Face Palm of Doom

Talk to the hand, and beg for mercy.

Sometimes, you need to let the Big Bad have it right where it hurts. Sometimes, you just gotta burn that smirk off of The Dragon's face in the most direct and painful manner possible. Sometimes, The Hero deserves to know just how powerful you are when you're Drunk on the Dark Side.

Sometimes, you just need to give them the Face Palm of Doom For Massive Damage.

The Face Palm of Doom, named so because it is a Face Palm... of Doom, is basically when you grab someone in the face, or sometimes just by the head, but usually the face, and proceed to unleash the pain by releasing some kind of energy, or in a more bloody series, crushing it. As you can imagine, such a move is probably extremely painful and is usually pretty high up there in terms of power. Due to the nastiness inherent in assaulting someone's visage, as well as the frightening potential for Eye Scream, this trope is generally indicative of the Ruthless Antihero or the Obviously Evil. It is essentially the bare-handed equivalent of shooting an opponent executioner-style, and carries many of the same connotations.

Compare Neck Lift.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is one of the Signature Moves of the School of Touhou Fuhai (The Undefeated of The East) in G Gundam, represented by protagonist Domon's Shining and God Finger attacks and Master Asia's Darkness Finger. The novelization explains its function and origin a bit, saying that it was made to adhere to Buddhist tennets of Thou Shalt Not Kill, and works by sending ki from the palm through the three central fingers and into an opponent's head, where it shorts out their motor functions and disables themnote . It even get two Shout Outs in its franchise:
    • The Destiny Gundam's MMI-X340 "Palma Fiocina" palm beam cannon.
      • In-universe it's based on the Astray Red Frame, which can channel its battery power through its handplugs, generating a "lightning ball". In his first battle with Gold Frame, Lowe uses a super-charged version that blows up Gold's head, but also takes out Red's right arm.
    • The Turn X's weld-off/destruction manipulator, which Gym even calls Shining Finger.
    • Though Gundam Build Fighters Try normally averts this (since The Hero's Gundam uses an entirely different fighting style), there have been two instances of this type of attack: in episode 4 he uses the Musha Godmaru (a Super-Deformed, samurai-styled God Gundam) and performs its version of the God Finger, and in episode 20 during his showdown with his sempai-slash-Cool Big Bro, he ends the fight with this kind of attack.
  • Guts from Berserk does this to a scummy knight of the Holy Chain during the "Retribution" arc, actually lifting him off the ground by his face despite his heavy suit of armor. After interrogating him, he then throws the knight at a horse-riding enemy, still gripping him by the face.
  • Kallen's Guren Mk-II and its dervatives from Code Geass come equipped with a right-handed Radiant Wave Surger which she uses to blow up any Knightmare Frame in contact. There's a reason why people call her the daughter of Domon.
  • Hei of Darker Than Black uses this to fry people's brains so often that it's practically his signature move.
  • Fist of the North Star: This is how Falco executes Jakoh. More exactly, he melts his face off.
  • Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist kills his victims in this manner; he grabs them by the head and makes their bodies disintegrate. Somewhat justified in context, however, as the arm he uses is covered in alchemic symbology tattoos that is used to "deconstruct" the matter of an object (or creature), but because it is alchemy-based he can only use it on things that he understands at least some of the material makeup of, and as his religious faith forbids the study and practice of alchemy, he is only able to use it in the most, well, direct manner.
    • This is how Ed beats Pride: by grabbing his face, physically and metaphysically, and ripping his soul out of his body.
    • In addition, Kimblee does this as well in the 2003 anime version, making his victims explode. As a matter of fact, the former's eponymous injury is the result of the latter performing a Face Finger Poke of Doom on him.
  • Sachiel does this to Shinji in Unit 01 in the second episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • The Big O: The eponymous mecha's signature attack (Sudden Impact) can work like this by it grabbing an opponent's head and retracting the pressurized pistons inside the arms and subsequently releasing them For Massive Damage.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, the Spider Tank grabs the Major's head and crushes it.
  • In Alive: The Final Evolution, the normally Idiot Hero protagonist goes Let's Get Dangerous on a powerful enemy and does this using his heat powers. The formerly bishounen enemy is left with permanent scars on half of his face and later adopts a rather large Eyepatch of Power.
  • Grimmjow Jaggerjack, of Bleach, kept trying to use this as a finisher, unleashing his Cero blast at point blank range against Ichigo and Rukia; but a third party kept jumping in and interrupting him. By the time he does catch Ichigo with one of these, he's taken enough levels in badass to shrug it off without any real harm.
    • Ichigo himself does this to Aizen before literally pulling him across a whole town in a matter of seconds.
    • Ulquiorra does this to Ichigo in his Segunda Etapa form.
    • During their fight for control, Ichigo's inner Hollow grabs him by the face and throws him into a building.
  • In One Piece Miss Monday attempts to punch Zoro's face into the ground at one point. He is completely unfazed, and responds by casually pulling this on her until she passes out.
    • Whitebeard did the same thing at several points, but using his Quake Quake powers, resulting in a mini earthquake limited to the victim's head. Needless to say, nobody really got back up from that one.
    • The first thing that Bellamy is shown doing post-timeskip is crushing a man's skull with one hand.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn! Tsuna does this to Mukuro at the end of their fight.
  • Baccano!, in which the immortals, most notably Szilard, "consume" one another by placing their right palm on someone's forehead and essentially vacuuming up their entire body in an exceptionally grisly manner...
  • In Hellsing, Seras gives one to Zorin Blitz during their fight, intending to crush her face. Zorin retaliates by giving a Face Palm Of Doom of her own, attempting to Mind Rape Seras. This totally backfires, allowing Seras to move ahead with her previous plan, albeit with the addition of utilising a wall as a kind of makeshift cheese grater. Suffice to say the results are quite messy.
  • Broly of Dragon Ball Z absolutely loves this, as well as several villains in the Dragon Ball series.
    • Goku does the top of the head variation during his fight with Kid Buu. He combines it with a ki attack that goes right through the Planet of the Kais.
    • Syn Shenron, in Tenkaichi, grabs people by picking them up by the face and unleashing a volley of ki blasts straight into the face of whichever unlucky schmuck stupid enough to challenge him.
  • In Session #5 of Cowboy Bebop, "Ballad of Fallen Angels", Vicious does this to Spike after the latter disarmed him with a bullet in the shoulder (thus using his still good arm). And then Vicious use this grip to throw Spike through a stained glass window.
  • Lyrical Nanoha
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia The Movie , everyone is fighting the mooks: America is boxing, Japan is wielding a stick katana, and Russia....you guessed it.
  • Simon in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this in the crushing variety in a giant robot TO a giant robot. Considering the series, it and everything around it explodes spectacularly.
  • After a vicious beating, Suitengu Chouji grabs a scumbag's pulped face and utterly shreds his body with his superpower.
  • Happens in a flashback in Tiger & Bunny when a young Yuri Petrov activates his NEXT power and sets his father's hand alight. Rather than screaming in pain, his dad (who arguably deserved it, incidentally) starts to laugh and puts his hand over his son's face, leaving a massive palm-shaped burn. This is not enough to save him, however.
  • While being attacked by a teacher, Tsukune from Rosario + Vampire does this. The look on the dude's face is priceless.
  • In the second Fatal Fury OVA, Terry has a nightmare of Krauser doing this to him.
  • The Third Angel in Neon Genesis Evangelion does this to Unit-01 in the second episode. It uses the laser lances hidden in its arms to pierce the skull and disable Unit-01.

