Pyrrhon: Try my pyroweaponry on for size!The Monster of the Week is apparently Immune to Bullets, but not only that, it's getting stronger too! Maybe you shot it with an Energy Weapon, maybe you intervened in a situation and caused a worse problem to appear, or maybe you just hit its Berserk Button, but it didn't die, and now it's stronger than ever. Feed It with Fire is the process by which attempting to kill or destroy something ends up making it grow, become more powerful, or otherwise help it out. Feed It with Fire occurs most often as a form of Energy Absorption, although Energy Absorption is one specific type of Feed It with Fire. If punching a man makes him get stronger, or attempting to stamp out a religion gives it martyrs and helps it spread, that's a case of Feed It with Fire. If shooting a laser at the enemy makes it grow stronger, then it's both. If you're using lightning to animate a dead body, that's just Energy Absorption. See Also:
(boss turns red)
Pyrrhon: That's... odd.
Palutena: Apparently adding heat to heat only makes things hotter.
(boss turns red)
Pyrrhon: That's... odd.
Palutena: Apparently adding heat to heat only makes things hotter.
- Adaptive Ability
- Berserk Button
- Turns Red (in which videogame enemies simultaneously become weaker and stronger from attacks)
- Elemental Absorption
- Energy Absorption
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!
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Anime & Manga
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Android 19 absorbs Ki blasts to increase its power through its hands. Vegeta killed it after popping its arms off.
- Cooler, from one Non-Serial Movie, tried to kill Goku and Vegeta by absorbing their ki, but they destroyed him instead by overloading his circuits.
- In the series proper, Goku also kills a minor minion in the Buu saga this way.
- Also, each time a part-Saiyan heals from a near-mortal wound, they come back significantly stronger. Vegeta dangerously, deliberately uses this to his advantage, in addition to the incidental uses by most of the other part- or full-Saiyans. Turns out that teaming up a guy who gets dramatically stronger after recovering from injury with a guy whose power is to heal other people's injuries works pretty well.
- In Dragon Ball Super, Goku Black seems to have an upgraded form of the Saiyans' ability to become stronger after near-death, in that any damage he sustains at all makes him stronger. This leads him to occasionally make comments that make him sound like a masochist; he revels in the sensation of pain whenever he feels it, since he knows it will only make him stronger.
- Any damage Bergamo takes causes him to become bigger and stronger. However, there is a limit to how much he can take. When it is exceeded, he reverts to his original size.
- In Fairy Tail, all of the Dragon Slayers can eat their element (so long as they didn't directly make it and it wasn't created by Godslayer magic) to heal themselves and boost their attacking power. This results in a literal example of this trope's name: the main male lead, as a Fire Dragon Slayer, eats fire. He can eat other types of magic too, but it gives him indigestion. Of specific note is the Big Bad Acnologia, a Dragon Slayer who is now a dragon. His slaying magic has no specific attribute — rather, it's magic itself that he feeds off of. That's why he's so powerful in the present day, and why literally nothing the protagonists throw at him can affect him in any way.
- Kirby of the Stars had a Monster of the Week called Flame Feeder. As Dedede said when Kirby tried to torch it, "Ha ha! Flame Feeder feeds on fire!"
- Subverted in YuYu Hakusho, where the demon Byako gets stronger by absorbing the energy from Kuwabara's aura sword, until he takes in too much, causing him to get indigestion.
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Von Stroheim, Nazi cyborg and also one of the good guys (yes, really), attacked a very weakened Kars with his ultraviolet rays, to finish him off. But Kars had sneakily managed to wear a certain mask and a certain stone, so basically the rays that should have killed him, turned him into a god instead. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!...
- One of the angels in Neon Genesis Evangelion would evolve to meet any new threat. NERV starts pumping ozone into the tank holding the angel, as it was being harmed by ozone at that point. The angel then evolves to become ozone tolerant, starts consuming it with gusto, and spreads once more.
- In Kill la Kill, Gamagoori's Shackle Regalia uniform allows him to get stronger when struck. If his opponent decides not to attack, he'll simply whip himself to get the strength he needs, making it pointless to simply not attack Gamagoori.
- In Bleach, Gerard Valkyrie's special ability, The Miracle, is that he gets larger and stronger, as he takes more damage. An attempted No-Holds-Barred Beatdown made him the size of a skyscraper. While he can still feel pain and take injuries, he also has a Healing Factor.
- In The Seven Deadly Sins, one of Meliodas' abilities, Revenge Counter, is a blast that is double the power of the amount of damage he took.
- In Fate/Apocrypha, Berserker of Red aka Spartacus has a Noble Phantasm called Crying Warmonger: The Howl of the Wounded Beast. This causes him to become more powerful with each injury he takes. He has a powerful Healing Factor as well. Eventually, all that power causes his body to warp into a humongous blob with multiple heads and limbs. There's a limit to how powerful he can become this way, and when it is reached, he explodes.
- Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club in X-Men has powers that work like this. He absorbs the energy from attacks, so punching him makes him stronger.
- In Superman/Wonder Woman #2 Apollo hits Superman with a blast of concentrated sunlight. Superman asks him "You don't know much about me, do you?" before punching him straight back to Olympus. It came back with a vengeance when Apollo intentionally powered up Zod and Faora.
- A similar thing happened when Superman was attacked by Evil Star. His star blasts strengthened Superman, as the sun is a star.
- Hercules once beat up Aquaman and, unaware of his nature, tried to kill him by holding his head underwater. This healed his injuries and strengthened him enough to turn the tables.
- Calvin and Hobbes Calvin and Hobbes first attack the living snowman with snowballs. They simply stick to the monster, inspiring it to add more snow and features, quickly becoming the first of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons.
- In Origin Story, the light-based energy beams fired by both Sentry and the second Moonstone empower, strengthen, and heal Alex Harris. Sentry learned from this the first time he fought her, and as a result he doesn't even try to use his blast the second time. Moonstone pointedly didn't learn from it, and pays the price.
- In Who Is This Lord Tirek You Speak Of?, the Mane Six try to use the Elements of Harmony on King Sombra. A number of factors cause the Elements to empower Sombra instead of defeat him (As a tyrant, Sombra is a being of Order, not Chaos; the Mane Six all had different ideas on how they wanted the Elements to beat Sombranote , so they weren't really in harmony with each other; Sombra had prepared counterspells against the Elements of Harmony).
- A World Of Bloody Evolution: Attacking Yang Xiao Long with a Heavy Flamer is not the brightest move.
- In God Slaying Blade Works, Godou Kusanagi attempts to use his Stallion Authority (a horse made of flames from The Power of the Sun) against Apollo. Not only does it power Apollo up, he takes control of it. Both combatants then comment on what a stupid idea that was. After Apollo's divinity is negated, the Stallion is able to hurt him.
- In the Pony POV Series, trying to fight a Concept with the thing they're Anthropomorphic Personification of results in this trope. For example, Rancor, the Draconequus of Violence, is physically impossible to harm by violence, and can only be hurt indirectly by things that aren't.
Films — Live-Action
- In the film Evolution, the trope title plays out literally when fire induces rapid growth in the alien invaders.
- The Ultimate Evil from The Fifth Element is basically the ultimate example of this trope. Any hostile action at all directed at it will cause it to grow stronger, as it feeds off of negative feeling.
- Literally true with Gamera. In one movie, he is healed by crashing into an oil refinery and absorbing the resulting explosion.
- In The Avengers, Thor uses a lightning blast on Iron Man. Iron Man's Power Level simply goes up. (Neither are a fan of Explaining Your Power to the Enemy.)
- Kronos, an alien energy accumulator, wandered about Mexico and California absorbing energy from power plants and growing just a bit larger each time, so the Powers That Be decided to drop a nuclear bomb on it. This does not work as planned.
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II: Mechagodzilla II has an artificial diamond armor that channels the energy weapons of kaiju into its strongest weapon, the Plasma Grenade, which hits with devastating force. Neither Godzilla nor Fire Rodan could harm the mecha with their breath weapons, and Fire Rodan was mortally wounded by a point-blank Plasma Grenade shot.
- According to the novelization and other sources for the Terminator franchise, not only are Terminators fireproof and heat-resistant, but they can actually use fire and other energy sources to boost their power. Terminators actually conserve energy most of the time by keeping the majority of their internal systems dormant until they become mission-critical. For example, their strength, processing power, and tracking programs are only operating at low levels. In the first film, the Terminator used the fire that burned away its flesh to push all of its systems to maximum, and in the second film, the ambient heat of the steel mill brought the heroic Terminator back to life to finish its mission.
- Fred and George Weasley of Harry Potter designed their fireworks in Order of the Phoenix to be like this.
- In the book Pyramid Scheme, the aliens wanted to provoke the humans into nuking their device so it could absorb the energy and become unstoppable.
- In The Andromeda Strain, the scientists at the containment facility figure that if whatever they're studying gets out of control, they'll nuke it. Bad idea — the strain has mutated to the point where it can feed on nuclear radiation.
- In the novel Meg, blinding the nocturnal giant shark made it deadlier, as its other senses compensated for its blindness and now it could hunt during the day.
- A human example happens in The Heroes of Olympus where Annabeth and Percy drink from the River Phlegethon, a river of literal fire, to resist the poison of Tartarus.
- In Pratchett's Feet of Clay, the Watch figure out that it's possible to heal a golem with spare clay and a stint inside a kiln.
