Now That's Using Your Teeth
"You know, you talk too much... In battle, there's only one way you should be using your mouth!"
Hard as it may be to imagine, having two hands with opposable thumbs can actually be pretty restrictive. For one thing, everybody knows that you can do stuff with your hands. No one in their right mind is going to do something like point a gun at a person's arm, because you're pretty much just begging them to grab a bullet out of thin air
and throw it at you
. So once a character is sufficiently strong, he needs a new way to catch an opponent off guard, and that means giving him a third arm. And what better place to have a third arm than with those shiny white things in your mouth?
In terms of story and narrative development, this is a fairly popular method of showing a character as being unbelievably strong—or, at any rate, much better at what they do than pretty much any nameless mook
. In actual practice, this is a trope that usually falls strictly under the domain of Rule of Cool
. Are there people in the world who can use their teeth to do practically anything? Maybe. Teeth are pretty strong, after all, and can exert more force than a hand. Still, one can't help but wonder how those teeth manage to continue to stay pearly white even after they've grabbed every filthy, dangerous, explosive object under the sun. Ah well. Best not to dwell on it too much
Cutlass Between the Teeth
is a subtrope, when someone uses their mouth to wield a weapon.
See Man Bites Man
for the other
use of the teeth in battle.
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- In an Isuzu commercial, Joe Isuzu (actor David Leisure) demonstrates the car's speed by firing a bullet, then getting in the car and driving ahead of it. Once ahead, he gets out of the car, holds a target in front of his face and catches the bullet in his teeth.
- In a Rold-Gold pretzels commercial, a guy sitting in the crowd (played by Jason Alexander) is picked out to be the substitute goalie for a hockey game. Near the end, he blocks a shot by catching the puck in his teeth.
Anime & Manga
- In Detective Conan, it looks like an old man had committed suicide in his room; then Conan deduces that the victim had his hands bound behind his back, and then the rope that was looped around his neck was also threaded through his teeth so that if he called for help or his jaw gave out he would hang himself.
- Ranma has on many an occasion blocked opponents' attacks with his teeth, most notably against Ryu Kumon.
- In D.Gray-Man, Krory stops Lavi's Hammer Drop attack (which involves Lavi jumping above him and growing his hammer to roughly the size of a small building) with his teeth. Lavi is duly impressed.
Lavi: Nice teeth.
- In Hellsing, Alucard stops Rip van Winkle's bullet with his teeth (and half his face, but he gets better).
- Quoted almost word for word by Guts in Berserk, when he uses his teeth to catch the tip of Griffith's sword, seen in the page image. It's a tactic he makes use of quite often in fact.
- It's also used against Guts when Wyald catches his sword in his mouth.
- As well as, tragically, against Casca during the Eclipse when she loses her sword to another Apostle in this fashion.
- In Michiko to Hatchin, Michiko pulls up a rope with her teeth to save a man from falling to his death while her hands are tied on her back. If that isn't a crowning moment of awesome, I don't know what is.
- Roberta from Black Lagoon makes use of this trope to catch a thrown knife from Shenhua in mid air. She then proceeds to shatter it with her teeth while giving a giant Slasher Smile.
- In the Sengoku Basara anime, Sarutobi Sasuke catches a knife with his teeth when Kasuga throws it at his face.
- Gangryong in Veritas often uses his teeth when fighting an opponent.
- In GUNNM has a complicated to explain example. During a Tournament the android Sechs has to face off against an opponent who's arms are designed to work as a rail gun to catapult objects into orbit, which means around mach 27. During the fight Sechs is bound up with super elastic belts designed to hold cargo together during said catapulting. His opponent then grabs Sechs and shoots him at a wall. However Sechs managed to not only cut free from the belts but also place them around his opponents head. He then holds the two ends of the belt between his legs and in his teeth. The result is Sechs being catapulted back at his opponent.
- Kagura from Gintama catches a bullet with each hand and the last one in her teeth when fighting Matako. Later, Gintoki breaks Oboro's first sword by biting it.
- Kuroki from Blazer Drive blocks a shadow spike from an enemy with his teeth. Said spike came from the enemy's tongue, leading to... unfortunate implications.
