Parrying Bullets

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lightsaber_deflection.png
Luke shows us how it's done.

"Did... Did you just cut my bullet in two!?"
Aimee Matchlock, Bravely Second

Parrying bullets is when a character uses a sword (or other melee weapon) to block gunshots. Characters capable of this are able to wield their blade with such speed and precision that they can swat bullets out of the air — in extreme cases, even emerging from automatic weapons fire completely unscathed. Sometimes this is portrayed as a feat of pure skill, though more often it's made possible by Super Reflexes or Combat Clairvoyance. In any case, it's certainly an indication of Implausible Fencing Powers.

Generally the purview of the Master Swordsman, the ability to parry bullets is a good way to even the odds in Guns vs. Swords. Nor is it limited to regular bullets — it also applies to Ray Guns, Energy Balls, or anything else that deals death at velocities too high for normal human beings to defend against. In some cases, a special blade might be needed to withstand the rigors of this sort of use.

See also Dodge the Bullet and Bullet Catch. In extreme cases, this can be used to deflect incoming fire back at the shooter, becoming a sort of Attack Reflector—and if the attacker then deflects it back at the player in a video game, you have yourself a Tennis Boss. May involve a character deflecting bullets by spinning their weapon. For cases where someone deflects a bullet by firing at it, see Shoot the Bullet.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In the first episode of the second Sakura Wars OVA, Sakura manages to deflect a full barrage from a machine gun with her sword.
  • Goemon Ishikawa of Lupin III has this as one of his signature moves; he can not only block automatic fire, he can cut the bullets in half as well.
  • Afro Samurai: Evident in the first 5 minutes, and endemic throughout. Bullets are cleaved; memorably, the title character cleaves a bullet, and the shrapnel kills several of his opponents, leaving him unharmed. Upon seeing this, the man who tried to shoot Afro quite rightly says "What the...that's impossible!"
  • Most of the accomplished swordsmen in One Piece are shown to be capable of this, no matter the difference between the sword and the projectile. Mihawk can deflect tiny bullets with his BFS just as easily as Tashigi can deflect cannonballs with her katana.
  • Black Lagoon
    • Ginji is fast enough to cut bullets in half with his sword, making him a more than equal match for any normal gunman. Revy, naturally, sees this as a challenge.
    • There's also Sawyer the Cleaner, who can deflect bullets with her chainsaw. Her deflections are more like Improbably Lucky Fencing Powers compared to Ginji's. In the same episode, an apparent mook also deflected bullets shot by freaking Revy and Eda at point-blank range with his chaingun.
  • Samurai 7: the samurai can do this, among other Implausible Fencing Powers. Several times, shells are cleaved asunder and the most skilled of samurai are even able to deflect Wave Motion Guns.
  • In StrikerS Sound Stage X of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series, the Mariage has no need for Deflector Shields since they can block a barrage of Magic Bullets with a single arm blade. This Sound Stage also had a scene that had Fragile Speedster Erio using Strada to deflect physical bullets fired by an Evil Poacher.
  • Shizu, in the Coliseum episodes of Kino's Journey, deflects bullets with his sword.
  • In Baccano!, Chane Laforet deflects bullets with knives. Bullets fired from a pump-action rifle. In the novels, Chane's apparent Bullet Deflection was a fluke (pointed out in a monologue by Rachel who was observing the fight from behind Chane. (Ladd's perspective was obscured slightly by the smoke blowing back from the engine which a wind gust has pushed between them and he simply assumed she could deflect bullets and threw his gun away after the first first shot. The anime plays it up by adding extra shots, removing the fluke-nature, and removing Rachel from the scene (in the novel it's from Nice and Rachel's perspective), instead showing what one would guess is actually Ladd's recollection of the event (with his own embellishment).
  • Karman in Blood+ blocked a revolver bullet with his spear.
  • In Mai-HiME, Shizuru is able to deflect Natsuki's bullets with her naginata element at the start of their battle. In an earlier episode, Miyu is able to cut Duran's shells in half.
  • Stocking from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has impressive sword skills with her katanas, enough so that she can easily deflect bullets so that they disarm an opponent off of a ricochet. This often takes a backseat to Panty's pistol skills, however.
  • Van of GUN×SWORD practically eats this trope for breakfast, being able to, among other things, block fully-automatic machine-gun fire by spinning his sword like a propeller, which also cuts the bullets apart!
  • Sword Art Online
    • In the game Gun Gale Online, the lightsaber is considered a Joke Weapon because of its extremely limited range compared to every other weapon (which are guns). Kirito decides to use it regardless, and leaves everyone in GGO gobsmacked when he starts using it to deflect bullets (Kirito admits that Star Wars was an inspiration), close the distance, and slice people up. Slightly more plausible in that bullets' paths in GGO are shown to everyone beforehand, so it is possible to predict a bullet to some extent (still requires incredible reflexes), but Kirito takes it a step further and predicts the bullet lines, by carefully watching his opponents' eyes to see where they will aim.
  • Berserk: Guts regularly deflects projectiles with his sword, either by swinging it so the wind blows them away, or just using his BFS as a shield.
  • Demon Eyes Kyo from Samurai Deeper Kyo is shown to be fast enough to easily cut musket balls in mid-air and kill the gunmen in a single second.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children: Cloud's enhanced SOLDIER skills enable him to move and react fast enough to parry automatic gunfire from multiple directions at once. Seen when he fought Kadaj and his gang in the Forgotten City, and later while pursuing them on the highway.
  • The third chapter of Rurouni Kenshin has some gangsters attack Kamiya Kasshin-ryu dojo with a wooden cannon (a black powder muzzle-loader with a barrel carved from oak, firing a clay cannonball). Kenshin chops the cannonball in half in mid-flight with the sharp edge of his reverse-blade sword and rather irritatedly tells the gangsters to beat it.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: King Bradley is briefly shown doing this with his saber. Implied to only be possible for him due to his Charles Atlas Superpower and Ultimate Eye allowing him to perfectly predict each bullet's path.

