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Exactly What I Aimed At

(Optimus Prime shoots at Dreadwing and misses, sending the shots into a mountain)
Dreadwing: Your aim is poor.
Optimus Prime: That is a matter of perspective.
(Dreadwing is buried in an avalanche started by the shots)

The Gunslinger has an opponent in his sights, and fires a shot. But to the opponent's surprise, the shot missed. The opponent takes a moment and sneers at their inaccuracy...

Ha! Ya missed!

Then the gunslinger points out that he wasn't aiming at the opponent, and hit exactly what he really was aiming for: A trick shot that sets off something else (often a chain reaction) that slips past the opponent's guard, and takes out the target in a different way. Bonus points if it's actually far more effective than a direct attack would have been.

This usually involves getting some part of the locale to collapse on the enemy, or cause a slightly delayed explosion. Occasionally, this may be pulled off by someone to capture or disable his foe rather than kill him. Either way, there's usually enough time to see the opponent's reaction as he notices what's actually going to happen.

This trope is so well-known that inverting it by successfully pulling the trick shot, then admitting that they were really aiming at the normal target, is a trope in and of itself: Accidental Aiming Skills.

See also Deadly Dodging, Boomerang Comeback, Pinball Projectile, and Shoot the Rope. Also, it's bad juju to assume someone missed because they didn't hit you, specifically. Contrast Stab the Scorpion. If the shooter aimed at his victim, expecting him to miss in order to do a chain reaction; than it overlaps with Batman Gambit.

The verbal version of this is Exactly What I Meant To Say, and is more likely to involve a Straight Man, rather than an opponent, friendly or otherwise, than this trope.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In The Law of Ueki, the villain thinks a shot has missed and mocks the hero for not doing what he thought necessary, before the effect ends in the villain getting crushed beneath a tree. In another episode, an opponent believes he expertly dodged Ueki's attack, only to find that Ueki had struck his targets (his pockets) precisely.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure features this multiple times. Doppio pretending to throw a pair of scalpels at Risotto, but he actually threw them to make the good guys help him, Buccirati attacking King Crimson, yet when he misses he claims he was aiming at a pillar all along, all of Joseph's various rope-tricks etc.
    • Interesting example: Josuke and Jotaro are fighting Bug-Eaten, a rat with a Stand that liquifies what it shoots. Jotaro (who can stop time and thus dodge more easily) goes out to draw its attention, leaving Josuke (whose Stand can heal others but not himself, reducing the risk to Jotaro) to shoot it by using his Stand to throw bullets. Josuke's first shot misses, hitting the rock that Bug-Eaten's hiding behind, and Jotaro is hit. Bug-Eaten then turns to aim at Josuke... and takes a bullet straight through the body. Josuke missed on purpose in order to get Bug-Eaten's attention - where it was initially, only its head was exposed; when it turned to aim at him, it had to reveal much more of itself, making an easier target and giving Josuke time to line up the shot.
  • In the Mazinkaiser movie -belonging to the Mazinger Z series-, Tetsuya Tsurugi is fighting Angoras and Scarabeth, two commanders of the Mykene Empire army. Tetsuya throws Great Mazinger's Great Boomerang and right after shoots Great Typhoon. Both attacks miss, both commanders laugh and ask where he is aiming at... when Great Mazinger's boomerang slices them both from behind. As he is dying, Scarabeth -Mykene army's best tactician- realizes Tetsuya had missed his boomerang throw on purpose, and he shot Great Typhoon to change the boomerang's trajectory. So he caught them by surprise and killed both of them at once.
  • In One Piece, Usopp has done this at least once. While the Straw Hats are on Thriller Bark, Usopp fights Perona, who has the Horo-Horo Devil Fruit ability, so her spirit can leave her body while fighting, and because of this has the upper hand on Usopp, until he finds where her body is hidden. He takes the opportunity to take a shot before Perona reenters her body, but he misses her body. Then, when Perona tries to get up, she finds herself stuck: Usopp had shot a glue star.
    • Also occurs within the arc Usopp was introduced in. Zoro, chasing after Jango, cuts down a tree branch. Jango thinks Zoro's attack missed, but really, he was cutting the branch down so that Usopp could aim at Jango with a Gunpowder Star.
  • In InuYasha, the titular character pulls one of these off with a sword larger than he is. While fighting Hiten, the older of two Thunder Brothers, he flings his ginormous sword towards his opponent and misses. Hiten demands to know what sort of aim that was, and Inuyasha responds "Perfect!" At this point Hiten turns around to see that his younger brother, who was attempting to choke the life out of Kagome, has been perfectly skewered by Tessaiga without Kagome being struck.
  • In Amu's final battle with Nikaidou in Shugo Chara!, she throws the Heart Rod in his direction, which flies out the window. Nikaidou sneers at her aim?just before the rod returns and smashes the machine on which his plans had relied.
  • Vash the Stampede, from Trigun, pretty much lives and breathes this trope — although he tends to make it look like Accidental Aiming Skills, and those who only know of his reputation think (incorrectly) that he's all Improbable Aiming Skills and Instant Death Bullet.
    • Well, he does have utterly improbable aiming skills—choice is his use of thrown pebbles to knock bullets askew and render shots nonfatal at a quickdraw tournament, as well as opening the back of his revolver to throw the bullets out of it and concuss an opponent—he just doesn't use them for Instant Death Bullet. When he does flirt with the intention to shoot someone to death, his instinct seems to be to put the barrel of the gun against their head to prevent any mistakes. And yell.
