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Defeat Equals Explosion

"If I become an evil genius, I'll keep in mind not to replace my blood with nitroglycerin, hydrogen or any other flammable thing, I don't wanna die exploding like the bosses of Ninja Gaiden."
Payasoplas, on Ninja Gaiden

Sometimes an enemy being defeated... explodes. Not metaphorically like in the Villainous Breakdown sense, but in a literal, physical explosion.

In the case of robots, this could be justified, as the defeat would probably cause them to short circuit and the spark to ignite their fuel but is is not limited to robots. It happens with characters who are not specifically stated to be robots, and in some cases are implied to be organic in some way or another.

Having every enemy explode upon death was more common in the 3rd and 4th generation of console gaming, when it was mainly done to avoid drawing death animations. This is also an effect of being already dead.

See also Explosive Overclocking, Chain Reaction Destruction and Load-Bearing Boss. Subtrope of Made of Explodium.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z: This happens a lot; Ki Attacks often obliterate targets they kill, but several times character explode after purely physical attacks. Lampshaded in Dragon Ball Abridged by Team Four Star:
    (Vegeta hits the ground, large explosion. Later, he crawls out.)
    Vegeta (gasping): Why did I explode?
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion all the way. When the Angel's cores are destroyed, they explode and leave a lake of red gunk. Specifically, this happens to the 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 10th Angels.
    • Actually, quite a few of the angels did not explode, including several that looked like they were going to from the way they were killed. One of the early Angels left behind a corpse when it was killed that over the next few episodes was shown being removed piece by piece because being a giant monster made it impossible to remove it whole. I guess this illustrates why this trope is useful in stories with giant monsters. Can you imagine how littered with giant bodies the cities would be if shows like Power Rangers didn't do this? although come to think of it, why didn't they just the giant robots to move the bodies?
    • In Rebuild of Evangelion, defeating an Angel combines cross-shaped explosions with Ludicrous Gibs, creating a rainbow.
  • Fist of the North Star: Except with blood, guts (or just liquid light in the anime). And mostly with mooks.
  • Sailor Moon: Most Monsters of the Week end up this way, particulary in Series 1. Or crumbling to dust, but mostly after exploding in a flash of light.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira's Ayakashisenshi-hen, Rika and Satoko make this happen to the Ritual Tool Devil Nail Ripper after hitting it with 07th Explosion. The resulting explosion sends Takano flying and makes her become A Twinkle in the Sky.
  • In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, every Ghost explodes when it is defeated, with a scene transition to a real world model of the Ghost being blown up. In episode 13, Garterbelt and Corset explode the same way when killed, with Garterbelt even un-exploding when he is brought back to life, complete with a reversed Death Cry Echo.
  • Robeasts in Voltron go boom after being sliced in half.
  • Gundam has an odd variation: In nearly every series, ships will almost always completely explode if destroyed onscreen. But at the same time, scenes of past battles will always have the wrecked hulks of ships that didn't explode when they were sunk.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: While UC mobile suits often don't explode when defeated, in AC, they will explode upon defeat, no matter how little damage the suit apparently took.
  • Destroying a Heterodyne's Fractal Knot in DaiGuard will either cause it to dissolve or explode.
  • In the climax of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the Big Bad explodes after being punched through the chest, releasing all the souls he absorbed.
  • Happens to Radam monsters in Tekkaman Blade.
  • This is what happens to pretty much any enemy that is defeated in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • The Akumas in D Grayman, despite that each exorcist defeating them has a different Weapon of Choice. Do you shoot Akuma with oversized guns? They explode. Do you kick them with magic boots? They explode. Do you Drop the Hammer? They explode. Do you suck all of the Akuma's blood out? They explode. Do you kick a bell at them like a soccer ball? They explode.

