifically weak to, by buying it from E-bay.
- The Clone Saga from Spider-Man, where back in 1975, an exact clone of Spiderman appears, and at the end of that one issue, seemingly dies. Except he didn't die, showed up again in an issue some 20 years later, and mentioned that out of absolutely nowhere, that he was the original the whole time and that the Peter Parker the comics had been following for the past two decades was really the clone. Fans were so angry at this revelation that they essentially just said that the clone was lying and was created by the Green Goblin, who died in 1972, but to pull this off, was also actually alive the whole time.
- Superman had pure kryptonite injected into his veins, yet was still able to overpower a villain who had been a match for him even when he was healthy.
- Silver Age Superman stories were notorious for coming up with convenient new powers for the main character all the time.
Fan Fiction Edit
- In Chapter 8 of Forbiden Fruit The Tempation Of Edward Cullen, Tiaa gets out her previously unmentioned samurai sword (she often has it with her!!!) but never gets a chance to use it. Unfortunately, it can be said without exaggeration this is the very least of the fic's problems.
- Soulless Shell: This fic appears to be merely a poorly-written Redwall Transplanted Character Fic until Chapter Three, whereupon we abruptly and without warning come upon the line "then he shot a beam from his paw which the rat teleported away from". (For those unfamiliar, they're not canonically supposed to be able to do this.)
- Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami has too many examples to include a complete list, but perhaps the best one is when L tests the Death Note on Light's mom, then takes out a Life Note to revive her. The story gets weirder from there.
- Quite a few examples in Naruto Veangance Revelaitons, such as da cooger being able to revive Ronan with some help from Sakura, Ronan suddenly pulling out weapons from Halo and Naruto getting a Humongous Mecha.
- Spartianfox's self-insert character in his Videogame Rescues series has this as a stated power. His great uncle (who introduced him to the series' Multiverse and gave him his supertech portal armband) told him that his powers include "any weapon, item, and powerup from a video game." Effectively, his power is "pull whatever I need right now out of nowhere." The series is still fairly well-written and the author has gone on to write and publish original works.
- Edward Cullen's "boatiful shining abs" and "Pure Hart" in HART SHAPED LOVE. Other examples include Bella randomly killing Katy Perry out of nowhere, and Professor Snape turning out to be Jack Noir all along. Yeah. This story is MESSED.
- Can be found in many Deadliest Warrior fanfictions, such as when numbers of kills are provided at the end of a fight. Unless there's a home version of the Slitherine Studios battle simulator available, there's no way the "kills" represent one thousand actual simulated battles. (especially if the author admits they chose the winner based on a vote, or just their own personal opinion) Also occurs when a chosen character lacks a weapon that fits into one of the short range/mid range/long range/special weapons categories. The solution? Make something up! The categories MUST be adhered to, even though the actual show was never so strict as to only deal with that set of criteria.
- A more specific example on the Deadliest Fiction Wiki is the Apes vs Uruk-hai battle. The Apes draw their arsenal from both the original Planet of the Apes, (where they had guns) and the Marky Mark remake. (where they didn't) To compensate for this imbalance, the author gave the Uruk-hai guns, which they never had in any version of Lord of the Rings. (something he or she wouldn't have had to do at all if they had just stuck with one version instead of combining them both)
- The Locking Ladle of Ranma Half always seems to conveniently show in fanfiction where its application would prove useful in the storyline, for better or worse, no matter where its current location in canon is. Besides that, there are a million other ways of locking a Jusenkyo curse in fanon by now. Locking rings, water treated by the Locking Ladle which is no longer in it, special potions...
- Deliberately played for laughs in the Adam West Batman series and Batman: The Movie which has the following:
Batman has an exploding shark biting his leg
Batman: Robin! Hand me the Bat Shark-Repellent Spray!
- Most of the movie does this. Again, in the name of comedy.
- In Street Kings, in his darkest hour, Keanu pulls a handcuff key from his ass. OK, it was hidden in a special pocket under a seam in his jeans, but considering that it was never even alluded to earlier, the trope applies.
- In the theatrical release of Independence Day, the way in which the alien ships' Deflector Shields are taken down is definitely this. However, the extended edition has a short snippet that is a Chekhov's Gun for the technique.
- In The Woods, a vanity-project DTV horror film that is a worst-film-ever candidate, was written between takes. The plot for most of the movie has to do with the discovery of an ancient skull reviving a demon who commits murders that the discoverer gets blamed for. The latter half of the film turns wildly incoherent as plot turns start getting introduced out of nowhere; including a second monster to whom the first is a dog, and a historical setup that depicts ninja swordfights between northern Michigan Native Americans.
