In Elfen Lied, Kouta's sister Kanae is cut in half by Lucy when she knows about Lucy's powers and attempts to save her older brother, but he hits her and calls her a liar. Her death causes said brother to be traumatized for life. This was really one thing that made several fans hate Lucy, and made others swear off the series as a whole - killing Kouta's family over a little lie about who Kouta was taking to an event...
It's actually a standard way for the Diclonius to kill their victims. Lucy and Mariko are specially fond of it.
In the Manga, Bandou suffers this fate at the hands of Lucy, but he manages to survive and replace his missing half with prosthetics.
This is also how Dante disposed of her latest apprentice.
Nena Trinity of Gundam 00 died after being ripped in half by Louise Halevy, using the claws of her mobile suit. The novelizations add more gruesome detail to this, stating that the only thing holding her torso together was a few strands of muscle, right before her mobile suit was blown up.
In InuYasha, Jaken gets cut in half, but is brought back to life by Sesshomaru with the Tenseiga shortly thereafter.
Guts hands these out to Mooks on occasion with the Dragon Slayer in Berserk, and killed Colette this way after she was killed and taken over by the evil spirits after Guts in the second story from the manga.
Zodd ends the fight with Wyald with a backbreaker so strong it breaks him in half.
This is the fate of Rurouni Kenshin villain Uonuma Usui, torn in half at the waist by the force of Saito Hajime's point-blank Gatotsu in the manga.
He was merely impaled in the anime, which is a huge step down from the manga scene, which is pretty much outright gorn. You can see Usui's intestines hanging down and everything. The Toonami version edited the scene further so that he wasn't even impaled, just sliced bloodlessly.
This is the standard demon slaying procedure in Claymore.
As well as being Dietrich's MO for dealing with Awakened Beings, it's how Flora dies. Clare also suffers this before being absorbed into the Destroyer. Deneve gets cut not quite in half.
Ichigo's über-Hollow does this to Ulquiorra in Bleach. Rather confusing, since he did it with a cero aimed at Ulquiorra's head. Ulquiorra gets better just in time to return Ichigo back to normal, but it doesn't last very long. Ulquiorra, that is.
Grimmjow incinerates Luppi's entire body from the waist up. He also does the same to Menoly earlier on, though she gets better.
Aizen attempts this on Ichigo, wanting to split him in half without obliterating his body, and held back a little too much, leaving half of his hip still attached.
Yamamoto does this vertically to Allon, although not even this completely deters him.
Orihime's first (and so far, only) successful use of Tsubaki cuts Numb Chandelier in half vertically.
And in the manga, this is the fate of Hidetomo Kajomaru, sliced in half at the bare hand (literally) of Haschwald from the Vandenreich. He's not the only one: Dark Action Girl Bambietta Basterbine cuts down several others in half with her sword.
In the manga, this is the fate of Yamamoto. Not convinced even this was enough, Juhabach then chops off Yamamoto's swordarm and then proceeds to nuke his corpse.
The most recent victim, as of 559, is Cang Du from the Vandenreich. He is executed by Haschwalth for having lost against Hitsugaya; uncommonly for the "vertical" version of this trope, his head is intact and he's bisected from the shoulder and down.
Stroheim is bisected at the waist by Cars in the second arc. Being a product ofNAZI SCIENCE it doesn't bother him terribly.
Also happens to Diego Brando after being run over by a train in a recent chapter of Steel Ball Run.
In YuYu Hakusho, Kuwabara tries a vertical cut on Elder Toguro at the start of his fight with him, only to find that he cut a fake body, and that Toguro had used his flexibility powers to burrow into the ground.
And in chapter 601, Madara rips Tsunade's torso in two with a giant tree. Her advanced medical jutsus and Karin being around to heal her just in time are probably the only reasons she is still alive.
Used by Maka and Soul several times in Soul Eater. Stein does it Medusa, who is able to survive by possessing a snake and then "borrowing" the body of a little girl.
Happens to Buggy the Clown a lot in One Piece, as well as most Logia users at some point, often repeatedly as these characters have no problem putting themselves together again.
Trafalgar Law can do it non-lethally to other people as well, as he did to Tashigi in Chapter 661.
In Chapter 687, Zoro cut Monet in half vertically. She survives due to being a Logia user, but because she knows Zoro could have easily killed her, she is too scared to put her body back together right away, allowing Tashigi to finish her off easily.