     Comic Books 
  • KingdomCome
    Oh my God! The Parasite has split Captain Atom open! He's split him ope—

     Film 
  • Return of the Jedi: The evil Emperor apparently explodes on impact after being thrown down the shaft at the climax of the film.
  • In the Wes Craven film Cursed, when the werewolf who infected all the other major characters dies, he inexplicably explodes in a burst of greenish energy.
  • Double Team: In perhaps one of the most awesome endings to an action film: The Bad Guy (played by "Mickey" Rourke) is left standing on an armed mine, with a Tiger, in the middle of a Colosseum. Just as the Tiger is about to claw him, he steps off, where the whole place explodes. Completing the total madness, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman, and the actor who played Belloq outrun the ensuing fireball, hiding behind a Coke machine, while carrying a baby!
  • Some of the Godzilla films has the enemy monster explode after the titular monster kills them. The early films don't do this however.
    • Most of the monsters don't so much "explode when they die" so much as "get hit with a breath blast so ferocious it rips them into flaming debris"...except Megaguirus. She gets set aflame with an atomic blast, falls out of the sky..and then her entire body explodes when it hits the ground.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Sauron explodes with the force of a tactical nuke after Isildur cuts the ring from his hand in the prologue.
    • And again when the Ring is destroyed.
  • The leech mutant explodes shortly after its defeat in The Return of Swamp Thing.
  • The giant octopus in Bride of the Monster. The MST3K crew did not fail to notice the humor.
    Servo: That was one unstable octopus!
  • This is how the antagonist in Monster House is destroyed. If you tried killing it any other way, the house would just reconstruct itself.
  • In Logan's Run, when the city controlling computer crashes due to a Logic Bomb, it starts exploding and ends up destroying the entire city.
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, when Thunder finds Lo Pan dead, he is so enraged that his body swells up and he explodes. Sadly, a bit of a Special Effects Failure at the same time.
  • The Green Death in How to Train Your Dragon.
    • Justified. It's shot in the mouth, which sets off it's own rather massive reserves of flammables.

    Fanfiction 
  • Happened to Evil Digimon in PeterChimaera 's Digimon trilogy.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Loneliness explodes when she's defeated. Twice. The second blast destroying what's left of her. Possibly justified, since Trixie defeated her in her own mind, and is known to have a flair for the dramatic.

    Literature 
  • Demons in Dark Heavens.
  • Before the prequel trilogy came out, the Star Wars Expanded Universe almost universally had dead Jedi fade away while dead Dark Jedi or Sith exploded violently the way the Emperor did. Later it was retconned into a power they had, a kind of Taking You with Me thing. In the Hand of Thrawn duology, Mara Jade once makes this sardonic remark when she's in need of explosives.
    "Too bad we don't have a Dark Jedi handy we could kill. Remember that big blast when C'baoth died?"
  • Draconians in the Dragonlance trilogy have different death effects. Baaz draconians turn to stone, Kapak turn into acid, and Bozak draconians explode.

    Live-Action TV 

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In the Dragonlance setting, both Aurak and Bozak Draconians explode when they die.
    • Killing a Balor for good in the Abyss results in a quite dangerous explosion. In later editions, not only in the Abyss, this happened if you killed one anywhere.
    • Also the case with the Fiend Folio's dark stalkers and dark creepers, Mystara's huptzeens, etc.
    • Minions are a type of One Hitpoint Wonder enemy that typically come in large packs as meat-shields or choke-point holders, or because a Killer DM realizes the party has only single-target attackers. The typical, reasonable reaction is to run up, smash them and move on. Occasionally (especially if "ash", "flame" or "plague" is somewhere in the name) they create a burst-attack when defeated, damaging the melee fighter that killed them, and any other buddies that are close... As well as other minions, that sometimes leads to insane chain reactions.
    • And of course, there's the gas spore. A variety of floating fungus full of unstable gas that explodes if it receives so much as a scratch. It doesn't help that, unless looking closely, the gas spore can be easily confused with a beholder — the kind of monster you pretty much attack on sight.
    • The 3rd edition Spell Compendium includes the 5th-level "Death Throes" spell, which makes the caster explodes violently if he is killed. It ranks fairly high in the "utterly useless spell" category, since it destroys the body and thus makes resurrection more difficult. Although it can becomes a Game Breaker if used intelligently, for example combined with the "Magic Jar" spell....
  • Villains And Vigilantes adventure Devil's Domain. When the Player Characters kill any of the Devil's demons, the demons explode in a cloud of noxious brown smoke.

