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Big Ball of Violence

When fighting, two (or more) animated or comic strip characters may vanish into a ball of smoke, from which the sounds of a really violent struggle emanate.

Hands, feet, or other random objects may protrude momentarily, then be pulled back in.

This is used to indicate that the fight is so violent that:

During a really long fight, the Big Ball of Violence may start rolling around the area, sucking up any nearby bystanders or objects into the fight (not unlike other big stickyballs) — one of which is usually That Poor Cat. Sometimes a shoe flies out for comedic effect.

Sometimes a character escapes from the Big Ball of Violence, leaving the other participant to realize he's been beating up himself (or, if several characters had ganged up on the escapee, each other). In other cases, if a character witnesses a Second Person Attack, and is easily overpowered, then the Big Ball Of Violence may mean the overpowered character is taking an ass-kicking.

When the smoke clears, someone is liable to be sporting Amusing Injuries.

Take Our Word for It that Battle Discretion Shot serves a similar function.

Compare Thundering Herd.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Used interestingly in Dragon Ball Z, when Super Vegetto was fighting Super Buu. Buu, enraged at the fact that he was clearly outclassed, got so angry he let out an enormous cloud of steam, then laughed at Vegetto, mocking him for not being able to hit what he couldn't see. Unfortunately, Vegetto dove into the cloud and proceeded to brutally pummel him - the cloud of steam looking exactly like a regular Big Ball of Violence minus the little stars and spirals.
  • One of the Mai-Otome DVD omake contains a humorous example. Arika pulls Nina and Erstin into a giant pile of bath bubbles for a Big Ball of "Violence".
  • Pokémon uses it every so often. An early example is in Primape Goes Bananas, where Ash enrages a Mankey and it one attacks him, which creates a Big Ball of Violence.
  • This happens in at least one of the episodes of Axis Powers Hetalia during a fist fight between France and England.
  • One of these forms between the (not-yet-named) Ala Alba in Mahou Sensei Negima! when Chao gave them her family treenote  thus instigating the party's first ever (purely in-fighting based) defeat.
  • Mentioned (and demonstrated) in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei when discussing various things that have gone out of style or aren't seen as often anymore.
    • And by the same studio, this shows up in Bakemonogatari when Koyomi and Mayoi end up fighting with each other (which happens multiple times).
  • Happens a few times in Damekko Doubutsu, usually when Usahara beats up Uruno.
  • Plenty of these are used for laughs in One Piece. For example, Zoro gets a little offended at being called an idiot mossball and Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the anime Sonic X, just about any appearance of the Chaotix is likely to result in one of these.
  • Used in Rurouni Kenshin when Kaoru and Yahiko bicker.
  • Used in Fairy Tail for more comedic brawls rather than serious battles, particularly in guild hall brawl scenes.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in the Astérix comics. Fights between the villagers are common (usually involving fish as weapons, and on one memorable occasion menhirs) and these take the form of a huge piled-up scrum of struggling bodies in a dust cloud. The difference is that instead of being hidden by the cloud the fight is fully detailed, with the villagers drawn kicking, punching, gouging and stomping. It is notable that Asterix himself never once gets involved in one of these. Obelix wants to, but being permanently infused with the magic potion, nobody wants to fight him.
    • The Big Ball of Violence is inevitable when someone comments on Unhygienix's fish.
  • An old issue of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comics had Sonic involved in a stationary version of this with Whatsisface Geoffrey St. John the Aussie British skunk. It had the whole cloud of dust, poking out arms-and beneath it, Sonic and Geoffrey's feet, standing firmly on the ground, killing the illusion that anything's actually going on in there.
  • Frequently used in the British comic The Beano. For a long period the title panel of Dennis the Menace (UK) was a Big Ball of Violence.
  • Though it's an illustrated novel, Captain Underpants featured something similar to this, lampshading how easy it made the pages to draw.
  • This happens at least once in Hate.
  • The German Club Nintendo comic "Mario in: Mariozilla" uses this trope in page 4 when Mario and Kamek fight.
  • This Super Mario Adventures panel explains everything.
  • Superlópez: Every time the Supergroup start arguing among themselves.

