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A specification of the Heroic Sacrifice. Things are going really well for our heroic party: the infiltration in the Big Bad's evil fortress of doom is advancing steadily and without a problem. Then, suddenly, things take a turn for the worst: the villain turns some phlebotinum-powered device on the heroes, or a dangerous foe long thought dead has reappeared and is endangering not only the quest of our heroes but their very survival. What happens then? "Not to worry, you go ahead, I´ll deal with this inconvenience!" Famous words... and usually the last. For reasons unknown, the largest man of the crew will usually be the one who does the sacrificing.
Whenever there are characters in a show, book, etc., the biggest/ strongest/ most massive one will be, against common sense, the first to die, usually saving the rest of the crew so they can go on and finish their epic quest.
Similar to The Worf Effect, only in that trope a) it's the tough one who's affected (not necessarily The Big Guy), b) he usually survives, and c) the Big Guy Fatality Syndrome normally goes at the end of a book, series, whatever, while The Worf Effect goes at the beginning. If they're The Big Guy in the Five-Man Band, or female, or both, they're less likely to die. When this happens to a Husky Russkie, it is a clear indication of Russian Guy Suffers Most at work.
See also Vasquez Always Dies, a related Always Female trope where the more Badass of two leading female characters will always be the first to go. Since strength is associated with masculinity, see Men Are the Expendable Gender.
Often an early step in a Dwindling Party situation.
Anime & Manga
- Happens to Musashi Tomoe. Over and over again.
- AND his sucessor, Benkei Kuruma. By the end of the manga, only Ryoma and Hayato amongst the original team survives, until Ryoma himself may or may not bite the dust as well.
- Mobile Suit Gundam's Ryu Jose combines this trope with Black Dude Dies First (he's not exactly black, but does have some traits).
- Hayato Kakizaki (Ben Dixon) from Super Dimension Fortress Macross was The Big Guy on Hikaru/Rick's team and the only Wing Man he ever lost.
- One Piece: Zoro tries this at the end of Thriller Bark, but can't manage to die from mere lethal damage.
- The towering, hulking Gold Saint Taurus Aldebaran of Saint Seiya is usually hit with the Worf Effect just to prove a point how serious the menace du jour is. But while he was revealed to have survived in the anime Filler Asgard Arc, he went and bought the big one in the Hades Saga. Though not without making his death a Crowning Moment of Awesome due to a time-delayed Taking You with Me for the opponent who did him in, and who didn't even realize he was already a corpse until it was pointed out to him that he hadn't survived Aldebaran's final attack.
- Makoto "Sailor Jupiter" Kino is the first scout to die at the end of the first season of the first Sailor Moon anime. Like all the others, she gets better.
- Averted by Haruka "Sailor Uranus" Tenou, who does die at the end of the Stars season with her girlfriend Michiru "Sailor Neptune" but isn't exactly the first one to go.
- Subverted when Hal Jordan goes on his mad rampage and kills Kilowog. Though he´s the last Green Lantern he slays, it marks Hal´s point of no return.
- This trope is probably why they Dropped A Bridge On Dozer in The Matrix.
- While he's not the first to die in the invasion of the Black Fortress during the climax of Krull, Rell the Cyclops is the first to die when they actually get inside the Fortress. He holds open a closing wall just long enough for his companions to get past, before it crushes him to death.
- Dagonet (Ray Stevenson's character) in the Clive Owen King Arthur film.
- The Farscape finale movie featured the death of D'argo in a bit of a Tear Jerker Hold the Line moment.
- Buck the gorilla in Rise of the Planet of the Apes dies taking down a helicopter.
- In Transformers: Dark of the Moon Ironhide, likely the most powerful Autobot on the team bar Optimus, is the first Autobot casualty of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, leaving the Autobots without their signature heavy-hitter. It takes the three Wreckers to equal the amount of ass-kicking that Ironhide had.
- In Doom Berseker is killed by a Hell Knight, though not after putting up a particularly good fight.
- In Hatchet III Hawes has his spine ripped out by Victor.
- In Friday the 13th: Jason Lives Sheriff Garris is killed defending his daughter and a cabin full of children from Jason Vorhees.
