"Your sword only pierced through my belly fat and one kidney: a flesh wound! Have at you, sir!"In fiction, fat doesn't necessarily mean the character is out of shape — it's body armor. A fat character will often be resistant or even entirely impervious to damage because of their layers of blubber. Punches will be absorbed or deflected, often with a comedic BOING, and in rare cases, bullets or other projectiles will be diverted. They might even go out of their way to build up fat so they can fight more effectively. Is Truth in Television but not to the extent that fiction portrays it. It might add some cushioning against a punch or twonote , but it does nothing against a bullet. However, characters with Kevlard seem to bypass this downside entirely. Kevlard often, but not always, overlaps with Acrofatic, Stout Strength and/or Mighty Glacier. More often than not, it's applied to villainous characters rather than heroic ones, usually because it's meant to be an intimidating display of size trumping skill. Often played for laughs, and almost always a set-up to having the characters discover the Achilles' Heel of the tub of lard in question. Usually, in its less serious incarnations, the ability to repel damage with fat is presented as a inhuman superpower. It's important to make the distinction between this and Mighty Glacier: Mighty Glacier characters are simply those who are strong and slow, and it more often applies to huge, muscled characters. Kevlard, however, specifically refers to the body armor properties of pure lard, not muscle. Regardless, a Kevlard has a high probability of ending up as a Mighty Glacier or a Stone Wall anyway, as it is difficult to envision the character as fast or fragile.
— Marco (describing medieval soldiers), Animorphs
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Anime & Manga
- Dragon Ball
- When Goten and Trunks flub the Fusion Dance and fuse into an extremely fat Gotenks, the team wonders if having this is a good thing considering how strong the similarly obese Majin Buu is, and that its a sign of power. While Buu may be powerful, Fat Gotenks was just fat and out of shape.
- Buyon, the Monster of the Week from Episode 40 of the original series, was the first monster to deflect Goku's Kamehameha without taking even a scratch and could only be defeated by freezing him.
- Mikokatsun in The World's Finest is an artificially created combatant who's incredibly rotund, but his torso is apparently also completely boneless. Though a very agile fighter in his own right, his belly deflects nearly all attacks aimed at it. It takes Goku a tremendous amount of effort to finally tear through it.
- In One Piece
Zoro: "All that blubber saved him..."
- During the Black Cat Pirates arc, the Meowban Brothers are hit with the swordsman Zoro's Finishing Move. It nearly slices the skinny one in two, but the fat one survives.
- Trébol gives off this appearance as well, with objects or attacks thrown at him having no effect, as they just get stuck on his body, but it's actually because of his Stick-Stick Fruit powers, which allows him to generate adhesives from his body. He's not actually fat at all, but is actually covered in a thick coat of sticky goop that he shaped into something resembling a fat body, which allows him to withstand devastating attacks—his goop takes the damage for him.
- Mister Heart is one famous example from Fist of the North Star. He was, in fact, the first enemy shown that Ken couldn't simply kill in one blow; his body fat protected him from Ken's fatal Finger Poke of Doom. Ken had to resort to kicking Heart a hundred times in a second just to force the fat out of the way before striking forward with his killing blow. Shin, on the other hand, says that he would have had no problems with him as his Nanto piercing and slicing techniques would have pierced and sliced him, fat and all — and proves it by casually cutting his cheek without even touching him.
- Chouji in Naruto can use a jutsu to do this—justified, as he turns into a huge sphere of fat, and it's reasonable to assume his vital organs are somewhere in the center.
- His father can use a more advanced technique that turns him into a proportional giant. Chouji later learns how to increase the size of individual body parts.
- Kabuto at one point wonders about Tsunade (a powerful ninja with astounding large breasts) if her fatty breasts absorbed his attack.
- Kurita of Eyeshield 21 has this mildly. The average high schooler can't really hurt him, but a lot of the linemen he plays against are around his size and can do plenty of damage.
- Fat Man from the comic series Ratman has this as a literal super power. He can control the fat in his body to allow him to do things such as block knives.
- Thor from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple claims this as a sumo wrestler's advantage, and indeed, Kenichi seems unable to harm him to any great degree, despite his surprisingly impressive physical strength. Kenichi ends up having to win the fight via ring-out.