This is the final fate of Aki Honda in Narutaru, to the point of Fan Disservice. Her death was so utterly violent, (I mean, before being cut, she gets raped with the same dragon claw that ripped her in half!), that it was cut out in the international versions of the manga.
Occurs in MPD Psycho when a character named Kido goes up against a subway train. The results are, needless to say, quite gruesome.
Almost immediately afterwards, Quartum gets chopped in half by Negi after he sees that Quartum did this to Chachamaru.
The demon panther in Magical Girl Lyrical NanohaThe Movie First that served as the second Monster of the Week found itself bisected horizontally after Nanoha lanced her way through its body. It wasn't enough to kill it though, and its upper half quickly escaped into the sky... until Fate chased it down and applied the vertical version of this trope, destroying its body.
In the horror mangaRegion, when Kanon's ankle is grabbed by a man who is pleading for help, she is horrified that everything below the man's waist is covered with rats, happily gorging themselves on what little remains of his flesh.
In Lupin III Dead Or Alive, General Headhunter's lead henchman, Crisis, is cut in half by the island's defense mechanisms. It's not a survivable encounter.
This is Fakir's fated death in Princess Tutu, witnessed repeatedly in visions—the Raven will slash his torso in half vertically as he tries to protect Mytho. It appears to happen at the end of the first season, but it turns out he was tougher than that.
In Franken Fran, this happens to the assassin Agito in Ch 18(he got better thanks to his Healing Factor), and Fran herself gets cut in half bilaterally by accident in Ch 60. She also gets better...eventually, after turning both halves into complete but half-brained persons.
In End of Evangelion, during Asuka's frantic battle against the Mass Production EVA Series, she severs the fifth one she attacks at the waist, sending the top half flying. All nine recover from their injuries and counterattack, but how this particular EVA managed to piece itself together after being so torn asunder is handwaved.
There's also Misato's brutal death. If you pause just as the JSSDF charges explode, you can see this.
Happens occasionally in Fist of the North Star. Several of the martial arts schools have techniques which involve cutting, so this is inevitable. Nanto schools especially feature this, but so does Gento Koken. The anime is notable for showing Kenshiro doing this, cleanly and effortlessly bisecting a man vertically with the edge of his hand. Making this all the stranger is that Hokuto Shinken focuses on hitting Pressure Points to cause people's heads (and sometimes the rest of them) to explode.
Given that Attack on Titan involves giants who indiscriminately eat people, it shouldn't be surprising that this happens fairly often.
During a lighthearted moment, Eren accuses Franz and Hannah of being married, which they vehemently deny. A little later on, we find Hannah desperately giving CPR to Franz. Then, the camera shifts position, showing that Franz is missing everything from the waist on down.
Marco Bott is missing the right half of his head and torso when found, and no one seems to have witnessed his final moments. It results in a low-key Freak Out for Jean, and sets off his major Character Development.
Hannes is bitten in half by the Smiling Titan from the waist down.
Scott himself ends up on the receiving end in Volume 6 whilst battling Gideon in Ramona's mind.
In Bone, Grandma Rose's sister Briar was cut in half, then the Lord of the Locust had his insects inhabit her body to resurrect her, but when they leave the halves of her body fall back apart. However, he decides he still needs her and puts her back together, for her to later do this herself to Tarsil.
Pictured atop this place, Dr. Loveless from Wild Wild West. This happens before the movie itself takes place. Punned repeatedly by Jim West (and himself, as the quote below the picture shows), including using the name of the trope.
In Beetlejuice a woman in the afterlife waiting room is separated at the waist, but still able to move both parts of her body. (An example of Jacob Marley Apparel that is common in the film. Apparently she'd been a magician's assistant in a 'sawed in half' trick gone wrong.) A hilarious scene involving her is shown at the end of the movie when the title character strokes her leg, and her upper half - who is "sitting" on the other side of him - angrily hits him with a magazine.
Happens when Ben Moss gets caught between two glass doors slamming shut in the remake of Thir13en Ghosts.
The bugs in Starship Troopers have a fondness for this trope, being giant insects. Carmen's commanding officer gets herself cut in half by a descending bulkhead door.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: The major source of angst in Dewey's life is the fact that he accidentally halved his brother with a machete when they were little. His father shouts, "You're not half the boy Nate was. You're not even half the boy that the top half of Nate was after you cut him in half!" He is eventually forgiven by his father after the old man accidentally halfs himself while trying to kill Dewey.