- John Carpenter himself admits that while writing Halloween II, the idea of Laurie being Michael Myer's sister came to him "at 2:00 in the morning in front of a typewriter with a six pack of beer."
- Also, the Man In Black from Halloween 5. Word of God claims that they didn't even know who he should be before the sixth film was made.
- The ridiculous Retcon in Halloween: Resurrection used to justify bringing Michael back. At the end of H20, Laurie decapitated Michael. Resurrection then retcons this to have it be that the ambulance driver dressed up as Michael, and that's who she killed. Yes, really.
- In Live Free or Die Hard (aka Die Hard 4.0), at one point the only method of transport available to John McClane is a Helicopter. While starting the chopper up, McClane, a New York cop who barely ever does anything extracurricular except drink, reveals he 'took some lessons' once and flies him self and companion away. Not even a Chekhov's Skill mentioned before this point.
- It may have something to do with what happened in Die Hard 2:
Chopper Pilot: [McClane is showing his nervousness while riding in a helicopter] What's the matter, cowboy? Ride too rough?
John McClane: I don't like to fly.
Chopper Pilot: Then what are you doing here?
John McClane: I don't like to lose either.
- Maybe he took lessons to cure himself of his fear of flying.
- The Superman movies angered comic book fans with some ass-pulled powers, particularly the ability to turn back time by making the Earth rotate backwards as the Deus Ex Machina ending of Superman, and the universally reviled "cellophane S" and memory-wipe kiss from the theatrical Superman II.
- In the porn/cop film Busty Cops a group of police detectives are trying to discover who the murderer is. After some encounters the group head back to base and a talking llama tells them who did it...
- In Highlander the Source, Duncan suddently have super speed to be in equal match against the Guardian. They never said he could do it or how he was trained to do it, he just does.
- The sudden appearance of Frankenstein's Monster and Count Dracula (with his wifes) near the end of House of the Wolfman come off as this. The Monster's presence isn't that much of a stretch, as a member of the Frankenstein family is the owner of eponymous house, but Dracula? With no foreshadowing whatsoever, he appears in the doorway and is invited in.
- Dragonrider is a big offender. One example of the author's lazy style features a character meeting a fellow magical ("fabulous") creature far away from home and well beyond the book's halfway point. Any potential language barrier is then sidestepped as she addresses this creature "in the magical language that all fabulous creatures understand".
- Parodied in Douglas Adams' Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy; in the first book alone, the characters often escape danger in wildly improbable ways such as being unintentionally picked up by the Heart of Gold and avoiding death by missile due to the missiles being transformed into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias by the Improbability Drive. Many of the other books also contain plot elements that come from out of what can only be described as left field perceived by Hunter S. Thompson, oftentimes accompanied by the book pointing out just how improbable they are.
- Much more blatant by the fifth book: Arthur Dent's daughter is named Random, and her behavior, which plays heavily into the conclusion is... well, random.
- The Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter. While the Horcrux plot showed Harry he could stop Voldemort from reviving again and again, it didn't help his chances in fighting the man in person. Cue the Deathly Hallows. Apparently Dumbledore had a complex history involving Grindelwald, his friend-turned-dark wizard, and the Elder Wand, one of the hallows and an unstoppable weapon whose nature turns the duel with Voldemort in Harry's favour. The story of the Hallows is a fairy-tale familiar to all wizards, but we don't hear about it until halfway through the last book. Harry's cloak is a hallow as well but retroactively done and impossible to forsee, and the whole complex history of Dumbledore is never hinted at before outside of a throwaway line about Grindlewald six books ago.
- In Simon R. Green's Something from the Nightside, Joanna is an Artificial Human sent to trick the main character into entering an evil house. We find this out while the main character is in the house. Joanna fades into the wall and is never seen again. More or less everything in the sixth book comes out of one posterior or another.
- Even Stephen King admits that Patrick Danville erasing the Crimson King in The Dark Tower was a bit of an Ass Pull.
- Though it was foreshadowed back in the earlier novel Insomnia that this person would have an important role to play in Roland's quest.
- The Big Bad vamps Victoria, James, and Laurent were not mentioned at all until the very end of Twilight, thanks to 90% of the book being about how perfect Edward supposedly is. The movie rectifies this mistake and has them shown earlier.
- The role of the Volturi in enforcing the rules of vampire society was similarly introduced out of the blue in New Moon.