    Video Games 
  • Metroid: Most bosses in the series will explode. This is somewhat problematic for recurring bosses such as Ridley, who has managed to come back from complete annihilation several times throughout the series.
  • League of Legends wouldn't be the same if the loser's Nexus didn't blow up. This is even done in the Dominion game mode where players can't even directly attack the enemy Nexus.
  • The Cobras in Metal Gear Solid 3 all die by going boom... except The Boss. In this case, it's explained that the Cobras were equipped with microbombs that would explode when they died, in order to prevent the enemy studying their corpses.
    • The bosses in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake as well. In Grey Fox's case it is possibly justified as he and Snake fight to the death in the middle of a room filled with mines. This is then retconned in Metal Gear Solid, where his intact body is outfitted with a cyborg exoesqueleton.
      • Red Blaster from the same game is also justified as he fights with grenades.
    • Justified in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Upon defeat, enemy cyborgs have their memories wiped and their bodies explode. Doktor explains that this is so that the manufacturers of their cyborg bodies can keep their company secrets... secret.
  • All the enemies in Beyond Good & Evil. Exploding on death must be a quirk of the DomZ's physiology.
  • Any player in Quake III: Team Arena and Quake Live who dies while carrying the Kamikaze holdable powerup. When dying, (and if they're not gibbed) they will produce a huge explosion which shakes the arena.
  • Unreal Tournament: The carrier of the Vengeance Relic in matches with the Relic mutator will explode violently upon dying.
  • In Half-Life, any Gargantuas you encounter (the big, hulking aliens that shoot fire at Gordon) will die with a chain of explosions whenever killed.
  • Mega Man (Classic): Just about every enemy explodes upon defeat; partly justified in that they're robots, but an explosion happens regardless of whether or not the type of weapon used would logically cause an explosion or not. (For instance, Storm Tornado in Mega Man X). The only enemies that don't explode are Proto Man, he simply stops and teleports out of the arena (though arguably he really isn't an enemy) and Dr. Wily (the machine he's piloting does though) because he falls out and surrenders, heck even Mega Man himself explodes into a billion energy orbs when his bar thingy with about 28 other bars...runs out. Robot Masters explode into the same orbs, which Mega Man picks up to obtain a new weapon.
    • Every Maverick boss you fight in Mega Man X (1 through 8) stops the game and undergoes a lengthy explosion process, with small explosions covering the defeated boss and the screen gradually whiting out, leaving no trace of the enemy, except in one instance in X4. In the first three, the explosions start off slow, but in 4 onwards, they are very rapid.
    • Bosses in Mega Man Zero start exploding and Zero beams out before they're even finished.
    • Almost everything in the Mega Man Battle Network series explodes upon defeat, even the viruses that appear to be completely organic in nature. Only navis controlled by the player are exempt from this, but they'll explode just like everything else when they're fought as enemies.
  • Some boss enemies from Jazz Jackrabbit go boom when killed.
  • In God of War, the giant lava minotaurs explode when defeated.
  • This happens to most of the bosses in the Mario & Luigi series, even if they are alive in the cutscene that follows.
  • In the Shinobi series, all enemies explode when they die.
  • Shining Force III had enemies explode when killed.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: All monsters explode into ominous (yet harmless) purple smoke. Except for the giant Armos Statues, who explode like bombs and does damage when you are too close to the explosion. The Helmarok King had a particularly dramatic one.
  • The lambent locusts in Gears of War will explode when they are killed. This was justified by their exposure to the emulsion.
  • The one-hit enemies from Contra series get knocked back shortly before exploding.
  • The weapon in Moon Crystal makes every enemy explode into 4 waves when hit enough. Even bats and all kinds of monsters.
  • All the enemies in ActRaiser series.
  • The enemies in Kirby series tend to explode with puffs of smoke and little stars and sparkles.
  • In NES Ninja Gaiden games, ordinary enemies explode into 4 fiery waves expanding diagonally.
  • Enemies in Blaster Master enemies meet the same fate.
  • Sword in Strider series makes them go boom!
  • Enemies in Ghosts N Goblins series explode too without any given explanation.
  • In La-Mulana, enemies go down that way.