Happened in Freddy vs. Jason to one of the supporting teens; having been possessed by Freddy, the teen stares down a stalking, pissed-off Jason and looks seemingly defenseless — until he jabs two syringes full of tranquilizers into Jason's neck and injects him with the full dose. Unfortunately for the teen, that's his last act as a living person; before Jason's lights go out, he uses his machete to cut the teen in half.
In the most horrific scene from The Hitcher, psycho killer Ryder ties the love interest, Nash, between a Mack truck and its trailer, commandeers the cab, revs up the engine and threatens to rip her in half if he doesn't speak to Jim, the protagonist. The police enlist Jim, whom they had previously suspected was the killer, but are now convinced of his innocence, to try to negotiate with Ryder, but when Jim confronts him, Ryder orders him to shoot him. Jim refuses because Ryder's foot is on the clutch and if it slips off, Nash will die anyway. Ryder gets pissed and insults Jim, then shifts the clutch and the accelerator, resulting in Nash getting ripped in half before Jim's very eyes.
Well, not literally, as Jim wasn't able to see what was happening at the back of a truck he was sitting in. Nor does the audience see Nash's demise, just her bound wrists as they're pulled hard against the ropes, then go slack. The remake did show someone torn in half this way, but it wasn't the girl and wasn't very convincing.
During the Crazy 88 sword battle in Kill Bill the Bride hands this out to one unfortunate Mook, who is split in half right down the middle with her Hattori Hanzo sword.
Turkish Star Wars ends with the protagonist karate-chopping the evil Wizard in half. In a movie riddled with Special Effect Failure, this one stands out as the single most hilariously bad special effect of them all.
In Paranoid Park, the main character hops onto a train and scuffles with a security guard who catches him. However, the guard loses his footing and falls onto a second set of tracks as another train approaches. The result is an unnerving scene in which the guard crawls away from the tracks, minus the lower half of his body.
The second The Omen movie features a man being cut in half at the waist by an elevator cable.
In the opening action sequence of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Sideswipe does a balletic jump over the Audi R8, Sideways, lands in front of him and grounds his built in sword blade so that as the Decepticon drives forwards he cuts himself in two lengthways. He then proclaims "Damn, I'm good".
In the climax of the first film, Megatron does it to Jazz, quipping that he doesn't want "a piece" of Jazz, he wants two.
Played straight then immediately reverted in the finale of Blade when he chops Deacon Frost in half, but the upper body only separates a few inches before his vampire god powers (and a lot of blood) pull the parts back together again.
Also done to a vampire in the sequel, except this cut was vertical, and it successfully killed the vampire.
In the "Weird Al" Yankovic film UHF the TV show preview for "Conan the Librarian" depicts the barbarian chopping a patron in half, vertically, for returning books past their due date.
Happens to one guy in Slither. Subverted in that his organs fall out before he splits in half.
Hud in Cloverfield. It's a blink and you miss it moment, but if you watch closely, the monster swallows his legs, letting the upper body fall to the ground.
Apparently in the backstory for a background character in Corpse Bride — when Victor first encounters him, he splits in half vertically to get around the young man.
Every single person, except for the little girl, in the opening scene of Ghost Ship. The only reason she survives is because she's still short enough that the high-tension cable goes over her head instead of through her body as it cuts across the deck in a split-second.
For at least one on-screen killing. It's implied that the messes he usually leaves behind are a lot worse.
Happened some time ago to a character in the Doom movie, when a teleport-pad accident sent his upper and lower halves to different destinations. Due to futuristic medicine, he lives, but as half a body permanently attached to a wheelchair/life support system.
A nonlethal version happens to Ronald Reagan in King's Row, in which he wakes up from surgery and says the famous line, "Where's the rest of me?" Reagan, by the way, plays a notorious playboy who had taken an interest in the surgeon's daughter. Think about it.
Pieces shows a victim getting cut half with a chainsaw.
One of the victims in Intruder is found cut half, with his upper and lower body in two dumpsters. He also has a "1/2 price" tag on him.
In Signs, Graham's wife is hit by a car and he is told that she is basically cut in half and the car is the "only thing holding her together," but we don't see it.
Happens to a Mook in Die Hard With A Vengeance; there's a brief shot of the cable slicing him in two, and then we see the two heroes drag the corpse away side by side, one holding his wrists and the other his ankles.
Shazza, who gets ripped in half and carried off still screaming by a swarm of juvenile Bioraptors.
In I, Robot, Sonny hurls another robot into an energy field that disintegrates most forms of alloy or composite. Before collapsing, it staggers about for a moment, then turns to reveal it's lost half its head and body.
