Created By: fluffything on July 1, 2011 Last Edited By: StarSword on April 26, 2013
Troped

Absurdly Sharp Claws

Claws that are unrealistically sharp.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

What happens when your Natural Weapon is an Absurdly Sharp Blade.

In Real Life, animals use their claws for various purposes (Hunting, climbing, grooming, defense, etc.). However, over time, these claws grow dull from continuous use and must be sharpened to maintain their usefulness.

Not so in the world of fiction. In many fictional cases, animal claws remain insanely sharp even after constant use. Moreover, these claws are so sharp that they can slice through things that few (if any) real life animals could ever scratch. Often, this is just Played for Laughs, but more dramatic variations exist as well.

See Absurdly Sharp Blade for when metallic blades (i.e. knives, swords, axes) are sharper than what one would expect in reality.

Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • Happens as a gag in Cattivik when the titular character is cut to ribbons by a lion.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
  • In Van Helsing, werewolf Gabriel leaves claw-marks on a stone statue during his brawl with Dracula.
  • In John Carpenter's Vampires, the Big Bad vampire cuts a human cleanly in two with just his claws (thus the writeup should expand the scope beyond just animals).
  • Death Becomes Her: In one scene Meryl Streep's Character leaves scratchmarks on a solid column.
  • Split/Second, the 1992 Rutger Hauer movie, is a great example for this trope. The creature uses its huge claw to shred through the roof of a subway train like a hot knife through butter. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • In Dragonback, K'da claws are sharp enough to cut through metal. And not just slash through it either; at one point Draycos uses this ability to carve a precise hole in a shuttle's hull as sabotage.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • Andalite tail-blades in the Animorphs-verse are demonstrably sharp enough to cut metal and lop off limbs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • The Macra from Doctor Who. The Macra can be found at the bottom of the motorway in New New York - built upon present day New York after some catastrophic event or something. In the 'fast lane' you can reach speeds of up to thirty miles per hour! (Usually taking six years to get to Brooklyn from Queens!) However, this comes with a risk: the potential of being sliced and mauled by the macra. What's even scarier is that you only really get to see these claws above the fumes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]] [[/folder]]

Tabletop Games
  • In Warhammer 40,000, any tyranid strain from the genestealer up can rip open Powered Armor, and the larger monsters open tanks like cans.

    This forms the basis of a minor Running Gag/Noodle Incident in the Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF--*las shot*) series, where the first time in any book the 'nids are mentioned, Cain recalls a time he saw genestealers tear apart Space Marine Terminators as if their armor wasn't there. We finally get to see it in the seventh book.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • In Pokémon, the move Cut allows the player's Pokemon to, well, cut down small trees with a single slicing movement. Flavor Text for various Pokémon species describes how their claw/pincer/etc. weapons are sharp enough to inflict significant property damage. Also repeatedly demonstrated in the anime, with Scyther in particular repeatedly seen chopping down trees in a single swipe.
  • In Evolva, the Genohunters are able to get claws able to slice rock walls to pass through them.
  • Fallout features the aptly named 'Deathclaws', genetically engineered killing machines with claws the size of machetes. In each game they are one of the toughest commonly occurring enemies, and their claws can even be Macgyvered into one of the more deadly unarmed weapons in the game.
  • [PROTOTYPE] has this as one of the first upgrades, which is a Disc One Nuke for crowd clearing.
  • In StarCraft, fluff describes the zerg ultralisk, their equivalent to a tank (think an elephant with scythes instead of tusks), as having blades with a monomolecular edge.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • A Wile E. Coyote short in The Looney Tunes Show has Wile E. being sliced to ribbons by the Roadrunner's talons in a ninja-style battle.
  • The titular species in Gargoyles have claws that are strong and sharp enough leave deep scratches in solid concrete and even solid steel. This is actually how they climb buildings and cliffs.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Rarity's cat cuts off half of Sweety Bell's mane with a swipe of its claws.
  • Puss in Boots from the Shrekverse is often seen cutting glass with one claw, very quickly.[[note]]This may be a reference to Catwoman.[[/note]] Puss generally picks his fights using his sword. In Shrek 3, Donkey attempted to duplicate the trick after being Freaky Friday Flipped with Puss, but it didn't quite work.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 60
  • July 1, 2011
    dalek955
    • In Dragonback, K'da claws are sharp enough to cut through metal. And not just slash through it either; at one point Draycos uses this ability to carve a precise hole in a shuttle's hull as sabotage.
  • July 1, 2011
    KZN02
  • July 2, 2011
    MarqFJA
    ^ Wolverine Claws does not cover "claws as a Natural Weapon that are absurdly sharp".
  • July 2, 2011
    Tambov333
  • July 2, 2011
    Speedball
    I vote against this being a trope; you could just move these examples into Absurdly Sharp Blade and be done with it. The Same But More Specific, I'm not too keen on. Sorry.
  • July 2, 2011
    fluffything
    Why? Absurdly Sharp Blade is more for things like knives, daggers, and other metallic blades. This is more for natural claws that somehow stay sharp after prolonged use or are able to slice through things that claws in real-life would either have great difficulty in, or would be utterly impossible to, slicing.
  • July 2, 2011
    MarqFJA
    ^^^ More like either "Absurdly Sharp Blade + Natural Weapon" or "Absurdly Sharp Blade + Wolverine Claws", since Wolverine Claws has specific criteria that exclude normal claws IIRC.
  • July 2, 2011
    shimaspawn
    None of these things could go to Absurdly Sharp Blade without that trope having a rename and a redefinition.
  • July 2, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Absurdly Sharp Blade covers manufacted weapons, which is very much distinct from Natural Weapons.
  • July 31, 2011
    dalek955
    Bump.
  • September 9, 2011
    Tambov333
    Also bump.
  • September 9, 2011
    Ryuuma
    • Happens as a gag in Cattivik when the titular character is cut to ribbons by a lion.