- Irresponsible Captain Tylor catches a nail shot from a nailgun in his teeth. If that isn't bad enough, the nailgun actually had enough power to shoot the nails from halfway across a room with enough force to pull him out of the way of a falling scaffold and nail his jacket (with him still in it) to a wall several meters away.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has Jack Rakan, who when confronted with knives surrounding his head in his fight with Negi, decides to bite them. The knives SWEAT!
- In One Piece, Arlong's jaws are so strong, he's able to catch a cannon ball in his mouth, which he subsequently shatters. He later does the same thing to a stone column.
- And the New Fishmen Pirates captain Hody Jones, a Great White Shark fishman, has destroyed a whole pirate crew and their ship using only his jaws.
- His crewmate Daruma is a Cookie-Cutter Shark Fishman that threatens to eat offenders. He regularly tunnels underground with them.
- The 7th from Future Diary blocked Yuno's knife with his teeth. Partially justified because he knew it was coming.
- In a bonus novel for A Certain Magical Index, Sogiita Gunha uses his teeth to stop Mikoto's Railgun (at 30% power).
- In the second Durarara!! OVA, Shizuo catches a knife (thrown at him by Izaya) with his teeth twice, shattering it one of those times.
- In Rave Master, Haru catches an arrow with his teeth that an enemy fired at point blank range.
- In one Saiyuki Reload chapter, Goku, in his Seiten Taisei form catches a bullet by his teeth.
- In the finale of My Bride Is a Mermaid, Nagasumi is able to catch a bullet between his teeth and proceeds to pound the shit out of his shooter.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid: When Harry/Hallie Tribeca had her limbs bound in Els Tasmin's chains, she responds by using her teeth to grab one of the chains her opponent was holding on to and tugging at it with all her might, dragging poor Els towards her and right into the range of her fist.
- In the Grenadier manga, Namari Shirogane manages to catch one of Rushuna's bullets with her teeth. Rushuna wonders what kind of teeth could do something like that, and Namari comically insists they're so strong because she brushes every day.
- Green Arrow has been shown using his teeth to draw back his bowstring when one of his arms is incapacitated, most notably in the final battle in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, where said arm doesn't exist any more.
- In the Lucky Luke book "Fingers", the titular stage magician interferes when Joe Dalton is about to shoot an unarmed Luke, saying that it "wouldn't be nice". Joe, being Joe, pulls the trigger anyways, only for Fingers to catch the bullet. Joe, enraged, fires his gun point blank in Fingers' face - and Fingers catches the bullet with his teeth. It turns out to be a subversion; Fingers had made sure Joe's revolver was loaded with blanks. The "catches" were all Fingers' trademark sleight of hand.
- Jim Carrey catches a bullet in his teeth (while driving his car and leaning out the window, mind you) in Ace Ventura.
- Kakihara loves showing off his Glasgow Grin; in one street fight, he yanks the pins from his cheeks and catches a man's fist in his horribly wide maw. Chomp.
- In You Don't Mess with the Zohan, when fighting terrorists, Zohan catches two bullets with his hands before catching a third one with his teeth. He then catches a fourth one with his nose. This is all seen as pretty mundane to Zohan.
- Parodied in UHF, where the bullet is not only caught with the teeth, but it is then crunched and shot back from the mouth.
- Tekken: The Motion Picture has a scene where this occurs; as described by Spoony after seeing it…
: *laughing*My god, I love it. Someone actually wrote in the script the words, "Julianote
throws a Tomahawk at Heihachi, who catches it in his mouth, and eats it
". See, what's funny is, I don't actually question that he can
do this; just, when did he know that he could
break metal with his teeth? I mean, did he practice or something
- In the Mamushka scene of The Addams Family, Uncle Fester catches a falling dagger in his throat, blocking it with his teeth.
- The two-headed Peirson's Puppeteers from the Ringworld series lack arms (or looked at another way, their heads are their arms, given their brains are near the point where the necks join into the trunk), but their mouths are well adapted to manipulating objects.
- In Clan of the Cave Bear, Creb used his mouth and teeth to hold and manipulate objects because he only had one arm. His teeth were worn down from doing that. Noteworthy for being one of the few characters to do this who is explicitly not super strong, as well as for showing what would happen to a real person's teeth if they did this all the time. (Well, OK, technically he's a Neanderthal, but that's neither here nor there.) Truth in Television, as the teeth of people from low-tech societies often exhibit wear-patterns from tasks such as chewing on animal sinew to soften it for use as twine.