In the beginning of The Return of Hanuman, Rahu and Ketu were cut in half. Their bodies were reattached, only that their lower halves were switched.
A favored fatality of the Saw franchise, several victims are usually decapitated in this manner. One victim is strapped to a bench and disembered by a razor sharp pendulum. In the last installment's introductory sequence, the girl who is cheated on the two men in the contest is dropped forcefully upon a rotating sawblade when they agree that she is the one to die in the trap. The real Gorn candidate, though, is the suspension trap that forcefully rips the victim in two vertically when it goes off.
Happens to one of the Rangers in Saving Private Ryan during the Omaha Beach landing sequence. Captain Miller is dragging a wounded comrade out of the water when a mortar explodes nearby, throwing Miller to the ground. When he gets back up and resumes dragging, the soldier is now dead and has been blown in half.
Variant: In The Cell, a horse is split into a sequence of slabs by the descending glass plates of a deathtrap. As it's a Journey to the Center of the Mind sequence, the horse's various sections remain alive.
In The Woman, the feral woman cuts Brian in half after Peggy frees her.
A late-entry AIP "Beach Party" movie leads up to an old-timey 'villain at the sawmill scene', where series Butt Monkey Eric Von Zipper ends up cut in two in a bloodless, painless, comical fashion with bad split-screen camera effects.
Happens briefly in Highlander III The Sorcerer, when Connor cuts Kane in half horizontally. But then he uses his powers to join the halves and the fight continues.
Happens to a soldier in Blackhawk Down when his lower body gets blown off by a Somali RPG.
In King Kong Lives, Kong grabs one of the hunters that tried to capture it and breaks him in half.
In Captains Courageous: It happens when the Portuguese fishermansuffers an accident while deep sea fishing. Because he was submerged up to his neck in the ocean, his wounds were not visible. He announced his predicament through an interpreter, so the boy he had been taking care of wouldn't know how bad it was.
Richard inflicts this fate on some of his enemies in The Sword of Truth. It helps that his sword can magically cut through anything.
A disguised Corran Horn uses the same technique on a 3PO unit belonging to the Blackstar Pirates in I, Jedi as part of a dramatic display meant to frighten them.
Lightsaber combat refers to this technique as sai tok. It's Sithly in nature (even when it's necessary to kill, a Jedi shouldn't feel a desire to mutilate his enemy's body), hence Jedi almost never use it on sentients. Jedi Master Cin Drallig, however, expresses the opinion that when fighting a Sith Lord, no technique should be considered off limits to stop the threat they represent.
Before that, Odetta loses her legs thanks to Jack Mort pushing her in front of a train. Later, Roland possesses Jack's body and makes him do it to himself-except aims the impact point just a bit higher.
Interesting variation in The Cloven Viscount by Italo Calvino: the title character is a nobleman who got cut in two (vertically) during a fight against Turkish forces. But, amazingly, both halves survive, one evil and the other good.
In one book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, a wizard gets cut in half in the middle of a battle, and keeps himself alive briefly with magic. It turns out this was in order to complete a spell to transfer his soul into a little marionnette.
Happens to Kid Sampson in Catch-22 when McWatt's practical joke of buzzing the beach goes horribly wrong.
The protagonist in The Godwhale. He survives... and is actually called "hemihuman" through much of the book.
This is the fate of Navarog in Fablehaven. In dragon form, he's a huge, almost-untouchable monstrosity... but in human form, well, Raxtusgot hungry.
L. Frank Baum's Sky Island has the Blue government practice of slicing two persons in half and recombining them with each other. They attempt it with Cap'n Bill and (a donkey?) Fortunately, Cap'n Bill escapes.
The Teacher From The Black Lagoon, a rather peculiar picture book, sums it up in four sentences:
"This is a boy." She takes a big bite. "This is half a boy. Now you've learned fractions."
Used in a 1814 german poem by Ludwig Uhland:
Zur Rechten sieht man, wie zur Linken, Einen halben Türken heruntersinken.
To the right one sees, as to the left, half a turc sink down.
From the Old Norse Saga of the Jomsvikings: In the Battle of Hjorunga Bay, the warrior Thorkel Midlong is cut in two.
When Sigurd, the hero of Völsunga saga, is stabbed in his sleep by Gutthorm, he throws his sword after Gutthorm, slicing him in half.
