Ludicrous Melee Accuracy

Ludicrous melee accuracy is when someone makes an impossibly precise melee attack. Given the Inverse Law of Sharpness and Accuracy, this often means a highly skilled Master Swordsman with a high-quality blade will demonstrate their skill by not hurting an opponent — but making it clear that they could have if they wanted to. Causing Clothing Damage is popular for this purpose (which may result in Defeat by Modesty all by itself), as is slicing hair, while grittier works will opt for a single, shallow cut to the face, which will bleed prettily without actually causing any real harm. The end result is the same either way: it demonstrates that the attack Could Have Been Messy... and the only reason it wasn't is the peerless skill of attacker.

Of course, there are more pragmatic uses for ludicrously precise strikes. You can use one pin them in place with your blade. If the target has a specific vulnerability, then you may need a ludicrously precise strike to Attack Its Weak Point even as it dodges at high speed.

Ludicrous melee accuracy, though not limited to swords and other bladed weapons (and indeed, may even be done completely unarmed), is one of the common forms of Implausible Fencing Powers, and as such is often used by a Master Swordsman. See also Pressure Point, which may need ludicrous accuracy to exploit successfully.

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Goemon from Lupin III. Defeat by Modesty is a frequent cause of victory for him, and he can cut ropes and handcuffs away from trapped allies with single swipe and no sign of blood.
  • In an episode of The Wallflower, the main character makes a single leaping attack against her opponent, lands and sheathes her sword. Then the clothing of said opponent falls to pieces in a manner that suggests he had been attacked from all sides at once.
  • Performed by Yaiba in a filler arc against a small band of Samurai.
  • King Bradley from Fullmetal Alchemist cuts through Fu's headband and later cuts the wicks on the dynamite sticks strapped to Fu's chest. He does cut skin in both instance, but it still shows ridiculous precision.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Heero spends some time posing as a student in Relena's school. He gets into a fencing match with a classmate of Relena's who obviously didn't like himnote . The match ends with Heero breaking his foil against his opponent's with a tip to tip clash and then buries it in his facemask, the broken blade stopping roughly an inch from his nose. He understandably freaks out. He does the exact same thing much later in the series, to Dorothy Catalonia. To Dorothy's credit, she doesn't even flinch.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED's Kira Yamato is able to cleanly slice off mobile suit heads or limbs while leaving the chest area where the pilot is intact, typically in only the fraction of a second he's flying by them. He does the same thing in the sequel, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny. It sometimes verges on Blade Spam territory, as we'll see something like one (visible) downward slash, and the target mecha will have all four limbs, its head, and its backpack cut off — while leaving the torso intact.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has Shigure.
    • Early on, Kenichi laments his lack of experience against armed opponents and wonders whom to ask for help. Shigure overhears him and begins giving a dramatic display of her prowess with various weapons in the background in an attempt to get him to ask her. She finally gets fed up with him not noticing her and cuts apart a bead of sweat on his forehead. A few pages later, she cuts up Kenichi's and Miu's clothes using a spoon.
    • When Kenichi first decides to live at Ryuzanpaku full-time, her initial training is for him to hold up a bunch of apples on his arms, legs, and head for her to cut without cutting him, to help him be less afraid (she thinks).
  • In The Animatrix, the short The Final Flight of the Osiris features a duel between two characters who use their swords to strip each other to their underwear a single article of clothing at a time, while blindfolded.
  • In the works of Ken Akamatsu the Shinmeiryu school of swordfighting has a line of advanced techniques subtitled Nii no Tachi ("Second Blade"), all of which can pass through an obstacle in their path to strike something behind them. The most famous example, Zanmaken: Nii no Tachi, applies this variant to an Anti-Magic attack - originally designed to kill possessing demons without harming their hosts, it has also been used to Dispel Magic, as an Unblockable Attack version of the regular Zanmaken, and to destroy an opponent's clothes without hurting them.

