"The Magdalan Order is supposed to prevent the destruction caused by demons and the supernatural... not cause that destruction ourselves!"Say a hideous monster is terrorizing the town. All seems lost until the heroes arrive. They beat down the monster and a significant chunk of the town in the process. No-one was killed, but these people are barely better for the town than the monster; some saviors. Yes, some heroes have bad luck enough to cause significant destruction, often more than the villains. It could be a Sociopathic Hero who doesn't care, Power Incontinence, bad luck, Person of Mass Destruction, or a combination of the three. Either way, you're better off moving away. Don't expect any Hero Insurance to cover this. Insurance companies blacklist this kind of hero. If the situation was already disastrous beforehand and he can't possibly make things that worse than they already are, then he's justified through the Godzilla Threshold. Sometimes this is the result of Summon Bigger Fish. A Willfully Weak character may become one and often after a "World of Cardboard" Speech. This trope usually exists on the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. A Sister Trope to Walking Disaster Area. See also Terrifying Rescuers who cause about as much damage as the threats they save the day against. They might cause Disaster Dominoes. Compare What the Hell, Hero? (when the heroes get called out for ruining the town), Pyrrhic Victory, Chemical Messiah.
— Sister Kate, Chrono Crusade
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Anime & Manga
- Eren in Attack on Titan whenever he uses his titan form in a city. He tends to cause more collateral damage than the normal titans by themselves since they're only interested in eating people while he punches and kicks them around causing them to crash into buildings. Fortunately the first two times he did that the city was already evacuated.
- Toward the end of the Female Titan Arc, Erwin Smith and the Survey Corps corner the suspected female titan shifter, Annie Leonhardt, to the Stohess district of Wall Sina. After their first attempts to capture her fail Eren assumes his titan form, and throws her into a church, in the middle of services. After both titan-shifters wreck many more buildings and crush several more people they finally manage to capture Annie, but she encases herself in crystal preventing the Survey Corps from interrogating her. When the governor confronted Erwin about the collateral damage done and the civilians who were killed and asked if the operation was really worth it to help save humanity, Erwin responded with, "I think it's a step forward."
- Guts from Berserk overlaps with this and Walking Disaster Area, as most of the time, shit is already messed up by the time he gets to a town (the usual scenario is that an apostle is a terrorizing the place). However, since Guts hunts apostles, he takes it upon himself to kill them, which should make him a hero... but he does his deeds at the expense of everybody around him and for his own desires - and he knows it. Thus, Guts is pretty much viewed as a villain by most who come across him.
- Roger Smith in The Big O. His primary weapon is a Humongous Mecha, and the setting is a city. Said giant robot also travels via underground rail system and causes massive damage to roads and buildings just by appearing. Every episode inevitably features an enemy which only The Big O can defeat. The Military Police Major Dastun understandably isn't particularly happy whenever the Big shows up, though he realizes that it's also the only thing that can save the day.
- Generally averted in Bleach, where the Gotei 13 use barriers ( in one case, replacing an entire town with a replica of it specifically for fighting in) and their ability to stand on air in order to have their battles high enough that nothing will get too damaged in the fight. Played so straight with Komamura whose fight with Poww results in as much damage to the real town they're protecting as the fake one they're fighting in that even his allies comment on how much that'll cost Squad 7 after the fight is over.
- Hitsugaya reveals that Komamura personally pays for any collateral damage he or his subordinates cause An after chapter omake drawning in the volume the fight was published in reveals that apparently it costs him enough that he'll only be able to feed his pet dog, Goro, okara (soy pulp) for the month.
- Played for laughs in the preview for episode 340. Iba grows concerned about Komamura's use of Bankai, as it could end up exhausting 7th Division's repair budget. Made worse by the fact that since Komamura's bankai draws the most attention, the other Divisions will blame 7th division for ALL of the damage caused by the battles with the reigai, causing Komamura to grow concerned as well.
- Heavily deconstructed in Bokurano, where the heroes' Humongous Mecha, along with their opponents, are so powerful that their battles can cause thousands of civilian casualties if they don't take extreme caution. The pilots soon learn to fight in evacuated or unpopulated areas to limit the damage, but even then they're Not So Different when fighting in other worlds; then again, the damage they wreak then will pale compared to what'll happen to the place once they win—the entire reality disappears!. The populace initially has no way of telling that the heroes are even fighting for the Earth, and commonly refer to the mecha as Kaiju. Some foreign governments are so afraid that they send assassins against the pilots.
- Kazuki's efforts to get to the roof of his school to stop Victor's resurrection at the end of the LXE arc of Busou Renkin cause more property damage than the LXE did in the entire story arc. And to top it off Kazuki's transformation into Victor III makes him inadvertently do as much harm to his classmates as Victor did once he woke up. At least he was able to prevent any actual (civilian) deaths...
- In Campione!, whenever there's a historical monument present in the area, you can be sure that Godou will use The Boar to destroy the landmark even if he really doesn't want it happening. His first battle in the original novel ended with him destroying the Colosseum, and it was just a sparring match.
- Justified in that he needs to target something weighing several tons to invoke the Boar and his enemies are usually too small for that, so he chooses nearby landmarks instead. He'd stop the Boar if he could, but it just ignores him.
- Even without invoking the Boar, Godou is a hazard. The Tokyo Tower was destroyed by a lightning fight he had with another Campione and Godou personally tore pillars off the façade of a landmark to use as oversized mallets against a god.
- John Pluto Smith fights to protect the people of Los Angeles but requires "sacrifices" to activate some of her Authorities. Relevant to this trope is that she requires the destruction of a large man-made structure to activate her Archmage Authority.
- The titular Humongous Mecha of Cannon God Exaxxion is so huge it causes massive property damage every time it takes a step. And let's not even get into the shockwave created by the damn thing's BFG. In fact, one of the major themes of the series is the stunning amount of collateral damage caused by the hero (despite his attempts to avoid or reduce it), the enemy trying to take him and his mecha down, and their reprisals against anyone they think might be supporting him. Just knowing him, or being in the same part of the city when there's a battle, is dangerous.
- Chrono Crusade:
- Rosette Christopher almost always creates a ton of property damage for every mission she is involved in. Her superiors have said: "We can make a BOOK from your destruction reports".
- In the manga, Chrono tops Rosette when he goes into an Unstoppable Rage — and ends up destroying a few streets in the downtown area of a city.
- Cowboy Bebop: Spike Spiegel's penchant for causing massive destruction when chasing a bounty head is one of the reasons why he and the other crew of the Bebop live in Perpetual Poverty:
Spike: What happened to the million-woolong reward we got for that last guy?
Jet: The repair bill for that cruiser you wrecked, and the one for that shop you trashed, and the medical bill for the cop you injured...KILLED THE DOUGH!
- Dai-Guard plays this humorously. The heroes have to file the paperwork for all the lawsuits they incur.
- Averted in Desert Punk. In an early episode, Desert Punk and Rain Spider prepare to duel in the center of town for the right to a woman... as payment for her father's debt. The town elder tries to warn them off, saying their duel will be so epic and destructive that it will destroy the town. Turns out he didn't need to worry, as the duel turns out to be so non-epic and drawn out that most of the townspeople wander off in boredom after a few hours.
- In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, Dante manages to stop a number of demons…unfortunately, the money for doing so is rarely enough to compensate for the way the damage bills add to his debts.
- The Dirty Pair could give Samus Aran a run for her money, 'cuz they've destroyed just as many planets as she has, in the line of duty. Which is how they got their name. And no, they do NOT take kindly to being referred to as such, to their faces!
- Durarara!!'s Shizuo Heiwajima eventually develops into a Destructive Savior (as opposed to a Person of Mass Destruction resigned to his status as a monster) after a run in with Saika makes him realize that, while he might never get complete control over his anger and power, he can at least make some proactive use for it. Cue such feats such as kicking around cars, thugs, and ex-Mafiya to save a kidnapped child or making use of highway posts to punish scumbag gang leaders like Horada.
- Most of the cast of Fairy Tail. At one point Natsu even states "The mages of Fairy Tail specialize in property damage!" shortly after this he hits a guy through a tower. Not through just a wall, from the tip of the structure to the base.
- Natsu's first fight involves him wrecking a harbor. In the next chapter you find out he also destroyed seven private homes, a clock tower, and a church. "Their Magic Spells Destruction" is even the tagline Funimation uses when they release the show on DVD and Blu-Ray!
- And then there's Gildarts. The city the Fairy Tail guild is based in has to be moved out of the way whenever he shows up due to his Crash magic. In chapter 299, Gildarts saves a village from a monster only to accidentally destroy it whilst celebrating Cana's victory. All it took was for him to trip over.
- Quite common in Fullmetal Alchemist—though, for alchemists, the repair is just as easy as the destruction.
- When things are starting to get rough in Ghost in the Shell, the members of Section 9 generally try to avoid hurting innocent bystanders. Everything else usually gets completely trashed within minutes by heavy machine gun fire, rockets, tanks, and the occasional mecha.