  • In their first encounter with Zabuza Momochi in Naruto, Sasuke and Naruto come up with quite the gambit. Sasuke throws a rather large shuriken at an immobile Zabuza, but it just goes under his legs as he jumps and dodges the throw. Suddenly, the shuriken transforms into Naruto, who throws a kunai knife right back at Zabuza's exposed back. Zabuza only realizes just in time and manages to yank his arm clear of the attack, thereby releasing Kakashi from a prison that had required that exact arm to keep up an impenetrable bubble of water. All of this, and they are only junior ninja at the time.
  • A variation of this happens often in Yu-Gi-Oh!. A duelist will activate some trap/spell/monster card effect, only to have his opponent reply with something like "That won't work, my monster/trap/spell is immune to that effect". The duelist then replies along the lines of "I never said I was targeting that card" and reveals his true plan.
  • Happens twice in the third Ichigo/Grimmjow fight in Bleach Grimmjow was aiming for Orihime both times knowing that Ichigo would protect her. Needless to say, it worked pretty well.
    • Also used in the Hitsugaya/Gin fight during the Soul Society Arc. Though Hitsugaya dodges Gin's sword, which can extend itself to stab from a distance, he discovers that the unconscious Hinamori is directly in the sword's path.
  • Piccolo does this to Android 17 in Dragon Ball Z. He shoots either slow or badly aimed ki blasts which appear insignificant to 17, who dodges them all with little to no effort. Turns out it was a guided scattershot designed for Piccolo to control the energy blasts and ultimately converge them all onto his enemy at once.
  • Vato Falman pulls one of these in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. Fighting against a seemingly invincible Sloth, he fires a standard pistol. As Edward tells him that it's useless, a large icicle falls on Sloth's head, making him dizzy and allowing the Elrics to take advantage. Guess Falman knew what he was doing.
  • This is used in one of the first battles of Zoids: New Century. Bit Cloud is only allowed a few shots from his weapon and due to low accuracy wastes them all firing at a cliff. Much later in the episode, this cliff collapses causing the opponent to miss a crucial shot and come into melee range allowing him to land his Finishing Move winning him the battle. Do note that nobody is sure whether this is what he meant to happen or not. It's possible he just got lucky.
  • A variation is used right near the end of GUN×SWORD, when Ray Lundgren fires his last shot at the Claw before he is killed. The Claw laughs, saying that he missed, but Ray was actually aiming for the Claw's machine, and the bullet delayed the execution of his plan long enough for Van to stop him.
  • In Transformers: Robots In Disguise, Gas Skunk breathes stink gas all over Team Bullet Train. Railspike blasts a bunch of mines at him, all missing, and Midnight Express chastises him for inaccuracy. Railspike points out his mines did in fact reach their target - they exploded in midair, and the flame from the blast ignited Gas Skunk's breath, hurting him.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Milliardo Peacecraft fires Libra's main cannon, missing both the Gundam Pilots and The Federation's space headquarters. Then everyone realizes with horror that his target was Earth itself. Of course, this may be slightly spoiled for the viewer since the name of the episode is "Target: Earth".
  • Happens in YuYu Hakusho when Hiei dodged Yusuke's spirit gun only to be hit from behind after the blast was reflected off a mirror.
  • Happened in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann episode 2, soon after Kamina obtains full control of Gurren. Gurren throws Lagann like a baseball towards some Beastmen who taunted Kamina that he missed. A few seconds later and with good control steering by Simon, Lagann came back and destroyed the Beastmen from behind.
  • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon manga called Ginji's Rescue Team, Ginji uses Flamethrower towards Moltres. This follows:
    Moltres: Approaching me with a useless attack and missing from such a close distance...you are a fool!
    Ginji: Nope. I hit the bull's-eye.
    • That meant he uses Flamethrower towards lava to raise it up, then Mudkips uses Water Gun to cool the lava down and harden it, resulting in Ginji and Mudkip using "Rock Slide" to defeat the legendary Pokemon.
  • During the game between the Shinryuuji Dragons in Eyeshield 21, Agon tackled Monta near the sidelines, effectively using up the last few precious seconds left in the game. Despite that, Monta had yelled "Catch Max!" and Agon mocked him for how his dream is over. It's revealed that Monta actually grabbed the SIDELINE, forcing the clock to be set back and giving the team one more chance to pull ahead and win.
    • During the match between Ojou with Sena out due to an injury and Yukimitsu is called as a replacement. The White Knights send Shin to score a touchdown and no one can stop him. With three seconds left, Yukimitsu instead of trying to hold Shin back, pushes Shin into the endzone. It was revealed that Ojou's plan was to score right when time ran out, leaving Deimon no time to catch up. Yukimitsu realized this and saved Deimon by giving them one second they needed for a comeback. And they did. As Shin said, "Even though you're an enemy, that's... magnificent."
  • SD Gundam Force combines this with Throwing Your Sword Always Works. Talgeese is trying to force Zero down, so Zero throws his sword up, missing the evil Knight. "Hope you've got a strong back." The sword knocks away a large crystal hanging above them, causing it to fall and crush Talgeese.
  • Muteki Kanban Musume: Miki, poster girl from a Ramen Restaurant, tries to deliver Ramen to the house of a Angry Guard Dog and a fight ensues.
    Miki: An attack of that level? Did you think I couldn’t dodge that?
    Megumi: That’s not it… his target isn’t Onimaru san. It’s the ramen.
    Angry Guard Dog Toshiyuki eats the ramen while a surprised Miki falls ignominously.
    Miki: You bastard!
