Kung-Fu Sonic Boom

A trope that with the advent of computer manipulation can make fight scenes look 20% cooler!

A variation of Bullet Time, two enemies face off, charge each other, collide in the center and BOOM! A shockwave bursts from the collision that blasts out windows, upsets small animals, sets off car alarms and gets the fight off to a great start.

Can also occur as a result of other kinds of kinetic impact, such as opponents hitting or kicking each other or even slapping their own hands together.

Has nothing to do with Guile's signature move from Street Fighter. Or the video game Sonic Boom.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • The Big O does this all the time. Often the robots will send off a shockwave by merely moving their limbs.
    • The Big O mecha itself weaponizes this trope, instead of leaving it as mere spectacle (or collateral). Those giant pistons in its elbows crash down when it punches something, forcing air through the holes in its cuffs and into the innards of the hapless recipient. Stuff Blows Up in short order. There was at least one occasion where it missed its target, and ended up blasting a near-perfect hole through several skyscrapers.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In the original Dragon Ball, Goku defeated Chichi simply by punching the air in front of her, creating an air pressure strong enough to knock her out of the ring.
    • Dragon Ball Z did this a lot. From the Freeza saga onward, major fights would often include stretches of huge midair shockwaves with no other sign of the characters. Near the end of Goku's fight with Cell, the punches that missed were still shattering boulders feet away from them.
  • Rock Lee and Gai in Naruto can do this when they open their chakra gates.
    • The Sixth Gate onwards weaponizes this, with a rapid punch attack that burns the air with friction and sends flames out in a spread, then with a tiger-shaped punch shockwave that rivals the Rasen-shuriken in destructive power, and then a series of 5 column-shaped shockwaves resembling an elephant's foot, powerful enough to dig a mile-deep tunnel in the earth, and then finally a dragon-shaped sonic boom kick infused with chakra and blood that travels so fast that it bends space.
    • Also when Sasuke and Naruto collide with their Chidori and Rasengan.
      • The initial arm clash between the god-powered Naruto and Sasuke creates a disk shockwave that tears into the earth.
  • Luffy vs Rob Lucci did this in One Piece when both initiated a Punch Parry. The resulting shockwave was so powerful, it knocked both of them back to both sides of the room.
  • In Claymore, the repeated Kung Fu Sonic Booms from two characters using Spam Attacks causes a nearby building to crumble.
  • Happens in Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu during the Daiya vs. Nouza fight. Given that they're both Humongous Mecha, there's a lot of landscape damage.
  • Pokémon tends to do this a lot now.
  • The titular Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann versus the Great Zamboa. Standing on top of a galaxy...
  • Gerd of Blassreiter pulls this off first against a Demonized Jil, and the effect is repeated throughout the series.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 has this two times, both performed by Unit 02: first against Clockliel then against Zeruel.
    • Both were caused by Unit 02 freefalling onto and impacting the relevant Angel's AT-Field, causing a shockwave powerful enough to kick up dust kilometres away. It reminds you of a certain part of string theory.
  • Negi and Kotaro cause this to happen when performing a Fist Bump.
  • Happens often in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple.
  • Many of the fights in Fairy Tail, especially between two Dragon Slayers, go this way quickly. Also appears in one of the openings - Natsu and Jellal fly at each other, impact, and the resulting explosion destroys the Etherion.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd As uses this to show off the power of the new Catridge System, with the shock wave from the clash between Fate's Bardiche Assault and Signum's Laevatein shattering all the windows of the buildings around them.
  • Bleach had an interesting version of this during the final fight between Ichigo and Aizen. A parried sword strike from the latter levels a nearby mountain, which Aizen comments on, assuming his new One-Winged Angel form is just that strong. Turns out it was Ichigo's power that destroyed the mountain, not his.
  • In Kill la Kill, several characters are strong enough to do this. The shock waves generated by Ryuko and Satsuki's sword clashes were strong enough to force all of the air out of the arena, causing a reverse Kung Fu Sonic Boom as it implosively rushed back; virtually destroying the arena in the process.
  • Every single fight, without exception, from the Sengoku Basara anime. It's that kind of series.
  • Saitama from One Punch Man does this all the time, usually as less lethal method of taking out his enemies (although he was still capable of blowing a huge hole through a massive cliff merely with the shockwave of a pulled punch).