    Also, does Lust from Full Metal Alchemist count here?

  • September 9, 2011
    LarryD
    FYI, Gargoyles can leave claw-marks in solid steel, not just stone.
  • September 9, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Tyranids in Warhammer 40000 - anything from the genestealer up can rip open a power armour and the larger monsters open tanks like cans.
  • September 22, 2011
    EdnaWalker
    Bump?
  • September 24, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Any kind of mantis or mantis-like monster in fiction will have scythe like claws.
  • September 24, 2011
    SharleeD
    In Van Helsing, werewolf Gabriel leaves claw-marks on a stone statue during his brawl with Dracula.
  • September 24, 2011
    JohnDiFool
    In John Carpenter's Vampires, the Big Bad vampire cuts a human cleanly in two with just his claws (thus the writeup should expand the scope beyond just animals).
  • September 24, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    the Succubae in The Return, their claws can rend through pretty much anything (that the plot requires).
  • September 25, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Rarity's cat cuts off half of Sweety Bell's mane with a swipe of its claws.
  • September 25, 2011
    ArtyMorty
    Death Becomes Her: In one scene Meryl Streep's Character leaves scratchmarks on a solid column.
  • November 19, 2011
    Tambov333
    Bump.
  • November 19, 2011
    Stratadrake
    • Flavor Text for various Pokemon species describes how their claw/pincer/etc. weapons are sharp enough to inflict significant property damage.
  • November 22, 2011
    Arivne
    It looks like we already have this one as Ginsu Knife Claws, which is described as the love child of Natural Weapon and Absurdly Sharp Blade.

    If so, all of the examples above could be moved to that page.
  • November 22, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Holy ... I know TRS is pretty full right now but I want to say "rename to Absurdly Sharp Claws". It only has four articles on the wiki linking to it whatsoever, and I can't get a reading on its original age.
  • November 24, 2011
    dalek955
    It looks brand-new. No history items older than the 11th of this year and month.
  • November 25, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    I love that article's name, brilliant. Just need transfer the examples from this YKTTW to it and do some crosslinking. Absurdly Sharp Claws could be used as a redirect.
  • November 25, 2011
    Tambov333
    That name is horrible. Rename to Absurdly Sharp Claws.
  • November 25, 2011
    Gwardyn
    @Tambov333: Seconded. Or thirded. Or whatever.
  • November 25, 2011
    morenohijazo
    I agree. Why on hell is that called "Ginsu Knife Claws"? I don't get the name.
  • November 25, 2011
    ilvos01
    Puss in Boots, Shrek Universe: cutting glass with one claw, very quickly.
  • November 25, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Which was probably a reference to Catwoman, who is occasionally known to cut glass with the claws on her costume. In any case, note that Puss generally picks his fights using his sword. (In Shrek 3, Donkey attempted to duplicate the trick after the acidental Body Swap, but it didn't quite work.)
  • November 25, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^^^It's a Shout Out/reference to Ginsu Knives.
  • November 26, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Which, if it happened in this day and age, I would have to call a Bad Trope Namer. (Wait, this's probably not the best context for that redirect.)
  • March 10, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Bump. "Ginsu Knife Claws" appears to have been cut at some point, so let's get this thing wrapped up and launched, shall we?
  • March 10, 2012
    TomWalpertac2
  • July 24, 2012
    morenohijazo

    How about this for the page pic?