- Hakaima Sadamitsu. It's in the friggin' title! (Sadamitsu The Destroyer). For those who haven't seen the show, he's a sort of brain dead Ichigo (yes, it's possible), pretty much whacking every alien he sees, while destroying a few neighborhoods every time. When a government weasel decides to turn Earth into a refuge for reformed intergalactic criminals and Sadamitsu tries to call him on it, he's very well put down with the fact that "the rest of us can't afford to run around with a robot head destroying the entire planet... you... destroyer". That actually hits a nerve, mostly because it's the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
- Almost taken to its Logical Extreme later on: Sadamitsu calls out the Vulture on killing said aliens instead of capturing and incapacitating them. Later on the Vulture gives him its power... and Sadamitsu's Powered Armor starts behaving extremely erratically: it laughs at and taunts their opponent then retaliates with electrical torture. When Sadamitsu reminds it they should recover the alien instead of killing it, Junk attempts to do so... by turning the Activator's power level so high a single shot would shatter the whole planet. It is at that point Sadamitsu decides they wreaked enough havoc already and calls a retreat.
- InuYasha: In the final battle, Naraku banks on his enemies being so concerned about collatoral damage that they won't attack him just in case Kaede's village is destroyed as a result. This is part of a plan to buy him the time he needs to reach the Bone-Eater's Well. Unfortunately, for him, he didn't take into account Sesshoumaru. As Inuyasha's group does indeed hesitate as he hoped, Sesshoumaru responds with "So what?" and attacks which encourages Inuyasha's group to join in. Despite the damage the village suffers, they're happy for Inuyasha's group to live permanently with them after the grand finale and even tolerate frequent visits from Sesshoumaru.
- Koichi Hayase in the early parts of Linebarrels of Iron caused quite a lot of property damage with his humongous mecha, it later comes back to bite him in one of the most cruel ways imaginable, and THEN he gets called out on it.
- Subverted in Lyrical Nanoha. Nanoha's fighting style involves lots of Wave Motion Guns, so there tends to be a lot of property damage; but civilians are rarely at risk since battles either take place inside of barriers that remove all muggles from the area or occur away from populated areas (plus magic can be made entirely non-lethal at will). However, it's played completely straight during Nanoha's first battle (which is what caused her to realize that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility).
- Mazinger Z:
- This trope is played tragically. As early as the very first episode we can see how destructive Mazinger-Z can be (in the original manga, Kouji destroyed half a city as he was trying to figure out how to handle the damned machine. In the anime series, he activated Mazinger in an unpopulated area; still, he destroyed his grandfather's lab, went on a rampage through the landscape and nearly got his little brother killed). When Kouji and Sayaka battle a Mechanical Beast, usually there is not much left of the battlefield in the wake of the fight. And when it is a city, buildings collapse and people die. By episode 7, it was shown people did NOT appreciate this and as far as they were concerned, Mazinger-Z was just as bad as Dr. Hell's Mechanical Beasts.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion mentioned this a lot pretty early on, with NERV officials getting bills and complaints about all the damage caused by the frequent battles in and around Tokyo-3. Shinji is quickly singled out as the pilot of Unit 01 as he's the only new kid to show up right when everyone's moving out because they don't much like the idea of 'living in a warzone.'
- In the same vein, the repairbill of a single Eva - usually 01 - was supposedly large enough to bankrupt a small country, and Seele criticises Nerv for needing them to bail them out after they go over-budget.
- Something of a plot point in the first few episodes that becomes a Chekhov's Gun towards the end. During his first time in an Eva to save the city, he accidentally destroys a number of buildings including one where Toji's sister is, putting her in hospital. This eventually leads to Toji agreeing to become an Eva pilot in order to get his sister better healthcare, which in turn results in the Bardiel episode, where everything in the show starts going wrong.
- There is a reason they make Luffy fight on the outer deck in the Baratie arc of One Piece. It of course gets smashed up, not in the least because Luffy declares he's going to fix everything by just sinking the goddamn ship and letting it be done with. He doesn't really.
- Saitama from One-Punch Man has shown to be able to control the strength of his attacks (he is so strong that can defeat powerful monsters and villains with a single normal punch), but only upto a certain point, as he still tends to go overboard, occasionally causing mass destruction in the aftermath.
- Panty and Stocking live and breathe this trope. Luckily the citizens of Daten City all appear to be Made of Iron.
- Division 2 of Patlabor is notorious for the amount of collateral damage they leave in their wake, with destroyed buildings and vehicles tending to run up huge bills. Partly this is due to their best Patlabor officer being an Otaku Surrogate who really doesn't want to damage the Labors she is fighting, even if this results in the city being torn apart whilst she struggles to subdue it "peacefully". Mostly it's because their other Patlabor officer is a Gun Nut who tends to start firing at will at the first opportunity, blowing huge holes in the surrounding because he's too excited to aim properly. This is the big reason why Division 2 is mocked and scorned by the inhabitants of Tokyo.
- Phantom Quest Corp. Ayaka's pretty handy with her Red Dragon Star Sword and she's a pro at demon slaying. Minus the fact that she ends up trashing public property and national landmarks, during most of her battles (like what she did to the observation room of Tokyo Tower).
- Madoka from Rinne no Lagrange tries not to be one, but she's still in a Humongous Mecha fighting other Humongous Mecha, so it doesn't always work.
- Slayers: Lina Inverse has a nasty habit of casting the Dragon Slave in populated areas, especially when the series takes a turn for the funny. The most famous incident is the first episode of the anime, in which a village is being attacked by a dragon Lina accidentally set loose by slaughtering/robbing the gang of bandits that it belonged to. Lina first makes the village elder promise to pay her before lifting a finger to help, then destroys the whole village along with the dragon because the dragon insults her by not stepping on her. (She still expects to be paid.)
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Parallel Works 6 has an alternate Gurren-dan defeating their Beastmen oppressors in an incredibly badass way, but at the very end of the short, the ersatz Simon (who is an older, ordinary bloke in this version) is distraught to find that they have completely decimated his hometown in the process.
- Tiger & Bunny's Kotetsu Kaburagi/Wild Tiger cares deeply about saving people — and not a lick about property damage. Thank God there's literal Hero Insurance in his city, though it still gets him chewed out regularly by his corporate sponsors. It's also earned him the nickname "Crusher for Justice."
- Vash the Stampede of Trigun, who is known as the "Humanoid Typhoon" due to being one of these. He eventually gets declared to be "the first human Act of God" because wherever he goes, things get wrecked.
- In the manga, he eventually gets dubbed "God's armed arm" in the aftermath of a particularly spectacular catastrophe. That's right, it's so bad he's considered the instrument of divine retribution (Though, in all honesty, it was because of his brother Knives.) The best part, and a good bit of the comedy early on in the series, revolves around the fact that Vash is a Technical Pacifist, and things are wrecked by people gunning for him. His introduction into the series involves him sitting down to a bar and a hail of bullets completely and utterly destroying the entire building, save the stool he happened to be sitting on. Everyone tries to kill him because of the huge bounty on his head, and there's a huge bounty on his head because destruction follows him everywhere. He put a hole in THE MOON while trying to stop Knives (Which also happened to be Knives' fault).
- This gets tragically deconstructed in the anime rendition, where it's shown that while Vash somehow managed to avoid killing anyone when he blew up a town, everyone in the town then died of thirst and starvation afterwards. Which brings up the Fridge Horror of just how often similar scenes have played out in the past...
- In Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar, this trope bothers Koutarou Taiga so much he has the Dividing Driver built by episode 4. It creates a safe battlefield in any area by shifting the rest of the matter out of the way temporarily.
- Zambot 3: Yoshiyuki Kill 'em All Tomino went to extreme lengths to show why it is not a good idea getting two Humongous Mecha fighting in a populated area. Although the children piloting Zambot tries to stop the Mecha Burst, they make just so much damage (which does nothing to convince the Earth folk who hate them that they are ON their side).
- The titular Children from Zettai Karen Children at first have a tendency to apply some amount of overkill during their missions. They get better though under the guidance of Minamoto.
- Dominion Tank Police. The title says it all. In addition, in an early episode, Buaku and the Puma Twins sneak into a secured vault full of art treasures to steal something, and the place's security (not the aforementioned police; just a group of armed mercs with all the finesse and discretion of the Keystone Kops) try to stop them by opening fire with automatic weapons... inside the vault. Among all the artwork.
- Agni, the protagonist of Fire Punch is this by default, due to being a basically immortal being thats been set on fire with special flames that don't go out until the victim dies. As he can't die, he's constantly on fire. However, that property still applies to anyone and anything he touches, so he tends to cause a lot of collateral damage.
- He even accidentally burns down one of the last major cities in the world due to being punched so hard that he flew through multiple massive apartments, setting each one on fire as he passed. By the end of the battle, the entire city has been burned to ashes with very few survivors.
- The protagonists in the Dragon Ball franchise often try to avoid this by fighting in uninhabited areas, but it doesn't always work. One notable example in the original manga was when Majin Buu deflected a ki blast fired by Goku, which then hit the Earth and wiped out 10% of its surface. Babidi even called him on this, pointing out that he had just killed a huge amount of people he was supposedly trying to save.