     Comic Books  

  • Various bricks in Marvel and DC do this, especially against each other, often the shockwaves are powerful enough to destroy large portions of the surrounding area.
  • The Incredible Hulk has been known to do this deliberately to stun or deafen weak or evasive enemies, by slapping his own hands together.
    • More than once, The Hulk has collided with an enemy possessing a comparable level of strength with enough force to wreck surrounding buildings. Notable instances include him clashing with Iron Man (wearing a Hulkbuster suit) in mid air, blowing out the windows in ever building for blocks in the World War Hulk story line, and a fight against Red She-Hulk that was causing tremors for miles around.
    • Also from World War Hulk, Green Scar vs the Sentry. The impacts destroyed most of the surrounding buildings. And indeed, about half of Manhattan.
    • Considerably less frequent than the Hulk, but the Thing has been known to use shockwave claps as well. Given their long-standing rivalry, he probably wouldn't admit to having copied that move from the Hulk.
  • A literally "kung fu" example; an issue of Immortal Iron Fist has the titular character and his arch nemesis, both supremely skilled martial artists, strike each other each other with chi enhanced flying kicks. The resulting shockwave demolishes the office building they're inside.
  • The climax of The Death of Superman arc is one of the most iconic uses of this trope: the Big Blue Boy Scout realizes he's literally on his last gasp, and is praying that Doomsday is as well. Doomsday comes in with a double-handed overhead smash, Superman with an uppercut that could launch a space shuttle. The actual impact is a 2-page spread of a single panel, with numerous narration boxes talking about how some people remembered the sheer force of the impact creating a huge crater in the street, others how it shattered all the windows for blocks, or overturned cars and trucks. All of this was drawn in the most detail yet seen in a comic book. Truly a Dying Moment of Awesome, so much so that it was used in (obviously) Superman: Doomsday, as well as referenced in the Justice League cartoon.

     Fan Fiction 


  • The Matrix Revolutions used this effect in the battle between Neo and Smith, with raindrops revealing the wave.
  • Shaolin Soccer takes this to utterly ludicrous levels.
  • A large number of later Wuxia films love to add shockwaves whenever powerful fighters clash, like The Storm Riders.
  • In The Avengers (2012), this is what we get when Thor's Mystical Uru Hammer hits Captain America's Mighty Shield.
    • The city-smashing battle between Tony's Hulkbuster and Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron has a moment where their fists collide, creating a shockwave that actually blasts people clean off their feet, on top of pulverizing every window in the vicinity.
  • In Dragon Tiger Gate occurs a few times, usually when Shibumi gets serious.

     Live Action TV  

  • Power Rangers. However, a punch or kick generating a shockwave tends to indicate it's nearly a finisher-class blow. This'll stagger even the Big Bad.
  • In Smallville, Clark has these when fighting kryptonians like Zod, Bizarro and Kara. Also Jeremiah.
  • As far back as the late 1990s, Singapore's local Chinese-language wuxia drama shows had a lot of such visual effects edited in. This also applies to other such series made in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.
  • In Kamen Rider Decade, Natsumi's Rider War dream sequence is capped off with Decade and Kuuga Ultimate Form throwing punches so strong that they cause an Earth-Shattering Kaboom; the spin-off video game Kamen Rider Climax Heroes uses this as the animation for clashes when one player tries to counter an opponent's Finishing Move.

     Video Games  

  • In City of Heroes, almost every attack with Super Strength creates a spherical shockwave.
  • The Might power set in Champions Online also uses small versions as hit sparks, while the "Thunderclap" power is a Shockwave Clap.
  • The Grav Hammer in Halo 3 gives off a boom when you use it (whilst it's charged anyway), this is actually what makes the hammer deadly as it can knock people several meters. It can also knock vehicles around - which can occasionally (if one's lucky) crush another player, effectively killing two birds with one stone.
  • Sonic Boom is a powerup in Backyard Football; it makes all the enemies fall once they hear the sound.
  • In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, a Combination Attack Ground Pound causes one to emanate from each character once they hit the ground.
  • Asura's Wrath does this a lot as well, especially when characters start fighting each other.
  • In the opening cinematic for BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II, this happens when Ragna and Hazama clash their blades.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, when the two fighters attack each other at a Wager, this happens in a short cinematic before it cuts back to the fight.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo one of the last levels has the above The Matrix Revolutions example shown as a series of in-game cutscenes.
  • Bryan Fury's Mach Breaker and Paul Phoenix's Phoenix Smasher collide in the intro to Tekken 6 and the resultant effect of two Punched Across the Room-punches meeting fist-to-fist is this.

     Western Animation  

  • Superman is known to let loose with one of these when he isn't holding back. Enhanced by computer effects in Superman: Doomsday animated movie.
  • Taken a step further by Flash in Justice League Unlimited. Think punches look awesome at Mach 1? Wait 'til you see them at light speed.
  • Literally illustrated between Thunder and Cyborg in in early Teen Titans.
  • Transformers Cybertron: Megatron/Galvatron and Optimus Prime do this a few times. The Galvatron vs. Starscream fight takes it Up to Eleven.
    • Bulkhead and Breakdown also achieve a shockwave when their melee weapons collide in Transformers Prime. Later on, Hardshell achieves this just by hitting Wheeljack hard enough.
  • Wonder Girl does this in her first appearance in Young Justice. She punches Lobo in the gut hard enough to break every window of the room they're in. Lobo was...amused.
    • In "Humanity", when Red Volcano catches Superboy's punch, the impact creates a small shockwave.
  • Hilariously used in The Simpsons, where Bart lines up a whole bunch of megaphones and turns them on. As soon as he speaks into one, it creates an expanding shockwave of doom.