  • In episode 18 of Space Battleship Yamato 2199, the Yamato fires the Wave Motion Gun through a massive enemy fleet without hitting a single ship, causing one commander to mock their aim. And then he follows the shot's trajectory down to the massive power plant on the planet they're all orbiting, which explodes and destroys a significant portion of the fleet.

    Card Games 
  • Variation: In the storyline of the Deadlands CCG Doomtown, the climactic battle sees Austin Stoker face down the manitou Knicknevin with the Holy Wheel Gun (modified by Mad Science to work especially well against monstrous creatures in general) - but he doesn't shoot Knicknevin, he shoots an undead Abraham Lincoln. With the same bullet that killed him the first time. This results in another manitou (who reanimated Lincoln intending to wreak its own havoc, but badly underestimated the man's willpower) gaining control for the first time in years, and promptly tearing Knicknevin to shreds for being a glory hound.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man likes to shoot his webbing past an opponent, wait until the bad guy gloats, and then yank on the webline - inevitably pulling something large and heavy into/on top of the baddie. (In one instance, he suggests that the taunter should see Batman Returns. Seriously.)
  • In one Usagi Yojimbo scene, Usagi is annoyed at a band of ruffians causing a ruckus at the inn he's staying at. When the ruffians' leader refuse to back down, Usagi draws his sword and unleash a series of strikes... and the leader is at first stunned, then realizes he's unharmed. He scoffs at Usagi's bad aim... until his gang point out the various flies, neatly bisected or trisected, lying on the ground. They back off very quickly.
    • Most likely based on a Chinese tale of a group of toughs in a restaurant who are about to challenge a supposedly legendary swordsman. In that version, he doesn't cut the flies...he picks them out of the air with his chopsticks. All of them, in a couple of seconds.
  • Captain America uses a variation on Spider-Man during Civil War. Cap throws his shield, missing. Spidey webs it to a wall. Spidey turns to gloat, only for Cap to close the distance and punch him silly.
    • In a late '90s DC/Marvel crossover, Captain America is working his way up to fighting Batman, and runs into Bane. Cap does a standard shield attack, Bane dodges, and taunts Cap while grabbing him and setting him up for his standard backbreak attack. Of course the shield ricochets right back into Bane's head.
      Captain America: Now, no more back talk from you!
    • Bucky Barnes shortly after taking over as Cap following Civil War goes up against some AIM mooks with the Black Widow and throws the shield missing the 3 mooks in front of him and has it rebound away from him. The bad guys say something along the lines of "Captain America? Yeah right." only for Bucky to take advantage of their distraction to (nonlethally) shoot them. The shield? It knocks out a fourth mook that was creeping on the Widow.
  • The Dresden Files comic Welcome to the Jungle has Harry going up against three Hecatean Hags trying to perform an Ascension ritual, and at one point during the big throwdown, he aims a spell at the wall behind one of them. When the Hag calls him out on the supposedly misaimed spell, Harry agrees... and the ceiling above the Hag collapses, crushing her.
    • Happens a second time when Harry tracks down the last hag, low on juice and stumbling. He lets loose one spell, and the Hag laughs at him for missing. He just threw open the lock on the cage of the very pissed-off gorilla whose zookeeper friend the Hag was holding hostage...
  • This is Bullseye's entire schtick. Anything he throws will hit his intended target, even if he throws it in the complete opposite direction. He doesn't even have any powers, he's just that absurdly good.
  • In Batman: No Man's Land, Batman is ordered at freeze-gunpoint by Mr. Freeze to toss his Batarang "to the side." Batman does so; as it is a Batarang, it flies off to the side, curves back, and hits Mr. Freeze.
  • In Bookhunter, Agent Bay is pursuing a book thief, riding a library cart, through a library. Bay throws a large book at the thief. The book misses the thief's head... and flies into the magnets at the entrance, triggering the library's security system.
  • Cyclops has pulled this off from time to time as well, bouncing his optic blasts off reflective surfaces. This is more or less stated to be one of his Required Secondary Powers, which he often likes to take advantage of when playing pool.
  • In Justice League; Another Nail, after Mr. Miracle is killed by Desaad, his disembodied spirit makes his home in Big Barda's Mother Box. Later, after acquiring a Green Lantern power ring, Barda confronts Darkseid, but when she fires her power ring at him she misses by a country mile. Darkseid gloats that living on Earth has made her soft, until it's revealed that her first attack was really a GL construct of Mr. Miracle, who is now free to disrupt Darkseid's machinery, causing it to overload and ultimately destroy him.
    "A distraction. The first principle of any clever illusion...or a really sneaky attack. Barda didn't miss you, she was positioning me where I could do the most harm!"
  • Ultimate Gambit pulls this on The Juggernaut. Nothing what he can throw at Juggs can phase him (Hell he even powers him up at one point. Long story.) until he shoots at bottom of a construction site, causing a steel girder avalanche..
  • Lucky Luke once does this as he's being held up at gunpoint. The gunman orders another hostage (a professional card cheat) to remove his gun. He does so, but slips Luke a tiny derringer. Luke shoots, the villain gloats that the famous Lucky Luke has missed his shot, fires... and then stares confused at the mangled wreck that was his gun. Luke then reveals he hit what he aimed for- the barrel of the revolver, jamming the bullet inside.
  • During Grant Morrison's run in JLA, Green Arrow II/ Connor Hawke pulled this trope on a Key's robot mook. He supposedly missed an arrow shot, and the robot pointed out that Connor had ran out of arrows. Then the robot is hit on the head by said arrow, which is referred by Connor as a boomerang arrow.
  • Superman was fighting a foe who seemed to be able to dodge every attack until Supes realized the villain was reading his nervous system and relying heavily on that edge, so he used this trope to attack indirectly.