- Played straight many times in Stargate SG-1.
- An alien time-capsule absorbs staff blasts to help it grow.
- An Ori shield generator absorbs the orbital fire directed towards it and uses it to expand.
- Intervening in the internal politics of the Goa'uld System Lords has frequently backfired, causing a consolidation of power where before there were fragments and internal fighting.
- Heroic example in the season 10 finale, when the team absorbs enemy fire to power a time machine.
- Adam from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is able to absorb energy from the electricity guns that the Initiative use. It only really comes up once though, presumably to prove that Guns Are Useless.
- Another inversion where it applies to the main character is Kamen Rider Fourze, where its Fire States powers up from being exposed to one of the Monster of the Week's flames.
- Supergirl: In "World's Finest", a crossover with The Flash (2014), when Flash blasts Livewire with lightning, it only powers her up. In his defense, on his own show, the electric-wielding villain Blackout was overloaded and defeated just from trying to absorb his body's electricity.
Myths & Religion
- Feng Shui has this as a Creature Power called "Conditional Escalation," which temporarily gains you a point in one of your stats each time a particular condition is meant (getting hit with a gun, a fu power, a successful spell, taking a certain amount of damage, causing a certain amount of damage, etc.)
- Some Magic: The Gathering cards get more powerful in this manner, such as the old Fungusaur, which got permanently slightly bigger every time it survived damage and the Phytohydra from Ravnica which transforms damage directly into power.
- Warhammer Fantasy
- The dragon ogres gain much of their power (and immortality) from lightning. Casting lightning bolt on them is a bad idea.
- One dragon ogre character has the special rule "Lightning Rod". Any lightning-based attack used within a certain radius will automatically redirect to him, and it grants him power just the same as his weaker relatives.
- Very common in games of The Awful Green Things From Outer Space until the crew work out what weapons will kill the things and which will make them grow larger.
- Dungeons & Dragons. Some monsters benefit from certain attack modes.
- Electricity and lightning cause Shambling Mounds to increase in size and Hit Points.
- Hitting an iron golem with magical fire restores lost Hit Points. Many golems, particularly those with the "immunity to magic" trait, behave in a similar manner, like clay golems absorbing acid and flesh golems absorbing electricity.
- Cutting off one of a Lernean hydra's heads causes two to grow in its place, increasing its Hit Points and number of attacks.
- In one of the more literal applications of this trope, trying to burn brown mold causes it to grow explosively.
- In Pokémon:
- The move "Bide" increases its attack power with every point of damage taken during the time your Pokémon "bides its time," and "Rage" starts out as a weak move, but each hit your Pokémon takes pumps its Attack stat as long as it keeps using the move.
- There are also some Pokémon abilitiesnote that heal a Pokemon's health or raise a stat when the Pokémon is hit by a certain type of attack, instead ofnote damaging them.
- In Crysis, the alien ice field absorbs a nuclear weapon's blast to grow.
- Adult Sheegoths in Metroid Prime absorb most energy weapons into the ice crystals on their backs, and Elite Pirates can do the same with a handheld energy absorber; both are used to power their ranged attacks.
- In the Shin Megami Tensei games (and many other rpgs, even Pokemon has the Absorb <element> traits), some monsters Absorb certain elements, healing them instead of dealing damage. This means an enemy with fire absorb will literally feed on fire.
- In Devil Survivor a monster called Kudlak will arise stronger everytime it's killed, unless done so in a special way. It tries to goad the party into killing it.
- In Disgaea 2, Dragons, Aqua Demons, and Mystic Beasts are innately immune to fire, ice, and wind respectively, but if they're donning equipment with a Lover on it, they absorb a percentage of the damage they would've taken as HP instead.
- There's also the Holy Dragon, who can absorb non-elemental special attacks, which is much more useful (Or annoying) then the abilities possessed by the previously mentioned monsters, due to how prevalent such attacks are.
- Considering how ridiculously over the top some of the stronger attacks are, it can be quite comical to see these monsters get healed by things like disintegration, world ending explosions, or being sliced in half.
- In The Story Of Thor for SegaMegaDrive, there's an enemy that takes the form of a string of flames moving around the area. Predictably, attacking it with fire-based attacks restores its health.
- In Final Fantasy IX the villain Kuja has just figured out that he can use the game's Limit Break system in order to make himself nigh-unstoppable, after absorbing a whole bunch of souls. All he needs is a lot of aggressive energy to trigger the transformation. So naturally he walks right up to the heroes and starts a boss fight.
- Mega Man 2:
- Using Bubble Lead on Bubble Man will fully heal him.
- Using Crash Bombs on Heat Man will fully heal him.
- Using any weapon other than Bubble Lead on the final boss will fully heal it.