- In Shakugan no Shana, Shana once fought a minor mook who was so fat that she commented she had to use a lot of force so her sword could penetrate his flesh. This also made it difficult to find his core and permanently kill him.
- Weaponized by Fat Gum in My Hero Academia: Attacks and weaponry that impact his tremendous belly are nullified by the fat and absorbed into it as he wills it. Presumably, he can suffocate people in there, but he's too much of a Nice Guy to do it and uses his powers strictly to disarm or neutralize his enemies.
- The Blob from X-Men, pictured above, has this as his superpower — he's Nigh Invulnerable Fat Bastard who can make himself literally immovable (more to do with manipulation of his mass than any idea that being fat is itself a superpower.) How tough is he? At least once, he was totally unfazed by Cyclops' power beam!
- Subversion: In the Marvel Universe, The Kingpin appears to be a monstrously obese man who appears to harness the power of Kevlard. However, once he actually takes off his shirt and starts fighting, it's apparent he is ripped as hell, thus making him a Mighty Glacier instead.
- Subversion: a RoboCop comic book had a minor villain that appeared very fat. Lewis tries to drop him with a standard double-tap, just for the villain to shrug it off and casually gloat that what looked like fat was actually custom-made body armor made to look like fat. Lewis addresses this problem by wrestling him to the ground and pressing the barrel of her sidearm square against the center of his forehead. "Wanna try that trick again?"
- Another obese Marvel villain is the Slug. Like the Blob, his fat makes him hard to hurt through attacks to the stomach (though attacks to the head will do just fine). Unlike the Blob, he is unable to move without technical aid and his fighting skill is absolutely pathetic, so he's a Stone Wall at best. He can actually suffocate people using the folds of fat on his body.
Films — Animation
- Po in Kung Fu Panda is an average fighter overall, but his secret technique relies on his sheer mass to absorb attacks. By the end of the movie, it becomes a Chekhov's Skill as it renders him immune to Tai Lung's paralyzing nerve strikes.
- In Kung Fu Panda 2, Mr. Ping points out that Po has lost weight. He also seems to be less able to take a hit.
Films — Live-Action
- The fat guy in 3 Ninjas: Until the heroes figure out where his weak point is, their blows simply do not register.
- Played for drama in Headhunters, where a character survives a car-falling-off-cliff collision only because the obese men on either side of him acted as human airbags.
- In Pet, Seth distracts Nate and stabs him in the gut. Though it bleeds, Nate is so fat that he doesn't even notice until he looks down. Then he gets angry and throws Seth across the room.
- In John Wick: Chapter 2, John fights a sumo wrestler-like assassin who shrugs off John's blows and gunshots. He finally falls when he's shot in the head.
- In Monstrous Regiment Sergeant Jackrum claims his fat is like armor, and that a man once stuck a sword in it up to the hilt, and was very surprised when he got nutted in response. Of course, Jackrum said that to reassure the troops about attacking the enemy keep.
- In Charles McCarry's The Bride of the Wilderness, the character Gustavus Hawkes is able to keep going on with an arrowhead in him—albeit with considerable pain—because it's stuck in his subcutaneous fat. McCarry attempts to justify this by claiming that unusually dense fatty tissue runs in Hawkes's family; an ancestor took a small-caliber bullet with similar aplomb.
- Spenser: Spenser and Hawk have to go arrest Zachary — no shooting allowed — in the novel The Judas Goat:
"Kathie say this Zachary a bone-breaker."
"How big is he?"
Hawk said, "Kath?"
"Very big," she said.
"Bigger than me," I said, "or Hawk?"
"Oh yes. I mean really big."
"I weigh about two hundred pounds," I said. "How much would you say he weighs?"
"He weighs three hundred five pounds. I know. I heard him tell Paul one day."
I looked at Hawk. "Three hundred five?"
"But he only six feet seven," Hawk said.
"Is he fat, Kathie?" I was hopeful.
"No, not really. He used to be a weightlifter."
"Well, so, Hawk and I do a lot on the irons."
"No, I mean like those Russians. You know, a real weightlifter, he was the champion of somewhere."
"And he looks like a Russian weightlifter?"
"Yes, like that. Paul and he used to watch them on television. He has that fat look that you know is strong."