This is taken to a strange extreme in Deathstalker: The character 'Half A Man', a former investigator, is sliced in half vertically, the missing half of his body replaced by a sinister energy being. Eventually, that side devours him, and he's well aware that it's happening for quite some time.
Genome begins with protagonist leaving a hospital where he recovered after being bisected. His legs had to be regrown for several months, since the ship where the accident happened had only one spare medical chamber and thus only one half could be saved; otherwise, legs could just have been reattached.
Uncle Marty in the first episode of Harper's Island, as well as Beth in a later episode.
The first one happens in particularly gruesome fashion: he falls through a sabotaged foot bridge, and while he's struggling to pull himself back up, the killer hacks him apart from below with a big knife. While he tries to shoot him through the bridge. It looks for a minute like he might win out, but ... no. Many episodes later they find the bodystrung up in a tree .. in two pieces.
Hunters from Teen Wolf will cut captured werewolves in half to guarantee that they won't be able to heal themselves.
Alex Taylor, in the fourth Season Finale of Third Watch. Whilst attending a road traffic accident, the car she is sitting on explodes and chops her in half. She doesn't die until a few moments later, meaning she is painfully aware of what has happened.
In one episode of Tales from the Crypt ("Split Personality"), a conman wishes to marry a pair of beautiful blonde twins because they are both rich, but they don't like to share. No problem. He pretends to have a twin brother, and further pretends that they are both traveling salesmen, and marries each of them in separate ceremonies. Understandably, the twins are Not Happy when they discover the subterfuge, and proceed to execute their own version of Solomon's Judgment. With a chainsaw. In the end, each twin has half, and both are happy. Him... not so much.
Charlie Crews and Dani Reese investigate a corpse like this in the episode "Farthingale". The weirdness of the man's death turns out to be one of the least odd aspects of the case.
In a Kids in the Hall sketch a man told of how a shark bit him in half. It really did. His wife measured.
Not quite severed altogether, but a luckless man (played by Vincent D'Onofrio) in the "Subway" episode of Homicide: Life on the Street got trapped under a train car, which crushed and mangled his body from the waist down. It's understood by all — paramedics, police, and the poor guy himself — that the train's weight, compressing arteries in his crushed torso, is the only thing keeping death by blood loss in check.
Anya meets the same fate in the final episode. Not from the groin up, though.
In 1000 Ways to Die: The first case featured in the series ever was this. "Semi-cide" features a dude called Frank, who got accidentally cut into two while working on his car in a parking lot in Las Vegas while a huge truck was around and then hit his lower half. Made worse by how both halves were sent to different hospitals by mistake. And naturally, there are MANY other cases...
"Shafted", a bossy office manager is cut in half while trying to escape a malfunctioning elevator.
"Forked Up": A pothead who went on a joyride got bisected on some rope tied to his waist.
"D-Parted": A flirtatious and recently divorced Femme Fatale tried to seduce a group of construction workers, one of which is so taken by the woman that he loses control of a concrete saw and ends up slashing the woman in half.
"Half-Offed": A Jerkass businessman cuts the line for a taxi, only to get cut in half by a steel cable from a passing truck that gets caught in the taxi's trunk lid.
"Ex'D Ex": A jealous ex tries to wreck his ex-girlfriend's date, only for him to get run over by the tractor she and her new boyfriend were driving in.
In the first season finale of Fringe, David Robert Jones builds a portal to crossover to the Alternate Universe, but Peter manages to get there in time to close the gateway and portal-cuts him in half.
One of the early shown zombies in The Walking Dead is the rotted upper half of one, who continues crawling about by pulling itself along with its hands.
With one swing of his sword, Stannis Baratheon cuts a guy clean in half during the Battle of Blackwater in Game of Thrones.
In Robot Combat League's Commander vs. Scorpio match, Scorpio damages Commander so badly, it breaks in half at the waist; resulting in a KO.
Scorpio does this AGAIN in their next match against A.X.E.
Happens to the Kagamine twins in the Vocaloid song "Wide Knowledge of the Late, Madness." They later get stitched back together and become Conjoined Twins in "Dark Woods Circus."
The final sixth of "Falling Down" by Cunninlynguists makes grim humor from this during a machine gun rampage. "Walk in the Dollar Store and just let off / Now even the manager's body is 50% off!"
Happened to Rodolphus Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback on Honorable Hogwarts. They really don't like Canon characters there.
Dino Attack RPG: Poor Randal. Before he died, his lower half was disintegrated by Paulie Gonepus's Maelaser.