- Porthos, in The Vicomte De Bragelonne: when a massively enormous rock threatens to crush the entire party, guess who´s the one to hold it, sacrificing his own life in the process? Obviously, Big Guy Porthos. The writer goes one for about half a page then explaining how no other living human before or after could have managed such a feat.
- In Warhammer 40000 Space Wolf novel Wolf's Honour, it´s Big Guy Haegr who takes the blunt of the Thousand Son´s attack, obviously making an heroic sacrifice in the process.
- In Buttercup's Baby, The Princess Bride's second part (at least in theory), it's Big Guy Fezzik who throws himself over an enormous cliff to save Waverly, who is Buttercup and Westley's daughter.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe: Chewbacca dies fighting the Yuuzhan Vong.
- In the Legend of Drizz't: Legacy, Wulfgar dies bringing the roof of a tunnel down on a monster that was attacking the group.
Live Action TV
- In Blakes Seven, the crew's resident Gentle Giant Gan was the first to die.
- In The Peacekeeper Wars, D'Argo went down guns blazing.
- Invoked in the RandomAnime rulebook: Football jock and iconic Big Guy Tank Doyobi is mortally wounded by the Big Bad early in the fight, but survives long enough to take the villain with him.
- Chopper in Ace Combat 5 is the only member of Wardog Squadron to die under Blaze's command.
- Jorge in Halo: Reach dies when he heroically activates the slipspace bomb in the Covenant supercarrier, after throwing the player down to Reach.
- Sergei from Call of Duty Black Ops.
- An interesting case of this occurs at the end of Starcraft II. It's "revealed" that Tychus was working for Arcturus Mensk all along as a mole, and has been given the task of killing Sarah Kerrigan. Tychus, who's Power Suit has been rigged to kill him on Mensk's command if he fails, forces a Sadistic Choice on Raynor between him and Kerrigan. Ultimately Raynor picks Kerrigan, and shoots Tychus before he can shoot Kerrigan.
- Fear Effect plays with this trope. Deke gets killed off in the first game, and it was not even a Heroic Sacrifice. (In the true ending, he gets better.)
- Mareg's death in Grandia II comes fast and hard. During the escape from Valmar's Moon, he uses his huge frame to block off a chokepoint, buying his friends enough time to get back on the ship. An insectoid flies at Mareg from behind and impales him with its stinger.
- Dom crashes a truck into a tanker full of flammable fuel in Gears of War 3 to destroy the Locust and Lambent surrounding the group.
- Grunt stays behind to give Shepard and his team time to escape from Reaperized Rachni in Mass Effect 3, killing over a dozen of the walking alien tanks with his shotgun, fists and alien limbs wrenched from their owners before tackling one final foe off of a cliff. A rare subversion in that if the player had gained his loyalty in Mass Effect 2, he can live through sheer badassery, limping out of the cave covered in gore and asking for food.
- Dedue Molinaro in Fire Emblem: Three Houses is tall, muscled, and can easily be killed off for good if the player fails to complete his paralogue in the Blue Lions route of the White Clouds arc. Additionally, he lacks the plot armor the other retainer characters have, so if he's defeated in Classic Mode, he actually dies.
- The Danganronpa series has this going on. The largest characters in every entry will die; in the first, Sakura Ogami performs a Heroic Suicide (overlapping with Vasquez Always Dies, while Hifumi Yamada is clobbered to death with a mallet by his own partner Celestia Ludenberg. In the second, we lose Nekomaru Nidai in the funhouse. And most shockingly, the third game has Gonta Gokuhara as the fourth killer.
- In Our Little Adventure, Pauline was more or less considered the main Big Guy in the adventuring group, despite being female. She dies at the end of 'The First Book' and since she's female and the biggest badass female of the group she also qualifies for Vasquez Always Dies.
- Looking for Group: Krunch is killed when fighting against King Tavor.
- In Goblins, K'seliss is liquefied by an undead horror. (In his last moments, he bites its head off.
- Justice League Unlimited: Grundy, from the Most Definitely Not The Defenders group in "The Terror Beyond."
- Played with in Titan Maximum: Spuds dies falling off his ridiculously high balcony while partying.
- Older Than Print: Saito Musashibo Benkei met his end buying Minamoto no Yoshitsune and his young wife time to kill themselves.