- In Darksiders: The Abomination Vault, Death and War fights a demon that is so fat that even if their weapons cut into it, they cannot hurt it. The solution? One grabs the upper mouth, another grabs the lower, then twist it inside out.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Lord Wyman Manderley, a highly rotund northern lord, survives a throat slash because of his corpulence. He sustains the injury after reveling a bit too much in his subtle punishment to the Freys.
- There's also Strong Belwas, who, when fighting, lets each enemy cut his massive, scar-covered belly once before killing them. His fat also sort of served him as a protection when he ate a bowl of poisoned food intended for Daenerys. It would be lethal for a smaller person, but Belwas survived, though he became horribly ill and lost most of his weight. Fortunately, he is starting to recover.
- In one of The Destroyer books, Chiun relates to Remo the legend of how the sumo came to be: as a bodyguard group for somebody who expected a Master of Sinanju to come after him, with the fat a specific defense against the art's ludicrously powerful Pressure Point techniques. Not that it did him any good, but as a remembrance one part of the test for mastery in Sinanju requires the student to defeat a sumo in a ritual match. Remo is undergoing such a match while Chiun tells him the story (interspersed with telling him the rules of a sumo match, which happen to negate all of the easy ways Remo could win it).
- Mad Men mentions a fat girl in Sally's class whom the other kids poke with pencils because they think she can't feel it.
- MythBusters tested the viability of this against bullets in their second "What is bulletproof?" special. When using a layer of fat equivalent to what the fattest man their researchers could come up with would have had protecting his vital organs as a baseline, the bullet went right through both the layer of fat and the simulate for the internal organs. The MythBusters thus conclude that fat could eventually stop a bullet, but not in anything human.
- In an episode of Manswers revealed you need to be over 1000lbs for your fat to be able to stop a bullet from killing you.
Myth & Religion
- In The Bible, Eglon, the king of Moab, gets stabbed by an Israelite in an assassination attempt. He's so fat that the Israelite pushes the sword into him, blade, hilt and all, and it doesn't come out the back. (Judges 3:12) He still dies, though.
- Dungeons & Dragons gives us a feat aptly called 'Obese' in the Book Of Vile Darkness. It increases constitution by 2 at the expense of dexterity, thus increasing your hit points.
- A disadvantage of same name in Savage Worlds gives you notable amounts of all-important stamina at the cost of movement speed. Some builds can really abuse that.
- The Grael from 50 Fathoms, being a race of seal-people, have a natural layer of blubber, which is thick enough to act as armour.
- A scenario for the Judge Dredd RPG had literal Kevlard in a new variant of Boing! (a type of very resilient rubber plastic you could encase yourself in then bounce improbably far and fast) called Spunng! being developed. It consisted of a drug that when ingested converted all subcontaneous fat to a type of Boing! - a group of four really fat guys take it and go on a crime spree - flattening anyone who gets in their way by bouncing into them at high speed with bullets just bouncing out of their Spunng! enhanced bodies. However Spunng! was highly flammable rendering them very vulnerable to incendiary (if not bounced out), high explosive or laser fire.
- Fatty zombies in Zombicide are zombies who, by virtue of being fat, take much more punishment than your average walker or runner zombie.
- Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000: Servants of Nurgle tend towards this, their bodies growing massively obese and filled with cancerous growths that block damage and even regenerate their wounds. Although in their case the fat is practically incidental; their resilience comes from the difficulty of doing enough damage to them for it to actually be worse than their usual rotting-alive state.
- Played with in the Polish RPG "Afterbomb Madness", one of the playable races, the Flaccids are humans with a mutation that gives them extremely loose skin that looks like it could fit on someone three times their size, they get around this by wrapping it around their limbs and using staples, piercings and the like to hold it in place, on the plus side their skin can, among other things, heal superficial wounds quickly and act as natural armor. The gamebook actually lampshades the fact that people who never saw a Flaccid before assume "loose skin" and "resistance to injury" means they play this trope straight.
- Left 4 Dead provides a surpising subversion: while the heavily-muscled and aptly named Tank has the highest health, the next largest of the infected cast, the Boomer, has the lowest health. Pretty much justified by the fact that he serves as the suicide bomber of the group, deals the most claw damage, and is mostly combustable gas under all that fat.
- The Adjudicator in Demon's Souls qualifies, although the Meat Cleaver stuck in his chest was a pretty good indicator of where you had to hit him.