Native american legends tell of Odzihozo, a giant who was so impatient during his creation that even when he was not yet fully made, he set out on a quest to change the world. However, he had only half a body with no legs at that time, and as he dragged his body around, he created valleys, lakes, and rivers in his wake. Eventually, after hauling and heaving himself across the continents for centuries, he was so exhaused that he crawled up a hill and stayed there forever, and seeing what he had done, he turned himself into a mountain so that to this day he admires his creation. Or that of his behind, actually.
That makes him more of "Half The Man He Was Supposed To Be."
One Eskimo tale tells of a beautiful bride desired by two brothers. Unable to decide who should have her, they each grabbed her from an end and pulled, result in one having the upper torso and other the hips and below. Being clever artificers, they quickly carved out a wooden replacement for the missing half, thereby explaining why the women of one tribe were so clever with beadwork (having been descended from the woman with the living upper torso) while the other tribe excelled at dancing (having been descended from the woman with flesh legs).
Another story implies this. Two women came to King Solomon, each claiming that they were the mother of a particular baby. The king thought about it for a while, and then came to the decision that the baby should be cut in half. Naturally, the woman who protested was the real mother, and while the other woman didn't think half a child was fine, she simply said basically that if she couldn't have the child, at least the other woman wouldn't either.
Dorn Graybrook in Forgotten Realms. A red dragon damaged boy's left side including bitting off arm and leg, after eating or incinerating most of the people Dorn knew including his parents. Then wizard made him new appendages and used half-golem as a gladiator until he grew up. Then Dorn got rid of the wizard and became a mercenary, seeking missions that involve dragon-slaying.
Long before "half-golem" became a standard template in 3E, the Ravenloft setting was home to Desmond LaRouche, an NPC from Nova Vaasa who'd lost one side of his body in a laboratory explosion, and had it replaced with a golem half.
A lot of the Warhammer 40,000 backstory has this, usually about Space Marines. Particularly about World Eaters. And ESPECIALLY about Kharn the Betrayer, whose axe, Gorechild is stated as capable of splitting an armoured space marine from crown to crotch, or something along those lines.
As well, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, the guildmaster of the Azorius Senate on Ravnica (as of the original Ravnica set) is legless (and blind), floats around in his magically hovering throne, empowered to legislate utterly by the guildpact.
Done inMacbeth where the titular character is reported to have sliced Macdonwald "from the nave to the chaps" right before the play begins. This is done to establish right away how bloodthirsty MacBeth is.
Johnny Eck, a sideshow performer born without a pelvis, was billed as "Half-Boy" because his truncated body resembled this trope's outcome. At one point, he and his normal-looking twin brother worked with a magician to subvert the usual Saw a Woman in Half routine: his brother would "volunteer" to be bisected on stage, the magician would covertly switch the twins while pretending something had Gone Horribly Wrong with the trick, after which Johnny would run around the stage on his palms, shouting that he wanted his legs back.
The Axe Lord strikes the Goblin Maceman in the lower body with her =steel battle axe= and the severed part sails off in an arc!
Notably, with inorganic creatures (like bronze collosus or iron men), which do not bleed, this and decapitation is the only thing that will cause death. And even organic creatures killed this way can have their upper half brought back as a zombie.
A longtime feature of the Samurai Shodown series is being able to slice your opponent in half if you hit them hard enough and/or hit them in a specific manner (i.e., a crouching Strong strike). This is usually either at the waist or a Diagonal Cut.
It was also used on Wire Sponge if X used the Sonic Slicer on him.
The Krall in the original Unreal sometimes lose their lower half when taking damage. This doesn't keep them from crawling towards the player and firing their BoomSticks.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker can have this happen to Stalfos enemies, if I remember correctly, with their top half and head trying to run away from Link and their feet trying to attack him. They can also, semi obviously literally be blasted to millions of pieces with just a head bouncing around.
God of War allows Kratos to rip the basic enemies in half right from the get-go, letting you know Kratos isn't the type to play around.
In Half-Life 2 you come across headcrab zombies who are just a torso. You can use the gravity gun to fire a circular saw blade through a zombie's torso and cut them in half... but it only works on zombies, and only cutting them in half, no decapitations or amputations.
And it doesn't necessarily stop them coming at you...
In FEAR, you can blow mooks in half with the shotgun.
No More Heroes: Travis can chop enemies in half with the finishing blow.
Travis does this vertically to Speed Buster in a cutscene after defeating her in the PAL version of the game (in the US version he decapitates her). Henry finishes off an assassin who came after Travis horizontally in the ending.