- Several in Lonely Werewolf Girl, due to a Random Events Plot. Two especially egregious ones show up during the final battle: Thrix being able to Mind Meld, thus also being able to re-activate Beauty and Delicious' lycanthropic abilities, and Kalix being immune to the mind-affecting power of the Begraver Knife because she's "too crazy".
- A Dance with Dragons, the fifth of the superbly written A Song of Ice and Fire series has an apparent one with the revelation of a second surviving Targaryen, Aegon. Series canon often references his broken, bloody baby head. The only indication of Aegon's continued existence before the current book was a difficult-to-understand prophecy in the second book about a cloth dragon used by mummers in their performances(presumably, Varys is the mummer, Aegon is the dragon). Fan forums are usually alive with speculation about Secret Targaryens - and a few correctly predicted the development based on the aforementioned prophecy - but to many dedicated fans, this one came from that place where the sun don't shine.
- Possibly in-universe Ass Pull: according to one popular theory, Aegon is still dead, and Varys tries to pull an impostor out of his gluteus maximus.
- Star Trek:
- For an example of the "Character Made It Up On The Spot", in The Original Series' "The Corbomite Maneuver" Kirk] pulls some Corbomite out of his ass, calling it a material that can reflect the attackers' destructive potential back on them and everything else in a large area and then some. It was entirely a bluff to get Balok to back down. It worked so well, he pulls it out again for some Romulans in "The Deadly Years".
- Then they actually made a Corbomite Reflector- it's the special equipment of The Federation capital ships in Star Trek: Armada, the Video Game. It was simply named after Kirk's bluff and that games don't count in Star Trek Canon.
- Notably, Harlan Band tries the exact same maneuver (in a bit of a Shout-Out) against the Spung in an episode of Space Cases. It doesn't work, apparently because the Spung warlord is played by George Takei.
- Spock's "internal eyelid" in "Operation - Annihilate!" Never mentioned before. Never mentioned again, right up until a single episode in the final season of Star Trek Enterprise.
- Kirk is clearly the master of this maneuver, as in "A Piece of the Action," he generates the card game Fizzbin from the orifice mentioned in the trope's name, complete with nigh-indescribable rules. Suffice it to say, you don't want two jacks and a king on Tuesdays at night.
- Kirk's mastery of this extends as far as confusing people long enough to get a good grip on the table that's going to be upended.
- Fizzbinn was later mentioned as a game in Quark's (in Star Trek Deep Space Nine).
- 24: It was decided only towards the end of the first season that Nina would be the series's major mole, despite it contradicting some of her actions as seen earlier in the season.
- Also in that season, the reveal that Dana Walsh is a mole. Not only does it come out of nowhere, but suddenly the way she dealt with her criminal ex-boyfriend in the season's first half make no sense, as with her new characterization she clearly would have just killed him.
- Alan Wilson comes out of nowhere and is revealed to be the true mastermind behind Day 7 and Day 5 events
- Dallas: Perhaps the ultimate in television is the infamous reappearance of Bobby Ewing in the shower.
- Thank God You're Here is a sketch/game show where various comedians are brought into different sets with different plots and as different characters. They aren't informed as to what they're going to be doing or who they're supposed to be - though costumes can occasionally give them hints- and they are required to play the role they're given as best they can. It's like Who's Line is it Anyway but without the explanations.
- The Lost Room: The business about the Law of Conservation of Objects comes out of nowhere in the last five minutes of the series and is crucial to the resolution of the main plot.
- Stargate Atlantis needed a "dramatic" way to get Atlantis involved in the battle with the Super-Hive, so Zelenka pulled "ass drive" out of McKay's wormhole.
- Every previous season finale ended on a big cliffhanger. It was obvious that the cliffhanger this time was going to be a Wraith ship in orbit of a defenseless earth; but when they found out they were canceled, they had to wrap the plot up in-episode. A little bit of ass pulling seemed like the better alternative....
- The whole "moving the control chair to Area 51" bit also seems like an ass pull, simply to put the chair (and the research facility with it) in a position to be blown up before it can be used to fight the Super-Hive. Not that it would've done much good, given how well Atlantis's own drones do against the enemy ship.
- Stargate SG-1 referenced this trope in "Redemption, Part 2":
- In the Doctor Who episode "The End of Time, Part 2," we discover that the Doctor has given Donna a "defense mechanism" in that if she ever remembers her adventures with the Doctor she will not, in fact, burn out and die, but instead shoot some kind of sleep ray that just happens to knock out any pursuing Master clones.
- So many episodes of Doctor Who end with the villains being foiled by some brand-new, never-before-seen trick of time, space, the TARDIS, or the Doctor's sonic screwdriver that it's difficult to keep count.
