Created By: Earnest on November 2, 2011 Last Edited By: Earnest on February 3, 2013

Implausible Lack Of Collateral Damage

A character\\\'s actions have no negative effects in order to keep them from accidentally killing.

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John: "We've never found a casualty at a Hulk site before, so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised."
Robin: "No deaths? Incredible."

This is when a character, lets call her Alice, starts acting recklessly in ways that should cause the deaths of others through her negligence, or even intentional effort, yet the story goes out of its way to show us no one got hurt. This is generally done to keep Alice from becoming unlikeable because of the results of her careless behavior. For example, if Alice topples a Godzilla sized monster in the heart of a city, it won't kill a building full of people, or even lead to an Inferred Holocaust, instead someone will comment that thanks to the economic recession the monster went down on an abandoned building.

In cases where Non-Lethal Warfare is also enforced, anyone Alice shoots down will always escape via parachute and the like. Or if Alice goes on a destructive car chase (especially one where the police are chasing the protagonist) the story will go out of its way to show people climbing out of wrecked cars unscathed.

Alternately, it can be used to keep a Token Evil Teammate evil while denying them a chance to actually do evil things. Alice will poison drinks, drain brake fluid, or even lunge at someone with a knife, but the target always manages to spill the drink, bike to work, and use a Coincidental Dodge. If Alice really does get her murderous way, it will be on an unintended target who deserves it, like the Asshole Victim. She may even end up facing a Self-Disposing Villain or another bad guy who will do the dirty work.

This is similar to No Endor Holocaust, but rather than become Canon Discontinuity it's explicitly built into the story. Likewise, Non-Lethal Warfare attempts to avoid this trope by having all violence be patently non-lethal. See also Could Have Been Messy, where character's actions don't cause physical harm in order to avoid the dreaded PG rating. Comparatively, Bloodless Carnage has actual death and mayhem without much blood.

Can involve Set Swords to Stun as well.

Anime and Manga
  • Monkey D. Luffy in One Piece has a lot of techniques that allow him to strike a lot of people at once and cause a lot of property damage but makes sure that no one dies at his hands. This reaches its peak in one story where Luffy storms a Marine fort: Towards the beginning of his one-man siege, the Marines report approximately 6,000 of their men have been incapacitated by Luffy, but not a single one has died.

Film
  • The Blues Brothers: there are many shots of uninjured cops crawling out of wrecked cars - and there are a lot of wrecked cars.
  • Humorously portrayed in Gone in Sixty Seconds, where after a police car is pushed through a wall by a wrecking ball while chasing the protagonist, the chase scene is interrupted with a shot of a detective asking the driver if he is okay.
    Are you sure? Because you just went through a wall...
  • With the exception of one Asshole Victim Hoist by His Own Petard the mayhem caused by the Incredible Hulk in Ang Lee's film is without death. During the tank fight, the Hulk lobs one of the vehicles several hundred feet in the air. At the end of the fight you see one the tank crew walking out of the wreckage miraculously unharmed.

Western Animation
  • Invader Zim has the titular Zim plan to destroy / enslave the Earth and humanity, and is typically very dismissive of human (or any life). Yet throughout the series he never really manages to kill anyone despite going on at least one huge rampage with a destructive giant killer robot.
  • Happens all the time in Megas XLR. Collateral damage is indicated to have happened to a clearly-labeled "Conveniently-Empty Building" or "We Were Going to Demolish This Tomorrow." Slightly averted with the contextual button "Destroy the World" (and its counterpart, "Destroy the World More").
  • You'd think Pokémon battles would involve lots of collateral damage (just look at the move lists, and possibly the Accidental Nightmare Fuel page for examples). I mean, earthquake, fissure, hyper beam, dig...and that's just what I remember from the first gen (the only gen I played). Awkward Zombie has some nice comics involving collateral damage from Pokemon battles, if looking for a page image (or an image link). I know there's an example of Earthquake (on the Battle Subway), and Hyper Beam (missing the Pokemon and hitting the city beyond it).
  • This is hilariously subverted in the episode of Powerpuff Girls "Live and Let Dynamo". The professor creates a robot called Powerpuff Dynamo to help the girls fight crime, and insists the girls use it to fight off a monster attacking Townsville. After a very lengthy battle and a LOT of collateral damage, instead of the Mayor thanking them, he shouts at them for destroying the entire city.
  • Transformers Animated and the franchise in general: lots of property damage, but few if any humans ever seem to die, and the cities aren't completely paraliyzed with terror everytime there's a Decepticon/Autobot confrontation.