    EDIT: The subtitle for that pic appears, for some reason, at the top of the description.
  • September 2, 2012
    Nithael
    I have no idea what that picture is supposed to show. I can see a monster with claws, among many other things that mean nothing to me, but that's it.
  • September 2, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    ^^That picture is horrible.
  • September 2, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Picture is too 'busy' for its own good. It would be better to see a monster actually slicing something up with its claws.
  • September 2, 2012
    TheArbitrageur
    Fallout features the aptly named 'Deathclaws', genetically engineered killing machines with claws the size of machetes. In each game they are one of the toughest commonly occurring enemies, and their claws can even be Macgyvered into one of the more deadly unarmed weapons in the game.

    Also, Prototype has this as one of the first upgrades, which is a Disc One Nuke for crowd clearing.
  • September 21, 2012
    Arawn444
    We could use a picture of Alex with his claws out, like this one.

    Just to be clear, this trope defines natural claws that double as Absurdly Sharp Blades, right?
  • September 22, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Correct.
  • October 7, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    The Macra from Doctor Who. And does Wolverine in any way count?

    The Macra can be found at the bottom of the motorway in New New York - built upon present day New York after some catastrophic event or something. In the 'fast lane' you can reach speeds of up to thirty miles per hour! (Usually taking six years to get to Brooklyn from Queens!) However, this comes with a risk: the potential of being sliced and mauled by the macra. What's even scarier is that you only really get to see these claws above the fumes.

    [1]
  • October 11, 2012
    Chernoskill
    Split Second , the 1992 Rutger Hauer movie, is a great example for this trope. The creature uses it's huge claw to shred through the roof of a subway train like a hot knife through butter. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • October 11, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^^ Wolverine is already covered by, well, Wolverine Claws.
  • October 12, 2012
    GymQuirk
    Would the the cat-next-door to Snoopy's doghouse (able to rip large portions off said doghouse in a single swipe) fit, or is that more an indication of brute strength than sharpness?
  • March 2, 2013
    Noah1
  • March 3, 2013
    harharhar
    Well, if I'm not mistaken, there's the issue in Wolverine Claws where the examples are a bit non-standardized. True that it may have been fixed by now, but I remember there are cases where Wolverine Claws cover several things at once:
    • characters with unnaturally sharp claws but without carrying claw weapons (such as Iori Yagami from The King Of Fighters)
    • unnatural claws that are sharp (Wolverine)
    • claw weapons worn in place of Blade Below The Shoulder.
    I think someone may need to clear this up before we can say whether this trope (Absurdly Sharp Claws) is necessary.
  • March 3, 2013
    bulmabriefs144
    Wolverine Claws is not accurate. They tend to be grafted on. Femme Fatalons is actually closer to what we want, which means it's possible we need to revamp Femme Fatalons to be gender-neutral.

  • March 7, 2013
    StarSword
    Additional note for the 40k example: This forms the basis of a minor Running Gag/Noodle Incident in the Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF--*las shot*) series, where the first time in any book the 'nids are mentioned, Cain recalls a time he saw genestealers tear apart Space Marine Terminators as if their armor wasn't there. We finally get to see it in the seventh book.

    Literature:
    • Variation: Andalite tail-blades in the Animorphs-verse are demonstrably sharp enough to cut metal and lop off limbs.

    Video Games:
    • In Star Craft, fluff describes the zerg ultralisk, their equivalent to a tank (think an elephant with scythes instead of tusks), as having blades with a monomolecular edge.
  • March 7, 2013
    MokonaZero
    To expand on the Full Metal Alchemist example, Lust is know as the Ultimate Spear, and hasn't been shown to be unable to cut anything.
  • March 8, 2013
    Chernoskill
    I added a YT clip of the Split Second scene in the OP.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=994DBK6gdw4#t=221s
  • March 14, 2013
    m8e
    ^^^^Femme Fatalons is about how they look and what they represent. The laconic is "Dangerous woman's long fingernails." It's not really about sharpness and there is nothing Absurd about it. I mean, even useless fake nails is part of Femme Fatalons.

    And Femme Fatalons is (now) gender neutral, it's just that male examples are rare. "Despite the name, Femme Fatalons are not only worn by women, either. The occasional male villain will opt for them as well."
  • March 25, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    Gargoyles: Them being mythical animals doesn't explain the trope becaues they're supposedly biological non-magical. Also, appending "justified because" to an example is misuse of Justified Trope.

    I also fixed some incorrect indentation.
  • April 26, 2013
    StarSword
    Anyone mind if I take this over and finish it?
  • April 26, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Do it! It's ripe for the plucking! :)
  • April 26, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Pretty sure Lust doesn't count, because strictly speaking, her claws aren't natural as SHE isn't natural (she's a manufactured being).
  • April 26, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Kind of a gray area, I'll admit.
  • April 26, 2013
    StarSword
    I've cleaned up the draft and plan to launch in ten minutes.
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