    Film 
  • In Disney's version of Aladdin there is one scene during the song One Jump Ahead where all guards jump Aladdin at once, resulting in one of these. Aladdin and Abu aren't actually in it; they sneak off hidden under jars.
    • Disney's The Rescuers, if Penny starts to get sophisticated about her violence, get into this with her.
    • The rarely-seen Song of the South has this in the first animated scene, caused by Br'er Fox and then Br'er Bear when they pounce on Br'er Rabbit. A smaller ball (Br'er Rabbit) in it manages to sneak away from the melee as Br'er Bear reaches his big paw, clenched into a fist, out of the ball to try and punch the rabbit, but punching something else (presumably Br'er Fox).
  • Any melee fight involving Optimus Prime in the Transformers movies. Except with LEGO blocks instead of dust.
  • The 1987 made-for-tv animated film version of The Wind in the Willows features one some time after Toad was found by Badger after the former escaped the dungeon. When Toad was briefed about what happened to Toad Hall, he went into a big rant over it, prompting Badger to order Ratty and Mole to restrain him, resulting in the Big Ball of Violence.
  • Harold Lloyd's The Kid Brother, and
    • Kung Fu Hustle are a couple of live-action films with fights that vanish into a cloud of dust.

    Literature 
  • In the Warrior Cats graphic novel The Rise of Scourge, young Tiny/Scourge invents a story about him fighting a dog. His "story" is drawn in a very rough, sketched style, and the "fight" is drawn as a ball.

    Live Action TV 
  • An alternate (and rare live-action) version occurs at 3:04 of this collection of MTV promotional shorts. It lacks the dust cloud, but is clearly the same concept.
  • Frequently appear in the background animations of Bob Hale reports in Horrible Histories.
  • 17 seconds into this commercial for Calibee Potato Chips has the Calibee dog, their mascot, get into one with a puppy over a baseball.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Mickey Mouse had an early example in a comic strip from May 5, 1930, written by Walt Disney himself. Mickey entered a room to free the captive Minnie, but was jumped by Pegleg Pete, Sylvester Shyster, and an unnamed third crook. As the Big Ball of Violence rolled around on the floor, Mickey neatly escaped from it, untied Minnie, and fled, leaving the bad guys to clobber one another until they got a clue.
  • Heathcliff was always getting into fights like these.
  • This is the preferred technique for depicting fights in the Argentinian cartoon Hijitus.
  • Very common between Andy and Flo in Andy Capp.
  • Frequently used with Beetle and Sarge and others in Beetle Bailey (see picture above). Also subverted once in the sense that Beetle was actually making it by himself, not fighting Sarge as it appeared. Another time, Killer and Beetle were making one, and Sarge told them to stop and that they should water the ground first so that fighting doesn't raise so much dust.
  • A standard fight scene in Calvin and Hobbes when the duo come to blows (read: a lot) complete with Gosh Dang It to Heck! (and other more creative insults). This is sometimes lampshaded, subverted, and averted when Calvin returns home from school, but usually ends up with this because Hobbes learns fast. Miniature stars and planets typically surround the cloud.
  • Sometimes happens in Garfield when Garfield fights with Odie or some other animal.

    Pinball 
  • In Monster Bash, the lane to the Mosh Pit is an elongated Big Ball of Violence.