- In Mega Man 7. Using Freeze Cracker on Freeze Man will heal him by 4 units, he'll also look at the player as if to mock them.
- In Mega Man & Bass. Using Ice Wall on Cold Man will heal him by 4 units.
- In Rom Hack Rockman 4 Minus Infinity has Dust Man. When he is Sucking-In Lines, anything fired at him except Toad Spell heals him instead.
- In Godzilla Save The Earth, Megalon would be healed if he was struck by electric attacks, rendering King Ghidorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah, and opponent Megalons' ranged weapons useless. Rodan is simularly immune to fire. Mecha-King Ghidorah was weak to all ranged weapons, but if he has his energy shield up when the beam first strikes he restores some health instead and the rest of the beam is rendered completely ineffective.
- The "Absorbs Element" trait in any number of Final Fantasy games.
- In Batman: Arkham City, Solomon Grundy is powered by an electric generator, so shooting him with the Remote Electrical Charge refills his health bar.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, Atronachs are a type of unaligned lesser Daedra which are essentially the Elemental Embodiments of the elements they represent. The most common are the Flame (also known as "Fire"), Frost, and Storm varieties. Each type of Atronach is is immune to magic of their respective associated element, and in some cases, can even absorb it to increase their health/power.
- Yang Xiao Long's Semblance allows her strength, speed, etc. to increase each time she is struck. The more powerful the blow, the more powerful she becomes. However, she can still feel pain and get injured, so she isn't invincible. In her Volume Two fight against Yang, for example, Neo avoids unnecessary strikes, dodging and redirecting Yang's own blows until she can go for a KO.
- Nora's Semblance lets her channel electrical energy to her muscles. A prolonged shock form a cattle prod lets her smash her opponent through a boulder. Getting struck by lightning lets her One-Hit KO an entire opposing team.
- In Space Ghost Coast to Coast, the replicator pods on Ghost Planet are found to grow when hit with Space Ghost's destructo ray. This being Space Ghost, it takes him awhile to stop shooting his ray even after he realizes that it's making it grow. Eventually, he uses this to make the one next to Zorak gigantic.
- In the Kaiju parody episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Mandark's MASER Tank only makes the monster grow larger and more powerful.
- Godzilla: The Series had a Monster of the Week aptly named the Fire Monster in the aptly titled "Ring of Fire" episode that got stronger whenever Godzilla used his atomic breath on it. H.E.A.T. had to resort to using nitroglycerin to knock it out since it doesn't create flames when detonated.
- Futurama, when the plan to overload the energy being Melllvar's electro-quantum structure (described as being "like putting too much air in a balloon") doesn't work:
Leela: It's not working! He's gaining strength from our weapons!
Fry: Like a balloon, and... something bad happens!
- One of the villains of Captain Planet and the Planeteers is once tricked into using a lightning attack on Captain Planet himself... Apparently striking someone, created by the spirit of the Earth who is more or less a force of nature himself, with lightning will empower him. A similar thing happens when a weakened Captain Planet is set on fire. He emerges from the flames fully healed.
- In the Earthworm Jim cartoon episode "Hyper Psy Crow" the title supervillain, powered by coffee, is theorised to be destroyable by "overloading him with coffee until he explodes in a fantastic explosion of nervous energy!" Instead, he becomes even more powerful as Hyper Hyper Psy Crow.
Jim: You idiot! You fight fire with WATER!
- Gigabyte and the Web Virus from ReBoot. Viruses with the ability are referred to by Bob as "Class-5".
- In The Venture Bros., The Monarch and his men tried to kill Captain Sunshine with a solar powered cannon, forgetting that he is strengthened by sunlight.
- Attempting to persecute Religions often makes Self-Fulfilling Prophecies come true, and gives the religion Martyrs, helping them to grow in number and influence.
- Also applies to non-religious groups, as attacking another community or tribe would often result in the survivors or their descendants eventually coming for revenge. Hence why a number of early societies emphasised the need to exterminate every member of an enemy group, often including children, in order to ensure there would be no-one left to carry out the Cycle of Revenge.
- In biology, this trope occurs when an infection is partly eradicated by an antibiotic, but not completely, giving the thing time to adapt and thus making it immune to this antibiotic in the future, and thus creating even worse strains.
- Water-based fire extinguishers are the absolute last thing you want to used on electrical fires, grease fires, or a potassium fire (or any other combustible metal)
- For grease fire, a paltry bucket of water will just vaporize on contact, causing a steam explosion and filling the air with a fine mist of burning grease. See the page image for how that looks.
- For electrical fires caused by a short circuit (that is to say, almost all of them), adding water to the mix just make the short circuit worse.
- Combustible metals usually react violently with water. Specifically, they react to create hydrogen gas. Hydrogen + Fire = Bad
- See Fire And Explosive Safety for more info