    Comic Books 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Haru is able to do it at the end of Beverly Hills Ninja, his ninja training finally coming to the surface, after spending most of the film making everyone ask What the Fu Are You Doing?. He uses a pair of swords to casually swat away an entire clip from a submachinegun.
  • Star Wars: Jedi can use their lightsabers to deflect incoming blaster shots back at their enemies. Justified in that they are explicitly using the Force to predict the shots before they are fired; ordinary people cannot manage it. And sufficient weight of fire can still overwhelm them, as demonstrated in Attack of the Clones.
  • Babydoll in Sucker Punch. In an imaginary world which lives of Rule of Cool.
  • Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. How about, taking out an entire roomful of gun users with two swords, deflecting the hailstorm of fire at first by basically spinning them really fast as opposed to any lightsaber-type ultraprecision. Then the ultraprecision comes in, and you have him cutting a bullet into two halves which go on to kill two shooters behind him.
  • In The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn performs an era-appropriate variation when he uses his sword to swat aside a knife thrown at him.
    • As mentioned elsewhere, Viggo Mortenson was doing this for real. The opposing actor accidentally threw the knife at Mortenson's face.

    Literature 
  • A Shadowrun novel, Steel Rain, was named for its heroine's use of this version in its opening chapter. Against machine gun autofire, no less.
  • Sienkiewicz Trilogy: Michał Wołodyjowski, the Master Swordsman of all Master Swordsmen, parries arrows.
  • Ia from Theirs Not to Reason Why parries not just bullets but lasers with her sword. Justified by her precognitive powers; she knows beforehand where the projectile is going to be, so she can put her sword in the way.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used in Due South by a middle-aged woman wielding a cutlass. She could do this because she was a Marine.
  • This type was busted by the MythBusters, though it must be noted that with the right circumstances they shattered one sword with another.
  • Super Sentai/Power Rangers:
    • In general, Rangers are perfectly capable of deflecting blaster fire with swords.
    • Power Rangers Zeo: In his rematch against Silo during the Super Zeozords' debut battle, Tommy blocks the missiles Silo fires at him with his Zord's sword.
    • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger / Power Rangers S.P.D.: Master Swordsman DekaMaster / Shadow Ranger can do this. In his debut fight, he uses a redirected enemy shot to free a hostage seconds from being blown up.
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: In his final fight with Basco, Captain Marvelous does this while charging at him.
  • Demonstrated by Sara in the Witchblade pilot and repeatedly after that, even against submachine guns on full auto on occasion. It's all the Witchblade's doing—without it Sara's just an ordinary police detective with a gun.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In one Paranoia mission, two NPCs use their mutant power of Ridiculously High Agility to block/deflect laser blasts with their force swords.
  • Several Warhammer 40,000 spin-off games have this.
    • In Inquisitor, characters are able to take a talent called "Deflect Shot" which allows them to attempt and deflect any shots fired at them as long as they are armed with either a power weapon (a melee weapon surrounded by a matter-disrupting energy field) or a force weapon (which is psychically linked to its wielder). This is also demonstrated in the last book of the Eisenhorn trilogy.
    • In Dark Heresy, characters explicitly cannot parry bullets or lasers (but can parry other ranged attacks, like thrown knives). There is a Talent which allows characters to parry bullets (although at great difficulty), but laser (energy) attacks cannot be parried at all.