- Taken Up to Eleven in Dragon Ball Super, when Goku's fight with Beerus was causing planets all over the universe to be destroyed as a side effect. The fates of any living creatures on these planets were never mentioned, although later in the series, the Kaioshin did say that the universe only had 28 inhabited planets left, so yeah.
- The Authority acknowledges the incredible level of destruction they cause, and stay to help clean up their mess if they've got the time.
- There's an X-Wing Series comic created for and published exclusively in the Omnibus which has Wedge Antilles beating some bad guy or other by shooting proton torpedoes at a tall monument, making it fall in exactly the right way. The locals are furious at him for destroying their monument, and then another X-Wing pilot lands and, exasperated, lists off all of Wedge's Crowning Moments Of Awesome until the locals agree that yeah, they can just build another monument. Wedge's fanboy happens to be Luke Skywalker.
- Incredible Hulk:
- Even more so considering that in the Planet Hulk storyline he literally played the dualistic roles of Savior and Destroyer.
- His sons are also this. In fact, they may well be more dangerous than their father, because while the Hulk typically tries not to kill other people, his sons have no such compunction.
- Groo the Wanderer has flattened multiple cities he was trying to save (accidentally, of course), ruined the lives of everyone involved in his periodic attempts to help them, shattered empires, and is widely considered to be worse than plague, famine, drought, war, pestilence, flooding, and bandits put together… often because he'll cause any or all of them to happen, sometimes simultaneously. People who know of him learn never to ask for his help, but he will still offer, which is more terrifying than him offering to kill them. Heart of gold, brain of stone. Ships, in particular, have been known to sink simply because Groo was in the vicinity of them, suggesting either that it's a literal curse, or that ships in the Groo-verse are sentient and are committing suicide rather than wait for Groo to do what Groo does best.
- Supergirl is a hero fully committed to save lives. Unfortunately she's also powerful enough to level whole cities, so when she fights an enemy who can force her to fight seriously, they often wreck the battlefield.
- In Supergirl vol. 6 #7 she and four enemies turned Manhattan into a war zone.
- In the Red Daughter of Krypton storyline, she and several Red Lanterns tried to save planet Primeen's capital city. Unfortunately they almost burned it down when they fought Atrocitus, and Kara used her heat vision to stop a blood storm. Supergirl felt horribly guilty, and Blezz muttered she thought that they were supposed to be the good Red Lanterns.
- Frequently lampshaded in the X-Men- after any particularly vicious, property-wrecking fight, one of them will look around and make the standing joke of "... well, you can always tell where we've been." Peter Wisdom noted that "You can always tell where the X-Men have been because it's always on fire."
- Played for drama in the Astro City story "Old Times", when Flying Brick Supersonic is called out of retirement to stop a rampaging giant robot. Unable to think of a clever scheme to stop it, he settles for simply pounding it instead, and the ensuing brawl takes out a dozen residential blocks.
- One Sergio Aragonés gag in MAD plays this for laughs with a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. It ends with Jack running from an angry mob since when he cut down the beanstalk, it and the giant landed on their village.
- The Avengers are almost incapable of going more than half-a-dozen issues without having to promise some irate civilian that Tony Stark will compensate them for losses incurred due to the Avengers smashing a hole in an intersection/using a streetful of cars as crude ballistics/blowing up a subway tunnel/demolishing a building or three/etc, etc.
- Superlópez: Superlópez himself, sometimes bordering on Walking Disaster Area.
- Most of the "heroes" in the The Boys are this, to the point that they have specific legal services for discouraging people to press charges.
- Action Man: In contrast to his predecessor, the Ian Noble version of Action Man causes a little bit more collateral damage... for example, his way of stopping two trains from crashing and setting off a dirty bomb was to derail one of them into a wildlife park.
- Empowered has a minor character by the name of Syndablokk, whose main power is to control stone building materials (concrete, pavement, masonry, etc). By his own account, he doesn't use this power much in combat, because people don't like it when you defeat the villain by smashing a highway and hitting him with it.
- Fairly English Story: There's a lot of collateral damage in the Full Moon Shadows.
- Pokémon Master: Places tend to end up burning, crumbling down or exploding in the wake of Ash and his friends. One character lampshades this in episode 10:
Lily: You know, places that go to hell seem to be quite common when you're around.
Ash: Tell me about it.
- In Children of an Elder God, the main characters pilot giant robots and wield eldritch powers. They cause so much property damage when they fight that most of cities become a bunch of ruins in their passing.
- Shinji and Warhammer 40k: But at least he's keeping construction workers in business! Shinji's Destructive Saviour tendencies are so strong that people realize Shinji is back from his travels simply because of how much destruction the surprise reinforcements cause.
Just having him around increased the flammability of -concrete-.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Although the main characters saved humanity every time they fought, their Evas also caused much destruction. The Japanese Minister of Interior resents NERV and the Evangelions because it.
If we had not needed them we would have never approved of such monstrosities. They may have protected us, but how much death and destruction have they caused? Ikari has been absolutely reckless in their implementation.
- In Once More with Feeling, after Shinji destroys half of the city in his first simulated exercise, Misato nicknames him "Godzilla".
- The aversion of this trope becomes a plot point in Doing It Right This Time, as a couple of significant Stations Of The Canon not happening and the Pilots not making as many rookie mistakes (what with not being rookies) creates a budget surplus that enables Unit-04 to be brought online much sooner.
- The four get something of a reputation for this in The Keys Stand Alone.
- Example #1: To create a diversion, John backs up all the toilets in the Border Crossroads Inn. While he's careful to prevent them from overflowing, the stench lingers. Also, the disgusted, escaping guests cause a lot of damage by puking and so forth.
- Example #2: A completely pacific inversion. Rather than killing a village full of Tayhil, George tricks them into going far away and never harming humans again. Trouble is, everyone else kills Tayhil. The nearby villagers are so pissed at this kindly treatment of their hated enemy that they become an angry mob and throw them out, requiring the Guardians (under whose aegis they were operating) to do diplomatic damage control.
- #2 is so problematic that it causes the Circle—who know the four will approach them after they run away from the Guardians—to put together an elaborate scheme to neutralize the four so they won't cause problems hereafter.
- Hop To It has Rabbit, who in the first chapter discovers she's somehow picked up her partner's superpower Dogstruction, which basically causes destruction around her when she runs and jumps. Note though most of the times she's saved people directly she did it without casting Dogstruction, and the only time she manages to cast it and save someone afterward, she gets called out for her recklessness and told that she had other options (namely, waiting for Ladybug to use Lucky Charm). It's stated that Perro Negro had a lot more control over the ability, and in later chapters he's trying to train Rabbit in it.
- In The Sages Disciple, Team Caster is this. In their wake, they have left at least two burning buildings, one dead body, three concussions, 18 dead Assassins, and significant psychological stress. This is not even taking into account the ripples that have occurred as a result.
Films — Animated
- This trope, or rather the lawsuits that resulted from this trope, is the reason for the "forced superhero retirement" in the beginning of The Incredibles.
Films — Live-Action
- In Demolition Man, Spartan is nicknamed that because of this trope. A reporter asks Spartan why he felt it necessary to destroy a multi-million dollar mall to rescue a child whose ransom was a mere fraction of that cost; hearing it, the girl answers, "Fuck you, lady!" which Spartan deems a good answer.
Egon: Good idea.Peter: Yeah, we can do more damage that way.
- The team's very first attempt at catching Slimer destroyed an entire banquet hall in the original film, and did severe damage to the walls of the floor Slimer was originally hanging around on.
- Their defeat of Gozer destroyed the top couple floors of Dana's apartment complex, the street below, a nearby church, and covered what had to be a city block in marshmallow. In the second film, it's revealed they got sued by several government agencies and were placed under a restraining order to prevent them from continuing their business, which in short means they were denied compensation and punished for a job they were hired for by the city.
- In Ghostbusters II, there's no mention of the Ghostbusters being held responsible for any damages, even though they turned the Statue of Liberty into a Rent-a-Zilla by filling it with slime. Surprisingly, they did very little damage to the museum they had hijacked the statue to breach.
- By the time of the 2009 game, the city has decided to just roll with it, and has a standing insurance policy to cover the damage they do. People still aren't too happy, though.
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has the Joes not only wreck Paris trying (and sort of failing—they stop it, but not until it's already done a lot of damage) to stop Cobra, they get banned from the country.
- Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Megalon. "Thanks for leveling our country!"
- Even though he's mankind's only hope against the Mutos in Godzilla (2014), Godzilla leaves a substantial amount of destruction in his wake. He doesn't intentionally destroy stuff, though. It's mostly just a case of him just passing through, as he's just that big. At the end of the film he is hailed (accurately) as the saviour of the human race, making him a literal Destructive Saviour. Oddly enough, he didn't seem to want to destroy the Golden Gate bridge when he arrived there, instead looking around as if to find a way around. The cruise missile that hit him shortly after made him stumble and grasp for balance. Oops.
- Also Gamera. Friend to All Children... enemy to major cities.
- One of Hancock's first scenes is him rescuing a car from getting run over by a train... by derailing the train and causing millions in damage. While all the bystanders are yelling at him for the completely unnecessary damage, Ray is the one to point out that even though there was an easier way, he still saved his life.
