Created By: tubefox on April 21, 2011 Last Edited By: Stratadrake on April 22, 2011

Nonlethal Lethal Weapon

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Do We Have This One?? It also needs a better title, as there's a similarly named trope, Nonlethal Deadly Weapon that refers to something else. This trope refers to weapons that should be lethal, but aren't, rather than nonlethal weapons people treat as lethal.

Basically, it's the opposite of Nerf Arm.

Needs more examples.

When a weapon that all logic would dictate should inflict serious and/or lethal injuries only ever inflicts nonlethal ones, whether through conscious choice by the user or a totally unexplained/handwaved reason.

Frequently used in kid-friendly shows that still want to have sword-wielding, gun-toting badasses.

Weapons wielded by Martial Pacifists or Pacifists of the Thou Shalt Not Kill school do not qualify for this trope, since the person is bound by oath/personal morality not to kill the person. This trope only applies when there's not really any reason the person would intentionally avoid killing someone, yet they do it anyways.

Contrast Absurdly Sharp Blade.

Sometimes justified in that the problem is not the weapon, but the absurdly durable armor/skin of its target.


Anime and Manga

Video Games

Western Animation
  • In some of the X-Men cartoons, Wolverine seems to use his claws for the exclusive purpose of backhanding people, rather than actually stabbing or slicing with them. This is probably the best example, since Wolverine's character definitely makes his staunch desire to never seriously injure any of the bad guys rather implausible.
  • While not absolutely lethal, Robin's collapsible baton in Teen Titans never seems to knock people's teeth out, break people's jaws, crush skulls, or inflict any other injury it would realistically inflict when he swung it at full force.

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