  • Hawkeye uses this against a variety of foes including speedsters with his boomerang arrow. He expected it to work in JLAAvengers on The Flash but unfortunately for him, Wally is used to dealing with such attacks because of Captain Boomerang.

    Fanfiction 
  • In Enemy to Love, when Tousen has Grimmjaw and Ishida captured, Ishida manages to disarm him and swings a sword at him, which Tousen easily avoids and taunts him about. Grimmjaw taunts him right back, as Ishida was aiming for the ropes tying him down.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Treasure Planet, Delbert shoots at some pirates but hits the rope holding a longboat instead, dropping it on the pirates.
    Captain Amelia: Did you actually aim for that?
    Delbet: You know, actually I did!
  • In Mulan, when the Huns attack the army in the mountains, Mulan lights a rocket and prepares to aim it at Shan Yu... then changes the direction at the last second, sending it flying into a mountain in the distance. However, her strike then sets off an avalanche that buries the Hun army.
    Mushu: "You missed! How could you miss?! He was three feet in front of you!"
    *Boom*
  • An interesting variant is in Toy Story. Buzz is flying (or falling, with style) towards Andy's moving truck, and flies over it. Woody yells that they missed the truck, and Buzz says they weren't aiming for the truck. They ditch their momentum and fall perfectly through the sunroof of Andy's mom's car into a box next to Andy, resulting in Andy's mom not questioning how they got there since she thought they were there all along.
  • In Frozen, Prince Hans redirects a treacherous henchman's crossbow shot aimed at Elsa towards the ceiling... and it breaks off a chandelier that falls on her, knocking her out. In hindsight, in the light of The Reveal, it seems that hitting the chandelier was intentional on his part: he wanted to make it look like an accident and, ideally, kill Elsa, giving the impression that he tried to save her and failed.
  • In Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Peabody pulls this off, setting off a tidal wave in the Paris sewers to escape Robespierre;
    Robespierre: Ha! You missed!
    Peabody: I never miss.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Wild Wild West:
    Loveless: "All that and you missed?"
  • In Batman Returns, Batman launches a grapnel at a foe who has Selina Kyle at stungun-point. The clown taunts him for missing, just before Batman pulls the grapnel back, tearing out a chunk of the wall which smacks the clown in the face and instantly knocking him out.
    • In The Dark Knight, when Batman misses the Joker's truck during the chase scene, the Joker mocks him "He missed!" only to have the truck flipped over; the aim was to tripwire the truck.
    • Sort of similar, in Batman Begins: "Who said anything about stopping it?"
  • In the 1985 film Silverado, as a posse is chasing the leads into some hills, several warning shots come from Danny Glover's character, who is hiding somewhere out of sight. As his shots ricochet off nearby rocks and cacti, a deputy says: "Let's go, he ain't hittin' nothin'". This prompts the sheriff, played brilliantly by John Cleese, to retort: "You idiot, he's hit everything he's aimed at". [cue the sheriff's hat getting knocked off by the next shot]
    • "Today, my jurisdiction ends... here."
  • Happy Gilmore uses this on the 18th hole.
  • At the end of Tank Girl, the final round of ammo goes way over the head of the bullet-deflecting main villain to knock over a bucket of water and short out his 100%-electronic life. Oh, the irony ... he was the head of Water & Power, and now he's lost power because his head is full of water.
  • James Bond:
    • In Moonraker, James Bond accompanies Hugo Drax on a quail hunt. One flies out at him and he fires, missing the quail. Drax says, "Sir, you missed such an easy shot." Bond replies "Didn't I?"... whereupon a thug who had been trying to kill him falls from a tree near where the quail flew out.
    • Similarly, in The World Is Not Enough, the dying Valentin Zukovsky chooses to shoot the cuffs holding Bond to a torture device rather than try to take a potshot at Elektra King. Fatally for the latter, this shot is mistaken for a subversion by her. She thinks he'd aimed at Bond and missed, taunting him that the ally must have really hated him.
      • Bond and Valentin had previously been enemies. His shot proves exactly the opposite, however: since Zukovsky had been fatally wounded, if he had chosen to shoot Elektra instead, Bond would have been unable to escape the torture device.
    • A villainous variation in Skyfall: Bond is nearly catching up to Silva in an abandoned section of the London Underground:
      Silva: You caught me. Now...here's your prize: the latest thing from my local toy store... it's called a "radio". [activates a detonator]
      [A bomb goes off collapsing the roof...several meters behind Bond]
      Silva: [laughs] No...but that is.
      [A train crashes though the roof, narrowly missing Bond]
  • Variant in The Court Jester: During the climactic swordfight, Basil Rathbone swipes at a candle in frustration, chopping it clean off its candlestick. Danny Kaye swipes at a row of candles, apparently missing; Rathbone looks smug for a moment before Kaye lightly blows at the candles, making them fall apart where he just sliced them.
  • In the Thunderbirds movie, Alan shoots rocks from his rock-throwing gadget (!), seemingly at The Hood.
    The Hood: It's not me you're angry at!
    Alan: It's not you I'm aiming at. * shoots one last rock and hits the trapdoor release *
  • In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Holmes and Watson are being attacked by Moriarty's mooks and pinned down by machinegun fire. The machinegun jams, Watson stands up and shoots one of the mooks, and retreats as the machinegun resumes firing. Holmes chastises Watson for not taking the chance to shoot the gunner; unbeknownst to him, the mook Watson just shot was carrying a primed grenade, which blows up the train carriage the mooks are standing in.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean can be seen as a variant of this; when Jack shoots Barbossa with the bullet he saved for him, he hits, but Barbossa thinks he's still invincible because of the curse - only to realize that once the curse is lifted, the bullet will kill him.