Ray: So thank you, Hancock. Thank you for saving me.
- While his damage is usually tolerable, it's rarely (if ever) necessary. Even taking off and landing tends to cause small amounts of damage. He eventually learns to control himself, and then he has a fight that almost destroys downtown.
- One of Hancock's first scenes is him rescuing a car from getting run over by a train... by derailing the train and causing millions in damage. While all the bystanders are yelling at him for the completely unnecessary damage, Ray is the one to point out that even though there was an easier way, he still saved his life.
- In Independence Day, President Whitmore is persuaded by his advisers to use nuclear weapons, and he refuses at first because of the worry that it would just make things worse. He then is convinced to do so after a telepathic attack by one of the aliens. They do make sure that the test city (in this case, Houston) was mostly evacuated, but the blast still doesn't penetrate the alien shields.
- They do find a way to take down the giant ships, which are still hovering over major cities so the crashing ships are bound to due more damage.
- Man of Steel graphically shows what happens when super-powered entities fight in the middle of populated areas. A study cited in Cracked's 6 Horrible Aftermaths Implied by Movies With Happy Endings estimates the damage to Metropolis as that of a 20 kiloton nuke. This is bigger than the "Little Boy" dropped on Hiroshima.
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice takes it further by showing the fight between Zod and Superman from the perspective of Bruce Wayne, who desperately tries to save his employees and other innocent bystanders when the fight utterly demolishes a Wayne building. The entire scene is charged with horror and helplessness, and understandably results in Batman's enmity to Superman.
- Wonder Woman is a much downplayed example compared to Man of Steel when liberating a Beglian village from the Germans. The worst Diana does is destroy a church tower, but the rest of the church is fine. Of course, as the village is within spitting distance of the World War One front, it wasn't in fantastic shape to begin with.
- In RoboCop (1987) the title character stops a convenience store robbery ... but damages most of the store in the process. The owners don't look too happy.
- Team America: World Police. After killing 4 terrorists, Paris is a burning wasteland. They do, however, get called out on it by the Film Actors Guild, who don't approve very much of the team's destructive tendencies when dealing with terrorists. There's also a protest staged outside the team's headquarters in Mount Rushmore after terrorists destroy the Panama Canal in retaliation for Team America stopping another attack in Egyptnote .
- Van Helsing: In his very first scene, Van Helsing accidentally smashes Notre Dame's Rose Window to pieces while fighting Mr. Hyde. His superiors later remark that though his results are good, his methods attract too much attention, resulting in Van Helsing being a Hero with Bad Publicity.
Van Helsing: With all due respect, it was Mr. Hyde that did the shattering.
- In The World's End the protagonists (specifically their leader, Gary King) end the alien Network's dominion over humanity - and by doing so turn the entire world into an apocalyptic quasi-wasteland.
- The World Is Not Enough: Lampshaded in this exchange:
Sir Robert King: Be careful, M, I might try to steal him from you.
James Bond: Construction isn't exactly my speciality.
M: Quite the opposite, in fact.
- Loaded Weapon 1 hangs an enormous lampshade on this in the opening scene. Emilio Estevez's cop-on-the-edge breaks up a convenience store robbery, destroying the store in the process. While misunderstanding the proprietor's yells of dismay as thanks, he takes the time to let them know the microwave he was using to heat his snack is broken.
- Being a love letter to kaiju films, Pacific Rim has pretty much any encounter that happens in a city end with millions of dollars in damage; there's a reason the line in the sand is drawn ten miles out to sea whenever possible. We don't get to see too much of it, but Gipsy Danger and Otachi do something of a number on Hong Kong, complete with devastated buildings and the use of civilian property such as shipping containers and actual ships as improvised weapons.
- The events of Captain America: Civil War happen after the Avengers have caused too much destruction in their heroic actions, forcing governments around the world to setup the Sokovia Accords.
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, elves, humans and other good people in the beautiful continent of Beleriand face the evil Morgoth who relentlessly kills them and destroys their kingdoms one by one. The desperate remnant calls upon the Valar - extremely powerful gods or angels. The Valar come in force, launch the "War of Wrath" and utterly defeat Morgoth - but in the process, nearly all of Beleriand is flooded and sinks under the sea, only a few mountain tops surviving as small islands.
- Dying alien warrior Prince Elfangor, one of the technologically-advanced Andalites, reveals a covert invasion of Earth by another alien species, the Yeerks, to five human teenagers. He gives the teenagers access to morphing technology in hopes that they can launch a guerrilla war against the invaders, promising that Andalite reinforcements are on their way, and they wouldn't need to stall for time more than a year. The teenagers, becoming the Animorphs, end up fighting for three years, because the Andalite military that the Animorphs were so desperately waiting for deemed Earth a low priority, and assumed the kids were lying to try to become a high priority in the very few times the two groups were able to make contact. When the Andalites realized that they've made a mistake and the Yeerk invasion on Earth has turned into a full-blown war, they decide to forfeit Earth and let the Yeerks concentrate all their manpower on Earth...before they blast the entire planet from orbit, killing everyone there, Yeerk...or human. This really is something of an indicator of Andalite arrogance, who believe humans to be second-rate species.
- When the Yeerks invade the Hork-Bajir planet, the Andalites send only minimal reinforcements. When it's made clear that the Yeerks are winning, Alloran creates a quantum virus that will kill every Hork-Bajir on the planet, in order to make sure that a minimum number of Hork-Bajir can be used as hosts.
- Eventually averted in the last book. Prior to the last book, Ax notes that the prolonged war against the Yeerks has given the Andalite military command more power than they rightly should have, and they no longer properly represent the will of the people as they're supposed to. This comes to be proven true in the last book, when Ax invokes his legal right to challenge the decision of Andalite Captain-Prince Asculan regarding Jake's promise to Yeerk prisoners on Earth, by which Ax's challenge would be tried before a civil court as opposed to a military one. It is heavily implied that the civil government and the people are surprisingly supportive of the human victory; Prince Asculan is forced to consult with his political advisors, and, realizing that he doesn't stand much of a chance in a civil trial, Asculan begrudgingly bows to Jake's wishes.
- Sir Apropos of Nothing isn't really like this in the first book, but in the second book, when he isn't Brainwashed and Crazy, he does things of his own choice, and in the third book, he's even more like this.
- In The Wheel of Time, Lews Therin Telamon and the male Aes Sedai (read: wizards) successfully locked the Dark One back in his prison, but the Dark One countered by poisoning The Force, causing all male channelers to go irrevocably insane and start World Sundering en masse. Even in the story's modern day, 3,000 years later, there are debates on whether men hiding in Anti-Magic Fields made the Breaking Of The World worse (by spreading out the damage) or better (by preventing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom).
- Oh, and Lews Therin's reincarnation, the actual main character of the series, is The Chosen One and is known to be a Destructive Savior, since male channelers are still going crazy. He will either prevent the release of the Dark One, leading to the unmaking of all reality, or succeed at defeating the Dark One, but at the cost of horrendous war—not to mention going insane enough to get back into the World Sundering habit. In amusing bits of Insane Troll Logic, some people thus try to kill him in the hopes of "saving" the world.
- Referenced in the Zilpha Keatley Snyder youth novel, Song of the Gargoyle. One of the many songs court jester Komus taught his son Tymmon is "The Knight of the Honorable Name," a ballad about a lordly knight who wanders around fighting monsters and bandits, but often leaves his beneficiaries worse off than they'd started. One specific example is given of a town which is being menaced by a dragon. The titular Knight and his retinue slay the dragon, but only after they've lived in the town for so long, taking the townspeoples' goods and food, that they've laid waste to the town themselves. The Knight and his followers then ride off, proud of their success and oblivious to the destruction.
- The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden. Fights monsters, saves the city, and racks up a ton of property damage in doing so. Since he favors fire magic, he tends to burn down or severely damage at least one building per book. To quote the Dresden Files RPG, which uses Harry as an example of how to create a character: "Jim wants to make a wizard who specializes in throwing around fire and is extra hard on locations due to property damage. These ideas make him think of Dresden in World War II, when it got bombed to hell and gone." Some examples:
- The foreword for one short story in the Side Jobs compilation notes that a part of the planning process was finding a nice mall in the Chicago area for Dresden to destroy. Needless to say, the place is on fire by the end of the piece.
- A non-exhaustive list of the destruction Harry has inflicted includes: wrecking an elevator (giant scorpion golem), burning down a townhouse (evil sorcerer drug ring), blowing a hole through three buildings (giant loup-garou), burning down a warehouse (vampire kidnappers), setting most of a mansion on fire (more vampires), rampant destruction in a Walmart (faerie assassins), setting fire to most of a floor on a high-rise (fallen angel terrorists), burning down a school (it wasn't his fault, it was those demon baboons with flaming poo), burning down a homeless shelter (more vampires!), massive damage to downtown Chicago (zombie tyrannosaur and necromancers), destroying an entire cavern complex (giant clusterfuck involving vampires, ghouls, evil sorcerers, and C4-packing mercenaries and gangsters) the walls of a business tower, the front end of a townhouse, most of a subway station, and the Shedd Aquariam's Oceanarium exhibit (faerie hitmen and more fallen angels). Changes takes this even further, with an entire building being blown up (they said they were cleaning out asbestos....) and the finale involving leveling most of a pyramid.