  • Enemies in Mole Mania die in a very corner-y explosion.
  • Gremlins 2, every enemy does a Chain Reaction Destruction upon death.
  • Every enemy explodes in Mushihime-sama series too despite most of them being insect-based.
  • In Gunstar Heroes, the enemies, whatever they might be, explode.
  • In some of the Castlevania games, enemies explode upon death or leave a small flame.
  • In Run Saber, almost every enemy seems to explode upon death.
  • In Silver Surfer NES game, same thing.
  • Star Fox 64 is a wonderous explosionfest.
    • Star Fox in general. There can be no game without explosions.
  • Makes sense for tanks and airplanes in Advance Wars. But foot soldiers? Not so much.
  • Enemies in Gods explode.
  • Enemies in Earnest Evans.
  • In Borderlands 2 the DLC playable character Krieg has an ability that makes EVERY enemy you kill explode EVERY time with whatever element with which you just killed them.
  • Everything you can pick up (including enemies) in Superman 64 explodes. Even boxes.
  • Many augmented soldiers in Deus Ex are programmed to violently explode upon death and can easily wound or kill the attacker if they are too close (no doubt this was intended as a feature). Some even have a spoken password that will immediately trigger the explosion, thus causing defeat instead of resulting from it.
  • This is justified in Iji by a self destruct mechanism to prevent either of the two alien sides from picking up the other sides tech and reverse engineering it.
  • In Worms, worms with fully depleted life bars take turns whipping out Plunger Detonators and going out with a One-Liner and a bang, leaving grave markers behind. The explosion can hurt nearby worms.
  • In RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel, this is what happens to Iris when Pamela deals the fatal blow to her at the end of her side-game after defeating her.
    • Several enemies and other bosses, especially fortress bosses, in the Rosenkreuzstilette series tend to suffer this fate upon defeat. Then again, this is a Mega Man clone, after all.
  • In Super Robot Wars, even non-mecha enemies explode when defeated.
  • Team Fortress 2 characters who wear the Bombinomicon badge invoke this trope on their death; unless they were already gibbed by an explosion their body will explode a second later (this doesn't do any damage, though).
  • Surprisingly averted in Mini Robot Wars. Every single good guy and bad guy is a robot, but the only ones that explode are Action Bombs, and the Final Boss. The rest just fall down or break apart on death.
  • All the bad guys in SkyBlazer.
  • Enemies in Paper Mario: Sticker Star collapse and explode when you return to the field.
  • The final bosses of the first three Epic Battle Fantasy games all undergo increasingly lengthy explosion sequences when defeated. The final boss of the second game makes sense, being a tank, however the first one is a battered zombie and the third is some deity Eldritch Abomination.
  • Happens in the entire franchise of Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Admiral Galak Fyyar in Jedi Outcast explodes upon his death. Justified by him wearing a suit of Powered Armor.
  • In the first Plants vs. Zombies game, the Zomboni and Catapult Zombie (zamboni and wood catapult) explode after being destroyed… even if it's just from being pelted by non-fire or non-explosive plants.
  • Fighters who are knocked out of bounds in the Super Smash Bros. series explode in a sparkly manner. Master Hand, on the other hand, gives off fiery explosions after defeat.
    • All of the bosses in the Subspace Emissary mode of Brawl explode in the same manner as Master Hand, even the clearly non-mechanical ones like Rayquaza and Ridley. The standard enemies normally just poof out of existence in a mundane manner, but if sent flying off-screen after being defeated, they'll give off the same glorious explosion the fighters do.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • In "Ayla and the Mad Scientist" in the Whateley Universe, Team Kimba goes through some 'Dark Phoenix' holographic simulatins, a couple of which use Tennyo as the Dark Phoenix character. Phase uses his powers to stop her, and Tennyo explodes. Since she has anti-matter in her blood when she exerts herself, this doesn't work out well. In the simulation, it destroys the entire eastern seaboard of the United States.
  • This seems to be the case whenever a diary owner in Mirai Nikki The Abridged Series dies.


Conservation of NinjutsuTokusatsu TropesFinishing Move
Bubblegum PoppingTropes That Go BOOM!Delayed Explosion
Cartoon BombStuff Blowing UpDelayed Explosion
Kirby of the StarsImageSource/Anime & MangaSword Beam

alternative title(s): Defeat Means Explosion
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