  • Operation: Dumbo Drop: On the river, H.A. nearly drops a marking shell on the boat he's riding in. The V.C. laugh...until they realize that their boat is moving right into the spot H.A. just marked.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Mystique fires a bullet through Magneto's neck but doesn't hit any major arteries. Magneto thinks she's lost her edge, but she insists that the shot would have hit something important if she was serious. She wasn't trying to kill him; she only wanted to stun him long enough to get his helmet off.
  • Red 2. The protagonists have a Knowledge Broker called The Frog under surveillance in a Paris cafe. Marvin Boggs can be seen in a room crouched over a laptop, while Frank Moses and the others enter the cafe. Unfortunately the Frog realises he's being watched, draws a mini-Uzi and fires it into the roof. At first this appears to be to keep everyones' heads down while he escapes, only for the ceiling to collapse and Marvin Boggs to come crashing through.

    Literature 
  • A rare villain example in Artemis Fowl the Arctic Incident: the protagonists are surprised when enemy fire appears to miss them, until they realize there is now an avalanche bearing down on them. They had ducked under an ice sheet to avoid the enemy fire, so the goblins couldn't get a shot in. To solve this, they decided to just shoot the ice sheet. Although, considering how stupid they are, they might have been aiming at them.
    • Also used again in the next book, when Holly uses a dart to activate a fire extingusher, saving some goblin prisoners from being crushed by molten metal and robbing them of their fire magic. "It was a testament to the goblin's stupidity that he could be trapped in a melting vehicle in a lockdown with an LEP officer firing at him and still think he had the upper hand."
    • And then taken Up to Eleven in The Lost Colony. Artemis fires a stun gun at Leon Abbott, but the time distorting magic affecting Hybras causes the shot to vanish before it can reach its target. However, Artemis had calculated exactly how the time distortion would affect the shot, and it travels back in time, hits Abbott at an earlier point in the scene, and alters the course of events.
  • In the Discworld novel Wyrd Sisters, Granny Weatherwax pulls off an interesting variation with lightning and a bit of headology.
  • Played for laughs in The Pushcart War. After the pushcart vendors use their pea shooters to take out the tires of the large trucks, they listen to a news report which details the outcome. The report includes a woman claiming to have been hit by one of the pea shooters. Maxie asks the group "Who missed?" Harry the Hot Dog says indignantly that he didn't miss, but the lady had insulted his hot dogs, and he couldn't resist.
  • In Mike Lee's Warhammer Time Of Legends book Nagash The Sorcerer, Nagash himself pulls this in his fight against the Druchii sorceress, crushing her beneath a big statue.
  • In The Lost Hero, Leo sends a bolt of fire over a Cyclops's head. She barely has time to be smug about it before it becomes clear what Leo was aiming at: a chain that was suspending an engine block directly over her head. Squish.
  • Done with a vampire's knife throw when Harry and Carlos were dueling vampires in White Night. Done immediately back when Ramirez blasted the floor in front of one of the vampires ... turning it to almost-frictionless dust.
  • British agent Quiller is sent to counter-snipe an assassin out to kill a member of the British Royal family visiting Thailand. He fires in time, but the VIP's limo goes off the road and he's kidnapped by people posing as ambulance officers. Quiller realises too late that he's killed a ringer and the real assassin was in a different position, aiming at the driver.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • In one episode, Faith hurls a construction hook at Angelus, who easily dodges the slow-moving, dangling object and snarks about Faith's bad aim, and is about to close in for the kill when the hook shatters a covered window, releasing brilliant shafts of sunlight that separate the two.
    • In an earlier episode, Kate is facing down Angel (who she's just found out was a vampire, a fact she's not at all happy about) and his unsouled former companion Penn. She arranges to stab both of them with a giant plank that impales Angel in the stomach (leaving his Healing Factor to work, eventually) and Penn in the heart (dusting him instantly).
      Angel: You missed.
      Kate: No, I didn't.
  • Buffy does this too.
    • As a training exercise, Giles blindfolds Buffy, hands her a ball, and asks her to throw it at him. She throws it in the wrong direction, he starts to wax sarcastic, and the ball bounces back and hits him in the head.
      GILES: It's not that simple, is it- (ball bounces off his head) Ow.
    • There's also "The Harvest" (S1x02), in which this trope is inverted and subverted. Buffy picks up a cymbal stand to attack Luke, and the following dialogue occurs:
      Luke: You forget; metal can't hurt me.
      Buffy: There's something you forgot about, too: sunrise.
      [Buffy throws the cymbal stand at the window behind Luke, breaking it. Luke writhes in pain for a couple of seconds before realizing there isn't actually any sunlight.]
      Buffy: [stakes Luke] It's in about nine hours, moron.
    • In the season 3 episode "Graduation Day Part 1", Faith decides to distract Buffy by shooting Angel with an arrow coated in slow-acting poison.
      Mook: Missed the heart.
      Faith: Meant to.
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor is at one point required to shoot the lock out of a door with a single-shot musket. He fires, and misses, prompting the person he's trapped in the cell with to whine about how he's wasted their only shot and clearly missed the lock. The Doctor then smiles smugly and pushes the door open.
  • In one episode of Farscape, Chiana confronts someone who'd murdered an old friend of hers. He claims she can't bring herself to shoot him because of their past together, but she shoots an acid-filled pustule on the wall that sprays all over him and leaves him to die.
  • In one episode of Psych, Shawn shows off his shooting skills to a female cop; she thinks he's missed the target completely, until she gets a closer look and sees that every shot he fired hit exactly where hers had.