- The very first time Harry ever fought anything with magic (He Who Walks Behind) he ended up blowing up a gas station.
- Check out the quotes page for some choice comments on the subject. Currently, about one fifth of them refer to him. It's very likely, in fact, that Harry was deliberately created with this trope in mind and named for it.
- K.H. Metzger's Skye Sparkler, a superpowered twelve-year-old, has a tendency to do this if she isn't extremely careful.
- In The Book of the New Sun, Earth's Sun is dying and natural resources are exhausted. The man known as The Conciliator is granted the power to bring a New Sun and raise new continents rich with resources, but the upheaval will also sink continents and kill billions. Or perhaps The Conciliator only thinks he's doing it himself.
- In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Earth is visited by a member of an alien civilization who elect lizards to rule them, and sends his robots to seek them out for communication. On locating a pet store with lizards in residence, they defend the area so vigorously that nothing was likely to survive.
Live Action TV
- In Stargate SG-1, the Tok'ra considered the Tau'ri to be this, since they lose a lot more people after the Tau'ri start knocking off System Lords left and right. If it weren't for the fact that they are incapable of reproduction, one might almost take it as just being mad that the Tau'ri are so damn effective for "newbies" while their Holding Out for a Hero method hadn't bore any fruit until recently (and then the Tau'ri forced them to shelve it for being too brutal).
- The main team in Stargate Atlantis is put on trial by a coalition of planets in the Pegasus galaxy for their multiple What the Hell, Hero? moments. Their various successes usually come at the cost of the people they're trying to defend, who have been kept in the Middle Ages by the Wraith.
- On Lexx, Stanley tends to carelessly blow up the planets he just visited. Some blame can be placed on Lexx himself, as the ship does not have a very good grasp on ethics or even basic slang, not to mention that it likes to blow up planets. At one point a planet was destroyed simply because Lexx didn't understand the meaning of "belay that order" and didn't bother to ask.
- The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers destroyed a lot of buildings when they fought in their Zords. Later Power Rangers series began to use clear areas for the Zord battles. Mind you, it's usually not their fault - the Zords get knocked into buildings by the Monster of the Week. However, when the Rangers are in town, you can expect a good deal of town to get demolished. It seemed to steadily increase until 9/11 happened, at which point building destruction became vanishingly rare and is only recently beginning to creep back in. Naturally, most of them are Conveniently Empty Buildings (though pre-9/11, they didn't feel the need to tell us that.)
- The Honest Trailers for the 2017 movie had a lot of fun with the fact that Angel Grove got pretty much demolished by the Zord battle. "Why are you cheering?! Your town is in ruins!"
- In Chuck, Casey ends up ruining Ellie's wedding when he and his special ops team drop in saving Chuck, Sarah, and Bryce, his response "You rang". Of course being Chuck Jeffster then ruined it as well covering up the spy related stuff.
- In the Batman TV series, particularly in later episodes, the "bat-fights" would often demolish the surroundings.
- Zig-zagged a lot with Doctor Who, quite a bit. Particularly in the revival series. Sometimes, the Doctor comes into a situation, and while a bit of kerfuffle occurs with the local area, it's hardly damaging enough to be more than a problem for the Doctor to fix, with any lives lost and property damage really just being the fault of the villains. But other times, the Doctor enters a situation, and it's the simple fact that he's there at all that things ended up with innocent people dying and light to heavy collateral damage that will affect lives at the time and lives to come. This is never lost on the Doctor, thankfully, even if he doesn't stay around long enough to see the results of his presence (though chances are he ends up finding out about it, if not visiting it at some future point to see how things are going).
- Powerless: It's casually mentioned that the leading cause of deaths in a corporate environment is Superman crashing through a building during a big fight.
Religion and Mythology
- An interesting variation by the Christian savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus had said that he had "come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword." This is often interpreted to mean that those who accept Jesus will bring conflict and division to his surroundings. However, it's implied that those who refuse to accept converted family members into the fold are primarily responsible for the suffering that happens when divisions pop up. Also, it's families, societies, and relationships that suffer when he divides them, not city infrastructures directly.
- From Roman Mythology, Averruncus, the god of disaster aversion. He would attempt to avert disasters, as his title specifies. However, he'd often end up causing just as much disaster in the process.
- In Monsterpocalypse, the faction called G.U.A.R.D. are UN troops who ride around in Humongous Mecha to defend the world's cities from devastation by giant monsters. Needless to say, given how the game works, they knock down just as many buildings as the freaks.
- Dungeons & Dragons tends to have characters that do this quite often. In one example, a high level cleric summons two elder earth elementals to fight off the bandits attacking them in the night. On the second floor of an inn. Then blamed the collapse of the building on the bandits when the town guard showed up.
- A number of spells usable by player characters can lead to this trope. A few examples include: Meteor Storm, Tsunami, Earthquake, Wish, Alter Reality, the Mordenkainen spells, Colossus, any of the higher level Monster Summoning spells, Crushing Fist of Spite, a well placed Fireball, Creeping Doom, Summon Weather, Gate, etc. Honestly there are too many to name. The more powerful a magic-using PC gets, the more the potential for this trope increases. Keep in mind, this applies to Psionicists and reckless artifact/relic users, also.
- This is set up in the adventure module Apocalypse Stone. The player characters are unknowingly being tested by a divine agent, and their current test is one of generosity. They are given the possibility to donate magic items to renew enchantments that protect a village from a minor Sealed Evil in a Can. To make sure they can't just get away with waiting for it to be released and killing it, it's written so that the battle will automatically destroy the village even if they win.
- If the Protoss technique is counted, we must also list the arguably closest-to-good guys in Warhammer 40,000. The Imperium has been known to 'save' cities from zombies or aliens by knocking half of it down with artillery and setting the other half on fire.
- it's almost deemed standard operating procedure for an Imperial Crusade Force to launch an Exterminatus, a protocol in which ships destroy a planet (or at the very least, just the entire population) with nightmarish weapons of mass destruction, on planets deemed lost to Aliens/Heretics/Something far more worse. The purpose of this single most destructive act is to hope that such destruction of a lost planet will keep a sector of Imperial Space safer.
- In the words of a man who was unfortunate enough to be on a planet that needed Space Marine assistance, "We used to pray to the Emperor to send his Angels to deliver us. Now we pray He never does so again."
- Dragon-Bloods in Exalted have anima banners that flare up with representations of their elemental aspects as they use their Essence. Combat in Exalted tends to burn a lot of Essence. One of the Dragon-Blood aspects is Fire. Suffice to say there's a reason that Dragon-Blood construction favours stone instead of wood.
- Then there are the renegade Abyssals, whose efforts to protect locations have to include leaving really quickly to avoid wiping out the town in a colossal Resonance eruption.
- In the First Age, if there were problems in the Underworld a team of Solars would arrive and solve the problem and get back before dinner... unless the residents of the Underworld were unlucky, in which case the Solars would blast the problem to smithereens and go home in time for lunch.
- The Fate adaptation of Atomic Robo has collateral consequences, which allow players to bleed off damage by throwing the surrounding area into chaos (the example given in the book involves failing to stop a rampaging Futuresaurus); the lower ones go away if you take steps to get it back under control, while the high-intensity ones are there until the end of the story arc. Another Fate adaptation, this time of the old True20 Mecha vs Kaiju setting, has a different spin on this: the collateral consequences are under the control of the monsters, not the players, meaning that attempting to stop the giant monsters is almost guaranteed to cause thematically appropriate mayhem - it is, after all, tradition for the giant monster fights to flatten cities.
- While most Assassins in the Assassin's Creed universe are precise and direct in their actions, there are some exceptions.
- Ezio Auditore in Assassin's Creed: Revelations once set off an incendiary bomb to a cave city in order to carry out an assassination attempt. It went off without a hitch...never mind the hundreds of deaths by smoke inhalation and razing of the town.
- Jacob Frye in Assassin's Creed: Syndicate is very single minded in his pursuit of the templars. And as such, causes a LOT of damage in going after their ranking members. His list of destructive deeds include Derailing a train, burning down a medical facility, causing the collapse of Medical regulations, throwing transportation in London into chaos and under the thumb of gangs, crashing a carriage, and most famously, nearly collapsing the British economy just by killing the bank president and causing it to close temporarily.
- BomberMan. Makes sense, considering his primary weapon.
- Quite common in the Final Fantasy series, but reaches its apex with Zidane in Final Fantasy IX. Pretty much every city and location Zidane visits gets spectacularly trashed at some point, earning him the title of the Console List Of JRPG Cliches law, "Zidane's Curse." Justified, with some irony, in that he's actually designed to be a harbinger of destruction.