- In Victory of the Daleks: Bracewell's a bomb that can blow up Earth! But how is convincing Bracewell he's human going to do a blessed thing to a countdown timer?
- Roundabout Fridge Brilliance. The Daleks designed Bracewell with their technology, but gave him emotion, and their usual technology usually doesn't factor in emotion, which, as shown in the past, causes them to malfunction. In short, by having Bracewell remember his humanity, he caused the Dalek bomb to have a BSOD due to the fact it was connected to Bracewell's emotional state in the same manner the functions of the Dalek outer shell is married to the brain of the being inside.
- To choose a couple more random examples, Rose gaining unexpected superpowers from the TARDIS in "The Parting of the Ways", or the Doctor managing to disrupt the Daleks' power supply in "The Power of the Daleks".
- Classic Doctor Who also has several examples, such as the Doctor's never before mentioned 'respiratory bypass system' which saves him from strangulation in "The Pyramids of Mars".
- Then there's Captain Jack Harkness' performance in Bad Wolf. While completely naked he reaches behind himself and produces a small laser gun. This is immediately lampshaded when he is asked where he got it from. While the act in itself is an Ass Shove, it also qualifies as Ass Pull as there was no indication that he had it prior to using it.
- It may sound incredible, but the now core concept of regeneration was itself an Ass Pull. William Hartnell was getting too old to play The Doctor, but they didn't want to end the show - so Hartnell himself came up with the idea that Time Lords could regenerate into a new body.
- In Law and Order, Serena Southerlyn's Suddenly Sexuality. "Is this because I'm a lesbian?" Word of God is that he wanted people talking about it at the water cooler the next day, making it a Shocking Swerve.
- There was no mention of this before by either sides but in Charmed Season Eight, there seemed to be the Ultimate Power that is more powerful than the Charmed Ones and they are a pair of sisters.
- Inverted by ICarly in the episode "iSpace Out", where Carly is suddenly revealed to be aggressively claustrophobic, and breaks the window of a training space station module to escape, despite multiple occasions earlier where Carly is perfectly normal in spaces that are half that size or less. The inversion is that the Ass Pull isn't used to resolve the Plot, but in fact to fail the Plot and bring about an end to the episode. This was done because the writers knew that having ICarly in space would be seen as a jumping-the-shark moment and therefore had to find a way to stop it.
- Played straight with Sam liking Freddie in iOMG. It's an Ass Pull because of the desire to create a Shocking Swerve season ending Cliff Hanger ending. In iOMG Sam liking Freddie just happens. There's no previous episode arc or foreshadowing or explanation to the audience that Sam likes Freddie. The focus is on protecting a cliff-hanger ending where Sam only reveals she likes Freddie right at the end of the episode, leaving Freddie's response as the cliffhanger. Having any indication that it's Sam and Freddie would kill the swerve. They also use Brad as a Red Herring. In fact, the characters on the show itself make reference to how suddenly and strange it is, as they only mention that Sam's behaviour only started when Brad showed back up, which was only for that episode. Sam showing signs of liking Freddie before it would kill the plot of the episode and spoil the dramatic ending. Later on in the short arc the reason is revealed to have been an incident that was never shown, took place entirely off screen, with no reference as to when it happened.
- Power Rangers is limited by the stock footage available from the Super Sentai series, meaning many of the Artifacts Of Doom and Plot Coupons introduced during its run can teeter vicariously between being simply Deus Ex Machinas to full out Merchandise-Driven Ass Pulls Depending on the Writer. Some examples are worse than others. In the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the show wanted to change its stock footage from using Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger to Gosei Sentai Dairanger, however in the show this is simply explained that the Rangers need to start using the Power of Thunder! What is the Power of Thunder? Never really explained. Where did it come from? Never asked. If its always been available, why not use it sooner? Never brought up. The transition seriously gets a single short exchange of dialogue and is never questioned again.
- The "transition" (term used very loosely) between Zeo and Turbo. And before that, the "Sword of Light" needed to transfer powers to another person. Never mentioned again, and later power transfers just have the original ranger giving their power coin/morpher to the new ranger.
- Though this is more of an in-universe example than a proper Ass Pull Psych employs this when Shawn, desperate for an explanation, claims that a man was killed by a T. Rex. Then it turns out he was a paleontologist and, on dying, fell on a skeleton. Even Shawn is surprised by this.
- Towards the end of Season 2 of Vampire Diaries Bonnie's magic has become this, with her coming up with incredibly convenient spells for numerous bad situations the characters have found themselves in.