  • This happens twice in Red Dwarf:
    • In "White Hole", Lister fires a shot to knock a planet into a white hole but misses... only to hit another planet, which collides with another planet, which plugs the hole. He then claims this was a "trick shot".
    • This also happens in the second novel. With disastrous consequences.
    • In "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", the Cat stops a fleeing Kryten by firing a bullet in apparently the wrong direction. It ricochets of several objects, hitting a sign just as Kryten is passing under it. The sign collapses on top of him.
  • In the first episode of Arrow, Oliver shoots an arrow at Adam Hunt, missing him and embedding it in the wall behind his desk. Hunt says "You missed!" and Oliver responds "Did I?". At the end of the episode, the viewer discovers that the arrow that is still stuck in the wall is allowing Oliver to remote-hack Hunt's computer.
    • Another example in Season Two. John Diggle originally thought that his brother died by accident, when Deadshot tried to kill the man he was trying to protect and shot him instead. Deadshot corrects him, saying that he doesn't miss. Diggle's brother was the target, and that H.I.V.E. hired him to kill him.
  • Inverted (maybe) in an episode of Babylon 5. While arresting a news reporter for trying to sneak camera equipment onto the station, Zack fires a shot over the reporter's shoulder, knocking the hovering camera out of the air. When one of his officers congratulates him on his aim, Zack replies (while looking the reporter dead in the eyes) "Now don't say that until you know where I was aiming."
  • In Stargate Universe, in "Darkness", the out-of-fuel Destiny performs a slingshot maneuver around a gas giant to propel itself into the inner part of a solar system where inhabited planets are located, giving the crew hope that they have somewhere to evacuate too. Unfortunately, their relief is short-lived when they notice that slingshot altered their course more than they had thought and they are now heading straight for the sun. In "Light" however, it's revealed that Destiny actually had intended to do this, as it refuels itself by diving into stars and scooping up stellar material.

    Videogames 
  • Players can do it themselves in games with Exploding Barrels.
  • In SaGa Frontier, the "Trickshot" gun skill, when used with only one gun. The character fires directly above the enemy, and shortly after, rocks cascade down.
  • In the 2005 update of Sid Meier’s Pirates!, the method by which the player defeats the named pirates in swordfights is the same - player throws his sword, enemy ducks and advances, player smirks, giant crate (whose rope the thrown sword just cut) swings in and knocks the enemy captain off the ship.
    • Unless you've taken out half of the named pirates, in which case, they start to become Genre Savvy, ducking under the crate... which then swings back and knocks them off the ship anyway. And the last captain you defeat will actually jump up on the crate, and celebrate his acrobatic ability by swinging his sword over his head...cutting the rope on the crate and landing him in the drink.
  • In Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, Freddy confronts a poker cheat named Aces in a saloon. When Aces pulls out a gun, Freddy upturns a table and hides behind it. The player is then given a targeting cursor, and everything you can hit with it results in a trick shot. Only one specific object ends up bouncing the bullet into a chandelier that falls on Aces, though.
  • In Frozen Synapse, there will likely be a time when you breathe a sigh of relief as a rocket "misses" you, only to have your forces wiped out by the enemy unit(s) who were behind the wall that said rocket just destroyed.
  • This quite exactly happens in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal near the beginning. In Clank's Show Within a Show "Secret Agent Clank," Clank throws a tray directly above the bad guy who stormed in. The antagonist gloats about Clank's bad aim, then the chandelier directly above him crashes down on him and somehow electrocutes him.
  • Done in several RPGs, where you are encouraged to destroy a support, to cause the enemy to fall or get crushed, such as the chandelier chain at the beginning of Super Mario RPG. Usually not very subtle, since the support will be one of the options when you cycle through the enemies, at which point you can be sure that destroying the support will be helpful. It's more commonly done near the start of the game.
  • This is arguably part of Revolver Ocelot's MO, being a "ricochet genius".
  • Jin Uzuki gets one during his first cutscene fight with Margulis early on in Xenosaga II ... Just watch it.
  • In Mass Effect 2, during Mordin's loyalty mission, Shepard and Mordin are confronted with a clan speaker for a krogan clan who has Mordin's student. The speaker is taunting Shepard while standing over a gas pipe. A Renegade interrupt option allows Shepard to shoot the pipe, prompting the clan speaker to mock Shepard's poor aim. Until he looks down and sees the escaping gas...
    • If you do not take this interrupt option, the krogan will continue his little rant for about a minute and a half, in which the interrupt trigger remains on screen THE WHOLE TIME, almost begging you to shut him up.
      • What's even more hilarious is that his buddies will back away while he's taunting you that you missed. It seems that the trigger was not the only one begging you to shut him up.
    • Zaeed tries to pull a similar stunt off in his loyalty mission. It's subverted this time, as he not only fails to injure his target, but sets on fire the refinery full of people that he was hired to save, potentially killing all of them.
    • During Lair of the Shadow Broker, while fighting the Big Bad of the DLC, Liara fires a biotic attack at the Shadow Broker, which curves upwards, missing the supposed target. Instead, it hits the shield generator, filled with electrified plasma. The result ends in a disintegrated Shadow Broker.
    • In Mass Effect 3, during shore leave, Shepard and Garrus have a bottle-shooting match on the Presidium. Shepard can intentionally miss the shot, leading Garrus to triumphantly declare he's a better marksman than Shepard.
  • In Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, in the cutscene before the last boss fight in the second level, Isa shoots at Armon Ritter while he's monolouging. The shots go through him. After Isa shoots a charged shot, Armon points out "You missed." A second later, a giant machine falls on top of him. He was better by the boss fight, though.
