Created By: RazorSmile on December 29, 2012 Last Edited By: RazorSmile on January 16, 2013
Troped

Tapping The Shatterpoint.

Break stuff by tapping it lightly.

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Page Type:
Trope
This is where a character can destroy solid objects by detecting or otherwise targeting their "weak point" or "breaking point" OR "flaw point" and striking it with a comparatively light blow.

Not to be confused with Pressure Point which is essentially this for human bodies or with Wafer Thin Mint, which is the proverbial straw-and-the-camel's-back rendered literal. Compare with Glass-Shattering Sound.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Ryoga Hibiki of Ranma does it with his Bakusai Tenketsu technique.

Comic Books
  • Dove from Hawk & Dove #15 (1990). When the protagonists find themselves stranded in Druspa Tau, a place of magic different from their superheroic world, Dove gets this as an upgrade to her Order-based powers.
  • Karnak of Marvel's The Inhumans developed this as a Charles Atlas Superpower.

Film
  • Detective Dee from the wuxia movie could do this with his very sword-like Dragon Taming Mace.

Literature
  • There is an entire Star Wars EU novel about this concept, titled Shatterpoint and starring Mace Windu, who is a master of this technique.
  • In the Sword of Truth book "Faith of the Fallen", Richard carves a statue from a block of marble that has a flaw in it, taking care in his design to minimise the flaw. When ordered to destroy the statue, he hits it once in the weak spot with a sledgehammer and the entire statue crumbles at once.

Live Action TV
  • An accidental version on Life. The opening of the season 2 episode "The Business of Miracles." Dan Auerbach was killed because someone swapped his oxygen tank with pure liquid nitrogen... he was frozen solid. While Crews and Reese are looking at the scene and conversing with the guy who owns the lab. Crews leans forward and gently pokes the corpse with a pen... and the corpse shatters into a thousand tiny frozen pieces! Which Reese follows by asking, "Do you have to touch everything?"
    • "Forensics had to bag each piece individually. You might want to send them a bottle of something."
  • The MythBusters examined breaking safety glass by poking it. It didn't work.
  • In Drake & Josh, after hearing his father's advice on how to open a pickle jar, Josh taps a jar of pickles and the whole jar breaks.

Tabletop Games
  • One Daemon Engine in the new Chaos Space Marines Codex is described as "tapping along fortress walls, listening intently", and when it finds what it's looking for, hits the wall once, causing it to collapse.
  • In Champions this took the form of the skill/talent/power Find Weakness. It halved the protection an object (or person) had, making it easier to damage them.
In Mage: The Ascension, this is the first power of entropy (magic dedicated to fate and decay of things). A wizard can use it to see weak spots in everything, from people and objects (which allows him to hit them For Massive Damage) to finding an entry to a guarded building by spotting the flaw in security procedures.

Video Games
  • There are literal living walls blocking your paths in Ōkami that can only be destroyed with the celestial brush. When you approach them, you get a brief hint of where the weak points are in the enemy, then you have to use the brush to tap each of the weak points in the order that they appear to destroy it. If you miss even one, you have to start over. Quickly becomes That One Sidequest when you encounter one with eight such points.
  • In Touhou, Flandre Scarlet has the ability to destroy anything. She can see the 'eyes' in objects, and using her power she can move the 'eye' into the palm of her hand and crush it, destroying the object.

Visual Novels

Web Original
  • Faultline from Worm has this power.

Western Animation
  • Wet Hare starring Bugs Bunny and featuring Blacque Jacque Shellac:
    • "Yeah, but what if one of those little rocks at the bottom came loose? That could be di-sas-ter-ous!"
    • "You mean, like thees one?"
    • "That's THE one!"
    • "Thees is seely! What could happen by taking one leetle..."
  • In Hercules, Phil has a statue of Achilles which he uses to demonstrate the hero's infamous weakness; he touches the statue on the heel, and it shatters.
  • Parodied in an episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, where Gadget is seen tapping lightly on a pane of glass claiming she's trying to find its "harmonic weakness." Once she apparently finds it, she smashes the glass with a hammer.

Real Life
  • Rupert's drops are specially prepared glass teardrops: the bulbous end can take a blow from a hammer without incident, but if you so much as scratch the thin end, the entire thing explodes.


Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • December 29, 2012
    Generality
    • In the Sword Of Truth book "Faith of the Fallen", Richard carves a statue from a block of marble that has a flaw in it, taking care in his design to minimise the flaw. When ordered to destroy the statue, he hits it once in the weak spot with a sledgehammer and the entire statue crumbles at once.
  • December 29, 2012
    dvorak
    • One Daemon Engine in the new Chaos Space Marines Codex is described as "tapping along fortress wlls, listening intently", and when it finds what it's looking for, hits the wall once, causing it to collapse.
  • December 30, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • In Champions this took the form of the skill/talent/power Find Weakness. It halved the protection an object (or person) had, making it easier to damage them.
  • December 30, 2012
    DRCEQ
    • There are literal living walls blocking your paths in Okami that can only be destroyed with the celestial brush. When you approach them, you get a brief hint of where the weak points are in the enemy, then you have to use the brush to tap each of the weak points to destroy it. If you miss even one, you have to start over.
  • December 30, 2012
    billybobfred
  • December 30, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    In Mage The Ascension, this is the first power of entropy (magic dedicated to fate and decay of things). A wizard can use it to see weak spots in everything, from people and objects (which allows him to hit them For Massive Damage) to finding an entry to a guarded building by spotting the flaw in security procedures.
  • December 30, 2012
    legendofhugh
    In the Star Wars expanded universe there's a technique called Shatterpoint, which is basically this trope with Force-guided targeting
  • December 30, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    Wet Hare starring Bugs Bunny and featuring Blacque Jacque Shellac:
    • "Yeah, but what if one of those little rocks at the bottom came loose? That could be di-sas-ter-ous!"
    • "You mean, like thees one?"
    • "That's THE one!"
    • "Thees is seely! What could happen by taking one leetle..."
  • December 30, 2012
    RazorSmile
    @legendofhugh: that's actually the perfect name for this thing. Rename, here I come ...
  • December 30, 2012
    Generality
    See also Wafer Thin Mint.
  • December 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
    (Copied from the Crowning Moment Of Funny page of the work in question.)
    • An accidental version on Life. The opening of the season 2 episode "The Business of Miracles." Dan Auerbach was killed because someone swapped his oxygen tank with pure liquid nitrogen... he was frozen solid. While Crews and Reese are looking at the scene and conversing with the guy who owns the lab. Crews leans forward and gently pokes the corpse with a pen... and the corpse shatters into a thousand tiny frozen pieces! Which Reese follows by asking, "Do you have to touch everything?"
      • "Forensics had to bag each piece individually. You might want to send them a bottle of something."

  • December 31, 2012
    henke37
    • The Myth Busters examined breaking safety glass by poking it. It didn't work.
  • January 2, 2013
    Koveras
    Actually, there is an entire Star Wars EU novel about this concept, titled Shatterpoint and starring Mace Windu, who is a master of this technique.
  • January 4, 2013
    aurora369
    This is generally Mace Windu's special ability.
  • January 4, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Compare Pressure Point, which applies to living beings rather than inanimate substances.
  • January 4, 2013
    elwoz
    Real Life: Rupert's drops are specially prepared glass teardrops: the bulbous end can take a blow from a hammer without incident, but if you so much as scratch the thin end, the entire thing explodes.
  • January 5, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    • In Touhou, Flandre Scarlet has the ability to destroy anything. She can see the 'eyes' in objects, and using her power she can move the 'eye' into the palm of her hand and crush it, destroying the object.
  • January 5, 2013
    Astaroth
    • In Hercules, Phil has a statue of Achilles which he uses to demonstrate the hero's infamous weakness; he touches the statue on the heel, and it shatters.
  • January 7, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    • In Okami, you can only destroy Blockheads by tapping on their weakpoints with your Brush, in the order they appear. Quickly becomes That One Sidequest when you enciunter one with eight such points.
  • January 7, 2013
    DRCEQ
    ^ I already listed that.
  • January 7, 2013
    Ryusui
    • Parodied in an episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, where Gadget is seen tapping lightly on a pane of glass claiming she's trying to find its "harmonic weakness." Once she apparently finds it, she smashes the glass with a hammer.
  • January 7, 2013
    MokonaZero
    In Drake And Josh After hearing his father's advice on how to open a pickle jar, Josh taps a jar of pickles and the whole jar breaks.
  • January 7, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    ^^^ Oh, yeah, sorry. Can someone remove my example since it's basically the same thing?
  • January 7, 2013
    DRCEQ
    It'd be better to merge them together. You added in the part about hitting them in order, which I had forgotten needed to be done.
  • January 10, 2013
    dvorak
    In episode 19 of Invader Zim, Zim has Dib trapped in a class sphere. Gaz attempts to rescue him, much to Zim's amusement, commending the chamber is indestructable. Gaz kicks the glass lightly, and it shatters.
  • January 12, 2013
    Someoneman
    In the episode of Spongebob Squarepants that introduces Sandy, she demonstrates her karate skills by doing a bunch of poses and Kiais before lightly tapping a boulder, shattering it.
  • January 12, 2013
    surgoshan
    • The third season of the new Doctor Who had an episode with the Doctor making a point about weakening the fabric of reality by drilling a hole in glass with his sonic screwdriver. As he made his point, the glass very slowly spiderwebbed. At the key moment, he punctuated his final statement by shattering it with the help of a tap.
  • January 15, 2013
    RazorSmile
    I think we are go for launch. Five hats, shitload of examples, decent trope name ... any objections?
  • January 15, 2013
    Stratadrake
    I personally prefer Shatterpoint Tap to Tapping The Shatterpoint, but I suppose we can always set up redirects....
  • January 16, 2013
    RazorSmile
    Redirects work fine for me. I'm launching ... now.
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