Travis also cuts Destroyman cleanly in two vertically. He somehow returns in the sequel as a pair of cyborgs, each half of his biological body supplemented by a robot half.
Travis does this to Nathan Copeland and Alice Twilight in the second game.
In almost every one of his various Final Fantasy appearances, Odin's Zantetsuken slices enemies in two for instant death, and the halves slide apart. Final Fantasy VIII had Seifer counter the Zantetsuken and slice Odin in half. When Gilgamesh inherits the Zantetsuken, the upper half of the sliced enemy (and parts of the scenery) fly off violently.
With the Blade, Whipfist and Claw powers in Prototype you can slice up people in three different ways: sideways, vertically and diagonally. Or you can just grab people with the Musclemass power, and pull them in half.
He'll also say "You're half the man you used to be!" as a Shout-Out to the Stone Temple Pilots song.
Off-screen example in Nier, when the Junk Heap siblings go to collect material, a robot causes debris to fall down and crush the older brother to death. The younger brother frantically attempts to pull him out, and...
This can happen to Laura Bow in The Colonel's Bequest if she oils the arm on a suit of armor, causing the axe it's holding to swing down.
At the climax of Dead Rising 2, Sullivan uses a skyhook to try to airlift himself out of Fortune City. Chuck, however, uses a set of handcuffs to clip one of the belt loops of his trousers to a railing, and makes good on his promise that he 'wouldn't make it out of here in one piece.'
The Suffering. The protaganist finds a prison guard who had somehow just been bisected horizontally. A mercy bullet is a good thing right now.
In The Darkness 2, there is a finisher move that has the two demon arms grab an enemy by his feet and rip him in half. It's called 'Wishbone'.
Speedy Blupi/Eggbert 2 features large circular saws in some levels that can vertically (and bloodlessly) saw the title character in half (at least until he respawns, now in one piece again).
Most of the enemies in Dead Space are capable of doing this to Isaac, but with the proper weapons he can do it right back.
In Resident Evil 2', Leon can literally blast a zombie in half with a standard shotgun if they are close, while Claire can blast the legs off a zombie with a grenade round-loaded grenade launcher. And they still come after you.
In Resident Evil 4, Mendez' legs come off once down to about half-HP. The boss U-3 can instant-kill Leon via bisection with its Plaga pincers. In the earlier games, zombies could be bisected with the shotgun, but would continue to crawl after you until you headstomped them.
Pit does this to Hades via a giant energy blade three-fifths of the way through the final battle of Kid Icarus: Uprising. Unlike most examples, Hades is just barely hurt and simply grows an entire new lower half. The seam between his new and old halves becomes a valid weak spot for the next phase of the battle, however.
This is also the case with the Erinus enemy. When attacked, it splits in two with both halves coming after you.
In the many death scenes of Brain Dead 13, Lance will be cut in half (vertically and horizontally) by Fritz.
The boss Lokii from The Binding of Isaac is another boss, Loki, but ripped in half vertically. Both halves attack you.
SLAI Steel Lancer Arena International has this happen in its opening. A Carro model grabs a Proton by the neck and hoists it into the air. It shoves its machine cannon into the Proton's midsection and opens fire until the Proton's entire lower half is blown off, landing some distance away before exploding. The Carro then throws the Proton's remaining top half behind it, which explodes in midair.
In the notoriously gory Soldier of Fortune series, enemies can be bisected at the waist by the shotgun, large caliber arms, or explosives.
Seen with a Marine's corpse floating in space during Quake IV's intro cutscene.
Lego Indiana Jones uses this to demonstrate the effects of getting shot on Henry Jones Sr., whose legs proceed to wander around aimlessly. When Indy lets him drink from the Grail, his two halves are reunited.
In Fallout 3's Broken Steel DLC, Liberty Prime is blown in half by a Kill Sat strike.
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway featured this early on; following an ambush on Baker's squad, a priest who had handed out cigars to the squad for saving his town loses the lower half of his body to a German antitank shell.
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun has Nod Cyborgs, tough infantry units that aren't subjected to the common weaknesses of normal soldiers. If they're damaged enough there's a chance they'll be blown in half, but the lack of legs merely slows them down.
The Duvalia in Resident Evil 5 finishes off the player character by devouring their upper body.