  • Razing Storm: When you defeat the Spider Tank, those missiles it fires are not running on faulty aiming devices. Remember, you are standing on a suspended platform. A platform that is suspended over a great height... Long story short, shoot the missiles.
  • In the Super Nintendo Entertainment System version of Batman Returns, the player (as Batman) can repeat the feat mentioned above in Film. The grappling gun is all but useless in Act 1-2, but using it on the wall just past the clown holding Selina hostage, and pulling the chunk of masonry on him, will knock off a significant amount of his life bar.
  • In Advanced Wars: Dual Strike Jake or Hawke will do this to Von Bolt's chair.
  • In Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island, you must throw a fire extinguisher into the water (and not at the villain, who will block it) so an orca will bonk it at the villain when he's not looking.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • In American Dad!, this happens in a memorable episode when Francine is in a government building, searching for Stan's sperm sample, but all she can find are unmarked, unlabeled containers full of white fluid. Stan appears, and threatens to stop her, and she pulls out a handgun and fires four shots. Stan cringes, and smiles smugly when he thinks that she missed. When Stan points that out, Francine smiles in a way that would terrify any Genre Savvy character, and says "Oh, I didn't miss." Stan realizes that he's standing in front of a container roughly two stories high, FILLED with white fluid. After Stan gets washed away, while Francine jumps onto a shelf to avoid it, it is revealed that the white fluid was simply milk, leading Francine to quip "That's not nearly as disgusting as I thought it was."
  • In an episode of Archer, Cyril, who appears to be incapable of keeping his eyes open while firing a gun, threatens the villain of the week. When the villain approaches anyway, he fires a volley of bullets...and then the camera pans to Archer's reaction: "Cyril...YOU SUCK AT EVERYTHING!" The villain, unharmed, starts to respond only to see that the McGuffin he was protecting is completely destroyed.
  • Occurs by accident in the second episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Zuko easily dodges Sokka's boomerang and keeps handing Sokka's ass to him for a bit longer, until the boomerang comes back to nail him in the head.
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series featured Robin fighting a Ninja on the roof of a building. The Ninja makes a single leap and slash with his sword, prompting Robin to dodge. After the exchange, the ninja casually returns his sword to it's sheath, which Robin looks at quizzically. Then the support beam for the water tower the ninja is standing by dramatically slides apart, prompting him to tap it lightly, sending the tower crashing down and sweeping Robin over the edge of the building in the resulting flood.
    • Averted the "Missed me" dialog: Mad Hatter had trapped Batman under a playing-card wall and was about to axe off Batman's head. Batman throws a batarang directly at Hatter, to which Hatter easily dodges. Rather than sneer, Hatter resumes his attack only to discover Batman's toy severs a line suspending a huge gargoyle statue. Paralysed with horror (Oh Crap), Hatter is pinned beneath the statue's claw with Batman escaping in the nick of time. Yeah, just as he planned it.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: From "The Super-Batman of Planet X":
    Rothul: Your aim is terrible!
    Batman: Is it, Rothul?
    (Cue Oh Crap moment as the robot Rothul is standing on explodes)
  • In an episode of Beast Wars, Megatron is holding Optimus Primal captive inside an alien spacecraft. Rattrap arrives to save the day and fires two shots in Megatron's direction. The shots miss Megs, who prepares to shoot Rattrap while sneering, "You should have made your shots count." Then, from right behind him, Optimus calmly replies, "Oh, they did," and proceeds to fight Megatron. Rattrap's "missed" shots actually hit, and cut through, the two cables that were holding Optimus.
    • Something similar happens in an earlier episode, when the Maximals are fighting the Predacons near a cliff face. Rhinox's aim is way off, and Cheetor calls him out on it. But a few seconds later, an avalanche of rocks, dislodged by Rhinox's carefully aimed fire, falls from the cliff and crushes the Predacons.
    Rhinox: There's more than one way to skin a cat... so to speak.
  • In one Bugs Bunny cartoon, Bugs brags to Yosemite Sam that he can perform a complicated trick shot that will part Sam's hair right down the middle. After he fires, Sam says, "You missed!" A second later, his hat splits apart, revealing a perfect part on his hair.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command "Bunzel Fever", Buzz shoots his laser at Torque and misses. Torque chides "Missed!", Buzz replies "No I didn't" as a stack of boxes falls on top of Torque.
  • Parodied in Chilly Beach, after Dale takes a shot at the net, he declares: "He shoots, he!...." and, after many ricochets, the puck inevitably just goes up into the sky, causing him to finish with "... just misses the cloud he was aiming for."
  • Ms. Endive does this in the Chowder episode "Schnitzel Quits" with a cake and a panic button.
  • In an episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, the Eds were dueling against the Kanker Sisters using turkey basters as squirt guns. The Eds shoot at the Kankers (while missing every shot) until they run out of water. Then the Kankers only shoot at their feet. Eddy makes fun of their aim until the Eds realize that what they were shot with was some sort of sticky solution to hold them in place while the Kankers kiss them.
  • In The Fairly OddParents TV movie AbraCatastrophe, the climax is a duel between the now all-powerful Mr. Crocker and Timmy Turner's collection of gifts from magical beings. They are eventually sucked down to an atomic level and Timmy fires one of Cupid's Arrows at Crocker, which lands at the latter's feet.
    Mr. Crocker: Ha! You missed!
    Timmy: Wasn't aimin' at ya.
    • Thusly Crocker realizes that he was standing on an atom, which splits apart due to the arrow and explodes in a nuclear reaction.