    Card Games 

  • Spider-Man antihero Kaine uses this as his preferred method of murder. He grabs the poor victim's face, then makes their cells explode, leaving them dead and with a scorched on handmark as a souvenir. Ouch.
    • In a more recent issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Pete remembers that he has Required Secondary Powers and tears off the face of a villain that was dogging him through most of the arc.
  • Black Adam to Psycho-Pirate: "No more silly faces."
  • The Hulk does this to Cyclops in World War Hulk to block his eye-beams. Takes Scott out for the rest of the fight.

    Fan Works 



    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Essentially how The Master dies in Season 8.
  • Star Trek: In "The Enterprise Incident", Spock uses the infamous "Vulcan Death Grip" to kill Kirk. However, there's no such thing as a Vulcan Death Grip. It's a trick.
  • You know how Daleks have those plunger-arms in Doctor Who? In the new series, they can crush a man's skull with them.
  • In Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan, Vul Shark's Shark Jaws attack consists of grabbing the enemy's head with both hands several times.
  • In Sherlock, the assassin known as 'The Golem' puts one of his massive hands over a target's face and crushes the life out of them.
  • This is the preferred method of the angels of Supernatural for killing demons. It's usually accompanied by a flash of light.
  • In Game of Thrones, this is The Mountain's way of killing Oberyn Martell

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The clawhold submission, commonly called the Iron Claw.
  • WWE sometimes plays this trope for laughs, such as when The Big Show once eliminated a jobber from the Royal Rumble by facepalm-shoving him backwards over the ropes.
  • Since his late 2011 return, Kane has added this to his arsenal, clamping his hand over his foe's nose and mouth to suffocate them into unconsciousness. This even works on John Cena.