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • November 3, 2011
    Arivne
    Can involve Set Swords To Stun as well.
  • November 3, 2011
    yamamayanyaa
    This is hilariously subverted in the episode of Powerpuff Girls "Live and Let Dynamo". The professor creates a robot called Powerpuff Dynamo to help the girls fight crime, and insists the girls use it to fight off a monster attacking Townsville. After a very lengthy battle and a LOT of collateral damage, instead of the Mayor thanking them, he shouts at them for destroying the entire city.
  • November 3, 2011
    GreenMachine
    You'd think Pokemon battles would involve lots of collateral damage (just look at the move lists, and possibly the Accidental Nightmare Fuel page for examples). I mean, earthquake, fissure, hyper beam, dig...and that's just what I remember from the first gen (the only gen I played). Awkward Zombie has some nice comics involving collateral damage from Pokemon battles, if looking for a page image (or an image link). I know there's an example of Earthquake (on the Battle Subway), and Hyper Beam (missing the Pokemon and hitting the city beyond it).
  • November 3, 2011
    ChimbleySweep
    With the exception of one Asshole Victim Hoist By His Own Petard the mayhem caused by the Incredible Hulk in Ang Lee's film is without death. During the tank fight, the Hulk lobs one of the vehicles several hundred feet in the air. At the end of the fight you see one the tank crew walking out of the wreckage miraculously unharmed.
  • November 3, 2011
    bluebandana
    Happens all the time in Megas XLR. Collateral damage is indicated to have happened to a clearly-labeled "Conveniently-Empty Building" or "We Were Going to Demolish This Tomorrow." Slightly averted with the contextual button "Destroy the World" (and its counterpart, "Destroy the World More").

    Possibly averted in tabletop games, depending on the GM and how realistic the setting is. If a player character opens fire in a crowded room and doesn't hit his target, where does the shot go?

  • November 3, 2011
    GuyIncog
    Humorously portrayed in Gone In Sixty Seconds, where after a police car is pushed through a wall by a wrecking ball while chasing the protagonist, the chase scene is interrupted with a shot of a detective asking the driver if he is okay.
    Are you sure? Because you just went through a wall...

    Really, any chase scene (especially one where the police are chasing the protagonist) that goes out of its way to show people climbing out of wrecked cars unscathed.
  • November 3, 2011
    ZombieAladdin
    Anime And Manga: Monkey D. Luffy in One Piece has a lot of techniques that allow him to strike a lot of people at once and cause a lot of property damage but makes sure that no one dies at his hands. This reaches its peak in one story where Luffy storms a Marine fort: Towards the beginning of his one-man siege, the Marines report approximately 6,000 of their men have been incapacitated by Luffy, but not a single one has died.
  • November 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Blues Brothers: there are many shots of uninjured cops crawling out of wrecked cars - and there are a lot of wrecked cars.
  • November 4, 2011
    PacificState
    Transformers Animated and the franchise in general: lots of property damage, but few if any humans ever seem to die, and the cities aren't completely paraliyzed with terror everytime there's a Decepticon/Autobot confrontation.
  • December 28, 2011
    captainpat
    Wait, how exactly is this different from No Endor Holocaust? It is because it's explicitly stated within the story that no one died?
  • December 28, 2011
    elwoz
    Comic Books: Scott Mc Cloud's parody comic "DESTROY!!" consists entirely of two superheroes beating each other up, leveling Manhattan in the process; at the very end the police commissioner is heard to remark, "At least nobody was hurt."
  • December 28, 2011
    Earnest
    ^^ Ooh, good catch. When tropes are this close it makes wording them to avoid confusion really important. Anyway, yeah, an Implausible Lack Of Collateral Damage is explicitly shown in the story and remarked upon as it's happening, whereas No Endor Holocaust is when it's later made discontinuity. Here the author very explicitly and immediately has someone state or demonstrates that no one got hurt.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump with threat to launch; looking mainly for "oh yeah, we have that, it's called X".
  • January 30, 2013
    Earnest
    ^ As the sponsor, you have my blessing to launch.
  • January 30, 2013
    KTera
    Can be Arbitrary Maximum Range when guns are involved.
  • January 30, 2013
    Khantalas
    I'd like to note that while Poke Mon examples can be a lot of things, they are not Western Animation.
  • January 30, 2013
    TrueShadow1
  • January 31, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
  • January 31, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • Batman is said to never kill. Despite his one rule, he's often seen pulling risky stunts that could risk killing the person but never do. Notably in The Dark Knight, he blows up cars to get them out of his way, flips a truck that had goons inside the trailer without seat belts, and twice saves falling people without possibly breaking their neck in the process. Even with those, he's still said to never kill.
  • February 2, 2013
    azul120
    Pokemon should be under anime.
  • February 3, 2013
    aurora369
    Humorously averted in The Slayers. Lina's spells (which run the gamut along the lines of "fireball", "big fireball", "big honking fireball" and "tac-nuke sized fireball") often result in a lot of property damage and enraged now-homeless people pursuing her. However, no collateral deaths occurred; the worst thing that can happen to a victim of Lina's bad mood is a destroyed home and blackened face.
  • February 3, 2013
    vid
    This is the same thing as No Endor Holocaust. Plenty of examples of that trope are explicitly stated, and not all of them are retconned. The page quotes for that trope and this one are even the same!
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