    Video Games 
  • In The Sims, whenever two Sims get annoyed enough to attack each other, it erupts into a Big Ball of Violence, complete with the usual cartoon shticks of the smoke cloud, random limbs sticking out, characters trying to crawl out and being pulled back in, etc.
    • And with the "Unleashed" Expansion for The Sims, a pet dog can get into a similar dustup with a raccoon, complete with raccoon falling out and performing "put up ya dukes" sparring moves before jumping back in.
    • The "Pets" expansion for The Sims 2 allows two dogs (and less frequently, cats) to fight if they hate each other enough. After the dust clears, one dog is lying on the floor looking sorry for itself and the other looks distinctly smug.
    • The Sims 3 also has a "Pets" expansion, and the cats added in this pack can go hunting for various vermin. When they find one, they'll get into a scrap lasting several seconds, during which they'll be tossed into the air several times. Even if their target is a mere spider.
    • If you use cheats to remove the actual cloud, you can see that the Sims are both just mangled together in a ball.
    • In My Sims, one of the "Be Mean" actions is to leap on the target Sim, initiating a Big Ball of Violence.
    • Fistfights become these in The Sims Medieval, but swordfights don't because the player can control the Sim in a swordfight.
  • Persona 3 and Persona 4 give you the option to perform an "all out attack" when all enemies are knocked down. This results in all characters charging, forming a Big Ball of Violence, doing a lot of damage to their foes. Strangely, when fighting a foe with too much HP to be killed outright by this, they end up going flying from the ball and charging back in, implying that they're being beaten as badly as they're beating... but in the end, only the enemy ends up suffering damage.
    • Rule of Funny, probably. After all, the game certainly isn't using this for censorship reasons...
    • Heck, in Persona 4, if the all-out attack is lethal to an enemy, the cloud of dust will take on the shape of a skull. This is carried over to Persona 3 Portable.
    • In Persona 4 Arena, this appears if a character connects with an "All-Out Attack" move and the target can be sent flying high into the air or into a wall.
  • In the Nintendo DS game Freshly Picked Tingles Rosy Rupeeland, all battles are depicted as Big Balls of Violence. Other characters and enemies can be dragged in by the player as fights go on.
  • Arresting a suspect in the 1990 Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? is similar, except the violence takes place below the screen, denoted by wacky stock sound effects and props tossed up into the viewing area.
  • The opening of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has Mario and Goombella escaping a Big Ball of Violence involving Lord Crump and an army of X-Nauts. By the time Crump realizes what happened, they're long gone.
  • In Mario Party 5, the victim of a Ukiki capsule gets attacked by a Ukiki forming a big cloud of dust, during which all his capsules are sent flying.
  • In Sam & Max Hit the Road, Sam and Max get into a Big Ball of Violence fight with Conroy Bumpus's bodyguard at Gator Golf.
    • This rapidly results in Max being turned into a Big Ball of Golf.
  • A variation appears as Voldo's Critical Finish in SoulCalibur IV. Only instead of dust, it's fire and the sheer speed at which he's spinning that obscures the violence. But, the simple fact that you're in there somewhere with Voldo should be enough.
  • Bubsy becomes one of these for a few seconds whenever he defeats an enemy by jumping on them.
  • The skill Scuffle in SaGa Frontier has your character toss the enemy off screen and a Big Ball of Violence occurs... side-screen.
  • The first Zoo Tycoon game had a Big Ball of Violence whenever an animal killed another.
  • Browser-based MMORPG Travians actually uses this at one point. Rather amazing, especially since animation is very limited — and it works well given the graphical style is already on that level.
  • The Super Robot Wars Advance original mech Soulgain has an ultimate move named Code: Kirin, which in its Super Robot Wars Original Generation appearances or the PSP remake had that mecha throw a lot of Kamehame Hadokens to create a mountain of dusts... then the mecha will enter the dust and temporarily turn it into a Big Ball of Violence, then throw the enemy out... for more violence.
  • One of Felicia's super attacks in Darkstalkers has her call in some friends who jump on the opponent and unleash one of these on the poor soul. It was ported over as her level 3 Hyper Combo in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
  • In Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, this is one of the potential animations for a four-person Combination Attack.
  • Crash Twinsanity has this as a gameplay feature, during moments when Cortex just gets too pissed off at Crash and the two end up as this. The player then has to roll them like a hamster ball through the upcoming obstacle course. If the ball is left still, an Idle Animation will play of one of the two characters getting the upper hand, including one where Cortex... spanks Crash.
