Fists incapacitated? Feet otherwise occupied? Never fear, thirty-two weapons are still available to you: the teeth!
This trope is about biting someone in combat. Biting is typically a desperate last resort employed when limbs are pinned. However, it is a move that can turn the tables in an instant. The true Combat Pragmatist
will bite any time he fancies: an unexpected bite to the throat can take a foe down quickly. That kind of savagery can also be a sign of being Raised By Animals
, or being outright Ax-Crazy
. Strangely, despite the brutal nature of the attack, there are far more heroic examples than villainous.
A bite can result in some of the worst flesh damage a character can do to another, without a weapon. Most other unarmed attacks depend on blunt force. Expect the bitee to react with pain, shock and horror. As this is a trope about pragmatism, only humans and other organisms not expected to bite should be listed. No dogs, no vampires, etc. On the other hand, it can go quite wrong for the biter if it's countered or botched
For a detailed analysis of the plausibility of this trope see the analysis page.
See Now That's Using Your Teeth
when the teeth are used for less meaty purposes. See also You Taste Delicious
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Anime and Manga
- In one chapter of Blade of the Immortal, a crazed Itto-Ryu attempts to finish off Hyakurin this way by biting her throat.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Big Bad Shishio Makoto takes a chomp out of Kenshin to show that he's serious about his Social Darwinist philosophy ("The flesh of the weak is the food of the strong.").
- Invoked in the first Hellsing anime, after Alucard shoots off Anderson's arms but Anderson still charges at him, prompting Alucard to taunt him: "Are you gonna bite me next?" Anderson decides to retreat with dignity after hearing this (from a vampire, no less).
- Seras Victoria later bites off half of Zorin Blitz's hand while being punched in the face by her.
- In Dragon Ball, Goku was prone to use this, most notoriously when fighting against Frieza and Kid Buu.
- In a flashback within a Yu-Gi-Oh! episode, Anzu bites the arm of a rapist (thief in the dub) after he knocks Yugi down.
- In A Certain Magical Index, Index bites anyone who irritates her. Usually Toma.
- In One Piece Filler Arc Little East Blue, Yoko uses biting as her way to attack.
- Also Luffy, the main character (who's quite child-like), has no qualms about biting his opponents. Two examples include Arlong (was blocked) and Jinbei (who sat on him). When he tried it against Rob Lucci, Lucci dodging it oddly resulted in Paper Cutting.
- In the anime, he also tries it on Crocodile in their first fight. Of course, Crocodile being what he is, this only ticks him off.
- In Baccano!, Creepy Child Czeslaw Meyer tells world-renowned assassin and complete lunatic Claire Stanfield that he's not afraid of him, having been hurt and tortured in horrible ways for years. Claire's response is to grab Czeslaw's hand and bite his fingers off.
- In Nabari No Ou, Shijima occasionally bites people in combat.
- This is Turtle's signature attack in Rainbow. He doesn't get much opportunity to use it, but the bite wounds we see are brutal.
- How can one forget Ubogin from Hunter × Hunter? Bit through the skull of one enemy, and spit the fragment out with enough velocity to punch a hole in a second opponent.
- Tiger Mask has a few examples. The most famous, being a Real Life wrestler, is Freddie Blassie, whose main shtick was to bite his opponent's forehead (or fingers, depending on what he could reach with his mouth). Interestingly, the series uses his appearances to show the problems with this technique: the first time, Blassie was neutralized as soon as Tiger Mask decided to go for the teeth (something he wouldn't have done if Blassie did not insist in biting him), both because his style revolved around biting his opponent and because having someone dance on your teeth hurts a lot; the second time, Blassie showed us that trying to bite the forehead of a taller opponent is a stupid move when said opponent has no concept of fighting fair, and ended with Blassie getting bitten on the forehead; the third time Blassie discovered both that his tactic was getting old and that you should only bite exposed skin when he bit the forehead of the masked wrestler Fantomas and broke his teeth on the steel plate he had placed there just for this occurrence
- Attack on Titan: Most titans already do this, what with all the human-chomping that goes around. The rogue titan takes it much, much further, however, when it spots a certain titan who ate Thomas, and charges it despite his arms having been ripped off earlier, bites down on the back of its neck, then proceeds to swing the corpse around to hit the other titans.
- Shut Hell has a tendency to rip her enemies throats out with her teeth. Initially it's because her hands are bound or something like that, but later on she seems to develop a taste for it.
- In Diaries of a Madman, Luna tasks Navarone with doing this to Shining Armor, in retaliation for capturing her during a war games exercise. While it doesn't truly kill him, it does embarrass him in front of his men, and shocks those who see it.
- In the Diablo tie-in novel Legacy of Blood, the villain is bitten on the neck by a woman he's about to torture. He starts to panic, thinking she might be a vampire, then realises she's just acting out of desperation.
- Solomon Kane is not above ripping an opponent's throat out with his teeth when necessary.
- One of Norm's favorite attacks, and apparently also erotic for him, in Rose Madder.
- Jeremiah toward squad leader The Stoic Asher in Someone Else's War. Jeremiah is seven, so perhaps it's a little more justified.
- In the Star Trek novel Section 31: Rogue, the Tellarite Doctor Gomp takes on a Chiarosian warrior by biting into his arm.