- It's helped a bit when it turns out that her using such powerful spells has pissed off several witch spirits, who are now very reluctant to help her again.
- Also toward the end of season 2, the "twist" that the Sun and Moon Curse was a lie planted by Klaus and Elijah and the real curse was on Klaus, suppressing his (newly announced!) werewolf side.
- The events of the Bionicle story serials are deliberately made up on the spot with the least amount of planning. The only thing the writer plans ahead is to make sure every chapter ends with a cliffhanger.
Tabletop Games Edit
- The MetaPlot of Legend of the Five Rings RPG's second and third edition may be considered full of Ass Pulls with killing off main NPCs and gods, as the authors simply interpreted the outcomes of official L5R CCG tournaments instead of coming up with something more coherent themselves. Way less than graceful. Made even sadder by the fact they've been doing it with the game's metaplot since day one. Some are great twists, others...not so much.
- Every Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master ever will occasionally resort to this to keep things moving. If necessary to end the game after going Off the Rails, they may employ the "nuclear option".
- GURPS has two advantages that let the players do this: gizmos, which allows you to pull out a small item out of nowhere, as long as it is something your character would have, and Wild Talent, which lets you perform an untrained skill, and learn it permanently with an enhancement.
- Warhammer 40000's Eye of Terror campaign involved an Ass Pull from Games Workshop. Namely, the Eldar came in just behind the guard and marines yet ended up losing Eldrad and all the Blackstone Fortresses - i.e., the sort of result that might be expected from coming in last.
- And the loss of Eldrad may or may not have happened, as Games Workshop took down the .PDF with the results from their site, and materials published after the Eye of Terror campaign speak of Eldrad as alive. He is still included as a fieldable character in the Eldar codex published afterward.
- The main result also became this, as GW had to reconcile the forces of Evil coming first in the normal game but being utterly smashed in the specialist games (specifically Battlefleet Gothic). Eventually it was decided that the baddies managed to take half of Cadia, but are now cut off in a Stalingrad-style pocket due to the Imperium smashing their spaceborne assets.
- The resolution of the Storm of Chaos in Warhammer Fantasy was similarly filled with randomness and has also been mostly ignored since.
- In fact, the entire Storm of Chaos campaign appears to have been completely reset, as all the army book timelines printed since then, if they even mention the forces of Chaos, merely end on an ominous note about how the forces of Chaos are massing under Archaon's banner and will soon sweep southwards. With the obvious exception of Archaon himself, most of the other Storm of Chaos character have been completely erased from the setting (poor Valten)
- This is a common thing in the aftermath of any Games Workshop campaign, as technically speaking the in-setting outcome is supposed to be based on the results of the real-world games. This is a noble goal, but incredibly hard to accomplish without completely changing the setting. Games Workshop do not really want to change the setting, but this won't stop them from promising that the latest campaign will "have large-scale effects on the world." This causes problems when, for example, The Storm of Chaos mentioned above was won (by quite a margin) by the forces of evil. Rather than trying to work that into the setting, strongly crippling at least one major faction (the Empire was in ruins by the end) and having to rewrite every army book to represent the new plot, they just decided that the Storm of Chaos was an alternate reality and continued as if nothing happened.
- Mutant City Blues indie system has a special stat named Preparedness. Specifically called for to make convenient ass pulls for players in an assumption that the character had thought it out beforehand.
- In Mutants and Masterminds, you can spend hero points to pull stuff out of thin air. For example, your superhero Hypervolt might spend a hero point to pull some some smoke grenades from his utility belt, to pick up that Improved Grapple feat when you really need to grab the enemy, or even buy an Alternate Power feat for his electrical control and turn out to be able to create an aura of lightning around himself.
- Gizmos in Toon can be set to be whatever you need. In practice, this usually means anvils.
Where did they come from? Oh! There you are my dear. Put those in some water will you?... And then wash your hands.
Video Games Edit
- Super Smash Bros: When you are about to fight the final boss, Tabuu, in the Subspace Emissary story mode, Sonic the Hedgehog appears out of nowhere and smashes the boss' wings, significantly weakening him.
- Slightly justified due to that Sonic was added late into the game's development, more than likely when the Subspace Emissary was nearly finished.