  • Taokaka, a character from the game BlazBlue, has a special attack where she pins down her opponent, brandishes her claws, and then proceeds to rip and tear at them in a most violent manner. Of course, you don't get to see all of it— after about a second, it's behind a Big Ball of Violence, complete with Taokaka herself popping out and going back in here and there, and the "(|||゚ Д゚)" bubble from the character being torn apart on the side of the screen as well.
  • This happens in the very old game Alley Cat if the dog catches you. The ball of violence rolls off the screen and you, being the cat, subsequently lose a life.
  • In the SNES game based on the movie Cool World, there's a Big Ball of Violence that moves slowly back and forth across one part of a nightclub. Get too close and it'll drag you in, resulting in the loss of a life.
  • The Zappa Boys of Clayfighter feature this as a supermove, complete with the leader yelling "Get 'em!"
  • In the Japan only SNES game "Asameshimae Nyanko" whenever there is a battle the game turns into an arena where both players' cats leap at each other and start a Big Ball of Violence, which, after a few seconds, reveals the winner standing over the loser.
  • Several instances in the first Leisure Suit Larry game could lead to Larry getting caught up in one of these, most notably running into a mugger in a dark alley.
    • What's hilarious about the scene is that the mugger apparently bails out of the dust-up after a while, leaving Larry to carry on the Big Ball of Violence... by himself?
    • Other Sierra games use this trope whenever you die from a beating such as a wolf in King's Quest I and a mugger in Police Quest II.
  • In Dokapon Kingdom, fights that last more than a day are marked by a Big Ball of Violence, and the player can't move to another space until the fight is finished (and in this game, fights will go on as long as they have to). Other players can interrupt the fight and decide to attack the player, or step in and take out that player's bounty.
  • In Wonderland Online, other people in fights look like this as you wander past them. Of course, there is the option to watch more closely or join in.
  • Breath of Fire III: The Disembowel ability/spell. The performer flies at its target and a Big Ball of Violence is seen with stock sound effects, regardless of whether or not any damage is actually done (the spell doesn't always work; if it does it sets HP to 1, if it doesn't, it does nothing).
  • For The Frog The Bell Tolls uses a RPG-like element in combat which are automated using these effects for the animation.
  • Used a few times in Zack And Wiki during cutscenes and deaths.
  • Donald Duck Goin Quackers had this as Donald's Mercy Invincibility.
  • Pac-Man becomes embroiled in a Big Ball of Violence in Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures several times, either when he is confronted by an angry farmer, an angry alley cat or various other hazards attack him.
  • Street Fighter IV: Rufus's second Ultra Combo seems to be one - the cloud isn't completely obscuring, but the other elements match. Rufus himself is rather ball-shaped as well.
  • Skullgirls: One of Peacock's attacks is an air grab that's a pretty classic version of the Big Ball of Violence— dust, flying limbs and all. It can be seen on this video at the 0:40 mark. "Big Ball of Violence" even happens to be the name of the move!
    • The animators had a little bit of fun with this move: After this move is pulled off, you can see for a moment that Peacock has punched herself in the face with a brass knuckle. For the record, she's also holding a "Bang!" Flag Gun in the other hand.
  • In one of the endings to a One Piece game, Luffy and Ace fight for the last piece of meat using one of these. It's even funnier when you see Luffy reach out of it to grab his hat.
  • There is a game on the Apple Appstore called Samurai vs Zombies Defense. The last skill you unlock is called Troop Trample, and its this weaponized. Once activated, a dust cloud flies out of your base at absurd speed headed to the enemie's gate, with various weapons sticking out of it. Anything it runs over is outright instakilled, or the trample disappears if it runs out of power. The discription implies that there is an angry mob of at least 10 people in there.
  • In Puzzle Clubhouse Episode 1 you must block attacking lawn gnomes and steer them into fights with one another. Each kerfuffle is a Bag Ball of Violence obscured by clouds of plaster dust.
  • This happens in the "footbrawl" game Pigskin when players tackle each other for the ball. The more teammates join the confusion, the more likely their team will gain possession of the ball.
  • Mamizou's Last Word in the fourth Touhou fighting game, Hopeless Masquerade, includes this, complete with cartoony sound effects.
  • One of Peter's abilities in Family Guy Video Game! is this.
  • In Pokémon X and Y, the Fairy-type move Play Rough results in this.
  • In the online building game Roblox, players can purchase a weapon called the Kittypult from the game's catalog. This weapon shoots squealing cats from a catapult, and if a cat hits a player, this occurs between the cat and the player for a short time.
  • When you finally catch Mario in Super Tanooki Skin 2D, he and the tanooki do this briefly.