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Ghost takes a few shots at Iron Man, going straight over his head. Iron Man mocks him for this, until he points out that the wall is about to collapse on Black Widow, forcing Iron Man to rescue her instead of stopping Ghost.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance", Flash goes through one of the Mirror Master's mirrors after Linda Park, which leaves them both lost in the mirror dimension. Batman shoots his flare gun past the Rogues and into another mirror, showing them which one is the exit.
    Mirror Master: Missed me!
    Batman: (stares at him)
    • Subverted in the Season 1 finale, where Batman does hit the Thanagarian soldiers with sonic batarangs, but they just seem to get harmlessly stuck in their armor.
    Soldier: "Your weapons are useless!"
    Batman: "Wait for it."
    [Cue the eyes of a thousand bats appearing behind him and attacking the soldiers]
  • Batman Beyond: In "Eyewitness", while the framed Batman is being pursued by Barbara and a SWAT team, Batman pretends to surrender and then throws a Batarang at Barbara, who dodges it... only to discover that Batman had been aiming at Spellbinder, who was lurking invisible behind her, the whole time.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill when Ladybird, Hank's bloodhound, is thought to be rabid, Bobby takes aim with a rifle and fires. Hank and Dale think he missed; Bobby says "I didn't miss," and points at the body of a raccoon he had earlier adopted as a pet and whom they thought gave Ladybird and Dale rabies.
    • Also in the episode "How to Fire a Rifle Without Trying" Hank buys Bobby his first gun because he discovers he has a newly discovered talent for skeet shooting when they try still target shooting Hank explains the rules about gun safety while Bobby quickly fires off all six shots at the target, Hank is disappointed that he didn't listen to him only to be shocked that all six of his shots hit the target dead center.
    • Subverted somewhat with Dale - who throws a knife into a mannequin beside his target, which was pretty Bad Ass from Dale, then threatens "Next time I'll aim for the mannequin and hit you!"
  • As can largely be expected, Lucky Luke pulls off an extreme example in the 2007 cartoon Go West! where he shoots a wildly ricocheting shot while riding on a rollercoaster minecart that doesn't seem to hit anything, causing one of the Daltons to laugh at him and assume he missed. 5 minutes later, after a rapid series of events even Luke couldn't have predicted, he's being held at gunpoint by the same Dalton, whose gun is suddenly shattered into pieces by the very same shot flying out of the now-empty mine.
  • In one episode of ReBoot, Enzo is placed in a cartoony setting where he and the others must kill Rocky the Rabid Racoon. He reboots into Elmer Fudd. Everyone laughs at him, until he steals Fudd's signature line-"Be vewy vewy quiet-I'm hunting wacoons"-and takes aim, firing one shot and setting up a chain reaction of impossible proportions that ends with Rocky getting killed by a dead vulture.
  • In one episode of She-Ra: Princess of Power, Bow fires an arrow at Shadow Weaver, but it goes right past her. As Shadow Weaver taunts her, Bow responds with "I wasn't aiming for you", then we see his arrow triggers a containment force field Hordak was using to torture her earlier.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Bart is in a military school where they teach him to handle a grenade launcher. He hits the first four targets, but the fifth shot goes spiralling over the horizon. When the instructor points out he missed, Bart smiles and says, "Did I?" Cut to Principal Skinner back in Springfield standing by the smoking crater that used to be his car.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Spidey does this (as described in the Comic Books section) Once per Episode, and it's almost his signature takedown. It's not entirely absent from the other Spider-Man series, but this version absolutely loves it.
    • Rhino also pulls a variant on Spidey himself in one episode.
    Spider-Man: "Missed me!"
    Rhino: "Wasn't aiming for you!"
    Spider-Man: "Really? I've fallen for the same trick I pulled on the Shocker!?"
  • In one episode of Transformers Prime, Optimus Prime and Dreadwing duke it out in the arctic. Optimus fires a shot that flies clear of Dreadwing, citing the 'con to call his aim "poor". Optimus replies "That is a matter of opinion." as the cliff face behind Dreadwing collapses on him.
  • One episode of WordGirl has Granny May do this by pulling a shelf full of groceries down. When she attempts this later in the episode, WordGirl simply steps aside.
  • On the Young Justice episode "Home Front," Dick throws a batarang while retreating and it hits a piece of debris right next to Wally, who's been captured by the villains. It seems like he just missed the bad guys, but shortly thereafter we discover that the batarang has a built-in communicator, and Wally uses it to walk Robin through the steps of making the EMP device they need to regain control of the base.
  • American Dragon Jake Long: When Huntsgirl had to capture Jake alive for the Equinox Hunt, she fired a beam from her Huntstaff. After Jake mocked her for 'missing' him, she pointed out she wasn't trying to hit him. Jake was then hit by falling debris.
  • This is used in the Phineas and Ferb pilot (and the musical remake of the same episode). Perry's arms and legs are trapped, so he uses his tail to launch a screw at Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who mocks him when it misses. Perry does not react; he just watches as the screw bounces off the wall and ricochets into a lighting wire, which acts as a bowstring, firing the screw into Doofenshmirtz's foot. The evil scientist hops around in pain and hits the release button.
  • Zoe does it in Total Drama: Revenge of the Island. She fires an arrow at Chef which flies past him. Chef says "You missed!" and Zoe just grins. The arrow cuts a vine holding a boulder she had tied up earlier that swings into Chef.
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk: In "The Night and the Fury", Hiccup fires his grapple into a branch above Dagur the Deranged's head. When Dagur gloats that Hiccup missed, Hiccup replies "Did I?" and yanks the branch down on top of Dagur.


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