- Super Punch-Out!! (SNES) has two: Bear Hugger and Mad Clown, both fat boxers, are nearly immune to body blows. You have to punch them in the head to damage them. Punching them in the stomach results in a boing, and the boxer mocks you. If they taunt, their midsection is vulnerable, and hitting it will stun them.
- Bob from Tekken purposely gained weight so he could have this advantage.
- There are enemies in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Video Game that repel attacks using their prodigious girth.
- In Dwarf Fortress, fat realistically serves as a layers of tissue that may take damage from an attack instead of a more important body part. More bizarrely, in Adventure Mode you can repeatedly set yourself on fire and put it out after a while to remove all the fat in your body. If you survive you become effectively fireproof because heat does not kill you through burning, it kills you by melting tissue (which except at very high temperatures is usually fat) to make you bleed to death.
- Temperance (a morbidly obese zombie) from House of the Dead 4. Even though you could actually stop him from attacking you by shooting his head, it was impossible to do any real damage to him via your bullets. You had to drop a clock on his head to beat him.
- Team Fortress 2: The Heavy Weapons guy has both the biggest girth and the most hit points of the nine classes.
- In the second and third What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? games, "Fat" monsters can evolve if you starve some of your monsters to death. Fat Lizardmen, in particular, are incredibly durable compared to the garden variety lizardmen, with nearly double the amount of hit points and defense.
- In reference to Heart's example, fat enemies in Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage have a separate health track representing their bulk that must be depleted before they can actually be harmed.
- This is how Bear Druids, in World of Warcraft, fulfill their tanking role. Other tanks have shields and weapons to block and parry oncoming attacks. Bear Druids have neither, but have substantially more armor rating (especially through talents like "Thick Hide") and health points in order to simply soak up the damage. Oh, and to do this, they literally become bears.
- Overwatch plays with this trope in a very literal way with Roadhog: He's a comically oversized guy who only wears shoulder armor. Despite this, he's tied with a Mini-Mecha for highest innate health at 600. The other Tanks, men, women and gorillas in Powered Armor, have about 500 health that's supplanted by Shields (which regenerate when out of combat) or Armor (which has damage mitigation).
- The Lard powerup in The Binding of Isaac makes Isaac fat, and raises his maximum HP.
- Black Bull in Shadow the Hedgehog is an enormous, flying beast with one eye and several layers of blubbery fat. Attacking its eye is the surest way to bring it down, as its fat makes it mostly impervious to damage. (Mostly because attacking its body still causes damage, but at a slower rate than attacking its eye.)
- Sonic the Hedgehog: This is probably how Dr. Eggman survives the destruction of machine after machine.
- The most specific example in Pokémon is the "Thick Fat" Ability, which halves any Fire or Ice damage the user takes.
- In general, heftier-looking Pokemon tend to have higher base HP, notable examples including Snorlax, Slaking, Hariyama, Emboar, and Wailord. In a partial subversion, they don't always have the defenses to back that up (or at least specialize in only one type of defense, such as Snorlax, who's great at standing up to special attacks, but not so much to physical ones).
- In Dungeon Keeper, Bile Demons are so obese they're spherical, in the sequel take up 4 tiles in a Lair where most creatures take one, eat a lot, and are very slow. However their health is miles beyond any other creature you can access without advanced buildings, and they're immune to slap damage.
- The Large Body and Fat Bandit heartless in the Kingdom Hearts series are immune to most physical attacks from the front because of their belly fat.
- Planescape: Torment has "The Stone Gullet of L'Phall The Gross" - which has the backstory that L'Phall was a respected, but obese professor. At a banquet, some folks decided to play a practical joke on him by slipping some Flesh to Stone potion in his wine, intending to turn him back after they had a good laugh. Hours later, L'Phall complained of stomach pain - it turned out that he ate so much at the banquet that it diluted the potion, and only turned his stomach to stone. He lived for many years after that, and his stone gullet was removed after his death as a curiousity. The Nameless One can eat it (it has the consistency of stale bread) to gain some resistance to (stomach) acid.
- OFF has the third guardian, Enoch, who has thick enough fat to make attacking him straight on completely and utterly useless, and even when you manage to find how to hurt him, he still has ridiculous health, losing only to the Queen and a Bonus Boss in sheer tankiness.