    Webcomics 

    Web Video 
  • During the Wheel of Fortune miniarc in Vaguely Recalling JoJo, Jotaro suspects that one of La Squadra di Esecuzione is the driver of the car Kakyoin knocked off the road earlier and tries beating them up, which resulted with this happening between them and Jotaro's group. The ones not in the brawl are Kakyoin and the Runaway Girl. Joseph apologizes to Risotto Nero for his group's hotheaded behavior and Risotto forgives him. Risotto mentions that the other La Squadra di Esecuzione members are like that, too.
  • Used for a few seconds in RWBY for a fight between sisters, complete with That Poor Cat.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Chinaman (1920), an early Max Fleischer cartoon, Koko the Clown fights it out with an angry coolie. Their battle forms a Big Ball of Violence complete with Koko's hat momentarily flying out, only to be yanked back in.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy features the occasional Big Ball of Violence. Amusingly enough, one in "Home Cooked Eds" has the (three) Kanker Sisters reaching out to grab Johnny 2x4 and Plank, but four pairs of arms come out.
  • Parodied in one episode of Family Guy. British comic strip character Andy Capp is seen playing darts with the boys at the Drunken Clam. His wife shows up, and they have one of their signature Big Ball of Violence fistfights. Quagmire gets sucked into it, then spat back out. His response: "What the hell? Did I just get laid?"
    • "Stay away from that thing, Quagmire!"
  • In an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender , a three-way brawl between pirates, the Fire Nation, and Aang's gang occurs in a literal ball of smoke, as an excuse for frequent gags of this sort.
  • Pesto from the Goodfeathers cartoons on Animaniacs would always get into one of these with Squit after the latter accidentally insults him.
    Pesto: That's it!
  • Cat-and-mouse violence was largely unobscured in Tom and Jerry, but the occasional beatdown by Spike the bulldog featured Tom doing various things like trying to escape, writing his will, digging his own grave, and so on.
  • Drawn Together had one of these in its first episode, when Clara and Foxxy break out into a fight after a language-related tiff.
    • Foxxy had another one when her reunion with the other Foxxys went rapidly downhill. The smallest Foxxy is seen running from the ball with a looted television.
  • In Mission Hill, the animation is so good and detailed, that all of the comical fight is visible when brothers Andy and Kevin roughhouse. The cartoony dust cloud just appears for stylistic reasons.
  • In CatDog, one of these kicks up whenever the Greaser dogs beat up the titular conjoined duo. Often played with, such as when only Cat is in the Big Ball and Dog is just sticking out, running wherever he is wont to go. Also, in the same episode, the camera actually goes inside the Ball, revealing Shriek's reluctance to punch Dog.
  • Popeye frequently got into a Big Ball of Violence with Bluto, once seen momentarily sticking out from the melee to relight his pipe before going back in.
  • Used frequently in The Fairly Oddparents, usually when Timmy is mauled.
  • Usen on Jimmy Two-Shoes. When Cerbee is mauling something, for instance.
  • Occasionally used in Tex Avery's MGM cartoons, most notably in the cartoon "The Screwball Squirrel" in which at the end Screwy, Meathead, and their twins attack Sammy Squirrel for interrupting the cartoon.
    Sammy: My cartoon would have been cuter.
    Screwy, Meathead and their twins: Oh, brother, NOT THAT!
  • Often used in Looney Tunes. Sometimes a character (usually Porky Pig) will crawl out of the dust and stop to do things before getting back into the fight.
  • In the Beany And Cecil cartoon "DJ's Disappearing Act" a huge fight breaks out because Dishonest John had stolen a rare diamond, Uncle Captain asks Cecil "do you know what this is?" and Cecil responds "The biggest fight cloud in cartoon history?".
  • Played with on all three Super Mario cartoons. Parodied on an episode of Super Mario World when Yoshi, in the middle of a fight, pokes his head out to eat berries from a nearby bush.
