Created By: Psyclone on July 17, 2011 Last Edited By: Psyclone on January 1, 2015

Family Friendly Weapon Use

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Main
Page Type:
Trope
Alternatively Weapons Are Tools.

Weapons by definition are designed to hurt and/or kill people. Therefore showing their effects in more family friendly shows is a no-no. However, kids think weapons are cool. So how does an enterprising media higher-up concile those two?

A way to do so is make it so that the weapon user uses the weapon for apparently anything but the purpose it was designed for. For example, a sword user may use the sword as an oversized pocket knife to cut ropes or even block attacks but never stab people with it. Or a gun user may use it to disarm enemies or knock them unconscious by shooting another object causing it to drop on their heads but never actually hit anyone. While this theoretically conveys the notion that the hero is so proeficient with the weapon that he can actually use it non lethally, it makes one wonder if, seeing as he's apparently such a stickler for non lethality, he could use a more appropriate tool.

Examples:

  • The A-Team were infamous for getting involved in massive firefights where no one was hit only to end them by shooting overhead objects into hitting their enemies.
  • Lucky Luke mostly used his Improbable Aiming Skills to disable opponents.
  • As lampshaded in Shortpacked, Leonardo never really stabbed anyone with his sword.
  • The ridiculous failed TV pilot Samurai had the titular Samurai use his sword to defensively block attacks cut ropes, chop off doorknobs, and push elevator buttons but never actually stab anyone.
Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • July 18, 2011
    Psyclone
    bump
  • July 18, 2011
    dalek955
  • July 23, 2011
    Psyclone
    bump
  • July 24, 2011
    MaciekOst
    Cartoons in general, when someone grabs an axe they'll usually strike the opponent in the head backwards (to knock him out rather than chop him up)
  • July 24, 2011
    somerandomdude
    Zuko actually plays with this; he does threaten people and gets involved in a pretty epic fight with Jet with his swords (under the circumstances, he couldn't firebend), but no one actually gets hurt.
  • August 22, 2011
    Psyclone
    bump
  • August 22, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Note that what constitutes "family-friendly" is often subject to Values Dissonance.
  • August 25, 2011
    Hadashi
    Western Animation

    Of course, kids themselves are generally fine with blood and violence, it's the overprotective parents who don't like it. After all, Skulduggery Pleasant and plenty of other children's books are MORE violent than a lot of 'adult' books about violent serial killers.
  • August 25, 2011
    AFP
    Blasting It Out Of Their Hands would be a subtrope of this.
  • August 25, 2011
    Abodos
    A Choose Your Own Adventure novel adaptation of Metal Gear has Snake use a gun to open a lock. This is the only time he uses a gun.
  • August 30, 2011
    Psyclone
    bump
  • August 31, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Seen It A Million Times, maybe mention that it's nearly Omnipresent in Western Animation, and other genres aimed at children.
  • August 31, 2011
    Merlo
  • August 31, 2011
    Allronix
    Enforced Trope on DungeonsAndDragons, to the point where their Cavalier didn't get a sword to go with his shield, and the Ranger's arrows merely immobilized their targets.
  • September 1, 2011
    Shnakepup
    The original animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, along with the movies, held to this. For example, [the turtle with the swords, can't remember his name] seemed to almost never actually cut or stab anyone, instead always preferring to just knock them out through martial arts or by hitting them with the butt of the sword.
  • September 1, 2011
    Earnest
    What would be the difference between this and Non Lethal Warfare?
  • September 16, 2011
    Psyclone
    Non Lethal Warfare has people using either weapons designed to be (or at least LOOK) non lethal whereas here you have characters using definitely lethal weapons in non lethal manners, regardless of how ridiculous that ends up being.
  • September 16, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    nevermind
  • September 17, 2011
    Ryuuma
    In Fairy Tail during the Edolas Arc Natsu and Wendy are attacked by spear-wielding mooks. Despite the clear stabbing motion of the guards they're just "knocked away".
  • September 17, 2011
    TBTabby
    Samurai Jack never seemed to be able to cut enemies who weren't robots.
  • December 5, 2011
    Psyclone
    bump
  • December 5, 2011
    Generality
    At the risk of nitpicking, Samurai swords can't be used (reliably) to stab people. They're slicing weapons.
  • December 5, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Film - Western Animation:
    • In Ice Age III, Buck keeps a large knife (almost short - sword - sized) with him at all times. Apparently, he uses it mainly to cut ropes to activate various contraptions he's set up.
  • December 5, 2011
    KZN02
  • December 11, 2011
    Psyclone
    bump
  • December 11, 2011
    Bisected8
    Might overlap with Improbable Use Of A Weapon.
  • December 11, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^^Water Guns And Balloons is the opposite of this, I think. A character who falls into the Water Guns And Balloons category is usually heavily armed, but with only nonlethal weapons. A character who observes this trope rarely carries a nonlethal weapon, because lethal weapons are just as useful in nonlethal combat.