- World of Warcraft:
- The "twist" of M'uru allowing himself to be captured and drained by the Blood Elves would have far more effective if everything in the game hadn't pointed in the opposite direction (M'uru making active attempts at escaping, the Blood Elves becoming increasingly violent and arrogant about their stolen abilities, etc). One of the Blood Elf leaders, Lady Liadrin, pulling a complete 180 in terms of personality in the space of three seconds didn't help the Plot development seem any less of an Ass Pull. Not that it makes it much less silly, but some people were expecting that exact Plot twist from the day blood elf paladins were announced. There are forum discussions and fanfics theorising it well before the actual events occurred in-game.
- The original lore of the Blood knights was an Ass Pull as well. The light (power from faith), suddenly being able to be siphoned like gasoline from the recently created Naaru. It's so bad that the above change could be considered an Author's Saving Throw, meaning the explanation is "this stunt worked because said Naru was letting it work." And when M'uru is kidnapped, somehow they still manage to stay Blood Knights, and new player character paladins can still be created.
- Likewise, the whole notion of the Blue Dragonflight suddenly turning hostile and thus providing a convenient source of killable mobs in the Northrend expansion is a shameless ass pull. In the preceding Outland expansion said Blue Dragonflight actually helps you defeat the Final Boss...
- The whole reason that Malygos went insane in the first place is because Deathwing wiped out the entire Blue Dragonflight 10000 years ago, which means there shouldn't be any blue dragons around at all except Malygos.
- The Blue Flight's resurgence is explained at the end of the War of the Ancients Trilogy. Korialstrasz, having been sent back in time, preserved some eggs to be given to Malygos when the time was right. Also, Alextrasza agreed to help Malygos repopulate his dragonflight.
- Mass Effect 3: Bioware demonstrates their skill with this trope after introducing The Catalyst, overlord of the Reapers, along with a contraption that, amongst other functions, is capable of somehow identifying all of the organic and synthetic beings in the galaxy and transforming them into cyborgs. This all happens in the last ten minutes of the game.
- Just prior to the finale: After taking over the Cerberus HQ, Shepard is immediately contacted about the Citadel being overwhelmed and moved to Earth. There was no mention of the Citadel ever coming under-attack anytime before this, so the Reapers not only instantly took over the Citadel but somehow moved it all the way to Earth in the time it took to capture the Cerberus HQ.
- Mortal Kombat 9, the ending where Quan Chi reveals that Shao Kahn sold him the souls of fallen Earthrealm warriors makes very little sense when you consider that it was never shown that such a deal was made and that Kahn should have no jurisdiction over souls that aren't his. It's just a plot device that the writers pulled out of their rectums without even explaining it. Also considering that the Netherrealm has been described only being able to accept evil or tainted souls. A rule that was VERY CONVENIENTLY ignored here in order for this to work
- This can be applied to the ending of the game Legendary, wherein Deckard's Signet is revealed out of entirely nowhere to be the blueprint for the construction of another Pandora's Box.
- Half the Plot-relevant elements of Fahrenheit (2005 video game) are Ass Pulls, mostly owing to how the game was initially intended to be much longer than it actually wound up being, and the developers were simultaneously given less and less time to finish the game. These include the Big Bad being a Mayan oracle, the homeless banding together to observe people in silence, an artificial intelligence born from the Internet revealing itself as a secondary antagonist, the Indigo Child, and the true origin of Lucas' newfound superhuman strength.
- The retconning of the Prince's personality in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones counts as this. The stark contrast between his snarky but loveable Sands of Time personality and his Darker and Edgier Warrior Within personality is resolved by having the latter becoming a sinister voice in the Prince's head, fuelled by his exposure to the Sands of Time, a symptom which had never been so much as hinted at in the previous. On the other hand, this new characterization was so well-written that most fans didn't complain.
- Parodied/invoked in Terror Island, which brings us "Bartleby, Sid and Stephen's other roommate who only exists once every 100 strips", and always immediately resolves the plot, even inexplicably resurrecting Aorist!
- Eight Bit Theater: Writers have just been reading the book!
- Musaran of the Ciem Webcomic Series has a blade given to him by Arfaas, that he kills Dagmar with. He pulls it from out of nowhere, decapitates her with it, and then that blade is conveniently never seen again.
- Collar 6 manages this when Butterfly conjures a SIXTY-FOOT INFERNO OF FIRE... for a freakin' spanking contest. With no explanation except that the comic started taking the "Fantasy" part of being a "BDSM Fantasy Comic" literally, and a hasty explanation a few strips later.
- Sixx defeats said column of fire with a "submissive shield," drawing from the same hasty explanation. What's worse, as Sixx is a dominant by trade, she somehow drew the power to do it from her submissives, one of whom had no idea what was happening at all.