- Happens during Galaxy of Fear: Clones, when someone comes up behind Tash and circles her neck with his arm, cutting off her air.
She bit him.
- An arguable case in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum at least used to be a hobbit, and he bites Frodo's finger off.
- A Song of Ice and Fire. When Vargo Hoat tries to rape his captive Brienne of Tarth she bites off his ear. The wound becomes infected and he goes mad with fever, leaving him helpless to fight or flee when the Mountain attacks his castle. Later in the novels Brienne gets blindsided by Biter (one of Vargo's men whose teeth have been filed down to points) who's able to pin her down and gnaw large chunks out of her face. She's only saved by the intervention of a third party.
- Even after being filled with enough booze to knock out any mortal man, the Greatjon still has to be subdued by eight men — of whom he manages to kill one, wound two others and bite half the ear off another.
- Lincoln Rhyme in The Bone Collector performs this against the villain. Given he's only barely above quadriplegic, it was one of his few options.
Live Action TV
- A move traditionally used by Heels (especially those with a "savage" gimmick), but may be employed by smaller, weaker Faces as well. As with any comparisons of Heels and Faces, expect some Moral Dissonance.
- Sting recently told Hulk Hogan (or was it Ric Flair?) not to point his finger at him; otherwise, Sting would bite it off! This would have been an out-of-character moment for Steve Borden at any time in the past, but it perfectly fits his new "Insane Icon" gimmick.
- Dementia of Glow always did this, more than any of the other rude ones. It only worked on jobbers or wrestlers unfamiliar with her, more technical wrestlers would use it to their advantage.
- Classy Freddy Blassie began his performance career biting the heads off small animals, it only made sense he'd start biting other people when he wrestled.
- One of the Rage Powers available to a Barbarian in Pathfinder is "Animal Rage," which gives your barbarian a bite attack and allows them to execute this trope on their enemies.
- In Siren: Blood Curse, little Bella Monroe bites a Shibito's hand to make it release her mother.
- This trope crops up in Dwarf Fortress combat all the time. In fact, in adventure mode, players regularly defeat Boogymen by biting them, then shaking them around until their lower body is ripped off.
- Street Fighter veterans should be familiar with seeing this as a grapple from Wild Child mutant Blanka. And Husky Russkie Zangief can get in on the delicious facechomping action. Yummy!
- Side-scrolling Beat 'em Up Warriors Of Fate featured this as an option for one of the heroes, in-game known for his love of eating. Enemies seem to count for his appetite, it seems.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Wario has his Chomp special, which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin to anyone who touches his open mouth. His head inexplicably doubles in size while using this move and as a result, his victims are in his mouth up to the torso while he does the biting. It's the only time he's seen using this tactic in his history, but it's not terribly out of place, considering how bizarre his fighting style is.
- Shadowrun Returns: In Dragonfall, Eiger is charged while reloading, and rips the attacker's throat out with her tusks.
- A Newshounds story arc had Lorna thinking she was a dog, and watching a bad man (her father) chewing out Kevin. One of the other dogs compliments her technique (while watching in shock).
- Newheimburg has Jack biting into a mugger's leg hard enough to draw blood.
- Often played for laughs in Warner Bros.. cartoons, usually some animal-based Toon chomping on another Toon's leg or biting his bottom.
- Justice League: Wonder Woman bites a Thanagarian.
- Happens in the episode of The Legend of Korra, where Bumi fights against Ghazan by fighting him physically and even bites him on the shoulder. Justified because Bumi had started learning Airbending and was using it only for a brief time.
- The infamous "Bite Seen 'Round The World" during the 1997 Mike Tyson/Evander Holyfield match, where Tyson got disqualified for biting Holyfield's ears, one bite being severe enough to rip off a piece of his right ear. The incident in question did not help Tyson's image at all, and made him look like even more of a savage.
- Another famous sports-related biting is that by Uruguay striker Luis Suárez, who famously bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during the group stage at the 2014 World Cup. As Suárez had bit opposing players on the pitch on two previous occasions and had several other black marks on his record, FIFA instituted a nine-international-match, four-month ban, the longest ever placed on any footballer, effectively excluding him from the rest of the World Cup and potentially the South American championship in 2015 as well.
- A woman in South Africa bit off her rapist's tongue and handed it to police as evidence.
- The field of forensic odontology, in addition to Identification by Dental Records, also deals a lot with bite mark analysis in cases where a criminal or a victim bit the other during the commission of a crime. Cases where such evidence played a key role included the case of Serial Killer Ted Bundy as well as the case of Jesse Timmendequas (the Megan's Law case).
- Bruce Lee once said he wouldn't be above biting someone in a fight if he believed it was necessary.
- Self-defense instructors wouldn't oppose. Along with eye-gouging, ear-twisting, and the classical Groin Attack, biting is considered by experts to be one of the most basic and effective methods of self-defense. Fun fact: Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, even harder than bone. You can do a lot of damage with those things.
- Although, given the amount of blood carried diseases running amok nowadays, some self-defense instructors now discourage it and recommend only using it as a last resort.
- Although advertised as having "no rules," the very first UFC event did have a number of rules, including one against biting, as have all Mixed Martial Arts events since then.
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