    Video Games 
  • Mega Man X: According to the Day of Sigma OVA, Sigma gets his signature scars on his eyes when X pulls off of these off on him. It should be noted that X's attack looks a lot like Shining Finger, due to X being voiced by Domon Kashu's dub actor at the time.
    • In X4 it's shown that Zero gives him those scars. Gotta love Retcons.
      • The above might not count as we never saw just how Zero put those scars there.
    • Sigma pulls this on your character in the hard mode of X8.
  • In Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, Mao has the Blast Finger attack, which is probably a Shout-Out to the Shining Finger, considering the nature of the series.
  • From Bloody Roar (At least in the Primal Fury installment), one of Gado's Beast Drives is exactly this. He grabs his opponent by the face and lifts them into the air before letting off a one-handed Kamehame Hadoken and slamming them head-first into the ground.
  • Mage!Hawke pulls this in the Dragon Age II Destiny trailer, despite the fact that you can't actually do that in-game and it was definitely not the climactic move of the fight.
  • Lü Bu's Ex Attack in Dynasty Warriors 7 is to grab his opponent in the face and slams him/her to the ground.
  • Yoshimitsu in all of his Tekken appearances, and his predecessor in his Soul Calibur appearances too... basically, a life-drain attack that consists of grabbing the opponent by the face and sucking out their life-horse. An alternate version, however, allows you to ''heal'' them by channelling your own life-horse into them... nice way to show off.
    • Though, in some games, if the oppononent blocks it the effects are istantly reversed. Yes, this means that if the opponent reverses the healing version, he heals you.
  • Ganondorf's side-B special move in Super Smash Bros. Brawl utilizes this. In addition to the "energy attack" part of this trope, he also literally picks his opponent off the ground by the face before exploding their face with dark fire (if the two of them are on the ground), or grabs their face and them slams them back down into the ground (if done in the air) Ouch.
  • One of Testament's throwing moves in Guilty Gear is to grab his opponent's face and impale the victim with spikes extending from his palm.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Darth Sion leads with this and eventually moves on to a Neck Lift in an unusually visceral beating for the StarWars universe.
  • In the Street Fighter series, one of T. Hawk's specials is grabbing his opponent by the face, leaping into the air while windmilling them around (still by the face) and slamming them to the ground.
    • Sagat gets a simpler one starting from his first Zero appearance - no leaping or windmills, just grab and knee as many times as you can buttonmash in.
    • Now, M. Bison/Vega/Dictator does it as his 2nd Ultra, right before he gives you "The Psycho Abortion."
    • Seth's forward throw does this as well, picking the opponent up by the face, and smashing them face first with a heel kick.
  • Happens at the end of Devil May Cry 4. Except instead of grabbing the face of the False Savior and then releasing the energy, Nero uses the Devil Bringer to project an even bigger hand which is closer to the Savior's scale. Then he just crushes its face.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core has Genesis do this to Angeal and set off a point blank magical explosion. It seems to only knock him out for a minute, as he turns up soon after looking no worse for wear.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy has a pretty impressive one in Jecht's "Triumphant Grasp" HP attack (known as "Jecht Finger" in Japan). He charges, ON FIRE, down at you, GRABS. YOUR. FACE, and then causes an explosion in his hand. This causes him to shake out his hand from the pain, and this is the guy who kicks a meteor into your face and can plant his huge sword half-way into the ground with one hand!
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep: Master Xehanort does a back-of-the-head version of this to Ventus at one point. In the CG version of that scene, he grips Ven's head hard enough to crack his whole helmet before freezing and dropping him to the ground. Ouch.
    • He'll also rarely try it on you while you're fighting him with Terra, though you can escape with button mashing before you get frozen.
  • In BlazBlue, Ragna's immensely narmy defeat of Mu-12 happens like this.
  • In Resident Evil 4's Separate Ways campaign, one of Saddler's attacks involves grabbing Ada's face and slamming her head into the ground. Fail the Quick Time Event, and it crushes her skull.
  • The last scene of the prologue in .hack//GU//rebirth features not-Tri-edge doing this to the main character during their curb stomp battle, complete with Haseo's first-person view of it. [1]
  • One of Chuck Greene's special moves in Dead Rising 2 can involve this. Chuck grabs a zombie's head (whether it's a Face Palm of Doom or not depends on whether the zombie is facing Chuck) and viciously slams its head into a nearby surface, usually resulting in Your Head Asplode.
  • If Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution grabs your face, he's about to break your neck.
  • One of the consumes for the claw power in Prototype and Prototype 2 involves Mercer or Heller grabbing the victim's head, and shoving it into their torso.
  • In StarCraft II:Heart of the Swarm Kerrigan uses one to turn Mensk's face into a psionic bomb, which inevitably explodes, killing him.
  • Gwyn, Lord of Cinder has this as a move in Dark Souls. He'll grab your character by the face and lift you up before blasting you across the room.
  • At the end of Borderlands 2, if you let Lilith kill Handsome Jack. She grabs him by the face and kills him with her Siren powers.
  • Tamaki of To Heart 2 has a toned down version, the classic wrestling move the "Iron Claw". It leaves her victim (generally her younger brother) unconscious, after an unsettling cracking noise.
  • Dwarf Fortress, being Dwarf Fortress, allows your adventure character to pull one off. On top of the usual take-downs or throwing them by the head, it brings the additional joy of allowing you to follow it up with gouging and pinching off bits and pieces of their face, including eyeballs. In fact, if you want a viable wrestling character, it's either this or chokeholds. Regular dwarves occasionally do it as well, but usually just snap limbs, or die trying.