- Parodied with Vaarsuvius's familiar Blackwing in Order of the Stick, the raven who actually is supposed to be there and visible all the time. Its popping in and out of existence lampshades how familiars (and horses, or any living or bulky possessions) are often treated in D&D sessions: Only there when they are needed, never when it would be inconvenient or difficult to bring them along.
- A non-parody Ass Pull showed up later, however. The Potion of Glibness, which Elan claims he bought while they were separated despite it never being mentioned before. At least he and Hinjo went to several island states giving him plenty of opportunity to buy it.
- A certain cool dude was assumed dead some time ago in Homestuck but later turned up alive with little explanation. It's unclear why Davesprite's missing wing and yellow blood weren't seen at the scene of his presumed death. However, an earlier event could be interpreted as foreshadowing of his survival.Jade sees through her spectaGoggles that there are 13 Daves in the incipisphere, including Davesprite. But when one (other than Davesprite) dies, the count goes down to 12.
- Dirk's Auto-Responder pulls a minor one, although it references the trope by name. "The algorithms are guaranteed to be 96% indistinguishable from DS's native neurological responses, based on some statistical analysis I basically just pulled out of my ass right now."
- Skadi has one that doubles as a literal Ass Pull, on the last page of the Choose Your Own Adventure arc.
Western Animation Edit
- In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Frylock starts listing examples of how the number 100 is everywhere, with examples gradually getting less and less relevant ("9 plus 8 minus 6 is 11, which is 89 away from 100!"), until Shake tells him, "Now you're just pulling that out of your ass. That is an Ass Pull, my friend."
- In one episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Applejack wonders why inside a tree is a safe place to be in a lightning storm. Twilight's answer? Magical lightning rod.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender commits some Egregious ass-pulling at the end of the show, when Aang manages to avoid killing Firelord Ozai by "energybending" to cause him to lose his firebending abilities. The Lion Turtle that is responsible for Aang learning energybending was, however, hinted at more than once.
- There are so many Ass Pull moments that go in favor of the good guys, it is annoying. The Sword of Omens in particular seems to gain new powers every episode. As Mumm-Ra once said, it's always used to "pull [Lion-O's] fat from the fire." Whenever the good guys are in a bind, it's always the Sword of Omens that saves the day.
- Apparently, Cheetara has untapped extreme power. All that one has to do is piss her off royally. Then, she's capable of exuding brilliant rays of psychic energy that can disable a mobile fortress, knock the good guys out of a trance, and destroy machines. What?
- Even the Big Bad Mumm-Ra has his own Asspull moments. There are moments in the show that Mumm-Ra seemed to be killed off for good, but he somehow comes back:
- Fighting a Genie underground, causing a cave-in that traps them both.
- Lion-O defeating Mumm-Ra in his final day of the Anointment Trials. It seemed permanent.
- Mumm-Ra trying to open the Star of Thundera, which causes a massive explosion that Mumm-Ra seemed to be consumed by.
- Even when the Ancient Spirits of Evil get sick of Mumm-Ra's failings and give him an ultimatum to kill off the good guys or else he'll be banished from Third Earth. As expected, Mumm-Ra fails and gets exiled. What happens next? He ends up on New Thundera.
- In The Fairly Odd Parents, some of "Da Rules" seem to be made up on the spot to make sure Timmy can't just unwish his problems (all vocal wishes must be made in the voice of the godchild, no breakfast wishes after 10:30am, etc.). Most of Da Rules/the fairies' abilities do not apply to other episodes. Examples:
- The No wishing for true love or wishing to break it line? Apparently this does not count at the end of "Wishology."
- Lampshaded in one episode:
Wanda: If you just HAPPEN to go back in time to when cool stuff was happening, and you just HAPPEN to have the equipment with you...
Cosmo: And I just HAPPEN to rip the page out of the rulebook that says we can't help you... [tears out page]
- In many respects, the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show had much of this in Ninja Tribunal, such as an original Shredder.
Krang: Here, take this. It's an [improbably specialized device which coincidentally will exactly resolve the situation]
Shredder: And this is something you just happened to have lying around?
Krang: We've got to keep the story moving!
- Played for laughs on an episode of The Simpsons. A busload of kids are stranded on an island and, after a Lord of the Flies parody, the episode ends with the following narration by James Earl Jones:
So the children learned how to function as a society, and eventually they were rescued by ... oh, let's say Moe.
- Also lampshaded with Batman's 'carousel reversal spray'.