    Western Animation:
    • In Rambo and the Force of Freedom, the title character never actually kills anyone. In one scene, Rambo is manning a heavy machine gun when he's charged by a squad of light infantry. So he fires over their heads to create an avalanche, causing them to trip on the rubble.
  • December 14, 2011
    Psyclone
    bump
  • December 31, 2014
    DAN004
  • December 31, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    I feel like the title and half of the description are about a Missing Supertrope about "lethal weapons used under the approval of Moral Guardians" that would work as an index. Improbable Use Of A Weapon seems to be the intent of the current draft.
  • December 31, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ not just for Moral Guardians reasons; especially for ILOSAA and Flyn Ning, it also prevents fights from getting over too quickly.

    Set Swords To Stun is also there because of graphic limitations, as well as the fact that depicting realistic wound may debilitate the character too much.
  • December 31, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    What are you disagreeing with?
  • January 1, 2015
    KyleJacobs
    • Trigun's Vash the Stampede is an unusually well thought out example: He might be good enough with guns that he's able use them to disarm instead of kill, but no one else is - nor would they try, even if they were. His skill comes largely from his status as a plant. The reason he uses a gun at all instead of something less risky? It was a gift from his brother Knives, and acts as a focus for his more out-there powers. Notably, Vash actually does shoot to kill three times in the anime: first when he aims his Angel Arm directly at his brother's face immediately prior to the destruction of July City, again when he fires three rounds directly into Monev's faceplate after the latter massacres the population of the Adventure Town of the week, and finally when Legato forces Vash to execute him at point-blank range. This one marks Vash's first and only actual kill.
  • January 1, 2015
    Snicka
    Also compare Family Friendly Firearms, which is also kind of the opposite: a non-realistic weapon is used in combat.
  • January 1, 2015
    Chabal2
  • January 1, 2015
    FerrousFaucet
    Here are some Western Animation examples I can think of:
    • Thundercats: Each of the heroes brandishes a dangerous weapon, and laser weapons and tanks are regular on the show. But attacks don't yield any permanent damage, and combat is often limited to wrestling, tackling, and occasionally a tap from a blunt weapon.
    • Conan The Adventurer: Zig-zagged, perhaps. Two of the main heroes have bladed weapons (a sword and shuriken), but cutting wounds are markedly rare. The entire premise of the story revolves around the heroes using the weapons' Applied Phlebotinum powers to teleport their enemies to another dimension, but each episode varies as to whether skin contact with the weapon is required or if it's just sufficient to touch the opponent's armor. Also, there was one episode where Conan was cut in the arm and there was actually blood seeping from the wound, and another episode was particularly gruesome in that a wave of lava flowed over a villain and when the wave subsided there was only a skeleton left.
  • January 1, 2015
    PistolsAtDawn
    • Mulan: Used straight in the final battle, where Mulan uses her sword to block and dodge and cut down ropes, but never actually cuts anyone... but she has no problem using fireworks to blow the villain up.
  • January 1, 2015
    FerrousFaucet
    Also this needs a laconic description.
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