- One of the few grey areas in Fire Emblem Awakening was Chrom's father waging a war against the Religion of Evil Grimleal in Plegia to stop their actions. However loss of soldiers in the war led to recruiting of peasants, leading to no one farming his lands, leading to widespread starvation in addition to not destroying the Grimleal, and likely damaging Plegia as a whole. Later in the game, a conqueror from another continent, Walhart also tries to exterminate the Grimleal, but makes enemies with the entire continent, and also fails. Walhart's supports reveal he was manipulated by hidden Grimleal in his army. One wonders if the same happened to Chrom's father?
- Terror missions in XCOM. You are to save cities (and, in TFTD, ships) from alien attack, but while the game punishes you for allowing (not to mention causing) civilian deaths, there is no penalty for destruction of property, so the cities you "save" from the alien menace are generally in ruins by the time your troops depart.
- In the modern adaptation Xenonauts, you actually are penalized if too much civilian property is destroyed.
- In Apocalypse, X-Com is more tolerated, rather than embraced, and the city of Mega Primus is humanity's last bastion against a mostly ruined world. As per usual for X-Com, you can absolutely destroy the areas you deploy to, especially since a lot of structures are supported by lower levels which are easier to destroy and let gravity do the rest. However, causing insane amounts of damage will sour relations with the organization that owns the facility, and if you piss them off enough, X-Com won't just be fighting the aliens.
- The reboot continues this trope: your soldiers' default equipment includes two grenades, and heavies carry a rocket launcher that can be upgraded to a plasma homing missile. You can blow up entire buildings in your pursuit of alien activity, cars are casually used as IED's and you can opt to murder civilians to prevent Crysalids from turning them into zombies. All the UFO's that you shoot down have significant chance to crash into urban areas and you see entire city block demolished by small craft. You can only imagine, how Battleship would look in same situation. The end mission disables alien mothership safety protocols, turning his power core into miniature black hole. Being too close to Earth, the only thing that prevented planetary destruction was Volunteer sacrificing his/her life to deal with this mess. The sequel might be worse; one of your character classes has a grenade launcher for their secondary, a good quarter of mission types involve terrorist bombings and human kidnapping, undercover aliens may make you paranoid enough to shoot random civilians, and you effectively shut down the avatar project by destroying any and all progress they have made from millions of human experiments.
- XCOM 2 continues the destructive traditions of its predecessor, only now you can blow up floors of buildings to drop enemies to their doom, and one class, the Grenadier, is dedicated to property and cover destruction. Later exosuits you can unlock give you the ability o fire rockets, and the SPARK robot allies you can build in the Shen's Last Gift expansion also carry rockets and missiles. On top of that, unlike in previous games, civilian casualties in cities have no impact on your standing (you're a guerilla movement being smeared by propaganda anyway) so you're perfectly fine with accidentally getting a civilian or twenty caught in the crossfire. It's even encouraged in some cases, because a civilian might actually be a Faceless in disguise!
- Kratos from God of War III can be interpreted as a much darker version of Christ; A man of divine origin born of a mortal mother who tore down the established order of tyranny and then gave hope to the world.
- The protagonist of Xenogears certainly qualifies as this to the extreme. The current incarnation, Fei, has been born and reborn several times throughout history. His original incarnation is not shown as being responsible for anything destructive, but his reincarnations? Hoo boy.
- His first incarnation, Kim, is a researcher engaged in developing nanotechnology with the best of intentions in mind. Kim's technology is rediscovered 6,000 years later and is instrumental in the development of nanotechnology which is utilized to revive Deus (and, consequently, wipe out most of the planet's population).
- His second incarnation, Lacan, is a mild-mannered painter who becomes a hero in the struggle against Solaris for the freedom of surface-dwellers. This lasts only until the love of his life dies in a heroic sacrifice. This results in a particularly unfortunate series of events resulting in Lacan becoming Grahf, who immediately summons ancient murder weapons known as Diabolos which end up killing off most of the planet's population. And that's just for starters.
- Finally, there is Fei, a guy who generally augments his angst with a solid heroic archetype. But, if you stress him out too much, he transforms into Id, a completely amoral monster and Super-Powered Evil Side who wipes out entire civilizations just because.
- In an Abridged Series of Ocarina of Time, Link is like this.
- In the real games, he's limited to pottery and rocks.
- See the Brawl in the Family strip above about The Legend of Zelda in general.
- In Twilight Princess, you have to hunt these bugs that contain a light spirit's power. How do you get into the buildings where they hide? You smash your way in through windows and roofs, and at one point, you must even start a fire that results in a small building being kablooified into nothingness. It's a wonder there's any of Kakariko Village left by the time you're done 'saving' it.
- In the little-known The Lord of the Rings parody adventure game Kingdom 'O Magic, this is what happens at the end of the "Magnificient 7-11 Quest"; after bravely defending Flake Town from the invasion, the whole town gets wrecked anyway in the ensuing celebration.
- The entire premise of the Red Faction series revolves around saving people from oppression by BLOWING SHIT UP!, particularly Guerrilla. (It helps show off the Geo-Mod system.)
- The main goal of the Just Cause series: you destabilise the governments of various rogue nations by blowing the crap out of their property. Most of this property is also being used by civilians (such as water towers and power generators) and you never get called out on it.
- Lara Croft has never been particularly kind to the surrounding infrastructure, but the rebooted series turns it Up to Eleven. Be it natural formations that took aeons to form, Japanese WW-II-bunkers, Soviet installations or ancient ruins that have weathered the passage of countless centuries, almost all of them will inevitably crumble into smoldering piles of rubble within minutes of her arrival on site. The amounts of infrastructure and irrecoverable historical legacy Lara routinely destroys on her adventures are staggering. Granted, much of it is caused by her enemies in their attempts to kill her, but another large chunk is definitely her own fault.
- Nathan Drake of the Uncharted series is much akin to Ms. Croft, except some of the areas are mostly decrepit by their standards; and so are naturally decaying. Then again, he did manage to destroy a lost, legendary city with just three bullets.
- Robot Alchemic Drive tasks you with using remote-controlled Humongous Mecha to ward off an invasion of equally humongous alien robots. The city you fight in will usually fewer intact city blocks by the time the battle is finished as your robot and the alien punch each other into buildings and use all manner of powerful ordinance against one another. The game, however, encourages you to minimize damage as much as possible be rewarding you bonus money for leaving specific buildings intact, as well as an additional reward if the city is left relatively unscathed.
- The Earth Defense Force series tasks you with repelling alien invasions, often with very destructive weapons. There is no penalty for collateral damage, so you have carte blanche to be as destructive as you wish to be while saving Earth from aliens.
- StarCraft: The Protoss allowed the Zerg infestations to get bad enough that a global torching was the only solution. Seems they weren't overly fond of the humans who also lived on those planets and were looking for a reason to toast them, too.
- World in Conflict actually has you avoid that situation to a degree. In several cases, you have to deal with enemies under a time limit before command is forced to take drastic measures. Played straight with Cascade Falls getting nuked to stop the Russians.
- That being said, there aren't many cities that survive being saved by American forces. Even Seattle, at the end of the game, will likely require billions upon billions of dollars to bring back to any semblance of normalcy.
- This is played for laughs in Eric the Unready — the hapless protagonist, the knight Eric, seemingly manages to finish each section of his quest by wrecking everything (purely by accident, no less.)
- Freedom Force, though it's only towards the end of the sequel that confrontations start knocking down city blocks by accident.
- Mercenaries is built on this. Though how much of a "savior" you are depends.....
- Alex Mercer saves Manhattan from a nuke and fights the infected. He also has a civilian kill count well into the thousands, often in a single mission and unintentionally.
- The trope could well be renamed Angry Birds, as the object isn't just to Kill 'em All, but points are awarded based on how much is destroyed.
- The title character of Nier is like this, heedless of the destruction he causes trying to save Yonah. This ultimately results in the death of mankind.
- In RefleX, not the main character, but his ship, which houses the AI named ZODIAC Ophiuchus. After the death of the pilot, Ophiuchus begins piloting the ship itself and proceeds with its mission: hunting down and killing the other ZODIAC machines which are laying waste to Earth. By the time it's done, most of Earth is in ruins from the collateral damage and human civilization is on the brink of collapse, and Ophiuchus is considered as big a threat as the things it's trying to destroy.
- The Dragonborn from Skyrim, who can save a town from a Dragon attack, but potentially leave half the population dead from the crossfire.
- Riki in Bangai-O, who has no problem wrecking anything in his path with the eponymous Humongous Mecha. His more docile sister Mami isn't any better, given that she's his co-pilot. However, the cities are part of the various stations owned by the Cosmo Gang and contribute to scoring points and fruit, so it's all good.
- In Spec Ops: The Line this trope is subverted twice. First, though the player doesn't realize it until the end, through John Konrad, the supposed antagonist of the game and second through the player himself. Throughout the game, the player is shown the aftermath of Konrad's failed evacuation of a partially-buried Dubai; thousands of dead bodies litter each level, many of which hang from freeway signs and lightposts if not set up against a wall and executed. The surviving soldiers are at war with the CIA and both sides use murder and torture to further their ends. In response to this, Captain Martin Walker (protagonist) hardens his resolve to fix the situation, only worsening it with every bullet fired, explosion caused and war crime he commits until by the end, he's damned the city to death by dehydration.