- Fat zombies in The Last Stand: Union City are three to four times as tough as regular zombies. It makes no difference on how fast they can run either.
- The Fatal Fury series has Cheng Sinzan, who blocks attacks with his large belly.
- In Problem Sleuth, Ace Dick's "Auto-parry" technique involves taking the attack in the gut. It's still incredibly painful, but doesn't result in the loss of any Gumption Wafers
- Sawbuck of the Felt from Homestuck can take a lot of damage, and hops through time every time he's hit by something.
- In The Beast Legion, Sglutton posses the ability to expand his body to absorb & repel attacks although limited.
- Fairy Dust's trolls often survive gunfights because it's hard to aim for one's center of mass when one's mass is all over the place.
- Zukahnaut's protagonist survived a hail of small arms fire unscathed after the bullets bounced off his rotund body.
- According to SOTF-TV's lore one of the previous winners of a season was one Archibald "Archie" Stewart, who took a ridiculous amount of punishment over his run. The official explanation was that the layer of fat he had on him lessened the impact of what appeared to be grievous injuries. Subverted/deconstructed, when after he won he was unable to leave the shopping mall he was fighting in due to the cumulative amount of injuries and had a near-death experience in the hospital.
- The super-strong teenage supervillain Bouncer in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is nearly eight feet tall and weighs close to 800 pounds, most of it fat. He's also nearly impossible to hurt because of the bodyfat he carries around.
- The Simpsons, "Homerpalooza": Homer Simpson uses his body fat to stop cannonballs when performing in a freak show. His body still accumulates damage over doing this repeatedly, which would have inevitably killed him if he continued.
- In "King-Size Homer," Homer successfully stops a nuclear meltdown with his morbid obesity.
- And in "Homer the Smithers" when the two titular characters get into a fistfight, Smithers' fist gets stuck in Homer's stomach, which prompts Homer to laugh and push Smithers' head. Until he gets angry and bites, at which point they both separate.
- SheZow: SheZow temporarily develops this power when she becomes overweight in "She Phat"; being able to bounce Señor Yo-Yo's yo-yos off her fat.
- The Batman: Cluemaster, an extremely obese Basement-Dweller in this version, shrugs off a flying kick from Batman, whose leg gets stuck in the flab.
- As a general rule for any combat before the advent of firearms, an inch of fat could mean the difference between survival or having an organ ruptured.
- The Gladiator Games of Ancient Rome. Despite the Sword & Sandal stereotype of relatively lean, muscular gladiators, historic gladiators lived on fat-building diets. The layer of fat helped protect them from the bloody, slicing wounds that audiences loved.
- That's one hypothesis, at least. The other, backed by the Roman love of realistic art, is that gladiators ran about the same spectrum of body types as modern power-lifters, and that their grain- and legume-heavy diet was simply the cheapest way to provide a high-calorie, high-protein diet.
- Pretty much the whole point of Sumo wrestling of Japan; beneath the "fat", the wrestlers are built with raw muscles and strict diet.
- A lot of polar creatures have a thick layer of blubber under their skin to handle the cold climate better. The walrus's blubber, helped in part by its thick hide, is thick enough to withstand several tuskings from rival walruses and stand a better chance against polar bears.
- In 2008, an obese Australian woman was infected with necrotizing fasciitis, AKA flesh-eating bacteria, a deadly infection that rapidly destroys tissue and can kill within hours. She survived in part because her extra fat gave her more flesh the bacteria could destroy before it would kill her.
- Fat provides padding, preventing your bones from always rubbing up against hard objects in the environment. Without a little bit of fat, just sitting down would be uncomfortable, which is why skinny people dislike sitting on hard chairs even more than usual. Internal pads of fat also cushion some joints, organs such as the kidneys, and the eyeballs. Losing too much weight too fast can actually be life-threatening, as the kidneys can droop downward so much that it hampers the flow of blood and urine in and out of them (nephroptosis).
- Very unfortunately true in one murder case where a man tried to kill his morbidly obese wife and ended stabbing her 12 times before his short knife finally hit something vital.
- Pigs are sometimes believed to be immune to snake venom. In reality, they are as vulnerable as anyone. However, since the venom is only lethal when getting into the blood, this trope provides pigs with considerable immunity to snake bites.