A possible result of using the Tsurugi of Muramasa on human-size or smaller opponents in NetHack: it happens on about 5% of hits, and kills instantly when it occursnote larger opponents can't be killed in this way, but take double damage when it happens. However, only Samurai can get it without wishing or bones, and have to take it from someone wielding it, and that instakill chance still applies when the player is targeted.
In The Wonderful 101, Wonder Red finishes off the first boss, Laambo, by bisecting him vertically with his own sword. Funnily enough, Laambo is still alive enough to hold his two halves together and keep shouting insults, and appears ready to continue the fight... until his sword splits in half too, at which point he finally explodes.
A death scene cut from the VGA remake of Space Quest 1 had Roger vertically cut in half with what appeared to be a chainsaw, in a manner similar to the Laura Bow example above.
In Yousei, Dr. Johansen's body is found cut in half by the bell that crushed him. This becomes even more horrific when Kangai's kansei reveals that Johansen was still alive when Naoki and Aaron found him and that, given the time frame for the murder, he had to have been alive for at least several minutes after getting crushed before he finally succumbed to blood loss.
Miko Miyazaki in The Order of the Sticksomewhat ironically, as she kills a previous villain this way in one of her first appearances.
Homestuck: Feferi's dreamself got cut in half by Jack Noir shortly before the destruction of her session's Derse. Tavros' dreamself (on that session's Prospit, which fares no better) is soon afterward revealed to have been slaughtered in the same way.
And then there's what happened to Eridan...
Even before the death of his dreamself, Kanaya did Tavros the favor of chainsawing off his legs so that they could be replaced with robot prosthetics.
Jack: Happens in "One Way to Win" when half of Taylor's body is gruesomely forced out of the car by his kidnapped victim crashing into a tree.
In 1/0, Zadok suffered this twice, on both the top and bottom halves. Being a straw golem, however, he was able to be repaired each time.
From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe:Strength ripped one of Los Hermanos's duplicates apart by grabbing each of his arms and pulling. He then made a joke about pulling the wings off of a fly. The humor wasn't exactly appreciated.
In Starship, Commander Up reveals that this had been done to him during the Robot Wars; however, he had been bisected "vertically! hot-dog style, not hamburger style" and the missing half replaced by robot parts.
A very weird version of this trope appears in "Sea Legs" from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. A giant apparently left his legs behind and Captain K'nuckles decides to steal them to substitute for his wooden legs. The giant wasn't happy about this when he returned.
This has happened a few times in Animaniacs in "Scare Happy Slappy" a bomb blows Walter Wolf in half and he later sews himself back together, and in "Rest in Pieces" Sid Squid is cut in half by a statue's sword.
In another short, Tom used a laser beam to cut a hole on the wall Jerry was hidden in. On his hurry, he forgot to turn off the laser before chasing Jerry, getting himself cut.
Happens to Donald Duck at the end of the House of Mouse episode "Salute to Sports" as a result of him being kicked in the chest by Mulan while attempting to show the audience her karate skills. Moments later, he is completely bandaged up.
An episode of I Am Weasel featured someone erasing characters in Cow and Chicken, the Red Guy. The entire episode ends by revealing it was a nightmare by Cow who dreamt Mom and Dad were only half there. The screen pans out to reveal they are. The only other episode that showed this was the pilot.
In The Fairly OddParents episode "Cosmo Rules", Jorgen caught the trick-ups and had to pass on his duties of enforcing the rules to a family member, the only available one being Cosmo. After giving Cosmo his wand, Jorgen said without it he felt like half the man he used to be. Then he hiccupped, making a magician's saw cut him in half (a symptom of trick-ups is doing a magic trick every time one hiccups). Jorgen then commented he literally was half the man he used to be.
The medical procedure for amputating people at the waist is called Hemicorporectomy - literally, the removal of half of the body. Usually done for terminal cases of pelvic cancer. As unpleasant as it sounds, it involves the removal of the legs, the genitalia (internal and external), most of the urinary system, the large and small intestines, pelvic bones, anus, and rectum.
The medical term for this type of injury is "transection," and the standard example is a man who fell asleep on the railroad tracks. While survival is occasionally possible, most hospital ERs have standing "do not resuscitate" orders for patients who have been bisected in accidents.
One of the nastier methods of execution used in ancient China.
Formula One driver François Cévert, while attempting to qualify for the United States Grand Prix in 1973. He presumably overcompensated going through the track's famous Esses complex, losing control and crashing hard into the barrier at nearly 90 degrees, actually uprooting the barrier. Cevert's body was cut in half from his neck to just above his hip.