- Vi, a champion, police enforcer and reformed criminal from League of Legends is one. To quote her: "Here I come to save the day... ,or wreck it". The reformed part is mostly because she thought it's a good opportunity for smashing some faces and not being chased because of it.
- Mass Effect:
- Commander Shepard has this reputation. While Renegade Shepard justifies this by being a Sociopathic Hero, even Paragon Shepard leaves just as much property damage in their wake. After destroying Saren's cloning labs on Virmire, the Council are more concerned that it was done by detonating a nuclear device on the surface of a tropical garden world.
- In Mass Effect 2, a batarian on Omega comments that things have a habit of exploding around you, and in Mass Effect 3, when Mordin is pleased to note that your affinity for destruction is still intact.
- The conclusion to the Mass Effect series in Mass Effect 3 offers five successful solutions to the Reaper invasion. Four of these six solutions result in a lot of destruction at the cost of "victory": if the player is unprepared going into the final battle, the two options (Destroy and Control) offered result in the destruction of the Mass Relays as well as most of Earth. One of the two (Destroy) is so destructive that it strands allied ships in the middle of nowhere without any hope of salvation. Prepared players face the same two options that hold almost as much destructive power behind them (though Earth is largely spared). Only the fifth option doesn't leave the galaxy picking up the pieces of Shepard's decision.
- Every single time Wario saves some area/world in the Wario Land series, it's pretty much this. At best the areas he visits end up completely cleaned out of money and with lots of scenery broken, at worst the entire level gets mostly smashed to pieces (see many stages in Wario Land II and Wario Land 3) or the entire level/area gets literally blown to kingdom come (like the Golden Pyramid and a few of its levels in the fourth game). Still, he is an Anti-Hero, and his games range from Black and Gray Morality to Evil Versus Evil, so it probably shouldn't be much of a surprise that he doesn't care how many pieces a level ends up in afterwards.
- Samus Aran from Metroid. Nary a game has passed where she hasn't escaped from an exploding pirate base, space-station, alternate dimension, or planet. Special mention goes to Super Metroid and Zero Mission where she blows up not one but TWO of the above in the same game.
- In some games, Sonic the Hedgehog is this, mostly depending on how the player plays. In Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic can send cars flying when he runs into them, some of which are actually moving, and Sonic Unleashed has him regularly smash through picnic tables and windows in his runs through the levels.
- A somewhat hilarious version in Driver: San Francisco: Tanner (the protagonist) has the ability to "Shift" into peoples bodies, possessing them. While you can't hit anyone on the road, and no one can die from collisions, it's still extremely jarring to have the game explain that possessing people and having them drive into head-on collisions is not only effective for stopping criminals, but fun.
- Mr Toad accuses Bigby of being this in The Wolf Among Us; he's not entirely wrong.
(After Bigby has just accidentally destroyed his car) Mr Toad: I called you, and you came to help. I can't be mad. But even when you help, things end up more fucked than when they started!
- Epic Mickey: the main quest is to track down the evil Shadowbolt, but as "thinner" is a game mechanic, Mickey can intentionally destroy structures and leave without repairing them with "paint". Deconstructed in that if you keep doing this, NPC characters will start chewing out on you and the ending may reflect the results of your disastrous actions.
- LEGO Adaptation Game: the requirement to be a True Jedi/Adventurer/Hero/Whatever is to destroy every possible scenery prop to get enough Lego studs.
- The dragonslayer in Dra Koi wrecks the forces of what should be his allies in passing and tends to cause large amounts of collateral damage while fighting the dragon.
- Entire city blocks tend to get crushed whenever Demonbane fights. It's amazing there's any city left by the later chapters. This is acknowledged in-story with many ordinary people wondering if Demonbane isn't just as destructive as the forces its fighting against, and very few people endorse Demonbane as a heroic figure. After Cthulhu's partial awakening in the skies over Arkham City, the entire metropolis is wiped off the face of the Earth, though much of the citizenry survives due to having evacuated into underground shelters. Several endings show that the Hadou Group is trying to rebuild the city afterward.
- One rather humorous and extreme example is the fact that, in the final battle, a time-hopping Liber Legis and Demonbane crash onto prehistoric Earth... in the Yucatan Peninsula. Yep, a couple of warring machine gods are responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs.
- 8-Bit Theater minus the Savior bit - they're the bad guys of the story. The actual Light Warriors are not, but who cares about them? The only actual figure with a chance of stopping Black Mage and co. is the omnipotent jackass wizard Sarda, who causes even more destruction than they do.
- VG Cats has this example when talking about Chromehounds.
- There's a reason that Celesto Morgan of Dominic Deegan is referred to as "Collateral Damage Man." He's only recently become anything close to a "savior" in his attempts to stop "The Beast," and tends to prefer the fighting style of "throw Chaos at it until it explodes." Admittedly, strictly speaking he wasn't trying to save Lynn's Brook in particular, but the world as a whole, and considers the loss of Lynn's Brook acceptable.
- Kamina (Yes, that Kamina) of DOUBLE K proudly boasts during his introduction that he's the only cop on the force to cause more collateral damage than the entire budget could cover.
- Axe Cop has worked with Electric Man, who had the habit of running too fast when trying to catch bad guys, slipping and falling on his face, shooting out electricity and causing earthquakes, and leveling the whole city. They got him a metal space suit so that from then on he just slipped and fell.
- In Everyday Heroes, the heroes of S.A.V.E.U.S. foil an art museum robbery. Girl with a Pearl Earring even gets a black eye.
- In Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth, Flintlocke and his party successfully save Stormwind by bombing it with the Ultimate Goblin-Engineered Weapon.
- Grrl Power has Maxima explaining to Syndey that comic books don't really seem to take into account what happens whenever a hero misses a villain in cautioning Sydney against this trope, since This Is Reality. To avoid it she says to slam enemies into the ground, not through buildings, and to always assume the attack you're aiming at an enemy will hit whatever is right behind them.
- Even when the mercenaries in Schlock Mercenary are being good(ish) guys, or at least are being paid by people who are, they still cause a staggering amount of collateral damage when the plan inevitably goes south and Charlie begins dancing the foxtrot. Usually, the culprit is Schlock; those that aren't are usually the worst, because Schlock isn't authorised to have nuclear-scale weapons and thus is mostly limited to destroying things within his plasgun's effective range.
- Death Battle:
- Taken to extremes between Goku and Superman with their fight causing massive damage that results with the destruction of the entire planet.
- Natsu vs Ace: True to form, Natsu's fight with Ace causes so much destruction and wrecks the town that he gets thrown out of there after winning.
- In the Whateley Universe, there was Battery, who fought his nemesis to the death and destroyed one of the New York City bridges in the process; and the Flying Bulldozer, who wasn't smart enough to avoid major damage when he pursued felons. Now there's Tennyo, who has done things like: destroy an entire building and most of a street fighting the Arch-Fiend; and completely destroy the underground NORAD C base while rescuing her parents.
- In Dragon Ball Z Abridged's take on Episode of Bardock, the Primitive Saiyans refer to Bardock as their "violent savior".
- Which given he was planning to eat there entire species if he didn't fill up on bread first is actually quite generous a title.
- And in the main canon, Vegeta fits this trope, especially when pursuing Android 18 and not caring about collateral damage.
Vegeta: I will kill as many people as I have to as long as you are one of them!
- Mr. Welch seems to be the incarnation of this trope:
17. Collateral Damage Man is not an appropriate name for a super hero.694. Search the old castle means enter it, not level it with artillery and dig through the rubble.901. In the middle of the Black Ops a diversion is not blowing off the top twenty floors of the building.1216. I can’t have a gun that treats buildings as light cover.1439. If the top floor is too well defended, can't just blow off the next to top floor.
- In X-Ray & Vav, our titular duo wants to be heroes. They have the gear, the names, the looks... just that they don't know to use the gear, X-Ray takes Hot-Blooded to a whole new destructive level and Vav is just as bad. This leads to Stuff Blowing Up.
- In the episode of Disney's Aladdin: The Series that introduces clean freak inventor Mechanicles, the villain attempts to destroy a village. The heroes' attempts to stop him end up forcing the villain to unleash his Humongous Mecha beetle to attack the village. As a result of the following battle, the village is demolished.
Jasmine: We did it! We saved the village!
Village elder: (surveying the pile of rubble that used to be his village) ... And what village would that be?
- Animaniacs parodies Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and its unintentional usage of this trope in the skit "Super Strong Warner Siblings". Near the end of the skit, the parody version of Rita sends down a giant bug monster to the Warner Brothers studio. The Warner Siblings then summon their Humongous Mecha and defeat the giant bug monster after a highly destructive battle, flattening many buildings in the process. After the battle, the Warner Siblings step out of their mecha and are approached by a very angry Warner Brothers CEO, followed by this exchange:
Yakko: Good job, Super Siblings! We've saved the lot from harm!CEO: Look what you have done to my lot! Do you have any idea how much it's gonna cost to rebuild it?''*Camera pans to the rubble that was once the studio*
- Duck Dodgers destroys Planet X in an argument with Marvin the Martian in the original Looney Tunes short. Seeing as it was a Cold War satire, this was quite intentional.
