No Brain To Damage
A character survives massive head trauma intact because they have nothing in their head.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-04-04 16:31:12 sponsor: RossN edited by: yisfidri (last reply: 2013-08-05 21:54:08)

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A comedy trope mostly found in cartoons where a character (normally The Ditz) survives something that would have caused serious brain damage or outright death in a real person but explicitly does the character no harm because they have no brain to damage.

The actual trauma can range from 'merely' hitting the character over the head with a sledgehammer to taking an arrow In One Ear, Out The Other without blinking. Very commonly the would be victim doesn't even realise they have been hit until someone points it out.

Sometimes Lampshaded by someone expressing the brainless character was lucky "not to have anything vital up there."

Related to Who Even Needs a Brain? (where the brain exists but is removed without fatal effect) and the much less silly 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain. Super Trope to Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal. Subtrope of Hard Head and Disability Immunity. Overlaps with Picky People Eater. Compare Balls of Steel and Too Dumb To Fool. Contrast Cranial Processing Unit. See also No Sell.

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Examples

Anime & Manga
  • A villain in Dragon Half, Damaramu, survived being impaled in the head with his own sword, because his brain is, as he put it, "compact".
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the Tachikoma (autonomous tanks with Genki Girl personalities) accidentally allude to this trope on discovering their "brains" are on board a satellite, preserving their individual intelligences if they're destroyed, rather than in their bodies (as was the case in the first season).
    Tachikoma: You mean...we're brainless!?

Film
  • This is often implied in The Three Stooges. One episode has an x-ray of Curly's skull be empty save for a cartoon cuckoo clock.
  • Legend. Brown Tom is taken down by one of the goblin's arrows. When the others find him, he thinks he's dead.
Brown Tom: Shot me through me brain pan.
Screwball: That's one spot an arrow will do no harm.
  • Jeebs the arms dealer in the Men In Black series must have his brains elsewhere in his body, as K can shoot his head off multiple times without seriously hurting him.
  • The aliens in Battle: Los Angeles can take a headshot and not go down; it takes a vivisection of a wounded alien to discover a vulnerable spot in their chest that will kill them. Apparently the sensory organs are in the head, but nothing more vital.
  • B.O.B. from MonstersVsAliens is a blue gelatinous blob who can survive various injuries and falls, because he "has no brain".
  • General Grievous' bodyguard droids from Revenge of the Sith can be decapitated with no apparent effect.

Literature
  • Famously discussed in the poem "You Are Old, Father William", from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
    "You are old, Father William," the young man said, "and your hair has become very white;
    And yet you incessantly stand on your head - do you think, at your age, it is right?"
    "In my youth," Father William replied to his son, "I feared it might injure the brain;
    But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none, why, I do it again and again."
  • During the Battle of Mithral Hall in The Legend of Drizzt: Siege of Darkness, the Harpell family of wizards are able to No Sell the mental attacks and brain-sucking of a group of mind flayers. Namely because they developed a transmutation spell that swaps the locations of their brains and their, ahem, glutes.
  • Adjusted the Siege of Darkness example after remember what the wizards' name was.
  • Ciaphas Cain once commented that an ork could probably survive a several-hundred-foot fall, if it landed on its head.

Live-Action TV
  • An episode of Celebrity Death Match had Nick Diamond accidently take arrow to his head without noticing (though he did ask his co-host if he heard a 'buzzing sound' a little later.)
  • The short lived sitcom The Pitts about a family of Born Unlucky types had Bratty Teenage Daughter Faith get a pipe lodged in her head after an explosion. Again she doesn't notice at first even though the pipe left a tennis ball sized hole in either side of her head just above her ears and when she does she's upset at looking like a freak at school rather than any potential grey matter lost.
  • In the 30 Rock episode "Blind Date", Jack cleans everyone out in a poker game. However, Kenneth manages to beat him since "you can't reads his thoughts 'cause he doesn't have any."
  • For what it's worth, The Great Luke Ski uses these exact words to describe Homer in 88 Lines About 44 Simpsons.

Video Games
  • A bonus perk in Fallout: New Vegas 's expansion Old World Blues by the name of Brainless sees the player character's brain removed and replaced with Tesla coils. One of the results of this is that the PC's head can no longer be crippled.

Western Animation
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Billy survives his first encounter with the evil, brain-sucking meteor in "Little Rock of Horrors" by virtue of having no brain to be sucked out in the first place.
  • The Simpsons: In the Treehouse of Horror short, "Dial 'Z' for Zombies", Homer gets saved from being eaten by zombies because they consider him to have nothing to eat.
  • Also in Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bullwinkle is immune to brainwashing on account of having "not enough brain to wash".

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