    Video Games 
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid: Cyborg Ninja has demonstrated the ability to cleave bullets in midair. However, since he has also demonstrated the ability to hold up a gigantic mecha by the foot temporarily, this is a fairly minor manifestation of his power.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Raiden and the Tengu mooks get the ability to deflect gunfire after about two minutes of practicing with it against nothing, with no indication they've ever touched a sword before. The sword description actually states it's magnetic, and would allow anyone to block bullets so long as they faced they same direction. However, it is still outlandish, and might as well have been coated in nanomachines. To explain further, a magnetic field will induce eddy currents in nonferrous metal objects (like bullets) as the object moves through the field. The field will then repel the induced eddy currents. This is the principle induction coil guns use to shoot nonferrous projectiles. Of course, you need a staggeringly strong magnetic field to significantly deflect bullets this way.
  • In League of Legends, Fiora has a basic ability called Riposte. This ability allows her to parry every single ability in the game, including disabling effects. Since some of the characters in the game use bullets as their main source of damage, she can be considered part of the trope.
  • In GUNZ Online, you can deflect enemy bullets with a sword. However, because the game is actually more balanced this way, this is an Acceptable Break From Reality. Besides, the entire game is about moving around a Badass Longcoat; you can't get any cooler than that.
  • You can deflect and even reflect projectiles with melee weapons in Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict. However, it's based on player input, not automatic—among other things, this makes it ineffective against high-rate-of-fire weapons.
  • In Halo, it is possible to deflect rockets from Halo 3 onward, either with precise (read: lucky) explosions from grenades or other rockets, or with precise swings from the gravity hammer.
  • In Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, during part the final battle, Raidou can block cannon fire with just his katana held out in a defensive pose. If it wasn't just so badass, it would be ridiculous.
  • In Rogue Galaxy, Seed. Every time Jaster and friends fight him, he will, sometimes, parry bullets with his sword doing a really fast circular move. And swords. And flamethrowers. And abilities like the Ilussion Sword. His sword becomes more of a shield. Also, when attacked with a melee attack, the character that provided the attack will be damaged.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Link can use his sword to deflect the magic attacks by the wizard Agahnim. Of course, it's a lot easier to do it with the bug-catcher's net.
  • The Witcher
    • Subverted when the Professor comments that he's heard witchers can parry arrows in flight just before he shoots Leo, a witcher trainee, with a crossbow. Later played straight when Geralt blocks a crossbow bolt, causing the Professor to remark, 'I guess it was true after all.'
    • In The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings you can get this ability by spending two levels in appropriate skill; you can even deflect arrows straight back at the enemy!
  • In Resident Evil 5, there's an achievement for using an army knife to cut a crossbow bolt out of the air.
  • Hakumen from BlazBlue can stop most projectile attacks with a well-timed slash from his BFS. It gets even better in the sequel; any time he hits a projectile, a void is created, which will stop all projectiles that hit it. Most of this has to do with Ookami's anti-magic abilities though.
  • Characters with Wired Reflexes in Shadowrun can block shots from anything not explosive as long as they are facing the shooter, though it doesn't work against machine guns very well.
  • In E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy, the Facere Mortis and Damocles swords can be used to deflect/absorb bullets - even if you're being shot at by a guy holding a Sulfatum.
  • Just like in his anime and manga appearances, Goemon Ishikawa XIII pulls this off in Playstation 2's Lupin The3rd Treasure Of The Sorcerer King. Simply holding a button causes him to enter a weird sort of rapid slicing motion that allows him to deflect all incoming gunfire. Even though this trope is one of the well-known hallmarks of his character, this game is the only one to take advantage of his power.
  • Mitsurugi is seen deflecting a bullet with his sword in the intro of SoulCalibur II. This reflects his Character Development as he is now strong enough to not need Soul Edge to defeat any man wielding rifles.
  • Hiryu will be doing this with laser blasts in the Strider reboot, thanks to his Cypher getting a new "Reflect" upgrade that lets him return shots back at enemies.
  • Devil May Cry: Dante usually prefers to block enemy fire by shooting it, but Vergil can deflect bullets by spinning his katana.
  • Mega Man X: One of Zero's upgrades is to let him able to deflect bullets with a swing of his Z-Saber. In Mega Man Zero this can also be done in the fourth game with the correct upgrade.
  • In Hulk, one way to defeat tanks sent to kill the Hulk is to wait for it to fire a cannon shell at you and punch it straight back at the tank.
  • The Super Robot Wars series has the skill "Sword Cut", which allows a mecha equipped with a melee weapon to cut missiles, grenades, and Attack Drones out of the air (it also lets you deflect enemy melee attacks). Making it even more implausible, some mecha like Daimos and members of the Mobile Fighter G Gundam cast don't use swords but their bare hands.
  • Possible to do in Super Hot in any level with a katana on it. It even nets the player an achievement "So it is possible!".
  • In Overwatch, Genji can deflect projectiles back at their users (or their allies) with his sword. It works against almost everything projectile based, but beam and 'spray' attacks are unaffected.
  • In Heroes of the Storm, Varian Wrynn has the Parry ability, which allows him to parry any basic attack and can even be upgraded to parry magic attacks.
    • Just like the Overwatch example above, Genji retains his Deflect skill, yet it functions differently from his home game. In this game, Genji can parry any incoming attacks directed at him, and it doesn't straight-up reflect projectiles like how it works in Overwatch, but taking damage while Deflect is active causes him to throw a kunai at his attacker.
  • All characters in Nuclear Throne can do this with most melee weapons. The weapons can reflect bullets and shotgun pellets, which will damage the enemy instead of the player afterward; grenades, which explode normally and deal damage to everyone; and destroy acid pellets, toxic gas, rockets, and plasma balls. The benefit this provides is so great, that the Ultra Shovel - which has the widest swing arc and fastest swing speed of all melee weapons in the game - is considered necessary for surviving the Bullet Hell-like late-game.
  • In Enter the Gungeon, the Bullet can erase enemy projectiles with Blasphemy, the only true melee weapon in a game filled with guns. Huntsman, Fightsabre and a couple other weapons can also erase/reflect projectiles, though they otherwise act like ranged guns.
  • The Stage 2 boss in Lethal Enforcers can block bullets with his swords, but not always.
  • Street Fighter V: In the climax battle in story mode cutscene, Birdie faces one of the Shadaloo Dolls, Fevrier, who shoots at him with her machine pistol. He manages to block them all with just his chains.
  • In Street Fighter games she appears in, Rose can deflect projectiles thrown at her with her Soul Reflect move, i.e using her Soul-Powered scarf. She can choose to deflect it straight forward, or diagonally up to anticipate jumping opponents.
  • In Street Fighter EX, Cracker Jack can literally bat or kick projectiles out of the way with his special moves.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3:
    • Taskmaster's Shield Master special move can let him deflect projectiles thrown at him with his sword, back at the attacker.
    • Sentinel can simply kick/punch incoming projectiles to stop them, and Vergil can do the same with his katana.
  • Robo Recall has an unusually gun-centric variant in that the player can swat nearby enemy bullets in Bullet Time right back at them for a "Ping-Pong" bonus with any guns they are currently holding. It's more difficult than the Catch and Return technique that gives you a "Return to Sender" bonus, but doesn't require dropping your guns first and yields more points when done successfully.
  • At one point in Sunrider Mask of Arcadius, Asaga saves her friend Chigara from a sniper by using her Ryder’s BFS to deflect a bullet traveling at one-point-five times the speed of light. Icari, who witnessed the whole thing, lampshades the impossibility of this feat. The act itself is an early hint that there’s more to Asaga than the plucky freelance Ryder pilot she makes herself out to be.
  • Yakuza 0 has a skill for Majima's Slugger style that allows him to parry bullets with an aluminum bat he found in an alley.

