open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Usopp from One Piece abused the hell out of this trope early part in the story. Yelling out a rubber band attack that made opponents flinch was used as an escape tool. His 10 ton hammer is just a balloon with two frying pans attached at the ends. Post time skip, however, his arsenal has become a legitimate threat.
- The Thousand Years of Death looks like you're about to use a powerful Jutsu but is really just Kancho.
- Naruto's Sexy Jutsu is similar. In this case, it is an actual Jutsu... but all it does is transform the user into a Shameless Fanservice Girl.
- Subverted when Naruto fights Kiba in the Chunin Exams. Naruto plans to use a powerful attack to defeat Kiba, but ends up farting in his face, which is made to look like the big "attack" Naruto was planning. The fart actually causes Kiba difficulty because of his heightened sense of smell... which then allows Naruto to use his true plan, the Uzumaki Barrage.
- Subverted again with later abuse of the Thousand Years Of Death; Naruto uses the attack in an until-that-point deadly serious fight. Beat... and then it's revealed he used not his fingers, but an explosive-loaded knife. Ouch.
- Most of Genma's Anything-Goes Techniques, as well many other Ranma ½ moves.
- The Bakusai Tenketsu (Breaking Point), a Finger Poke of Doom capable of shattering the target. It is only effective on rocks and dirt.
- The Saotome School Ultimate Attack/Finishing Move consists of distracting the opponent by pretending to use an ultimate technique, then running away to think of something better.
- Crouch of the Wild Tiger, which is just bowing down and begging for mercy.
- Howl of the Demon Dog, which is taunting your opponent from a safe distance.
- Cradle of Hell, which is an embarrassing, loving embrace.
- Both of the attacks used by Lin Lin and Lun Lun, which supposedly defeat powerful fighters offscreen, but are really just bad mechanical constructs.
- In an anime filler, Happosai and Genma use up all their power growing to giant size, subverting what seemed like a show-down.
- In another filler, Happosai fights another master, both of whom have invisibility techniques. Neither can attack while staying hidden. Stalemate ensues, subverting another would-be showdown.
- The Happo Fire Burst zigzags this. For most of its introductory episode, it's played up as a horrifically powerful Ki Attack. Eventually, Happosai uses it. Genma and Soun panic. Ranma calls it out as mere fireworks. However, in later episodes it becomes Happosai's signature move and is rather effective (for the genre, anyway); the technique is implied to be conjuring these bombs from Ki energy, which would make it a legitimately powerful technique, since it can bring a bomb to a fistfight.
- Tiger & Bunny: The eponymous duo have a special feature built into their Powered Armor called "Good Luck Mode". Not only does it look cool, but it does absolutely nothing else.
- In Bleach, Don Kanonji's "Kanonji-Style Final Super Attack: Kanonball" is a tiny ball of energy that creates a surprisingly powerful explosion on impact. However, it moves about as fast as a snail, making it almost impossible to hit enemies with, and Kanonji isn't strong enough to threaten anything after the first arc.
- Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta's Bluff Kamehameha from Dragon Ball GT. Clones himself, charges up to full power,threatens to disintegrate every cell in Omega Shenron's body, and theeeeen... poof. Confetti. He could afford to have a little fun.
- Monstar in the first Paper Mario game charges up a huge aura attack with plenty of light effects while taunting Mario. The attack only does a single point of damage. Justified since Monstar is an illusion created by star children to scare intruders away. The attack is weak because they're kids.
- Disgaea 2: The Prism Rangers gain the ability to launch into a long, drawn out attack that unites all of the rangers into one, huge beam attack. It does absolutely pitiful damage, and can only be used two or three times before they run out of MP for it.
- It ends up being subverted in the following game, however, where it's now a S rank damage skill, as opposed to an E. Probably because the Prism Ranger using it is on your side this time.
- Street Fighter Alpha 2: Dan Hibiki's Chohatsu Densetsu (literally, "Legendary Taunt") is a Super Combo that's true to its name; all he does is a series of taunts that not only wastes your super meter, it also leaves you open to attack. It's especially worthless in Capcom vs SNK 2, where taunting will cause your opponent's super meter to charge, so all you're doing by using the move is making your opponent more dangerous.
- In Street Fighter Alpha 3, he also gets the Chohatsu Shinwa ("Mythical Taunt"), which is a level 3 super attack (i.e., requiring a full super meter and draining it all) that does nothing but replace all Dan's normal attacks with zero-damage taunts for a while or until Dan gets hit.
- Subverted in Street Fighter 4, as you can very quickly cancel out of the Chohatsu Densetsu into an actual Ultra Combo. It's very likely to catch your opponent off guard...at least the first time they see it.
- Gilgamesh in the Final Fantasy games will often claim to possess the Excalibur, a legendary sword that should by all rights do lots of damage. Then he attacks your party with it, and it does...1 damage. Turns out it's a cheap knockoff called the Excalipoor.
- Yoshio from Tokimeki Memorial 1 has a Limit Break in his repertoire during the excursion trip battle phase, the "Great Yoshio Kick". He tries to make it sound and look cool, but it not only does zero damage on the opponent, it also breaks Yoshio's leg and put him out of the remainder of the fight.
- Richer's Item Crash attack in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood is based on what sub-weapon is currently equipped. The key occupies the sub-weapon slot, but is only used to open doors. If you hit the Item Crash button with the key equipped, Richter starts his normal, Power Floats power-up animation, but then falls back to the ground with a big ? floating over his head.
- The skeleton brothers in Undertale both have one: Papyrus's gets stolen by a dog and Sans's is literally nothing. Subverted in that doing nothing actually proves to be pretty darn effective.
- In Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, several Joke Characters (of varying lethalities) have these, usually as Ultimate Jutsus. They still do full damage, but... how can the below attacks not have a place here?
- Konohamaru's Super Harem Jutsu. Subverted with some enemies, where the bikini-clad female clones are actually holding them in place for a head-on Rasengan, but played straight with others, where one of the clones gives them an implied kiss, sending them flying via Nose Bleed.
- Iruka's Love Roar, which features him displaying a Demon Head and High-Pressure Emotion at their best, before nailing the victim and inflicting a Cranial Eruption. And yes, you can do this to Madara Uchiha.
- Naruto, Iruka and Konohamaru's team special, "Problem Child of the Hidden Leaf". The three hurl Fuuma Shuriken at the opponent, knocking them into the air. Then Naruto and Konohamaru... both use the Sexy Jutsu on Iruka. The ensuing Nose Bleed is so powerful Iruka is propelled towards the opponent like a missile, causing a heart-shaped fireworks explosion upon contact. Konohamaru and Naruto fist-bump over the successful prank. And Iruka gives them both a Cranial Eruption.
- Young!Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura's "Outstanding Team Work?!". Naruto goes Leeroy Jenkins, while Sasuke uses him as a Goomba Springboard to land his own attacks. Sakura looks like she's not going to do anything, but then surrounds all three of them with a rope. We're not shown what happens next, but it ends in both Naruto and the opponent tied to a stump.
- Karin's Perfume Spray. This Jutsu has terrible damage and priority, and even the poison it inflicts does nothing to make it useful.
- Yori of No Need for Bushido has a technique so totally foolproof he has refused to use it until now. The Super Secret Special Technique...run away!
- A couple times in Dominic Deegan, people have royally pissed off Luna, causing her to summon a dark Battle Aura and begin powering up a spell while making Badass Boasts, causing them to flee in terror from her... illusion.
- In Hero Oh Hero, The Aristocrat subverts Calling Your Attacks in order to make a bandit flinch long enough for him to make his getaway.