- Sunny from A Series of Unfortunate Events. She doesn't mostly use her teeth in combat even under a loose definition of that term, but the stories constantly imply that Sunny's teeth are as useful to her as those of a beaver; for instance, they have many plots tailored to the party and ordinarily Sunny's part involves using her teeth.
- As an example, in The Ersatz Elevator she used them to scale a wall.
- In The Miserable Mill Sunny actually uses her teeth as pseudo-swords to fight off the villain in a 'swordfight,' and the most impressive thing about it is that they were pretty much equals in the fight, despite the fact that the villain had a longer reach, was using an actual sword, and was fighting a baby.
- In The Fifth Elephant, Vimes fires a shot at Wolfgang and Wolfgang catches it in his teeth. Unfortunately for Wolfgang, it was a shot from a flare gun.
- Lincoln Rhyme, in The Bone Collector and other novels in the series, is essentially quadriplegic throughout the series. In the first book, he's about to be killed by a psychotic madman, so he uses the only weapon he has left, his teeth. As noted below in Real Life, that's more than enough to rip out a throat...
- One viking in Everworld is named Sven Swordeater, who has a matching pair of ugly scars on each of his cheeks. And he's the same age as the protagonists!
Live Action TV
- In an episode of Batman, the Riddler had captured Robin, tied him up and threw him off the ledge of a building. Batman saved him by throwing down the Bat-Rope and telling him to grab onto it with his teeth.
- In Demon Fist, Jaws routinely disarms enemies by biting their swords in half, among other things.
- Mr. Welch has been forbidden from doing a few versions of this.
Even if the rules allow it, I can't catch dropped cannonballs with my teeth without drawbacks.
- In Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Kale grabs his enemy's sword in his teeth, then jerks his head to throw the opponent overboard. Quoth Sinbad "And I was overworking it?"
- The first time Molotov appears in The Venture Bros., Brock throws a knife at her and she catches it in her teeth. Then she licks the blade and tries to stab him.
- Ubiquitous to the point where the vast majority of its uses fall under Mundane Utility in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Completely justified since, as ponies, they have no hands with which to manipulate objects.
- When Splinter finally faces the Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), he manages to catch one of Shredder's blades with his teeth and break it. This isn't too far from what rats in real life can do, having been observed chewing through concrete or even lead pipes; in fact it's at this point Splinter turns the fight around by fighting like a rat instead of man (including Running on All Fours).
- Inspector Gadget was once given the task of retrieving a scarf from around a pole with his teeth...while on horseback. He succeeded, thanks to his "Gadget Teeth," a pair of flying, remote-controlled dentures. (Just so we're clear, the guy who challenged him was a MAD Agent, and the scarf had a bomb in it.)
- The human mouth is quite useful at acting as a third hand.
- Truth in Television: Jimi Hendrix could play guitar with his teeth. If that doesn't count, nothing does.
- Buddy Guy will perform the same feat when covering Jimi's songs live. He can also play covers of Eric Clapton with a handkerchief, or just play solos of his own making with his ass.
- The above Truth in Television is referenced in K-On!, in which the advisor of the titular club turns out to be able to perform the same feat.
- So can Krauser from Detroit Metal City, though Souichi notes that it's not good for himself.
- Zack Wylde of Heavy Metal band Black Label Society shows off this ability as well during solos in live sets.
- Ryyuske from BECK as a homage.
- Humans have very impressive jaw strength compared to many animals, comparable to most attack dogs in terms of pounds per square inch exerted. And yet, only in the direct bite - human jaws are quite feeble otherwise. A German Shepherd died after attacking a slightly intoxicated man on a street in Ukraine. The cause? The man tore out the dog's throat. With his teeth!
- Some Native Americans would carry an arrow in their mouth. This would make a faster draw than to draw from the quiver. It also allows them to use their hands to help ride their horse or to sneak around by crawling on all fours.
- It's common for paralyzed people to paint, write and control wheelchairs with their mouths/teeth.
- This guy. He's a U.S.Paralympic athelete born without arms who fires his bow with his teeth.