  • One of the cartoon film editions of Adventures in Odyssey had a fight between a cat and dog where the dust ball of violence formed several mushroom clouds so large that they could apparently be seen from outer space.
  • Kid vs. Kat uses this trope so much that you'd think the creators had a patent on it.
  • In this Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks short which aired on Cartoon Network, Mr. Jinks gets a restraining order placed on him, so every time he comes within three feet of Pixie and Dixie he immediately gets attacked by a Big Ball of Violence full of cops with nightsticks.
  • Used in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Fall Weather Friends", where after continually trying to cheat one another out of first place in a race, Applejack and Rainbow Dash end up in Big Ball Of Violence, which carries them across the finish line. They both come joint-last.
    • Spike gets into one with a chicken in "Owl's Well that Ends Well". The chicken pulls the "slip out and leave your opponent fighting himself" trick at one point.
    • Occurs several times in the second-season premiere, "The Return Of Harmony". The first one occurs when Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom fight in front of Discord's petrified form. Later, another one occurs in the Ponyville library when Twilight Sparkle tackles Applejack and Pinkie Pie to recover a book.
    • In "Lesson Zero", an unhinged Twilight casts a "Want-It Need-It" spell on her old Smarty Pants doll so she can fabricate a scenario for her friendship report to Princess Celestia. It ends up with half the town fighting over the old doll, with about a dozen Big Balls of Violence going on at once at one point.
    • Happens in "Baby Cakes," in which Pinkie slugs it out with two newborns in an attempt to change their diapers and achieves an Epic Fail by the time the dust clears.
    • The Mane Six end up in a massive one when fighting the changeling horde in the second half of the season two finale "A Canterlot Wedding".
  • Animated Astérix movies used a screen-filling version of this for some big battles against the Romans, with armor, boots, legionnaires and sillier things (false teeth, boxer shorts) flying past the camera.
  • Darkwing Duck gets into one of these with three martial artists in one episode. He pokes his head out of it to hold a ludicrously long conversation with his friends.
  • On Pound Puppies (2010), the Pound Puppies team gets into one with the Kennel Kittens at the end of "Catcalls" after the leader of the latter team spits in Lucky's face for no apparent reason.
  • Occurs occasionally in Tiny Toon Adventures, one notable example comes from the segment "Oh, For Art's Sake" where Plucky sees a cat and dog duke it out in his backyard, he tries to get them to stop but they pull him inside, he finally has had enough and freeze them with the pause button on his tv remote which he then passes off as a painting, he soon becomes famous for it and Buster realizes that they aren't paintings at all and unfreezes them causing a massive fight to break out, after it's over Plucky is placed into one of the paintings as a fight cloud breaks out with him trapped in the middle.
  • Happens in various episodes of The Smurfs.
  • Happens in Earthworm Jim whenever Jim accidentally hurts Peter Puppy causing him to hulk out and maul him.
  • Happens in the Mickey Mouse cartoon "Tapped Out" after Pete crashes into Donald Duck and makes him spill his nachos, this makes Donald enraged and he attacks him resulting in one of these.
  • In Powerpuff Girls a big ball of violence is seen in the episode "Telephonies" when the Gangrene gang are receiving a beating from Mojo Jojo, Him and Fuzzy Lumpkins.
  • Dangermouse and Penfold get into one of these with Mad Manuel the Flamenco Assassin. DM finally just exits the cloud and pulls Penfold out as well. Manuel keeps right on fighting in the cloud of dust, shouting "Olé! Olé olé olé!"


Quagmire: "Did I just get laid?"
Behind A StickAnimation TropesBody Wipe
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