    Film 
  • In the 1998 film The Mask of Zorro, Antonio Banderas's Zorro relieves Catherine Zeta-Jones's character of her night-dress with a few sword slashes. In all film incarnations of the character, he leaves the classic Zorro Mark on a number of people, which only cuts their clothing and does no damage. Zorro is very good at killing cloth.
  • In Muppet Treasure Island, Captain Smollett (played by Kermit the Frog) deftly slices all the buttons and gold trim from Long John Silver's pirate coat. Subverted when Silver gets visibly bored and folds his arms, then says "Excuse me", distracting Smollett enough that the sword flies out of his hand.
  • In The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) the title character (Anthony Andrews) deftly slices buttons and unties ribbons with his sword tip while dueling Chauvelin (Ian McKellen) in a sequence that contains just about every sword-fighting cliche known to man.
  • In Zatoichi, the ronin Hattori Gennosuke displays his katana skills to a yakuza leader by slashing the cord around his waist and then slamming the blade into the ground. The yakuza isn't impressed until he realizes that the Hattori's sword is perfectly embedded between two of his toes.
    • In Zatoichi at Large (1972), Ichi strikes in a general direction of four men, who wanted to attack him. After blink of an eye, boss Tetsugoro has assured male nude dancing.
  • This is how a teenage boy dispatches a Fake Ultimate Mook in 3 Ninjas.
  • In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin strikes the manacles off of Chancellor Palpatine's hands with his lightsaber without touching Palpatine himself. The chancellor flinches noticeably.

    Jokes 
  • Three samurai are in a sworsmanship competition. The first slashes twice at a fly, which falls to the ground in four pieces. The second slashes twice at a fly, which falls to the ground, shortly followed by its wings. The third slashes twice at a fly, whose buzzing becomes much more high-pitched.

    Literature 
  • In Tanith Lee's Piratica books, this is practically a signature move for Art and her pirate crew. Almost all of them are actually actors, and have only been trained in stage combat.
  • A pivotal scene in Homeland by R.A. Salvatore, novelist regent of the Mad Sword Skillz, though the aim is not humiliation.
  • In The Intercontinental Union of Disgusting Characters, while Sick Sword is fighting Omnion in melee, she uses her improbable weapon mastery skills to give Omnion a radial keratotomy.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel's eponymous character cuts the clothing off his nemesis when he finally gets the chance
  • Benedict does this to a shadow ghost of one of the premier fencers of the Courts of Chaos when Merlin needs to have him kept occupied.
  • The climax on Midnight Tides includes a swordfight between Rhulad Sengar, who has the blessing (or curse) of a god restore him to life and heal his wounds when he is killed, and Brys Beddict. Brys wins the duel with literally surgical precision, cutting Rhulad's tendons and motive muscles while avoiding the major blood vessels to keep him from bleeding out.

    Live Action TV 
  • Hilariously averted in an episode of Scrubs. JD is using a circular saw to cut wood, then turns to an intern and cuts off his tie with it. A second or two later, the intern's chest starts gushing blood.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Eldar's Shining Spears (jetbikers with lances) are said to be able to target individual blood vessels when they attack.

    Video Games 
  • In Fallout4, you can achieve this by landing melee attacks via V.A.T.S., bonus point for unloading Critial Attack, which is guaranteed to hit regardless the distance. There is even a perk for increasing V.A.T.S. melee distance.
  • Scias in Breath of Fire IV demonstrates this after Ursula, an Empire agent, joins the party. The group had her tied up after she was defeated, and Scias releases her by quickly cutting the rope without touching her.
  • SoulCalibur's Siegfried (the BFS wielder) sometimes says "I've missed your vitals. You'll be fine." In general, intentionally missing vitals is an impossible thing to do, but it's to demonstrate his incredible skill that his opponent won't die from their wounds.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, when Zoidberg and Fry square off in a ritualized dual over a woman, Zoidberg showboats for the crowd by using his claw to slice a letter "Z" into Fry's shirt without touching the skin, then quickly adding a "DR" above it, presumably so as not to be confused with Zorro.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: One of the first things the Blue Spirit does on screen is cut right through the manacles binding Aang's ankles and wrists without leaving a single mark on his limbs or clothes.


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