- A Family Guy episode has Peter and his friends (in a The A-Team parody) tried to save a girl's cat. They fired at the tree until it fell down- onto her family's house.
- A Running Gag in Fillmore! is the frequency with which the titular character inadvertently causes havoc or breaks things while chasing a suspect.
- Fry, Leela and Bender in the Futurama superhero episode: "Thank you, mysterious heroes. The value of the Gemerald you saved is slightly greater than the cost of the damage you caused to this museum. A net gain for our great city!"
- Godzilla in Godzilla: The Series. He IS as big as a building and can tunnel underground, so it's unavoidable. Forms the basis of the plot of an early episode, in which the military is trying to stop Godzilla under the belief that he's just indiscriminately attacking New York considering all the damage he's doing, when in reality, Godzilla is trying to hunt down an infestation of giant mutated rats, which conveniently vanish once the military actually arrives.
- Happy Tree Friends: Splendid frequently causes a tonne of damage along with the frequent fatalities he inflicts during his "heroism".
- Justice League: The original "World of Cardboard" Speech was followed up by Superman punching Darkseid through at least six skyscrapers (none come down, but at least a couple appear to take sufficient enough damage to be condemned) and then pounding him into a city-block-wide crater. The city was already torn up from the preceding fight, but daaaaaang.
- Korra in The Legend of Korra is such a Destructive Savior that Republic City's police chief is desperate for her to leave the city for good. Taken Up to Eleven in the series finale when Korra and her friends destroy pretty much the entire city fighting the Big Bad's Giant Mecha. One assumes they're doing it so Asami can collect on the lucrative infrastructure contracts that are sure to follow.
- Mega Man X in his one-episode appearance in Mega Man.
- Megas XLR had fun with this in two directions. On the one hand, the series was the trope namer for Conveniently Empty Building. On the other hand, there was an entire episode devoted to the consequences of this, in which a group of other heroes proclaimed Coop the greatest villain on Earth and tried to bring him to justice.
"Nobody wrecks MY city! Uh... except me."
- Rick and Morty Its often used for comedic reasons. Rick has destroyed the earth once to help his son roofie his crush and couldn't have cared less. He doesn't even fix his destruction he just leaves that universe and goes to a new one where a version of him did fix it. Takes down the galactic government by changing the value of their currency. This leads chaos to ensue after the president of earth for the galactic federation commits suicide when rick makes their currency worthless. In the same episode hetelports the citadel of ricks into the gaklactic federation causing many mortys and ricks to be killed in the process. all so he can get his hand on more teriyaki szechuan nugget sauce from 1998. Morty destroys an entire police force to save a gas based alien and then ends up killing it at the end of thee episode when it says it will come back with more of its kind to destroy all carbon based life. This means all that destrucction was also meanuingless. The entire series epitomizes this trope. The devil says rick is worse than him when it comes to destroying things. some even argue he detroyed earth another time in the begining of the pilot episode. Rick destroys an entire miniverse within a miniverse just so his car can stay powered.
- The Powerpuff Girls.
- Most notable one being when the girls fight in Humongous Mecha. Others are not that destructive.
- This is actually deconstructed in one episode where they move to a city on the more cynical end of the scale. The mayor calls them on destroying an important suspension bridge in order to stop some bank robbers who stole only a few hundred dollars.
- Mojo Jojo also pulls a gambit to make the girls super huge so that they wreck townsville as they search for him. He's more anxious than usual about being caught, but the growth does get half the job done.
- Also shows up in The Movie.
- The Quack Pack episode "Gator Aid" turned out this way and lampshaded it. After successfully foiling a villain who was trying to raid a Fort-Knox-alike (through a scheme she accidentally gave him in the first place while masquerading as his assistant), Daisy declared "We did it! We saved the depository!" Pull back to show the crumbling remains of said depository, and Daisy adding "...Well... some of it." She did save the far-more-valuable gold it contained, though.
- The Simpsons: "Thank you, Bartman. Your overzealous homicide has saved me eighty cents!"
- Spongebob Squarepants
- In the episode "Wormy", Spongebob and Patrick sound the alarm about a monster (actually a butterfly) and send the entire city in a panic that causes far more destruction than the "monster" would have ever caused.
- In the episode "Sandy, Spongebob, and the Worm", Spongebob and Sandy managed to drive a giant off a cliff to get rid of it. However, at the same time the citizens of Bikini Bottom were pushing the city somewhere else in an attempt to get away from the worm. The city ended up at the bottom of the cliff that the worm fell off and so the giant worm landed on top of Bikini Bottom, destroying it.
- The Crystal Gems in Steven Universe are interested in protecting the Earth. Individual buildings on it, not so much. On one occasion they shut off Beach City's power for more than a day while preparing for a battle, and don't particularly care. Steven, being The Heart, does try and limit collateral damage where possible and tries to apologise and make up when it happens, at least.
- Cyborg in Teen Titans picked up a building to hit Plasmus. Raven likewise tends to telekinetically throw anything and everything not nailed down at her enemies, which has included buildings.
- An episode of Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race set in Australia involves all the teams going to a farm to catch rabbits. The invasive species are pests to the farmers. Right from the get-go, all the teams race to catch 10 rabbits, and end up destroying many of the crops in the process without even thinking about it.
- One of the most-remembered episodes among fans of the original The Transformers series involved peacenick Autobot Beachcomber stumbling across a strategic resource in an unspoiled meadow. Naturally, both sides end up completely laying waste to said meadow fighting over it. The final line of the episode is Beachcomber surveying the scene of devastation and declaring, heartbroken, "We won."
- Bulkhead of Transformers Animated has this problem. Quite often, actually, as he Does Not Know His Own Strength.
Sari: I'm sure it wasn't that bad. You saved the city, right?
Bumblebee: After destroying half of it.
Sari: Not helping.
- Of course, as the perspective Autobot team in Animated started as a repair crew, and the city of Detroit isn't exactly happy about the collateral damage, on more than one occasion they have forced the Autobots to clean up after themselves. Which is good, because even the live-action PG-13 movies don't feature as much destruction as Animated.
- In Transformers Prime, Bulkhead is forever accidentally smashing sensitive equipment even if not in battle. Ratchet will always yell "Bulkhead! I needed that!"
- Addressed in Ultimate Spider-Man, Nick Fury tells Spider-Man that he tends to cause to much collateral damage in fighting super villains, Nick is trying to train the team to do less property damage in their fights.
- Underdog was once asked about the damages caused while he was taking out a bad guy. His response:
Underdog: I am a hero who never fails. I cannot be bothered with such details.
- In Real Life, happens quite a lot. World War II saw numerous examples, such as both Leningrad and Stalingrad, which were virtually levelled in the successful defence of them. Many of the great capitals of Europe, like Paris and Rome, escaped this sort of destructive fighting only because the German commanders quit them rather than engage in destructive fighting there. London, not so much. Douglas MacArthur, upon fulfilling his pledge to return to the Philippines, expected the Japanese to do the same in Manilla, but instead they dug in and mounted a defensive resistance that was so difficult to break, MacArthur was forced to lift his ban on heavy artillery and air support. This decision allowed the US Army to eventually defeat the stubborn defenders while reducing American casualties, but at the cost of flattening most of Manila and its historical landmarks with tons of bombs and shells.
The reasons for this type of defense are many, but the primary reason to obliterate a city while defending it is not so much to deny the enemy the resources, but rather to slow the enemy down. Stalingrad, for example, held up the Germans for months as they tried to get enough forces through the ruined city. This is less common in modern warfare with precision weapons, but still occurs. Fallujah during the Iraq War, for example.
The battle of Stalingrad stands out because the German army was forced to ignore the strategy that had been winning the war before then, which saw tough pockets of defense surrounded and picked off at a leisurely pace to conserve men and munitions.
- The liberation of France involved blowing a lot of it up. Some residents of coastal towns bear a lot of resentment towards the D-Day invaders (in part due to the rapes and such that accompanied the liberation). Succinctly described by the anonymous member of Patton's Third Army who remarked of the smoking ruins of the French Village he occupied, "We sure liberated the hell out of this place."
- WWI also had its share of this. Before/After photos of Passchendaele◊ illustrate it fairly well. Many towns were literally wiped off the face of the Earth. A number of these "Lost towns" are listed on memorials to the war dead.
- Termite Exterminators. They'll have to batter down huge wooden portions of an infested house and in extreme cases put the entire structure under a fumigation tent for days.
- Firefighters have torn down buildings and set their own fires to stop larger fires from spreading. From which originated the saying "fight fire with fire"
- Police departments are beginning to limit the circumstances under which they will engage in chases for exactly this reason.
- Soldier saves a cat stuck up a tree. Thankfully, nobody got killed.
- This also applies to the "Animal Liberation Front" and the "Earth Liberation Front", too. Both groups are fighting for a good and just cause, however, caused in their actions often greater property damage negligently or intentionally. Although sometimes referred to these groups in the United States as a terroristic, not a single case is known in which by one of the groups a human would come to harm.