     Web Comics 

     Web Original 
  • Finding out this was possible in Super Hot is what makes Vegeta declare it the game of the year in Renegade for Life.
    "Can I?" [cuts bullet midair] *gasp* Game of the year! 10/10! 10/10! Game of the year! Cut bullets in half!

    Western Animation 
  • Demonstrated by a Monican soldier in Æon Flux. More details under Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?. This was obviously a subversion of the incident in Raiders of the Lost Ark, since the swordsman was doing the same type of "sword-kata dance" as the Breen soldier readied his gun, smirking.
  • The sword-wielding assassin Curaré from Batman Beyond does this.
  • In Code Lyoko, Ulrich is practically the equal to any Jedi Master at doing this, able to use his katana to deflect the energy weapons of XANA's mooks with relative ease.
  • Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe: Renegades can deflect frickin' lasers with his swords. Half-justified in they're lasers, i.e. light, and he takes very good care of his weapon which includes polishing it to a mirror finish. Now for how he gets it in place in time...
  • Samurai Jack is virtually invincible with his magic katana, occasionally deflecting all the bullets from several machine guns fired at him at once.

    Real Life 
  • Isao Machii, featured in Stan Lee's Superhumans, cut a BB gun pellet fired at him traveling at over 200 miles per hour at a distance of 70 feet. See here. For context, though, a Glock 17 (an extremely common pistol) fires a 9mm bullet at about 820 miles per hour. That's four times as fast as the BB above, and would have impacted his body by about the time he had the sword halfway out of the scabbard.
  • It is possible for a sharp blade to cut a bullet in half, if both the gun and the blade are at the right angle. If a sword in battle blocks a bullet on the edge by pure chance, the wielder will now have two bullet wounds instead. Laboratory conditions set to try this have shown it could be done on large slow bullets (such as from a pistol) while smaller high speed rounds (such as from rifles) will simply shatter even sword made from high quality steel.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ParryingBullets