- On Codename: Kids Next Door, the resolution of Henrich's plotline, revealing he was once a girl that got the Gender Bender treatment thanks to a magic spell is largely believed to be this, since it was never truly foreshadowed outside the often cited Noodle Incident that was revealed to be the above incident. Since it aired in the last season, it's largely seen as a half baked way to end Heinrich's plot before the series ended.
- On the Total Drama series, Chris is an in-universe master of this trope, constantly coming up with new rules and conditions to keep the Show Within a Show interesting.
- From Family Guy, right after Stewie has cut open a camel's stomach and climbed inside to keep from freezing to death:
Brian: "There's a Comfort Inn."
- On The Cleveland Show, Terry being in an extended homosexual relationship. While the possibility of Terry being gay actually WAS foreshadowed more than once, Terry being in a committed relationship at all counts as an Ass Pull because his relationship was implied to have started before the show, but he has seduced and had sex with various women in the first season.
- While not a big offender in terms of plot, Wolverine and the X-Men has an asspull in the fights between Wolverine and Sabertooth. Since a fight between two guys with healing factor and razor sharp weapons would be far too messy for a children's cartoon, their fights end up being relative anti-climatic. The asspull comes in their first encounter when Sabertooth pulls a giant taser gun nearly half as big as he is out of his cloak, despite there being no bulk or any sign of it when you can peek into his cloak before. Making it look like he actually pulled it out of his rear end.
- In an episode of Inspector Gadget, there is an evil mastermind who has analyzed every one of Gadget's gadgets and determined that they way to kill him is to lock him inside a furnace and turn it on. This initially appears to work, but then Gadget uses a new weapon never seen before (or after), a hand holding an aerosol can of freon comes out from the top of his hat and sprays the walls out of the room, putting the furnace out.
- The Ben 10 sequels has many Ass Pull moments
- Ben 10 Alien Force has a rather bad example at the end of the DNAlien plot line. After fighting his way to a portal to the Highbreed planet, Ben discovers the species has inbred so bad, they're all sterile, meaning they'll soon go extinct. So what does Ben do? He holds the watch up and infuses every Highbreed with DNA from the watch. This ability is never even hinted at beforehand, and hasn't been referred to directly since. A similar function does drive the plot of a later Ultimate Alien episode, though, in which Ben's companions gain his alien forms by accident.
- Actually, the Omnitrix possessing this abilitie had been foreshadowed before: this was merely an extension of its abilitie to repare genetic damages,which was introduced in episode 6.
- Played for laughs repeatedly by the Looney Tunes, who can pull whatever they need to advance the plot at that point out from behind themselves at a moment's notice, leading some viewers to conclude it is actually being pulled from their ass.
- In El Tigre the Titanium Titan gets back in White Pantera's good graces by promising not to hurt his son El Tigre, even under the influence of Pantera's Lie Detector boots. Just when it seems like he's really changed, he goes back to his old Ax Crazy self. Turns out he was wearing "a truth-proof vest."
- Redakai with the Cataclysm Stone. At first, they're afraid to touch it due to the potential of it exploding and causing a second Cataclysm, but by the end of the episode they just freeze and shatter it without any foreshadowing or indication that it would work.
- Another episode where Maya is acting Brainwashed and Crazy due to an evil-infusing attack used by the villains. Not only do the others figure out what's happening with no prior knowledge, they figure the way to fix it is to use the same evil-infusing technique that caused her to have her Face Heel Turn in the first place(A technique named after the villain, no less...). Rather than the logical conclusion that an additional infusion of evil would just make things worse, thanks to their Designated Hero status, Maya is cured.
- Actually rather common, now, usually having to do with Ky's "Inner Kairu".
- WITCH has a pretty good one near the end of season one. Cedric and his men have the Guardians (and a tag-along Matt) trapped on a snowy cliff and the only way out is if Will forks over the Heart of Candracar. What does she do? Suddenly creates copies of the Heart and make them try to find the real one (which none of them were). This was during the time Will was pulling Badass Normal duty and before Greg Weisman stepped in and rewrote the rules to make sense.
- South Park had the ending to "Ass Burger", where status quo is suddenly returned with Stan's parents getting back together.
- In ThunderCats (2011) the resolution of the Sibling Triangle between brothers Lion-O and Tygra and their mutual Love Interest Cheetara, (Lion-O's bodyguard) struck some as resolved this way, with the victor receiving insufficient Foreshadowing.
- Done in one episode of American Dad where the family's new dog plays in the street and avoids being hit by a car, only for a hot air balloon to crash land on top of the dog from nowhere and the basket is full of evil pirate cats. The accident sets up the plot.
- Also, "Cheesers came back."