    Web Comics 
  • Occurs in Goblins, and is one of the first warnings that things are going to get serious. A cleric grabs a goblin by the face and casts the level 1 spell Inflict Light Wounds. The results are not pretty...
  • In Bear Nuts Death Bear does this to Evil at one point.

    Web Original 
  • Code MENT: "Laser arm!"
    • "Laser arm?"
      • "Laser arm."
  • In There Will Be Brawl Ganondorf does this to Link, by ramming his arm through Zelda as she went to protect him, and explodes Link's head while Link was at full health. Quite a Heel Face Door Slam.
  • In RWBY, this is how the fight between Weiss and the White Fang Lieutenant ends. He grabs her by the face and slams her head into the ground hard enough to knock her clean out. Then, still holding her face, he throws her up in the air and smashes her through to the next train compartment with his chainsaw. What a brute.

    Western Animation 
  • In Star Wars: Clone Wars, General Grievous uses a variation where he grabs an opponent's head with his clawed foot, smashes it into the ground and then throws the corpse into the ceiling.
  • In Teen Titans, Pantha has a move called "Pantha's Claw" that leaves a red burn on the victim's face.
  • In the Grand Finale of Superman: The Animated Series, Superman wins the climactic fight against Darkseid using this move defensively: while Darkseid is charging his Omega Effect, Superman holds his hands to Darkseid's eyes, causing a massive explosion which blackens his eyes and opens up massive, red-glowing wounds on his face. (As his next appearance in The DCAU would show, they scarred permanently.) And Darkseid is a god. Pretty good move, that.
    • Interestingly, the exact same thing with the roles reversed happens in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Superman attempts heat vision at point-blank range only for Darkseid to facepalm him. Cue Disco-Ball-of-Lasery-Doom effect.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Zuko Alone," when Zuko is fighting the thuggish soldiers. He knocks one of the soldiers' weapon out of the way and then grabs his forehead and knocks him down.
    • Also, although there was a Gory Discretion Shot, it's very likely that this is how Ozai gave Zuko his scar. Examine it closely, and the burn is a clear impression of a hand.
  • In Legend Of Korra, Amon takes people's bending away by grabbing their foreheads.
  • Blight does this against Mr. Freeze in Batman Beyond, almost melting through Freeze's glass-dome helmet in the process.

    Real Life 
  • There is an eye gouging technique which involves placing the palm on the forehead to gain leverage, and ramming the thumb into the above mentioned target. Its a fairly dirty move, but there is no denying it gets results when things deteriorate that far.
  • Also a method of throwing your opponent to the ground in Sambo, by pressing the base of your fingers onto your opponent's nose from beneath.
  • Jujitsu and the related disciplines have a throw which consists of placing your hand on your opponent's face, rotating the head back, and pushing down. It's amazingly effective on most people and looks practically effortless.
    • Some monkey-influenced styles of Kung Fu and Silat go one step further by having you continue the Face Palm Of Doom all the way to the floor and bouncing your victim's head off whatever surface happens to be avaliable - such as concrete, tarmac, or your own knee.